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Author's Chapter Notes:

I am not quite sure where this is going - so I put it here.

All very innocent at the moment though.


In the quiet dining room at Greenacres, Madge sat, head bent over her darning. Her glossy dark hair shone with vitality in the sunlight streaming through the window. The pile of mending in the basket at her feet was slowly being dealt with. What with her twin, Dick Bettany, and how hard he was on his socks and their younger sister, Joey, who rarely seemed to own an entire stocking, Madge was kept busy.

Nearly five years previously, Madge and Dick had taken the task of raising their little sister from the moment she had been placed in Madge's arms following the tragic few weeks when their parents had both died in India. Sent back home to England, their guardian, an old friend of their father, had suggested that they take up residence at Greenacres in the small town of Taverton, in Cornwall, while he removed to rooms in town. Their aunts, both of meagre means and large families had taken turns to supervise the three Bettany children at Taverton, and a series of nurses and governesses had seen to their education and care.

Joey, a slight, pale child of nearly five, had caused a great deal of worry over her health. Some eight months previously, a neglected cold had developed into pneumonia, and it seemed to all that they might loose her to the illness. Joey, however, had fought back to life, but she had never been as strong as she had before. Madge worried over the care of her sister, determined that she would do for Joey, what her parents were unable now to do. Currently, though, Miss Joey, an intelligent and spirited 'almost five year old' was upstairs in her room attempting to memorise a poem set by Miss Harper, Joey's current nanny-governess, who in a few weeks time would leave the small family to be married. Miss Harper had generously put off her wedding until Madge had left school and Madge would now be able to supervise Joey instead.

Madge herself, had recently finished her schooling at Taverton High School, where she had been head girl. She had been well liked, and had successfully taken on the role. She had been a very popular and capable head, who was well able to maintain standards and discipline within the school. Now, however, she was responsible for the day-to-day running of the househols, with the help of Sarah, who cooked and cleaned for the small family. Their aunts, having decided that now the Bettany twins had left school, that a little less supervision from themselves was merited. Madge had a good head on her shoulders, and during this summer they would observe the Bettany's progress from a distance.

Dick, christened Richard Bettany, was a fair version of the dark haired Madge. He was interested in Botany, and intended to train in forestry management with a view to making this his career. Here, their guardian was in full agreement and had paved the way through his contacts to enable Dick to gain experience and a good start.

Dick had not quite as strong a character as that of his sister, who had gained authority in her experiences as prefect and Head Girl.He had achieved prefect status at school and had made a decent hand at it, but in some ways, although they were twins, Madge appeared to be the more confident and older than her boyishly fair twin. Dick was quieter, preferring to concentrate on his Botany and study, leaving most of the decisions and management of Joey to motherly Madge. This is not to say that Dick was a peaceable character, indeed, his potential gift for thinking up pranks, had often caused problems, as until recently, he rather preferred the fun rather than anticipating the consequences. But Madge, thinking of him as she darned one of his socks, decided that he was definately thinking deeper and more responsibly since that dreadful three weeks, eight months before, where they thought that Joey would finally join the parents she had barely met. Since that time, any cold caught by Joey was taken seriously, and she had only recently recovered from a recent bout.

Madge secured the wool in the darn and carefully snipped the thread. Placing the completed sock in the basket, she let out a sigh. 'Thank goodness, all finished!' she said aloud, although she was the only person in the room. Carefully replacing the needle in its case, she rose and left the room in search of Sarah. Sarah was on loan from Aunt Josie and a vital member of the little household. As the Aunts still felt responsible for the Bettanys, Sarah had been persuaded to stay and take care of them, and to act in a supervisory role reporting to aunt Josie who had known and relied on Sarah for twenty years. Her no nonsence approach to the small family was appreciated, as were her skills when it came to nursing Joey.

Entering the warm kitchen she saw that Sarah was removing a cake from the oven.

'Good morning, Sarah! That smells wonderful!' said Madge apprciatively.

'Good Morning, Miss Madge, its for your afternoon tea, I thought you could celebrate Miss Joey's return to the schoolroom today, Master Dick said he'd be home at three o'clock and asked if I could make crumpets.' replied Sarah.

'Oh, thank you, Sarah. What a lovely tea. I don't know what we would do without you!'

'Now, Miss Madge, none of that! Your luncheon will be ready in fifteen minutes, off you go, please.'

Madge hastened up the stairs to call Joey, and found her in the schoolroom, her hair in wild disarray, pouring over her favourite story book.

'Joey! I thought you were learning your poem?'

'Oh, hello, Madge. I learnt it and then I saw my book and I wanted to finish the story. Is it lunchtime yet? I'm awfully hungry!'

'I just came to call you, Joey-baba. Run and brush your hair and make yourself fit to be seen. Sarah had just told me that it's nearly ready.'

'Good-O' said Joey as she skipped skipped from the room. It only took a few minutes to brush her hair into it's shiny bob and wash her hands.

Madge was waiting downstairs, and she heard Joey coming down the stairs and smiled. From the hall came the sound of Joey's voice.

'...five, four, three, two and..'

thump! Madge heard a great thud from the hall.

'Joey are you all right?' queried Madge who had jumped as she heard the thud from the stairs.

'Yes, I'm fine, thanks.'

'Whatever are you doing?'

'Well, I decided that it might be a good idea to count the stairs, to remind me not to rush, as you suggested. And well, I count up the stairs going up and dount backwards coming down. Cos' you can't rush if you're counting.' Joey said seriously after she entered the room looking much tidier.

'But the thump?' Madge queried.

'Oh, sorry, I forgot, and jumped the last step.'

'Well at least you remembered, Joey, you can't rush about yet. Sarah is ready for us now, let's go into the dining room. I'd hate to have to send you back upstairs if you'd have got untidy again.' said Madge, after shooting a quick look at her sister, to make sure she was neat.

After a meal of chops, potatoes and peas, followed by apple crumble and custard, Madge suggested a walk into the part of Taverton in which they lived, which Joey agreed would be a lovely idea.

So after having heard the small girl repeat her poem for Miss Harper, the two donned coats, gloves and tammy and set off into town.In less than twenty minutes the pair reached the post office, even though their pace was not hurried in deference to Joey's five year old legs.

'I just need to po in to the post office to pick up some stamps, and then I want to buy some fruit for a pie.' said Madge as she matched her pace to Joey's. 'Then I'd like to go to Trewarne's to purchase some ribbon and more darning wool. Between mending for Dick and yourself, I have very little black left...'

'An' if we go there, may I choose some wool to knit some clothes for my bear?' asked Joey hopefully.

'Does Wellington need a scarf ot a jumper, Joey?' questioned Madge, thinking that she really ought to be careful of the money she had.

'Well, I s'pose he doesnt yet, as its summer, but you know how long it takes me to knit, I thought it#ud be better if I started soon. was Joey's reasoning.

'Wouldn't it be better to decide what you want to make for him and plan it first?'

'I s'pose,' said Joey doubtfully. 'I'd like it to be right tho'.'

'How about looking at the colours in Trewarne's and see what they have?' suggested Madge.

Joey spent her time in the shop doing just as suggested while Madge chose some narrow ribbin and asked for darning wool/

Trewarne's was a wonderful shop to Joey, rolls of silky ribbons in bright colours and balls of wool, bales of cloth, and there was a tray of thimbles under glass, with different patterns on them, all arranged in sizes. Joey cast her solemn gaze over them all. There were so many wonderful colour choices that Joey, when asked, could not make a decision.

'There are so many I like, I can't choose, Madge.' said Joey disconsolate.

'Why don't we leave it for now, and decide just what you want to make for Wellington, then we can come back and choose exactly what we need?'

'I did want to make a start on it, Madge.' added Joey as they walked home.

'I have an idea, Joey, why don't we look in the knitting bag when we get back and see what there is. I think there might be some small balls of scarlet and gold and perhaps, a little blue.'

The two girls walked back up the hill to Greenacres. To Joey it did seem a long way and to encourage her Madge said, 'Did I tell you that Dick is joining us for tea this afternoon?'

The little girl looked up, 'Really? Today?'

'Yes, really Joey! He told Sarah and asked her to bake some crumpets. So, we will be all together for tea today, Won't that be nice?'

'Oh, scrummy! I do like it when we are all together.' said Joey firmly. Jo was clannish, and preferred to be alone with her brother and sister whenever possible.

'Perhaps we could pick some flowers as we walk up, to put on the table? We'll make the table look pretty shall we?'

When they arrived home, a bunch of wildflowers clutched in Joey's small hand, Dick had not yet arrived, so placing the flowers in a small vase on the table and helping Sarah by laying the table, took up the time before Joey was sent to wash her hands ready for tea.

While she was upstairs, Dick arrived home to be greeted by his twin. 'Dick! Joey and I are pleased to see you. She's been so excited since I told her you were joining us today, and right on time too!

'Hullo, old thing. Sarah told you I suppose? What have you and the scaramouch been doing today?'

'I'll let Joey tell you when she comes down. In the meantime, why don't you get ready for tea. Oh, I forgot! There are two letters for you on the piano, when you are ready.' commented Madge before leaving her brother, to tell Sarah that tea was now required.

After a cosy tea of sandwiches, crumpets and cake, and when the last drops of tea had been drunk, Joey looked enquiringly at Madge.'Wellington's scarf?' she reminded her sister.

'Is that a mystery?' Dick laughed, 'and did the duke have one?'

'Dick! I mean my bear. I want to knit him a scarf, an' I think it'll take me ages an' ages.'

'Oh, yes of course, Joey.' Madge replied, reminded by Joey's comment. 'Dick has some letters to read, and while he looks at them, why don't we go and see what may be found in the knitting bag, and see what we could use?'

'Yes please!' Joey looked up with a smile.

 

As Madge opened the knitting bag, Joey was poised, not a all convinced that there would be anything in the bag; bar boring grey or brown wool, and to start with that was what Madge drew from the bag.

'That's you old school glove wool - awfully grey.' commented Joey while gazing sadly at the bag. 'What else?'

'There's some brown here, from your cardigan - that's a little dull too. Ah! What is in here?' Madge said meditatively drawing out a paper bag that looked rather crumpled, and laying it to one side.

Delving deeper, she unearthed the aforementioned scarlet and a small skein of blue, and finally a small amount of antique gold wool.

'There you are, those are the colours I thought we had. Will that do for a start?'

'I s'pose so,' said Joey dubiously. 'Is there enough here?' She glanced at the three colours. They were pretty, but now she was not sure.

'Just let me have a look in the bag. 'Oh, Joey!' she exclaimed, I had forgotten we had these!' and upending the bag, showered a veritable rainbow of coloured wool into Joey's lap.

'Oooh!' cried the child gazing at the many colours displayed in the heap. 'This one! And this! And...'

'Calm down, my child!' put in Dick Bettany. 'What's to get all excited about?'

'I can make so many things for him! Where did all this come from, Madge?'

'Aunt Josie brought them with her a few years ago, she was finishing a piece of canvas work one time. They are what was left.'

'May I use them Madge?' asked Joey.

'I suppose you may, they are only crewel wool, rather than knitting wool, but they are the same weight as t he gold. So they will knit up nicely.' considered Madge.

'An' Aunt Josie can't be wanting tham after all this time. Ooh, Madge, I can knit stripes! Stripes in lots of colours! But you may have to help me a little. Will you?' she asked hopefully.

'Of course, Joey-baba.'




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