The Story of the Next Hour
It was Richards who had conversed with the doctors and, in veiled hints that revealed in half concealing, informed the others as to the heartbreaking truth of the tragedy.It was he too who dealt with the necessary arrangements for the body whilst the remainder of the house was engulfed in a storm of grief.
With a paralysed inability to accept its significance, Brently sunk into the depths of the roomy armchair that stood facing the open window.With his face masked by his cupped hands he remained there, screening from the view of Josephine the vast sea of tears that overwhelmed his face, lest it distressed her further.
Richards feeling for the vast loss of his dear friend, put his arm about his shoulder as if to try and ease away the pain that had woven itself to him.
However he was instructed by Brently of his need to be left in solitude and with that he retired from the room. Pressed down with physical exhaustion, he hauled his burden away up the stairs towards the only room in the house where Louise’s presence lived on as strong as ever.
On seeing this, Josephine also took to her feet and fled from the house with a sudden wild abandonment after being caught up in the event of the last two hours.
Louise had once been an elixir of life to Brently. He had lived for her and had idolised her every move with admiration. As he passed her body on his way to their room, his sanctuary, he was struck dumb with how life like her delicate body looked. Her cheeks still bloomed as they had done the day she had agreed to marry him, blushing with the same tint of cherry just as when white lilies are crowded with roses and take on their red. Her eyes too, such deep green, as green as all the oceans of Neptune, still bore her soul and it opened the door to his heart and melted it.
As he reached the door of the bedroom he and Louise had shared together for what seemed only a few moments in the vastness of eternity, he was reminded of her sweet nature by the delicious breath of her sweet perfume that lingered in the air and as he passed across the room he was sure he heard her voice somewhere in the distance proclaiming the love she felt.
There stood, facing the open window, he reminisced on times forgone, his face, whose lines now bespoke repression, wet with tears. And as he gazed out of the window upon the world carrying on around him he could see the leaves falling from the trees, amber, brown, gold, signifying the end of one chapter and the beginning of a new.
Just at that moment a faint tapping was heard at the door and Brently heard Josephine imploring for admission. “Brently, Richards will go with Louise if you wish. Its time to say your farewells”
Traversing the staircase down to the open door Brently collected himself. It was only yesterday that he had felt like Louise and him were falling apart and had begun to detach the bond they once had shared. He then thought to the future for the first time since the incident and with a shock revelation and the realisation that he was now free to venture forward on whatever path he so did choose, he composed himself for his life to come.
Peering out of the doorway, Brently now became conscious of the reality that stood before him; this would be the final opportunity to gaze upon his wife. Having been hit by this sudden awareness of the situation, his sight became focused towards the horse drawn cart preparing to draw away. Within a moment however, overcome with grief at this pivotal point in his life, he remained content with sharing in her presence alone and was left with a less desirous wish to fix his eyes upon her fragile body lest the pain be overbearing. To see her lying there, motionless and with her lifeblood drained from within would have been too shattering and the thought of letting her go too unbearable for contemplation.
Having collected himself once more for the events, which were to follow, with a word of thanks to Richards for his assistance in the affairs of the day, he embraced the companion whom he valued so dearly, the companion who had relieved the ache that was trapped within his heart.
“Take care of her for me”
” I would do nothing less”
With this Richards picked up his gripsack and boarded the cart. Silence surrounded them as the cart pulled away and grief tortured those who would carry the burden around with them forever, but within the cart Richards and Louise rejoiced in the happiness that lay before them and with minimal thought for the grief they had left behind they turned the corner, both in the road and in the winding passage of life.