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A strange day in the gardens (a continuation of "The maid and the sneeze")


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The kettle let out its long whistle and Emily quickly picked it up using an oven mitt. Carefully she pored the hot water into an elaborate tea pot were her own special blend of tea sat waiting. She arranged a collection of the Lady's favorite cookies on a small plate and then added it along with the tea pot and two cups to the serving tray. After looking over her maid uniform as she always did before leaving the kitchen Emily picked up the tray and headed through the big house and out to the gardens where Miss Everheart and her guest waited. 
She smiled at the warmth of the spring sun as she stepped out into the beautifully manicured gardens. One of the many things she loved about working here, everything had a beautifully proper elegance to it just like Miss Everheart liked it and how she herself had grown to appreciate it. 

Rows of flowers lined the walk way leading deeper into the gardens and Emily inhaled deeply as she walked enjoying the sweet fragrances. She was so glad she did not have allergies as some of the other servants did. She would likely not be able to serve the Lady in the gardens if she did. Miss Everheart loved formality and edict in her employees and expected them to act accordingly while working for her. And there was nothing less formal, less proper  then a-

 

HAAATCHOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!


Emily almost missed a step as a rather loud sneeze came form deeper in the garden. It sounded near the tea tables where she was to find the Lady and her guest. It couldn't have been Miss Everheart, for one thing Emily had never once seen her lose her proper demeanor for even a second, for another the sneeze sounded familiar as odd as that was. She kept walking checking the tray to make sure everything was just right. 

 

Under the shade of a large tree was located a set of chairs and a table. As Emily approached the two women seated in the chairs turned her way. Miss Everheart gave her small approving nod that she kept for those who had repeatedly done well in her eyes and Emily gave small smile back. 

The other woman at the table finished politely brushing the bottom of her nose with a handkerchief then gave Emily a wide smile. Emily fought to keep her face from showing her surprise. It was the noble woman for the party a few weeks ago. The one who had tried to make her sneeze in the main hall, in front of everyone. Emily took notice of the woman's handkerchief and made a note to stay far away from it this time. She was sure it was completely dusted with snuff as it had been at the party and she had discovered that night thanks to this woman that her nose was especially sensitive to it. Doing her best to act normal while keeping far from the handkerchief, Emily set out two cups and began to pore tea for both women. 

"Are you sure you wish to remain in the gardens Caroline?" Miss Everheart said continuing what must have been the conversion from before Emily arrived "I would be happy to have the servants arrange the sitting room for tea instead if your allergies are roused by the flowers."


"No need," the Lady said whose name was apparently Caroline "The gardens are simply too beautiful this time of year to let a few sneezes stand in the way of our enjoyment of them. Besides a proper sneeze is good for the spirit they say, why I heard that in London.........."

Caroline went on about how sneezing was all the rage in Europe or something like that. Emily didn't take notice, she was to busy trying to finish arranging the small cookies and cupcakes that the Lady had requested, then she planned to get away from this odd woman. 

Finishing she looked at Miss Everheart who gave her a nod of dismissal and Emily turned to go, but she had not even take one step when...

"Oh, excuse me." Caroline said in Emily's direction. Emily turned. 

Caroline when on, "Would you be a dear and- Oh my! Look out! A bee!" 

Caroline flapped her handkerchief just to the right of Emily's head at a supposed bee that Emily guessed was not even there. From that close Emily could see the fine snuff powder poof off the handkerchief and the instant tickle told her Caroline had hit her target. Emily waved a hand in front of her face seeming to shoo away the bee but in reality she was trying to wave the sneeze away that was building. What was with this woman?! Why was she so determined to make Emily sneeze at the worst times. First the party and now right in front of Miss Everheart herself.

That was as far as her thoughts got before her whole mind was focused on not sneezing. But as she had discovered at the party her nose was quite weak to snuff. 

"Heh.....eh.."

Two small hitches slipped out and Emily held her nose forgetting herself for just a moment.

"Are you alright Emily?" Miss Everheart asked "Is something wrong?"

Emily shook her head but she knew she couldn't stop what was coming. Her eyes rolled sneezily and her head lifted back.


"It looks like she needs to sneeze" Caroline said with just the slightest hint of anticipation slipping through.

Through eyes she had to fight to keep open Emily say Miss Everheart make a slightly disgusted face. 

"Well if you must just do it quickly and get it over with." Everheart finally said with an exasperated sign.

HESHOOOOOOO ETCHOOOOOOOOWWW!!

Emily's nose let go the instant she was given permission, sneezing hard and rather loudly despite her efforts to keep them quiet and lady like. 

"Dear girl!" Miss Everheart exclaimed "Must you sneeze so loud and unladylike? It is not at all proper."

Emily was torn between wanting to apologize and a strong desire to take one of the cup cakes and cram it in Caroline's face. Well, those two things and the desire to begin sneezing again. Before she could do anything Caroline spoke up.

"Don't be too hard on her." she said to Miss Everheart "Most people can't help how they sneeze. And besides a good sneeze can be quite refreshing. It's not healthy to hold them in."  

"Nonsense." Miss Everheart said "I can keep my manors just fine when I sneeze, which is rarely ever I might add." 

Emily was not sure she should still apologize or not as Caroline seemed to have distracted her Lady. Still her nose burned and she knew more sneeze were on the way. Still she could not just leave without being dismissed.

"Really?" Caroline said "You have never had a sneeze so strong you couldn't keep it ladylike?" 

"Never." 

"Poor thing. You don't know what you are missing."

There was a long pause.

"They........is it really that much of a difference?" Miss Everheart asked. 

Emily was stunned. Miss Everheart seemed, curious. The tickle in her nose seemed to vanish as she was filled with her own curiosity of what would happen next.

"Oh honey you should really try it some time." Caroline said "In fact, I can help you if you would like. Try a pinch of this."

Caroline reached in her hand bag and pulled out a small ornate box.

"This is from France." Caroline said proudly "The very best in snuff. If this won't make you have a good sneeze nothing will."

Miss Everheart looked at the box for a moment weighing her curiosity against her properness. Then she looked at Emily.

"You are not to breath a word of this." she said "Am I clear?"

Emily nodded vigorously.

"How does it work?" Everheart asked.

Caroline smiled. "All you need do is inhale a little through your nose and it will do the rest." she said. She took a clean handkerchief from her hand bag and dipped it in to the snuff, then she held it out to Miss Everheart. "It's best we start with just a little mind you. Now, hold it under your nose and breath in."

Emily watched stunned as Miss Everheart did just that. She couldn't believe what she was seeing, and for that matter what she was about to see. Miss Everheart had never so much as coughed in her presence always staying as proper and prim as possible.

"Oh! Oh that does feel ah-odd." Miss Everheart said as her face changed from one of composure to on of growing desperation. Her eyebrows arched upward in the middle and she waved her hand next to her face as though fanning herself. 

"Oh may I ah....hah....HAKRCHOOOOOO HAH HAKRCHOOOOO AHCHOOOOOOOO!!!" Miss Everheart sneezed. Oh how she sneezed. Hard and completely unladylike except for her high pitch.  Her body bent forward with each and she bumped the table causing there tea to spill slightly.

Emily immediately went to clean the spill out of habit but Caroline stopped her with light hand. 

"Let her enjoy it." she said.

Looking back at Miss Everheart Emily saw that she did seem to be enjoying it. One hand was pressed between her breasts while the other continued fanning. Her face was filled with desperation and something else......enjoyment!? Yes, she was smilling just the slightest bit as her head came back for another set of sneezes.

"HEKRCHOOOOOOO EKRCHOOOOOOOOO HEH HEH EH ETCHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW!!!! Oh my heavens!" Miss Everheart said after the hardest set of sneezes yet "That wah was HEKRCHOOOOOOOO!! Oh bless me. That was simply divine." 

Miss Everheart smiled weakly with a slightly dazed expression that only lasted a moment or two before she remembered where she was and who was around her.

"I-I mean excuse me." she said with what almost seemed embarrassment. Emily was shocked. She had never seen her Lady so....out of control so.....normal and human. 

"So, what did you think." Caroline asked grinning "I told you a good sneeze or three would do wonders."

Miss Everheart gathered herself. When she answered, her formality was back. "That was quite the.....experience." she said dabbing her nose with a napkin "I can see the attraction." She looked up at Emily and started, like she had forgotten the maid was still there. "Not a word of this to anyone." she said "You are dismissed."

Emily curtsied "Yes my lady." the she turned to hurry off but Miss Everheart called to her before she had gotten two steps.

"And Emily" Miss Everheart said "Let the other maids know that those will allergies are permitted to enter the gardens again, if there are no guests visiting."

Emily nodded and hurried off. The last things she heard sounded like Miss Everheart asking Caroline were she could acquire a bit of snuff of her own. Emily shook her head. Darn that Caroline and her sneeze obsession. Still, it seemed that she had help Miss Everheart to, dare she think it, loosen up a little. Maybe she wasn't so bad after all. Still it had been a very strange day in the gardens.

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Thank you for taking time to write again ^^ the stories I have seen from you have a nice flow to them and your characters are nice to read about. I was not expecting these characters to reappear but I am happily surprised. You did great with this scenario! We do not know the Lady's first name but she was a character that developed over this experience. She learned acceptance of what she once thought was a bad thing. I enjoyed her character and how she still tried to maintain her proper attitude but was more sweet at the same time. She definitely seemed a little stuck up at the beginning.

Emily is a good main character and a great middle man type of person that is easy to relate with. I smiled at her desire to shove a cupcake in Caroline's face XD great way to show the different strong sneezes with the different characters too! I liked this story.

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