The little girl followed the breadcrumbs to the forest house, but the house was not sweet as it was told in the story. Within her the witch did not exist, but a snake had made her nest, invited her to come in, and offered her a gift, warned her that it would not be sweet but neither would it be bitter.
The girl not very happy refuted "I came for candy"
The snake, sinuous and not surprising, answered him between hisses "and how do you know that what I offer is not much better?"
The confused girl asked him back "You told me it wouldn't be sweet but also not bitter. How would that be better than candy?"
The snake approached, and its viperine tongue came out. "And aren't you curious how sweet the gift can be?"
And yes, the girl was curious. "Okay, I accept it" the snake had no lips to smile, but her eyes were at the work in question, unrolling her body, in the center of her nest a small marble was resting. The girl approached and took it in her hands.
"You can't bite her" the snake warned, the girl understood and raised the canine to her mouth, and swallowed it. It was sweet, she felt it on her tongue almost immediately, but ... now the snake's nest had something different. The girl realized late, when the snake had already coiled its body around hers, that the nest had bones.
"You cheated on me!" the girl shouted, scared by what she saw.
And the snake placing its face close to the girl's ear, hissed "don't fool you, I told you it would be sweet and also bitter"
"What you give me?" the girl could no longer see, her body could no longer feel but her tone of voice had not faltered.
The Lost Children I
Orphaned children, missing for two months. Not only children in orphanages, no, also street children. Of all the neighborhoods. No one giving a second thought for them because of their nation dependent state. Because if they were not, less resources would be sent to the orphanages. But not only were the children disappearing, no, the women in the Whitechapel area had vanished into thin air, their bodies forgotten along with their names, no one had a single idea where those derailed women could have gone, and no one wanted to know either.
But perhaps Gwenevere Forney was getting too involved in that. After all, she was just the daughter of a baker from Paternoster Row. But although she had learned to read at a late age, she had not taken the time to read the newspapers, knowing that there would not be a single article on children and women.
It was just word of mouth news that had spread throughout the slums. She had overheard while going to the market. So she went to Tim, the fishmonger, who had asked for his hand in marriage last spring; There was still slight discomfort on his part because he was still in love with her. Gwenevere was straight to the point when she saw him, because they had been very good friends before the proposal and would continue to be, so the response Tim received about the rumors had made his world turn a little when he had admitted him with some concern and fear that little Charles, a child who was like family to everyone, had disappeared. No one had seen him in a week and everyone was tense about it.
She had said goodbye to Tim with a tight hug and tears stung her eyes.
Gwenevere was only 20 years old, she had refused to marry three times since she was 14 years old, her father, who had had no children and had been widowed when Gwenevere's mother had contracted tuberculosis when she had only 6 years old, was more than happy that he didn't get married. Gwenevere opened the bakery, was in charge of cleaning it, to the inventory of the products and dealt with the distributors.
Gwenevere Forney dressed as a boy, spoke as a boy and was as tall as one, she had never let her hair grow past her shoulders, because she had learned two important lessons when she was twelve years old and Elizabeth Walmsley had taken her hair as if it were a wild horse, plucking it by its roots. Women play dirty and men are simple creatures. Ever since she had taken her father's blade and cut her hair, she was never again punished or accused of being a robber of men.
But Elizabeth Walmsley never married Jacob Paterson, the first child to ask for Gwenevere's hand in marriage, with a ring made of wood by her father, one of the few cabinetmakers in the area. In fact, Jacob had ended up going to Finsbury, and Elizabeth had married Paul Varley, the son of the Canon Aley Street butcher.
And although Gwenevere was a lady dressed as a child, her reading ability was poor, and the addition and subtraction of small numbers was the only thing she knew about mathematics, she knew that something had to be done for little Charles. That even if the newspapers didn't talk about it, someone, and not necessarily Scotland Yard, had to do something. And maybe that's why she was standing outside 13 Paternoster Row.
Ever since Gwenevere had reason, the house at number 13 on Paternoster Row had been occupied by a lonely woman. Rumors came and went around that house, several times carriages used by the Scotland Yard had stopped in front of it on numerous occasions, and word had spread of a woman helping the police themselves. At first no one knew the woman's face, the few who had approached had only visualized the silhouette of a woman dressed in black outside the windows and had run in fear.
Gwenevere's bakery was only about six houses away, the only one found on that street, so he was doubly more suspicious than in all of Gwenevere's years neither she nor her father had seen the mysterious woman. But it was not until the winter of 1888, when the murders of Jack the Ripper ceased that he was able to meet the woman, well, not her, but her servant. He had obtained the mysterious woman's name through his maid while he had attended her at the bakery on an unusually lonely night.
Madam Vastra and her maid, Jenny Flint, the latter was covered with a thick cloak, when she had entered the bakery, the bell above the door had sounded alerting Gwenevere, who was in the warehouse, who had visitors, by inertia was he had shaken his hands against his apron, and had stepped out onto the counter forcing a smile. It had been a very cold day, since the morning I knew it would be a bad day because one of the distributors had been completely wrong with the amount of flour that I had to deliver, and less had arrived than agreed.
A strange mistake on the part of a person who had been her distributor since she had reason. Since they had opened, from six in the morning until twelve in the afternoon, the bakery had been substantially full, Gwenevere, 16 at the time, had been packed with orders, there were a total of seven people in the bakery, four bakers including her father, and three people to attend the hall including her. It was not until three in the afternoon that the traffic of the people had dropped completely. Leaving a lot of rubbish to clean up. By the end of the afternoon, the street was empty, her father had taken out one more serving of bread to sell at night, and when she neglected, they were all gone. Leaving her with about ten hot breads to sell yes or yes, and a note just naming the tavern at the end of the street.
She had cursed her father, and then obediently brought the loaves to the counter, eagerly waiting for a wealthy father of a family to take all of them away so she could close. An hour had passed, then two, the sun was already disappearing, and the street was much more lonely. Gwenevere with her shoulders slumped went to the warehouse, with paper and a pen that was older than her, in hand, taking note of the things she would have to order for the next day. The bell rang, she put down the paper and pen, and went to attend to the client.
The woman had her dark hair tied up impeccably, her dress was black, as were her gloves and cape, a color that, to highlight her white skin, her eyes were brown and she had a tiny cordial smile on her lips. Her cheeks were completely flushed from the cold and outside a carriage was waiting for her.
The hairs on the back of Gwenevere's hair rose when she made eye contact with the client. Because he just didn't know her, his face didn't sound like anything, and that was truly alarming. Every day Gwenevere saw the same customers, it was a morning routine for many, it was a belated reminder to others, knowing that they had to stop by the bakery on Paternoster Row. Gwenevere knew not only the people who went to the bakery, but also the people who went to the market, who were certainly the same people he also saw at the bakery. But that woman in front of her was not known anywhere. And perhaps for that reason she kept her fake smile.
"Goodnight, miss, how can i help you?"
She herself had always hated how her voice is heard in her own ears, too hoarse and unfeminine, and also her height, which went beyond the normal measurement for women, but on occasions like these, she was very grateful, since She was much taller than the strange woman and that gave her a little more confidence.
"Goodnight, i'd like to take all the loaves you have, please." Her voice was sweet as a canary's, and Gwenevere, nodding, went for a bag and began filling it with the loaves on the counter. He had not been a rich man, but he had certainly been a rich woman.
As she did so, her gaze strayed for a moment outside, where the carriage was still waiting for the young lady, in the light of the bakery tapped on her and from the window a face covered by a black veil peeked out. The surprise was such that he almost dropped the bread in his hand, he did not scream, but in the same way his heart beat a little faster in his chest, when he looked again, the curtain of the carriage had fallen back into place.
"Sorry, if the madam scared her." She quickly turned her head towards the other woman, who of course was watching her intently and although her mouth had a grimace of what was presumed to be a sincere apology, Gwenevere knew it was fake from the amusement in her brown eyes.
Without a single ounce of concern about her own crude manners, she proceeded to ask the question that had been bothering her since she had seen the woman's face.
"Are they from around here, miss? I have never seen it before and traveling with this cold just for bread is not healthy at all." Without looking at it, she put the last bread in the bag, and placed it on the counter. "It's eight shillings." She looked up, and the same light smile from before had made her appear. A smile too faint for those eyes that only showed suspicion.
For a moment, Gwenevere feared that perhaps he had said a lot, but the woman, taking coins out of the pockets of her coat, approached the counter.
"Yes, we live only a few blocks away, at number 13 Paternoster Raw." Her tone was casual, but Gwenevere knew he was watching her closely, waiting for a reaction. So long playing cards with her father and her friends, that she knew when someone was looking for a reaction on your face.
She was always good at playing, and therefore maintaining a neutral face was very easy, but she had to fight hard, because meeting one of the people who lived at number 13 in Paternoster was… truly intriguing. The woman reached out, leaving the eight shillings on the counter. Gwenevere took them humbly, and as he went to the box, without turning his back completely at any time.
"Then you serve the lady of the house," the woman nodded as she reached out to grab the bread. "If I may ask madam what?" A laugh, between a snort and a cough, was loudly expelled from the woman, and Gwenevere was confused. Had she said something funny? Because she was sure not, and perhaps her emotion showed on her face, because quickly the woman walked a few steps to the counter, where the box was, this time with a sincere smile, which showed in her eyes along with a slight trace of nervousness.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to offend you with my laugh, only your question brought back a memory, of a joke between the madam and an old friend." Gwenevere felt much better at the hasty explanation, and waited patiently for the woman to answer his previous question. Holding the bag of bread with her left arm, the woman fixed a rebellious hair that had fallen to the front so fast that Gwenevere thought she hadn't been there in the first place. "The lady of the house is Madam Vastra, and I am her humble servant, Jenny Flint."
Madam Vastra. Without clarifying whether Vastra was a name, a surname or a given title. Which honestly caused him much more intrigue. The woman, no, Miss Flint, although she had already paid, and already had her bread, was still looking at her, and Gwenevere belatedly remembered her own manners.
"My name is Gwenevere Forney, Miss Flint." the young lady agreed and Gwenevere continued, awkwardly: "I hope enjoy the bread. She smiled, or tried to. She had always found it difficult to do so when she was uncomfortable.
But why was I uncomfortable?
"Surely we will enjoy it very much. Goodnight, Miss Forney." Miss Flint, with a friendly smile and a nod, turned and walked towards the door.
"Wait! " Gwenevere had called her before she opened the door. Miss Flint looked over her shoulder, surprised. Gwenevere had begun to touch her apron with both hands without realizing it, a habit she had acquired when she was anxious. "You can call me Gwenevere, miss."
Miss Flint's brown eyes lit up, and she perhaps gave Gwenevere the first sincere smile. "And you can call me Jenny, Gwenevere. If you want to talk about anything, you can go to 13 of Paternoster. I will attend to her myself."
Jenny had opened the door, the cold air had come in without permission, and she had said goodbye with one last smile and a nod. Gwenevere saw her get into the carriage, at no time could he visualize more about the mysterious Madam.
Gwenevere did not see Jenny until a month after her visit. Sometimes she came alone, without a carriage to accompany her. They never talked about anything, they always greeted each other cordially. And sometimes it could take months to see her again. She knew from the mouth of Thomas, one of the blacksmiths, that Madam Vastra and Jenny went to the theater very often, at least every first Saturday of each month, that she was only one street away from the smithy, no one had seen the face of the Madam. One of the most widely spread rumors had been that the Madam was a widow and her former husband had disfigured her face, which is why she always wore a black dress and veil.
Gwenevere had never accepted Jenny's invitation to come to the house, nor had she spoken to anyone about the few times in the year she received Jenny at the bakery in ungodly hours at night. And so it was for the next four years.Gwenevere had never accepted Jenny's invitation to come to the house, nor had she spoken to anyone about the few times in the year she received Jenny at the bakery in ungodly hours at night. And so it was for the next four years.
With the help of Tim the fishmonger, Thomas the blacksmith, Jack his father's kitchen assistant, and Paul the newspaper delivery man, they had collected a total of 100 pence and 18 shillings, and everything was tucked away neatly in his little bag. It wasn't much, but it was all they had been able to collect for Charles, Gwenevere had told their best kept secret to them and they had decided by unanimous vote that she would be the one to go to Paternoster 13 to ask for help from the madam who even collaborated with Scotland Yard.
Nerves made her legs tremble, there was nothing to grab but the lapels of her shirt, she advanced, and stopping in front of the door, she wanted to run, but no, it was a cowardly thought. And she couldn't be a coward when Charles was out there, going through God knows what. Asking a woman like Madam Vastra for help was nothing.
She raised her right hand toward the door knocker, and knocked twice. I hope, the nerves had run the moment she had taken the knocker, she pinched her lips with her teeth, eagerly. She heard footsteps on the other side of the door, and straightening her shoulders and braced herself.
When the door finally opened and Jenny's shocked face was the first thing she saw, she wanted to immediately hug the smaller woman. And perhaps that was reflected in her face.
"Gwenevere, what a surprise! What… ”Jenny fell silent at the pale face of the girl, eagerly detailing her appearance. Not only was she pale, her lips were so nibbled that the blood lesions were making an appearance, even though they were in the middle of autumn, the cloak that covered her was too thick, but even so her body trembled slightly, and although there were always dark circles under her eyes Jenny could see that they were much darker, and she could see how in her left hand she was holding a small leather bag tightly. She held it so tightly that her knuckles were pale.
Jenny reached out, and touched Gwenevere's left hand, she was at the sudden touch, because she had been so lost in her thoughts that she had not noticed when she had held her hands so strong, without wasting time or releasing the bag, the hands of Gwenevere eagerly covered Jenny's hand, like a beggar begging for alms, and a raging fury rose in Jenny upon seeing Gwevenere's condition.
"My ... Jenny, I'm sorry for showing up at this hour without warning ..." Her voice had come out hoarser than normal, she had hesitated slightly when saying her name and that moved Jenny deeply. Warmly squeezing Gwenevere's hands before releasing them, she opened the door much wider.
Gwenevere's green eyes widened and something close to fear appeared in her eyes, Jenny hurried with her words.
"Gwenevere, do you want to come in and have a cup of tea?"
Jenny's voice was kind, and Gwenevere looked uncertainly inside the house that was shown to him, a house that had been the talk of everyone in the area for the last fifteen years, and then looked again at Jenny, her clothes were those of a servant, but with her erect shoulders and warm eyes, her posture was secure, as if she not only served the Madam as a place, but also that she was another owner.
Her anxiety subsided, and praying internally that her boots weren't too dirty, she nodded at the invitation. If possible, Jenny's smile grew larger, and she stepped back for Gwenevere to enter. When the door closed behind her, Gwenevere's heart thumped furiously against her chest and she had the slight feeling that there would be no turning back. As if she was betting her life on a card game instead of food or money.
And thinking of little Charles's mischievous smile, and her wheat-colored hair, she couldn't find any regret.
D O C T O R W H O D O C T O R W H O
There were so many plants around him that Gwenevere had a lot of work knowing which was which. She could make out some ferns, but from the shape of the leaves and patterns she wasn't entirely sure she would have been entirely correct. The room where Jenny had directed it was so warm that her own vest was suffocating her, Jenny had taken her cloak, and had left it on the coat rack, at first she had felt self-conscious for a few moments when she found herself feeling so shamelessly dressed as man.
But Jenny hadn't even blinked at her address. So the feeling instead had been drowned out by gratitude. The tea table where she was now sitting was beautiful, so beautiful that since she had sat down she had decided to keep her hands away from the glass, she currently occupied one of the six black painted iron seats with a flower padding. She was as tense as a bow knowing that her pants, which were not entirely clean, were touching the impeccable design of the chair. So to distract her mind from the expensive real estate she decided to look at the plants, the occasional statue and the room.
While the loft in the room was the lush amount of silver in it, that wasn't what furiously caught Gwenevere's attention, no, what struck as if the attention was her overall construction. The tea room, or the green room as Jenny had called it, was a conservatory inside the house, its walls played between wood and glass, its ceiling was a copula, where the highest plants played hard, and although she knew It was night outside, the room was as bright as a summer day.
The room was so beautiful that Gwenevere had thought she was somewhere else for a moment and she wanted to stay and live forever in this place. Jenny had seated her and instructed her to wait, that she would bring the tea in a few moments.
But it had been a long time and there was still no hint of her. And she had started passing the bag from one hand to the other out of sheer nervousness, causing the coins inside to flutter. Her gaze was on her own boots, so distracted by the beauty of the room that when she heard the faint tap of high-heeled shoes against the wood approach, Gwenevere let out a long breath.
"I see that Jenny accommodated her very well, miss."
Two interesting things happened when an unfamiliar voice spoke from across the room, the bag that had been in the air at the time had fallen to the floor, and Gwenevere's voice had soared that it had wobbled in the He was out of his chair and was within seconds of falling, otherwise his hands had shot out to hold onto the edges of the table that he had promised not to touch with his hands moments before. The table wobbled, and Gwenevere thought for an instant that it might fall, too, but no, she held herself, just like she was in the chair, and everything was silent for a second.
Gwenevere felt her cheeks warm with embarrassment, and when she looked up to see the owner of the voice and ask for all the appropriate apologies, a hailed sound was all she could expel from her throat. Madam Vastra. In a beautiful black dress and with her usual veil of the same color hiding her face, she was standing at the door of the room. Her gloved hands had the handle of a cane, casually placed in front of her.
And for a moment Gwenevere saw herself being hit by that cane. With trembling fingers, she released the edge of the table, put her hands on her lap, and stood still. So still that I try not to make any noise with her breathing. Then Madam Vastra walked a few steps towards his direction and she did not breathe at all, she continued advancing until she was alone on the other side of the table.
"Won't you pick this up?" Her cane had gone to hit the bag that was still on the floor, making the coins clink and Gwenevere bent down so fast that when she took the bag in her hands and raised her head again, a small dizziness attacked her, making her see double for a few seconds.
"I-I'm sorry, madam, it was not my intention to disturb you." She kept her head down, her hands clasped tightly between them and the bag of coins, and her shoulders shrank, inertia, trying to look as small as she was, which was impossible with her height.
Silence was present for a few seconds, but for Gwenevere it could have been years. She felt a drop of sweat trickle down the nape of her neck, and she held back the urge to clean it. It would be extremely unseemly for someone of her class to do such an act in the presence of a woman with the status of Madam Vastra.
She herself still felt rejection of herself for having touched the tea table with her bare hands, and therefore did not dare look the glass for stains on its surface.
"Why are you so nervous?" Madam's question brought her out of her thoughts and her head jerked up in his direction. She suspected what she could answer and her mind was unanswered. She had come to request his help and services from the woman in front of her, if Madam refused, she would only go back to the starting point.
But he honestly didn't want to do anything to offend her and give her a reason to refuse. And Gwenevere wanted Madam not to wear that veil, because at least, if she looked into her eyes, she might know a little about Madam's thoughts. She armed herself with false courage, straightened her shoulders as she stood up on her legs, and looked at Madam Vastra, who until now had only bowed slightly to her movements.
"Madam Vastra, I introduce myself formally; my name is Gwenevere Forney, and I came to spend hours asking for your help, Madam. I apologize for the rudeness of my previous actions." He made a slight bow with his eyes closed, hoping he was not entirely wrong, and by the time she raised her head again the madam had become much closer than before. She hadn't made any particular noise in her heels, and the hairs on the nape of her neck rose.
The approach had been too quiet. But before, Gwenevere had heard the slight heeled tap very clearly, and now he had heard nothing. For a person who had spent more time on the street than a house, things like that never went unnoticed. Her father had taught her everything a man should know, although she was not herself, because knowing the difference between one noise and another, for example, were, in a fairly clear sample, the way you could arrive the next day. She always knew when she was being followed, she always knew when someone had ulterior motives, and all that caution had saved her on more than one occasion.
Knowing that it could be an insult, he looked directly into Madam's eyes, or at least where he believed her eyes were. The veil was so dark that she couldn't even visualize any features. The Madam moved her cane from one hand to the other, until she finally stopped and left it in her left hand.
"Jenny could have informed me a bit about the situation, Miss Gwenevere," her voice was soft, much kinder than at first, and with her back to him, she walked to the other side of the table, and made the chair legs do a little drag against the ground when he moved it, he sat down. With a wave of her right hand, she motioned for Gwenevere to sit down, and she, though a little hesitant at first, did so.
And Gwenevere noticed it then, in a blink of an eye, the chair where the Madam was sitting was very different from what it had been at the beginning, and the room… it had only been darkened and the birdsong was heard. Gwenevere swallowed thickly when she realized that the table, the table she had touched only a few minutes earlier, was not between her and the Madam. And now they were much closer than before. Her thighs tightened against the chair, her hands gripped the jacket tightly, and she forced herself not to react to the sudden change.
Although her common sense told her the opposite, she yelled at her to run away and scream, she stayed. For Charles, for all the missing women and children. Then I listen carefully to another set of footsteps, a faraway tap that echoed against the wood, and the next second Jenny entered the room holding the tray with the tea. He approached the Madam, who had a table by her side that Gwenevere had not noticed before, with a skill that spoke of years of experiences, set the cups on the table and served tea with one hand, while holding another the tray.
Setting the tray aside, at another small table that had not been there, he approached her with a cordial smile, his cup of tea, and it was not until he reached out both hands to take it, that he realized how rigid everything was. her body, and even her face, because she had wanted to smile at Jenny for her kindness, but only a forced smile had come out, and in Jenny's eyes a clear apology was seen.
A brief cough echoing in the room, and Gwenevere's full attention returned to the Madam. She had her cup in hand, her cane was resting against the armrest of the chair and she was looking at her carefully through the veil.
Jenny stood next to him, and the madam had taken a small spoon to stir the tea, without ever taking his eyes off her.
"Miss Gwenevere, i need to ask you a question before listening to your request, if your answer pleases me, i will agree to your request no matter how absurd it is ..." At such words, it was impossible for Gwenevere to calm the slight anxious movement that her right leg gave, and although she knew that something else was missing, she allowed herself to relax her body just a little "But, if it is completely the opposite, I will ask her to please leave without any objection, do you agree?"
Gwenevere clenched her teeth and her lips drew a fine line, her hands had clasped so tightly around the teacup that Jenny thought for a moment that she would break it, her green eyes had carefully turned flat and her posture, which she had relaxed considerably the last few seconds, she had become tense again.
On the other hand, Gwenevere, who had no studies or manners worthy of a lady, was being consumed by frustration, knowing that if Madam Vastra asked her an intellectual question, she would not be able to answer; but the knowledge that the madam would not possibly help her from the start, that he was doing all this just to see her leave, made him fill himself with a mixture of indignation and humiliation like never before. But Gwenevere was as stubborn as an ox, and although the tears stung her eyes, she refused to budge.
"I agree, madam." Her voice had come out much thicker, and if she had pronounced the title with a little care, she could only blame the stiffness of her body, which concisely affected her voice.
Jenny knowing his wife, knew that she had a smile behind the veil at the inflexibility of Gwenevere's voice, and breathing deeply, I await the question that Madam Vastra would ask Gwenevere.
Madam Vastra nodded and shaking her spoon against the teacup, she spoke over the clinking noise of metal against marble: "Miss Gwenevere, do you find it uncomfortable not to be able to see my face?"
Gwenevere, who was not expecting a question like that, almost dropped her own mug, and the feelings she had previously had had ceased in the mess that was her mind. She had expected any other question that would ridicule her own knowledge, and that was why she had been defensive about what had been said before, but she forced herself to breathe, because Madam Vastra's question sounded genuinely sincere. As if, a person of your status and social class, wanted to know your opinion on that topic.
Never before had her father, friends, or acquaintances asked her opinion about something, anything. Her father had dressed her as a child, taught her the basics of survival, but had never asked or thought about it. Her friends took her to do men's things, and she never had an opportunity to object, and the three men she had proposed to her in her entire life had withdrawn at the first denial on her part. They did not discuss or question their denials, they just left. She had never expressed any opinion about her life, or someone's life out loud, and now, she was questioning that thing, with real interest.
Glancing down at her lap, her tea making waves on the surface, and she realized that her hands were shaking, she bit her lower lip with vice because a sudden lump in her throat had formed and taking deep breaths, she relaxed her body. She looked up again, letting go of her lip and looking at Madam Vastra, she knew what to answer.
"Does the madam feel uncomfortable seeing me dressed as a man? or are you uncomfortable with my short hair?"
The answer took a few seconds and Madam Vastra was as still as one of her statues when she finally whispered: "No, it doesn't bother me."
And her uncompromising voice had come out so warm that Gwenevere had smiled out of sheer inertia: "And does the madam see me as a woman, although clearly i am dressed as a man? or do you see me as a man just because i'm dressed as one?"
"Since i saw you i have seen nothing but a woman, regardless of what you are wearing."
Gwenevere swallowed, and his mouth contracted on its own, the lump was still perpetually in his throat, refused to move and even knowing that he would do nothing, he brought his cup to his lips, took a small drink of his tea, which was already Cold and i savor it on his palate, i suspect his ideas a little in his mind along with the taste of tea before speaking again.
"Just as you do not care about my dress, which is not entirely correct, and you have not seen anything other than a woman when you saw me, i do not care or bother not seeing your face, madam. While it is true which at first was ... unusual, not annoying in any way. Because it is also unusual to see a woman dressed as a man and behave like one. " She explained as graciously as he could, and without expecting to have spoken the right words, she continued:
"You have every right to keep your face hidden if you wish, madam."
He silenced kingdom. Gwenevere was tempted to close her eyes, but forced herself to keep her eyes open, her own gaze not to falter, and to breathe. Because she hadn't taken any breath in between her words. Madam Vastra carefully placed her tea on the table, and Gwenevere, who had realized that she had never drunk from this, was not surprised at all, because that would imply that the Madam lifted her veil.
The calm was broken with a slight snort, and Gwenevere had to blink several times in bewilderment, because such a mocking sound had come from Madam and she was not expecting it at all. It was more usual to see that kind of behavior from her class than from Madam's class, and that only added to the pile of things that was Madam Vastra and filled her with curiosity.
"You, miss Gwenevere, are very clever. Never allow other people to say otherwise." Gwenevere's mouth fell open at the praise, and when she was about to object, the room was filled with euphoric applause from Jenny. Gwenevere could only look at her in surprise at such a show of happiness.
"I told you, madam! Gwenevere is brilliant." His applause stopped and Gwenevere still didn't know what was going on, but the Madam's posture had changed very slightly, only visible to an observing eye, her body bowed briefly. back and his shoulders looked much more relaxed.
"You're watching me right now, aren't you?" Gwenevere snapped her mouth shut, which had been open from all the previous interaction and was speechless. Madam intertwined her gloved hands. "Jenny had told me something about that." You are a person of few words, but your eyes are always moving. You can't see my face, but you're reading my body. Madam Vastra stated simply.
Having nothing to say to what Madam said, the simplest way went: "I-I'm sorry if i offended you, madam."
Madam Vastra, untangling her hands together, used her right forefinger in a negative movement, playing down the apologies.
"Don't apologize any more for taking advantage of the resources you have. If you were blind, you would have to trust nothing more than my voice," she explained as she placed both hands on her lap. "As your answer was perfect and sincere, i will accept your requests, but, Miss Gwenevere, once you tell me your request, i will ask you some related questions and the only condition i have is that you only use one word, you understand me? "
And Gwenevere, who had been slightly suspicious when Jenny had left her alone, was now confirmed, Madam Vastra knew what her request was, she was surely aware of the missing children and women. But i wanted to try it. And it wasn't that she didn't want to accept the test. It is that she did not know many special words. At all times, both Madam and Jenny had used simple words, he had praised their understanding of the question related to the madam's identity, but Gwenevere did not feel smart, he had only tried to make his opinion as crude as possible, but knowing that The education of both women was by far higher than hers, now he was more suspicious than at the beginning.
But she was not only stubborn she was also bold.
"I get it, madam.My request is to hire her for her services. The children have been disappearing for two months, as have the women in Whitechapel. " She left her cup on the table next to her, which she had not noticed until a few minutes ago and took the bag with the coins. "I know this may not cover your ... fees," and Gwenevere had struggled hard to understand that word on its own. "But I promise that before the end of the year I will have the money you ask for, if only it helps us get Charles back."
The coins clinked inside the sack. Madam Vastra moved her head slightly to the right: "Who is Charles?" It was curiosity more than anything that came out in her voice and Gwenevere intended to explain.
"It's ..." Madam's right hand rose, cutting her off in the middle of her explanation.
"A word, Gwenevere." She lowered her hand, and Gwenevere took a deep breath. Because the test had begun. Charles was easy to describe. He was only ten years old, his parents had died of cholera years ago, when he was only seven years old, so he had been adopted by the people in the market. He had a bold and mocking streak, but serious, so serious that he was trusted by many. It had been impossible not to love him.
Her disappearance had hit everyone hard, but especially her and Tim, who saw Charles as ... a younger brother.
"I won't take your money, I don't want or need it. But why do you think i'm helping you?" And Gwenevere knew it, but was not sure if it was correct to say it.
"Curiosity." Then Jenny walked over to stand by her, and although Gwenevere wanted to see her, to see what kind of expression she had, she didn't, she kept looking at Madam.
For her part, Jenny looked at Madam Vastra with her eyes filled with surprise, and she knew that his wife had a smile on her lips.
"The room changed, and you didn't question or run away, as if seeing a room change before your eyes is the most normal thing you've ever seen." I know the rumors around me, therefore you know them too, Gwenevere, and still decided to come. Why? "Madam had moved closer, her body had made agile movement forward, so much so that now that her face was very close and Gwenevere could see something green and ... eyes, looking at her closely.
Gwenevere licked his parched lips, and held back the urge to back down, because he still couldn't see clearly the madam's eye color, there was something… predatory in his eyes, and Gwenevere remembered a summer, once when she was little and she had been playing in a tree, a beautiful old oak tree, climbing its branches without any caution, because she had been too young to know the danger that if she fell she could break her neck and die. She had stumbled down from the tree, and had been thirsty, near the oak there was a pond, and she in her total innocence had gone straight there, without taking any water in her dirty palms and drank to satiety.
And when she had looked up the eyes of a snake were looking at her, just a few steps away from her. It had been too small, about seven years if she didn't remember correctly, but the feeling of terror and curiosity caused her to sweat coldly for many years afterwards. Being curious when something was new was natural, though it didn't do things that could kill her. But the snake had not been poisonous, her father had told her later, but it had not made her less afraid to go back to playing alone around the oak tree.
Madam Vastra's eyes reminded him of that snake. And Gwenevere hope that your next word was not wrong.
A soft noise, which Gwenevere could not describe whether it was affirmative or negative, came from Madam, and suddenly Madam's body had thrown back. "Nothing assures us that these missing children and women are alive, it has been two months since the first victim disappeared, Gwenevere, what would you do if your friend was already dead?"
Her mind went blank. Sure, she knew, that was a possibility, a big one. Everyone knew that since day three passed and there was still no sign of Charles, but… they had to try. And if he were dead, at least there was only one thing left to know.
"Seeking the truth is somewhat ambitious on the part of a girl who only works in a bakery." Her tone was friendly, without mercy or mockery, but something in her statement made Gwenevere frown. "Because the truth may not be acceptable or kind to you, the reality of disappearances may make you never see the world as it was before, Gwenevere. Are you ready for that?"
"Think carefully, Gwenevere." Jenny's voice was a surprise, because Gwenevere had completely forgotten about her. He turned his gaze to her, and the eyes that looked back at her were truly supportive.
Gwenevere this time allowed himself to think a little more. So I look closely at the new things around her, even at the fountain that was only a few steps from her. There was a word for what she had seen in his eyes: witchcraft, but she had never been especially a believer, neither she nor her father. So the concepts of hell or heaven had never done anything to scare him. When she lived as she has all these years, the idea that an almighty God was upstairs observing all the misfortunes and still did nothing, caused her apprehension about the word of the church.
She only believed in the evil of men and what they did. What he saw, what caused him pain and happiness. She saw the room change, yes, but even though it had scared her, a part of her, that part that always got her in trouble, made her curious. How could something look one way at a time and then be completely different?
Because the truth may not be acceptable or kind to you… He suddenly remembered Madam's words. So, her instinct was not entirely wrong when she had entered the house, this was the question that would make a difference of going back and not knowing anything, or staying and understanding everything was happening.
"Yes." It was a whisper and her voice had come out a little hoarse, but she still didn't dare to look Madam in the eye. Her eyes were fixed on the water in the fountain, listening to the soft murmur of the falling water from the tip.
Out of the corner of his eye he saw movement from the Madam, and his head turned so fast in her direction that when he saw the Madam he instantly gasped. She had removed her veil, and green eyes looked at her curiously, and her skin was… green, not like her eyes, no, more like the green of the leaves of the trees in spring. And the memory of the snake she had seen as a child came back to her mind. Because it was not only green, its texture was scaly and had three elegant arches instead of hair, and Gwenevere swallowed thickly at the impossibility that was shown to her, and the sweat kept going down the nape of her neck.
"You still have to speak a word, because seeing my face is a question, Gwenevere." Now that she saw his face, she realized how inflexible his words were with her serious eyes, and Gwenevere knew that there would be no lie that was worth before the Madam.
"Beautiful." Surprise and delight flashed in the madam's eyes and Gwenevere smiled sheepishly at her. Yes, it was impossible and strange what his eyes saw, but it was not for that less beautiful and surprising.
The madam looked towards Jenny, and she immediately approached until she was next to Madam Vastra. Gwenevere looked at them both, who had an approving smile on their lips, and she felt as if she had changed something.
"Well ..." Madam Vastra stood up on her legs and took her walking stick, Gwenevere immediately followed suit, standing very close, even with her bag in hand, Jenny walked to the door and stood on the arch, Madam extended her left hand towards her and Gwenevere here I am a little confused, I look at the hand and then in the eyes of the madam. "Take my hand, Gwenevere." And she did, the madam's hand was warm, although it could have been more because of the gloves than anything else, but it did not stay there, the madam pulled her hand until her arms were placed together, intertwined.
They were too close together and Gwenevere, who was not used to such closeness, blushed. When the madam started walking, Gwenevere followed her, Jenny was gone in all the interaction and after she and the madam crossed the arch of the room and walked to… further into the house, she realized how empty That was all, the walls did not have as many pictures as you thought of a house like that, and most were about landscapes, no portraits or any indication of the madam family, his steps echoed against the wood
"I assume you have many questions." Gwenevere turned her head slightly towards the madam's voice, and realized that she was only a few inches taller. The green eyes looked at her askance. " You can speak freely now."
I don't expect a second invitation: "When will you find Charles?" and suddenly they both stopped, well, the madam had, and she just followed suit.
Madam Vastra had turned fully to see her, and surprise danced in her eyes. "You really should care so much about that child to be the first thing you asked, despite everything she's seen in the last hour."
"It's what i came for, madam." Her response was firm. "I did not come because of the rumors about you, i came because you are the person Scotland Yard goes to when he has nowhere else to look." You know about the missing women and children, and you are interested. It doesn't matter that i do it out of curiosity, it matters that i do it."
There was a slight snapping of teeth from the Madam, a soft smile playing on her lips and surprise in her green eyes was quickly replaced by charm. " Gwenevere Fonley, I insist, you are a very special girl."
"I wouldn't say special, madam." I refute with humility.
And although she had no eyebrows, the madam's frown furrowed at his words. "If you are not special, then what is?"
"In a word, madam?"
"If you want." She gave her the madam and the curious look he was giving her was already familiar to Gwenevere.
“Kind?” And there was only a slight trace of doubt in her voice, Gwenevere nodded.
"Kind, yes, i am not particularly polite, but currently i am showing you the best i know about etiquette and manners, madam, and i am kind because…" His voice faltered, not quite sure if it was correct to say it, but madam's gaze was on her. encouraged to continue. "Because i have to show you the maximum attention as you did with me, treating you with my kindness is the only thing i can offer you for listening and receiving me. Paying attention to what you are, above what is really important would be the opposite of my initial intention, and as i said, I did not come out of curiosity to know what was hidden behind the veil. I came for Charles."
Neither of them spoke after Gwenevere released her last words, she was closely watched by Madam and she only hoped that her words were correct.
"Your words, believe me, Gwenevere, are wise." so fast that he had no time to object, madam took her hand and quickly dragged her to her destination. Up to a dark wooden door at the end of the hall. " Behind this door, Gwenevere, i have all the information i have gathered on the case of the missing humans, and once we cross it, a world of impossible things will open before you, do you agree?"
Madam's eyes held expectations and Gwenevere nodded confidently. In less than a day, she had discovered so many impossible things that being Madam Vastra's assistant, who was not human, was not the most outrageous thing she had ever done. And if she could be a little honest with herself, she was more than a little excited.
She just hoped not to lose her life.