The Frustrations of Ettie-Jane

Ettie-Jane has only a few goals in life: to be admired for the pretty young woman she is, to have her own way, and mostly to have fun. But when her mother re-marries a boring old Mr. Bennett her plans could be jeopardized.

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1. Leaving

Ettie-Jane looked out across the lush, green garden for the last time. This was her garden.Everything in it was as she waned it to be. The rose bushes, the pond, the trees- everything had it's own space and place, just as she wanted. The great big pear trees, shielding the gentle fields of white carnations from the eyes of her mother. The place where Ettie would always bring her lovers.  To her left was the swing, where she would spend careless hours as a child, with Myrtle reading to her. And to her right was the civil, paved, patio where her mother would bring guests in the summer, to sit and drink lemonade, between the potted geraniums and marigolds. This was her home. This garden which she has single-handedly tended ( except for cutting the grass of course) since she was 6. And now she was being dragged away from it, because of one nasty man. Ettie promised herself to avenge her garden accordingly. Mr. Bennett will regret the day he ever layed eyes on her mother. Who did he think he is anyway? A replacement for her father? Her father was the great George Murphy- explorer and archaeologist.  Mr. Bennett- the tobacco company owner-could never hope to compete. Yet her mother was marrying him all the same. He was different from Ettie's father in every single way. Ettie couldn't imagine why anyone would want to marry a boring old fart like him. But here she was, virtually being kidnapped into what could only be a sad and lonely, polluted life. She sighed and looked away from the window at her beloved parrot Lorey- named after no one else than Queen Victoria's own parrot. "You understand, dont' you Lorey?" She said as she stroked his blue chest. "You know how it feels to leave home."

Lorey was a parrot captured by Ettie's very own father, in the vast forest of Indochina. He knew what if felt like to miss home. She picked him up and placed him in a cage next to Fifi the cheery, chirping canary. She took one last look at her beloved room and smiled. It was empty, all her things have already been taken to her next home. With her room looking so bare, with only her empty bed left, she didn't think she was going to miss it so much. She turned away slowly, with the cage in one  hand and her small box of essentials in the other, and walked down the winding stairs. Her best-friend Patsy was waiting at the bottom,

"Cheer up" She smiled encouragingly. "Just imagine how many fine boys live in London." 

"I want to stay here with you. And Simon, and Ralph, and James. And, I even think I'll miss Peter." Ettie answered.

"That swine?" Patsy laughed, as she brought her friend into a hug. "You're better off without them."

"Now, Patsy, you've got to keep them boys in line when I'm gone" Ettie laughed, holding back a tear.

" Don't you worry. You just wait till I get my hands on them."  Patsy smiled. Ettie knew Patsy wanted to cry just as much as she did , but she knew neither of them were going to.

"I'll visit soon" Ettie promised.

"Me too." Patsy smiled. With that, the two girls walked out hand in hand to say good bye to the others. 

 

Inside the carriage Ettie tried to make the situation as awkward as possible.  She sat opposite her mother and Mr. Bennett and stared at them both. Not too obviously, but enough to be noticed. If either of them spoke to her, she would ignore the questions as if it were nothing but a whistling of wind. She spoke only to her parrot  saying how he shouldn't be worried, that they were going to be home soon and that where they went he'll be able to fly around the house wherever he wants to and even help himself to treats in the kitchen. Ettie carried on talking to Lorey about how Ettie was going to wake- up everyday at 5 in the morning and practice her violin for an hour, and how at night time she would invite people to play poker with and drink gin. She carried on talking about how she was going to get a proper job by dancing in a bar, and eventually when she earned enough money take Lorey and Fifi and move away to Australia, and find her real father. She described in detail how she was going to swindle all the men on the ship, to earn enough money for a motorcar- nothing like this old thing-  and drive around the country surviving off pick-pocketing and prostitution. All of these tales were a lie of course, but Mr. Bennett didn't need to know that. Even if he did, this would surely annoy him greatly. Ettie smirked as she paused to make-up another lie. What if Mr. Bennett got angry, and hit her? Then, they would move back to good old Oakley for sure.  She opened her mouth to talk about how she was going to marry 10 people and when they died claimed their possessions, but her mother grabbed her hand and looked into her eyes. 

"That's quite enough of your nastiness." She said in a stern voice. Mr. Bennett just smiled.

"No, no. This is ever so fascinating. When I was her age I had no career plans what-so-ever. Do carry on dear." he said with a kind smile. This threw Ettie off her point a little. Then she smirked. He believed her! The fool!

"I was talking to the parrot." She said in a serious tone. "Don't you know it's rude to eaves-drop on other people conversations?"

"Don't you know?" Squawked the parrot. Ettie's mother looked at her with a warning.  The girl sank a little in her seat and almost blushed, Almost. She kept quiet for the rest of the journey and looked out of the window, listening to her mother's and Mr. Bennett's boring conversation, mocking them in her mind to keep entertained. 

 

 

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