The missed opportunity

On the far side of the chancel, in the central oak panel, is a small aperture. It is the offspring of a gun fired in anger and hurt and stomach-churning jealousy and hopelessness – or so, at least, legend has it. She had seen a man marrying the wrong woman, and stolen her father’s pistol, and hidden it under her skirts, and let it loose during the vows, and missed.

She, being rich, was in prison but briefly; she died much older and no less alone. He died young, and left his wife the penury of years of gambling, and syphilis.

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