Friday, June 5, 2015

the white cravat

“the great thing is to remain unknown,” raoul assured gustave.

“she has had very much to endure,” gustave replied hesitantly.

the baroness emilie, listening to this furtive exchange, paused to control herself.

the house was terribly silent.

gustave coughed, sounding like a dismally barking dog.

“the great thing is to remain unknown,” raoul repeated adamantly.

how much longer must i endure this, emilie wondered.

standing at the open window, paul pulled his fur overcoat tighter around his swollen carcass.

a dog barked outside in the gloom.

the entire world was theirs for the taking - why were they wasting time?

“the entire world is ours for the taking,” raoul announced, as if reading paul’s thoughts.

“yes, so long as we can remain unknown,” gustave responded hoarsely.

raoul stared at him without the slightest hint of compassion.

“i think, “ emilie interjected. “ we can be sure of that at least.”

“yes, “ paul laughed, “in this world we can call our own.”

the setting sum lit up the window, coating their bodies in glorious light.

weary of the innocent laughter of the small children, anne-marie glanced up at the windows of the great house.

the house, as before, was terribly silent.

suddenly the setting sun lit it up in a glorious yet strangely terrifying light.

paul pulled his fur overcoat tighter around his swollen carcass.

emilie and raoul considered gustave without the slightest hint of compassion.

anne-marie, seated on the bench outside, was filled with a strange foreboding.

strangers who might have obtained access to the house were nowhere to be found.

“haven’t we endured enough?” emilie suddenly demanded.

raoul turned on her furiously.

with the sun gone down, his face was hidden in the shadows.

“very well, mademoiselle, let me get straight to the point.”

emilie remembered the days when paul wore a white cravat and gold spectacles

before they all grew weary of the innocent laughter of small children

emilie had always been able to control herself

even before the children arrived on the outskirts of the village

“it is a useful trait, when dealing with self-regarding men”

they agreed that without control they had nothing

the dogs began barking again

had strangers gained access to the grounds?

paul made quite a target in his great fur overcoat

and might have been better served with a white cravat and gold spectacles

emilie paused and defiantly lit a cigarette

she felt she deserved one

after being treated like a dog for the whole week

the cigarette glowed in the dusk left by the setting sun

yes, life should go as soft as a summer’s day

if only the strangers would not stop interrupting at all hours

they could get on with the caper and make their bundle and be gone

the silence was becoming unbearable

suddenly raoul produced a small suitcase

paul turned from the window with a gesture of mild consternation

“so,” raoul announced, “this is a fine summer’s day, is it not?”

“you!” cried gustave, “you are the stranger!”

the house grew if possible even quieter

and they all knew that the dream of the summer’s day was over

as raoul took the white cravat and the gold spectacles out of the little suitcase

and the world which was to have been theirs dissolved forever

sources: the haunted hotel, by wilkie collins; my lady’s money, by wilkie collins; the big bow mystery, by israel zangwill; “the faun” by remy de gourmont; “the brothel” by marcel schwob; the book of monelle, by marcel schwob; the mystery of orcival, by emile gaboriau; file #113, by emile gaboriau; kept in the dark, by anthony trollope; is he popenjoy?, by anthony trollope; the creator, by mynona; honeymoon, by patrick modiano; out of the dark, by patrick modiano