Since I turned in the edits for The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla yesterday, now seemed a good time to share one of my favorite bits: Turnip, the Next Generation.
Or, rather, our introduction to his daughter, Jane, more commonly know as… Parsnip.
Once a Fitzhugh, always a Fitzhugh?
A ululating cry filled the hall, followed by the sound of pounding feet. The door banged against the wall. Lucien whirled, looking for danger.
Instead, he saw a very chubby infant moving at an alarming speed on short and unsteady legs, its face and hands smeared with a viscous red substance.
The child was rapidly followed by a nursemaid, her cap askew, her white apron streaked with gore. The nursemaid came to a stop, breathless, resting her hands against her knees as she panted, “Mistress! Mistress, I tried to stop her, but—”
“I know.” Mrs. Fitzhugh swept the gory infant into her arms, transferring a great deal of the red and sticky substance to the front of her dress.
Miss Fitzhugh prudently moved her muslin skirts out of the way.
It looked like the slaughter of the innocents, but for the fact that the innocent was awake, and clapping her chubby hands with every appearance of delight.
In which case, that probably wasn’t blood. Lucien slowly felt his breathing return to normal.
Holding the infant out at arm’s length, Mrs. Fitzhugh surveyed the carnage with an experienced eye. “Has Parsnip got into the jam tarts again?”
Lucien inferred from the context that Parsnip was not, in fact, a root-vegetable, but the angelic looking infant chuckling and clucking in her mother’s arms .
“It was the raspberry,” said the nursemaid, in tones of doom.
“I don’t know how she does it,” murmured Mrs. Fitzhugh. She looked down at the baby, who appeared to have rubbed jam into her own ears, her hair, and, now, all along the front of her mother’s dress .
The child bared her tiny teeth in a delighted grin. There were raspberry seeds stuck between the two front teeth.
Lucien detected a distinct resemblance to Miss Sally Fitzhugh. Particularly about the eyes, which were dancing with mischief.
A chip off the old family block!