Greetings, O readers, and my apologies that this post is late! The way in which my website handles blog posts seems to have changed, and it took me a while to figure that out. Still, here we are, and I've got some words of writing for you, though it is no longer Fiction Friday, or even Sampler Saturday, as I used to call those posts.
As I type this, a cat is loving my legs, and I can hear dogs being rowdy. We had pancakes for breakfast, and will be leaving for Mass in just over an hour. A very ordinary Sunday, though that doesn't stop it from being quite nice. I got some lovely news this past week, and though it's not quite ready for sharing, I can tell you that it will probably have a good influence on my writing.
In any case, please enjoy today's fictional offering, from the world of the Chronicles of Glenscar, of which the current entries are A Widow in Waiting, "Qui Sola Ambulat" from Cat Tales, and "With A Kiss" from In the Bleak Midwinter. This story draws from both the first two, along with a couple of my Fiction Friday blog posts last year, which were compiled in Week in Review. (Anvil-sized hints end here.)
Thanks, as always, for reading, and here's hoping the news will be ready to share soon, along with more words in all my universes!
"If I had a fairy godmother," said Miss Olivia Nield thoughtfully, sitting on the sofa in her mother's dressing room, "I would wish that it could be always tonight and never tomorrow."
"Goodness, Livvy! Whatever will you say next?" exclaimed her mother, turning away from the mirror to regard her daughter from the top of that maiden's smartly dressed head (if the hair were rather more ginger than golden, the light powder with which her coiffure was dusted disguised this nicely) to the toes of the sky-blue satin slippers which matched her evening gown exactly. "Always tonight and never tomorrow? Why, pray tell?"
"Goodness, Mama!" Olivia mimicked, laughing. "I know my aunt Eudora is your sister, but a crosser-grained old lady does not exist, and the way she quizzes us whenever we go to pay her a morning-call is beyond bearing! Looking me up and down with the most quelling expression imaginable, as though she had caught me tying my garter in public, and then prosing on at you forever about the proper management of a household, as though you and Mrs. McCartney between you were running poor Papa off his legs! Whereas tonight we shall have a quiet musical evening at Calverton House, with all the company of the best ton, and everything just as it should be. Far more to my liking."
"If I had ever imagined, at your age, that I should someday hear a daughter of mine saying such things!" Mrs. Nield marveled, turning back to her vanity to finish examining her poufed and powdered wig for any places where it might be wearing a trifle thin. "But then, when I come to think of it, I did! Though not exactly at your age, Livvy love, but only a few years later, for you are turned nineteen, and I can't have been more than two-and-twenty when my cousin and I slipped away from your Aunt Eudora at a fair to have our fortunes told."
"Was that your pretty cousin, Mama?" Olivia rose to her feet at a scratch on the dressing room door and hurried to admit Weeks, her mother's maid, with her arms very full of Mrs. Nield's most opulent evening gown, dyed a deeper shade of blue than Olivia's own and as deeply flounced as the fashion would allow. "The one you thought at first Papa was coming to your parents' house to court?"
"I was hardly the only one, my love. We all thought it." Mrs. Nield glanced over the gown as Weeks held it up, then nodded her approval, continuing to speak while Weeks cast the gown over her head and eased it into place over the layers of petticoats her mistress was already wearing. "Not, of course, that she would have done for him, for you know how nice your papa is about having everything just so, how even a breath of scandal distresses him, and what must my cousin do, the very week she was turned twenty-one—but that is not what I meant to say!" she finished hastily, glancing from her daughter's eagerly inquisitive expression to Weeks's blankly impassive one. "I was telling you about the fortune-teller, and what she said to me all those years ago!"
"And what was that, Mama?" Olivia made a little moue of disappointment at having been cheated of her story, but seated herself on the sofa again, being careful not to crease her skirts. "Did she tell you that you would marry a man who was tall and fair and very fond of you, and enter the best society, and be happy and contented all your life long?"
"And that I would have a beautiful daughter, who would also move in the very highest circles." Mrs. Nield nodded firmly at Olivia's indrawn breath. "Not only that, but—goodness, how strange." Her eyes, of a somewhat faded gray, seemed suddenly to be looking back through the years, and the voice in which she spoke was harsh and strong and not at all like her own. "'On the night you tell your daughter of my words, by wind and flame, through fire and grain, the child of the tree shall meet her fate.'"
"Mama?" said Olivia uncertainly after a moment of silence. "Are you quite well?"
"Hmm?" Mrs. Nield blinked a few times, then shook her head, careful not to dislodge her wig as she did so. "I beg your pardon, my love. Losing myself in my memories. It must be a sign of old age."
"Oh, Mama, for shame!" Olivia laughed aloud in relief, as Weeks brought forth a set of sparkling diamonds from the case on the vanity and stepped behind her mistress to clasp the necklace about her throat. "When only yesterday Mr. Lawler was saying that you are the youngest woman of your age in London! Now do, do hurry and finish getting ready, for you know Papa will have been waiting for us downstairs for ages, and one may arrive as late as one pleases for a ball or a large party, but a small intime affair is quite different..."