Why her addled brain?

The addled brain of the blog name refers to the fact that I am too fond of books.  The fabulous, although misquoted, line is from Louisa May Alcott’s novel ‘Work: A Story of Experience’, a tale of Christie who goes to work as a servant  for Mr & Mrs Horatio Stuart.  One night she falls asleep whilst reading by candlelight and the book hit the candle, the candle hit a cotton gown and so up in flames went most of Christie’s wardrobe.

Returning home following an evening out, Christie’s employers, were horrified to see smoke pouring from the attic window.  As Mr Stuart, still dressed in his finest leaped to douse the flames with water, Christie awoke and on seeing ‘the frantic, leaping activity’ couldn’t hold back her laughter.   At this, Mrs Christie utters the much misquoted line: “She has been at the wine, or lost her wits… She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain.”

The modern misquote uses the term addled rather than turned, which I much prefer and as book-loving quotes go, this has long been my favourite.  I’m pleased to know that in fact Alcott did use the word ‘addled’ in a later work, and I like to think that had I been around in the 1800s, this is exactly the book-loving, addle-brained kind of havoc I’d have wreaked.

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