Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Euphemia Falls Under the Thumb of Miss Leigh

Euphemia is a main character of The Wind-Up Terrier. Here's a excerpt from her past. 

Euphemia stood on the edge of the platform and contemplated pulling herself over the iron railing. That was the hard part. After she managed to get her skirts and bustle over it would be more difficult not to fall than to stay perched so precariously. She stared down at the polished slate and dismissed the notion. She would only fall a few yards and then all she'd have to show for her pout of ill temper would be recriminations and the scowl of that horrible governess that had arrived bright and early with the post the morning before. Euphemia blew back a lock that had fallen loose, probably from her rebellious thinking. Miss Leigh probably wouldn't accept that as an excuse. Hair was to be neat. Dresses were to be plain. Behaviour was to be reserved but polite. Truly, her mother had not been so very different in her criticisms. She felt tears moisten her brown eyes which had been dry and itchy from the fifteen times she'd cried in the last day.

This woman had none of the right that her mother had. Her mother could be lenient. Her mother would occasionally kiss her. The tears began to flow full force and Euphemia felt the hard iron in her clenched fists begin to grind against her palms. She crouched beside the railing in what she realized absently was not at all an appropriate pose for a young lady of eleven and scrunched her eyes closed. What did it matter, her mother was dead? She was cold and grey and her eyes were glassy.

She'd wondered how green could look so flat and dim but it had and they'd carted her mother out like a sack of potatoes, though more delicately. The funeral was tomorrow. The governess would be there, though she had no right to be and Euphemia knew the woman would have a hold on her. Would crying even  be allowed, she wondered?

"There you are," said a measured voice and Euphemia flinched when she felt hands wrap around the shoulders of her green wool dress. She went easily when they pulled her up and spun her around and she looked at the plain face of Miss Leigh. She watched passively as the woman looked her over. "What are you doing up here so early? Breakfast is currently stone cold in the nursery and I will not have it be sent back on your account. She wrapped one hand over Euphemia's arm and pulled her towards the stairs that lead down to the roof exit. "We have lessons to attend to. Don't dawdle."

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