Saturday, 3 October 2009

The Sunday Salon: Short Story Sunday RIP III

Autumn finally seems to have arrived in the last few days, the mornings and evenings are freezing but the days are warm as long as you are stood in the sunlight. I was awoken by the winds yesterday morning t around half six and thought that it was a perfect time to start my RIP III reading with a short story.

'The Duchess at Prayer' - Edith Wharton, from The Ghost Feeler: Stories of Terror and the Supernatural SPOILER ALERT

First line:
Have you ever questioned the log shuttered front of an old Italian house, that motionless mask, smooth, mute, equivocal as the face of a priest behind which buzz the secrets of the confessional?

And so the story begins. In the Italian house a beautiful bride was once brought, a bride who was simply a possession, a being her husband saw but twice a year. She spent her days joyously dressing up, dancing, sewing and making music. At the beginnnig she had a campanion in her husbands cousin, but her jealous husband soon had him removed when he discovered her happiness. Undaunted she carried on filling her time with pleasure in the company of her serving women, and them alone. In the crypt an ancient relic, the leg of a Saint lays, the women spends her time in prayer and devotion to this relic.
One night her husband returns unexpected with a marble statue of the woman, he insists that the statue is placed over the crypt as he cannot bare the knowledge of her devotion. In a meal that evening the mistress dies, and a year later a new wife enters the home. When the husband finally dies the statue of the first wife is finally revealed, her face is tortured and has the look of a scream of pain across its face.

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