excerpt from 'The Golden Sovereign' pp. 27–28 (323 words)

excerpt from 'The Golden Sovereign' pp. 27–28 (323 words)

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The Golden Sovereign

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I entered the house one evening, carrying my books loose, to hear music.  Jack looked round as I opened the drawing-room door (he would never sit in a room with the door open), nodded severely, and continued with the Mozart sonata which was sparkling out from the refreshed strings of the German instrument.  There was nothing defiant, enquiring, or challenging in his nod.  It was absolute.  “This is reality, the continuum” it said…

I held up my books, knowing better than to interrupt the flood of formal gaiety with its under-current of melancholy, an element which Jack always contrived to pronounce wherever it was latent in music.  A gleam of sardonic amusement lit his eye, and he nodded again.  I felt a glow of warmth, the pleasure of being understood.  It was the first time I had felt really warm since time stopped, the Saturday before …

The music was delicious again.  It perfumed our death-tainted home.  But it also emphasised the emptiness.  I put down the books, retreated to the kitchen, and began to prepare tea, methodically filling the kettle, lighting the gas-stove, laying two cups and saucers, noticing the hollow tick of the Swiss clock on the mantelpiece over the heavy cooking-range.  The music followed me, cool yet impetuous, refusing to be excluded from my sorrow.  The clock ticked out the increasing distance from the shore of my childhood and its premature burden.

I stood listening both ways, my hearing doubly acute.  The blood once again pounded in my body, demanding something that I dared not understand.  The conflict was so violent that I cried out involuntarily: “Oh, no!” and was instantly astounded.  I had been standing with the tea-caddy open in my hand, I don’t know for how long. But the kettle was boiling away and had filled the scullery with steam.  The music had stopped, and Jack stood at the kitchen door.

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excerpt from 'The Golden Sovereign' pp. 27–28 (323 words)


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