Sarah had discovered this happy coincidence when, during one of her habitual bouts of insomnia, she went downstairs in the middle of the night and found Miriam and Marcus watching Out of the Past.
Out of the Past (1947) tells the story of a man whose life is interrupted when a figure from his shady past reappears and wreaks havoc. It sounds rather like the perfect film to open a chapter that also contains Juliette Durand. The film has very high ratings on Rotten Tomatoes.
The word “smoor” apparently comes from Scots Gaelic. To smoor a fire is to dampen it so that it does not require tending overnight. There are superstitions associated with smooring, such as that letting the fire go out lets the soul of the house die.
“You must have a very high opinion of me, Miriam, if you think the brotherhood has functioned for all of these years without a seneschal. That position is already occupied.”
According to Wikipedia, a seneschal was a senior court appointment within a royal, ducal, or noble household during the Middle Ages. In the province of Anjou, the seneschal transformed into a business manager and vice regal.
The name Juliet means “youthful,” while Durand means “enduring.” It’s a lovely and fitting name for a vampire–even a crazy one. A little-known fact–the spelling “Juliet” was first used by Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet in 1596. Before R&J, it was spelled “Juliette” or “Giulietta.” In 2016, it was the 228th most popular name in the US.
“Will you hold me?” he whispered.
My back to the oak tree, I pulled him between my legs.
“I’m cold,” he said with dull amazement. “How strange.”
“You can’t leave me,” I said fiercely. “I won’t have it.”
In mythology, the oak represents strength and survival. In the Celtic tree calendar, Oak is the seventh month. It is also the seventh consonant in Ogham writing. Celtic mythology provides that the oak protects leaders and warriors, offering hospitality and safety. In Ancient Greek and Roman cultures, the wearing of oak leaves was a sign of special status. Unsurprisingly, the oak is the tree of the Goddess Diana, as well as the Celtic Dagda, Janus, Hecate, and Pan. Very old oak trees often have special meaning for their communities; several famous oaks may be listed here.
Two women were standing inside the barrier of flames. One was young and wore a loose tunic, with sandals on her feet and a quiver of arrows slung across her shoulders. The strap was tangled up in her hair, which was dark and thick. The other was the old lady from the keeping room, her full skirt swaying.
“Help me,” I begged.
There will be a price, the young huntress said.
“I will pay it.”
In Neopaganism, the Goddess often appears in one of her three aspects–Maiden, Mother, or Crone. Each embodiment of the goddess represents a phase of life and a phase of the moon. Throughout mythology, it is not uncommon to find historical goddess triads or triple goddesses.
There is a tradition of Dianic Wicca which adopted a triple goddess named after the Roman Diana. Triple goddesses appear across fantasy, fiction, film, and literary criticism, from Marion Zimmer Bradley to George R. R. Martin to Neil Gaiman.
Deb’s post on October 15-19 may be found here. In the Real-Time Reading Companion, she offers two other musical selections for this chapter: Radiohead’s “The Gloaming” and the Spill Canvas’s “Gold Dust Woman.”
We’ll see you again while Diana convalesces on October 20-21.