My reading is beginning to pick up speed and lately I have read two books I’ve been meaning to blog about. The first one was Camille by Alexander Dumas, author of The Three Musketeers. Never see him given credit for much else. Camille is told as a narrative as someone relates his relationship to a woman in Paris described as a ‘kept woman’. It is an upper class prostitute. She’s not working the streets, but the men know who she is and pay her for her favors when she grants them. When the teller of the story sees her for the first time, he falls in love with her. She grants him an audience, but he doesn’t go for her favors, he goes for her. When she feels sick and leaves the room, he goes to see if she is all right, and she is astounded by the act, because no one had ever shown her that kind of attention. He keeps up his relationship with her until she sees no other. Then she wants to leave Paris, so they find a cottage in the country. She lets all of her old life go in the face of this man’s love for her. I won’t spoil the story for you, but it made me think. People often see becoming a Christian as a cutoff from doing or being something they desire, or people they desire to be with. They see it as some sort of bereavement. I would say they do not understand what happened at the cross. Sometimes I have not understood what happened at the cross. For a long time I heard . “In view of God’s mercies, OFFER YOUR BODIES AS LIVING SACRIFICES.’ Especially loud ‘sacrifice’. Always got to be thinking about what I am giving up. One day in church it hit me as “IN VIEW OF GOD’S MERCIES, offer your bodies as living sacrifices. ‘ Really no big deal when you think of God’s great mercy. So this woman was getting rid of the things that had entangled her in that other life.
The other book was A Thing of Beauty by A.J. Cronin. I think ‘The Citadel’ is his claim to fame, but he has wonderful character development and this book was not a disappointment. I got it on vacation at my sister’s library in the ‘for Sale’ room. This was about a young man whose father expected him to ‘go into the church’ as a fourth generation and inheriting all he had and the son wants to paint. The father can’t see any future in painting and his world generally looks the same. The painter’s world is always changing. It is sort of like reading the book of Proverbs as different characters go in an out of his life. The father is always waiting for a return and he does return for a painting job that goes awry. I think this is the 4th A. J. Cronin book I read. All good.