Welcome back to the Norrington legacy! For those just tuning in, this is a Victorian themed legacy chockful of old fashioned handicaps to match. You would be better off starting from the beginning but if you're feeling adventurous, tuck in and good luck keeping up. Let's meet the polite hostess of this chapter shall we?
Meet Miss Romilda Quintus. She was kind enough to offer us a recap from last chapter. How are you feeling this fine morning Miss Quintus? "Simply wonderful, thank you. Oh, I see you've brought company. How pleasing. Would any of you fine gentleman care to assist me in the garden? A Lady can never have too many flowers about the house. I'm sure at least one of you strapping lads has been graced with a green thumb. Even if you haven't, you'd certainly be welcome in for tea... perhaps a bit more." "Yes, thank you Romilda. The recap?"
"Oh yes, of course. Where were we? Ah, I remember. Both Mr. and Mrs. Norrington had reached middle age. The strain of raising six children had turned poor Mrs. Norrington's hair gray. Not that she minded in the least. I've heard she's pleased as a peddler with a penny to leave the child bearing years behind her. Mr. Norrington on the other hand, still sports his fiery locks but his demeanor has soured considerably."
"Miss Abigail Virginia reached her teen years and has been looking forward to starting a family of her own."
"Young Trace was right behind her, though he much prefers his books to the company of females. I imagine Mr. Norrington will have his hands full getting this one to marry at a decent age."
"And let us not forget Miss Lora who has also left childhood behind. Such a sweet girl, she's yearning for a chance to be courted. Though her mother has requested she wait for a more respectable age in order to do so. I believe she and the other girls will be attending University in order to find suitable husbands. After all, what else is University for?” *giggle*
"The youngest Norrington, Annie Winnefred, also had a birthday though there is nothing ladylike about her. I hear they allow her to run positively wild. They shall regret it, mark my words. What man would want someone so untamed for a wife? Honestly."
"And my favorite part." *sigh* "The oldest boy Asher met and wooed Miss Olivia Gordan. I never saw them together but I hear they are a most handsome couple. I can not say which of them improves the other. It's already rumored that they are to be married after he returns from school..."
"Though there are a scant few naysayers that claim the boy plans to see the world after his schooling. Honestly, what young man in his right mind would choose travel over coming home to a lovely wife? Some people."
"So now there are five Norrington children left in the home and I for one am looking forward to seeing which way fate blows them. They are a most interesting brood, are they not?"
"And I nearly forgot! I heard the most delicious gossip! Miss Abigail was seen in town, unchaperoned mind you, talking with one of the local shop boys." *gasp* "Can you imagine?! It's positively scandalous. I trust it was a romantic rendezvous. Why else would she have gone?"
Well, thank you for all that Romilda. Your time has been much appreciated. "My pleasure, I assure you. You gentlemen be sure to stop over for tea sometime. My tea is most famous here in Guilford." *wink* Alrighty then, we'll just see ourselves out. Come along gentle readers... you too boys.
It turns out the rumors surrounding Abigail's jaunt were only half true. She did go but only to inquire after that bonnet that she was so desperately wanted. The shop boy, Amar Okuma, was more than surprised when the young girl approached him without invitation.
"You're telling me that you've come here on your own, in order to do a bit of shopping?" "Yes. Is that a problem?" "Where is your mother, Miss...?" "Norrington. Miss Abigail Norrington. And my mother is at home. Why do you ask?"
"Don't you realize how inappropriate it is for you to be here by your lonesome? It's nearly dark and you've introduced yourself to a strange boy. A shop boy no less. You are risking great damage to your reputation in order to meet new people, I'll have you know."
Evelyn, it is past supper... Have you any idea where Abby might be? Evelyn? Helloooo...
"So you really just wanted to make friends did you? And you had no idea you were breaking protocol?" "Not at all."
"I don't understand all these unwritten rules. I admit that I've lived a bit of a sheltered life... But what is so wrong about wanting to meet other people? I do love my family but I often wish for outside conversation."
Amar gazed in wonder. "You truly are an innocent, aren't you? I like you Miss Abigail and because of that, I'm sending you on your way. I will not be privy to cruel gossip about a girl as sweet as you."
"Thank you for your understanding Amar. Perhaps we shall meet again in a more appropriate setting."
"Wife, I am very vexed that Abby seems to have gone off without letting us know her where abouts." "As am I, but Abby is quite grown now. I believe she can be trusted to stay on her best behavior." "But it is so unlike her. She knows very little of the world. I will not have her damage her chances to marry well, or that of her sisters, by making an innocent mistake."
Said sisters did not seem at all concerned by their older sibling's absence.
That evening after Abby had given a plausible excuse for her walkabout and all the Norringtons were in bed, Stuart began to rant about money, and how little of it they seemed to have. Between working on the house, clothing, feeding and educating 6 children and 4 dowries and weddings to plan, he was feeling the pinch in his purse.
Evelyn though would hear none of it. She pointed out that clothing, feeding, educating, marrying off and having 6 children had been his life's wish and he should be willing to suffer the sacrifices in silence. As she had done all these years. Stunned by her bluntness, Stuart paused. "Perhaps you are right dear. You have been the very best of wives and given into all my wants. I've been overly neglectful in my duties towards you. What would you like to talk about for a change?"
"Very well... I've been recently reading about the latest medical break throughs. I think you would be most intrigued by some of the new methods believed to greatly reduce stress." "Would I? Do tell."
Wow... Evelyn. Shall we leave these two alone? Yeesh.
I... whoa... I've no words. Alice dear, what on earth are you doing? "Aside from the obvious? You needn't worry. Lora was just in here cleaning." But... why ?
"Yes, dear sister, why?" (i've never seen this... i've never even heard about it. toddlers, yes. children playing in the toilet... no. this is not a hacked toilet so yeah... i got nothin') "Don't tell me you've never thought about it Annie." "Um... maybe a time or two. When I was still in nappies !"
"What are you two doing hogging the loo? Did you forget which one was the bath?!" "Don't look at me! I only just arrived!" "Do you two mind? I was enjoying my solitude."
"Alice, I say this because I'm your brother and I care. What has gotten into that head of yours? You've been dreadful ever since Asher left for school. I know you miss him but he would be greatly disappointed to see how you're behaving. You know he would be the first to correct you. Now, please, tell me what you were doing?"
Evelyn dear, I'm beginning to worry about the children. The house seems to be spinning off it's hinges a bit more than usual. Please say you've noticed. "Oh, I've noticed. A bit difficult not to, I assure you. I'm holding out that it's simply a phase."
Stuart worried that perhaps it was his own sour mood affecting his children. He vowed to work hard and spend more time with each of them. Besides, he could always use a bit of extra help in the greenhouse and Annie was happy to oblige.
Later that week, Trace brought home a young exchange student, Pong. He felt the boy was sensible and might do for one of his sisters. Perhaps though he should have let Pong in on his plan.
"Did my brother invite you home perhaps in order to meet me and my sister Lora?" "Of course not. I would never. I believed we were to play chess. I could never consider one of you heathen English girls. I'm betrothed to a young lady back home in my village of Takamizu."
"I've heard of that place. My parents spent their honeymoon there and shared their adventures with us children." bowing "It is a pleasure to meet you Pong."
"How delightful. An English woman with some breeding. The pleasure is all mine Miss Norrington. Now if you wouldn't mind, which way to the water closet?" "Up the stairs, first door straight ahead."
"Hahahahahaha! I spoke too soon!" "Oh goodness! My apologies kind Sir. I wasn't expecting anyone up here. Allow me to introduce myself."
"No introduction is necessary Miss. As though I would associate with anyone vulgar enough to walk about in her nightdress with company in the house. In the daytime no less! Now if you'll excuse me."
He certainly gave you a lashing, didn't he? Are you alright Lora? "I had no idea! I felt poorly so I was napping. If I had known..." moans piteously "Oh what he must think of me. At this rate I'll never have any suitors!" Don't fret dear. He only came to play chess with Trace. Moreover, you are a pretty girl who could do much better. I'm sure that once you get to University, you'll have more suitors than you'll know with what to do. (as if i'd allow pong and he's busted nose into this legacy! he should be pleased as punch that he got any face time at all)
Meanwhile Annie began her own music lessons, like her sisters before her.
Out in the hall Lora had a word with Trace about warning her next time he invited a young man home. Even Trace had to admit that Pong was far too harsh with his little sister. He hadn't spoken with the boy since. (as a strange side note, i find it funny that alice actually keeps in touch with pong. they get along for some reason. perhaps because he's a strange foreigner and she's the odd egg in her family)
Finally the day arrived when Alice would join her older siblings as a teenager. She was looking forward to it considering she tired of being talked down to.
Alice immediately embraced her new bit of freedom and fought her parents tooth and nail in order to get away with wearing this costume. She knew people would talk but she didn't fear speaking up for herself and making friends regardless. In fact she hoped to make many friends once out in the wide world. And she was certain she would find those open minded enough to accept her for who she was. No one had corrected Asher's over zealous behavior and she wouldn't allow them to curb hers either. And while she didn't waste time gazing at wedding dress patterns like Abby or daydreaming about her first and subsequent kisses like Lora, Alice did hope to meet an amiable young man. Someone with ebony hair hidden beneath a stylish riding cap. Well, she supposed any hair color would do... except gray. (simman's terms: she rolled popularity. very funny sweet heart. turn ons: black hair and hats. turn off: gray hair. reminder: 1 sloppy, 7 outgoing, 9 active, 10 playful, 1 grouchy)
Seems Trace finally bowed to his mother's will and took up dance in order to earn himself a touch of gentility.
Much to his sisters' delight. The three of them spent hours practicing steps from the new dances that were all the rage in the Americas. Though their father believed anything those uncivilized colonists had thought up wasn't worth knowing about. He did leave them to their devices though. After all, it was just a bit of fun.
He had more pressing matters on his mind anyway. Money was tighter than ever now that the expansion to the house had been nearly completed. But he knew better than to complain or else his lovely wife would have a few things to say.
Having been a toddler when the other children had begun receiving their private education, Annie depended on the tutelage of her older siblings in order to keep up. Now that she was old enough, Alice took up the mantle and helped her little sister conjugate her Latin verbs.
"Papa, you're home! Thank heavens, Alice has had me studying for hours. I absolutely detest Latin!" "Consider yourself fortunate to have a father who cares enough to have you learn it. You wouldn't want people to think you ignorant, would you?"
(*singing to myself* i've been looking for love in all the wrong places...)
The time had come for Abigail to depart for school. Trace too would be leaving as they shared a carriage to their prospective schools. Trace would join brother Asher at Sterlington University while Abby would attend Sterlington Ladies College. Evelyn fought back tears at the progressive idea that her girls would receive an almost equal education to that of their brothers.
With her eldest daughter gone, Evelyn's thoughts turned to her wayward daughter Alice. What were they to do with her? Lora had an idea. "Alice, I'm uncertain that brown does your complexion any favors. But I believe you would look absolutely lovely in green!"
"Hurry Abby dear, your carriage is waiting. Where ever is your brother?" "In the kitchen Papa. He had a call to make. Something about a chess set he ordered." "That boy. I suppose I should be content he didn't ask to take the board we have with him."
"Come along son. You'll cause both you and your sister to miss the train." "Yes, yes Papa. I'm coming." Evelyn and Stuart shared a look of fondness for their intellectual gem.
"Have fun Trace. Remember to write me about everything you're learning. And I'll try to keep from my idle fancies."
Stuart watched his children leave, worried mostly for his daughter. He cringed at the thought of his innocent little Abby going off into the world. Was it any wonder most fathers sent their girls straight from the nursery to the marriage bed? At least then there was none of this anxious worry about what trouble she might get up to out on her own.
With the other children gone, Stuart distracted himself by, like his wife, turning his worries to Alice. That poor girl. The price she will pay for being different.
Now the oldest child in the house, Lora took her responsibility as big sister seriously. She took it upon herself to tutor Annie in music since the little girl failed to express the same interest as her sisters. Something tells me Annie wasn't very appreciative of Lora's efforts.
"What a lovely painting Alice. I applaud your use of color. It's quite... inventive." 'Perhaps she should take up needlework.'
She was also more interested in learning to keep house properly. "Who on earth left this mess? How inconsiderate."
a little while earlier... Annie... "What can I say? My interest was piqued. Think of it as though I'm making up for lost opportunities." (annie certainly broke that mold I mention a couple chapters ago. she never fails to fascinate me. and she's been influenced by each of her siblings: violin from lora, chess from trace, painting from abby, toilet splashing from alice ;) and paint gazing from asher. in fact she reminds me of him the most. she's a sweet kid who looks after herself)
And Stuart finally finished work on his beloved's home with everything he promised and more: a front parlor, formal dining, a drawing room, a back kitchen with state of the art amenities, a downstairs water closet, an upstairs bath, 3 full size bedrooms, a back hall with stairs into the kitchen and even a lovely stone fireplace. That'll do Stu, that'll do
Meanwhile over in SimCambridge at Sterlington University...
A young man wondered how his family was making out back home. Though relieved to be out on his own, he missed them and wondered if he in turn was missed. (you have no idea how much you're missed ash. by me especially)
Back home Alice had reluctantly agreed to partner Lora in dancing. She was surprised to find it rather enjoyable. "You know Lora, I believe you would be much better at this is you donned a pair of trousers. Far more freedom of movement." "Alice, stop influencing your sister." "I was only teasing Papa."
Soon Lora would be leaving for school as well and as the day drew near she tried convincing her father how important it was for her to have a new wardrobe. "Think of the influential people I will be meeting at school Papa. I can't possible make an impression in my old frock. I want them to believe me learned and well bred and... and well traveled." Finally Stuart had had enough of this insipid discussion.
"There will be no shopping trips! Your mother has made up several dresses decent enough for the likes of you. You will drop this ridiculous line of conversation once and for all or you wont be traveling anywhere young lady. I've half a mind to keep you locked up in the house until I find a man with a firm enough hand to curb you of your silly notions." "Yes Papa." (i'm not exaggerating lora's silliness. she thinks of nothing but fashion and love and kissing. she seems to prattle on endlessly to anyone within hearing range. she never deems to just sit and think about anything. such a change from her childhood. then again, i always that her wide eyed expression made her appear vapid)
After a few minutes of blessed silence... "Mama, perhaps if I were to take up some extra housework, such as cooking, I could earn enough to purchase a few frills. Perhaps some strips of lace or satin to dress up my clothes a bit. I do like the dresses you've sewn but you've made them up so plain..."
"God give me strength... Lora, perhaps we may come to some arrangement if only you would leave us to eat in peace. I will speak to you about this after breakfast. Now please..."
"Of course! Thank you Mama. I imagine there will be all sorts of things for me to do. You wont have need to lift a finger. I'll do everything! Well, perhaps not everything . Alice is, after all, tutoring Annie and should be given due credit..."
At the mention of Alice, the mood at the table shifted noticeably. Evelyn politely excused herself while Stuart inquired after Annie's progress in French. Annie wondered if her older sister was aware of their parents ill opinion of her. My guess, yes. Alice was very aware.
Make that extremely aware. (honestly, you people need to stop it. on an unrelated note i realized that alice is also the only one of the girls without any cooking points. is she the black sheep or what?! i love it. and no, i didn't plan it this way either. it just happened)
"Papa, might I have a word?" "Of course dear. Take a seat. I was looking for a game anyway."
"Have I done something to upset you and Mama? What about me offends your sensibilities so?" "What on earth makes you think we're offended?" "I've eyes to see Papa. Perhaps it's not intentional but you're doing very little to hide your feelings. Am I... a disappointment to you?"
Stuart sighed. "I am truly sorry if you have felt slighted my dear. I suppose it hasn't been an easy task watching you children grow up and make your own decisions. I would be lying if I said I wasn't worried about the impression you will make on the world." "Do you think there is something wrong with me?" "Absolutely not love. Your mother was independent of spirit as well. Though she didn't wear it as blatantly as you. She wasn't afraid to share her thoughts, or her life with a wretched pauper like myself. I've always loved her strength, and I see it in you. It is something to be admired."
Meanwhile... man does this bring back memories.
Alice... now may not be the best time to try your father's patience. Stuart was far less tolerant of Alice's cheating than he had been of Asher's. (sexist)
"Alice Mackenzie! This is exactly what I worry about! However do you expect to thrive in decent company without at least pretending to behave as a lady? There are far more suitable ways to rebel. Ways that wont ostracize you from society."
Alice frowned at her father's anger. The restrictions placed on a female were so strict when compared to the expectations of males. Her brothers could frolic and tease and romp without anyone turning an eye. No wonder girls were considered more difficult to raise. "I suppose you'd be more pleased if I learned to cook and talked of nothing but nonsense. As long as I were wearing a dress, right?"
Stuart stared at his daughter. Only now was he fully realizing just how like her mother she was. And not just her sharp tongue either. Alice was not quite a woman, nor was she a child either. Yet she was old enough to know her own mind, and what a mind it was. She might not have grown into the young lady he'd imagined but she'd grown up regardless. And it was now his turn to sit back and respect the person that had emerged.
"Well," He spoke carefully in a light tone. "I suppose cooking will never suit you. Perhaps a life of crime is more to your liking. It's certainly far more interesting."
Alice, realizing her father was trying to make peace with a joke, allowed a little chuckle to escape. "Not a bad idea Papa. I'll think on it, shall I?"
Some weeks later a carriage had arrived to bring Lora to the train station. And yes, she'd managed to earn enough to buy all those extra frills she was so wanting. Her trunk was now filled with newly trimmed dresses just waiting to be shown off. This time when Stuart considered Alice, it was with fondness. And gratitude that he wouldn't be shelling out for several costumes on her departure.
Lora's mind however was on all the fun she would have. Especially with no one to watch her.
The next day Annie turned thirteen and quite the young lady she makes. She almost appears completely civilized, doesn't she? But don't let her innocent facade fool you for this girl plans on living a life full of fun and pleasurable things. She's certain she'll marry, if only to please her beloved father. But the young man had better be exciting. Perhaps a pirate who plays a brilliant piano forte and makes delectable lobster bisque. And not a word about logic or science or she'll make him walk the plank. (she rolled pleasure, surprise, surprise. turn ons: creativity and a good cook. turn off: logic. i guess her brother trace left a bad taste in her mouth. reminder: 1 sloppy, 7 outgoing, 6 active, 7 playful, 4 grouchy. i think she looks just like abby, except she's less pinched looking than her older sister. she's really outdone her siblings. also, annie immediately rolled typical teenage wants that don't exist yet. annie's impossible wants: a car, a tv, a computer and a date. boy is she in the wrong century)
Playing the part of the dutiful daughter, Annie begrudgingly sat through her cooking lessons with little complaint. It was a small sacrifice to concede to her parents' illusions. After all, it wouldn't be long before she was off living the life she wanted with no one to stop her. Then again, Annie had always had her eye on the bigger picture. Perhaps it is what made her so easy going. (and that's true. like her brother asher, annie has always been a joy to play. so independent and content. she's the only reason i found the house even remotely tolerable to play after asher's departure)
Speaking of Asher, Annie made a point of calling him as much a possible to ask about school and tell him how absolutely mad their father was becoming. Just that morning Stuart had been seen wandering out to his beloved greenhouse in only a nightshirt! She hoped Asher was enjoying his freedom while it lasted since he'd be coming home to an asylum.
Alice, on the other hand, had found something she truly loved; Ballet. It was the only time a true smile could be seen on her face. When she danced, the world and it's judgments faded away. It was just she and the music and she was free to simply be. It was a pleasant change to see her looking so serene. I'm glad she found something that suited her.
While Stuart had come round to accepting his daughter, Evelyn still hadn't made peace with Alice's refusal to learn the ways of a true lady. "Would it offend your youthful sensibilities so very much to assist me in making just one meal? There is absolutely nothing wrong with knowing how to cook. No one will think less of your little rebellion dearest. A woman is still as intelligent as any man without donning trousers. “ Speaking of said item of clothing. Don't you think it's time you found a more appropriate frock to wear? You may still go riding while wearing a habit." "I don't wish to ride side saddle!" "What on earth is wrong with riding side saddle? It's certainly not a sign of weakness. I'll have you know it's infinitely more difficult and more dangerous than riding astride. Which is why it's been left up to us women to perfect it."
"Only mermaids ride side saddle Mama, and that's because they have to." "How very clever dearest." Don't worry Evelyn. Alice will turn out just fine I'm sure. It seems that now is her time to fight for her right to free expression. She'll settle as she matures and realizes rebellion doesn't have to be loud and in one's face to have meaning. (I hope)
Despite her fit of temper, Alice loved her mother. She just couldn't be like her right now. Perhaps someday they could speak, not as mother and daughter, but as equals... as friends. 'At least she's accomplished in some ways of a proper lady. No one can say we didn't do our best to shape her.'
Uh... May I help you Stuart? You've been distressingly quiet of late. If you don't mind me saying, I would guess that you might be depressed. Um... how are your plants? ...the fish?
"Dearest, there seems to be someone watching us. Perhaps even relaying our every action, manipulating our movements, all in the name of entertainment." Evelyn sighed. "That's nice love." It seemed her husband was feeling a bit more dotty than usual.
Oh... it was that time. Alice was finally leaving the nest to explore her freedom. Evelyn shared a concerned look with her husband, but for once Stuart was calm. He knew Alice would find her feet. She was a Norrington after all.
"Walk calmly... refrain from running to the carriage laughing madly."
"Take comfort Mama. Alice will do well, I'm sure of it. She's always been capable of looking after herself." "Annie is quite right. Do not trouble yourself with needless worry. Come and play a game of chess with me. Annie shall play and we'll all make merry."
'Besides, it's not Alice who is in need of your worry. It's the other students. That girl shall lay waste to the school should anyone do her ill. Or God forbid, comment on her trousers.'
Shortly after her sister's departure, Alice decided to take advantage of her relative freedom. Her parents were far too distracted to notice if she did a walkabout. She headed into town and to the local boutique owned by the Trower family.
They'd recently had a new and amazing contraption that with the use of a flash of light and a spark of sulfur, caught Annie's likeness on a tin type. "How absolutely remarkable. I may be the youngest Norrington but I'm certainly the first to have one of these. I can already hear Lora going on about my hair."
Later that night Annie reassured her mother that nothing untoward happened while she was out. "And you're certain you only went for a walk?" "But of course."
Despite her desire to live the life of a rogue, Annie fulfilled her parents' wishes doing well in both music and art. An accomplished young lady could have just as much fun as an ignoramus. Maybe even more so. She sensed that perhaps her mother was a bit let down by her lack of ambition. She would never be the overachiever that both Abby and Lora strove to be. In fact, she was only attending University because it seemed to mean so much to her parents. Annie believed that people could often become too educated. So much so that they lost the ability to think with their hearts. And Annie had every intention of living until her heart was bursting at the seams.
And finally the day had come when Evelyn and Stuart were forced to allow their last baby bird out of the nest. Would she manage to fly? They watched her go with mixed emotions. Annie had been independent since infancy. Never needing anyone. They both hoped she'd find someone whose company she could at least enjoy.
Tune in next time to see the Norrington children make their way through the complex (and tedious) world that is known as college. Will they find the suitable matches their father is hoping for? Will Stuart finally get the six wedding wish that started this whole thing in the first place? I certainly hope so. We didn't raise 6 children for nothing. Until then, keep simming. (as always, thanks to all the brilliant cc makers out there. especially those at MTS2 and All About Style)