Prompted by forester48
's query about Patrick's O-levels, I picked up Attic Term
the other day and inevitably re-read it. And noticed some bits and pieces about Patrick and Ginty's relationship that hadn't fully come through to me before. I'd seen Patrick as attracted by her looks, and them bonding over the role-playing in Peter's Room
, and obviously sharing a passion for and skill at riding, but had not really thought of them as similar in character. But then I reread the scene when Patrick is arguing with his father about why he doesn't need to stay at school for A-levels:
'having any number of more or less outlandish notions vaguely in mind: as for instance, that he might join an expedition to the Himalayas or a dig at one of the local archaeological sites or become the Queen's Falconer or unearth incontrovertible conclusive proof that the two princes were alive and well and living in the Tower when Richard Third was killed at Bosworth...'
This struck me as remarkably like Ginty's imaginings, such as the Mother Teresa fantasy when she's staying in the san. And I also noticed how very sulky both of them can be with the adults, and what teenagers they are, and remembered how one bonds with other teenagers over the total awfulness of the grown-ups. I read Attic Term
first as a student, I think, and felt rather guiltily at one with Ginty as she thought 'when she was suddenly famous and interviewed on T.V. she would say There's one thing I can never forgive my mother
--' and embarrassed for her over the way she speaks to Mrs Marlow on the phone from the Merricks'. But this time it occurred to me that the text doesn't suggest Patrick reacts badly to her rudeness to her mother at all (though one can feel Mr Merrick silently judging). Patrick's attempts not to be introduced to Mrs Harman at the concert had a similar feel to me, and though I admit that he has had an exceptionally stressful day, it's suggested that this mainly means he doesn't have the stubbornness to stick to his refusal.
Also I had always thought of the moment when he realised that 'If it had been Nick, he wouldn't have needed to ring off...' as conclusive in the end of his feelings for Ginty, especially as it's followed shortly afterwards by the Kissing Of Claudie. I still think it's crucial, but in fact the letter saying he is 'yours devotedly' - addressed to both Ginty and Rosina - is written after that. (Protesting too much? Attempting to open up a new dimension to their relationship after his recent exposure to the joys of the flesh?) Anyway, it's Ginty's decision to go to Monica's that seems to be the final disaster. Of course this is her chameleon qualities working against her, because if Patrick had known about Monica as her best friend from the beginning, he might have accepted that decision. Instead it just looks like running away. Which of course it is, even though it's also the right thing to do.
Probably these are not new observations, but I thought I'd toss it out and ask what other people make of Patrick and Ginty.