An essay on Melancholy
The snow was falling in a soft way as if it were a cotton fabric covering the low hills of Camhlaidh Manor and the sills of the upper gables flaunted pointed stalagmites as iron grids, giving the old building the appearance of letting tears fall from a sad giant face.
Camhlaidh Manor was old, it dated from the first Celtic clans arriving to the land, and their owners and heirs were respected families in the county until the place was deserted by their people and lost its splendour.
There was a small atmosphere of mystery in all the garden around the Manor, but the House seemed very much in a suspended mystic arcane that the snow dressed as a bride.
In a strange and amazing way, Summer seemed to erase all those enigmatic airs of the place and it became a yellow solitary field surrounding an old dilapidated and monstrous edification without the charm that Winter used to bring to the location and the wilderness that encompassed the whole estate.
This morning, the gelid wind was bringing a kind of cold life into the house, for moments there were small little children cries, calling one another or asking for help. The emptiness of the rooms accentuated these incorporeal sounds that mix with that of the weather vane, high over the steeple of the attic over the main edifice, still spinning slowly and squeaking in a dismal way.
"Siobhan, where are you?", seemed to cry the wind with a boy's corporeal voice.
"In the library, Kinnon!", answered a wind gust with a female child voice as strong as the first.
"Come quickly", added Siobhan, "I can smell the violet in Mommy's diary!"
The door of the library tremble as if a wave of warm air had passed through it and a small shadow approached the little decaying desk where another little shadow was inclined over a small diary used by young girls many years ago.
The dairy pages were eaten by insects but there was enough of it to read some paragraph, and small dry violets petals were left like small tears on some pages.
"Look", said the wind in the voice of Siobhan, "she said she liked to walk on the garden behind the low hill at the back or the manor, Summer was so mild and sweet she used to lay spread-eagle on the grass counting the birds in the sky"
A motor was heard over the wind, the children run to the windows in time to see a white big Daimler stop in front the main door. The driver got out and opening an enormous umbrella, walks toward the back door of the car to let go out a man who looked in his thirties, dressed in fashion and wealth. The driver followed the man covering him with the umbrella until he entered the porch, and then sat on one of the stone lions near the door preparing him to wait.
The well dressed man turned to his left when he entered and took his steps toward the library, Siobhan and Kinnon climbed on a gust of wind and rested on an angle of the ornate ceiling of the library.
"It is uncle Harry", the whisper of Kinnon was heard as the small screech of the vane over the roof.
The man approached the desk, and with surprise took the diary and opened it at random; he inclined his head as in reverence and started to read, he must be reading very slowly because he was looking the same page for a long time. After that, he kissed the pages and the violets several times.
Then taking his cane, which was adorned by a golden lion head in the hand-grip, started to go back to the lobby. When he approached an old brown smear that had seeped into the wood of the floor, he knelt and kissed the spot, too, stand up and left the room.
The children ride another wind gust toward the desk and started to read the book.
The entry was written many years ago, and an image of a young girl was barely seen as an old film, sitting at the desk, she read aloud while she wrote; it said in a trembling hand:
“There is no doubt now, three month confirm it! Only three months ago it was my fifteen birthday, I was alone in the house, Father and Mother were opening the marchand's season in the Vyšehrad Castle in Prague, and we,with Nanny Adaryn, and the servants were the only persons in the Manor.”
“I did not care to be alone, I was used to it, and my father says that a young lady should not be seen outside her boudoir until her engagement. So I was alone in the big dinner-room, eating my cake and drinking Oolong tea, or Tie Guan Yin, as Nanny liked to name it; when there was a knock on the main door.”
“Turbin, our old butler took his time to answer but I was pleasantly surprised to see Cousin Harry coming in with a big box and a bigger smile!”
"Happy birthday, Cousin Bidelia!", cried Harry from the lobby, "I brought you some interesting things!"
“He was a hearty boy, full of energy, Nanny brought another set of silverware for him and we enjoyed the party.”
“Nanny sat on the bench at the bay window and looked to the park while we opened the gifts brought by Harry."
"The best was a nice girly Diary where, he said, I could write all my secrets to be revealed when I were an old woman.”
”After a while, we found the weather was so beautiful that we asked Nanny permission to walk up the hill, into the orchard in a cloud of dandelion seeds.”
“Nanny said:” "Go ahead", I must clean all this place"
“We walked toward the top of the hill, it was sunny and beautiful, as soon as we were out of hearing from the house, Cousin Harry took out a hip flask and told me:”
"Let's enjoy the best cognac in the world, Bidelia!, I took it from Father cellar, they said it is done by Angels in an old Abbey on the Highlands!"
I was really surprised, Harry was not the kind of scatterbrain boy who will do stupid things, and so I told him.
"Just forget that flask, Cousin H!" Let's enjoy the beautiful day and the soft scent of a Summer day."
He opened the flask and told me: "Just a small sip, I want to know how it tastes. You know my Father does not let me drink alcohol until I will be nineteen!"
But it was not just a sip, when we reached the orchard, Harry could barely address me, his words were strange and he had a lewd look in his eyes!
Everything was so fast I just sat under a lemon tree until Harry awaken from his slumber, then he was very ill and had to wait until he felt good again, then we walked back to the house. Nobody spoke anything more of it,
Harry seemed he had forgotten everything, and I was so embarrassed that could not think about that time on the hill. Only now I am writing all this just to give vent to my pain and sadness
That happened three month ago, I could hide my condition from Nanny because she is short-sighted and unsuspecting, but next week Father and Mother come back from the Continent and I will not be able to conceal anything from Mother. She will die of shame and Father will fall in disgrace as soon the news was public.
I cannot recur to Cousin Harry, he owns nothing and lives on allowances from his parents and now is in Oxford, any blemish over his person will destroy his career.
I feel my twins in me, I already chose Siobhan for her name, and Kinnon for his, and I know they are a boy and a girl! We will be happy in our new abode, I am sure.
She waited a bit, lost in thought, and then continues writing on her Dairy: Oh, Cousin Harry how could you? Some more moments of deep emotion stopped her hand.
Then with a great effort she continue: “it was not easy to decide the step to follow, but my family will be grateful when everything is explained as an accident and there will be no prying looks or questions to make, as the reverend says:
Children of incest are children of the wind. I have my scissors ready!
Here stopped the writing.
Siobhan look at Kinnon and asked: "What new abode she is speaking about and where is she?"
Kinnon added, "this is our abode and we cannot find Momma anywhere!"
"I do not understand", Siobhan said
"Me neither", added Kinnon!
Meanwhile, the man reached the Daimler and got into it, the driver took his place and the powerful car headed toward the Gates of Camhlaidh Manor.
While the Daimler reached the Gates there was a long sigh from the wind, it sounded as the joined cry of two childish voices, or maybe it was the screeching of the vane that seemed to shout:
The music is "Winter Sonata" by Gyeoul Yeonga.
© 2013 Od Liam.
Thank you, BB