As somebody noticed around the internet, it is beginning to feel a lot like… Halloween. Yep, Halloween, not Christmas, as British national broadcaster has decided to swamp us with nasty horrors in what is definitely
The series will air on FX and BBC this month
the worst holiday program scheme they’ve ever had. You can already see from the dark posters that their central series A CHRISTMAS CAROL won’t be filled with jingle bells but with creepy sounds, monsters and fog. It is interesting that it will first air in USA on FX on December 19th before moving to BBC on December 22nd!
is a unique and original take on the Charles Dickens’ iconic ghost story by Steven Knight and a haunting, hallucinatory, spine-tingling immersion into Scrooge’s dark night of the soul. The three-part special follows Ebenezer Scrooge (Guy Pearce), the miserly cold-hearted boss, as he is visited by ghosts from the past, present and future, on a freezing
Guy Pearce takes the lead role in the new series
Christmas Eve. Forced to face up to how his self interested, penny-pinching behavior has impacted his own life and those around him, is it too late for him to save the spirit of Christmas, and himself? Andy Serkis as Ghost of Christmas Past, Joe Alwyn as Bob Cratchit, and Jason Flemyng as Ghost of Christmas Future also star.
Squeaks spent her mealtime with her father, telling him about her day, and the chaps she was coming to know. She produced the sketch, and that seemed to cheer her father as he sprouted a big smile.
“Kip did this . . . from memory?”
“No, Father. I never posed or sat for him.”
“He seems to have a gift.”
“When we go riding, he has asked to sketch my face. He says he is just starting on portraits, as he’s been drawing landscapes on his waits.”
“I assume you said yes.”
“Yes, I did. However, he said he wanted it for himself.”
“Oh, he did, did he?” Clyde chuckled. “Now it seems that Kip has been at Parliament twice or is it three times, without a passenger. Is that right?”
“Has it been three days? I don’t know. I asked him to be there tomorrow, too. I want to talk with him about night driving with the lamps.”
“And, of course, he said he would be there.”
“Yes, Father. I know what you are thinking … and you may be right. He could have a bit of a fancy for me. I must say I am flattered and hope that it is true. I approve of him a great deal.”
“Approve? You sound like the lady of the manor. I believe his feelings are becoming stronger if he is giving up fares to be with you.”
“I asked him why, the other day, why he was abandoning his fares. He said he had his priorities. I think he may have meant me.”
“It would seem so. Have there been any words?”
“What does that mean?”
“Today, he said he had an interest in my safety. Furthermore, he did say he favors me, and it becomes more difficult to leave.”
“Oh, those are words all right. How do you perceive them?”
“I am pleased to hear them. No one has ever said words such as those that make me feel giggly.”
“That’s not what I meant, but it answers my question. So, you are taking a fancy to Kip?”
“Right now, I want to, but I don’t know if I have a fancy or not. I’m not sure about what is a real fancy.”
“Are you attracted to him?”
“Do you wish for him to be attracted to you and be near you often?”
“Yes. Very much and often.”
“Then you fancy him.”
“Should I tell him?”
“Well, you have me there. Women usually don’t speak such thoughts first. The man does. He is very careful with every step he takes. He’s likely ensuring you are ready or willing to accept his advances. But I hardly know much about that, as your mother was as headstrong as you.”
“He cautioned me not to wear a scent when I work.”
“He did? That was proper thinking on his part. You need nothing to lure men to you, my dear.”
“I told him I wasn’t wearing any. He didn’t take it that well,” she laughed.
“Well, if Kip is to be the first man in your life, I think you are starting out well with a fine gentleman.”
“First? You think he’ll be the first of how many?”
“I have no idea. It will depend on how well you get along. If you cast him off, you will have others standing in line.”
“That sounds cruel. Cast him off, as if I can throw away my fancy. I would hurt his feelings, would I not?”
“A fancy is not quite love; you see. It’s an interest is in someone … keen interest. It may not be love for him. You do not know. You are not at that point yet. Has he tried to kiss you?”
“No, he’s been a complete gentleman.”
“I have no doubts about that. There is something different about him. He’s been reared as a true gentleman, I believe. I know nothing about his past.”
“He did say his master was able to educate him.”
“That seems to shine through once in a while, but it’s as if he tries to hide it. Enough of this. His Lordship would like to see you this evening. Here, take your sketch.”
“Yes, I wanted to show it to his Lordship, although I think Kip is embarrassed that others are seeing it.
“Enter,” Squeaks heard from the other side of the door.
“Good evening, Your Lordship. You wish to see me?”
“What have you there in your hand?”
“It is a picture of me next to a big horse.”
“A sketch, really. Driver Kip drew it at home. He thought it was funny because I am short, and the horse is tall.”
Lord Stokes unrolled the sketch that he had seen earlier in the day. “It is a good likeness of you.”
“I thought so, too. I asked Kip if I could bring it to you and father to show you. He said I could keep it if I wanted it.”
“Kip, you say?”
“Yes, sir. He seems to have taken over as security for me for an hour or so, in the mornings. Yes, the lads are at my coach. Kip watches over me since he knows them. I am sure he would warn me about the unsavory ones, and he hasn’t, as yet.”
“Does he drive a Lord in the morning?”
“No, he comes just for me.”
“Is that so? And what do you think about that?”
“I like it. In fact, I asked him to be there tomorrow, too.”
“And why would you do that? Are you taking a fancy to this coachman?”
“Father and I just discussed that. It would appear I am. I certainly enjoy talking with him.”
“Squeaks, I know I am an old man, and I am prying into your adult personal affairs. I should not be doing this.”
“I don’t mind, milord. I will stop you if your questions become too bold,” she smiled.
“You will?” he laughed. “That is good then.”
“When I have my day off, he is going to take me riding and allow me to rein his pair of fine horses. I will feel like a queen holding those reins.”
“I have not heard of his horses.”
“You must be the only one, milord. Excuse me,” she paused. “That was improper.”
“That would be improper for everyone except you. However, even though I am a Lord of the realm, I do not know all. Someday, after you rein these grand animals, you must come and tell me about them.”
“I will be excited to tell you, sir.”
“I was going to ask your father this, but I have decided to ask you. You can tell me you don’t want to talk about it if you wish.”
“What is it, milord?”
“For your personal needs when out for the day, is there any trouble finding facilities for women?”
“No, sir. Not where you go.”
“Where I go? What do you mean by that?”
“You only go to where the high-borns would have been driven by an in-service coachman. There are facilities for drivers at all the finer places.”
“For women, too?”
“Well, no. I use the gents. Father would stand guard.”
“Until I can find a trustworthy coachman, such as Kip, I carry a canning jar under the bench. I see that look on your face. Yes, I get in the coach and close the shades. I hope that is all right.”
“I guess it will have to be,” he laughed. “You know Parliament is becoming enjoyable again, as Lords approach me, knowing of you being my driver.”
“I hope you are not embarrassed, milord.”
“Embarrassed? No, I am quite proud and delight in calling them jealous. The rumors are just beginning to circulate about you. I will have more fun going to work in the days and weeks ahead.”
“I hope I never disappoint you, milord. You have been remarkably kind to father and me.”
“I received more than I gave, Squeaks. All right, off with you. Oh, one more thing. Do you feel you could take me to an affair on Saturday night?”
“Yes, sir. That is why I have been asking Kip about night driving.”
“You knew of this affair?”
“Kip did. I believe he has a client that night, too.”
“I wonder who that could be. Perhaps, this person’s staff driver will be unavailable or sick. Be ready to drive by 8:00 p.m.”
“Yes, sir. I am looking forward to it.”
“I wish my life were as simple as yours.”
“Being a girl is not all that simple, milord. I don’t think you would like it.”
Lord Stokes laughed heartily and waved her out of the room.
“Trevor didn’t you hear what I said. Mary is haunting the manor.”
“Son, something is going on within our home. Listen to your brother. He’s most upset with the staff or whoever is playing these pranks.”
“In what form are these pranks being played, Gus? Are people seeing the ghost of her? Is she lifting people to the ceiling, frightening them to death?”
“I can see you’re not taking me seriously. We have seen her name smudged on the outside glass of the window in her room. That area is unreachable without hanging from the roof.”
“Interesting,” Trevor smiled. “And you have questioned every one of the staff and have concluded that Mary is haunting the house.”
“The staff are frightened. I am worried they will start leaving.”
“Trevor, you know something, don’t you?” His father eerily remarked.
“Yes. Yes. I do know who’s doing it. I just didn’t expect it at the Manor house. I find it fascinating that an actual physical movement of dirt on the window could be accomplished.”
“Hmph, I guess I am not the only one she warns. Your prankster IS Mary.”
“Trevor, don’t blaspheme her memory.” Earl Caldwell, full of sadness, said emphatically. “Explain that comment.”
“You both remember before I left here how I talked with Mary. That has never stopped. She often comes to me in dreams, swirling her image. On several of these extraordinary occasions, I believe she was trying to warn me. However, I am unable to discern if the warnings are for danger or not.”
“Lord Caldwell stood and began pacing the floor in front of his son.”
“This has been happening since you left home?”
“Yes, but she has become more active since the other Caldwell woman went missing. I must admit that even I began to worry about my passionate belief that she was watching over me, until a few days ago. There is much talk about the coach which departed with Lilith Caldwell, which I believe the coachmen are going to solve. But what the two men look like, only one person knows, and that’s the cousin who was in attendance that night, who I happened to drive. Within a night or two, Mary swarmed into my night. I wasn’t sure if I was awake or asleep. What she presented to me is beyond belief. I saw the man that was raping her, through her eyes at that very time. Unfortunately, her eyes were full of tears, and the image was blurred. I will not explain what I felt during the session, that I now call it, because it is too horrible to hear. Until then, until she showed an image that I could not have made up myself, all the encounters could have come from my own need to see her. This was different. The event at the Manor confirms it to me. I believe she is trying to tell us something. It is my fervent hope that she can lead us to her killer or to Lilith Caldwell. I suggest you keep a diary of anything such as what you’ve seen.”
Lord Caldwell dropped back in his chair, long ago. The room could have heard the proverbial pin drop. It took some time before anyone could speak.
“It will be unbearable to think she hasn’t completely passed over.”
“Father, I have agonized over that myself. I feel she is here for a purpose. Once that is resolved, she will continue her journey. I believe she senses my guilt and is trying to relieve me of it.”
“Why haven’t we seen her so vividly in our dreams?” asked Gus.
“Since I was always closer to her than anyone else in the family, is my only explanation. Now that a coach is involved with Lilith, that is a path to me.” Kip walked over and refreshed his drink. “I don’t understand any of this, but I do know that I do not fear my visions, if fact, I welcome them. She must know that. Otherwise, I wouldn’t think these manifestations would be so pleasant.”
“Trevor, I am glad you have found a way to accept whatever may be happening. There certainly is no precedent for it.” His father had exhausted all his words on Kip’s extraordinary experiences.
“Trevor, I don’t know if father has told you, but I have a lady friend. Would you think she could be in any danger?”
“I wish I could voice an opinion. We don’t know what has actually happened to this Lilith. Is this a coincidence or is there a vendetta against our family? We can find no cause for that. When you return, settle the staff with my feelings on these strange happenings. Someone should talk to Chandler in regard to any type of motive, no matter how vague. He has been at the manor since father was a boy. He’s the one with knowledge of our family. See what he knows about our uncle, Nathanial.”
“It seems you have been giving this quite a lot of thought, Trevor.” The tenor of the Earl’s voice signaled the end of the conversation.
His day was at an end. Kip looked forward to keeping company with Miss Squeaks tomorrow. As he began to undress for the night, he found a pittance of money in his pocket. This was a rare day for him, but it had all been of his own choosing. People were coming into his life, which held far more value to him. For a year, he had avoided his family because of his decision to leave home, but there had been no attempts to change his mind. His father was more devastated by his daughter’s loss than he had let on at the time. Why did nobility feel they could never show their true emotions? The peerage of the land seemed to have been taught to take the overwhelming news with composure. No one dared show weakness.
While sliding off his boots, he wondered what he and Squeaks would talk about. Kip had given no thought to his future since he left home. If he did find a woman, he wanted to spend his life with, what would be her opinion of his choice of trade or being titled?
Kip rose early, thinking of his dream and Squeaks’ magnetism. Was it the novelty of her being the only female driver? He knew it started there. He had never thought about someone to love who could man a team of horses. Nevertheless, she was there, almost in front of him. Never having seen her hair unfurled, it was black and shiny as jet glass. Little dimpling cheeks, rosy from the morning air, and no muscular stature for someone in that trade. He imagined her riding a horse. He pulled out his pad and began to draw; her head reaching just above the stirrup. As the charcoal in his hand swept across the canvas, he pictured her being boosted into the saddle by a groom from the stable. Perhaps they had a concrete step, as many riders needed those. Finished sketching his fancy, he donned his daily dress and harnessed the horses.
Kip was there early, ensuring they could park next to one another when she arrived. There were very few teams in the yard as he pulled in. He didn’t care what the others thought when no passenger disembarked. He rode straight to the waiting area and parked an hour before the Stokes’ coach arrived. Kip watched from a distance as her rider exited. She headed towards him looking like a child on the bench. If she wasn’t known, one might be prompted to rescue the little boy on the runaway carriage. Seeing the black ribbons from her hat flapping in the wind, made his heart soar. Squeaks would look magnificent in a rain cape that billowed out behind her as she raced the team to shelter. He started to analyze his own reactions to seeing her. His pulse quickened; heart raced, and a strange nervous state came over him. If she turned from him, it would be a serious disappointment. I think I am falling in love.
As she pulled around behind and came to rest beside him, facing the building, she smiled.
He tipped his hat, “Good morning, Squeaks. I watched you trotting in. You are so petite that one would think you live in a dollhouse.”
“Good morning to you, as well. May I come aboard?”
“You may indeed.” Kip gave her a broad smile. “You know you’ll get a reputation sitting with me.”
She said it again. She makes me laugh too easily.
“They will get to know me someday and know the way I am. I merely wish to see your harnessing.”
Kip feigned an arrow through his heart by clasping his chest with both hands. “You wound me, young woman. I thought it was I who interested you. Alas, I am but the humble servant of these horses and tack. You bestow us your presence at a price to my very soul.” He smiled.
“I hope not. I wish to know your heart and soul someday, not the cost to it.”
Kip was momentarily stunned. Did she really say that? “You know Squeaks; you cost every man here some form of restraint.”
“What restraint? What do you mean by restraint?”
“Miss Squeaks, could I caution you to resist applying a scent before working? The control these men are putting forward will become even more burdensome. I know what they tolerate and have a concern for your welfare.”
“Tsk? Don’t you know your own attraction here?”
“Not really. Novelty maybe. Nevertheless, I am not wearing any scent.”
“Dear God,” Kip sighed.
“I think you are having fun with me.”
“I wish that, but I am serious about the scent and the restraints.”
“I would like to accept your offer to ride the next time I am available; when is not clear yet.”
“Squeaks, I am in anticipation of the day.”
“If I wasn’t on the Stokes estate, I was riding with my father. I have only seen London from up here. It would be a delight to get out of the city. Shall I pack a lunch?”
“My very thoughts. Speaking of reading my mind, let me show you something I did last night.” Kip reached under the bench for his folio. He opened it and flipped a few pages until he came to the sketch of her standing next to a large horse.
She clapped her hands as she giggled. “I am most impressed by your drawing ability, and you have caught me utterly. Oh, Kip, this is grand. How did you learn to draw?”
“It was something I picked up during my waiting times. Eventually, you will find something that entertains you. I have little talent.”
“I think you are wrong there. I believe this is exceedingly well done. It isn’t a masterpiece, but quite accurate. Could I borrow it? I think His Lordship and my father would enjoy seeing it. And you say you did this from memory – well, of course, you did. I didn’t sit for this.”
“Would you mind if I sketched you on our day out? I would like a picture of you.”
“Me? You would?”
“I think you know I would, as any man here.”
“Can you not speak for yourself, Kip?”
Confused, Kip asked, “Am I not speaking for myself?” Quite in doubt of her meaning.
“Not really. When you want to pay me a courteous remark, you add that all the other men would feel the same. I would rather hear your own thoughts.”
“You astonish me. I knew I was doing that but never suspected it to be seen through. The truth is, I do fancy you, and every time I see you, it becomes harder to leave. I fear it is too early to say words like this, but you have forced me into this admission with your astuteness. I hope you cannot read my mind.”
“Give me time. Your face is starting to tell on you. It is you who I cost restraint, is it not?”
Kip was grateful it was only his face giving him away. “Please, do not make me admit that. I am one of many men who you will make the acquaintance of, and I daresay, most will react the same.”
“You like saying that. You dismiss any warnings that I give you. Why is that? After all, you have forced out of me this morning, you must know I have an interest in your safety.”
Squeaks is the most un-noble woman I have ever met.
“Am I not among gentlemen? I have you here and Boots for the rest of the week. Let me enjoy this time before I start to worry for myself. My father and Lord Stokes do the worrying for all of us. I do carry a pistol and am skilled in its use.”
“Do you have it with you? May I see it?”
Squeaks took the wheel peg down and ascended to her bench. Under her seat, she extracted an antique pistol.
Kip, taking it from her lifted hand said, “This … this is what you were trained on?”
“What’s wrong with it?”
“It’s a relic. It belongs in a museum. It has probably been on the Stokes property for a century or more. It’s a flintlock. I will get you something you can handle. They actually have firearms that shoot more than one round before reloading,” he laughed. “I’ll show you mine someday. I can’t believe this is what you and your father have been relying on should the time come.”
“Back to my drawing. Yes, you can borrow it or have it if you like, but would you sit for me when we travel into the country? I mainly want to sketch your face. I am just starting to try my hand at portraits. Everything has been landscape until now.”
“I will consider it an honor to sit for you. I would imagine it shall be within a few days. You will come to pick me up?”
“Which coach do you wish: The Queen Mary or this one, The Butler?”
“I think this one. Should some accident befall us from my driving, let it be in this coach.”
Kip hardly noticed the yard filling. A footman from the Parliament building was heading his way. He thought it awkward when the man handed him a sealed missive.
He opened it.
Your brother will be here today. Come dine with us at 7:00.
Kip closed the message and placed it in his coat pocket.
It wasn’t long after receiving his note that drivers were descending on his horses and guest. Warrior might be put out if he knew he was now the second favorite. Kip rolled up his sketch and handed it to Squeaks.
“I guess I should withdraw to the ground like all the other drivers,” she said.
“I will join you for a while. I forgot to tell you that we will meet on Saturday night at a gala that my rider and your rider will be attending.”
“Do you mean in the dark?”
“Do you fear the dark or could it be me?” he smiled.
“No, but I have rarely driven at night using the lamps. Could I beg your company for a brief time tomorrow, so you can explain any tips? I will ask my father, as well. Perhaps His Lordship will not allow me to be there alone in the dark,” Squeaks said, as she placed the sketch in the coach.
“Yes, I will be here tomorrow if you wish it.”
“Yes, I do wish it of you, along with the other hundred women waiting in line for your charms.” The inclination in her voice sounded far more than asking him to be there for night-driving tips. She wondered if what she felt that moment was called jealousy. It was a new and very uncomfortable emotion.
Kip felt a thrill run through him. He wondered how she saw their developing relationship. She couldn’t feel as he did. Right now, because her father knew him and liked him, he was her safe haven. If that’s all it was, he would be happy to have that. For a moment, sadness crept through his mind as once someone else counted on his safety, and now she was dead.
As Kip’s feet landed on the ground, he began conversations with the others. He did not want to draw any more attention to people thinking they were a couple because they weren’t. He purposely had his back to her, as he didn’t wish to see her being ogled. Kip heard someone talking about her livery with the skirt and top hat. Many of them wanted to know how it was to work for Lord Stokes, but she never gave them any information. On his wait times today, he would begin a list of important facts to know about night reining. An hour later, Kip left her with the others talking about their jobs.
Kip spent the balance of his day picking up standard fares, thinking of Squeaks, wondering if he should come to the front or back door of his father’s suite, and thinking about night driving. Tomorrow night he had a special fare for an evening event. He would wear his tails and drive the Queen Mary. Then, if his luck held, he would see Squeaks at the Saturday ton. The full moon was just beginning to wane.
Squeaks spent her morning getting to know the other drivers and who they worked for. Several times she heard an apology for their language, but this was the life she had always wanted, and words like that came with a gathering of men. She never heard any talk about women, of which she was glad. As much as she wanted to know the sincerity of men loving women for more than their bodies, she wasn’t willing to learn from overhearing conversations and boasts.
Lord Stokes hailed her near 1:00 in the afternoon. Squeaks drove him to a nice restaurant. Entering the coach, he saw the rolled-up heavy paper and had a look at it. His first impression was laughter. After that, he wondered when that was done and where was she. As she matured, he had struggled to stay out of her private life, but it hadn’t been easy. He had only one son. They never bore a daughter, and he had wished to have had one. Squeaks filled his want of a daughter, but she was an adult now, and there was little he could say. He would wait to see if she told him about the sketch. He hoped she had packed her own lunch. For some reason, along with the thought of her meal, he wondered about her personal issues while out on the road. Men had no trouble taking care of that function, but she would need to seek privacy. He decided to ask Clyde, about such problems for her. Stokes was still hearing from his fellow Lords about glimpsing his new driver. “You Lords, are just jealous,” he told them.
Lord Stokes was returned to Parliament for the rest of the day and did not leave until near dusk.
Squeaks lit the lamps with the help of some young man lifting her instead of doing it for her. This would be her first drive this late. It wasn’t dark, yet, but the sun was going down. The tall buildings in that part of the city allowed little twilight to filter through. It seemed easy to tell how close to the road edge she was but found herself coming up on a coach ahead of her a bit tricky. It was hard to tell if they were moving or stopped. What would she do when she drove where there were no gas street lamps?
Kip arrived home, bathed and changed into his tails, which was expected at his ancestral home – one always dressed for dinner. Arriving at his father’s suite of rooms, he could only park in the rear. That was settled, as he would not leave his team on the street. A groom ran over and took the reins. “Water them, please,” Kip asked. “How do I enter this building?”
“Sir, it depends on if you want the front door or back door.”
“I’ll use the back door.”
“Yes, right through that alcove, into the courtyard. You will see steps to the back.”
“Thank you, my lad.” Kip wondered where his father’s driver was. He knew that he would recognize him. This was going to be an exciting night.
He walked from the below stairs area to the upper hallway, becoming Lord Trevor again, Chandler was there to greet him.
“Lord Trevor, I am most happy to see you. I hope you have been well.”
“Chandler, I believe I am improving. Do you know what I do these days?”
“Oh yes, sir. We know it is to be confidential at your request.”
“That would be Briggs and me, sir.”
“Thank you, Chandler, and Briggs, too. No doubt our coaches will pass someday.”
“Sir, I believe that has already happened. This way, sir. Your brother is anxious to see you, as we all are. Your usual scotch, sir?”
Kip smiled, “You remember!”
“Oh, yes, sir.”
As Trevor Caldwell entered the study of his father, he saw his brother rushing over to him. At first, there was a handshake, followed by a hug, with back-slapping. “Good evening, milord,” Kip greeted the title first, with a head bow. Then turning toward his brother, “How are you, Gus?”
“I believe your brother has some disturbing news from home. Sit down, sons. Here comes Chandler with your drinks.”
Kip flipped his tails up so as not to crease them, crossed his legs, taking the crystal glass that was handed to him. The large study was that of a working Lord, and warmth billowed from the hearth near his desk.
“Thank you, Chandler,” he said.
Chandler bowed and left the room, closing the double doors.
“Trevor, you look marvelous. Getting much of the sun, I see. When we have a long time, I would like to hear what lures you to this trade of coachman. There must be something for you to settle for a profession like that.”
“Gus, I am not ‘settling’ for anything. I am happy with driving. Yes, we will talk more, but what is this news you have from home. Is it about, Mary?”
The room grew quiet. Gus shifted in his seat and pulled on his scotch glass before starting.
“Trevor, I think Mary may be haunting Caldwell Hall.”
Trevor was seated in the pub when his father entered after his day in Parliament. Rather than wave him over, he let his father discover him. Kip doubted if many people from this part of town knew what his father looked like. He stood as his father arrived.
“I hadn’t expected to see you so soon, but I am glad I have, son.”
A serving woman came over to take the order. “What may I get for you gents?”
“Please, let me order,” Kip suggested.
“We’ll have two pints and two beef sandwiches,” Trevor smiled at his father.
“I’m not sure I’ve ever eaten or tasted this meal. You like it; I assume. Oh, Gus will be visiting soon. He’s anxious to see you.”
“Good. This is one of my meals when out.”
“Which is how often?” Lord Caldwell laughed.
“Actually, quite often, but I do cook.”
“I went to see the other Caldwell family yesterday,” said Lord Caldwell. “They do look a bit familiar, but they are quite far from us – somewhere down my grandfather’s line. I believe he’s a second son, of a first son. It’s quite sad over there. Lilith is officially missing. No ransom note. Her clothes are home; no eloping is being considered. It’s grim, Trev.”
“I wanted to talk about a few other Caldwell members. If there is some conspiracy to our family, I should be aware of them. Tell me about your brothers.”
“This could take a long time, son.”
“For now, just be brief about where they are, what they do, and are their cousins I don’t know about.”
“I believe you met my brother, Hamilton. He has two sons. Hamilton remains in the banking business in Manchester, which now seems to be making him quite wealthy with all this new machine industry flowing into that city. His oldest son, also named Hamilton, is following in his father’s path. I don’t think you have seen either of them since you were very young. Hamilton’s other son, Gregory, went into the legal profession. He is most likely a barrister if he hasn’t made it to his judgeship, yet. I think my brother has a grandchild or two, but how many and their names; I am afraid I have forgotten.”
“You have another brother I remember. He left home early.”
“I did, yes. He was born second and could not accept that he would never hold the title. Many years in our youth, I feared him. Nathaniel and my father argued often. He was wild and remained irate. Your mother called him feral. We know he caused the staff almost unbearable anxiety. We lost several excellent servants. One was a pretty young woman whom he favored more than most. It came to our knowledge that she was with child because of him. We always thought she left on her own, but one day she was gone. God only knows what she endured. Upon hearing of this too late, which the staff was afraid to mention, your grandfather asked him to leave. Your sister had just been born. Nathaniel was given money to live on and left, taking his valet with him. Within a few years, his coach was stopped by highwaymen. Possibly being drunk, we believe, he fired upon them and was killed during the robbery. There is little more I know about that.”
“What happened to his driver and valet?”
“I am not sure about the driver. He could have been part of the gang. We invited the valet back to Caldwell Hall, but he had a love interest by then and stayed in London. All that was years ago. We never spoke of him again. I have at no time met my other nephew Gregory either. If they have families of their own, I know not. Hamilton and I are amiable brothers to each other and parted ways peacefully. He knows how very busy I have been, and I assume he has no time either. We write at the holidays, but that is as far as it goes. He did send your sister a gift at her ‘coming out.’”
“You’ve never told me much about Nathaniel,” Kip remarked.
“Son, we talked sparingly about him most of his life. I believe your grandfather did more covering up for him, too. He was an embarrassment to the family. It is conceivable that he made enemies, but that would have been many years ago, now.
“Have you heard the rumor about Lord Stokes having a female driver?” Trevor asked.
“Yes. I am afraid Stokes is taking the brunt of some banter in the house by his friends. I believe she was born into his service, and he has taken to her since she could walk. Her father is Lord Stokes’s driver for over twenty years, but you probably know that. The daughter grew up wanting to drive like her father. I believe Stokes gave up when she was a young teen and told her she could. She has been riding with Dorset; I hear. I guess the time is getting near, and she never changed her mind, which he actually believed she would. I think that’s how the story goes. Have you seen her?”
“Yes, this morning. It was the second time we’ve talked. Her father broke his leg last evening. She is reining, with a footman riding the rear, but she was alone in the box.”
“She can turn a team of two? Well, the day has come for her, has it? Wait until I see him. Is she pretty?”
“Stunning would be my word.”
“Oh, stunning, is she? Someone with whom you would not mind crossing the class lines to know better?” His father laughed.
Ignoring his father’s slight, Kip continued. “I followed her today. She is quite skilled.”
“Followed her? What kind of son have I raised?” he laughed again. Earl Caldwell secretly was elated that his son might be returning to the man he remembered.
“Lord Stokes doesn’t know about me, does he?” Asked Kip.
“I don’t know about you, son. How could he? I cannot finish this sandwich if you continue to make me chuckle.”
“I would like to see more of her, Father. I thought I should let you know in the event she accepts my calling on her.”
“Do you call in the lower classes? I am sorry, that was terribly rude and unfair, but you are making me laugh, and here I am so happy to hear you looking forward to seeing a woman.”
“You are correct, Father, you don’t know about me,” Trevor agreed.
Earl Caldwell scratched at his beard, “I’ll tell you there is to be a special dinner invitation this Saturday. Someone is announcing an engagement or some other event. Many of us will be attending. I did not plan on going, but if Lord Stokes accepts, I will, also. That’s the best I can do, son. You will drive me.”
Kip finally blushed in front of his father. He had never done that for anyone.
“I can hardly wait to see this beautiful young lady driver.”
“Father, somehow, I doubt you ever will. You are the upper class, remember. You keep saving the realm, and we’ll keep seeing that you do.”
They smiled at each other as if a broken bond had been renewed.
“Tell Augustus I will see him while he is here.”
“He will be overjoyed. Augustus won’t tell you or show it, but with you, Mary, and myself away, he has been abandoned, so to speak. I ask him to London as often as I can. He’s a young man. The young are here, in this city.”
“That never once entered my mind. I have been quite selfish it seems.”
“No, son. Don’t feel that way. We both knew that if you had not walked away when you did, you would be lost to us, forever, as an upstanding man. Our only hope has been that you would see there was nothing you could do to save her that day.”
“After nearly a year, it has been only recently that I feel life flowing into my lungs again. I am now faced with learning the art of wooing. This will not come naturally to me.” Kip laughed.
“What did His Lordship want, Squeaks?”
“He asked about my day. I told him about talking with Kip and meeting many other drivers. He gave me another talk. Then he complimented me on getting around that horse that was rearing on the other side of the road. He said I did a grand job.”
“I am so proud of you. Perhaps, I can retire early.”
“Would you do that, Father?”
“No, you silly child.” Clyde laughed. “But I think you may be allowed to be the second driver and no longer waiting in training.”
Squeaks blushed. “I don’t know if you heard Kip yesterday calling me the driver regent. We both laughed at that.”
“No, I did not hear that. However, you are no longer regent; you are installed as the first driver right now.”
“Father, you had days off to do what you wanted, didn’t you?”
“What’s this? Twenty years you have wanted to drive the coach and are now looking for a day of rest?” Clyde smirked.
“Oh no, I want to drive more than anything. Even so, I don’t think His Lordship will allow me to do it every day. I want to make plans for my day away.”
“Away? Away, where? Oh, I know. You still want to drive but another coach with other horses, hmm?”
“You knew I was going to say that.”
“Yes, but I knew that because of Kip. I had no idea what your answer would be unless it really was for his team and coach.”
“I think these feelings are more than that. I would like to know if it is. I need to assess it, somehow.”
“Assess it? What kind of foolishness is this you speak? Are you talking about love? You don’t even know the man.”
“I know! So how do I get to know him? How did you get to know mother?”
“I thought you said you’ve have had all these talks with the servant women. I do not believe I can tell you how YOU will tell. I think you just know, and you are nowhere near that stage.”
“I do have some sense, Father. I know he is not going to propose or anything. Suppose he is a nice gentleman wanting to be friends?”
“I would be quite happy with that.”
“Suppose I want to know him? How do I get him to see me?”
“Young lady, he definitely sees you. I guess what you are asking is what type of mistakes you must not make. What could you do to turn him away?”
“Yes, that’s it. Such as what, Father? He drives so many beautiful women; I doubt I hold a candle to any of them.”
“You’re suddenly not my little girl anymore.” Clyde became saddened.
“Father, I will always be your daughter and love you. Someday, you knew you would share me, didn’t you?”
“I gave it as little thought as possible, but the day is shortly upon me; I sense.”
“I don’t want you telling me silly stuff to drive a gentleman away from me.”
“Do you think I would do that to you; dearest Squeaks.”
“Well …” she said, looking down at her tapping foot. “You might.” She laughed.
“My only goal in life is to see that you are happy and content. I want to know that you have a fine man in your life when I am near my end. He doesn’t have to be rich, or important. He just has to love you as I do.”
“I want that, too, Father. I want more than that.”
“I think I believe you. I see your flower is about to bloom. It will not wither as I once feared.”
“So what mistakes could I be making if I want to keep his attention?”
“I do not think you can make any mistakes if you remain yourself. You are a wee bit headstrong, but that may be inevitable, living with a lord of the realm. This house has always had high standards and expectations.”
“Do you think Lord Stokes will want to approve of a man I want to marry someday?”
“He will take an interest. If he is a gentleman with income, you will most likely not be questioned on anything. You will not pander to those other types, anyway. Just be yourself. You know how to be polite. Don’t show a gentleman what you are not. Do not mislead him. Whatever your life will be with another person; you want to be able to be yourself, and he will too. There will be some compromises, but few if the love is really there.”
Squeaks had tears in her eyes. “Thank you, Father. You make it sound easy.”
“With your looks and brains, it will not be too easy for you. You will be admired and sought after by many, and decisions may come hard.”
“Suppose I meet a driver, who I like – will he not be intimidated by me?”
Clyde laughed. “Are you that good of a driver to intimidate another professional driver?”
“I guess that’s not what I mean, and he may not be a coachman.” She frowned.
“Are you saying he will not like you being in a man’s world with lots of other handsome men admiring you?”
“I believe so, yes.”
“I cannot answer that. It will depend on the man. It will take a lot of trust on his part. It will be difficult for any man being in love with you, you know. He will have to be endowed with much confidence in himself. You must always be honest, and I have no doubt that you will.”
“Thank you, Father. I will go collect our meal.”
“Too late,” someone called from the stairway.
Kip picked up fares until he spotted one of his apostles. It was nearing dusk when he found Marc. Kip nodded, and they both pulled to a side street and parked.
“I’ve been looking for you all day, Kip. Kyle had a nice look at the coach and just a glance at the driver. He was not familiar with either one. They’re new in town. He said the coach was old and hadn’t been cleaned. Kyle figured it came from quite a distance before picking up the young lady. Is she still missing?”
“Yes … well, she was as of this morning. Do you know where Kyle is now?”
“Sorry, mate. Haven’t seen him since then.”
“If you do see him, ask him to see Inspector Marshall at the Met. I will tell him of Kyle, and they will come looking for him.”
“I’ll spread the word. I heard the lady driver was alone today. She was driving Lord Stokes.”
“Yes, I spoke to her. She has a house footman riding the rear step. He is her protection. I wish us all to keep vigilant of her. I followed her for a short time and found she is well skilled.”
“If any of us was to meet her first, why did it have to be you?” Marc kidded.
“When I last saw her this morning at the Parliament Building, she had just been introduced to another thirty drivers, mostly in-service.”
“What are we to call her?”
Kip laughed before he could get the words out. “Apparently, being born into service, His Lordship started calling her Squeaks, and she is still called that today. I think her father said her name was Rebecca.”
“Squeaks? Is she pretty?”
“No, she’s beyond that.”
“Oh, I see. Does the old Kipper have an interest?”
“Any man who meets her will have an interest. I may have the first edge because of these beauties,” Kip said, patting the horse closest to him.”
“You know; she’ll only want you for Soldier and Warrior. Can you live with that?” Marc laughed.
“Bloody right, I can.” Kip roared. He didn’t want his fresh emotions showing to anyone just yet. He played the game of men.
Clyde Dorset was still at a quite capable age for a driver when he fell climbing from the box because his boot heel slipped off a spoke. Squeaks jumped down from the bench. “Father, I think your leg may be broken.” After the doctor had left, Lord Stokes had a private talk with him. They spoke about half an hour.
Squeaks paced outside the door, hoping she would be given a chance to drive His Lordship. Finally, Lord Stokes left the room, and she went in to hear what her father was going to tell her.
“Father, I am sorry about your broken leg, really; I am, but I cannot help but be anxious to drive on my own.”
“Yes, I can see how broken-hearted you are over my injury,” Clyde smiled. “I must look at those boot heels and see if they’re worn. Remember that in the future. Squeaks, His Lordship has approved of you driving, but he has insisted you shall have a footman standing the rear for the first week. For that, I am relieved. You will not be alone. As you drive to areas where you will wait, it will be tedious unless it is some type of ball or meeting. There you will be with many other male drivers, that will wish to speak with you. The young ones will be immature and do stupid things to catch your attention. Most of them will swarm you since I won’t be there to flick the whip. That concerns me most, child, as it does indeed worry His Lordship. He believes you’re capable but a little gullible.”
“Father, we’re not going over that talk again, are we? Every maid in the house has told me about men and their needs. You are a gentleman, and I am a lady . . . of sorts. My behavior will respect the Stokes’ name. I want to experience more of life, but I will not be irresponsible with my conduct.”
“Squeaks, I am not worried about your behavior. The drivers are going to find you unique and highly appealing. You saw Kip’s interest in you. If you keep with the in-service drivers, I would feel better about allowing you out alone. I know all the ones that park at Parliament daily, but now and again there are independents, such as Kip. Their words may be crude and embarrassing; God knows, most young men are like that.”
“Father, this is the third time I hear the same words. I do not think you see me for the age I am. I will never put myself in situations, which would make either of us embarrassed. I am not your average naïve young woman. No one could be naive, living here with a staff of this size. I’ve slapped a few faces and felt my backside patted more times than you know about. And here I stand, still chaste. And I like Kip very much. You should be happy about that.”
“Is it him or his horses,” Clyde laughed.
“Who’s going to be my footman?” Squeaks quickly changed the subject.
“I believe Boots is being assigned to you. He’s looking forward to it, probably more than he should, if you ask me. At least, he’s big and strong.”
“Father, he can scare off anyone with that stern look he’s mastered. However, I don’t want him hovering. That will make me look scared. And I am anything but that.”
Clyde Dorset laughed. “You will be given your daily routes and times.”
“I think it is Lord Stokes’s normal routine. First, the House of Lords until midday, then it says ‘unknown’ after that.”
“That could be anywhere, Squeaks. Most likely in London, but you could have to drive through the rain or dense fog.”
“I understand that quite well, Father. Now don’t fuss. Start at this moment and begin to get well. Stay in bed and read. I brought you some books to choose from. I put them somewhere, here they are. Maggie should be up with your dinner soon. I have to go, Father. Don’t worry about me,” Squeaks said, kissing her father on the forehead.
“Good luck, Rebecca.”
Squeaks hadn’t heard her name as Rebecca for a long time. She really was on her father’s mind. Time would prove to him; she was capable of doing the job as it should be done, even with his constant counsel.
Squeaks went into her room and checked herself in the mirror. Although she had worn her livery for a long time, she would be alone, holding the whip and reins tomorrow, and people would look. She wanted to appear at her smartest. Feeling good about herself, she headed off to find Boots to talk about the route.
The following morning, Kip was at the House of Lords early. This time, he wanted to leave a note for his father rather than face him in public. Kip mounted the stairs and met with a reception desk attendant as he entered. He handed the note to the gentleman there and left.
When Kip was descending the steps into the yard, he had to wait for another coach to let its passenger out. He noticed it was Lord Stokes exiting his coach and then stopping to talk with his coachman. He carried a second driver standing rear today. Kip thought that a bit unusual, but then he saw why. Squeaks, the petite young woman in her livery uniform, with raven hair piled under that beaver top hat, held the reins alone. Kip rolled his hand into a fist and placed it over his mouth to cover the broad smile.
She looks proud and majestic.I shall chase her scent and indulge myself.
Squeaks took her instructions from His Lordship, curtsied and hauled herself up the wheel peg into the box, then reined the coach to the waiting area.
Kip returned to his coach and followed since it seemed she would be waiting today. He wanted to speak with her more and find out what happened to her father.
For the next half hour, she stayed on her bench, rather than on the ground. The footman was up and down several times talking to her or pacing. Apparently, he wasn’t a second driver at all. Kip knew her Lord outranked his father. He was not aware how long the Stokes had produced heirs, but it was more than several centuries. There was no getting away from the fact that all the other waiting drivers were watching every move she made. Most of the waiting teams were owned by the higher peerage who had their private stables. As an independent, he was close to being the odd man there. He knew she was admiring his coach and horses. Perhaps, she would speak a few words with him.
He pulled a horse’s comb from his bench seat and climbed down to tidy their manes. “Miss Squeaks, I hope all is well with your father today.”
“He fell yesterday getting down and broke his leg. He will be in bed for a few weeks; I feel.”
Kip could see she was repressing a guilty smile. “I am truly sorry to hear that. Such inconvenience for him. Please tell him Kip sends his regards today. If I can help him in any way, please allow me to do so.”
“Kip, that is most kind. I think father will agree and allow me to ride with you and your team.”
“I am well pleased. Are you no longer the driver regent?” he laughed.
She blushed. “That is correct. I am His Lordship’s first driver for some time to come; I hope. I mean . . . I believe.”
“And do you work seven days a week?”
“I don’t know. There is another driver, of course, plus a fourth in training. They mainly carry the family or do odd jobs that need a coach or wagon. At least once a week, my father was allowed to rest. I should think that will be available to me, as well.”
“Do you have any reservations about being alone with me, as we go riding with you driving my horses?”
“I believe I have no reservations at all with you, even if you are a man and independent.”
“I wasn’t aware I was being tested, but I think I have just been complimented. I’m not so sure I like a woman being comfortable with me. I want her to be excited about my company, and find me mysterious.” Kip laughed.
“I will be excited; I know,” she replied in a child-like way.
“Yes, but it will only be for my team of horses. However, I will allow you to use me just to get to them.” Kip heard a faint giggle from her.
“Hearing no rebuttal on that subject, I am a bit saddened. I thought it might be my horses and not me. Should you have a free day soon and you have been given permission by the Butler, your father, and His Lordship, the Prime Minister, the Queen, and The Arch Bishop, please send me a note. I will gladly set aside the day.”
Squeaks bubbled up with laughter at his remark. “No, you too, are part of the excitement. I just didn’t know if I should say that. I can’t remember talking with a man outside the castle walls. I’m afraid I don’t know what and when I can speak. You will forgive me and . . . and correct me?”
Boots, her footman, came from the rear and gave Kip a stern look. Kip was nearly half a foot taller than Boots. Kip smiled at his attempted scrutiny. “With honor, Miss Squeaks, I will be glad to correct you. Look around at all these fellow drivers who will be your close friends someday.”
“Kip, this is Boots. He is a footman who will be in attendance with me this week. Somehow, I doubt my father will be happy about being good friends with all of them.”
“I must admit, I am guilty of those same thoughts. So, Boots, can you drive as well?” Kip asked, wanting to ingratiate himself to her overseer.
“I do not. I can do anything with the coach, such as change a wheel. I can saddle and ride a horse, but I have never driven a team.”
While Squeaks patted his horses, Kip continued. “Everyone at Stokes Castle must be proud of this young lady for her skills. By the way, what is your primary function at Stokes Castle?”
“I mainly serve at table and other odd jobs, such as assisting at the front door when guests arrive.”
“I know how important that job is, serving table. How many are on staff at Stokes?” Kip asked, catching a glance from Squeaks.
“Counting outdoor as well?”
Squeaks held her whip horizontally by both palms as she bent her head and clicked her boot toes together. Here comes the embarrassment.
“Perhaps a total of eighty to eighty-five. They have lovely gardens and grounds.”
“Eighty-five? That many, mm?” Kip let out a little sigh that only Squeaks could hear. He saw a smile being stifled as he noticed her profile.
“Miss Squeaks, would you care for my comb and brush, which I have been holding?”
“No, not at this time. It appears you have brushed them this morning.”
“I have. We, independents, do not have grooms or stable boys to do our work. We love our horses and prefer to tend them with great care. It bonds us to our horses.” Kip was getting so rattled at her looking up at him when he spoke, that he wasn’t sure if he made sense anymore.
Kip burst forth laughing at her response. She did not know her own unbridled charm.
“Who did you drive today, Mr. Kip, if I may ask?”
“You may ask, and I will answer, no one.”
“I came to deliver a note to someone inside. I have completed that. I stay to talk with you and keep you company.”
“But you are giving up fares, are you not?”
“I am. However, I have my priorities.”
“Am I one of your priorities?” Squeaks asked, in pure innocense.
Thankfully, one driver approached them under the guise of looking at Kip’s horses, so Kip introduced Squeaks to him. Then another walked over … and a third and a fourth. In little time, the peerage drivers were coming to meet Miss Squeaks of Stokes Castle. Many remarked on her name, and Kip heard the story repeated. She was being swarmed, so he took to his bench to watch and listen from overhead.
After another half an hour, “Excuse me, gentlemen, you are exhausting me with your questions.” She threaded her way through several men, hopped her wheel peg, taking to her bench.
Kip knew any minute she would glance his way, so he looked elsewhere, pretending to be unaffected by her popularity. The lads drifted away, suddenly not interested in his horses today. He laughed to himself.
“Miss Squeaks, it has been delightful seeing you this morning. I must be on my way. Don’t forget to watch for your master coming down those steps over there.” Kip pointed, in jest.
“I know where he exits,” she said, sporting a small frown like she had just been insulted. “It has been amusing seeing you, too. Will you be here tomorrow? Will I be a priority?”
“If you wish me to be here, I will be most honored to keep you company for a while.”
“I must admit; that gathering was a bit frightening. I was pleased you were near. I thought Boots was going to start growling.”
“He does have a face to warn people away.”
“Yes, if you do not mind, I would like your company until I can get used to this. I cannot pay you.”
“Miss Squeaks, I think I am offended,” he smiled, lifting his nose in the air. “If you think I would ever do such a courtesy for money, you have much to learn about me. And I hope you will want to do that, as I wish to do that with you. Until tomorrow then. Good day.” Kip tipped his hat and ruffled the reins, pulled away, allowing Squeaks to wonder if he was in earnest.
Kip was thoroughly entertained and immersed in emotions by the lady driver this morning. He pulled out of the yard, feeling he had acquitted himself well. Perhaps later, he might wait out on the street and watch for her exit. He would like to see how she reined.
Kip did not want to scare Miss Squeaks by following directly behind her, so he allowed several coaches to pass before entering the main thoroughfare. There were shouts for his service, but he was more interested in watching the young lady. She amazed him. He was stunned at her actual talent of turning that team. Several times she had to pass men calling to her when they recognized she was a woman. She paid them no mind. Nearing an ill-behaved horse with its frantic driver trying to calm him down, she negotiated her way around the disturbance without a pause and used a very deft hand to guide the team away without swaying the rider. Kip felt she was quite skilled in her craft. He planned more than hoped they would meet for a drive soon.
Kip veered off and looked for fares for the next several hours while waiting to meet his father in an outlying pub.
Arriving home with His Lordship, Squeaks felt very good about her first day out. The Butler saw to the coach door, but Lord Stokes stopped to talk with his new driver.
“Well, Squeaks, how did it go today, waiting with all those men?”
“Sir, I spoke with independent driver Kip for about half an hour. Then many drivers came over to introduce themselves. Although Kip could have been out taking fares, he stayed to watch over me along with Boots. I will say the drivers were very polite and friendly, asking if I needed any help, but there were so many of them. I finally returned to my box, and they left. Then driver Kip left.”
“Squeaks, do not ever become comfortable and think they are mates. You are a woman after all. I do feel, as your father assures me, that the drivers are polite. They are gentlemen, at least most of the ones in service. However, it is something I wish you would not totally rely on. Always be on your guard. Being a woman, you are a target for thieves; not knowing you do not carry money. Have you been trained in the use of a firearm?”
Yes, sir. I’m quite good, I’ve been told, sir,” she laughed.”
“I believe I was more nervous than you, today. Go see your father and let him know of your day and then find me in my study. I would like to talk a little further with you.”
Squeaks retired the carriage and team to the stablemen. She could do it herself, but today she was the driver in the box and not the staff on the ground. She had earned it. The staff was smiling, seeing that she was going to play first driver to the hilt. Anxious they were, to hear how the day had gone.
Clyde heard the coach coming to the back stable. He pulled himself up in his bed to a sitting position, waiting for his daughter to rush through the door, bursting with excitement. He was not disappointed.
She knocked and then did not wait for a command to enter, and upon seeing her cheerful face, her father said, “Did you not tend to your team, young lady?”
“But Father that is a stableman’s job. I am the driver.”
“Come here,” he said, holding out his arms to her. “You seem to have won the day.”
“I believe so Father. Well, almost, anyway.”
“What happened?” Her father looked more serious.
Squeaks told him how she had met many drivers today and how Kip stayed to watch over her. “There are so many, Father.”
“I have warned you, child. And that is the worst that happened, even though that could have been serious for you?”
“You would have been proud how I worked my way around a rearing horse with his driver on the ground, hanging on to the reins. I gently guided our team away from him. I don’t think His Lordship shifted at all. However, he does want to talk with me after seeing you. And Kip and Boots were conversing about the staff. I’m afraid Boots told him how many work here. I could only look at the ground.”
“Did His Lordship seem mad about anything?”
“Father, you know His Lordship. He’s concerned for me. He never gets mad at me, even when I was little. I don’t think he wants me to trust other drivers.”
“I see. Well, we have been over that a hundred times. I suppose he wants to know how that part went today.”
“Oh, His Lordship did ask me if I have been trained with a firearm. I told him I had.”
“All right, dear. Run along. Don’t keep him waiting.”
Squeaks kissed her father and hurried out the door.
As she left the staff area and headed into the family’s quarters, she tugged on her uniform jacket and checked her skirt. She wanted to look smart. She held her small top hat, having piled the long flowing ribbons inside. If Morgan, the Butler, approached her, she would hand him her hat and laugh. She was disappointed; he didn’t appear.
Squeaks knocked lightly on the door and heard the word “enter.”
“You wanted to see me, Your Lordship?”
Lord Stokes pitched his feathered pen on the desk, rocked back in his chair, clasping his hands behind his head. “Did you have any other issues today that we need to discuss?”
“I do not believe so, milord.”
“After an hour of men talking at me, I felt they should be doing other things, so I returned to the bench.”
“Oh, they should be doing something with their time rather than looking at you, is that what you thought? And you decided to climb on high, so they could go on about their business?”
Lord Stokes covered his laugh with a cough. “So far I hear nothing that should be confessed. This Kip chap, I believe I know who that is. Yes, he is a very well-respected independent driver. I have heard his name mentioned at the club. For evening affairs, he will dress in tails and bring his fine coach and horses. For normal fares during the day, I think he has another coach, fancy but not so elegant.”
“I believe he delivered a note to someone inside.”
“I called you in here to find out how you felt out there, and I wanted to compliment you on negotiating past the horse that was acting up in the street. Getting around that disturbance, you showed great skill. I was well pleased.”
“Oh, thank you, milord. I enjoyed my day. I will hope tomorrow brings a longer drive.”
“Perhaps it will, but I will be in Parliament longer.”
“I will be fine, milord. Will you send the footman with me?”
“Yes, Squeaks, all this week.”
“Yes, sir. Is that all?”
“Yes, that is all. A beautiful drive today, Miss Squeaks.”
She curtsied and left the room with a huge smile. Morgan stepped inside to pull the doors closed and saw Lord Stokes laughing to himself.
In St Andrews, Scotland in 1866, 15-year-old Tommy Morris (Jack Lowden) is an avid golfer like his legendary and pioneering father, Tom Morris (Peter Mullan). “Old Tom” is a greens-keeper for The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, as well as the town’s club- and ball-maker. He is the two-time winner of the first major golf tournament, The Open Championship, which he founded in 1860. He also established golf’s standard of 18 holes per round. But young Tommy is beginning to chafe at his father’s dictates, especially in the rapidly changing world they live in.
Tommy soon outshines his father, winning The Open three times in a row while still in his teens. The “dashing young man of golf”, he draws flocks of spectators to the sport and becomes it’s first touring professional.
Father and son repeatedly clash over the unwritten rules of social class, and this culminates when Tommy marries his sweetheart Meg (Ophelia Lovibond), a woman of lower standing with a shameful secret in her past. As the story concludes, Old Tom makes a fatal misjudgment that strips Tommy of everything he holds dear. Following the results of that fateful choice, Old Tom takes on a personal mission that carries him through the final decades of his life: that of honoring his son Tommy
BBC and HBO have revealed the first poster for their ambitious fantasy saga HIS DARK MATERIALS which starts November 3rd in UK and a day later in USA. The eight episode series, based on Philip Pullman novels, stars Dafne Keen as Lyra Belacqua and James McAvoy as her uncle, Lord Asriel, who plays a senior member of the authoritarian church that Lyra fights against.
The story is set in an alternate reality where humans are accompanied by magical animal companions called daemons. The evil Magisterium seeks to control this world and all the others connected to it and the only way to do that is through sick procedures involving children and their sentient counterparts. It’s up to Lyra, and her daemon companion Pantalaimon to rescue the children. Along the way she will also have the help of armoured polar bear Iorek Byrnison who also talks.
His Dark Materials starts this November
The series will have 8 episodes in the 1st season with the 2nd shooting shortly
The two of them starred together for the first time in The Theory of Everything five years ago and both Eddie Redmayneand Felicity Joneswere nominated for Oscars that year for their roles in that one, and now they are working together in THE AERONAUTS but it is safe to say this one won’t be in the running for Academy Awards. It is ready, though, to premier November 4th in United Kingdom, and then from December 6th in USA and December 20th on Amazon Prime, following daredevil pilot Amelia Wren and weather scientist James Glaisher who find themselves in an epic fight for survival while attempting to make discoveries in a gas balloon.
Inspired By True Events In 1862, daredevil balloon pilot Amelia Wren (Felicity Jones) teams up with pioneering meteorologist James Glaisher (Eddie Redmayne) to advance human knowledge of the weather and fly higher than anyone in
This is the second time Redmayne and Jones are starring together
history. While breaking records and advancing scientific discovery, their voyage to the very edge of existence helps the unlikely pair find their place in the world they have left far below them. But they face physical and emotional challenges in the thin air, as the ascent becomes a fight for survival.
Erased For Being A Man?
Although James Glaisher was the real historical person, Amelia Wren is a fictional character who replaces his real life assistant Henry Tracey Coxwell with a female version. Wonder what would feminists have to say on
The film is based on Richard Holmes book Falling Upwards: How We Took To The Air
that? They say the aim was to inspire girls that they can go on adventures too, but if that did not really happen isn’t it a despicable case of fabricating history for the sake of modern agenda in which a real life hero Coxwell gets totally
The movie was directed by Tom Harper
erased just because he wasn’t a female? While portraying Glaisher, Eddie Redmayne has a serious ankle injury and had to wear a cast! With Tom Harper from BBC’s War and Peace directing, the cast also includes Tom Courtenay and Anne Reid as James’ parents, Vincent Perez as Amelia’s husband.
GRUESOME TRAILER FOR BBC’S AND NETFLX EPIC NEW DRACULA SERIES HAS BEEN UNLEASHED!
FOR SCARY NEW BBC SERIES
I did not expect this one to be so disgustingly graphic, but it is: BBC has released the first gruesome trailer for their new DRACULA series which will
Dracula is an upcoming television series developed by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat, based on the novel of the same name by Bram Stoker. The series is being developed for broadcast and release on BBC One and Netflix, and will consist of three episodes. Claes Bang is set to star as the title character.
Claes Bang takes the lead role of Count Dracula
also air on Netflix. Claes Bang plays the count himself next to always lovely John Heffernan as Jonathan Harker, Joanna Scanlan, Dolly Wells,
John Heffernan plays Jonathan Harker in the series
Morfydd Clark, Lujza Richter, Jonathan Aris, Sacha Dhawan, Nathan Stewart Jarrett, Catherine Schell, Youssef Kerkour, Clive Russell and Mark Gatiss!
Drac VS Victorian London The series, which was shot in Orava Castle in Slovakia, is set in Transylvania in 1897, where the blood drinking Count Vlad is drawing his
The series will air on BBC sometime next winter
plans against Victorian London. As the producers say, hell has a new boss! Netflix will air the three 90 minute episode saga around the world with BBC airing it in UK and Ireland this winter!