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Belle Rock: Chapter Three
Belle Rock: Chapter Three

Belle Rock: Chapter Three

Mitzi1776Mitzi Danielson-Kaslik

I dressed in a light blue gown for tea as fast as possible without assistance. It was a wonder to me from my brief experience in Belle Rock (the walk alone, that is) that I was expected to live out here; it was so different to London, I couldn't imagine that here they held parties or balls (not that I particularly liked going to London society parties or balls), but at least they were a part of life that in my own limited specialisms I understood. I knew nothing of Puritans, of rural life or of whaling. But I did know of tea, and that was something that I was required to take now and so with that thought in mind, edged downstairs in my hoop skirt, though the immeasurable cold of the hallway shocked me a little.

As I arrived downstairs, I found Carstairs the butler standing out by the entrance of the orangery, which was attached to the house by a narrow archway, cut off from the rest of the house by a pale blue veil in some form of lightly worn silk. It fluttered gently in the last of the salty winter wind and brushed the sides of the archway lightly as if it held it in such great esteem that it could not bear to do the disgrace of touching it. Two men sat facing each other in opposite, silhouetted against the silk by the gas lights dotted on the table between them. They seemed to be speaking, although so quietly I couldn't make out the words their mouths were forming. I held the veil aside and stepped over the threshold into the orangery, and both men stood quickly to greet me. My father was one of them; the other was a younger man only a handful of years older than myself with light blond hair that trickled around his face and sharp green eyes that glinted like newly printed dollars. That second man was dressed firmly in dark green, which caused him to stand out rather aggressively in a reserved kind of way with over-large gold buttons that seemed over-polished and gleamed all too much in the lamplight.

"Miss Bradbury." He stood, bowing a little at his slim waist.

"Oh, My Darling, this is Mr Lloyd." My father said rather hurriedly, and I felt distinctly disconnected from both men by my father's apparent assumption that I would know who Mr Lloyd was.

"It's Miss Corbin-Bradbury." I smiled wearily to Mr Lloyd, painfully aware of his looking at me with his emerald eyes.

"Oh." Mr Lloyd said in a rather sharp tone, "Your father did not tell me of that."

"That's fine gentlemen, I imagine rather of you knew." I regarded both men, my father and Mr Lloyd, as lightly as I could. "And there's no need to stand to attention for me." I stared blankly at my father as I poured myself a cup of tea on the Royal Doulton set my mother and father received as a wedding present almost twenty years ago. They looked a little worse for wear now. "I remember these cups and saucers from London, father." I smiled.

"What?" he looked up at him, his mind clearly only just returning to the present.

"This china, it's from the house in London; I didn't know you took some of it when you moved out here."

"I don't think it's from London." He looked down.

"Yes, father, it is; it's the Royal Daulton china you and mother got as a wedding present from her mother; I'd know it anywhere; I haven't seen this half of it in almost a decade."

"Oh." My father turned away from me.

"And wonderful it is too." Mr Lloyd forced a smile, nodding to me as he did so.

"I'm sorry Mr Lloyd, but I am new just this afternoon at Belle Rock, while I'm sure that if I were a local, I would know you, as I'm not a local, I do not, would you do me the kindness of telling me who you are?" I asked.

"Don't worry." He laughed mirthlessly. "I'm not local; I'm from New York City."

"Oh, then I do apologise, Sir, but do go on."

"I have been learning the business of banking from my father, and recently he has entrusted me with the duty of collecting debts around the New England area. Please," he added, "call me Irving."

"That's very interesting; I know practically nothing of my father's whaling industry or whaling at all for that matter. Indeed, my recent journey across the Atlantic was the first time I had even been to sea, Mr Lloyd."

"Oh, well, I – we - wouldn't expect you to have any knowledge or interest in whaling Miss Bradbury." He laughed again.

"Oh?" I forced a smile. "Why ever not?"

"Well, it's the kind of messy business best left to men." He curved his reddish lips into a smile.

"Oh, well, I find that most messy business that gentlemen think is left to them is actually left to women." I smiled.

"Ha!" he laughed. "Really? That is the case in your experience?"

"Yes, Sir." I nodded. "Case in point motherhood." I laughed gaily, shattering the tension that lingered painfully in the silence.

"I should go." Mr Lloyd stood up hastily.

"No need for that, Sir," he father pleaded ", my daughter can learn to hold her tongue if needs be."

"No, no, I really must be off now; thank you for your hospitality Sir Bradbury, Miss Bradbury." He tipped the brim of his hat as he flashed his way back through the pale blue veil. There was the crunch of leather boots as Mr Lloyd was taken to the entrance by Carstairs and bade farewell.

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About The Author
Mitzi Danielson-Kaslik
About This Story
13 Dec, 2021
Read Time
4 mins
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