Well I am still powering along with my new WIP “Hilda”. I haven’t quite managed the rate of a scene a day that I did in my first week. However, I am up to 19 scenes in 21 days and reading them back I suspect most of them will end up in the final book.
Still that is a long way off yet
So in this week’s scene Hilda is off to the first day of what she believes will be her last year at school.
Little Wilfred held Hilda’s left hand very tightly as the three of them walked along the road toward the school. Dolly walked on Wilf’s other side holding his other hand. He was putting on a brave face being as his Dad said he was ‘A man of the family,’ but as Hilda knew he was scared at the prospect of his first day of school. Dolly hadn’t helped him with tales of Mr Marsh the Master beating the boys with a cane. Dolly had sulked for a bit when Hilda told her ‘Leave him be Dorothy! Don’t worry Wilf, Mr Marsh only beats naughty boys.’
No one called Dolly “Dorothy” except when she was in trouble and she didn’t like it.
Six years before Hilda had walked this way hand in hand with Ginnie; she remembered her first day as one of excitement. As long as she could remember she had wanted to go to school, and this year was her last year. This year she would turn thirteen and finish sixth grade. After that she knew she would be walking up to Ettington Park with her Dad to begin in service. Ginnie was lucky having found a job in the village shop, she could stop at home and come home each evening. Hilda was not looking forward to service, not at all, servants lived at the Park and only had an afternoon off a week.
The clopping of a horse’s hooves on the road behind them broke into Hilda’s thoughts. She pulled Wilf aside, turning to see who was coming. A boy, on a thoroughbred horse, by the look of it, someone she didn’t know. He looked about her age and too small to be in charge of such a large animal. And behind him, riding double, a taller girl, arms around his waist. As the horse drew level the girl spoke ‘Hold up Fred.’
The horse came to a halt snorting loud enough to make Wilf jump. ‘I’ll walk from here Fred.’
The girl threw her leg over the horse’s flank and slid down to land a yard or two from Hilda and her siblings, she turned a warm smile to them, ‘Hello, I’m Maggie.’
Not a local accent, maybe her is from one of the villages over Stratford way Hilda thought, but I think I am going to like this girl.
The girl went on,‘And this is my brother Fred.’
The boy smiled as warmly as his sister and put his finger to his cap. ‘I’m Hilda, my sister is Dolly and this is Wilfred.’
Fred, more serious now, said to his sister, ‘I’ll ride ahead, I need to find where I can pasture Bob for the day so I’m not late.’
Fred kicked the horse into a trot and soon disappeared down the road ahead. Maggie was nearly a head taller than Hilda, but most girls her age were taller. Hilda would never be tall taking after, as she did, her former jockey father. Their older sister Ginnie was not much taller despite her two extra years, Wilf looked to be taking after their mother’s bigger boned family, while lanky Dolly was unlike any of them.
A curious edge to Dolly’s voice, ‘Where are you from?’
‘Weston, over near Welford on Avon. Our dad owns the Glebe Farm there’
That put Maggie at least a rung or two above the Attewell children on the social ladder. A landowning farmer was his own man, as Hilda’s dad would put it, and depending on the size of the farm might be quite wealthy. Their presence raised a series of questions in Hilda’s mind, ‘That’s a long way to come every day.’
‘We’s stopping with our uncle at Alderminster at the moment, it’s not so far on horseback.’
‘I suppose not, isn’t there a nearer school?’
Maggie took a moment before answering, ‘Yes, but our Dad won’t let us go there anymore.’
Dolly couldn’t help herself, ‘Why?’
Maggie frowned, ‘The Master gave our brother Charlie a terrible beating last term. Dad said rather than having himself punch the master he would send us elsewhere.’
‘Our Dad’s name is Charles.’ Added little Wilf.
Maggie smiled, ‘The same as my Dad and one of my brothers.’
‘Is Fred younger than you?’
‘No, we’re twins we’re twelve. He used to be as tall as me but I growed much quicker this past year. Dad says that is the way of it and Fred will pass me by next year.’
Now a Piccie of the day, an un-named arch Western Victorian coast.