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Made of Ruin – Chapter the First
Malcolm B Duncan is a Sydney based barrister, satirist, author, and independent politician. Several of his personalities are regular Webdiarists. In this piece, Malcolm begins the tale of the love of his life.....
Made of Ruin – Chapter the First
It is often said that I am mad, or sometimes, more kindly, that I am just eccentric, but let me tell you a tale of a young schizophrenic who, for a short time, brought the important part of the known world to its knees until she was burned to a crisp as a result of a quiet political deal. Make what you want of your gods, but this lass who fervently believed in hers was ill-done-by if you discount the enormous number of people she caused to be slaughtered in what she thought was a good cause.
What then is just? Perhaps there just is.
So here is the tale of Jenny of Lorraine. Shaw may have told it better, but I shall tell it as true as I can.
It is always a very hard life on a small farm. We who live in cities do not understand that our food, our wealth, our wellbeing is essentially produced by slave labour today as it has always been. Those who toil in the fields, who grow our crops, our vegetables and our sustenance do so day-in, day-out for little more than they can live on, sparing a good season – and they are few and far between.
Now, a serious literary critic might, oracular, say “few and far between” is a tired phrase, a cliché; a more seasoned critic might call it rodomontade but it is actually something which people who live on the land understand only too well – they just don’t have enough good seasons to regard them as fewer than few and far between.
So, back to our Jenny. Our lady of the Lack.
Ducks I think: I think she was first given the ducks to mind. It went from there.
Well, if you’ve ever known the way it goes, ducks are a pain but they beat geese by a country mile. Jenny lived in what we would today acknowledge as part of France in the days before metrics so a country mile was still a country mile even if it was a French one. Nevertheless, Lorraine was not universally acknowledged at the time as French. There were a few competing claims. One of them was a fellow who proclaimed himself King of France but had a few property developments going in the British Isles at the time. He also styled himself King of England.
Now our Jenny might have been mad as a hatter, but this bloke was a serious dribbling loon. Like so many of his ancestors he was called Harry. In fact, there had been so many of them they had started numbering themselves. By this stage they’d actually started on the second hand (as far as fingers go) but the chief wizard in the plot was a lad called Warwick. It was a war and he had a wick and with the wick he would burn and burn anything or anyone in sight.
Jenny had no interest in mere men: she was called to her god. These days she would have been a lesbian, either as a journalist with a degree in communications, a police prosecutor or a social worker but they just weren’t options open to her. She didn’t even have the qualifications at the time to be a nun (but we won’t go into that incident in the stables with her uncle). Suffice it to say she was pretty well roundly rooted (Oh, I forgot to relate the incident with her aunt didn’t I?).
Well, there it was. A young girl well armoured by her experience against anything the world or her god could throw at her.
I first fell in love with Jenny when I was in high school. Bit weird falling in love with someone who’s been dead for over 500 years and a Roman Catholic to boot (although it was before the split) but what do you do? Gosh, the smell of her armour … Givenchy – eat your heart out. Could I have followed her over the top? Would Peter Fitzsimons? I’m pretty confident Alan Jones wouldn’t have. I’d follow her anywhere – I’ll love her always, I’ll love her better than her own god – always and forever - hence this story.
Ducks. Useless really except for target practice and our Jenny was only too aware of the effect of the target practice of the Henry you could count on one full hand. What a great play that had been: the flower of France had been destroyed and it gave the duck girl the up.
Yet, gentle reader, how does one love the love (smelly though she might have been) of one’s life without ever meeting her, without ever knowing her, blissful though it might be never to have smelt her?
If it please you, read on.