SURREAL ADVENTURES FROM THE SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Family council

I took cover under the butler’s umbrella on our way back home. Surprisingly, he stood in the rain, holding the handle, sheltering me. I looked at him with bemused embarrassment.

I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth, but in a middle class family with a decent standard of living. We never had domestic staff at home and it was hard for me to cope with these status differences. So it was sad to see how the poor guy was standing in the rain while preventing me from getting soaked.

- Stoiko, please… don’t do that. We can share the umbrella. It’s raining hard and I wouldn’t forgive myself if you caught a bad cold or something worse. –I said-
- I really appreciate that, Miss Qinan, but it’s very unlikely that I will become ill. I already died of Black Death during the Great Plague of 1738. Lord Davies did his best to heal me, but unfortunately it couldn’t be possible. The good news is I’m now immune to any kind of disease. –he said, laughing-.

He was a very erudite, extremely able and charming man, but sometimes he set my teeth on edge.

- When did you meet him? –I asked, very curious-
- I’ve known Lord Davies since he was born. I’ve served the Old Lord till he passed away, in 1705. Since then, I’ve served in the family to the best of my ability.–he said, smiling at me-.

I knew from Ed that Stoicescu had always been a model of faithfulness and loyalty. He had saved him from the abyss of despair when Ioanna -Ed’s first wife- and their three little daughters died of scarlet fever in 1740. Ed was a famous physician in the court of the Burdish King, but couldn’t do anything for them.

Some years after, he remarried Lavinia, the youngest daughter of a local nobleman. They had a happy but short marriage: Ed was sent overseas to treat people sick with the Black Death, a common epidemic in these days. Lavinia and Seymour travelled to meet him, but they never actually arrived at their destination: their ship was caught in a big storm and sank into frigid deep waters. There were no survivors. Ed was absolutely shattered.

He retired from his public life and became a gloomy chemist; an isolated third rate healer who focussed on preparing useless concoctions to bring dead people back to life. In bitterness and desperation, he intended to make a deal with the devil to revive his wives and children, forgetting that not even the devil can do that.

Hopeless and alone, he hid in the streets of Vienna, drowning in pain, disappearing in the gloomiest hovels. He became addicted to absinthe, opium and cocaine and met all kinds of pretty unsavoury people. He begged the devil for mercy and asked him to take his life. But the devil tempted him with money, success and a long life, instead.

Stoicescu came back from the afterlife to follow him. If not for his constant care and tenacity, Ed would have left himself die. After that, he decided to change his life completely and became a plutocratic tycoon with a little help of Hell’s minions.

I was lost in these thoughts when we entered the house. A small welcoming committee formed by Ed’s late wives and kids was waiting.

- My dear Leni, it’s so nice to see you again. –said Lavinia-
- I’m very glad to see you too.

We double-cheek kissed. The four kids gave me a lovely ghostly smile and started playing ring-around-a-rosie. They carried the scent of misfortune about them. I asked myself why anyone would be afraid of these innocent creatures from the underworld. The living ones are always more dangerous than the dead.

- Leni, let’s go into the library, please. We need to speak to you. –said Lavinia-.

I followed them, smelling something fishy. As I walked down the corridor I came across Angus Davies –or rather Davidsen-, that ancestor of Ed’s who had badly shouted at me and insulted me once from the painting hung on the wall. I shyly whispered 'Hi', but he passed me by, ignoring me and as he proudly walked towards the library.

I can't stand rudeness. And not responding to my greeting was really rude.
‘Last time this happens to me’ –I promised myself, very annoyed-

The kids disappeared in the dark, far ahead of us. Ioanna and Lavinia floated gracefully on the air, leaving a scent of wild roses behind them. They were so beautiful and outstanding, that it was sad to think life had left them so long ago.

When I entered the library, wives, kids and a few unknown ancestors were already there. It looked like a gathering of 18th century folks. Ghosts and spirits were flying across the room, but nobody took any notice of them.

A group of people wearing period dress stared at me. I could hear a thousand voices murmuring. Something was brewing there and I suspected I was the last one to know.

I felt awkward and very intimidated. Suddenly it was not such a good idea to stay, so I decided to leave the room straightaway. But too many voices shouted demandingly, asking me back. I turned and slowly went back to the library, embarrassed, overwhelmed and scared.

There was a deathly silence. I sat on the wingback chair, surrounded by all these spiritual creatures. I was shivering inside. Ioanna stood up and spoke solemnly.

- Leni, I’m representing the family council. We need to sort out an important issue related to you. It has been brought to our attention that Ed gave you a diamond ring three weeks ago.

I looked around in amazement.

The. Family. Council. Of the Davidsens, of course. There must have been hundreds of them in the room. This revelation made me feel insignificant, confronted by a huge group of souls, probably hostile, who were casting their web around me.

- How did you know about the ring? –I asked, very offended, feeling that my private life was being unfairly threatened.
- We know everything –replied a very old man, standing up by the piano-. I’m Soren Davidsen, Edvard’s great-great-grandfather.

I could barely keep my cool, but tried my best to answer calmly.

- Is this the ring you're talking about? –I asked-

I raised my hand, victorious, proudly showing the ring as a spoil of my love war with Ed. A myriad little ghosts of all colours rapidly arrived from nowhere and flitted around me. A nice racket started.

- Then you’ve got to do it. Now. –she said-
- What? –I asked, intrigued-
- You’ve got to be the third wife. –said Soren Davidsen with a low voice-.





"Too many people" (Paul McCartney)

14 comments:

corticoWhat said...

"To many people going underground...."

Love the McCartney and I smiled at "bemused embarrassment." I can't wait to borrow it (steal is such a strong word).

Crabbers said...

Que ce soit la révolution ou la paëlla, rien de ce qui est espagnol n'est simple.Mais l'idéal quand on veut être admiré, c'est d'être un majordome ..."mort"!

(*P'tit bisous fantomatique*)

jelb said...

Bonsoir,
un blog rare par son originalité..des photos très réussies (compositions, luminosité) et un commentaire en harmonie..:-)..bravo!

max said...

Leni dear,

Let's see... so the family council has decided that you should marry Ed? WOW! This is getting very thrilling. But don't let them get control of your life.

Like CorticoWhat, I also enjoyed the Paul McCartney song. RAM was an excellent album!

Big kiss. Have a nice week!

INNER VOICES said...

SO GOOD!!!

Leni Qinan said...

Hi Bob!

(*big smile on my face*)
Of course you can borrow the ‘bemused embarrassment’ expression! I only use it when there are butlers around, haha. Honest, feel free to do so –I’m happy to play with words and it flatters me that a natural English speaker borrows one of my expressions-.

I’m not a huge fan of Paul McCartney, but I really like that album (Ram) –ALL the songs are excellent, which doesn’t really happen very often-. And “Too many people” going underground suits this ghostly family coincil perfectly, I think. ;-)

Have a nice day!

Leni Qinan said...

Bonjour Crabtree!

Ce majordome est un prodige de discrétion, efficience et fidélité.
Moi, je ne suis pas du tout habituée à ce drôle de personage –ces âmes du au-delà m’inquiètent un peu-. Mais il semble complètement inoffensif (hereusement, haha)

(*mille ptits bisous fantomatiques qui rentrent*)

Leni Qinan said...

Bonjour jelb, et bienvenu !
Merci beaucoup des compliments –j’aime bien les photos dans Brisedemer, dont j’ai arrivé à travers de Navegando en la bahía –un bon ami-.

Bonne semaine !

Leni Qinan said...

Dear Maxi,

Glad to hear you’re thrilled by the supernaturals ability of holding the control of my life. Let’s see what happens. Getting married was never in my plans, but one never knows.
About “Too many people”, yes, the whole album is great. My brother used to play it all the time when I was little –I’m still little, lol- and I know all the songs by heart.

Big kiss 4 U 2.

Leni Qinan said...

Hi Zack!

SO FINE !!!

Take care!

hanny said...

Aww... so you've met the family! That was sweet for them to welcome you but always follow what your heart desires.

There have been so many times in my married life that I wished for a butler..LOL! At least for one day in a week so I can relax and forget about other obligations. Hard to be a working mom and a wife. So if you get married with Ed, keep the butler :))

Regards! :X

Leni Qinan said...

Hi Hanny!

Yes, I've met them and they0re a bit scary! Not a normal family -though sometimes I doubt about the meaning of this word, lol-.

You can never trust these first warm welcomes, hahaha, allow some time and we'll see how they behave.

If anything happens, I will keep the butler -he's worth his weigh in diamonds!-. I'll ask him if he has a twin brother and if so, send him over to your place, lol.

Take care!

rebecca said...

Ohhh! Juicy, juicy, juicy! This was sooooo good! Loved all the underworld fam and how they still manage to control those that are living...but, marriage? Hmmm? Then the story would end, no? Keep this going, oh dear Leni, keep this going!!! Quiero mas!

I'm so glad I'm finally catching up with your posts...I've more to read, todooloo!!

Leni Qinan said...

Thanks Rebecca!

Isn't it a weird family? If you were me, would you like them to become your inlaws? LOL

((Thanks for your encouraging words, honey, I really appreciate!))

(loads of abrazos)