Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Tess of the D'Urbervilles: 2021 Remix

Roped-off Turberville grave, with square tiles
"Please stay 4 tiles apart at all times."

"Within the window under which the bedstead stood were the tombs of the family, covering in their dates several centuries. They were canopied, altar-shaped, and plain; their carvings being defaced and broken; their brasses torn from the matrices, the rivet-holes remaining like martin-holes in a sandcliff. Of all the reminders that she had ever received that her people were socially extinct, there was none so forcible as this spoliation. She drew near to a dark stone on which was inscribed:

OSTIUM SEPULCHRI ANTIQUAE FAMILIAE D’URBERVILLE

Tess did not read Church-Latin like a Cardinal, but she knew that this was the door of her ancestral sepulchre, and that the tall knights of whom her father had chanted in his cups lay inside.
She musingly turned to withdraw, passing near an altar-tomb, the oldest of them all, on which was a recumbent figure. In the dusk she had not noticed it before, and would hardly have noticed it now but for an odd fancy that the effigy moved. As soon as she drew close to it she discovered all in a moment that the figure was a living person; and the shock to her sense of not having been alone was so violent that she was quite overcome, and sank down nigh to fainting, not, however, till she had recognized a Church Warden in the form.

"Hello," said the Church Warden, "I'm here to supervise your private prayer. Please can you scan the QR code, fill in the visitor's register, sanitise your hands and ensure your mask fits over both your nose and mouth? Please sit only on the blue chairs, but not if they contain a "I have been used for private prayer" laminated card. Unless it is a green laminated card, as they are from more than three days ago. Please do not shout, sing, scream or lick the pulpit. Now command me. What shall I do?”

“Go away!” she murmured."

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