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Authors: Pamela Haines

The Diamond Waterfall

BOOK: The Diamond Waterfall
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THE DIAMOND WATERFALL

by
Pamela Haines

Contents

Prologue: June 1887

Part One: 1897–1918

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Part Two:1922-Chapter 1945

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Prologue
June
1887

She screamed. Then again, but much louder. As loud as she could. Just standing there, scream after scream. Then, her throat rasped, she battered her fists against the bedroom door—pulling at the doorknob, rattling it, straining at the lock.

But no one, none of her family, came to protest. She must be alone in the house. It was stifling in the room—hot, stifling air. Helpless with anger, she walked over to the window. Then back to the door. It seemed to her suddenly that the room had grown smaller, the door thicker. A bedroom that she had known for at least ten of her seventeen years. Now it was her prison. The door—a dungeon door.

“Let me out!” She banged again, shouting. “I want to come out! I
shall
be an actress, I
shall.
You shan't stop me. I'll go on the stage—I will, I
will.”
She drew breath. Then: “You'll have to let me out for the Jubilee. I shall petition Queen Victoria.
She
wouldn't want her loyal subject imprisoned. And anyway, it's against the law, there's something called habeas corpus, you can't keep someone shut up….
Air,
I want air!”

The window was open, just a crack. Only—it was barred. Right to the very top. Bars that had been put there for the childrens' protection when the room had been a nursery for the four girls: Daisy, Ethel, Lily, Amy, the little daughters of Alfred Greenwood, founder of a chain of grocery shops serving the clothing trade of Leeds, in the West Riding of Yorkshire.

Big daughters now, though. Except for Amy, dead from scarlet fever. Daisy already married—but a runaway marriage, a family scandal. Daisy's name must never be mentioned. Lily in disgrace too, locked in her bedroom. Until she comes to her senses, that is. Only eighteen-year-old Ethel in favor.

She would be, Lily thought now, she would …

“I want to go on the stage,” she had said, six long months ago now. “I want—”

But she had said it without much hope. People like Dad didn't struggle to make money and to live in a smart district of Leeds in order to have a daughter go off to a dangerous, flashy, immoral life. For that was how he saw it:

“Never. Never, Lily. That I should ever
see
the day …” And Ma, who always agreed with him (who didn't dare do otherwise), stout, soft Ma, who should have been a refuge, a lap to sit upon, a bosom to weep on, but who
herself looked always in need of comfort—crumpled, creased, forever on the verge of tears:

“You've upset your father now, Lily—with your foolish ideas. All we want for you is …”

But Lily knew well enough what was wanted for her. And I
shan't
be that sort of person, she thought. Ever. That suffocating life of bombazine, of predictability, where a visit to Scarborough was a great event. Where she too might marry someone like Dad, and then have four little daughters, and perhaps five years later, at last, a son. (Even if one as dear as her
dear,
dear brother, Harry.) And then to grow stout …

No. It would not do. It would not do at all. When I might be out there on the stage, applauded by thousands—however humbly I have to begin. When I might go,
shall
go, to Paris. When life, through my own making, could always be exciting, exciting, exciting.

Later, there had been the scene she didn't want now to remember:

“You think because I've spent money on you, lass—because your Dad's spent money on you, you can do what you like now—eh, Lily? As if there'd not been trouble enough with Daisy, without we've
this
now. What'd folk say, eh? Alfred Greenwood's lass,
gone to join the lakers.
… It's no life for a lady.”

And now, over and over, all through this Jubilee Week:

“You'll promise then? Give us your word, your mother and I, that it's all done with. No more of this lock and key …”

“I'll promise nothing—”

“You will—”

“I'll not—”

“What's that, eh? Say ‘Dad,' ‘Father.'”

“I'll
not
— Dad.
Father …”

The indignity of the chamber pot, the one with the blue violets on it. She was going to need it any moment now. The chamber pot—for everything. It was as if she were ill. Ma hoped she
was:
only being poorly could make Lily behave like this, she told her. Ethel had said quite something else, but Ma had turned on her, and said she was lucky to be healthy, and it was no fault of Lily's these ideas had overcome her.

When she came in to see her, Ma's eyes would fill with tears—and then Lily would very nearly give in. Ma had suffered enough over Daisy, she didn't deserve all this unhappiness. If I had it in me, Lily thought, to promise …

Downstairs, the piano had started up (the new cottage upright, a Schiedmayer and Soehne's, seven-octave, in walnut, that Dad had paid a whole
thirty-five pounds
for at Ramsden's). Ethel, who couldn't tell a flat from a sharp, playing as if her fingers were croquet mallets. “Berceuse.” No baby would be rocked to sleep with
that. …

A knock on the door:

“Lily—Lily. You there?” Harry's voice. Full of love for his big sister.

“Of
course,
daftie. How could—”

“Lily, we're back. I saw them—hussars, mounted police. Practicing, they were. There's to be a twenty-one gun salute—”

“Yes—and?”

“Ma's coming up in a little, Ethel too. Lily, I've on my new sailor suit. It's got a lanyard
and
a whistle. And you know what, Lily? It's meant for a lad of twelve—”

“And you only nine…. Listen a moment, Harry—listen now. I want—”

“Lily, there's Ethel coming …” She heard him being pushed from his place at the keyhole.

Ethel's voice was breathy: “Ma's on her way. She'll have something to say to you. Or rather, Dad will. We heard you screaming when we came down the road. Folk'll think you're touched …”

But Lily had only one thing to say to her sister:

“I'm going to be an actress, Ethel—”

“You're acting
now,
Lily. What you're doing now in that bedroom, that's
acting…
. You ought to do what Dad says. You know what happened to Daisy …”

Lily said angrily, her mouth too near the keyhole, tasting the brassy flavor:

“Marrying isn't wrong—what if he doesn't ever speak to her again? And anyway, Daisy married the man she loved.
That's
not a sin in the eyes of God.”

“But Father had said no. He
forbade
it—”

“He's not God the Father, is he? Is he?”

“Lily,
please
… Anyway, marrying a Jew, fancy marrying a
Jew,
they're awful those Jews here in Leeds. Common Polish people, Dad says. Taking the bread out of honest folk's mouths. You
know
it …”

But Lily didn't know it. Not at all. She had been completely on Daisy's side, from the very beginning. She was on the side altogether of the newly arrived Jewish community. Even more so now: now that she knew just a little, a very little, of what it was to be persecuted.

Daisy's drama had begun the day she went to help Mrs. Mandelbaum with her party. The Mandelbaums, who were not strict Orthodox Jews, had lived in Leeds for twenty or thirty years, and through wealth, charm, and kindness had become part of a wider social circle than was usual for Jews. Ada Thompson, who knew Herbert Varley, who was married to a Jewish girl, asked Daisy, one dank and drizzling November afternoon two years ago, to come with her to the Mandelbaums'.

“It's a party for refugees, I've promised to help hand round cakes—I've done it twice before. You'll come, Daisy, won't you?” And Daisy, the gentle, the endlessly kind, who never refused anyone anything (and yet was to show herself later so strong, so tenacious of purpose, so immovable in her loyalties), gave up whatever else she had planned—and went to meet her fate.

The year was 1885. The first really large wave of Jewish immigrants had come in 1881 with the pogroms of Alexander III in Russia. They had been coming over steadily ever since, in spite of warnings about the difficulties of living in a foreign land—warnings given them by the English Jewish establishment.

Many were from the Polish part of Russia. They would travel to Hamburg, then by boat to Hull, many of them intending to go on to Liverpool and from there to America. Frequently they hadn't the money. What they did have was the word “Leeds,” often the only English word they knew, passed on to them by relatives who had been early immigrants. By the time of Mrs. Mandelbaum's party, they were arriving at the rate of about fifty a month….

Daisy knew little about them (Lily and Ethel even less) except that they were numerous and had formed by now a ghetto in the Leylands district of Leeds. Dad was rude about them (but who was he not rude about?) and there were notices in shop windows—jobs advertised with the message “No Jews need apply.” …

About twenty boys and girls were at the party, ranging in age from ten to nineteen. Some had been coming to the Mandelbaums' for a year or more and spoke a little English. Ada and Daisy's task was to hand round food and to talk to those who could manage some conversation. Ada, because she had been before (the parties were held every month), showed off a little.

BOOK: The Diamond Waterfall
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