Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Another Kind of Necklace of Beads
Reverend Jenkins stopped the car right in front of the site of the accident, as close as he could. People were helping to sort out the corpses, to identify, to help any survivors, to search wallets for identities of so far not identified (that was the police doing it) and a few more things. Some corpses were also being carried away.
Susan ran as fast as she could through the the little crowd, bustling through everyone, and after some three times she bumped into bystanders, she saw Lucy. OK, the other ones were there too, but she only had eyes for her younger sister. In her hands there was a kind of necklace ... wait, was she not into nagging about something called a Rosary, lately? Peter had taken it up when leaving the Anglican Church (she and Peter were the only ones old enough to do so without parental permission, at least she thought the limit was 21 years), even before deciding whether to become Catholic or Orthodox. Now that was a deception to Mr Jenkins ... so, there was the peaceful face of Lu, quiet and cold. And there in her hands, no it was not just any necklace. She was able to get it out of her sister's fingers and look at it. Not pearls, but wooden beads.
Beads, beads, beads all over it. Groups of, would it be ten? yes, separated by larger ones. All of wood, five groups of them. Under it there was a medallion with the Blessed Virgin Mary. Under that another three small beads and a large one, and then a crucifix.
She was sure her sister would have liked her to have it, so she took it on, as a necklace. Never mind if she believed in it or not, she had to find out later, but for now that was Lucy's gift to her.
She wished she had had the cordial, to heal some of the accident victims before it was too late, but Lucy had not taken that Christmas gift with her from Narnia.
But somehow, she did not worry. Not that she did not worry about herself as if she was sure to be forgiven: she did not worry about her sister. And that was a feeling she had not known since that awful day seven years ago in America when Eustace wrote her that letter.
"Yes?" she turned to the police officer. He was a bit dubious about the procedure, but was not judging prematurely. Just being cautious and a bit suspicious.
"You seem to look alike the young dead lady here, are you related?"
"My name is Susan Pevensie, this was in her life Lucy Pevensie, my sister."
"Then I presume Alberta Scrubb would mean something to you?"
"We will see her in a minute, can you identify yourself?"
"Only in driving school as yet, sir."
"Do you mind?" Reverend Jenkins stepped in.
"Yes?" said the policeman.
"I have my drivers' licence here. It says I am Jonathan Jenkins, I am vicar of the All Hallows on the Wall parish of London, and I had the griveous duty to inform Miss Pevensie, Susan, of the demise of Lucy and her other siblings."
"I take it this means this is - or was Lucy Pevensie then?"
"Indeed" said both Susan and Reverend Jenkins.
"There are six more although Alberta Scrubb identified one of them as Eustace."
"Shall we ....?" suggested Susan.
And Alberta was just about quitting her sobbing, she had arrived only a little earlier.
"I had such hopes for Eustace Clarence ..."
"As she said, here is Eustace Clarence Scrubb, her son. And there beside him is his school friend Jill Pole, whom I taught archery." She noted with not little joy in her heart that both of them had that funny sort of necklace which she was wearing from out of her sister's hands. "And the elderly people beside them are Professor Digory Kirke and Miss Polly Plumber."
"Elderly? They look old!"
"They are only about sixty years, though first time I saw Digory I took him for at least seventy - nearly ten years ago. I later found out his hairs had gone white rapidly during what seemed to become his last cannibal's feast - and first and only one too. I mean, there are times when Professors from our lands do not quite survive such occasions. He was a good explorer. But he did not survive the railway crash ..." she added with a wimper. That made her cry again. And her eyes were already red.
"So he is really around sixty?" added the policeman when she was no longer crying.
"I take that to be rather correct," she said.
"Doctor Artium Honoris Causa, Oxford, Professor of Anthropology and Comparative Religion in Leeds University, lecturer of Archeology on spot, several digouts - staying away from cannibals mostly"
"Anyone who might confirm that?"
"He said he had a splendid student called Jones. Indiana Jones funny enough. But where he is now ...? I suppose he shared the professor's taste for adventurous digouts, so ..." And Susan broke off again, because she really thought that Digory Kirke was an old dear. She would never more hear him on surviving among Papuan cannibals of New Guinea.
"It won't be necessary to contact Mr. Jones," went Reverend Jenkins. "I can confirm, since I attended one of his lectures at Leeds a few years ago."
"And there" - she pointed at two young men - "are Peter and Edmund, also brothers of mine and of Lucy." As she said it, she glanced at her brother Edmund especially. More wounded and white than when she saw him at Beruna (would she ever escape Narnia? was the memory even false?), and a smile which she could not quite place. She had seen it somewhere, but could not recall when. Narnia, that too? And Peter looked like after saving her from Maugrim, except this time it was his own blood, and the cuts were not made with his sword.
"I think that will do for now, I will leave you to your grief and your prayers. Sorry to have disturbed you at such a moment, but identification of corpses tends to be an important routine."
"Oh, no problem, sir!" said Susan through her tears.
"Thank God he's leaving!" sighed aunt Alberta.