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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: November 24, 2016

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Submitted: November 24, 2016



Celia hugged Tabby to her chest the kitten sunk its small claws into Celia's white dress looked about the room and then settled down in Celia's lap and lay down purring loudly Celia smelt the soft black and brown and white fur and stroked it gently. Her parents were out some place in the country visiting relatives Masters the butler had poked his head in a while ago and asked if she needed anything and she had no she needed nothing and he had said to ring the bell if she needed anything and he would send Larch the kitchen maid who Celia knew as Lily a small girl with large dark eyes that sparkled and a soft manner of talking. Tabby closed its eyes and lay in Celia's lap satisfied where he was and Celia looked at him and wished he would stay awake so she could play with him but he seemed too tired to play so she let him sleep. Her brother Charles was away at school and wouldn't be back until the summer holidays when they could go down to the river at the bottom of the garden and fish or just lay and talk or Charles would tell her stories he made up or tales from school. Tabby purred loudly and its paws moved as if it was running in its dream and Celia wondered whether to lay him down on the rug by her bed and let him sleep and then she could do something other than be his bed. Nanny who usually looked after her and kept her out of mischief was unwell and was laid up in bed in her own room on the upper landing Celia missed having Nanny around and it was boring trying to make up her own mind what to do and it was Nanny who used to do her hair in the mornings and help her dress although Mother did talk about her having her own lady's maidto help her and leave Nanny to do the other things but Father had said not now but when Celia was older but Celia quite liked the idea of having her own lady's maid someone she could talk to and who could help her in the mornings and evenings. She didn't like being alone she felt vulnerable especially when her father's friend's came to stay and one of them Mr Mealy stayed a plump middle-aged man who used to pull her unto his lap and would put his arms about her and hug her closed to him and his whiskers would tickled her neck and sometimes he would tickle her and she didn't like it and would squirm to get down and away but he was too strong for her and she would just stay there going red with frustration. She lifted Tabby and put him down gently on the rug by her bed and still he purred unaware he was not on her lap anymore. She went to the window and standing on a chair she peered out on the grounds below and the fields and trees beyond watching the birds in the air and down by the rose beds was Chubb the gardener sorting out the roses bending down then up again sometimes if she asked nicely Chubb would cut her a red rose to put in a vase in her room but today he looked far too busy for her to worry him about roses along the path was the tall maid with her dark hair pulled back in bun carrying a basket of washing to the line at the back of the house the maid's name was Betsy who seldom smiled and would scowl at Masters's back her dark eyebrows rising high and her thin tongue poking out at him while his back was turned and Celia had seen her do it one day while venturing along by the kitchen and Masters had been lecturing them about something or other. Having looked for a while at the grounds and fields and trees blowing a bit in the wind she climbed down from the chair and looked at Tabby asleep on the rug by her bed then thinking there was nothing to do in her bedroom she opened her door and looked both ways then closed the door behind her with a gentle click. Where to go and what to do she mused walking carefully along the landing tiptoeing past the guest's room in case anyone was there especially Mr Mealy with his hugs and tickles and touches and his breath in her ear and his stubby fingers holding her against him and she not liking it and attempting to get away but couldn't and that time he meet her on the stairs after lunch and he said about taking her for a walk by the river to show him the flowers that grew there and watch for fishes swimming along and she had said no thank you but Father insisted and she had to go and Mr Mealy held her small hand in his big hand and they walked slowly down the path to the river and he had lifted her up to smell a blossom on a cherry tree and his big hands were around her waist and she hated it and quickly smelt the blossoms to please him then he let her down again laughing. She stopped at the top of the stairs and looked down to see if anyone was coming up but no one was so she climbed down slowly one step at a time holding onto the banister with her right hand which she could just about reach the smooth wood running under her palm the smell of polish from her surroundings the bright light from the sun coming through the large windows in the hall. At the bottom she stopped and looked around the hall with the big wooden front doors facing her and windows on both sides and then to her right was the billiard room where her father went with his friends to play billiards and drink and smoke and talk to the right of that was her father's study where he spent time reading or writing or talking to friends. Just as she was gazing at the doors Masters the butler came along from the outer door which led along to the kitchens ah Miss Celia he said in his smooth baritone voice staring at her and stooping slightly can I be of any help? Or did you require anything? No she said softly looking at Masters's black shiny shoes I was just having a walk around o right yes well if you require anything ring one of the bells he said she looked up at him and smiled he smiled back and walked off hands at his sides his head slightly to one side as if he were a bird looking for a worm. She opened the door that led to the kitchen the door was heavy and it took her all her strength to open it wide enough to get through which she did and slid through the gap and walked down the stairs and along to the kitchen with its voices and pans and saucepans banging and people rushing about. When she got to the kitchen door she peered in and saw the cook Mrs Stark rolling out pastry on a big board her big arms and hands making easy work of it over the side by the sink was a kitchen maid a thin girl wearing a white cap with gingery hair poking out at the sides and back her thin red hands in water Mrs Stark saw Celia at the doorway and stopped what she was doing hello Miss Celia how can I help you? Mrs Stark said her voice firm but kindly at least with her when she spoke to the maid she bellowed like a cow in labour the kitchen maid looked around and stared at Celia the maid's name was Dolly or Darkins the cook called her if in a bad mood nothing Celia said unless you have any spare currants the cook smiled and said of course Miss Celiacome with me and Celia followed behind the cook who was big and waddled as she walked into the pantry and took down a huge glass jar and opened it up and poured currants into a container and gave Celia the container and put the class jar back on the shelf. Can I sit by the fireplace? Celia asked looking at the cook's big red face of course you can she said so Celia walked over to the fireplace with the container of currants and sat on a wooden stool and watched the flames in the fire and gazed at the burning coals and thought maybe she would save some currants and give them when she got back to the room to her dolls

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