Sense & Nonsensibility (I) Daughter Of The Tuberous Man
Episode I: Daughter Of The Tuberous Man
Charlotte Wildbush stood at the top of the hill watching the dying light of the sunset spilling over her father’s state. Her wavy golden hair in the wind was not less golden that the wavy golden fields under an equally golden sunlight that transmuted them into a sea of liquid gold, which was a very golden-like thing to do. It was a certainly preternatural optical ilusion because her father lands were planted with potatoes and potato fields don’t usually wave too much. But Charlotte did not notice the peculiarity and beauty of the phenomenon displayed before her eyes, she was too busy thinking how good her silhouette would look outlined against the blazing sunset sky. After half an hour she concluded she certainly would look romantic and heroic, the qualities she cherished most besides money. She though of spreading some coins on the ground to complete the symbolic tableau she was composing in her mind but dismissed the idea because it probably would look tacky and picking the money in the dark would be certainly unglamorous and impractical. When the sun finally hid behind the horizon she began to sense the enlivening fresh of the evening that preceded the constipating cold of the night and decided to leave.
Charlotte felt a bit disappointed her efforts to look heroic and romantic had been in vain. She had expected a gentleman with fiery eyes and hairy sideburns to ride by on a white stallion and appreciate her beautiful and tasteful staging. What had happened is that she had been spotted by two little rascals that had burst in laughter and thrown her mud balls. She had chased them with a stick yelling and cursing but they had gotten away easily when she tipped on a pothole. She sighted and walked towards her horse Pegasus, that was actually a donkey painted white. She galloped Pegasus towards home but when the animal fainted after galloping six yards she restrained his pace to avoid having to walk all the way to the manor dragging an exhausted donkey. The manor was a fairly big farmhouse whose more remarkable feature is that it had been built under the ground by her father. Being the potato crop his livelihood her father had been obsessed all his life with understanding potatoes. He wanted to know how it felt to be a potato, to live like a potato and to think like a potato. So he built his house underground to rise his family as potatoes. In fact so great was Charlotte’s father obsession with potatoes that it was only her mother’s adamant opposition and good sense that prevented him to name his daughter Tubercula as he had intended. Charlotte felt she would never be grateful enough to her mother for sparing her such terrible destiny. But a not less horrible fate awaited her in the not so distant future for her father had told her that same morning during breakfast that he had got himself drunk last night at the tavern and engaged her to the son of the butcher. She had told him she could not marry a complete stranger and her father had replied he didn’t know the groom either and he was not concerned at all. Charlotte had launched then in a passionate and convincing vindication of love, but her father’s sock full of nails had proven more eloquent and she had run down the stairs to cry in silence in her windowless bedroom in the lower floor.
When she arrive home she crossed the door that was on the ground and entered the dining room that was the only room with windows on the ceiling. The rest of the rooms were all windowless because the second floor was underground. Her father wasn’t at home but her mother was sitting at the piano playing a sonata in spite of the fact that they didn’t own any musical instrument. Charlotte’s mother had some peculiarities but she adored her. She thrown herself at her feet and embraced her legs as she always did.
‘ Mother! ‘ she said causing her mother to stop playing her invisible piano.
‘ Charlotte! What is the matter my angel? ‘
‘ I don’t want to marry the butcher’s son. I don’t even know what a butcher is. ‘
‘ A butcher is a man that sells meat darling’
‘ I don’t care! I don’t want to marry a total stranger. I want to marry a man I love, a gentleman with hairy sideburns and fiery eyes or at least with fiery sideburns and hairy eyes. A man that loves me and thinks I am the most beautiful creature of God’s creation.’
‘ You want to marry a blind man Charlotte?’
‘ Stop teasing me mother! This is serious! ‘ she protested and added ‘ If we don’t do anything I will be married in one week and I will be unhappy for the rest of my life. ‘
‘ It is not so bad Charlotte. If you marry a butcher’s son we can to eat some meat instead of raw potatoes or grilled potatoes or potato salad or potato soup or potato purée or potato jam or potato cream or potato cake or potato chips… every day eating potatoes for the last twenty years! My face begins to look like a potato and I am running out of recipes for potatoes.’
‘ I am sick of potatoes too mother, but I won’t marry a man I don’t love just for tuberous reasons.’
‘ And what are you going to do? Your father is man of his word. Don’t you remember what happened when he quarreled with the postman over the price of stamps. He gave his word not to use the postal service any more and now I have to swim across the channel every time I write to aunt Molly in Belfast. ‘
‘ I will run away! I will go to America.’
‘ Charlotte you can’t go to America. You can’t swim.’ said her mother and resumed her silent sonata
It was hopeless. Charlotte realized that she wouldn’t get any help from her mentally unsound beloved mother. Later she helped her to prepare the table and they waited together for the man of the house to arrive with news about the wedding arrangements. They waited in silence for hours, then they ate their potatoes stuffed with potato cream also in silence. After dinner they did the dishes and Charlotte’s mother played the non existent piano while Charlotte at her feet tried to forget about her misery reading a romantic novel, her favorite pastime. She only owned one novel because her father believed money spent in non-potatoe related matters was wasted money, but she read her book incessantly trying to figure out what it was about.
It was already dark night when it began raining and they heard the clattering of raindrops on the ceiling windows and saw a red glare in the dark that turned out to be her drunken father’s red nose pressed against the window pane. He found his keys and came into the house smelling of beer. He told them that the butcher had lost his son in a cards game with the shoemaker and that now Charlotte wasn’t marrying the butcher’s son anymore. Instead she would marry the shoemaker’s grandfather who was a widowed deaf octogenarian war hero that had lost his legs fighting the Ottomans. Charlotte didn’t complain but she cried with despair and ran once more to her room. She dived on her bed with the intention to cry her pain out but slipped on the bedcovers and landed on the hardwood floor smashing her nose. So she cried on the floor unable to muster the strength to climb back to bed.
She fell sleep when she had run out of tears and dreamt of a naked gentleman with a wide hairy chest and powerful shoulders riding a black horse. In her dream she knew instantly that the mysterious stranger riding around naked was a gentleman because he wore a top hat and a bow tie. She was waiting for him laying on a gigantic bed of pink alabaster covered with red satin sheets that wasn’t very comfortable because it was hard as a rock. The alabaster bed was in the center of a large marble bedroom festooned with golden ornaments and tall windows on the walls instead of the ceiling. Through the open windows she could see the blazing rider galloping towards her through the storm, his muscular torso glossy like a sausage under the rain. She felt a wave of burning heat ascending from between her legs and she realized her underpants were on fire and woke up just when it seemed the best part of the dream was about to start.
It was dark as tomb and as much deep but she noticed that there was a tempest raging outside for the way her room was flooding. She ran outside and began to run against the wind with raised arms and screaming like a demented insomniac imitating a screaming plane that had not been invented yet. She loved rainstorms because they felt like she felt deep inside: wild and wet. She always ran under any particularly fierce meteorological phenomenon and she had been stricken by lighting many times and once was carried to Portsmouth by a particularly violent windstorm. A lighting stroke her in the head but she kept running faster and screaming louder with her hair on fire. She ran and screamed like crazy until she fell into a hole and realized she was lost. Then she decided to faint as maids of fine upbringing did on romantic stories.
When she recovered consciousness she was naked under a heavy blanket in a room that she couldn’t recognize. The room was illuminated by a roaring fireplace that casted dancing orange shadows on the walls. The room smelled like coffee instead of potato juice and Charlotte realize she was lying naked in a stranger’s house.
To be continued…
Who is the owner of the mysterious bed in the mysterious room in the not less mysterious house where young virginal Charlotte lays naked and defenseless? Will our heroine find the means to scape her horrible fate of marrying a crippled octogenarian? Will she find true love and passion? Will the release of her long repressed desires be described by the narrator in every salacious detail? Find out in the next episode of Sense & Nonsensibility.