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The Journal of Henry Goldfinch

2004 - 2006


I've started another journal. It's good to get my thoughts out - I fear I haven't written for a long time. Perhaps the practice was better for me than I thought? Now that I don't have to rely on it for my daily bread, it seems a wiser pastime.

We arrived back on the Isle today. It's been a while. Some part of me expected to see Mulligan still waiting for us by the ferry. I was not disappointed when this proved not to be the case. It's been 7 years.

I do not miss them.

It's colder here than it is in Spain, but calmer. I need a calm place for a while. Jonathan suggested it. I fear he's still upset over that incident in Allepo, and wanted to move on. He can be… aggravating at times. He didn't understand that he was making it worse back then. He's still young - younger than I after all.

I am not at all unhappy to be here. It's much as I remember it. Perhaps I can take up poetry proper again.


Jonathan mentioned to me that it was Valentine's Day today. I lost my temper. He ought to know better than this by now, though.

I refuse to be sentimental.

She is gone, no not gone, dead - even if I did not have the courage that night to see to it personally. I will not be burdened.

We found a place to haven in the forested area. I was glad to see that so much of the island was still wooded. I can walk for miles and never encounter another soul. Shout as loud as I will and not have anyone hear me. I hear it's dreadful when the tourists come. I can't imagine this place being disturbed. The snow is so clean. I feel strange leaving footprints.


It's been a while. Nothing much has happened since I last wrote. Jonathan's gotten belligerent and claims he wants to hunt for me. He says he's worried.

I shot that one down quickly. In the worst case, I feed on squirrels - they're fat enough here for it. I will not be coddled nor tended to. He's agreed, but asks me to stay toward Newport or Ryde. I told him I will hunt where I choose, but have tried to stay back from the smaller villages. There's no harm in humoring him.

I found some of my old verses tonight and tried to reassemble them somewhat. I've gotten a particular couplet stuck in my head.

“Outside this house the corbies moan, the dogs bay, the serpents hiss/ So we shall not go out my love, but in the darkness clip and kiss”

It needs work - still hasn't a proper poem to go with it.


He killed one again. He didn't have to. All he's done is add to the trouble. I wish he'd stay out of things. He told me that we'd get caught - that I'd been too messy this time.

Does he think that I WANTED to kill the first man? That I was just hungry for blood and nothing more? Does he think I didn't know what I was doing?

I was trying to keep him calm. I was trying to keep the idiot from getting himself killed. Doesn't he realize how often this happens? Does he simply not learn?

“But there are witnesses.”

There are always witnesses someday, Jonathan. You don't kill them

It's almost as if he enjoys it - as if he's sick. I know he thinks as much of me.

I should stop writing about this. It's been dealt with.

I need to be calm.

I came back here to steady my nerves, yes? This isn't like Aleppo or Amsterdam. This is a vacationers' island back in England.


There was a man in the woods today. Tourist. I did what I had to. Jonathan didn't complain for once.

It's beautiful here in the summer, even if there are more of them about. The foxglove's been in bloom and it still often smells like the world is sunlit - at least it smells as I remember it smelling. This place, this “little world.” It's just like a pastoral some times. It's so quaint in some places, even in this age. They even have shepherds with their flocks here and there.

I wrote more verses today. They don't seem to be coming out right.


We fought. It didn't end well for either of us.

I realize more and more that I've started to write here primarily to vent regarding Jonathan. He's not like Mulligan was - not yet, but I'm beginning to wonder if we shouldn't part. Mulligan and us - we should have parted ways sooner. I nearly had to kill him to make him understand. It was for his own good.

He brought her up was the thing - Mulligan did. Even if that cloister-raised fool didn't know half the story. It was the seer's curse about him. I'll blame that. He always knew. Always. Even if I never told him, he would say her name and sing that song and act as if it was all some fever dream he was having. At least his “handmaiden” was quiet.

Jonathan is no seer, though, I trusted him. I told him about Rose and what I did, and I told him that night never to mention her name back to me or there would be consequences. Why? Why will he never listen to me? Why is he so young? Why would he do this?

I'm changing again. I can feel it. I don't have a glass to look into, but I know it's something to do with my head. I'd take it out on that child's hide if I hadn't already.

I don't want to look at myself anymore. I've long since lost the need for vanity.

I need to walk. Yes. Walking always calms me.


It's a ram's horn. Ugly and gnarled looking one at that. I don't want to see it.


Writing grows increasingly erratic

I realized that it was Christmas. Nearly one year has gone by and I have but 8 entries to this journal. It's of little matter though. It's more than I've written for a long while. I admit that I'm a little dissapointed.

The fact I have put something here - it makes me immortal (more immortal) in some way, back like I thought I'd be when I was a bloody poet. Breif as my thoughts may be now, they have form. They are real. Whatever I think and write at this moment will not die with me should I ever die now It will remain here after - my words lingering like a ghost. If somebody should find them. I write and I make it so that Henry Goldfinch might never die. Ho!

I feel uncharacteristically somber tonight, perhaps distastefully so. I am not often thus.

I can say it now in the dark of this one night and only softly - like Midas' barber speaking his peace to the mud.

I loved Rose Madder. I confess after over a cursed century again, alone and sullen. I loved her madly and will carry it to hell!

I suppose it was that Isaac was born on Christmas. Yes.

I always wondered after Isaac. I wonder if he grew to be a cold-faced soldier like his father - coming back to some other woman after years away, fair and flush with war, glutted on it like goddamn flesh and wine. I wonder if he remembered her. I wonder if he ever guessed who it was who came to save her that night - who gave her that one chance for heaven to spare her. I wonder what might have happened had he been mine. If I was not brought to this curse. If Eben had been killed in battle and if she would have said yes to a different way at a different time.

I wonder how he died. He must be dead now.

When I wake next evening I will look at this and I will regret and I will feel shame to have written thus, this is not like me. The man must have been drunk. I can feel it. Melancholy does not befit me - I'm not a poet. I'm not even a man. I've no need for this. She had to die and I had to. Don't tear this out, future self. I want to remember.


Time passes all to quickly. I'd nearly forgotten I had this. Looking back at the last entry unsettles me. I nearly did, in fact, tear it out of this book. I kept it though as a reminder - I at least had the good sense to keep such melancholy to myself and this diary.

I must remind myself, yes. I am not a man anymore, and whatever heartache I felt as one ought not weigh on my duties as the thing that I am.

I've been getting better as of late. No more accidents. Jonathan's nearly let me “off the hook” about Aleppo.

It's tourist season again. I'm staying back toward the downs. I'm scouting I'll admit.

I need to find somewhere to go if things get bad.


Jonathan thinks he's right now. It was an accident!

I'm trying not to give into anger now. I'm trying to stay calm. Nothing like this has happened in months.

She was lost. It was a dangerous stretch. I was trying to help her - to protect her.

She was a fool! They're all bloody fools! She ran right off the bank.

She may as well have been dead before I started. She probably was - it's not as if I could have done much else then.

He's acting frightened now. I find it distasteful.


Valentine's Day again.

It seems this journal is little but the chronicle of my severance from Jonathan White. I genuinely only do write here when I am angry with him.

It's over now. I wonder if this will be my last entry.

He called me an animal.

We're done now. It will go badly for him if he seeks me out again. I told him this place was his and I left.

I did not succumb to frenzy.

I did not strike him.

I did not tell him what I thought of him and his soldier's ethics.

I left and I came here. I shall show him the kind of “animal” I am. I'll not pursue his company again.


Early one morning
Just as the sun was rising
I heard a maid singing
In the valley below
O don't deceive me,
O do not leave me!
How could you use a poor maiden so?

O gay is the garland
Fresh are the roses
I've culled from the garden
To bind thy brow
O don't deceive me,
O do not leave me!
How could you use a poor maiden so?

Remember the vows that
You made to your Rose
Remember the bow'r
Where you vow'd to be true;
O don't deceive me,
O do not leave me!
How could you use a poor maiden so?

Thus sung the poor maiden
Her sorrow bewailing
Thus sung the poor maiden
In the valley below
O don't deceive me,
O do not leave me!
How could you use a poor maiden so?


Enclosed within pages is a pressed and dried rose.

Last month what happened - I thought it through. I nearly clipped the last entry out.

It was wrong. Yes. I can say it was wrong

But it wasn't inhuman.

The man was dead already. What I did to him afterwards. It made nothing worse. It was proof.

It was a way to show I was a reasoning being. Only a man would make such a pattern.

I am still a man.

Aside from that, things are calmer. I'm not actually any worse off, in spite of last month. Jonathan isn't about to plague me.

Yes. I am not an animal.

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