The Noble Coachman Chapter 9

Chapter 9
Early to Rise

 

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.”

“Tsk!”

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.”

“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.”

“Tsk.”

“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.”

“Tsk.”

“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.”

“We?”

“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.”

 

 

 

 

 

Portrait of a Lady of Fire – Dec 6

As Orpheus led Eurydice out of Hades, why did he turn around to look for her just before getting out, and thus lose her forever? Was it because he made a poet’s choice that the memory of his love was enough, or was it perhaps Eurydice herself who called him to turn? The Greek myth is at the center of Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire, which won Best Screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival this year and had its U.K. premiere at the BFI London Film Festival. Sciamma was invited to speak about her career as a film director and screenwriter at the festival’s Screen Talk, and discussed further her latest film.

Set in 1760 Brittany, on the northern coast of France, Portrait of a Lady on Fire recounts a beautiful love story between two young women. The film explores the different steps from desire to love and then eventually how one lets go until this love becomes a memory.

The film opens in an art class, as a female tutor, Marianne (played by Noémie Merlant), teaches young female artists how to look at their subject in order to draw. Marianne is a young female artist, who learnt her trade from her artist father, painting portraits of the wealthy for a living. The title of the film is the title of a painting she made, which one of her students has taken up to their classroom. The painting depicts a female figure in a darkened background with her dress on fire. As Marianne gazes longingly at her painting, the film sets about to tell us who this mysterious figure is, and how this painting came about.

Marianne met the lady on fire when she was invited by a countess (played by Valeria Golino) to paint a portrait of her daughter, Héloïse (played by Adèle Haenel), who has just come out of a convent after the death of her sister. The mother intends this portrait for her daughter’s betrothed who lives in Milan. As Héloïse refused to pose for the previous painter, the mother asks Marianne to pretend that she is a walking companion for her daughter, and to draw her from memory without Héloïse’s knowledge. Sciamma takes her time to reveal the face of Héloïse. Anticipation sets in, much like Marianne, who is eager to discover her subject.

However, cleverly, Sciamma does not make her protagonist fall in love with her subject on first sight, like so many films we have seen before. This is not the typical story of the painter falling in love, or lusting, over the image of the model. Marianne observes, scrutinizes Héloïse’s face, but fails her first drawing of her. The film suggests that desire between the two women does not begin when Marianne gazes at Héloïse to capture her every facial detail to memory. Desire rather starts when Héloïse returns her gaze. After Marianne reveals her real purpose, Héloïse agrees to pose for her. It is at that moment, as Héloïse sits for Marianne to paint her that desire rises between the two women.

The Noble Coachman Chapter 7

The Noble Coachman 2.99 Amazon

 

Chapter 7
Twenty Years of Waiting

 

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?”

“Yes.”

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.

“Tsk.”

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.”

“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.”

“Yes, milord.”

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.”

“Nothing?”

“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?”

“Yes, sir.”

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.

Vienna Blood – Nov 18 (tonight)

     ‘VIENNA BLOOD’ TRAILER
FOR NEW PERIOD SET SERIES

BBC has released the trailer! New period set series VIENNA BLOOD is coming November 18th to BBC Two and will air on Monday nights with three ninety minutes long episodes based on the best selling Liebermann novels by British writer Frank Tallis. Starring Matthew Beard and Juergen Maurer the new mini series is set in 1900s Vienna: a hot bed of philosophy, science and art, where a clash of cultures and ideas play out in the city’s grand cafes and opera houses. This unique, ambitious and compellincrime drama, set in glorious Vienna during an extraordinary period in its history, also stars Conleth Hill, Charlene McKenna, Amelia Bullmore, Jessica De Gouw and Luise von Finckh
The series starts this Monday on BBC2

 

Most of the series was shot over in Austrian capital Vienna

 

A Student Of Freud’s 


Max Liebermann (Matthew Beard) is a brilliant young English doctor, studying under the famed psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. Max is keen to understand the criminal mind and begins to observe Oskar Rheinhardt (Juergen Maurer), a Detective Inspector in the Vienna Police Department, who is struggling with a perplexing case. Max’s extraordinary skills of perception and forensics and his deep understanding of human behavior and deviance help Oskar solve Vienna’s most mysterious cases.
Matthew Beard is a middle class British-Jew who moved to Austria in his teens. He is now a junior doctor but has fallen under the spell of the new science of the day and is studying neurology. Fixated by the idea of analysing psychopaths at close hand, Max convinces the Viennese police to let him observe their work.

 

Juergen Maurer is a Police Inspector Oskar, more a doer than a thinker. Despite being occasionally irritated by Max’s discursive approach to crime-solving, Oskar is savvy enough to know that Max’s intuitions will help his career prospects.

 

 

Midway 2019 (Nov 8)

The film follows the story of US Navy sailors and aviators who persevered through the tragedy of Pearl Harbor, the elation and daring of Doolittle’s Raid, and, finally, the Battle of Midway itself, a

turning point in the Pacific Theater of World War II.

 

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