It is quite remarkable how things change. In the space of a few days, I have gone from being a somewhat isolated individual to sharing my home, with a member of the fairer sex, no less. No doubt some would disapprove; I know Aoibheann certainly seems to. Such an arrangement would, without doubt, be considered scandalous in my era, in the culture and morality I grew up in, even if Mother might have secretly approved. I am disinclined to care what others think, at least, for myself. I would care more should my companion’s reputation start to suffer. But then, from what little I know of the mores of her time, from what Gywn has been telling me, perhaps she would not care either. It is not as if we are doing anything that I would not admit to my mother, save perhaps for the chaste night we spent together in front of the fire. That may well change in the future, but I do not really know. I do know that I am changing.
Earlier, we were sitting on the sofa, chatting, while she finished off the repairs to my shirt cuff. She gave me the shirt to see the results and without even thinking, I removed the shirt I was wearing and tried on the repaired one, right in front of Lalla. Now, I do not consider myself overly afflicted by modesty, much less shame, concerning my body, but even so, it is not normally my habit to disrobe so casually in front of somebody with whom I am not having an intimate relationship, or who is there specifically for activities that require disrobing. Lalla did not seem overly bothered with it. Later, when she went to use the shower, I even made some mildly suggestive jokes concerning sharing the shower. I had no serious intent to do so, of course, but it is still a measure of how relaxed I am in her company. It is rather ironic that while I claim not to be overly adherent to the strict and stuffy mores of my time, I am still very much a product of that time and more inhibited by my upbringing than I care to admit. Still, here on this strange island, and in the company of my sometimes strange friend, I am slowly breaking those bounds. My journey is not the same as Edmund’s but in many ways, he and I are alike, finding new ground in a new society.
I did not get very far in my attempts at the next chapter of Edmund’s story. We are nine short chapters into the story and it is still only evening of his first day in Puffin Point. I am still trying to decide what new factors, what new differences between the society he left and the one he is joining, will become apparent during the course of an evening at the Mariner’s Rest. It would seem reasonable that Françoise would have spoken of Edmund while doing Evelyn’s hair and that Mildred might have sent word that she will deal with the chickens in the morning as well, but I am not sure what else to put in – Evelyn’s relationship with Garrick, have Josh and Hargreaves stay for dinner so Edmund can observe their open affection…
Lacking inspiration, I took myself across to the Lucky Leaf, thinking that at least a tavern atmosphere would put me more in the mood for writing an episode that takes place in a tavern. There was nobody there, save for a rather pretty calico cat, lying outside the tavern. I stopped to say hello and to pet her, thinking that maybe Gwyn’s wish for a tavern cat had come true, talking to her as I am wont to do with cats and dogs. Strangely, it was almost more of a surprise that she did not answer me back, which says something for my experience of exotic creatures here in the Cove. I went to the kitchen and fetched some scraps of food and a bowl of milk, which I warmed slightly, it being a cold day. The cat ate some of it, but when I tried to entice her inside the tavern, where it was warmer, she tried to follow, but was unsteady on her feet, leading me to worry that she was maybe sick. I picked her up and made a nice warm nest for her out of some old towels in the corner under the stairs, leaving the rest of the meat and milk in case she wanted more. With luck, Anna will come by at some point and maybe help her. For now, rest and warmth seemed the best I could offer. At least, while she was lying there in her little nest, she was a captive audience for my musings on the direction of the next chapter and the issues it may raise. Of course, she didn’t offer any opinion, being a cat, but that was probably the point of talking to her. Maybe, if she doesn’t get adopted by the tavern, I could offer her space in the apartment. I wonder if Lalla likes cats.
I left a note for Aoibheann, explaining about the cat, tucked inside a small volume of Coleridge poems I had picked up at the bookshop. Maybe that can be a sort of peace offering. I may not agree with her view on my relationship with Lalla, such as it is, but I don’t want there to be friction between us.