20,601 words. And a new job starting December 1, 2009. How sweet is that?
Listened to Jeff Buckley tunes all day wondering what "intensely personal" meant in terms of the relationship between Buckley and the Cocteau Twins' Elizabeth Fraser. This is probably why I need a serious hobby. Although I posted it on Facebook, here is one of my favorite Buckley tunes:
All flowers in time bend towards the sun. I know you say that there's no one for you. But here is one. Here is one.
Here is an excerpt - for Lena who specifically asked me if she could read the draft after I finished it. Robin really does get into some serious hijincks. I think it stems from being entirely too good looking and not nearly intelligent enough to compensate
* * *
“You’ve had a near-miss, Robin,” Harcourt had offered, by way of encouragement. “Surely you cannot think to marry a woman more phantom than flesh?”
“But that is the thing of it. It was her very flesh that I recall best. Where could she have gone? Who could she be that an entire household cannot recall her name?”
“Perhaps she was overlooked,” Harcourt had suggested – noticing that St. Maur had little to offer owning to the mass of platitudes he had cultivated and used in the years following the commencement of Robin’s odyssey. “A maid hired from the village to service Roseward during the party? I have seen accounts of such happenings and there are many new faces about when the Lord is in house.”
“She was not a servant. Her very demeanor gave her away as a woman of noble birth.”
“Then perhaps she was too young for an account. A girl just out of the schoolroom would possibly make no serious mark at a gathering the size of Permancie’s annual house party if there were enough debutantes about.”
“Thomas and Mrs. Goss did mention that a …” Robin drew a hand to the bridge of his nose as if massaging out the information, “a Miss Edwardes had also been in attendance. She was described as being quite fair-haired, although quite plain to the eye and no more than sixteen.”
“What do they mean by quite plain?” St. Maur asked. “Blond hair alone would have gone a long way to making Miss Edwardes more passable than not. The Edwardes are associated with Breadon, are they not? I remember hearing from Jackson that Sir William had made his farewells before I could inquire personally as to his health. He was once a noted scholar of Aquinas. Before he inherited the Tor and its title.”
“If she’d not yet made her come-out, quite plain could have referred to her mode of dress. I know that the younger set are somewhat more relaxed in their dress, not yet sacrificing to the altar of fashion as their elders.”
“I don’t suppose Breadon even leaves Darlington these days?”
“No. I’ve heard tell he hasn’t left Devon nigh on twenty years or more. If he’s been to the Capitol, it hasn’t been since the War.”
“What about Edwardes? Isn’t that the surname for Dowglass?” Robin asked suddenly, as his mind caught on seemingly unrelated information.
“Edwardes with an “e,” yes. I would have to roust out my Debrett’s to tell you anything further about them. Although I think – and you cannot hold me accountable for this – they have some ties to British Jamaica.”
“That would account for the lack of account. If, for instance, the girl was currently ex patria.”
“I think you can stop throwing in Latin, Seymour. We’re not nearly drunk enough to be over-awed by your schoolboy retention.”
“Would you be more impressed with my Brandy retention?” St. Maur signaled for the Club’s man, who filled their drinks. “And your Debrett’s, too, if you can find it.”
“Dowglass,” Robin rolled the name on his tongue. “I’m not acquainted. Where is their seat?”
“I will need far more than a sifter of brandy to pull that knowledge whole cloth if I don’t even know the current Earl,” St. Maur complained.
“No, the County.”
“Somewhere in the North, I should think. Dowglass is almost Celtic, no?”
Robin peered through the waning throng at Brooks through the copper lens of his half-filled tumbler of brandy. “Maybe Scottish?”
“As good a guess as any, I suppose.”
Robin stood suddenly, depositing the tumbler on the table in front of Harcourt and with a crooked smile and a false salute, cut through the crowd with all the native grace he possessed. It was considerable. Harcourt and St. Maur, equally stunned by his abrupt turn about, watched him tack through the room – passing a table of younger members and move directly towards a man of middle years reading a newspaper. His victim – Ramsay, if St. Maur wasn’t mistaken – seemed to feel the approach of so intent a stalker, looking up from his newssheet just before Robin reached him.
“Ramsay.” Robin addressed the man at the same time as St. Maur announced the man to Harcourt across the room.
“Trebick. To what do I owe this unique honor?” Ramsay was piqued, folding up the paper and dropping it on his lap.
“I assume you are referring to the Earls of?”
“You are familiar with them?”
Ramsay extended a well-worn hand, making a see-sawing movement that was interpreted as only marginally. “I was familiar with the late Earl. I have not made the acquaintance of the latest of his line though we are of an age – although I do know he has interests in Jamaica.”
“So I’ve heard. Where is their seat?”
“Thornwhat.” Ramsay laughed at Robin’s puzzlement. “Annandale,” he clarified, “It is the County northwest of Cumberland. Is there any particular reason you saw fit to obtain this information?”
“I was recently made known of a connection between Breadon and Dowglass.”
“Ah,” Ramsay said, grasping Robin’s meaning. “Breadon being a connection to Permancie, of course. You would be speaking of the Edwardes, then. With an “e.” Ralph, the old Earl’s youngest, is quite high up in the Company. A very good fellow. I made his acquaintance – and his son, Charles’ – between sessions about, oh… three years ago now? Charles was just up for Oxford.”
“Actually, no. I remember he explicitly said he was in China. Are you alright, Trebick?” Ramsay asked, reacting to Robin’s sudden loss of color.
“Actually… yes,” Robin offered, not entirely convincingly. “You have been most helpful.”
“As you will,” Ramsay returned to his paper as Robin made his leave.
Returning to his table, both St. Maur and Harcourt were digging through the Debrett’s the waiter had brought over. “They’re a cadet line of Buccleuch and Queensbury. That’s quite impressive.”
“I would amend that to very cadet if they’re associated with the Company,” Harcourt added dryly. “Did you know that—“
“Never mind all that. Who’s up for schoolyard reminisces?”