Hello, living friends.
I have managed to get my hands (not that I have any) on Charles’ tablet tonight and must update you on a happening at the Hall.
There is a new animal here that looks just like a cat but I have been informed by Maria (died here 2012) that it is a tiger cub and it will grow extremely large and dangerous.
Are you mad, you creatures downstairs?
What would possess you to take into your home a lethal killing animal? I presume he will slaughter and eat it but you have odd traditions regarding food down there…
A Gold Digger
Charles, I must explain, is the son of William, the Hall’s present resident. William has a daughter, Sophia downstairs, and his wife, Maria is with us, occasionally. Charles’ girlfriend left him (thankfully I say) a month ago and he has been struggling to talk to anyone ever since. Not that he talks much with his Dad or anyone else anyway, he’s a quiet man, happy with his own company but he is sad. The cub could be just what he needs.
Charles is here every day, working in his workshop, keeping an eye on his father and the house but he doesn’t seem to have much fun. I hope he keeps the cat here…
There are other animals downstairs in the house. Apart from the four score and ten mice there are two dogs; the terrier Harry and a sausage dog called Dolly (I call them Hunter and Sausage!). Charles isn’t very keen on Dolly and mostly ignores her. She belonged to Brigitte, his girlfriend who left in a flurry of tears. Personally, having seen so much in my time upstairs I think she was a gold digger. When she realised that the Hall was fraying at the seams and the pot of money, relatively small, she made some pathetic excuses and disappeared, leaving Dolly behind. Good riddens I say.
Alone in the Attic
Emily has been trying to draw the baby tiger but it’s very difficult not have a solid body to use like you do. She has had a hard time young Emily, since she died of that horrible cholera. Her mum, like mine, worked here as a house maid when the hall was rebuilt in 1860. The top floor was taken off and the servants ended up living in the small space under the roof, with very basic sanitary conditions. The toilet was outside in the grounds but some of the younger children just couldn’t make it and when one young servant arrived from the south he brought the disease with him. Many died in the attic. Emily was ill one morning and her mum was sent out to the neighbouring village for supplies, so Emily stayed in the attic alone. She died of dehydration before her mother returned. Her mum left the next day a miserable wreck, Emily’s body having been quickly thrown into a shallow grave. There was no money for anything you expect today; a coffin, a ceremony, a party. The job was done quickly to avoid any more disease and everyone just got on. Emily, once she got used to the fact she was no longer downstairs, tried to search for her mother but being so young, didn’t know where to look. I tried to help but it was 1860, almost two hundred years after my passing and Anlaby had trebled in size. The Captain took her out looking to the local inns where she saw lots of drunken men and women but not her Mum. She often talks about her and sings to us, the songs of her childhood. I find it all a bit maudlin and prefer a good dance tune but it keeps Emily going.
Invisible to the living
Death, really, is a pretty regular business. It’s just a shock to find you are invisible to the living and no longer have a body that feels. Walking through walls becomes normal quite quickly. I do miss eating though; crunching the tight skin of a shiny apple and letting the juice cascade into your mouth and down your chin. If I had saliva my mouth would be watering.
I must say that I do enjoy a good memorial service in this century. No one downstairs speaks much to us upstairs, so it’s great to hear someone extolling the virtues of a new member to our flock, even if sometimes those qualities have been exaggerated. One woman, named Susan, was described by her family at the funeral, as kind and giving. She turned up and bullied Emily who only dared hover in a small corner of the attic. The spot where she died in fact. The Captain soon sent Susan packing, shouting, “Get lost wench, you have a face like a trout and a mouth that should stay shut. Never return.” So…Don’t believe everything you hear at funerals.
Emily has just told me the cub, sleeping with the dogs in the kennel, is ripping all their bedding to shreds. This animal could prove to be great fun for us all, upstairs and downstairs. Let the chaos begin…
Until next time, my friends.