Posted by: Briar Rose | March 2, 2004

The Schulitzebergs

PART I

The Schulitzebergs, Geffenian Country Scene

 

 

Chapter II: The Schulitzebergs

In the summer, we went to Uncle Grams’ country house at Geffenia. There was packing for days…Francine and me grew wild with excitement, planning everything we would do in the country. We drove through the Aldebaran Railway Station and waited for the train en route to the Coal Mines Railway Station, from there, we feverishly bustled our way to the rich Geffenian country. We were debating whether we should face the engine or have our backs to it. We were accompanied by our governess, of course, who made it sure that we sat erect on the plush seats and that, I was not too noisy when I called Francine’s attention to the big floras and geographers through which we passed. Some of the servants had gone on ahead and some would just follow. Aunt Shaela would arrive a week or so after we did, a blessed delay!

There was a huge entertainment when we arrived at Uncle Grams’s country mansion, Francine and I were not as yet included in that, but I was vastly interested in it and I would sketch the dresses of the guests and imagine myself in them. I used to make Francine hide with me on the staircase to see them arriving and watched with delight as they entered the great hall where Uncle Grams, looking quite significant, receiving them. Uncle Grams’ house was pleasantly Georgian with gracious portico and elegant lines. The drawing room with a beautiful molded ceiling, it was ideal for entertaining. Dinners and balls here were very well attended.

It was in this country that I became really aware of the great importance of the Schulitzebergs. Even Aunt Shaela spoke their names with certain awe. They live in Bergel Towers, a very expensive house on a hill – a castle – and Mr. Leic Schulitzeberg was a knight – son of a Vassal. The Bergel Castle was build at one of the highlands of Geffen, possibly as early as 1067. The original Sharp Eagle Defenses that guarded the main route into the Geffenian Enchanted Black Forest was still there, and it was and still the administrative center for the Professor and Wizard Earls of Geffenia. In the late 12th century a circular stone keep was constructed on top of its motte.

Like Uncle Jordan, Mr. Schulitzeberg, had big interests in the city and had a Pronterian residence. Nanny Matilda had pointed it out to us on several occasions, “That’s the Schulitzeberg’s Town Place,” in hushed tones, as though it were paradise itself.

The Schulitzebergs owned most of the Geffenian hamlet and the surrounding farms, and Mr. Leic Schulitzeberg’s wife was Lady Polgara, which meant that she was the daughter of an Earl. One of Uncle Shaela’s great ambitions was to live on terms of familiarity with the Schulitzebergs and as she was a woman who only had to want something to get it, she did, after a fashion. She was gracious to Lady Polgara and claimed great interest in everything that lady did, while Uncles Grams and Jordan and Mr. Schulitzeberg discussed “The Market” with equal passion.

Then there was AR Schulitzeberg, who was about a year older than I and some two years older than Francine. Aunt Shaela was very anxious that he and Francine should be good friends. In the early summer, we met AR for the first time. Francine had been formally introduced to him in the drawing room; I had been excluded. Then, Aunt Shaela instructed Francine to take AR to the stables and show him her peco peco.

I waylaid them on the way and joined them.

AR was fair, with freckles across his nose and very light blue eyes; he was about my height and I was tall for my age. He looked interested in me for I could see he had already decided to despise Francine and was put out because he had been sent off with a girl, and a puny one at that.

I suppose you ride peco pecos,” he said, rather scornfully.

Well, what do you ride?” I asked.

An abysmal horse or a grand peco peco, of course.

We shall have grand peco peco later on,” said Francine.

He ignored her.

I said, “We could ride grands just as well. They’re no different from baby pecos.

What do you know about that?

So we bickered all the way to the stables.

He scorned our little peco pecos and I was angry with him because I love my Apple passionately. He showed to us his grand peco peco he had ridden over on.

Gah! A very small one,” I pointed out.

I bet you couldn’t ride it.” He said.

I bet, I could.”

It was a challenge. Francine trembled with fear and kept murmuring, “No, Rose, don’t,” as I mounted his grand peco peco bare backed and rode it recklessly around the paddock. I must admit, I was a bit scared but I wasn’t going to let him score over me. AR mounted then and performed some tricks for us to admire. He showed us blatanly. He and I sparred all the time, but there was no doubt we enjoyed the sparring.

Mama wouldn’t like it,” Francine told me. “Remember, he’s a Schulitzeberg.

Well, I’m a St. Michael,” I said, “and that’s as good as a Schulitzeberg.

—–

AR had a tutor that summer and we saw a great deal of Chio. It was then that I first heard of Chio.

Hah! What a silly name,” I said, which made AR flush with fury.

Chio was his brother who was ten years older that he was. AR spoke of him with great pride. He was about twelve then, so Chio was twenty-two. He was at Stormwind and according to AR could do everything.

Hah! A pity he can’t change his name,” I said just to plague him.

It’s a great name, you silly thing! It’s a Viking name.

Nah! They were pirates,” I said scornfully.

They rule the seas. Everywhere they went they conqured. We’re Normans.” He looked at us disparingly. “We came over here and conqured you!

You didn’t,” I cried. “Because we are Normans, too, aren’t we, Francine?

Francine was not sure. I gave her a little push. She had no idea how to deal with AR.

We were better Normans than you were,” said AR. “We were the Dukes and you were only the common people.

Oh, no, we weren’t…

And that was how it went on.

Once Francine said to me: “Mama would be cross if she knew how you quarrelled with AR. You forgot he’s a Shulitzeberg.”

—–

I remember when Chio came down from Stormwind. I first saw him riding in the lanes with AR. His horse was the rare sundust abysmal, and as I said to Francine after he had passed, he ought to have had one of those helmets with wings at the side, then he would have looked just like a Viking. And, we laughed heavily. We did not speak to him. AR called a greeting to us as he passed, making it clear that he had no time to waste on two girls. Chio himself scarcely looked at us.

He was invited to the house of course and a great fuss was made of him. Aunt Shaela practically fawned on him. Nanny Matilda said afterwards that you’d think he was some sort of a god. “He’ll be the heir to all those billions, I supposed,” she said.

—–

When we returned to Aldebaran that year, I saw more of Chio, for Stormwind was located at Aldebaran. When he was on vacation he called on us with his parents. I used to love those occasions when that carriages lined the street and pulled up the outside door. There would be red-and-white striped awning for the guests to pass under and people used to line up to see them arrive. I love watching from the nursery window.

Those were the enjoyable days. I used to wake up every morning with a delicios sense of excitement. As I have said, a lived a great deal of my life below stairs, and when possible, I would secret myself at the servants’ table and listen. If Francine were with me they would be self-conscious; but when I am alone — they didn’t me mind so much, perhaps because my fate would one day be similar to theirs. They talk freely in front of me. I learned through a series of nods and winks (which they thought I was not smart enough to interpret) that Aunt Shaela was determine to link the family with the of the great Schulitzebergs and them having boys and her having a girl — the method was as easy as an apple pie to understand.

I was amazed. They believe they were going to marry Francine to AR or to Chio! It made me want to laugh as I debated whether to tell Francine. But there was no point in scaring her completely out of her wits. I was pleased, too, that my origins were mysterious. I would have hated Aunt Shaela for a mother, as I would tell that to Francine whenever I am feeling mean. Perhaps, Uncle Jordan would have been a kind sort of father that made me admire him.

—–

Lazy old day
rolling away
dreaming the day away
don’t want to go
now that I’m in the flow
crazy amazing day
One red balloon
floats to the moon
just let it fly away
I only know
that I’m longing to go
back to my lazy day

And how it sings and how it sighs
and how it never stays
And how it rings and how it cries
and how it sails away… away… away….

(Credits: Enya for the “Lazy Old Day” words)

 

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