Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Chapter Thirty-Four

Pride goeth before a fall indeed.  A few housegoods became a few more and turned into some which turned into the decision that since I had started I might as well make an effort to finish because who knew when I would manage to get back to it.

The housegoods were easy enough to put away ... the kitchen ware barely filled a corner of the area the designer of the old stone structure had originally allotted.  Pots and pans I hung up on hooks along the wall in what I thought was a pleasing pattern.  My seasonings and medicaments I put in the pantry to join the things that Mrs. Cooksey had sent over and the items that Mr. Tosh had procured for me.  I put my braided rugs on the old stone foundation floor and even managed to fit my braided seat covers onto the corner table benches so I wouldn't have to eat out in the cold dining areas.

In point of fact I took most of the sheets out of the cedar closet and used them to dust cover most of the rest of the house save for the privies and the library.  I finished uncovering the spartan furnishings in the staff bed chamber and only needed a quick wipe with an oil cloth. The smell of lemon balm furniture polish permeated the entire bed chamber.  Then I made the bed freshly using my own sheets and placed what I didn't use in the now empty cedar closet along with my drying cloths and other household linens that didn't belong in the kitchen.

It was at that point that I became overconfident.  I looked at the last stack of trunks and considered it a challenge rather than as an opportunity to experience disaster.  My strategy was to empty the trunks starting at the top and work my way down, removing trunks as I emptied them to get at the one below.  Sounds like a sane and constructive plan yes?  The flaw in my brilliance was in using the trunks themselves to stand on as I emptied them instead of using my vaunted commonsense and waiting until I could get a step stool or some other tool.

I was half way through emptying my college books from the trunk on the top of the pile when the disaster occurred.  In my hurry to empty the heavy books and tablets full of notes I had forgotten that I had filled the tray of the lid with a few items.  The items weren't especially heavy but what happened was as I emptied the books the lid caused the trunk to unbalance and topple.  Unfortunately I was standing on one of the lower trunks in the messy stack and as the trunk started to topple in my direction ... I lost my balance.

Down I went.  Down came the mostly empty trunk landing on my foot and if it had ended there it would not have been near so bad.  But then the next trunk down which was filled with canisters and jars of more medicaments and supplies also began to tip and wound up leaning on the trunk that had fallen and now my foot was well and truly wedged.

Worse, I shrieked.  It was the shock of the pain and the scare of the fall.  I was but a moment and still trying to pull myself from beneath the mess I had created when there was ferocious pounding on the front door.  I simply didn't have the attention or the breath to tell them to go away for I was beginning to panic which was a purely daft thing to do and has taught me a lesson.  It is a lot easier to be calm when it isn't you buried under the boxes.


The voice was so loud I knew they had discovered that I had the half door open on the kitchen and then I heard boots pounding on my newly clean floors.

"Oh tell me you at least wiped your feet," I muttered.  The next thing out of my mouth when I saw who my rescuer was, "It would be you."

"Damnation, what the blazes happened?!"

"Sheriff save your cursing and please help me.  I'm afraid I'm stuck."

He moved something and it caused the tipped trunk to shift putting even more weight upon my foot.  "Ahh!"

"What?!  Are you injured?!"

"Move the trunk ... just ... just move that top trunk please."

When he finally understood my predicament he not only moved the tipped trunk but the one upon my foot and me as well and so quickly it felt like he managed to do it all in one move.

The feeling rushed back into my extremity like a vicious attack and I rocked holding my foot until it subsided into a painful throb. "Ohhhhhh botheration."

Then I heard, "Jude's run to get Mother Sir."

"Good thought.  Empty that chair over there so I can sit the Widow upon it."

"There's no need ..."

"Hush.  I allow Mrs. Talbot to determine if there's need of something or not."

He sat me in the chair and pulled a poof over to prop my foot upon when Mrs. Talbot ran in breathlessly.  She kneeled down and got my foot out of my shoe and then told the Sheriff, "Turn your back Sheriff."

"What for?"

I threw a pillow at him causing the boys to goggle and told him, "Turn ... your ... back."

He looked affronted for about two seconds before realizing I was wearing long-stockings rather than the shorter boot-stockings.

His ears turned pink and he turned sharply while saying, "You too boys.  We must behave as gentleman."

Mrs. Talbot and I rolled our eyes and the same time then nearly laughed when we caught each other doing it.  My smile however devolved into a grimace of pain as she examined my foot.

She stood up and said, "Seems just a bad bruise but I'd say it’s bad enough that Dr. Cummins should take a look."

"Oh no ... that's not necessary.  Really.  I'll just soak it and ..."

The Sheriff interrupted to ask, "And deprive my cousin of the opportunity to pay you back for you tender care of his wounds?"

I gave him a cross look but could do no more than that because I was already creating a spectacle as several people had come to see what the furor was over.

The Sheriff asked, "Mrs. Talbot can I leave this in your hands?"  He indicated the mess upon the floor.

"Of course sir."

A couple of the other women there said, "We'll help."

I heard someone cluck, "Trying to do this by herself.  What Mizz Marta is going to say I don't know."

I was going to ask that no one say anything to Mizz Marta when I was scooped up and the Sheriff started carrying toward the Hall.  "What on earth?  I am perfectly capable of moving under my own power.  Put me down."

"No.  Mrs. Talbot said you are to see the good doctor and that is exactly where you are going."

There were entirely too many grins in the crowd and it was difficult to ignore them but I did my best.  As the Sheriff carted me away I told Jode, "Tell them not to bother taking the dust sheets off.  I did it to save work since I only intend on using the kitchen and library."


The Sheriff was beginning to sweat before we were half way to the Hall.  "Will you put me down?!  This is ridiculous.  You are going to strain something."

"Hardly.  I've carried pack and gear through swamps of the Southerlands that were heavier than you."

"Nevertheless ..."

"Forget it Widow."

"You are only taking pleasure in the idea that Dr. Cummins is going to get some of his own back."

"That too ... but ... but it is really the tears upon your face that truly concerns me.  It must have been painful indeed to cause that."

"Tears?"  I swiped at my face and found it damp.  "Botheration!  I don't cry!"

"You do ... at least your cousin told me I caused you to after the Waverly event.  I ... I have yet to apologize sufficiently for that.  The longer I know you the more corkbrained a thing it seems to have had such a plan."

"You say the absolutely strangest thing to be a Linder."

He snorted.  "You aren't the first to accuse me of that.  I believe it is because I take more after the Nealy side.  Father thought Mother's family was all chuckleheaded that is certain."

As he entered through a side door and started carrying me up the stairs quietly I said, "Being all Linder isn't ... isn't always a good thing Sheriff.  And if being more Nealy allows you to ... to escape some of that then I for one am happy for you."

He stopped on the landing that led to the hallway to the doctor's offices and said, "So you think there is some hope for me then?"

Turning my face away to prevent him from seeing how close to smiling I was despite the pain I said, "There's always hope for those who seek it."

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