Sunday, August 09, 2009


Alice turned toward the window. The morning light was yet insufficient to presage the arrival of breakfast and she fidgeted uncomfortably, wondering how it was she had become accustomed to this part of the day so gradually. Not that long ago, such an hour would have been unthinkable. It was considerably astounding that the mere lack of servants, regular hours and required occupations should so disturb her day.

Such simple things, Alice thought. How disagreeable to have to do with out them.

Worse, finding herself waking at a reasonable hour and occupying her long days with little more than reading was beginning to make her feel a trifle old for her modest number of years. Alice blinked out the window and took in the unchanging landscape. At one time she had thought it exotic and full of promise.

Now, however, it only seemed to promise a neglect which she shared. Gilet de Sauvinage repeated his demand that she accede to marriage with him and just as daily she refused. Apart from that, she had no contact with anyone. She surmised that someone must be preparing the meals of which she partook, for de Sauvinage, despite his supposed Frenchness, did not seem to be quite capable of accomplishing.

He never knew what was in the sauces, for instance.

Alice had never quite reconciled herself to the Gallic predilection for sauces. She understood gravy well enough and expected to see it on a pie, but expecting a good roast for her midday meal, she was always a bit nonplussed by the variety of sauces that had been appearing surrounding the meat that ought to have been the center of the entrée.

While travel had indeed broadened her palate (she often remembered with a start the things she had consumed upon the decks of the Bonny Read) Alice longed for a simple beef roast and potatoes with peas to add a little colour.

What she usually received was some kind of meat in a rich sauce that clearly contained a good deal more butter and cream than was strictly necessary. She had to admit that the concoctions generally tasted quite good, but she longed for the simple tastes of her home.

Who could have imagined being wistful about Yorkshire pudding? But wistful she was.

Alice turned away from the window and sighed. The landscape offering no respite from her gloomy thoughts -- in fact adding to them with the persistent drizzle that now came down from the heavens in the weak dawn light -- she turned once more to Victor's tale of woe.

She had just begun to formulate some sympathy for the sad creature's tale of abandonment and woe -- not to mention an indignation for Victor's abandonment of the same -- when a knock on the door came which signaled her inevitable breakfast.

At least it will only be bread and butter, Alice thought with some relief. Good heavens, she thought, amazed at her own violent language, what will happen the day cook decides to add sauces to breakfast?

Upon opening the door, however, she drew a sharp intake of breath signaling surprise and alarm.

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