Foul Whisp’rings

Cecily’s dinner with the Dunnavants went splendidly, despite the lack of servants and a less-than-spectacular feast. Dr. Dunnavant praised the behavior of Madeline and Morgan, who helped the nanny serve dinner, and Mrs. Dunnavant complimented Cecily on the beauty and elegance of her home. Cecily wanted sincerely to impress the Dunnavants, as they not only owned Annabel Island and spent a great deal of their fortune keeping it beautiful, but were respected and admired by both her husband and her father.

A few days later Cecily found a housekeeper, Miss Flora Smith, who had excellent references as a maid and cook and would have been a great help to them the night of the Dunnavant dinner, had she arrived but three days earlier.


Flora could only accept Cecily’s offer of employment if Cecily also hired her nephew, Tom. As Tom seemed like a polite, well-behaved young man, Cecily hired him as their stable groom and groundskeeper, but made it clear to Flora that, as his guardian, Flora was entirely responsible for him and the quality of his work.


For this reason Flora was particularly critical of Tom and felt compelled to lecture him at every opportunity, even when the nanny, Nellie, was present.

“If you want to go back to Gatewood, Tom, you’re going about it the right way,” Flora said to her nephew one morning over breakfast. “The stables are an utter mess, and the hedges along the back side of the house have almost completely lost their shape. What have you been doing with yourself this past week, hmm? Lying under the trees and dreaming of boat races?”


Tom glanced up but said nothing, and after a moment, went back to his breakfast. Nellie blinked at Flora, shocked to hear someone speak to their own relation in such a tone. Every word dripped with cold contempt.

“Unless you want to go crawling back to the Pendeltons and beg to sleep in that wretched attic again, you’d better start doing what you’re told…what you’re being paid to do. You’re never going to race sailboats, or horses, or carriages, and the sooner you realize that and accept your proper place in the world, the better off you’ll be.”


Flora suddenly turned to Nellie. “Isn’t that right?”

“Um…I…um…” Nellie sputtered, feeling sorry for the boy but not wanting to get on Flora’s bad side. In lieu of a proper answer, she stood up quickly and pointed at Flora’s bowl.

“Are you finished with that? I’ll take it.” Without waiting for a reply, Nellie whisked the empty dishes off to the kitchen.

After glaring at the back of Nellie’s head for a good second, Flora turned back to Tom. “Now listen — I have a great deal of work to do today, and I can’t be looking over your shoulder every moment. Unless you want to skip supper tonight, you’ll do as you’re told and clean out that stable. But trim the hedges first — they’re horrid.”

Still not saying a word, Tom did as he was told and went out to trim the hedge. Nellie saw him pass by the kitchen window to fetch the hedgeclippers and, noticing his melancholy expression, felt a strong urge to comfort him. Just as she was planning to slip quietly out the back door, however, Flora entered the kitchen. Nellie quickly hatched another escape in her head and made her way towards the hall.


“I think I’ll fetch the newspaper,” she called over her shoulder.

“I’ll go with you,” said Flora, wiping her hands on her apron. “I could use a bit of fresh air before the family wakes up.”

Nellie held back a sigh of frustration and smiled politely. “As you please.”

Outside, they could hear the snip-snip of Tom’s clippers from behind the house, the shriek of gulls overhead, and the splash of the sea against the rocky shoreline. Nellie stood for a moment, simply enjoying it, while Flora inspected the oleander bushes.

“Dreadful! I don’t know what that boy is about. I’m sure he’s the most neglectful groundskeeper I ever saw. I’m ashamed to call him a relation!”

Nellie couldn’t stand it any longer. “But he seems like such a nice, decent boy. He spent all yesterday chopping wood, and made quite a store of it for us!”

Flora shrugged. “It took him all day because he’s slow. And he neglected his other chores. If you ask me, I think there’s something terribly wrong with him. Ever since his parents died, he’s been a little…off-balance.”


Nellie leaned forward. “His parents died? But…surely that’s reason enough for anyone to lose their balance.”

“Like our present employer?” said Flora, smirking. “Though I suppose he’s had many years to overcome his tragic history, and no doubt everyone thinks him perfectly balanced now. We shall see, eh?”

“Mr. De Groff?” Nellie gasped. “What do you mean? What tragic history?”

Flora looked surprised. “You don’t know? Well, I’ll have to fill you in, my dear. But not just now…they’ll be waking soon, and I have to get breakfast on the table. Find me later, when the Loves are here for tea, and then we’ll have a little chat. Until then, not a word of it to anyone. I don’t want them thinking I’m a gossip.”


Flora went back into the house. Nellie sighed, still quite confused, and picked up the newspaper. She hesistated a moment, then she struck out past the carriage porch towards the backyard, where she found Tom dutifully trimming the hedge.

He didn’t glance up as she approached, but stared very intently at the hedge while he jabbed it with the clippers, as if it were some puzzle he was trying to figure out. Nellie wanted to say something comforting, but couldn’t think of anything that didn’t sound rude or ridiculous.


With a quiet sigh, Nellie went back into the house through the kitchen door.

“Took the long way ’round, did you?” Flora asked, her back to Nellie as she prepared the family’s breakfast. She paused to let the implication sink in, then said sternly, “I think the children are up.”

Nellie reddened as though she’d just been scolded. Was she on Flora’s bad side already? “I’ll put the paper on the table,” she said, leaving the room as quickly as she could.

(continued on Page 2)

21 thoughts on “Foul Whisp’rings

  1. O.O It’s Maxxy boy! Wowy, you’re still keeping us in suspense. *pant* I want the next update now!!! Hehe. Ok, enough rambling. I think I’ll go see King Kong now, maybe that will eat some of my excitement…but it doesn’t mean I’ll be checking hourly! ;)

  2. Oh, great update! I’m glad that we found out who Cecily married, but I wonder if the twins’ father is who I think it is… :D

  3. Shock! Horror! Illegitimate children and a platonic marriage for Cecily! How exciting! Sorry about all the exclamation marks – I’m quite excited. I can’t wait to hear the rest of the story. I’m not so fond of Flora though – what a mean-spirited windbag!

  4. My goodness this story is certainly full of twists and turns! I can’t wait to find out who the father of the twins was. I have to say I like how you set up Flora as a character. I’m not sure if the back-story she provided was true but it was certainly entertaining! She seems to really look the part that she was set out to portray; she looks like the gossipy, slightly hateful, house help. Did she look that way originally and you wrote her to match, or did you create the Sim to look like the character you had in mind? I’m really enjoying this story and love your writing so much. Keep up the great work!

  5. Wow, so she married Max after all. They can’t be his children though, right? I can’t wait to see what’s actually happening. Keeping us in suspense all the way.

    Flora is so mean. I mean…really MEAN. What did Nellie do?

    Looking forward to the next update…

  6. :o:o:o Cecily is married to MAX?? What happened to James?? The children must be James children, Morgan looks just like him!
    What an interesting update, I love the way you have continued the Brayton’s lives while we havnt been seeing any updates, it’s really fun to read!

    Can’t wait for nest update :)

  7. Dito to what Claire said :) – what a suspense!! Though I still like the Ravelos and Shanleys more, I must admit that I continually get fond of your Victorian stories more and more! So – very good work :)

  8. Oh my! Gossip afoot…. Smells like trouble brewing. Cicely is truly gorgeous, a breathtaking character, and lovely wardrobe too. Your style is consistent to every detail. A delight to read and view. More! More! More!

  9. I knew Max would have something to do with it. Well, i did in the beginning. And i knew those kids belonged to that man, whose name i forgot. But it was a great update. We learn more each update, but we haven’t learned what has been going on all of these years. I can’t wait for the update, which will be tommorow, because you love us so much. :lol: That was funny, wasn’t it? I hope the update is soon though.

  10. Max looks so respectable without his hideous beard. Where’s James, I hope his life went poorly. Grr… Poor Cecily and Max. She needs to learn to love him. Wow, what a great story. Double Yay! :)

  11. Ewww feed that maid to the cowplant!
    So glad to see Max in the picture again without that full beard now we can see his face better. So is James going come by for a visit too? Morgan has Sam’s eyes though? Hmmmm did Cecily have a romp with both brothers or did Morgan just take on his uncles eyes?

    This story is getting good and maybe another little love story with Nellie and Tom when he becomes older?

  12. Oh, no! I can see where this is going! Cecily’s going to go out and do something stupid like sleeping around! She’s unhappy with her great life and her just a friend husband! Then her children will be angry and confused and they’ll find out about their real father! And then…*head explodes*

  13. Flora seems like a sneaky gossip…pretty mean sneaky gossip actually…

    Something with Flora’s eyes sort of makes that “sour look” the sour look. They’re pretty though :D

  14. (writing as I read the entry! It’s most fun that way!)
    Oh holy fishpaste cow mr. saturns!
    Drat you, taking me by another surprise!

    >_>; Little too much Earthbound for me. Adding Mr. Saturn to my list of surprised phrases? Uh…

    I mean, I thought “what’s that about him? Nah, maybe he’s just a dinner guest…?” when I saw someone mentioning him in the comments on the main page’s sidebar. Then I saw all “oh, you mean CHARACTER!?” (Yeah, I’m trying hard not to spoil anything for anyone reading the comments before the entry. ^^;;; I’ve done that accidentally a couple of times, and been like “nooOoOOHOOHOOonoo! *weep*”. Or, um, more like “oh. *blink*”)
    Anyway, what? Huh? Oh, right. “Oh, you mean our employer guy!”
    So I was just like “duuuuuuude!” And then “duude!” And then “dude!”
    And then I swam off with those Turtles from Finding Nemo! ^^;

    Carol is looking great! Hannah is pretty cute, as well. :D

    Oh, man, I barely even noticed until the third page, how Cecily’s hair looks the same way it used to. I guess that’s another thing of her changing, isn’t it? Her old friends and family being there, so that’s kind of symbolising that– for now, at least– things are more the way they were back at the old place than they were in the previous entry, right? What with the old friends and family visiting…

    …or maybe her hair was down because she was sleeping.
    You know, one of the two.

    Oh, maaan.
    I liked this entry so muuuuch. Makes me just want to hug you! Even though I Mr. Saturn hate you for making me say Mr. Saturn! But no real hate. :D
    Great writing and picture-taking, both! I especially liked the brayton218.jpg one– the one beneath the text about how he hates gossips so much. The way the lighting is, and the angle that it gets him from are really nice.

    (um, I don’t know if you played Earthbound, but that’s something the Mr. Saturns said a lot, and I would have just ended my comment with Boing, but it would have been odd.
    …which is another thing they said.
    Funny game. :D)

    Cecily’s husband is so nice.

  15. Thanks to everyone for the great feedback. I especially like when you tell me what you figured out beforehand, what you enjoyed, or what’s still confusing, because it really helps me improve my writing, which means I can post better stories!

    For some quick individual notes –

    Vivi – How did you like King Kong? I saw it yesterday!

    Bitsy – I had the character of Flora in mind before I created her, so yeah, I did try to make her look a little sour and snooty. I’m glad it was effective!

    Amy – Hi there!! Thanks for commenting! And because it can’t be said enough, your site ROCKS!

    Blu – You make me laugh. :-) And I have to add Earthbound to my list of games recommended by Blu (along with Harvest Moon). Is it a Super Nintendo game? We have a Super Nintendo system and a PlayStation 2.