I really reached the point where I can't read a chapter of this story without a box of tissues by my side. It's too heart-breaking to bear!
Here is me trying to make some sense, once again, of a review. Hope I won't forget anything this time. First off, I wanted to take a moment and express my mixed feelings about the woman in the portrait. In my review from last chapter I said that she reminded me of Bertha from Jane Eyre, loved by all but hated by him. And yet, thinking about it a little longer and reading some small snippets from this chapter I have the impression that the woman in the portrait is herself. Lily. There are of course some hard objections against this idea. For example, when Lily stumbles in the same house last chapter she notices the rotting flowers, the intoxicating smell in the air and the prickling sensation of death surrounding the room. But all of this could also mean a symbolical death, not an actual flesh-dies death. At the moment I'm groping in the dark since I haven't yet read the rest of the story but maybe Moody felt like she died in his past, and thus decorated the room as a funeral space. One can only guess for now :)
There are also moments when this story resembles a stream of consciousness piece. How Lily is lost in her ghostly images of what might have happened in the past between her and Moody, of what might happen in the future if she dared stay. A found it a very suitable technique to use for the story, especially since it's first person.
This chapter deepened the semblance to Jane Eyre. While reading the scene where he is almost a living flame that tries to stop her from leaving him and she, Lily, pondering for just a second what would happen if she gave in, if she dared remain and be the healing balm of his inner scars, forever forsaking her true self, I was vividly reminded of the most powerful scene in Jane Eyre. The chapter when she spends a few hours with him after she finds out about Bertha and decides that she will not, she cannot, be the other, be his wife while his real bride was alive. That she could not forsake everything she was despite loving him more deeply than her own life. But also knowing that she couldn't bare staying by his side any longer and flees. I shuddered while reading your scene as I shudder every time I read the scene from the novel. They're perfect! The love between them is so profound and painful that you find your breath caught and your stomach a tight knot at every sentence when they share a moment. Albeit being a tormenting love, few are privileged to knowing this kind of deepness of feeling in real life. It's a shame that love as powerful as this is so hardly seen these days :(
Author's Response: There is this fascinating article (or more than one, I can't remember) about "Jane Eyre" which argued that Jane and Bertha are mirror images of each other. For instance, Jane hears Bertha's laughter only when or after she has particularly rebellious thoughts. They are very similar in their depth of emotion, but Bronte idealizes her Englishwoman at the cost of demonizing the Creole woman. Yet, there's still that question of whether Bertha was mad before she was confined in Thornfield, or whether it happened as a result of that confinement - Rochester's word can't be taken as fact by any means. And this is where I built the strange relationship between Lily and the portrait-wife. The portrait's mocking tone, though, comes more out of "Rebecca" with Mrs. Danvers's treatment of the narrator.
I like the idea of the symbolic death, that he mourns her loss in the distant rather than immediate past. The answer is yes and no. :P The whole story is about mourning the past, a lost past that, even with time travel technology, can't be regained because, no matter what, the memory of it still remains. Even if one goes back in time to change something, one will always remember the change, and the reason why it needed to be made. And so one is trapped in perpetual mourning and loss.
Ahh, even better that you see the stream of consciousness style coming through! This story and Lily's voice flowed naturally. I don't quite know why, but as I wrote, I tried to maintain a rhythm of iambic pentameter. It gives the narrative an interesting quality, and I'm glad that you picked up on that.
What's interesting about this revision of that scene in "Jane Eyre" is that there's more at stake for Lily. Her choice could change history, and she doesn't forget that, no matter how much she yearns to be with him. The loss for her is minimal... mostly (there is the worry that the intensity of his passion would overwhelm and consume her). Rather her thoughts are for the people she loves - she sacrifices her newly discovered love so that history will run its course. It reveals an important similarity to Harry and also to the first Lily.
It's wonderful to hear how much you're enjoying this story and the effect that it's having on you. I'm glad that it's not only me who was overpowered by the emotion in this chapter. It was extraordinarily painful to write because I too wanted to stay with this Moody, even though I know that it's wrong, that he's "wrong". Writing hasn't been the same since this story, either. *sigh* But thank you again for reading and reviewing! It means a lot to hear such compliments from you! ^_^