It’s the first day of NaNoWriMo! I’ve paused in my writing for a few minutes to give you a quick progress report. I didn’t get in any writing before church, unfortunately. Now I’ve written 915 words … which is the first part of the prologue. I’ll have written more before evening, but here’s what I’ve got so far:
March 22nd 1867
All over Pearlbelle Park flowers were blooming in overabundance, filling the air the delightful scents. New calves and lambs were frisking in the tenants’ fields and in the extensive stables more than one little foal wobbled beside its mother in its stall.
In the south side of the mansion was the nursery. It was a well-lit room of pink and blue, obviously designed with hope and care. A young man sat on a small rocking chair gazing into a bassinet where slept a tiny pink-faced little girl.
“I don’t think we’re going to get along,” Mr. Steven Parker whispered to his tiny daughter.
Posy stirred, opened her eyes, and stared up at him.
“Don’t protest; of course we can’t. How could I love you? It’s hard to get along with someone who you can’t care for, for who can care with a dead heart? Do you know that if you weren’t here your mother would be? Do you know that you’ve broken my heart?”
The baby cooed and reached up for him.
“None of that,” Mr. Parker muttered, drawing back. “I won’t have you begging for favors. Be too proud to beg, Posy.” He tucked her arms under a blanket. “Be who you are,” he repeated firmly. “That is my first and only order to you.”
With no warning knock, a middle-aged man with graying dark hair hurried into the room. He paused once inside.
“What are you doing here?” Mr. Parker asked, standing up.
“I started the instant I heard. I’m sorry, but that’s the way of the world,” Captain Parker rumbled in his extremely deep voice.
“Oh, come now. Let me see my grandchild first. I heard it was a girl?”
“Congratulations on that mark,” Captain Parker said with a wide grin.
“Congratulations! Congratulations for the creature that took my wife – my precious Lydia? Oh, to hell with your congratulations! To hell with you and her! I wish you’d both walk off the end of the earth!”
Captain Parker laughed loud and long. “So that’s the way it stand with you, Stevie, my boy? This is strange and ironic. You blamed me once for leaving you out of pure necessity and now you intend to leave your baby because you don’t feel like taking care of her. Because you blame her for being born. Well, Stevie, I never blamed you for killing your mother if that’s the way you think it goes.”
“It was double pneumonia with my mother,” Mr. Parker replied. “That’s what took her, not my birth.”
“Yes, but she might have lived had she not been pregnant. I suppose I never told you that? Well, it doesn’t matter. I don’t blame you. I didn’t at the time and I never will. I don’t blame Posy for the loss of Lydia. Suppose you let me take the child.”
Mr. Parker barked out a short, sarcastic laugh. “Ha! Are you serious?”
“Very. I’m retired and not bad off. I’ve a house near the sea. I’ve a cook and a housemaid who would simply love to mind a child. I’m able to give her all you and the Eltons could and provide her with something you don’t offer to; love. I will love her quickly; I love little girls much more than I love little boys. Little boys are trouble; little girls are sweet! You know the nursery rhyme, don’t you? I’ve no use for snakes, snails, or puppy-dog tails, but I’m willing to care for sugar and spice and everything nice.”
At that point, Mr. John Elton, owner of Pearlbelle, entered the room. He was not nearly as tall as Captain or Mr. Parker. He was somewhat round in face and form, dark-haired, with big, sorrowful black eyes. His shoulders were hunched as he tried to bear the weight of the grief that overtook him when he realized that he had buried his youngest daughter that day.
“Ah! John! You know my circumstances. I’m perfectly capable of caring for that child, aren’t I? I have enough love in this weathered old heart to care for her, haven’t I? You’ll let me take her, won’t you?”
“Let him!” Mr. Parker exclaimed, bitterly. “I’m going off to the Continent in a few days. What’s the use of having her here? Nobody cares for her. I certainly don’t! Let me take her!”
Mr. Elton’s face turned a mottled blue green. “Let him take my Lydia’s baby?” he whispered, his voice portraying his obvious pain at the idea. “I … I ….”
“It’s his child, isn’t it?” asked Captain Parker. “Besides, I don’t want little Posy exposed to Steven for a time.”
“Steven won’t be here. He’ll be off in Europe.”
“But who will be left for Posy? You’re an incredibly busy man; I’m retired from the Navy. She’ll be lonesome here. I live in a neighborhood where there are many babies who will grow up to make fine playmates from her. I can send her to a school that she will be able to walk to and from every morning and evening. She’ll be amongst her equals; no worries on that score. I won’t let her socialize with anyone you would consider rough or beneath her. I’ll guard Steven’s treasure until he’s ready to himself.”
Mr. Parker made a disgusted sound in his throat.
Mr. Elton sighed. “You’re right, of course. If you must, you must. You’ll bring her for visits, I hope?”
“Perhaps,” Captain Parker said, illusively.
That’s not the complete prologue, but that’s a small part of it. 🙂 Remember that it’s the first draft.
Now (if you’re participating in NaNo) you’ve taken enough of a break and so have I! GET BACK TO YOUR WRITING!
If you’re not participating … well, I’m sure you have something better to do than read this blog post. 🙂