The Mystery Of The Vanishing Tennis Court
I walked downstairs in my new serge suit the next morning, ready to devour a big breakfast and spend the rest of the day out of doors. As I entered, the main hall seemed to be in a great deal of confusion. Mrs. Mertz was disputing loudly with the manager as Artie stood nearby, and Mr. Annis seemed to be having a great deal of trouble himself, speaking into the desk's telephone.
Mr. Amberly was sprawled limply in one of the big leather chairs in front of the fire. Mrs. Amberly stood at his side, patting one hand but paying all her attention to whatever was going on at the desk.
"What is all the commotion?", her husband wanted to know, "Sweet angel of mercy," he said, weakly clinging to his wife's skirt, "please, please bring me some more coffee."
"Yes dear," she said and patted his hand again.
I sought out Miss Crosby, who had been up hours before I had. I found her across the room looking at a series of postcards laid out on the side board.
"Ah, good morning!" she said, looking up and seeing my approach, "How did you sleep? Is the cot well made?"
"Yes, quite. What -"
"Look at this," she said, holding one of the postcards out for me to see while she flipped through some others of mountains and gorges and sunsets.
"Why it's the mural from your room!"
"So it is."
(I'm so proud! I actually have chapters this year! NOTE: historical accuracy? Record-breakingly poor.)
The Bronnydd Park Hotel
The year was nineteen and again nineteen. At the birth of Yellow Creek, near the crest of Mt. Mellel, had then rose one of the most magnificent tourist resorts of the era, Bronnydd Park Hotel. Three rounded stone pilasters joined with a series of flat front walls, in the castle style, to build up the western side where the mountain sloped away towards Crystal Gorge. This supported a magnificent piazza for viewing world famous sunsets in luxury and style, while the rest of the grand hotel rose up behind in a style of architecture peculiar to the area. It was Queen Anne, a little Victorian and a great deal of mountain lodge. There were a dozen chimneys piercing the mossy tile roof, with the greatest of all, the Hall Chimney, rising up like a mighty Sequoia with its back to the piazza.
From the front, the way that most people are introduced to the Bronnydd, the timber frame entryway reaches out in a most friendly and beguiling manner. A bellhop would take your bags, and, depending on your degree of eminence, the manager would come out to usher you inside, smiling all the way. If you arrived in the afternoon daylight, the cool dark interior of the hotel might render you a bit disoriented, but that is half of its charm. Before your eyes adjust, the other bodily sensors take their turn. Breathe in deeply and catch those earthy nuances of cedar and pine. Feel the comforting solidity of a well mortared stone floor beneath your feet. Allow you fingers to take delight in the smooth curves of the manager's desk as you lean against it to get your bearings. Do you hear that ripple of sociable chatter, drifting in from the piazza where teacups clink in turn? Drink in the precious silence guarded by granite walls nigh three feet thick. And what is that? The cozy crackle of a flame spitting on the hearth. Yes, there it is. Turn and see it lighting up a pair of deep leather armchairs, one with a book of poetry resting on its yielding arm. Someone has left their hat there too, a turkey feather stuck gaily in the rim.
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(The weird beginning that it took for me to figure out what I wanted to write....)
A Girl Named Alice Is In A Bad Mood
Once upon a time, there was a girl. Forgotten and weary of the wind that blew ticklish strands of pale amber hair onto her nose, she sat in the corner of the only place as forgotten as she was that she knew. Did that make any sense to you? It didn't to me either. Her name was probably Alice and she probably wished that an old Victorian mantle mirror would whisk her off to wild and wacky adventures involving flamingo cricket sticks and hedgehog balls. In fact, she would have been content with the Victorian mantlepiece alone, but as it was, our Alice was really much too old to fit into a mantle mirror, much too big to fall down a rabbit hole of any sort (rather, getting stuck before she even began, with elbows and knees caught on poplar roots and her skirt snagged on a earthling rose bush, by nature painted neither red nor white but orange.Instead, she rounded out a home for quiet moments in the warm stone on the outside side of her grandparent's house. With knees pulled up snuggly to a faded red ribbed sweater, the girl picked at the rough mortar beside her. There were fossils in the stone - her grandfather plucked each one by hand from Yellow Creek. Through the fraying mass of underbrush, the low call of the creek whispers, tossing shimmering bits of sun rays up for the autumn canopy of leaves to catch. Alice threw her bits of mortar toward the throaty gurgle, through the tangle of frostbitten goldenrod and raspberry brambles dead from last winter's cold. A charming occupation, picking apart your ancestors' handiwork (that keeps you warm at night, no less) and pitching it back to the creek from whence it came, with a dreary, unpleasant expression, no less.( Read more...Collapse )