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Authors: James Runcie

Tags: #Historical, #Fantasy, #Modern, #Romance

The Discovery of Chocolate (23 page)

BOOK: The Discovery of Chocolate
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At last Ignacia leaned over, and we kissed, simply, as if it was the most natural thing in the world.

Slowly, we began to take off our clothes, undressing one another.

‘I am no longer young,’ Ignacia said softly, frightened, more tentative even than when we had first been together. ‘I am shy.’

The beaded blind rocked gently back against the window.

‘Hush now,’ I said, putting my finger to her lips.

Her soft breasts fell forward and I was amazed once more by their beauty. At last we lay down and began to touch one another carefully and tenderly, old worlds made new, pasts forgiven.

I knew now that the greatest kind of love comes when it does not matter who you are or what you have done. It does not matter if you fear the future or regret the past.

Everything is possible.

As we lay closely together a far-flung thunder rolled over the hills like a marimba. A street band struck up in readiness for the fiesta, firecrackers exploded in the sky, and the church bells began to ring. People were shouting in the distance and whistling, firing their pistols into the air, roaring as loudly as they could, as if to defy the inevitable silencing of their lives.

The Day of the Dead had arrived.

Quite soon it would be time for us to leave the world. We would learn together how to love, and then, perhaps at last, how to die.

But not yet.

No.

Not yet.

Acknowledgements

Although this is a work of fiction, I am greatly indebted to several works of fact, most notably:
The True History of Chocolate
by Sophie D. Coe and Michael D. Coe;
The Conquest of New Spain
by Bernal Díaz (in which the Royal Notary, Diego de Godoy, is named);
Cortés: The Life of the Conqueror by His Secretary
by Francisco López de Gomara, translated and edited by Lesley Byrd Simpson;
Letters from Mexico
by Hernán Cortés, translated and edited by Anthony Pagden; and Thomas Gage’s account of his visit to Chiapas in
The English-American: His Travel by Land and Sea
.

Fine recipes and wise observation on the nature of chocolate can be found in:
The Chocolate Bible
by Christian Teubner;
Chocolate: The Definitive Guide
by Sarah-Jayne Stanes;
The Chocolate Book
by Helge Rubinstein; and
The Complete Mexican Cookbook
by Lourdes Nichols.

For biographical information I am indebted to the excellent biography
The Marquis de Sade – A Life
by Neil Schaeffer;
Escape from the Bastille: The Life and Legend of Latude
by Claude Quétel; and Simon Schama’s magisterial
Citizens
. I have also benefited from
Freud, Biologist of the Mind
by Frank J. Sulloway, and Sigmund Freud’s own
The Interpretation of Dreams
; while for the life of Gertrude Stein I have read not only her own work but also Diana Souhami’s wonderful
Gertrude and Alice
. Back in America, I have been greatly helped by
Ellis Island Interviews
by Peter Morgan Coan and
The Emperors of Chocolate
by Joël Glenn Brenner.

As if this isn’t enough, I must also thank the following for their kindness, tact, advice and patience: Juliette Mead, Georgina Brown, Jo Willett, Sue Stuart-Smith, Mark Brickman, Rachel Foster, and my daughters Rosie and Charlotte.

I am grateful for the attentions of my editors: Nick Sayers in London, and Sally Kim in New York, both of whom struck a constructive and encouraging balance between generosity and criticism.

But three people in particular helped me beyond all reason: the writer Nigel Williams, my agent David Godwin, and my wife Marilyn Imrie.

I cannot thank them enough.

About the Author
The Discovery of Chocolate

James Runcie is a writer and film-maker. His films include
Miss Pym’s Day Out, Saturday/ Sunday, My Father
and
The Great Fire
. This is his first novel.

Copyright

HarperCollins
Publishers
77–85 Fulham Palace Road,
Hammersmith, London w6 8
JB

www.harpercollins.co.uk

First published in Great Britain by
HarperCollins
Publishers
2001

Copyright ©James Runcie 2001

The Author asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the nonexclusive, nontransferable right to access and read the text of this ebook onscreen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins e-books.

EPub Edition © JUNE 2012 ISBN 9780007406906

This novel is entirely a work of fiction. The names, characters and incidents portrayed in it are the work of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or localities is entirely coincidental.

This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

HarperCollinsPublishers has made every reasonable effort to ensure that any picture content and written content in this ebook has been included or removed in accordance with the contractual and technological constraints in operation at the time of publication.

About the Publisher

Australia

HarperCollins Publishers (Australia) Pty. Ltd.
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Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia
http://www.harpercollinsebooks.com.au

Canada

HarperCollins Canada
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Auckland, New Zealand
http://www.harpercollinsebooks.co.nz

United Kingdom

HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.
77–85 Fulham Palace Road
London, W6 8JB, UK
http://www.harpercollinsebooks.co.uk

United States

HarperCollins Publishers Inc.
10 East 53rd Street
New York, NY 10022
http://www.harpercollinsebooks.com

BOOK: The Discovery of Chocolate
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