Tuesday, October 9, 2018

"My Lady Caprice" By Jeffery Farnol 1912




II
The Sheriff of Nottingham
(Part 1 of the chapter)

 To sit beside a river on a golden afternoon listening to its whispered melody, while the air about one is fragrant with summer, and heavy with the drone of unseen wings!--What ordinary mortal could wish for more?
 And yet, though conscious of this fair world about me, I was still uncontent, for my world was incomplete--nay, lacked its most essential charm, and I sat with my ears on the stretch, waiting for Lisbeth's chance footstep on the path and the soft whisper of her skirts. 
 The French are indeed a great people, for among many other things they alone have caught that magic sound a women's garments make as she walks, and given it to the world in the one word "frou-frou."
O wondrous word! O word sublime! How full art thou of delicate suggestion! Truly, there can be no sweeter sound to ears masculine upon a golden summer afternoon--or any other time, for that matter--than the soft "frou-frou" that tells him She is coming. 
 At this point my thoughts were interrupted by something which hurtled through the air and splashed into the water at my feet. Glancing at this object, I recognised the loud-toned cricket cap affected by the Imp, and reaching for it, I fished it out on the end of my rod. It was a hideous thing of red, white, blue and green--a really horrible affair, and therefore much prized by its owner, as I knew. 
 Behind me the bank rose some four or five feet, crowned with willows and underbrush, from the other side of which there now came a prodigious rustling and panting. Rising to my feet, therefore, I parted the leaves with extreme care, and beheld the Imp himself. 
 He was armed to the teeth--that is to say, a wooden sword swung at his thigh, a tin bugle depended from his belt, and he carried a bow and arrow. Opposite him was another boy, particularly ragged at knee and elbow, who stood with hands thrust into his pockets and grinned. 
"Base caitiff, hold!" cried the Imp, fitting an arrow to the string; "stand an' deliver. Give me my cap, thou varlet, thou!" The boy's grin expanded. 
"Give me my cap, base slave, or I'll shoot you--by my troth!" As he spoke the Imp aimed his arrow, whereupon the boy ducked promptly. 
"I ain't got yer cap," he grinned from the shelter of his arm. "It's been an' gone an' throwed itself into the river." The Imp let fly his arrow, which was answered by a yell from the Base Varlet.
"Yah!" he cried derisively as the Imp drew his sword with a melodramatic flourish. "Yah! put down that stick an' I'll fight yer."
 The Imp indignantly repudiated his trusty weapon being called "a stick"--"an I don't think," he went on, "that Robin Hood ever fought without his sword. Let's see what the book says," and he drew a very
crumpled paper covered volume from his pocket, which he consulted with knitted brows, while the Base Varlet watched him, open-mouthed. 
"Oh, yes," nodded the Imp; "it's all right. Listen to this!" and he read as follows in a stern, deep voice:
"'Then Robin tossed aside his trusty blade, an' laying bare his knotted arm, approached the dastardly ruffian with many a merry quip and jest, prepared for the fierce death-grip.'"
 Hereupon the Imp laid aside his book and and weapons  and proceeded to roll up his sleeve, having done which to his satisfaction, he faced round upon the Base Varlet.
"Have at ye, dastardly ruffian!" he cried, and therewith ensued a battle, fierce and fell. 
 If his antagonist had it in height, the Imp made up for it in weight--he is a particularly solid Imp--and this the struggle lasted for some five minutes without any appreciable advantage to either, when, in eluding one the enemy's desperate rushes, the Imp stumbled, lost his balance, and next moment I had caught him in my arms. For a space "the enemy" remained panting on the bank above, and then with another yell turned and darted off among the bushes. 
"Hallo, Imp!" I said. 
"Hallo, Uncle Dick!" he returned. 
"Hurt?" I inquired. 
"Wounded a bit in the nose, you know," he answered, mopping that organ with his handkerchief; "but did you see me punch 'yon varlet' in the eye?"
"Did you Imp?"
"I think so, Uncle Dick; only I do wish I'd made him surrender. The book says that Robin Hood always made his enemies 'surrender an' beg their life on trembling knee!' Oh, it must be fine to see your enemies on their knee!"
"Especially if they tremble," I added. 
"Do you s'pose that boy--I mean 'yon base varlet' would have surrendered?"
"Not a doubt of it --if he hadn't happened to push you over the bank first."
"Oh!" murmured the Imp rather dubiously. 
"By the way," I said as I filled my pipe, "where is your Auntie Lisbeth?"
"Well, I chased her up the big apple-tree with my bow an' arrow."
"Of course," I nodded. "Very right and proper!"
"You see," he explained, "I wanted her to be a wild elephant an' she wouldn't."
"Extremely disobliging of her!"
"Yes, wasn't it? So when she was right up I took away the ladder an' hid it."
"Highly strategic, my Imp."
"So then I turned into Robin Hood. I hung my cap on a bush to shoot at, you know, an' 'the Base Varlet' came up an' ran off with it."
"And there it is," I said, pointing to where it lay. The Imp received it with profuse thanks, and having wrung out the water, clapped it upon his curls and sat down beside me. 
"I found another man who wants to be my uncle," he began. 
"Oh, indeed?"
"Yes; but I don't want any more, you know."
"Of course not. One like me suffices for your every-day needs--eh, my Imp?"
The Imp nodded. "It was yesterday," he continued. "He came to see Auntie Lisbeth, an' I found them in the summer-house in the orchard. An' I heard him say, 'Miss Elizabeth, you're prettier than ever!'"
"Did he though, confound him!"
"Yes, an' then Auntie Lisbeth looked silly, an' then he saw me behind a tree an' he looked silly, too. Then he said, 'Come here, little man!' An' I went, you know, though I do hate to be called 'little man.' Then he said he'd give me a shilling if I'd call him Uncle Frank."
"And what did you answer?"
"'Fraid I'm awfull' wicked," sighed the Imp, shaking his head, "'cause I told him a great big lie."
"Did you, Imp?"
"Yes. I said I didn't want his shilling, an' I do, you know, most awfully, to buy a spring pistol with."
"Oh, well, we'll see what can be done about the spring pistol," I answered. "And so you don't like him, eh?"
"Should think not," returned the Imp promptly. "He's always so--so awfull' clean, an' wears a little moustache with teeny sharp points on it."
"Any one who does that deserves all he gets," I said, shaking my head. "And what is his name?"
"The Honourable Frank Selwyn, an' he lives at Selwyn Park--the next house to ours."
"Oho!" I exclaimed, and whistled. 
"Uncle Dick" said the Imp, breaking in upon a somewhat unpleasant train of thought conjured up by this intelligence, "will you come an' be 'Little John under the merry greenwood tree'? Do."
"Why, what do you know about 'the merry greenwood, Imp?"
"Oh, lots!" he answered, hastily pulling out the tattered book. "This is all about Robin Hood an' Little- John. Ben, the gardener's boy, lent it to me. Robin Hood was a fine chap, an' so was Little-John, an' they used to set ambushes an' capture the Sheriff of Nottingham an' all sorts of caddish barons an' tie them to trees."
"My Imp," I said, shaking my head, "the times are sadly changed. One cannot tie barons--caddish or otherwise--to trees in these degenerate days."
"No, I s'pose not," sighed the Imp dolefully; "but I do wish you would be Little-John, Uncle Dick."
"Oh, certainly, Imp, if it will make you any happier; though of a truth, bold Robin," I continued after the manner of the story books, "Little-John hath a mind to bide awhile and commune with himself here; yet give but one blast upon thy bugle horn and thou shalt find my arm and quarterstaff ready and willing enough, I'll warrant you!"
"That sounds awfull' fine, Uncle Dick, only--you haven't got a quarter-staff, you know."
"Yea, 'tis here!" I answered, and detached the lower joint of my fishing rod. The Imp rose, and folding his arms, surveyed me as Robin Hood himself might have done--that is to say, with an 'eye of fire.'
"So be it, my faithful Little-John," qouth he; "meet me at the Blasted Oak at midnight. An' if I shout for help--I mean blow my bugle--you'll come an' rescue me, won't you, Uncle Dick?"




                                           
          

Monday, October 1, 2018

"My Lady Caprice" by Jeffery Farnol (1912) (Chapter 1, Part 2)

"My Lady Caprice"
by Jeffery Farnol

I
Treasure Trove
(Part 2 of the chapter)


"Do you know, I like you," he said, regarding me thoughtfully. "I think you are fine."
"Now that's very nice of you, Imp; in common with my kind I have a weakness for flattery--please go on."
"I mean, I think you are jolly."
"As to that," I said, shaking my head and sighing, "appearances are often very deceptive; at the heart of many a fair blossom there is a canker worm."
"I'm awfull' fond of worms, too," said the Imp.
"Indeed?"
"Yes. I got a pocketful yesterday, only Aunty found out an' made me let them all go again."
"Ah--yes," I said sympathetically; "that was the woman of it."
"I've only got one left now," continued the Imp; and thrusting a hand into the pocket of his knickerbockers he f=drew forth six inches or so of slimy worm and held it out to me upon his small, grimy palm.
"He's nice and fat!" I said.
"Yes," nodded the Imp; "I caught him under the gooseberry bushes;" and dropping it back into his pocket he proceeded to don his shoes and stockings.
" 'Fraid I'm a bit muddy," he said suddenly.
"Oh, you might be worse," I answered reassuringly.
"Do you think they'll notice it?" he inquired, contorting himself horribly in order to view the small of his back.
"Well," I hesitated, "it all depends, you know."
"I don't mind Dorothy, or Betty the cook, or the governess--it's Auntie Lisbeth I'm thinking about."
"Auntie--who?" I exclaimed, regardless of grammar.
"Auntie Lisbeth," repeated the Imp.
"Oh, she's grown up big, only she's nice. She came to take care of Dorothy an' me while mother goes away to get nice an' strong--oh, Auntie Lisbeth's jolly, you know."
"With black hair and blue eyes?"
The imp nodded.
"And a dimple at the corner of her mouth?" I went on dreamily--"a dimple that would lead a man to the--Old Gentleman himself?"
"What old gentleman?"
"Oh, a rather disreputable old gentleman," I answered evasively.
"An' do you know my Auntie Lisbeth?"
"I think it extremely probable--in fact, I'm sure of it."
"Then you might lend me your handkerchief, please; I tied mine to a bush for a flag, you know, an' it blew away."
"You'd better come here and I'll give you a rub-down, my Imp." He obeyed, with many profuse expressions of gratitude.
"Have you got any Aunties?" he inquired, as I laboured upon his miry person.
"No," I answered, shaking my head; "unfortunately mine are all Aunts, and that is vastly different."
"Oh," said the Imp, regarding me with a puzzled expression; "are they nice--I mean, do they ever read to you out of the history book, an' help you to sail boats, an' paddle?"
"Paddle?" I repeated.
"Yes. My Auntie Lisbeth does. The other day we got up awfull' early an' went for a walk, an' we came to the river, so we took off our shoes an' stockings an' we paddled; it was ever so jolly, you know. An' when Auntie wasn't looking I found a frog an' put it in her stockings."
"Highly strategic, my Imp! Well?"
"It was awful funny," he said, smiling dreamily. "When she went to put it on she gave a little high-up scream, like Dorothy does when I pinch her a bit--an' then she throwed them both away, 'cause she was afraid there was frogs in both of them. Then she put on her shoes without any stockings at all, so I hid them."
"Where?" I cried eagerly.
"Reggie!" called a voice some distance away--a voice I recognized with a thrill. "Reggie!"
"Imp, would you like half a crown?"
"'Course I would; but you might clean my back, please," and he began rubbing himself feverishly with his cap, after the fashion of a scrubbing brush.
"Look here," I said, pulling out the coin, "tell me where you hid them--quick--and I'll give you his." The Imp held out his hand, but even as he did so the bushes parted and Lisbeth stood before us. she gave a little, low cry of surprise at sight of me and then frowned.
"You?" she exclaimed.
"Yes," I answered, raising my cap.
And there I stopped, trying frantically to remember the speech I had so carefully prepared--the greeting which was to have explained my conduct and disarmed her resentment at the very outset. But rack my brain as I would, I could think of nothing but the reproach in her eyes--and that one haunting phrase:
"'I suppose I am become the object of your bitterest scorn by now?'" I found myself saying.
"My aunt informed me of--of everything, and naturally---"
"Let me explain," I began.
"Really, it is not at all necessary."
"But, Lisbeth, I must--I insist---"
"Reginald," she said, turning toward the Imp, who was still busy with his cap, "it's nearly tea-time, and--why, whatever have you been doing to yourself?"
"For the last half hour," I interposed, "we have been exchanging our opinions on the sex."
"An' talking 'bout worms," added the Imp. "This man is fond of worms, too, Auntie Lisbeth--I like him."
"Thanks," I said; "but let me beg of you to drop your very distant mode of address. Call me Uncle Dick."
"But, you're not my Uncle Dick, you know," he demurred.
"Not yet, perhaps; but there's no knowing what may happen some day if your Auntie thinks us worthy--so take time by the forelocks, my Imp, and call me Uncle Dick."
Whatever Lisbeth might or might not have said was checked by the patter of footsteps, and a little girl tripped into view, with a small, fluffy kitten cuddled in her arms.
"Oh, Auntie Lisbeth," she began, but stopped to stare at me over the back of the fluffy kitten.
"Hallo, Dorothy!" cried the Imp; "this is Uncle Dick. You can come an' shake hands with him if you like."
"I didn't know I had an Uncle Dick," said Dorothy, hesitating.
"Oh, yes; it's alright," answered the Imp reassuringly. "I found him, you know, an' he likes worms, too!"
Dorothy gave me her hand demurely.
"How do you do, Uncle Dick?" she said in a quaint, old-fashioned way.
"Reginald is always finding things, you know, an' he likes worms, too!" Dorothy gave me her hand demurely.
From somewhere near by there came the silvery chime of a bell.
"Why, there's the tea-bell!" exclaimed Lisbeth; "and, Reginald, you have to change those muddy clothes. Say good-bye to Mr. Brent, children, and come along."
"Imp," I whispered as the others turned away, "where did you hide those stockings?" And I slipped the half crown into his already palm.
"Along the river there's a tree--very big an' awfull' fat, you know, with a lot of stickie-out branches, an' a hole in its stomach--they're in there."
"Reginald!" called Lisbeth.
"Up stream or down?"
"That way," he answered, pointing vaguely down stream; and with a nod that brought the yellow curls over his eyes he scampered off.
"Along the river," I repeated, "in a big, fat tree with a lot of stickie-out branches!" It sounded a trifle indefinite, I thought--still I could but try.
So, having packed up my rod I set out upon the search.
It was strange, perhaps, but nearly every tree I saw seemed to be either "big" or "fat"--and all of them had "stickie-out" branches.
This the sun was already low in the west, and I was lighting my fifth pipe when I at length observed the tree in question.
A great pollard oak it was, standing upon the very edge of the stream, easily distinguishable by its unusual size and the fact that at some time or another it had been riven by lightening. After all, the Imp's description had been in the main correct; it was "fat," immensely fat; and I hurried joyfully forward.
I was still some way off when I saw the distant flutter of a white skirt, and--yes, sure enough, there was Lisbeth, walking quickly, too, and she was a great deal nearer the tree than I.
Prompted by a sudden conviction, I dropped my rod and began to run. Immediately Lisbeth began running, too. I threw away my creel and sprinted for all I was worth. I had earned some small fame at this sort of thing in my university days, yet I arrived at the tree with only a few yards to spare. Throwing myself upon my knees, I commenced a feverish search, and presently--more by good fortune than anything else--my random fingers encountered a soft, silken bundle. When Lisbeth came up, flushed and panting, I held them in my hands.
"Give them to me!" she cried,
"I'm sorry---"
"Please," she begged.
"I'm very sorry---"
"Mr. Brent," said Lisbeth, drawing herself up, "I'll trouble you for my--them."
"Pardon me, Lisbeth," I answered, "but if I remember anything of the law of 'treasure-trove' one of these should go to the Crown, and one belongs to me."
Lisbeth grew quite angry--one of her few bad traits.
"You will give them up at once--immediately."
"On the contrary," I said very gently, "seeing the Crown can have no use for one, I shall keep them both to dream over when the nights are long and lonely."
Lisbeth actually stamped her foot at me, and I tucked "them" into my pocket.
"How did you know they--they were here?" she inquired after a pause.
"I was directed to a tree with 'stickie-out' branches," I answered.
"Oh, that Imp!" she exclaimed, and stamped her foot again.
"Do you know, I've grown quite attached to that nephew of mine already?" I said.
"He's not a nephew of yours," cried Lisbeth quite hotly.
"Not legally, perhaps; that is where you might be of such assistance to us Lisbeth. A boy with only an aunt here and there is unbalanced, so to speak; he requires the stronger influence of an uncle. Not," I continued hastily, "that I would depreciate aunts--by the way, he has but one, I believe?" Lisbeth nodded coldly.
"Of course," I nodded; "and very lucky in that once--extremely fortunate. Now, years ago, when I was
a boy, I had three, and all of them blanks, so to speak. I mean none of them ever read to me out of the history book, or helped me to sail boats, or paddled and lost their--No, mine used to lecture me about my hair and nails, I remember, and glare at me over the big tea urn until I choked into my teacup. A truly desolate childhood mine. I had no big-fisted uncle to thump me persuasively when I needed it; had fortune granted me one I might have been a very different man, Lisbeth. You behold in me a horrible example of what one may become whose boyhood has been denuded of uncles."
"If you will be so very obliging as to return my--my property."
"My dear Lisbeth," I sighed, "be reasonable; suppose we talk of something else;' and I attempted, though quite vainly, to direct her attention to the glories of the sunset.
A fallen tree lay near by, upon which Lisbeth seated herself with a certain determined set of her little, round chin that I knew well.
"And how long do you intend keeping me here?" she asked in a resigned tone.
"Always, if I had my way."
"Really?" she asked, and whole volumes could never describe all the scorn she managed to put into that single word. "You see," she continued, "after what Aunt Agatha wrote and told me---"
"Lisbeth," I broke in, "if you'll only---"
"I naturally supposed---"
"If you'll only let me explain---"
"That you would abide by the promise you made her and wait---"
"Until you knew your own heart," I put in. "The question is, how long will it take you? Probably, if you would allow me to teach you---"
"Your presence here now stamps you as--as horrible deceitful!"
"Undoubtedly," I nodded; "but you see when I was foolish enough to give that promise your very excellent Aunt made no reference to her intentions regarding a certain Mr. Selwyn."
"Oh!" exclaimed Lisbeth. And feeling that I had made a point, I continued with redoubled ardour:
"She gave me to understand that she merely wished you to have time to know your own heart in the matter. Now, as I said before, how long will it take you to find out, Lisbeth?"
She sat chin in hand staring straight before her, and her black brows were still drawn together in a frown. But I watched her mouth-- just where the scarlet underlip curbed up to meet its fellow.
Lisbeth's mouth is a trifle wide, perhaps, and rather full-lipped, and somewhere at one corner--I can never be quite certain of its exact location, because its appearances is, as a rule, so very meteoric--but somewhere there is a dimple.  Now, if ever there was an arrant traitor in this world it is that dimple; for let her expression be ever so guileless, let her wistful eyes be raised with a look of tears in their blue depths, despite herself that dimple will spring into life and undo it all in a moment. So it was now, even as I watched it quivered round her lips, and feeling herself betrayed, the frown vanished altogether and she smiled.
"And now, Dick, suppose you give me my--my---"
'Conditionally," I said sitting down beside her.
The sun had set, and from somewhere among the purple shadows of the wood the rich, deep notes of a blackbird came to us, with pauses now and then, filled in with the rustle of leaves and the distant lowing of cows.
"Not far from the village of Down in Kent," I began dreamily, "there stands an old house with quaint, high-gabled roofs and twisted Tudor chimneys. Many years ago it was the home of fair ladies and gallant gentlemen, but its glory is long past. And yet, Lisbeth, when I think of it at such an hour as this, and with you beside me, I begin to wonder if we could not manage between us to bring back the old order of things."
Lisbeth was silent.
"It has a wonderful old-fashioned rose garden, and you are fond of roses, Lisbeth."
"Yes," she murmured; "I'm very fond of roses."
"They would be in full bloom now," I suggested.
There was another pause, during which he blackbird performed three or four difficult arias with astonishing ease and precision.
"Aunt Agatha is fond of roses, too!" said Lisbeth at last very gravely. "Poor, dear Aunt, I wonder what she would say if she could see us now?"
"Such things are better left to the imagination," I answered.
"I ought to write and tell her," murmured Lisbeth.
"But you won't do that, or course?"
"No, I won't do that, if---"
"Well?"
"If you will give me--them."
"One," I demurred.
"Both!"
"On one condition, then--just once, Lisbeth?"
Her lips were very near, her lashes drooped, and for one delicious moment she hesitated. Then I felt a little tug at my coat pocket, and springing to her feet she was away with "them" clutched in her hand.
"Trickery!" I cried, and started in pursuit.
There is a path through the woods leading to the Shrubbery at Fane Court. Down this she fled, and her laughter came to me on the wind. I was close upon her when she reached the gate, and darting through, turned, flushed but triumphant.
"I've won!" she mocked, nodding her head at me.
"Who can cope with the duplicity of a woman?" I retorted. "But, Lisbeth, you will give me one--just one?"
"It would spoil the pair."
"Oh, very well," I sighed. "good-night, Lisbeth," and lifting my cap I turned away.
There came a ripple of laughter behind me, something struck me softly upon the cheek, and stopping, I picked up that which lay half unrolled at my feet, but when I looked round Lisbeth was gone.
"So presently I thrust "them" into my pocket and walked back slowly along the river path toward the hospitable shelter of the Three Jolly Anglers.



Friday, June 15, 2018

Elegance is Everything: A Pink Saturday Post

   I'm one known for elegance, and I love to add it everything! My handwriting, my clothing, hair and even my bedroom.
   I thought that it would be fun to show you a few of my elegant 'pink' decorations that I have scattered in my room.


   Starting with my cream curtains, I love adding these white and pink flower garlands, that I made, to add a little spring touch to them. My room is full of flowers, and you'll be seeing a few pics with flowers in them. :)


   Next comes this fun little section, on my bedside table. (I've had the table since I was a little girl). The basket was my flower girl basket for my cousin's wedding. I added bunches of white and pink flowers, from my graduation, inside.
   Next to it, is a garnished box, that held a sweet smelling soap. It's a music box as well, and plays Beethoven's 'Ode to Joy'.
   In front of the two, is a little box, from India, that a sweet friend gave to me, while I was in England two years ago.


   This flower fair box, I've had for as long as I can remember. It was kept in a room, that my grandmother had for me, in her house.


   This adorable little, jar frame was given to me, as a graduation gift, from my brother. I added more graduation flowers to it, and mounted it above my bedside table.


   Next, would be this ballerina (from a ballerina set my grandmother gave me), with a lovely pink rose on her tutu.


   This is one of two teacups, from a tea set that my mother gave me. It's a lovely set, with pink garnishes. In front of the cup, is another ballerina, this time dressed in a full pink tutu.


   This beautiful, fairy light switch cover, I have had for as long as I can remember. It has been in my room in every single house that we have moved into, again for as long as I can remember.


   This antique Victorian pillbox, I found in an antique shoppe, while me and Mom were in Washington last month. I've recently started putting pills and mints in this adorable little box, and it fits perfectly in my purse. It's a fun, little thing to carry.


   This shell is a part of a collection, that I have had for years. They came in a tea box, that my Mom would buy every payday. And, of course, I've found a few in an antique shoppe as well.


   This last thing is a few fun little decorations that I put on my windowsill. The mirror in the jar, I painted pink. I also added the garnishes on the jar. Also, the pink flowers on the packet is a vintage flower packet that I got for my graduation.
   Pink, as everyone can see, is one of my absolute favourite colors, and who knows.....you may see more!.
   And...of course, if you wish to see more pink, than please visit Beverly's Pink Saturday post, (http://howsweetthesound.typepad.com/my_weblog/2018/06/anything-goes-pink-saturday-june-16-2018.html)  and the many who have joined behind her.
   Happy Saturday!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

"My Lady Caprice" by Jeffery Farnol (1912) (Chapter 1, Part 1)


Hello, ladies.
 I've enjoyed posting the first chapter of "The Royal Line", from the American Women Magazine, and decided that I will also post a chapter from a copy of "My Lady Caprice" (dated 1912) as well.
 I hope that y'all will enjoy.



                                                        "My Lady Caprice"
                                           by Jeffery Farnol

                 
                                                                            I
                                                                 Treasure Trove

 I sat fishing. I had not caught anything of course--I rarely do, nor am I fond of fishing in the very smallest degree, but I fished assiduously all the same, because circumstances demanded it. 
 It had all come about through Lady Warburton, Lisbeth's maternal aunt. 
 Who Lisbeth is you will learn if you trouble to read these veracious narratives--suffice it for the present that she has been an orphan from her youth up, with no living relative save her married sister Julia and her Aunt (with a capital A)--the Lady Warburton aforesaid. 
  Lady Warburton is small and somewhat bony, with a sharp chin and a sharper nose, and invariable uses lorgnette; also, she is possessed of much worldly goods.
  Precisely a week ago Lady Warburton had requested me to call upon her--had regarded me with a curious exactitude through her lorgnette, and gently though firmly (Lady Warburton is always form) had suggested that Elizabeth, though a dear child, was young and inclined to be a little self-willed.
  That she (Lady Warburton) was of opinion that Elizabeth had mistaken the friendship which had existed between us so long for something stronger. That although she (Lady Warburton) quite appreciated the fact that one who wrote books, and occasionally a play, was not necessarily immoral--still I was, of course, a terrible Bohemian, and the air of Bohemia was not calculated to conduce to that degree of matrimonial harmony which she (Lady Warburton) as Elizabeth's Aunt, standing to her in place of a mother, would wish for. That, therefore, under these circumstances my attentions were--etc., etc.
  Here I would say in justice to myself that despite the torrent of her eloquence I had at first made some attempt at resistance; but who could hope to contend successfully against a woman possessed of such an indomitable nose and chin, and one, moreover, who could level a pair of lorgnette with such deadly precision? Still, had Lisbeth been beside me things might have been different even then; but she had succeeded in wringing from me a half promise that I would cease my attentions for the space of six months, "just to give dear Elizabeth time to learn her own heart in regard to the matter."
  This was last Monday. On the Wednesday following, as I wandered aimlessly along Piccadilly, at odds with Fortune, and myself, but especially Duchess of Chelsea.
  The Duchess is familiarly known as the "Conversational Brooke" from the fact that when once she begins she goes on forever. Hence, being my than frame of mind, it was with a feeling of rebellion that I obeyed the summons of her parasol and crossed over to the brougham.
"So, she's gone away?" was her greeting as I raised my hat--"Lisbeth," she nodded, "I happened to hear something about her, you know."
  It is strange, perhaps, but the Duchess generally does "happen to hear" something about everything.
"And you actually allowed yourself to be bullied into making that promise--Dick! Dick! I'm ashamed of you."
"How was I to help myself?" I began. "You see--"
"Poor boy!" said the Duchess, patting me affectionately with the handle of her parasol, "it wasn't to be expected of course. You see, I know her---many, many years ago I was at school with Agatha Warburton."
"But she probably didn't use lorgnette then, and---"
"Her nose was just as sharp though---'peaky', I used to call is," nodded the Duchess. "And she has actually sent Lisbeth away--dear child--and such a horrid, quiet little place, too, where she'll have nobody to talk to but that young Selwyn---"
"I beg pardon, Duchess, but---"
"Horace Slewyn, of Selwyn Park--cousin to Lord Selwyn, of Brankesmere. Agatha had been scheming for it a long time, under the rose, you know. Of course, it would be a good match, in a way--wealthy, and all that,--but I must say he bores me horribly--so very serious and precise!"
"Really!" I exclaimed, "do you mean to say--"
"I expect she will have them married before they know it--Agatha's dreadfully determined. Her character lies in her nose and chin."
"But Lisbeth is not a child--she has a will of her own, and---"
"True," nodded the Duchess, "but it it a match for Agatha's chin? And then, too, it is rather more than possible that you are become the object of her bitterest scorn by now."
"But, my dear Duchess---"
"Oh, Agatha is a born diplomat. Of course she has written before this, and without actually saying it has managed to convey the fact that you are a monster of perfidy; and Lisbeth, poor child, is probably crying her eyes out, or imagining she hates you, is ready to accept the first proposal she receives out of pure pique."
"Great heavens!" I exclaimed, "what on earth can I do?"
"You might go fishing," the Duchess suggested thoughtfully.
"Fishing!" I repeated, "--er, to be sure, but---"
"Riverdale is a very pretty place they tell me," pursued the Duchess in the same thoughtful tone; "there is a house there, a fine old place called Fane Court. It stands facing the river, and adjoins Selwyn Park, I believe."
"Duchess," I exclaimed, as I jotted down the address upon my cuff, "I owe you a debt of gratitude that I can never---"
"Tut, tut!"said her Grace.
"I think I'll start to-day, and---"
"You really couldn't do better," nodded the Duchess.
                                                        **************************
 And so it befell that upon this August afternoon I sat in the shade of the alders fishing, with the smoke of my pipe floating up into the sunshine.
 By adroit questioning I had elicited from mine host of the Three Jolly Anglers the precise whereabouts of Fane Court, the abode of Lisbeth's sister, and guided by his directions, had chosen this sequestered spot, where by simply turning my head I could catch a glimpse of its tall chimneys above the swaying green of treetops.
  It is a fair thing upon a hot summer's afternoon within some shady bower to lie  upon one's back and stare up through a network of branches into the limitless blue beyond, while the air is full of the stir of leaves, and the murmur of water among the reeds. Or propped on lazy elbow, to watch perspiring wretches, short of breath and purple of visage, urge boats up stream or down, each deluding himself into the belief that he is enjoying it. Life under such conditions may seem very fair, as I say; yet I was not happy. The words of the Duchess seemed everywhere about me.
"You are become the object of her bitterest scorn by now," sobbed the wind.
"You are become," etc., etc., moaned the river. It was therefore with no little trepidation that I looked forward to my meeting with Lisbeth.
  It was at this moment that the bushes parted and a boy appeared. He was a somewhat diminutive boy, clad in a velvet suit with a lace collar, both of which were plentifully bespattered with mud. He carried his shoes and stockings beneath one arm, and in the other hand swung a hazel branch. He stood with his little brown legs well apart, regarding me with a critical eye; but when at length he spoke his attitude was decidedly friendly.
"Hallo, man!"
"Hallo," I returned; "and whom may you be?"
"Well," he answered gravely, "my real name is Reginald Augustus, but the call me 'The Imp."
"I can well believe it," I said, eyeing his muddy person.
"If you please, what is an imp?"
"An imp," I explained, "is a sort of an--angel."
"But," he demurred, after a moment's thought, "I haven't got any wings an' things--or a trumpet."
"Your kind never do have wings, or trumpets."
"Oh, I see," he said; and sitting down began to wipe the mud from his legs with his stockings.
"rather muddy, aren't you?" I hinted. the boy cast a furtive glance at his draggled person.
"'Fraid I'm a teeny bit wet, too," he said hesitatingly. "You see, I've been playing at 'Romans,' an' I had to wade, you know, 'cause I was the standard-bearer who jumped into the sea waving his sword an' crying, 'Follow me!' You remember him, don't you?--he's in the history book."
"To be sure," I nodded; "a truly heroic character. But, if you were the Romans, where were the ancient Britons?"
"Oh, they were the reeds, you know; you ought to have seen me slay them. It was fine; they went down like--like----"
"Corn before the sickle," I suggested.
"Yes, just!" he cried; "the battle raged for hours."
"You must be rather tired."
"'Course not," he answered, with an indignant look. "I'm not a girl--an' I'm nearly nine, too."
"I gather from your tone that you are not partial to the sex--you don't like girls, eh, Imp?"
"Should think not," he returned; "silly things, girls are. There's Dorothy, you know; we were laying at executions the other day--she was Mary Queen of Scots an' I was the headsman. I made a lovely axe with wood and silver paper, you know; an' when I cut her head off she cried awfully, an' I only gave her the weeniest tap--an' they sent me to bed at six o'clock for it. I believe she cried on purpose--awfully caddish, wasn't it?"
"My dear Imp," said I, "the older you grow, the more the depravity of the sex will become apparent to you."





New Antiques!!!!

  Since a little after my birthday, I have slowly transformed my bedroom into a more vintage/elegant/Edwardian/antique bedroom, with authentic antiques, and my favourite color combination....powder pink, white/off-white and gold.
  And for my decorations.....antiques. 
  I decided to show off my newest ones, and finally....my first antique book collection. (I only know a few of the antiques original time eras, but not all of them...sadly.)
  I hope y'all will enjoy. 
  We're starting off with a 1920 Kodak camera.  I was so excited and happy to have this find, and it is the only camera that I have seen in every single antique shoppe that I have been to. And, the bonus is, it's from my favourite time era, the Edwardian era. 
  And amazingly enough, it's still in very good shape, and still has the original film inside! (Though, it is damaged after hundreds of people exposing it to the sunlight, myself, including.) I found this in one of my childhood favourite antique stores, the Red Door, in Mount Vernon, Washington. 


  Next, is this beautiful hat pin holder. I've been in need, for a while, for hat pins, and was recently given one from my mother (the pin in the holder). We made a quick stop at an antique store, in Mount Vernon as well, and my mother noticed this adorable little holder. 


  Next, comes this beautiful postcard, from a C.M., to a Mrs. H. Bishop, describing how the Mrs. Bishop will be "thoroughly pleased with your new hat". The back dates 1908.


  Next comes a graduation present from my family. A 1904 jewelry box. It's such a beautiful piece, and the necklace, beside the pearls, is also an antique necklace, at least from the 1890's. 


  This vintage hair brush and mirror set I've had for a few months. My mother gave it to me as a special gift, and I have used both thoroughly. The brush is much softer, and better for my tresses than any other brush that I have ever used, And the mirror, of course, is quite fun to use. 


  Next, comes a whole stack of books, which I will gladly give the dates of each of these copies. 


  This first stack are two McGuffey Readers. I grew up with the Second Eclectic Reader, with my favourite story in there titled "The Story-Teller". 
  The dates of these two (starting from the top) are: McGuffey's Eclectic Third Reader (1853!!!!) and McGuffey's Fifth Eclectic Reader (1879.)


  Next stack. Starting from top: 'My Lady Caprice' (1912) and 'The Way Beyond' (1933). Both are by Jeffery Farnol.


  From top to bottom: 'Kindred of the Dust' (1920) by Peter B. Kyne and 'Treasure Island' (a personal favourite) (1905) by Robert Louis Stevenson.


  Top to bottom, once more: 'Monsieur Beaucaire' (1902) by Booth Tarkington and 'Christmas Stories' (unknown) by Charles Dickens. 


  Last, but not least, my antique, original edition of The American Woman Newspaper, dated December 1911. 
  I have been writing up a blog post, of 'The Royal Line' story from this newspaper. You can read the first chapter here: https://eleganthomemaking.blogspot.com/search/label/TheAmericanWomanMagazine
  Also, I am working on the first chapter of 'My Lady Caprice', and that post will be up very soon. 
  Happy Summer! 

Thursday, April 12, 2018

The American Woman: A 1911 Women's Magazine

  I went vintage shopping with my mother today, after a disappointment of not passing my permit test, and I found this amazing package.
  Inside, folded every so gently, was a women's magazine, dated December 1911!
  As many of you know, I have recently been diving deep into the era in which King Edward VII reigned, known as the Edwardian Era. And this find is the second authentic item that I now own for my Edwardian collection.
  So, I thought that it would be fun, to type up an article from this magazine, for each week, for all of you ladies to enjoy.

The Royal Line
By Grace MacGowan Cooke
Author of "Return" "The Flight of Robert Sevier," etc.


  Chapter I
    A Queen

  The long room was nobly proportioned, as magnificently adorned as any you would find at St. James or Versailles. Indeed, architects and artists from the countries of both these palaces had contributed to its beauty. Through the wide windows the air came with a scent of tree-blossoms on its wings; for it was a delicious spring morning, spring in the mountains. Men and women lounging about the walls of the room, bored, expectant, clad in the latest folly from Paris, began to glance uneasily at the great door through which relief would come. They broke into little groups at one window or another, and indulged in low-toned conversations.
"If it is a trying thing to be mistress of the robes," murmured a fat, elderly man, with painfully small patent-leather boots to a woman's face like a horse, but the most beautiful gown in the room, "how much harder is it to be queen herself?" 
"Is that a riddle?" asked Madam Bovard, rasply (?). "Because if it is (?), I know  the-----never." (?)
"(If it is a?) riddle, by all (means), then--it is to me," returned the chamberlain, suavely.
" And the answer is," supplied she of the gown, shrugging a perfectly fitted shoulder, "that when it is spring in Waldavia and one is young, it is no trouble whatsoever to be queen. We can always pretend we are a shepherdess, you know, and go strolling with--with whom we choose--while the audience cools its heels and waits."
  Herr Scharff raised his brows, pursed his lips and played with the ribbon of his eyeglass.
"You will see," the mistress of the robes persisted, "Look. Listen."
  The great valves in the archway at the farther end of the room swung apart. Everybody came to his feet.
  But instead of revealing the figure of Elfrida, maiden queen of Waldavia, the opening showed a slender woman in black, a tall functionary behind her.
  Great, sombre eyes, with the passion and pathos of vassalage, looked out at the world from under a brow whose delicate modeling should have been madonna-like, yet whose lines somehow carried out a hint of jealous twisting in the overslender contours of the lower face. A touching aspect to the thoughtful, yet a countenance of great, if hidden, power.
"Her Majesty begs your indulgence this morning," said the newcomer in a soft voice, "The queen is indisposed for audience. The north garden and the wood are reserved exclusively for royal use."
  She bowed humbly, this woman born a slave, bought in the markets of Constantinople. Countess Lenkoran they had made of the Greek child Kassandra. She had no high official statues, but her position about the person of the queen more than one in Waldavia envied.
  The doors closed. The mistress of the robes turned with sparkling eyes to her companion.
"What did I tell you? We are not to intrude on the north garden because--well, Adam and Eve met in a garden, by the way."
"And there was a serpent, if I remember rightly. Let me lead you down."
  The two joined the stream that was hurrying from the room, released for the day, each now intent upon his or her own pleasure.  

Monday, February 19, 2018

Practically Perfect in Every Way

  So, I am pretty certain that many who know me, deep down inside, ever wonder why I dress as if I was a living Gibson Girl.....right?
  It is perfectly fine if any of you answer with yes. I sometimes wonder, myself, why I do this? 
  I would like to answer those questions....even for me. 
  For as long as I can remember, I started out as a very girly girl. I loved barbies, dressing up, and ballet. Two of those ended up becoming a dream come true for this little girl, (ballet and dressing up)
  About the time I started sports (being soccer, basketball, swimming lessons and softball) my looks started to change from girly, to more sporty. I remember not enjoying wearing dresses at certain ages. I never wanted my hair curled, and would hardly brush it either. It got to the point where I had to have my long hair chopped off, and taught to brush my hair. 
   I then slowly saw myself going back to a more girly girl.


  I loved having fancy handmade dresses, made by my wonderful mother, and many of them were for dances and piano recitals. (Yes, I took piano at the age of eight, and now am at ten years of playing.)
  About twelve years old, I was introduced to Lord of the Rings. At that moment, and I am being completely honest, I did not enjoy being a female. I made myself believe that men were better than women, and had much more to do, while women stayed home and did all of the boring work. I even remember telling my Mom that being a housewife was boring, and that I wanted a job, and to go to college. I wanted to be a smart, successful, educated person, to never be tied down to housework. (But, of course, all of that has changed. I am more than excited to become a housewife once I am married.) 
   I imagined myself as all the male characters from my favourite shows, and would try to dress as close to them as possible. 
   This went on for a few years, but then about a year and a half ago, I left the idea of trying to be cool, and accepted myself as a woman. 
    Now, a new hard adventure began.
   This past summer...things got a little crazy.  I wasn't aware that my womanly figure was quickly growing in. I thought that I was eating too much, and needed to exercise. to get fit and thin. What I didn't understand, was, no matter how hard I try, I will never be stick thin. I found out, that my body type was curvy. I then became very self conscious about myself. I started going through the awkward stage, that I wish that I had as a younger girl. 
    I tried desperately to find a sense of fashion that would fit my body type. My jeans became to tight, many of my once slender shirts that fit a more slender body, became tight in the wrong places. 
    I tried covering my acne face with makeup (which obviously makes it worse). 
    I believe that you could just say, that I tried to look like a gorgeous model. And this has been going on for the past few months. 
    All of the famous women that I tried to dress like, were very tall, very slender, and very thin. I, in every way, wasn't and will not, fit that category. 


   I never really felt beautiful in my own body....until recently.
   
  
   I am a very curvy girl, (as I said before) and through all these hard trials of fashion, I have finally found the one fashion type that fits me perfectly. What is known as the Gibson Girl. 
   A Gibson Girl was known to be very tall (I sadly do not fit that, though), and to have a very small waist. And the only way to achieve the body type of a Gibson Girl, you either have the aid of a corset (which, will soon be in my closet. I am very excited), or to have the borne body type. 
   I, without knowing it, was borne with the Gibson Girl look. It just hit my very quickly, when I least expected it. 
   I studied hundreds of photos of Edwardian women, and the art style of the Gibson Girl. I fell in love with the fashion, because it was finally something that I could wear, that would fit my body type. 
   Now, with all that said, here is the other reason why I dress this way. 


  
   For me, personally, I cannot be happy, or even beautiful dressed in a T-shirt and jeans, (though I am not saying that no one looks beautiful that way. I, deep down inside, feel that I cannot pull that off happily). It feels like a mask to me. As if I am hiding who I truly am. 
   Yes, I do get lazy and end up wearing jeans, but I am finding that that is slowly fading away. 
   I even felt that my costumes, for the longest time, were a mask, but it was because I didn't know myself. I tried to be so many different characters, because I was afraid to be myself. And I was very unhappy about the way I looked. 
   But, as for instance, when I put on this yellow dress for prom last week, I felt like me. I only wore a minimal amount of makeup. When I looked in the mirror, I saw me. 
   In the past, I hated looking at myself in the mirror, because I thought that I was ugly, or weird and out of place. 
   I am out of place, but in the most wonderful way. I was and am beautiful. I didn't cover myself up that night. I walked and talked as me, dress, hair and all. 
   I try to go back and dress like the world says that I should, and I am even wearing a pair of pants now, as I type this. But, deep down inside, I wish that I had an Edwardian day dress on now, with my hair styled the Gibson Girl way, and a delicate pair of heels on my feet. 
   

    People will still ask me why I dress like this, or why I'm dress like this in my Senior pictures. They will try to convince me that there is no reason for it. 
    As the song goes, 
"When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I'm gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I'm meant to be, this is me
Look out 'cause here I come
And I'm marching on to the beat I drum
I'm not scared to be seen, I
 make no apologies, this is me" 

 The Greatest Showman

      I am me, and there is no other way that I would rather be. 
    And with that, I'd like to conclude to all of you who feel the same way. Don't let people brake you down, and tell you who you should be. You be who you want to be, as long as it lines up with God's word. Believe in yourself, and let your dreams fly as far as you want them to go. 




   

"My Lady Caprice" By Jeffery Farnol 1912

II The Sheriff of Nottingham (Part 1 of the chapter)  To sit beside a river on a golden afternoon listening to its whispered mel...