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.
Monday, 14th March 1921
I have made a friend! Those of us who loved not wisely but too well are quarantined from the decent women, so there has not been much opportunity for conversation with the other half. But I was struck down by a vile cold this past week, and have only been able to creep out of my room today. I was too late for lunch, but one of the Misses took pity on me and persuaded the cook to whip something up for me.
I was gnawing doggedly on a potato, alone in the dining room, when a girl came in and sat down across the table from me. She asked if I wouldn’t mind her horning in on my bread rolls.
“Please do,” I said.
I liked the look of her at once: she had untidy brown hair, and bright dark eyes that darted as a bird’s eyes do, taking in everything about her. She looked like a nice squirrel. “Are you sure you don’t want a sardine?”
“No–the plainest possible bread. A crust would be even better, in fact,” she said, extracting one from a roll. “I have been fed on milk and fat for days. Bread and water is my idea of heaven. What is your name? I am Margery.”
“My name is Jade,” I said. I don’t tell people my real name, after the way everyone at university mangled it. It’s fortunate that my name can be translated into a name that sounds sensible in English. Imagine if I had been named Swallow, or Plum.
“That is a pretty name,” said Margery.
“So is yours,” I said courteously. “What are you in for?”
Margery cast a look around to check that none of the Misses were hovering, and swallowed a crust.
“I’m mad,” she confided. “And you?”
“I’m bad,” I said. Continue reading