No history lesson this week as too much story to catch up on for Darcy's 52 Postcards challenge!
Week 21 ENGLAND (or HOME as Lady Ophelia knows it), and week 20 Mauritania.
May in England see's the woodlands carpeted with bluebells :D
Miss Lillian Crowther has had an incredibly stressful week. She did not really expect Ophelia to send her a postcard every week, life would be much to exciting for her young friend, but this is the first time she hasn't received one so her anxiety is understandable.
Then, while she is tending her now copiously stocked garden, she is shocked, and overjoyed to see Ophelia walking towards her along the lane. The two ladies lose all sense of composure, as they run towards each other with open arms, enjoying one of those "ooow I've missed you!" kind of hugs that bring tears to your eyes. After what seems an age, the embrace is broken by a quiet "Huh hmmm" as Miss Francesca catches up with them. Lillian flings her arms around the surprised Miss Francesca, and squeezes her tight, while thanking her repeatedly for bringing Ophelia home safely.
When she has composed herself, Lillian invites her two visitors inside for a lovely cup of tea.
"After last weeks horrid adventure, I insisted Richard bring us home, to let everyone see that I am perfectly well." started Ophelia as she sipped her tea. " We would have been with you sooner, but Richard wanted to show me our new home, Pendleton Manor. He is having it refurbished while we travel. You will come and visit as soon as we get back, won't you dear friend?"
"Of course my darling, I can hardly wait! Your question suggests you will be off on your travels again soon?"
"Oh, absolutely", beamed Ophelia, "far too excited not to. So let me fill you in on what happened last week.
Richard took us to Mauritania, in western Africa. He wanted to check up on an old friend, a French Military man by the name of Louis Faidherbe. Apparently the French used to control the area, but sort of lost interest some time ago. This officer is trying to keep the peace between the warring tribes there, but it is all a bit out of control."
"Well! While we were trying to find the military post, this native chap comes up to Richard...and you won't believe this, tries to sell him a young woman! She was naked and in chains! The man was very insistent, manhandling the poor girl and showing her off like some prize cow at a fayre. I could see Richard was getting angry...very angry...and then he (by whom I mean Richard) took out his pistol and shot the man dead! Just like that! Not a word, he just took the chains from the girl and shooed her away!"
Lillian sat in silence as Ophelia related this news, and Miss Francesca sat nodding her head slowly like some old sage.
"I don't know which of us was most surprised by Richard's actions, but a crowd started to gather, and Richard and our guide lead us away from that particular village. They decided that country was not a safe place to remain, and we joined a Caravan heading across the desert. These nomadic people were most gracious, and hid us whenever other less friendly tribes approached."
"Well thank goodness you are safe now" sighed Lillian."Mauritania is a particularly volatile place, and slavery is still the normal practice there. The tribes war constantly. I'm not sure I condone murder, but I can fully understand Sir Richards anger. Many of the people I knew through my father's missionary work in Africa have been killed or forced to leave this particular region in the last few years.
But now is a time for us to enjoy each others company, so walk with me, and I will show you all the beautiful gifts you have sent me so far from your amazing adventure."
And with that the three ladies went out into the glorious sunny garden, and breathed in the scent of bluebells, mingled with Lilac and roses, that filled the garden of Peartree cottage.
Not a very politically correct post, but the story is of the times, when the world was changing in many ways. You will notice there are no postmarks on these 2 postcards. That is because Lady Ophelia hand delivered them during her visit. And in a break with tradition, she included a portrait of her husband.
So I give you my face no. 25 of my 29 Faces for May
SIR RICHARD PENDLETON
:D Enjoy XXX