A damp smell hadst filled the room alongside with Neighbors, family, cater-cousins and strangers that were standing around the sleeping chamber, looking down at an innocent dying visage. “What is the matter Rosaline, speak to thy mother!” cries a poor and elderly mistress standing amongst the people. “What’s it all about my lady?” asks a by-fate passetherby. “Tis’ an unknown sorrow that leaves mine own Rosaline drowning in the sea of grief!”. The mistress continues to sob when at an hour suddenly a sir from the crowd shouts “Oh, behold the lady opens her eyes!”.
The mother finally peeks through her fingers to see her daughter slowly opening her eyes. “Oh, good god!” cried out the lady and did throw herself upon the young mistress. “Tell me! Tell me o Rosaline, what maketh thee so depressed?”. The mistress, quaint as an alpine stream, quivered her lips to mutter out “Romeo!” before passing out again.
“What is’t Romeo? Who is Romeo? Where is’t Romeo? Does anyone know?!” shouts the mother to the people. The crowd was wearing a look of anxiousness on its visage and was sharing worried glances. Finally, a sir mustered up the courage to speaketh up, “Romeo is the son of great lord Montague!”.
Darkness engraves the city of Verona as night occurs. People slowly start to leave the sleeping-chamber until there is no one except the mother and child. The candle on the table beside the bed also flickers out. Moon light finds its way into the room where Rosaline’s face, paler than ever, rests. Her mother continues to dive her head in her arms and weep until a soft hand lands on her shoulder. “Who takes the shame of sharing grief with such a poor woman?” asks the woman without looking at the person. “I am Shelly mine own mistress, a friend of Rosaline and I lay my own teeth that I know what sadness lengthens Rosaline’s hours!” says the stranger.
The old woman slowly gets to her feet, only to see that the person who claims to be “Shelly”, is a young woman, the same age as Rosaline but seems really poor with just a worn-out scarf on her head and a pair of simple clothes. “Tell me! Tell me my child what is it?” she cries. Shelly replies with a soft nod and brings out a torn yellowish page and hands it over. “Tis’ what Rosaline wrote and gave me just before ending up in this long sleep.”, she said as the woman unfolded the paper. “Why? Tis’ my daughter’s hand!” she exclaimed as the paper revealed text written with red ink.
“Romeo o Romeo art thou Romeo,
Oh, why would you leave me in this trance,
In this deep sorrow with an endless cry,
How would thee know how it feels?
When a chest of lead meets a heart of gold,
How would thee know how it feels?
When the lords like you offer a golden heart,
Just for a mud and poor breast like mine,
You think I’m at fault when I say no,
But o Romeo you should know,
That I couldn’t marry you.
I had sworn on mine own life,
to keepeth mine own maidenhead alive,
But it was not well enow by thee.
You were so desperate about taking me to bed,
That you couldn’t see that I did offer love,
And you thought I was at fault to not like you.
I had to keep my long-kept word,
And as the fate got the best of us,
I’m sorry my Romeo,
But I had to say no!”
A drop of sorrow hath fallen upon the paper as the mistress did look up at Shelly who is standing at the open, steel barred window looking out. She kept staring at her expecting for an answer and without another word, Shelly turned to her and spoke up, “None knows how it feels or maybe it can’t be expressed; it’s the thing that can connects but also destroys, it can give bliss but also sorrow”.
She paused for a moment, gulped and continued, “it is generally kind, but some people like Romeo disrespect it for an idiotic lust towards bedding maidens.” Rosaline’s mother already knew what she meant, but in tears, she still nodded and told her to continue.
“It is the animal that resides in the breast, which can be soft or even harsh, which can bind up the soul like chains or even let it fly like a dove”, the moonlight was shining through the window, her hand was gripping the steel bar, and finally with tears flowing down her cheeks, she turned and looked up at the full moon and said with a trembling voice, “They call it…. love”