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Daisy 16-18

May 16, 2018 11:24AM
more poetry in this one and apologies to those people who dislike poetry, but Julian is a poet after all. The translation from Horace is my own effort. Can I include poetry one of my characters has written whilst I was writing him in my own poetry book when I bring it out? it's mine but it's also his and in his character.
Chapter 16

Daisy was busy writing back to Miss Freemantle when Saunders announced,
“Miss Daventry.”
Daisy looked up crossly, schooling her face to impassivity as the visitor entered, but unable to hide the relief when it was Lily Daventry. Amelia was in the room, which would have been some deterrent in losing her temper, had it been Rosalie, but as Amelia was showing her sketches of Brighton to Captain Wrenn she was not taking as much notice of Daisy as would make Daisy feel constrained to restrain her tongue. Lily, however, seemed to be likely to become if not a friend, at least someone Daisy could treat with civility.
“Lily! Come and sit down. Tea, please, Saunders, and see to refreshment for the footman or maid Miss Daventry brought.”
Saunders bowed and left.
“You are thoughtful to think of my maid,” said Lily.
“A little unfair for us to discuss a cup of tea and leave her without anything,” said Daisy. “Please don’t tell me that Rosalie talked you into delivering her apology.”
“No, I came on my own recognisances, Daisy, because I am not looking forward to coming out properly and everyone thinking that I am as rude as Rosalie. I know I treated you badly, and I am sorry. I don’t even know why I am afraid of disability.”
“You never were until you had that stupid governess who assumed that all people with disabilities were also imbecilic,” said Daisy.
Lily gasped.
“Why, yes!” she said. “And she had hysterics and would not have you in the schoolroom for fear you would try to murder us all unawares. I had dreadful nightmares, hearing your dragging foot coming closer and closer to me with a knife.”
“Good grief!” said Daisy. “I suppose you were so very much younger, and impressionable, I think any preceptress who went on like that at Swanley Court would soon find herself out of doors, probably with a burst of Scots from Dr. Macfarlane to the effect that poor stupid Frances had more grasp on reality than she did. Frances is all big blue eyes and nobody at home behind them, but she is gentle enough, and likes rocking the babies’ cradles, except in a storm. Storms terrify her and she howls like a hurt dog, but she is not dangerous, only wearingly loud, poor child. What a dangerously stupid woman that governess was.”
“Yes, and when she talked to the vicar he told her off roundly,” said Lily. “But by then, the nightmares were set, and when Rosalie started being so especially nasty to you, and got me to join in, you were nasty back, and I could see in your eyes that you did want to kill us.”
“I probably did; children who are hurt can be intemperate little beasts,” said Daisy. “I don’t think I’d have tried, but I doubt I’d have pulled you out of a bog, or stopped you falling off a cliff, either of you. Rosalie did her part in teaching me to be a rather hard and unforgiving creature, you know.”
“I’m sorry,” said Lily. “Oh, pray tell me about your cure!”
“Well, I first got to Swanley Court, which was an adventure in itself, for Dr. Macfarlane and Miss Fairbrother, as she was then, rescued me from a fat lady like the one in Hogarth’s prints, who takes country girls into lives of sin, for the vicar had not told them when I was to arrive on the stage,” said Daisy. “Dr. Spencer is such a kindly man, but oh! The vaguest of men. And then Dr. Macfarlane looked at my foot, and examined it, and asked if I would put up with pain to straighten it, so of course I agreed, and he had the saddler make me a special boot and brace, to pull it straight. It hurt cruelly at first, but I could walk with barely any use of a stick, and in time I could run.”
“And now you can dance!”
“Yes, but I do have a secret with that, and if you tell Rosalie I will not forgive you.”
“I would be honoured to have your trust.”
“Well, it seems that soldiers have a special boot, made to appear to be silk stockings with a dancing shoe, so that if they are called to arms when they are at a ball, they might go out in dress uniform but their boots are not going to endanger them by being flimsy things like dancing pumps. I had some made for me, which have less of a heavy sole than those the soldiers use, but one sole is slightly built up to permit me to dance. I tried to dance on Saturday with nothing more than a bracing bandage beneath my stockings, and it was foolish of me, for by supper I was in pain, which is my hubris for thinking I might go without my special boots. I will not forgo them in future.”
“I am glad you have special boots. Oh, Daisy, do you think that I might go to your school? You look so well for it, which is not true of all schools, I know, and I would like to get away from Rosalie.”
“I can write to Miss Freemantle, the head preceptress, and she will talk to Dr. and Mrs. Macfarlane, but as you are not an orphan, they would expect you to pay for your education. And you will have to ask your father, you know! I was writing to Miss Freemantle, so I can drop in a word for you, if you would like.”
“Oh, if it takes paying students, that would be splendid,” said Lily. “I wasn’t going to ask Papa unless you thought it possible, but I have told him how hard I find it, and he did mention that we might do well with a year each at different schools.”
“Swanlea has taken paying students before,” said Daisy. “I am glad your father recognises that you could do with different schools, I had not realised he was so sensible.”
“Do you have to insult my father?”
“I wasn’t, I was approving of his good sense,” said Daisy.
“The way you said it suggested you were surprised by it,” said Lily.
“Well, he is a man, so obviously one is surprised to hear sense coming out of his mouth,” said Daisy. Lily stared.
“So it is men in general you disparage, not my father?”
“Of course; men, on the whole, don’t get trained to have common sense as they are encouraged to marry and have someone to have common sense for them. There are notable exceptions and the doctor at Swanlea is one of them.”
“I’m sorry, I ... well, you think I will do well enough there?” Lily decided it was no point calling Daisy on her tact. She had none.
“There have been several new girls this year, and you will be amongst the oldest. However, I strongly suggest that you listen to any advice from the Goyder twins, who must be half a year younger than you, for they are full of good sense. And I never thought I’d say that about the little hellions,” she added.
“Are they the twins who poisoned a couple of fortune hunters whom Mr. Nettleby told me about?” asked Lily.
“He is a bad man not to let them forget that,” said Daisy. “It was an accident and they were most upset about it. Though I fancy Philippa might have added something less harmful on purpose had she thought of it,” she added. “The two men who were affected were both most unpleasant.”
“It sounds an exciting place,” said Lily.
“I think it is more that the twins attract trouble, and that before Miss Fairbrother married Dr. Macfarlane, she attracted fortune hunters,” said Daisy. “Though some of our girls have been involved in more excitement than a well regulated life should permit. Fortunately I am alive to the perils of fortune hunters, and hired a Bow Street Runner to investigate any young men who might try to court me, but I am probably going to marry Mr. Nettleby anyway, which will preclude any attempts upon my virtue. Indeed, I have written to my solicitor for the prenuptial settlement, and once that is signed, nobody else can legally wed me, for I shall have entered into a contract.”
“It sounds very cold-blooded. Oh, I am sorry.”
“I am very cold-blooded in some respects, Lily. My parents died as a result of their efforts to secure the mine which makes me wealthy, and I do not mean to dishonour them by permitting my fortune to be misused. Julian is quite sensible of my wishes and is happy to fall in with them. You have to think of these things if you are a woman of substance, and you and Rosalie may be in that situation one day. When your papa dies, you will both be moderately wealthy, especially if the manor is not entailed.”
“I do not know what the situation is; papa has never discussed it with us.”
“Then you might do well to find out. It was a shock to me to discover that the house of my childhood was entailed, and went to that Augustus Bennett fellow when Papa died. Grandmamma and I were in some difficulties. Swanley Court had just opened, which was quite providential. It is not usual for any land to pass unentailed to a woman, however, so it should be something you need to find out.”
“Oh, I shall, Daisy, and thank you!” said Lily.
“Am I to expect an apology from Rosalie?” asked Daisy.
“I think so; Papa actually whipped her for using words which made your duenna blush,” said Lily. “He has never whipped either of us before, but he was roaring at her that perhaps he should not have spared the rod and spoiled the child. I was so scared! And she came limping upstairs, with him shouting that perhaps she now understood a bit of carrying the burden of pain, and she slapped me both sides of my face. And I hadn’t even said anything,” added Lily, resentfully. “She’s in her room on bread and water until she writes you an apology.”
“Which will probably make her more stubborn, but your papa is right, that he should have disciplined her years ago, and if he had done so verbally, maybe it wouldn’t have been a case of beating her at all. But then, I have not walked a mile in his shoes, so I cannot really comment,” said Daisy. “Being away from her will help you to be yourself, and it might help her, too, if she has to take responsibility for herself, and cannot share blame by dragging you along with her.”
Lily went away happily, and Daisy went to get ready for a fête champêtre that afternoon. The Keynes were organising it, and Daisy would be picked up, as would Amelia, in a sociable, since Captain Keynes had declared that it would be easier if those people who owned one of these large vehicles should carry all the ladies, while the gentlemen rode as outriders. Daisy was looking forward to it.

Daisy was surprised to find Lily Daventry in the Sociable which came to the door.
“Oh, Daisy, I asked if your chaperone might chaperone me too; if you say no, I am to go back to our lodgings,” said Lily.
“Amelia, are you comfortable with chaperoning Lily as well?” asked Daisy.
“Of course,” said Amelia. “Moreover, two girls are less likely to get into trouble than one.”
“You say that, ma’am, but Rosalie would just drag me with her,” said Lily.
“And if it were the Goyder twins, they’d find more than twice as much trouble, though not of the kind a chaperone has to look out for,” said Daisy, dryly.”What Amelia means is that we half chaperone each other, though I can’t see your presence inhibiting Rosalie. Is she on the toddle for male company as a general thing?”
“She does like scarlet coats,” admitted Lily. “However she has made a dead set for Mt Bennett.”
“I can hardly think why,” said Daisy. “A most unprepossessing man, who is, moreover, trying to get hold of my fortune by his illegal declaration that he is my guardian. And that, of course, leads to an unscrupulous guardian giving himself permission to wed the heiress, and making sure she is too cowed to protest.”
“Oh, now I understand!” cried Lily. “Plainly he was thinking of that when he told my father that he would be coming into a lot of money soon, and Rosalie thought that if he was rich, it would be compensation for his many deficiencies.”
“And of course he would not be specific as his plans were scarcely legal,” said Daisy. “My goodness! I had already formed a poor opinion of him, but I had never met him before the ball. I take it he is worse on longer acquaintance?”
“Yes, he has clammy hands and he can’t dance, and he thinks his opinion is the only one worth having,” said Lily. “I contradicted him once, for I knew he had a fact wrong and he told me little girls should be seen and not heard since I was plainly not a young woman, as a grown lady knows to keep her mouth shut in front of her betters like men.”
“What infernal cheek!” Daisy was furious. “How can a ... a mawworm like that think himself better than anyone, let alone an educated woman, and I am guessing you are speaking of a matter of public record, from the newspaper?”
“Yes, it was over the death of Spencer Percival, and Mr. Bennett was convinced that Mr. Percival was in favour of Catholic emancipation, which I know he is ... was ... not, but that he was fair minded enough to open debate on the subject.”
“Plainly he is completely idiotic. Pray tell me that he does not accompany us?”
“No, for he was not invited, and Papa was approached by Mrs. Keynes who was not at all willing to invite my sister. Papa told her that Rosalie is exempt from any treats until she writes you an apology, so I think Mrs. Keynes was quite pleased.”
“I wager,” said Daisy. “Where are we going?”

Chapter 17

The location of the fête champêtre, which Daisy suspected was more of a glorified picnic, was on the top of a mostly conical hill overlooking Brighton.
“The view from the top is outstanding,” said another, dark-haired, young lady, who answered Daisy’s question when Lily was unable to do so. “Papa, Captain Keynes that is, says that there was a fort on top of the hill before the Romans came, and it would be a most advantageous look-out point. I’m Elizabeth, by the way, Elizabeth Keynes, and do either of you know who that most decorative young man is?”
The decorative young man was Julian Nettleby, and Daisy fought not to clench her hands into claws. She smiled sweetly.
“Were you not introduced to Mr. Nettleby at the ball?” she asked. “I did not see you there.”
“I suffer rather badly monthly, and unfortunately the ball coincided,” shrugged Elizabeth. “It must be nice to be one of those women who get such problems regularly so they can plan ahead, but unfortunately, I am not regular.”
“I heard that if you sleep with the curtain open so you can see the moon, it will help with that, as it works in the same way as causing the tides,” said Daisy. “It’s probably nonsense, but who knows? Some old wives’ tales have to have truth in them.”
It had been something Mrs. Ashley had said when Hannah had been upset over being taken by surprise, when she was just starting, and Daisy had taken note of the comment, without giving it a lot of credence. She respected Mrs. Ashley’s abilities as a nurse, but had considered the idea odd. However, she slept with her own curtains open as a matter of preference, and always had done, and Abigail had only protested when it was really cold, so maybe it was not to be dismissed out of hand.
“Really?” Elizabeth beamed. “I will try that; after all, if it is an old wives’ tale, I will have lost nothing, for I sleep well, and moonlight on my face will not disturb me.”
“I hope it works,” said Daisy, meaning it. She would be most put out if her own clockwork-like punctuality was disturbed; she arranged her wardrobe to accommodate the necessary extra underlinen, and was consequently clad in an undergown of dark red below her gauzy muslin overdress to go out, in case of accidents. That this made the undergown a pretty pink which matched the roses in her cheeks was no accident. “As to Mr. Nettleby, he has escorted my grandmother, Amelia and me to Brighton.”
“Oh, is that a ‘keep out, magazine, explosive’ sign?” asked Elizabeth.
Daisy laughed.
“That is indeed a good way to put it,” she said. “We have not entered a formal arrangement yet.”
“Does your grandmother not like him? I infer that she is your guardian,” asked Elizabeth.
“Oh, I have permission to marry him, but we made an agreement to enjoy some social life in Brighton before formalising the situation,” said Daisy. “So if you need to practice flirting, I will not explode, for I have not yet set the fuse.”
Elizabeth giggled.
“Oh, I don’t need practice with flirting; it’s what subalterns are for,” she said. “I would, however, like to marry someone who is not a military man, even of the militia, which is not like being in the regular army. Perhaps he has a friend or two,” she added.
“Well, if we settle here, we shall have Mr. Wincanton to stay and you can find out,” said Daisy.
It was all very light-hearted, and Daisy had no need to feel the pangs of jealousy. Yet she acknowledged that she did feel some jealousy, and comforted herself that Mr. Nettleby had always preferred blondes in any case, since he had been attracted to Mrs. Macfarlane when Daisy was too young to be looked on as anything but a schoolgirl.

Hollingsbury Hill was quite a spectacular mound, and the horses took the assent as far as they might go slowly and carefully. Soldiers on the summit had already erected a marquee, with some of the sides rolled up to let in air, so that it gave shade without being stuffy. There were distinct advantages to being the wife of an officer, if one might have the men available for such useful services, thought Daisy.
Lily plainly agreed.
“Why, Elizabeth, if you marry a soldier, you, too, might have his men arrange such things.”
“I don’t think it compensates,” said Elizabeth.
“One might always make a donation to the widows and orphans fund, after all, to get any local militia to do likewise,” said Daisy.
“I suppose so,” said Lily. They got out of the sociables when the horses could go no further, and made their way up the zig zag paths with the other ladies who had ridden with them. Lily gasped.
“Why, the soldiers are stripped to the waist, how shocking!”
“We made better time than they supposed,” said Daisy. “I have no objection to admiring them, however, we women seldom get the chance to ogle manly chests.”
Lily giggled.
“Daisy, you are still outrageous!” she said.
“I am only saying what everyone else is thinking,” said Daisy. “And I wasn’t planning on doing anything but look.”
The soldiers, finding themselves the subjects of interest on the part of the first picnickers to arrive, retired hastily into the marquee and emerged presently, properly clad.
Not, however, before Daisy had managed to make a quick study of some impressive muscles in her commonplace book.
Naturally, her main reason for bringing her commonplace book was because Mrs. Keynes had promised spectacular views; and the visitors were not disappointed, many of them crying out in amazement that one might see right out to sea, though the horizon was hazy, and look down on Brighton like a child’s toy below them, and gaze across the countryside for miles in every direction.
Daisy took her watercolours out of the satchel she had brought, disposed her skirts on a grassy chalk mound, and commenced sketching. She was not the only one.
Julian strolled over, laughing.
“A ladies’ sketching party, more than a picnic,” he said.
“I may not get the opportunity to come here again,” said Daisy, “And isn’t it worth recording?”
“It is,” said Julian. “I have my notebook with me, but I ain’t going to versify in front of everyone before it’s polished.”
“Then I am more grateful for the compliment that you did so for me at the seaside,” said Daisy.
Julian thrust his notebook at her, and she took it, trembling slightly as his long fingers brushed hers in the exchange. She read his untidy scrawl.

“I stand upon a lonely hill
In silence but for larks on high
Above the world, I feel a thrill
As down below all scurry by
Below is blue, a misty haze
Concealing all that is mundane
I stand enclosed in dreaming daze
As though exempt from all profane
What changes has this hillock seen
What daily round has slowly changed?
So many lives as there have been
So many bustling things arranged,
And yet the hill in timeless rapture stands alone
To smile derision on our busy mortal bone.”

“That’s a most excellent sonnet,” said Daisy. “And finishing with a pair of Alexandrines too.”
“It needs work,” said Julian.
“It’s a very good sketch, however, to work into a picture,” said Daisy. “And it performs the purpose of reminding you enough to tinker with it. I’m inclined to like the spontenaity of it myself. Unlike my poor efforts with watercolour, which are only ever aids to memory, but I might pay someone to work from them, so I have a well-executed painting to remind me that this was the first time you put your arm around my shoulders just because it was there, not to steady or lift me.”
“Daisy! I’m sorry!” Julian made to remove his arm.
“I was enjoying it, actually,” said Daisy. “But I suppose Amelia will notice and look disapprovingly at us.”
“As well she might, I am too comfortable with you,” said Julian.
“So long as it is old married couple sort of comfortable, not brotherly,” said Daisy.
“Definitely not brotherly,” said Julian, “And less of the old, if you please, madam!”
Daisy giggled.
“I am thinking vaguely of another one,” said Julian. “Something along the lines of ‘Upon a lazy summer’s day, all somnolent in drugging heat, soothed by the thrumming bees at play, and carilions of larks ...’ and then I was lost for a rhyme.”
“Would it help if you replaced ‘drugging heat,’ which I don’t quite like anyway, with ‘sunlight soft’, so you may have your larks aloft?” asked Daisy.
“Invaluable girl, having a helpmate with a decent vocabulary is very useful,” said Julian, scribbling. “I think that’s all that wants to come at the moment.”
“Not like having a baby, then,” said Daisy. “When you have a baby, when it wants to come it wants to come all at once, you can’t put it back in your pocket.”
“Unlike some would-be poets I never have claimed that my work is like my offspring and as painful to produce,” said Julian. “Whether that makes me a worse poet than those of such melodramatic pose I don’t know, but I fancy it makes me an easier fellow to live with.”
“Undoubtedly,” said Daisy. “And you have enough of the muse to prove you are a real poet, and enough of a work ethic to expect to improve upon it without throwing a tantrum if people do not accept it as genius the way it first emerged into the air, naked and screaming.”
“You really are a most unexpected girl at times.”
“It’s why you love me.”
“Yes, I think it is.”

Daisy having taken her sketches, she permitted Julian to help her up, and they joined the majority of the picnic party, other sketchers straggling up to the marquee as they completed their own sketching.
“Oh, Daisy, did you get a good sketch?” asked Lily. “I am hopeless at drawing, so I did not bother after a brief failure with my pencil.”
Daisy shrugged and opened her commonplace book.
“It is nothing special, but it serves to remind me,” she said. “My talents lie in languages and in economics. I fear that I have no accomplishments to speak of, for people would pay to have me stop playing upon the pianoforte, and if I tried the harp, far from sounding like the choir celestial, they would think a demonic war had started. I cannot sing save to fill a contralto part, as I have a voice like a toad with laryngitis. I can place an impression of a scene into my commonplace book, but I fear no more than that.”
Lily looked critically at the painting.
“You’ve done it well enough that when you look at it, you will be right back on top of the hill in your imagination,” she said. “It looks like looking off the top of a hill with the town and sea far below, not like a map of Brighton and the sea on a wall whilst standing on a hassock, which is what mine looks like. I shall cut the page out.”
Daisy held out her hand, and Lily nervously passed her own commonplace book over. Daisy regarded it critically. Lily had not unduly deprecated her own skill, unfortunately.
“Grab a bread roll and roll me a piece as an eraser,” said Daisy. Lily did as she was bid, and Daisy made a few changes, and ran her bread eraser over the whole, too detailed, picture of Brighton to make it misty, adding sure strokes to the near ground, and softening the hill as it fell away, more and more towards the base.
“Oh my!” said Lily. “And you say you are no good at drawing?”
“I am not,” said Daisy. “But I do listen to the visiting art teacher, who gives good pointers about how to save disastrous accidents, and how to make bad pictures better. I am a passable botanical artist, I suppose, as I use it to sketch the trim on hats I design, but really all these changes are come down to a series of tricks.”
“Tricks that work,” said Lily, fervently. “Papa will be very pleased with me, if I can show him a passable sketch; may I tell him that you helped me with what to do rather than that you made it better yourself? If I can say it is the knowledge you got from the teacher at Swanley Court he is more likely to permit me to go there.”
“Oh, certainly,” said Daisy, who was happy not to own to the improved, but still stilted drawing. “And I have no doubt she will help you a lot, though she comes in mainly for the truly talented. I wonder if Amelia has managed anything more painterly than we have?”
Amelia was showing something to Captain Wrenn in her own commonplace book, blushing a little, and Daisy and Lily went over to her.
“Ah, the two flowers,” said the Captain, jovially.
“Your pardon, captain, but I am only a flower to old friends who knew me as a child,” said Daisy, rather coldly. “I am Margaret to new acquaintances.”
“I beg your pardon,” Captain Wrenn was quick to withdraw a foolish comment.
Daisy nodded her head. Amelia, at least, was never lax in how she addressed her, even if Grandmamma sometimes forgot. And she did not mind Julian calling her Daisy, and one must put up with it from Lily, as from the girls at Swanlea. It was not like Peggy, and Peg-leg-Peggy which Rosalie and Lily had called her until she had threatened to break all their dolls’ legs if they did not desist.
It was as well that Rosalie had not remembered the demeaning name.
It would have been very hard to have remembered that she was a lady under such provocation.
“We wondered if you had managed a more competent sketch than we managed, Amelia,” said Daisy.
“Dear me, not at all, for I am not addicted to sketching,” said Amelia, flushing. “Instead, I wrote a poem.”
“So did Julian,” said Daisy. “Is it private?”
“I ... I do not usually share my poetry,” said Amelia.
Daisy nodded.
“We shall respect that,” she said.
It was interesting that Amelia did appear to have shared her poetry with Captain Wrenn, who had seemed impressed.
Daisy told herself not to interfere.

They ate, and chatted, strolling about the hillfort, and then Mrs. Keynes gathered everyone together to drive back home before the air got too chilly in the early evening.
“Thank you; that was most enjoyable,” said Daisy, to her hostess. “And a wonderful venue.”
“I do not think you can ever go wrong in having a picnic on an eminent viewing point,” said Mrs. Keynes.
Daisy did not mention that if the company one kept on such a viewing point was not convivial it would be a very trying afternoon not a pleasant one; but as Rosalie had not come, there was no need to spoil Mrs. Keynes’ triumph by reminding the woman of the pestilential girl!

Chapter 18

Julian Nettleby arrived next morning before Daisy had finished her breakfast, and happily joined her to discuss a second breakfast of buttered eggs, toast, hot rolls and jam. Alerted by Saunders, Amelia joined them somewhat belatedly, not being fond of early mornings, and being inclined to accept being indulged with hot chocolate and bread and butter in her own room, a luxury she had never known before, and which she enjoyed as much for the guilty pleasure of something so decadent as for its own sake.
However, the conversation was nothing any chaperone might take in dislike, for it was most unlover like.
“I found an advertisement in the paper, Daisy,” said Julian. “Here it is, I cut it out; ‘A capital freehold house on East Street, Brighton, near the Steyne, substantially built, and in good repair; an undivided moiety of twenty-four parcels of freehold land in the common fields of Brighton, with right of sheep down; an acre of freehold ground, contiguous to the Royal Crescent, fifty feet in front, towards the sea. A freehold house, number 2, in New Steyne-Street, near the cliff. Two copyhold Messuages, on the southside of the Steyne, and commodious stables in East Street.’. They are all to be auctioned on the thirtieth of this month.”
“What in the name of all that’s wonderful is a moiety?” asked Daisy. “Amelia, shall I ring for fresh chocolate?”
“Oh! No, thank you, Margaret, I have drunk my fill upstairs. I was wondering if I might have a cup of tea.”
“You are more than welcome,” said Daisy, pouring her a cup. “Buttered eggs?”
“Thank you, no. A piece of toast, perhaps, and a conserve of some kind.”
Daisy pushed toast and conserve towards Amelia, and looked expectantly to Julian to answer her last question about what a moiety might be.
“It’s a part of a larger bit of land, I looked it up,” said Julian. “I looked up copyhold as well, which is a rented property, held by a manor. You have to pay a heriot to inherit it, but you can sell it but it goes through the lord of the manor. It sounded very complex, and I wasn’t thinking the messuages were worth bidding on.”
“No, indeed, I cannot think it would be advantageous to purchase a tenancy. And I do not think it worth purchasing land to develop, for I do not know enough, nor do I have the contacts to develop it. However, the house in East Street and the one in New Steyne Street sound promising. Have you looked into the sorts of prices for which these sell?”
“Not yet, but I will be speaking with a solicitor later.”
“Good. I have written to Mr. Embury for the prenuptial settlement which Mr. Everard drew up for me before he died,” said Daisy. “I will want you to look it over, and consider it. I am also minded to have any monies gained from buying and renting property to be part of your income since it will be your hard work obtaining them, on the proviso that any monies over are left to the children of the marriage.”
“You know, Daisy, although I acknowledge that you are very sensible, it’s very unnerving when you switch from Daisy to Miss Dry and Dusty Solicitor.”
Amelia got up quietly and moved to the other side of the room, to afford her charge some privacy.
“I’m sorry, Julian. I am a cold-blooded person, as Lily Daventry pointed out. I buried all my emotions when I was a little girl, and I don’t know how to let them out.”
“What nonsense!” scoffed Julian. “A cold-blooded person doesn’t care for a traveller’s horse, or help rescue that poor little girl from the beastly Milverton, nor speak so warmly of the girls whom she has made into her sisters at school. A cold-blooded person would not have shifted fast enough to take a whip blow for her little maid, nor seen to her maid’s hunger at a ball. Lily Daventry is a silly piece, though not poisonous as I expected her to be. Her sister has all the poison for two, I think.”
“Oh Julian, do you think I am not cold-blooded? But I think of things like prenuptial settlements to protect you from ill-natured gossip as well as to protect my fortune for my children, and though I may have some warm and most pleasant feelings at the thought of you kissing me, which I also felt when we were dancing, and which kept me going through the pain, I do not feel like girls in novels. I am not cast into transports to hear your voice or see your face, I am merely brightened and feel that the day is improved to see you, as with any really good friend. I do not swoon when you gaze into my eyes, or take my hand, and I do not believe my heart has ever fluttered, though it may speed up in your presence. Is there something wrong with me?”
“Not in the least,” said Julian. “I should think any man who expected a woman to swoon when he looked in her eyes would be a cursed rum touch. And if your heart fluttered, I would urge you to seek advice from Dr. Macfarlane, who would doubtless recommend a tea of hawthorn leaves or whatever it is for irregular heart if you ain’t in need of a foxglove salad. I should think a woman who was in transports one minute and the depths of despair the next all for being there or not would be a deucedly unrestful female.”
“Oh, Julian, you are very comforting! Abigail says I have not one romantic bone in my body for I was not impressed by her eavesdropping on the doctor complaining to the moon about friendship when it was in regards to Miss Fairbrother.”
“Yes, and look how well their good friendship has led to a good marriage,” said Julian. “I think novels might be all very well for entertainment, but being close enough to talk about anything, the same as I might to another chap, and the same as you might to one of your schoolfriends, is better for a ... a love that lasts, not the befuddled transports of ... of attraction mistaken for love. Only don’t get me wrong, because I am attracted to you.”
“I believe I am attracted to you, too,” said Daisy, shyly. She slid her hand into his.
Julian kissed each of her fingers in turn, and Daisy blushed violently. Her heart might not flutter, but it was speeding up most improperly, and she felt quite strange and warm inside.
“I am certainly not unaffected by such attentions,” she said, shyly.
“Nor am I,” said Julian. “My dear, I am so sorry you had to drive your emotions inward.
“I did not want Rosalie and Lily to laugh at me,” said Daisy. “I have to say that meeting them again has been most cathartic; I can readily forgive Lily for being a silly little girl following her older sister’s lead, and I can see Rosalie as a ... a nothing, nobody whose opinion matters in the least.”
“Then I am glad you have met them again,” said Julian. It was what Daisy had needed, to be ready to open up, and Julian knew he would go as slowly as she needed in helping her to reach out to him as a lover. “I ... I also hoped you might be interested to see my latest poem book; the publisher has sent me a proof copy.”
He held out the book to her, handsomely bound in calfskin, and Daisy gave a squeal of delight, and got her paper knife out of her writing desk to cut the pages apart, where the outer edges were still held together in the folds of the printing process, as any new book generally was.
“I look forward to reading them,” she said. “And Amelia may only have it when I have finished. Why, Julian, have you become addicted to educating?” she caught sight of a page near the back, with the legend ‘poetry explained’ on it. “Amelia, come and look at this, and see how clever Julian is.”
Julian flushed, and Amelia came over, looking over Daisy’s shoulder.
“I had scribbled some exemplars, very silly, and I thought it might help, if Mrs. Macfarlane wanted to use it at the school,” he said.
Daisy read, and chuckled over,
“Iambic is the common form we write,
Two syllables that make up every foot
Unstressed, then stressed, a form that may be trite
But easy then to follow where ‘tis put.

Anapaest galloping,
Galloping, travelling
Travelling homeward now
Tired weary Anapaest.
Three simple beats it needs
Here in the anapaest,
Short, short long, makes the beat
Galloping, travelling.

When we use the honest trochee,
Trochee used to tell a story,
Used to show heroic action,
High and mighty is the trochee,
Stressed on second beat is trochee
Stressed to make the rhythm’s grandeur
Stressed to show that all is epic
Here displayed before the reader”
“Julian, it’s famous,” said Daisy. “This will be a real help to the younger ones. Oh, and you have the villanelle, and the pantoum, and the sonnet, how clever!”
Julian was much relieved; he had wondered if his efforts would please or not. He cared little if he pleased the general public, so long as Daisy thought him clever.
“It is clever,” said Amelia. “You write very admirable poetry, Mr. Nettleby, even when you are almost laughing at yourself to write such things.”
“I write as seems good,” said Julian, who was uncomfortable with too much praise. “Why, here is Captain Wrenn; I believe I will take myself off. Shall I escort you to the soirée this evening?”
“I would be delighted, Julian,” said Daisy.

It appeared that Julian was to be joined by Captain Wrenn to escort the ladies. Amelia did not seem to find this distressing, blushing becomingly in surprise at an extra escort, and murmuring that it was nice to be made to feel so precious.
Daisy had a shock, however, when they arrived, and Mrs. Keynes asked what she might be going to sing or play.
“Mrs. Keynes, I have very little in terms of accomplishments for your soirée which does not involve Latin or Greek,” said Daisy, with a look of alarm. “Mr. Nettleby is a poet of some note, so he is quite able to entertain, but unless you are able to accept a free translation of something like an ode of Horace, I’m not sure what I can manage, for I am not musical.”
“Which ode were you thinking of, Miss Ellis?” asked Julian, in lively alarm.
Eheu fugaces,” said Daisy.
“Oh, gloomy but quite unexceptionable,” said Julian in relief. Daisy twinkled at him.
“I am sure it will be suitable,” said Mrs. Keynes. “And you are a poet, Mr. Nettleby?”
“I can be talked into one of my own satirical songs if fed well enough,” said Julian.
“That will go down well,” said Mrs. Keynes. “I hope you will enjoy the supper I have laid on.”
Julian was soon seated at the piano, and demonstrated himself to be competent enough at accompanying himself as he sang.
“Oh the ladies love a red coat
A red coat on a soldier
They want to meet the man inside
Before they are any older

Oh if you join the army, lad
You’ll be set for life
But beware if you kiss her
Or you might find you’ve a wife

Oh you can’t join the army, lad
If you’re Catholic or a Jew
Or so the regulations say
But that’s not what they do!

Oh you can join the army, lad
Whatever your belief
For they won’t ask if you don’t tell
But sign you with relief

Oh you can join the army, lad
The musket balls don’t care
Whoever you may pray to
So long as you are there.

And when you’re in the army, lad
You’ll pray to whom you may
The muskets are divided out
Just like the rate of pay.”

The last line occasioned much laughter, and the enlisted men who were acting as footmen were grinning broadly.
“You’d be a hit in the barracks, Mr. Nettleby,” said Captain Keynes. “And you wrote it yourself? Very witty!”
“Thank you, Captain,” said Julian.
“It was very clever,” whispered Daisy as Julian sat down beside her. “Do you intend to publish such songs?”
“Do you think I should?” asked Julian.
“Certainly, I think there would be a market, and if there is not, at least it would be nice to have them bound together,” said Daisy.
They sat through a lieutenant’s wife doing things to a harp whilst howling to the moon, as Julian put it, and a couple of nervous daughters with more or less ability on the pianoforte.
Daisy grimaced as Mrs. Keynes called her.
“The gentlemen might know Horace’s ode which opens ‘eheu fugaces’,” she said, “and I have made a free translation of it.”
She fought the urge to put her hands behind her back to hold each other as a schoolgirl might be wont to do when declaiming poetry in class, and started.
“Alas my friend, whate're we will
Old age will come and conquer still
No worshipped gods will thus delay
The ravages of time's decay

Not even mighty sacrifice
To tearless Pluto will suffice
We all must cross that gloomy stream
Whate'er our wealth or self esteem

From bloody Mars in vain we flee
And from the waves of the harsh sea
And southern autumn wind whose breath
Is but a harbinger of death

The Lamentation River must
Be faced by those who turn to dust
Passing those damned of Grecian soil
And Sisyphus in endless toil

Leave earth and home and loving wife
Say farewell to all things of life!
Save for sad cypress, trees you tend
Outlive you past your bitter end

Your worthy heir will open wide
Your cellars for what's stored inside
Jealous hoards of wine repose
Imbibed as your bones decompose.”

“My goodness, Miss Ellis, that’s a jolly good translation,” said the young man who had translated for the benefit of Rosalie. “Your work?”
Daisy dropped a curtsey.
“Yes, indeed, and I had the comment in red ink, ‘a somewhat facetious translation, but in light of Horace’s own facetiae, not worth marking down for it’ from my preceptress,” she said.
There was some laughter.
“At least your preceptress has more humour than the Latin master I had at school,” said the young man.
“Miss Freemantle is most liberal,” said Daisy, demurely, slipping back to her seat.
“Nicely done,” said Julian.
Supper, as promised, was sumptuous, and Daisy discovered, on taking a trip to the cloakroom before supper, that the visiting maids had been provided with a tray before the company ate. She rather thought she liked Mrs. Keynes.
After supper there was informal dancing, a few reels and rather boisterous country dances, but in her boots, Daisy did not have to worry as much about rather wild leg and foot movements as the young soldiers ‘heuched’ to their hearts’ content. The evening finished with everyone singing old favourites like ‘The British Grenadiers’, being the regimental quick march of the Royal Artillery, and ‘Over the Hills and Far Away’, and a selection of songs by such writers as William Boyce and Thomas Arne. Daisy had no objection to singing, so long as nobody expected her to hold a tune without the assistance of other people.
“A thoroughly vulgar affair and I enjoyed it,” said Julian, on the way home.
“It did get a little much towards the end, but Mrs. Keynes had it back under control rather well,” said Daisy. “And it is not as late as I understand entertainments can be in London.”
“That’s because half the guests have to be sober and on duty in the morning; or on duty, in any case,” said Julian.

Daisy 16-18

Sarah WaldockMay 16, 2018 11:24AM

Re: Daisy 16-18

LilyMay 17, 2018 03:04PM

Re: Daisy 16-18

Sarah WaldockMay 17, 2018 11:58PM

Re: Daisy 16-18

Agnes BeatrixMay 16, 2018 05:52PM

Re: Yes!

Sarah WaldockMay 16, 2018 07:15PM


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