Newest chapter: A Daisy for Hannah Jane: Chapter XI

From the ongoing novel A Daisy for Hannah Jane.

Rachel St. Louis, Copy Chief

A Daisy For Hannah Jane

Chapter XI

The only way to be truthful is to keep your eyes on the pupils of your confronter and try your best not to avert your gaze.

And that’s exactly what I did when my grandmother arrived at the hospital, a few hours after Mrs. Jamison had retired for the night. Her son, of course, resisted food and vowed to stay until I could get up and walk. That is, before I decided to shove the bread down his throat if he didn’t do it himself. The ever-so-serious doctor had given me some more medicine to shut me up.

Grandmother wore a grimace, deepening her wrinkles and sending canyons of apprehension across her face. She looked as if she was grimacing at being in a hospital of unhealthy people rather than seeing her own granddaughter. It was hard when I’d never felt so vulnerable, laying in a hospital bed with my neck craned, helpless like an eagle with broken wings.

“You worried us to death, Hannah Jane,” she snapped icily.


“You could’ve been seriously hurt,” she went on, flicking a thin lock of graying hair over her rigid shoulder.

Could’ve been seriously hurt?” Jamison piped up, glowering. “I don’t understand you, Mrs. Chauldings.”

No, no, no. Jamison, don’t! A bad mood for Grandmother is war for everyone else. She must approve of you. You can’t…

“Why do you show neglect to your last living relative and show up to the hospital almost a day after the incident?”

…Apparently he can, I thought. Pride for Jamison surged through my veins.

“Why,” Grandmother huffed, “I certainly do care for the girl. Besides, why is it any of your business?” She turned on her heel in my direction. “Hannah Jane, who is this young man?” she demanded.

I lifted my chin and spoke like a lady. “His name is Charles David Jamison Junior, and he will be respected as such.”

“My word, your speech is quite firm!” she exclaimed, looking from me to Jamison and back. “Do you believe he is suitable, my granddaughter?”

I made my reply as dignified as possible. “He is a suitor.”

I held my breath while Grandmother layered her options, her mouth twisting into a hard frown as she mentally read over her choices. She held her visage in that manner for a long time, too long for an injured girl.

“Grandmother,” I said, “do you remember one of the many wealthy young men you sent to me, named Sir Henry?”

“Of course. He is eligible and was my first choice.” She squinted at Jamison, who was clearly bothered.

Jamison’s hands went from clenched to balled fists to interwoven fingers. He contained his obvious anger through those rough, red hands and informed her, “Sir Henry attempted to murder Hannah Jane. That’s why she is here in the first place, Mrs. Chauldings.”

“This can’t be.” She looked pale. “The doctor reported of her condition and informed me that she had an accident.”

“What did the doctor say about this ‘accident’ of mine?” I chipped in, worried the doctor was a backstabber too.

“He said you had fallen pretty hard down some concrete stairs.”

My heart drummed. “Concrete stairs? Where?”

“In the abandoned cellar near the mines, Hannah Jane. Don’t you remember being there? And why on earth were you in such a dangerous territory anyway?”

Each sentence was a blow to my head. I felt dizzy and clutched the bed frame. “I never went there. I’m telling you, I was on my way to the post office to get your mail when Sir Henry’s henchmen — ”

“Henchmen! She is delusional. Someone, give her medicine. Nurse? Nurse?” she called.

Jamison’s tightened jaw opened for him to say, “I think you should leave.”

Grandmother burst into flames. Her brows were pointed like a V and her forehead turned into a map. “How dare you tell me what to do? I am Mrs. Chauldings. I am superior to you, young man, and I demand respect. Who would’ve thought to behave so horribly in this day and age? I am — ”

“— a fine lady turned bitter from loss,” Jamison intervened perfectly, his words calm and his tongue tamed. I was surprised at his courage, knowing my grandmother’s power. But for some reason, I was suddenly even more fond of him for backing me up.

“I know you may not approve of me, Mrs. Chauldings. But I know your granddaughter very well. She is the fairest, kindest,”—What?—“smartest, funniest girl I’ve met. She’s also the prettiest.”

He refused eye contact, but I found my voice. “Pretty is just petty with an r, Mr. Jamison.”

Neither his head nor his eyes moved. “Then she is the most beautiful,” he declared.

I was shocked. Since when does Jamison express his feelings, especially like this, in front of Mrs. Chauldings herself? But I hadn’t been called beautiful in what felt like centuries.

My grandmother dusted imaginary lint from her skirt as she sat in one of the nearby chairs, obviously not knowing what to do with herself. But instead of staring at the wall for a long time before answering like I figured she would, she simply looked at us and stated something my ears had never formulated before: A real, heartfelt compliment. “Mr. Jamison, I admire your character and I commend my granddaughter’s judgment.”

“Thank you.” Jamison spoke to her as if she were the Queen of England.

Grandmother charged on, but showed no emotion. “I therefore approve of official courtship.”

We both held in gasps. WHAT?

“You may come calling for Hannah Jane on my property. My head maid, Harriet, will surely welcome you in many a time.” Her eye looked like it wanted to give me a knowing wink, but merely twitched instead. Endearing. “I also thank you for what you’ve done to help Hannah Jane. A truly remarkable young gentleman.”

Jamison smiled in awe and gave a few words of thanksgiving. I beamed, the happiest (and yet probably the sickest) girl alive.

Everything would be fine. I knew my grandmother and Jamison would hunt Sir Henry down. Justice would come.

When Grandmother saw my face, I could’ve sworn I saw her grin.