Chapter 48 – Ending
It says ‘Ending’ and in many ways it feels like an ending with both climax and artful anti-climax. Yet, the thickness of the book still remaining after this chapter seems to belie this being an ending proper.
Tuerqui in climactic reunion with those she has sought is underplayed but satisfying – perhaps in tune with something said elsewhere in this chapter:
The things that needed to be expressed most urgently didn’t require words.
and this telling item of dialogue:
“We are not tub-luggers!” Lisa-Louise protested. “What we are is a bit complicated, but we’ve come here to warn you.”
“You know about Tuerqui?” Lisa-Louise asked, clearly puzzled.
“Everyone knows about Tuerqui, ma’am,” the lieutenant replied – now according Lisa-Louise the respect due to a superior. “Isobel Ironhand’s lost love, snatched away by pollygoggers. Why, there’s even a song about her.”
Private West began –
The Ironhand lady weeps tonight
Fair Tuerqui is out of sight…
 This song was a lilting ballad, very popular and widely sung during the civil war.
Reunions may have been underplayed but the chapter’s subsequent ceremony isn’t underplayed at all, as prefigured here:
“No, I’m too excited, and she looks too tired, to do that today. In any case, her re-harnessing must be an occasion. Let her remain in personage for tonight, and tomorrow we’ll have her formal investiture into slavery.”
Footnote below reminds me of the bath device in ‘Big Brother’ TV reality:
 During the final years of the Surrey democracy, communal bathing became increasingly popular. Large baths were widely used for political, military or professional conferences – as well as for sexual activity. The great bath in University House was designed to accommodate a dozen people.
Colours and a stone (reprise of the earlier ‘knowing’ stone?) in two separate passages:
Seemingly without thought, we seated ourselves in rainbow sequence with Lady Isobel at one end of the table, Lisa-Louise to her right, Modesty to her left – Tipsi occupying the far end with Jane on her left and me on her right.
“The stone,” Fiona replied, “when you hold it up to the light you get dappled purple on the white sheet… where you turn it over… But the clear one is best… It doesn’t look much, but it makes rainbows, all over everywhere…”
A potential claim for the whole novel in its effect upon its reader is expressed by Tuerqui in another context:
Never before had I felt myself so utterly possessed.
And in a coda to this ‘ending’ chapter, there is a Shakespearean-like ‘climax’ of goriness and catharsis with bodies left lying about, where Tuerqui’s weapon training is exploited in action.
The first sentence in this chapter brought me up short by ‘blood stained’ – so I think below should be “...splashes - that were probably blood - stained the...”:
At our feet, dark splashes that were probably blood stained the once polished, rough and splintered, floor.
Word docs of the actual chapters are freely available to readers of this blog.
The links to all Chapter comments by me are here: http://weirdmonger.blogspot.com/2008/06/o