Someone should have advised him against a February arrival. He knew what winter was like at home; cold and sharp and dry, manageable even in eight degrees below, but somehow he had not associated an English coastline with any notion of a serious chill. She had never described it like that. There had been mention of bonfires and brisk walks; of a breeze stinging the eyes when admiring the sea from the battlements of a castle, descriptions augmented by a memory of Dickens and picture postcards suggesting a modest covering of snow or a comfortable blanket of fog outside, all cleverly orchestrated for no other purpose than to make the fireside welcoming and the hot toast delicious. The sort of kindly cold which was a home designer's asset, purely to act as a contrast to a comfortable room.
Outside the station, the wind tore at his coat like a mauling dog. The rain skittered in the eddies of wind to scratch at his face and hat. His suitcase was ballast, lifting from his shoulder and leading him in a sideways-sloping spring across the carpark. It defied the mild sense of triumph he had felt in alighting from the train at all, beating the challenge of the antiquated door as the carriage lurched to a halt in front of a sign so obscure he could scarcely read it. warbling, a name like a dowdy bird. Doctor Henry Evans, poetry-loving scientist, with impeccable transatlantic credentials and comfortable North American lifestyle, felt himself unfairly fooled by the weather and did not enjoy the sensation of being outwitted. He congratulated himself briefly at the same time for that level of preparation which was his own hallmark. He had purchased a map; he had listened carefully to telephone instructions and he knew precisely where he was going.
Rain, spitting at him with renewed vigor. You can't miss it, squire. Straight down the road by the station until you reach the sea; turn left. Big hotel, squire. Nelson stayed there long before they built the pier. Henry had enjoyed the train, dirty though it was. At least he could open the window and breathe. He hated to be inside those capsules of transport where he had no control.
And he craved his first sight of the sea. His was a landlocked heart, in love with gentle ocean sounds. He could see it in his mind's eye, calm and dark, moody with moonlight and full of inspiration. The shops on his route were small and, in the shuttered darkness, less than quaint. He noticed a deserted cinema with posters of films he thought he might have seen a decade since, a forlorn wine bar with single occupant, the closed premises of a post office apparently doubling as a pharmacy and a florist's without flowers, but apart from a couple of illuminated signs, the only significant lights were the Belisha beacons where the road dipped into a pedestrian crossing before rising toward the sea. The yellow globes winked at a lone woman who waited as if needing some extra sign which would give her license to cross an empty road. She was followed at a distance by a big, black dog, which did not seem to belong. Henry nodded and said hi. There was no response, reminding him of another feature about the natives he had encountered so far. They were not so much rude as preoccupied at any given time. They would not ignore the outstretched hand if you waved it right in front of their faces, but any gesture not initiated by themselves required repetition before gaining acknowledgment. They were not unfriendly, he decided bravely, simply undemonstrative and destined to lead him into a deliberate and useful heartiness through the means of their natural reserve. You have to learn to come out of your shell, Henry. No one else is going to winkle you out. He was trying to remember what a winkle was.
The road which had dipped by the crossing rose to meet the seafront and its attendant sounds. He had forgotten the mad gust of the station carpark on his way thus far, relatively sheltered from the wind and the rain which struck him now with a series of staggering punches so hard and mean he yelled and grabbed at a railing. The shout was shoved down his throat in a lungful of icy air; the wind struck at his arm; the railing was sticky wet to the touch. As he staggered back into a doorway, his nose collided with the glass and he was suddenly eye to eye with another poster on the far side, depicting ice cream piled high in a fluted glass, topped with a cherry and set against a summer blue background. The wind howled around his head; he was glad of the hat and while on another kind of day he might have laughed at the ice-cream poster for its sheer incongruity, the wind was pummeling his back. The sea was an insane chorus of animal roars, followed by the vicious hiss of angry water clawing at stones, clattering and snarling in frustration; then the next crash, boom, hiss, a battle of sibilant fury, counterpoised by the deep bass of echo.
Henry pulled down the hat, levered himself out of the doorway, remembering the directions. Turn left; he had done that. Cross the road; he would do that now. He saw the dog again, maybe a different dog, trotting along the opposite pavement. You can't miss it, squire, only building this side of the road. Nelson stayed here. He remembered his own frisson of excitement at the mere idea of staying in a place where Nelson had stayed, with Lady Hamilton, no less. He could visualize a hip bath in the middle of the room, a screen with strewn clothing, the lady déshabillé, the hero reclining on a chaise-longue with his glass of port, replete with conquests. Thick curtains, blocking the moon . . . The wind had a fit of kindness and propelled him across the road, unscathed. The sky was luminous; spray hit his face. The bulk of the hotel loomed before him, unlit and forbidding, and as he drew nearer, other sounds began to compete. Voices shouting, machinery humming.
There was candlelight in the reception area, lulling him into a sense of welcome. He sighed with relief; then the alien nature of the noise and the intensity of the draft chilled him again. A massive desk was the only furniture, old and solid above a rich red carpet which squelched beneath his feet like a claret-colored bog. He stepped forward carefully, the weight of his case suddenly unbearable. There was a bar down those stairs, described in the brochure as a select venue with views of the English Channel, currently occupied by persons wearing rubber boots, sloshing through inches of water. One man detached himself from the rest, waded toward the narrow passage where Henry stood and proffered the pile of cushions he carried. It seemed an odd kind of offering.
"Get out of the way, will you? What do you want?"
"I have a reservation . . ."
"You want a room? In here? Oh, that's rich, you know, really it is. There's someone wants a room!" he shouted back down the stairs, to the sound of answering laughter.
"The Nelson suite, in fact," Henry said apologetically. The sound of breaking glass came from beyond the stairs and the din of the sea seemed closer still. The man's laugh choked on itself. There was a whiff of whiskey on his breath, but nothing else about his face to show he was anything other than distressingly sober.
"Haven't you ever seen a fucking flood? Come back next week."
"My suitcase . . . my room . . ."
"But where should I go?"
As he spoke, Henry felt he was reciting the most regular and plaintive line of his life. Jet lag was no excuse. He knew he had uttered these words many times before and he sounded, to his own ears, demanding and childish. He should be doing something-rolling up his sleeves, responding to the situation, making himself if not useful, at least acceptable-but he was suddenly overcome with exhaustion, rocked with a cataclysmic disappointment. For twenty years he had postponed a visit to romantic England and he did not want disillusion now. He wanted his own optimism, weakened in the long reaches of the night, tested in that damn train with its vandalized toilets, further damaged by a town which was shut at eight in the evening, for chrissakes, deafened by the racket of that poisonous-looking sea. And wetfeet and a suitcase with a life of its own, getting heavier by the minute but unputdownable on this filthy damp floor . . . how could he help? This was the end of the line and it was he who needed help.
"Where could I go?"
"Oh, for God's sake, anywhere but here." The man brushed him forward. Henry could not move. He was weighted by feet which seemed to have grown larger and heavier and he knew he was wearing his mulish face. The man pushed past him and squelched his way to the desk.
"Here, hold the bloody torch, will you?"
"The torch, you cretin."
"Oh, you mean the flashlight. Sure."
A torch was something which carried flame. It illuminated a barbecue on summer evenings and was an emblem of peace in the Olympics. He held the flashlight while the man leafed through an address book, his movements radiating irritation.
"Probably all full. Too late, you were the last. Ah yes, of course. Wait a minute . . ." There was a gleam of malice in the eyes, caught in the flash. Henry felt himself intensely disliked and bridled at the unfairness of it. The man was eyeing his coat. He should have smiled himself, commiserated, done something, cracked a joke. A clever, diplomatic person would do that.
"There's only one place for you. And that hat," the man added, snapping the book shut and shoving Henry toward the door. "The House of Enchantment. Lovely place," he added in a voice rich with irony.
"The House of Enchantment. That's what they call it. Look, you aren't prejudiced, are you? Homophobic or worried about ghosts or anything like that? It'll do fine." This time, he was pushing Henry, hard. "Go right. Follow the seafront for about a hundred yards. Number 196 and a half. Keep left and keep counting. You can't miss it, squire. Princess Di might have stayed there. All we ever had was fucking Nelson."
Henry and his suitcase were back on the road. He pulled up the collar of his jacket. It was a special jacket, soft gray leather with plenty of pockets, lined with fur, an understated piece of casual luxury and he was glad of its warmth. He turned left and walked on the seaward side. On his right, the sea growled and crawled and boomed. On the other side of the road, he could make out the irregular contours of houses, some dark, some illuminated, all impervious to the weather and the carnage inside the hotel. The patent indifference of those lit windows was oddly comforting. The suitcase, weighed less by clothes than the vitamins, minerals and therapies he found so vital to his health, felt like an ungainly rock bouncing sharply against his back. His hat (deerstalker with flaps, Sherlock Holmes style, purchased in a hunting store and sartorially ridiculous anywhere else) suddenly left his head like a bird in flight and he watched by a streetlight as it flung itself into the waves and danced for a split second in the foam. There was nothing he could do about the hat. The beach was steep, the waves high and he was cold to his bones. It was only a hat; he could not even keep a hat and the hat seemed an emblem of his own ineptitude. He was lost.
The contours of a huge wall loomed on one side. There were no houses along here. He passed the wall and the houses resumed. She would have called them higgledy-piggledy. He counted slowly, eighty-one, eighty-two, eighty-three, before the numbers reverted to fifty. He attempted to whistle to forestall the ignominy of tears, tasting salt on his lips. He had come all this way to find a woman and that made him five times the fool. The House of Enchantment stood on a corner at the highest point of the road facing the sea. The room was elegantly, if heavily furnished. The only touch of modernity was the TV screen which showed a series of silent, summer images. Peter Piper sat in an armchair inside the bay window of the first-floor sitting room, holding the dog in his lap and pointing out features of the seascape, namely the crests of the retreating waves and lights in the distance. "Now look there, Senta, that one's probably some kind of tanker. It isn't the lightship. Love the way it's all lit up, like a Christmas tree, don't you? Static, ain't it? My, oh my, they must be pleased to see land. Might make them think they could swim for shore. I bet they're wishing they were right here, with us, instead of out there, with them. Do you think we'll ever get anything to eat? Tim's being a horribly long time with it. A man could die before he gets any food 'round here." He fondled the soft fur of the dog's ears. "One more, dearest, only one more."
He took a walnut from a dish and Senta took the nut from his fingers, daintily. She held it between her paws, cracked the shell with her teeth, delicately, and consumed the fragments of kernel with a precision which amazed him. "One of these days," Peter said, fondly, "you'll be able to sweep up the pieces, too. We used to get Harry to do that, didn't we? Make him exercise his hands, poor darling Harry." He got up to stoke the fire with a log and several chunks of old wooden flooring. It seemed wasteful to put such good wood on a fire, but it was free from the skip and anything they could gather or garnish for nothing was used. Scavenging was an art form, a challenge, an integral part of the way they lived. The fire spluttered. There was always that crucial point in the tending of a fire: the making of the decision to refuel it, lower the temperature, heft the fuel. Part of the discipline. "By ritual, so shall you live," Peter murmured to the dog, handing her another walnut. "I'm so glad you're alive. I'm so glad there's no one else here but ourselves. Who cares about money?"
He went downstairs. The dog followed. Condensation dripped from the landing window; he pulled his cardigan across his chest. Rooms were warm enough; stairwells and corridors were freezing; contrast was good for health. He must remember to put hot bricks in the beds. House bricks hidden inside envelopes of fur, constructed from an ancient coat of his mother's, were an invention of which he was particularly proud. They were also perfectly true to the spirit of the age in which they wished to live, and unlike the conventional hot-water bottle, did not leak.
There was a long, rather grand flight of stairs from the first floor to the ground. The dining room was to the left of it, lit with a fire. From the kitchen beyond, traversed by another chilly corridor, there drifted the smell of curry. The table was set with a white linen cloth; three places laid this evening, he noticed. Sometimes Timothy went mad and laid it up with crystal and silver for five or six, and Peter knew they would be eating the excess of the meal in another form the following day, but tonight his deference to either ghosts or other guests was limited to one, placed to the left of an artful arrangement of twigs and leaves in front of the seat nearest the fire. They always ate in style: Tim insisted. Food, he said, was far too important to treat with disrespect. There had been a tricky spell when Tim had been determined to raise a pig and a few chickens in the back garden. Considerations of neighborly relations had prevailed, but he still nurtured hopes of raising an ostrich. At least a month's supply of low-fat meat. If we had livestock, we would have to hide them, Peter had murmured, and I do so hate deceit, don't you? It might be feasible to keep an ostrich indoors in a house of four floors, to say nothing of the cellar. A house which was ideal either for hiding people or leaving them in perfect peace, and that included the paying guests. Once they were up in the attics and the second floor, no one would know they were there, but Peter said an ostrich would make a noise on the stairs.
Or interfere with privacy. Timothy adored the guests, but he did tend to go over the top in his concern for their comfort. He believed that anyone who came to the door arrived by divine intervention. Peter never liked to mention it, but he had the strange feeling that some of them thought they were not so much being made at home as seduced, and that would create entirely the wrong impression. They were there because they were needed. (r) Tim's evening apparel varied according to whim and whichever of his motley collection of charity shop clothes was clean at the moment. It was part of the rituals governing their lives that clothes were changed before dinner, although this did not mean that evening dress as such was de rigueur. It simply had to be something that had not been worn all day and it could never be shorts or a swimsuit, even if they intended to bathe after dining in the height of summer in the sorts of temperatures currently difficult to imagine. Peter had donned the tweed suit which almost fitted over his ample chest, with an unbuttoned shirt beneath, revealing the least colorful of his tattoos, the ensemble complete with pristine white socks and training shoes. Timothy, in celebration of a vaguely Eastern style of meal, wore a heavy cotton djellaba which swept around his ankles and, to save himself from tripping over its voluminous length, the folds were hitched in at the waist with braided yellow furnishing cord, bright against the scarlet of the cloth. With his slender height and hooked nose, he looked like a misplaced cardinal. Homemade bread and salad were placed on the table; spinach leaves, Peter noticed with salivating approval, in sufficient quantity for a small army. Then the doorbell rang.
Clanged, to be more precise. It was an old schoolbell attached to a spring, activated by a prominent, salt-rusted handle pulled from the outside. The oldest devices were the best. Peter eyed the empty place setting at the table, beamed approval to Timothy, who tutted in response and consulted the watch hanging around his neck.
"He's cutting it a bit fine, isn't he? It's eight-thirty already and I'm starved. Supposing he wants a bath first?"
"Well, he can't have one, can he? The food won't wait." The House of Enchantment was the one Henry could see, standing out from the others as he walked toward it, prominent because it had pointed turrets on the roof, like something out of a fairy tale. The details were obscured in darkness, which was some kind of mercy, because he was already thinking, trying as best he could to distract himself from heavy feet, a foreboding, the ever-present sense of being a fool after all, and a mounting depression which boomed inside his skull to the same tune as the waves. He was struggling for composure and counting the numbers of the houses, gazing at the front doors as he passed and imagining what something with such a name would look like. He knew as soon as the turrets loomed into view that he didn't want it to be that one. He wanted something more homely, looking as if it were made of gingerbread, big enough to accommodate a landlady who might serve hot soup, as a minimal compensation for being frustrated in an attempt to dwell in a suite where Nelson might have dallied with Lady Hamilton. A little bit of conventional kindness would go a long way. He could feel tears gathering behind his eyes again, decided it did not matter if he cried. The rain had pasted his hair to his head; he was showered with spray. Julius Caesar was supposed to have landed somewhere near here. He could not think for the life of him why an Italian would bother. What a house. Painted black, as far as he could tell, with a studded door two steps up from the street. Another fear assailed him as he yanked at a handle marked bell. Supposing there was no room here, either? Don't think of it. Go back to that station, back on to that slow, slow train. Dover was next. Go to France. Go. He had always maintained an option to retreat. There was the sound of a bell clanging, followed by furious barking.
The door heaved open with a creak. A vision stood before him, head to toe in scarlet, smiling but slightly impatient, like someone interrupted at an important task and too polite to mention it.
"Oh, come in, come in, come in. Foul out there, but better presently, oh yes. Come in."
The door closed behind him with a thud. He was propelled to the newel post of steep stairs leading upward forever and ever in a rising tide of polished mahogany, the hallway extending way back to foreign regions, tapestries on the walls and gas lamps in sconces, flickering, and an appetizing set of smells. The priestly vision was helping him off with his coat, tutting at the rain on it, admiring the texture; the suitcase was lifted from his shoulder. Before he had uttered a word, he was handed a towel for his hair, his tears, whatever it was that soaked him last, and he felt suddenly weightless.
"We have to eat now, or it spoils. I mean now. Have the seat by the fire and take your shoes off, I would. This way. Peter, pour the wine."
More gas lamps in here, a fire warming his back. The wine was purple, glinting through heavy crystal. He remembered to raise to each companion in turn before swallowing. Christ, that was good. The bread passed on to his sideplate was nutty and warm; the salad stung the palate with an aftertaste of pepper; the plate was whisked away. There were two elegant tureens in the center of the tablecloth; he gazed at the rising steam, drunk on the smells. Tweed suit and cardinal helped him to food as if he were a baby unable to help himself, murmuring encouragement.
"Plain rice, I'm afraid. Always better with hot food, we find. Have plenty." He did. After a second helping, interrupted by minimal conversation, "Have you come far? America. Oh yes, that far. Is it warmer there? No. Don't mind if Senta sniffs 'round your ankles, do you?"
"No. I have a dog at home."
That last remark, slurred through a mouthful, was a lie dictated by politeness. He did not have a dog; he did not have anything he would like to have except sufficient money, but he had always wanted a dog and did not want to cause offense. The lie was a way to be accepted. He had noticed the dog in passing, a sweet little puppyish brindled sheepdog which was given the same food at the same time but led off to eat in a separate corner out of a separate bowl, for which mercies he was grateful. Plates, dishes, tureens disappeared as miraculously as they were presented. Henry could not remember if names had been exchanged. Yes. Timothy. Peter. Henry. Weird. No last names, no mention of payment. Tomorrow would do.
"So why are you here, Henry?"
"Oh . . . Me? I'm a pharmacist. Work, but that's not really why I'm here. I like castles, I guess. I don't know why I'm here. Been all over the world, but never to England. My father died, I needed a change of scene and . . ." Those tears were back, pressing against the back of his eyeballs, just when he was almost dry all over. He tried to get his toasted feet back into his shoes; he felt for his handkerchief and could not find it.
"You need sleep, Henry. Loads of it. You can't talk now. Come along."
He was bemused, unnaturally obedient. He could have been led upstairs to a masochistic brothel for all he cared, although such a thought did not enter his mind. Henry did not have that kind of imagination. There seemed to be a mountain of stairs. A swish of the cardinal's cloak, an attic room, reached only when he was out of breath. One of them was carrying his suitcase, the other his shoes and the leather jacket bought for the journey, both men chattering explanations like soft-voiced starlings.
". . . Afraid the only bath is at the back of the kitchen . . . we'll leave the lights on . . . Water hot again, soon."
". . . The loo's on the landing . . . your loo, that is . . . Peter, you forgot the bedside light, ah, there it is . . ."
"Towels are here . . . you switch off the electric fire over there. We'll make you a proper one tomorrow."
The fire defied his own notion of antiquity. Two electric bars glowing like parallel fireflies, creating a patch of warmth extending toward the bed but not quite reaching it. And such a bed. Not large, not even a queen-sized, but high off the ground; if he fell out of that in the night, he could break a leg. Henry's tired eyes noticed the series of bedspreads which were strewn over it, greens and blues with the shimmer of silk, giving the bare room its only opulence. His companions fussed a little more and then retreated. It was as if the whole of the world retreated with them and the silence they left behind was quite complete.
You can't talk now. The words held an echo. When would he ever be able to talk? He had been unable to talk freely for more years than he could remember, or not the kind of talking which was communicating. He never quite knew what to say, except to his father. All these years of saying little, as if he had some kind of impediment that made him incapable of expressing what his brain was telling him to say. A kind of scold's bridle, the curse of the shy man. He liked the easily opened window; he liked the bedspreads, stroked them, and despite the chill of the room, he was suddenly intensely grateful to be in it. It occurred to him that he had been churlish to these two bizarre men; that he had failed to express or even to feel gratitude for the fact that they had so obviously responded in double quick time to a call from the flooded hotel, and that he ought to feel grateful also to the man who had made the call enabling his hosts to be so charmingly ready to receive him. And then, as he peeled off his clothes and tried to remember where on the way up the stairs was the bathroom, deciding everything could wait until daylight, everything, including judgment, he realized the man from the hotel would never have phoned, would have forgotten his existence as soon as he was out the door . . . Nothing mattered.
Dressed in his underwear and his now dry socks, shivering, but only a little, he moved to the window. The moon shone on the water in a calm, silver pathway. The sea looked as if it were trying to efface itself, nibbling at the pebbles of the beach with discreet, foamy bites which teased the shore, eating at it with the quiet determination of the dog with her separate bowl of food. The whole of it had a poetic tranquillity, a normality he found reassuring and enough to suppress the conclusion that none of this was normal, or anything like. He looked at the door of the room, suddenly and irrationally afraid that he had been locked in. He did not know why he should begin to imagine such a thing and experimenting with the quiet latch showed him he was wrong. An eccentric household was all. Nothing here to worry a stout heart. He took off his socks, got into the bed, relishing cool linen sheets and heavyweight blankets. He wanted to be pressed into sleep, ironed into unconsciousness, but just as he stretched to feel the parameters of the high bed, his feet touched warm fur, and he screamed. There was an animal in here.
Henry flung back the covers and roared toward the door. There was silence from the landings below; he looked down the open stairwell and saw light. Foolish to scream at some cat. What was he, a child? He held the bedside lamp aloft like a weapon, and examined what it was his feet had found. "Get outta here," he ordered. The thing did not move. He touched it tentatively, then grabbed it angrily. He needed this bed. The fur was hot; a sick animal. Then he felt the contours of a brick, picked it up, turned it over. A brick in a pocket of fur. Ingenious. He got back into bed and twiddled his toes against it. Began to doze.
Woke with the moonlight in his eyes and his armpits sticky, convinced yet again that the fur at his feet was alive. Hearing her laugh at him and tell him there was nothing to be afraid of. Wide awake now, with a sudden urge to take a shower, trying to remember what either the cardinal or the tweed suit and tattoos had said about showers. There wasn't one; there was a bath, next to the kitchen. He was hot; his passion for hygiene had been subsumed by exhaustion and now he felt dirty. He put the socks back on, took a towel and set off to explore.
Down, down down . . . Looking toward the gaslight in the hall, he stopped on the third landing, arrested by sound. There was the lightest possible patter of feet, coming from a room he had not seen. The figure, tall but slight with a mass of pale hair, stood on the landing below, indecisive for a matter of seconds, paused as if the last flight werejust too much, then slid down the final banisters in a flurry of white gown. There was an almost imperceptible thump in the landing. The figure blew on both her hands, flexed her fingers briefly and disappeared.
Henry's warm feet had taken root in the spot. He seemed to have stood where he was for an hour, while the feet grew cold again, before he continued down the stairs, clutching his towel, rubbing his eyes with it, trying to dispel the illusion of what he had thought he had seen.
There was a fine Indian shawl draped over the newel post. It was incredibly soft to the touch, as soft as the fur in his bed. It could have been Francesca's shawl; the one he had given her. Or the one at the bottom of his suitcase he had bought as a gift. From the depths of the house, he could hear the sound of running water and singing. Feeling awkward, Henry Evans went back to bed.
The fur was still warm. He moved it level with his heart.
Don't talk now. (r) It is always warm in here. As warm as a hospital, or a baby's bedroom. I always loved children, which seems a trite thing for a teacher to say. Before he died, my father discouraged teaching as a choice of career because he said it would wreck my perception of childish innocence and stop me from being able to play. I was preparing to follow his advice (I usually did and he was usually right) when he died. I've been yearning for his advice ever since. It seems so short a step from being the one who was given the wise advice to being the one who is relied upon to provide it.
I wonder what he would think of me now, and I think I know. We all hark back to childhood here; it is consistently and often accurately blamed for everything. Not in my case, except insofar as it gave me the burning ambition to provide for other children the same sort of security that was given to me.
We would sit by the window, my cousin and I, attempting to learn verse. There are things worse than learning verse, my father said. Harry might not have been able to do that; he liked the sea and he wanted to learn to fish. I tried to teach him nursery rhymes, the old-fashioned, meaningless kind, because I love things which do not change, like the sea. There was an old woman who swallowed a spider That wriggled and wriggled and wriggled inside her; She swallowed the spider to catch the fly, I don't know why she swallowed the fly. Perhaps she'll die. Nursery rhymes make me think of birthday teas and I must not. I've been warned that anniversaries are dangerous; they loosen the tongue with grief. And this is supposed to be a record of my thoughts, to prove that I can still think of other things. I must NOT venture into facts. FMC
Excerpted from UNDERCURRENTS © Copyright 2001 by Frances Fyfield. Reprinted with permission from Viking Press, an imprint of Penguin Putnam. All rights reserved.