Saturday, March 06, 2010


Part of an entry posted in September 2007, repeated for the convenience of members of the Rafael Sabatini (Yahoo) Group:

THE LION’S SKIN ~ a chronology

(as all the action is confined to 1721, only the month and the day/date will be given) [There's no reason to think that Sabatini bothered about Gregorian or Julian calendars and when exactly the reformed calendar became effective in this or that country. A simple ready reckoner would have supplied such needs as he had, I believe. Sabatini gives us only four indicators of the time: Chapter I is set in April; Chapter II is set in May; the day of the thwarted mock-marriage ends with a night of full moon; Sir Richard is buried on a Monday.]
April ~ Prelude in Paris gives the back story and sets up the plot machinery.
May (we are not told what part of the month) ~
Day 1 (of the action) ~ Justin Caryll, having landed at Dover the previous day, arrives in Maidstone; incident at the inn; Lord Ostermore, Hortensia and Justin reach Croydon by nightfall; encounter in the garden. [If the full moon is to be taken seriously, then this would be Sunday, May 11.]
Day 2 ~ Arrival in London; Justin seeks out his friends from college days and after
Day 5 ~ Incident in the park. [Wharton's line about Dulcinea is probably a quotation from a poem or a play not presently traceable; it cannot be taken literally as an indicator of the date because of the full moon that was specified for the end of Day 1.]
Day 8 or 9 ~ At White’s Rotherby challenges Justin to a duel; Sir Richard visits Justin and is followed back to his own lodging
Day 9 or 10 ~ The duel. [If we take the first day as May 11, this is May 19 or 20.]
(4 weeks later it is June, but when exactly we can only guess) [It might be June 15.]
June ~
Day 1 ~ Incident in the arbour at Stretton House
Day 2 ~ Justin leaves Stretton House
5 days later (evidently a Saturday) ~ Justin visits Sir Richard at dusk; Green’s man shoots Sir Richard, who dies. [If Day 1 is June 15, Day 7 is Saturday, June 21.]
Next day (Sunday) ~ Justin mourns
Monday (Sabatini specifies) ~ Sir Richard is buried; Hortensia reveals her feelings and wishes to Justin
Next 2 days ~ Justin struggles with himself
Following day (Thursday?) ~ Justin goes to Stretton House to ask Lord Ostermore’s permission to marry Hortensia: Lord Ostermore has suffered a stroke; he dies without recovering consciousness; climax of action; conclusion.

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