The Road to Exile – Conclusion

Ξ From the Journals of Edward Rochester – 1809-1810 Ξ

Our coach had stopped at a wayside inn to change horses, so Carter and I went inside to warm ourselves and have a cup of tea.

He shook his head. “I would never have believed Miss Fairfax capable of such an idea.”

“No man with any pride would tolerate the infamous arrangement she suggested, even if he was the most profligate creature ever to walk the earth. It is entirely hypocritical of course, but such is our nature, Carter, that we must vanquish all. A divided conquest is no conquest at all.”

“But why leave the country?”

“Catherine would have been merciless in her persistence, had I remained in England. Rowland had snatched away the only thing in the world I ever thought would be mine. I was so blinded by my hatred of him, I would one day give in to her. Gladly.”

He sighed. “I am sorry, Edward.”

“And yet I must give him credit for preventing the worse agony of knowing her faithlessness. She had proclaimed her intention of dishonoring her vows to him. Might not she one day do the same to me? And let me assure you—it is an ordeal I would wish upon no man.”

“And so you left the country…it must be Jamaica, then?”

“All I knew was that I must go away from her presence immediately.”

“So far away?”

“My mother was dead, Carter. There was no one left who cared for me. Since the night of the party, the echo of my father’s challenge rang so in my head that I could not be rid of it! For years I had begged to be given my due, to prove myself worthy of his respect. He had thrown the gauntlet of Jamaica at my feet.…and it stuck in my vitals, haunted me day and night, til I knew I must act. Otherwise, it would only confirm his belief that I was weak and had no resource in myself. The only path I could see lay across the Atlantic. So, I took it.”

~ Exile ~ Conclusion ~

© 2016 by R.Q. Bell and Imaginality Press; All rights reserved.

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