Thursday, December 15, 2016

Vampire, Jonathon Continues Recollection of Jeanette 12/15/16 &Hallelujah, Amen (from "Judas Maccabaeus") - Mars Hill Festival Choir 20...



It is I, Jonathon, who lived this , but Billy types it out. Sometimes he misses a word or doesn't hear it all. A phrase might get changed. But memory does that too. Life itself edits what was and transforms it into what is. I've lived a long time. I know that very well. And I really did not think of Jeanette for decades, though memories rise up from depths on their own. Now please let me continue.

She told me how she left her village and started walking. Women never traveled alone and 'declasse' types without any social standing, never left their assigned places at all. They couldn't. Would a grate leave it's place in the hearth? What difference could her hopes, or aspirations make? She was a serf, a human tool and nothing more. Only fortune prevented her from falling into the hands of a whore-trapper. They loved runaways... completely defenseless and all that. Sold them to the licensed brothel keepers of Paris. 'Licensed'... that's a misleading term. They paid protection money to some lord who ran a few 'dove cotes' on back streets here and there. And the lord passed some up to his betters too. Aristocracy has its prerogatives, don't you know. But, the whore-trappers didn't get her. She never wore the 'ankle bracelet' .... a shackle meant to link up to a stout chain. Some 'Paris Doves' never left their bedchamber. ... The slop woman came round and fed them like pigs. A 'wash hag' bathed them with a shallow bowl of greasy water, a none to clean sponge and something like soap when the stink grew too strong. Bedding was burned every three months. That was considered a Paris affectation. New pillows, blankets, sweet straw mattress and perhaps a sheet cost money. The 'doves' were kept naked. More efficient that way. Those who sickened, or showed signs of 'the taint' were discretely poisoned. New hatchlings were easy to find.

I wander like this so I do not forget. So many memories. So many caves to explore. I'm sorry. Please, let me return to Jeanette.

She met a man. He rode a mule. Two retainers walked with him. A man of wealth he was. Not a land owner. They had assets, but he had cash. He spoke to her, not in the language of those parts... not in the manner of the Isle de France as men spoke alone the River Seine. But in the older, more Latinate tongue of the south, as heard in Provence.

His name was Avigdor, a man of finance and he was a Jew. Was she frightened? A little, for she'd never met a Jew before. One or two passed through her master's house, but she never spoke to them. Few serfs ever laid eyes on actual coinage... not silver. Maybe a copper here and there. This was a man of wealth, yet he made his way with but two retainers for he carried no coin. His business relied on notes of promise warranted by the ducal seal. None would harm him.

He offered her wine, not to beguile her, for Avigdor was a devout soul, with a wife and children. It was only refreshment and Jeanette took it. Then he told him her story. She told him of her violent defilement by a boorish nobleman. He nodded. Avigdor knew their ways well. In the south, his people were vintners with hillsides of grapes going down toward the sea. They could own land and that was a very important thing. But where they were now, money lending at all levels was all they could do. Great lords used Jews to concentrate actual coinage, which the nobles in turn squeezed out of them. They traveled this way for a while. At night, the retainers prepared two small lean-tos, one for the Jew and themselves on the left side of the horse and one for Jeanette on the right side. They ate salt cod, carrots and hard bread. They drank wine, or fresh water from the many streams. Others on the road did more or less the same, though most ate salt pork and the way was quiet. Bandits had bigger fish to fry.

In this way they progressed to the place where I found her..

But so much happened before that....

<more next time, hopefully real soon>

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