Joined: 20 Jan 2006
|Posted: Mon May 29, 2006 3:46 pm Post subject: Tatters of the King - episodes 1 and 2
Do you recall Talbot Estus? He is one of my friends who we met the night we enjoyed Der Rosenkavalier at Covent Garden. I went to see a play of Talbot’s the other night with Dr Quigley (my psychiatrist, I am sure you remember HIM!) and some of his friends. It was an odd thing adapted from the French called “Carcosa, or the Queen and the Stranger”. It was almost indecipherable to me, but contained something about a city named Carcosa, a Yellow Sign, a King and a Stranger. The reaction to the play was most remarkable. I was left a little non-plussed but some of the audience became quite agitated and a minor riot greeted the final curtain. I thought it my duty to consol one of the poor actresses. Darling thing. Red hair, freckles in the most remarkable places and legs to die for.
The play left some of Dr Quigley’s companions most intrigued. One has taken it upon himself to read it in the original French. Despite much debate however, none of us can quite agree exactly what actually happened on the stage!
We had much opportunity to debate the play because Dr Quigley was summoned up country to assess a patient. The patient (I will use his name, Alexander Roby, so long as you PROMISE not to tell anyone) was in need of a second opinion. His current psychiatrist, Dr Highsmith, believed that he might be a candidate for release from his insane asylum. Mr Roby went batty and claimed to have killed his father and sister back in ’26 in the most GRUESOME manner. The Police did not press charges against him at the time because they did not believe him capable of the crime.
I, of course, LEAPT at the chance to visit an insane asylum and meet a possible murderer and Dr Quigley did not seem averse to my company. The fact that Dr Quigley is quite free with his purse while out dining made the trip doubly appealing.
I had expected the insane asylum to be filled with the screams of the mad, but in truth it was a deathly quiet place and I found it even more unsettling than I expected as a result. Having met Mr Roby I now doubt that he is a murderer, but I did meet someone who was. In the neighbouring cell was a chap named Hariwell who murdered a nurse (spookily also named CUTHBERT) in ’27. The curator told us that they never found the nurse’s body, but that Hariwell’s cell contained enough blood to fill two people and in the laundry they found the bloodied uniform of the nurse and two knives. One of Dr Quigley’s companions spoke to Hariwell himself and the lunatic claimed that he was innocent but that a demon with knives for hands killed nurse Cuthbert.
This story was enough to justify the entire journey. And Hariwell’s murderous eyes have quite inspired me to take up sculpture once again. Expect the studio to be filled with busts and hate-filled eyes my dear. Best tell Mother not to visit for a while. Tell her that I am painting something nice. A landscape perhaps.
We did some reading about the Roby murders. Alexander’s father was killed by a blow to the shoulder and his corpse was found drained of blood in the drawing room – but not a drop of the stuff was to be found! We have joked that it must have been vampires. The sister was cut to the head and neck by something very sharp – but WHAT has not been determined.
As I have said, Alexander claimed to be the one responsible for both deaths. He was at home at the time (as were some of the servants), but despite his claims of guilt he can recall nothing. The servants say they heard whistling, then breaking, then screams.
My spine still TINGLES as I think of that. This stuff is purest gold my dear. GOLD!
But do you know what the best bit is? Oh it is almost too good to be true! You see Roby wrote a book in German called “Der Wanderer durch den See”. And do you know what this book was about? A city named Carcosa and something called The Yellow Sign - just like Talbot’s play!.
Oh we found some other things while we were up country – we visited Roby’s GP (a Dr Trollope, most dull) and talked to a Police inspector – but nothing that compares to that. We plan to visit a friend of Roby’s tomorrow. A Ms Delia Hartson. He mentioned her name when we spoke to him and apparently she shares his interests in the occult.
I had best finish now. Don’t show this letter to Mother. Heaven knows she would disapprove of my recent activities (well, of the actress if nothing else!). Take care.
PS Someone broke into my flat the other day. Don’t worry yourself though. A certain red-headed young lady disrupted the thieves before they could steal any of my more valuable canvasses!
My favourite roleplaying memory - "Daisy at Colonus", two drunk cowboys and a pantomime cow in a 'reinterpretation' of Sophocles greatest play.