Apparently the letter the headmistress sent home was not good news, although I wish I’d had the courage to check it myself now. My parents said I was to take the spring term off, thanks to all my hard work this winter. If hard work translates to near panic attacks on a weekly basis, I agree! I shouldn’t have tried to hide in extra classes to avoid dealing with people… Never again!
But Daddy has to keep up with the business (like always) and the estate’s affairs, so he couldn’t be home with me. Mummy has her social commitments, and Heaven knows I want nothing to do with those! And they would never leave me with just the servants (I think they know that Mrs. Kettle sneaks me extra sweets when they are gone). So they are sending me to a camp that starts earlier than any of my usual ones, a place called Moorland. And it’s with horses! They usually send me to other activities, so it’s nice to get to do what I want for a change.
The ferry trip was a little bit of a nightmare to navigate, I’m not going to lie. I thought I was used to all the travel from boarding school to home and then back again or to camp. But Moorland is set on an island out in the middle of absolutely no where. And being a proper English girl, I can say that with experience! I had to eat off the cart for breakfast, and I’m still not sure my stomach agreed with it. I hope the food at camp isn’t like this.
Right off the boat, I was met by Justin, the stable owner’s son. And immediately, I was hit with nerves. I know I see boys on the weekend trips into London, but it isn’t the same! What are you supposed to say to boys?! And I was still in my school riding uniform, since I had practice before Charles, the new butler, threw me on a train with a trunk packed with what I was allowed to bring with me. I miss Lawrence so much now… I wish Daddy hadn’t fired him. At least Zizzy was in my dorm room at school, so I know she made it here safely. I didn’t see my trunk, but it hopefully made it’s way back to my room.
(Oh dear, I hope someone took care of Snow Angel, I completely ran out of time to brush her down… Surely a groom, she’s a school horse after all. But they won’t be careful of her shoulders like she prefers…)
Mummy would have had a fit if she knew I was meeting a boy in such gear. After she finished throwing a fit over how unsuitable Justin is, that is. He’s better than Lord Crowley’s son, at any rate! I still haven’t forgiven him for seeing him flog his poor mare during that polo match… If she must try and throw me at noblemen’s sons, couldn’t she make sure they aren’t complete brutes first?
Ahem. In any sense, Justin introduced me to my new loaner, since I don’t own a horse of my own. He is a gelding, a lovely dapple grey named Evening Star. Though who on Earth decided on brown for the stable’s borrowed gear? It looks awful on the poor dear, though I certainly won’t tell him that. He prefers if I call him Evening rather than Star, it seems, and he is rather assertive for a gelding. He is also a little too curious for his own good and will walk right into something to get a closer look at something else!
Just when I was getting settled, imagine my surprise when I find out that Moorland is about to be torn down. How awful! Though the more selfish part of me can’t help but point out that this spring and summer is supposed to be restful. No drama, no mountains of work, and instead… Well. The company involved is G.E.D. I don’t recognize the name from any of Daddy’s papers, and I can’t decide if I’m curious enough to poke around and find out what it means or not.
The other downside to the day was…well, the people. There has to be at least another forty odd girls here! I am not much of a social person, much to Mummy’s embarrassment. I don’t talk very often, so I avoided the other campers. Evening seemed to prefer it, too. He shied away from some of the other horses when I was on him, making me believe he was protecting me. Such a sweetheart. (Or a possessive twit. I haven’t made up my mind yet.)
And as for the staff, well! I was a little insulted by being forced to walk (or well, canter, but you know what I mean) cavaletti track before I could even leave the stable area. And they said I wasn’t to jump at all until I proved I was experienced. I bit my tongue so hard I’m surprised I’m not bleeding. Honestly, I may not do well at competitions, but I’m on the equestrian team, aren’t I? I’m not a complete novice. Evening didn’t care for it either, but since he didn’t show any real outward signs of it, I didn’t say anything. I have to admit, it’s a little unnerving to be picking up feelings from a new horse.
Justin did recommend I speak with Loretta. That was a mistake. She is exactly like Alice, the head of the team, remember her? I was cringing the entire time I was talking to her. And they even have the same petty concerns. I can’t even talk to the boy, and she’s warning me away from him?! Honestly! And that’s besides the fact that I don’t think Justin is my type. I don’t even know what my type is, and I know he isn’t it.
And her little test was the devil. I think Evening hasn’t been ridden much, at least outside of the stable yard, so of course his turns weren’t tight enough for all of them. Why would you submit someone who is fresh off the ferry to something like that? And she mocked my name. Very well, Genevieve is very old fashioned and French, but it was my grandmother’s name, and it was her dying wish and just… I could cry. Maybe I’ll introduce myself as Misty. I loved those books, even if they were American…
At least their supposed hard track was easy. I was so upset, I don’t think I could have run anything truly difficult. Tan at least was a little nicer than Loretta. Even still, I very much doubt I will join their riding club. I don’t like competition very much, and this is just too much stress after all those projects during winter term…
Justin seemed to see how frazzled I was and tried to compliment me. He even gave me a green jacket that I think is at least decent, if not perhaps what I would buy for myself. I think it would have worked better if it hadn’t been his fault I met Loretta and gotten upset in the first place. But he seems to know something is up, at least with myself and Evening, which is mildly concerning. I’ve never told anyone about this sense of mine, and I surely don’t want to start now! They will think I’m bonkers.
He sent me to talk to Thomas, and it was more about this G.E.D. What exactly does he expect me to do about it? I’m just a girl! Isn’t this sort of business supposed to be kept to the adults? That’s what my parents keep telling me, even as frustrating as that can be sometimes… But he asked me turn off some of their equipment without them noticing. Apparently someone else had done it earlier that day, but they had fixed the issue too quickly for it to do the harm he wanted.
The light switch was easy enough, but I thought my heart was just going to burst out of my chest turning off their GPS surveying equipment. What if they saw me or realized what I was doing? Oh, I would have been in so much trouble… I swear one gentleman almost saw me once, thank goodness I slid off of Evening’s back and acted like I was seeing to one of his hooves! Evening even snorted at him as if daring him to get close enough. I actually think my horse would have bitten him in my defense! (Again, sweetie or twit, can’t decide.)
I was quite relieved when it was all said and done. Hopefully Thomas will send someone besides one of his underage campers to do such nefarious activities in the future! But now he can’t find the deed to the land, can you imagine? That’s such an important document and what did he do, use it to line a bird cage? But apparently the island has a baroness who gave the land to him. Oh dear, I hope I can remember my manners properly if there is nobility going to be around. The adults aren’t usually as forgiving as their children about it.
He sent me to speak to the retired accountant, Mrs. Holdsworth. And what a gossip! While she didn’t have the deed or know where it was, she was quick to tell me all about the Moorland family. And it’s so sad! Apparently Mrs. Moorland, Catherine, died in childbirth with Justin. I can’t imagine that still happening in modern times, but perhaps there were complications? Thomas was so be-grieved that he threw himself into horses and forgot the business side of things.
I take back my bad thoughts on his losing the deed.
But apparently all of the papers were sent with Catherine’s things to her father, a Mr. Jasper Holbrook. Who after the death of his daughter, hated his own son-in-law so passionately, that for twenty years it has been a feud. No laughing matter, not at all. And poor Justin. I wonder if he’s ever gotten to know his grandfather at all…
But she was quite certain Mr. Holbrook had it, so I went to speak with him. And oh my… The first time he shouted at me, I almost turned and ran. But Evening planted his hooves and refused to be moved, so I was forced to continue the conversation. On one hand, it’s horrible that this old man has become so twisted inside by the loss of his daughter. On the other… you can tell he really loved Catherine. I could only hope Daddy loves me just as much.
Mr. Holbrook refused to be budged, so I went to Justin for help. He said he needed to think about what to do next. I do hope he comes up with something…
May then waved me over to show me around the shops. There was some interesting tack in the Western style, which I’ve never really tried, and clothes in colors I like and suit me, once I have enough funds. But before I could do more than glance at all the stores, Tan called me over.
Loretta was missing.