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We want to tell a little tale here. One that, really, we only know the bare bones concerning. (And there is really no humor intended by that first line. But, there is irony.
Sir Johnathan Pryce, we take it, was a fellow that lived long, long ago (maybe 400 years), in a little place that was once known as Merry Old England. Today, it is less Merry, and, according to some, much less England. But, you understand where and approximately when, I take it.
Mr. Sir John, whom we know nothing about, married, three times, having been unaccountably widowed twice. We do not know how he, specifically, became a double widower, but, really, trust us on this one. You do trust us, don't you?
Mad Sir, upon losing his first wife, decided... well, he just couldn't part with the old gal. To that end, he exhumed her still-lovely (but undeniably dead) body, and plopped it next to him in bed. Like an oversized, if somewhat repulsive, teddy bear.
Well, Cupid rides his white horse across the landscape of all our lives now and again, somewhat erratically choosing who and when and where, and all that. But the arrows he flings find their mark, and Mad Sir was duly pierced and found himself, once again, walking the aisle in nuptial bliss.
His new, blushing bride must have been a little loath to crawl into bed beside Mad Sir and his dead first wife, who was still occupying her space in the conjugal boudoir; but, wives being the dutiful creatures they were in those bygone days, she eventually complied. Charming.
Of course, the exegesis of Fate's inscrutable "Book of Life and Death" is a perplexing matter; thus, when Wife Number Two slipped from her perch with the living to join the Invisible Throng, Sir John the Mad decided since, well, the old girl was still at least looking as if she were a Spring rose ripe for the plucking, he would keep her, in the increasingly crowded bed, beside the undeniably now putrescent and repellent Wife Number One.
As snug, they must have been, as three bugs in a rug.
We can surmise that Sir John the Mad was a real "knockabout Don Juan...a Nut..." to borrow a phrase from the Elephant Man essay by Frederick Treves. Bloody rake hell he must have been, because it was not long before Wife Number THREE was walking down the aisle with him. Unsuspecting, of course, that bedtime at the Pryce household constituted an altogether unique arrangement.
We can well-imagine the resultant scene. Most likely, it was like something from a cheap horror thriller:
"Come my dear, come! I want you to meet two very special ladies. You see here, Katherine! Ah, dear sweet Katherine. The pox took her in 1652, Such a lovely face! Such radiant eyes! Her cheekbones, were they not the most delicate, the most high, and most beautiful of all her features? Now, beside her lies Deborah! Oh, lovely Deborah, an angel upon Earth. You see her hands? Oh, they're a bit rotted by now, the fingernails look as if they have grown long and haggard; but, I can assure, that's simply because the skin of the fingers has receded due to time and decay. Oh, these damn flies! Never fear, they clear out after awhile. And, of course, I'm certain you're not use to the odor, the sweet nectar of their bodies, their natural, too-human perfume. You see? I have spread these posies around, to mask the stench. You'll get use to it soon enough..."
The horrified Wife Number Three raises her quivering hands to her cheeks, a scream dying in her throat. Suddenly, able to countenance the horror no longer, she turns and flees from the room, from the house, from her new husband and his two moldering keepsakes.
"What?" he asks himself. "Was it something I said?"
Occasionally, the death of an elderly person will go unreported by their spouse, due to senility or dementia. And, also, some people just find themselves unable to "let go." When discovered, it is found they have been living with the decomposing body of their departed spouse, sometimes for quite a long time.
Happy coming Halloween.