Charlie looked at Niel in surprise, his brow raised. Niel’s face was contorted in a look of confusion and bewilderment as he gently pushed one of the great big doors open. What met their gaze caused both men to nearly collapse to the floor in laughter. Across the great room there stood poor Mary trying with all her might to light a fire with a wet tinder box. It was quite a sight for the gentlemen to behold, the moderately tall female jumping up and down, her skirts flouncing about as she would kick at the bits of wood that refused to light. She hadn’t noticed the men yet, who were doing their best to keep their laughter quiet. Suddenly she swore, loud enough it echoed down the hall faintly, “Shit!” At this moment both Charlie and Niel lost all sense of composure and were crumpled heaps of laughter now, howling as they looked on. Mary whirled around, her face turning a shade of scarlet that couldn’t possibly be seen as healthy. Her bright eyes became wider than saucers, she gathered up her skirts and ran from the room with a hand clasped over her mouth.
Charlie did his best to regain his composure, nudging at Niel to get the fire started as he got up to his feet, still laughing as he went after the maid. He called after her, “Mary, Mary come back now. Don’t be embarrassed.“
Niel was left in the grand room, by himself. It took him a few minutes to be able to breathe again. Once he was capable, he finally stood up and headed over to the fireplace, holding his now hurting sides from laughing so hard. He fiddled with the tinder box, trying to see what it was that was making it not light and realized the wood in the tinder box was damp. He shook his head and knew that he would have to go out and get some proper dry wood in order to start a good fire to keep the great room warm for all its expected occupants.
Charlie kept chasing Mary, following the sound of her footfalls through the hallway that led from the great room to the massive dinning room, turning just in time to catch her as she ran into the kitchen. The cook was startled when she saw an out of breath and panting Mary quickly followed by the chasing Charlie run into the kitchen. “My Lord, Good Heavens what on earth are you two doing in here at this hour?“
Charlie grinned and held up a finger, asking for a moment as he lightly grabbed the maid’s hand and led her back into the dinning hall intended for great feasts. Mary opened her mouth to say something, but he quickly put his finger he used to request a moment over her mouth, “Shh, it’s okay. I won’t tell anyone what we heard. Lieutenant and I are going to get the fire started in the Grand Room. I apologize for startling you, but you must realize what a sight it was!“
The maid shuffled her feet and looked at the ground, “Aye, yes Sir, but it is improper of a lady, maid or not, to speak in such a fashion, Sir.“
He shook his head, “It is, but I feel it may very well have been warranted. Come back with me to the Grand Room and rest a moment while Lieutenant Niel and I help in getting the fire together.“
She nodded and allowed him to guide her back to the room where he got her seated in a chair. Looking around, he saw his cousin headed for the foyer, to which he told Mary to wait there and he would return as he walked after Niel. When he caught up with his cousin, he whispered, “Don’t say anything to anyone about what the maid said, I think she is quite embarrassed about the whole situation and would rather not cause her grief.“
Niel nodded, then handed Charlie one of the hatchets he’d found by the entrance to the grand room, “We’re going to need to chop some wood. Hope you’re up for the task.” he joked, poking at his cousins strong muscular arms. “Looks like we’ll be putting those sad excuse for muscles to work tonight.“
Charlie let out a groan and accepted the hatchet and followed him outside and off to the side of the inn where they had a wooden chopping block, stacks of logs just waiting to be split. Niel lit the lantern that stuck out from the side of the inn. Both of them took off their jackets and waistcoats, rolled up their sleeves and begun swinging. The two men took turns chopping logs into splits of three each. Not long and poor Charlie was overcome, having to take off his button-up. He could see there was a small speck of blood on the bandages. Shrugging it off, he resumed taking turns chopping splits of wood for the fire. Soon enough they had enough to make a decent stack of extra chopped wood to stack against the inn. Charlie leaned up against the building, after having stuck the hatchet into the chopping block. His cousin came over to him, prepared to give him a gentle ribbing before he noticed the bandages in the dim light of the lantern.
“What happened to you?” He asked, a look of concern now covering his face.
Charlie lifted his head and grinned at Niel, “I was struck by a young lady wielding a parasol.” He let out a pained chuckle at the look of surprise on his cousins face. “Help me back inside, I’m sure Harold can find a way to get the wood inside. I’ll tell you about it on the way back to my room. I needed to change clothes anyway.”
Niel nodded and gathered up their jackets and waistcoats in one arm while he helped his cousin inside, bracing Charlie with his other arm as he was regaled with the incident that led to Janielle striking Charlie with her parasol and it’s ever so sharp point.
I was inspired to write this addition in part due to Mon nominating me for The Creative Blogger Award. So thank you, Mon, for nominating me and inspiring me to continue on with my mini-serial story chapter thingy. There aren’t really any rules as to what you have to do, or write or anything, but the title of the award itself is what prompted me to write today’s excerpt.
The rules are:
- Thank the person who nominated you for the award.
- Add the logo to your post.
- Nominate ten (10) bloggers of your choice and
- Tell them about the nomination
Well… I think I’m just going to let people nominate themselves if they want the award. Nominating people has become tiresome lol but I love the award so I’m totally snagging it! HA! Take that, rules!