Thursday, 8 September 2016

Gospel of the Goddess Book I (vii): So did my Goddess yield her Holy Rage and step aside from the Path of War and Strife for the embrace of a simple man, and a gentle life as his wife.

She sits opposite her father. It is twilight. She raises a tea-cup to her lips. It is tiny, fragile. Strange golden dragons cavort and writhe under her fingers, every scale proud. In the cup the tea is red-gold, aromatic, scented steam rises in the cold room.

Across from her is the cold man, wiping fastidiously at the lips nestled under his mustache. There is only the soft click of the spoons, the porcelain and the clock ticking in tune. They do not speak. They never speak.

A knock. "Come!" he cries - and John enters. He looks flustered.

"Sir, the Stable Master would speak with you." Her father frowns perplexed and annoyed.

"I don't discuss Stable matters at my table. Tell O'Neill that." John nods and departs. Her father picks at a small comfit, and raises his head at a new knock.


It is John again, scarlet faced. "Sir, I'm sorry Sir, but..."

"Well? What is it?"

"Mr. O'Neill said he does not discuss private matters at the Stable."

Her father throws down his napkin, "The cheek of the man! Send him in! "

Her father rises, takes a cigar from his box, rolls it between his fingers, lights it. Never does he look at her, not once.

"The cheek!" He cries again, and looks at the wall, to the left of her shoulder, never ever raising his eyes to her face.

A third knock, and John ushers in Seamus. Seamus O'Neil, in a worsted suit.

"Sir," He nods at her father, he looks at her, right in the eyes, "My Lady."

"Well, O'Neill? What is it? Something wrong with Termagant’s Child? Are the stables on fire?"

"No, Sir. I wished to speak to you on a personal matter."


"Sir, I have been in your employ for sixteen years now, you have my measure as a man. I am a respectable man, Sir, and a hard worker. I am an honest man."

"What is this about?"

"Sir, I am not a poor man. I am not rich, of course, but I own my own land, free and clear; I am beholden to none."

"Are you wanting a raise? Is this what you are on about, O'Neil?"

"Sir, I am not as young as I might wish, forty-two, Sir." Seamus suddenly grins, "But I have all my own teeth, my bit of land, with a house - modest, but mine- and a small stable with some likely foals. What I mean to say...I am here Sir, as an honorable man, asking you for your daughter’s hand."

Hilary hears a gasp, realizes it is her own, breaking the deadly silence. Her father is speechless by the fire, the cigar forgotten between his fingers. Seamus O'Neil stands dead still. There is no fear in him. He is as unperturbed as she has so often seen him, with a raging horse under his hands. He is, as always, himself.

Her father draws in a great whoosh of breath. "Get out. Now. You are insane, or drunk. I will disregard this. Get out."

"No, Sir. I won't. Not without an "aye" or "nay" from you.

"You dare? My daughter? I will not dignify your insolence with an answer!"

"Sir, I love her Ladyship. The love of a good man is no dishonor."

"Your presumption is! You are fired! And refused, should you still have any doubts about that."

Hilary rises, steps into the fight.

"It is not for you to refuse, Father. I am twenty-and-eight. I am of age." She turns to Seamus, "Mr. O'Neill, I accept."

A wash of scarlet swells her father’s face. "Slut!" he screams, and the chords of his neck strain at his shirt collar. "You refuse good men, and fornicate with Irish scum?"

Seamus steps closer to him, to the fire. "You'll not speak to her Ladyship so in my presence Sir, father or no. There has been no fornicating. I am a true man, Sir. But aye. I am Irish scum. As was your good Lady's Gram. As for you Sir...Are you not as Irish-born as I am?"

"Out! Both of you! And as for you, Hilary, not a penny of my money will you see, not one!"

"I have no need of your money, Father, I have my own, from my Mother. And as Mr. O'Neill has assured you, he is not destitute. You need not concern yourself on my account."

"Concern! You have ruined me! Ruined! I will be a laughing-stock. My daughter fornicating with stable-hands!"

Hilary walking to the door, pauses there and turns back with that grace so at odds with her bulk.

"Why, Father...You can always tell them that was a taste I acquired honestly, from your blood. From what I understand, you too rather enjoy fucking stable-boys."


Manuela Cardiga

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