March 20, 2015
Michael and I are with the group in Southampton after a week on the Isle of Wight. Michael’s notebook is full of sketches and he seems revived. Millicent has started negotiating John Smith despite objections by nearly everyone. But she is insistent and we all seem to work for her so we have to accept her meetings. Rachael is meeting with Alfred Redman and that is not as easy to take. Eleanor and Simone are furious. Rachael says that someone has to meet with the other group because we are probably going to have to work with each other. Millicent agrees with her which I find a bit upsetting. Eleanor and Simone have confided in me some. Winifred Stanhope , Findley Brown and Redman were despicable. Michael continues to say he will kill Neville although as my face is slowly being repaired, my anger over that is fading. Rachael is crippled, but she is meeting with these people. I just don’t understand.
Simone Campbell is now fully part of our group. I worked with her a great deal in Dunstable. She can perform magic (although she swears it is just physics even if she doesn’t understand it). She joined because of her collar. When she got her contract from Smith, he put a collar on her and proceeded to train her. And by training, that meant cowing her into utter acceptance of any action. Smith left that task to Stanhope and Brown and apparently they were horribly imaginative. Simone was near breaking when they brought Eleanor in. Eleanor didn’t have a collar so she could resist better and Eleanor encouraged Simone when they were alone. At this point they are inseparable.
They make a bit of an odd couple. Where Eleanor is at least 6 feet, slim, and very dark; Simone is almost as short as Rachael, a bit stocky and has very fair skin and hair. In a different path, I might have been Simone’s servant. Her family is very well off from their insurance company. With her contract with Millicent, Simone has said, “I am now free of that life of boredom.” Apparently she was expected to join the family business and help with accounts. That would have been a horrid waste. Simone knows as much about chemistry as Jason seems to and she seems to be far better in the lab than anyone else (at least according to Charles). She did work with a William Crookes and has a lot of experience finding and understanding strange materials.
It has been interesting comparing life with the “upstairs folk”. I was responsible for setting tables and polishing silver and making beds. Their lives seemed to be dinners and parties and interesting conversation. Simone found it terribly boring. People rarely understood her interests. Instead they wondered who was marrying whom or what impact some policy would have on imports of cheese. She also attended the opera and symphony regularly. Michael and I occasionally would get to see an orchestra or band and we found the music transforming. But she saw them so often that she felt they were tedious. Yet she seems to find things I did as work fun. She enjoys cooking in the galley and even cleaning up as if those are special tasks. I asked about this. It seems she spent much of her life being measured against some odd standard that she never measured up to: she wasn’t thin enough; her conversation was abrupt; she wasn’t deferring enough. At least with our group, everyone is glad she is helping and doesn’t tell her she is doing it wrong. I still think she had it a bit easy, but I have things to think about.
I look forward to hearing questions from people.