Friday, October 3, 2014

The Replacement Relatives

Welcome back, dearies!  As promised, here is a bit about my annual Christmas story.  This year it's called The Replacement Relatives.

When Mrs. Mabel Flavingswell decides that her relatives are too annoying to endure for an entire Christmas holiday, she invites a different set of people: middle-aged twins Marshall and Martha, who haven't spoken to each other for fourteen years, and Martha's husband and three children.  Unfortunately, just as Mrs. Flavingswell is settling back to enjoy the highly interesting clashes between the formerly estranged siblings, disgruntled First-Cousin-Once-Removed Bruce Flavingswell arrives at the Flavingswell homestead with his persnickety wife and bratty son.  With a beastly blizzard in the mix and a strange, recently discharged Lieutenant showing up on Christmas Eve, nothing could possibly be worse.

That is, nothing will get worse unless hired girl Bianca Quettle decides to improve her shy nature around all these confusing people.

Set in New England during the Christmas of 1918, The Replacement Relatives may or may not make you groan with sympathy for poor, misunderstood Mrs. Flavingswell.  Just please don't root for Edgar.  He's pretty bad.

Edgar Flavingswell, the terror of everyone who knows him
Edgar Flavingswell

So, yes, this is my Christmas story.

Now, I've basically given the cast in the summary, but here's a list of some of the delightful (and otherwise) characters.

  • Mrs. Mabel Flavingswell ~ The lady of the house is a bit annoying, especially at first, but she really does have a soft heart . . . once you get to know her.
  • Bianca Quettle ~ Poor girl, she's the one who has to deal with all the cranky people and bratty children.  Of course, with her sense of humor, I think she can manage it.
  • Elkanah Bimms ~ He's the hired man of Flavingswell homestead.  He's the sort who comes out with one-liners and does all the handy things about the place.
  • Mrs. Bimms ~ Elkanah's wife, of course, is the cook, and she makes no bones about what she thinks of children messing up her kitchen.
These four live on the homestead, and they're pretty nice most of the time.  It's only the thought of having to spend Christmas with Edgar Flavingswell that makes their skin curl in disgust.

And now for some snippets:

It was at that precise moment that Bianca Quettle came stumbling into the parlor.  Bianca always stumbled, poor girl.  She stumbled, dropped things, and looked generally unhappy whenever she was about people.  Now she came in, balancing the tea tray on her hands in a way that made Mrs. Mabel Flavingswell shudder with fear and horror.  Bianca was a nice young lady, but she was so dreadfully awkward.  Mrs. Mabel Flavingswell, admittedly, kept her around simply for the excitement.  There was nothing dull about Bianca.
Mrs. Sylvia Flavingswell, the annoying wife of First-Cousin-Once-Removed Bruce
Mrs. Sylvia Flavingswell
~ The Replacement Relatives

“No Bruce, no Sylvia, no Nephew Osborne, no Luke, no Sarabelle, and no Edgar.  I feel that this Christmas will be quite pleasant.”  Mrs. Flavingswell nodded serenely.  “Did you know that Sarabelle actually had the audacity to tell me that my dining room set was outdated?”
            Bianca did know that.  She had been there when Sarabelle had somehow screwed up the courage to tell her elder cousin what she thought of the dining room table.  Mrs. Flavingswell had returned a comment concerned with what she thought of Sarabelle.  Although that made things awkward for most of the family, Bianca had been rather entertained.  Sarabelle had a face that looked like a plump boiled potato, and it always reddened whenever she was angry.  Bianca had been hard put to keep from laughing at that most solemn moment.
~ The Replacement Relatives

She was greeted with a blast of snow and a tip of a very snowy hat.  “Afternoon, Miss.”
            “Good afternoon,” said Bianca.  “Do come in.”
            “Thanks much, Miss,” said the man to whom the snowy hat belonged.  “Mr. Marshall Lamb, at your service.”
            “I’m Miss Bianca Quettle,” said Bianca.  “Everyone just calls me Bianca or Miss Bianca.”  She slammed the door shut as soon as Mr. Lamb was all the way in the house.  “Welcome!”
            “Thanks, Miss,” he said as he began to divest himself of his outdoor wrappings.  He certainly had a lot of them, but when they were off of him and in Bianca’s arms, she could see why.  He must have been the thinnest man that Bianca had ever seen.  There was no mistaking him for anyone but Mrs. Martha Spencer’s brother.  His waist was smaller than Bianca’s; on that she would have staked her own life.  He had a thin mouth and a thin amount of sandy hair on his thinnish looking head.  His arms looked like little pine branches, and his fingers looked like very delicate twigs.  His trousers might have been made for a boy, so scrawny were they.
~ The Replacement Relatives

Thanks for reading, and God bless,

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