Well this week has been hopeless in terms of writing. I have barely completed a paragraph all week.
My usual writing time is in the train during my commute, but work has been insane and I am still a little ill (I had a head cold) so unfortunately I have been dozing on the train more than writing!
This week’s scene from Hilda follows on from last, although as you will see a little more time has passed.
‘They say Lord Shirley’s family is recorded in the Domesday Book as the owners of Ettington.’
As Hilda followed her father up the driveway through the park, she wanted to say ‘I know all that, I’ve heard it a thousand times. Let Lord Shirley keep his precious park!’ But she held her tongue, she knew she would cry if she said anything, leave alone upset her Dad.
Today she would not cry, she was determined of that. Her tears could wait until the evening when she was alone in her own bed. But it wouldn’t be her own bed, it would be a strange bed, a servant’s bed somewhere in an attic or basement room of Ettington Park.
‘We follow the drive around to the servants’ entrance at the back.’ Catching her expression he paused, ‘Cheer up Duck! It won’t be so bad. They’re a nice bunch up at the Park!’
There was no cheering up, not today. Today was the end of her dreams. She was thirteen and putting aside a whole world and donning the garb of a servant.
The Friday before was the end of school. She’d had her thirteenth birthday and her last term had rushed to an end. She remembered how she had lingered on that last afternoon, taking her time, washing the slates with Maggie. In the end, Fred poked his head in through the door, no longer a student of the school next door and daring to stray beyond the girls’ gate. ‘Maggie, are you ready? I’ve got Bob out here, saddled and rearin’ to go!’
Maggie smiled her warm smile, ‘That’s me then.’
Unlike Hilda, she was happy with the end of the year, she was moving back to her parents’ home at Weston. She took Hilda’s hands in hers, ‘You’ll be alright. You’ll make the best of it. Save your money and one day you’ll be twenty-one and make your own choices!’
That left Hilda alone with Miss Wilson, she finished the slates and put them away, taking the broom she swept the floor. Finally there was no longer a reason to linger any longer. Miss Wilson left her desk, ‘Well Miss, that’s it then.’
‘Thank you Hilda, I have something for you to remember me by,’
She held out a package wrapped in a pretty printed blue paper. The size and shape of a large book, but it didn’t have that feel. ‘I won’t open this now.’
‘No,’ Miss Wilson’s eyes were brimming with tears, ‘I’m sorry Hilda, I feel I’ve let you down.’
‘Never!’ Hilda’s eyes flashed, ‘You did your best Miss! This were none of your doing. And Miss, I might not be going to Grammar School, but you showed me a bigger world. I’ll always remember you!’