The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp…

Episode 82… A New Beginning… Part One

It was around the time of Esme’s mother’s funeral that things came to a head, just a little. Constance had been ill for some time, at first thought to be just a mild cough and chill, but that later turned to Influenza. Although, she had distanced herself from her daughter and that of Charles, the blow was never the less traumatic for Esme. Her mother had long since written her daughter from her Will, which never quite surprised Charles, for he was never forgiven for drawing Esme away from the clutches of some rich suitor. A thought, in Charles mind, that was comforted by the fact he had rescued her from an insane husband.

As with funerals, it rained that afternoon in Highgate Cemetery. The small group of mourners wore regular black with matching umbrellas, then slowly walked to the main gates and the waiting cars and taxis.

Charles was deep in thought, then spoke quietly. ‘I realise you mother had never forgiven you for being in love with me, a tradesman’, He was looking into the face of Esme. ‘Perhaps, that was her only simple misgiving, that we should just think of, in all respect, and in all other ways, she was a good Mother and only wanted the best for you. She loved you dearly, that was for certain, and that’s how we will remember her.’

A tear dropped on Esme cheek, it ran down to her neck and disappeared below her clothing. ‘Charles, that very forgiving nature has been one of the many things I love you for. Mother never quite understood our relationship in its true light and perhaps we can forgive her. She had a different perspective on life and living, you and I, both see it now.’

The rain began to ease as they entered the pillared, darkened houses, that hedge-rowed the many streets of their cosy Bayswater, leading to the warm sanctuary of the small photo shop on the corner. They had solemnly attended ‘The Wake’ fashionably exercised at ‘The Ivy’ in that late afternoon and now both were very tired.

‘This is our home’, sighed Esme as they approached a quiet front door. ‘This is where we are safe from the world, this is where we are both one.’

Lights were out, the brothers had gone to bed, and they climbed the rickety staircase to their bedroom on the top floor, wishing that day would never come again.

‘There will be no more Rebecca, I think’ Esme remarked sleepily.

They curled in bed together. ‘Perhaps, just perhaps, you’re right.’ Charles head rested on his pillar, and the darkness of night sped towards dawn…



About Patrick

a photographer, writer and blogger, a studio and press photographer since the mid 1960's, first published writings in 1974
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