When a rich eighty-year-old marries a sixteen year old his relatives are hopping mad, but there’s nothing they can do. Why shouldn’t she marry him? Bringing him comfort in the evening of his days. What is love, anyway? A misunderstanding between two gobshites. Not always. Falling in love is a form of madness. This too will pass. When poverty comes in the window love flies out the door. Let’s be practical. Enough of abstraction. This is the real thing.
In my journalistic days my landlady was seventy years old. She talked about last week or fifty years ago as if they were yesterday. She asked did I notice a house at the top of the town? No, I said. She was a bit put out, people like you noticing things about their town.
There’s a story behind that house. A local girl went to America and got a job cleaning for an old man. He was very rich, they married. A couple of years later he died, she got his money. She came back and bought the finest house in town. The landlady smiled to herself, half admiring her and half not. She was a smart lassie, she said. She hadn’t a thing when she went to America.
Local girl makes good. I could have written that.
Zsa Zsa Gabor married several times. She was a good housekeeper, she always kept the house. A local man said his wife went off with a million pounds. I advised my sister to keep her eye on him, would she like another house? She said she doesn’t want a man who drinks whiskey at ten in the morning.
In our neighbouring isle, the sceptred one, American heiresses married owners of stately homes at the end of the nineteenth century. The woman marrying for class, the man to keep his estate. Churchill was the fruit of such a union. Hybrid vigour. Love is a many splendored thing. Some girl said she would marry me though I had no money, but that didn’t happen. Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.
An American jazzman when asked why he never married said why should I have a wife when the man next door has one? Why, indeed. At a wedding reception in Dublin the bride was discovered in bed with the best man. This was immensely disturbing. The guests didn’t know where to look.
Nowadays if you hear someone is bringing their partner you ask is their partner a man or a woman? If you want to be gender specific. They may not be sure.
We live in uncertain times.
13th April, 2016