The Contrary Tale of the Butterfly Girl: From the Peculiar Adventures of John Loveheart, Esq., Volume 2

The Contrary Tale of the Butterfly Girl: From the Peculiar Adventures of John Loveheart, Esq., Volume 2 by Ishbelle Bee Read Free Book Online

Book: The Contrary Tale of the Butterfly Girl: From the Peculiar Adventures of John Loveheart, Esq., Volume 2 by Ishbelle Bee Read Free Book Online
Authors: Ishbelle Bee
Tags: Fantasy, Pedrock, Victoriana, butterfly magic, Professor Hummingbird, Boo Boo, John Loveheart
Guardian. He ’ s an old soppy bugger of a dog and very picky about whom he chooses. ”
    Boo Boo tickles Guardian ’ s nose.
    “ Now children. You have an adventure ahead of you today. I want you to visit all your neighbours – Mrs Charm, Lady Beetle, the Vicar Mr Wormhole, Mr Loveheart and the Professor. You are to introduce yourselves. And then you can tell me what you think of them, ” he chuckles. “ And tonight my son-in-law informs me that we have a special guest coming for dinner. His name is Icarus Hookeye , he ’ s a friend of the Professor. Isn ’ t that exciting! Now, off you go and have some fun. And Pedrock …”
    “ Yes, sir? ’’
    “ I shall arrange for you to take my boat out. Would you like that? ”
    “ Yes, sir, very much, thank you. ”
    And we leave him dozing off in his chair and begin the lakeside trudge into the village. Mrs Treacle has made Boo Boo a bacon sandwich and one for Guardian, the smell enchanting the air like a wicked spell.
    The path to the village trickles round the edge of the lake which is flat and calm with mottled feathered ducks floating aimlessly on its surface. Butterflies with fairy-glamour wings of cotton white and fizzy pink hang in the air, skimming over the toady water-reeds and lumpish rocks.
    The village itself is very small and consists of a pub called T he Highwayman , a butcher ’ s, apothecary, bakery and church. We agree our first call should be to see Mr Wormhole, the vicar.
    The church is small and medieval with a tiny graveyard filled with dandelions. We find Mr Wormhole kicking a crumbling gravestone with his foot, shouting, “ Bloody thing! ”
    “ Hello, ” I say.
    “ Oh, I do apologise. ” He looks up at us. “ I keep tripping over this thing. I nearly twisted my ankle. ”
    “ We are living with our Uncle Grubweed. My name is Pedrock and this is my sister Boo Boo. ”
    He casts a beady eye over us. “ I hope I shall be seeing you both every Sunday. We could do with some new blood in this community. People keep going missing, ” and he looked suspiciously over his shoulder. He has the most shocking messy red hair and great bushy red eyebrows.
    “ We were previously staying in a convent near Charing Cross. ”
    “ An excellent beginning to life. ” He waggles a finger at the dandelions. “ I, too, was raised by nuns. My mother left me in a bucket outside St Ursula ’ s Convent. ”
    “ I ’ m so sorry to hear that. ”
    “ Oh no, young Pedrock. It was a gift. I was educated, well fed and loved. Nothing more a child requires. ” He walked with us down the path towards the church. “ If it had not been for those nuns, I would not have found the joy of God. ” He slips on a ropey-looking weed and falls face forward into an open grave. After helping pulling him out, we say our farewells.
    Our next stop is Mrs Charm ’ s cottage, which is on the edge of the village, near the bakery. The cottage is lemon yellow and her garden is covered in lavender. I knock furtively on the door and a very short lady with a mane of grey curly hair which falls down to her waist greets us. She has lavender entwined in her braids and her eyes are sparkling, grey and mischievous.
    “ Good morning, ” she says.
    I introduce us.
    “ Ahhhh... three scallywags. Do come in. I have a pot of tea and some fruitcake. ”
    The cottage has very low ceilings and is stuffed full of herbs, with little pots filled with jam and pickles. On her stove a large pot is bubbling, a sweet smelling concoction. We sit round the table, Guardian slumping on the rug by Boo Boo ’ s feet.
    “ My Uncle says you are a retired actress. ”
    “ That ’ s correct, dear. Now I focus my attentions on writing novels, ” and she generously cuts the fruit cake into great slabs and puts them on plates in front of us.
    “ What sort of novels? ” I ask.
    “ Horror, mainly, ” and she smiles. “ I am currently writing a m edieval saga set in a haunted monastery. My hero, a young monk

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