Sunday, October 5, 2014

How Susan met Rose E. Pole


Meanwhile, Aunt Alberta had seen the corpse of Jill, and gone to it, since she had been a close friend to Eustace those last years, especially that last year. She was not alone, there was a man with a girl, probably his daughter, since she reminded of him. They also reminded her of Jill Pole.

"Relatives of Jill, I presume? You must be the uncle and cousin, Paul Edward and Rose Ellen, I presume? My condoleances!"

"And you are," said Paul Edward, "the mother of Eustace, Alberta?"

"Indeed."

"Condoleances."

And Alberta insisted on inviting them to a treat, then and there, nearest tea room, an ice cream and soda for Rose and tea with cake for herself and Paul. THey simply had "to take a pause from the grieving" as she put it. Strictly vegetarian and the tea room chosen as very certainly not a pub were they served any strong drink. You know her principles, and keeping low calory intake was not one of her strictest. As she was asked where Harold was, she explained there was some chance she was staying in Sevenoaks for the night, so he had been sent to arrange with the hotel - including for Susan.

Paul Edward was the divorced father of one daughter, he had also been lodging Jill and giving her an English as opposed to exotic education, while her parents were digging for bones somewhere all over the world, whereever there was a good dig to be made. Later they were among the veteran staff of Mary Leakey when she was a widow. This arrangement, while Experiment House was still open, lasted during holidays - hols as they said back then - but after it closed during terms too.

Jill had taken archery lessons for Susan, as said, but Rose - even now only thirteen - had been deemed too young to do so. Rose Ellen was silent, thought of her dead cousin Jill, thought of her mother, divorced and in asylum, and did not know which hurt most.

She liked the ice cream, but as you can imagine did not fully enjoy it. Now and then she cried.

That is where they were when the Spivvinses had invited Susan to the same place. And that is where Rose Ellen Pole and Susan Pevensie first met and made friends.

After Alberta did the introductions (not meaning Rose got the fact that Susan's last name was Pevensie, as shall be explained), Susan sat down at their table next to Rose and turned to her. The Spivvinses understood and paid her tea and sandwich. Themselves getting some at another table. And Su and Rose sat and talked at one end, while Alberta and Paul - soon joined by Harold - talked at the other end.

The first question Rose asked was:

"How was Jill as an archery pupil."

"The kind of archer that if there had been a shooting of arrows, she would have survived better than a train crash - even if her opponents were good warriors."

And this for the first time brightened up the face of Rose since she had heard the bad news same morning.