The Crystal Prison | Chapter 4


Warning: Contains Spoilers!

He bowed his head and wept silently beneath the crescent summer moon.

Aufwader’s Thoughts:  There’s quite a bit going on in the layer under this chapter’s main events. We’ve got Arthur and Gwen’s mutually healing relationship (I surmise that in the Brown family, Arthur is closer to his mother, while Audrey spent more time with Albert). Then there’s Piccadilly’s first uncomfortable stay in the Skirtings and his feelings of being unable to fit in no matter how friendly the Browns and Twit are. We’ve also got the beginnings of Gwen’s tempestuous duel-of-wits with Thomas, the bond of the Chitter family and insights into Oswald’s parents, Twit’s strained bravery in the face of his cousin’s decline, and finally, Audrey and Piccadilly and their …thing.

I admit I never really boarded the Audrey and Piccadilly Train when I was younger. Nowadays, I’m so on board that train I’ve got a seat in the front carriage, but while I love both these characters individually and agree that their relationship is a wonderfully-written drama, I’ve always sort of had the idea that they’re not really that compatible. Or at least, that they met at completely the wrong time and in the wrong circumstances.

Their trouble is that they both have really strong personalities – neither is willing to give any ground whatsoever to the other, so instead of communicating, they stew in silence, bottling up things which really need to be spoken aloud. There’s also Audrey’s unaddressed grief and Piccadilly’s deep-rooted existential angst to complicate matters. By the time this chapter draws to a close,  we share Audrey’s frustration and Piccadilly’s regret, and the joy of Oswald’s recovery is mingled with sorrow for a friendship that seems unsalvageable.


Matt’s Thoughts: This chapter is a little bit of a mouse soap opera: someone is sick and gets miraculously better, a boy and girl have a fight instead of telling each other how they feel. Mr Jarvis actually packs in a whole bunch of moods and feelings in one chapter, which I’m in awe of. I’m still not entirely sure how he does it!

But we have the heartbreak of Oswald dying, the humorous aspects of the altercation between Master Oldnose and Thomas Triton, the joy when Oswald recovers and the inevitable moment where a budding romance runs into an obstacle – in this case, Audrey and Piccadilly being unable to say what they really feel.

The only possible problem that you might be having – if this is the first time that you’ve read the book – is that it’s not entirely clear who the antagonist is in this book, and what kind of peril our heroes might be in. So far, it just sounds like Audrey, Arthur and Twit (and not Piccadilly) are facing an unpleasantly long holiday in the countryside with a mad rat. But have no fear, readers – The Crystal Prison is going to ramp up quite nicely in the second half. So savour the sounds of the whisker fiddle and bark drum and enjoy your berrybrew – things are going to heat up.


13 thoughts on “The Crystal Prison | Chapter 4

  1. I totally agree with Aufy in that Audrey and Piccadilly are the very DEFINITION of star-crossed lovers. It breaks my heart, but its true – they just aren’t very compatible, however much they may wish to be.

    The art of Audrey in this chapter is lovely. The way her skirt poofs out makes her look so dainty and cute! In fact, this illustration itself is one of my favourites. The shapes are so perfect!

    I do wonder how things would’ve gone if Piccadilly DID join them though…

    Liked by 2 people

    • I love the illustration in this chapter too! Is that Nel Poot in the background?

      Reminds me: if anyone has any Robiny art requests they’d like to see from me, please don’t hesitate to ask. I love drawing people’s faves and filling in the blanks of dramatic scenes. I’m always rolling out Robiny artwork of some sort anyway, so it’s no trouble.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I’m rubbing my hands together as I contemplate the world of boundless possibilities that your offer just opened up to us! Hmmm….I’ve got one! How about Audrey screaming with anger at Piccadilly during their first encounter in the sewers? I don’t want to put the poor grey mouse through that again but I would love to see how you capture that moment!

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Me too, Emmyaclarke. I have pondered the wistful question of what might have been for as long as I’ve been re-reading The Deptford Mice.

    I love the accompanying illustration with all my heart. Every detail in it from the merry-making mice whose carefree faces are at such odds with the pain and sadness etched into the faces of Audrey and Piccadilly to the barely suppressed anger of Piccadilly’s expression and, yes, the way Audrey’s clothes are drawn. The stuff of which dreams are woven by the dream-maker’s loom. This chapter is one of the reasons I was obsessed with The Deptford Mice as a child and continue to be as a grown-up.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Don’t worry, they were spiffy! There was only a little bit of formatting needed (please excuse me putting on my editor’s hat haha). They’re up now – I put One and Two together because they were about the same chapter, hope that’s all right.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m tickled pink to hear you liked them! And no worries, I’m grateful to you for giving them that extra dab of polish on my behalf! You put them up already? Oh boy, I have to rush over and check them out!

        I’m okay with One and Two going up together! I’m just happy to know that they have a place on Beyond The Silvering Sea! It really makes me feel like I’m contributing to the Robin Jarvis fandom!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. You did a wonderful job of editing the theories, Aufwader! They read so much more smoothly now! Thank you again for giving them so much attention! I ought to work on making the posts I make here as smooth as that! And rest assured, I shall send you more head canons as they come!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Then I shall stand back and prepare to be amazed! You do what you love and you do it soooo magnificently! I admire the collage you recently made of one of the scariest villains in the entire saga! I can tell you’ve a special place for that character in your heart! And Aufwader? I totally get why! Mwahahahahaaaaaa!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, thankee kindly! On Silvering Sea I just draw what folks request or what comes into my head. I admit I gravitate toward my favourites probably too often ….(nervous laughter) but I appreciate your enthusiasm in that regard.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Ain’t no such thing as showing us the weird, wonderful and occasionally bone-chilling characters of The Deptford Mice the way you see them too frequently! In my eyes, you’re to be commended for your own enthusiasm! And for providing fans who would otherwise be cast adrift with a safe harbor!


  5. In this chapter is the moment that pretty much dooms the relationship between Audrey and Piccadilly (because, as the former would state later, if she had been kinder maybe they would have traveled to Fennywolde together and things might have turned out differently). No matter how many times I read it I inwardly hope she’ll say the right thing even though it’s an unchanging book and so I know full well she won’t.
    I find it rather suspicious that Audrey seems not to be in control of what she is saying, and she even wonders if the Starwife has put a spell on her. There might be something to that… the Starwife already has thoughts of making her her successor, so maybe she knows romance will only get in the way and it must be sabotaged for the greater good.

    Liked by 1 person

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