Druids Bringing in the Mistletoe, Glasgow Boys, Kelvingrove Museum, Detail

Millais, Mariana
Measure for Measure

Millais, Mariana from Measure for Measure

Jean Paul Lemieux
Nineteen Ten Remembered

Jean Paul Lemieux, Nineteen Ten Remembered

That he's the poor man's
      friend in need,
The gentleman in word and
It's no through terror of
It's just a casual inclination
           Robert Burns
                  A Dedication


Millais, Boyhood of Raleigh

Dear Frankie


Part 2C


It's Sunday morning, and Lizzie is getting ready for the 'date'.

— What is it?
My brush. Have you seen my brush?
— It's in your bag. Oh, yeah. Oh, I forgot to give you this. It's been in my bag for ages. And with seeming nonchalance Nell takes a newspaper from her own bag, adding unconvincingly:— You know something? I don't think I'll bother getting this paper anymore. Never anything in it.
Let me see it.

Nell is watching television when the door opens and Lizzie comes in.

Janet want to meet me.
— Is he dead?
He's very ill, apparently.
— It's a trap.
He wants to see Frankie.
— We can leave. Go tonight. You don't owe him anything.

Until this point we assumed that only Lizzie was habituated to running at the least hint of danger — and someone who would place such a notice with Lizzie's name and photo in the newspaper represents a significant danger indeed.   And so we become acquainted with 'Janet', and much becomes clear when she and Lizzie meet later that morning in a neutral park-like setting.

I know I shouldn't ask. I know. But he's my brother, Lizzie. He's my brother. He's a sorry sight, Lizzie. He's not the man he was, that's a dead cert. If you could only just see him. No. Please. I'm begging you. Put the past behind you for Frankie's sake.
— Leave Frankie out of it.
He's dying, Lizzie.
— How long has he got?

There's a lot more.   A lot.

And we understand at last Lizzie's initial hostility to the estimable Marie.   How many betrayals must there be before we learn that the most well-meaning people are precisely those who would hand over Lizzie and Frankie to his loving aunt and father conscientiously believing that they were doing what was best for all?

He wants to see Frankie. For God's sake, he might not last. Please. I'm begging you. Show some pity.
— I'll see him on my own, and then I'll decide if I let him anywhere near my son. That's it, Janet. Take it or leave it.

Perhaps Lizzie is learning to trust her judgment and ability to control a situation without running away.

. . . . .

If the previous day went as well as it possibly could for Frankie and The Stranger, Sunday is an even greater success as the three spend a companionable afternoon at Frankie`s favourite spots, culminating in a special evening at the local community centre, attended by all including Ricky and Catriona and with Ally, Marie`s young man, in charge of entertainment.   Our only concern is what will happen when Frankie learns the truth, as one day or another must occur — and Marie doesn`t help by offering a remark demonstrating that her relationship with The Stranger is long-standing and far from casual.

Everyone looks at Frankie in apprehension, but he hasn't seemed to notice.   In fact it's a relief to the viewer;   we'd trusted to the judgment of Marie, but for all we knew The Stranger had been hijacked off a passing ship and we spent Saturday not only bereft of the expected romantic comedy but worrying with Lizzie about lawsuits and findings of criminal responsibility.

After the party Marie and Ally dance along the boardwalk with Frankie between them, and we hear his squeals of delight as they count loudly in Spanish to an exaggerated Latin beat.

Lizzie follows with The Stranger, and this is one of only two occasions when he seems uncomfortable — the first being when he was enveloped in that impulsive hug on first meeting Frankie.   It is obvious that he wishes to ask a question, but is unwilling to display an unseemly interest in her affairs.

What I find really difficult to understand is why ... did he ever leave the two of you?

Lizzie answers with the truth, and he is obviously unprepared for and appalled by her response.   As are we.   After a moment he replies, with the perfect choice of words.

His final words to Frankie are equally inspired.

Remember, Frankie. We're all connected.

I'm reminded of the husband of the widowed Samaritan caller in the first Episode of the previous section Blackpool, who told her every day that he loved her, thereby rendering her strong enough to withstand anything, including his absence.   It appears to me that in the limited time available to him, The Stranger is determined to spare no effort to leave Frankie — and Lizzie, too, if possible, which amounts to the same thing — with serenity and confidence enough to persevere following his departure, and absence.

[June 2006 text only]
    [WebPage last amended March 29th, 2012]


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Part 2C — Sunday
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