Thursday, April 14

roughly a conversation.

"What are you doing down here this late?"

"I was reading and then I sent Fiona away before I realised what I really want is a cup of tea. What are you doing here? I thought you had a drawing room in your quarters."

"I do. Well, in a manner of speaking. The lord who has the room next to mine brought his young nephew with him and didn't tell anybody, so the nephew is camping on my drawing room couch. And he snores. And I can't sleep."

"You should have told the manservant on the hall! We have other rooms, you know."

"I know; it's just too late at night to deal with moving the poor boy. I don't mind it here, either. My slippers have disappeared and the fire went out in my room."

"What happened to your manservant? It sounds like you haven't been taken care of at all."

"Oh, don't go and speak to him about it, I know what you're thinking. Well, I sent him away as soon as the nephew was settled with extra bedding. Do they ever talk to you--the servants, I mean?"

"Of course. Fiona and I often have our tea together, and I lend her books for her days off when she wants them. And Cook talks to me when I go down to the kitchen, and the laundresses have veritable rapier wits if I spill anything seriously on my clothes. I don't drink red wine any more. But I think you are a little intimidating to them. You're very quiet, you know."

"Am I? I don't mean to be."

"It isn't bad. They'll get used to it. Fiona says you are one of the only guests with common sense because you don't waste words."

"I like Fiona, she's obviously an intelligent woman. My family isn't as affectionate as yours. Well, we are in our own way. We aren't as . . . oh I'm tired."

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