Take a Peek at the new books – Power and Authority and Under the Thumb

Back of Book Cover Blurb of POWER AND AUTHORITY

From the 1860s English society constructed under the Darwinian theory of ‘survival of the fittest’ a pseudo-scientific dimension placed men higher on the evolutionary ladder.

‘Man’s power is active, progressive, defensive. He is eminently the doer, the creator, the discoverer, the defender. His intellect is for speculation, and invention; his energy for adventure, for war, and for conquest…

The woman’s power is for rule, not for battle – and her intellect is not for invention or creation, but for sweet ordering, arrangement, and decision… She must be enduringly, incorruptibly good; instinctively, infallibly wise-wise, not for self-development, but for self-renunciation: Wise, not that she may set herself above her husband, but that she many never fail from his side.’

(John Ruskin, Sesame and Lilies, 1865, part II)

But is she permitted to rule?

Chapters

1. What Life throws

2. Hard Decisions

3. England has nothing to offer us now.

4. Unsettling times

5. It takes courage

6. Babies and Bushrangers

7. The first five years

8. Gundagai

9. So like dan

10. The winds of change blow

11. Goulburn

12. The death of Prince Albert

13. Carcoar– Charlotte 1872

14. Burnt Yards – Dan

15. Going in circles 1874

16. Where is Emma – Chas 1866

17. Annies reflections 1885

18. Facing fears 1868

19. The Answer 1880

20. Arthur Harrell 1873

21. Mamas Departure – Annie 1894

22. Arthur – new Generation 1896

23. Cruelty – Arthur

24. Dan’s journey continues

25. Young Daniel

26. New Beginnings – Arthur 1877

27. Gippsland 1879

28. What’s to be done with the farm

29. Riding the cattle trails – Arthur 1880s

30. What next – Eliza

31. The visitor- Tottie

32. Wanderlust – Dan

33. The Invitation – Dan

34. Christmas shopping – Tottie

35. Facing life and death – Tottie

36. Christmas day – Tottie

Chapter One

What life throws

1851

Essex England

Chas Harrell

Fricken-heck! Who’s making that rumpus? I could do without any distractions today, I wipe my brow after realising I am sweating. It’s not warm in the shabby office, despite having a gas fire on. Must be the stress of the figures worrying me.

With a blunt pencil in my hand I slouch over the office desk, trying to concentrate, scratching figures on pieces of paper strewn over the scratched teak writing-desk. The disruption in the outer office is annoying.

Mumbling to myself; ‘Any kind of interruption won’t help at this moment. I have to keep my head clear.’

It’s been a slow morning of working on the books as I’m trying to discover the discrepancies in the debit and credit sections. Not enough outstanding money is coming in, resulting in not clearing debts each month.

What is causing this?

The columns detail turnover and income. Outstanding accounts I mark with a red pencil – why in heaven’s name are there so many?

After too many-cross outs, the lead pencils require sharpening. The mess I have made is indecipherable, I rub my fingers under the papers searching for the rubber eraser, fumbling between the ink well and pens and nibs, murmuring under my breath, ‘this is no time for stupid absentmindedness.’

The desk-drawer – it has to be in there, bloody hell, the stupid thing is sticking. After another wrench and hard jerk, it opens in a rush, sliding from the rungs and crashing to the floor.

Papers scatter, pens and nibs fly under the desk. The ink bottles bounce across the wooden boards. Fortunately, the lids are intact on the glass bottles.

‘Oh, for heaven sake, I’ve enough stress today day. What next!’

The noise outside my office continues, sounding like a child snivelling, which breaks my concentration in the battle with the dropped items. I recognise the grizzling as one of my children – maybe my youngest son?

‘Why would Emma bring the children to the office on such a morning as this, what with sleet showers and snow have carpeted the paving stones outside?’

After shoving items back into the drawer and slamming the temperamental thing closed, I stride to the door and watch my harassed wife entering the building, with three of our kiddies tailing behind. She carries our two-year old daughter.

Young Arthur is clinging to Emma’s skirt, upset about something. Behind, Charles and Harry trail along.The anguish on their faces isn’t softening my mood.

‘What the heck! Please, Emma, don’t bring in any problems today!’

Emma looks up seeing me; she is upset.

*

Emma

To escort three small kids through the snow and up the steps is not a walk in a park. The rusty metal catches on the ironmongers’ gate won’t shift. I persist until a passer-by sees my difficulty and approaches.

He raises his hat, blowing snow everywhere in doing so, saying, “Mam?’

Somewhat embarrassed because I am crying, he takes hold of the latch, giving it a shove, saying,’ there you are Mam, it wasn’t that difficult.’

Did he think I was blubbering because I couldn’t open the latch? If only he knew.

Now inside the premises, Chas greets us, but his welcome is cool. He glances at me then focuses on the children who are now all whimpering. I wipe my eyes, from where tears are streaming while I cradle Marie to my breasts.

‘Come into the office and tell me what’s wrong’ Chas says ushering us through the hardwood door.

‘Take your wet coats off; the hooks are behind the door.’

Chas crouches in front of Arthur, removes his coat and who with raised arms is asking to be lifted, poor kid is seeking comfort. He lifts our little lad. I hang up the coats as instructed. Mine is staying on as I realise I am not dressed appropriately to be out on the streets. I should have removed my house dress apron.

Arthur is placed on the shabby chair before my husband turns back to me. I feel him watching me while I sniff into my handkerchief, still holding my little girl against my bosoms.

‘What in Heaven’s name is causing this fiasco? And where have you left Lizzie?’

‘I . . .. ‘ I can’t speak as my voice is shaking.

Chas, sounding irritated asks, ‘What is going on? Why are you here in such bad weather?’

We connect eyes – Chas’s are intensely enquiring, mine grieving.

‘Well?’

‘Lizzie is with the servant.’

‘Tell me then, what is this about?’

I release my tight hold on our daughter, passing her over to Chas. She is wrapped in a warm blanket with her face covered. He hesitates once he is holding her;, as her silence and lack of movement speak volumes.

After a glance in my direction, he lifts a corner of the cloth and peers at the drawn face.

‘What’s this? Her face is grey-blue… ‘

Chas’s dismayed eyes close as the disturbing fact is understood. My heart aches to see him going through this. Despite my disappointment at his harsh responses, I reach out, touching him to bring comfort.

The snivelling children linger at my legs while I weep.

I jump when Chas touches my shoulder.

‘Emma, please speak to me.’

I struggle with for words, wishing he would stop bullying me.

‘I found Bethany this way earlier this morning.’

With my embroidered hanky, I blow my nose before continuing.

‘By mid-morning, I was wondering why she had not woken, what with the racket the boys created.’

Chas nods, listening, his square shoulders remain cold when what I need is warmth.

I pause, searching my husband’s eyes.

His standard colour is has drained from his face, replaced by a deathly pall, his straight shoulders transform and crumble before me.

‘My god, not another of our children dead,’ he says in a brassy crackling voice.

I shudder, affected by hearing this harsh explanation.

‘Tell me, what’s happened?’

He suddenly leans forward, his face squarely before mine; it’s, as though if to get this disruption ironed out he must confront me.

The dread I feel is revealing to Chas the events of the morning; .

I must begin.

‘I left Beth to sleep longer being conscious of her ill health – as she vomited throughout the night.’

‘I didn’t know,’ he murmurs, his mouth full, thin and hard set.

Of course, he wouldn’t know this, as he sleeps through the disturbances everyach night;, not waking to the children crying because of bad dreams, or coughing bouts. These many disturbing nights of coping alone leaves me exhausted.

I go must go on, as now I’m strangely empowered to having his Chas’s full attention, and admission.

My mind is in a whirl.

‘This morning when I lifted Beth she was quite unresponsive and motionless.’

After expelling a deep breath, I continue……..

This series is published by Xlibris and written by Glennis Browne

New self published version

Power and Authority and Bitter Sweet Lives are self published by Browne Publishing and are part of the above series – which is renamed for the self published books – The Journeys of the Fortune Seekers. 2018. These books are now written under the pen name – Annie Browne.

Advertisements