St. Jule Street is the dregs of London, and London is the dregs of all I’ve seen.
The Danish are clean and the Italians are brave, but in England I’ve seen but two kinds of filth: those who prey on the innocent and those who are too ignorant to prey. My uncle’s gamble ended me here. Twice I’ve visited him in debtors’ prison, but never again. It is my aim to be rid of this place, but first to garner some alliances, for a girl alone will soon be a caged dove.
Yesterday it was the theater. I thought to gain assistance in my disguise, but all I gained was knowledge of the less fair sex and their repugnant humor.
Today my aim is to endear myself to a passing noblewoman, who will likely consider me but a dear child, for I am quite small, and take me in as her pet. From thence I may work an escape.
But where to begin?
Ah, there is a house at the end of Pike where each night I’ve seen a crowd gathered. Ladies in gowns like those in Paris, those that my mother wore, and gentlemen in lace. There I shall wait for a single lady with sympathetic glance. It is my chance.
My plans were laid yesterday morning, and oh, what a story I have to tell! I visited the house; I waited in the ally, begging like a poor child when e’er I saw a lady of my choosing. But I was accosted! Not by force, nor by anyone’s knowledge!
My breath was taken from me by a short man of such unusual feature as to be the only one like him in all the world. His eyes were the largest I’ve seen, almost odd, but so full of life and love for living that they seemed to dance all on their own. His laughter, it was joyous.
But I was accosted! Not by force, nor by anyone’s knowledge!
My lord did see me then and hushed. He met my eyes and all the ladies and all the gentlemen turned to see this forward waif. My heart pounded in my ears until the world went silent too. All that I knew was that my lord saw me. His great eyes longed to know my story and I could see he wanted to share his own, but the grabbing crowd did pounce upon him then and demand he make his music.
When all was still, I sat under the upper window and listened to the happiest song I have ever heard, and then another and yet another. He played only pleasant songs on his pianoforte, but I knew him to be the caged bird, and I the free one.
And yet, I would rather sing in his cage than flit about without him.
Meet the Author
Genevieve Gavel lives in the shadow of Mt. Rainier with her husband, kids, cat, and loyal spaniel. An avid reader since her toddler years, and a writer from the age of five, Genevieve can’t imagine a life without books. She divides her time between shuttling her children to and fro, teaching music, and writing stories about fairly ordinary people surrendering to the poetry of life. Connect with her on Facebook or Instagram @gengavel.