Chapter Twenty-Eight: Numbing

It was evening.  The candlelight flickered across the table.  At dinner, William was in unusual spirits as he ate.  He put down his spoon, dabbed at his beard with the napkin from his lap, then cleared his throat.

“How do you feel about going into Boston for a day or two next month?”  He glanced over at me, hopeful.

I looked up at him from my soup.  “Why?”

“For a lecture in obstetrical anesthesia.”

“Oh, really?”  I wondered if this was a veiled attempt to bring up starting a family.  I would see how the conversation would proceed.  I took another silent sip of the oyster soup.

“I thought you might be interested in the topic.  Apparently, it is so controversial that all of the traditional backers balked.  I overheard the discussion at the club between Cornelius Felton, the university president, and Jack Waterhouse, of the medical faculty in Boston.  I do not believe that Cornelius wants the lectures to occur.  There is a part of me that delights in making that man miserable.  So, I wrote a check to Mr. Waterhouse.  We will bring anesthesia to Massachusetts!”  He said this with a flourish of his hand.  He smiled broadly.

“But Dr. Morton has already demonstrated anesthesia.  Several years ago, in fact!”  Everyone knew of the story of the huge neck tumor removed from Mr. Gilbert Abbott at Massachusetts General Hospital.  It had been all over the papers and had occurred before I had left for Edinburgh myself.

“Not in childbirth, my dear!  Dr. Brierly is from Edinburgh, where Dr. Simpson has been administering chloroform and ether during childbirth for years.”  He seemed quite proud of himself.

But, my heart stopped suddenly.  I was not sure if I had heard the name right.  No, it had to have been him. 

Deep within my chest I felt a heavy sinking, as if a rock had just dropped onto my diaphragm, my fingers and lips numb.  “You are doing what?”

“I am sponsoring a lecture series at the college,” he said patiently.

“Yes, but who is speaking?”  I could not breath.

“A Dr. Brierly on obstetrical anesthesia.” He shrugged, then squinted suspiciously at me.

I was not mistaken! Did he not know? Did he not remember?  Was he testing me? Did he know but now was planning to show me off as his trophy?

“I see.”  It was difficult to keep my tone even and impassive.

Did I really want to go to Boston, then?  Difficult question, really.  But I knew what my answer would be, what it had to be. 

“Well, then certainly, I would be happy to accompany you, dear!” 

I sat down my spoon, a tiny clank rang against the china.  My appetite had left me. I worked hard to not betray any emotion.

We finished dinner conversing about the rest of his day. 

When I had retired to my room, I sat at the mirror brushing my hair and examining my features.  Why did I feel so much older?  It had been three years, only, since I had last seen Mr. Brierly.  I had finally stopped thinking about him every day and now this?  Why? Dr. Brierly.  I was running through in my mind the things I needed in order to make sure I was in the best presentable condition possible when I was startled by a gentle tapping at the door.  Not tonight, please, God.  Not tonight of all nights when I longed to give my thoughts over to another man.  My hands shook as I put down the brush.

“Yes, come in,” I said softly.  I could see William enter the room in his dressing gown behind me via his reflection in the mirror.  He looked almost sheepish, imploring.  I knew he was trying to be kind to me, but I hated him for it.  Most days I longed for him to simply take control, but he was too timid to do that.  Tonight, I just wanted to get it over with so that I could get back to my secret sadness.

Chapter Twenty-Seven: The Other Side

What to say of married life?  We settled into our new life as lord and lady of our little manor and made the requisite tour of the social circuits once I had moved into the tail end of half mourning.  The rules of etiquette governing the making and receiving of social calls during mourning were staggering and took precedence over any that governed newlyweds establishing in a community.  Furthermore, I could not figure out how long I was to actually be in mourning.  With both parents dead so close together, should my sentence be served out consecutively or concurrently?  Being a good daughter, I decided to observe one full year.  I could do no more.

Socially, we were sought after once I began to venture into public again.  My father’s fortune, the factory, social standing…all made making our acquaintance important. But it was painful. I cringed silently inside every time William made a comment that seemed out of turn. People would avert their eyes or shift uncomfortably when he would chime in to speak.  It happened frequently, or so it felt, and the shame swallowed me.

William insisted on holding my hand or touching my arm in public. I hoped that it was not merely out of sincere affection. I did not want merely affection. I wanted more. I wanted his touch to signify possession.  I wanted him to be a man that I could respect. As it was, his touch irritated me. Behind closed doors, I did not mind it as much.  In public, I felt everyone was watching.  I did not want anyone to see me returning affection to him.  Why that was exactly was difficult to say.  No one seemed to be affected but me in the end, but I felt that I was in a perpetual state of mortification, embarrassed to be seen with my own husband. 

He, meanwhile, was attentive to my every need, regularly bringing me flowers and little gifts, kissing me on the forehead each morning at the breakfast table as he left for the day.  In private I felt ashamed of my feelings.  I loved him, yes.  But what was missing?  What was wrong with me?

Over the ensuing months, we sorted through my mother’s and father’s belongings:  papers and clothing, trinkets and mementos.  I had put it off for over a year, afraid of what I might find.  My father had very little personal correspondence anywhere.  He had been careful not to keep anything incriminating around where it could be found. Or he had charged his valet to destroy it contingent upon his death. Interestingly, my mother had apparently saved all of her early correspondences with my father, the stack tied with the proverbial pink silk ribbon.  The ribbon itself had become quite frayed, clearly handled time and again.  Was it possible that she had still loved him?  Did she read and reread his letters in the dark hours of the night when she was alone?  Perhaps I held in my hand the key to their lives, somewhere on the pages of this stationary.  I considered reading them all one by one, and indeed had the first one out of the envelope, before guilt seized me by the throat. 

In the end I decided to toss the bundle onto the grate, ribbon and all…the resulting burst of flame rendered the paper quickly into sparks and ash.  It was too private, even for me.

Finally, at the end of the one year period, John helped me to build a nice bonfire out behind the house.  I piled on each and every piece of black clothing I owned and watched the material shrink and curl up on itself as it became dark gray smoke billowing to the heavens.  I felt my heart lighten and my shoulders straighten as that burden fell away.  It was considered bad luck to save mourning attire to wear again for another death.  I felt that was likely more a way for the merchants to make more money it their goods were not reusable, but for me, for this time, it felt good to be free.

William moved into my father’s chambers and I took up residence in my mother’s bedroom and sitting room.  I had not been sure at first that this was a good plan, but in the end it had felt natural.  I was closer to my mother this way and felt that if I spoke to her in the night, she could somehow hear me better this way.  She had died here.  And every night, as I lay in her bed, I told her that I was sorry. 

Chapter Twenty-Six: Death Again

My mother endured her prison, isolated for several months. She became more and more reclusive and her world gradually shrank from the entire house to only her room. I had thought that as spring started to bloom that she would start to venture out more, but the opposite was true. She grew more and more withdrawn.

The servants brought food and left it for her outside the door. I attempted several times to try to gain admittance but my rapping on the door and calling her name was met only by silence. She had barricaded the door with the bureau and only moved it when the hallway outside was empty and she wanted to exchange trays or chamber pots. I was not sure she was bathing as she did not lay out any laundry. I shuddered to think what state her personal hygiene was in. It was particularly upsetting knowing how fastidious she had been about her appearance previously.

Rumors of her seclusion were running rampant about the town. It was interpreted as a symptom of her devotion to her late husband. Only I suspected the truth….that she had looked at the empty abyss of her future freedom and realized that youth had fled, leaving her with nothing, no hope for joy.

Eventually, one day, she stopped retrieving the food trays. It went on like this for several days. She could not keep this up. She would starve. I decided to intervene.

“Mother!” I yelled outside her door. Silence.

I rapped firmly and insistently on the door. No uncomfortable shifting or rustling.

“MOTHER!” I pounded on her door. No breathing, sniffling, or coughing.

Somehow I knew that something was terribly wrong.

I ran to find John and begged him to push open her door or break it down. He was reluctant. A look of terror crossed his face as he stood outside her door.

“Are you sure you want me to do this?” he whispered.

“John, she is not going to dismiss you, if that is what you are worried about!” I sighed, exasperated.

Yes, Ma’am, that’s what I am worried about.” He whispered back.

“Just do it!” I demanded, finding myself whispering, too.

He turned the knob but it was locked.

“I will have to break down this door.”

I nodded. “Do it!” He hesitated again. “John? Do it!”

He shoved all of his tall weight against the door. With the lock and the bureau, it held fast. He tried again and again, but it didn’t budge.

Without a word, John held up a finger and ran off down the stairs, bounding three at a time.

“MOTHER! You open this door right now!” I demanded as I pounded again until my hands burned and ached.

John appeared again with a large axe in his hands. He looked at me with a raised eyebrow, silently asking permission.

I nodded assent, panic catching in my chest. I stepped back.

It took one blow to split the door and a second to tear open a hole. Splinters flew and hit the opposite wall. I ducked, covering my eyes. He reached through with both hands, pushing over the bureau. It hit the floor with such a crash that all of the household staff and William come running. John reached around through the door again to turn the lock. As the door opened I stifled a scream.

My mother’s naked body was hanging by her neck from the crossbar between the bedposts that formed the canopy. She had torn her nightgown into strips and fashioned a noose. Her eyes were bugged open, unseeing, and her face was deep purple. A puddle of urine and feces marked the floor beneath her. She must have been this way, dead, for a several days. She had not had second thoughts, no scrambling trying to save herself as the bed was neatly made, there were no scratches on the wood, and her fingernails were intact.

Her black widows weeds, the dress she wore for the funeral, was folded neatly on the chair in the corner, topped with her white widows cap and black mourning veil.

As I fell sobbing to the floor, William and John quickly cut her down, laying her on the floor and covering the body with the woven coverlet from the bed. The rest of the household stood silently outside the room staring.

No one said a word.

And then, all I felt was anger. How could she be so selfish, to leave me alone like this? How dare she! I felt an incoherent sound escape my lips and I reached over to shake her awake. Her body was limp and frighteningly cold through the coverlet. I drew my hand back rapidly. It was real. She was dead.

Chapter Twenty-Five: Behind the Veil

All of the mirrors in the house were covered with black crepe to prevent my father’s spirit from getting caught in the house. Pictures were all turned face down to prevent haunting. The clocks were all stopped at the time of his passing and would remain that way until after the funeral. The doors were draped and covered in black crepe and black wreaths were hung.

My mother chose not to hire “layers out of the dead”, instead choosing to do the business herself with the assistance of Duncan and John. She wished to keep the scandal to a minimum, knowing those women would speak of what they saw on his leg and elsewhere. Syphilis was feared with a deep seated terror and carried with it the terrible burden of scandal that would affect the whole family and all of the servants. Likely there was already talk, but my father was well liked in the community. The cult of personality would win if doubt was allowed.

They bathed and dressed him in a black suit. Then, he was placed in his coffin, a polished black mahogany piece lined in silk with sharp angles, bright brass handles, and a peaked lid, and settled in the parlor. Someone had to stand vigil over the body for the next several days, wiping down the face and hands with vinegar every few hours to prevent them from turning black. No fire was lit in the room, keeping it cold to help preserve the body.

William was thrust into the duty of managing the family business and financial affairs, arranging many of the funeral details and meeting with the solicitors. I saw him very little.

There was extensive discussion about whether or not I should attend the funeral with my mother. In the South it was the custom for women of the family to remain home during the burial and here in Massachusetts the custom was just starting to take hold. My mother desperately did not wish to have to put up the act of “mourning” her late husband in public, but was not sure that it was considered entirely appropriate for all female family members to remain home. In the end, it was decided that William and I would accompany the funeral procession while she stayed home.

The servants clothing was dyed black in a large cauldron behind the house. William accompanied me to Boston to purchase a mourning wardrobe. I had my mother’s measurements in hand and also purchased for her. I required a crash course in mourning etiquette as I had not realized how detailed the customs had become.

Men only needed to wear a black arm band or weepers, a black crape band around his top hat, for a few weeks. They were allowed to work and engage in society as normal after the funeral, while women were required to continue in seclusion.

The burden of mourning rested on the shoulders of women. A widow was required to mourn for a year and a day in full morning and then in half mourning for yet another year, or perhaps longer depending on her devotion. Full mourning was black crape (courser than crepe, also known as crepe de chine) with weepers, long cuffs up to nine inches worn over the sleeves that could be used to wipe the nose during a weeping fit. Second mourning allowed a women to no longer have to wear the long veil when outside the home and her dress could be of black silk for the first nine months. For the remainder of mourning, lavender or gray was allowed. A daughter’s mourning period would last six to twelve months. For me it would be six months of full mourning with three months of half mourning because of my newlywed status. By contrast, a man only needed to mourn his wife for three to six months. Several dresses for each season were needed as were the accoutrements…parasols, gloves, crape veil, shoes…all in black. A few pieces of morning jewelry made of jet, bog oak, and gutta-percha were also purchased but could not be worn while in deep mourning.

Meanwhile, letters of invitation to the funeral were handwritten on stationary with black trim by my mother and sent by messenger.

Standing vigil alone in the parlor with my father’s body was almost more than I could stand in the middle of the night. My single candle created frightening shadows on the walls and floor. At one point, I swore that I heard him groan, and I roused the whole house in a panic. Duncan was enlisted to hold a small mirror to his nose and mouth to see if it fogged with his breath. It remained clear and a sigh of relief was breathed by everyone else as they headed back to bed.

On the third day, the putrification was starting. No manner of perfume could hide that odor. Fortunately, the funeral was also that morning. It had been uncertain if the ground would be soft enough to dig a grave as it was now December, but God had mercy upon us. There was space in the icehouse reserved just in case, but I was immensely relieved that it would not be used. We would have our closure once he was safely buried. Friends gathered at our house, many of them were people I had never met. The body was closed up in the coffin and loaded into the horse drawn hearse with its black plumes and large glass windows. Care was taken to remove the body feet first to prevent the sprit from looking back into the house and beckoning another family member to follow him.

Friends and family gathered in the parlor for the brief service. The funeral procession proceeded in carriages to the cemetery where another brief sermon was given. The body was then placed in the ground. William accompanied me home, as I was not interested in watching the dirt actually get placed over the coffin. By then, I was ready to get the veil off. The black dye was flaking off and I was certain I had inhaled some of it.

Funeral cakes were passed out by the servants, both gingerbread and spice, and funeral pie was served, a mincemeat concoction that my father had always found disgusting. We had decided against a meal after the funeral and the friends filed away slowly, leaving us in seclusion.

My mother was soon depressed, essentially trapped in the house. Custom dictated that she was not allowed to go out, even to shop, and was not allowed to attend church or family functions for the next several months. The cold prevented her from even enjoying a walk out of doors. She was not allowed to attend weddings or baptisms until she was out of mourning as her presence would bring bad luck. Her charity work and assistance in the community was not even allowed. On some level I think she had joyfully anticipated her husband’s death and the freedom it would bring her. The reality of social constraints was difficult for her to bear. Soon, her mood matched the black dresses that she wore.

Chapter Twenty-four: A Night With Venus

There was no cure for syphilis.

This was widely known. Still, physicians tried. Mercury was most often used. A night with Venus; a lifetime with Mercury. But Mercury was also a terrible poison. This was also widely known. However that did not stop patients from taking it.

Such was the terror of syphilis.

Over the ensuing days and weeks, I learned much about what had been occurring in our house, things that had been purposefully concealed from me. For instance, my father had been diagnosed with syphilis some twenty three years prior. My mother had not known when she consented to marry him. Eventually she did find out when he began showing signs of the secondary stages…a rash over his entire body that he could not easily conceal. She had refused to allow him to touch her, at which point he took her by force. I was the result. The rash disappeared and he seemed healthy for a number of years. Somehow my mother had escaped infection, or so she hoped.

Two years ago, the ulcer on his leg appeared. Terribly painful, it drained the most awful smelling pus imaginable. My father began his frantic search for a cure in earnest.

It started with blue mass pills. These pills contained licorice, milk sugar, rose oil, and mercury chloride. He started with two pills each day then increased to three. They caused diarrhea, excessive saliva production, memory issues, irritably and insomnia to name a few.

When he felt that was not helping, he looked to arsenic.

He tried countless elixirs and succumbed to a great amount of quackery.

Finally, he tried even more desperate measures. He had the wound cauterized with red hot irons several times. Aside from being excruciatingly painful, that did very little. He applied all manner of poultices…mustard, plaster, hot and cold, to name a few.

He resorted to superstitions. He tried sex with a young virgin. His victim was poor unwitting Emma. Apparently he had felt that if it did not work the first time, it should be repeated again and again for good measure. There was drinking breast milk from a woman who had just given birth to a daughter. And he consulted homeopaths, naturopaths, and herbalists, none of whom could cure his disease.

Finally, my father resorted to a mercury “clinic” after we had left for Edinburgh. He had been accompanied by his valet. For a month, every day he was rubbed down with mercury and his body covered with flannels while the room was super heated. Apparently the goal was to have the patient ill enough from the mercury that they would make at least three pints of awful looking and smelling saliva per day. Many of his teeth fell out. He developed terrible ulcers of his mouth and genitals. And he became incoherent.

His mind never came back.

This was the state of things when my mother had arrived home. Now he was declining rapidly. The doctor had said that the mercury had poisoned him, as had the syphilis. It was difficult to tell at this point which was the greatest culprit. In the end, we were told there was nothing else that could be done.

So he was tied to the bed as he raged and railed and spit. He refused to eat or drink. And within a fortnight, he was dead.

Chapter Twenty-Three: Home Again

William was true to his word and we were on a ship bound for the states by the end of the week.  Central Paris was crowded and dirty, with dark Medieval streets.  There were bright spots in the city:  The Louvre, Place de la Concorde, the Grande Opera at the Salle Le Peletier, and oddly the Pere Lachaise cemetery.  That cemetery had drawn me in as I had never seen anything like it before. Taken on the whole, however, I was glad to be leaving Paris behind.

I had not written to my mother to alert her, thinking that I would surprise her and my father. As much as I disliked my father’s promiscuous proclivities, he was still my father and I was concerned about his health.  I was not sure what I would find when we arrived but did not want to give anyone any time to attempt to conceal the truth.

It had been decided that we would be staying at my parents home while we readied our own.  A wedding gift from my parents was a grand house several miles from their own that I was told had already been purchased in anticipation of my marriage.  I began to dream about how the house would appear, each of the rooms taking shape in my mind’s eye as I filled them with furniture, drapery, and the like.  I had made mental notes of things that I had seen in France that I wanted to replicate.

On the voyage, William and I continued to learn more about each other.  Ease and familiarity grew as did friendship. With little else to do as we traversed the Atlantic, we talked and read to each other.

We arrived in Boston Harbor in the early morning hours of November 29th.  Snow was upon the ground, freshly fallen.  After disembarking, William arranged for a carriage to transport us to my parents home in Cambridge.  Our baggage would follow later in a hired wagon.

As we rode down the lane to the family estate on the Charles River, dread mounted.  The bare trees, with their icy fingers, stood as dark sentries on each side of the drive.  Then the house loomed ahead.  White with two floors, four great columns stretched across the front.  The servants quarters and kitchen were in the back.

How uncomfortable would it be to see my father and mother, knowing that they would know what things I had done with William in the night?  What state would my father’s health be in?  And could my mother and I make peace?  Did I want to make peace?

The carriage slowed to a stop and William stepped out, offering his hand to help me alight.  As we arrived at the door, William twisted the knob to ring the bell. I could hear my father’s raised voice through the heavy oak panels.  I could not tell what he was shouting.  How strange it felt to ring the bell at my former home, arriving now as a guest.  In fact I had never really paid attention to our doorbell before. It was something I had taken for granted.  We waited a few minutes in the cold, but no one came to the door.  William looked at me.  I shrugged.  This time, William rang the bell again and then clapped the heavy brass doorknocker loudly for good measure.  Finally, the door was opened by the butler, Duncan.  A look of surprise and horror crossed his face as he recognized me and realized who William must be.  He stepped back slowly and allowed us to enter.  He closed the door quickly against the stiff wind.

“Miss Evie…uh…I mean Miss Evelyn…Mistress…Brierly…your father…”  He said this in hushed tones but was cut off by a roar of agony from the library that was unmistakably from my father.  I passed him my bonnet and cloak silently and made my way to the open door of the library.  I could see that the curtains were drawn, the room dark.  As I crossed the threshold, I found my father in his leather armchair by the fire with a wrap tucked around his body up to his neck, leaving only his head exposed.  His eyes were red and bloodshot in the dim light, tears pouring from his eyes as he rubbed them continuously. They must pain him immensely. As I approached, he looked up fearfully.

“Who is there?” he bellowed.  I stopped.  He stared straight at me.  I knew he could see me, but no look of recognition crossed his face.  “Who are you?” he asked a bit more calmly.  Confused, I did not answer.  What was going on here?  The fire popped and sparked, startling us both.  “HELP ME!” he cried, struggling to rise as he reached for a cane that had been propped on the other side of the chair.  The coverlet slipped to the floor, exposing a large ulcerated patch on his left leg.  He succeeded in standing and took a few steps toward me with an odd slapping gait.

My heart sank.  I had seen this before once, in the village.  A woman several years ago.  She had suffered greatly as the disease ate at her face and she had worn a metal prosthetic nose for some time to hide the ulcerating cavity that had taken her flesh.  I wondered if he had known her.

The French disease…syphilis.

Chapter Twenty-two: My Wedded Bliss

Searing pain.  Please God, let me die!

It had started with a burning while at the chamber pot two days prior.  I could not stop the sensation of needing to urinate.  Soon, there was blood.  Excruciating pain like razor blades between my legs, escalating each time I sat down at the pot.  No sooner had I stood up, when I felt the urge to sit down on it again.  Over and over again.

William stood by, concerned but helpless.  We were in Paris.  I knew that somehow he was at fault.  This whole thing was terribly uncomfortable and terribly embarrassing and it was because I had allowed him to have me.

My wedding night was lackluster.  I had expected to be schooled by my husband’s skillful hands in the magical arts of carnal delights.  Instead, my mind flashed against my will to the lamp lit abortionist’s room in Edinburgh as he fumbled about, clearly not sure of what he was doing.  He had likely pleasured himself well enough but had never yet been with a woman.  I had hoped to be introduced to the scintillating passions of nuptial bliss.  As ridiculous as that sounds, given everything that I had been told by my mother, I desperately wanted something to erase the blight of that one night in Edinburgh and to diminish the hold that Brierly still held over my heart. He was kind but neither of us had any idea of what we were doing.  Pleasure was lost for me.  In the end, I closed my eyes and endured until it was over.  Coitus interruptus.  He thanked me.  He told me I was beautiful.  He asked what he could do better and I told him nothing that I had enjoyed it immensely.  I wept silently for myself as he slept.  I had not even tried to hide the fact that I was no longer a virgin and it had not mattered.

Now, days later, I begged William to just let me die.  I did not want to have to discuss this with a strange man.  But he would not listen.  The doctor was summoned.

The physician was a jovial, young fellow who bounded into the room with a purpose.  Well dressed.  Handsome.  Sandy hair.  He laid his hat and gloves on the table when he entered the room.  I was in bed in my dressing gown.  Suddenly I felt naked and pulled the covers up higher over my chest.  I allowed William to explain my symptoms.  On learning that I was a newly wed, he nodded and winked.  I flushed.  In French he said, “Vous avez cystitis!” and I was prescribed mist pot cit, potassium citrate.  The god awful tasting stuff was administered every 4 hours.  Its purpose was to make the urine more alkaline and hopefully cure the infection and ease the pain.

William was attentive, feeding me broth, bringing me water.  I laid in bed in our rooms for days, the doctor came periodically to check on his patient.  Finally, the discomfort began to subside.  I had escaped fever and would be on the mend.

“William, I want to go home.”  He was standing at the window staring at the street below.  He was silent.  “Please.”

He turned around.  I was sitting in a stuffed armchair by the bed and he came to me, taking my hand.  He searched my eyes.

I started to cry.  Violent, wracking sobs that I could not control.  This time, I wept not only for myself but also for him.  He knelt beside me, held me close to him until the tears subsided.  “I am sorry,” he whispered into my hair.

We sat there together as the shadows marched across the polished wooden floors.  I closed my burning eyes, letting them sooth as I listened to his heart beating.  It sounded identical to the one in Brierly’s chest.

“I will tell you about the second inscription in your book if you like,” he said.  I nodded.  “It is also a Gaelic proverb.  Is fheàrr teine beag a gharas na teine mòr a loisgeas.  The little fire that warms is better than the big fire that burns.  You will see.”

I looked up at him, puzzled.  Could he know where my thoughts had been?  Surely not.

He smiled reassuringly.

“If you wish to go back to Massachusetts, then that is where we shall go as soon as I can book passage.”

“Thank you.”  I hesitated for a long moment.  “I love you,” I whispered.  And I realized then that I did.

“I know,” he replied.

It was not the same.  It was not the dream that I had held close to my heart.  But it was love.