Archive for June, 2021

Gray Lace, Part Nine

Egad! Trevor is smitten and not with his wealthy fiance.

Chapter Two gives Catherine a chance to talk to you, to describe her situation, get a word in, so to speak. She hides in the swamp as a deaf mute kitchen maid in a hunting resort found in the Carolinas of 1908.

Page 21:

The dripping sweat tickled the tender skin between her breasts, but her hands were too busy to rub the sensation away. They were wrapped in worn towels to protect her skin from the heavy scorching metal handles. Catherine heaved His Meanness, as she had named the Garret’s heaviest pot, from the swinging handled spit, pushing it away from the heat of the open wood burning stoves.

“Watch the flames, honey,” Joann Garret took the other side of His Meanness and together they lifted it onto the long wooden table. An early morning rain tapped against the canvas roof above them. “Fetch the floor and salt. We’ve got to hurry. Those gents are leaving early this morning. Ross said they wanted fresh bread at their picnic.”

“Day-old isn’t good enough?” Catherine grunted her redundant question, but not loud enough to be heard above the busyness of the part-time kitchen help scurrying around her.

“Hush, if you want to keep that secret of yours,” admonished Joann. “I love you, child, but you’ve too many burdens. Keeping yourself bottled up just isn’t right for your constitution.”

Catherine leaned over the table and passed the floor and measuring cup. “Constitution? Yesterday you were worried about my soul,” she laughingly whispered.

Joann waved away the offered cups. “Measuring cup? Girl, I’ve no need of that!” She quickly and efficiently dumped in the copious amounts of floor into His Meanness and dashed in the salt. Floor and salt sprinkled on her brown skin like rare Carolina snowflakes. “Now,” as she began to stir, “your constitution is the way your body feels in the morning and your soul is how you feel when you say your evening prayers.”

Enough! more soon, hopefully

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Gray Lace, Part Eight

Egad!

Warned not to use the gun handed to him by his future brother-in-law, Trevor slowly returned it to the table in the elitist hunting resort, deep in southeastern Carolina swamps of 1908.

Page 18

“What’s wrong? Too heavy? Come on, Coffman, show us your Royal Oxford muscles.” Edgar’s laugh grated his nerve endings.

“Sir, may I try yours?” A younger hunter grabbed it from the table. “Do you mind?” Before he could lift it to his shoulder, it went off and rammed into his stomach. The impact threw him to the ground in pain.

“Good God!”

Friends of the fallen man gathered and gently helped him to his feet. One turned on Edgar and Trevor. “What’s going on, you two? Why’d it jam? Can’t load a gun properly?”

Trevor kept his peace while Edgar made the fool, “I don’t know who loaded it. It was probably one of the stewards. Back off!” With his legs stiff and his elbows locked, he rapidly retreated and left Trevor with the anger. He asked the injured man if he could help him in any way, but he just smiled weakly while his disgruntled friends walked him back to the lodge.

The swamp air felt heavy and stifling. He needed to get away and breathe. He left the small practice range and started down the dirt road that hugged the lake’s shore. The woods were thick with early fall foliage, but there were a few cleared lots and fewer houses. Most of these were small cottages and didn’t appear able to stand up against a good wind, but surprisingly, there was a three-story home facing an incredible lake view. Trevor surmised it was a summer cottage for a rather wealthy family because no one was around, although it certainly wasn’t abandoned.

“It’s called Gray Lace Cottage.”

He turned toward the sound and the beauty who was supposedly mute. he felt his face maneuver into a wide grin. “Thank you and good morning. It seems we’re even.”

“Even?” She slowly walked forward and titled her head in a question, then a soothing grin appeared. “Oh, of course, last night. You’re right.” She faced the road as if to continue the walk with him. “Thank you for that. Thank you very much.” She stopped and faced him again. “Would you have? Well, you know.”

“Taken you?” He had bent down to playfully whisper, but her lovely height had her fitting perfectly. He found he was close to an adorable ear and he surprised himself with his own blush. He never blushed. He straightened and added, “No, I would not…unless you had invited me.”

She had turned her head to laugh, but he caught the pretty vision in time.

“CMR?” he asked.

“Catherine Marie Randolph, but please remember I’m mute, Lord Trevor Coffman, Earl of Warrenwood.”

“How did you discover my name and title?”

“People often say a great deal more around the deaf then they normally might. Listen, I need to get back to the kitchens.” She put her hand on his arm and pleaded, “Please be careful. I saw that friend of yours jam a mud doper in the barrel.” She quickly removed her hand, as if she suddenly realized she had committed a social sin and turned to walk away.

“Wait,” he commanded, but it sounded like a beg. “Um,” gesturing his hand toward the large house, “Why Gray Lace Cottage? Is that the family name?”

“I’m not sure. I like to think they named it after the Spanish moss.”

He did not want her to go. “Meet me here, later, please.”

“I can’t,” she clutched her long skirt in two tight fists. She bit her lower lip, “Tomorrow’s sunset.” She ran around the curve in the road and disappeared.

Enough! This is the end of Chapter One. (hopefully more soon)

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Gray Lace, Part Seven

Egad!

page 17 … Trevor tries to sort his feelings about his new world…a southeast Carolina swamp in a 1908 elitist hunting camp, only to find confusing possibilities.

Edgar waved Trevor over, “Sit here and let me explain. The hunt starts soon, but Mercer usually begins with a target practice. You know, just to get the kinks out and to let us pick out the weapons we want to borrow. Some brought their own, but I’ve always liked Mercer’s supply. By the way, how’d it go last night? I couldn’t help but hear your pleasure.” He gruffly laughed with his mouth open, showing off his breakfast.

“Have you left your manners in Boston?”

The silence told him all he needed to know. Edgar Cranfield could hand out the insults, but not take them. Trevor watched him turn red, slam down his table linen like a dueling signal from the past century, and storm off toward the lodge.

He should be worried, but wasn’t. He should be concerned about the possible loss of Cranfield money, but instead he felt more peaceful than he had in weeks. After a deep breath and another peach bite, he thought his estate problems might work themselves out, somehow.

Then again, maybe he’ll lose it all and be destitute. Yet, that would be stupid and selfish. He had obligations and Eloise Cranfield was pretty, a bit too silly, but not half bad. He could tolerate her in the usual British fashion with little or no contact, but no, that’s not what he wanted.

First, he needed his siblings to be secure and safe, but that’s not what his father’s will guaranteed.

Trevor pushed himself from the table and headed to the target range. He heard the firing and waited for the excitement to surface. Those feelings did not appear like in his hunting days of his youth. Maybe it was this swampy environment . It wasn’t Kent, or the moors, or even the marshes of Norfolk. This wasn’t England.

“Over here, old boy!” Cranfield called.

Well, Edgar had cheered up.

Trevor walked to the shared shooting station and accepted the shotgun and ammunition. An unusual call of a wild bird caused him to look heavenward. He watched the graceful flight of a blue-gray bird sail over the lake. As his attention headed back to earth, he landed into those swampy-green eyes he had enjoyed yesterday at the train station, now partly hidden behind a tent. They were still full of the fear he’d responded to last night, but this time she had quickly nodded her head down toward his weapon. Then she clearly shook her head, “No!”

Enough! for a short while

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