The Black Garnet Ring

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:

“The silk envelope held a ring of black garnets, a large oval cabochon set in gold, skirted by two rows of smaller stones. I held the gemstones under lamplight; the slightest glint of red winked at me from the deep blackness of the largest stone. Relief spread through me. Perhaps, I thought, safely across the ocean and out of my reach, Diccon’s view had truly softened. He understands that I was mad, beyond reason. He has forgiven me.

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.”