Teatime with ainee with her reading: A Secret History of Witches by Louise Morgan
Keeping from getting upset, keeping on making tea, it is the end of the year’(nearly end of month)—Satoko
I began reading this e-book after having said that I needed a break from reading e-books; it is exhaustingly long and tiresome. Sitting in one position for hours upon hours gives one a sore neck. I am tired is all.
I better enjoy reading this e-book after such an opening’s first line: “The layered clouds, gray as cold charcoal, shifted this way and that, mirroring the waves below. They obscure both stars and moon, and darkened the beach and the lane running alongside of it.” These words made me think of that song: She blinded me with silence or science? Either way, metaphorically tripping is this opening paragraph—similes, metaphors, with a tat of personification; with ‘the mirroring of the waves below’ casting of a reflecting pool quality or effect and that darkness being like the charcoals not-yet stroke.
I should get back to reading this book, if I am meant to finish it. I allowed myself to be detracted with what seemed to be a good opening line.
The story of the witches begins with Grand-mère Ursule and her Scrying stone which is a chunk of crystal that had been dug out of a river bank by this grand-mère of Grand-mère. Its top had been rubbed and polished until it was nearly spherical. Its base was uncut granite, in the same rugged shape as when it emerged from the mud. The Scrying stone glow red, flaring with light as if it burned from within. Ursule was the greatest of the witches, inheritor of the full power of the Ochière line.
Theirs is the story of persecution: A burning in Carnac-Ville—Father Bernard hated witches and took pleasure in disproving their marks and to setting them on fire on a pillar. He hates witches because of his mother who had a growth in her breast and died in pain. Bernard accused the neighbor (an old crone who could barely see or hear) of putting a curse on his mother. So they trialed and found her to be guilty within hours-time of being dragged and charged. Father Bernard had meant for her to be burned –he had the pyre laid—stake ready; but the old woman died in her cell the night before. Father Bernard felt cheated for not being able to burn the old woman—so he has been hunting witches ever since.
These women/men travelled by caravans—3 men (Claude, Paul, Jean), 5 women(Louisette, Anne-Marie, Florence, Fleurette, Isabel), with a handful of children (Nanette) and one grandmother tried to outrun the likes of this priest…grand-mère Ursule last spell: Mother goddess, hear my plea; hide us so that none can see. Let my beloved people be. –I think Moses uttered similar words as the Egyptians fled or such. Anyhow, those chasing the caravan did not see them as they passed them and wondered far and away.
They were asleep when Grand-mère Ursule breathe her last breath; Nanette found her old bones curled near the fire pit. The Ochière left their grandmother, the great witch Ursule resting alone with none but the deadness and the Menhirs to guard the shabby grave that they dug for her.
They made their way and went to live at Orchard Farm where Grand-mère Ursule had instructed them to
go to. Nanette was the youngest of them and they lived at the farm and worked the land for a living. As they aged they feared that there would be none to continue with the Orchière lineage. So they prayed for the goddess to send them a stranger to help them out; a stranger did visit the farm; offering to do work or such as needed; He was only there for a short while; less than the space of a breath; his name was Michael Kilduff and he spent time with Nanette and thus how she came to be with child and she intended on keeping her child. The priest Father Bernard wants to take her baby once she gives birth to have a proper Christian family raise it. This is not Nanette wish. They implore the goddesses to help them be rid of this priest and he was sent away for a while and Nanette was able to have her child, whom she name Ursule.
Ursule enjoyed growing up in the Cornish coast—she loved the farm animals and they lover her except for the old grey cat who favored her mother Nanette. Ursule as a youngster growing up had many questions; and her mother tried to answer them as best could. Some questions like why the others never spoke English and why they never left Orchard Farm? “People, angry people; we were Romani, Gypsies. The people did not like that.” They would hurt us and do much worse if they get their way, Nanette exclaimed but her daughter, who thought of herself as Cornish would not believe what her mother tried to explain. She loved the farmhouse with its long low roofline and her cramped bedroom tucked under the eaves.
Ursule often went with her mother Nanette riding along in the jingle where they took cheese and soaps and vegetables to the market in Marazion and there she chatted away with housewives, and farmers, speaking English or Cornish as they preferred. At times her mother would note that parish priest Maddock trying to speak to her daughter and Nanette would remind Ursule of being cautious stating that: “Father Maddock is a danger to us; don’t be alone with him when at church with Meegan.” Nanette did not understand but abided.
The aunts and uncles were Nanette’s older sisters and their husbands, but they seemed so old to Ursule—that she thought of them as her mother’s aunts and uncles; the eldest taunte Louisette, wore her habitual scowl, something her next sister, Anne-Marie chided her for. Isabelle was smaller than her sisters and softer hearted. Florence was fussy and prima and often spoke for Fleurette, her twin, who could go for days without speaking.
The uncles, tall and bony like their wives spoke in monosyllables. To Ursule they seem interchangeable—though when Claude, Louisette’s husband deemed something to be done or not done, everyone obeyed.
Nanette and her sisters allowed for Ursule to go with them to their place of worship at the tor—up high on the cliffs where the rocks form into a cave. On the night; Eve of Beltane, the Shabbat of spring. The Heather and gorse are returning, symbolizing the rebirth of the world. The goddess has lain dormant through winter and now labors to bring forth new life. “This is who we are, Ursule. We are Grand-mère’s descendants. We are Ochières, and we practice the old ways. We are sisters in the craft.” “Mamam, not witch-craft?”
Ursule had not known Grand-mère Ursule; the one thing young Ursule was certain of and as clear and strong as the light from a full moon, was that Grand-mère had not been a witch. Now were these others, these batty old women, witches. She understood they had seen hard times. She felt their need to cling to their history. She respected their wish to honor their tradition. But young Ursule was a modern girl. She was practical. Ursule did not believe a word of their truth; nor of the priest at St. Hilary. This wild tale of witches, and scrying and so forth—was a fairy tale; a colorful made-up tale and she did not believe a word of it.
Time came to pass and one uncle died during spring, the other two followed swiftly after; as if their life span were linked or as if they couldn’t bear to face the heavy work of summer even for one more time. It was Taunte Louisette who said after they buried Claude—“Now we’re a house of old women in the country. Widowed and spinsters. They’re left in peace.
Eight nights a year, the women and one girl made their way to the tor to observe the sabbats. And as the aunts aged their time came as well. Taunte Louisette was the first to go and this they thought made sense as she was the eldest of the remaining Orchière sisters. Louisette had always seemed eternal as she loomed over them all like one of the granite towers at the crest of tor. A stroke; cerebral apoplexy that took her in a single moment. The sisters followed Louisette; one by one, as if it was pre-ordained. Anne-Marie died in her sleep one stormy winter night just a few days before the sabbat of Yule. Florence found her, still and stiff in bed and shrieked as if she’d never seen death before. Florence passed than Fleurette.
Ursule continued to journey to the markets and Nanette stayed on working the farm; doing the chores. Ursule liked battering the vegetables, cheeses, and other items that she took to the market and that is how when Mr. Morcum Cardew came to visit her at Orchard Farm, she was not surprised. They were two women left at the farm and the work was too much; they needed the help since the farm was falling apart. Morcum had seen Ursule at the market and knew of her strength and talents. He had lost his Annie and a year has pass since his mourning of her as this was enough time for a husband to mourn. Morcum came to ask that they join their farms animal as one in her farm as he would sell his and the money would be used to fix up Orchard Farm.
Ursule and Morcum were wed quietly at St Mary’s Church in Penzance since father Maddock in Marazion refused to officiate. Nanette was the only guest. The Cardew family, three taciturn brothers and two-sour faced sisters declined to attend, saying Morcum was marrying a gypsy, a heathen who would lead him astray to hell. The years passed; wedded bliss, with Orchard farm prospering. Wedding anniversaries, even birthdays went unnoticed and Ursule no longer measured the years by sabbats but by the seasons—spring for selling preserves, summer for tilling the crops, fall for breeding and winter for cording and sewing and mending. Ursule had not climbed the tor to the temple in years.
She was simply too busy and as time pass with no offspring or a daughter to continue the Orchière lineage; Nanette hoped for otherwise. She would go to the tor as she could and submit her prayer; so one day while Ursule was at the market selling her wares and this Sebastien—travelling musician, a harp player spent a few hours with Ursule while she was at the market; Ursule thought that the goddesses had sent him to her so that she could have a babe of her own; since she and Morcum could not conceive.
Morcum had always heard that the women of the Orchard farm were witches and so it was when he was forced to succumb to his wife wishes—to bed her—he believed that her mother Nanette had done something to him and so he sent the town folks after Nanette. They dragged her to the cliffs and she fell to her death after she had been exposed, found out to be a witch. Nanette is dead.
Ursule hurried to get away—she tried to make way up to the tor to retrieve the Scrying stone and to leave Marazion and Cornwall behind with all that she knew as home. Ursule gave birth to a baby girl, who she named Irene and they were in Tenby; a tawdry farmhouse with endless chores. Irene is Ursule’s daughter; they live in a cottage and work for Master Hughes. Her mother, (Ursule), has fled Cornwall with nothing but her shire stallion and a Scrying stone. She and her daughter are not peasants, but might well have been, if Master Hughes had not given a lost, pregnant woman a change to earn her living. At times, Irene is un-appreciative and so her mother reminds her: “you listen to me, Irene Orchière. I’ve earned every bit of our living by good, clean hard work.” And her father Sebastien, Irene’s father is there in the cottage when he can be. The Grange might have a musician once or twice a year or there might be a wedding or a funeral in Tenby; but not enough for him. He often travelled to other places for work and so Irene never knew when Sebastien would show up to tutor her in French, teach her a few simple chords on his harp, then disappear again and the harp with him.
Irene did could not see herself spending her days and nights as a farmwife. She saw herself as a lady and one who would one day wed a lord. This she exclaim to her mother as she had decided to not do anymore farm chores. She left all the workload for her mother to do. She spent her time being idle; brushing her hair, and not being in the sun. Irene had many good virtues; her mother had taught her to do sums; and made her puzzle out recipes in old French from the ancient grimoire. And her father had taught her French. What Irene lack was humility and patience. Irene knew that she could never be a Lady like Ms. Blodwyn yet she knew she could not stand spending the rest of her days as a farm wife, shoveling and feeding, digging and weeding. She shuddered at the idea of becoming her mother –growing gray, wrinkled with perpetual dirty fingernails and filthy boots.
Irene could handle horses and was a good rider and when the young colt Ynyr was to be sold, it was she who managed him and thus how Lord Llewellyn came to know of her; she managed to have him drank her concoction which made him want her all the more and so he returned with his proposal and Irene accepted and packed her bag of few items and took possession of the Scrying stone and left her mother and Orchard Farm for her manor at Morgan Hall.
Irene was the only Orchière witch who knew what she wanted and set out to obtain it from day one; despite how badly she may appear to be to her mother; she is a heroine of modern times. She said that she wanted to be a lady and to marry a Lord and that is what she ended up doing. The Morgan’s were an old family in St. Hilary, but Lord Llewellyn and his Lady attended few dinners and garden parties held in other great houses. Morgan Hall was the place where the pair held its fetes and picnics, and Morwen, daughter to Irene and Lord Llewellyn, knew most of the laborers children and those of the doctor, the school teacher, and the rector. Morwen had few acquaintances of her own social class, a circumstance that caused her governess to despair of her ever learning the art of social conversation. Lady Irene’s awkward background made her unwelcome among the aristocracy.
Morwen was a free-spirited girl; she rode her horse with not a care as to what others might say of her and that big animal. She galloped where she wanted when not studying or such. She loved to visit old Beaupre Castle since her school went there one day for an architectural journey day trip. She had been frequenting there and so one day while inside the old ruin, she met this old crone who Ynyr was bowing and being silent to—this old crone was her grand-mère Ursule but she thought her grandmother to be dead.
It seems that What Morwen wants more than anything is to be out of doors; to live outside—perhaps to be a gypsy, one of those dark, intriguing folks who wandered the country in caravans, telling fortunes and hawking jewelry and cloth.—and not unlike the life of her great ancestors the likes of which Irene wanted nothing to do with. Is this irony or destiny or with them witches, fate?
At Morgan Hall, Morwen has not a friend; what she has and cares for are her horse Ynyr and Jago, the horse handler and personal helper etc. he is a kind gentle man who sees to Morwen growing up. He knows that she likes to ride and stay out all day long; he knows this makes her mother unhappy. He keeps her secret. But Irene knows all things that happen around her and folks whispers as to her having eyes behind her head. They also know that Lady Irene has not real interest in anything that didn’t directly affect her. Morwen had figured this out by her mid-youth.
So, where are we now with this long, multi-generational tale of mothers and their daughters and what they want them to become or to have in the world? Irene made her dreams come true at what expense? And now Morwen is being sold like one of the horses at this formal tea to a William Selwyn and she has no idea since she think that it is their son Dafydd Selwyn who she will wed, but not he but the father. Either way, Morwen does not want this and she makes this clear to her mother Irene who threatens to get rid of the horse Ynyr if she visits the old Beaupre castle again. She does visit the old Beaupre castle and speaks with her grandmother and so does Irene; she showed up to confront her mother and tells Morwen to go back to apologize to her papa who is worried since she left with no explanation. They argue and Irene leaves as does Morwen but what neither knew was that Ursule would die shortly after their departure. Irene kept her promise and had the horse Ynyr and Jago leave Manor Hall. No reference given. Morwen is angry and hates her mother for doing this; she decides to leave Morgan Hall and has nowhere to go; she took the Scrying stone with her, hid it in her robe and wanders to the old castle where she consoles to the Scrying stone to help her find Ynyr and Jago; it seems that they are together and she begs them to stay where they are until she arrives; this she was able to view in the Scrying stone. They were reunited and Morwen got Jago to help find the priest to bury her grand-mère Ursule; they wrap the body and place it on Ynyr back to get it to the parish priest where they beg him to help to bury her. He promised to give her a burial and so they left and made their way to London. They found a grimy flat above a fish shop; Morwen took care to hide the crystal where no one could find it. In those first tumultuous weeks, while Jago scrambled to find work, and Morwen struggled to look after Ynyr in the noisy and noise some streets of the city, the two of them were constantly looking over their shoulders, fearful of being discovered.
Now this tale becomes the tale of two cities; perhaps was always: “it was a time of uncertainty and revelation, of despair over finding enough to eat, and the hope of being free of Lady Irene’s power.”—these wordings made me think of The Tale of Two Cities.
Anyhow, Morwen took a long ride with Ynyr and while she stopped at a nearby river for him to have a drink, she heard someone speak to her or in her direction; ‘you still have that big horse?’ She turned to see and found that it was Dafydd Selwyn. How happy she was to see him and him of her; it turns out that he lived in London with a staff of servants at a house that his mother left him. His father William had remarried to a woman twice the age of Morwen and more suitable to his father’s age and he liked his step-mother.
Dafydd Selwyn wanted to speak to Morwen about her mother. Her papa Lord Llewelyn had accused Irene of being unfaithful and of being a witch; she left him but some say that he may have killed her and hidden her body. Anyhow, Morwen needed to know but realize that she could not go to Morgan Hall under the advice of Jago. She had not used the stone in long while; she tried to consult the Scrying stone and found Ursule there and as well as seeing her mother at old Beaupre Castle underneath the same blanket that the old crone, her grand-mère had used and died beneath. She sent Jago to go and try to help her mother Irene. Jago went and found her and they talk a bit and he helped to drive to a farm where she would work as a water-maid or such. Irene is a lowly again but not as desolate as when staying at that old Beaupre castle.
Morwen was one of character and her word is her word; like when she told her mother that she would return the Scrying stone after having taken it out of her wardrobe; she did return it to her and if her mother had not sent Jago and Ynyr away things might have turned out better; but that is a different story.
Morwen spent time with Dafydd and liked him; as she was spying him on him in her crystal; she decided to concoct a love potion for him; just as her mother Irene had done with her father Lord Llewellyn and Jago; but Jago came into her room and asked her what she was doing? He had been suspicious of her that night. He put a stop to her ritual and pleaded with her to not do it. He persuaded her to see herself through his eyes; she agreed and felt shame for wanting to trick him—she poured out the potion out of her bedroom window that night into the bush below; if Dafydd Selwyn was meant for her, what will be will be; similarly is that song or saying that is: Que cera, cera…
Now we are at the end of their lineage and nearing another great war. And the Queen is present; very present with her coven of witches. So what is to be feared when it involves the Queen?
Veronica Selwyn has a horse name Yon Mouse and Jago has a dog name Oona. Ynyr is still around—lives comfortably in a box stall with access to the paddock whenever he liked. Jago lived at the Home Farm above the garage. Veronica has an older brother name Thomas and they both liked to visit Jago at the home farm where he would offer them cocoa. They visited them when the weather was bad; they would gallop over on their ponies and hurry in to the warmth of the hearth fire to sprawl on the worn rug and drink cocoa brewed on the old fashioned hob. Their mother Morwen had died when Veronica was born. Jago had said enough for Veronica to understand that her mother and the shire Ynyr had enjoyed a special bond. Veronica, who never met her mother, had that same way of speaking and Ynyr knew this.
Veronica Selwyn had a close playmate name Phillip Paxton and their families had hoped they would join the two families; only time would tell. “She Veronica Selwyn, daughter of the English aristocracy, was descended from a line of witches.” This she will learn among other discoveries.
Veronica lived at Sweetbriar Manor and Farm house in Stamford; and during the war their home was turned into a convalescent hospital. And that is how she came to know Valéry Chirac. He was a most desolate patient; and the nurses did not know if he spoke English or French or what; they thought he might even die. This is how badly he was. He in his struggle to speak wanted Veronica to write a letter for him to his mother…who was taken to a concentration camp. Chirac was a musique teacher and they came and took his students, his mom, his aunt, all of them to the camp for them to die. She tried her best to write the letter and have it off the next day’s mail. She hoped that he would get a response. But none ever came. He did dream of his maman and she died in this dream. He believes it to be true.
She had been summoned by the Queen to visit with her at Windsor on some personal matter, so the handwritten note said. She told her father and they made arrangements and she departed for London. Her visit with the Queen was as the note stated a personal matter; it seems that the Queen found that she had purchased some books from Atlantis Bookshop and she wanted to know if the books were on Witchery? It seems that they have something in common and the Queen regarded this as a beginning for them; for Veronica to work with her in her coven of witches; they meet in the basement of Windsor Castle and there they do what they can to keep the Germans from taking over the world. The Queen’s coven has two other witches; Rose and Olive and now Veronica will be one of them; they will tutor and guide Veronica to the ways of the coven and her lineage since she did not have anyone to assist her with this. The Queen Elizabeth Windsor is of the Glamis line as her mother was a witch. She asked Veronica if she had a grimoire to which she replied ‘yes’. The Queen asked her to take up a room at Windsor with the grimoire, Oona her dog and the Scrying stone; and her position at the palace would be that of courier and companion in troubled time. Veronica would take messages to the Queen’s daughters and so forth.
Veronica daughter of the English aristocracy, was descended from a line of witches; the Orchière line. She had an older brother name Thomas Selwyn; and she the daughter of Lord Dafydd Selwyn (who had been wounded during the first war); was assistant to Queen Elizabeth and engaged to an RAF officer name Phillip Paxton but her heart belong to this wounded soldier who was at her home in that make shift hospital; he was of French descendant and is name Valéry Chirac.
By the end of the war, they married and tried to rebuild Sweetbriar as the home she knew with her father Lord Dafydd Selwyn. Valéry and Veronica lived at Sweetbriar happily ever after. –I am tire of this book, makes me think too much.
Tea mentioning: This book started out with not much tea mentioning; but once we got out of the dark-ages; to modern times; it seems that tea-hap stance is a whirling all of the time.
“Right, let’s say a shilling for the lot then. And a cup of tea when I’ve finished.”
“Fair enough, but I’ll have to bring the tea to you,”
“There’s nothing ordinary about you, Nanette Orchière. Nothing in all the wide world, I tell you sure. While I am dealing with these little beasts, I’ll be dreaming of taking tea beside you.”
“By the time she returned with a tray laden with cups, a small plate and the teapot under a knitted cozy, he had finished.”
“No pasty for you? He straddled the milking stool she set for him and pick up the teapot to pour for them both.”
“The copper kettle began to boil, and Florence prepared the tea and covered the pot with a cozy while Fleurette brought each of them a cup.”
“Ursule could see, looking into the twins disconsolate faces that they knew they were next. She and Nanette hovered over them, pouring tea, coaxing them to eat, touching their shoulders. Gestures of affection were rare at Orchard farm.”
“Let’s have a cup of tea Maman, and then we’ll turn out Fleurette’s room before it’s time for milking.”
“What is it?” But Nanette shook her head. Ursule pressed her further over the pot of tea, but her mother only shrugged and said nothing.”
“I did.” The kettle began to whistle, and Nanette turned away to pour water into the waiting teapot.”
“Nanette poured out a cup of tea and carried it to the table.”
“Ursule closed her lips and settled with her teacup, resolving for the hundredth time to allow her mother her illusions. There was precious little left to give Nanette comfort.”
“Blodwyn was no doubt on her way into Tenby for tea, or perhaps a visit to her dressmaker’s shop in the high street beyond the city wall.”
“Sally, the cook greeted her with a smile and the offer of a cup of tea.”
“They parted then, Ursule to her labors, Irene to her idleness. She paused in the kitchen to make a cup of tea, than carried it into her bedroom.”
“She set her teacup on the rickety stand that served as her bedside table, picked up her hairbrush and sat on the edge of her narrow bed.”
“Sally always gave her a cup of tea and a couple of biscuits in exchange for a nice chat.”
“Irene’s tumbler held only a thimbleful, and she sipped it dedicatedly, bestowing on Llewellyn a gracious smile, as if she were the hostess at a tea in the Grange parlor.”
“Morwen didn’t care. She preferred roaming the fields with Ynyr to playing croquet in a lacy white dress. Would rather spend her afternoon mucking out stalls than be confined to parlors to sip tea and make small talk.”
“Facing her mother invariably meant work, a test of some kind, or a scolding. Her mother might overlook a fresh crop of freckles, but if she had something on her mind important enough to want to see her daughter outside of teatime or dinner it was bound not to be pleasant.”
“Tell Chesley I won’t be down for tea, she said. “He can send up a tray.”
“Mademoiselle would be having tea in her own room.”
“He smiled, his sleepy eyelids curving upward. Tea?”
“The tea was ready in the tack room, prepared on the little coal-burning stove, and a cup laid ready for her on the workbench.”
“She thought about this as she sipped her tea.”
“Morwen finished her tea and slid from the stool. “I’m going to take Ynyr out now. The sun’s up.”
“I’m sorry I couldn’t bring you anything. Any food or tea, or…”
“I have food. And tea, you don’t need to worry about me.”
“His Lordship directs you to dress. There are guests for tea.”
“The last thing she wanted to do, while her head still whirled with grand-mère’s stories, was meet strangers at a formal tea.”
“Lady Irene was seated beside the table, the skirts of her best tea dress draped neatly around her crossed ankles.”
“Everyone sat, and Chesley appeared holding the door to allow the housemaid to pass through with the tea tray.”
“As Irene poured the tea and served the cups, papa and Lord William chatted.”
“The men droned on, the perfect illustration of why Morwen hated formal teas. Politics, politics bored her.”
“Morwen, in her white tea gown, shivered with the sudden chill of premonition.”
“Come in, and Mrs. Welland will make you a cup of tea. Your man and I will handle the—that is, well—the remains.”
“Soon, Morwen was seated on a plush settee in the rectory parlor, with a cup of tea in her hands and her feet warming at a hastily lit coal fire, and not long after that she and Jago were on their way back to Morgan Hall, Morwen on Ynyr’s back and Jago walking along side.”
“We should talk over a cup of tea or something; not out here in Reagent’s park with the whole world watching.”
“She had tried to forget it was there, hidden behind a board she had loosened in her bedroom wall. Now it lay, glowing faintly in its nest of silk, on the tea table in the cramp parlor.”
“She drew the curtain over the parlor window before she brought a new white candle from her small larder and set it in a saucer on the tea table.”
“A man doesn’t like to feel like he had no power of his own.”—Jago; after explaining how Irene tricked and used him. He fathered Morwen, not Lord Llewellyn.
“Come into the house,” Jago said, “I’ll make you a pot of tea.”
“Raindrops began to sputter the tiled roof of the old stone house and they settled at the plank table with tea and a saucer of biscuits.”
“Never,” Veronica sipped her tea for a moment, thinking how to begin.”
“She had never been particularly social, but there had customarily been at least one engagement each week, a tea or a cocktail party. Since the war began, most such invitations had ceased and decline.”
“There was a sideboard, where occasionally tea might be set at, but its drawers were full of napkins, coasters, and trays with a small collection of butter knives and teaspoons.”
“Monsieur Chirac. Can I bring you something? Tea? Brandy?
“She ran up the stairs, poured some into a teacup and carried it carefully back, braced on a saucer.”
“She expected at the very least a butler, or perhaps one of the ladies-in-waiting, certainly a maid to serve the tea.”
“A butler escorted Veronica up the stairs to a small parlor, where he left her alone. A maid appeared with a tea tray, and then also disappeared. A moment later, hurrying in with a little clatter of her high-heeled shoes, came her Majesty.”
“This is something I couldn’t write in a letter. She leaned to reach the tea service and poured out the tea with her own hand, saying absently, and ‘milk? ‘Sugar?’”
“It had been months since Veronica had taken tea with sugar. There simply wasn’t enough of it, and she and her father saved what there was for the soldiers. She hesitated, and Elizabeth glanced up, a twinkle in her startlingly blue eyes. ‘It’s all right.’ She said. ‘We’re quite careful about rationing here in the Palace, but we do indulge in a little bit of sugar. Please take some.”
“When they both had their cups in hand; Elizabeth settled back and took a sip. ‘Ah, I needed my tea. It’s been a trying day.”
“There always is. Elizabeth, returned now to the image of the gentle royal known to her people, picked up the teapot and poured fresh tea into her cup. She held the pot up in question, and Veronica nodded, holding out her cup so Elizabeth could refill it.”
“First, Queen Elizabeth said, as she poured tea for Veronica, ‘we will take a few days to establish your position here.”
“Are there any others of your line?’ Veronica accepted her teacup, amazed that these were her Sovereigns fingers grazing hers, as if she were any usual hostess. ‘Your sisters, perhaps?’ ‘Only one, Mary Frances; Lady Elphinstone.”
“Elizabeth sipped her tea calmly, but Veronica saw the telltale darkening of her famous eyes. ‘She has a bit of a gift for Simples.”
“She toured them with her father, and then left him resting in the morning room with his tea as she went out to the stables to see Mouse.”
“They parted at the hall, Veronica for tea with Lord Dafydd Selwyn; Valéry to assist in repairing a broken chair.”
“He was unable to eat anything more substantial than cook’s beef tea.”
Tea with Ainee is saddened to say that there is not improvement in her lot these days. It is coldness in existence that is keeping me alive! Yet, spring has been upon us; today is dreary and gray day; with on-off rain, into the next day. No matter; don’t stop in for a cup of tea but read on (if of interest)to find out what I’ve been doing within these pages as there may be tea reviews and books read (cozy tea mysteries, history of tea, or simply finding tea taking place within a book read).
Happy teas to all and thank you for reading!
Some favorite websites:
www.stashtea.com www.loydtea.eu/ www.celestialseasonings.com www.bigelowtea.com www.tevive.com http://www.twinings.co.uk/ www.metrotea.com www.republicoftea.com http://camellia-sinensis.com/