Epilogue: 1919

I. In 1919, Mehemet and Old Stencil arrive in Malta on the H.M.S. Egmont. In a flashback of Stencil and Mehemet-who apparently time-warped from the Middle Ages to Stencil's time-they discuss society, growing old, and WW I. Mehemet relates his encounter with the man who was painting a sinking ship. Mehemet then tells Stencil of Mara ("Maltese for woman"), who nursed St. Paul when he was shipwrecked and "taught love to every invader from Phoenician to French" (pg. 461). She was captured by Turks and taken to Constantinople. Her captors lashed Mara to the bowsprit to replace their missing figurehead. She was then installed as a concubine, eventually restored potency to the sultan's eunuchs and made his women love their own bodies so that the members of his harem and the eunuchs could enjoy one another. Legend says that she somehow managed to stop the invasion of Malta by sending the Sultan's head to Mustafa. Mehemet speaks of Mara as a guardian ghost of Valletta.

Stencil goes to his hotel, bathes, and is visited by Fausto Maijstral. Maijstral is a Dockyard worker who is also an informer. He tells Stencil that the Dockyard people tend to attack the Chronicle. Maijstral leaves, and Stencil follows him down Strada Reale.

Stencil comes to Strada Stretta, "Strait Street," where he runs into Demivolt disguised as a pope. They take seats at the Cafe Phoenicia, which lies across the street from the John Bull, where Maijstral always sits. They see Veronica Manganese sit down with Maijstral. Demivolt gives Stencil some details about Veronica: she showed up at beginning of war with Sgherraccio (a Mizzist), intimate with Mussolini, among others.

Stencil and Demivolt follow Veronica and Maijstral down Strada Streeta, then in a Peugeot to Villa di Sammut. They run into Godolphin, who appears quite. He is Veronica's caretaker. Maijstral and Veronica are apparently having an affair.

II. Maijstral continues to report to Stencil. Tensions continue to run high in Valletta. Stencil learns that Maijstral is married to a woman named Carla who is pregnant and due in June. Stencil and Father Fairing make contact. Fairing supplies him with information about the attitudes of "every disaffected group on the island."

March, 1919, and Stencil is bothered by the feeling that he has met the caretaker and Veronica before. He sees Veronica Manganese come out of Fairing's confessional. Carla Maijstral visits Stencil. She fears that her husband will be killed or hurt. She suspects that he is an informer, but doesn't know for sure, and pleads with Stencil to talk to him. He in turn goes to Fairing and asks him to calm her, but he won't break the confidentiality of the confessional. While they talk Veronica comes into the church. Fairing introduces them. Stencil recognizes her voice. He can't see her face because she wears a veil. "'We have met, Signora Manganese.' 'In Florence,' came the voice behind the veil" (pg. 486). She turns her head, shows him the ivory comb. She wore because she knew he would be there. He rides with her to her home .

"Riding out to the villa in her Benz, he showed none of the usual automobile-anxieties. What use? They'd come in, hadn't they, from their thousand separate streets. To enter, hand in hand, the hothouse of a Florentine spring once again; to be fayed and filleted hermetically into a square (interior? exterior?) where all art objects hover between inertia and waking, all shadows lengthen imperceptibly though night never falls, a total nostalgic hush rests on the heart's landscape" (pg. 486-487). They speak at her home, he calls her Victoria.

"Riot was her element, as surely as this dark room, almost creeping with amassed objects. The street and the hothouse; in V. were resolved, by some magic, the two extremes. She frightened him" (pg. 487).

She has a clock eye and a star sappire sewn into her navel. Godolphin drives him back to Valletta, claims that he is her servant and she must not be hurt.

III. Stencil and Veronica meet often, we are told. The result of nostalgia. His time with Veronica is for him. No paperwork, etc. Just a return to the hothouse.

Carla visits him again, wanting to know if Maijstral is seeing someone else. He doesn't tell her about Veronica, but promises to do everything he can for her. He will send her husband back to her.

June 4: Students go on strike, rioting. Godolphin calls for Stencil in the Benz. Veronica and Maijstral are at her house already. Stencil takes Maijstral outside, releases him of his duty. "'The signora-' jerking his head back toward the foyer- 'still needs me. My wife has her child'" (pg. 490). Stencil tells him that if he doesn't go back to his wife, she will kill herself and the unborn child with her. He concedes to go back.

June 7, or so: the June Disturbances end.

June 10: Mehemet's xebec sets sail. Stencil sees Godolphin watching the boat depart. He waves, and Godolphin says something in English and is crying. Somewhere at sea, the ship is caught in a waterspout that first lifts the boat and then slams it into the ocean; Stencil drowns.

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