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 Meeting the Sea Urchin

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PostSubject: Meeting the Sea Urchin   Meeting the Sea Urchin Icon_minitimeMon Sep 29, 2008 3:43 am

“Welcome home Miss Flowers. It’s good to have you home safe and sound. We have been expecting you. Water is being heated and will be ready for you when you wish to bathe.” Jenny, the maid spoke English. Cathern had replaced all the staff with English speakers since it was her native language. Some were drawn from her intended's Clan, others from newly arrived immigrants. The staff was well paid and it ensured their loyalty though most were Protestants. Cathern allowed them their heresies as long as they kept it low key. Of course, she did encourage them to follow the one true faith of Roman Catholicism. Cathern smiled at Jenny. “Yes, it’s good to return home. I will take that bath and a short nap before supper but I want to walk around the gardens, check the stables and the like first. Is that girl about? Sara I think Mr. McDraig had called her.” Jenny nodded and motioned her hand to the back of the house. “She is out back Miss Flowers, doing the washing. She’s quite the attractive girl once we got her out of those rags posing as clothes. She doesn’t speak much but works hard. Shall I send for her Miss?” Cathern ran her fingers through her hair then answered, “No, have her prepare my bath and wait for me in my chambers.” Jenny curtsied then left. Cathern traced a finger over some of the furniture then went outside to walk her land.

The sun was still a couple hours from setting but the air already had cooled off some. Of course, cooling off in Florida was still hot compared to southern England temperatures most of the time. Cathern had gotten used to the heat, as well as any native European ever would, she supposed. The grounds were well taken care of as was her livestock and horses. She made small talk with the various groundskeepers, stable boys, and servants as she made her way around. Judging that all was in order, Cathern went back to the house and went up the staircase to her chambers for her bath and to meet her new cabin girl.

While it was unusual for Europeans to bathe often, Cathern had found it relaxing and never suffered any of the ailments taking a bath supposedly caused. Quite the opposite, she often felt much better after a soak. It was a luxury she took advantage of whenever she returned to her mansion. Cathern opened the door and walked into her chambers. She evidently startled the girl because she dropped the bucket of water she had been pouring. Water pooled up all over the floor and the wooden bucket rolled to Cathern’s feet. The girl, a young woman really, looked terrified. She immediately started apologizing profusely for her clumsiness and tears started streaming down her cheeks as she scurried to wipe up the spilled water. Cathern approached the girl then reached out her hand to wipe the girl’s tears. Sara flinched, obviously expecting a blow. “There, there Sara, it is Sara isn’t it? It’s just a bit of spilled water. I’m a sailor; a bit of spilled water is nothing to fret about. Let me help you clean this up.” Cathern brushed the tears away then knelt next to the girl to help clean up the spilled water.

“Y..you are not angry Ma’am?” Sara didn’t look up as she spoke, afraid to meet her new Mistress’ eyes as they both sopped up the water. “No, I am not angry Sara. These things happen and I am sure you have been nervous all day wondering how demanding and harsh I might be. Isn’t that right Sara?” Sara nodded and met Cathern’s eyes for the first time. “Y..yes Ma’am.” The water was cleaned up in no time with the both of them mopping it up. Cathern stood up then struggled to undress. “Help me get these clothes off Sara.” Sara rose and smoothed out her simple cotton dress then assisted Cathern remove her clothes, blushing a little bit. Free of her well worn outfit, Cathern stepped into the tub of water which was really nothing more than an oversized bucket, nothing at all like the porcelain tubs of the future. Sitting down into the warm water she pulled her knees up, not having room to stretch. Cathern had a supply of Savon de Marseille, soap made of olive oil manufactured in the Marseille region of France. “Sara, scrub my back and wash my hair….and tell me about yourself as you work.” Sara picked up a cloth, wet it and lathered it up with the imported soap. Hesitantly, she told her story while washing her new Mistress and Captain.

[More to come...]
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PostSubject: Re: Meeting the Sea Urchin   Meeting the Sea Urchin Icon_minitimeWed Oct 01, 2008 3:00 am

Yes Ma’am. I am not sure what you wanting to know. What is there to tell? I be orphaned and poor. I didn’t know me father and me mum passed to heaven when I was ten, died from dock fever or so I was told. She was a seamstress and I learned that skill from her. We had almost nothing. The few coins she be savin’ were claimed by the landlord for the unpaid rent of our little house which doubled as her shop. She owed money for the few supplies she used to maintain her business. When I couldn’t pay, I was sent to an orphanage which was little more than a debtor’s prison for children. The orphanage gave me a bed and two meals a day but I was sent to work for others to pay off me mum’s debt. I suppose it could be worse. I could ‘ave ended up as a harlot.” Sara grew silent and continued to wash Cathern’s tresses and scrubbed her back. Sara took a dipper, scooped up water and rinsed the soap off.

Cathern took the washcloth and soap from Sara and scrubbed the rest of her body. “And you are how old now Sara?” Sara scooped up more water to rinse off the rest of the soap suds. “I am 15 now Ma’am.” Cathern wrung out her hair, some soap still in it which Sara immediately rinsed out with a couple more dippers of water. “Fetch me a towel Sara, the water is cooling off.” Sara went to the closet and grabbed one of the large linen towels and wrapped it around Cathern when she stood up. Cathern dried herself off then set the towel on the dresser top. Sara again blushed at Cathern’s nakedness but helped her get dressed in fresh clothes. They made a little small talk, discussing Sara’s trip from Port Royale to Tampa and her time so far at Cathern’s mansion. Finally dressed again as a proper lady, Cathern spun around and looked at herself in the mirror. Her shipboard clothes were shabby in comparison but much more practical. It was always a strange dichotomy for Cathern; comfort and utility of her sea clothes versus the desire to look like a proper lady, beautifully if uncomfortably attired.
“Sara, it’s your turn now.” The girl look puzzled. Cathern smiles and pointed at the tub. “It’s your turn for a bath. You’ll feel better. It’s superstitious nonsense that a bath will kill you.” Sara looked at the tub of water. “If you command it Ma’am I will be doing it. But may I do so in private? I am very shy.” Cathern shrugged and nodded. “In your room is a selection of new dresses. Put one of them on and come down for supper. You will dine with me tonight. We’ll go over your new duties and what to expect while serving me at sea. Don’t dawdle though girl, supper must be nearly done by now.” With that, Cathern left her chambers.

Sara disrobed and rapidly washed herself up in the now cool water. Cathern wasn’t nearly as bad as she feared and such riches and luxuries she had. The soap itself would have cost a fortune to import. And now new dresses for her too? She had been lucky to get one new dress a year after her mother died. She was too embarrassed and ashamed to admit to Cathern the things she had done to survive after her mother’s death. She got out of the tub and used the same towel Cathern used to dry off. She looked at herself in the mirror; it was almost a novelty for her to see her own reflection in a mirror. She had been waiting at the mansion about a week before Cathern arrived. The flea bites were fading, with them the unpleasantness her life had been to date. “Your luck be a changing Sara, best not mess it up now.” she said to herself and left Cathern’s chambers to find these new dresses.
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