?

Log in

No account? Create an account
 
 
23 April 2007 @ 10:11 pm
A letter for Mrs Strange  
Addressed to Mrs Arabella Strange, and spelled to slip under her door, whatever room she may be in at the time that the letter should happen to be dispatched.

Arabella--

I appear to have found something resembling a kitchen, and, what is better, something resembling food, and I wonder if I might have the pleasure of seeing you join me for breakfast this morning.

I understand if you have other plans, in which case I should be perfectly happy to postpone it to another day. As always, yours, &c.

PS.
I do not know if it should still be called breakfast, when it shall be inevitably taken at midnight. But be that as it may, I would love be most gratified love to see you this morning.
-J.
 
 
 
Arabella Strangecolored_gowns on April 24th, 2007 05:21 am (UTC)
Arabella, unsure if the letter was meant to entertain, draws great amusement from it anyway. Coming to the kitchen in what she can only presume to be the morning, she greets Jonathan with a laugh.

"Spare me the day when I shall be too preoccupied to take breakfast with my husband."
Mr Jonathan Strange: ironical expressionironicalsmile on April 24th, 2007 05:26 am (UTC)
Jonathan is already seated at a small wooden table by the window, which looks out over a fragrant herb garden - normally a very pleasant view in the morning, as this was conceived as a breakfast nook, and, with the window facing east, at the usual breakfast time of day the sun should be pouring in streams of gold over the table, the birds should be chirping merrily, the bees should be buzzing comfortably away, and the sweet scents of the thyme and lavender just outside the window should be flooding the whole kitchen.

Alas, bees, birds, and, especially, sunlight, do not seem to care much for this everlasting Midnight (though the lavender still smells quite lovely).

Jonathan has lit a number of candles and lamps, and also one flashlight which he found or acquired somewhere and set upright on its base in the very center of the table (already set for two). He has three or four books on the table before him, in between plates and jampots and teacups, and has his nose deep in one when Arabella arrives; but when she speaks, he looks up with a smile (which only takes him a moment to arrive at, dragging himself out of the world of the book).

'Forgive me the ridiculousness of that note,' he says, 'but I am afraid I do not quite know the rules of this House as of yet.'
Arabella Strangecolored_gowns on April 24th, 2007 05:29 am (UTC)
"I do not know them either. But I may promise you that whatever they are, they affect me not in the slightest." She smiles. "Is there room enough for me between those books?"
Mr Jonathan Strangeironicalsmile on April 24th, 2007 05:32 am (UTC)
He glances at the table in some bemusement. 'Between the-- upon the table? Really, I doubt that, even in this place, that is quite the thing. Is there not a chair?' --at which point he seems to realize that he had filled the second chair with several notebooks and a bottle of ink.

'...ah, yes, just sweep those to the side,' he says. 'No, no, not that-- no, I must keep that just here, I have been thinking of new things to add to the subject all the morning. And do be careful with that page, as well.'
Arabella Strangecolored_gowns on April 24th, 2007 05:34 am (UTC)
She has started to reach for them, but she draws back, laughing. "Perhaps you had best move them yourself. Really, Jonathan, one would think you had never seen a desk or bookshelf before."
Mr Jonathan Strangeironicalsmile on April 24th, 2007 05:36 am (UTC)
'They are hardly convenient for breakfast,' he points out, reaching across to carefully gather up the papers and books and deposit them on the other side of the creamer. 'The ink bottle you may put wherever you wish. It is replaceable.'
Arabella Strangecolored_gowns on April 24th, 2007 05:38 am (UTC)
So, she places the ink bottle on the floor (not sure where else to set it), set off slightly from the table. And, with a smile, she sits. "There we are, then."
Mr Jonathan Strangeironicalsmile on April 24th, 2007 05:40 am (UTC)
'Indeed, we are here,' he smiles back, and, reaching a hand across the table to her, nearly upsets the cream onto his papers. After a moment of reorganization, he tries again to reach for her hand.

'There appears to be quite a variety of food items.'
Arabella Strangecolored_gowns on April 24th, 2007 05:42 am (UTC)
She laughs and takes the offered hand. "And which have you chosen?"
Mr Jonathan Strangeironicalsmile on April 24th, 2007 05:43 am (UTC)
'Oh, I--' Still holding her hand in his, he looks down at his own empty plate with an air of confusion. 'I cannot recall now if I chose anything at all. I believe I asked this sort of girl, by the ovens, to make some toast. She seemed to be some sort of housemaid, or at least quite obliging.'
Arabella Strangecolored_gowns on April 24th, 2007 05:44 am (UTC)
She laughs. "You were doubtless half in your book at the time. Shall I see what might be found?"
Mr Jonathan Strangeironicalsmile on April 24th, 2007 05:55 am (UTC)
'I suppose that might be best,' he concedes.
Arabella Strangecolored_gowns on April 24th, 2007 05:56 am (UTC)
So she lets go of his hand and stands, going to see what might be found in one of the many cupboards. "It has been so long since we have breakfasted together, I fear I might forget what sort of doting, wifely things I am expected to say," she comments with a laugh as she rises on her toes to peer into one of the cupboards.
Mr Jonathan Strangeironicalsmile on April 24th, 2007 05:59 am (UTC)
He watches her with an expression which might almost be termed wistful, save that no one could ever accuse Mr Jonathan Strange of wistfulness; one finger placed between the pages of his book saves his place. 'I fear I have never known the husbandly sort of things.'
Arabella Strangecolored_gowns on April 24th, 2007 06:01 am (UTC)
"Oh, little is expected of the husband, I daresay," she replies lightly. "You must only bury your nose in the newspaper-- a book will serve equally well-- and nod and perhaps make a few noises as I tell of my plans for the day." She pauses, a jar of jam in hand. "I fear I do not have any. In such a case, you may reproach me for idleness."
Mr Jonathan Strangeironicalsmile on April 24th, 2007 06:04 am (UTC)
'Ah, mm, er, indeed,' he says, obligingly hiding his face behind his book. This joke might go over quite well, except that for a moment he gets distracted by the words just in front of his face, and it takes him a few seconds too long to put it back down.
Arabella Strangecolored_gowns on April 24th, 2007 06:08 am (UTC)
She laughs anyway, coming back to the table armed with jam and with the toast that we must suppose Jonathan did, in fact, ask Rina to make. "Yes, precisely. And now I must ask, how did you sleep, my dear? But," she says, sitting, "As the wife of a magician, I may amend this statement to ask, did you sleep, my dear?"
Mr Jonathan Strangeironicalsmile on April 24th, 2007 06:10 am (UTC)
He appears, for a moment, about to protest; but then he collects himself, thinks a moment, and half-grins. 'I believe I took a catnap some hours ago,' he admits, then frowns at his plate. 'A catnap. I do believe I detest that word. A vile phrase, catnap is a very vile phrase. I had never realised it before.'
Arabella Strangecolored_gowns on April 24th, 2007 06:13 am (UTC)
"I will never understand how you are able to go so long without rest, yet still take in every word you read." She laughs. "And what is so dreadful about it? Catnap. I do not see anything to dislike."
Mr Jonathan Strangeironicalsmile on April 24th, 2007 06:15 am (UTC)
'It is the suggestion of--no, it is that-- it is simply that--' He pauses, still scowling faintly at his plate (now replete with toast) and tries again. '...I cannot bear the transient and insolent insouciance of the feline race.'
Arabella Strangecolored_gowns on April 24th, 2007 06:17 am (UTC)
"Oh, but of course," she says calmly, busily applying jam to her own toast. "I should have guessed."
Mr Jonathan Strangeironicalsmile on April 24th, 2007 06:18 am (UTC)
He looks up at her, no longer quite scowling but frowning yet. '...They are detestable little beasts,' he says. 'There is nothing more to it than that. Foul things. I do not wish to speak of them any longer; whyever did you bring them up?'
Arabella Strangecolored_gowns on April 24th, 2007 06:20 am (UTC)
"O, I? You misremember, my dear. I but inquired into how you passed your night," she replies as she tries to navigate her way across the cluttered table in order to pour herself some tea. "You mentioned a catnap. I do believe it progressed from there."
Mr Jonathan Strangeironicalsmile on April 24th, 2007 06:26 am (UTC)
As she sets down the teapot, Jonathan (frowning faintly, but this is a more thoughtful expression, not the troubled glower that the mention of cats brought on) absently drops three sugarcubes into her cup and begins stirring it.

'Still,' he says, 'whoever brought it up first, I do heartily dislike cats. We have never kept one, have we, Arabella? Perhaps we should have kept more dogs. Though I never can seem to find the time for hunting. But still, it is the sort of thing one ought to do. Is there good shooting round here? Or any shooting?'
Arabella Strangecolored_gowns on April 24th, 2007 06:30 am (UTC)
She laughs outright at this. "I can scarcely coax you to a walk in the garden. Even if there were the best hunting in the world-- which I cannot speak to, I do not know that it is a popular pasttime here-- you would not find the time or the inclination to go!" And goodness knows one would find no game in the dark. But she does not say this. "Would you like your own cup?"
Mr Jonathan Strangeironicalsmile on April 24th, 2007 06:32 am (UTC)
'My own cup?' His tone is one of complete surprize. 'What is this, then?' as he extends Arabella's teacup, from which he has just taken a sip. '...and any time you wish to take a turn about the garden, all you need to do is ask, my dear,' for all the world as though it's her fault. 'And find a lantern.'
Arabella Strangecolored_gowns on April 24th, 2007 06:35 am (UTC)
She decides it is easier to pour another cup. "Had I but know it was so easy! Perhaps I may ask you to join me in the garden after we have have finished?"
Mr Jonathan Strange: ironical expressionironicalsmile on April 24th, 2007 06:37 am (UTC)
'I should like nothing better in all the world,' he declares, sipping (her) his tea again, then adding a fourth lump of sugar. 'We may take this convenient little device,' and he indicates the flashlight.
Arabella Strangecolored_gowns on April 24th, 2007 02:06 pm (UTC)
"Oh, indeed! I have seen such a thing before," she says. "The gardens here are said to be quite lovely-- I fear I have not yet had a proper chance to see them. Now, of course, I am sure it will be rather less a matter of seeing them and more one of stumbling into them, but doubtless it shall be an especially lovely stumbling."
Mr Jonathan Strangeironicalsmile on April 24th, 2007 03:53 pm (UTC)
He looks sharply up at her, but then relents (and takes another sip of tea). 'O! I shall light the way,' he assures her. 'If there is one particular form of magic which Norrell and I have perfected by now, it is certainly spells for casting light. Not, perhaps, a great deal of it; at least, not so great as to completely defeat this-- but, just the same, enough to see our feet by.'
Arabella Strangecolored_gowns on April 25th, 2007 01:20 am (UTC)
"And that shall certainly prove light enough for me. Will you take some jam?"
Mr Jonathan Strange: tophatironicalsmile on April 25th, 2007 08:00 am (UTC)
Jonathan blinks at his toast, from which he has already taken two or three bites, apparently without noticing that it is dry. '...Yes. I think I will.'
Arabella Strangecolored_gowns on April 25th, 2007 02:10 pm (UTC)
And so, she passes the jam. "Have you met anyone since arriving save the books, my dear?"
Mr Jonathan Strange: ironical expressionironicalsmile on April 28th, 2007 07:43 am (UTC)
'One or two, my love, two or one,' he says, spreading jam liberally on his toast. 'Yourself, of course, and, let me see... a Mrs Watson, whom I am afraid I may have offended somehow, and one or two young men who seemed even more offended when I mentioned fairies. O! and a little girl, or...or some sort of creature, who spoke not a word of English, nor of any language that I recognised, but who seemed perfectly petrified by the Darkness. I put a light spell on her fingertips,' he adds casually. 'She seemed...grateful.'
Arabella Strangecolored_gowns on April 28th, 2007 03:09 pm (UTC)
"That's very good of you, my dear. I had hoped you would attempt to repair the wretched reputation magicians seem to have acquired here. It seems quite unjustly given."
Mr Jonathan Strange: tophatironicalsmile on April 30th, 2007 01:16 am (UTC)
'Indeed? And what, pray, is our reputation, exactly? Evildoers or simply ineffectual?'
Arabella Strangecolored_gowns on April 30th, 2007 01:19 am (UTC)
"Oh, some here do seem to imagine all magicians to be quite the worst liars and killers and thieves."
Mr Jonathan Strange: ironical expressionironicalsmile on May 2nd, 2007 08:48 am (UTC)
Jonathan frowns. 'Killers? Liars, I can understand; thieves, even, after Mr Norrell's... but killers? Come to think of it-- Arabella, my dear, how many magicians are there here?'
Arabella Strangecolored_gowns on May 2nd, 2007 01:49 pm (UTC)
"Goodness, I have hardly counted. But a fair number, I daresay. I asked after them-- to see, after all I'd heard, and I met quite a few, and as none seemed to be as awful as the rumors, I suppose there must be others besides..."