“She is a fanciful child!” McBride attempts an excuse for Nelly. “But I have never known her to lie.”
This conversation taking place on the first floor landing, George on the way to the privy. “I did feel I must mention it, sir,” continues the flustered McBride.
“Nelly has seen Ronald?” It is more an exclamation
than a question.
“That is how she has informed me, sir.”
“What is he doing?”
“What is he doing, sir?”
“The Master was crying, sir.”
“Ronald was crying!”
“The Master was crying sir, and the girl, Nelly, is quite
beside herself, sir.”
George thanks McBride for informing him. He does then
have the presence of mind to state that Nelly should not
speak of it. Not to her family nor to anyone in the Manor
“Sir, I did tell Nelly,” McBride answers grimly. “The
young girl might have conferred with her mother, or one of
the girls, I cannot answer for that! Would you like to speak
to her, sir?”
“Better not get the girl more upset. Mention you had a
word with me.”
George is perplexed. When Arthur informed him of
Bella Stanton seeing Ronald, he had thought little of it.
The woman had been more than overwrought. Meg and he
had ridden in the carriage with Bella to the funeral service.
They had waited on the station platform with her for the
London train. She said nothing either to Meg or himself.
Ronald had been crouched down on the floor, Bella had
told Arthur. He was talking to himself. The mind plays
tricks. Anyone can think they see something.
But now this! What is he to do with it! “Has Nelly
spoken of seeing things before?”
There is some uncomfortableness with the question. “I...
Sir,” McBride starts and then stops.
George clears his throat. “I do need to know, Horace.”
“Nelly has seen, sir... Nelly since she began her work
at the manor...she has always spoken of seeing a young
women. A young thing who will ask for her baby, sir.”
“How long has that been going on?”
“Since she began working here, sir. Mrs. Minton has
always suggested to her that she ignore the presence when
it comes. It has been some time since she last spoke of it.”
“Do you think the presence has gone away!”
Again the uncomfortableness. “As I said, neither Mrs.
Minton nor myself has she spoken to, but Mrs. Minton
has heard from Lucy. Lucy when asked states that Nelly has become
somewhat friendly with the apparition.”
“Nelly might be a fanciful one, sir. But she is a good
“Do you think she might have an ability in this regard?”
“Of seeing apparitions?”
“It is possible, sir. I myself do not understand such
“You say Ronald was crying? Where was he?”
There is silence.
“Please tell me,” George smiles weakly at McBride. “You understand, Horace, this is very disturbing. I do
thank you for bringing it to my attention. I do need to
“The Master was out by the pump, sir. Down behind
the pump is how Nelly speaks of it, sir. He was moaning. I
am so sorry...”
George holds his hand up. “I will have to confer with
Lady Middleton. I am not at all sure what I will say. We are
just recovering. Lady Middleton is recovering. To burden
her with something like this! Yet I must...”
“Yes, sir,” McBride steps back, allows Mr. Bexfield to
. . .
“George, I am ready.”
It is the last day of May 1900, the morning hour of nine.
Constance, George, Meg and Arthur are having breakfast
in the solarium.
“You are ready, Conny.” George picks up the greengage
jam bowl, places a dollop of greengage at the side of his
“I think I am ready, George. Next week when Emily
leaves I am thinking of returning to London. I am hoping
to persuade Annabell to come up with me. I will be back
for the wedding of course.”
George looks astounded. “When is that?”
Constance smiles. “When Emily gets back from her
aunts I suppose. They’ll be announcements to send, West
End finery to be explored. All kinds of things we can buy
for the wedding. I will take her to a play.”
Constance and Meg immersed in conversation, George
asks Arthur about stock. Is there any kind of a dip coming?
“I haven’t heard of anything out of the ordinary,” Arthur replies. “Information we have is more of the overview. Such as their plans for corporations.”
“This new idea of corporations with limited liability, the same rights as a person in the United States.”
“I haven’t heard of it.”
“Railroad legislation introduced the technicality some
years past. It’s gathering more steam with the judiciary on
board. The potential is enormous. Corporations able to
passage their legislation through the legislative bodies.”
“Do they not do that now?”
“Yes! But now they will be able to say they have rights
never before accepted as rights. More difficult to stop them I would say. Not only funding Congress and the Senate, the Presidency,
when lobbying they can bring up rights.
“These great giants of industry, the railroads, steel, the
motor-vehicle industry to be, are expected to surpass anything we
have yet seen. Having such enormous wealth is power.
“Companies owning companies, same directors on multiple boards
pulling the strings. Regulation of workers pay allowing
unlimited profit for those already having vast amounts of
money. In actuality no risk for the rich with shares in many companies. The view is a small elite ruling from the top, a pyramid structure wealthy people controlling, all powerful.”
“Same as the families’ structure!”
“Yes! With production proceeding at an ever increasing pace
it will be an absolute necessity to have war, surplus capacity
in production made into profit supplying weapons and the
needs of the military.”
“One has to wonder why governments do not use that
which we waste in war to boost our poor?” says George.
“The families exist by having the layers of status. Those
elected know the system they arise from. They know any
real change they would not have their job long.
“The few token socialists are for show. To make it seem
some representation is given to bringing the lower classes
up to the standards of the rich. It’s all about lack of real
education for the masses.
“Allow a child’s interest in something to blossom. Allow
a child to become interested in learning by learning that
which they want to learn?
“No forcing them to be become stifled on subjects so
that the last thing they want to do is learn. Real education as
the rich give to their children.
“But education that teaches children the value of finding
something they have interest, to teach them to pursue that
“Education that is free, paid for by a healthy society
that does not have huge amounts of money at the top and
at the bottom people scrambling to survive.
“Give the parents circus: In this country it’s alcohol on
a Friday night. Alcohol during the week for the father if he has any
money. The children and both parents, as planned, stinking
“The system does not wish to erase poverty nor the
working class. A whole grouping of people who presently
flail at the bottom suddenly educated and aware?
“Heavens we cannot have that. They’d all be anarchists
wanting to take everything away from those who have it all. ‘Why is society run this way,’ they would be asking.
“With continual war paid by work people’s tax, wealth is siphoned up. Corporations supplying for war they own, the munition factories, the stock. With war there is scarcity. Poverty in the lower classes maintained. Status maintained.”
“Money is always the controlling factor, isn’t it,” says
George. “Banks creating money out of nothing, lending at interest to lesser banks, who charge added interest on this created money. A financial system with no legitimacy.”
“The idea is to place people in debt,” replies
Arthur. “Housing should be a right we all have when born
upon this Earth. They have it laid out as a profit factory.”
“I agree! Housing, education, should be a right, not a debt burden.”
“If you are in debt you are afraid of stepping outside
of where you are. Afraid of them. Afraid of your future.
“Manipulation of bond and stock: lowering when some
moment of panic takes, buying at bargain rates when it is in
their interest, waiting for the popular investment to follow,
stocks then crashing again, purchased at pennies by the
rich, then from the ashes rising. This scam, this robbery of
those who continue to think financial paper has worth to
store their few hard-earned saved pounds.”
George smiles: “I remember Ronald in his early days,
viewing through his telescope. ‘Here’s another comet,’ he
would say, ‘another financial collapse.’ ”
. . .
Annabell rolls her head back and forth, side to side. The effort she has taken she has succeeded. Heart with Edward will take the Brougham to Heart’s aunts this coming Monday.
Edward is to remain overnight at Leiacs village. He will
return to Mandalmane the following day.
For Annabell mind has ceased its tempestuous journey.
“I will not go then if you do not,” Heart had pleaded.
She has promised Edward that when he returns and
then Heart, the three of them will go away. Spend some
time at the sands.
Thoughts flow to when she will be alone.
Will they forgive her!
Will they understand!
Has she engaged in trickery!
She will write both a loving letter.
Bear, when the carriage returns, will stop at the manor.
But all will know by then.
She will take to the stables as soon as Heart and Bear
leave. She will give jesting words while they prepare Majest. But not Majest, the pony that Emily rides, it is Milly she
Heart will know the reason she has taken Milly.
The pony will watch those last moments, her wave of
goodbye as she steps into the mire. It will be as if she
waves to Heart.
Each day more firmly is her mind. ‘No falter! No falter!’ She has cried so often. She will miss them! How she
wishes to be with them!
Rocking back and forth, back and forth, all now is ready. The pony will bring her to where no longer will she be held in mortal consequence. That walk she will take, the summer sun, its warmness will be caressing.
Slowly she will sink. First her feet, then her legs. Up to
her breast, to her neck. As the water covers, then her all.
Dear sweetness! Dear Heart! Then I will need your
Quietly Annabel folds her face into the pillow.
Flow! Flow! The waters rise above her.
I would have waited, dear Bear. I would if I could, to
have your children.
But it is my guilt to atone!
I have to pay.
All will be well! All will be done.
In that darkness, soft and still, all will be done.
. . .
“It’s education, Arthur!”
“Yes, it is, Conny. Not the supposed education we are
“No! Education has to make them think. To allow them
to be themselves, doesn’t it?”
“To have teachers teach the way we would wish to be taught!”
“Yes! To allow each child to find his or her own skill, if
not a skill something he or she has an interest.”
“It would mean much more cost. For some it would be
one teacher one student for an extended period. An artisan,
teaching how to create by example. A violinist showing a
technique to one who is interested.”
“What better way to find employment for our people
than have them make weapons to kill.”
“This would be much more intensive, different. We
would prove to the children that we were interested in them.
Just them knowing we had their interest at heart would be
a major accomplishment.
“It would mean real life-enhancing skills, human to human. Not a
classroom stuffed with thirty or fifty children where they
stare at something, to follow something meaningless to most in the class.”
“It would be absolutely necessary to allow each child to
blossom in only the way that child is able.”
“Yes! Even those children who for some reason have entered The Game
to do harm. There are those children who have a real wish to harm others? We have to learn how to approach them. I was watching some Canada Geese in St. James
Park. It must have been mating season for a great deal of
squabbling was taking place. One approached the territory
of another male. Vicious was the attack, the tussle with
the beaks. At last the interloper managed to escape flying
off as fast as his wings could take him. But that didn’t end
the occasion for the one protecting his territory was flying
after him, only feet behind. I couldn’t see where they went,
or what happened.
“On the banks along the water little ducks were sitting
so peacefully, warming themselves in the midday sun. It is
like that with children. We are all so very different.”
“Humans are different, Arthur. So much variety. We
can funnel aggressiveness, turn it to productivity, to where
a child has so much interest striving for that which they
love, aggressive tendencies fall away. As natural as life itself.”
“Everything we do is wrong. We encourage violence by
suppressing it in our presence. By punishment! We teach
them to punish and so they do it to each other when we
are not there. The answer is to allow them to see who they are. To recognise their desires. To recognise they are sovereign as all are sovereign.”
“We teach them the opposite.”
“Yes! So they treat others. We could teach them how their instincts can assist, we do nothing with that. Give real tools to see themself and how they grow in contact with another. For many it will need speaking in story as if we were sitting around a fire, to explain the future is an immeasurable amount of life experience learning.”
“We could do this, Arthur. I have to ask why we don't! Into what dreadful ways have we allowed ourselves to fall.”
“It's the dream we are in. The wish to be enslaved.”
“We have to change to a new game!”
“We have to recognise what we are doing as a people if we do not wish to fall into complete mind enslavement.”
“Is that where this game is taking us, Arthur?”
“From all I see, I believe it is. Greater and greater central power. Complete inability for the ordinary person to have any belief in their inherent power to be free.”
“Humans have the potential for so much more. It is so sad we cannot see.”
“It starts with the children, in the schools demanding they respect us, demanding they learn what we say, they do as we say. No showing how they are as much a part of life, as independent and free as we.
“We do this because we ourselves are not free.”
. . .
As it becomes known in the estate kitchen, the story
of Freckles doings: his staying all of God’s night down the
way with Ruby, his creeping out of her bed at the crack of
dawn, his ride back to the stables, then up to his room to
sleep, not disturbed at all by the racket on below, all of it
becomes somewhat of a wonder.
They say minutes before eleven in morning he washes
at pump, then sees Mistress.
The men of the stables, and those on farm not engrossed
with their own ladies, muse on Ruby lying there waiting
Then it’s the women who ask why has young lady not yet been knocked-up. Why indeed! The answer given
most often is lad is a bit too eager, “Lad’s essence couldn’
ge’ ‘er egg,” has become a recognised fact from the gentle
Flora, the girl who shares one of the backrooms with
Ruby, that is did share when Ruby last stayed nights at
the estate, Flora in the passing of titbits in conversation
is asked more than a few times about this impatience of
Freckles. Her reply is something they should have so easily
“Freckles is eager, what lad ain’t eager, but Ruby don’t
want a child not till they marry. ‘Er takes it out!”
When men get to hear of it, there is laughter raucous, “‘Er takes it out!”
Flora is questioned more than once on this: “Ruby has
told Freckles that when ‘er is ready ‘er is to remove himself.
And ‘er always does remove it for she makes sure, feeling
In these conversations Flora hastens to add that
she herself is not wanting to give impression that she has
experience in these matters. “‘There’s always a lot outside.’
Ruby says. ‘Lots of it. Oozes and oozes.’ ”
“That’s what Ruby says?” comes the chorus.
Flora will then repeat to the woman listening, with the
peculiarity of going bright red. “Oozes and oozes! But
that’s not all reason.”
“Oh! That’s not all reason?”
“No! Ruby is paying ‘Old Mother.’ Old Mother stopp’n ‘er wit prev’n’tv. ‘Erbs! ‘Erbs stopp’n.”
The women on the estate cannot help admiring the lad
with the ‘oozes and oozes’ he’s giving. Like it better than
the ‘too eager.’
Old Mother, of course. Ninety she is and still knows
what ‘er’s doing.
‘Erbs and Old Mother,’ for reasons known only to the
female nature, does not come back to the men.
With them, their thinking wanders to ‘Old Mother’ up
in big house. ‘Er’s keeping old woman interested for sure.
‘Er w’dner b’t’kn er o’t then.
Why? Mrs. Coulter is wealthy women. ‘Ave any she
wants. Good strong men do better job than lad. Glad ‘o
task. Why does she continue with skinny youngster?
This question comes up often in the stables.
With the women the interest of why is not so important,
but they do sometimes think Freckles might have something
more about him that does attract the Mistress.
Women know that experience a man gains provides much
more in the likes of what might be called bliss. A lad’s a
lad and can be fun, but why is she keeping him.
This mystery of why the lad attracts lingers in confusion
for some time with both the men and women until Roger the
kitchen larder-boy, always polite and obliging when young
Cynthia comes into larder seeking his help, casually tries
to take a touch of Cynthia’s breast.
Cynthia has cultured
a special interest in these doings of fellows.
Roger shares a room with Freckles. “Y’n know ‘er,”
Cynthia says to Roger the next moment of his standing
behind and reaching around to her front. Her hand stops
his just before that moment.
She spins around: “What is it with Freckles?”
“What is it with Freckles?”
“What’s ‘er got?”
Now Roger has to consider this. A good, well-respecting
person, a supporter of Freckles, and all males his age, he is
not about to willynilly disclose confidences.
But his hand is very near.
“I’ll let!” Flora emphasises, seeing his indecision.
“Here ‘n larder?”
“’N’more!” just a touch of her hand by a button.
“N’more!” There is certain seriousness here.
Cynth nods, a glistening in her eye!
Roger’s face has already heated. Now to prevent in his
decision interference he shuts his eyes. It really doesn’t take
long, not with Cynthia in all her glory, and promising. “It’s ‘er thing!” he blurts out.
“‘Er thing?” This takes a moment, then the girl moves her
hand to her head. “‘Er thing! ‘Er thing.” What a clodpole
she is. Freckles’ thing!
His thing! She glances at the larder lad. She has to
make sure. “Why, why ‘er thing, Roger!”
Roger has gone bright red. “‘Er’s big, Cynth. Long! Very long!”