In the earliest days of writing, I titled my novel, White Blossom, Black Garnet. The book was written entirely in first person (Pamela’s point of view). The white blossom came from the poem Gabriele d’Annunzio wrote for Pamela in 1918; the black garnet came from the fact that on Pamela’s 24th birthday, Diccon sent Pamela a black garnet ring. This was just after their final parting. The stock market had just crashed, and Diccon had gone to England to celebrate the publication of A High Wind in Jamaica.
Here, she has just opened the present from Diccon:
My relief just slipped away, though, dissolving to gloom; I couldn’t seem to hold on to even the smallest shred of gladness. I studied the ring obsessively until in its dark beauty I saw myself all curled up at the bottom, as if I’d fallen down the deepest well.”