A Day Of Rest


Bless you John, you look so peaceful as you lie sleeping in our bed
I wonder which dreams are circulating around your troubled head?
You poor wee lamb, I love you, despite your slightly stubborn ways
But I fear that you look physically drained, and could probably sleep for days

Mother, I hated those pesky rags, so firmly knotted in my hair
They don’t make it look any better, I’d rather they were not there!
Goodness, is Father quite alright? It is not like him to snore
Oh please don’t tell me that he is ill! Not my Father who I adore!

Bonnie, don’t you worry, he says it is nothing serious and I agree;
I think he has a cold, which is why we must be as quiet as can be
Let us get his bath ready for him and it will be warmed when he awakens
Yes, your Father will enjoy a soak in the water if I am not mistaken.

Must I go to church; can I not do what Father does?
It must be so pleasant to lie in a field and examine the clouds above.
How is the wee bump today? I cannot wait to meet my sister or brother,
But we must leave for church now. I’ll look after you, dearest Mother.

©Sophie Bowns 2011-2014

Teddy- Chapter 63


teddy poppy

Mr Howard sighed. “You seem so sad of late.”
Theodore nodded, proceeding to play. He did not give Mr Howard an answer, but insinuated that something was not right.
“You have a lot on your mind I suppose, with time ticking on a little. Don’t worry about your Mother, she is a strong woman. It is a shame that she makes you feel so inferior. You know, I do believe that you will be seeing Lady Jane again soon and….”
Theodore released his fingers from the keys, pushed the piano stool abruptly to one side, closed the lid and tossed the diploma level music across the grand piano. He stormed from the room, letting out an exasperated cry.

Queen Evangeline stood up immediately from where she had just begun having afternoon tea and walked from the room, closing the oak door behind her. Her face was white and she gritted her teeth. She grabbed hold of Theodore’s arm, ushering him into the small library and closed the door.
“What is the meaning of your behaviour?”
Theodore shook his head.
“Well, you are clearly out of sorts, aren’t you?”
“I am quite well, thank you. May I be excused? You have company.”
“And now you’ll run and tell your Father everything, I suppose.”
“Has Father…”
“Your Father hasn’t said anything to me. I know, you’re just like him.”
“So you have said, Mother.”
“I noticed something…”
Theodore tilted his head to one side and narrowed his eyes.
“Your arm seems thinner.”
“Pardon?”
“You seem to be spending far too much time on your horse and taking part in recreational activities.”
“That is hardly a bad thing.”
“Everything you do is for yourself, Theodore. I never dreamed that I would be Mother to such a self-centred man. I do imagine that when you and Jane are married, you won’t even come to visit us, will you? It will be like I never had a son.”
“That is not fair.”
“It’s true.”
“Not at all. The new house is not so far away, we shall visit as often as we can and…”
“You say that now. Still, I don’t suppose that you or I have ever been very close, have we?”

Theodore didn’t know what to say. He recalled being a child; and his Mother always being too pre-occupied to have anything to do with him. Even when he had asked her to read to him, he had been sent back to his nanny or Mr Howard, who would almost always oblige instead. The silence was too long for Queen Evangeline’s liking.
“Well?”
Theodore had forgotten the question in his state of anxiety.
“I would love you if you didn’t give me reasons to…”
“To hate me? Bah!”
“That is not what…”
“Yes it is!”
“Mother, please allow me to put a word in edgeways! I am begging you! I do not hate you, but I fear that you despise me and that is where the problem lies. I try to bend over backwards, just to please you! Why do you think I practised playing the piano so often as a child? Just so that you might have said; ‘that sounds lovely, Theodore’ but no, you only accused me of showing off. The same with my paintings. You thought me obnoxious, when I only wanted your seal of approval and to be loved by my own Mother!”
Theodore sat down in a straight-backed chair and prayed that she would say something comforting to him, but she did not. She stared coldly at him.
“Please hold me and tell me that you love me! Please!” He begged. “What do I have to do?”
“When you are married to Lady Jane, perhaps you will stop trying to cling on to me like a limpet.”
“I do not cling, Mother. Whatever I have done please forgive me. I am sorry that I am not the son that you wanted to be. I may have been a flighty teenager, but I am almost 20 now. I am a man, I am no longer that little boy. Mother, I love you.”

Something he had said triggered something within Queen Evangeline. For a moment, she realised that she probably had behaved in a harsh manner towards her son. She forced a smile.
“You know that I am not the hugging sort, but I am sorry. I went too far. You know, perhaps I have been a bit harsh towards you and I often forget that you are not a child any more, you are a man. Your Father and I are both very pleased that you have made the effort to be so amiable towards Lady Jane.”
“I am very fond of her.”
“Truly?”
“Yes, she is a sweet girl.”
“What else?”
“I certainly hope that we shall be happy together.”
She nodded. “Yes, that would be pleasant, wouldn’t it?”
Theodore bowed out of politeness and left the room.

***
Jane waited for him downstairs the following morning, as she draped her shawl over the back of one of the many chairs. She sighed and shook her head. Whatever was taking him so long? At long last, he appeared; poking his head around the door.
“Oh, there you are at long last! I have been sat here, twiddling my thumbs for the past ten minutes.”
“Lady Jane, there are hundreds of books on that bookshelf.”
“I hate reading Theodore, you know that.”
“Yes, forgive me.”
“Whatever took you so long?”
“I had business to attend to.”
“Oh, of what sort?”
“Nothing of any great importance.”
“Please tell me, when we are married we must be able to confide in each other, mustn’t we?”
“The majority of things, yes.”
“And I am so ravenous!”
“Oh goodness me, what a bad host I am. I haven’t offered you anything to eat or drink yet!”
He rang the bell and Mr Howard came to his assistance.

“Ah, your Grace. I hope you and Lady Jane are having a lovely day.”
“We are.” Lady Jane stated as a matter of fact. “Might we have some elevenses?”
“Why of course. I’ll place an order in the kitchen.”
“Thank you, Mr Howard.” Theodore beamed.
An elegant cake stand was brought out, followed by a tea-tray. Lady Jane beamed as they were placed before them.
“How nice this is. Those smoked salmon and cucumber sandwiches look divine and just look at the cakes!” She gasped.
Theodore smiled as a maid poured the tea. He thanked her and she scurried inside. Jane added sugar to her tea and took a small sip.
“Hmm, only the best.”
Theodore took a tiny nibble of sandwich, putting it down on his plate. Jane frowned and pursed her lips as he stared out of the window.
“Aren’t you hungry?”
“I am just taking my time.”
“You are being rude! What is wrong with you?” She hissed, grasping onto his wrist and turning his face rather abruptly to her. Theodore got up like a shot and pulled away.
“Who do you think you are? I am not a puppet! Do not presume to force my head in your direction!”

©Sophie Bowns 2011-2014

Maternal


maternal

Mother, you’re heavily pregnant. Please sit down and rest your aching back
I demand that you must sit there still, while I clear this garden path
The floor needs to be swept and mopped and I shall wash the clothes
Mother, don’t you dare attempt to pick up those books; I shall collect those
Here now, hold out your hands, for you I have made you some tea and toast
Just sit in that chair now Mother dear, for it’s a break you need the most.

Bonnie, you’re a wee darling, but I can assure you that I don’t need to rest
You cannot do everything alone today, my dear I might have to protest
But the day is so very fine as the sun carefully caresses my cheek
Oh I am happy, this is like a being in a gentle paradise so to speak.
You have such fantastic confidence, my advice you don’t need to ask
As you do everything so conscientiously, completing every, single task.

©Sophie Bowns 2011-2014

Teddy- Chapter 62


teddy poppy

Theodore appeared downstairs with tear stained cheeks. He passed his Father in the hallway. King Rupert tilted his head and tapped Theodore’s arm, hinting at him to stop. He did, but struggled to look his Father in the eye.
“Theodore, what ails you?”
“Nothing, Father.”
“Something does, I can tell.”
He shook his head, not wanting to worry him. King Rupert lowered his voice tone. “Theodore, I am not your Mother, I am not likely to hit the roof, am I now?”
“I suppose not.”
“Well then, perhaps we should have a little man to man conversation, Theodore.”
Theodore nodded as they both entered his Father’s study. The air smelt of cigars and peppermint and how it comforted him. They sat in dark leather chairs by the window and King Rupert glanced at his son, willing him to go on.
“Hmm, I hate to say anything because…”
“You fear that I might think you are telling tales. Not at all, sometimes it is good to talk and I shall listen.”
“Yes, um very well.” Theodore cleared his throat. “Many negative thoughts have crossed my mind during the last few days. It seems very silly but Father, am I weak?”
“Weak? Not at all my son, I fear that is one of my traits! But no, you are most certainly not that. You have an excellent brain in your head; you are witty, talented and clever. The problem is, you must deal with three very dominant women.”
“Are you referring to Mother, Lady Jane and Baroness Mallis?”
“Precisely. You do well to stay in their company, where as I am afraid that I tend to make myself scarce.”
Theodore nodded. “What can I do?”
“Do?”
“I want to become a better man, and more improved person. What should I do?”
“Oh, nothing. You are very amenable as you are. You make a lovely impression when we are in public, our friends are fond of you, you know. You’re so talented, more so than I ever was.”
“I doubt that is true, Father. You’re far better at Geography and History than I.”
“Never, ever take anything your Mother says to heart. That is a very important thing for you to remember. I fear that….” King Rupert wanted to explain that his wife had not been quite sane in her mind for quite some time, but instead he bit his bottom lip and softened the truth.
“She says things that she does not mean.”
“What can I do? Oh forgive me, I am not a little boy any more so I should not come crying to you. What a baby I am!”
“You did not cry.”
“It was a figure of speech.” Theodore sighed.

King Rupert decided to change the subject.
“So, when will you next be seeing Lady Jane? Your Mother organises these things.”
“Soon, I imagine, but she has only just left.”
“Ah well, that will be something for you to look forward to.”
“Indeed. When is the next occasion?” He hoped that she might be in a better mood next time.
“There is our state dinner, tomorrow night.”
“Oh Father, I will barely be able to speak with her, it will be horrid and..”
“Come now, do not dwell on the negative.”
“All the guests stay so late and I feel exhausted of late.”
“Are you unwell?”
“I don’t know.” Theodore sniffed. “I am not myself.”
“You must dine and then rest. Did you and Lady Jane argue today?”
“A little. I think I shall have a bath and get into bed.”
“You would not care for some refreshments? I’ll ask Mr Howard to fetch some, shall I?”
“No, well perhaps just some tea.”

Mr Howard carried a small tray into the room and King Rupert rose to his feet.
“Oh, you must go, Father?”
“Yes, I have at least half a dozen letters to write, forgive me. It was good to speak with you, Theodore.”
“Ah, your Grace you look tired.”
Theodore tilted his head. “You think I ought to go to bed?”
“Forgive me for nagging, but perhaps.”
Theodore sighed. “No, Mr Howard.”
“Then, I’ll run a bath.”
“Thank you. I’d be grateful for that.”
Theodore lowered himself into the gorgeously warm water. How pleasant he felt to be mulling alone in the darkened room in silence. He lay there for ten minutes or so, before he even attempted to wash himself. What was he going to do, he didn’t know. Theodore closed his eyes and dozed, seemingly exhausted.

He climbed out of the bath and wrapped the large, warm towel around himself before making his way along the hall to his bedroom. Queen Evangeline appeared from one of the rooms and took a double take.
“Theodore!” She gasped, in horror.
“Yes, Mother?”
“This is no way for you to behave. I cannot have you frolicking around the castle in nothing but a white bath towel. Have some self-respect for goodness sake! Have you none at all? I don’t think you do, do you?”
Theodore sighed. “I am dressed in a towel which covers three quarters of my body. I am pacing twenty steps from the bathroom to my bedroom! It is not…”
“How dare you speak to me in such a way!”
“Oh Mother!” Theodore groaned. “For once could you please…”
“What, Theodore! Could I please what?!”
“Not criticise, belittle or question me. Do you have any idea how horrid it is to have this on a day to day basis? What if I informed you that you are patronising, heartless and rude, every single day!”
“Silence!”
“No, I won’t; not any more. I don’t need you, I am not a child!”
“Well this country certainly doesn’t need you. If you are ever King, God forbid, I imagine that you will be gotten ridden of quicker than you can say resignation! The people will walk over you like a carpet, because you are weak and foolish like your Father!”
“Foolish? What makes me so?”
“You’re so naïve and immature.”
Theodore shook his head. “As usual we couldn’t even have a conversation without upsetting one another. How sad.”
“Jane is coming tomorrow, you’ll be glad to know.”
“Mr Howard has told me.” Theodore muttered.
“Perhaps we should put forward the wedding date after all. Your residency is all organised and the decorations and furnishing are all in order.”
“As you wish Mother.” Theodore didn’t care, he longed for freedom; anything to get away from his miserable existence in the palace.
“Goodness me!” She snorted, shaking her head at him and walking off.

Theodore looked over his shoulder and glared at her, wishing that she would trip over her long skirt and fall flat on her face, but she did not. Theodore pulled on some trousers with his nightshirt and played the grand piano a little angrily, picking the most dramatic melody he could find. Queen Evangeline stormed past and slammed the parlour door shut. His blood boiled, but he continued to play even more furiously. He stopped and folded his arms, resting his head on the piano keys.
“Please God.” He muttered. “Please make things change. Bring happiness into my family in any way you think suitable.” He sat up again and closed the lid, sitting in complete silence as he gazed at the beautiful piano, feeling incredibly guilty for taking his anger out on it. He stroked the keys lovingly and began to play something soft and pretty. Mr Howard listened from afar, relieved that Theodore’s mood had changed, walking closer so that he could hear him properly. Theodore sensed his presence, but did not say anything. Mr Howard saw how he shivered in the cold castle and handed him his dressing gown.
“I thought this might help.”
“Ah, thank you. I was getting cold.”
“I am not surprised. Would you mind at all if I listened?”
“Not at all, Mr Howard. Please stay with me.”

©Sophie Bowns 2011-2014

A Sign of Rain


Your Grace it grows colder, oh won’t you go inside?
What is it that troubles you? In me you can confide
Is there something that is frightening you? Niggling from day-to-day
Your Grace, if you’re getting anxious then to me you can just say.

You must think a lot Mr Howard, for you spend so much time alone;
Just like I am forced to do, because you’re the only friend I’ve ever known
Pray, tell me what you think about and what ideas fill your mind?
As you plant those onion-shaped bulbs, arranging them line by line

I am grateful that I have served your family for all of 15 years
How happy I have been here, despite my initial fears
But you must go in now, for I must complete this task
Please take care of yourself your Grace, that is the only thing I ask.

Yes Mr Howard you are right, the temperature drops; there is sign of rain
Why don’t you come indoors too, so that you don’t get soaked again?
Oh goodness, yes the dark clouds are gathering, as I step inside and frown
The heavens suddenly open on you, and the rain falls swiftly down.

©Sophie Bowns 2011-2014

Teddy- Chapter 61


teddy poppy

Bonnie awoke in the early hours of the morning and checked on Andrew, but where was Maira? She tucked the blankets around the still sleeping Andrew and went to find her. Maira sat in the living area, rocking backwards and forwards; her eyes glazed. She was whispering something; Bonnie listened closely, for her Mother had not sensed her presence.
“I miss you John, more than you could ever imagine. I cannot adjust; it is so hard to do so. How can I continue living like I used to without you at my side? I need you, my love. Bonnie and Andrew need you too. Oh, you would be so proud of Bonnie; she is so incredibly brave and couldn’t be any more supportive. She is a wee love, but you knew that anyway. I love you my darling.”
Bonnie approached her, her eyes filled with tears.
“Mum?”
Maira turned around to reveal her reddened face.
“Oh Mother, don’t suffer alone.”
“You were sleeping; I didn’t want to wake you.”
“If you need someone to talk to, I am here and look, wee Aggie is too.”
Aggie stared at Bonnie and she pulled the cat onto her lap.
“Hello dear. I will never forget the day that Father brought you to me. You are a wee treasure, do you know that?” She stroked the soft fur, as Aggie mewed. “When he found you, you were a sorry scrap of a kitten. Now look at you.” Aggie circled on her lap and curled up into a ball. “There now, you look very comfortable.”
Maira forced a smile and stroked Aggie’s head. “She has such a gentle nature.”
“Oh yes. Can I get you anything, Mother?”
Maira shook her head. “Everything seems so hazy, memories and such. I can barely remember the last week.” Bonnie held her hand. “I mean, I don’t recall what was said or…”
“What would you like to remember?”
“Anything, for my mind seems to have locked.”
‘It must be the shock’ Bonnie thought.

“Father was so brave, so gentle and you were both besotted with each other right until the end. You had such a beautiful relationship.”
“I’d like to think so.” Maira sniffed, before placing her hand to her mouth and yawning.
“It is so early, Andrew is still sleeping. Come back to bed and get a proper rest.”
“You have been so kind and I so selfish.” Maira sniffed. “Forgive me Bonnie.”
“There is nothing to forgive. I am here to help.”

Maira got back into bed. Andrew still slept soundly, sucking his thumb, until;
“Mummy.” He muttered, half asleep.
Maira got out of bed and peered over him, putting her hand on his shoulder.
“Yes?”
He did not answer for a while, but sighed instead.
“Yes Andrew?” She repeated.
“Daddy says that he loves you so much.”
Maira swallowed, wiping away the tears. “I-I know he does and I love him still.” She kissed his rosy cheek and turned to Bonnie.
“Sleep well Bonnie.” Bonnie nodded.
“Father, we think about you all the time.”
“Yes, indeed we do.” Maira whispered. “I hope you are happy in that field of yours, John.”
“He will be Mum.” Bonnie reassured.
“Knowing your Father, he will still be worrying about us all.”
“Yes, more than likely. We’ll manage I think.”
“Yes of course love.”
“With my wee teaching job, we shouldn’t starve. We’ll have enough money to see us through.”
“Oh I know.” Maira stroked her hand and forced a smile. “Financially, we shall be fine for a while.”

Bonnie lay on her side in bed, pressing her cheek against the pillows. She sensed the cool material against her cheek. There came a scratching at the door. Bonnie clambered from the bed and pushed open the door. Little Aggie looked up at her and mewed.
“Yes, can I help you missus?” Bonnie laughed, stroking her. Aggie followed her into the bedroom and lept up onto her bed.
“Aww, I will be glad of your company during the dark night.” Aggie curled up into a ball, purred and fell asleep.
“Father, Dad?” Bonnie whispered. “I still want to make you proud of me. I am happy teaching at the school, but I strive for other things; if you know of anyone who might be able to help, then send them my way.” She smiled a little. “I wonder what you are doing right now? Well, I love you and little Aggie does too.” Bonnie sniffed. “It is like she is looking for you. She used to know when you were coming home from work; she waited for you by the door. You saved her life. Why did God have to take you? You were so young, I feel like there is an empty space in my chest and how it aches for you! I promise that I will not let you down.”
The tears fell and Bonnie pressed her ear to her Mother’s room next door.
“John? I miss you more than you could ever know; it’s all the little things. Your constant positivity, how you made me laugh, how amazing you were with little Andrew and Bonnie and just having you around. I have had my soul mate torn away from me and how it hurts terribly. We will get by, dear and when money does run out; well, we shall have to think of something, wont we? Goodnight love and God bless you.”

Bonnie dressed and sat before the dwindling fire with Aggie on her lap. Aggie purred and rubbed her head against Bonnie hands.
“I cannot sleep, wee lady. How glad I am to have you for a companion. Sometimes, I feel a bit lonely; I’d recommend that anyone should have a cat. If ever I had a lonely friend in need, I would certainly let them have you on loan. Now what would you say to that? Aren’t you a wee dear, I can ramble away to you and you’ll always listen.” Bonnie smiled. “It is not right, but I am worrying about money. My job at the wee school won’t support us nearly enough. It was fine when there was two wages coming in, but now I am fretting. I shall have to think of a way of earning a more. I want to cut my hair again so badly. Maybe I could ask to do some more work at the wee school or sell something else? Either way, Aggie I must conjure a plan.”
Bonnie scribbled a note on a piece of paper, and grasped her shawl making her way towards their oak tree. There she sat again and closed her eyes, tucking her knees up to her chest and rested her head against them.
“Please Father; help me to become a better person. I need a purpose in life; perhaps you could help me to find one. I want to be of use to someone one day, but I do not know how. You always knew the solution to everything.”
She took the few folded sheets from her pocket, which were tied from a piece of string and the pencil and mulled in her thoughts. What about Aggie?  Yes, the time that her Father had found her dear little cat. That would make a lovely story.

©Sophie Bowns 2011-2014

Dearest John


John, I know that you are sleeping and you might not be able to hear,
But I’m afraid that you’ve lost some weight; that is what I fear
You spend your days working too hard, trying to earn your keep
But in reality; you’re wearing out and are too deprived of sleep

Maira, it’s not for much longer, just until our work is finished
Then I promise I’ll leave the fields, for I am not yet diminished
I admit that I long for Sunday, for it is the only day I rest
I must continue my work; although it puts my stamina to the test.

Oh goodness me, I disturbed your sleep. John please forgive my speech
I cannot make decisions for you, or even presume to preach
Wee bumpie is wriggling around tonight; it loves to hear your voice
John my dear, would you leave the fields if you were given the choice?

©Sophie Bowns 2011-2014

Teddy- Chapter 60


teddy poppy

Jane did stay with Theodore, having taken pity on him. She held his hand in hers and glanced at him. Theodore caught her eye and cast a little smile at her. He sat forwards.
“Oh Jane dear, do not look so worried. I am quite alright.”
“Has your Mother been…”
Theodore sighed. “Alas, I never know where I stand with my Mother the Queen. I feel like I am constantly trying to please her and yet; I cannot.”
Jane shrugged. “Well, there is no pleasing everyone.”
“That is easy for you to say.”
Jane let go of his hand and stood up, walking towards the window. She gazed out at the beautiful gardens. “It is such a shame that you cannot go outside again.”
“Who says that I cannot?”
“Your Mother would hit the roof; I feel you should be resting.”
He rubbed his forehead. “I feel like I am suffering from cabin fever, let us go outside.”
“I will have to oblige then.” Jane picked up her shawl and collected Theodore’s coat, taking his hand as she led him outside into the cold, but sunny gardens. They sat on a stone bench and Jane draped his coat around his shoulders.
“You do not have to look after me.”
“I cannot let the future King freeze. Oh look, talking of kings, is that your Father arriving home in that carriage?”
“Yes, it is. We must go and greet him.”

Hand in hand, they walked across the grass. He climbed out of the carriage with the help of Mr Howard and smiled at them both.
“Ah, Lady Jane this is a pleasant surprise.”
She nodded. “It is nice to be here your majesty, but alas I shall have to go soon. Theodore, you look tired. Perhaps you should go to bed.”
“I feel fine.”
“You do not look it.”
“I tell you that I am fine!”
“Goodness me, there is no need to snap. I shall go then, shall I?”
“Please stay.” Theodore begged. “When you are not here, I miss you so much.”
“Do not beg your Grace, it is not fitting.”
Theodore pulled away from her. “Stop it, you sound like my Mother.”
Jane rolled her eyes and kissed his cheek. “I might be able to cheer you up.”
She took him back inside and pointed to the chaise lounges.
“Should you be giving me such commands?”
“Probably not.” She giggled. “This is far more fun.”
“Fun?”
“Mmmm, yes.”

Theodore lay along the chaise lounges. Jane adjusted the pillow and kissed his forehead and proceeded to plant little kisses along his cheek.
“Close your eyes.”
“Why?”
“Oh must you ask questions, your Grace?”
She unbuttoned the top two buttons on his shirt and caressed his neck. Theodore sighed a little as she massaged his shoulders.
“Just let all your troubles melt away.” She whispered, holding him to her. “Hmm, you are so very handsome.”
He pulled away. “You’d better not do that, just in case we should get caught.”
“Oh, don’t be so silly!”
“Lady Jane, anyone could walk in here.”
She batted her eyelashes and pouted. “Then perhaps we should go somewhere private. Come along.” She placed a hand over his eyes and led him upstairs.
“Jane, are you trying to kill me?” He laughed. “I’ll probably trip and fall!”
“You’re such a spoil sport, why don’t you try to live more dangerously?”
“Hmmm.” He wriggled free and darted up the staircase, waiting for her at the top. Theodore shook his head at her and sat down on the bottom step, unsure of what she was playing at.
“What are you doing, Jane? Surely it is not your place to…”
Jane pressed her finger to his lips. “Why must we play by the rules all the time? We love each other, Theodore. You need to show it.”
“Jane, I do.”
“Theodore, you are afraid to show any affection for me in public, why is that?”
“We have hundreds of pairs of eyes upon us, what would people think?”
“So, are you ashamed to be seen with me?”
“Darling, no!”
“Yes, you are.”

Theodore sighed and kissed her passionately, if anything, it was to keep her quiet. He let the kiss linger a little and she came up for air.
“Goodness me, my dear! I do believe that I have just seen a different side of you! Lock the door.”
“Excuse me?”
“You heard me, did you not?”
Jane grinned. She pushed past him, locking the door herself and waving the key around with a great playfulness. “You’re going to have to catch me if you want this key.”
Theodore raised an eyebrow as she darted to the other side of the large room. Dare he follow her? What if they were caught running around in a childish manner? He threw all caution to the wind and chased after Jane. She flopped onto the bed, quite exhausted.
“It’s  in my corset if you want to find it.”
Theodore sighed. “If you have quite finished behaving like a wild woman then…”
“You encouraged it.”
“It isn’t proper for us to behave in such a way.”

Jane found the key herself and pulled it from her corset, tossing it across the room.
“Oh have your blasted key then!” She folded her arms and turned her head away from him.
“Goodness Jane, don’t sulk!”
“You are a dull spoil sport.”
“Jane, I am a Prince. Do not speak to me in such a way!”
“Everything you do is planned and safe. Your parents treat you like a little lap dog! For goodness sake, you do everything they tell you to and still, your Mother does not approve!”
“You don’t know anything.”
He sighed.
“Yes, I do. You will never be able to make your Mother happy for as long as you shall live. Do you want to know why?”
“Not particularly.”
“She is heartless, Theodore!”

Theodore swallowed; he agreed with every word but could not let on that he did. He pretended to be shocked and gasped a little, but his reaction was too delayed and Jane only laughed.
“You are a terrible actor; oh thank goodness! I have finally found something that you cannot do!”
“Go home Jane.”
Theodore sighed.
“Are you going to make me?”
“Heavens above, Jane! When will you grow up and realise that this is not a game? Stop behaving like a child.”
“Bah! You are childish in many ways!”
“Oh really, so tell me; how am I childish?”
“The mere sight of your Mother makes you quiver and quake and you are afraid of being king.”
“I admit those faults, but that does not make me immature.”
“So am I childish then, Theodore?”

Theodore was tired of her behaviour so; “Yes, I do suppose you are. For example; you are quick to sulk if you do not get your own way and you always want to be centre of attention! Need I go on?” Theodore ran a hand through his hair.
“I am going!” Jane wept. “Oh you bully, you wicked, perfectly horrid creature!”
“Jane look…”

Theodore tried to take her arm, but she slapped him away with the loose glove she held in her hand and stamped her foot, letting out an exasperated cry.
“I am leaving now. Thank you for ruining a potentially lovely day. Oh and you still look really awful. I just thought that you should know!”
She stomped away, leaving Theodore alone in his room. He placed his head in his hands and groaned, before flopping back onto his bed.

©Sophie Bowns 2011-2014

Puppet


Your Grace, your parents are holding a dinner. One tonight I hear
Come now, I’ll run your bath, for the time is growing near
Is the water deep enough? Does the water temperature suffice?
I am glad it does, your Grace, I’ll leave you to your own devices.

Theodore good heavens! Do not cross the landing in a towel
Do you have no modesty at all? Why, this behaviour is simply foul
Your hair is dripping down your back. Oh Theodore, this will not do
For goodness sake don’t frown at me, things don’t revolve around you.

I cannot please Mother and how it is breaking my heart
Why are we all the more contended, when we are apart?
Her controlling ideas frustrate me, she does not give a damn;
I pray that Mother releases my strings, sad puppet that I am.

©Sophie Bowns 2011-2014

Teddy- Chapter 59


teddy poppy

A small crowd gathered around John’s oak tree, all with tear-stained faced and puffy eyes, as they remembered the gentle man who had died so young. Bonnie clutched Maira’s hand in hers and it trembled terribly. Their local vicar, Mr Peterson stood clutching a small prayer-book. He cleared his throat and looked around at the small crowd; which included John’s fellow colleagues from the fields,Mr Vaan from the tailor shop and some of their close friends within the village.
Mr Peterson grasped the bible in his right hand. “We are gathered here today to remember our friend, John McGrath. You will all have your own personal memories of John and even though he did not attend church for some time, he was a man of God. He did have faith and was a true Christian.”
Many nodded and Maira dabbed their eyes with a white, lacy handkerchief. Andrew didn’t know what to think or feel, he knew that his Father was lying in the simple coffin and about the buried and that frightened him. Could he hear them from where he lay inside? He did not know.
“He had a number of favourite hymns, one was ‘Abide With Me’ we shall sing that now, if you’d care to turn to page 87 of your hymn books.”

Bonnie ached so much, she thought that she might break. She recalled being a child, and her Father pulling her onto her knee and singing it to her on a Sunday. John had a lovely voice, even though he had never been one to admit it. How her hands shook as she held the book in them. Bonnie wished she could sit down, but she was afraid to, in case it was deemed disrespectful. She felt a gentle tugging on the skirt of her dark dress. Andrew looked up at her with glassy eyes and took her hand, smiling knowingly. The song ended and they were seated once more.
“Please don’t cry Bonnie.” He whispered. Bonnie said nothing, but held his hand a little tighter than before. ‘His spirit isn’t there.’ She reassured herself. ‘It’s just an empty shell.’

The small procession walked towards the church yard, where John would be buried in the corner by the stone wall, covered in vines.
“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust…”
Bonnie nearly dropped the hymn book, for her hands shook so much. Maira senses how pale Bonnie was and sat down with her on the one of the small collection of chairs laid out in the church yard.
“If anyone would like to say a few words, please feel free to do so.”
Bonnie recognised a tall, slim gentleman as he stood up to say something. She gazed at Maira and then at him.
“That’s Tommy Mills, he used to work with your Father, love.”
Tommy cleared his throat. “John was a true gentleman if ever there was one. He was good, gentle and devoted his time to ensure that he made others happy. I-I am sorry that we had not spoken for a while. God bless you, John my friend.”
Doctor Wilson stood next; “That was beautiful, Mr Mills.” He smiled. “The McGrath’s are dear friends of mine, I am sorry that….” He cleared his throat; “John, I will always remember your sincere eyes and that warm smile. You were a devoted husband to Maira and a wonderful Father to your children, Bonnie and Andrew. No wonder they adored you; in fact, I don’t know of anyone who had a negative thing to say about you. That is the definition of a true Christian.” He stared into the grave. “I am so sorry that I failed you, John.” He muttered. Only Bonnie heard him.

Bonnie sniffed, rubbing Maira’s back and holding Andrew’s hand in her free one. ‘Pull yourself together, Bonnie.’ She thought.
“I would um…” Bonnie cleared her throat. “This is the hardest day of my life, having to say goodbye to my Father is not something that I would have imagined doing at the age of 19. Father was, um; he had a heart of gold and was the most genuine person I have ever known. He was a man ahead of his time. Father was such an intelligent man and so caring. He and Mother had the most wonderful relationship; they were soul mates. Dad, I miss you so much. Every day I expect to see you sitting by the fire and yet your chair remains empty and cold. Father told the most wonderful stories. During the sleepless nights, I have been writing down all the stories that Father has told us in a wee book that he gave me, in case I should forget. I-I wont though, I promise. I love you Father; I hope you are at peace, wherever you are.”
Bonnie sat down again and placed her head into her hands. Another hymn was sung, but Bonnie could barely remember the words and the rest of the funeral passed in a blur. She recalled dropping a handful of dirt into the grave on top of the coffin, but not what had happened afterwards.

A small group of people came back to the house. Bonnie sat in a chair, clutching a glass of water; she sipped at it blankly, as Maira held her hand.
“Love?”
Bonnie glanced up at her concerned Mother.
“I think Father would have approved.” Bonnie muttered.
“So do I. Darling, your speech was beautiful. You’re so brave.”
“I think I might go out? I’d like to be alone. I-I might go back to the tree..”
Maira nodded. “Everyone will be leaving in half an hour. I’ll join you soon.”
Bonnie pulled on her shawl and made her way towards the tree.
“Father, I know this is where your spirit lies. I miss you terribly and at the moment, I wish that I could speak to you again.”
She patted the fresh soil and tucked her feet underneath her. Bonnie was so cold, for she had forgotten her shawl. Her tears fell as she lay on the damp grass beside the grave, stroking the mud. She closed her eyes and that was the last thing she remembered.

“Bonnie, Bonnie?!”
Bonnie awoke, she was freezing cold and her right cheek was covered in mud from where she had been lying. She felt a hand on her shoulder as Maira and Doctor Wilson crouched next to her.
“Oh Bonnie, I was so worried!”
Maira helped her to her feet. Bonnie was so shaken, that she almost fell over. Maira took off her shawl and wrapped it around Bonnie as they helped her to the house.
Bonnie sat before the fire and washed her face with the soothing, soapy cloth that her Mother had handed to her, not entirely sure what had just happened. She warmed herself by the fire as John used to. She had no idea of the time and stared vacantly into space. Bonnie didn’t even notice when Doctor Wilson bid them farewell, or Andrew went to bed.
“Bonnie love?”
“I-I am tired, I think I might go to bed.”
She muttered, getting to her feet and going to put her nightdress on. Bonnie climbed into bed and pulled the coverlet over her head.

She awoke to the sound of sobs. Maira. Bonnie got out of bed and pushed open her Mother’s bedroom door to find Maira in a terrible state. Bonnie snapped to her senses and sat on the bed next to her.
“Mother?”
“Yes.” She whispered. Bonnie got into the bed next to her and held her close. “I love you, Mum.”
“I love you too.”
There came a pitter- patter of feet and Andrew stood in the doorway, rubbing his eyes. He clutched his favourite toy rabbit in his left hand as Aggie followed.
“I had a dream about Daddy. I feel so sad.”
“What happened?”
“He said that he loved us all. Can I sleep in your bed?”
Andrew climbed in next to Maira and hugged her, as Aggie curled up at the foot of the bed, on John’s old side.
“I love you Mummy.”
“And I love you too Andrew.”
“Night Mummy, Bonnie, Aggie cat and Daddy in heaven.”

©Sophie Bowns 2011-2014