A Week in June: Final Part

Jacob gets off the bus at the exit for the cemetery. He walks up a couple of narrow path to the gate, where he greets the guard.

 

Guard:

Good afternoon, young man. Have you a pass?

 

Jacob:

Erm, no, but I have a card here from Miss

Angelica Manford. She sent me here.

 

Jacob passes the security pass to the guard, who peruses it and hands it back.

 

Guard:

Yeah, she rang us to say you were coming.

And what is the purpose of your visit?

 

Jacob:

To see my parents’ grave.

 

Guard:

Under what name?

 

Jacob:

Moraine.

 

Guard:

Moraine? It rings a bell. Hmm, let me look

It up on our system for you.

 

The Guard searches for the name on his computer.

 

Guard:

Ah yes, you’re right, they’re buried here.

Follow the path and turn twice to the left.

 

Jacob:

Thank you ever so much.

 

Guard:

You’re most welcome.

 

Jacob walks through the gate, along the path past the graves. He takes one left turn and then another, until the park keeper walks up to him. Jacob greets him and shakes his hand.

 

Park Keeper:

Hello, young man, are you a visitor?

 

Jacob:

Yes, from Bournemoor, on my way to Bladon.

 

Park Keeper:

That’s a pretty part of the world. Are you

Looking for a grave in particular.

 

Jacob:

I hope it’s here, I’ve looked in three circles

Already, but …

 

Park Keeper:

Then try a fourth. The layout’s shaped in four

Overlapping circles, you see?

 

Jacob:

Ah, right.

 

Park Keeper:

First timer, eh? Always the same.

 

Jacob:

Yeah, my parents are buried here, but I

Never knew them. I only just found out

This week that they were buried in this park.

 

Park Keeper:

Right, what’s the name?

 

Jacob:

Moraine.

 

Park Keeper:

Ah, yes, I know. Not as a friend, but my

Manager did. They died in a car crash?

 

Jacob:

Sadly, before …

 

Jacob follows the Park Keeper along the path to the tombstone.

 

Park Keeper:

Up here. Alongside your uncle and aunt?

 

Jacob:

Yeah, my foster father never told me.

 

Park Keeper:

Is he a Christian?

 

Jacob:

Church of England.

 

Park Keeper:

Ah, no wonder. You’ve been led astray. We don’t believe in that here.

 

Jacob:

But, I thought this is a graveyard, surely …

 

Park Keeper:

No, a private cemetery needn’t

Be religious. Did he bring you up well?

 

Jacob:

That all depends, I mean that all pleasure

Was shunned, like a monk in a priory.

 

Park Keeper:

That’s a shame, but you know, In a perverse

Sort of way, you should be grateful to this

Foster father of yours.

 

Jacob:

Is that a joke?

 

Park Keeper:

As bad as that?

 

Jacob:

Worse than five hells.

 

Park Keeper:

My poor fellow, but not so poor as you

Might think. We must be pure to find The One.

 

Jacob:

Well he wasn’t.

 

Park Keeper:

None of them are … ah, here we are.

 

The Park Keeper stops at the graveyard, as Jacob is stopped in his tracks by the ornate tombstone, trying to read the inscription.

 

Jacob:

Oh, Lord. I’m stunned, really I am, such a

Sublime memorial. The sculpture is

So classical. It’s all very well kept.

There’s a message but … it’s all in Latin.

 

The Park Keeper looks at the inscription, then turns back to Jacob.

 

Park Keeper:

Allow me. It means: ‘May our children find

The truth.’ Trust me, I majored in Latin.

 

Jacob:

I don’t doubt it. The truth I once doubted.

The children … that means my cousin, as well,

Clara. Say, you’re not dressed like a High Priest.

 

Park Keeper:

You got me there. I’m just the park keeper,

Come with me, I’ll show you around the place.

 

They walk past the gravestones up to a neoclassical temple.

 

Park Keeper:

This temple here is a shrine to the arts

And sciences. They were all the

Rage once. This one holds arts exhibitions.

 

Jacob:

Was it always open to the public?

 

Park Keeper:

No, it has been privately owned in the

Manford family for two hundred years.

 

Jacob:

Manford you say?

 

Park Keeper:

That’s right, patrons of the arts, and used their

Prestige to build follies like this. The graves

Are of friends or of those lucky to be

Granted their patronage.

 

They step inside the temple and admire the art on display.

 

Jacob:

I take it that Angelica is one of them?

 

Park Keeper:

Ah, you know her? A marvelous artist,

Truly. Here’s one of her works on display.

 

Jacob looks more closely at the painting to which the Park Keeper points.

 

Jacob:

Ah, I’ve seen a copy of it. I’ll be

Up there one day. I’m her latest model.

 

Park Keeper:

You’re so lucky. You know, Angelica

Used to come here a lot as a toddler,

With her parents, maybe with you as well.

Back then, this was a meeting place for free

Thinkers. The Temple of Reason, as it

Was termed in the Age of Enlightenment,

Like in Paris. Though it must be said it

Didn’t take off beyond the town. Georgie

Manford, the founder of the faith, had a

Vision, but not like a Christian one.

She saw pure flames rising from a fountain,

As she meditated on a bottle

Of wine … Since then, she saw to it that the

Development of our mental powers

Bring us close to The One. Partly through art,

Mainly science. Maths in particular.

The Manfords were always been nonconformists,

Or so they say, really they guard the flame.

 

Jacob:

That’s a load off my mind, Angelica

Mentioned The One but I wasn’t sure who

She meant at all … Thank you ever so much.

I have so many more questions to ask,

But I really must get going if I’m

To catch the bus. I’ll be back soon.

 

Jacob shakes the Park Keeper’s hand as they make their way to the exit.

 

Park Keeper:

I’ll look forward to it, but only with

Angelica and that cousin of yours.

This is private. By rights I should’ve kept

It all hidden … but you’ve a right to know,

I guess, as a friend of Angelica.

 

Jacob:

You can trust me, honest, I’ve kept lots of secrets.

 

Park Keeper:

I’m sure. Enjoy your visit to Bladon.

 

They wave goodbye to each other as Jacob makes his way back along the path to the bus stop.

 

 

Jacob arrives in Bladon and steps off the bus. He is welcomed by Diane, now his adoptive mother.

 

Jacob:

Hello, Mrs Hawthorn.

 

Diane:

Call me Mother.

 

Jacob:

Agh, I forgot.

 

The two hug and laugh, and Diane takes Jacob’s suitcase, wheeling it along the street.

 

Diane:

Was your journey pleasant?

 

Jacob:

Yes, thanks, your directions worked out a treat.

 

Diane:

Good. It’s not far from here, keep to the right.

 

Jacob:

How’s Eve? And Bob? Or should I say, how’s Dad?

 

Diane:

Bob much prefers Father, he’s old fashioned.

He suggested Sir, but I snapped at him …

Only kidding, he’s fine, busy. Yeah, no,

Eve is getting better but a little

Weak still. Her arm seems to be healing, but

She had a trapped nerve in her shoulder,

So she’s on painkillers. Other than that,

In good spirits. Whenever I mention

Your name, her otherwise pale lips redden.

I could almost imagine you falling

In love, had things turned out differently …

 

Jacob:

I know, but it would be awkward. Speaking

Of love, you know that fine painter I met?

 

Diane:

You mean Angelica? I meant to say,

I saw one of her paintings in Oxford

The other day. Is she your bedfellow?

 

Jacob:

As of last night … sort of. I … we had a

Very sensual bath, with wine and cake!

 

Diane:

Lucky devil. Grand news, it really is.

 

Jacob:

Yeah, she might have a commission for Tate

Modern, which means lots of unsuspecting

Viewers will have to put up with my mug!

 

Diane:

Wow, on display at the Tate, I’m so proud

Of you. I know Eve would love to see that.

She’s really proud of the way you’ve turned out.

 

Jacob:

I owe it all to her. And to Mrs Jenkins.

 

Diane:

Oh, we had a WhatsApp conversation

With her, she’s loving life on the Danube,

Which is such a relief after what she …

Well, let’s not dwell on that, I’m just glad she’s

Enjoying it. Anyway, here we are.

 

Diane and Jacob open the gate and walk through to the front door. Jacob rings the bell, which Bob answers. They shake hands firmly.

 

Bob:

Welcome home, son. I’ve just finished my shift.

 

Jacob:

Thank you, Father, it’s so good to be home.

This is so much bigger than your last place.

 

Bob:

That’s what a great demand gives you, my boy.

We’re both really busy, with extra staff

At hand. Diane and I work more hours

But it’s worth it. There are lighter moments,

Such as making sugar addicts feel small

Then see how much weight they then lose

After my stern advice, obviously

There are some tough moments as well,

But one has to keep gravity in the

Situation, death comes to all of us

One day. On that note would you like a beer?

Our fridge-freezer is stacked.

 

Jacob:

I’d love one, thanks.

 

Bob:

Oxford Gold or we have Black Sheep?

 

Jacob:

Black Sheep.

 

Bob:

That’s grand, not that you’re one, of course! Have you

Been following Royal Ascot?

 

Jacob:

Yeah, a little … I had a few winners

On Tuesday, but … I’m focussing on the

Euros right now.

 

Bob:

Who do you think will win?

 

Jacob:

Well we don’t stand a chance! Don’t score enough

And can’t defend crosses or set pieces.

I don’t know, too early to say, I’m just

Taking it game by game at the moment.

Mind, I got a winner on the England

Game yesterday, with a bet on England

To score a winning goal in the last five

Minutes. When your luck’s in, it’s in, I guess.

 

Diane:

Same goes for your love life.

 

Bob:

With that banker’s daughter? Don’t get your hopes

Up, boy, that’s a non-starter, can’t stand the

Buggers, our type weren’t born to mingle with

The likes of them.

 

Diane:

Hah! Don’t mind Bob, he’s always had a chip

On his shoulder about his working class

Background. Ever since that Lady Forbright

Turned you down, right?

 

Bob:

Aye, she’s bankrupt now, as it goes, had to

Rent out the farm to immigrants. It’s just

That I never forget where I came from,

I’m with one of my own.

 

Jacob:

No, no, I didn’t even try, as it

Happens. It’s just as well as she’s shacked up

With some foreign Aristo now. No, with

Angelica, maybe Mother told you?

 

Bob:

Oh right, that painter lass? Good choice, my son,

Glad to hear your career is taking off.

 

Jacob:

By the way, where’s Eve now?

 

Bob:

Up in her room, resting before dinner.

 

Diane:

She’s got her PJs on, lapping it up!

 

Jacob:

What do we have?

 

Diane:

We’ve Roast Gammon.

 

Jacob:

Yummy, my favourite.

 

Diane:

I know. I remember from when we went

To an old inn the other year. Closed now.

 

Bob:

I’ll tell you what. Shall I pour a whiskey?

I know Eve loves a dram. I’ll put in two

Straws for you to share the water of life.

 

Jacob:

Yes, please!

 

Bob:

Her room is the first on the left.

 

Bob goes into the kitchen takes the whiskey out from the cupboard, pours it into the glass, takes a couple of straws from out of a drawer and puts them both in the glass. He then hands the glass to Jacob, and pats him on the back. Jacob walks up the stairs and knocks on the first door on the left.

 

Eve:

Who’s there?

 

Jacob:

Jacob.

 

Eve:

Mein Brüderchen! Come in.

 

Jacob brings the whiskey in, as Eve sits up in bed, opening the other half of the duvet cover for Jacob to lie in.

 

Jacob:

I’ve never been so happy to see you.

 

Eve:

What? With me all battered and bruised like a

Mummy?

 

Jacob:

OK, maybe not quite like this.

 

Eve:

Only teasing. Sad, but it had to come to this …

 

Jacob brings the whiskey glass closer and they sip their straws next to each other.

 

Eve:

I haven’t sipped whiskey through a straw since

I was in my second year in Uni.

Did you hit it off with Angelica?

 

Jacob:

Intimately. I’m her inspiration,

At least in the artistic sense, her muse.

 

Eve:

Good for you … but I wish you held it in

For a little longer.

 

Jacob:

Hey! We’ve grown close … she’s one of mystics

Saving herself for God. You won’t catch me

Sleeping around, unlike other people!

 

Eve:

How cruel you are!

 

Eve jokingly slaps Jacob’s face with her right arm. They continue to sip their drink. Jacob notices some notes on Eve’s desk.

 

Jacob:

Are these the notes that you want typing up?

 

Eve:

If you don’t mind. I know it’s tedious

But it will help me out a lot, really.

 

Jacob gets up, picks up the documents and sifts through the notes.

 

Jacob:

On religious intolerance, perfect!

 

Eve:

I thought you might like it. You know, it’s for

One of my lecturers, Doctor

Heather Barron. You’ve heard her talk before.

 

Jacob:

Ah yeah, and Joseph turned the radio

Off and stormed out the room. That hit a nerve.

 

Eve:

Yeah, a perfect subject, she said. She’s free

To visit him in prison, but I’ll have

Nothing to do with it. Anyway, we

Had a long chat and she wants me as her

Research assistant from September on.

 

Jacob:

That’s such good news. Making up for lost time, eh?

 

Eve sighs.

 

Eve:

Too much. You can help me as well. Who knows,

I might make an author of you one day.

 

They finish off their whiskey. Diane comes to the bottom of the stairs.

 

Diane:

Dinner’s ready!

 

Jacob:

Here, let me help you down.

 

Jacob takes Eve by the right arm and helps her out of her bed, through the landing and the stairs to the drawing room.

 

Bob:

Ah, you’ve decided to descend from the

Heavens and grace us with your company.

 

Diane:

You look so much better now, my angel.

 

Bob:

Hey, you’ll put me out of a job, my son!

 

Jacob:

She’s my private patient for the weekend.

I won’t take no for an answer, OK?

 

Bob:

Thank God for that, she’s my most difficult

One yet. Running up the staircase, out to

The pharmacy. You’ll be the death of me.

 

Eve:

And all it took was a glass of whiskey!

 

They laugh and begin eat their meal, with barely a word spoken, just looks and smiles.

 

THE END

 

© 2017 AGP

 

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