Sunday, November 20, 2005

Cap and Bells

A couple of pages later, after a couple of Significant Facts have been established...

....She needed this like Carthage needed fire. It was not her favorite topic and she was tired of Sutherland's fascination with her front.

"Now if you'll excuse me ...jet lag, you know." She got up. "No doubt I'll see you tomorrow. I look forward to your lecture, Dr. Sutherland," she added with total mendacity, and made her escape.

But not completely. Miss Cheltingham, the Conference Moderator, was arrayed by the door to personally Express her Pleasure at the presence of each Distinguished participant in this Significant historical conference and documentary.

"Dr. Tempest!" You've come such a long Way!" she beamed.

Damie agreed that she had.

"You have an Unusual first name, Dr. Tempest. Is it..." Miss Cheltingham's voice lowered, barely loud enough to be heard in Scotland. "...a Family Name?"

Damie said that it was.

Miss Cheltingham lowered her operatic resonance further, and looked left and right. "Did you know, Dr. Tempest, that this Very hotel is reputed to be Haunted?"

Damie said she was unaware of that but ghosts were known to be quite indiscriminate.

"I learned that Unsettling fact this afternoon. It has been a very gloomy day, you know. Well, perhaps you don't because you were over the Broad Atlantic, but it was a most Dreary day, and I was Surprised when coming out of my room. There were footsteps ahead of me in the Corridor but there was No One there! I immediately Spoke to the management..."

Damie cut in. "And they expressed concern but they told you, in confidence, that a Grey Lady has occasionally been seen, of reports of guests being touched in their beds by ghostly fingers, I suppose, as well as a tale of an unfortunate serving maid who cast herself to her death from the rooftop?"

Miss Cheltingham nodded eagerly, "And I was wondering, Dr. Tempest, with your expertise, if you might Shed Some Light on this phenomena?"

"I just did, Miss Cheltingham. It's a common advertising ploy; it displays the favorite ghostly motifs. Grey Ladies are de rigueur. So are footsteps and serving maids. Did they mention glowing lights that are sometimes seen in the park, the sound of a carriage in the drive? No? I'm disappointed. Perhaps they've only begun to explore the cachet."

Miss Cheltingham looked chagrined. "Then you wouldn't investigate...?" She stopped when Damie swallowed a snicker.

"I am not a parapsychologist, Miss Cheltingham. Those are the sort who check out apparition reports. My connection with anything...um...occult is much less exciting."

Miss Cheltingham's face briefly matched her suit. Obviously casting about for some other topic she inquired brightly, "Is your husband with you, Dr. Tempest? I noticed you came in Alone. Is he out enjoying our Fair city, or did you leave him at Home?"

Damie stiffened, then made herself relax. She should be used to it by now.

"I travel alone, Miss Cheltingham. My husband is dead," she said carefully and went past.

12 comments:

Ric said...

not to be a nitpicker - but is your shift key stuck?
Those flying Caps are really annoying.
The story is great, but I keep thinking the Caps mean something so I'm distracted.

Tsavo Leone said...

Hmmm... gotta agree with ric about the spontaneous Capital letters.

I'm starting to get suspicions about our heroine, ones which put her close to (if not firmly in) Frank Black territory (that'll be the one from Chris Carter's Millenium, not the one from The Pixies).

Bernita said...

Sorry, Guys, that's Miss Cheltingham for you.She has the lamentable habit of talking like that.
And I'm saving my italics - need them for the little voice.
Tsavo, could you explain, please? I'm quite illiterate in some ways.

Bernita said...

Nevermind, Tsavo, I looked it up.
But no, I don't think she falls into Frank Black territory.
Not yet, anyway.

Tsavo Leone said...

Ah, interesting.

Certain references earlier suggested something ever so slightly 'unnatural' about our heroine. Additionally there's the apparently clandestine nature of her visit to this wonderful island of mine... and then there's the Conyers Falchion itself and it's 'historical' significance (been reading up on that).

Ah ha! Saving your italics for 'the little voice' are we! : )

Hope I'm not spoiling this for anyone else who's lurking/keeping tabs, but is there anything in the world more exciting than seeing a story being born, and trying to fathom where the author will go with the tale?

I know, I know, I'm kind of gushing/rambling, but I feel like a little kid again...

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Wow...I agree with everybody today...The caps Were making Me a Bit antsy....but now that I know the method to your madness. She 's supposed to create that affect...good job!

I, like tsavo, (wow love that name, that would be a good name for a character!) am in love with the story. It's like reading a serialized book. But I don't want you to wind up posting too much of it. You'll have to decide where to cut us off....sniff, sniff....Waaaaa!!!

Bernita said...

I didn't post Miss Cheltingham's opening address, so you did not have time to get used to her method of speech.This is one of those cases where the character, minor though she is, just spoke like that.
A couple or so more excerps I think, Bonnie, from further on.
Glad you've been reading up on the Falchion, Tsavo. It's a fascinating historical relic, though I thoroughly disagree with Oakeshott's attribution for it's date. A Roger de Conyers had one, it appears, before 1128.

Kat said...

Hi Bernita!

Thanks so much for stopping by The SoapBox.

Kat (off to dive into your archives)

Bernita said...

Hi Kat!
Thank you for coming by here.
Hope you enjoy them.

Gabriele C. said...

I have to problems with the capitals. That Miss Cheltenham is one annyoing bitch, and I want to kick Mr. Sutherland where it really hurts.

Is that the reaction you expect? ;-)

Gabriele C. said...

no problems*

This is the third blog today I have to correct a typo. What little demon is sitting in my laptop?

Bernita said...

Good!
Thank you, Gabrielle!
That's the reaction I hoped to achieve.
She's silly, eager, harmless, but very annoying.
Sutherland is a Bad Man.