Wednesday, 28 May 2014

The Sensualist

Love the essence of life the essence of being
is taking place in the solitude of nature
bringing with it the enchantment and music
of the motion itself.

~ Love's Passion by Christopher Provost Scott

Did I lose myself
Was I never there in the first place?
Story of my life
To behave like I'm so far away
Seemed to  be phased
Intentionally dazed
Seemed to be phased
Intentionally dazed.

~ Phased by Santessa

Léon Cogniet self-portrait 1818

The Breath Of Love

He takes me gently by the hand and leads me on.

I will follow him where ever he goes.

We walk through a shrouded wood.

The sun streams through tall trees and we can hear the clarion call of birds as they encircle us.

We do not speak.

Love has it's own tongue.

Now we stand before a glittering lake and he looks into my eyes. 

And I soften in his hand.

My heart is beating so fast I fear it will burst out of my chest. 

He holds me with his gaze. 

Time evaporates.

He is an artist and a gentleman in a red cravat.

And he has the most beautiful face I have ever seen.

Dark and brooding, yet gentle and sensitive.

Like the face of St Sebastian.

He has black hair and melting brown eyes.

His skin is like ivory and his features are finely chiselled.

He smiles at me and I know that I would do anything for him.

Every time he looks into my eyes I die a little.

A boat is moored close by and he helps me to enter it with him. 

And as he gently rows and I look into his deep eyes, I ponder the angelic beauty of his countenance and of the wonders of his smile.

We glide through the glittering water as upon a sigh. 

We are like two birds of paradise.

Flying through the realm of love.

I caress the water with my hand.

And suddenly I yearn for him to caress my secret. 

He has uncovered me with his eyes.

Suddenly I burn for him to unbutton his shirt so I can kiss his muscled chest. 

I desire that we should do the things that lovers do. 

He lowers the oars and slowly leans in close.

My heart is racing and I can smell his sweet scent.

Amber and spice.

Then he kisses me with his warm mouth.

And I give him my joy.

Now we are carried upon a wave of love.

As we traverse the Elysian Fields. 

And he puts his hand on my breast.

And I put my hand on his thigh ...

I open up to him like a flower. 

And then I open my eyes and I am sitting in the Musée des Beaux-Arts d'Orléans once again.

And I am looking at the artist Léon Cogniet.

The man who fills my dreams

A man in a painting.

And I am still yearning for his love. 

And imagining his tender touch.

yearning (by Pearlofeast


Friday, 23 May 2014

The Mouth Of The Grave

Tried always and Condemned by thee
Permit me this reprieve
That dying I may earn the look
For which I cease to live -

Tried always and Condemned by thee by Emily Dickinson

The old baby farmer, the wretched Miss Dyer
At the Old Bailey her wages is paid.
In times long ago, we'd 'a' made a big fire,
And roasted so nicely that wicked old jade.

~ by Anonymous

Dead Mans Hand  (by ANARKYMAN

An Eye For An Eye

1896, City of London

The prison was situated at the corner of Newgate Street and Old Bailey just inside the City of London.

Dark foreboding clouds had filled the sky blocking out the light.

It had been raining continuously in London for three weeks.

Many regarded the inclement weather as a judgement from God upon their sinful ways.

But one man was waiting in a Newgate cell to be escorted to his final agony.

Lawrence Way.

It was the day of his execution and he was facing his end with stoicism.

The dank cell he inhabited was dimly lit by an inner courtyard.

Lawrence Way was looking into the mouth of the grave.

He had been unable to touch his breakfast of bread and butter, eggs and tea.

Lawrence Way's fate had been decreed as if it had been written in stone.

He was to be taken to a place of execution.

And hung by the neck until he was dead.

Lawrence Way had been visited by his wife three days before.

A wire grille separated the couple and they were witnessed by a number of attendants.

Amy Way had written to her husband on several occasions bemoaning their fate and the cruel twist in their fortunes.

She could barely write but she had poured out her heart in a spidery hand.

Amy Way had been sharing her husband's sentence with him.

She was three months pregnant and standing on a precipice.

Amy Way had moved in with her sister and her large family in a small house in London.

But the living conditions were cramped and the young woman knew she couldn't stay there forever.

Without her husband, her future looked bleak.

Amy Way could expect to end up in a poorhouse and her baby taken from her.

If starvation,  poverty and shame did not carry her off first.

Infant mortality was high in Victorian England while single parenthood and illegitimacy was stigmatised.

There was also a proliferation of backstreet abortions which were crudely executed and often very dangerous.

In Victorian England unmarried mothers often struggled to gain an income, since the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act had removed any financial obligation from the fathers of illegitimate children.

As a result, unmarried women were often forced into prostitution to earn a living.

Many mothers either abandoned their unwanted children or fostered them into the care of "baby farmers" for a weekly fee or had them adopted permanently for a one off payment.

Baby farming was an "occupation which shuns the light" and infanticide was rife throughout Victorian England.

Countless children were sent to an early grave by ruthless nurses.

They were often starved or drugged to death or murdered outright.

Lawrence Way's neighbour at Reading had been the infamous Amelia Dyer.

She had been executed three months before for the murder of baby Harry Simmons and baby Doris Marmon.

Amelia Dyer was a particularly prolific "baby farmer" and had made a living out of strangling unwanted babies to death.

By the time she was finally caught out, Dyer was said to have murdered three hundred babies.

Amelia Dyer was hanged at Newgate on 10 June 1896.

But Amy Way was in no position to "farm" out her newborn.

She didn't have two pennies to rub together.

The wife of a condemned man wasn't expected to outlive him.

"Good sweet Amy!" Lawrence Way muttered as he gazed into the haunted eyes and hollow face of his sweetheart.

Amy Winter.

The pretty grocers daughter.

With the sun in her hair and a smile to soften the hardest heart.

Amy Winter.

The couple had been married but five years and it had passed in the blink of an eye.

Once upon a time there was laughter in their house.

And joy in their bed.

But it had all soured quickly enough.

Now Amy Way was virtually a widow with death as her new paramour.

"Soon we will be together!" She whispered to her husband.

Amy Way was a comely auburn haired woman with hazel eyes and a winsome smile.

But despair and desolation had ravaged her looks and she had aged before her time.

Amy Way was the flower that had withered all too soon.

She had lost her looks.

And now she had lost her mind.

Lawrence Way smiled darkly.

He knew exactly what his wife meant.

"We have so little time" Amy Way muttered sadly.

Her husband longed to take his wife in his arms one last time.

But this desire was denied to him.

"Soon we will be together!" Lawrence Way replied knowingly as he echoed his wife's words.

His handsome face was careworn.

His tawny hair was dull and matted and the light had gone out of his green eyes.

The man Amy Winter had married on a fine Spring day had been replaced by a ghost.

His face and form had been haggard by the trauma of his ordeal.

The skeleton standing before her wasn't her husband.

Amy Way shed bitter tears as she beheld her beloved husband one last time.

It would all be over soon.

Their meeting had been brief but meaningful.

Now Lawrence Way could go to his death in peace.

The shattered woman departed with only one wish.

To see the man who had bought her husband to this end suffer a worse fate.

The Newgate cell was not to be a place of desolation for long.

And every night the condemned man's confidence was bolstered by the appearance of a kindly chaplain.

Father Bartholomew.

He was tall and had a ghostly face but offered tender words.

Farther Bartholomew grinned at the condemned man.

Lawrence Way was now ready to meet his Maker.

He could still hear the judges voice as he passed sentence.

It was Sunday and Lawrence Way was standing in the dock with his head bowed.

It had been raining continuously all day.

The Old Bailey was situated a few hundred yards from St Paul's Cathedral and was named after the street that ran alongside.

Newgate Gaol stood next door.

A plea of insanity had been rejected by the judge and in spite of Lawrence Way's exemplary record - the verdict was still to be the same.

Way had been indicted for the wilful murder of Samuel Hawke.

The court was in a filthy mood that day.

They were baying for the blood of a fallen angel.

Justice Bostwick was known to be a harsh judge.

Sir Edmund Bostwick was a hard man who had been at the pinnacle of the Old Bailey for three decades and had displayed a brutal attitude towards the condemned.

There was a low murmur as he donned the black cap to deliver the verdict in grave and measured tones.

Lawrence Way was unquestionably guilty of murdering his landlord in cold blood.

The Old Bailey (by tcsavage
He had shown Samuel Hawke no mercy and had cut him down in his prime of life leaving behind a widow and two young sons.

Lawrence Way was to pay with his life.

The condemned man did not flinch as the verdict was given.

He was already a dead man walking.

"An eye for an eye!" Justice Bostwick declared dramatically after passing judgement.

A death for a death.

"And may God have mercy on your soul!" The judge added ominously as his voice rang throughout the courtroom.

The widow of the deceased gave a visible sigh of relief at the sentence.

Clarabell Hawke hugged her two fair haired teenage sons.

She was an attractive red head in a buttoned up blue gown and stylish bonnet.

But her jubilation was destined to be short lived.

Tuberculosis would carry Clarabell Hawke off within three years.

As soon as the verdict was given Amy Way began screaming uncontrollably.

"Shame on you!" She exploded at the jury.

Amy Way jumped out of her seat and charged towards the judge.

"No! No! No!"

"Have a heart!" Amy Way railed "I will die without him!"

But there was to be no mercy for Lawrence Way.

All eyes in the courtroom were now fixed on the devastated wife.

Amy Way had endured months of privation at her husband's side.

And now she was as good as dead too.

Amy was virtually on her knees before the stony faced judge.

"Have mercy on us!" She implored him as she cupped her belly "I am with child! Show us some pity!"

But it was to no avail.

Justice Bostwick stared straight passed her.

Prison guards intercepted the distraught woman and grabbed her roughly.

"God damn you!" Amy Way snarled "And may the Devil take you!"

Then she spat at the judge before being dragged screaming out of the courtroom by the prison guards.

A loud murmur quickly arose amid the throng.

The spittle had landed on Justice Bostick's cheek and he wiped it casually away.

Amy Way was a worthless woman.

Without her husband she would be dead within a matter of weeks.

No emotion registered upon the judge's grey face.

As far as he was concerned Lawrence Way was just a miserable cobbler with a harpy of a wife.

Justice Bostwick had seen it all countless times before.

Lawrence Way was just another crook.

The City of London was full of these rogues.

Nobody would miss him once he was in the ground.

The judge had no sympathy for Lawrence Way and his kind whatsoever.

Amy Way was flung out onto the steps of the Old Bailey.

It was bitterly cold and the sky was ominously overcast.

The woman burst into a flood of harsh sobs.

This was the beginning of the end for her.

Time was running out for her too.

Amy Way would soon be making the coffin her bed.

There was a plot already waiting for her in the graveyard.

Justice had been served.

Lawrence Way was greeted by a cacophony of lurid jeers and taunts as he was led out of the courtroom.

Justice Bostwick rose triumphantly from his chair.

Today had been a good day.

A momentous day for British justice.

Justice Bostwick had rid the body politic of yet more vermin.

And he was already eagerly anticipating the fine steak and nice bottle of claret that he was going to have in celebration that evening.

Once upon a time Lawrence Way had been a fine cobbler and the most influential \/in his home town.

Reading was an expanding and prosperous town in the county of Berkshire.

It was in London Road that Lawrence Way set up Readings Finest Shoes shoe shop.

Business was brisk and he was soon riding on the crest of a wave.

Way's skills and ingenuity soon became legendary.

But times were harsh.

Reading was a town of burgeoning industries which included the world famous Huntley and Palmer biscuit factory which employed almost five-thousand local workers.

A rival cobbler soon set up shop not far from Lawrence Way's Readings Finest Shoes and the new arrival had quickly stolen much of his thunder.

Times were hard for the working class in Victorian England.

Many families struggled to survive.

If disease didn't carry them off then destitution was sure to.

Arthur Mayhew's Premium Shoes had already surpassed the well established shoe shop in popularity.

But God would be a great leveller.

Influenza would soon carry Arthur Mayfew and his family off.

Within five years they would all be sharing a plot in the graveyard.

Now Lawrence Way was facing ruin.

And with a child on the way - he and his wife faced the prospect of a grim future.

Lawrence Way's fall from grace had been swift.

His irate landlord had wavered over a months worth of rent on account of Way's superlative skills as a shoemaker.

But now many of the cobblers customers had deserted him and he was struggling to pay his arrears and settle his debts.

Lawrence Way lived in a meagre flat above Readings Finest Shoes with his wife.

Now the desperate couple were too poor to even fix the broken window in the cramped living room so they huddled together in blankets as they ate what scraps of food they could get.

And Amy Way cursed the day she was born.

Samuel Hawke was an efficient if harsh landlord.

He was a tall and imposing man with small grey eyes, ginger hair and a fulsome beard.

Hawke owned several shops and managed them with an iron fist.

Now that the glitter dust of Lawrence Way's celebrity had faded, the landlord saw no reason to deal gently with him.

Samuel Hawke had roughly informed the cobbler that he could either pay up or be thrown with his wife out onto the streets of Reading.

To die in the gutter like dogs.

"Please!" Lawrence Way pleaded "I need a little more time!"

"You've had plenty of time!" Samuel Hawke answered him sharply "You can either pay up or go! And I assure you that its pretty cold out there!"

Amy Way went down on her knees before the landlord.

"Please Sir!" She cried "We're begging you to take some pity on us!"

Amy reached out a quivering hand but Samuel Hawke brushed it aside.

"Get away from me!" Hawke exclaimed "You carping hag!"

The distraught woman burst into loud sobs.

Something suddenly snapped in Lawrence Way.

Poverty and ruin can do strange things to a man's head.

The shoemaker grabbed a heavy object from his work table and lunged at the surly landlord.

Before Samuel Hawke knew what was happening, Lawrence Way began bludgeoning him over the head with a heavy hammer.

The horrified landlord tumbled to the floor as the crazed and wild-eyed cobbler proceeded to bash his brains out.

Lawrence Way had been possessed by the demon Ahriman - the spirit of darkness, destruction and death.

The hammer kept crashing onto the landlords head.

Over and over again.

Until Samuel Hawke's skull had been crushed like an over ripe melon.

A pool of dark red blood had appeared around the dead landlord.

His brains were splayed all over the floor and the wall.

The demon departed and the maddened shoemaker was left wild eyed and breathing heavily over the corpse of Samuel Hawke.

That was when Amy Way began screaming.

By the time Lawrence Way eventually handed himself over to the police - Amy Way was as insane as him.

The horror of the former cobbler's predicament had tipped him over the edge.

He no longer slept much and was unable to keep his food down.

"Soon you will be beyond such cares!" Father Bartholomew assured him.

the noose (by monica dorkface
Lawrence Way smiled darkly at the grinning chaplain.

At 7.30 a.m., the former cobbler was led out from his cell into the Press Yard where the Sheriff and the Ordinary met him.

It was a grey and deathly silent morning.

No birds were singing in the sky.

"Close your eyes and see heaven" Farther Bartholomew urged the condemned man before disappearing.

James Billington was a former pub entertainer and barber who was said to have had a "lifelong fascination" with hanging.

He had became an efficient hangman of the British government in 1884.

Billington and his assistant bound Lawrence Way's wrist behind his back with cord and also placed a cord round his body and arms at the elbow.

The bells of St Sepulchre's church began tolling at 7.45 a.m.

Lawrence Way was led across the Yard to the lodge and then out through the Debtor's Door where he climbed the steps up to the platform.

Once he was assembled on the drop,  Billington put the noose round Way's neck while he prayed with the Ordinary.

Father Elmer was a gentle older man with a kindly disposition and he earnestly prayed for the condemned man's soul.

The last thing that Lawrence Way saw with his earthly eyes before James Billington put the white hood over his head was his wife.

She was standing before him with her arms outstretched.

"Soon we will be together!" Amy Way cried.

Then everything went black.

The Under Sheriff gave the signal and James Billington moved the lever which was connected to a drawbar under the trap and caused it to fall with a loud crash, sending a writhing Lawrence Way dropping 12-18 inches.

Several seconds later and the hapless former shoemaker's neck broke and he was finally still.

"May God have mercy on your soul!" Father Elmer muttered.

Three crows suddenly squawked loudly from a spindly tree and then flew off.

The sky was overcast and distant rumbles of thunder sounded across the horizon. 

It was lunchtime when the simple burial service of Lawrence Way was carried out by prison officers and overseen by Father Elmer 

Way's body was shoved into a cheap pine coffin and buried in the prison grounds in an unmarked grave.

By the time the former cobbler was in the ground - Amy Way was already dead.

Before her husband had been sent to his death, she had marched to the steps of the Old Bailey. 

She had cursed Justice Bostwick every day since her husband's condemnation. 

Amy Way had fervently vowed retribution upon the lawmen who had thrown her husband to the wolves.

Day and night she prayed for revenge.

"If ever it lies in my power ... I will work such displeasure to the lawman ... so help me God ..."

Now the lamentable hour had arrived.

The distraught woman climbed the steps of the Old Bailey.

"I am as good as dead!" Amy Way exclaimed loudly as a small crowd gathered around her.

Then the deranged woman acted quickly.

She took out a small knife from her pocket and slit her throat from ear to ear with it.

There was a gasp of horror among the throng and a woman screamed in horror.

Amy Way tumbled to the steps like an old rag doll. 

There was a sliver of a smile on her face as her body stopped jerking and she finally lay still.

The steps of the Old Bailey were covered in a river of blood. 

A priest rushed forward to check the woman's pulse and then crossed himself.

But Amy Way was already cold. 

"God have mercy on her soul!" The priest muttered.

The sky had darkened considerably and presently it began to rain heavily again.

It was 11p.m and Justice Bostwick was relaxing in his study with a glass of sherry. 

A log fire was burning and the lawmen was mentally recounting the days occurrences surrounded by his creature comforts.

Today had been a good day.

The wretched cobbler had met his death and his captious fishwife had joined him. 

A fine dinner and copious amounts of alcohol were taking their effect on Sir Edmund Bostwick. 

Everything was perfect in his Garden of Eden.

Except for one thing.

There was a serpent in the garden.

In the form of his wife.

Camelia Bostwick.

She was the shadow that blighted his life.

The thought of his wife instantly soured the lawman's mood.

Suddenly everything began flooding back.

The judge had retired to the study to escape his wife's incessant nagging.

They had had a particularly explosive argument earlier on in the evening.

But that was one bottle of claret and two bottles of whiskey ago.

Camelia Bostwick was obstreperous and demanding.

Nothing was ever good enough for her.

Sir Edmund Bostwick was a rather short and unprepossessing man.

He had greying brown hair, clear blue eyes and a fine curling moustache.

Bostwick was a charmer with an agile mind.

He had shown early promise and his barrister father confidently predicted that he would have a glittering career in law.

And he was right.

Bostwick rose quickly in the ranks.

And soon his family had arranged a marriage for him with the daughter of a Liberal MP.

Alpheus Townsend.

Highly regarded and a pillar of the community.

Camelia Townsend was counted a great catch.

And their marriage was regarded as the event of the social calender.

On marriage, the couple retired to a plush stately home in Chelsea as befit their status.

That was when the rot began to set in.

Camelia Bostwick was never a beauty.

She was short and rather portly and had a big bust.

Her hair was chestnut and her small eyes were grey.

But Cameilia Bostwick knew how to make the best of herself and was rarely seen out without a new bonnet or fine pair of leather gloves.

Her ornate dressing table was awash with exquisite jewelry and jars of cold cream and rose water.

Sir Edmund had awarded her with a fine trousseau of furs and elegant gowns.

He knew how to appease his shrewish wife.

Because the gifts were frequently peace offerings.

And she was greedy enough to be satisfied by a new trinket or gown.

Sir Edmund Bostwick had never loved his wife.

She had been chosen for him by his barrister father.

And by the time Bostwick realised he hated his wife it was already too late.

Nor had she set much store by him.

Camelia Bostwick had been bought up in Highgate surrounded by the exciting young sons of Liberal MP's.

Her husband was hardly in the same league.

Camelia was used to the privileged lifestyle and expected Justice Edmund Bostwick to keep her in the manner to which she was accustomed.

On the surface, Camelia Bostwick had it all.

But beneath the surface she was miserably married to a man she detested.

A weak man hiding behind his wig and gown.

And as time wore on,  Justice Edmund Bostwick became more and more wedded to the bottle.

Camilia was married to one of the leading lawmen in London.

But she was also married to all his weaknesses too.

He also had a penchant for young men which appalled the snobbish woman.

Camelia Bostwick had ceased demanding conjugal rights from her husband when it became clear that he was interested in more exotic practices.

Now Justice Bostwick cast his mind back to the events several hours before.

"If they could see you now!" Camelia Bostwick sneered venomously "The big lawman! Drunk as a skunk!"

She was standing in the doorway of the study with her hands on her hips.

Her face was contorted with rage.

"I should have listened to my mother!" The woman added angrily "She warned me that you were an empty vessel! And now I've had enough I tell you!"

"Be quiet woman!" Justice Bostwick retorted slurring his words "Shut your stupid mouth!"

Why did she have to ruin everything?

"Charming!" Camilia cried "Well I won't be carrying your cross any longer! You have blood on your hands and I won't watch you drink yourself to an early grave!"

The lawman rose unsteadily to his feet.

No amount of cold cream or rosewater could beautify his wife's plain face.

Or cover up her reptilian nature.

"Why do you have to spoil everything?" The judge shouted "You ungrateful harridan!"

"I'm leaving you tonight Edmund!" Camelia Bostwick informed him firmly "And I am going to tell the whole world what a drunk and a pervert you really are! You'll be finished!"

She headed purposefully for the stairwell.

"You aren't going anywhere!" The lawman raged as he followed up the stairs "You're staying here! You're not leaving this house!"

Camilia Bostwick threw back her head and laughed out loud.

"Over my dead body!" She hissed.

The judge squeezed his eyes tight shut as he tried to block out the images.

A good day had been spoiled by his caterwauling wife.

"She ruins everything!" He muttered bitterly.

He had taught her a lesson she would never forget.

The lawman grinned darkly.

He finished his sherry and presently he nodded off in his chair.

Justice Bostwick was awoken by a loud banging on the door.

It must have gone midnight.

And the lawmen felt a cold shiver run down his spine.

As if someone had just walked across his grave.

"Who can be calling at this ungodly hour?" Justice Edmund Bostwick muttered as he slowly rose from his chair.

He staggered out to the hall and opened the large front door.

A thick fog descended upon the City of London during the night.

The lawman's squinted into the gloom.

"Hello?" He cried "Is there anybody there?"

There was no answer.

Once in London (by NocturnalStigma
Gradually the fine mist cleared.

And Justice Bostwick froze to the spot.

He was suddenly gripped by such an overwhelming terror that the blood froze in his veins.

His eyes had widened with fright.

And his mouth had dropped open but no sound would come out.

Lawrence and Amy Way were standing on the steps of his stately home.

Frozen at the time of their deaths

He with his neck broken.

And she with an angry open gash across her throat.

They had been released to escort Justice Edmund Bostwick to hell.

"An eye for an eye!" Lawrence Way informed him drolly.

The lawman was shaking his head as he finally went insane.

"And may God have mercy on your soul!" Amy Way finished with a dark grin.

Suddenly Justice Bostwick lurched out of his sleep.

He was panting heavily and tiny beads of sweat had formed across his brow.

It was another nightmare.

A cold shiver ran down his spine.

This was not his study with its roaring fire and vast library.

This was not his large wooden bed but a hard pallet.

He was disorientated by his surroundings.

Sir Edmund Bostwick looked grimly around the dimly lit cell.

"You fell into a slumber, Sir!" A low voice informed him from the darkness.

The lawman squinted into the gloom.

Father Bartholomew stepped out of the shadows.

The chaplain smiled benevolently at the bewildered man.

"I must still be dreaming!" Justice Bostwick declared "Why am I here?"

"You murdered your wife, Sir!" Father Bartholomew replied "Don't you remember? On the day you had Lawrence Way hanged!"

The lawman began shaking his head as the chaplain grinned at him.

He must have blocked out his actions in shock.

Suddenly everything was falling into place.

Justice Edmund Bostwick was standing on the landing with his wife.

He was blocking his wife from entering their stylish bedroom.

"Let me through!" Camlia Bostwick demanded "Or I will scream this house down!"

"You are not getting past me!" The judge snarled "Come any closer and I swear I'll ..."

"You'll do what?" Camilia retorted as her eyes narrowed "You are too damn drunk to do anything! So get out of my way!"

She threw back her head and laughed out loud.

Her useless husband would soon be passed out on the bed snoring loudly.

"I married a spineless little man!" Camilia Bostwick exclaimed nastily.

Something suddenly snapped in the lawman.

Before he could think his hands were around her throat.

Justice Edmund Bostwick had been possessed by the demon Ahriman - the spirit of darkness, destruction and death.

The portly woman was choking and grasping at her husband's face as he tightened his grip.

"No Edmund! No!"

The lawman's face was red and distorted with rage.

His eyes were burning with dark fires.

Justice Bostwick was no longer human.

He was snarling at her like a rabid dog.

"You ruin everything!" Bostwick sneered "But not for much longer!"

They were moving closer and closer to the edge of the landing.

Camilia Bostwick was struggling in her husband's grasp as they edged ever closer to the banister.

She finally broke free from his grip but before she could flee, Justice Bostwick sent her tumbling over the banister with one rough shove.

Camilia Bostwick screamed with terror as she fell to her death.

There was a loud crash as her body hit the marble floor and her neck snapped.

Justice Edmund Bostwick looked down unemotionally from the landing.

He smiled darkly.

Camillia Bostwick was as dead as a door nail.

And he was free of her at last.

"Justice has been served!" The judge declared.

The demon Ahriman had departed.

"Let us pray!" Father Bartholomew advised the devastated lawman.

He had completely lost his reason.

But suddenly everything was coming back to him.

This was Newgate Gaol.

And this was the morning of his execution.

The bread and butter, eggs and tea were as he had left them.

And James Billington had already entered the room.

The hangman.

"You must make ready!" Billington informed Justice Bostwick.

The hangman was a handsome, thick set man with a moustache.

"Please!" Justice Bostwick pleaded with him "I need a little more time! The chaplain is with me and I need to pray for my soul!"

James Billington looked with bewilderment at the condemned man.

"The Ordinary is waiting outside your cell, Sir!" The hangman informed him.

"But Father Bartholomew is with me here!" Justice Bostwick protested.

"I do not mean to affright you Sir!" James Billington answered him "But Father Bartholomew is dead. Scarlet fever carried him off two years ago!"

The lawman turned slowly to look where the chaplain had been standing.

Father Bartholomew had now been joined by Lawrence and Amy Way.

Also standing beside them was Camilia Bostwick.

They were all frozen at the moment of their deaths.

Justice Edmund Bostwick began screaming as four spirits grinned back at him.

They had been released to escort him to hell.

The scales of justice had at last been balanced.

Mr Todd

I do like Mr Todd.

He's such a nice man.

Sweeney Todd they call him.

They say that he is the hardest working man you will ever come across.

From morning to dusk his barber shop on Fleet Street is open. 

The candle light is always flickering.

They say Mr Todd gives the finest cut. 

I heard he was helping Mrs Lovett with her pies.

You know what gossip is like.

But it's just like Mr Todd to help someone out.

And I do love Mrs Lovett's pies mind. 

I'd just as soon as eat my old man in a pie then believe the gossip that goes round London town.

That's another thing.

My old dad has just gone over to Mr Todd's barber shop for a nice close shave.

First time and all.

He'd better not come home steaming drunk again or my old mum will have his guts for garters. 

I do hope he brings home some of Mrs Lovett's pies.

I'm famished.

Brompton Cemetery, London (by okemani


Thursday, 1 May 2014

The Flowers Of Kenmare

Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land; 
When you can go no more hold me by the hand, 
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.

Remember by Christina Rossetti

Ooh, the thrill and the hurting 
Will never be mine. 
The thrill and the hurting 
It will never be mine. 
It can never be 
The thrill and the hurting 
Will never be mine.

Never Be Mine ~ by Kate Bush

Blessed are they that mourne: for they shall be comforted.

Matthew 5:4 (King James)

Opening Prayer (by hearthy

All The Flowers

Kilkenny, Ireland. 


Kilkenny was known as Ireland's Medieval Capital on account of it's rich cultural heritage and it was also referred to as the Marble City with regard to the black polished limestone that was quarried around the city.  

It was situated in the Nore Valley on both sides of the River Nore, at the centre of County Kilkenny in the province of Leinster in the south-west of Ireland. 

Kilkenny was one of the most popular tourist destinations in Ireland and was just seventy-five miles from Dublin.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Convent 

A beautiful old convent which stood on a hill outside town. 

It was shrouded by sheltering trees and exuded a profound air of serenity. 

A gravel path leading to the town wound through the convent's vast grounds.

Countless people used the path every day. 

The sight of nuns tending to the garden or walking single file through the convent's grounds was a familiar sight to the travellers.

People would often cross themselves as they observed the nuns in contemplation and men would politely doth their caps.  

Sometimes people would discreetly entreat the nuns to remember them in their prayers. 

Oftentimes people would use the path simply to admire the beauty of the garden.

And to bask in its peace.

All the nuns were allotted a task in the maintenance of the garden.

And one of the older nuns had the special duty of tending to the roses.

She was particularly diligent in her task - tenderly caring for each rose as if it were her child. 

The older nun knew each rose by name and she cherished their captivating fragrance.

She reveled in the splendour of the garden. 

Her name was Sister Cynthia.

And she had been so long at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Convent that she could no longer remember the year she had arrived. 

Sister Cynthia had a sweet face and bright black eyes which danced whenever she smiled. 

She was delicate and petite.

Her small hands were worn from years of washing, scrubbing and tending to the garden. 

Sister Cynthia had a compassionate heart and she was never happier than when she was mending and sewing shirts and smocks for the poor. 

Or caring for the destitute young women who were taken in by Our Lady of Perpetual Help Convent.

She willingly took all the novice nuns under her wing and became a surrogate mother to them. 

Sister Cynthia always had a kind word or a pearl of wisdom to impart to those who were suffering.

Her intense maternal instincts and heightened intuition found their outlet in caring for those who were lost or crushed in spirit. 

The older nun was the anchor of peace that they so sorely needed. 

Ireland Countryside (by ladyashley
Sister Cynthia had lost track time at the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Convent.

Time had become obsolete.

Days had turned into months.

And months had turned into years. 

The lives of the nuns at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Convenwere governed by ritual and the cycle of the seasons. 

Their days were as governed by their devotions as they were by the natural order of things.

They led a life that was simple and unencumbered.

The nuns of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Convent had left the noise of the world far behind.

To embrace a life of solitude and contemplation.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Convent was their haven.

And a refuge for the daughters of impoverished families who were taken in by the convent.

Sister Cynthia took a particular joy in caring for these young girls 

She had not been much older than them when she had first arrived at the convent.

Sister Cynthia was little more than a teenager when she was accepted into the order.

In the blink of an eye her life had passed by. 

And suddenly she was older.

Suddenly she felt the cold when the east wind blew.

And her frail body ached from years of exertion. 

Her thick black hair was now white. 

And her lovely face was gently lined.

But time had not dimmed her spirit.

The nun took great joy in observing the life around her. 

Sister Cynthia loved to observe the countless people who walked through the convent's grounds every day on their way to town.

It was her little conceit.

And she always knelt in the same spot by the window in the large chapel - so that she could look out upon the travellers who passed fleetingly through her world. 

Sister Cynthia often pondered on these travellers.

And on the hand that had been dealt them. 

It was 9 am. 

Terce - the third of the seven canonical hours.

Sun light streamed in through the large convent windows upon rows of nuns keeling in supplication.

Sister Cynthia was at her usual place in the beautiful old chapel.

She was but one in row upon row of prostrate nuns in prayer that morning.

A peaceful hush had descended upon the chapel.

The only sound was the sound of voices chanting in prayer.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Convent was ancient and elegant.

It was a spartan yet homely sanctuary.

And the old chapel transuded tranquillity.

The white walls of the chapel were hung with religious iconography.

Beautiful images of Jesus and his mother.

Finely crafted statues of the holy family and the saints.

Above the beautiful altar hung a large crucifix.

It was the focal point of all those in prayer and contemplation.

Christ looked down benevolently upon the women who had given up their lives to be his bride.

The floor was cold and hard.

But Sister Cynthia and the other nuns no longer felt it.

The intoxicating aroma of countless flowers wafted in from the garden and filled the chapel.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Convent basked in the glow of countless prayers and good deeds and of the fragrances of a myriad flowers that flourished in it's exquisite garden.  

The sound of people walking through the grounds of the convent as they made their way to town could be heard from the chapel's open windows.

Sister Cynthia's ears were attentive to the cries outside.

And on the souls who passed by.

The nuns of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Convent were called to give religious instruction and spiritual guidance to the community of Kilkenny.

They left the cloistered peace of the convent and re-entered the noise of the world outside.

They were like butterflies leaving a cocoon.

Sister Cynthia was often among them.

She was chosen on account of her gentle and compassionate nature. 

The older nun frequently became a surrogate mother to the schoolgirls who looked to her for comfort and direction.

Sister Cynthia took her calling to heart and she gave freely to those who asked her and prayed earnestly for all the girls in her charge.

She was particularly attentive to the motherless among them.

The schoolgirls in turn regarded Sister Cynthia with affection.

The older nun believed it was her duty to guide the young in the ways of peace.

She charged them to learn by her example and to take heart the teachings of Jesus Christ and of St Francis of Assisi.

Sister Cynthia sincerely believed that she had been called to heal those whose hearts had been broken.

Just as her own heart had been broken.

Time had not dimmed the remembrance.

Kneeling in the quiet of the chapel - Sister Cynthia remembered.

St Martha's Convent School on a crisp Autumn day.

A young girl sitting at the front of the class listening intently to every word Sister Cynthia said.

A quiet little schoolgirl with sparkling black eyes and raven hair tied in a bun.

A face full of innocence.

She was looking up at Sister Cynthia with large trusting eyes.

And hanging onto every word she said.

Suddenly Sister Cynthia was looking at herself as in a mirror.

And Sister Cynthia was overcome with love for her.

Suddenly the older nun felt an overwhelming urge to save the little girl.

To shield her from the jealous eyes of the world.

And to protect her from harm.

For a few moments Sister Cynthia pondered the destiny of the young girl.

And what was written for her in the Book of Life.

Once upon a time Sister Cynthia had been a young girl too.

A simple Irish girl waiting for life to begin.

A girl named Erinn O'Neil.

Her face had not always been lined.

Or her hands so calloused.

Her back wasn't always bent from years of exertion.

Nor had it always ached so.

Once upon a time Sister Cynthia had been a vibrant young girl who put flowers in her hair.

A beautiful girl with long raven hair, onyx black eyes and porcelain skin.

Once upon a time she had danced at recitals and written poetry.

She had dreamt of marrying a fine man and being a mother.

And little Erinn O'Neil had given thanks in the grand Holy Cross Church for the happy life she had led.

Once upon a time she had been the beloved daughter of Carrick and Cathleen O'Neil.

A devout little family who ran The Ring of Kerry guest house in Kenmare.

Who lived in a comely little townhouse beside it and who were well regarded by the community.

Erinn O'Neil had been the apple of her father's eye.

And her mother's delight.

Her parents doted upon her.

And cherished her.

It was 1932 again.

As vivid as if it were yesterday.

And Sister Cynthia was back in the comfortable townhouse she shared with her parents.

Her heart leapt as she remembered everything as it was.

Even to the painting of Jesus with his exposed heart above the stairs.

The older nun could smell her mother's cooking and hear her fathers laughter.


Every Friday evening, Carrick O'Neil took out his big collection of jazz records and danced with his beautiful daughter.

The couple jitterbugged to Benny Goodman and Glen Miller as Cathleen O'Neil watched adoringly and clapped with appreciation.

Eventually Cathleen joined them and they all danced with joy.

Those were happy memories.

Carrick O'Neil was a tall and well built man.

He was handsome and distinguished looking with sleek black hair and clear blue eyes.

O'Neil was a man of few words but when he did speak he did so meaningfully.

Fade's Sanctuary (by hearthy
Cathleen O'Neil was petite and pretty.

She had auburn hair and bright hazel eyes.

Cathleen O'Neil was lively and engaging.

The Ring of Kerry guesthouse frequently rang with the sound of her delighted laughter.

She was the heart of the family.

But little Erinn was the jewel in the crown.

From the very beginning the child had revealed a compassionate heart.

At the age of eight she bought in a stray tabby cat that she found mewing outside the front door.

Erinn named the creature Cleary and lavished affection upon it.

The cat in turn became devoted to the little girl.

The O'Neil's had longed for a large family.

But Cathleen O'Neil had struggled to conceive.

Years past and the couple had all but given up hope.

Carrick O'Neil vowed that if ever God granted them a child that he would dedicate that life to Him.

When Cathleen fell pregnant it seemed like a direct answer to prayer.

A miracle had occurred.

The arrival of a bonny baby girl had made the O'Neil household complete.

And from the very beginning the child was special.

Little Erinn O'Neil was a bright and immensely giving child.

She was a comfort and a balm.

A knowing child - prudent beyond her years.

Cathleen O'Neil earnestly believed that her daughter had been touched by the hand of the Virgin.

She was an exceptional child and she and her husband were loathe to let her out of their sight in the early days.

Only with great difficulty would they allow her schooling.

And the first break in their fierce bond had been made.

Erinn O'Neil was eighteen years old now.

No longer a little girl but a young woman.

The most beautiful flower in all of Kenmare was blossoming.

Erinn O'Neil carried herself like a fine young lady and her genteel manners bought admiration from all quarters.

Others were beginning to notice her Celtic beauty and charm.

And numerous people were already secretly enamoured with her.

Her lovely ways and sweet voice had captured many a heart.

But Erinn O'Neil only had eyes for one lad.

Davin Flynn.

He was a farmers boy and the two had met some months before when he had accompanied his father on a delivery of eggs and poultry to the guest house.

His father Donul Flynn was a familiar face to the O'Neil's.

He regularly delivered eggs and poultry to the guesthouse.

But the boy had never accompanied his father before.

And he made quite an impression.

Davin Flynn was a vigorous nineteen year old.

He was tall and good looking with red gold hair and bright green eyes.

Flynn had a sunny disposition and a ready laugh.

He was full of Irish charm and his brilliant personality seemed to fill every room.

And from the first moment he noticed Carrick O'Neil's gentle daughter Davin Flynn knew he was truly in love for the first time in his life.

He had never seen anyone like her before.

She had such a comforting presence.

Erinn O'Neil was dressed in a silk chiffon floral print dress and her long black hair cascaded over her shoulders.

There was such a serene aura surrounding her.

Her face was pure and her doe eyes were large and innocent.

Erinn O'Neil had led a sheltered life and she had never been far from her mother's side.

She had barely even to spoken to a boy.

Davin Flynn gazed transfixed as the gentle daughter of Carrick O'Neil delicately folded napkins.

Goodness seemed to shine in her sweet face.

"You must be an angel!" Davin Flynn declared.

Erinn O'Neil looked up at the boy.

And his heart stopped.

Then she smiled.

Some Sort of Paradise (by hearthy
And it was the most beautiful smile Davin Flynn had ever seen.

She was an angel.

"Aye!" Flynn cried "I made you smile!"

Erinn O'Neil blushed brightly and lowered her eyes.

The curious boy was still gazing intently at her.

Her face was as soft and pure as the face of the mother of Jesus in the painting that hung above the little shrine in the farmhouse.

"Your father will be looking for you" Erinn O'Neil said.

Those were the first words she had ever spoken to him.

"I'll be seeing you!" Davin Flynn declared as he bounded out.

Still unable to take his eyes off her.

By the end of the day Davin Flynn was vowing to return as quickly as possible to The Ring of Kerry guesthouse.

The captivating daughter of Carrick O'Neil was suddenly as vital to his existence as the air he breathed.

Erinn O'Neil retired that day with the hope that she would once again see the handsome boy who had been so charming.

And she did not have to wait long.

He was back within three days.

Davin Flynn was cycling to the guest house with food supplies in the sure and certain hope that he would see Carrick O'Neil's daughter.

The young boy was given a warm welcome by Cathleen O'Neil who was already quite taken with him.

But the object of his affection was quietly serving guests their lunch in the elegant dining room and Davin Flynn watched her with silent admiration.

Erinn O'Neil's joy was evident when she looked up to see the appealing boy who had addressed her so charmingly just a couple of days before.

He had returned.

Erinn O'Neil smiled brightly.

Davin Flynn waited patiently for Carrick O'Neil's daughter.

She came out to him and he suddenly pulled out a small daisy from his coat pocket and placed it in the palm of her small hand.

Erinn O'Neil was deeply touched by the gesture.

"How pretty it is!" She cried as she held the flower in her hand.

"You should always have flowers!" Davin Flynn declared.

And she knew he meant it.

Erinn O'Neil was the most beautiful flower of all.

"Thank you" she replied.

"My name is Davin!" The boy informed her "Davin Flynn!"

"And I am Erinn!" She replied "Erinn O'Neil!"

They smiled shyly at each other.

The flower of love was growing between them.

Carrick and Cathleen O'Neil quietly observed the young couple.

Something was passing between Davin Flynn and their daughter.

They could feel it.

Carrick O'Neil was fiercely protective of his daughter.

"You've got to let her go!" Cathleen O'Neil gently urged her husband "She's no longer a child. She's a young woman now"

And the imposing man had to concede that his wife was right.

He nodded silently.

"She has to find her own path" Cathleen added as she put a reassuring hand on his shoulder.

He could not deny that his daughter was glowing and that Donul Flynn's son was making her happy.

But Carrick O'Neil was unsettled.

Erinn O'Neil stole away to the magnificent old Holy Cross Church of Kenmare at the end of the day.

She lit a candle and said a prayer for herself and her loved ones.

Then she added a little prayer for Davin Flynn.

Erinn O'Neil looked up at the image of the mother of Jesus above her.

The Virgin looked down at her with large compassionate eyes.

She was the flower of Nazareth.

The most beautiful flower of all.

"Thank you Mother" Erinn O'Neil whispered.

The young Irish girl was like a sweet damask rose about to blossom.

She was emerging into a brave new world.

In the early days of the courtship,  Erinn's cousin Grace often accompanied the young couple.

Grace was a pretty eighteen year old with abundant auburn hair and grey eyes.

She was studying to be a nurse and was already engaged to a local boy named Patrick McLachlan and she was deemed sensible and level-headed enough to accompany the couple.

Occasionally Davin Flynn's best friend would take them all for a spin in his car.

Marty Shannon was nineteen and a likely lad.

He was tall and good looking with wavy brown hair and clear blue eyes.

Marty Shannon had known Davin Flynn since he was a toddler and he was always up for a joke and a jape.

The two boys had often talked about trying their luck in Australia.

But life had changed since Flynn had met Carrick O'Neil's daughter.

Erinn O'Neil was the perfect Irish woman.

Davin Flynn had hit the jackpot.

Kenmare was a picturesque town in the South West of Ireland which linked the Ring of Kerry with the Ring of Beara.

Often Davin Flynn and Erinn O'Neil would take a trip to Kenmare Bay with Grace in tow and walk by the coast.

Erinn loved nothing more than to be by the sea just at sunset and Davin was only too happy to oblige.

Tradition was an important part of 1930's Ireland.

And a young girl could pay a heavy price for losing her good name.

Girls who had children out of wedlock or were engaging in illicit sex or were in the wrong place at the wrong time could find themselves in a Magdalene laundry or an asylum.

The first institution had been founded in Dublin in 1765 by Lady Arabella Denny and it's purpose had been to rehabilitate "fallen women".

But in reality the women were stripped of their rights,  locked away and forced to do menial tasks.

Women were frequently physically, emotionally and psychologically abused in these institutions and many of them never saw their families again.

Those who did emerge were emotionally crippled for life.

Such could be the fate of a young woman who strayed from the path.

Erinn O'Neil was acutely aware of her place in society.

And she wanted to make her father and mother proud of her.

Carrick O'Neil liked the Flynn family.

And he began meeting the patriarch of the family at The Horseshoe public house for a drink.

Donal Flynn had bought up his son and two daughters alone following the early death of his wife Christa.

He had valiantly chosen not to remarry.

Donul Flynn was a good man by all accounts.

He was short and stocky with brown hair and hazel eyes.

Like Carrick O'Neil, he was a man of few words.

But his word was his bond.

Donul Flynn's two daughters had become surrogate sisters to Erinn O'Neil.

Shona was eighteen and Claire was sixteen.

They both had the same red gold hair as their brother and they were pretty girls with bright blue eyes and cheerful dispositions.

Times were hard for the family following the death of Christa O'Neil from pneumonia.

But they had done well and Apple Tree Farm had become an important part of the community.

Carrick O'Neil admired the way in which Donal Flynn had bought up his children.

He was also impressed at how hard Davin O'Neil worked and how devoted he was to his father and his sisters.

The young lad had a kindly disposition.

But Carrick O'Neil was distrustful of him.

Davin Flynn was a wild card.

He was passionate and reckless.

Once upon a time Carrick O'Neil had been a boy with big dreams.

But he had settled for his lot.

Something told O'Neil that this young man was unlikely to be so accommodating.

And this secretly troubled him.

It soon became evident to everyone that Davin Flynn and Erinn O'Neil had promised themselves to each other.

Grace accompanied the couple less now as Flynn's intentions towards Erinn became clear.

And presently the young couple became inseparable.

They were inhabiting a golden world.

And daily Erinn O'Neil would wait at the top of the lane for her man to appear.

Her heart would skip a beat every time Davin Flynn appeared on his bike riding briskly towards her with a smile on his face.

piccolo3 (by stormygnu
He was like Sir Lancelot.

Her knight in shining armour.

And Erinn O'Neil would steal away to the majestic Holy Cross Church to say a little prayer of thanksgiving to the Virgin for her family and the life she had been given.

Above all she would give thanks to the mother of Jesus for Davin Flynn.

He was her world.

The handsome young farm boy who filled every room with his vibrant personality.

Silently vowing with all his youthful vigour that he would one day make the beautiful daughter of Carrick O'Neil his bride.

And Erinn O'Neil prayed daily that her happy life with Davin Flynn would never end.

But the life they led in Kenmare was a life that Davin Flynn was all too eager to depart.

The couple were standing on the beach at Kenmare Bay one afternoon.

They were both looking out to sea and Davin Flynn had a faraway look in his intense green eyes.

"Don't you ever wish you were someplace else?" He asked finally.

"No!" Erinn O'Neil replied in bewilderment "This is my home!"

"But there is a is so much more to life than this!" Davin Flynn exclaimed.

His eyes were glittering like two emeralds.

"I couldn't wish for anything more" Erinn O'Neil replied "You are my world!"

But Davin Flynn was bored with life in Kenmare.

He hated his father's farm.

And he was eager to explore life beyond his narrow horizons.

He felt suffocated.

And he couldn't breathe.

Erinn O'Neil could sense the conflict in her intended.

But she earnestly believed that everything would change once they were married and settled.

This was her dream.

To marry Davin Flynn.

And to have his babies.

Sister Cynthia opened her eyes.

The nuns were still at prayer.

And the beautiful old chapel was filled with an unearthly peace.

Suddenly she heard delighted laughter.

Her laughter.

Erinn O'Neil was dressed in a pink two-piece V-neck cardigan, simple white blouse and button-down red wrap skirt.

She was running through the woods as her thick raven hair tumbled behind her.

Her carefree laughter seemed to ring through the tall trees.

Davin Flynn was laughing too as he chased her.

They fell together into a bed of red and gold leaves.

It was a bright Autumn day and the entire wood appeared to be illuminated.

Erinn and Davin inhabited a magical world.

And everything felt brand new.

Erinn O'Neil lay in Davin Flynn's arms beneath an old oak tree.

He looked down at his lady love.

"I promise to be true to you!" He declared.

Tears filled the young girl's black eyes as she looked up at the boy she loved.

Then he leaned in close and kissed her tenderly on the mouth.

It was their first time.

Erinn O'Neil had never been kissed by a lad before.

It sealed their love.

"I want to stay like this forever!" Erinn O'Neil declared as she lay in Davin Flynn's arms beneath the old oak tree.

But he did not answer her.

Sister Cynthia looked up at the painting of the Virgin Mary.

She was holding the baby Jesus.

There was love and understanding in her large eyes.

The mother of Jesus knew.

Erinn O'Neil was kneeling before the altar in the splendid Holy Cross Church.

She was at her prayers.

Erinn often wept at her devotions.

Davin Flynn was quietly observing her from the church door.

He removed his cap respectfully.

The sight of his intended at prayer had moved him deeply.

Davin Flynn watched as Erinn O'Neil gently wiped away her tears with a handkerchief and slowly rose to her feet.

She crossed herself and when she turned round her captivating face was shining with an inner glow.

As if lit from within.

Davin Flynn suddenly felt like his heart would burst.

Rose (by flyxer15
Erinn O'Neil was no mere mortal.

She was an angel.

And the young farm boy was transfixed.

Erinn smiled warmly when she noticed Davin Flynn standing in the church doorway.

"Come inside!" She beckoned to him.

"Why were you weeping?" Davin Flynn asked her with concern.

"Because I am so happy!" Erinn O'Neil answered him.

As she stood among the flickering candles she seemed ethereal.

"You truly belong here!" Davin Flynn pronounced.

Erinn O'Neil was too good for this world.

"You are my little nun!" He added affectionately.

"I want to be your wife!" Erinn O'Neil declared passionately "I want to spend the rest of my days with you. And when this life is over I want to lie beside you in the ground!"

The young man took her hands in his and kissed them.

"I don't know what I have done to deserve you Erinn O'Neil!" Davin Flynn cried.

The couple looked deeply into each others in the quiet hush of the beautiful old church.

Sister Cynthia smiled at the remembrance.

To have Davin Flynn was to own the entire world.

In the quiet of her heart Sister Cynthia pondered on the life she might have led.

And her dreams were oftentimes filled with bitter sweet memories.

Countless candles were flickering around the older nun in the chapel.

They comforted her.

And suddenly she was transported back.

Davin Flynn observed Erinn O'Neil as she quietly prayed.

He was standing beside her during mass in the beautiful old church.

Flynn had never met such a devout soul before.

She made everything beautiful.

"You are my little nun!" Davin Flynn said fondly as he gently nudged her with his elbow.

"Young love!" Cathleen O'Neil sighed as she observed the couple.

"But will Davin Flynn be true to our Erinn?" Carrick O'Neil replied.

Something in the reckless and impetuous youth troubled him.

Cathleen O'Neil took her husband's hand and squeezed it tightly.

"Remember when we were like them?" She asked him wistfully "It only seems like yesterday! Let them find their own way Carrick!"

Her husband nodded silently.

But perhaps he had a feeling for the future.

Carrick O'Neil watched as his sweet daughter looked up at her intended with a glowing face.

The look of love.

O'Neil was already anticipating the future.

And only with great reluctance would he give her away.

It was only yesterday that his only daughter had been a toddler.

And suddenly she was a young woman who walked and talked with a grace that Carrick O'Neil had never known before.

"I'm all grown up now, father!" Erinn O'Neil declared as she walked beside her father at Kenmare Bay.

He stopped and cupped her beautiful face in his hands.

"Does Davin Flynn make you happy?" Carrick O'Neil asked his daughter earnestly.

"Aye he does!" She replied with emotion "He makes me the happiest woman alive!"

There was no more need for debate.

Carrick O'Neil embraced his daughter as the waves lapped against the shore.

Sister Cynthia sighed sadly.

Terce would soon be done. 

And Sister Cynthia would quietly resume her duties once more.

But there were so many memories. 

It was the eve of Erinn O'Neil's nineteenth birthday.

She was dressed in a green Floral Tea Dress which was nipped in at the waist.

Her thick raven hair fell in waves over her shoulders and she wore a small gold pendant that had belonged to her grandmother. 

Erinn and Davin Flynn were standing in the living room of the O'Neil's elegant townhouse. 

Flynn was wearing a fetching new tweed jacket and tweed cap. 

And it was a moment of great portent.

The handsome young man took Erinn O'Neil's small left hand in his as he knelt before her.

His bright green eyes were glittering like two emeralds.

"Erinn O'Neil!" Davin Flynn declared sincerely "Would you do me the great honour of consenting to be my wife?"

For several moments the young girl was unable to respond.

Time had stopped.

The sun had risen in her heart and everything had been illuminated by love.

"I will!" Erinn O'Neil cried as she burst into tears.

"I will! I will! I will!"

Then Davin Flynn gently placed a gold ring on the ring finger of her delicate left hand.

Cathleen O'Neil watched silently from the partially open door. 

Wiping away her tears with a hand. 

Her captivating daughter had met her Prince. 

The scent of a myriad flowers were wafting through the chapel's open window.

And Sister Cynthia paused to breathe in the exquisite aroma. 

Remembering how she put a red rose in her black hair and waved to Davin Flynn from her window as he rode away on his bike. 

Those were halcyon days.

Passing in a haze of joyous anticipation and high expectation.

Nothing seemed amiss. 

Sister Cynthia remembered the glorious engagement party in the old church hall. 

It seemed that most of Kenmare had turned out to see a son and daughter of theirs make a pledge to each other.

Carrick O'Neil wept with emotion as he watched his daughter dance with her intended in the centre of the floor as the traditional Irish band played on. 

Erinn was dressed in a white satin dress and her thick black hair was interlaced with white flowers. 

She was a vision of purity and innocence.

An angel of mercy.

And Carrick O'Neil felt a tug of pain as he watched his daughter give herself away.

The whole world seemed to be swept up on a tidal wave of love as Davin Flynn swore by all the saints that he would be true to Erinn O'Neil.

"You have made me the happiest boy in the world!" Flynn declared.

"And you have made me the happiest girl!" Erinn O'Neil replied.

Several cheers rose among the throng. 

The bond of love had been sealed. 

Sister Cynthia remained on the cold hard floor as the nuns quietly departed the chapel. 

She was immersed in her own thoughts. 

Bitter sweet memories. 

It was the eve of the wedding.

The dream was coming true.

And everything was beautiful.

Everything was brand new. 

Erinn O'Neil met her intended by the coast.

He was staring pensively into the near distance and throwing pebbles out at the sea. 

Erinn could tell that Davin Flynn was brooding.

His bright green eyes were glittering hard and his brow was furrowed. 

She smiled warmly at him.

And for a moment everything was forgotten. 

To see her smile was to forget everything.

Erinn O'Neil had the power to calm any storm.

But a stark reality was snapping at Davin Flynn's heels.

He hated life in Kenmare. 

"Don't you ever want to leave this godforsaken place?" Davin Flynn exclaimed vehemently. 

The reality of inheriting his father's farm was weighing heavily on him. 

He did not want to follow the path that had been prepared for him.

He did not want to spend the rest of his life living by the turn of the seasons, tending to livestock and tilling the soil. 

Davin Flynn no longer desired to live by the sweat of his brow.

He believed that there was a world of opportunity waiting to be discovered. 

Everyday Flynn became more and more restless.

Everyday he cursed the unchanging landscape of his life and the inevitability of it all. 

"Oh no!" Erinn O'Neil declared "I want to stay like this forever!"

"But there is a big world outside your window! Davin Flynn interjected "Don't you ever want to explore it?"

"But I am happy here!" She replied. 

Davin Flynn smiled.

Sweet and innocent Erinn O'Neil.

She was a simple Irish girl.

Content to be by his side. 

"You are too good for me!" Davin Flynn replied. 

But he was not smiling anymore. 

Sister Cynthia was distracted from her reverie.

From the open window she could hear the excited chatter of a gaggle of schoolgirls as they passed beneath.

Bells of serenity (by hearthy
Slowly the older nun rose to her feet and made her way to the window and looked out.

A group of young girls were walking through the convent gardens and talking animatedly to each other. 

They frequently broke into gales of laughter. 

For a moment Sister Cynthia recognised a little girl walking among them.

She knew her well.

She recognised the humility in her demeanour.  

There was a red rose in her long raven hair and she was walking quietly beside the others. 

Sister Cynthia was sure that the young girl looked up at her and smiled before disappearing. 

The older nun sighed sadly.

Then she slowly made her way back to where she had been kneeling. 

Sister Cynthia looked up at the large crucifix on the chapel wall above the altar. 

"By his stripes we are healed!" The older nun whispered. 

And Sister Cynthia remembered once more the journey that had bought her to the convent. 

The highly anticipated morning of the wedding had arrived. 

It was the happiest day of Erinn O'Neil's life.

And the culmination of all her hopes and dreams.

It seemed that much of Kenmare were attending the marriage of Carrick O'Neil's daughter to Davin Flynn.

Light streamed in from the ornate chancel window illuminating the majestic church.

The entire Holy Cross Church had been bedecked in flowers.

The intoxicating fragrance of countless roses, carnations and posies filled the air.

Innumerable wedding guests in all their finery were sitting in the pews. 

They were too mortified to utter a word. 

All signs of joyous celebration evaporated.

The grand old church was deathly silent save for the muffled sound of sobbing.

It was like a chapel of rest. 

There was only a palpable sense of desolation in the Holy Cross Church that momentous Spring day. 

The living had lost track of time.

It seemed as if the world was no longer spinning.

And all the clocks had stopped. 

It should have been the happiest day of Erinn O'Neil's life. 

But all signs of gaiety had fled.

The bride-to-be was standing alone at the altar. 

And there was an empty space beside her where Davin Flynn should have been standing.

Erinn O'Neil was wearing an ivory silk satin bias cut gown.

Her thick raven hair was piled high and a fine tulle veil flowed over her shoulders like a gentle waterfall.

Erinn O'Neil was the most beautiful flower in all of Kenmare.

But tears were streaming down her cheeks.

And her sweet face was a mask of despair and desolation.

She refused to be comforted.

Father Flanagan was attempting to pacify Carrick O'Neil. 

But the imposing man was inconsolable. 

His rage eventually dissolved into a flood of harsh sobs.

As the aged priest put a comforting arm around him. 

Carrick O'Neil's worst fears had been confirmed.

The writing had already been written on the wall.

His beautiful daughter had been abandoned. 

Donal Flynn sat in his pew with his head buried in his hands. 

His sons behaviour was incomprehensible to him.

And Flynn prayed that the ground would open up and swallow him alive.

Marty Shannon quietly shook his head as he struggled to comprehend what was happening around him. 

The wedding rings were still in his pocket. 

The best man had been left bewildered by the actions of Davin Flynn as he stood beside the shattered bride-to-be at the altar. 

A bride had lost a husband and a best man had lost his best friend.

Grace was weeping in the arms of her intended Patrick McLachlan.

She had witnessed the love between Erinn and Davin Flynn and could never have foreseen this tragic turn of events.

Shona and Claire Flynn were standing by the church doors in their pretty pink satin gowns. 

They were both sobbing loudly as they held each others hand.

Their childhood had abruptly ended.

The halcyon days were over.

A sudden gust of wind blew in a spray of apple blossoms.

But still the lost bridegroom did not appear. 

Outside the Holy Cross Church, Cathleen O'Neil frantically searched for Davin Flynn.  

She called out his name as she ran down the lane in her blue satin chiffon gown.

Concerned people had come out to join her.

It had begun to rain now but the mother of the bride-to-be would not be deterred from her mission. 

Someone flung their coat over Cathleen's shoulders as the group of searchers steadily grew as they scoured the surrounding area.

But there was no sign of Davin Flynn. 

And only with considerable reluctance would Cathleen O'Neil give up her hunt and concede defeat.

But she would wonder about the handsome young lad for the rest of her days. 

In all the drama,  nobody had noticed a small note fluttering in the wind beneath the windscreen wiper of the bridal car. 

A little note that had quietly been placed there.

I'm sorry Erinn.
I don't deserve you.
You are too good for me
Live your life and be happy.

Erinn O'Neil never saw Davin Flynn again.

He had already left Ireland for distant shores.

As the days turned to weeks and the weeks turned to months it became clear that Davin Flynn was not going to return.

The road was to be a hard one for Erinn O'Neil. 

After her abandonment the world seemed a different place. 

It always seemed to rain now.

Nobody knew what had happened to Davin Flynn. 

Not even Marty Shannon. 

Davin Flynn's treachery had torn the O'Neil household apart

Presently Donul Flynn sold Apple Tree Farm and moved to Limerick with his two daughters.

And he and his family were never mentioned in the O'Neil house again. 

Erinn O'Neil valiantly chose not to wait for Davin Flynn.

And this sent ripples of alarm throughout the community of Kenmare.

But the young woman had chosen to answer a higher calling.

Erinn was aware that people were lamenting her fate and the wrong done to her by Davin Flynn.

People stared at her as they passed her in the street. 

Their eyes followed her where ever she went.

Erinn O'Neil had become an example to all young girls of what might happen to them if they became involved with a "wrong 'un".

The young woman's good name had been tarnished by Davin Flynn's betrayal.

Now when local guests stayed at The Ring of Kerry guesthouse they addressed her with regret. 

And their boys no longer asked for her. 

In the months after her abandonment by Davin Flynn,  Erinn O'Neil  had sought solace in her faith.

She had spent more and more time at her devotions and in contemplation. 

The beautiful Holy Cross Church had become her refuge.

Kilkenny (by Yassser84
And now Erinn O'Neil had chosen to quietly pull the veil across the world outside.

The chapel was empty now.

Sister Cynthia was alone once more.

The sound of the youthful passersby had faded into the distance. 

A few of the candles had burnt out. 

And bitter sweet memories were flooding back.

Now Erinn O'Neil was standing purposefully on the railway platform with her suitcase.

She felt as if she had already lived an entire lifetime. 

She was twenty years old. 

No longer a child.

Suffering had made her wise.

Erinn was dressed in a dark blue woollen coat and her thick raven hair was hidden beneath a little cap. 

She looked small and wan against the animated commuters and their loved ones. 

It would be the last time that she would be remembered as Erinn O'Neil.  

The small family gazed at one another for the longest time.

Too overcome to think or speak. 

The most beautiful flower in all of Kenmare had finally blossomed.

But her beauty would forever be hidden from the rude stare of the world now.

Erinn O'Neil had been transformed by her experiences. 

And she would never be the same again. 

"God go with you!" Cathleen O'Neil cried as she embraced her daughter.

The child she believed she would never have. 

The little girl who had rarely left her side.

And was all grown up now.

And leaving her forever. 

Tears were streaming down Carrick O'Neil's cheeks as he tenderly kissed his daughter on the forehead. 

Twenty years before he had vowed to dedicate his child to God.

And now God had come to claim one of His own. 

As if it was always meant to be. 

Carrick O'Neil had one consolation.

No man would ever be able to hurt his daughter again. 

"Goodbye mommy" Erinn O'Neil said in her small sweet voice "goodbye daddy"

She would never address her parents this way again.

There was nothing left to say.

And there was no time left. 

Carrick and Cathleen O'Neil thought their hearts would break as they watched their only daughter walk towards the train bound for Kilkenny.

Just before she boarded it,  Erinn O'Neil turned to her parents one last time.

Then she smiled.

Before disappearing into the train. 

Carrick O'Neil would remember this moment for the rest of his life. 

He would forever be haunted by the image of his beautiful daughter in those last moments as she once was. 

Erinn O'Neil was to be reborn again.

As Sister Cynthia.

And it was as a nun of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Convent that her parents would address her. 

Her life had passed as a whisper.

She had found lasting peace in the sanctuary of the convent. 

She would never have the experience of lying with a man.

And she would never know how it felt to hold her own child in her arms. 

But in giving up the ways of the world Sister Cynthia had found a rich inner world in the shelter of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Convent.

And a life of serenity.

But she would wonder about Davin Flynn for the rest of her days. 

Sister Cynthia remained in the quiet of the chapel a little longer. 

She said a little prayer of thanksgiving for the happy life she had led at the convent and she prayed for the souls of her parents. 

Then she crossed herself and slowly rose from the cold hard floor.

A small blackbird had started singing outside the window.

Sister Cynthia smiled.

But there were tears in her eyes. 

Old Convent Window (by dyannac