Work Header

Do Ladies Do That?

Chapter Text

The courtyard of Shibden, which usually passes in a blur--
Mud, a carriage, chickens, Argus, perhaps a servant--today,
Trudging bloodily through it, takes more time than I'd planned.

My usual 25-minute walk to or from Crow Nest took more
Than half an hour. I don't even know how much more. My eyes
Are blurry. My watch is blurry. That miscreant thug took even

That from me, my sense of time. I wonder if that is what Dante
Was trying to describe, but then I pass into the hall, and voices,
A male voice in fact, decrying the Reform Act for "not going far

Enough" explains some things to me, things, this morning,
I am not ready to explore. I stop short of the dining room.
My breath is ragged, my grip on my hat weak. Cordingly,

Once I shush her, is handy, if too worried on my account.
I hand her my hat, ask for warm water in my room, tell her
On no account is she to call for Dr. Kenny . I say,

"It's nothing. I just need some warm water. Could you
Bring it up to my room?" "Yes, ma'am," she says, as if
I were her mother, not her employer, but servants do not

Have such feelings for us, nor should they. I struggle
Upstairs to my room, struggle to untie, undo my stock,
Take off my greatcoat, then she brings in the water.

She offers to, but I say, "No. Thank you. I'll do it." I pull
Myself to my feet and she offers to get me brandy,
My father or aunt, Dr. Kenny. And laughing even a little

Makes me cough. "Just let me know when Mr. Abbott
Has gone. Thank you. You have things to do." She brings
A package from my study and stumps off. I pull part

The packaging from the little leather box enclosing
The beautiful onyx ring I had hoped-- But now such
Hopes are blasted by Ann's inability to hope at all.