[personal profile] wingedbeast
We've been leading up to this for a short while. For so important an event in setting up the story, we're half-way through the story. That's mostly me reminding myself. This is a quick read of a book, such that even taking one's time to deconstruct it a bit at a time still makes me think I'm breezing through it. There's a reason I read this twice in High School and at least once in College.

Still, a big part of last chapter was the buildup to just this moment. Bernard questioned Lenina's resolve and reminded her that this wasn't going to be... well, it is a walk through the woods at some points but only literally. Both she and he made their resolve clear. They wanted to see this.

So... you know... maybe they might try not being jerks about the whole thing when they get to the Savage Reservation? Nah... I'm not going to be as defensive of Bernard in this chapter.
Read more... )
neotoma: Loki from Thistil Mistil Kistil being a dingbat (Loki-Dingbat)
[personal profile] neotoma
Nittany apples, potomac, magness, and bartlett pears, head of cabbage, celeriac, snacking peppers, and a chicken empanada.

I also picked up a quart of vegan mulligatawny soup, caramelized onion and mushroom sandwiches, and pretzel challah from Soupergirl! because [personal profile] fabrisse came over to watch movies with me. We got most of the way through Too Late for Tears before my DVD player started glitching. I think I may finally have to get a new one, as this one is literally decades old -- anyone have a recommendation for an affordable model I can get locally or get from Amazon?

I was hoping to have a watching party for Over the Garden Wall and other Halloween-themed media next weekend, but I'll have to see.

Also, I'm almost finished with [personal profile] fabrisse's Kraken Knuckles, and need to decide what to do next. Probably Anneal (I have some sparkly green yarn for it), but maybe the Wonder Woman wrap (knit? or crochet?), or maybe one of the Morehouse Merino critter scarfs for the Knit-Along (giant alligator? school of fish? pile of lab rats)?

Ever-fixed mark (Part 3)

Oct. 22nd, 2017 10:44 am
the_comfortable_courtesan: image of a fan c. 1810 (Default)
[personal profile] the_comfortable_courtesan

Next morning Hannah went into the hothouses to cut some flowers to replace a bloom here and there in the vases that went droop, and discovered her brother Julius about some matter of tending pots.

He smiled at her. What, not up and about with Miss Flora?

I daresay she sleeps in, to recover from her journey.

Indeed the Channel crossing will knock one up! But – he turned around with a serious expression upon his face – has she said aught about Beauf – Sallington’s – suit to her?

Not yet.

Only – he sighed – there is some notion of the Duke’s that Beauf might set up his own establishment at Nitherholme, and he was saying, did he do so, might I not go with him and do somewhat about the gardens, that were never particular tended to, save for the herb garden when Lady Jane resided there, and have been much neglected since then, one could have a free hand in doing the thing, 'tis not like Qualling or the grounds of Mulcaster House, so there would not be established gardeners jealous of their place and saying, has always been done thus and so –

Oh, Julius, surely you would love that!

Also, Julius went on with a longing look, 'tis moorland country thereabouts, and I confide would be an almost untrodden field for the botanist –

Sure all sounds entire ideal –

- but one must suppose that his plans would be different did he intend to go marry.

One had to know Julius extreme well to know that he was most extreme concerned about this matter. Indeed it would be a considerable advancement for him, and Hannah knew how great a friendship there had ever been 'twixt him and Lord Sallington. Certainly he might fear that marriage would cause a breach – but was it Flora, that had been part of the same nursery-set? how could that create a gulph?

And then she looked at her brother and wondered. Had she not had particular opportunity to observe the very fine manly affection that existed 'twixt His Lordship and Mr MacDonald?

Why, she said, I daresay Flora will tell me soon enough.

In the afternoon she climbed once more to their meeting place, where Flora was already sitting, clasping her arms about her knees in her old way. Hannah went to squeeze in beside her.

Dearest Hannah Clorinda, said Flora, sure there is a thing I am almost frighted to ask you: but has there been with you any matter of falling in love?

Hannah laughed. Fie, who should I go fall in love with?

Why, how should I know, being away so long?

Hannah looked sideways at Flora. Well, she said, resisting the desire to teaze, I will confess that I have the greatest admiration and, 'tis true to say, affection, towards His Lordship and Mr MacDonald, that are both always so very kind to me. But they are quite out of my sphere, and naught that I would go pine for – and indeed, sure I take the entire apprehension that 'twould be a very foolish thing to set my girlish hopes upon 'em.

You were ever a sensible creature, sighed Flora. For I find myself – found myself, mayhap I will discover that matters are different when we are no longer under the Italian sun, or strolling in balmy moonlight and a little smoky glow from the burning mountain – somewhat unexpected smitten.

She sighed once more. We encountered Quintus and his friends in Venice and it perchanced I saw a good deal of Beauf, and then we went our ways, and then we met once more in Naples, and I found myself in a considerable liking to him, and indeed he to me, and there was a mention of marriage, but I said that perchance we were beguiled by the exceeding romantic setting –

- but 'twas not just that concern that halted me from saying yes to his offer.

She looked down at her hands pressing together. O, dear, Hannah, I like him most extremely, but I greatly dislike the thought of being a duchess. For one sees his stepmother, a most excellent learned lady, that I daresay would greatly prefer to spend a deal more time in her study than her duties of rank permit, and does not complain, but will sometimes let little things drop – will come in from some occasion and say she has been about duchessing, with a twist of her mouth.

And then, my dearest Tiger - she looked sideways at Hannah, who kept her face entirely straight – why, what may I call her? She would not have me call her mama, says 'tis a title she would not steal from Mama, so 'tis a pet name ‘twixt the two of us. But she says, that one should ever think when contemplating marriage that the duties of marriage will include matters to do with one’s husband’s station or profession, if only by behaving proper to that – that is, does one marry a clergyman there is a deal of proper behaviour expected in the matter of church attendance and parish duties &C, almost to act the ancillary curate, and if one marries a doctor one does not gossip upon his patients any more than he would, and must not complain is he called out at all hours to some urgent case.

She leant her head upon Hannah’s shoulder. And said, sure one may see married couples that are entire partners, like unto Mama and Papa, or the Wallaces, or the Samuels, or as 'twas with the Verikers – oh, that was sad news – but indeed, she says, a woman does not always realize in advance what will come to her, but must adapt to circumstances.

And however fond and kind a husband may be, 'tis quite out of the common that he will go encourage her ambitions as Mr Lucas does, that insists that Mrs Lucas has her own study in the rectory. That she confides he would do even was there not the matter of her fortune in the balance.

She fell silent.

Also, she said at length, I like Beauf most extremely, but I have found that I am also given to finding other fellows agreeable, if only for a while. I daresay, she went on, you have read, or mayhap heard, the marriage service? That I confide is not in particular different among Methodists from what pertains in the Established Church – sure one hears that the Quakers do the matter differently –

Dearest Flora, 'tis unlike you to babble.

- and while there is a deal of matter in’t that one could mostly happily swear to, there are some things… even more than the forsaking all others, there is that dread word obey. And Tiger says I should mind what a deal of rights the law and custom assign to husbands, and how little to wives. Sure, she said, a woman – or her prudent advisors – may tie up any fortune she has, but there has to be that forethought took, and even then, there are husbands will endeavour come around their wives by persuasion or even violence.

Hannah sighed. Indeed 'tis so.

But the thing that I always come at, Flora continued, squeezing Hannah, is that I would not wish to be parted from you. And sure I find it hard to come at any way one might marry and still have one’s dearest friend about one. I suppose you might come be my companion, but – she planted a kiss upon Hannah’s head – I should dislike to put you in that position of dependency -

Oh, she cried, but I am a selfish fool! Doubtless you have your own plans and ambitions –

Why, said Hannah, I confide that although I lead a most exceeding pleasant existence here, undertaking the flowers for the house and tending to the library, 'tis not a course I may continue entirely indefinitely. And latterly I was discoursing of the matter to Mr MacDonald, and he advanced the thought that I might go make a living by my pen -

Why, my darling, indeed you might. For Mr MacDonald had most thoughtful laid by for us copies of The Intelligencer, marked up with matters of particular interest, and Tiger was most prepossessed by those pieces of yours on historical ladies.

Hannah felt herself blushing all over. But sure I did not see quite how I might come at that.

Flora clasped her knees again and rocked a little in the old wonted fashion when she was thinking something over.

At length she said, hesitantly, you know that Tiger has a fine property in Surrey -

O yes, Yeomans, 'twas where Mama met Papa –

Say you so! – 'twas let for many years to the Ulrichs, very fine people, some connexion of the Samuels, but at present stands empty, and she does not go seek new tenants until certain repairs and refurbishments are made. And it comes to me, might we not ask her could we go live there, and devote our lives to study and writing and doing somewhat about the parlous condition of womanhood - for I apprehend that 'tis not an entire out of the common thing, for two ladies to live together and pursue their interests, like Lady Emily Merrett and Miss Fenster at Attervale –

- but are they not somewhat older ladies, past their marriageable years?

O, now, but I have heard that Lady Emily was one of the belles of the Season when they first went there, her suitors were entire desolated.

O, said Hannah, longingly, surely that would be excellent fine, but I confide that there would be objections -

O, poo, to objections! said Flora. Do I go convoke with Tiger upon the business I daresay she will come at some way it might be contrived.

Hannah clutched Flora’s hand. O, Flora! I should like it of all things.

rydra_wong: Lee Miller photo showing two women wearing metal fire masks in England during WWII. (Default)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
Politico: Young subscribers flock to old media

What's particularly fascinating is the way in which it's directly correlated with people wanting to support news organizations as a way to resist Trump:

“The big boost we saw in subscriptions in the U.S.,” Newman said, “is driven by people on the left and younger people are more likely to be on the left. That is really a lot of what’s driving it: young people who don’t like Trump who subscribe to news organizations that they see as being a bulwark against him.”

Keep up the good work!
neotoma: Loki from Thistil Mistil Kistil being a dingbat (Loki-Dingbat)
[personal profile] neotoma
I went to see The Killing (1956) on Wednesday by myself, and the double feature The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3 (1974) and Charley Varrick with A (person to be pseudonymed later).

The Killing was excellent noir, full of chiascuro and dutch angles, with a tight tight script, including the final escape with the money being foiled by airline safety regulations!

For the double feature, Eddie Mueller, who hosts Noir Alley on Turner Classic Movies if you have that on cable, was there to introduce both movies. Since the theme of Noir City this year is "The Big Knockover: Heists, Hold-ups, and Schemes Gone Wrong", the Noir Foundation included several movies that are strictly speaking outside of the classic Noir genre, but are classics demonstrating the evolution of heist movies. Thus, we had 'Walter Matthau night' with the double feature.

The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3 (1974) )

Charley Varrick )

And tonight, because I wanted to, I made Flemish Waffles from Everyone Eats Well In Belgium. I omitted the cognac, because making waffles taste of alcohol is pretty much a Do-Not-Want for me, but they were pretty tasty nevertheless, and I have a stack of waffles for breakfast for the week; I'm still getting used to my waffle iron, and it's a bit tricky to get it adjusted to be Just Crispy Enough. The waffle was especially good with the salted brown sugar peach jam I put up several weeks ago, and tomorrow I might try it with the rest of the black raspberry preserve I have open, or the pear compote. Maybe someday I'll get some pearl sugar and try the recipe for Leige waffles -- though I think I'd need a different waffle iron to actually get them perfectly right.

My FemslashEx story

Oct. 21st, 2017 05:18 pm
rachelmanija: (Buffy: I kind of love you)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
I had tons of fun with FemslashEx, and highly recommend browsing the archive.

My recipient was [personal profile] iknowcommawrite aka Scioscribe, who wrote me two lovely Treats last Yuletide! FemslashEx allows prompts for original fiction, and this is the prompt I wrote for:

Female Revolutionary/Princess

Class issues, identity porn, loyalty kink, and compromised principles: hell yeah. I think ideally I would like this one in a fantasy world, but I’m open to other possibilities. I’d love to see about any variation on this I could think of. Is the revolutionary undercover in the palace, getting ready to overthrow the monarchy while falling for the princess? Is the princess on the run from the revolution, disguising herself, and falling in amongst the rebels? Do either of them begin to rethink their principles or their policies? Is the revolutionary agitating in the open, and the princess is intrigued by her radical ideas? Other things I’m totally here for: wearing a crown while being thoroughly debauched by a revolutionary, hurt/comfort, kneeling, undressing from gowns and corsets, and virgin princess/experienced revolutionary.

Isn't that great? I found it very inspiring.

I wrote Burn, an epistolatory exercise in Ultimate Identity Porn. The revolutionary hides her face to conceal her identity. The princess silences her voice to preserve her purity. They know each other. And they don't...

An Actual Update: Fannish Edition

Oct. 21st, 2017 06:29 pm
fairestcat: Dreadful the cat (Default)
[personal profile] fairestcat
Sorting out my mood stabilizers gave me back my ability to read for pleasure and it also gave me back my fannishness.

I've been reading a lot of books, but I've also been reading a shitton of fanfic for the first time in years and just loving it.

I tend to multifannishness with periods of intense focus on one specific fandom. For most of the summer that was Les Miserables, which is a great fandom to binge-read, but a highly inconvenient fandom to want more fic for in 2017, as it's not dead, but definitely doesn't attract as many really good authors as it did a couple of years ago.

Les Mis is really actually two fandoms with one name. There's the Valjean/Javert portion of the fandom, and there's the Les Amis d'ABC portion of the fandom.

I've read and loved some Valjean/Javert in the past, but right now I'm ALL about Les Amis.

The thing about Les Amis fandom is this: in canon almost every character dies, but fandom being fandom says "fuck that shit," and instead you can read thousands upon thousands of ways for everybody to live.

Most Les Amis fic is AUs. Modern AUs. High School/College AUs. Dystopic SF AUs. Fantasy AUs. Soulmates. A/B/O Universes. If you can think of it, someone has probably written it.

But there is a common theme to most of it, a story I needed to read over and over this year. It's a story about queer, radical revolutionaries who get to be happy and maybe even win a little. Not all the great fic is overtly political, sometimes they're radicals in different ways, but that radical queerness is always there at heart, and it feeds my soul.

Also, Enjolras/Grantaire is basically radical idealist who's terrible at human emotion meets cynical alcoholic who's feels too much, and it's gold. If you like pairings who start out the story completely incomprehensible to each other and fight a lot on the way to falling in love, this is definitely the fandom for you. I love stories about people who make each other better, and that's very much the case for these two.

I'm working on a Les Mis recs post but it's rather long, and I've got a lot of other things going on right now, so I'm not sure when I'll get it finished.



Just when I was starting to despair of no more Les Mis fic, [twitter.com profile] bonibaru and [twitter.com profile] thatmissp started talking about Shadowhunters and linking to stuff. So I watched one of bonibaru's vids and went, "ooh, pretty, also very, very queer". And then misspamela posted a snippet of a fic she'd written and I read it and said, "okay, I definitely need more of this." And then I discovered that it's on netflix in Canada, and decided I'd give it a shot.

I watched the entire 13-episode first season in 3 days.

As my two enablers warned me, it's not exactly good TV. It's a trashy supernatural teen soap opera, and it embraces that. But I actually love that about it, it has no interest in being subtle and nuanced, and that makes it kind of charming and endearing. It's just so earnest.

Also, very, very queer. It's an ensemble show and within that ensemble the romance that gets the most attention and best development is the queer one, and it fills me with joy.

Magnus Bane is a flamboyant, hedonistic, bisexual and immortal warlock. Alec Lightwood is a young, uptight, closeted supernatural demon-fighter. They meet and Magnus immediately goes, "I want that one," and Alec suddenly completely loses the ability to speak. It's adorable.

And of course there's angst, and Alec is a self-sacrificing idiot a lot, but it's also a surprisingly honest and realistic relationship arc for a supernatural teen soap opera.

Anyway, I've just started season two and I'm enjoying it immensely. It's not the kind of fandom I expect to become passionate about long-term, but right now it's providing a much-needed shot of sparkly queerness in my life.

An Actual Update: Real Life Edition

Oct. 21st, 2017 04:06 pm
fairestcat: Dreadful the cat (Default)
[personal profile] fairestcat
Look, I can makes posts sometimes that AREN'T either music or book reviews! Who knew?

This summer was filled with reading, multiple trips to a friend's cottage in the Gatineaus, and learning to be dog owners. That last has been particularly exhausting, but we're getting there. And he is a sweetheart.

This is Bogart:
sitting dog

all about Bogart, with more pictures and a cameo from Dreadful )

There is also a new four-footed resident downstairs. Chakra, one of Rayne's cats, died in mid-August and in September I saw this fine gentleman in a pet store and sent his picture to Rayne, who promptly came and met him and fell in love.

This is Ivan Vorcatril:
white cat

Yes, we do call him, Ivan, you idiot )

Which is better than Kina is with the new temporary downstairs resident.

Three years ago we rescued and either rehomed or tnr'd the colony of feral cats who'd been hanging out in our backyard. One of the first kittens Rayne rehomed was Sage:

grey and white cat

Sage has returned to us, but she can go home with you! )


In non-pet news, As of yesterday I am taking Concerta for ADHD.

This article was somewhat unnerving to read, because so much of it could apply to me: How I Came To Understand My Adult ADHD".

Especially this part, about how long the writer went undiagnosed:
When I asked how this was possible, my doctor-friend hit the nail on the head without looking up from her menu: “You were performing well, so no one asked you how you felt.”

I'm still figuring out what parts of my non-neurotypical brain are because of being bipolar and what parts are in fact due to ADHD. It's a weird feeling to be re-evaluating this stuff now. I'm 37. I've been diagnosed as bipolar since I was 24. I thought I was done learning new and interesting things about how my brain works.
rydra_wong: Text: BAD BRAIN DAY. Picture: Azula, having one. (a:tla -- bad brain day)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
which I have been hiding from for nearly a year owing to its close temporal (and partially causal) association with my major mood dip at the start of the year.

Because I am in no way MASSIVELY AVOIDANT or anything, no why would you think that.

I will accept praise and validation.

(no subject)

Oct. 21st, 2017 10:02 am
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
I am jumping on the bandwagon for The Good Place with both feet! Philosophical discussion with disasters! Veronica Mars and Ted Danson and a lot of other excellent actors in a whacked out version of the afterlife.
It is wonderful!

Ever-fixed mark (Part 2)

Oct. 21st, 2017 10:17 am
the_comfortable_courtesan: image of a fan c. 1810 (Default)
[personal profile] the_comfortable_courtesan

So, much later, Hannah climbed up to the deserted attic of the west wing of Raxdell House, and out onto the flat part of the roof 'twixt chimney-stacks, to find Flora already there, changed out of her finery into one of her old schoolroom dresses.

O, Hannah, she said a little tearfully, I thought you might not come.

Why should I not come?

Sure I am a foolish creature, but I have been hearing so much about how you go take care of the library, and are quite entire Mr MacDonald’s pupil in philosophy and a deal of other matters, sure you become the blue-stocking, while I have been about the frivolity of travel.

'Tis not what your letters led me to apprehend, said Hannah, sitting down upon a ledge and patting the place beside her. Was a deal of good thinking about what you saw and society and politics and history, 'twas no account of balls and flirtations and parties of pleasure.

Why, will not deny that there were plenty of those as well, said Flora, sitting down beside Hannah and putting her arm around her as she had ever been wont. But sure I should have liked to have you there, though indeed I now apprehend why there was such a to-do when I proposed you should come.

She looked down at her feet and sighed. I have learnt a deal of matters about things that concern me and those close to me. She fell silent.

Some considerable while later she said, but I would desire disclose 'em to you, my other self, 'tis why I wished come here where we may be quite private and none may overhear.

You need not, said Hannah, is't some matter of family secrets (had she not once heard some spiteful gossip that Flora was a cuckoo in the nest, no child of Josiah Ferraby’s but of some adventure of his wife’s? She did not believe it – was there not the finest fondness 'twixt the pair of 'em, did not Flora greatly resemble her father – but mayhap she was mistook.)

No, indeed I must - 'tis a very beautiful thing – indeed I feel myself proud - She stood up and looked about her. Sure I am foolish – none ever comes into those attics save to spring-clean once a year, and 'tis not the time for the chimneys to be swept.

Why, said Hannah, one may see through the skylight, grimy though 'tis, that the attic is quite entire deserted - there is no reason for any to come nigh -

I know, I am foolish, but the secret is not all mine to disclose.

Come sit down, then, and whisper in my ear as we were wont.

Flora gave a little smile and came to sit down again. She put her arm back around Hannah and leant towards her. I am Aunty Clorinda’s child, she whispered.

Hannah turned her head. Why, now one had heard it, one saw that Flora was very much of Lady Bexbury’s colouring, and none of the other Ferrabys was so fair. And sure Lady Bexbury had always manifested the very greatest fondness for her god-daughter –

But – she began in a low voice – who –

Oh, indeed Papa is my father. 'Tis somewhat of a long story, but it came about that poor Mama was very poorly indeed after being brought to bed with Quintus – and was advised that she should have no more – and very greatly yearned even so – and when it happened that Aunty Clorinda, that was not at that time Marchioness of Bexbury, went with child, she loved Mama so much, and thought that she would make a much better mother than she would, and I should be in a family with loving brothers and sisters, that she gave me to her –

Hannah frowned a little. But one could see that Lady Bexbury and the elder Ferrabys had quite the finest affection between them, that Lady Bexbury and Lady Ferraby were an entire model of fine female friendship –

- but indeed, part of the plan for this Grand Tour was that so she and I might spend some time alone together, and that she might tell me all this – though sure she had some hesitation, 'twas not until we were come unto Naples that she brought herself to come out with it. And – o, I do not know, mayhap 'tis possible your own mama has told you somewhat of how matters were before Aunty Clorinda married the Marquess? – but indeed I could see why she might suppose it the better course.

I was a deal put about at first, Flora went on, but then I thought what a fine upbringing I had, how much I love Mama and Papa, and how loving Aunty Clorinda always showed to me and to the others, would come romp in the nursery when we were little &C.

Hannah smiled. Would come be your tiger, and your wombatt. She squeezed Flora and Flora squeezed back.

But – o, there is more that happened, and things I should wish talk over with you, but sure I do not wish to drown you. Might we convoke here again in a day or so?

One did not often hear Flora so hesitant in making a request. Hannah kissed her friend, her other self, and said, tomorrow, do you wish.

And, said Flora, I should wish to hear all that you have been about.

Hannah smiled and said, sure ‘twas arranging flowers, and keeping the library in order, and a deal of reading. Little enough to tell.

'Tis not what I hear! – that Mr MacDonald goes lecture at the college in Gower Street, and that he practises over what he will say with you, sure, my darling, you are entirely acquiring a university education.

Hannah felt herself blushing. Why, I do not think the matter is beyond the feminine intellect; and indeed we have much fine talk of history and philosophy and the progress of the natural sciences.

We must speak further of this, said Flora in her old downright manner, but indeed I must go dress, for the entire family comes dine, save of course for Josh

Do I not know it! Mama is entirely about seeing that everyone’s favourite dish is served.

Hannah watched Flora scamper away, climbing down entirely in her old hoyden-girl fashion and not as if she was a fine young lady of fashion that had travelled and was being (was Julius right in so thinking) being wooed by a duke’s son.

She sighed, and more slowly made the descent herself.

The Secret Conspirator

Oct. 20th, 2017 03:56 pm
[personal profile] wingedbeast
The Exorcist and Red Dawn have something in common.
Read more... )
copperbadge: (Default)
[personal profile] copperbadge
So, it used to be that we hadn’t upgraded to Windows 10 because our IT department hadn’t cleared it as “secure” enough (it’s not that it wasn’t secure, it just hadn’t gone through the security affirmation process). Now apparently it is, since they upgraded me to 10. I’ve never really had 10; I decided not to upgrade my personal laptop, though for a while the laptop I used for travel had it. 

I know this is just me getting older, but I am weirdly suspicious not of Windows 10 as a system but of the Windows 10 aesthetic. Everything is too smooth and square. Things that should be rounded are pointy and things that should be pointy are rounded. Everything is well-animated and in soothing pastel greys. 

I come from an era where computers weren’t even MEANT to be soothing, where it was just accepted that they would challenge you visually as well as implicitly. And I’m not saying we should go back to a Windows 3.0 aesthetic or anything, I don’t want computers to be difficult, I’m just saying. It’s…

It’s quiet. Too quiet. 

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via IFTTT

Ever-fixed mark (Part 1)

Oct. 20th, 2017 09:02 am
the_comfortable_courtesan: image of a fan c. 1810 (Default)
[personal profile] the_comfortable_courtesan

Raxdell House was positively humming with excited anticipation.

Hannah Clorinda Roberts looked beyond the flowers she was arranging in a vase on the windowsill, out of the window. It was a lovely late spring day. Her father and her brother Julius were about the gardens – as if anything needed doing to improve upon their perfection.

She stepped back, looked at the flowers, and stepped forward again to make a slight adjustment to one of the lilies.

There were footsteps coming down the stairs.

Why, Hannah, do you have fresh flowers at every landing? Excellent fine they are too.

Gervase Reveley, Viscount Raxdell, her parent’s employer, smiled down at her. You must be glad at Flora’s return, he said.

Hannah bobbed and smiled and nodded, although she was not sure – was she glad? Flora had been away so very many months, must have had so many experiences during her Grand Tour: could it be the same between them? Flora had wanted Hannah to accompany her, but there had been – difficulties.

Lord Raxdell proceeded down the next flight, still an athletic figure although his dark hair was now lightly frosted, as Hannah watched him go.

She knew how very – out of the common – her situation was. The child of servants, even were they not merely upper servants, but the renowned cook Seraphine and the greatly esteemed horticulturalist Elisha Roberts. A sufficient degree of African ancestry to be counted, she reckoned, as quadroon and the same proportion of less-marked French ancestry. Yet her place in this household – more like some dependent relative held in great affection. Educated alongside the Ferraby children, the dear companion of their beloved cherished youngest, Flora.

Hannah made a final scrutiny of the flowers, shrugged, and went to the place that would always calm and soothe her spirits, the library. She did not need to take out a book and read: just being there made her feel – in the right place. Which was, she thought, somewhat incongruous. And yet, it was her place. It was the place where she undertook the useful task of making sure the books were where they were supposed to be, of keeping the volumes of the catalogue up to date: and where she had learnt the skills of finding things out, where to look things up, and writing things down.

Mr MacDonald was already there: he looked up, his habitually severe expression softening at the sight of her. Hannah – you look quite the calmest creature in this house today.

She sighed. 'Tis a delusion, she said. I am as agitated as any, that is why I come here to address myself to work.

I am in much the same state, he confessed, and also find it answers to be out from underfoot, while there is a deal of domestic activity in train.

Indeed there is, as if all was not already in order. But I daresay 'tis even worse at Lady Bexbury’s own house.

Oh, indubitably. Anyone would suppose she was one of those sticklers that will most immediate note the one speck of dust or the single spot that is not properly polished.

Hannah frowned. Is it not – not for her, or rather, 'tis done not because she would in the least complain but to provide the appropriate setting? (She had spent quite a lot of time in the past months considering over the phenomenon that was Lady Bexbury and her effect upon her intimates and her wider circles.)

Mr MacDonald broke into one of his rare and delightful grins and said, Sure you hit it off! We all undertake things to express our welcome, in our own particular fashion – for my part, I have a deal of books and journals that I have kept by for her, Gervase – His Lordship – has made sure that that Melusine has been given exercize as well as being well-groomed, Mrs Ferraby makes sure all is swept and garnished, your mother prepares her favourite dishes, your father and Julius ensure the gardens look their best – how else may all show how very pleased they are to have her back?

But, he said, I daresay your own particular feeling is for Flora’s return?

She sat down, and clasped her hands before her upon the library table, and swallowed against the lump in her throat. I daresay, she said at length, she will have changed.

There was a moment’s silence. And have you yourself stayed entire the same? asked Mr MacDonald.

Oh, said Hannah. Of course she had changed. Just because she had stayed in the same place did not mean she had remained frozen as Flora had left her. There had been these hours in the library, the conversations and arguments – she had been acquiring an education that, did she consider upon the matter, and think of what she had been told of Oxford and Cambridge, was very likely superior to that acquired by many that could write BA after their names.

He cleared his throat, removed and polished his spectacles, replaced them, and said, I shall greatly miss our convocations – sure you have an excellent mind and the finest apprehension.

Hannah felt tears come to her eyes. Why, she said, must they cease? There is still so much I have to learn.

'Tis the like case with all: happy are those that know it. Sure I do not think you will give up study – but you and Flora were ever the inseparables. It must make some difference.

Hannah wrinkled her nose. O, Flora will be going about in Society, and being presented, and there will be suitors, I doubt not, both for her own merits and as a daughter of a wealthy and influential family. 'Tis a world where I may not follow her. I am sure I shall still have many hours to give to the library. But mayhap I should be thinking about finding a place - though indeed I am educated beyond my station. Oh, I daresay I might go out as a governess, though there must be few families would want one of my dark complexion –

Are there not, said Mr MacDonald, families of a like heritage that have gone prosper in the world and would desire educate their daughters to their own new station –

Oh, belike! Yet I do not feel in myself any desire to be a governess – sure one hears it may be a hard and miserable life, I confide that few are in that happy condition Mrs Lowndes enjoyed, but also I do not have that paedogogic inclination that she manifests.

Have you never thought that you might earn a living by your pen?

What!

Have you not already published articles and criticism in The Intelligencer? I assure you, Mr Lowndes does not make space in his pages out of charity.

Oh, but –

He smiled and said, For if our virtues did not go forth of us, 'twere all alike, as if we had them not.

I mind, said Hannah, that the gentleman to whom that exhortation was expressed showed one of very corrupted virtue.

Does not mean that the sentiment itself is wrong.

Well, said Hannah at length, I will think on’t. For sure I would rather teach through words in print than before a classroom.

Entire my own sentiment!

But indeed, she went on, there is a deal of different 'twixt placing an occasional piece in The Intelligencer, and earning a living by one’s pen.

Mr MacDonald looked thoughtful. I daresay you will have heard of that very enlightened course of action that Mr – I mean, Sir Josiah, as we must now style him – undertook, concerning settling an allowance on his daughters as well as his sons, rather than laying the money by to swell some husband’s purse –

Even, said Hannah with a little quirk of her lips, did Bess and Meg go marry almost precipitate!

Even so, they were not obliged to do so, and in their matrimonial ventures, were able to follow their hearts. But what I come at, and mayhap 'tis entire interfering of me, is that besides the very fine places your parents have here, they have that interest in the factory that makes pickles and preserves from Seraphine and Euphemia’s receipts, were able send Julius about that Grand Tour with his friends, pay the premium to apprentice Joseph to an apothecary, I apprehend that there is some likelihood that Daniel will be educated for the ministry –

Hannah wrinkled her nose. May be just some boyish notion, she said.

- why should they not provide you with a competence that might support you while you went build up a connexion for your writing? I am sure they would do the like were you a boy.

But I am not a boy.

(She doubted that her brothers received anything like the exhortations and warnings about beguilement that her mother had addressed to her, ever since she came to womanhood. She was suddenly not to go help Josh Ferraby in his menagerie, must not do this or that. It was exceeding tiresome, and she had supposed that some fear of foreign seducers lay behind Seraphine’s determined refusal of Flora’s pleas to Hannah to accompany her upon her Grand Tour.)

She could see that Mr MacDonald was about to begin perorate upon the topic of the inequitable treatment of women, but at that moment one of the footmen entered to say, Lady Bexbury and Miss Ferraby’s carriage just comes in to the stableyard.

Oh! cried Hannah, I daresay all are drawn up ready to greet 'em; let us go at once.

Indeed let us go most expeditious.

All were already greeting the arrivals as they emerged from the carriage: Flora embracing her parents, followed by Lady Bexbury embracing Lady Ferraby and shaking hands with Sir Josiah, taking both of His Lordship’s hands and smiling up into his face.

As Flora moved to make her curtesy to His Lordship, and then to embrace Mrs Lowndes, she was looking around her with a little frown.

O, she cried, picking her skirts and quite running across the yard, Hannah, Hannah, o, I have missed you so, I thought mayhap you were away.

Merely lingering in the library, said Hannah, feeling her spectacles misting. Oh, Flora, you are looking exceeding well.

Sure I am glad to hear it, for we had quite the horridest Channel crossing.

And so fine dressed!

Why, am I in company with Lady Bexbury, do not wish to look like a poor relation or hired companion. But, o, Hannah, I have such a deal to tell you.

What, more than was in those fat letters you sent me?

Indeed there were matters I did not wish to put into letters, but to tell you to your face.

Hannah looked at Flora. She minded that Julius had remarked that when he and his friends had run into Lady Bexbury and Flora upon their travels, Lord Sallington had seemed considerable taken with Flora. Was a fine match in prospect, with the likelihood of some day being a Duchess?

Flora looked around. Lady Ferraby was already beginning to urge them indoors where a collation had been laid. Why, must go do the dutiful first, but might we not foregather in the old secret place upon the roof, later?

Hannah nodded. So, whatever it was, was not yet something that Flora wished to announce publicly.

twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
From TED: Multipotentialities.

I wish someone had sorted this out about 40+ years ago... but at least it's out there now.
copperbadge: (Default)
[personal profile] copperbadge
So, I think someone high up in management at my institution got hacked last year or something, since in the past year we have developed some serious paranoia regarding data security. Not to say that data security isn’t important or that I dislike the changes, I think they are for the most part sensible, but we went from like, zero to Steranko-System-in-Leverage in the course of a month or two. 

The latest development is a mysterious edict that we all have to leave our computers at work but logged out tonight so that they can “encrypt” our computers somehow – I assume it’s some kind of software they’re going to install, but there’s been a dearth of information over what exactly this Encryption Of Computers entails. Furthermore, I was told that my computer is incompatible with encryption (loose lips sink ships, laptop!) so it will have to be wiped completely and upgraded. Which I’m fine with, all my work is on a network drive anyway and I just had to remember to move a few files. 

But my laptop apparently heard them and knows it’s being wiped. Yesterday the flash stopped working and today my Outlook has decided to neither send nor receive any email. Additionally, a retail clothing website just broke Firefox so hard it no longer allows me to log into anything. 

What I’m saying is that this laptop is going down swinging, and I kind of admire its fighting spirit, but goddamn, could it not have waited until the end of the workday so I wouldn’t have to use Microsoft Webmail to do the last two hours of business today. 

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