AS FAR AS THE MIND MAY DREAM
Story and Illustrations by :
© 2009 (This book is rated 8-Adult )
What Waffles the puppy is saying about this book: “Woof, Woof It is a real tail wagger!”
What Snickers the kitten says: “Meow, meow….and how !”
What Panther Parrot says: “Bak, bak…..this book is all the talk!”
To the Silence to the Eternal
‘As far as the Mind may Dream’
AND IT CAME TO PASS IN THE CALENDAR MONTH of February 1921, a time in the British Isles where it would not be unusual to find husbands, wives and their children, spending endless hours at home enjoying each others’ company, while unbeknownst to them, a girl child was born whom, in her own way, would change the course of British history.
Those ignorant inhabitants (innocent as they were) sat in their comfortably furnished parlors, piecing together colorful picture puzzles with infinite shapes that came together making lovely landscape pictures or ones such as fluffy kittens.
They would also line up in straight order on a feather sofa while mother or father read from the adventures of David Copperfield, a fictional character; a young man whom at a very early age had fallen in love with a person whom he related to as: ‘Poor Emily’ .
And on they read turning the pages from Gothic tales; tales that wend their way deep into the Bavarian woods where misguided, young children were devoured by voracious wolves or witches with gnarly faces pinpointed by warts, and streaming puss, whose personalities fit the temperament of ‘perverse disposition’.
But this simple, comfortable description of something that appears as a happy home life was not the profile of Mr . and Mrs. Tumblers the occupants of the Polstar Manor, London , England.
This manor took its pedestrian name from the renown stone known as Polstar Emerald and was a gem which had an almost mythical reputation. Sometime in the 14th century Wales the stone appeared in the domain of a royal family and, then within the next century it fell into the possession of a merchant of fabulous wealth of residence in Persia. The stone would then disappear altogether, years later landing in the palm of a child scourging for clams on a deserted beach and then thru a foggy series of thefts, blackmails and even murder it was discovered in the Ethiopian forests being used as an all-seeing eye in the cranium of a temple idol.
And from the many years of its first unearthing in what had been rumored, the south eastern slopes of the Pyrenees mountains (a time before the 14th century) the Polstar stone was, at the unfolding of our story, to all the world invisible. But invisible did not mean it had altogether vanished. Rather, the stones existence, as was suspected, by those who by craft of sluth had followed its course, now believed it to be resting in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Tumblers in some type of a steel enclosure.
The Tumblers were a senior couple without children and who kept to themselves spending most of their days and evenings facing one another in the high-backed chairs of their sitting room while the fire in the hearth smoldered a dull orange .
Mr. Tumblers was referred by his devoted wife, Edna as ‘Old Toad’, a man whom she had married when they were of the equal age twenty-one and had lived in their home for so many years it was not in either of their best interest to count or divide or in any way reminisce about the thousands of hours, seconds, and days that both husband and wife set about the simple task of taking up space for the basic cause of animal survival.
Sadly both Mr. and Mrs. Tumblers wondered obsessively about all the past years and the many dreams for a glorious life and how they had scampered off in an opposite, irretrievable directions.
And everyday husband and wife observed their mate with keen interest questioning which of them would be the survivor who would watch the other lowered into the grave first?
From the day of Toad’s retirement as The Bank of London’s president, husband and wife began to learn with precise timing where the other one would be at precisely every moment of the day and what he or she would be doing for the length of that task.
Mr. Tumblers knew that Mrs. Tumblers would rise from bed and give a few groans in response to the mounting assault of rheumatism in her joints, slip on her slippers and robe, go immediately into the kitchen to boil a pot of tea water, and while that was steaming she would wash her face in the bathroom sink, fluff her hair, tighten her bathrobe, yawn, then toddle back to the kitchen, and prepare apricot juice, toast, marmalade, and butter.
All this she did in expectation of having a few moments to herself with the morning newspaper before the “Old Toad” as she sometimes referred to Mr. Tumblers, would rise to pester her the remainder of her waking hours.
Mrs. Tumblers, on the other hand, had categorically observed The Toad and watched him each morning stretch, yawn two great yawns, tighten his bathrobe, comb what little of his hair remained with a pearl handled brush inherited by his even toadied father: Toad Senior, and some mornings top off this mundane routine by belching like an old cow.
Toad would then pester about in the kitchen pouring tea, looking over his wife’s shoulder to read the news headlines, butter his toast, and then go kindle a fire , sit in his stuffed chair, and switch on the radio to the classical music station interrupted by the top-of-the-hour news.
From the time they arose, there would be an approximate two and one-half hours until the morning dishes were cleared, showers taken, and a few mutual complaints about the cold weather were shared that the Tumblers found themselves’ sitting in their overstuffed chairs staring blankly.
The one portion of the Tumblers day that intercepted their tedium of quiet desperation was when Toad excusing himself with a ‘harrumph’ rose to make his way out the back double doors to tend to his pristine garden. And in some mechanical way this was the signal for Mrs. Tumblers to put a shawl across her shoulders and leave through the front manor entrance to see what packages or letters may be awaiting her at the post box .
And it so happened the very day this story begins, this January twenty sixth day, that Mrs. Tumblers upon walking the few paces down the cobblestone path discovered a rather misshapen basket containing a small child wrapped in an unusually colorful blanket lying in it.
Mrs. Tumblers first reaction was to look around for the mother of this child but, alas there was no mother to be seen and no father or guardian of any sort. Upon second glance to this seemingly abandoned baby Mrs. Tumblers noticed it possessed enormous, attentive green eyes that shone with the force and fire equal to that of any piece of jewelry displayed in the Tower of London collection.
Had anyone person at this point observed Mrs. Tumblers reactions they would not have believed what they had seen when this woman who had not let one day of the last fifteen years of her life go by without complaint of rheumatism, bent at the waist with great rapidity, and in one sweeping motion picked up the baby, basket and all. Mrs. Tumblers, Edna then stuffed the child close to her stomach with her shawl protecting it from the cold, and hurried with great agility back to the manor where she slammed the front door and latched it with great passion!
When Toad came through the back double doors in his stocking feet several hours later, having left his mud covered shoes outside, he placed on his slippers and walked over to his wife whom only he, after having seen her in that very chair for so many countless hours noticed she was sitting in a posture that was not her normal pose. Before Mr. Tumblers could ask the most obvious and predictable question of “Are you right, my Dear?”, he intuitively held silent when he observed the misshapen basket on the floor and a child neatly wrapped in clean cloth placed evenly on Mrs. Tumblers footstool.
“Sit down my Dear”, instructed Mrs. Tumblers to her husband Toad while using a tone with her voice which Toad could not quite place but remembered having heard it’s eerie sound before.
Mr. Tumblers moved gingerly to his chair and sat without a ruffle noting that the classical radio program was turned off and that his wife was staring with the greatest intensity at the child.
“I don’t know her proper name as there was no note left on the basket. I call her a ‘she’ as I have just finished giving her a bath. Thankfully she seems quite healthy, possessing the muscular makeup I would expect on a boy, though she is most assuredly a girl,” explained Edna.
“Toad, don’t you see .. ?” began Edna using that eerie voice which at that moment struck Toad as being the one he had tried very hard in his life to leave behind.
Toad recalled one unforgettable afternoon in his days of his employment that he had found Edna sitting just as edgy as he observed her sitting now.
“There had been an accident,” and this was all his young wife needed say. Mr. Tumblers recognized a grave, uneasiness in her voice, and understood that his wife could only be referring to an accident involving their only child, a daughter who was five years old, and in someway, and somehow, she left this world, and would never return.
“She has come back to us my Dear! Only a mother would know”, said Edna who was now looking at Toad with the most curious crook on her lips, her eyes wide and watery, and both her hands gripped hard upon the armrests of her chair .
“Look, Toad,” she said with her voice now racing, “do you remember the dimples , how the corners of the mouth turned up? The eyes. Look! You can most definitely see it in the eyes! It is She Toad; she has come back to us! ”
Poor Mr . Tumblers. Poor Old Toad. It would not be he, who would tell his wife the truth. Heavens! At her age it would crush her heart, perhaps be her fateful undoing altogether.
Certainly over the years he had played tricks in his mind wishing the massive Pulsar Manor to be a place for himself and him alone but in reality he would be lost without his wife whom in the depths of his heart he loved.
“Why, who could make my tea as perfectly as Edna?” he asked himself rather wounded. ”And I could never manage washing my shirts or ironing them. Oh, cruel life! No, this would not do at all; not at all.” And so Toad purposed to indulge Mrs. Tumblers as well he could, by responding to the situation saying “Well my dear, we should consider feeding her something.”
“You tired Old Toad don’t you think I have already considered this?” snapped Edna. “There’s water boiling in the stewing pot, and a canning jar with milk in it heating. Don’t you think I know how to tend to my own child?”
“Now I want you to go into the attic and resurrect the crib,” commanded Edna with a wince in her voice.
“Yes , Dear,” groveled Toad but remained sitting, staring at the child.
“Well, what are you waiting for Mr. Tumblers?” snapped Edna again.
Toad cleared his voice and said lightly “Might we not have a name for the child, dear?
Mrs . Tumblers let out a deep breath of exasperation. “Did you think I intended to let my child go through her life without a name?”
And of course Mr . Tumblers knew his wife would supply the child with a name, it was just that he wondered if, curiously, it would be the same name; the name of their daughter who had been gone for fifty years?
“Actually my dear…” he bumbled on.
Mrs. Tumblers shot poor Toad a glance so direct it would be fair to surmise had an elephant sustained the same look the elephant would stop in its tracks and fall over dead .
“Isabella Rose”, said Mrs. Tumblers with determination. “There, if it will satisfy you that I have thought of a name for my girl she shall have her original name, Isabella Rose.”
This was not the name Mrs. Tumblers had given their first daughter reasoned Toad, and yet, he wondered why his wife had so rapidly settled on such a compelling, and, in a poetic sense, such a beautiful name?
There are explanations for events like these when persons like the Tumblers, who are thrown into unplanned, uncharted circumstances such as receiving a breathing child on the cobblestone path of their home, and having to somehow place this new arrival into their daily routines.
With such emergencies the human mind no matter how senior can rise to a challenge of unexplainable proportions and in the situation of Mrs. Tumblers in need of a name, she unwittingly named the infant a secret name, one that had not been spoken of in the isles of England for many centuries: Isabella Rose.
“May I ask my dear, what is the origin of this selection? It has the ring of something not of common day usage? “It” and here Toad used one of his annoying jesters by putting his fist softly to his lips while clearing his voice indicating he was approaching a potentially offensive phrase, “it seems a bit difficult, if I may be reflective?”
“Tell me something easy about this life, Toad and I shall change my child’s name to Lily Flower, or Easter Bunny,” railed Edna. She shall have the name Isabella Rose, Mr. Tumblers, and there will be nothing more said of the matter! And now I believe I have instructed you to bring down the crib, have I not?”
Poor Toad was so upset and unsettled about this ‘child business’ as he in time would refer to it, he forgot to utter his customary “harrumph” while lifting from his chair which he had taken refuge in. And almost as if it was not his place to do so Toad took a fleeting glance at Isabella’s enormous green eyes.
“Isabella shall have the best of everything”, contemplated Edna as she sat in the bedroom and in the rocking chair she once nursed with her first daughter. Isabella was safe in Edna’s arms and with her head nestled deep into Edna’s breast breathed at a constant pace.
Edna let fly across her mind the voice of that child of five; the sometimes crying but more often the carefree laughter of someone joyful in spirit who felt safe from the dreadfulness of the world.
There was a small garden before Edna and she looked out the room’s large, north facing window catching her own self in reflection as she bobbed back and forth in her chair. “In several hours Toad will have brought down the crib, scrubbed with cleaning solvent and when it is dry I will place fine linen for the child to lie upon.”
It was not unusual for Edna to speak out to herself when she was alone, and often times over the course of their lives, Toad had walked in upon her as she was stitching on the sofa or completing tasks around the Manor thinking his wife had invited a visitor to tea and the two of them were about to come to blows over one subject or another.
“There is no doubt all will be well for my Isabella Rose”, said Edna again to the walls, window and, ceiling of the room.
“I shall be most vigilant to care for her; fight for her safety; die for her if the necessity presents itself. The world will not have it’s opportunity’s to take my child from me this time; I shall employ all of my skills, all of my life’s lessons to this end. And Toad shall be at my disposal every step of the path. Every step I say; even if I have to crack a whip across his back!”
Chapter 1. . .
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