persephone of the magnolias and persephone of spanish moss. persephone who brightens the flowers on the most grey and humid days. persephone of lonely cemeteries where the roots of overgrown oaks shelter the dead.
“this girl who stands so quiet and grave at the mouth of hell.”
– rochester, jane eyre
persephone spends half of the year in northern england, where
her husband’s mills are. their home is dark and ancient, but it is their home, and that’s all she needs - that and some flowers from her garden to brighten up the halls a bit.
some of the mill workers fear her, as they fear her
husband. she doesn’t blame them on either count. (they can’t know as well as she does how
little there is to fear in him, of the heart hidden in that solemn somber man.
she teases him often, with a kiss, about she would not destroy his reputation
by telling that secret.)
she spends the other half the year in north carolina where
she grew up, visiting with her mother. the farmlands are as prosperous as ever,
and even her childhood garden comes back to life when she returns to tend it. (once
or twice a week, she gathers up the best blossoms and visits the town’s
cemetery. the graves from the war are beginning to succumb to neglect, and someone
needs to take care of them. she feels terrible that she can’t do it regularly when she’s away, so she takes extra care with them now.)
the farmhands still cast down their eyes when she passes,
call her a climber like her mother. the descendants of the old antebellum
ruling class still will not have anything to do with her. but it doesn’t bother
her like it used to when she was young.
“dead, your majesty. dead, my lords and gentlemen. dead, right reverends and wrong reverends of every order. dead, men and women, born with heavenly compassion in your hearts. and dying thus around us every day.” – charles dickens, bleak house
his eldest brother received the title, the run-down estate,
and what was left of the fortune. his next brother got the naval commission. there was nothing left for hades, youngest son of a family run dry –
not back home, anyway. so he made his own wealth, in the mills and the mines, with as much fairness to his
workers as possible.
this didn’t make them fear him less, but hades was used to
that. and he didn’t particularly blame them.
he quietly and anonymously pays for the burial rites of the
city’s poor, and attends funerals for those who have no one left to mourn them.
thanatos commended him once for this, but hades’ mild reply was that it was
only the due to the dead, nothing to be praised.
(it was there, in thanatos’
cemetery, that hades first saw persephone. she was visiting lonely graves, and