Sunday, December 16, 2012

Hilda XVI: The Car

My internet connection is dodgy once again. So I have uploaded this using my phone.
I am not sure what is happening, but the technology around here just doesn’t seem very reliable at the moment.

In this scene Hilda meets a new addition to Ettington Park’s staff.

It was one of those rare moments when most of the staff were at the kitchen table together.
‘You’ll never guess what his Lordship is bringing back from London today’ Said the Butler, Mister Young.
‘I hope not a bunch of guests.’ Quipped Kat, ‘We’ve only just got over the last lot.’
‘No Katrina.’ the butler was the only one of the staff who used Kat’s full name, mind you he was the only one who did not call Hilda “Duck” after the first day. ‘There is not a party of guests coming. Anyone else?’
Leonard Freestone, one of the footman guessed, ‘A horse, his Lordship is bringing a new thoroughbred for the stables.’
Warren Mores, also a footman ‘A retriever, he’s bringing a new gun-dog.’
Mister Young’s eyes twinkled, ‘None of you are even close. He is bringing a motor car! And with it a chauffeur!’
A bubble of excited conversation rippled around the table. Hilda was curious about the motor, but also surprised at how much interest the topic was causing.
She remembered well the first time she had seen a “horseless carriage” as they had still been called five or six years before. That one had been a rattling, noisy thing that had passed by along the Fosse Way in a cloud of oily smoke. Since then she had seen a few more every year, in just the past year she had probably seen a dozen. They were still a curiosity, but no longer the real novelty they had been when she was little.
Hilda was not allowed to join the others to watch the wonder arrive.
Still the scullery maid, still beneath the notice of the gentry.
She stayed in the kitchen and scrubbed the pots when all the rest of the staff trooped upstairs for the event.
Later though she did go across to the coach-house.
She tiptoed into the echoing building. One third of the building had been cleared to take the machine. A great, long shining motor dominated the space. A uniformed figure leaned against one of the back panels rubbing with a cloth. Hilda broke the silence, ‘It is a beauty.’
Laughing blue eyes met hers, ‘Hello then, come to have a look?’
‘It’s certainly the nicest motor I have yet seen.’
‘It’s a Rolls Royce, people are calling them “Silver Ghosts”.’
‘I’m Hilda.’
‘Hello Hilda, I’m Gerard Makepeace.’
‘Most folk here calls me “Duck”’
‘Duck? I’d have thought Duckling was more like it.’
She hated the way people always poked fun at her size. Still, his expression was friendly, she didn’t think he was wanting to be nasty. Not that she often held a grudge anyway. ‘Have you had anything? Would you like me to bring you some tea and biscuits to tide you over until supper?’
Gerard smiled gratefully, ‘Thank you that would be very nice.’


Kathleen Jones said...

WIP ticking along nicely!

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

A Silver Ghost, huh? Somebody's in the money. Good snippet.