A Daisy for Hannah Jane: Chapter XXVII

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A Daisy for Hannah Jane: Chapter XXVII

Art by Rachel St. Louis

Art by Rachel St. Louis

Art by Rachel St. Louis

Rachel St. Louis, Executive College & Career / Creative Writing

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Daisy for Hannah Jane

Chapter XXVII

As the rain fell, I listened to its soft song that tapped my eyelashes. I shoved the letter into the mailbox with hopes higher than the bar I’d already raised.

But it wasn’t just the letter I was anxious about. It was something I’d thought about, tossing and turning in bed all night so that only four hours passed while I slept. I was sure of one thing: Sir Henry stubbornly believed that my lineage included some monarchy.

Not a chance, I thought to myself smugly. I raced back to the house and tried not to let the doors slam behind me. I found refuge in the drawing room, tossing the drenched umbrella onto the sofa. Ethel would take a liking to that.

I had devised a master plan to spoil Sir Henry’s schemes once and for all. Jamison had left some clues behind for me in his old desk, scraps of paper full of reoccurring blots. In my free time, I’d decoded the “trash” and pieced his notes together. They sounded nothing like Jamison by the looks of spelling and grammar, but I was just SO glad I’d been able to, after hours of work, figure out the basics. I’d managed to scrounge up a whole paragraph:

Sir Hnry isnt a “sir.” Hes been tryng to gain powr in N. E. any way he can and wll charm othrs in2 evrythng basiclly hes my cousn on my fathrs side of the famly evn tho he obvsly h8s me. The Chauldngs hav been behnd the scenes fr him. Hes aftr their whol estate now. Its up 2 me 2 keep Hnnah Jane out of troubl wth him but it wont be too easy thats fr sure. He wnts 2 mrry HJ so he can claim politcl powr wthn the Al eyes. Fr goodnss sakes he wnts 2 be invlvd in the G r 8W or hmself. This guys actully crazd. Somhow he got 2 hav a place in the xx _ uh fray me. Who knws what he wntd wth that Lee’z uh grl. Anywy I kind of felt srry fr her. But I all so felt moer srry fr HJ. Espclly now.

I couldn’t help gasping, yet again, when I read it. I’d write it out for what it meant later. For now…

“Ethel?” I called. “Ethel?”

She appeared in the doorway, wringing her hands in a dry towel. “You called, Miss?”

I waved my hand imperiously. “It’s Janie,” I corrected her. “Can you do me a favor?”

She nodded. “Anything.”

“Go tell Bosney’s it’s an emergency.”

“Isn’t that a bit…”

She didn’t finish her sentence, leaving the words hanging in the air like I was supposed to know what to do with them. “A bit what?” I asked, rather abrupt.

“Unorthodox.”

I raised my brows in emphasis when I replied, “I am anything but orthodox.”

Ethel grinned, wringing the towel even more. “I hope you grandmother doesn’t find out about this.”

“That’s why hope never vanishes, Ethel.”

“Tell Timothy I asked for Misty. She’s the mottled gray mare. You can ride her into town yourself if you’d like.”

“Really, Miss — I mean Janie — you would let me ride your favorite ‘orse?” Her big eyes shone and she stopped wringing the towel.

“Really.” I smiled at her and meant it. The towel floated to the floor.

She sailed out of the room without a second glance. Still smiling, I picked up the towel and returned to the desk chair. After rereading the last two sentences of Jamison’s codes paragraph, I felt elated. But sad. Bittersweet?

I eyed the small bouquet of roses Jamison had left for me during his last day in the Chauldings household. One solitary daisy lay in the middle of the minuscule rose-bed, like a sore thumb. A special sore thumb.

I was that special sore thumb in my beloved’s eyes. Not a flattering rose, but a daisy. One day Jamison will get what he deserves, I assured myself. He will get great pay, a strikingly beautiful wife, and tons of land.

Though Jamison loved me, I had to put his best interests at heart. I couldn’t allow myself to stand in the way of the pampering he did deserve, since I was not the one who would give it to him. I would give him an adventurous life, not one of financial rest. I hoped I could, but I had to face the truth.

Jamison deserved far better than the likes of me. As for myself, i needed to focus on mending my relationship with Grandmother and look after her, learning her expert ways to handle the Chauldings’ estate and manage everything else good ole Harriet wasn’t in charge of. The less amount of romantic ideas I had, the better.

So I needed to seriously pray about this. Because it’s all easier said than done.

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