Evelny’s Story

We left off after Rose had fainted and while she was recovering, Evelyn had sat under a tree and had a strange conversation with George Cavendish, who was aloof and quite indifferent to Evelyn.

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“Well, I felt dizzy at first, then stars began to play before my eyes, then everything went black and the next thing I know, I am outside being fanned by a dozen hysterical ladies.” Rose drawled, as she and Evelyn sat in the Drawing Room sipping iced water. Extra lemon had been added to Rose’s glass in an attempt to revive her spirit.

“At least we were excused from the speech.” Evelyn said, her mind occupied and Rose made a noise in agreement.

The house was quiet, with everyone back in the tent, and all of the servants either in the gardens preparing the sandwiches and cakes, or in the kitchen.

“Urgh, I am bored now. I feel better again. Eve, darling, why don’t we take a walk to the fountains. If we feel really wicked we can shed our stockings and paddle in them.” Rose suggested, giggling behind her hand.

“All right then. Let me fetch my book and I’ll be right back.”

For all Rose’s plans, it was Evelyn who had to coax her friend to dip her foot into the fountain, as she sat on the rim of the basin and let her hand run through the water.

“Honestly, it’s wonderfully refreshing once you’re in.” Evelyn said persuasively, and then flicked water at Rose, who squealed and called her a beast. Undeterred, Evelyn once more sprayed her giggling companion with water, and got splashed in return.

“You had it coming, you horrible thing. This is my best frock.” Rose laughed, but hopped into the fountain and hitched her skirt higher, so it was halfway up her thighs. Evelyn tried to suppress her laugh as she cupped a handful of water and threw it at Rose, who shrieked loudly.

“Shush! Be quiet Rose, or someone will come and look what all this noise is about. You’re supposed to be a resting invalid.” Evelyn said.

Rose pressed her hand to her forehead and dramatically sighed.

“But I am an invalid, Eve. Look, see how weak I am from the heat.” She moaned cheekily, and kicked a good amount of water onto Evelyn, who gasped as her dress was soaked.

“Oops!” Rose said without a hint of remorse, and soon both girls were splashing in the water, which was calf-deep, with their dresses pulled up to their thighs and revealing more skin than was proper.

“Ahem.”

A man clearing his voice stopped both girls dead in their tracks. They exchanged a horrified glance, and slowly turned, with Rose forgetting to drop her skirt fully.

George Cavendish stood, leaning nonchalantly again the hedge with his arms crossed and his face full of amusement.

“I decided to see what was at the centre of the garden, and two voices led me to a remarkable scene.” He said.

Evelyn jumped out of the basin and rushed to gather up her shawl to wrap it around her in an attempt to regain some of her modesty. George was quicker and snatched the length of silk from the bench next to him and held it high out of Evelyn’s reach. Rose, who had been fixated in the fountain like a human statue, was prompted to spring to life and ran to her friend’s help.

“How dare you? Give it back immediately!” Rose said haughtily, and stamped one of her feet, provoking a good deal of laughter from George, who was walking backwards around the fountain, brandishing the shawl like a trophy above his head.

Evelyn felt Rose’s hand grip her arm tightly, to prevent her from following him.

“Don’t. Let’s at least preserve some of our dignity around a stranger.” She muttered fiercely.

“Preserve some of your dignity?” George guffawed. “My dear, I saw you half soak each other, dancing in a fountain, with a goodly amount of prohibited flesh on display for me to gaze upon. I would say your dignity is very much in tatters.”

Both girls turned a shade of crimson red, but George continued.

“Besides, I am not a stranger. Miss Mayfair and I are already happily acquainted.”

Rose turned to Evelyn: “You know him?”

“Not willingly, that’s for sure.” Evelyn retorted, glaring at George, who had lowered her shawl now and looked smugly upon the pair of them.

“I don’t know who you think you are, Mr Cavendish, but you behave like no gentleman I have ever had the fortune to meet. Indeed, it was my greatest misfortune to ever lay eyes on you!” Evelyn snapped, and he smiled infuriatingly.

“I am safe in the knowledge that you are like no other ladies I have ever met. For one, they do not lay on a private show for me.”

Rose gasped. “What an insolent, rude creature you are! Come Evelyn, we’ll have no more to do with this sorry excuse for a man.”

Grabbing Evelyn’s arm once more, with a grip of iron, Rose marched off with Evelyn protesting behind her.

“But Rose, our shoes and stockings are still there. And my book. And he still has my shawl!”

Rose replied that they could not appear weak, and would not ask favours of that man and besides, the items would still be there later to collect.

Evelyn’s story

I know that this is long, long overdue, so I apologize. Here is some more of Evelyn’s story. We left off, just after Rose had fainted in a very hot tent during a speech.

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Evelyn was interrupted from her thoughts as, out of the corner of her right eye, she saw Rose slump forwards and fall off her chair, her eyes closed, yet she still managed to make the fall look graceful, landing on her back with her legs bent to her chest and one of her arms above her head and the other on her heart. Her hat had fallen off, revealing her dark brown hair coiffured in the latest style and her pearl necklace was tightly pressed against her throat.

“Oh my gosh! She’s fainted!”

“Quickly, get her outside!”

“Fan her, someone check her pulse.”

The ladies around Evelyn erupted into a babble of noise, hands fluttering and voices high pitched and hysterical. Evelyn quickly dropped to her knees and wrestled with the pearl necklace to try and make sure that Rose’s airway wasn’t blocked in any way. A crush of people were looking down onto Rose, until Lady Willousby’s low voice was heard and they parted, not unlike the Red Sea for Moses.

“Will someone carry her outside immediately and put her under a tree in the shade?”

It was not a question. Lord Willousby immediately scooped up his daughter as though she were no more than a doll and marched outside, barking orders to servants who ran around frantically, like chickens are often wont to do as well. A reclining garden chair was procured and Rose was gently laid upon a sea of cushions and blankets, with a swarm of chattering ladies still flapping fans in Rose’s direction. A glass of water was thrust towards Lady Willousby, who gingerly put the glass to her daughter’s lips and tried to coax her to drink.

In all the confusion, Evelyn was pushed out of the gaggle and ended up trying to see over the shoulders of the ladies who surrounded Rose. Most of the men were stood at the entrance of the tent, holding their champagne glasses and shifting from one foot to the other awkwardly, probably discussing the fickle and faint natures of the fairer sex. Resigned to waiting for Rose to regain her senses, Evelyn sat under a tree a short distance away, out of sight and hopefully out of mind. With any luck, she wouldn’t have to re-join the assembly to listen to the talks. If only she could slip away unnoticed with Rose to somewhere quiet…

“Hello there.”

A male voice startled Evelyn and she inwardly cursed herself for being caught unawares. She looked up and squinted against the sun, until the figure shifted to block the light. He was young; probably about twenty, with a kind face and unusually large hands. Scrambling to get to her feet, she expected him to offer her a hand to help, but he casually sat down next to her, his back against the rough bark of the tree.

“You’re not planning on fainting too, are you?” He asked mildly.

“As long as I don’t have to go back into the tent.” She replied, wishing he would go away.

“Fair enough.”

There was a moment of comfortable silence, which he was the first to break.

“I’m George.” He said, as though she should know who he was. His jacket was certainly expensive and he carried himself with the air of a gentleman, but Evelyn was certain she knew of no ‘George’ in her pitaa’s friends.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Master…?” She replied automatically, leaving the sentence unfinished as she was unsure as to how to name him.

“George Cavendish. My father is Lord Cavendish. He’s over there somewhere, complaining about the unreliable nature of the female sex, I’d imagine.”

Evelyn looked at him with curiosity, surprised at how closely his thoughts had matched hers. Upon closer inspection, she supposed he was closer to eighteen than twenty, although he had a boyish face which could make him appear younger, she supposed. His hazel eyes were fixed at a point in the distance, and he seemed uninterested as to who she was.

“I’m Evelyn Mayfair.” She offered, expecting him to apologize for his rudeness. He did not.

“Ah, so your father is hosting this event then.” He replied, still not looking at her and his inattentive indifference to irritated Evelyn. Unsure of what to say, she mutely nodded and turned her head away, trying to ignore him. In honesty, she was a bundle of nerves, having never been so close to a man without a chaperone. If someone saw her sitting with him… Her mind began to race and she made a move to get up and get away from this awkward situation.

“I, I suppose I ought to go and see how Rose is getting on.” She muttered.

“Oh, she’s the one who fainted, is she?” George said, still sitting, but he turned to look at her.

Nodding, Evelyn started to walk away, not feeling too rude at leaving without saying goodbye, for had he not been very impolite to her?

“I’m sure we shall meet again.” He called to her retreating figure, but Evelyn did not reply. The whole encounter had confused her greatly.

Guess the Famous Figure

Hi! I’m very excited for this post, because Anne has very kindly let me steal her wonderful idea of Guess Who? Basically, the idea is that I will write a paragraph or two from the point of view of a famous figure in history, and you have to comment who you think it is. 

So, without further ado, my first Guess Who!

I sit here, cold and alone, waiting for a messenger to tell me I am free to go. The hours pass, and no message comes. My hair is dishevelled; I see no reason I should tidy it. For whom would I make myself presentable? My gaoler? My mind wanders and I wish it would sleep, but I cannot sleep. What horrendous torture are they doing to my dear Cat at this moment? A cold breeze tickles my neck, but it is not windy outside. Perhaps it is her ghost. I think about her more than ever, now, when I too am the prisoner of a monarch, imprisoned for no plausible reason other than rumour. Is she with me now? Is that a silent footfall, or a figment of my imagination? I want her to be here, to calm me; to comfort me. More than ever, I need the quick thinking of my mother to guide me safely. But no mother will ever come, for she died here; am I to have the same fate? I scratch a message into the glass of the window with my ring: ‘Much suspected of me, nothing proved can be.’ I turn away from the window; then ravens circling the Tower Green install a fear of death in me which I cannot bear. 

So, who do you think the mystery figure is? Please share this with whoever you think would guess it! 

Sleeping Beauty, part 2.

We left off where Aurora had pricked her finger on a spindle and fallen into a deep sleep. She is alone in the tower, and her parents have no idea where she is. 

Eventually they find her, and talke her back to the palace.  

 

 

   The Woodland Fairy enchants the whole palace, so everyone in the palace falls into the same deep sleep for a hundred years. 

   She uses magic to make thorns and roses grow quickly, shrouding the palace from the world in a blanket of deep green foliage. 

Roses climb over everything, obsuring the palace from view

 
A hundred years later, Prince Florian is hunting through the forest when he and his friends encounter an old beggar woman, carrying sticks for her fire. He asks if she would like his cloak for warmth, or if he can help her carry her sticks. She tells him, in reward for his kindness, of an enchanted castle hidden deep within the forest, surrounded by a deep thicket of thorns. Inside the castle, the lady says, he will find his true love and his heart’s desire. This old lady is in fact the Woodland Fairy, but she doesn’t say so.   

The Woodland Fairy in diguise

  Prince Florian tells his friends that he must find his true love and sets off in his quest by himself. After fighting through thorns all through the night, he eventually find a large door and, pushing it open, finds himself in the courtyard of a palace. Everywhere there are people who look to be dead, but are actually sleeping. Everywhere is overrun with thorns and roses and ivy. He makes his way through the castle, until he enters a bedroom. 

There, lying surrounded by roses, with her golden hair as sting and perfect as it was at the start of her long slumber, is the Princess Aurora. He falls in love at first sight, and realising that the old woman must have known that he would find his true love here, he kisses her. 

  

She wakes, as only a true love’s kiss can awake her from her spell. Once she’s wakes, the whole palace is also roused.

  
 

Meanwhile, Skura’s powers are growing weaker and weaker, until she leaves her tower. A smoky-grey cat slinks out of the door to the tower, and Skura is never seen again. 

Of course, a magnificent wedding is in order – one which is so glorious it presides over any wedding ever. 

 

  
 

And naturally, they lived happily ever after. 

                                                                THE END

Sleeping Beauty

Todays post is a little unrelated to anything, but I thought it might make you smile. 

I have a storybook of Sleeping Beauty, but I have to say that the illustrations are INCREDIBLY beautiful. See for yourself, and comment your thoughts. 

 

Here the Queen wishes for a baby

  

Like every self respecting fairytale, we start with ‘Once upon a time’


Magic happens, and the wind hears the Queen’s plea, and tells her to return to the palace, for soon she will have a child. 

 

One of my favourite illustrations in this book

  

  
Of course, the Royal couple plan a christening, and invite twelve fairies, but forget to invite Skura, another fairy who is really rather evil.  

 

Skura arrives at the christening, uninvited and much to the King and Queens dismay. She brings her wolves, because every evil witch needs someone to carry her train. 

 

Skura curses the baby: on her 16th birthday she will prick her finger on a spindle and die!


 
 

The Woodland Fairy comes to the rescue!

   
The Princess Aurora grows up, and enjoys the normal Princess-ly pasttimes: riding , reading and, importantly, sewing. 
 

  
 
 

  
However, Aurora asks to take a walk outside after the party and, believing that they have burned every spinning wheel in the land, the King and Queen let her go. She is led to a dark, mysterious tower by a cat. 

  The old lady offers for Aurora to have a go at spinning…

 
And, just as prophesied, Aurora pricks her finger and falls to the ground in a deep sleep, which Skura (the old lady) believes is death. 

Here we will stop, simply because if I try to upload any more I think this post will freeze or disappear… 

Don’t worry, I will post more soon! 

Evelyn’s story

I am busy busy busy and exhausted with exams, so right now I can only post more of Evelyn’s story. Do comment and like! 

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     At precisely one o’clock, a gong was rung and the guests flocked towards the marquees like a herd of giraffes, making their way towards the plates piled high with sandwiches, pies, nibbles and cakes. Someone opened a champagne bottle with a pop, followed shortly by a cry of pain as a man was hit in the shoulder by the flying cork. An enormous laugh went up around the tent, with people around making jokes and quips at the man’s expense.  

“Man down!”

“What’s the prognosis, doctor? Will he live?”

“A fatal blow to the shoulder, I was told. A cork wound.” 

“Will we have to amputate?” 

“Ha ha! Oh Robert, do stop making jokes at poor Colonel Williams’ expense.”

“He should be used to dangerous flying objects, being in the army and all that!”

All rather shallow jokes, Evelyn though privately, but she smiled along and pretended to laugh into her hand whilst inwardly cringing at the bad taste of humour she was hearing. 

If this was the high and marvellous society Rose was always talking about, Evelyn really couldn’t see the appeal, but perhaps she was being narrow minded. After all, she was perfectly content leading the life she was living. 

       “So to finish, I fully intend to increase Britain’s trade with India in as many goods as possible whilst maintaining critical policies and friendly relationships from both countries. I know that it is in everyone’s best interests, Britain and India, to exchange goods and make the most of our country’s resources, and I know that every one of you assembled before me will strive to keep our fine industries going. Thank you.”

Evelyn clapped cordially along with every other person in the tent, and then when the clapping died down and her pitaa had stepped off the podium, did she pick up her fan and continue wafting it in front of her, in tandem with the rest of the ladies sitting nearby. The governor stood up and mopped his brow with a large handkerchief, cleared his throat and flattened out a sheet of paper upon which was written his speech. Evelyn could see that it was a long speech; small, neat writing taking up two sides of the paper. 

This had better be good, she thought to herself. 

“Have you seen how long that speech is?” Evelyn whispered to Rose. “I can’t be in here with so many people for much longer.” 

Rose pulled a face but never took her eyes off the governor, whose raspy voice made him sound ill. 

“I think I might faint.” Evelyn said, closing her eyes as a wave of light-headedness fell upon her. She felt dizzy and thought she was swaying in her chair, but when she opened her eyes she found that she was sitting as still as one of the stone statues outside. 

“Not if I do first.” Rose said, her voice wavering a little. 

Upon closer inspection, Evelyn could see that the governor really did look ill. His face was covered in a light sheen of perspiration and his skin was an unhealthy sallow colour. Evelyn’s heart jumped a little as she realised that what she saw before her was a man ill with malaria. Surely not though, for why would he be so silly as to attend an event like this when he was ill?? It made no sense, and maybe he was just hot, like the rest of them. 

     She was interrupted from her thoughts as, out of the corner of her right eye, she saw Rose slump forwards and fall off her chair, her eyes closed, yet she still managed to make the fall look graceful, landing on her back with her legs bent to her chest and one of her arms above her head and the other on her heart. Her hat had fallen off, revealing her dark brown hair coiffured in the latest style and her pearl necklace was tightly pressed against her throat. 

Evelyn’s story

I have finally decided on a name for this story, although it is by no means a title. So, here is some more of what I posted last time. As usual, comments greatly appreciated!      

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 Rose was indeed the epitome of charming. Her mother was a great believer of bringing up girls ‘properly and perfectly’ and at fifteen, Rose was as eloquent as any refined madam, and well versed in the etiquette of society. She had come into Evelyn’s life less as a ray of sunshine, and more as a gloomy winter’s day; Rose even at the age of six was a model daughter, and Evelyn was still having tantrums when her ayah sang the wrong lullaby to her at bedtime. Rose’s superior and far happier upbringing meant Evelyn was awfully jealous of the perfect princess who her pitaa insisted was ‘good for you’, and the girls’ relationship had gotten off to a stormy start, with Rose politely asking where the nearest bathroom was, and Evelyn sticking her tongue out at her and pointing in the direction of an open window. 

But the years had certainly mellowed Evelyn and she now appreciated Rose’s company fully, relishing every moment she spent with her only friend, even if their visits were becoming less and less now that Rose was moving into society more and more. 

     

Chapter 3

        

Whilst the thought of entering into society terrified Evelyn, Rose seemed to dote off it and as she stepped out of her family’s car with a gentle nod to the chauffeur, it seemed to Evelyn that she would never catch up with her accomplished companion, who had once been her playmate and was now more of her advisor. As the bell from the grandfather clock in the library struck a quarter past twelve, Evelyn was standing by the library window, waiting for the right moment to step into the late summer Indian heat. As the important guests filtered through the foyer and drawing room and into the neatly manicured gardens behind, Evelyn saw her pitaa talk to Rose and gesture towards the house, indicating that he had told Rose where she was. Being the last people to arrive, Lord Willousby, Lady Willousby and Evelyn’s pitaa went through the house to the gardens, leaving Rose trailing a few meters behind, looking serene in her dress of rose-pink, styled in the latest fashions from Europe. The silver beads on the hem of her dress winked conspiringly as Rose moved delicately away from her parents and towards the staircase, in search of Evelyn. 

Making her move with precision timing so she wouldn’t be seen by any adults, Evelyn got up from the chair by the window she had been sitting in and walked towards the door, book still in hand. 

“Rose, how lovely to see you!” She said, making her friend jump just as she was about to step on the first stair. 

“Why, Eve darling, you gave me quite a shock. I was just coming to find you; your father said that you were somewhere in the house, hiding, as he put it.” Rose’s tone of voice was somehow genteel and sophisticated whilst retaining the youthful air of her childhood years, an art which Evelyn had yet to master fully. 

“I didn’t see you arrive,” Evelyn said, lying sweetly through her teeth – she had been watching Rose’s every move since she had spotted their car making its entrance a few minutes earlier. 

“But my pitaa’s correct; I was hiding out in the library until you arrived. And here you are, looking as lovely as ever. Is that a new dress?” Evelyn said, trying to make small talk for as long as possible to prolong the minutes until she had to mingle with the guests. 

“Yes, low waistlines and flat chests are quite the fashion in Europe. Your dress is quite a few years behind, I’m afraid, but with a few moderations here,” Rose pointed to the hem of Evelyn’s purple dress, “And here, you’ll be up to date.” 

Rose looked Evelyn up and down and then grinned childishly and embraced her friend warmly. 

“You’ve grown.” Rose remarked, as they walked up the stairs to Evelyn’s bedroom. 

“No, Rose dear, the power of heels.” Evelyn said, lifting her leg to show rose her new shoes with an elevated heel. 

       They sat in Evelyn’s bedroom and talked for a while, and then, growing bored of sitting, Rose suggested a walk, avoiding guests if at all possible. 

Evelyn commented that it would most likely be impossible, what with the number of people here for the governor’s speech. 

“You would think that the King of England would be arriving, but no.” Evelyn frowned. 

“Last night all of the tables were set out on the front lawn. I wonder why pitaa moved them.” She mused, nibbling at the fingernail of her thumb. 

“Never mind that, we can go the back route behind the clipped hedges and that way no one will see us when we are at the fountains.” Rose said, taking her friend’s arm and linking it with her own pale one. 

“How on earth do you manage to stay so pale in India?” Evelyn asked incredulously. “I simply can’t stop myself from getting brown.” 

“Seek shade my dear. Whatever the weather, whatever the time of day. And always wear a shawl. Being pale is quite sought after in Europe, I’m told.” Rose said, gliding her hand smoothly down the banister.