Chere Julie, dear Jules. (revisited) part five.
(To understand the concept and significance of ‘rolling in the morning dew’ it is necessary to read the original Chere Julie, dear Jules published from September 2006. Barry)
Ma tres chere Julie.
I have been at my cousin’s house in Buckinghamshire for the past four days and did not get your letter until I returned this
morning. It plunged me into a trough of despondency and I reflected on my worthiness to walk on the same earth as
decent, ordinary, human beings and found myself sorely lacking. I am not fit to breathe the same air as you, my beloved
Julie, and I deserve to be cast out of civilised society and made to wear the mark of the leper to be shunned and spat upon
for ever more.
I did not realise how much I would miss you and Francois. Sometimes, when I think of you both, it is as though my head is
clasped in a vice which is slowly being tightened until I am afraid that my brain will explode. My one release from the
feeling of dread which envelops my existence is rolling in the morning dew when I seem able to detach myself from
worldly concerns and experience a unity with the rest of mankind. I am glad that Francois is happy but I am a little
concerned that he is given sweets and crisps. He will not develop a refined, discriminating, palate for the finer tastes of
gastronomy if he is saturated with the crass, vulgar, taste sensations of salt and sugar. I am very happy that you share my
desire for him to eat a healthy, well-balanced, diet as he is used to. It was always a great pleasure for me to see him
devour pheasant a la Nicoise or lobster Thermidor with unbridled ardour and I hope that you can continue to encourage
his enthusiasm for the joys of a magnificent repast.
I do not share your father’s concerns for the quality of health care in France. I have always found it to be first class. The
treatment my beloved grandmother received in the last few months of her life could not be faulted although, it is true, she
was in a coma all that time and needed very little care. It was enough to turn her over every two hours and I am assured
that this was done, day and night, and it was explained that the bed sores and infections were due to her great age. She is
sorely missed and, although she did not speak a word during the final year of her life, it is not the profound silence I
remember but the verbose grandmother of my childhood and her happy laughter.
My father’s gout is still crippling him and he takes increasing amounts of pain-killers. One evening, during the meal, I
noticed that he took three doses but they did not seem to help much. I have suggested that he should change his eating
habits and drink less port and other fortified wines but he sneers at the idea and says that it is an inherited condition and
that his own father had suffered with gout from the time he was a teenager. Apart from the inability to walk more than a few
metres without sitting down for five minutes he is in very good health. To facilitate his movement around the Chateau we
have placed chairs everywhere at small intervals. When I suggested an electric wheelchair which would enable him to
venture outdoors and around the property he scoffed at the idea. My dear sister, Odile, offered many solutions to his
predicament and was prepared to use her knowledge of acupuncture, which she learned from a Chinese dwarf she met at
a spiritual retreat near Avignon, in order to alleviate his suffering. He declined her offer and said that nobody was going to
stick needles in him unless it was to administer a pain-killer.
I think it is my mother who, apart from myself, has been most affected by your departure. You were always there and ready
to listen when she launched into a diatribe aimed at my father. Knowing that you understood very little French I think she felt
free to express herself and she took advantage of this opportunity to vent her, irrational, anger against a man whose only
crime was not to be somebody else. I overheard her sometimes and was glad you did not understand the depths of her
hatred and the bitter bile she poured on an innocent man. At times I wondered if she was not losing her mind but, an hour
later, after driving to the shops in order to purchase their remaining stocks of pistachio nuts, of which there is a world-wide
shortage, she would be her normal self again.
Your father’s worries about you residing in sub-standard accommodation are totally unfounded. I will not let this happen.
You and Francois must live in a nice house with a garden in a tranquil neighbourhood and I am willing to pay whatever it
costs. I hope your allowance is sufficient but if you ever need more money in order to pay unexpected expenses you must
tell me immediately and I will remedy the situation.
I am enclosing a set of photographs that were taken of me in Buckinghamshire and I hope you will show them to Francois
and keep my memory alive in his mind. I think of him much of the time although I try not to as his image is too painful to
contemplate. I love him very, very much as I do you, my beloved Julie. To be separated from the ones you love must be the
cruellest torture and I am tormented by the demons of my own making. Please forgive me.
With all my undying love,
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