23 May 2008

Excerpts from the Diary of Judith Coalstream (Routledge 2004)

June 18th 1934.

This diary entry was written in the morning before the Will reading of the recently deceased Lady Coalstream, who died in suspicious circumstances related to ethanol. It seems likely that Judith was writing under the influence of a stonking hangover.

"I am writing under the influence of a stonking hangover. I feel like roadkill. Today is a day like any other, only slightly damper, although some days are damp. I rose at noon, possessing a perilous headache ready to burst at any instant into full blown brain fever the likes of which I've not experienced since I was a youth, only last Tuesday. Mother's death still hung over the house like a great swollen eye; Harry stalked the corridors in mourning weeds clutching a bottle of Frangelico from a pale hand with grazed, raw knuckles from punching the dogs, poor swine. Flossie was curled upon the hearth rug painting her toenails of all things, the bloody fool. So now we were orphans, what larks! I must prepare myself for rags it seems, as the Captain prefigures the state of Mother's finances to be in ruins after so many years spun on ethanol - why if only, if ONLY she'd never taken that gap year in Peru as a girl, or Father had done something constructive like set up mill in India and settled it in our names, we'd be spared the degradation of upper middle class life. As each moment passes before the Will reading that will lock our fates in twain like a curled stick, I pity myself that I am a Coalstream and wonder that I am not dead from a deep disgust."

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