Hello, everyone. It’s time for another Sample Saturday. This week, it’s from my award-winning novel, In The Eye of The Storm. The first-person narrator is Gilbert Rochambeau. After reading, please enjoy a performance of Chopin’s Heroic polonaise, referenced in the text, by the late Vladimir Horowitz.
The circumstances of Honor and me coming to know one another were singularly unpleasant. Claire’s melancholia manifested itself so strongly that she became bedridden. She wished only to sleep. Erik gave orders that she never be left alone; melancholics often took their own lives. I later read, in Miss Florence Nightingale’s Notes on Nursing, that melancholics did better if they found company upon waking and if their rooms were well-lit via windows that could open for fresh air; Erik had made sure of that as well. I do not know whether he read Miss Nightingale, but that book became my Bible where Claire’s care was concerned.
It was Erik’s greatest fear that Claire would indeed suicide. He tried all he knew, even consulting a physician. When that man told him to kill Claire’s beloved cat, Pierre, and get a child on her so that she would dote on the baby instead of her pet, I was surprised that Erik merely escorted him from the house instead of striking him. Heaven knows I considered it myself; I can only imagine how that must have felt to Claire’s husband, with his violent tendencies. What kind of odd quackery demanded taking away a beloved friend as a means of so-called comfort? None that I could imagine, that is certain.
That evening, Erik carried Claire down to his music room and situated her on the divan. She looked so pale and wan, the entire household feared for her. In his desperation, Erik tried his one gift on her: music. Claire loved Chopin’s Polonaise in A Flat, the so-called “Heroic,” and Erik played it over and over again that evening. His virtuosity at the piano was undeniable; I stood in the doorway and watched him play the difficult piece flawlessly, tears streaming down his face.
After the sixth or seventh repeat, he closed the key cover and went to Claire, kneeling next to the divan. He slipped his arms around her waist and sobbed into her lap while she stroked his raven hair. I turned away myself, helpless to aid either of them in that dark and miserable hour.