He knew that there must be something wrong
by David Lewis Paget
From the time he brought her home,
His mother had turned her back when he
Announced her as Alice Frome,
‘She lives in the vale by Abbeville
Where I met her at the dance,
Mother, you have to greet her for
This may be a true romance.'
His mother had pursed her lips, and turned
Surveying her up and down,
‘You shouldn't get carried away, ' she said,
‘There's plenty of girls in town.'
Then Alice blushed, was taken aback
By this woman's cruel jibe,
‘What have I done to you, ' she said,
And the lad, he almost cried.
She left, and swore she'd never come back
And the lad had left as well,
His mother watched throught the curtains
Knowing she'd put her son through hell,
‘Just what in the world were you thinking of? '
He said, when he came back home,
‘I meant, she wasn't the one for you,
That girl, that Alice Frome.'
‘You don't even know her, ' said the lad,
‘You wouldn't know what she's like,
She's good at art and she's awful smart,
She's not some terrible dyke.'
‘I know her sort, I've seen them before
And she's not the one for you,
Take your mother's advice, my son
Or she'll tear your heart in two.'
But he went to meet her secretly
On the odd nights of the week,
And when his mother had asked him where,
She found that he wouldn't speak.
He woke one Saturday morning late
His ankle chained to the bed,
‘You won't be going to visit that girl
Unless I'm already dead! '
He cried and ranted and called for her
But his mother wouldn't come,
She locked the door to his bedroom
And the windows, every one,
She brought his meals but she wouldn't budge,
‘You will lie here ‘til she's gone,
‘Til she has another boyfriend, and
I'll bet, that won't be long.'
She kept him chained for a week in there
Then Alice came round to call,
She beat and beat on the panelled door
Then sat on the old stone wall.
‘I'll not be leaving ‘til you come out, '
She yelled, so the neighbours heard,
And soon, the mother had let her in,
Face grim, but her eyes were scared.
They sat and talked in the kitchen there
For an hour, or maybe more,
Then Alice walked with a tear-stained face
Slamming the old front door,
His mother let him off from his chain
But she made him sit downstairs,
‘That Alice Frome said leave her alone.'
He said, ‘I know she cares! '
‘It isn't a question of caring, son,
But a question of what is right,
You just can't marry that Alice Frome
And I'll tell you why tonight.
I felt let down when your father left
And I had an affair or two,
And then I fell, you should know as well
For I am her mother too.'
‘I had her swiftly adopted out,
Burying past mistakes,
I couldn't care like I cared for you
We do whatever it takes.
But I knew the people that took her in
And I've watched her from afar,
You couldn't marry your sister, son,
You'll find there's a legal bar.'
‘Why didn't you tell me this before, '
He cried as he turned his back,
‘I didn't want to reveal my scar…'
He said, ‘It's too late for that!
We think she may be expecting now,
It's not just affecting you! '
‘She'll have to have an abortion, son,
That's what she's gone off to do.'
He left the house in a flood of tears,
His mother cried in the dark,
The worst had come of her secret fears
She was losing her son, her Mark.
A week went by then they found the two
Curled up in a four-post bed,
Their pale young faces were tear-streaked,
A brother and sister, dead.
10 November 2014