Fiction: The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo (Part 3 of 20)

I’m posting a section a day of my epistolary romance novella The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo. You can read it online for free here (click on the “Perilous Life of Jade Yeo” category to access the other posts), or you can buy the ebook at Smashwords or Amazon. The ebook contains the complete 23,000-word novella.

 

Friday, 17th September 1920

I bought a cabbage at the market and had it in the broth I made from the bones of the roast chicken I lived on last week. Cabbage is a most unexciting vegetable, but I derive an unfailing pleasure from it. What I really want now, though, is winter melon soup, with pork bones. (Q: why is it called winter melon? It can’t only be grown in winter, since we had them back home in the most tropical of climes. Is it a joke?)

It was a beautiful autumn day–the city glowed in the sunlight and the skies were that truly cloudless blue you never see back home. Sunshine is so precious here, though England is sunnier than I thought it would be, having been told so often about its greyness. I think it is because the greyness is so depressing that it makes the sunshine all the more spectacular.

But it is certainly autumn. I folded my batik and plaid sarongs and put them away for the next summer, when it shall be warm enough for me to wear them again when I’m pottering or writing or sleeping.

I wrote all the morning.–Oh, I almost forgot the most exciting thing that happened today! Along with the usual dreary bills (I hate bills, they should be outlawed), I received an invitation to a party from none other than Sebastian Hardie himself.

Sebastian Hardie! A party invitation would be excitement enough–I haven’t been to a party since my big cousin had a wedding, and presumably she was made to invite me because I am a relation. But to think of getting one from London’s leading literary luminary because one has been rude about his book. It is a bit comic.

He has written on the card that he has read my review of “what you were so kind as to call ‘the terrible Mimnaugh‘” in the Oriental Literary Review and “should very much like to meet me”. How ominous. I wonder if he means to squash my presumption in person, or if it is a matter of heaping coals on my head. (Q: why is it virtuous to heap coals on your enemy’s head? The disadvantages: singed hair; waste of coal; difficulty of balancing more than three coals at the very most on a person’s head. I must find out.)

I do not know if I shall go. A party! And I didn’t even buy the dress I wanted after all. Ma turned up in my dreams and told me to save the surplus. Would my mother approve of my going to a party to meet a man I’ve been rude to?

I think I will go. It will be so interesting. And after all even if he does laugh at me in front of everybody, it does not matter: nobody knows me here.

 

East Asian girl holding a mirror
Photograph by Panorama Media/PanoramaStock/Getty Images

Smashwords | Amazon

Leave a Comment