The Hothouse Rose: Twelfth Tattersby

Posted by ractrose on 10 Feb 2019 in Art, Poems

Charcoal and pastel drawing of straight-laced housekeeper



The Folly






The Hothouse Rose


‘You’ll have to get rid of that woman’

Her voice rings oddly clear, a piercing ray

of sun snowcaps Mrs. Kentworthy’s hair

His housekeeper meets his eye; a glance up from her cleaning kit

And withering glare, that says indeed,

keeping fealty with the name she bears,

‘I’ve worked many places, Mr. Inskip. This here’s summat

below par.’

He’s not certain, though, that Lucille can be heard

By any other than himself

It had been the start—

His giving Macbeth’s before the ghost of Banquo

A run for its money

An earlobe tugged sportingly

That chilling touch

(Not her fault, he grants)

And Dougal being out the night, his coat


Face unshaved, shoes tracking mud

His help must think him fallen prey to drink

No, she doesn’t hear that laugh

Sees her gentleman strike a listening attitude


They pantomime these telegraphing roles

He knows Mrs. Kentworthy is jotting notes

Mentally, what she’ll tell her sister


‘You see I’m not such the hothouse rose…

No matter what the envious whisper

I intend making a project of it

Of you, my darling Dougal

Keeping your precious hearth and home


Begone melancholy fancy!

(Tinkling merriment)

I’ve always had a will and made a way

You shall be my hands, my Jane

And I your Rochester

Just see what fun we’ll have together, you and I!’


‘What fun!’ he shouts aloud, and sees at once

Of all strange things to blurt

Worse, from a face, no doubt, of humourless defeat

He has found it

That tremour capable of shaking Mrs. Kentworthy

The slamming door frames a hollow quiet

So suddenly

He knows Fiona can never fill it


Lucille…my dear…

How will we ever manage?




The Hothouse Rose
Charcoal and pastel drawing of pile-up at horserace before pavillion

A Cold Reception: Thirteenth Tattersby













(2017, Stephanie Foster)




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