Chapter Twenty-Three: Hurry!

9 Nov
BTW when you are done reading this chapter. If you think thinking is fun; if you think philosophy should be for everyone try reading  TheMapThinker.com

BTW when you are done reading this chapter. If you think thinking is fun; if you think philosophy should be for everyone try reading TheMapThinker.com

 

L C’s first shock was discovering, depending on the household, the servants, and the nanny herself, her position occupied a sort of no-man’s-land between servant and family.

Being introduced to the staff was formal, which did not surprise her. Mrs. Langlin told the assembled servants, “This is L C Davenport. She is to be our new nanny. I wish that you make her as comfortable as possible.” She then went on to introduce each servant by occupation and name. Names and occupations L C forgot as soon as she heard them.

She did notice for the first time that Mrs. Langlin sometimes talked “funny”, or “from a superior postition”. It was later she was to discover that good English, such as L C spoke, was not sufficient for associating with people of certain classes. Correct English was a must. This meant knowing, and using, the subjunctive tense where appropriate – A tense L C’s English teacher had told the class was archaic and almost unused. What it meant in its simplest terms was that while L C had never heard anyone in her life say, “If I were you,” Mrs. Langlin would find it almost impossible to use the incorrect, “If I was you.”

Then Mrs. Langlin told L C, “Please make yourself at home while Guinny naps.” and promptly disappeared.

When L C turned around so had the rest of the staff.

The house was huge. It was also beautiful, but L C preferred to go outside and look at the property. On the back porch she met the butler. She could not remember his name, but his uniform was unmistakable. He was muscular, not portly, but managed to look like he was born into the uniform suit of a butler.

She smiled at him.

He did not return it. “Anything I can do for you miss?”

“My name is L C. You aren’t old enough to call me miss. I’m not sure you are older than I am.”

“The last person who held your job felt it would be presumptuous of the staff to call her by her first name.”

L C laughed. “Presumptuous?” She did a small pirouette. “Sounds like she thought she was better than everyone else.”

“That she did, miss.”

“Miss. There is no one else around. Do we have to be formal with each other? Am I supposed to call you ‘Master Butler’ or something.”

“No. Nor do Mr. and Mrs. Langlin care so long as there are no outsiders around. So long as it is respectful.”

“So can you respectfully call me L C? I mean it can’t be that much different from working in a beauty salon. Everyone does their job to keep the business going, right?”

“You worked in a beauty salon?”

“No. My aunt works for Jessica Bain in her beauty salon.”

“I see. I have met her. Very nice lady.”

“So tell me, isn’t a nanny part of the staff?”

He looked at her oddly. “L C is it? Each letter pronounced separately? Let us go to the kitchen and have a cup of coffee. I think you would like to meet Missy Mousy the cook.”

“Missy Mousy?”

“We call her that. Partly because she looks so mousy, and partly because she refers to all her ex-boyfriends as frogs.”

He was right about her looks. She was a squarish woman who looked like she would climb into a cupboard and hide if anyone said “Boo.” The kitchen itself was warm, friendly, and smelled of fresh bread. The butler, who said he had been called Bixby by everyone he’d known for as long as he could remember led her to an immaculate table reserved for those Missy Mousy allowed into her kitchen.

She made no bones about her dislike of the prior nanny.

Later, when Mrs. Langlin came into the kitchen she found L C at the end of the counter happily peeling carrots. Her only comment was, “I do not believe I have ever in my life seen a nanny do that.” Guinevere was scraping up the peelings and putting them away.

“But Mrs. Langlin, helping in the kitchen is part of being a girl. May I bring Guinevere down here some time and help her bake cookies?” L C and Guinevere grinned at each other.

Mrs. Langlin eyed the cook, “How do you feel about this, Martha?”

“Every little girl should know how to make cookies, ma’am.” Missy Moussy answered without looking up from the dough she was rolling out. Her voice was tentative.

“Then I see no harm in it.” She turned back to L C “Please have Guinny to the pool in half an hour. Do you swim?”

“Yes, but I don’t have a swimsuit here.”

“Check in the bathhouse. There is bound to be one that fits you.”

Nowadays L C and the rest of the staff were very much like family, and she was learning new things every day. Such as the front door. It was a huge thing, brass decorated, double, and always opened by the butler. Her predecessor had insisted on using it as her right. The Langlins could have told her not too, but did not, and Bixby could have complained, but he would not. When L C got to know him better she teased him about his aversion to using contractions when he talked, but he never relented and never used words like “didn’t” or “can’t” in place of “did not” or “can not”.

L C went around to the side door and entered like the rest of the servants. It was a pleasant Saturday morning.

The second she opened the door she could feel the charge of excitement in the air even though no one was around. There was no one in the kitchen either. That was the most unusual, there was always someone in the kitchen.

Guinevere came rushing in, yelling and dive bombing L C. “You are gonna go, aren’t you? You gotta go. Mommy said it is up to you.”

“Whoa. What are we talking about? Go where? When?”

Little Guinny jumped out of L C’s arms as quickly as she had landed in them and ran off yelling, “Mommy, mommy, mommy.”

L C followed.

“Oh, there you are.” Mrs. Langlin was wiping her hands. She was a naturally svelte woman who did not need clothing to make her look slimmer, more professional, or more sophisticated, yet all of her clothes were privately tailored to do just that. “I know I told you we would give you advance notice when left on trips, to give you time to put whatever you needed in order, but something really important has come up and we have to leave to Europe on a flight Monday. I do hope you can come with us and Little Guinny is looking so forward to you being with us.”

L C was taken aback and said nothing.

“We will be gone some time. At least a month. We need to stop at Germany, Italy, Spain, France, and end up in England.”

“I, uh, I see my fiance tomorrow morning.”

“I am sure he will not mind. It will be a wonderful opportunity for you to see places you have not seen yet and meet new people. Now if you will excuse me I have a trillion things to do. Perhaps you could take Guinny to your Aunt and have her hair done. It will give her a feeling of being grown up and getting ready for the trip while keeping her from underfoot.”

“Certainly, ma’am.”

She rounded up her small charge and headed to Jessica Bain’s beauty salon. Under normal circumstances L C would have loved the idea of cavorting off to Europe, even on the shortest of notices. But she was in the middle of making plans to get married.

How was he going to feel about that?

How did she want him to feel about that?

Her mother would tell her to go. She wanted to go. All of her aunts would think she should go, especially Aunt Emerald who would insist nothing should stand in her way.

But should she?

L C had one eye on a magazine, the other watching Little Guinny to make sure she did not get into anything. Everyone seemed to know her and everyone seemed to love her. Including her aunt’s odd colored parakeet, named Tabby. The colors of its Peaches, gold, grey, brown, and white, did somehow look like a tabby cat.

Guinny wandered around talking to the staff and the patrons as though she were in fact the owner making everyone feel at home. And she always studiously watched what people were doing and how they were doing it.

Guinny had been having a quiet conversation with an elderly blue haired lady when the woman said distinctly, “You are not allowed to watch that show, remember.”

“Am so.”

L C put away her magazine, neatly on a stack of others, and went to them. “Hello. I’m L C, Guinevere’s nanny.” L C thought about saying “Her new nanny,” But then thought better of it. L C wasn’t a new or an old anything. As of now she was Guinevere’s nanny.

“I see. Her last nanny would not allow her to see that Zena show. She said it was way too violent.”

“I think it does a girl good to be exposed to the idea of a woman being just as capable as a man in a man’s world.”

“What a name to call herself though. Zena. A so-called warrior princess. What kind of a self-image is that?”

“What kind of a self-image is the name Guinevere to live up to? She was the husband of King Arthur and was the lover of his best friend, Sir Lancelot.”

“You seem to have strong opinions.”

“There is no point in having weak ones.”

“Is Guinevere a bad name?” Piped the little voice from below. The old lady looked at L C as though to ask, “So how are you going to handle this?”

L C smiled, “It is a wonderful name, honey. But you are not your name. It is just something you have, like a dress or a car or a house. Zena would be Zena even if she were named Guinevere and Guinevere would be herself even if she had been named Tom.”

The old lady nodded. “You must have Emerald as your hair dresser. She talks like that.”

“Emerald is my aunt.”

“Then there is no point discussing anything with you. Much as I love Emerald, and I know she is brilliant, and a wonderful beautician. The sad fact is she does not have a reasonable bone in her body.”

 

 

 

 

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