A Daisy for Hannah Jane: Chapter XXII


Rachel St. Louis

Art by Rachel St. Louis.

Rachel St. Louis, Copy Chief

A Daisy for Hannah Jane

Chapter XXII

Jamison’s search for what has now been deemed as “the men” continued. He ate, breathed, and slept all things detective. Boy, was I a fortunate female.

But the problem was, it was nearly September now and everyone was restless. Restless to end the summer heat, restless of the Great War and anxious for “the doughboys” to come home, restless in waiting for Jamison to find The Men.

I dropped my embroidery hoop and the representation of a stupidly fat cherub plummeted onto the floor. The needle harpooned into Grandmother’s thick Persian rug and disappeared.

“Janie, stop being so frustrated.”

“I can’t. It’s too hard and I want to do something else. May I go help Caleb weed the garden? Or help Harriet do her work? Anything. Please.” I let my hands fall onto the couch. “It’s exhausting in here.”

Grandmother sat there for a minute, weaving her needle in and out of her patterns as if her life depended on it. “Embroidery is only thread and needles,” she said matter-of-factly.

“I hate it.”

“What a cruel thing to say, Hannah Jane.” But she wore the smallest of small smiles as she quickened her needle routine.

“You know abruptness is a virtue, don’t you?”

“I do not, Janie,” she replied without as much as a glance from her static embroidery. “This handkerchief will be the talk of the town. Have you ever seen such beauty in your life?” She held up the square of soft cloth with lacy designs on its corners.

“Honest answer or ladylike answer?”

She rolled her eyes. I chose honesty. “Grandmother, there is too much beauty in the world to be captured in thread.”

She looked horrified. “Well, I never. I expect you won’t be purchasing one?”

I picked up my loop, tossed it onto the settee, and dug my hand into the deep rug to find the needle. “I already am a Chauldings in the minds of every wealthy woman in this town. I don’t think I need to buy one.”

“You are a Lewitt.”

“It seems only you and I know that.”

“Which is because everyone sees you as ‘the heir,’ Janie.”

The needle pricked my wrist. “The heir?”

“Of course.” She examined her handkerchief. I couldn’t stand the way she acted like the surprise was old news. “Do you know how many young women stop by just to inquire about him?”

Hot-tempered, I stuck the needle through the couch cushions while she wasn’t looking. “Pronouns, please. Who are you talking about?”

She still kept her perusal on that stupid handkerchief, holding it up to the light and staring. “Why, Mr. Jamison, of course.”

I was ready to rip the thing in a million shreds. “Jamison! Why would they want to see him?”

The handkerchief floated to the Persian rug in her fake astonishment. “Are you lightheaded? It’s because you are a couple, and everyone knows that once you are married, he will rule over the Chauldings estate, whether his last name is different or not.”

I fished my tongue out of my throat. “Y-you never tell me a thing.”

She picked up the kerchief with ladylike grace that made me cringe. “Of course I do. I just did.”

“Then how does everyone else know?”

“Know what? And who is everyone?”

I stormed out of the room, ignoring the “don’t-you-dare-walk-out-on-me-when-we’re-having-a-discussion-young-lady” and the “weren’t-you-raised-any-better-you-are-a-Chauldings-by-blood” crowing behind me.

Because I had never disliked, longed for, and misunderstood someone so badly in my entire life.