Alias Grace: Part 3   Show Only 
November 4, 2017 6:16 PM - Season 1, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Grace wrestles with a terrible secret. Soon after, she meets Nancy Montgomery, a pretty housekeeper who will change the course of her life.

A shadow flies before me,
Not thou, but like to thee:
Ah Christ, that it were possible
For one short hour to see
The souls we loved, that they might tell us
What and where they be!
-Alfred, Lord Tennyson


*Doctor Jordan discusses Grace with Reverend Verringer, then guts a chicken for his landlady.
*At the governor's house, Jordan hears Grace singing, and imagines entering the room and embracing her. When he does enter and begin the session, he tells her he has noticed the guards treating her roughly, and says he will talk to the governor about it.
*This session's object is a parsnip.
*Jeremiah comes to Grace at Mary's funeral. He gives her coins for Mary's ring, which Grace uses to pay for the funeral.
*Mrs. Parkinson asks Grace if she knows who Mary's gentleman was, and when she says no she asks her to swear on Bible that she doesn't know and would never tell anyone if she did know, and that if she does swear it she'll give her a raise and a good reference should she wish to leave. Later, Mr. George tries to get into her bedroom.
*Nancy Montgomery, visiting with the Parkinson housekeeper, offers Grace a new position with a raise, and though the housekeeper gives her a vague warning that the position isn't suitable for a girl like her, she takes it.
*Grace's new employer, Mr. Kinnear (Paul Gross) meets her coach, and punches out another passenger who is harassing her. At the house she meets fellow servants James McDermott and Jamie Walsh.

Grace: When I close my eyes... I can remember every detail of that house as clear as a picture. I could walk through every room of it blindfolded. Strange to reflect... that, of all the people living in that house, I was the only one of them left alive in six months' time. Though at that moment I had no particular feeling about it and only wanted a drink of water.

*Nancy gives Grace a house tour. The next morning, taking care of the chickens, Grace hears Nancy playing piano.

Jordan: And then everything went on very quietly for a fortnight.
Grace: Yes, sir, it did. More or less quietly.
Jordan: What is "everything"? How did it go on?
Grace: I beg your pardon, sir?
Jordan: What did you do every day?
Grace: The usual sir. I performed my duties.
Jordan: You will forgive me. Of what do those duties consist?
Grace: [internal dialogue] You were not making a joke. You really don't know. Men such as yourself do not have to clean up the messes you make, but we have to clean up our own messes and yours into the bargain. In that way you are like children. You do not have to think ahead or worry about the consequences of what you do. But it is not your fault. It is only how you are brought up.


*As Grace milks the cow, she hears a tapping noise from above, and, climbing a ladder, finds it is McDermott dancing. He smiles at her, and she ducks off to empty the slop pails.

Grace: With a pump, you have to pour some in before you can get any out. Mary Whitney used to say that was exactly how men viewed the flattering of a woman when they had low ends in view. Mary Whitney was not proper, but she was honest.
Jordan: So that's how you rinse out a slop pail.
Grace: Well of course I went to the privy first to empty it. I went to the privy and emptied the slop pail, and so forth.
Jordan: And so forth?
Grace: "Really, Doctor," I thought, "if you don't know what you do in a privy, there really is no hope for you. What I did was, I hoisted my skirts and sat down above the buzzing flies, on the same seat everyone in the house sat on, lady or lady's maid. They both piss and it smells the same, and not like lilacs neither, as Mary Whitney used to say. [looking at newspaper] Some of the pictures were of duchesses from England and high society ladies in New York and the like. You should never let your picture be in a magazine or newspaper if you can help it, as you never know what means your face may be made to serve by others once it has got out of your control. But I did not say any of his to you, Doctor Jordan."
And so forth. "And so forth" is all you are entitled to, I thought. Just because you pestered me to know everything was no reason for me to tell you.

Kinnear: Do you know the story of Susannah?
Grace: No.
Kinnear: She was a young lady who was falsely accused of sinning with a young man, by a group of old men, because she refused to commit the very same sin with them. She would have been stoned to death, but luckily she had a very clever lawyer, and he was able to prove that the old men were lying by inducing them to give contradictory evidence. What do you think the moral of it is?
Grace: That you should not take baths outside in the garden.
Kinnear: [chuckles] I think the moral is you need a clever lawyer.


*Grace sees Nancy telling McDermott that he didn't clean her shoes properly and not to let it happen again. He angrily throws down firewood.

Grace: There is a great deal of pleasure to be had in a wash all clean and blowing in the wind. The sound is like the hands of the Heavenly Host applauding, though heard from far away. And they do say that cleanliness is next to Godliness. And sometimes, when I have seen the pure white clouds billowing in the sky after a rain, I used to think it was as if the angels themselves were hanging out their washing, for I reasoned that someone must do it, as everything in Heaven must be very clean and fresh. But these were childish fancies, as children like to tell themselves stories about things that are not visible. And I was scarcely more than a child at the time... though I thought of myself as a grown woman.

*Grace serves Nancy and Mr. Kinnear their meal in the dining room, then has her meal in the kitchen with McDermott. McDermott used to be in the military regiment known for committing atrocities against the rebels, and chafes at being set below Nancy, and flirts aggressively at Grace.
*Kinnear rides away, to spend the night out at his friend's house. Nancy and Grace take the butter pats down to the cellar; Nancy is creeped out by the smell of the cellar.
*McDermott walks the fenceposts, and Nancy tells Grace to ignore him. When Grace pours beers in the kitchen for herself, Jamie, and Nancy, McDermott apologizes for his comments earlier and says he hopes they can be friends.
*Jamie plays his flute, and then catches fireflies in a jar for Grace.
posted by oh yeah! (1 comment total)
 
I just love Grace's internal monologues. The one here about Doctor Jordan's ignorance about her daily tasks was great.
posted by fever-trees at 5:35 PM on November 12


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