Copyright 2018 by Shelley Adina
Chapter 1 (continued)
“My goodness, you’re so brave,” breathed Emma Makepeace, her breakfast companion in the grand airship’s dining saloon this morning, the third of their crossing, whose spoonful of coddled egg had halted in its fatal journey as she listened with rapt attention. “But at which point did you realize you were not alone?”
Daisy glanced at her younger sister, Frederica, who wisely did not lift her own attention from her plate, but continued to shovel in poached eggs, potatoes, and sliced ham glazed in orange sauce as though this were her last meal.
“The moment the packet lifted from Hampstead Heath. At that point, my sister deemed it safe to reveal herself, since there would be no danger of my sending her back to our aunt and uncle.” She gave a sigh. “We are committed to this adventure together, I am afraid.”
“I certainly am,” Freddie ventured. “I used all my pocket money for the tickets, including what I could beg from Maggie Polgarth.”
“Who is that?” Miss Makepeace asked, resuming her own breakfast with a delicate appetite. “One of your school friends?”
Freddie nodded. “Maggie has shares in one of the railroads, though she is only eighteen—my own age. But that is beside the point.” Another glance at Daisy, who was admiring the deep golden color of the marmalade in her spoon.
If she were to paint a still life at this very moment, she would use lemon yellow, with a bit of burnt umber, and some scarlet lake—just a little—for the bits of orange peel embedded deep within.
“The point?” Miss Makepeace inquired, and Daisy came back to herself under their joint regard. It was up to her to redirect the course of the conversation.
“The point is that, having had some number of astonishing adventures—I have my doubts about the veracity of some of them—Miss Polgarth was all too forthcoming in her encouragement of my sister’s desertion of her responsibilities to school and family.”
“You deserted yours, too,” Freddie pointed out. “Poor Mr. Fetherstonehaugh. He is not likely to recover soon from your treatment of him.”
“Oh dear.” Miss Makepeace was one of those fortunate individuals who would never have to settle for the chinless and suitable of this world. For she was a young woman of considerable looks and some means, despite the absence of anyone resembling a chaperone or a lady’s maid. Perhaps that individual kept herself to her cabin. Her clothes were not showy, but so beautiful they made Daisy ache inside—the pleats perfection, the colors becoming, the lace handmade. Clearly her voyage to Paris had been to purchase these delights.
Miss Makepeace had been blessed with hair the shade of melted caramel and what people called an “English skin.” Daisy, being as English as anyone, had one too by default, but hers didn’t have the perfect shades of a rose petal. Nor did her blue eyes possess that deep tint verging on violet. At least Daisy’s hair could be depended on—reddish-brown in some lights and with enough wave in it to make it easy to put up—unlike poor Freddie, who had inherited Mama’s lawless dark curls. No one would be clamoring at the door to paint Daisy, but Miss Makepeace—oh, she was a horse of a different color.
She absolutely must persuade her to sit for a portrait in watercolors.
… to be continued