The Death of Uncle Husband

A death self was not at all prepared for, for he seemed to be in the prime of health. But anyhoo, he has died. He and the Silent Duchess were married when she was 13, and he approximately 30 years older. The Duchess is now (self guesses) in her late forties. They had eight children, of whom the first was born when the Duchess was just 14. Four of the children lived to adulthood.

The Duchess is left alone with the body in the family chapel:

Marianna brought her eyes back to the naked body of uncle husband stretched out before her. But why had they left her there on her own? Perhaps so that she could give him a last farewell, or possibly to reflect on the frailty of the mortal body? Oddly enough the sight of his forsaken limbs reassured her; he was so different from the other bodies surrounding her, so fresh and tranquil, distinguished by the veins, eyelashes, hair and full lips that characterise the living. Those waves of grey hair preserved intact the memory of sunlit countryside; the cheeks still retained a few gleams of pink candlelight.

The Silent Duchess, by Dacia Maraini, translated from the Italian by Dick Kitto and Elspeth Spottiswood

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

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