The Lady Astronomer

The Lady Astronomer by Katy O'Dowd Read Free Book Online

Book: The Lady Astronomer by Katy O'Dowd Read Free Book Online
Authors: Katy O'Dowd
nearly
there, aren’t we?”
    “Look just up there.” Freddie
leaned in the saddle and pointed to a little house upon a hill.
    “It’s tiny,” complained Lucretia.
    “Lucretia, really. It’s just a bit far
away.”
    “Oh.”
    The house was pretty and whitewashed, with
climbing roses making their profuse, perfumed presence known. The roof was
thatched and pitched, and Lucretia’s heart sank until she walked around the
back and saw a smaller outbuilding with a flat roof.
    “It’s mine!” Leibniz scampered on
ahead of her to lay claim and Orion found himself a new sleepy perch on the
roof.
    Lucretia left her brothers to organise getting the
boxes, chests, and bags into the main house and Al’s outbuildings, where he
would set up his forge. She came to the rain-bleached wooden Dutch door, knots
in its fabric looking like huge eyes.
    “Fitting,” she thought, with a
smile. She unbolted the top part of the door and pushed it open, peering into
her home and laughing at the mental image of herself as a horse staring out of
a barn door. Pushing the bolt back on the bottom panel, she nudged it aside and
stepped into her new life.
    Lucretia spun around in the centre of the
room, her ripped dress flaring, and felt at home for the first time in her
life. A place of her own. She would share the main house, but this would be
hers. Lucretia giggled, and Leibniz came up to her.
    He climbed up her dress and she took him
into her arms, cuddling him until he wriggled from her embrace. He looked at
her quizzically and she ruffled his fur.
    “It’s called happy, deliriously happy.”
She bent and kissed his furry face. He wiped her kiss away, seemingly outraged
at such impropriety but she knew he secretly loved it.
    “This is our new home, and I think we
will be very, very…” She turned, disturbed at a sudden noise. When she
couldn’t locate its source, she shrugged. “Never mind, Leibniz. It was probably
nothing. Now, I must quit dallying and find Freddie and Al.”
     
    *
     
    Chaos reigned. Complete and utter chaos.
Clothing, utensils, books, charts, plates, and cups spilled from boxes and
crates. Mr. Trotters lifted his metal snout at her entrance and lowered it
again, rooting though a pile of linens.
    Lucretia followed a trail of papers and
came upon Freddie, distracted, at a desk. He was pouring over a large piece of
parchment which was weighted down at both sides with mismatched shoes.
    “Freddie! Could we at least unpack
first?”
    “Look! Look! Here is the final design
for the Forty-Foot! It is going to be the most amazing thing you have ever seen
in your life!”
    She walked over and looked at the plans–undeniably
exciting, but it had been a long day and everyone, human, primate, avian,
bronze and steam would need a place to sleep tonight.
    “It is really exciting. But we need to
unpack properly so we can start properly,” she replied, putting emphasis
on the word ‘properly’ knowing her brother as she did.
    “You are such a spoil-sport.”
    “Yes, well, needs must and all that.
Where is Al?”
    “Gainfully employed getting his
workroom set up with the help of his orchestra.”
    “Good for him. Now, let’s do the
boring stuff first; kitchen, bedrooms, parlour, and oh, by the way, I’m going
to sleep in one of the outbuildings.”
    “Are you sure?” He looked at her
askance.
    “Quite. I will have it fixed up in no
time. Oh, alright then, I will get someone else to fix it up for me in no time.
After which, we should set up this room for our Astronomy work.”
    “I wanted to speak to you about that,
actually.”
    “Yes?”
    “It’s like this, Lucretia, I’m kind of
going to need your help full-time,” he wheedled.
    “But what about the house? And who
will take care of the cooking and other necessaries?”
    “Come on, you would serve us up something
like Mrs. V did earlier. No offence, dear, but it is not one of your strong
points.”
    “True, but I did organise everything
you know,” she

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