Headlines

Two headlines dominated the news over the next few days and once again our little village was thrust into the limelight; a limelight, I must admit, I would have prefered to avoid. Surely, it would only be a matter of time before... and sure enough before the week was out a journalist was at my doorstep wanting my opinion on that other headline.

'Mr. Brightwell, it has just come to our notice that you and Ms. Boucher used to be, shall we say, on quite familiar terms before her marriage to √Čtienne Gamehill? And we also believe that you are representing her in the affair of her divorce from the same Mr. Gamehill? Is it true that the announcement of her divorce has anything to do with a desire on her part to renew that intimacy which once existed between you!'

I fully realised that my terse, 'No, and I've nothing further to comment' would not be heeded and the next morning's newspapers produced an amalgation of the previous two headlines which doubtless showed what I could expect in days to come.

Film Magnate Blames Country's First Foreign Mayor For Divorce

We were ready for this onslaught and our tactics were to keep our silence. Fuelling the debate with comment or denial would only fuel interest in the question. If we kept quiet, the journalists would sooner or later lose interest in the matter and stop rambling on about it. But things hit rock bottom first. Saturday's news brought further accusations:

Wife's confession: Foreign Mayor Fathered My Child

This was a step too far. No way would Violet have made such a claim. Indeed, she was still in a sanatorium, recovering from the battering received at the hand's of her oh so saintly husband, the day she left him. Not a single journalist had the faintest idea where she was. But before we had time to react, the newspapers were silenced by a court injunction taken out by an unknown person, forcing them to retract what they had said and not to publish anything further on the matter without prior approval of the courts. Such approval would only be given if sufficient proof was presented as to the veracity of the claims. It wasn't until several weeks later that we learnt the injunction had been taken out by Mr. Gamehill himself.

But, one further cross-examination awaited me. Morgana had been aware that I had had a brief relationship with Violet, long before I knew her. But I had never told her how intimate we had been. Now was the time to lay all my cards on the table. I had indeed slept with Violet on one occasion and one occasion only. But this was well before her leaving Gensdouce and over two years before the birth of her child. There was no way I could be the father of her child, despite the fact that probably half Gensdouce had suspected me at the time.

That Mayor Demille would make capital out of these events was beyond all doubt. All we could do was smile and get on with our own campaigning. But strangely enough, he never once refered to the incidents. Indeed, questioned by the newspapers he went into a raving tirade against the standard of professionalism to which the country's journalists had sunk. Not once did he try to avenge himself.

I tried to think of a reason for his silence. True, his son Gérard had often been seen around with Violet at the time, but he had assured me at the time that he was not the father. Did his father not believe him? Or did he genuinely just want to fight the election on matters of policy rather than personality. It's true, few people felt our chances of unseating him to be very high. Was he counting on that?

3 comments:

The plot thickens, gets ready to boil.

4 March 2009 at 21:33  

Very interesting segment!

5 March 2009 at 05:06  

I always feel that I am stumbling into a conversation here, in a pub where I am always welcome. Thanks.

6 March 2009 at 04:50  

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