Well, Christmas has come and gone. The Egg Nog has been drunk, the decorations are looking a little dusty, and the presents have all been opened, played with and sitting in their boxes on the table, taking up space until we figure out where to put them. Lady B is of course ecstatically showing off the gifts we got her to a few morning callers – I like to think that she particularly favors the watch I gave her because, come on, obviously it was the best – when she calls me to join her.
“Ah, and here is Miss Noble,” she declares as I enter the room, “who gave me simply the loveliest watch… good heavens Miss Noble, what has happened to you?
It should be mentioned at this time that my hands are practically covered in ink.
“I, er… well, I was writing.” I am a writer after all.
“What were you writing, a thousand page manifesto?” Lady B demands.
“Dear me,” pipes up one of her guests, who by the ermine trimmed and diamond encrusted muslin day dress I can only surmise is Lady B’s rival, the Duchess of Dovedale, “did your quill explode? I know the best quill maker in London my dear, don’t let Hortense here direct you to her shoddy penmakers.”
Lady B shoots her a withering look. Then, to me she says “Did your pen explode, my dear?”
By the look Lady B was giving me, I knew that by no means was I to answer in the affirmative. Doing so would cost her socially and me in ways I do not even want to contemplate. Lady B can be dastardly that way. (Although, it should be noted that quills are REALLY difficult to use. What I wouldn’t give for a ballpoint pen. Or a laptop.)
“Er, no ma’am.” I try, hiding my hands behind my back. “I was simply wrestling with my resolutions. I’ve gone through quite a bit of paper trying to decide what they should be.”
“Resolutions?” the Duchess of Dovedale asks. “Isn’t it a little early to engage in such trivialities?”
“Is it trivial, Carpathia,” Lady B intones, “to attempt self improvement? To be of the mind that a New Year can bring about fresh perspective, and become a more civic minded individual? After all, even you are not wholly perfect.”
“Well, I…” the Duchess attempts, but Lady B cuts her off.
“No! I applaud Miss Noble for resolving to better herself and society in the New Year! We could all take an example of her!”
“Er…” I say, a little uncomfortable. “Thank you?”
“Now, Miss Noble,” Lady B says kindly, but with her steel, “tell Her Grace what your resolutions will be.”
“Well,” I hedge, “I want to write another book this year.”
“That is not a resolution, that is your profession,” she admonishes.
“Well, I intend to write more. Increase my output with work, that is.”
“As evidenced by your working so hard you exploded your quill,” the Duchess infers, slyly.
I debate for a moment whether I should fess up to having been doodling on half those pages while contemplating my life choices, but I decide against it.
“Sure,” I say instead.
“What else, what else?” Lady B demands. “What kind of good do you plan to do?”
“Um. Is it considered good to want to lose ten pounds?”
Both ladies blink at me. “Lose ten pounds?” The Duchess of Dovedale asks, perplexed. “Do you intend to repay a gambling debt?”
“Yes, of course, all my authoresses pay their debts promptly,” Lady B hastens to assure. “Although I think giving up gambling altogether may be a better resolution, Miss Noble. What else have you planned?”
“Actually, that was all I had so far,” I admit sheepishly.
“That’s it?” she cries, shaking her head. “What a waste of good ink and paper!”
“Now, now,” the Duchess of Dovedale smirks, “self improvement is a difficult thing to master. Do you think you could do any better with your New Year’s Resolutions?”
“By God I do!” Lady B says confidently. “I can think of a dozen better New Year’s Resolutions!”
“Well,” the Duchess challenges, “what are they?”
What *are* Lady B’s New Year’s resolutions? And what are yours? And can anyone think of a more creative resolution for me than to write more and lose weight? I’m running low on ink!