Didn't I say something about Cecily? Oh. Right. Little background: Victorians loved to tell ghost stories on Christmas. Just sayin'. Previous parts are in my memories, as I am too schnockered to work out the combo of cut-paste and search.
December the Twentieth, or as I now refer to it, my Seventh Day of Utter Torment
Haven't I always gone to church? Do I not always give to the many that are less fortunate that I? When Beatrice continues to select such hideous colours for her complexion, do I not always lead her to a more suitable choice? It simply wouldn't do for me to be seen with such a pasty bowl of whey. What great ill have I done to warrant such a run of bad tidings? Upholding my family's honour by not accepting the hand of an ill-fitted and poor suitor? And this is the thanks I get.
The butcher sent his boy to gather all of the "flock" as Father referred to them (really, three bowls-ful? Tsk, tsk, Father. What did happen at that house?) and a sense of peace and calm more fitting to the season befell our home. Mother and I stayed up late into the night decorating the tree, preparing the menu for the Christmas dinner, and discussing my prospects amongst the available suitors.
This morning, I woke to my mother crying. Father raised his voice to her and told her to "accept, accept! Dear God, Woman, take the bloody gift!" While they are attractive as they swim about on the Thames, swans are not so lovely when perched on your credenza. They are like goats with wings. Seven! They "mate for life" as Father muttered to me, re-filling his glass with what smells suspiciously like sherry, and less like Wassail. Whenever the stable boys tried to grab one, another would fly at their faces, honking and kicking until I feared we would have to shoot them and damn the windows. Albert had the idea of throwing blankets over them and gathering them up.
The card came back from the butcher that he was "filled with glee" at our current run of events. Whatever could that mean? Sherry is quite good when mixed with a bit of ground clove. Adding cider is quite useless at this point.
My Eighth Day in Hell
The birds have stopped coming! Do not take my exclamation as joy however, more shock and horror at the new crime commited to my person. When the door was flung open today, a bloody COW came in! It was quickly followed by eight young ladies who stunk of dung, carrying stools and pails. It should not come as a shock that they sat themselves down in our receiving room and proceeded to extract milk from said beast.
Miss Maggie locked herself in her room and hasn't come out but to yell at us in her native Gaelic. It made me miss the sound of the birds.
Heaven forgive me, but I raised my voice to Father. I railed at him, "how can you let this continue? I shall be laughed out of all society! My invitations for the remaining balls of the season have been requested returned! Father, Father PLEASE make him stop. Have him arrested! Have him thrown out of town! Something. Please, Father. If you don't... I shall march down there myself and... slap his face!"
At this he jumped up and grabbed me. He had a most unsettled look in his eye and screamed at me "to leave it alone." He rocked and ran his hand through his hair then looked at me with a peculiar glint in his eye. I was most frightened. "Yes. Perhaps I should let her go and speak to them..." I knew in my very marrow that I would do no such thing, and truth be told, I was very frightened of Father. Mother has locked herself in her sewing room, and hasn't come out all day.
The butcher is beside himself. If I sit down to steak for dinner, I think I shall be sick.