Monday, 31 December 2007

End Piece

Three months have passed since those dreadful hours that followed the ball. It is almost April now, and we have passed, ourselves, through every kind of emotion, beginning with the naked shock and grief of the first hours, ranging through disbelief, and the recurring bouts of self recrimination, in which we have reproached ourselves over and over again with our failure to recognise the signs, and perhaps forestall the awful event - and only now, with the arrival of another year, another Spring, have we reached that state of quiet acceptance in which we feel able to take up our lives again, and carry on.

We were sustained, at first, by the sheer impetus of everything there was to do. There was never an hour in which we could sit down and indulge our grief; since scarcely had we got through the funeral, which was a large and joyous affair, as such occasions often are, than we were required to decide what to do with the house, in the light of Lady Macauley’s own hastily made arrangements with the National Trust. I remember how we returned to the house at nightfall on the afternoon of the funeral, only to find that Lady Macauley’s own presence had already left it, just as she had said it would. We were shocked, yet somehow borne up by this fact, since it enabled us to go about the business of emptying the house of her possessions without too much distress; and then of leaving it, a week later – more or less just locking the door and walking away - to whatever future it might have in the hands of its new owners.

That its new ownership included a residual family interest, in the persons at present of Jack and Alice, but ultimately in those of Will, as legatee - this aspect of it brought us some consolation: we were content to leave it in their hands, and they had picked up the burden of it without complaint. For ourselves, for Bill and Belle and me, there was nothing to do but return to the gatehouse for a bewildered day or two – after which we retreated together to Flory, which had become Belle’s own, and where we celebrated Christmas as best we could.

It is not my intention to dwell further on those bleak, early weeks. We huddled together at Flory a good deal in the beginning, I seem to remember; though we had collected quite a large party around us for the Christmas week, and were sustained by the presence of Pamela and Roland, of Frances and her excellent Tomek – and more surprisingly perhaps, by the resourceful Cousin Hortense, who had come across from her own house nearby, bringing a large and colourful group of assorted struggling artists, and musicians, and aspiring writers with her. We have reason to feel a lasting gratitude to the good Hortense in fact – since it was largely through her loud and unremitting cheerfulness, and that of her curiously assorted little band of artistic followers (her ‘ragbag of hangers-on’, as we seemed to hear Lady Macauley calling them, which always raised a smile among us) - it was largely through Hortense’s efforts, that we were able to get through Christmas and the new year with some degree of festive spirit.

Jack and Alice had been invited to join us at Flory, but had opted, when once the closing of the house had been accomplished, to return to their own beloved castle, where they were joined for the holiday period by Will and Imogen – Alice having ‘come round’ to Imogen, as we have since been reliably informed, to such an extent that an early summer wedding at the castle is already in the planning stage. We have reason to believe that Alice’s having come round to Imogen has not yet extended so far as to her having also drawn Imogen’s father into the fold - though Pamela tells us now that she is sure this will follow; since not even Alice would be so heartless as to exclude the girl’s closest living relative from her wedding ceremony.

It is to be quite a year for weddings, as it turns out. Bill and Belle are to be married in early summer, at the little church on the hill in Tuscany, flying in as many friends and family for the occasion as the villa, and the tiny church will accommodate. And Frances and Tomek will marry in the summer too. Very quietly, they say; though with a reception to be held in the manor house garden, and a considerable Polish contingent expected, the quietness of that occasion seems somewhat in doubt.

To the wedding which has already taken place – to that one conducted in Richmond Register Office, in which David Porteous took Rose Mountjoy unto himself as his bride, only Pamela herself, and Roland, consented to go along as representatives of the old circle. Pamela tells us that it was an affair of somewhat muted joyfulness, and that the newly wed pair were in no apparent hurry to leave the scene of their nuptials – the honeymoon having already been accomplished, as she put it, months ago!

The new Mr and Mrs David Porteous are currently living in Rose’s house, but are negotiating the sales of both their homes, in order to set up married life in something altogether more suited to their needs. They mean to remain in the district however, and they hope that in the fullness of time, all their old friends will begin to drift back to them. I daresay I shall call on them myself at some point. Curiosity itself will drive me, I’m not ashamed to admit it. And in any case, I seem to hear Lady Macauley’s voice, gleefully urging me on. “Belle must stay away of course” I have fancied I hear her saying; “But you can go. Go for me dear – oh, do go! Just to see how they get along!” She expresses my own sentiments precisely – though just for the moment, I have no heart for visiting them, or even for thinking about them very much, but am content to leave them to whatever they can find of married bliss.

We removed ourselves from the immediate scene shortly after Christmas anyway. We left Flory at the end of January to come to Tuscany, where Bill has already thrown himself with tremendous gusto into his new role as custodian of the little wine and olive farm, and where Belle is happily involved with transforming the villa into the kind of homely place in which she and Bill can spend the rest of their days in perfect contentment. Their own married bliss seems assured – and it’s just the oddest thing, that Lady Macauley’s presence, so swift to leave the house in Ham, seems to have established itself very happily here; so that although she has gone, yet we see and hear her everywhere, and find nothing but solace in the fact.

I speak of “we” – as if I were going to be content to make a third person in this happy marriage! And though it’s true that Bill and Belle have offered me a home with them there, and at Flory – and have even put a little Tuscan gate lodge, and a cottage entirely at my disposal - I have no intention of intruding upon them more often, or longer, than for the duration of a little holiday now and then. I have returned to the gatehouse, and here I mean to stay. And if I tell you that the present occupant of Bill’s old quarters is my own recovered Cesare; that Cesare is taking the heartiest possible pleasure in ‘learning how to be an Englishman’, and that he and I will probably be married later in the summer too.... you will understand perhaps that he has been there in the background for me all along, and that the reason for my reticence is that this was never really my own story I was telling, at all.

59 comments:

rilly super said...

Beatrice, best wishes for the new year and I very much hope you don't give up writing

I Beatrice said...

Many thanks Rilly, and all good wishes to you too!

I shall never give up writing of course - but shall perhaps give up blogging for a while. What I mean to do now is re-write the whole thing as a 'proper' novel in the third person. Ironing out all inadequacies, developing characters more fully etc - and perhaps posting it in chapter-instalments on a website....

(When I've discovered how to set one up, that is!)

Jan said...

Your writing flows...It's a treat! Happy New Year!

aims said...

You have tied it up very nicely Dearest B.

I love how you kept us wondering about Cesare until the very last. Well done!

How I will miss my mornings with you in the shadows of the big house. It has been a wonderful journey.

I've always hated when a great story comes to an end. I feel like something is being torn from me and I am being shooed away and forced to make it on my own. Silly me.

I know you are enjoying your rewrite even now Dearest B - and I look forward to the next viewing of this excellent story - wherever it may be - hardcover - or electronic version.

Wear your mantle of 'Wordsmith' with pride - for you truly are one!

Anonymous said...

I am very pleased that Bea didn't end up a gooseberry - that last bit caught me surprise and quite made the hairs stand up on my neck. How will we cope without this wonderful world you have created, a haven amidst the rest of the "stuff " on the internet. Fabulous ending, very satisfying! xx

I Beatrice said...

Many thanks Anon for your very kind words. I too shall miss the blog - and begin to wonder as a matter of fact, if it's going to turn out to be the only way I can actually get things written!

Still, I must try the other way - and could hardly put the same thing out for a second time as a blog now, could I?

When (if) the website is up and running, I'll let you know...

I Beatrice said...

Jan, it's lovely to hear from you again - even if only at the very end! This has been an experiment which has worked for me so well - now I have to go away and try to make-it on my own.

A very happy New Year to you - and keep blogging yourself, won't you!

I Beatrice said...

I believe it is I who is being shooed away to make-it on my own Aims! And I can't tell you with what trepidation I view the prospect...

You though - you are just starting out on what I hope will be a wonderful and fully rewarding journey. The blog-method really does work, you can take that from me - now I have to go away and see if I can make the other way work too.

Thank you once again for the marvellous support you have given me every step of the way - and good luck, and a very Happy New Year to you and The Man.

Omega Mum said...

Well done. I think you're absolutely right about the third person business - to have everything brought to your narrator who then has to become the reporter and not always the observer can be restrictive, I'd have thought and I think it's a good decision. Best of luck. Don't desert us (but I'm echoing the others here).

I Beatrice said...

Thank you for your comments on this, and the penultimate piece OM. You too have been a faithful follower - and have always kept me on my mettle because it seemed to me that mine was not perhaps your natural habitat, and that you might therefore forsake me at any moment!

That you did not has been hugely reassuring! I wish you very very well with your own highly original and very accomplished and amusing blog. Perhaps 2008 will be YOUR year - I do hope so!

(Shall come back to see you as often as I can, and let you know when/if the website is up and running.)

CresceNet said...

Gostei muito desse post e seu blog é muito interessante, vou passar por aqui sempre =) Depois dá uma passada lá no meu site, que é sobre o CresceNet, espero que goste. O endereço dele é http://www.provedorcrescenet.com . Um abraço.

I Beatrice said...

Is there anyone out there who is able to translate the above comment fo me? Or tell me how I may do it myself?

I probably ought to have established what it said before I posted it! I thank Crescenet for it however - at least I think I do...

merry weather said...

That was a poignant and fitting finish to the great tale - very satisfying, I did enjoy it Bea, thank you.

I'm delighted that Hortense saw fit to return. (- she almost deserves a story of her own perhaps...?)


And I'm so looking forward to the revised edition, in due course!!

I Beatrice said...

Thank you Merry Weather - and yes, the idea of a Hortense-blog has crossed my mind too. Not altogether sure I could sustain it though.

I am meantime having great fun with the alternative version of Beatrice. The greater space, and chance to let rip, are very liberating. A rather different Mr Porteous (re-named Edward) is emerging, as I knew he would...

06 January 2008 09:05

debio said...

Hooray - a triumph!

All loose ends fully tied up and tidy.

Good Luck with the re-worked edition.

I Beatrice said...

Thank you Debio!

The funny thing is though, that having started the other one, I seem now to have gone far far away from this one...

Some things are changing, some stay roughly the same. But Mr P has become Edward - so much more in keeping with his character, don't you think?

Omega Mum said...

Just wondered how you were and how it's all going.

I Beatrice said...

Blundering on OM - for the most part simply blundering on! Doing my best to amass as many chapters as I can against the day when I start posting them on a website - but no closer yet to deciding if it's the right way to go, or how to go about it...

But thanks for calling, and for asking. It was very nice of you.

Omega Mum said...

It was lovely to get a visit from you today and I'm glad you're plugging on with things. I do admire your ability to keep going.

I Beatrice said...

merry weather has left a new comment on your post "End Piece":

Here's a little like a theatre after the show, sigh, do miss visiting you for the latest instalment, coffee in hand... :)

Hope all's well? Best wishesx

To which Beatrice replies:

For some reason I was unable to publish this in the usual way Merry. Perhaps I have been marked absent indefinitely by the powers-that-be at Blogger, and my blog been decommissioned?

I'm very grateful to you for coming to visit though. I sometimes wonder if it might have been better just to keep on publishing the edited version here after all? But then I tell myself it would have been a big mistake to subject people to what would after all be just a different version of the same thing, and so I stick to my guns and slog it out elsewhere.

But it's a lonely business - and somehow my heart isn't quite in it. Not yet anyway. It will be though! Of that I'm absolutely determined.

mutleythedog said...

Hows it going now Ms B? Do let us know what you are up to...

I Beatrice said...

Good to hear from you Mutley. You can see from comments above, that it has taken me some time to adjust to the lonely business of writing into the blogless void again- but I think I have cracked it now, and the thing progresses.

Sometime soon I shall probably post it in monthly instalments on a website... but not quite ready yet.

Thanks for calling.

Marianne said...

I think I probably have an unblemished record for leaving comments, since the very beginning, so mustn't let things lapse at the end. Apologies for leaving it so long - internet problems have kept me very quiet, but I have a connection at the moment and am catching up with you.

Thank you for tying up the loose ends. Everyone seems to be going for the 'happily ever after' very neatly. Glad you brought Cesare back into it - I was wondering ....

Good luck with the writing and hope to see more of your work soon.

I Beatrice said...

Well thank goodness for that Marianne! You had been gone so long that I feared I might never hear from you again. I do hope your long absence has meant that life itself has become much more interesting than blogging.

For me now, it's back to the drawing board with Beatrice and the gang. Still hope to find a way of posting the revised version in monthly instalments on the web - but have so far made little progress with the technicalities, alas.

rilly super said...

Beatrice, I hope you are well and haven't hung up the old typewriter just yet. All the best from Rilly

I Beatrice said...

How lovely to hear from you Rilly - and no, I haven't quite abandoned hope (or the old type-writer), but am still plodding along in solitary fashion.

How about you? I still pop in at yours from time to time, but as always, feel unable to comment meaningfully (or should I say sufficiently wittily?).

Hope springs anew however, at the news (in yesterdays's Press) that there is now in existence an object loosely called an E-book. Brought out by Amazon I gather, and currently available only in the US - but might point an alternative way perhaps, for those whose sole publication method so far has been courtesy of a blog...

But perhaps you do in fact have alternative outlets that you're just not letting on about?

aims said...

There you go Dearest B - you see there are still a number of us who come back to see how you are doing....hoping for more you know!

merry weather said...

Hello Bea - don't be too solitary - ebook sounds good! What about Lulu.com? Found that recently, might be of interest. I keep checking your Just Blogging page in case you've posted there...

Looking forward to the revised version - good luck with it and very best wishesx

I Beatrice said...

Thank you so much, Aims and Merry Weather - and perhaps it's sheer cussedness on my part, but the solitary way still seems to me the best one.

The Just Blogging page does sometimes still tempt though. I used to enjoy writing my little essays - but there never seemed to be much appetite for them, so I stopped. Perhaps I shall be inspired to write a treatise on behalf of my new favourite novelist, Marlena de Blasi: she of the enchanting little books about Italy? But on the other hand perhaps not - I'd be stricken if others didn't share my enthusiasm!

Shall check out Lulu though, Merry....

mutleythedog said...

Lulu does look quite promising - I can't spot any hidden catches.. do let us know.

I Beatrice said...

Yes, I thought that too Mutley - though was unable to find my way round the site very well.

I'm sure your technical grasp is superior to mine anyway, so it's very much more likely I shall have to rely on you to get to grips with it!

I'll certainly pass on anything I do come across however....

Charlie Blockhead said...

Congratulations!!! You have been nominated for a 2007 Best Of Blog Award!! Especially designed to bring attention to lower profile bloggers, The BoB’s as we like to call them are currently taking nominations in over 20 different categories. To find out more about how your site has a chance to become one of this year’s Best Of’s and how to nominate other bloggers, visit us at www.thebestofblogs.com. Remember voting begins April 14th so make sure you pass the word to your friends, family, and faithful followers.

Sincerely,
Bill Beck
Project Mgr.
The Best Of Blog Awards
Email:Bloggerbeck@aol.com

I Beatrice said...

My thanks to Charlie Blockhead and Bill Beck at the BOG Awards. I am honoured to have been nominated for an award.

I Beatrice said...

And thanks too, to my good friend Aims, who took time out from her own ongoing and stunningly successful blog "The Man Tales" at Bigbluebarnwest, to nominate me...

Thanks Aims - that was very generous of you!

Omega Mum said...

Any news? How's the book? Hope all going well.

I Beatrice said...

I wish I could give you some thrilling answer OM! But they do say that the only part of a writer you ever see is the back of her, leaning over her desk (or her laptop, as the case may be)..

And that's pretty much where I still am. Labouring away - probably in vain, since where is it all to be published when it's done? And who would want to be bothered with Macauley Mark Two anyway?

Sorry to sound downbeat about it. And really, I'm not quite as glum as I sound - Hope, as always, springing more or less eternal...

merry weather said...

I'm very interested in Macauley Mark Two as it happens Bea. I do miss reading your posts.

In your profile, you say you like "some" of Virginia Woolf. Which is intriguing. I am just finishing enjoying "The Hours" and wondered if you had read it? I feel tempted to read "Mrs Dalloway" now to make sense of it all. But years ago I was put off VW by total confusion in "Jacob's Room"! Would be interested to know what you think :)

I Beatrice said...

Lovely to hear from you Merry Weather! And when I wrote 'some of Virginia Woolf', I meant her essays and letters and diaries most of all. Those I adore - but of her novels, very few. I think she was a better essayist than novelist - though I did enjoy 'Mrs Dalloway', funnily enough...

I wrote a little essay about her of my own as a matter of fact. It's buried somewhere in my 'Just Blogging' section. "Why didn't anyone stop Virginia?", it's called - but I'm not sure that it had a single reader. (You can see why I got discouraged and opted out of blogland, perhaps?)

aims said...

I think you need to put a link to your Just Blogging section up high on your page dearest B!

I have trouble finding it - so others will too!

You could put - "My other blog" up underneath the house...that way it would be so easy to click on!

Just a thought dear friend of mine!

aims said...

I've come by every day to see if you have decided to post what you are working on these days....is there a chance??

Missing you dearest B!

I Beatrice said...

Your last two comments, Aims (and I thank you very much for both) do tend to pre-suppose someone with IT expertise, who could affix side bars and links and all the other clever things that bloggers do...

I alas have no such expertise. Nor have I yet decided whether the new piece would make-it as a blog - or not! If it did, I would wish somehow to make the new page look different from the old - but since I haven't the least idea of how to do it..... well, that's where I am just now, and likely to remain I fear.

merry weather said...

Hello Bea, just calling in to see how you are. Hope all's well? Looking forward to hearing how Mark II is coming along.

The sunshine has made me feel like writing again. I still hanker after a hut like yours to do it in though!

It can't be long till you're away to Italy can it? Best wishes as ever.

I Beatrice said...

Thanks for calling Merry - hope the work experience continues to delight you!

There will be no Mark Two though, I fear. I have finally accepted that my sort of thing just doesn't go down well as a blog, so will have to try to find some other outlet...

Not sure how long Blogger will tolerate a defunct blog though. Perhaps I ought to make a copy of I Beatrice, lest I should suddenly go online one day and find it has been removed?

All good wishes to you.

Omega Mum said...

Just a quick hello to see how things are going. Haven't been around much in blogworld as everything else just too busy but am here for now....

I Beatrice said...

How lovely to hear from you OM! I had given up on you at last, and so I think had everyone else. Not that there are many people left of the 'old gang', mind. I never did find out what became of Debio for example...

I'm writing away at the improved version - still wondering if there's a way I can post it online, but so far no inspirations.

Shall pop across to your place now, and see what's new there.

lady macleod said...

Please keep writing my friend. It makes you happy, it makes me happy, it makes all your readers happy...

I Beatrice said...

What a lovely surprise. I had thought my blogging friends long gone away, and suddenly there you were!

I haven't stopped writing of course - only writing here. I'm turning the blog into a 'proper' novel now - not sure if it's working or not.

But thank you so much for thinking of me.

mutleythedog said...

As if we would ever abandon you Bea....

I Beatrice said...

Well my goodness, the day is full of surprises!

Lovely to hear from you too, Mutley - but the fact is that when I had finished the story (a year ago), I no longer had any reason to blog. I'm just not equipped to do so on a personal level, you see, so the whole thing was just a way of actually getting something written and finished!

Which worked for me very well - but was only the start, and I'm now trying to cobble it all back into a book. A lonely process, it has to be said, and nothing like so much fun!

I hope all goes well for you, and your own story?

mutleythedog said...

I am much the same. I am afraid I slightly postponed writing due to lack of any interest from anyone at all. You always had readers, but I didnt...

I have invited Lady M to collaborate with me in a collection of erotica but she seems a trifle reluctant, perhaps you could give her a push... so to speak...?

I Beatrice said...

You always had a handful of readers, Mutley - among whom was I, of course! (now untangle that syntax if you can!) I had scarcely more than that, and it used to worry me a bit at times. But really, it was the getting-it-done that was the thing - readers were a luxury one could only hope for!

And as for Lady M - well I have a feeling her circumstamnces have changed lately, and she might not be entirely receptive to your suggestion.

Omega Mum said...

Hello, IB. I did get your seasonal good wishes and was thrilled and delighted with them. How's your patch of South West London? Any news?

I Beatrice said...

Lovely to hear from you OM - and to see your latest blog. You alone of all my old friends seem to be posting the occasional (very occasional!) piece these days.

Merry Weather did email me though, and told me of a rather splendid self-publishing site called blurb.com.

Apparently you can have your material transformed into a real hard-back book, which you can then pass on to your friends - or try to sell in the Blurb online bookshop. Not sure what it costs of course - but I mean to check it out when once the 'Macauley edited version' is ready for publication.

(Which is itself of course, an event which may or may come to pass.)

merry weather said...

I am glad about that Bea.

This post begins - Three months have passed since...
Looking at the date almost fourteen months have passed since you finished here. Sniff.

I did enjoy coming along to catch up - the absence has left a gap!

Best wishes!

I Beatrice said...

Thanks Merry - it's so nice to be remembered!

And I still have a vague idea of publishing the re-written novel in instlaments - so much less demanding for possible readers than a whole book.

I Beatrice said...

Thanks Merry - it's so nice to be remembered!

And I still have a vague idea of publishing the re-written novel in instlaments - so much less demanding for possible readers than a whole book.

I Beatrice said...

Hello any readers of I Beatrice who might be looking in on the offchance,

Very sadly my Mum, Gill, died after a short but valiant battle with cancer.

She was so grateful to all her loyal blog followers and I would just like to let you know that we have published "I Beatrice" as a Kindle book on Amazon.

If you would like to browse it or - even better - leave a review, just go to Amazon and enter I Beatrice in the search box at the top.

Thank you once again, from my mum, my Dad
and from me, her daughter - Jane.

I Beatrice said...

Here is 'I Beatrice', published on Amazon as a Kindle book. You did it Mum!

X

http://www.amazon.co.uk/I-Beatrice-Gillian-Ageros-ebook/dp/B00FDWY7GS/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1394372822&sr=1-1&keywords=i+beatrice


I Beatrice said...

Trying again with link !


http://www.amazon.co.uk/I-Beatrice-Gillian-Ageros-ebook/dp/B00FDWY7GS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1402253898&sr=8-1&keywords=I+Beatrice