“Ooy-ey; Ooy-ey, your most obedient,
most humble, and dutiful servant.
Mr.  Punch, my dear,
Ooy-ey, I wishes you all well and happy.”
Chapter Twelve
Mr. Punch my dear
Here’s to the maid who steals a kiss,

And stays to steal another,

Here’s to the maid who steals a kiss,

And stays to steal another,

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She’s a boon to all mankind

She’s a boon to all mankind

She’s a boon to all mankind

For she’ll soon be a mother.

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The pub common room rings with the sound of laughter.
The choir master of the ‘Dog and Gun,’ waves a huge wooden spoon in front of him.
He that courts a pretty girl,

And courts her for his pleasure,

He that courts a pretty girl,

And courts her for his pleasure,

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Is a knave unless he marries her

Is a knave unless he marries her

Is a knave unless he marries her

Without a store of treasure.

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“Mange!”
“She’s out in the garden,” Lilly Anne answers. John Hopkins glumly nods.
Lily Anne Rose, owner of the farm pub at Atherton, plants a wet kiss on John’s cheek.  “Where’s Mary?”
“She’s with Briggs and Nell.”  John shrugs.  “Nell and me had been watching the steeplechase.  Tom coming in as he did broke a smile on Mary.  But then, after the race, Nell started Mary off, saying she’d seen Mange with you and Tommy.  Left them.  Come to warn Mange.”
“Perhaps best,” Lilly smiles.  “Get it all out.”
Bert, the choir master having a slight delay due to being unsteady on his feet, makes a fresh sweep of the yard-long spoon.  “Chorus. Ready!”  
Landlord fill the flowing bowl

Until it doth run over

Landlord fill the flowing bowl

Until it doth run over

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For tonight merry I shall be

For tonight merry I shall be

For tonight merry I shall be

Tomorrow I’ll be sober.

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Bert the choir master falls onto a table at this point, not something that Bert hasn’t done before.  All gracefully raise their tankards so none of the nectar might spill.
“I’ll be sober,” thinks John as he watches the inn door open and the three of them enter.
“Mary, ‘er thought Mange be working ‘t Stogg.”
“Bess and Ethyl are doing pub for us today,” answers Lilly.
“‘You invited ‘er, didn’t you!’ ‘Talk rubbish woman,’ I answer.  ‘Think, t’invite ‘er t’me wit you here.’”
John’s eyes roam the room.  “Warn Mange ‘o trouble an ‘er ’te ‘cide ‘t leave.  Take ‘er out through kitchen, Lilly?”
“I don’t think she’ll go,” Lily cautions him.  “I think she’s waiting. Besides we’ve got these.”  Fiery red hair with big soft-green eyes, Lily Anne picks up the tray with the drinks she ordered.  “I will tell Mange, you are here.”
“Thank you.”  John crestfallen stares across at Mary.
Mary has seen John talking to Lilly Rose.  She grabs Nell’s arm, points as the woman taking the tray of drinks through the open doors to the garden.
“That’s the woman she works for,” Nell says.
“Get me a mother’s ruin, Jimmy,” Mary begins walking towards the large open garden doors.  “Bring it out to me. You know where I’ll be.”
Nell giving Jimmy a glance, follows Mary.  “What are you going to say to her?”
“I don’t know.  It’ll come to me.”
Mange and Tommy Rose are just beginning to sup their tankards of stout when Mary and Nell approach.
Lilly calls out, “I told them you were here.”
Mary sits down on the bench, Nell next to her.
“I’ll get to the point, quick.  You have asked John to move in with you.”
Mange stares at Mary.  “I have.”
“Why?”
Mange closes her eyes.  “You married him, didn’t you.”
“He wasn’t someone else’s husband.”
“No!”
“John has nothing.”
“Is that why you took him?”
Mary moves her eyes to the flowers blooming inside the well-cared beds.  “John is my lad,” she says softly.
Mange replies equally softly: “I wish it were better.  But he wants to live with me, that he does.  I won’t stop it. Ain’t a man such as John to be refused.”
“And if I should tell him to leave farm.”
“Can you do that?”
“John will go if I tell him.”
“Are you sure?  John likes farm.  As I hear John is best farmer around.  Everyone knows it!  He’s told me he won’t leave ‘t farm.  Nought you do t’ divorce.  He won’t say it, so you won’t say it.  Two years he has.
“He’ll come work Atherton, maybe.  Tommy here has offered him job anytime he wants at Stogg.  John told me before two years he’ll move back to farm of his wife.  So there!  I got him for a bit.  You got him for a bit.”
Mary didn’t know John had told Mange he planned to move back to farm before two years, to keep marriage legal. She’d like to strike the woman, but she can’t.  Too much pain.  Too much of everything.
“And Tom?  Who’s going to be a father to Tom?”
“I don’t know anything about Tom.  Old enough to take care of himself, I reckon.”
Silence.
James Briggs and John arrive carrying the drinks.  “Your gin, love,” John places the small glass in front of Mary.
Somehow using the word, ‘love,’ she so wants the pain to go away.
“Everything settled then?”  John sits next to Mange.
Jimmy Briggs sits alongside his wife.
Mary twists her wedding ring around her finger.
“I won’t divorce you, Mary.”
Through the open doors, the voice of Bert drifts out to them: “Louder now!”
Here’s to the maid who steals a kiss,

And runs to tell her mother.

Here’s to the maid who steals a kiss,

And runs to tell her mother.

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She’s a foolish, foolish girl,

She’s a foolish, foolish girl,

She’s a foolish, foolish girl,

For she’ll not get another.

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. . .
Emily knows a cog has turned.  For long periods we tumble within some part of the mechanism, but then at a certain moment a larger cog makes its move.  That only happens a few times in our life, but when it does existence becomes completely different.
Lying upon the inn bed, she is sensing that moment.  It is not Annabell.  It is not school.  It is that which Michael has been to her.  That big cog is turning.  Life forward from here is the unknown.
“Mother Enid said she enjoyed this year’s Mayday speech by uncle Ronald better than any.”  Annabell just coming into the room gazes out the open inn window, at the people waiting in front of the stage for the children’s play to begin.  “Every year she insists on being here in time to hear him.  What did you think of the fool’s costume?  He always does something I never expect.”
Emily listens.  She cannot speak because there are no thoughts. She cannot explain to Annie it is happening. All an emptiness she has entered, waiting.
Annabell is tumbling with her in this mechanism that she knows not.  Annabell is plunging as she into something new as the great cog turns.  So is Edward.  So Mrs. Coulter. So also Lady Middleton. That which Michael has said is here.  This taking place is larger even... that for all of them nothing will be the same.
“What is the matter my love?”  Annabell grabs Emily, falls on the soft strange bed beside her.
“Listening to your uncle by the stage, did you notice as we came back a tent.  Its pole had some markings.”   Emily laughs self-consciously.  “It’s a foolishness, but I feel I should visit the tent.”
She lets go of Annabell’s hand, gets up from the bed. “Would you mind, Edward will be here soon.  Edward and his friend I don’t think always like to be together.  I think his friend likes to wager.”
Annabell shakes her head.  “Bear is not a gambler.  He doesn’t like uncertainty.  Too orderly in his mind.  I think you are right about his friend.  Mother and he like to engage at cards, Bear says.  For Mother, cards are merely a game. She bets but to her the amount is inconsequential. For Mr. Morton I believe it is different.  He risks perhaps all he has. How long do you think you will be gone, my love?”
Emily standing kisses Annabell who has also risen.  “I feel as if I have to wander.”  The cog is turning and she doesn’t know what to do.  So she departs.
Walking from Maypole to the stream, then into the trees, then back to the tents, always avoiding the tent with the writing, ten times and more she this, her mind a whirl.
Emily eyes the young woman seated on a quilting.
A strange fascination: jet-black glossy hair, woollen, many-coloured blouse, her long cream skirt with bare feet sticking out upon the quilting.  Especially the large earrings she wears with a peculiar rose tint.  One side has a winding coil that reaches almost to the neck.  Dancing at the tip is a snake’s head.  Shimmering red gems gleam as eyes.  Its mouth, a very dark red, spits at you.
The young woman comments: “Azgar my serpent.  A serpent of luck is Azgar.”
“It startles me,” Emily responds.
“Would you like me to tell you your fortune, young Miss?”  The accent is not Devon, nor Cornish, not a place Emily has any recognition.
“You are from a distant country?”
“I am Rom.  Many centuries we are here, before, that which is known as India.”
“Oh!  My friend’s uncle has just come back from India. He is from Pune.  I am staying with them.  The Manor on the road that leads to the moors.”
“I have been to that place,” says the girl.
“The Manor!”
“Yes!  I was visiting the sacred stones.  They have much power.”
The comment overwhelms Emily.  “You have been to the stones?”
“You know about them?”
“Yes!  But I do not know where they are.”
The young woman stares at her.  “I feel now that you do have the power of the stones.”
Emily blushes.  “I have tried to find them.  Please tell me. I think sometimes they hide from me purposely.”
“A path leads to a bridge by the Manor.  That is of the stones.
“Stonebridge Manor is the name of the manor.”
“Yes!  It is the old path.  Do you have a horse?”
“A pony being lent to me.”
“The roadway is better.  The road that leads to the moors or to here to the village.
“If you follow the road, three thousand steps perhaps before the road opens and becomes the moors, you will see a turn to the left only a small cart might travel.  That will bring you to the stones.”
“Thank you so much,” cries Emily.  “I will go tomorrow. Are the stones still in a circle.  I have knowledge you see. I once was priestess of the stones.  Yet, twice I have come back and never can I find them.”
The young woman fondles her earring serpent.  “I see Azgar already has brought you luck.  Azgar is a great God-serpent, from my grandmother’s grandmother and her grandmother before that. I am the seventh born of my mother.  Would you wish me to speak your fortune?  My wisdom should not be forfeited.  To spurn a daughter that is seventh is not wise.”
“I wish you to give my fortune, but please tell me more where you found the stones.”
“There is a stream,” the young woman says softly.  “And the stones have been cut.”
“Cut!  You mean they have been shaped into something else.”
“The stones have been cut to build a house.  Perhaps many houses have fallen and been rebuilt.  The stones hold their power and some now have been burned so hot they have melted upon those below.”
The young woman shivers at the thoughts that come to her. “Stones do not burn.  Great power, the power of the stones themselves has been used for harm.  You will cross my palm with silver?”
Emily searches her purse, takes out four crowns, shows them to the gypsy.  “That is all I have brought with me.”
“We will do the reading inside, young Miss.”  The young woman in bare feet gets up from the quilt, pulls open the flap of the tent for Emily to step inside.
Inside large brown and red velvet cushions on a rose carpet. Pungent scent issuing from a lamp set upon a small table. Around the lamp, flecked stones in many colours.  Decks of cards beside the stones.  A low carved ebony table placed between the cushions.  A crystal as big as a skull upon the table.
The young woman seats herself near the lamp, points to the cushion across from the low ebony table.  “For you!”
As Emily becomes seated: “My name is Dara.  Would you care to give me your name.”
“Emily.”
A hand is held out.  “You can cross my palm now with your silver, Emily.”
Clutching the four crowns, Emily presses them into the young woman’s palm.
The young woman begins a soft chant, repeating and adding words as she moves her hands over and around the crystal.
When she has finished, the crystal is moved, the ebony table moved, a cushion placed between the two.  “We will ask the cards first.”  Dara hands the deck across.  “Please rearrange these.  Then place one card upright upon the cushion.”
Emily, barely touches the card deck and is about to place a card upon the cushion when she is stopped.  “Please rearrange twice more.  It will bring us better the wisdom.”
Emily shuffles the cards again, and then again. “Now please take the card from the top and turn it so that it faces us.”
The card is turned.  Dara stares at the image.  “Strength is in this card.  This tells me you are a woman who has great will.  Please take the next card.”
As this card is turned upright, they both stare at a man dressed in a robe.
“The High Priest tells me you are at a fork in your path. Two ways you can go.  Please take the next card.”
As Emily places the third card upright, Dara glances at the two next to it.  “The third card is Love.  You must tell me that which you have come to ask.”
Emily had not meant to be so intimate, though in her heart perhaps there was a yearning.  “My friend.  My friend is to be married.  I wish to know if I will lose my friend.”
Dara takes a long time with the cards, then laughs, a loud very fruity chuckle.  “Ah!  I can help you with this.”
She takes hold of Emily’s hand moves it to the light so she can see the better the inset of the lines.  “She will always be with you.”
Emily clasps her hands together.  “We are very much in love,” she whispers.
Dara touches her coiled earpiece.  “This serpent speaks to me.” She smiles.  “He is telling me that when the world was young, he would churn the ocean in search of love. Then he met his love. Together in their love for each other they achieved immortality.
“In Samudra, Azgar is saying there is a third who will swim with you.  The ocean is large.  Allow each current and the reward will be thousandfold.  There is another question you wish to ask.”
“Thank you, Dara,” Emily speaks slowly, deliberately. “My purpose, the reason I came here I believe, is because some change is upon myself and those at the Manor that is more than my friend marrying.  It has to do with my past, a past that reaches to the future.”
The cushion with the cards are moved aside, the low ebony table with the crystal placed before them.
“You have made a decision!  You have agreed!”  Dara murmurs. “That is being shown to me.  I see a woman... A part of you.”
A troubled expression takes over.  “A message I have. Please, there is a powerful being.  I must disconnect.  I wish to speak to my Grandmother.”
Dara straightens herself.  “I will not be absent long.”   With that she closes her eyes, chants for some time then goes silent.
Long moments pass until she suddenly begins singing.
He fell on her body, and stifled her so, That death it did follow.

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. Kewe.info
Suddenly the young woman gives a quick scream.
Burke it — Burke it.

There is doom here! 

Do not cross it! Do not hinder!

Absent yourself for it is agreed!

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Then her eyes open.  “There are very powerful forces around you, Emily.  There is a young man.  You have been informed of this!”
“Yes!”
“For this, as an ally to your cause I will sing a protective song, so your encounter with this young man will be of its highest purpose.”
“Thank you.”
“There are those in the higher realms protecting you, Emily.  But it is good to have an Earthbound person for the spirits to use.”
Now Dara begins to sing her protective song.
Fire, fire, burn, burn away the pain.

Give luck to this child that she may not hurt.

Eyes look on me,

I add more twigs,

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And yet more twigs,

So the fire may burn.

Fire, fire, burn, burn,

When the child weeps - Listen!

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Emily stares, and then she understands.
I have agreed!  The great turning is here.
As she gets up, she feels the girl’s hand touch her on her cheek.
“Know you will not be harmed!”  
Emily flees from the tent.
Passing a barrel organ, a burgundy cloaked monkey scampers up to her.  She rushes on.
“Buy it dear,” lavender is thrust in her face.  “No need to rush, dear.  None of us going anywhere.”  Emily careers away.
A muffin man, a tray of muffins on his head, steps in her path.  “Watch it Miss!  Not so fast now!  Muffins, lovely muffins, for those who escape the young Miss!”
A Punch and Judy show is having a singing contest:
The fair maid who the first of May, Goes to the fields at break of day.

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The fair maid who washes in dew from the Hawthorn tree, Ever after handsome she will be.

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Emily is standing right in the centre of the seated crowd.  Punch is waving his stick at her.
Did you wash in dew this morning, my dear?  My this one is a shy one, isn't she.

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You did wash in dew from the May tree, didn’t you my dear. 

She is beautiful.

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. Kewe.info
Isn’t she handsome, people!

Forever handsome now she will be!”

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Looking back through his legs behind him, Punch is now screaming:   “Judy, Judy, why couldn’t you?”
Ooy-ey; Ooy-ey, your most obedient, most humble, and dutiful servant.

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. Kewe.info
Mr. Punch, my dear.

Ooy-ey, I wishes you all well and happy.

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Coming to the fore of the stage, Mr Punch bows.   Raising his horn, a rude sound comes from the stage.
Are you there, Emily?

It’s the Squire, my dear!

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I am lying on the ground.

Do you see the dew that forms?

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. Kewe.info
Do you see it drawing me?

Do you see it Emily,

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as I lie on the ground?

Do you see the dew?

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Lawrence is only feet away standing behind Emily.
Punch blows upon the horn.
Executed by British law your due.

Due!  Dew!  Due!  Dew!

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Hung by the neck your due.

Until dead! Dead! Dead!

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The fair maid did wash this morning didn’t you my dear?

Wash in dew this morning.

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. Kewe.info
Dead! Dead!

I’m not a hangman! I’m a skeleton!

The Game - The Enslavement Dream. Kewe.info And I’ve come to take you down to hell.

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The skeleton has taken over the stage, pointing its bony finger at Emily.  But then the finger moves, as if over her.
Annabell is fondling Emily’s face.  “Heart!  Heart!  My, you are in a state!  Whatever has been happening?”
Edward and Annabell guiding her from the crowd a boy on a one-wheel cycle falls into them.
Edward picks up the cycle, Annabell picking up the boy, they proceed on towards the inn.
“They have told me.  It is time!”
“Who has told you, my love!”
“The cog is turning, Annie.”
“Hush now!  It is over, my love,” Annabell, her arms firmly around Emily, coaxes her gently along.  “Time for us to eat, my sweet.”
“To eat?”
“The inn has sent us a menu.  There is salmon, and some quail.”
Only feet behind, a familiar face, but a face that has more, a demon face, demon Ecnerwal watches as the three step inside the inn.
‘It is time.  You are correct, Miss Emily!
Time!  Plenty of time!
Always time!’
. . .
Several hours later, Tom, dressed in cap and boots and a chocolate jacket he ordered, has spread himself flat out on the ground.
The fireworks have begun and the first, a rocket sheds silver red and gold across the great assemblage that covers the Weatherby grassland.
“Luce, Luce, look!”
Lucy is looking, not that looking is noticing.  Lucy has been in a whirl ever since the kiss at the end of the race.
Tom jumps up.  Six fountains let off all together.  A flood of yellow and white, one rising flowing into the next, a stream of blue through the middle.
This question Tom had come out with as they did a walk up the stream, that is on Lucy’s mind.
“Do you like children?”  he had asked.  Just like that.
There was no ‘What abouts’ to his question.
“Are you daft!”  she answered.  “Next you’ll be asking me if I like custard pie.  Do you like custard pie, Tom Hopkins.”
He had laughed.
When they came by Burt’s selling his potato pies, the best pies in all Devon, she asked if he liked Burt’s pies.  “Do you like Burt’s pies?”just to rub it in.
Then when the streetlamps were being lighted she asked if he liked the streetlamps being lighted.
While they were lying on the grass waiting for the fireworks to start, she says “How many?”
“How many?”  As if he’d forgotten the whole thing.
“Children.”
“Six!”
“Six?”
“Four boys.  Two girls.”
When Tom sits down, Lucy pulls the long brown skirt she is wearing down to cover her ankles: “Tom!”
“Yes, Luce.”
“Jimmy Briggs told Nelly you were thinking of asking me a question, an important question.”
Tom spits out a blade of grass he’s been holding in his mouth.
“Might be.”
“Tom!”
“Yes, Luce!”
“This important question, about me liking children?  I do like children.”
Seems like ten firecrackers suddenly go off.
Then a rocket careers over their heads a shower of sparks fluttering over them.
“Give me a cuddle.”  Tom leans over her, smothers her with kisses.
When they’ve finished, lain back watching a rainbow cluster flowing across the sky, then another, then another.
“Tell me what you want to ask.”
“Ahhhh!  Luce,” Tom gives her his boyish grin.  “You know it’s my farm, come time.”
“I do!”
Tom places his arm over her shoulder, his fingers softly touching her breast.
“Marry’n.  You and me.  What do you say then?”
“An if I’ll tell you,” Lucy squeaks.
The young man his deep, serious dark eyes gaze at her.
“Are you for it?”
Lucy leans herself into him.  “I take it you’re askin’ me?”
Smiling, the handsome boy shows he knows well her answer.
“That I am.”
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