Iron Behind the Velvet ~ Chapter 59

~ In the House That I Shaped With My Heart1

Catherine, looking after Vincent's leaving
The black hem of his cloak flared as he cornered a junction. Their fastening tugged with parting and distance and promise.

Such a sweet pain.

The torch flames, stirred to dance by his passing, stilled, and Catherine turned to Eimear, to Wren. Their gaze, too, had followed his leave-taking, but united now with hers, a pull gathering them again to a close circle. Outside it, the rustle and repartee of others softened to sound-shadows, and the moment ... suspended ... between them, a deep-toned, resonant chord. Below ... Above ... resolved into One. Into one loved life, one shared, loved life, fragmented no more and yet ... wondrously unresolved, unfinished. Numberless doors opened before her, their revealed beyond beckoning, some bright with candlelight, some with sun, all with possibility. 

The air was at once crisp and crystalline, feather-soft and sweet. Concern sheared away leaving her weightless. Swept up by light and warmth, floating free – her arms, her eyes, open wide – she knew gratitude; she knew wonder. Unmasked. Unsequestered. Her last aloneness dispelled.

A young woman shepherded a covey of small children along the travertine path toward the library. Catherine stepped aside to let them cross. A toddler lagged just behind carrying a frayed copy of Pat the Bunny in both hands and, looking up from it, flashed a toothy grin as she trooped by. Reverent of what she had, anticipatory of what she would discover next  – Catherine knew the feeling.

“Are we ready?” she asked her friends. She might have pressed Wren to explain the subtext of her plan for Edward’s custody. From the unspoken exchange she’d witnessed earlier, Wren had garnered something more than encouragement. Validation, Catherine surmised. Partnership, silent for now. She might have petitioned Eimear to recount her conversation with Vincent, for whatever he’d said to her had had the effect of a tonic. No longer reticent, she seemed eager; no longer inwardly watchful, she was receptive. And gladdened. Both of them. That truth was answer enough to any question she might harbor.

Wren tossed her braid over a shoulder. “I am.”

“As am I,” Eimear echoed, though no one took the lead to leave. For a moment they remained serenely moored, the miracle of their concurrence – for it was one, truly, Catherine believed – a habitable place not to be hurried through.2

“Thank you,” Catherine murmured ... as did Eimear, as did Wren, each to the other.

And to Vincent. Catherine was sure he could hear.

“Did you sleep at all? Either of you?” The avenue was well lit and wide enough for them to walk side by side, though just barely, but they met no one on their journey out.

“We’d dispensed with my ... problem ... before we left you last night at the junction, Catherine,” Eimear began. “And I was glad to leave it for the awe of it all. And so, after an hour of me saying ‘you mean, when you said this’ and ‘when you said that’, and Wren answering ‘yes, and all along’ and ‘can you believe it’ and ‘now the two of us, every day at work’, and me saying ‘who’d have thought, who’d have imagined’, and Wren nodding and going on, Liz declared it teatime. ‘Twas a powerful cup, too, like a jolt of electricity that sat us bolt upright in our chairs. The next hour we spent combing Edward’s case, each of us coming up with every niggling detail that might throw the loop at Wren’s feet and trip her up, and when that was done, Liz said it was toddy time and after that ...”

“We were out like lights!” Wren finished. “Liz disappeared and came back with this little brown, stoppered bottle – something William brewed, she said – and poured us each a thimble-full. Or in my case, about half a thimble-full. I haven’t slept so well in weeks!”

“I don’t remember taking myself from the dining table to the bed,” Eimear said, “though I woke up in one swaddled in quilts and wearing a nightdress.” She swiped at her forehead. “What was it, I wonder? Liz suggested we swallow our portion all at once, and ‘twas that good advice, for it tasted like someone melted black crayon with bits of licorice, then soaked rye bread in pickle juice and wrung it out over the glass. Burned, it did, not going down so much as after, as if a match was slow-struck on the side of my throat and tossed to the puddle of it in my stomach. There was a flare of near-enlightenment, I’m telling you, when everything went white. Then a black veil descended and I–” Eimear interrupted herself, chuckling. “I crossed over to an even more magical world. To Mag Mell, maybe, or Tír na nÓg.3 Martin would love it.”

“Oh,” Catherine said. “That. It’s a secret recipe, allegedly a cross of Aquavit and Jägermeister, made from potatoes and herbs and spices and who knows what else. William calls it Jägervit, but everyone calls it Old Engine Oil.”

A rusty, extension ladder affixed to stone. One length will slide down.
Wren gasped. “To his face?” One hand on the bottom rung of a pull-down ladder, she released the brake; the iron stairs clattered down. She tucked her skirt for the climb and started up, shaking her head.

Catherine motioned Eimear next onto the ladder, and, waiting at the base, replayed the turns they’d made to reach this station, noting the inconspicuous, pale ocher blaze on the promontory across the corridor, recalling similar markers surreptitiously placed along the route. A map system, Catherine knew, the strikes angled according to a code peculiar to the community, one Wren had followed without hesitancy. She was learning – had learned – her way. “Well, no,” Catherine replied, monitoring Eimear’s agile ascent. “And well behind his back, Vincent calls it Old Evening Ender, because, apparently, nothing happens after.”

“‘Tis true, that,” Eimear said, halfway up the manway. She gained the next level and leaned over the grab bar. “So you’ve had this Jägervit?” she called down. “Tell us. Did you suffer the same slumberous consequence as we?”

“It was served at our wedding supper,” Catherine said, mounting the lowest treads. “But I didn’t actually taste it. Vincent wouldn’t let me.”

Laughter spilled into the ladderwell. At the top of the steps, grasping first the arched-over railings, then Wren’s proffered hand, Catherine stepped off onto solid ground.

Eimear adjusted the long strap of her shoulder bag. “It seems a very strange offering for a wedding night. For ours, we’re given a supply of Bunratty honey meade to drink within a month, with supposedly an effect opposite a fugue state. We’re expected to be quite pregnant by the drinking of the last bottle. Is this Jägervit the standard for celebrations down here?”

an earthenware hip flask
At Lin and Henry’s sacrament the twelve-course banquet ended with a handleless cup of fine cognac, though a thin vision flitted through her memory – of William standing sentinel at a black-lacquered cabinet open to an array of pocket-sized, earthenware flasks, a guest reaching in. At Lena’s daughter’s naming ceremony and Kanin’s welcome home, they’d had only fruit punch and tea and coffee. Wren and Stuart’s wedding feast was a wild fusion of traditions: an eighteen-layered Kransekake, a sweet, braided Challah, Wren’s silver crown glittering with charms and bangles, Stuart in his great-grandfather’s hand-embroidered kippah. The toasts – and the seven blessings – had been made over a rich red wine. Winterfest was well supplied with spirits, both tunnel-brewed and helper-provided – birthdays, too – but until their own celebration only a few weeks past, she’d had no knowledge of William’s specialty. Certainly, there could be no mistaking or overlooking or forgetting its ... aroma. What little she knew, all she could share, she’d coaxed from an oddly reticent Vincent. “I’m not really sure when or why it comes out,” she admitted. “I’m still pretty new down here.”

“At yours and Stuart’s joining, then,” Eimear asked Wren, “‘twasn’t on the menu?”

Your joining. The language was natural on Eimear’s lips, as if she’d always spoken so. Nothing was cast in dubiousness, or was ill-fitting or awkward. There really were no words, Catherine realized, for the summery feeling that welled within her breast.

“It wasn’t,” Wren answered. “And now I’m wondering why.”

“I’ll have to ask Vincent about that.” Catherine evened the drape of the jacket she wore and grinned.Tonight.

Eimear mirrored her smile. “So Vincent wouldn’t let you. There’s a tale in that, yes?”

The children had long been ushered to bed, Catherine recalled, and a number of the adults had pled fatigue before coffee and a second dessert had been enjoyed, a few, like Stuart and Wren, due at their jobs above early the next morning. The last of the feast dishes had been cleared away, yet she was ... ravenous. Hours had passed in celebration, too many, but soon, oh, please, soon, they’d retire to their private chambers again. Underneath the table, she stroked the contoured ridge of Vincent’s thigh, let her hand rest lightly on his knee. Now, she broadcast, and a muscle in Vincent’s leg jumped. His soft, quick intake of breath nearly took hers away, but before she could rise, William appeared at her shoulder, a tray in his hands bearing two small cups.  A last ... gift, William offered, chuckling slyly, Catherine thought, even at the time. Conversation at their table ceased. She swiveled in her chair to thank him and take her share, but the smell – candy-sweet and peppery – took her by surprise. She blinked as the room blurred. Vincent arrested her hand. He seized the small silver beaker, set it on the table with authority, shook his head. “I can handle it,” she whispered, sensing it some test of her ... befittedness ... but he pushed the cup further from her reach, then further again. A titter broke out, rose to crowing guffaws. Father fussed with his crumpled napkin. William clapped his hands and cackled. Vincent had actually blushed.

There was no sun on her face, yet she tipped back her head as if to the morning light and drew in a full explicit breath - a blessing breath.4 Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.5 She opened her eyes to a new world. Walking on, walking deeper and deeper into it, between them, at home in her life, Catherine told the story.

They’d left the columned corridors of flowstone and rim pools and rippled, translucent draperies, and traveled now a tunnel of hacked and scalloped iron-red rock. More than once the trail switchbacked, masking the steep grade Catherine knew they climbed. Those who live in the northern tunnels make their homes deep, Vincent had told her. Twice they skirted cairns of rubble stone neatly piled and ready to be wedged floor to ceiling – again – should the threat of intruders return.  Wren plucked a torch from a bin of cold flares, taking fire from one of the five-day candles sheltered in a nearby niche, and led them through a portal so narrow a cleft in the wall, so jagged and gouged, Catherine would have passed it by unseen. Inside, Wren sunk the long, banded handle of the torch within the ring of a metal sconce, its glow revealing a stairwell with walls of stacked, rather than chiseled, stone. The rough-hewn steps were worn to polished bowls in their centers. The passage was low-ceilinged and close – her hands held just out at her sides brushed the brickwork. Had they come down this way, Vincent would have necessarily turned his shoulders, ducked his head. The mortar glittered, glassy with sand and bits of shells. A damp, mineral-tinged scent seeped through the rock.

The shallow-rising staircase soon dead-ended, the only way out another ladder. Each rung was suspended by chain links hooked to eye-bolts spiraled into the stone; the handrails were two fibrous ropes stretched taut and as thick as her wrist. At the top, they gathered in a stony foyer. What appeared to be no more than a massive, rusty bolt embedded in the wall turned easily under Wren’s hand, and a secret door slid open with a scratchy sigh. Catherine could see the question in Eimear’s eyes, but already the line between mystery and explanation was being drawn and kept. Eimear smiled and slipped first through the gap.

They emerged into a wide tunnel, a swift-flowing raceway its divider, a shoulder-high rock wall edging the path along the watercourse. Before them a stone bow bridge arched over the agitated stream. “We were here!” Eimear exclaimed. “Last night, yes? But at the foot, we turned ... right. And not too far after, took a metal spiral down, coming upon that chasm with a ... a tightrope strung over it.” Catherine shivered. There were worse bridges than the one Eimear had crossed, swinging things with a single width of walkboard between the hemp handrails, suspended from who-knows-where-or-from-what above. Wren fit her spread fingers to five corresponding pits and dimples in the stone, the applied pressure to the indentions closing the door through which they’d passed. Eimear ran her hands over the seamless-seeming wall. “This is the short-cut, then, the one Liz mentioned?”

“It is,” Wren said. “You’ll be home soon, without a second trip over the gorge.”

“It’s been all good,” Eimear declared. “Save that.”

a round-roofed tunnel. Brick sides, cobblestoned floor.The footpath was quarried granite setts lodged in sand mortar, the railing an oiled, red wood. Eimear paused at the crest of the bridge. Lanterns hung by their bails from the crooks of tall iron poles; within their globes, the flames shimmied. “Was the water quite so high last night?” she asked, gazing downstream where the foaming current disappeared into darkness. “Tis louder, too, don’t you think?”

On the other side, the brick tunnel that would take them out was round-roofed, warm with electric light and familiar – but a corkscrew of cold air swept past, on it the faint relic of voices. The tie whipped from Eimear’s braid, sending her hair wild in the wind, the ribbon soaring on a rising draft, and Catherine shivered again.


Vincent in a jagged tunnel passage, looking a bit burdened with thought
A black-feathered disquiet had fluttered up, settling it’s soft weight across the breadth of his shoulders like a timeworn cloak. His bootlace snapped. Even now he couldn’t swear which had happened first.

His bootlace snapped again. The abrupt give had been unexpected, the separation perplexing. The frazzled pieces in his hands seemed too complex a puzzle to solve. He pushed back his imagined hood. The rough mend he could make would hold ... or not. He had no choice but to make it. And trust it.

Just as now, he had no choice but to turn from her and disappear below.

The water trap. The complication was not a surprising one, rather a malfunction he’d seen – no, felt – coming. The plan worked on paper and in theory, but intuition had told him otherwise; he should have spoken out more concretely. Only yesterday he’d met with Stuart and Noah, Mouse and Kanin, voiced his concerns, even then downplaying the reservations he’d harbored. Surely, had a serious threat to safety arisen or had there been a report of injury, Liz would have come for him directly and sooner, yet in her skillful, casual command he’d sensed an appeal. Go, he’d heard. Go, without distracting Wren or Eimear or Catherine. They’ve enough on their minds.

He would be at Catherine’s side if he could, though at times, beyond the promise of home and always, he had little to offer save his utter belief in her. The women had engaged, and their energy was ... intense. Looking on, he imagined Elizabeth’s capture of the moment, wondered how he might possibly describe it to the artist – the field of brightness, the drift of colors – sky blue and indigo, poppy and emerald, cornsilk and flax and cinnamon  – the tuneful wavelength of sound ... It was the spark of discovery, he believed, of a friendship neither frivolous nor supplementary, but essential and transformative, unique between women.  Each of them – Liz, Wren, Eimear, Catherine – gathered force, their own and from the other. Protective, perceptive, thoughtful, tenacious – their vulnerabilities were their great strengths. How beautiful was their courage. As the warrior-poets, their aura mysterious and ancient, they would balance the rude realities of the earth, take to their respective battles their inward light and resolve. In their accumulated presence, he’d found himself awed and a little breathless. His gifts for Wren, for Eimear, were but small affirmations of spirit and keenness already in their makeup. For Liz, he would do her bidding.


He strode the main boulevard and veered into a quarried side-street where the torchieres were more widely spaced. Pools of illumination stretched along the path, interrupted by darkness. Yesterday’s hangover had surrendered to the force of his meditative will, a therapeutic swim, and the draining – five times over – of his canteen, but the same cottony fog hovered at the ground, billowed up. He’d left Catherine in the blossom of a found blessing, indeed, her prosperity flowed into him, yet she was hardly out of sight before his charges and cares emerged from the shadowed recesses and fell into step. On his heels. At his elbow. Those he passed gave him hesitant berth, and he recognized he frowned and propelled himself through the passage with disconcerting speed and a glaring concentration. He tried to slow his pace, and taking cue from Liz, from her blithe industriousness, endeavored to buoy his expression. News of the water trap’s failure would have spread throughout the tunnel parish. His ... considerations ... were more than that, but he’d not frighten the community while he batted the clouds of his concerns.

The ten-o’clock spoke at the first roundabout junction, then the second stone spiral down. Nearly two decades had passed since he’d last carried his duffle of dirty clothes through these corridors to the laundry. But there was another way, a byway once discouraged, today just as likely deserted. Past the gleaming double doors of the Primary Schoolroom, he ducked a pendant formation of bedrock – The Shark’s Nose – and felt for the embedded latch. The camouflaged door into the lava tube opened. A clanging, whirring descent in the wood and metal cage. Through the Chamber of the Seven Pillars and the Barnacle Straights to the washroom. Hardly a longer route if he sprinted.

Mitch. He’d corralled his wild regrets and defaults, shepherded them to a barren pasture where they’d remain unfed for now. Later he’d dissect Mitch’s criminality from his own culpability; to do otherwise would be self-indulgent, wasteful of his energies and focus, unfair to others setting aside their personal worriments to work toward the common good. Priority of life, the code of it. He would adhere. And Sam’s hurts were deeper.

Sam. His fatherly remorse was wrenching and isolating. Someone should go to Maryfields, draw Sam firmly within their family bond. And Father needed to hear the truth, where and how Mitch would ... end.

Father. Kanin. By now, Father knew what Kanin knew – of MD, her leadership of the loose congregation beyond the perimeter, the reduced but still relevant level of threat, their revised protective plans. Upon the return home, he’d have to go through it all again, minutely, for that was Father’s way. And proven a way as it was – had not Father’s leadership and decisions kept them safe? Allowed them to thrive? – he was grateful to be relieved of the initial telling, the interruptions and the going-back-overs often a ... vexation. He heaved a sigh. The questioning would at least allow Olivia time to pack a bag for the baby and herself, arrange an overnight with a playmate for Luke, choose more inconspicuous dress for the subway ride. Time to consider, to imagine change.

Olivia. He was not given to crossing his fingers, and while he believed all things were possible with love, he knew – knew – love could be too tested.

Like Catherine’s for Jenny; Jenny’s for Catherine. There were limits.
Vincent hears The Other's voice - or does he?
Limits to their skills and competencies, to their resources. Failures. The water trap.

Are we back to that, hmmmm? Without facing the truth? Such a roundabout you take. She gives you a gift. Privacy. Will you twist it to a secret? Will you? Ready, you promised her. We shall see. The coarse-grained voice of The Other stunned him.  His boot heel skidded in gravel.


Wren left them at the fissure passage. Catherine led the way through to the base of the church wall entry, Eimear working the lever of the first barred gate, the secret latch of the sliding-stone door. In the cellar, the lantern they’d left turned low still burned. Eimear pushed back the sleeve of her jacket, rounded her watch on her wrist.

“Will Flynn be home?” Catherine asked.

“I’d doubt so,” Eimear answered. “‘Tis early, still. Though Martin will be nearing the end of first Mass. He's to the Our Father and the Sign of Peace by now, I’d say. A small congregation these mornings, he’ll offer the Blessing and Dismissal soon. He’s a man of habits, both good and bad. Before heading to his office to prepare his devotions, he takes tea and toast standing at the kitchen sink looking out on the garden.” Eimear inspected her watch again and laughed softly. “You know, I’d not have been at all surprised to find the hands spinning ‘round backwards.”

Pink crabapple blossoms against a very blue sky
Catherine pressed her ear to the wooden door. No voices filtered through, save that of a singing bird perched somewhere near. She eased the latch free and they stepped out to a nearly cloudless morning. Crabapple blossoms sparkled with dew; the new-green grass was downy.

Eimear reached for her hand. “The sun would love him, Catherine.”

“It would,” she whispered. It will.

Click HERE for Chapter 60


1. Pádraic Pearse. The Fool.
2. Henry David Thoreau. Thoreau's Journal: 27 April, 1860.
3. Mag Mell and Tir Na nÓg are two of the several Fairy Islands in Irish myth. These secret and magical places arise to the surface of the sea at night and are visible only on special occasions. Mag Mell or the Pleasant Plain is a world inhabited by immortals. Joy is everlasting, no one ages and the people are always agreeable. Tir Na nÓg or the Land of the Young is a paradise where the immortal inhabitants take great pleasure in music and dance. To either, though, one must be invited by one of the fairies living on the island. The Fairy Islands
4. John O’Donohue. From To Bless the Space Between Us: The Celtic Sense of Time as Creative Occasion. (paraphrased)
5. Mary Oliver. Evidence.


RomanticOne said...

Been "off the grid" for a while and had some catching up to do. One phrase stuck with me..."Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable." It jumped off the page at me. So much seems to be happening so fast, yet so slow. The tighter the story weaves, the more excited I get. I loved the background of The Fairy Islands. I could really use one of those about now. Wonderful chapter.

Carole W said...

Hi, R1! I'm glad to see you and I sure hope all is well with you. If only we could round up a couple invitations to the Fairy Islands. I imagine we'd all feel rejuvenated afterward.

I'm so glad you enjoyed the chapter. What you said really makes me feel good. Some chapters are scarier than others to put out there and this one is a lead-in for the more intense, more action-y ones to come next.

Thank you again. You're always so kind and supportive. It makes a real difference to me that you're still reading.


Anonymous said...

Carol, I know I'm repeating myself chapter to chapter in the comments, but you do know how to create a scene. I loved the wedding supper moment when Vincent pushed away the glass. I can see his face. :) Also I loved the "summer feeling" Catherine has. I smiled so big when she said that!

You told me the ending of the story would be faster than the earlier chapters and now I understand what you meant. I went from yay to uh oh to ahh reading this. But I am on pins and needles now about Vincent. I don't want to add any more pressure, but I am ready for more. As another commenter says, great job!


Brit said...

I can feel a leading up to... But what? I can not wait to find out! It's been a wonderful journey and I imagine even more wonderous things to come. A wonderment. ^_^
Thank you Carole for continuing.

Carole W said...

Annabella, I'm so glad you delurked - your support and kindness are truly appreciated. This has been a long journey. Some days … it's difficult to find the right words, sometimes any words! That you're reading and enjoying makes me want to work harder and finish this story satisfactorily

(and soon!). :-D

Thank you again,

Carole W said...

Hi, Brit!! You're so good to me. Your warmth really brightens my day. I'm encouraged by your words. I really am.

Hugs back. Your support makes such a difference to my will and spirit.


NYC Utopia said...

Aaah... I missed them all! Thank you! Some wonderful passages in this chapter...

C, off to the beach ;-)

Carole W said...

Hey, Claire! How jealous am I of your trip to what I know is a beautiful place - a beach (any beach!) in France. Ahhh! I could count the ways, but there's likely a content limit to this comment box. I still look at the photos you sent once of an earlier trip and sigh. I most certainly wish I were there!

Thank you so much for reading before you left! You made my morning - finding your message here.

Hugs and have fun. Pics please!

Anonymous said...

As always . . . Oh Carole!

So much to appreciate in this lovely chapter, but I believe this is my favorite passage:

"How beautiful was their courage. As the warrior-poets, their aura mysterious and ancient, they would balance the rude realities of the earth, take to their respective battles their inward light and resolve. In their accumulated presence, he’d found himself awed and a little breathless."

Since Vincent and Martin "discovered" each other, you know how very much I have admired Martin's assertion that Vincent and Flynn are "braithre" warrior-brothers. But, we have also discussed the quieter, deeper courage borne by Catherine and Eimear as the spouses of these struggling, inwardly-wounded warriors, and how these strong, incredible women are the heart, the hope, the center, the touchstone, the Pole Star guiding Vincent and Flynn back to themselves.

How lovely for Vincent to see and appreciate the unspoken communion and the gathered strengths of these women -- Catherine, Eimear, Wren, Liz -- his wonder at their quiet, palpable power, and his trust that they will overcome any obstacles in their respective paths.

This is terrific growth for him, but always balanced by the sinuous voice of his "Other," questioning the truth of Vincent's readiness to fully accept, to completely engage, to intimately share all.

Marvelous! There must be MORE!

Regards, Lindariel

P.S. Our friend Krista has asked me to partner with her on a fun little project for Winterfest. Of course, I said YES!

Carole W said...

Hi, Lindariel! First off, although we all must keep WFOL secrets, I'm very happy to know you've something in the works with Krista. ;-) It'll be neat! Neater than neat!!

Thank you so much for your kind words, your thoughtful reading. I'm so pleased you liked that passage about the strength of the women (iron within their velvet outernesses!) and Vincent's awareness of them.

I love what you said about Vincent and his Other too and will print it out to guide me as I take Vincent through what he must go through in order to one day approach Flynn. He's said he would, but I don't think he can imagine just how that might come about.

I'm grateful for your support and encouragement. Thank you for being so generous.

Hugs and happy WFOL projecting!

Brenda K said...


Ah, the tidbits you scatter throughout your chapters! An "initiation ordeal" special for the tunnels, pulled on Catherine -- echoes of a scene from one of my favorite movies -- The Big Country -- with Gregory Peck riding Old Thunder in secrecy. Does Catherine get a turn with William's Jagervit, in private? Such ordeals are usually brought out for the partners of community leaders or favorites -- Catherine's instinct was dead-on, undoubtedly confirmed when Vincent interfered.

Vincent's apprehensions run deep, concerning this upcoming revelation to Catherine. It must be a real shocker, to so rattle his trust in Catherine's love for him. She's seen him turn feral and kill -- what secret could possibly be left that's so terrible he'd still be quaking in his boots at thought of disclosure to Catherine? I cannot imagine it.

And Eimear's introduction to the Tunnels not only gives her a new friendship with Catherine, it gives her a deeper one with Wren -- already a work colleague, now an intimate friend through sharing of a powerful secret. I wonder what will happen if Olivia and Kanin move to the North? Olivia is already Catherine's friend - close enough to name her a godmother to her children. It will be quite a group there.

Brenda K

Carole W said...

Hi, Brenda!

I'm hoping to answer your questions soon about V's pending revelation. I can't think of anything more to say without letting slip the story line. Sorry! It's coming up, the rest of that part of the story very very soon.

I wonder how Catherine will feel once the renovations are made in the north and it's time to go home again, leaving Eimear and Wren rather far away for the pop-in, so to speak. It's not such a long way for her to go visit Eimear, but it is for Vincent. Something they'll discuss, I'm sure. :-)

I haven't seen the Big Country in years and can't remember the scene you're talking about, but I'll check youtube - it might be there.

Thanks so much for reading and for leaving a response. I have to say I'm glad you can't exactly predict what will happen next, but I do hope it isn't too confusing. The next chapter surely won't take me so long to write as the canning is nearly over!


Brenda K said...


You can find the Old Thunder scene here, as a TCM film clip.

Actually, that movie has a running theme of initiation rites, all of which serve to elicit the true nature of each of the characters in the film, as their reactions are shown to the various "rites of passage." In addition to the Old Thunder scene, my other favorite is the "one-upsmanship" grisly storytelling between Jean Simmons and Gregory Peck out at the Old Muddy, ending in his pretending to faint, and dodging the bucket of water she threw at him to revive him.

I thought of you as I made a gallon of gazpacho last week, and 3 dozen Scotch eggs for the office's international potluck lunch to celebrate the Olympics. Next weekend is my daughter's baby shower, and I don't yet know my assignment for the cooperative catering effort. Unlike my consulting time last year, Life is keeping me busy between your chapters, too!

Carole W said...

Ooh, love gazpacho. Your office party sounds like fun!

Congratulations on the addition to your family! I remember you telling me this is your first grandbaby and I know you're excited. When's the due date again? I'm remembering October. Do I have that right?

And thanks for the link to the movie. I'll check it out for sure. I do love the stars of it.


Brenda K said...


Very close -- it's Sept. 28th, more or less. She and Ben are preparing for a -- *gasp* -- home birth (eeekkk!)! Which is actually something I tried to do with her, but ended up in the hospital with a C-section after 48 hrs of hard labor to not much point. So I hope this works out better for her than it did for me, because they are so adorably cute in their 28-year-old certainty that everything will go just as they planned it. Yeah. Right.

Gazpacho is just a matter of having a lot of fresh veggies and a good quality blender (I have a VitaMix). Five minutes later, voila! Summer just wouldn't be right without it.

Vicky said...

Oh, Carole, the anticipation is killing me! I feel this is something big... but what could be so big as to almost question his certainties regarding Catherine's feelings in her reaction? (not sure that made much sense...)
I love the scene at the wedding! It put a big smile on my face, I could just see it.
But now, I must read this again. I feel there is so much going on I'm afraid I'll miss something!

Barbara said...

I love the way your story ebbs and flows like a tide. Each new wave brings in new tidbits that eventually make the story whole and then pulls out the parts that that are no longer necessary. Each new declaration of love and trust washes away old hurts and misconceptions. Each new admission of worry and weakness brings new dimension and strength to their bond.
I want to write like you when I grow up!

Carole W said...

Barbara, I cannot adequately express my gratitude. I have been having such a tug of war with the chapter I'm working on now. I write, rewrite, grouse at my efforts, rewrite again, wondering all the while if I will ever, ever be satisfied enough to get past the first scene and on to the second. Argh!

But your kind words have calmed me. You are so supportive. You've helped me feel kinder to myself! And for that, I am truly grateful.

You're too generous with praise, of course, but I am inspirited. Thank you for reading and for taking the time to leave a message. You've made a difference. :-)