Lady Wimpleseed-Prissypott # 39: A Jolly Right Good Well-Earned Happily Ever After

Previously our heroine took matters into her own hands, or should I say her fists. 

When Quills saw our heroine’s bosoms coming out of the carriage, he knew he was in love. “I say,” he said.

When our heroine, her ladyship Lady Marye Caterina Wimpleseed Prissypott, caught a sight of Quills’ deep blue eyes, she knew she was in love. He was the One. The Mr. Right she had been looking for. “Well, well, well,” she said.

Escorted by the future Sir Pip, a chip off the old Flip of Flip, Fop & Flimby, Solicitors at Law, the three of them returned to Merry Olde England by way of Paris. The Eiffel Tower and the Seine were lovely that time of year in that particular year. “Jolly good,” they said. “It’s all so whimsical.”

In the meantime, Pip’s father, the Flip of the chip off the old block, had been redeemed from the poorhouse. He was knighted for having such a good son. After he returned to England, he was made the new Chief of the Defense Staff.

James Bond 007 was thrown into the Tower of London, only to be released by the good office of Her Majesty QE2 some sixty years later. The queen was honoring the request of her very brave servant, his great grandson after the defeat of Oddjob and Goldfinger, Moonraker and Dr. No. By that time the grandfather had prostate and couldn’t piss worth a damn.

As far as the Wah Wah League was concerned, The Mighty Paddington The Iranian Cubist Assassin was killed by the Royal Marines for trying to escape. Father Jerome and Mother Superior Sarah were thrown deep under a Spanish prison. Doctor Qwackers was de-doctored for his quackery and sent off to the Australian Outback where he had a run-in with Crocodile Dundee.

Only Mata Hari somehow escaped. Guess she shook her hips and some low-ranking soldier let her slip through his hands. After all, what manly man could resist those hips. Of course, she would turn up some years later in France, spying for the Kaiser. The Times went under new management, put in its place for all the two-timing two-timingness.

Argyle Mactavish won his election with an overwhelming majority. The House of Lords came under Sir Myles di Fussye-Pants’ leadership and dumped any legislation that denied Lady P. P. her rightful title and lands. The ghosts marched back to their homes and took well-deserved rests. All the marching and gathering and convocating had tired them out.

On the day of the arrival of her ladyship and Quills in London, the Prime Minister was sitting for his Prime Minister portrait. But he got up and watched the ticker tape parade of Quills and her ladyship through London to Buckingham Palace.

“Welcome to Bucky, my humble abode,” Queen Victoria said as she happily met her two favorites at the door. “Let me show you to the Lincoln Bedroom where you will be staying while here.”

“Oh, we have a Lincoln Bedroom in the White House too,” Lady P. P. said, after she stopped her curtseying.

“Yes, I know,” the queen said. “But this isn’t that Lincoln. This is Sir Abraham Lincoln. Freed the slaves, you know.”

“Don’t contradict a queen,” Lady P. P. said under her breath. “Don’t contradict a queen.” She continued on the Grand Tour through Bucky.

It was spring and London Society was out and about and ready to begin its season. Usually the season ended with the best of the galas. This year was to be different. The Queen, Her Majesty herself, was throwing out the first ball. It was to be a gala in honor of the engagement of Lady Marye Caterina Wimpleseed-Prissypott of Haggismarshe and Quills Loopsey.

It was to be the evening after she awarded Quills the Barony of Duffield. The old Baron Duffield was sent packing off to India and one of the Hill Stations with the low rank of private in Her Majesty’s Services. Also she awarded Lady P. P. the Award of the Grand Poohbah, the highest honor in the land. There were moans and groans among some of the society folk. They were not happy that a commoner, Two Ems, Mrs. Sir Myles di Fussye-Pants, had been made the new Lady-in-Waiting to the Queen. “How dare her. To promote an American to such an illustrious position,” they gossiped.

The Queen’s retort, “I’m the Queen and Empress of India, right?” Everybody agreed. “Then I can promote whoever I want. Or is that whomever? Oh, whatever. Am I right or nay?”

“Yes, Your Majesty,” they said, but still they gossiped.

The public of course was ga-ga at all the gowns and black ties and that sort of thing. Society’s best was at the Her Majesty’s gala. The lords and ladies, the great and the important, the bigwigs and the littlewigs from all over arrived in their carriages and their carriagettes.

Queen Victoria, Her Imperial Majesty, Empress of India, Ireland, Australia, Canada, Egypt and Lots-of-Other-Places, was the last to arrive. The Old Lady marched in to the tune of “Pomp and Circumstance” with all the pomp and circumstance in her dignified personage she could muster.  She was all smiles, bowing her head to this and that person as she passed them kneeling before her majestic personage. Then she took her place on the throne at the front of the Great Ballroom on the Thames.

Quills and her ladyship, Lady Marye Caterina Wimpleseed Prissypott, began the ball with the first dance, boogeying to the “Tallyho Waltz.” Of course, it was a kind of foxtrot. Over in the corner completely ashamed of themselves was Quills’ father, Sir Hackle Loopsey, and his oldest son, Chessie doing what Chessie always did. Being a perfect foppish fop with his head up his rump, and such a big rump it was. Beside them was Flimby, Sir Loopsey’s terrier dog, and he was a real pisser. He had already managed to piss on the ballroom curtains not once, not twice, but three times.

John Smith, our heroine’s Daddykins, was enjoying this magical night immensely. He had his “sweet little Mawy Contwawy” back and she had found true love. What more could a daddykins want. Margaret “Moms” Smith was complaining about this or that or the other. She was never satisfied. But everybody ignored her.

Sir Myles and Two Ems were enjoying the repartee of Sir Alec Alec of Delphelic, an archaeologist, entertaining his listeners, “Mummies and all, you know. And daddies too, tallyho.” And off he went, tallyho-ing with Sarah Bernhardt of French fame. As they tallyhoed around the room, one lady said to another, “I say, isn’t she too well-endowed?”

Another said back at the first, “And she isn’t endowed enough.”

“Oh, you’re too too peek-a-boo,” still another lady commented.

“And you’re not peek-a-boo enough,” another came back with another comment.

“You’re so Britney Spears,” one fashionista said.

“I say, you’ve done yourself so Madonnaesque,” a high-born lady said back at her.
And away they went, dancing the tallyho across the floor. The women jumped on the back of their male partners and yelled, “Tallyho.” Their menfolk galloped back and forth across the ball room.

By the end of the night, all attendees had a jolly good time. They had nipped their share of the punch, partaken in caviar and all such gourmet stuffs that happen to be served at these kinds of high class affairs.

Several days later, Quills and Marye Caterina became a Mr. and Mrs. in a simple ceremony at the queen’s own chapel. Only a few friends were in attendance. The parents of both, the queen, Sir Myles and Two Ems and, of course, Argyle Mactavish.

After the “I doeses”, the happy couple were off to Haggismarshe Manor House to greet servants and ghosts and ask for their blessing. Of course, ghosts and servants gave it to Lord Baron Quilip “Quills” David Armistead Loopsey of Duffield and Lady Baroness Marye Caterina Wimpleseed Prissypott Loopsey of Duffield and Haggismarshe.

And the happy couple lived happily ever after into their old age. They had four children, ten grandchildren and any number of great grandchildren before they were off to join the long-gone Smiths, Loopseys, Wimpleseeds and Prissypotts in that large banquet hall where the aristocracy is known to banquet.

Sometime later, the Coast Guard Cutter U.S.S. Lizzie Borden found the dead body of Lord Dunville Percival Wimpleseed Prissypott of Haggismarshe floating off the coast of South Carolina. How that body arrived off the coast of South Carolina is a whole other tale left for another time.

***

The writer sat back, lit himself a cigar and grinned. He had come to the end of his tome, The Absolutely Unbelievable Endearing Adventures of Lady Marye Wimpleseed-Prissypott. Somehow, he worked through all the jokes, and all the times when he didn’t want to write the damned thing. It was done, and he was a happy man. He saved his work and closed the file.

He went to the kitchen, took a grand puff on his cigar and a drink of the pinot he poured. Soon the glass was empty. He poured a second glass and walked back to his computer with a big smile on his face. 51,717 words. He was indeed proud of himself.

Lady Whats-her-name had adventures up the wazoo and who knew? Maybe the next novel might bring more adventures. He had only one more thing to do. Upload his words to his online drive. Before he did, there was just one itsy-bitsy change he wanted to make. Change THE END to FINALE. He sat down at the computer, opened the file that contained his grand saga and looked at the page. He was stunned.

The words, all 51,717 of them, had been erased. Where was his work, his month of staying up late and typing out nonsense into the word processor? Hours of trying to think up crap for a useless extravaganza of an exercise.

He stared at the monitor. Suddenly a big mouth appeared on his screen. It said in the crudest possible way, “I’m hungry and I want more words. More words, if you please.”

FINALE

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Lady Wimpleseed-Prissypott # 38: The Barcelona Tango

Previously, the Prime Minister executed a plan and it wasn’t pretty. Not pretty, at all. Quills has followed the Mighty Paddington to the Convent where Lady P. P. is being held hostage. 

Quills heard the dandy’s voice as it threatened someone at the top of the stairs of the convent. He would have liked to race up the stairs but Hector would have said, “Wait, mi hermano. Bide your time. Your patience may save your life.” So, Quills held back at the bottom of the stairs.

A woman’s voice came down to him. “Leave me alone,” she said. Quills recognized the voice as someone he had heard before. But when? Who? He couldn’t recall.

On the top of the stairs, the dandy, The Mighty Paddington, The Iranian Cubist Assassin, grabbed the woman by the arm and pulled her down the hall.

“Leave me alone,” the woman, Mary-Mary Smith also known as Lady Marye Caterina Wimpleseed Prissypott, said louder, wandering why the nuns on the second floor did not burst out of their bedrooms and come up to rescue her from this villainous man. Then it came to her. The nuns were all on a week’s retreat at their sister house in Madrid.

“What are you doing?” she said to the man who was dragging her to Mother Superior’s office.

“Never you mind,” the villain said. “The question is not what am I doing. Rather it is what were you doing?”

“I heard voices,” she said, struggling to loose her arm from the man’s grip. “They woke me up. I came up here to see. When I realized it was Mother Superior and Father Jerome, I was on my way back to bed. Let me loose so I can go back to my room and go to sleep.”

“None of us may get any sleep tonight,” he said, pulled open the door to Mother Superior’s office and pushed Lady P. P. inside. He followed. “My friends, I caught a spy. This little thing was listening at your door.”

A breeze eased through the latticework of the office as a full moon stood outside unaware of the danger inside the convent. Father Jerome, Mother Superior, the Doctor and Mata Hari were raising their glasses of wine to toast their success. They all stopped.

Mata Hari saw her ladyship; her ladyship saw Mata Hari.

“You,” Mata Hari said.

The fog of our heroine’s amnesia cleared, and the sun of her memory returned. Her ladyship remembered Mata Hari on the Orient Express, and her threat. She remembered that she was an English lady. She remembered the British ambassador refusing to believe her tale in Istanbul. She remembered Smythie Smathers’s words on the S. S. Twit. She remembered the sinking of the S. S. Twit. She remembered all that she had learned from her daddykins about self-defense.

“You,” Lady P. P. said, now free from the dandy’s grasp.

Mata Hari gave The Mighty Paddington, The Iranian Cubist Assassin, one of her come hither looks that seemed to say, “Take care of this bitch and I will give you some.” His legs almost gave in but he held his stand. He knew he could never trust a woman who carried a Wise & Heimer the way Mata Hari did.

Before Mighty could stop her, her ladyship was across the room. She formed a fist and drew back and rammed that fist right into Mata Hari’s nose, knocking the fatale out of her femme and off her feet. She turned and jumped in the air, like a martial artist, and slammed her left foot into The Mighty Paddington’s groin.

The priest, Mother Superior and Doctor Qwackers cowered in the corner. This was more than they had bargained. Her ladyship was like a lioness protecting her young. She had caught her Wah Wah League’s adversaries unawares.

Then Marye Caterina Wimpleseed Prissypott made for the door. She grabbed its knob. Quills pulled the door open and the momentum threw our heroine out of the room and down the hallway. She crashed through the latticework and off the ledge. She grabbed the ledge with one hand.

Quills rushed down the hall and over to the window. “What happened?”

“You threw me down the hall when you opened the door,” her ladyship said, hanging on for her life. Quills suddenly remembered where he had heard that voice. Gibraltar.

He went to reach for her hand. Behind him, he heard a noise. He turned and saw The Mighty Paddington coming for him. Mighty threw the first punch. It missed Quills. Quills threw the second punch. It hit Mighty squarely on the chin. Mata Hari drew her Wise & Heimer. She took aim but across the room came a knife to take out the gun in her hand. It was Pip, a chip off the old Flip of Flip, Fop & Flimby, Solicitors at Law. He ran up behind Mighty and knocked the dandy out with his pistol.

As Pip forced Mother Superior, Father Jerome and the doctor into a closet and locked it, Quills returned to the ledge to rescue her ladyship. But she was gone. She had fallen. He looked below to see a man throwing her body across his shoulders and hurrying off to a carriage.

“That must be 007,” Pip said from behind Quills. “We have to stop him. He’s working for The Times and he means to either kill her ladyship or ship her off to God-knows-where.”

“Let’s go,” Quills said rushing out of the office. “I’ve been to God-knows-where and that’s no place to be sent.”

Pip was right behind him as he took the stairs three at a time. They ran out of the building.

“I have horses waiting,” Pip said. “They’re around the corner.”

They made for the horses and rode down the cobblestone street where James Bond’s carriage had gone. The carriage raced toward the piers of the port of Barcelona. He was heading to a ship owned by The Times.

The horses came closer and closer to the carriage. From the carriage came gunshots. Bullets whizzed by Pip and Quills, barely missing.

“I thought this Bond was supposed to be a good shot,” Pip said to Quills as the two raced their horses nearer the carriage. One of the bullets breezed past an inch from his ear.

“He’s getting better and better,” Pip yelled back at Quills.

Quills and Pip closed in on the carriage. More bullets, and they realized that it was the driver that was firing. Seemed that James Bond 007 had his hands full, fighting her ladyship in the carriage. Pip aimed his revolver. He dropped the driver.

Now the carriage was a runaway. Quills pulled up beside the carriage and past it until he reached the horses. He was about to jump onto the carriage horses when they swerved in the opposite direction and turned up another street. As they did, the carriage came crashing down on its side and slid half a block further.

“Oh no,” Quills halted his horse and wheeled it around. “Oh no.”

Pip was already thinking what Quills was thinking. Her ladyship was dead in the carriage, or at the very least badly injured. Pip jumped down from his horse.

“Get off me, you turd,” Pip heard from inside the carriage. “I mean, you cad. Oh shit. I meant what I said the first time. Turd. You’re an incredibly bad turd too.”

Whack, whack came the sounds from inside the carriage. Quills and Pip were at the carriage door at the same time. Popping out of the carriage door was her ladyship.

“Would you kind gentlemen help a lady out of this carriage please?”

Next week, true love.

Lady Wimpleseed-Prissypott # 33: The mystery gets even more mysterious.

Previously, a conspiracy is discovered.

Something woke her. The former Mary-Mary Smith, now the Lady Marye Caterina Wimpleseed-Prissypott, lay in her bed in the convent and looked out through her window. It was a dark, moonless night. She heard voices mumbling below in the courtyard between the convent and the church. Pulling herself out of bed, she stumbled over to close the curtains to the window. Maybe that would help keep out the mumbles.

She looked down and saw shadows, splotches of darkness against the lighter darkness of the courtyard. There seemed to be an argument going on.

“Shhhhh,” one of the shadows said. “You’ll wake everybody in the convent. If that’s your intention, you’re going to accomplish it.” It was Father Jerome’s voice. What was Father Jerome doing up at this hour? He usually was early to bed, early to rise. He had a seven o’clock morning mass.

Her ladyship was fully awake now. She felt like going down and telling the damned voices to shut up. Oops, she used the word “damned.” She shouldn’t-oughtn’t-a do that. She was in a convent and nuns didn’t curse.

Below Mother Sarah said, “Will you two shut your damned mouths.” Did the Abbess say “damned”? She did. How dare her? God was going to get her for that? “It’s late. Let’s go up to my office. And be quiet doing it.”

“Yes, ma’am,” both the priest and a woman agreed.

Her ladyship, our heroine, stepped back from the window. That woman’s voice was familiar. Who was she? She listened and heard the back door of the convent open and close. Then a soft padding on the steps of the old wooden stairs as they passed the second floor and went onto the third. She heard the door of the Mother Superior’s office close.

Mary-Mary lay back down on the bed and slid the covers over her body. A little while later, she realized that she could not sleep. Why were the three meeting this late? It seemed so mysterious, so unlike the abbess and the priest she had gotten to know over the past week or so. She threw the covers off her body, rose out of bed and slipped a robe over her nightdress.

She opened the door quietly. Although the doors could be noisy opening and closing, this night hers was unusually quiet. It was as if the door was cooperating with her finding out what was going on upstairs. She laid her feet down softly one in front of the other as she moved slowly down the hall. She did not want to disturb the nuns from their sleep, although there was only a slight chance of that. The clapper would wake the nuns at five in the morning for their prayers.

So, the nuns usually slept soundly. Mary-Mary could hear the loud snoring of Sister Bethany as she passed her door.

Soon she was at the stairs and she started up them. All of a sudden, she stopped. She felt faint, and sat down. Was there something wrong with her? Sitting on the stairwell for the next few minutes, she recovered her energy.

A noise came from below. It was the opening and closing of the convent door. She hurried back downstairs to the second floor. She stepped inside the hallway and put her body against one of the nun’s closed doors. Her back hugged it closely. A dark figure stopped on the stairwell. She hugged the door closer. The figure looked down the hallway, then began its climb up to the third floor. The footsteps of the figure padded down the third-floor hallway to the Mother Superior’s office at the end. The office door opened, then closed.

Mary-Mary hurried up the stairs, her curiosity overwhelming her. She came to the third floor and stepped into the hallway. Quietly, very quietly, she tiptoed toward the Mother Superior’s Office. She came to its door. She stopped and put her head to the wooden door to listen. She heard voices on the inside.

At first, she couldn’t tell what they were saying. But soon she began to make out words.

“No,” Mother Superior said.

“We … to,” Father Jerome’s voice came to her.

“Look … no choice,” a man’s voice came through the door.

“That’s right,” another voice, a woman’s, came through the door. Why did that voice and its accent sound so familiar?

“But this is what the Reverend Henry wanted,” Mother Superior said.

“It’s exactly what he wanted,” the woman’s muffled voice said. “So, tell me about this woman you have here. You say she came from ze shipwreck. How fortunate for us.”

“It’s true,” Father Jerome’s voice came through the door clearly.

“I believe,” Mother Superior said, “that it is the Lady Marye Caterina Wimpleseed Prissypot of Haggismarshe.”

“But ze papers say that she is all dead,” the familiar woman’s voice said. ‘And ze papers are seldom wrong.”

“At first we couldn’t believe our good fortune,” Father Jerome said. “Then we looked at her picture, and yes, it is her. She is not dead. We have her here.”

“Doesn’t she know who she is?” the familiar woman’s voice wanted to know.

“No,” the man’s voice said. “She has amnesia and I have been keeping her in that state. I’ve been given her a drug.” It was her doctor’s voice, Doctor Qwackers.

Are they talking about me? Yes, they are talking about me. But why are they drugging me? What did I do, and why are they keeping me here? Am I this Lady Marye Caterina Wimpleseed-Prissypott person? The questions moved around and around in her head. Suddenly she was feeling faint again. She had better get back to her bed to figure all this out. Then she would know what to do.

It was obvious she couldn’t continue to take the doctor’s medicine. She had to get out of the convent and soon. But how? She did not know anyone in the city. Perhaps one of the nuns would help her out. But none of the nuns would go against their Mother Superior. Oh, what was she going to do?

She tippy toed back toward the stairs, passing the office doors that occupied the third floor. She came to the stairwell. From behind her stepped a dark figure of a man.

“Where would you believe you are going, your ladyship,” the dark shadow of a man said.

Next Week: To highwayman or not to highwayman

Lady Wimpleseed-Prissypott # 31: Constipation

Previously, three strangers in an inn.

“Take two poops and see me in the morning,” Doctor Qwackers said, after examining Mary-Mary Smith, the Lady Marye Wimpleseed Prissypott. She lay in the bed of her convent room and pulled the sheets over her. The doctor shoved his stethoscope back into his bag.

“Doctor, how is that going to help me recover my memory?” Mary-Mary Smith wanted to know. She wanted to know badly. Real badly.

“Your memories are damned up. It’s the constipation of the sturm und drang you’ve undergone. The damn needs to break. As soon as the wall breaks, all your memories will be released. Don’t worry, my dear. The flood of your memories will come, I assure you.”

Mary-Mary Smith watched the elderly doctor leave her room. How much longer was it to be before she knew who she was? How much longer? She buried her face in her pillow and cried herself to sleep. It was early evening, and her hope was about gone.

Next Week, Back in Dear Olde England

Lady Wimpleseed-Prissypott # 28: A bit of sightseeing for Lady P. P. Not.

Previously the ghosts of Haggismarche received some good news.

When you’ve escaped a shipwreck and made land, it is a good thing to sit on a beach and cry. Lady Marye Caterina Wimpleseed-Prissypott, the former Mary-Mary Smith, sat on a beach and cried. She cried harder than she had ever cried before. Even harder than the night before she was sent off to marry an English lord. She cried, but did not know why she was crying. She was sitting on the beach and crying until finally she had cried herself out.

“Now that I’ve had my little cry, I’ll cry no more.” She looked out at the rising yellow sun. She had never seen anything so beautiful. Its beauty ran through her like first love. It was wonderful to be alive. There was only one itsy-bitsy little problem. She did not know where she was or how she had gotten on that empty beach early that morning. She sat in her white underdress and her corset, her dress and her hoop skirt torn off by the sea. She sat there in that sand and gazed at the sun and tried to remember. Her memory was not returning to her.

Mary-Mary was hungry. But she had no money. She had nothing but herself.

Mary-Mary picked herself up off the sand. In the distance, there were mountains. Little did she know that they were the Serra de Collserola. From up the beach and toward the north came the hum of ships as they sailed in and out of a nearby port. The sounds confused our heroine. Should she go in their direction?

After some hesitation, she decided against it. She picked herself up off the beach, saw a cobblestone street and took it. The street winded its way toward a broad shallow hill overlooking the sea. Perhaps on her way up that hill she could find a kind face or someone who could guide her to help. She passed a milkman, his cart delivering milk to the houses she passed. He gave her a look as did several women she spotted on the other side of the street. Perhaps they were upset that she had no shoes on. Where were her shoes anyway?

She came to a church, the Church of St. Teresa de Avila and walked past it, then turned around. Don’t churches help lost souls such as myself? She went through the large cedar doors and into the sanctuary. In the church, several women had their heads covered. One was lighting a votive candle. The rest knelt before the altar, praying. Behind the white marble altar, there were statues of the Mother of Jesus, Jesus, and St. Teresa de Avila.

Mary-Mary felt that she should not be in that place. She opened the entrance door to go back out into the sunlight. Then she fainted.

Several hours later she woke up in a bed. She found herself covered with a white sheet, lying on white sheets, her head against a white pillow. The room was white. There was nothing on the walls but a cross above the door.

In a chair sat a woman reading. Her black dress and black habit matched her black hair. She looked up from her prayer book, her face filled with peace. She smiled at Mary-Mary, then said several words in a language the survivor of the S. S. Twit did not understand.

“I don’t understand,” Mary-Mary heard herself say. “I don’t understand what you’re saying.”

The woman rose from her chair, said another thing, then left the room. Several minutes later she returned with a gray-haired man with a gray beard. He wore a cassock. He looked like a priest. Yes, he must be a priest.

“Señora? Señorita?” he stood by her bed and said. “You’re awake.” Then he noticed the wedding ring. “You had us worried, Señora. Would you like something to eat?”

“Yes please,” Mary-Mary said.

The priest turned to the woman she realized was a nun and said some words in the language Mary-Mary did not understand. The nun left.

“I am Father Jerome. You came into our church, and you fainted. We have been waiting for you to wake. Would you like to tell me something of yourself? How did God bring you to us?”

She shook her head. “I don’t know, Father. I woke up on the beach and walked up the streets until I came to your church. Something told me that I should come into the church. But I found it all very strange.”

The priest smiled. “That was God. He led you to us.”

The nun returned with a large bowl of soup and two slices of bread and a cup of hot tea.

“Have some nourishment. I have some duties to take care of. I will return late this afternoon, and we will see if we can sort this out, you and I with God’s help.”

Late that afternoon the priest returned. The nun had found Mary-Mary a long dress. It was white and she was sitting at the small table in the room.

“So, Señora,” the priest said. “I see the nuns have gotten you something more appropriate to wear, and you look like you’ve had some nourishment. You think you can talk now so that we may discover what brought you to us?”

Mary-Mary shook her head.

Father Jerome joined her at the table where she was sipping a cup of tea. He sat down and faced her from across the table. He folded his arms on the table and struck a pose that made her feel that he was totally listening to her.

“Where am I, Father?”

“You are on the outskirts of Barcelona in the convent attached to the Church of St. Teresa de Avila. You sound American but you have a little British accent to your English. From the ring on your finger, you must be a married woman.”

“Barcelona?”

“Catalonia”

Mary-Mary gave him a look as if he were talking about the moon.

“España. Spain.”

“The nun that was here when I woke,” she said slowly, struggling to see through the haze of her disorientation, “that has brought me soup and tea, she must be Spanish. Yes, she must. What am I doing in Barcelona?”

“That is what we need to find out. How did you come to be here?”

“All I know is that I woke up on the beach this morning. I saw a street and I started walking. I was starved. Other than that. I don’t remember anything else.”

“I have heard cases of such as yours. It is called amnesia. Something traumatic must have occurred. You can’t remember anything else?”

“No, Father. What am I going to do?” she asked, then resignedly, “What am I going to do?”

“Let us not worry about that right now. The important thing is that you recuperate. Please accept our hospitality until we, you and I, can figure out what you next move will be.”

“Thank you, Father. I am sorry I am such a bother. I wish I could be more help.”

“You are no bother. It is our mission to provide hospitality to the stranger, the outcast and the pilgrim. We, the nuns and I, are here to help in any way we can. When you are feeling better I would like for you to have a visit with the Abbess. She is the mother of this congregation. Her name is Mother Sarah, and she will be overjoyed that you are feeling better.”

“How come you speak my language so well when the others do not?”

“I spent ten years in a mission in Texas. I cared for both the Mexicans and the Anglos. My health became poor. Since Barcelona is my home, I was assigned to this church.”

“You are ill?”

“I am better,” Father Jerome said. “Now you must have your rest. I will see you in the morning after I celebrate mass. Are you Catholic?”

“I don’t know, Father. I don’t know.”

“Ah, I forgot. Even if you are not, let me give you this.” The priest handed her a rosary. He blessed it as it sat in her hand. “Perhaps you would like to pray the prayer.”

“Yes, Father, I would.”

“Then tomorrow I will teach you. I know the Madonna, the Mother of Our Lord, is watching over you. Listen for her voice. She will speak to you.”

Over the next few days, Mary-Mary recuperated as she opened herself up to the hospitality of the priest and the nuns. She found a place to sit outside in the sun. She would spend hours, sitting in her chair, praying the rosary and trying to remember. After about a week of this, she asked to speak to the Abbess.

It was a bright spring morning when she went to see the Abbess whose office was on the third floor of the Convent. Behind a small desk stacked with papers sat an older woman in a nun’s dress and habit. On the wall behind her was a picture of St. Teresa de Avila, smiling down upon her disciple with kindness. Mary-Mary looked at the woman. Mary-Mary looked at the picture. She looked back at the woman. The two could have been twins.

The woman rose from behind her desk. She embraced Mary-Mary like a mother embraces a daughter, then she guided Mary-Mary over to a sofa. The two sat down. The nun studied the young woman’s face for several minutes.

Finally, she asked, her voice very soft, “Are you doing well, my child?”

Mary-Mary shook her head yes.

“Are you starting to remember?”

Mary-Mary started to cry. She cried for several minutes. The nun waited. The nun reached into a pocket and pulled out a handkerchief. She handed it to Mary-Mary. Mary-Mary wiped the tears from her face, then continued to sob.

“I can’t remember anything before that morning I came here. I am sorry, Mother. I am so sorry.”

Next Week: Wah Wah