Thursday, October 24, 2013

another snip-it of my pemberly variation

I am. . . I have served this neighborhood well!” cried Mr. Cannonby.
I am not convinced. Mrs. Gardiner is satisfied her niece has no need for your services. You are dismissed and so is the second laundry maid. Next time, wait until you are summoned.”
Mr. Cannonby bowed his way from the room. Miss Darcy kept her eyes on her folded hands until her brother crossed the room to touch the tip of his fingers to her cheek.
Peace, dear sister, I do not hold you responsible for the gossip of the laundry maids. That is beyond your purview.”
I am sorry,” whispered the girl then glanced up to meet Lizzy’s eyes. “And, you, Miss Bennet. I apologize.”
Oh, dear girl,” said Lizzy, with a laugh. “I have observed any number of laundry days at home. I know very well how women gossip around the wrangle. I am not offended, I promise you.”
Darcy glanced about the room. “You all look very settled and comfortable here.”
Yes, thank you, sir,” said Miss Bennet. “Everyone has been so kind and accommodating.”
Shall I have some luncheon fetched for you?” asked Georgiana, leaping to her feet.
Please, sit, Georgiana. If you do not mind, I shall have our picnic fetched up here and we shall join you.”
Oh, please,” said Georgiana.
Darcy glanced toward the invalid in her bed who blushed and inclined her head to grant consent. It was the work of a few minutes to provide the men with sustenance and when all were provided for Darcy continued the conversation.
And how shall you ladies occupy yourself this afternoon?”
If Miss Bennet is well enough,” began Georgiana then faltered to a halt. “It all depends on what Miss Bennet desires.”
Well, Miss Bennet?” inquired Darcy. “Shall you play at cards? Read? Sew? My sister might offer to play for you. . . but the music room is too far away. No matter, that can wait until your health improves.”
I do not believe reading will serve for the moment,” said Lizzy. Although she was feeling a little better in herself her leg did still ache very badly and she would have preferred to rest, quiet and alone in her room but it was clear that her hosts would not permit that. The honored guest must be entertained. Besides, Miss Darcy looked so eager to be of use that it amused the studier of character that was Miss Bennet. Smiling at the younger girl, Lizzy continued, “But, if Miss Darcy can spare me the time, I might enjoy a game of Backgammon.”
Oh, yes, please. That is a game I do enjoy. And I am good at chess, if you like that!”
We shall save chess until I am a little better.”
Good, that is settled,” said Darcy. “Mr. Gardiner, after luncheon, shall we go and find out if the trout have returned from their hiding places in our absence?”
Lead on, Mr. Darcy!”
When the gentlemen left the ladies settled down for an afternoon of milder entertainment. Mrs. Gardiner fetched a novel she had been reading and laid claim to a chaise lounge near the window. Georgiana brought a chair closer to the bed and set up the playing pieces.
Do you enjoy music as well as games, Miss Bennet?” she asked. “Do you play and sing?”
A little,” said Miss Bennet accepting the cup and dice. “I would not wish to excite your anticipation. I share our old pianoforte with four sisters so you may assume that my practice time is of necessity too short to become a true proficient!”
Georgiana laughed. “You are quoting my aunt, Lady Catherine. That is her favorite phrase. In all her letters to me she urges me to practice more.”
You have caught me out,” said Lizzy. “Should I apologise for imitating your relatives?”
Not at all.” Georgiana glanced at the servant seated, waiting to be useful near the door and lowered her voice. “I have always thought her the oddest thing. You have met her recently, so you might tell me. Does it make sense to you that she says she would have been a true proficient had she learned to play? How can she tell?”
Mrs. Gardiner, who was not that far away, lifted her attention from her book. “Yes, Lizzy, I thought the same when you told me of the woman. Miss Darcy, if you quote me I shall deny saying it, but in my opinion, a woman who has not learned to play is lazy and cannot claim proficiency! It is like a house builder who has never built a house demanding praise for the houses he thinks he might have built! He knows not the materials he would have used or the color of the paint, nor the shape of the rooms, but he claims they would have been great! What nonsense!”
Both girls giggled and Georgiana pulled her chair still closer to the bed and settled in for the first sisterly coze of her short life.
*
The next morning the news passed from the innkeeper’s daughter, to the ostler’s son, to the kitchen maid’s cousin, to the Pemberly under butler, to the Darcy household’s breakfast table – that during the night Mr. Cannonby’s house had burned down destroying his books and still room, rendering him both homeless and deprived of a profession.
The neighborhood was aghast!
*

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

next little bit of Pemberly story

I am feeling much better than this morning, as you see. The tisane I took this morning. . .” Lizzy glanced down and grimaced, “worked and I am quite well.”
I did not send any medicines,” cried Mr. Cannonby.
No. Our stillroom maid is very skilled,” said Miss Darcy.
Highly affronted Mr. Cannonby started wringing his hands.
I cannot be responsible for the health of my patients if they start dosing themselves with who knows what.”
Arrowroot rusk, vanilla, oolong tea, mint and catnip,” said Mrs. Gardiner. “Hardly dangerous. My mother dosed me with similar when my stomach was upset and no doubt, yours did as well.”
That as may be,” said Mr. Cannonby, “but they are of no use when a wound has purtified!”
Again you diagnose me with something dire,” said Miss Bennet, her voice crackling with irritation. “Still without the benefit of an examination! I assure you, as I have seen my own limb and can testify that there are no breaks in the skin to putrefy. I am quite well and not in need of your assistance!”
You cannot judge. Only a surgeon can answer that question adequately.” He stared at her. “Your color is very high, Miss Bennet. I am certain you are fevered. You should be bled.”
She is a healthy young woman who has been walking in the sun the last few days,” cried Mrs. Gardiner. “Of course her color is high. Her complexion is naturally pink.”
Mr. Darcy,” protested Mr. Cannonby. “I cannot be contradicted this way in a sick room. Sir, you can see the girl’s face is flushed.”
She is a trifle tanned,” said Darcy. “But that is to be expected when you travel in the summer.”
Miss Bennet giggled.
She is fevered,” declared Mr. Cannonby again. “Her eyes are fever bright and she most certainly should not be eating heavy foods.”
She is not fevered, nor has she a wound that has turned.” Mrs. Gardiner rose and took a deep breath. “When a wound purtirifes there are various changes that are noted. The skin is first red, then it darkens as the flesh dies. A wound suppurates. The exudate is foul smelling. Inhale, sir and you will find the air in this chamber is fresh and clean. My nieces skin is bruised, swollen, but intact and a healthy pink. She is free of infection!”
Mr. Cannonby flushed still darker. “Mr. Franks, the surgeon, should be summoned to make his own determination.”
How is it that you suspect my niece of a purification?” inquired Mr. Gardiner. “You came upon us in the garden, quite convinced of it.”
Mr. Cannonby hesitated then replied, “My kitchen maid is cousin to Mr. Darcy’s second laundry maid. Miss Bennet was violently ill this morning, a sure sign of overwhelming infection!”
Everyone in the room stared at him. Mr. Darcy was the first to speak.
You have an informant living in my house?”
Not an informant, no, sir. Not at all the thing,” said Mr. Cannonby. “Only I pay attention to all matters in the neighborhood. Regrettably, persons do not call for me when I am most needed, therefore I listen for the early signs of illness so that I will be prepared.”
An eves-dropping, peeping Tom,” said Mrs. Gardiner, disapproval in every syllable. “And, a gossip too, I have no doubt!”
That is beside the point,” said Mr. Cannonby. “I am trying to do my work to the best of my ability. A purification requires a surgeon.”
That is the third time you have demanded his presence,” snapped Miss Bennet. “Is he perchance, a relative?”
There was a pause, then Mr. Darcy stepped forward suspisioun drawing a deep frown on his face.
Is this true?” Darcy demanded. “There is no illness, no injury, that occurs in this neighborhood, that you do not demand requires the presence of a surgeon. Am I to understand that you have been forwarding a relative’s financial interests?”
No. No. Well, yes, he is a cousin, but no, we are persons who feel our responsibilities deeply. He is the best surgeon in these parts and I serve his clients with necessary medications. . . We pass. . .We talk.”
You had best hope,” said Mr. Darcy, “that I never discover that a limb has been cut off unnecessarily!”
Mr. Cannonby went white then started to stammer his assurances.
Oh, be still,” said Darcy, rolling his eyes. “I have endured your nonsense since you were the only apothecary in the neighborhood. Perhaps I would have better served those who answer to me to have located a better skilled practitioner and set him up nearby.”