Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Papers of Victoria Frankenstein, II (74)

Four o’clock came soon enough. Harriet actually did lie down and appear to sleep, though I’m fairly certain she didn’t actually drift off. I spent some time reading another book about the Mary Shelley connection to the Falls. A friend of her and her husband’s—Edward John Trelawny—had come to America in 1883, and in his published letters he tells about his visit to the Falls on August 5. Some of the things I read about Trelawney astonished me, and I couldn’t wait to tell Harriet and Gil about them.[1]
About a quarter to four, Harriet pretended to wake up—stretched, yawned, tried to look dazed.
“Did you have a good … nap?” I asked so sarcastically that she knew she hadn’t fooled me.
“I tried to sleep,” she said. “But you are the world’s loudest page-turner, did you know that?”
“Is that a Guinness Book of World Records category?” I asked. “I think it should be.”
Harriet said nothing.
“Want to head down to the lobby?” I asked.
“Sure. Just a minute.” And Harriet staggered into the bathroom as if she had just awakened from a hundred-year sleep. I couldn’t help it. I laughed. And when she emerged a few minutes later, she was once again Harriet the Dazzling. Sleeping Beauty awakes! She really was beautiful, and I knew she’d be turning male heads on both sides of an international border before we headed for home.

Most everyone else was in the lobby when we arrived. I looked for Gil, then saw him with his mother moving very slowly toward us from an elevator that had just opened. He was gripping his mother’s arm tightly and was shuffling along instead of taking steps. His face, again, was paper-white. It was awful to see him suffering so.
Incredibly, though, he was smiling. He was where he wanted to be.
“All right,” announced Mr. Gisborne, checking a clipboard. “We’re now all present and accounted for. We’re going to walk over to Goat Island. Stay together until we get there. Then you can walk around and look at stuff—but stay on the pathways and stay with your roommate. I don’t want to see anyone by themselves.” This last sentence he delivered with all the seriousness of a prison guard. “At four forty-five,” he added, we’ll gather at the Top of the Falls Restaurant down at the end of the island. There’s a gift shop there, too. And that’s where we’ll meet. We have five o’clock reservations. So don’t be late. Don’t make me come looking for you!” (Prison Guard Statement #2.)
And off we went. Harriet and I stayed with Gil and Mrs. Bysshe, who were, of course, lagging behind everyone else. I glanced behind me. And there was Mr. Leon. He raised his hand in a friendly wave and pretended he was admiring the foliage and other scenery along the way. But I could tell he was bringing up the rear—making sure no one got behind him. Oddly, I felt more comfortable, seeing him there. Because, of course, I was looking everywhere for Blue Boyle.

[1] Vickie’s comments here and later indicate this book was probably William St. Clair’s Trelwany: The Incurable Romancer (New York: Vanguard Press, 1977).

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