Tuesday, October 19, 2010
The Drache Girl - Chapter 3 Excerpt
Yuah thought she had made it up early this morning, but everyone was already seated at the long dining table. Professor Merced Calliere, dressed in a white summer suit that his wife had no doubt purchased for him, sat at the head of the table and was already scooping forkfuls of eggs and sausages to his mouth. At the opposite end of the table, his wife, the royal governor, sipped her morning tea. The bright red dress she wore was clean in style and far simpler in cut than Yuah’s teal dress. It featured no lace or brocade or beading what-so-ever, but the material which covered Iolanthe from the top of the neck to the wrists and down to the floor was so smooth, and so fine, that Yuah would have bet it cost a fortune, and was probably imported all the way from Forlond.
Each side of the table had four place settings, though for breakfast, not all of them were filled. Yuah took her place to Iolanthe’s right. The two seats to her right were empty. At the far end, next to her father, and perched on a stack of books in her chair was little Iolana. The pretty little girl, dressed in bright pink, had her blond hair carefully curled into dozens of tiny ringlets, which framed her aquamarine eyes, tiny freckled nose, and bow-shaped mouth. Directly across from Yuah sat Mrs. Colbshallow. A handsome, though rather worn woman in her late forties, Mrs. Colbshallow had been the family cook for the Dechantagne household. Having journeyed to the new world, she found herself in the rather queer position of being a human servant in a land where servants were lizardmen. Since she clearly was above the level of the Lizzies, she had sort of automatically assumed the place of family member. While she was still in charge of all the meals, she only engaged in the actual work of the kitchen when it suited her. Next to her was her son Saba, in a neatly pressed blue police uniform, with large brass buttons. The lanky boy who had been a step-n-fetchit for the Dechantagne home had grown to a handsome six foot three nineteen year old. His thick blond hair and flashing moss green eyes were a welcome sight for most girls in Port Dechantagne. Though he lived in a small house down the road, he often took meals with his mother. Next to him was another empty seat, and then next to that, to the professor’s right was seated Macy Godwin. Another staff member elevated to family, Mrs. Godwin had served as a governess and head maid at the Dechantagne family home in Shopton. Now nearing sixty, Mrs. Godwin had settled in to serve as the grizzled aunt neither the Dechantagne nor the Calliere family had.
One of the lizardman waiters placed a plate of eggs, sausages, black pudding, baked beans, sliced tomatoes, and toast in front of Yuah. Balancing Augie in the crook of her left arm, she picked up her fork and used the side of it to cut the eggs into bite sized pieces. The local lack of chickens did nothing to lessen the humans’ appetite for eggs and the local countryside obliged. There were many birds in Birmisia, as well as dinosaurs, and quite a few animals that seemed to fall somewhere in between the two groups. Wild eggs had proven to be the most abundant food source offered by the new land. Early on, the colonists had scavenged them for themselves, but this had given way to trading with the local lizardman tribes for them. Now, with the exception of manual labor, eggs were the largest source of wealth for the reptilians.
“I believe there is something wrong with your dress, dear,” said Mrs. Godwin.
“Oh?” said Yuah.
“Yes, it’s missing the back.”
“Perhaps you have it on backwards,” offered Mrs. Colbshallow.
“I happen to know that both of you saw this dress at Mrs. Bratihn’s,” said Yuah. “You’ve just been waiting until I wore it so you could play at being blinkered old ladies.”
“It does show rather a lot of skin, for a day dress,” said Iolanthe.
“Backs are all in, in Brech,” said Yuah.
“I think it looks very nice,” said the professor.
“Oh shut up,” snapped Iolanthe.
When breakfast was over, Yuah bundled Augie up in blankets and tucked him neatly into the baby carriage she had ordered from Brech. It was baby blue, as befitted a boy, with a cute lace edged sun shade and very large round wheels to make it easier to go over the mostly unpaved roads of Port Dechantagne. Picking up her teal parasol, she pushed the stroller out the front door and waited at the bottom of the steps as Tisson carried baby and all down to the level ground. It was cool and somewhat on the breezy side, so she tucked the parasol into the carriage and pushed on down the roadway.