Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0003391, Thu, 24 Sep 1998 19:32:43 -0700

Query re Glory: chicks (fwd)

I have a 1971 Penguin paperback of VN's _Glory_ and on Pg. 51 (near
end of chapter X) there is a
line that confuses me. Perhaps someone in the Forum would be kind
enough to explain it. Martin becomes interested in a shy Swiss
chambermaid, Marie, who comes to clean his uncle's house. And here's
the line: "She never looked at Martin except once-and what an event
that was!-when passing by with an empty pail, she smiled uncertainly,
tenderly-not at him, though, but at the chicks."

What chicks? The very brief scene is not definitely placed on his
uncle's estate. No chickens are mentioned before or after Marie passes
with her empty pail, so there's no reason to assume that pail carried
chicken feed when just prior to this she was "kneeling in meditation
amidst the gloss of wet floorboards." And why "what an event that was!"
when she doesn't look at Martin even once, no exception, and the impact
on him of that non-look is not explained? Perhaps I'm not only confused
but "irony challenged" also. Did VN mean this as a bit of comic irony
before sending Martin on his romantic way?

Your help would be most welcome.

Mac Reynolds