Sunday, 12 May 2013

"My Cousin Rachel" (inspired by Daphne du Maurier's "My Cousin Rachel")

Orphaned as a small child -

raised by my elder cousin, Ambrose -

secure together, in our "house of men" -

Ambrose, my cousin -

yet, father, mother, brother -

Ambrose was all. My world.

They used to hang men at Four Turnings

in the old days.

Not any more, though.

I was seven, when

Ambrose showed me

the hanging body of a man.

The man's name was Tom Jenkyn.

He used to sell lobsters.

He murdered his wife,

and for his crime,

Tom Jenkyn hung.

Our damp Cornish winters

did not agree with Ambrose,

necessitating travel -

winters to be spent on the Continent.

And in Florence,

in his forties,

that what where, and when, he met

the Countess Sangalletti -

My Cousin Rachel.

She apparently shared his love of gardening.

Then came the letter,

announcing that

Ambrose and My Cousin Rachel

were married.

I had not know such jealousy -

such intense jealousy - before.

And so few letters.

And when they came...

And that journey to Florence -

and the churches -

and the haunting face

of a beggar woman.

The sudden shock -

the news of

Ambrose's death.

And the villa -

and the fountain -

boy holding a shell -

the laburnun trees -

the unreality of that foreign land.

And, back at home, the hatred

that grew -

of a Rachel

who never existed -

and the love

for a Rachel

who - did that one exist?

Sunday lunches

with the Kendalls and Pascoes -

and My Cousin Rachel.

Especially, that first one.

Especially, the last.

And Rainaldi - hated by Ambrose,

hated by me.

Regarded by My Cousin Rachel as

friend, confidante -

maybe lover, as well?

And the pearls -

around Rachel's white neck -

and a wedding -

my marriage to Rachel -

a wedding

that never took place.

And my own illness.

And - was Rachel innocent?

Was Rachel guilty?

An evening walk

in the terraced garden.

A warning, not heeded.

The image of a granite slab -

a pocket book -

letter from Ambrose - buried,

along with the pocket book.

They used to hang men at Four Turnings

in the old days.

Not any more, though.

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