Oh Mary dear, I am so glad to see you…
What ever is the matter Agatha dear? You do look a tad agitated and rather flushed. Are you sure I haven’t interrupted anything?
My goodness dear, you know Binky is rotting in an Egyptian jail, and I have certainly not taken on another lover, I’m not that fast these days! No, I am in quite a quandary dear. I must admit that I’ve not felt this way for some decades and really thought that I’d got over the whole sorry business.
Agatha please, do sit down. Let me pour you a cup of Lapsang. You really do need to calm down. Now dear (passes her a cup of tea and a slice of Bakewell tart) do tell me whatever is the matter.
Well, you remember all those years ago when we were just gals and enjoying our school days away from the confines of parental control?
Of course I do dear. Don’t you remember when Matron was convinced that Rose Laughton had the pox, when in reality she just didn’t have the right gym slip?
Goodness, what stuff you remember my dear! Yes I remember, the poor item was confined to the sick room for a whole week! What ever happened to Rose? Poor gal seemed to always to be prone to the the worst possible luck!
I believe she married well dear, Henry Thorny-Bottom I believe. He died after a couple of years of marriage; rumour was that she wore him out! I believe he left her an absolute fortune though and, if the society pages are anything to go by, she’s spent an awful lot of it on champagne and parties. I’m told she looks quite young for her age and I hear her hair has turned quite blonde.
Well, I suppose it’s some compensation for her married name!
But Agatha dear, do tell me what is worrying you. It must be something serious if a slice of Ms Berry’s Bakewell doesn’t sooth you. It’s not about the shenanigans going on at Bake Off I suppose?
No, Mary, I know it is wrong of me and I can’t seem to come to terms with it, but I must say something or else I’ll burst….
I’m all ears dear…
You do remember Miss Wilmington-Hurst from school don’t you?
How could I forget dear one, old frosty pants was positively vile! I don’t know what we had ever done to her, but she hated us both with a vengeance and, if I remember rightly, took a particular dislike to you dear. I do recall once when we were just sneaking back from the kitchen having snaffled a couple of tea cakes that cook had made that day and she accosted us in the corridor…
Don’t, dear one. I remember it all too well. She couldn’t resist the opportunity to launch a tirade of abuse at us, and the slipper. She snatched those tea cakes away pretty sharpish too.
But Agatha what on earth does that have to do with the state you are currently in?
Well Mary dear, she’s died in rather a painful, and embarrassing way.
Yes, and the Omnibus didn’t come off that well either! But the whole sorry episode has thrown me into a maelstrom of multitudinous emotions…..
Agatha dear, are you talking about retribution and forgiveness?
Indeed Mary. My reaction when I heard the news was less than dignified. I felt gleeful for a moment, then guilt, then joy, then more guilt. It was all so confusing and brought back all those horrid and muddling memories of her treatment of us during our formative years.
Oh Agatha dear, I know it was a hard time, particularly for you.
I thought I had managed to put it all behind me though. But to top it all, the news about that poor Helen Archer on the radio who, despite everything she has suffered at the hands of her husband, still has to fight for the custody of her children, also brought back painful memories of being bullied by the vicious old crow and feeling helpless. (Taking a breath) And there’s the rub. How do you go about forgiving someone who has done you so much harm that your natural instincts tell you to relish any pain that they suffer?
(Sharp intake of breath) Oh hells bells. I think we need something stronger than this delicious Lapsang; let me ring for Snetter.
Brandies please old chap; and make them large ones if you don’t mind.
Mary, (taking a large gulp of brandy) I feel terrible about my reaction. I mean, she was a total rotter, but she didn’t deserve to die in such unpleasant circumstances. So how should I react when I feel like dancing down the high street in my underwear singing “Ding Dong The Witch is Dead!” It’s just all SO distressing.
Well, it would be most distressing if you did indeed dance about in your smalls in public. But you needn’t worry Agatha dear. You were not driving the bus after all, and it’s perfectly natural to feel conflicted when the architect of your unhappiness meets an untimely end, after all you never had any apology or justice served from the school for the psychological damage that teacher inflicted on you. You never healed dear one. (Pause) Of course, we must remember that retribution is a dangerous thing. We must try and rise above it because if we don’t that feeling can become twisted within ourselves and then we run the danger of becoming what they were.
You are so wise Mary dear, but what do we do if our loved ones are victims too?
We do the same dear one, and endeavour to protect them as much as we are able. Don’t forget, love will conquer all in the end.
How right you are – love and time. Talking of which do we still have time for another slice of Bakewell before the theatre?
I believe we do dear, but I also think we should have a large coffee before we go. One doesn’t want to be tottering down the aisle and making an exhibition of oneself.
It is an Oscar Wilde play tonight isn’t it?
Yes Agatha dear, it’s “A Woman of No Importance.”
Of course it is! He always hit the spot, dear man. I think his words certainly provide comfort and clarity.
Oh yes – he once said “ Always forgive your enemies, nothing annoys them so much.”