As We Are // 2

April 28, 2017

Read chapter one here

Lol, you can definitely tell which is my dominant hand in this picture by which heart is better xD  Whoops.

CHAPTER II
Wherein a Cottage is Bought




THE NEXT IMPORTANT occurrence was a surprising one which accosted Philippe one afternoon on her way to drop off a custom-made dress to a customer living about two miles from town.  It had been a long, difficult day at Madame Trowbridge’s Dress Shop full of sharp pins and tangling thread, and Philippe’s feet were weary as she trudged along a dusty dirt road back to the boarding house after delivering her package.  When she saw a wide meadow of tall grass on her left, she gratefully made her way through it and cut the distance to the town in half by her clever shortcut.  As she reached the other end of the field, she was extremely surprised to discover a grassy tree-lined lane.  She had expected to find a deer path through another field or thicket of shrubby trees which would lead her closer to town.  She came out confusedly on the road.  It was only distinguishable by the thin wagon tracks and otherwise would have just looked like a pleasant, partly-open section of country.  The grass on the road was trampled and worn down in certain places as if people who had started down the road had thought better of the seclusion and turned back.  Philippe shrugged and turned to the way she assumed the main road was.  So much for the short-cut, she thought with impatience.  Her surprise was even greater, however, when she happened upon a small, ramshackle cottage beside the road.  It had obviously been painted white, but the paint was peeling and ivy grew thickly over the windows and walls obscuring all outside views into the house.  It sat snugly beneath the dense shade of three large-trunked oak trees and had bushy green shrubs growing unappealing across the lawn.  Philippe’s first thought was one of repulsion, but she quickly changed her mind when she saw the hand-written ‘for sale’ sign hung on the doorknob.  A price was written neatly across the bottom of the sign, and Philippe stepped carefully onto the lawn for a closer look.  Her heart skipped a beat.  The sign read:  Negotiable price of $40.00.  For sale by owner -- Widow E. Goodhill.
Philippe pursed her lips with pleasure.  
“Well, Widow Goodhill will just have to sell her house then,” she said in a monotone as she extracted a small pocketbook from an inside pocket of her trenchcoat and knocked on the door of the house.  A few moments later, she was being greeted by a plump, elderly lady and led into the house to negotiate over tea.
“So ye say yer interested in buying me ‘ouse, eh?” said Widow Goodhill in a shrill, commanding tone, her eyes wide and questioning and her eyebrows raised almost to her hairline.  Philippe did not reply, but nodded her head once and waited for the widow to say more.  “An’ ye read the sign?”  
Philippe nodded once more.  “That I did, Mrs. Goodhill.” Widow Goodhill scrutinized Philippe with probing eyes.  
“Excellent.” There was a pause.
“You see, Mrs. Goodhill, I was wondering if you would be willing to sell your house a for a lower price?  Say . . . $30.00?”
“Me ‘ouse is me ‘ouse and will be sold for what ‘tis worth.”  Philippe eyed the old woman trying to puzzle out whether she was agreeing to sell the house for $30.00 or not.  
Which is . . .” replied Philippe.
“The price of $35.00.”
“Mrs. Goodhill, I hate to haggle with you, but you must understand that my poor sisters and I have but $35.00 dollars in our immediate pocketbook.  Your lowering the price by just five more dollars would very well be the means of our sustaining ourselves for a little while before we save up a titch more.” Philippe knew she was exaggerating, but she didn’t care.  She must, and would, have this house.  Widow Goodhill’s expression was maddeningly calm as she stared across the table of tea things at Philippe.  As the silence lengthened into a full minute, Philippe began to become uneasy.  
“Very well then, Ms. Woodhouse.  You’ve won.  The ‘ouse will be sold to ye for $30.00 -- no more, no less.”

***

“Girls!  Come quickly!” Philippe called out as she opened the door of the boarding house apartment where her sisters waited for her return from work that day.  There were clattering footsteps as they bustled out from from the kitchen where they had been making supper.  
“Oh, Philippe, you’re home!  How was work?” said Beth with her usual gentleness as she dusted her floury hands on her apron and tucked a few flyaway strands of her hair behind her ears.  

“Beth, Anna, Cordelia -- you’ll never guess what happened,” exclaimed Philippe jubilantly.  A rare smile like one that had not lit up her gaunt, pale face in months made the contrast between her rosy cheeks and mischievously dancing green eyes make her look almost pretty.  “I bought us a house.”

“A house?” echoed the three other sisters in unison.  
“Philippe!  Tell me it’s pink,” cried Cordelia clamorously as she bounced around the room happily.  Philippe let out a laugh and smiled again.
“Dear, it’s not pink, but now that we own it we are free to paint it whatever color we want.”  Cordelia and Anna squealed with delight.  As for Beth, being more sophisticated than her twin younger sisters, she went to Philippe and asked for all the details about the house and how Philippe had managed to procure it.  Philippe told the whole tale of how she had happened upon it and then saw the “for sale” sign attempting to keep a straight face all the while, but now and again, and sunny smile broke through and seemed to light up the whole room with its glow.  She didn’t know why she was smiling so widely, for it was only a cottage in the middle of nowhere that she had bought, yet the thought of her and her sisters having their own house to do whatever they wanted in was too much for her.  This was their new start -- this time, she was sure of it.


They moved into the new house two weeks later.  Since the house was for sale by owner, there was minimal paperwork to be signed and so the Woodhouse girls moved into their new house with little hustle and bustle.  They owned few pieces of furniture -- only a few wooden chairs and a decent table which they had bought from a junk shop when they had moved into the boarding house apartment.  Each girl was supplied with a small suitcase of personal possessions rescued from the house they had lived in with their parents; many-times patched clothing, chipped teacups, and a quilt or two.  
Kind Widow Goodhill insisted that they keep some of her extra furniture for she said with a sigh that she was going to live with the gypsies down the road and wouldn’t need all of her furniture from the house.  Personally, the sisters thought Widow Goodhill’s mind not quite right, but they were grateful for her little kindnesses and generosity all the same.  
It was on a bright summer morning in late August that the Woodhouse girls tramped down the lane leading to their new home, arms laden with household possessions, extra fabric scraps that Madame Trowbridge had given to Philippe for her excellent work at the dress shop, and a few odd books.  

“Beth, I can’t even see where I’m going,” complained Cordelia in a fatigued tone.  Beth turned her sister with almost imperceptible frustration.


“Then stop moving your bundle, dear.  Here, hand that chair to me.”  The chair was handed off and received with equal clumsiness.  In a few moments the girls reached a bend in the road and when they had rounded the curve, they saw the rickety house.  
“Oh dear, what an old piece of junk it looks,” exclaimed Philippe impatiently. “I’ll have to hire some farmers around here to help us fix it up.”
Anna and Cordelia’s faces lit up simultaneously. “Farmers?  There are farmers around here?” They looked around as if thinking a crowd of farmers would appear any moment.  Beth and Philippe both turned to each other and burst out laughing.  
“Darlings, we live in the country now,” said Beth with a chuckle.  By that time, they had reached the lawn of the house.  The unwavering shade of the oak trees overlay the lawn and made the interior of the house gloomy.  The girls entered the house, painstakingly avoiding chunks of wood and tiny nails lying about the floors of the rooms.  The curtains and wallpaper hung in bags from the windows and walls, and dust particles could be seen floating before the windows in each room.  
“That poor old widow.  Just look at these awful windows, Philippe.” Beth gestured pityingly to a few broken panes in the kitchen windows.  A spider had spun a thick web across two of the empty panes and sat in the center of his web patiently waiting for a careless fly to come his way.
“I don’t think I can stand more than a single night in this pit.  I’ll go straight for the farmers tomorrow morning,” said Philippe with an eyebrow raised.  

“Well, Philippe.  Don’t put too much faith in those farmers of yours,” asserted Beth with an unladylike wink.  Philippe looked at her sister lovingly and shook her head with a chuckle.

© Sophy Noelle 2017


aesthetic inspiration//philippe:







9 comments

  1. *squeals* Sophie!! This is just magnificent! I noticed one typo ('and' instead of 'a'), but that's it. Otherwise, I was completely engrossed in the story until it ended and I was like, *wails*
    There will always be small things with the individual characters, being a collaborative books, it's going to be fairy impossible to master all of them, especially when they are not your own. So despite this, you did just wonderfully and I cannot wait to do our Group FaceTime discussing our books. xD

    Amelia xxx
    <3

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    1. AWW thank you so so much, Amelia!! You have no idea how encouraging that it! Wow, that's really good to hear!
      Also, thank you for noticing that. I'll fix it asap :D
      I know, it's so difficult! But I think we've done pretty well considering we're over 2,000 miles away xD
      Thanks again!

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    2. I know, right? It can be so confusing. The only thing I would say is...Cordelia doesn't really like pink. xP Green is more of her color, but I can totally see where you were coming from. ;)

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    3. Got it! I will take note of that. Thanks for letting me know! ;D

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  2. I LOVE THIS SO MUCH ALREADY I NEED THE WHOLE BOOK RIGHT NOW!!!!!!
    I love all the girls and how the story is progressing!! I can't wait to see how it all unfolds and hear more of their adventures!!!!
    I do have a comment though, when Widow Goodhill agrees to sell the house she called Philippe Ms. Woodhouse but Philippe hasn't introduced herself yet.
    Also, Goodhill is so me!! I'M GOING TO MOVE IN WITH THE GYPSIES WHEN I RETIRE. Or at least tell the sweet unsuspecting girls who buy my rickety shack.
    I love all the pictures!!!! Both that you took, and the others which I'm guessing are from Pinterest?? ;P
    I love the clothes from that time period!!!!! Then and the 40s too.

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    1. THANK YOU!!!
      Aww that means so so so much!! I am so glad you liked it.
      Awesome! I totally did not even notice that, but you are tight xD Thank you! I really appreciate you mentioning that.
      LOL You totally should. ;D xDD
      Thank you! Yes, those are from Pinterest! :D Gosh it's so darn helpful for character photos when you're a writer. ;)
      Yes!! I agree wholeheartedly. <3

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    2. And by the way, your letter just came this afternoon! Just wanted you to know it got here safe. :)

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    3. It IS!! Pinterest is a writer's haven- especially introverted writers like me. You don't have to go and TALK to other human beans in order to get inspired for your characters!! Though, I've always thought it would be fun to go to a ball game just to look at everyone and get inspired. FUN THOUGHTS I CAN TELL YOU, BUT TERRIFYING REALITY.

      YAY!!! I'm so glad!! Hehe I was going to tell you, but I forgot, that I realized I didn't even know your last name! So I just put Noelle since I assumed that is your middle name? I should have guessed from your email though. ;P
      Oh! Can you send me a picture of the envelope it came in?? Just so we can know what to expect.
      Apparently, that letter was the guinea pig, since mum and dad are going to be sending our newsletters out from here, they wanted to see how reliable the service is.
      Do you remember how long it took?

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    4. UGH YESS!! I know how you feel. :))

      No worries!! My other friend and I constantly address our letters to each other using a different pen name every time. It's all good. <3 <3
      Let's see . . . you said you sent it on the 11 of March . . . I think?? So that would be *makes a beeline for the calendar cause there's no way I'm doing the math* 17-ish days? Let me know if that sounds right. :)

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