In my line of work, I have witnessed some amazing performances. People seem to treat the library as something of a confessional Occasionally, it feels like I am the audience in a one-man or one-woman play! Enter Stage Left! Hold Forth! as the audience sits in stunned and wondering silence. They gesture, they fume, they sit on the corner of the desk and chat away about the vicissitudes of their lives...husbands, wives, children, erstwhile friends, illness, sorrow, tall tales of adventure. They always leave feeling better. Sometimes I feel like Lucy Van Pelt!
It would be unethical to share anything but my amazement, but I do have another dramatic monologue, delivered by my aged English cousin, Gwen, many years ago, which so impressed me with its flow and sustained length that I recorded it verbatim in my journal the evening after hearing it. My cousin died recently at a very great age, and I don't think she'd mind being immortalized in this way.
So here goes......
"I used to have a lovely clump of Jersey lilies, but I fear they've all gone now. The big willow blew over in the storm; did you hear about the storm? Terrible, it was; anyway, the branches fell into the lily bed. That and the floods....
Jersey lilies they were; I got them from a friend. She's quite a few years younger than I am; a few, well.....five or six, lets say four. She married a Jerseyman, he's a , well he's retired, but he was a farmer. We call them Gwen and John too. We went out there for a holiday. They have a lovely house, well, the son's got it now, but they have half of the ground floor. They were going to have a small cottage, at the bottom of the garden, a retirement cottage, you know, but they priced it all out and in the end it would have been too much trouble so now they have half of the ground floor with their own entrance, and the son; no , both sons share the rest. Its a long house, very French. We spent a month there. All along the wall there were beautiful flowers, some of them these Jersey lilies; masses of pink lilies.
Just as we were flying out, we were in the house packing up; I was still in me underslip, and the bell rung. A fellow came in with a bag of new potatoes and a great bunch of these plants. As we were driving along the road to the airport, John said to me:"I don't know if we'll be able to take them back in; I shouldn't think so." I looked at him and said "I've got them now, and if you think I'm going to dump them out on the roadside...."
So we brought them home. But they've gone now.
I don't know, maybe you had to be there, but this just guts me every time I read it.
EL TOQUE FINAL (THE FINISHING TOUCH)
3 hours ago