The Shore of Dreams! By Sharon Holtz Chapter Seventeen
Everyone settled in, and quieted down in the chairs that were set up, in Laura’s old chamber, as Mary called the room to order, promptly at 7:00.
She then warmly welcomed everyone, and began, “I hope you will all be comfortable in our new location. The acoustics are wonderful here, and we will not have to strain our voices, to be heard by everyone.”
Gleefully, she clapped her hands together, as she announced, “I would like to welcome our newcomers, Catherine and Jennifer. Welcome girls!”
Catherine looked up at Vincent, and shyly smiled, embarrassed a bit by the attention, and then as she turned to smile at Jennifer, Catherine was surprised to see she was standing up, and bowing to everyone!
Ronald leaned forward in order to look around Jennifer, and smiled at Catherine. As she returned his smile, she shrugged her shoulders, in a “I don’t know what to do with her”! She laughed, as she whispered, “I can dress her up, but just shouldn’t take her anywhere!”
Ronald laughed and whispered back, "I wouldn't change a thing," He then sat back smiling to himself, because he really could not help, but get a kick out of Jennifer’s zest for life!
Catherine then turned her attention back to her friend, and she actually had to tug on her sweater to get her to finally sit down!
Mary cleared her throat as she continued, “Also, I would like to acknowledge, in the future, if Lisa's schedule will permit her, she may be joining us as well. Unfortunately, it looks as if she must not have been able to come tonight. Because she is not here...ah well...”
Taking one last glance about the room, Mary smiled though, as she looked at Peter and said, “However delightfully Peter is here with us tonight. He was disappointed he missed last week, and the final wrap up of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven! Would anyone care to synopsized the meeting for him, and tell him what he missed?”
Jacob raised his hand, and blissfully said, “I will be glad to Mary.”
He then turned to Peter, and with great gusto and animation, he recited the last verse of The Raven:
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door; And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming, And the lamplight o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor; And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor Shall be lifted- nevermore! The End!"
Jacob then said, as he looked at a dumbfounded Peter, “Which concludes the minutes on the Raven my friend!”
Turning to Mary, Jacob gallantly waved his hand, in a gentle-men like manner, as he said, “Now onto the discussion of Wuthering Heights...Mary, the floor is once more yours!”
Peter folded his arms in front of himself, and as he slid down in his chair, he mumbled under his breath, "What a show-off!"
Mary stood there awestruck! She fanned herself, as she was very flushed and excited by Jacob’s recitation! She stammered and said, “Yes indeed! Thank you Father! Oh my! I think we can all agree that was most invigorating, and inspiring!”
Everyone DID agree, and started clapping! Jacob looked all about and smiled as he held his hand up in protest, as if to say "hold the applause"!
As Catherine clapped, she leaned into Vincent, and smiled as she whispered, "Vincent, I believe Father reciting The Raven, has really affected Mary!"
Vincent stifled his chuckle as he agreed, "Yes Poe's writings, are a powerful aphrodisiac!"
Mary gathered herself as she said, “Well then let us begin!” Picking up her copy of Wuthering Heights she informatively said, “Emily Bronte! Emily Bronte began writing Wuthering Heights in December of 1845, and had it published in 1847! In fact, it is interesting to note, it originally had been published under her pseudonym of Ellis Bell! Back then, a Victorian society, did not accept such a point of view, being presented by a female writer...and you see...”
Upon hearing this biased information, Jennifer raised her hand, causing Catherine to look at her, wondering what she could possibly have to say already!
Mary acknowledged Jennifer, and asked, “You have a comment Jennifer?”
Defiantly, Jennifer stood, and said, “That is so typical of a male oriented society isn’t it! I mean how unfair that a woman could not be accepted back then, as the author of a book which portrayed these violent and sexually turbulent characters!”
Jennifer turned to everyone, and generically asked, “I mean why not? Women are sexual creatures too!”
The room was stunned, and as Mary fanned herself once more, she said, “Thank you for your opinion Jennifer!”
Catherine squeezed Vincent’s hand, and under her breath, she said, “Oh Vincent what must Father be thinking?”
Leaning closer to Catherine, he whispered, “He may be wondering about the truth behind Jennifer’s words. I believe he is looking at Mary in a new light!”
Catherine looked over at Jacob, and thought he seemed to be daydreaming in that eye squinting manner he owns, as he peered at Mary! Looking back at Vincent, she started to giggle, as she said, “I think you are right!”
But in truth, being a medical man, Jacob was thinking Jennifer was indeed correct!
Mary’s cheeks were bright pink, and she stuttered a little as she tried to recoup, “NNNow, wweeeee should consider how With….wut…Wuthering Heights had been written. From 2 different points of view! From Nelly’s outsiders view, as details had been relayed to her, and from Lockwood’s.”
She paced a bit, before she suddenly turned to everyone, and asked, “Who can tell me why the 2 different points of view are significant?”
Vincent raised his hand, and as he stood, Catherine could not help but allow her eyes to trail up his magnificent muscular, tall, strong structure! She had to work very hard to concentrate on what he was saying.
He then concisely answered, “Well Mary, it is noted, all through Wuthering heights, the paired theme is developed, and is done so often to serve as contrasts to one another. The two households, Wuthering Heights, wild and open, compared to the calm and orderly Thrushcross Grange. The two different families of each homestead likewise are variable. Wuthering Heights also depicts 2 generations, good vs. evil, love and revenge…and the stirring under pining passions of man vs. woman.”
Catherine a little surprised by Vincent's evaluation, by the fact he included the passion aspect, and spoke so openly! So steadfastly looking forward, Catherine hoped she was not blushing.
In response, Mary said, “Exactly right Vincent! Thank you. I could not have said it better myself!”
Mary took a deep breath and asked, “Now what fact was given away at the very first. What do you get a sense of?”
Ronald was called on, and as he stood, Jennifer couldn't help but to check him out! But she was not as casual as Catherine had been when Vincent stood, and so she had to actually redirect her friend's gaze!
Thoughtfully, he answered, “The notion which struck me the most, was Heathcliff’s coldness to a guest. At this point we don’t know why he is so unfriendly. We don’t know until later he is cold and bitter, because of his broken heart.”
Jennifer was moonstruck, listening to Ronald, and whispered to him, that she loved his sensitivity to the visitor, and she thought Heathcliff was rude to him too.
To which Mary evaluated, "I like your insight Ronald, and quite right! We do not know all the emotional turmoil brewing within Heathcliff's heart as yet."
Mary then said, "We will pick up next week, and talk more about Wuthering heights and its subjects. Let us enjoy some refreshments William has prepared... shall we?"
And so as the meeting concluded, everyone stayed and enjoyed the tea and cookies William had provided.
Catherine, Vincent, Jennifer and Ronald were all talking away with Peter, Jacob, and Mary as they enjoyed the refreshments.
They talked of the lovely new meeting room, and how Mary had decorated it in such a lovely homey fashion.
A comment which caused Jacob to marvel, “Yes...very homey, and Mary, you managed to capture a literary feel to it as well. Tell me where had you acquired the enlarged depictions of some of the greatest masters you have hanging here on the walls?”
Slyly, she admitted, “I enlisted Elizabeth’s talents…”
Mary tried to stifle her giggle as she admitted, “I Begged her actually!”
Peter looked around at the posters of Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Keats, and Poe, and had to agree, “Yes Mary a very nice added touch!”
Jennifer began to ask Peter questions about Vincent going to school. She excitedly asked, “So Peter, Cath said, you can help Vincent enroll in a correspondence course at Pratt!”
Peter nodded and said, “Yes, I talked to the Dean, and explained Vincent’s scenario without telling him everything of course, and he said, that yes, if he took the entrance exam, there was no reason why he could not enroll!”
As Peter continued to explain the process in which Vincent’s dream could become a reality, Vincent turned to Jacob and said, “Father I meant to talk to you prior to any official public knowledge of this issue. I do want to know your opinion, and I hope to have your approval.”
Supportively, Jacob put his hand on his son’s shoulder and said, “You are a smart man, and...you need to be challenged, to learn, to grow! And yes, Peter and I spoke about this possibility, and I approve, and may I say, it has always been a dream of mine that this could be so for you.”
Appreciatively, Jacob turned to Peter, and said, “Thank you for looking into this Peter.”
As Catherine listened to Peter reply, saying he was happy to do it, she looked up at Vincent, and could see tears glistening in his lashes, and as she hugged his arm, Vincent continued to look forward, gently squeezing Catherine’s arm back.
Ronald turned to Jennifer and asked, “May I count on you to pick me up for our class?”
Broadly, Jennifer smiled, and said, “Of course! Oh Ronald I am so excited we are taking this class together. I can’t wait!”
As they talked and began making plans for the upcoming course, Jennifer could hear Jacob gleefully say, “Lisa you are here! Late perhaps…but delightfully you are here now.”
Ronald looked over as he heard Jacob too, and Jennifer could see a light in his eyes, as he looked at the beautiful Lisa!
Gracefully, she approached Jacob, and said, “I am sorry to be late Father. I know how you abhor tardiness!”
Jacob smiled and embarrassingly he looked downward, as he recalled how strict he had been on that issue. Looking upward, he said, “As I grow older, I am not nearly as rigid, and besides...the important thing is you are here now.”
Mary ran up to Lisa, and with a Motherly hug, she said, “Lisa welcome. How about a cup of tea?”
Lisa walked with Mary, and the two chatted away, as Lisa discreetly looked about the room for Vincent and for…Ronald.
Catherine looked at Vincent, and saw he was trying to contain his happiness Lisa had arrived! Catherine tipped her head as she softly asked, “Vincent aren’t you going to say hello to Lisa?”
Vincent looked at Catherine and said, “Yes Catherine I am, I didn’t want to make you feel uncomfortable as I did so.”
Kindly, Catherine replied, “You won’t Vincent…I really do understand. In fact, I'll be along too in a little bit. But first, I haven't had a chance to speak with Rebecca yet."
Meanwhile, Ronald seeing Vincent approaching Lisa, turned to Jennifer and said, “I would like to say hello to Lisa too, wanna come?”
Jennifer assuredly said, “You go on ahead, I will later on.”
Jennifer no sooner said she didn't mind, that Ronald left her, and approached Vincent and Lisa. And Jennifer watched how Lisa elegantly turned to Ronald, greeting him with a smile.
Off to the side, Jennifer stood and watched as the two talked away, and as a tear slid down her cheek, she quietly left the chamber.