Thursday, June 6, 2013
ANNE EYRE (Fortune: chapter Fifteen) #Jane Eyre Retelling
It was easier to comply with everyone’s wishes but I had little faith in so-called fortune tellers. Matthew and I were clearly the guinea pigs for this form of entertainment but I wasn’t particularly bothered either way since I didn’t believe in the validity of it. Whether the reader said good or bad to me or about me was not of any particular concern.
The library was dark when I entered as if the novels themselves were whispering their secrets. Matthew Eaton was leaving sheepishly as I entered. ‘She’s good, but a bit spooky,’ was his only comment.
At the far end of the hall there was a shadowy figure seated in a lazy chair, apparently hunched behind a curtain. Her voice was raspy and deep.
I hesitated as I approached.
‘Do I… do I get to see you?’
‘Reveal myself to you? No dear, I work better incognito.’
I sat down.
‘You are a sceptic dear.’
‘You do not believe in these dark arts.’
‘Um… no, not really.’
‘I can hear disbelief in your voice. Why have you come here then?’
‘Out of politeness.’
‘Mmm… I see.’
‘My employer requested it.’
‘Oh. Is he the tall, dark and very handsome one?’
‘Um… you could say that, I suppose so.’
‘Mm… let’s see. Do you have anything to offer me my dear?’
‘What? Oh, you mean a question?’
‘Questions come later. I mean a donation.’
‘Oh.’ I thought she had been paid but I searched the pocket hidden in my waistband and found some gold coins which I placed on the table.
‘Thank you,’ she said.
A long pause precluded her first observation.
‘You are slightly conflicted.’
‘What makes you say that?’
‘You are not an easy person to understand. Most of my clients come in here, shivering. Why aren’t you cold?’
‘It is quite drafty in here. You are afraid of something or someone.’
‘I don’t think so. I try not to be afraid of anyone.’
‘Nevertheless, there is someone, a man who has you perplexed.’
‘Prove it,’ I said.
‘These are not things that can be proven. My words simply are or they… are not. In this case, they are.
I nodded casually.
‘You are solitary but dependent… do you… do you teach a child in this mansion?’
‘Yes.’ I hesitated.
She jumped on my answer.
‘You see, I was right, solitary but dependent. You seek love but you do not know it when you see it.’
I paused, trying to work out her previous comment before thinking about the next one.
‘Don’t you mean independent?’
‘No, dependent. You have grown dependent on others, more than you ever thought you would…’
I screwed up my face, more than a little irritated.
‘You could say what you said to just about any young woman.’
‘Not in this house. In this house, you have a rival.’
I couldn’t believe she’d picked up Nicola Ingram.
‘A rival? For what?’ I challenged her to spell it out.
‘For the affections of another.’
I was silent.
‘Do you disagree with an elderly lady?’
‘If that is what you say you are,’ I added. I was starting to get suspicious. The older woman had hidden her large hands behind gloves as she took my coins, just a little too swiftly to be well mannered.
‘In your circumstances, you have many choices.’
‘Really?’ I asked sarcastically.
‘You have not had an easy upbringing. I can see that in your face. Now, if you wish to know more, I must read your palm.’
‘Whatever,’ I said under my breath, exasperated.
I held my hand out to her across the table.
‘Mmm…. Normally I can see lines for marriage and children but I…. I have to… ah, there they are. I see both in your future although in truth, your destiny is not clear since both of these are a matter of choice.’
‘I believe you,’ I said.
‘I look into your hand and it does not reveal your inner most secrets. I wonder what is in your mind as you sit there and what rests in your heart. Are you happy? Are you sad? You see, with a hand like this… it is hard to tell, you do not reveal your true feelings to anyone. Although, I see a great fondness that you have here and here (she pointed to a random line on my palm) for children,’ she whispered eerily. ‘You had a harsh childhood and in a way, to make up for that, you are extra kind to the children that come into your life.’
I really had started to twig that this whole scenario was some sort of a set up. Obviously, this fortune teller had been given information about me in advance. For fun, I decided to play along with the joke.
‘May I ask you a question?’
‘Of course Anne, that is what I am here for.’
‘What… what I really want to talk about is… a man…’
‘Ah, the tall, dark and handsome one? The one who is your employer?’
‘No, the one who was seated next to me recently at dinner.’
The voice behind the curtain sounded more agitated.
‘Do you have feelings for this person?’
‘I believe so.’
‘Not for the dark, handsome one?’
‘Oh, I have feelings for him too; feelings of irritation, anger and annoyance! Shall I add to those feelings Nathanial Rochester?’
I pulled the curtains apart to reveal Nathanial and Jess, who was seated on his knee, doing her actress voice as she later told me, with prompting of questions quickly scribbled by Nathanial on pen and paper.
Both of them laughed uproariously as I stood up, smiling ever so slightly.
‘Don’t tell the others, Anne,’ Jess pleaded.
‘We always play practical jokes at these dinner parties. Please don’t spoil it, Anne. Didn’t you think it was funny?’ Nathanial asked.
‘It was quite funny, Nathanial, but let me give you a tip. Big hands give you away.’
I think I’d caught on to the practical joke about half way through and I hadn’t in all honesty found it as hysterical as they did, but I suppose it wiled away the evening. Of course, if Nathanial thought his obnoxious questions would reveal my inner most thoughts, he was sadly mistaken. From the start - well, almost - I’d guessed it was him.