"Do you remember seeing the man we described to you come in here?" Everywhere they went, it was the same thing. It was as if Phileas had fallen off the face of the earth.
Maria came in to check on Phileas. He was asleep. She took a damp cloth and wiped his forehead. She thought about Phileas not being who he said he was, but at the last minute, she dismissed it.
The next morning, Phileas was awake and ready to start the day.
"How do you feel?" Maria asked as she came into the room.
"I feel much better, thank you. I thought maybe I could do something to help." Maria's mother had come out by now and was astonished to hear that he wanted to work.
"We do need to have some wood chopped." Phileas had never chopped wood before in his life, but he didn't know that.
Phileas had taken off his shirt to chop the wood and Maria could not help staring. He was not particularly muscular, so maybe he was not used to physical labor. She was again trying to place him. She wanted to ask about his past, but knew that he could not tell her.
"They're getting suspicious, Spence."
"Let's make it look like he left town and doesn't want to be found." the two men smiled devilishly.
The three had gotten an early start the next day. They started going around in the shops asking if anyone had seen Phileas. The hit the jackpot when they went to the livery stable.
"Yeah, I seen him. He bought a horse from me." They looked at each other, puzzled. Why would he buy a horse and where would he go? They were all thinking that Phileas wasn't in his right mind.
"What if he didn't want anyone to know where he was going?" This just didn't make sense. As far as anyone knew, he could be anywhere now.
Phileas chopped wood all morning and so was very relieved when Maria came out with a basket and suggested a picnic.
Phileas had been having memory flashes all morning. They were like streaks of lightening in his brain. He could see a man living a life of leisure. He was being waited on. Something told him that this was not a man that worked in fields. He didn't tell Maria that he had been having these flashes.
One memory in particular stuck in his head. this was the memory of his brother Erasmus. He didn't realize that the man he was seeing was his brother Erasmus. He kept seeing his death over and over. He kept thinking that he was somehow responsible for this man's death.
While on the picnic, Phileas was tired of trying to remember who he was, so he asked Maria, "Tell me about yourself." Maria had already told Phileas several things, but didn't mind repeating them.
He listened carefully and thought all the while that this was a most remarkable young woman. Suddenly, there was a flash of another memory. He could see the young man (he still didn't know who) falling from a great height. The look on his face did not suggest that he had pushed the young man. He looked as if he cared deeply for the man. Perhaps he was a relative.
Maria saw his face contort in the middle of her story. She could tell, however, that he was a million miles away. Seeing her concern he said, "I've been having flashes of memory." There were lots of feelings connected to those memories that he saw.
"I think we should eat." Maria said. She was trying to change the subject. Phileas smiled and dug into the basket that she had brought. There was cold chicken, as well as bread, fruit, cheese and wine.
They talked - small talk really. Phileas was happy. Happier than he had been in a long time. He laughed, teased and flirted. Maria was starting to like him more and more. She wondered, though, if this were the real Phileas or the bumped-on-the-head Phileas.
This trip was not turning out well. Each of them thought privately about a possible demise of Phileas Fogg. They had spent the day visiting neighboring towns. Tomorrow they would be going to see Phileas' friend Thomas Mabery. They would have visited there first, but Mabery's foreman had said that Mabery didn't have anyone visiting with him.
No one could guess what was in Fogg's mind.
"What if he was going to the vineyard and was attached by thieves." Passepartout's imagination was bit far-fetched, but it gave them something to think about. He was either heading away from the vineyard or to the vineyard. Somewhere in that span was Phileas Fogg.
Phileas had more flashes during the night. Not only did he remember that the young man that died was his brother, but he also remembered that he had once been quite wealthy. He shared these things with Maria.
"I don't understand it. I distinctly remember living a life of ease, but that's not consistent with how you found me, is it?" Maria thought back to those old suspicions.
"Well, I did think that it was rather odd that you were so well-groomed. Your clothes were the only thing out of place. " Phileas thought for a moment.
"As if it were a disguise." He said mysteriously. Maria had never thought of that before.
"But, why would you need a disguise here?" they continued to work on the puzzle as Phileas waited for his memory to return. He thought of his life here with these people. It wasn't all that bad. Of course, when he was strong enough would have to go to work in the fields like the rest of the men.
Suddenly, there was another flash of memory. He saw himself standing in the room of a castle with bodies lying on the floor around him. He tried to clear his head.
"I'm a murderer."
Phileas set about repairing things around the house. It was a hot day and he had been working hard. He came inside to get a drink and found Maria on her knees.
"What are you doing?" She didn't seem to be working down there.
"I'm praying. It's a habit I picked up at the convent school." He smiled at the pun.
"Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to interrupt." She just smiled.
"That's alright." Phileas thought about his latest discovery.
"While you're at it, I think you need to pray for me." She looked at him strangely. It was the way he had said it with a certain sadness in his voice.
"I had another flash of memory. I think that I may have killed some people. Maybe that's why the disguise." Her first reaction was shock, but her second reaction was disbelief.
"I don't believe it. Besides, even if you are a murderer, God can forgive." It was Phileas' turn to be shocked and in disbelief.
Phileas had never been a religious man. He had trouble delegating.
"Your praying, what does it do for you?" Maria thought about this question.
"I pray, first of all to give honor to God and secondly to ask for help for myself or others." Phileas listened, but he wasn't hearing.
"If your God is so good, why do you have to pray to him to get him to do things for you?" Maria had not thought of this before.
"You're putting the focus on the getting of things. In romantic relationships, people do things for each other - give presents to each other. The emphasis is on the relationship - not on the gifts." As she said this, she was looking in Phileas' eyes. He didn't know if he understood or even fully believed, but at that moment, he wanted to kiss Maria - and so he did. Maria had never kissed anyone before. At least not in this romantic way. She had been thinking about kissing him.
"Not what I expected after a sermon." Phileas laughed. They both felt awkward at that moment. Finally, Phileas said that he had to get back to fixing the roof.
While up on the roof, Phileas had another flash of memory. He saw himself playing cards and felt a feeling that this was a big part of his former self's life.
"Maybe I gambled away all of my money." He thought to himself. That would explain the condition of my clothes, by my well-groomed person"
Later that evening, he relayed all of this to Maria, she nodded as if she understood his predicament.
"There's nothing new under the sun." She quoted. He looked puzzled.
"King Solomon. He had everything, but it didn't matter. He still wasn't happy. 'All is vanity.'" Fogg let these words sink in. He knew that he was comfortable with his wealth, but was he happy, really happy? He thought about the people in the village. They barely had anything. He remembered what Maria had said about the fire. Their whole existence could go up in flames at any moment. Yet, with all of this doom and gloom hanging over their heads, these people seemed genuinely happy. He didn't understand it.
"Tell me more about King Solomon." Maria smiled and handed him her bible.
"Why don't you read about him yourself." And he did.
In the meantime, Maria was having her own inner struggle. She didn't fit in here, but it was her home. The reason that she came back at all was because her parents wanted her to marry. But, the men of the village viewed her strangely. Indeed, she was, different. She read everything that she could get her hands on. She even wrote. The other young girls of the village would not waste their time in such pursuits. Competition for husbands was very high because there were more available girls than there were available men. Her mother tried to get her to pay more attention to what was important.
"She is odd. No one wants an odd girl for a wife." Maria's father insisted that it was more important to have a good education. This situation was one of the things that she had been praying about. She was looking for guidance about what to do. She needed to talk to Phillip.
"Oh, hello. . ." He stopped his work of mending the roof to look down.
"I wanted to talk to you." Phileas came down and took a drink of water that she offered.
"I wanted to talk to you about when you kissed me." Phileas again felt awkward.
"I'm sorry if I offended you." He said. This struck Maria as funny.
"I was not offended. I was just curious. Why did you do it?" this time Phileas looked straight at her.
"I did it because I wanted to kiss you. As I do now." This kiss was gentler - more lingering. Maria gave into the kiss. It was an experiment. She wanted to know why a man would want to kiss her. She wanted to ask him this, but was too caught up in the kiss to think straight. Finally, breathing became difficult and Maria pulled away.
"I'm sorry. I couldn't breathe." Phileas was still looking at Maria. He still wanted her. He ached for her. She could read it in his eyes. She realized that Phileas' memory was almost all back now. So, she asked him a very potent question.
"What is your purpose in life?" Phileas was caught off-guard. He didn't expect this question.
"I don't know. I've never really thought about it before. I have a life just like any other life." Maria nodded.
"Has your memory returned fully now?" He nodded.
"Yes, I believe so. By the way, my name is Phileas, not Phillip. I traveled here with friends and they are not dead." He said this as he realized it for the first time. She was glad to hear that he was not a murderer.
"I was coming here because I was sick." When he saw her alarm, he quickly reassured her. "Not sickness of the body, but of the mind. Demons from the past. But, I believe that you've helped me." Her face brightened when he said this. She liked the fact that she had actually helped someone.
"I needed to forget who I was. the people here knew nothing about me - about my past, and they accepted me. I needed to know. . ." He was breaking down now and she reached out and held his hand.
". . .that someone accepted me for me."
She held him. She knew now what she must do.
Just then, three figures came riding up to Maria's house. She didn't recognize them. Phileas didn't recognize them at first. Then he received his final flash of memory.
"It's Rebecca, Jules and Passepartout." Maria looked at him with adoration and smiled. She knew now that his memory had finally returned.
"Here you are master. We had lost all hope." They shook hands vigorously.
"Fogg, you're alive." He hugged the older man and slapped him on the back.
"Coz . . ." Maria saw a tear in Phileas' eye as he greeted Rebecca. She wondered if this were Phileas' love interest.
They hugged and cried.
"I'm alright Rebecca." He pulled back and looked straight into Rebecca's eyes.
"I'm really alright." She looked into his eyes and knew that he was back. He was all back.
"Why couldn't we help, Phileas?" She felt guilty now. She wanted to protect him the way he had protected her when they were children.
"You were too close. You kept seeing me and my past. I needed to lose everything to get it all back." Maria smiled He had learned his lesson well. She was pleased.
( Written by Steven Delopoulos)
God of Light, Light me some passion
green fields and lovely mansions
Let your mansions live inside me
Love me, Light me, Give me, Guide me
Cross of skin and naked figure
Broken legs and crooked fingers
Help me live for good tomorrow,
Today's too late and full of sorrow.
Light is good and dark is evil,
But I'm running around
Through the cross and through the steeples,
Trying to make it to higher ground,
Come on Light please live beside me,
Love me, Light me, Give me, Guide me
Pride and hate they live inside me,
I need your love enough to guide me,
Help me walk across the borders,
I'm a pilgrim in deep waters.
Faithful God, like faithful sunrise,
Help me break from all those old ties.
Lead me all to that is holy
Break these chains, but break them slowly.
(sung by Burlap to Cashmere) http://www.wordonline.com/squint/audio/burlap/mansions.ram