The Superfluity of It All

I’m treating myself to a re-read of Loretta Chase’s “Not Quite A Lady.” This book is one of the best extended examples of “show” writing as opposed to “tell” writing that you’ll find anywhere. Darius Carsington refuses to deal in tender emotions. He’s a biologist who believes procreative urges are simply that, nothing complicated or profound about them, regardless of how enjoyable it is to indulge them.

Then, he falls in love, and at one point, only a superfluity of servants preserves him from making a complete cake of himself in the presence of his true love. In context, it’s easy to figure out what a superfluity is, but OED defines it as:

Superabundant supply, superabundance; the condition of there being (or of one’s having) more than enough; an instance of this.

Darius never uses a superfluity of sentimental terms to express his feelings for the lady, but by the end of the book, no heroine is ever more certain of her swain’s enduring,  tender regard.

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