Day 15 and the half way point for NaNoWriMo. Wish I had twice the words I have. But it’s coming along anyway.
Spring came in quite ominously with rain and wind and the greyest of days and starless nights. There were very few days of walking by the lake or strolling the gardens. There had been talk at the beginning of her stay, that Agatha would lodge in the main house, but upon her arrival it was agreed that she should remain in the cottage to care for her father. This turned out for the best, for Elizabeth and Agatha each made a point of leaving to visit the other daily, and so had a change of scenery. The boys ran about the main house, upsetting everyone with their noise, but not as much as when they ran outside and brought back in all manner of mud and detritus. Ernest was twice his younger brother’s age, yet still played with William, though perhaps a little less in the last year, but as there were no other boys to be had, young or old, neither had much choice in their companion.
When May arrived, and brought with it sun and warmth, everyone escaped the indoors. Strolls and afternoons of plein air painting could resume and the boys could run at will.
One morning, when Ernest was refusing to play, William went out to inspect what was left of his previous year’s architecture and made an exciting discovery.
“There’s someone living in my fort,” he declared at lunch. “Someone’s living in my old fort, the one past the broken stone wall. It lasted all winter and somebody’s living in it.”
“How do you know?” asked Elizabeth.
“He made a bed out of leaves and he put some in the walls so the wind won’t get through.
“Really! Do you know who it is? Maybe it’s an ogre or a troll.”
“It’s a man. Ogres and trolls don’t exist.” William did not like being treated like a child. “Maybe it was robbers hiding out.”
“Oh dear, I hope we’re not in danger.” Elizabeth winked at Agatha. “Well, do you want to bring him some food, some bread or cheese maybe? A man needing to sleep outside in one of your forts is probably hungry.”
“Oh yes, we should do that. Maybe some cake. I think he would like cake.” A beggar was no less exciting to the boy than a robber. What was important was that his fort had not only survived the winter, but it was deemed sound enough to be lived in.
“There is no one living in your old fort. And even if there was, he wouldn’t be there still.” Ernest was very much an older brother.
“There was someone in my fort. And even if he left we should still leave some cake. Just in case he comes back or someone else needs to use it.”
“A piece of bread should suffice I think,” interjected his father. “If a man is hungry he will be just as thankful for a piece of bread as for a piece of cake, and it will not be too rich for his system.”
“Yes father.” William took some bread from the table and ran out of the room without asking to be excused. His father watched him depart, shaking his head.
“I wish you wouldn’t encourage him like that Elizabeth. The wind has obviously blown leaves into one of his little hovels and now he thinks he is a master builder and people live in his homes. What happens when some rodent carries away his bread? Is he going to keep bringing my food to his imaginary tenant?”
“I would not worry yourself too much Mr. Frankenstein,” said Agatha. “He will likely have forgotten about it come dinner time.”
“Not likely Miss DeLacey. My sons rarely let an idea go.”
The rest of the lunch time conversation revolved around how very bright William was and how remarkable and complex his numerous woodland structures were. It was agreed by all that the boy had a brilliant future ahead of him.