When they are in the library, Hannah clasps Sandy’s hands and looks up into his face through her spectacles and says she was so very sorry to hear the sad news, and sure it must be entire devastating for him.
There are those consider Hannah Clorinda Roberts as Flora Ferraby’s shadow: but Hannah is one of those quiet women that sit unnoticed and make their own judgements on matters.
She goes on to say, her papa lately preached a very fine sermon upon David and Jonathan.
He does not know what to say to that: instead, asks do Roberts and Seraphine remain at Raxdell House?
Hannah smiles and says, 'twould break her papa’s heart to leave the gardens now that he has got them into such condition. And his new Lordship and Ladyship do not go interfere with the gardens. Mama leaves a deal of kitchen matters in Miriam’s hands now.
They look at one another and he thinks of all those agreeable hours in the Raxdell House library, before Flora came back from her Grand Tour with Clorinda, Hannah quietly going about putting the books into order and writing up the ledgers.
His Lordship was very fond of you, he says. Greatly admired your talent in arranging flowers. He opened to me once that he should have liked to leave you some remembrance in his will, but thought that might lead to some adverse comment – mayhap that you were some bastard daughter of his or had been his mistress – that would be most unpleasing to you and your parents.
Hannah takes off her spectacles to wipe away the tears. He was always so very kind, she says in a choked whisper.
He was, says Sandy, feeling tears threaten himself, ever the kindest of men.
But of course, says Hannah, I already had a remembrance.
Sandy looks at her frowning, for he cannot quite remember –
Beatrice, she says.
Beatrice is one of the several children that he has supposed orphans or those in similar unfortunate condition, that Flora and Hannah have taken in. Beatrice, he recalls, is one of two that he confides come from among Hannah’s connections, by the duskiness of their skin and the curl of their hair.
Hannah puts a hand to her mouth. O, she says, surely you knew, you must have known.
He looks at her with a puzzled frown.
That His Lordship was her father.
What? (for he knew that Gervase could accomplish the act with women, even though it was by no means his inclination.)
Oh, says Hannah, we thought you must know about the children, surely Her Ladyship –
Have you never heard her say secrets that are not mine to disclose? They are your children?
And Flora’s. But – I am astonished you knew naught of this – one e’en Lady Bexbury was reading Shakspeare’s Sonnets to us, that desire a fellow to go beget copies of himself, and I said, 'twas a great pity that His Lordship had not done so, and so we put it to him, and he very kindly conceded to undertake the matter, and so I bore my lovely Beatrice – he chose the name, 'twas ever his favourite Shakspearean heroine.
Indeed, says Sandy, very shaken by this intelligence. Why had he not – 'tis not really surprising, does he think on it, given his own jealousy; and might also have affected his affection towards Hannah. And he knows that Gervase sometimes regretted that he did not have offspring.
And made a generous settlement upon her tho’ we said was entire unnecessary.
He swallows and says, might I come see her, some day?
Why, of course, 'twould be an entire pleasure: you might come visit for a while.
Hector comes say that dinner is about to be served, and they go down to the dining-room.
It is not a thing that one would go ask: but he has always supposed, since they took up residence in the Surrey house, neither of them displaying any inclination to marry, that Flora and Hannah were of the Sapphic disposition. Though, he also recollects, Lady Jane, who could not be doubted of that disposition, had had a great desire for motherhood.
He also minds that they have, between the two of them, writ several pamphlets drawing attention to the iniquitous way the laws of marriage, and those of society generally, are slanted against women. Perchance they make the practical application.
But he cannot muse long when there are two intelligent young women desiring to know his thoughts on various matters.
Clorinda looks at them all very fondly.
But the next day, after Hannah and Flora have departed, and he takes tea with Clorinda, he goes about to discover how much she apprehends of the situation.
At which she laughs merrily and says, have been entire in the plot these several years. Indeed, when comes the time they may no longer conceal their condition, they go to the Shropshire estate, where they may reside quite eremitickal until they are brought to bed.
He frowns a little. But, he says, I had thought that what you had wanted for Flora was some grand match –
Clorinda laughs again and says, 'twas more that had she desired such, would have been deemed an entire acceptable parti, but I ever wanted for her what would make her happy. And while the condition of women remains entire distressing, gives her a deal of gratification to endeavour improve it. Along with her other studies, and the company of Hannah, and their children.
He knows not how to come at enquiring whether 'tis a Sapphic union, but Clorinda has always been able to detect his unasked questions.
They are the dearest of friends, says she, indeed, like unto sisters tho’ perchance with less brangling than Bess and Meg, but 'tis a sympathy of the mind and the heart, not the body. Sure they like men well enough, but they are not obliged to marry.
I daresay, he says, you will tell me that 'tis secrets that are not yours to disclose, but do you know who are the fathers of their children?
I do: but there are secrets that are not mine to disclose. Tho’, she continues with a slight quaver in her voice, I was like to suppose that Milord would have communicated somewhat of the matter of Beatrice to you, and that the pink diamonds were to come to me in trust for her, when she is come to an age that she will not be a-putting 'em in her mouth and being most disappointed that they do not taste as lovely as they look.
He is silent for a while and says at length he is not sure that there is not some resentment that he himself was not deemed suited as a sire.
There is a little quiver about Clorinda’s mouth. O, she says, the matter was discussed, when we were talking of leaving copies. But, my dear, 'twould be somewhat of a heavy matter to undertake an act you had never before performed with so much at stake in the business.
Upon considering over this, he concedes that she has the right of it. Even could he contrive to perform he doubts not he would be clumsy and awkward about the matter, and should not like to inflict that upon any young woman whom he held in affection.
Like Charles Wallace Murray’s in A Wind in the Door, his mitochondria were failing, his cells and organs shutting down; but unlike in that story, there was no war in heaven for his sake—only a terrible court battle.
Charlie spent most of his short life at Great Ormond Street Hospital for children (to which J. M. Barrie left the copyright to Peter Pan)*. Back in January, his doctors there were willing to try an experimental American treatment with nucleosides, one that had never been attempted on a child with his specific rare syndrome. (Only 16 cases have ever been diagnosed.) But before they could begin, the infant’s condition took a sharp downward turn. It was concluded, regretfully, that further treatment would be futile. Would be cruel.
But the parents had caught fire with hope. They knew—just knew—that if they could get Charlie to that doctor in America, he would be cured. They knew their beautiful, unblemished child was in there.
In there is powerful.
It led Anne Sullivan to work miracles with Helen Keller. Yet that belief in the real child, a perfect mind imprisoned in a damaged brain, has also led to the barbaric torture of neurologically atypical children with “treatments” like bleach enemas and chemical castration; it has led to profoundly disabled people being used as flesh planchettes, to spell out the manipulator’s fantasies of buried genius or atrocious abuse. In there is hope. Humans have sat beside whirring, blinking, whooshing bedsides, willing a beloved person to be in there, to wake up.
In Charlie’s case, in there led to agonizing litigation. His doctors at GOSH (“The child first and always”) thought he might be in pain. They considered his case hopeless. They petitioned to have his ventilation withdrawn, to let him slip away in peace.
His parents fought like tigers for the nucleosides. They simply would not believe that Charlie could be suffering, could not be made better somehow. They believed (so they told the press) that he liked to watch videos with them. Their agony of hope was moving and persuasive: they crowdfunded £1.3 million to bring Charlie to America. Even now their denial is obstinate: “had Charlie been given the treatment sooner, he would have had the potential to be a normal, healthy little boy.”
Then everyone jumped in. Right-to-lifers stalked the hospital and court with signs. They sent thousands of abusive messages, even death threats, to the pediatric staff at GOSH. Small Hands—spit!— tweeted his enthusiasm. Two Congressmen—taking a moment from strangling healthcare for millions of less well-funded babies—offered Charlie American citizenship. (I can’t even.) The Pope offered him a Vatican passport.
And then the miracle-worker himself, Dr. Michio Hirano, descended. He admitted to the court (to its “increasing surprise and disappointment”) that he hadn’t so much as looked at Charlie or his brain scans or his records before promising wonders. “Further, GOSH was concerned to hear the Professor state, for the first time, whilst in the witness box, that he retains a financial interest in some of the NBT compounds he proposed prescribing for Charlie.”
He may be a very good wizard, but he’s a very bad man.
The report concludes: “Devastatingly, the information obtained since 13 July gives no cause for optimism. Rather, it confirms that whilst NBT may well assist others in the future, it cannot and could not have assisted Charlie.”
I hope his parents devote that £1.3 million to help those others. That would truly make his memory a blessing.
*The best endowment ever.
by Dialecticdreamer/Sarah Williams
part 1 of 1, complete
word count (story only): 1818
:: Part of the Polychrome Heroics universe, set in the Mercedes story group, and the Road Trip series, but this is all about the wait for news about Joshua Tull's surgery. ::
:: Pay Special Attention: this story has quite a bit of tension for G Bishop, and the kid blows his swearing filter all to smithereens.
The Shock Room looked like a miniature jungle, dotted with baskets full of building toys, fidget toys, and stuffed animals small enough to cuddle in one hand. In the corner farthest from the door, every pillow, bolster, and beanbag chair had been piled into a mound supporting Cash's back and Kais' head. Both slept hard, the ragged and limp tangle of limbs revealing more than Cash's twitching frown at the corner of his mouth, or the tear tracks still on Kais' cheeks.
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I did not see that coming. I'm guessing you didn't either
I'm not looking forward to next week when all of a sudden the zombie comes back to life again. My thanks to everyone who helped put down the zombie this time.
I'm off in North Carolina for an educational summer school conference all week, so there'll be mini-slates comics. I DO carry them around with me whenever I'm at a conference, so who knows, maybe I'll get Felder to make a comic
Ugh, this sucks. ...Maybe I just need sleep? I almost dozed off even though it's hardly past eight. Again. (This happens every Friday.)
Maybe I'm getting old, oh no.
Hnrrrrrh there are raspberries out in the garden, and I don't want to pick them because I'm exhausted and it's hot out and also there are mosquitoes and spiders out there. But it needs to be done either tonight or tomorrow. ...It would be nice to have raspberries with breakfast tomorrow. Which means I'd have to do it tonight. But I don't want to.
And that means I should just suck it up and do it anyway and reward myself with game-time or something.
Okay, okay, fine, I'll just finish this cup of coffee and then GO DO IT and then I can stop whining about it. (Gonna have to haul out the heavy-duty bugspray, yuck.)
[Edit] OKAY, never mind, abort mission, that bush is COVERED in spiders.... I, uh, I think I might need to consider an alternate course of action. ("Hey, little brother, wanna pick some berries for me? I'll give you ten bucks." ...Okay maybe I won't call my brother to save me from these cursed arachnids but, um. I'll just. Have to think of something.)
Main project for this weekend is to finish up my Rare Slash fic and post it. Like, the draft is done, it just needs adjustments. And then I'll throw it to a beta or whatever, but for now I just need to edit the thing. Yes indeedy. And then I need to edit the other things. And maybe write a treat or two. And THEN I can think about and hopefully start writing the F/F Slavic Mythology darkfic that's been rolling around in my head recently. ....And something for NorthWord too, I guess. Maybe.
(I was going to backdate this because it's so pointless, but I am trying to Manage My Anxiety, and part of that involves giving myself a kick in the pants, and acknowledging that I am in fact not imposing on anyone by writing trivial nonsense in my journal and allowing it to show up on other people's friends feed.)
[Edit] I might have been thwarted by the garden, but at least I accomplished SOMETHING tonight. Finally caved and decided to attempt to replace the pads on my earphones. I was kind of dreading it, because these are super expensive headphones and I'd never done that sort of repair before; I was worried about damaging them. But I DID IT. HOORAY. And I didn't break anything. I win!
2. Took weekly photos of my vegetable garden, but forgot to post them. Ah well, next week!
3. Trimmed some overgrown bushes in my front yard, such that a person can now walk between the house and my car instead of finding the way impassably blocked by greenery. I must attack some other shrubbery this weekend, and possibly drag out my stepladder and give the lilac a thorough pruning.
4. Acquired cardamom and plain Greek yogurt in preparation for an attempt to approximate a Blue Apron recipe.
5. TOOK A NAP.
6. Took compost to bin. (I did this on several days, actually, but I am only going to list it once. Also the compost company finally came to empty the bin, and provided us with a new plastic liner bag which they'd neglected to do that last couple times they swapped bins.)
7. Remembered to bring a new box of tea to work, since my old one had run out.
8. Cleaned bathroom sink and toilet.
9. Called Cat Thursday afternoon and chatted for an hour and a half.
10. Cut my fingernails.
11. Vacuumed my apartment and did a little hand-dusting in awkward corners.
12. Volunteered for my church's recycling sale; I will presumably hear back from the organizers sometime this weekend.
13. Looked up hours of operation/donation for a few places I need to get to over the coming week.
14. Bought groceries (including almonds and dried currants for the previously mentioned recipe approximation attempt).
15. Backed up my computer files.
16. Began sorting my final coffee table storage box, which is full of I don't even know WHAT all kinds of completely unorganized stuff. I am taking a leaf from Cat's book and doing this in 15-minute increments, so I only take out small sections at a time and if I haven't figured out where they should go, I just put them all back in the box when I'm done. So far, I have sorted a handful of stuff into a permanent home in my nice new storage basket, recycled about twice as much, put two items aside to use a couple pieces and then throw out the rest, and set one thing in a place where I can't ignore it so I will finally get around to framing and hanging it properly. (It is a ridiculously twee baby's-first-cross-stitch project of a rearing unicorn that I sewed back when I was... I dunno, 10 maybe? which came with its own super-twee pink plastic frame, but dammit, it's adorable and I will display it with PRIDE.) And I stuck a bunch of other stuff back in the box because I have no clue what to do with it, so.
We shall see how that project continues.
17. Called my parents to discuss trips to and from NJ in August and September, and also to wish them a slightly early Happy Anniversary. As of tomorrow (Saturday 7/29/17) they will have been married for 43 years. ♥
18. Rescheduled a planned phone call with Vicky, because today turned out to be bad for her after all.
19. Posted two mini-ficlet prompt meme fills: How Easy All Can See (Rabadash talks to Ilgamuth about the political implications of courting Shezan) and Queen of the Night (Lucy decides that a queen of Narnia can set her own bedtime). Both went slightly diagonal to the prompts, but I think they turned out all right even if they're not what I meant to write. *wry*
And that is pretty much that for the week. :)
- McCall's M4745 - Civil War Coat and Trousers. I just want a baseline pattern for a military-style coat/jacket for cosplay/shenanigans. (I can already tell that my ambitions mean I will have to figure out how to make alterations. Don't worry, I will start out with straight seam practice and cat bed cushions.)
- Simplicity Pattern 1318 - Misses Kimono Jackets. In all fairness, I could use John Marshall's Make Your Own Japanese Clothes instead; I once used it years back to make a cosplay kimono (badly hand-sewn because I didn't own a machine). But I like the views and I also need to learn to work from a pattern sooner rather than later, and it might as well be an easier pattern to make something fun.
- Butterick 6400 - Misses' Boned, Back-Pleat Jackets. Again, I really like a couple of the views and think this would be fun to modify BECAUSE I'M CRAZY. But, I mean, what is the point of making a pattern EXACTLY AS IT IS? For me the whole point of this learning to sew business is so I can CUSTOMIZE. If I wanted something exactly as someone else designed it, I'd go to off-the-rack.
It's too bad visiting my mom is so expensive. We could talk shop! My mom loves to talk about crafts ANYTHING.
But in the meantime: iron, notions, fabric, thread, STRAIGHT SEAM PILLOWS.
But right now we have what seems to be a quiet birthday party that builds to a crescendo of riveting action, emotional explosion, and revelation, as we watch the Worst Birthday Ever.
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