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.
I'm still really liking the characters. Teal'c is great. Sam is great. Daniel is great, and beautifully floppy-haired. Jack is also neato, even if the previous all-about-Jack episode almost reached Touched by an Angel level of bad 90s cheese (though there were some striking images at the beginning of the blue rock energy people episode). It's also interesting to see the character relationships begin to form. Obviously they've all made friends, but it's neat to see how quickly Sam and Daniel have jelled into an awesome duo when it comes to sciencing the shit out of things. I'm intrigued to see where everything is going.
All the set and clothing designs on Earth are so very suburban mid 90s that it's both an amazing time capsule and kind of makes me cringe. The wallpaper border in Jack's dead son's room! The pink scrunched up curtains! That shirt his ex-wife wore in a flashback that looked like something my mother owned in 1995! It's kind of blowing my mind.
I can't wait to see how it continues on, so I'll have to make my way through the season one DVDs as quickly as possible, so I can get onto season two. I may also have to get myself a Stargate icon.
Challenge #129 is roller coaster.
As always, femslash ficlets of between 100 and 1000 words are welcome. See our profile for more detailed rules. Don't forget to make your claim at the Shakespeare Quotes prompt table challenge, but keep in mind that finishing date of October 31 is fast approaching!
The show is NBC's The Brave - or maybe I should say Keshet's and NBC's, because I could tell a familiar touch even before the Keshet logo showed up at the end credits. Keshet's an Israeli network, and they also do content development for foreign/international networks.
Typical to shows I like, the show deals with the world of inteligence and special operations. So far it's more procedural then serialized, which I'm totally on board with. "Procedural" is a misleading word, because whoever developed the missions actually did their homework, which shows in the tactical decisions made by the team in the field. (The ops-room parts are drawn in much more abstract shapes.) Three women out of eight chars, of whom one of them is the boss; four of the eight main chars are non-White as I count these things, which is great - I really can't with obnoxiously White shows anymore.
In terms of ethics, the protags are presented as The Heroes (the antagonists are that more than villains, though), and in at least one case where they could've shown the ugly of this world they opted for a fairytale ending instead (this would be the last ~10min of e03). It's a level of sugar-coating I can live with, particularly as it's more sugarcoating than any of my other shows have. (I mean, two of three made Holocaust comparisons that were actually deserved.)
2. Had braised meat rice for lunch, then got pastries from the Chinese bakery and pearl milk tea, yum. And the lunch place was playing Cpop and made me slightly homesick for Taiwan.
3. Watched The Snake Prince, a Shaw Brothers movie, with CB and jhameia and it is... quite a thing. Let's just say there was much more disco music and dancing than I had expected.
Warning: This poem deals with some touchy topics. Highlight to read the warnings, some of which are spoilers. It features bald women, messy medical details, references to past cases of cancer, infertility, distracting visions of Amazon life, historic references to dubious consent and inane attitudes, fostering, failed conversions, frank talk about death, and other challenges. If these are sensitive issues for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward.
( Read more... )
Note: Since my 4-month backpacking trip around Greece too many years ago, I have been longing to return to this magical land of myth, history, and dramatic landscapes. I recently made a fabulous 3-week return trip there, to research additional settings for my novel-in-progress, THE ARIADNE DISCONNECT. My first post in the new series, on September 30, gave an overview of my rambles with my husband Thor from Athens to the islands of Rhodes, Santorini, and Naxos, and finally a pilgrimage to the ancient center of the world at Delphi.
With only two and a half days in Athens, Thor and I could barely dip our toes into the attractions of this bustling city, and we plan another trip soon. I’m happy that Thor has fallen as much in love with Greece as I am! Athens, now cleansed of the eye-burning smog I was breathing 35 years ago, casually blends the ruins of 3000-year-old Classical and older Greece with later Roman, Byzantine, Venetian, and modern buildings. The top photo we snapped from the Acropolis over the ancient Agora (gathering-place and possibly the first shopping mall) shows the blend of ancient Greek, Byzantine, and modern city.
Everywhere you look are the reminders of its long, rich history, and it seems that every time a new building or street repair gets underway, an historic remnant is discovered. Strolling along, you’ll often see the accommodations built around such finds to preserve them:
Since we were walking around the baking steets during an early September heat wave, Thor was grateful for the natural springs found everywhere in this country of porous limestone. Like the Italian vapas that saved us from heat stroke in Rome, these streetside fountains offer fresh, cool water to the weary traveler:
We took the recommendation of friends and stayed at a centrally-located hotel, named appropriately The Central Hotel, so we could walk the neighborhood or take the excellent underground to sites of interest. We never thought we’d enjoy their rooftop cold jacuzzi tub, but in the late-afternoon heat it was refreshing. From the rooftop deck and restaurant, we also enjoyed a wonderful sunset view of the Acropolis and Parthenon:
Again on the advice of friends, we found a quirky restaurant, “Tzitzikas keh Myrmikai” (I think I got that right), translated as Cicada and Ant, with wonderful fresh salads and creative entrees like the lamb in flavorful sauce over a pasta nest that we enjoyed. The decor mimicked a retro general store, with shelves of dry goods and old ads papering the walls:
On our walk through the evening streets, we heard brass band music approaching and were soon in the midst of what looked like a parade winding through the cobbled lanes. We followed and realized it was a funeral procession bearing a casket, led by the uniformed band, then priests in their black robes and high hats carrying flower-trimmed icons and other sacred objects, then a lot of people following. They circled the block twice and ended up at a tiny old chapel with its foundations below the level of the present street, with a modern hotel built over the top of it, the sleek square lobby/porch posts straddling the old church with its tile roof. (I apologize for the blurry photo.) Apparently these processions are common, even in the modern city.
There are Byzantine and newer churches everywhere in the country, reflecting the culture of 98% of the population officially registered as Greek Orthodox. This one is a large, modern church near our hotel, still decorated with traditionally-styled icons:
And there are many shops selling religious items:
We spent a half day at the amazing Archeological Museum, and I wish I had had more time to appreciate its treasures like this Archaic Period (around 1200 BC to 500 BC) Kouros. Precursors of the more lifelike statues of later periods, they have stylized features and standard poses probably influenced by Egyptian culture:
You can see the difference in style and realism in this Hellenistic period (around 330-150 BC) or possibly Roman Period (around 150 BC to 300 AD) statue of Aphrodite, the marble carving so delicate that it almost seems you are seeing through the diaphanous garment draping her body:
And I had to revisit one of my favorite small bronzes, this jaunty phallic satyr. Again, I apologize for the blurry photo; visitors are allowed to take photos without flash, but this was through display case glass.
The many displays of small household items, such as painted ceramic ointment jars and spindles, give intimate glimpses of daily life in antiquity. These parts of a reconstructed chariot were also fascinating:
A favorite place from my earlier trip, which unfortunately I didn’t have time to revisit this time, is the Athens Central Market, a sprawling neoclassical edifice built in 1875 near the Ancient Agora where Socrates and Aristotle taught among the bustle of vendors of every kind. Several large archways open to corridors of fish sellers, a meat market, fruits and vegetable stalls, and crafts vendors.
In my novel THE ARIADNE CONNECTION, my near-future Ariadne is feverish and near collapse as she’s pursued by relentless mercenaries, and she flees through the streets of a post-earthquake Athens. She stumbles onto the still-intact central meat market:
A clear alley magically opened to her right. Ariadne ran down it, hand pressed to the ache in her ribs as she sobbed for breath. Shouted commands rang out behind her. She bolted through traffic for the cavelike dark mouth of a building across the street.
Sunlight glare, and then shadow falling over her. Forcing her way through a wall of heat, bodies, and voices, she fell through into dimness. She faltered, blinking, numbly registering cavernous walls opening up before her. Overhead, a high ceiling of curlicued iron grillwork in flyspecked peeling white, flecked with red. Blood everywhere.
Slabs of meat dripping blood. Headless poultry hanging. Severed tongues piled. Rows of hearts, livers, brains. She staggered forward, eyes glazed, deeper into the meat market. Convoluted twists and turns carried her on through swarms of buzzing flies, between racked carcasses lining the passages. She was jostled by hungry figures haggling over the meat, mouths shouting as they jabbed fingers at the raw red cuts.
She was lost in the maze, gagging in the reek of blood. She stumbled past slashing knives, muscle and guts tossed on the scales, thrown dripping over the heads of the buyers to be wrapped. She came up short, staring at trestles of twisted pale intestines, numbly tracing the convoluted kinks until someone pushed her aside. She tried to find a way out, but the passages kept turning and twisting back on themselves. Voices shrilled, ringing in her ears, and she could hear the distant shouts of her pursuers.
The flecked white walls swayed, closing in. She looked up, straining for escape, stretching for the distant rafters and a thin slice of sunlight shimmering through them. Grisly joke high overhead, crucified on a butcher’s hook, a life-sized pink naked baby doll smirked down at her.
Ariadne screamed her fear and confusion, exhaustion and despair, up at that empty leering face.
More faces turned toward her—accusing eyes and mouths—and she was running again, tripping, hands scrabbling over the slippery stained floor, scrambling up to run on.
And, yes, at the time of my visit there really was a baby doll impaled on a butcher’s hook overhead. Join me next Saturday as we visit the Ancient Agora and then pack up for our next destination: the fabulous island of Rhodes!
You will now find The Rambling Writer’s blog posts here every Saturday. Sara’s latest novel from Book View Cafe is available in print and ebook: The Ariadne Connection. It’s a near-future thriller set in the Greek islands. “Technology triggers a deadly new plague. Can a healer find the cure?” The novel has received the Cygnus Award for Speculative Fiction. Sara has recently returned from a research trip in Greece and is back at work on the sequel, The Ariadne Disconnect.
It's funny--I adore this show but declined to request it for Yuletide. Besides it being a highly jossable canon, what I really want is bona fide philosophy neepery, and I'm pretty sure 99% of the fandom wants to write about relationships. There's plenty of shipfic I would read for this fandom, but I really really want philosophy neepery. And, I mean, 2.5 was basically my Platonic ideal in terms of episode content.
I appear to be sleeping in very small chunks at too long intervals so detailed commentary I have not, but that was good. Adventure, excitement, romance, saving the world, and cats that are wizards and cats that are gods. Excellent adventure and really big fightings.
If you like cat wizards then this is the sort of thing you might like.
But on the plus side, everything I don't plan on tossing from Old Place is now in New Place, and I drove a large van in freaking Brooklyn and didn't damage anything (a true first for me driving rented vehicles in a city!).
My nephew is worth his weight in gold, and I am so glad we get to reconnect like we are.
A good day.
I did finish first action rejections on my oldest Special New and then in my oldest non-RCE Regular New this week.
I couldn't help think of Terramagne. People there often weave their hobbies into work. If you go into a business, you may see the owner's collection of china plates over the door. Things like flower arranging are often done by clubs, where you can pay a higher fee to take it home to display in your house or business, but a lower fee if you just want to make something fun and then it goes to a library or hospital or women's shelter where lots of people can enjoy it. And all that stuff gives folks something to talk about as they go through their day. "Did you see the new painting in Burger Bash? Carrie's son did a giraffe this time." "Yeah, he's getting really good."
We visited with my parents and dropped off a batch of poetry, already sponsored. I don't know whether I'll have time to post this tonight or wait until tomorrow. You can look forward to "Death Whispers at the Tip," "Capable of Stretching," and "A Moment of Atonement."
For supper, we went to a new Japanese restaurant in Danville called Fujiyama. I am only somewhat a fan of Japanese cuisine -- I love sushi but can't each much of it -- and not at all a fan of flaming tables. This place greatly exceeded my expectations. First, the performance area is separate from the regular dining area, so that was a big relief. People who want excitement can get it without bothering people who want to relax. \o/ Second, the menu has lots of tasty things to choose from. I picked out two different appetizers to fill up on (pork dumplings and coconut shrimp) and then had a piece of the sushi that other folks got (California Roll, Spicy Volcano Roll, and Bayridge Roll. Where things really got interesting: they will make "reasonable substitutions" in the sushi constructions if there are things you can't eat; replacing avocado with cream cheese is a standard substitution. :D I have never found a sushi place that would change anything, they all acted like their recipes were dipped in gold or something. So if you are looking for a special-diet-friendly sushi place, check out Fujiyama.
My father sent home a bag of 30 bulbs, which at a quick glance seem to be a random mix of tulips and daffodils. I think I will plant them in the prairie garden en masse.
We lead a temperate life, those of us who go down to Mexico in search of healing. Karen had her last round of chemo today (yay!) and we've just been quietly in the apartment since. She went to bed not long after nine o'clock; now it's barely an hour later and I am prone to follow. Not all the way, for we are obliged to occupy separate beds for the next couple of weeks, until she has at least the semblance of a normal immune system again; even my poor teddy bear has been exiled from her company, despite his sterling work in keeping her safe from demons of the night.
Karen ate most of a bowl of soup for dinner, but I'm not sure how much she's actually kept down. Tomorrow she gets all her billion stem cells back again, which is Day Zero and the start of her whole new life (hereinafter she gets to celebrate two birthdays a year, and who could deny her that?), but mostly she's just going to be feeling dreadful and not at all like partying.
Indeed, there's not going to be any partying for a while. She'll be in neutropenia, where she hasn't enough white blood cells to fight off infection; she stays in the apartment and eats astronaut food, wears a mask, doesn't get to kiss me. People say that Netflix is her friend, but tonight she was too tired to watch TV, and the fatigue is likely to get worse rather than the other thing. I have no idea; we'll find out. And my own prospects likewise: I don't know how I'll get through these next weeks, for it all depends on her. But at least the worst of the treatment days are behind us. I'm seeking comfort in that. And going to bed as soon as I finish this bottle. My doctor was rather shocked to be told that I drank half a bottle of wine a day; let nobody tell her that these days it's a bottle and a half at least. At least. It's easier to be accurate, when Karen's not drinking at all; but it's harder to be abstemious, when there really isn't that much else to do. Wine helps, y'know? Of course you know. Who do I imagine I'm talking to?