We all know I had little time to write and what time I might have had, I spent otherwise. I did, however, manage to write a bit this Spring, and I have every intention of disciplining myself so that I shan't have to look at you with hands spread, saying: "I got nothin' for ya, man." These, then, are the best of the Spring:
They squeezed through the wrought iron rails—to use the gate was a sign of weakness—and paused on the gravel walk.
Her voice had in it the offended dignity of a cat who has fallen off a garden wall.
“You, my little blighted toadstool, are in Crissendumm.”
...on the fourth day the ground that had been flat began to slope upward and the going got a bit more beaten-trackish with little footpaths scarring the face of the hillsides between banks of tangled twigs that would have been elderflower in the summertime.
The valley below was definitely Populated. Huge houses--each looking as if it could be a castle with a little coaxing--hung back toward the valley-rim, sending instead a long, straight drive to meet the coming world. There were orchards--bare now, but promising--and shorn wheat fields, and potatoes turned up in harrows from a late crop. Here and there a horse or two grazed alongside congregated bits of dirty white that proved to be sheep upon careful inspection.
“We’ll take lunch at Darrow-Dwelling,” the Admiral said. “Ahhhh, T-O-A-S-T A-N-D T-E-A--that’s th’way to spell Darrow-Dwelling, your majesty.” He tugged the brim of his weather-rusted hat in Jamsie’s direction.
“Thruppence t’pass,” the gatekeeper said. He was a round man with a nose like a conch-shell, and wore a cap with ‘Porter’ printed on it. Jamsie smiled and waved at him as the Admiral dug in one of his vest pockets for coins.
The Admiral looked up a moment later with a sorrowful expression. “Th’Fleet stole it again.”
“Stole what?” Richmond asked.
“My money. They like shiny things--anything shiny at all. And they’re always pinching my coins. I can’t pay. I’m afraid...” he sniffed and cast a sad eye over the hedge. “I’m afraid there will be no Darrow-Dwelling for us. No T-O-A-S-T A-N-D T-E-A. And no castle for you, either,” he said generously, as if to give them a part in his complete misery.
"..in my realm--in England--we have many places this nice.” She hoped it wasn’t a fib--she’d never been twenty miles past London.
“If Auguste Blenheim the Pig had not stolen my birthright, Dear Lord, would I be half as patient as I am?” I gestured to the window--open because there was neither glass nor shutter to close out the dripping weather. “And would my constitution be half as hearty as it is, if Thou had not given me such chance to test its limits? No, don’t answer that, My Lord, for I haven’t the temper this morning to hear the answer.”
-Lady Alis (the temporary moniker of a short story)
The first thing to do was try to find Father’s certificate of death, naturally.”
“But thur weren’t any!” Ellen protested.
“Precisely.” I scooped the tiny, curled tea leaves into the silver bobber and dropped it into the teapot. “There was never one filed. Not a single Bickersnath Carlisle in the whole Kingdom of Ashby has ever died, according to the Records.”
“They moost be a healthy race, them Bickersnaths,” Ellen observed. The excellent woman stirred the porridge and raked a cone of sugar with the tines of a fork overtop.
“Mmm. That, or everyone but my alleged ‘father’ had a gentler christening.”