The Second Mrs Rochester

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Reader, I married him,
Ten long years ago;
At first I was in heaven,
Then the cracks began to show.

His affliction made him surly;
It irked him to have me – 
A weak and feeble woman – 
Attend to all his needs.

I tried my best to satisfy,
To sate his every whim,
But the more I fawned and pandered,
The more it angered him.

He started drinking gin,
then took another lover;
His path of self-destruction
So like that of Charlotte’s brother.

I found myself on eggshells,
My waking hours in panic;
I feared I’d go insane
And end up in the attic.

What to do, I wondered,
As I walked across the moors
When I came across a man
Upon a steel-black horse.

He told me his sad story,
How both his wives had died:
The second accidental,
The first one suicide.

His house was lost to arson;
I felt I could relate.
When he said I should go with him
It seemed to be my fate.

We rode all day and evening
To his home beside the sea,
And now I’m the new mistress
Of a house called Manderley.


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