Yes I am Jonathan Pryde whose fate is to be revealed. And I have held my tongue long enough!
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If you read this novel, you will learn my fate. Personally, I did not wish to read it because what sane person really wants to know his or her fate. But I will say that, in my own defence, I do not think it was in any way deserved.
By now you may have met Alexander Wainwright. Although he has made some rather unkind, even cutting comments about me, I have only the greatest respect for him. I was first drawn by his paintings which have a certain quality of light which causes you to perceive other worlds. With my life-long study of art, I must say that I have never seen that quality elsewhere. Not in paintings by Frans Hals, Caravaggio or Turner.
Alex remains a brilliant and sensitive artist despite his limitations of an understanding of the human condition. But, so often, great art excuses other less attractive human behavior. Certainly, it is in my heart to forgive his lapse in his understanding. Had he possessed this generosity of spirit, perhaps my fate would have been different.
I am a philanthropist particularly with respect to the arts…all artistic endeavors. I have donated substantial funds and works of art to galleries and museums throughout the world. But, more importantly, I want to tell you about a very special project underway at my residence in Vence in the south of France. The building is very grand and inside it is the ultimate in comfort. Not only are there beautiful suites for the residents, but there are common areas for all to enjoy such as the bar-dining room and music room where Dr. Bollen plays ragtime. We do our very best to bring our patients back to a semblance of life.
You see, our many residents are great men and women—with once brilliant minds– who have contributed much original thought to the world in the arts and sciences.
I invited Alex to visit us in Vence bcause I was so impressed with his artistry—especially with his use of light—that I had commissioned him to create a vision in stained glass for the residence St. Maxime. You see, we had had so many delightful conversations about art that I trusted him completely not only as an artist but as a man—as a human being.
However, I was greatly saddened. This man whom I so greatly admired and trusted betrayed me and betrayed his art.
One day, during his visit at St. Maxime, he came to the fourth floor. That is the part of the residence reserved for our saddest cases—the ones destroyed by their visions. These men and women were once luminaries in their fields. Physicists, philosophers and great visionaries are cared for as best we can. But their minds and spirits have been reduced to rubble. We do our very best to preserve and restore any vestige of these once brilliant minds. Alex personally witnessed an art appreciation class on the fourth floor which I teach as frequently as possible given the demands of all my business interests. Therefore, he can scarcely deny that we undertake great and compassionate work here.
In my small way, I try to contribute to their pleasure in life which has been so disastrously reduced. Just imagine what it is like to be one of our residents such as Dr. Kamura. Once he presided over research in astrophysics. With degrees from Harvard, Oxford and Caltech, he held the chair at the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Canada. He was feted at dinners held in his honour by academia and heads of state world wide. Had he retained his vision, I am certain he would have won the Nobel Prize in physics.
One day, he had a vision. No one knows what he saw but it rendered him nearly speechless. His behavior became so bizarre that he was locked away in a hospital where he spent most days in stunned silence—almost catatonic! Then, for days, tears would flow unabated down his cheeks.
When I learned of this, I arranged for his transfer to my home, St. Maxime, in Vence. Very gradually over many months and then years, we began to revive his mind and spirit so that he could at least communicate on a basic level. His greatest improvement came in response to our art appreciation classes. When we talked about painting techniques, his face lit up.
One day, Alex happened to look in on one of these classes which I was teaching. I truly thought he was greatly impressed and understood how compassionate our work was. But my hopes were dashed.
Alexander turned against me. He claimed to be upset about the other branch of the business which took place in the bunker at the foot of the garden.
I will not bore you with the details of this sort of work but, suffice it to say, it is very profitable and the money earned from it goes directly to fund our work in the main house with the residents in a condition similar to Dr. Kamura.
Alex will tell you that he cannot comprehend how the very best and the very worst of mankind can thrive in one human breast. Of course, he is referring to me. He is a man of great intellect and understanding. Consequently, I cannot comprehend his difficulty with the other business activities. The one makes the other possible. If you read The Fate of Pryde, please remember that there are always two sides to any story.
I only wish I could sit down over a sherry and discuss this with Alex. But alas, because of my so-called fate, I cannot.
If you have enjoyed my little story, perhaps you might like to download a copy of The Fate of Pryde here Mary E Martin on Smashwords
I would be very interested to hear what you think. Am I, Jonathan Pryde correct or does Alexander Wainwright prevail in his moral sense? I would greatly appreciate hearing what you think. I may even take a poll.