Sunday, April 12, 2009


"And who are you that I should marry you?" Alice demanded.

"I am…" and he paused as if to heighten some theatrical sense of drama, "Gilet de Sauvinage!"

"Do I know you?" Alice asked, somewhat nonplussed.

"No, of course not," her kidnapper answered in a slightly more normal voice. "You don't know me at all." He also ceased to sound entirely French as well.

"I think perhaps I do," Alice said slowly, her thoughts circling around the tinge of recognizable tenor in that voice.

"Non, mademoiselle, non," he said hastily and very Frenchily. "Now, I must hasten away." With that he stepped back and closed the door suddenly. Alice heard the key turn in the lock and tried the handle. But the door would not move.

"How vexing," Alice muttered.

After staring at the door impotently for a moment or more, Alice at last sighed and turned back to regard the room. The morning light had grown slightly stronger but it was as yet only weakly stimulating. The fire would be welcome when it came, but there was no telling how long she might have to wait.

No tea, no fire, no food – it was quite barbaric. Alice tapped her foot. She felt Lizzie's absence ever more keenly. Surely her wise cousin would not stand still for such behaviour. Lizzie was so much better at commanding other people. She recalled how much more effective her cousin was at managing the recalcitrant Mrs. Perkins, who could be quite beastly to poor Alice when she was out of temper.

Thoughts of home, even of the often disagreeable housekeeper, caused a lump to well up in Alice's throat. While she had much improved her overall command of the vagaries of life as a kidnapee, she was still a young person far from home and the comfort of friends, without even a cup of tea for solace.

It was indeed quite unbearable. Alice gave in to a sudden fit of tears, throwing herself on the bed as they flowed copious and seemingly unstoppable. It was so unfair! Alice badly wished for someone to whom she could state those very words. It would be so delightful to say them aloud and receive some kindly expressions in exchange.

"It's not fair," Alice whispered, her voice barely audible in the large room. The tears still fell in rivulets across her pale cheeks. Hearing the words echo made her feel even more alone, which renewed her crying fit.

After a time, however, her sobs died down and her shoulders stopped shaking. As she wiped her tears away with her sleeve, Alice once more longed for a pocket in which she might have concealed extra handkerchiefs.

I shall never again complain about carrying a handkerchief, Alice thought, recalling all the times her mother had called after her, inquiring whether she carried that indispensable item and showing some consternation at Alice's cavalier attitude toward that accessory. Handkerchiefs were rather useful items after all, Alice admitted. How useful it would be if people simply carried extra ones with them at all times, so those without might prevail upon those who had them.

When he returns, I shall ask—no! demand a handkerchief, Alice promised herself. Picking up the novel which lay on her pillow, she got up and sat in what appeared to be an uncomfortable chair to find out what might happen to poor Victor next. At least it would keep her from dwelling on her own considerable discomforts.

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