A police motorcycle escort now joined the rally as it headed up towards the imposing structure of Christchurch Cathedral, burial place of generations of invading Normans, Danes and English. It had once been a Catholic building, only to be replaced by English Protestants.
“Protestants took that from us.” Rhea pointed to the Cathedral. “Your lot, that attended Trinity,and wouldn’t let Catholics get an education.”
Hilary laughed, “That was four hundred years ago. I don’t have any Protestant ancestor that went to Trinity. I’m a Buddhist.”
“I won’t let you work with any Scotch tape,” Rhea said.
“Because Buddhist’s are not supposed to get attached to anything!”
Rhea looked sideways at Hilary and noticed the green eyes that sparkled beneath dark brown eye lashes. Her hair copper brown, soft and wavy. Her voice was mellow and her remarks were short and witty.
“Not being attached, does that mean you’re a single lesbian?”
Hilary looked momentarily annoyed.
“I’m not in the habit of discussing my private life.”
“You were meant to take it as a joke.”
Rhea was relieved when Monave, a student from Kenya, joined them.
Monave spoke with a rich melodic voice. “I have to write a paper on “Gullivers Travels,”by Jonathan Swift a famous man of Dublin. Would you discuss some of your knowledge with me?”
“Ask Professor Stanton of Trinity. I am just an undergraduate, you won’t get too many details from me.”
Hilary looked at Rhea.
“I offended you a few minutes ago. I’m sorry.”
“That’s alright,” replied relaxed and threw back her long red hair.
Hillary looked at Rhea. She was lovely, witty and years younger. It had been years since she held a woman.
Monave spoke, “I have problems at times with the English language. Gulliver’s Travel is difficult.”
Rhea had noticed Hilary look appreciatively when she tossed her hair. Could this woman have the slightest interest in me, thought Rhea. She imagined what it would be like to be in front of a fire, her arms resting on Hilary’s knees, as the professor read an interesting article. There would be so much learning. Above it all, the professor was a ravishing specimine of an older woman. Rhea stared at Hilary’s dark hair with silver streaks. What a gorgeous older woman!
Hilary turned to Monave.
“I was educated in England. Rhea was educated in Ireland, she must know more than me.”
Rhea was swift to react. In her first year of university, she had written a paper on the topic. Now, she would try to impress Hilary. Monave nudged Rhea who had been staring at the professor.
Embarrased, Rhea took a deep breath and cleared her throat.
“On one level, it’s a children’s fantasy book, but Swift was a satirist and he used the characters and events to outline the friction and ridiculous arguments between Catholics and Protestants.”
Monave nodded, “I have to comment on the social issues connected to Swift’s pamphlet, “A Modest Proposal. “Swift suggested the Irish eat their children. Was there cannibalism in Ireland. Did Swift each his children.”
Hilary and Rhea laughed.
Rhea said, “No, he wrote a satire. No one took it literary, but it did have a message for the English. Are you listening, Professor Stanton.”
“Go on blame my ancestors.”
Rhea, continued, “Ireland was occupied by England. Only protestant Irish could vote or own land. Irish Catholics lived in abject poverty. Swift, a protestant clergyman wanted to bring their plight to the attention of the English parliament. Would you like to hear one of his comments?”
“I have been assured by a very knowing American of my
acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well
nursed, is at a year old, a most delicious, nourishing, and
wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked or boiled.”
Hilary and Monave clapped.
“Look, there’s someone I’d like to talk to, will you excuse me. Monave, I leave you in the profession hands of Rhea.
Rhea stared as Hilary hugged a woman who wore a Trinity College scarf. She was surprised by a fleeting feeling of jealousy. How close were these two women?