Disclaimer: I love the Amelia Peabody series but I don't own it, so I tried not to damage
the characters too much.
I'm a first-time author, so please review and let me know what you think. I wanted to
show Ramses as a child spending quality time with his mother (in his own way)!
An Afternoon in Britain
Ramses quietly entered his parents' bedchamber.
"Mama", he called excitedly, "look what I found in the garden".
He entered further when it became apparent that there was no response. The room
was dimly lit by a candle, and the curtains were drawn at the window. Ramses
walked over to the bed, where a figure was lying. His mother was sleeping, her pale face
flushed with fever, and the bedclothes tangled around her restless form. He reached out
and pulled himself up, so that he was sitting on the bed.
"Mama?" he inquired again.
She shifted in her sleep, and then fell silent once more. Ramses frowned, with a
touch of concern gracing his young features. The Emersons was rarely ill and wasn't
sure what to do for her. Aunt Evelyn had said that it was just a cold, nothing to be
concerned about, and that in a few days she would be up and about. This morning Uncle
Walter had taken his father into London so that his mother could get some rest. And
Ramses was supposed to be outside with the others, enjoying the plesant summer
Ramses and his parents were visiting for a week with the younger Emersons
after arriving back in England from their adventure-filled season in Egypt. Radcliffe
Emerson still hated to hear the term "mummy case", but he was slowly regaining his
tolerance for it. The young lion had settled in well at Chalfont House, and did not seem to
be missing its former home at all. Aunt Evelyn and Uncle Walter had been happy to see
them, and they were anxious to show off their new baby.
Ramses, bored with the games that his cousins were playing, had wandered back
inside. Wanting to show off his discovery, a rock containing what appeared to be a fossil
that he had found in the garden, he went in search of his mother. Aunt Evelyn, the only
other person present who may have been interested in such a thing, was busy with the
new baby and his cousins didn't even notice that he was gone.
In his parents' bedchamber, Ramses leaned forward to feel his mother's forehead.
It was unnaturally warm, so he reached over to the table beside the bed and grasped the
cloth that was resting in a bowl of water. He wrung it out and laid it on her forehead,
smoothing back her dark hair. She opened her eyes and looked at him.
"Ramses", she said in a hoarse voice, "why aren't you outside?"
"I was outside with my cousins and Aunt Evelyn in the garden, dey were playing,
in my opinion, a radder boring game. So I decided to explore de garden, and I discovered
a very interesting specimen."
He showed her the fossil. "I think that it is from the---".
"Ramses", she said, interrupting him, "it's very nice, but aren't you supposed to
be outside with Aunt Evelyn and your cousins-", she frowned at him, then broke off
He handed her a glass of water from the night stand beside the bed.
"Thank you, Ramses", she said wearily, leading back against the headboard of the
"Are you awright, Mama?", Ramses asked, a faint hint of concern coloring his
"I'm fine", said his mother, turning up her lips faintly. "I would be up and about if
it weren't for Evelyn's fussing", she continued irritably.
In the middle of speaking her eyes caught sight of the dirt smudge the fossil had
made, lying upon the white sheets. Ramses hastily picked it up.
"Perhaps I will just put dis in my room," and without giving her a chance to
respond he slipped out the door.
Ramses walked into his room and set the fossil down on his desk. The room
wasn't part of the nursery, as Ramses had declared himself too old for such a thing. So he
had been given a bedchamber down the hall from his parents, though Aunt Evelyn had
insisted that a candle be left burning in it during the night. He hasn't minded, since it
allowed him to continue reading, long after he was supposed to have been asleep. The
room was lavished decorated in a somewhat Gothic style. The curtains at the window
were heavy blue velvet, and the large oak desk in the corner had already been covered
with the remains of Ramses' latest experiment.
As he turned to leave, he spotted his copy of A Study in Scarlet, the first Sherlock
Holmes mystery, lying on the nightstand. Walking over, he picked up the book and
turned and left the room. He went back down the hall to his parents' bedchamber and
quietly entered the room.
The room was still dim, but his mother was sitting up in bed, although her cheeks
were still flushed with fever and there were dark circles under her eyes. She looked up
when Ramses came back in.
"Ah, there you are Ramses", she said, "what do you have in your hand?"
He approached and pulled himself up on the bed.
"It is de first Sherlock Holmes book, Mama. A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan
Doyle. I thought you could read dit if you are bored," he offered.
Her face softened. "Thank you, Ramses for the kind offer."
Just then his Aunt Evelyn entered the room. She gently cleared her throat before
"Here you are, Ramses," she said, her voice a gentle reproach, "It began
raining outside so your cousins have gone to play in the nursery. You should join them
and let your mother get some rest."
"Really, Evelyn, you're fussing over nothing, I feel fine," his mother said with a
frown. Her voice was strong, though her eyes were still fever-bright and she looked tired.
Ramses knew what was coming, he promised to come back that evening, and
carrying the book with him, he left the room. Behind him he could hear his mother
protesting, as Aunt Evelyn insisted that she rest. He knew who would win this
disagreement. It was amusing to see Aunt Evelyn, such a sweet, gentle woman, turn into
an overprotective tiger. A few moments later, he could hear his mother meekly consent in
the background as he continued down the hallway.
He stopped as he remembered the journal he was working on, and the notes that he needed to continue. He waited in the hallway until he heard his Aunt leave the room.
In the background the rain beat a soothing tempo against the house. As her steps grew closer, he ducked into a shadowed alcove and waited until the echo of her footsteps died away. After, he went back into his parents' bedchamber. His mother appeared to have already fallen back to sleep. He was just going to borrow her excavation notes from the previous season at Mazghunah and leave, when her voice interrupted his soundless movements.
"What are you doing, Ramses?" she asked.
He turned, chagrined. "I'm sorry, Mama, I did not mean to wake you. I was just
going to borrow your copy of the most recent excavation notes, so dat I could complete
my journal of the events. I wanted to compare the sketch of de entrance to the burial
chamber of the pyramid…"
She interrupted him, "Yes, Ramses. In any case, I was not asleep, so you did not
"Bless you, Mama," Ramses said.
He walked over to the bed and held up the forgotten Sherlock Holmes book he
was holding. The draperies at the window had been pulled back slightly to reveal the gray
clouds drenching the green landscape, and providing a weak light. He put the book on the
table beside the bed.
" I'll leave this here, Mama," he said.
He waited a moment, and noticing her evident exhaustion and lack of response, he
dared to say: "Perhaps we could read dit together".
She massaged her temples, but made no objection and Ramses pulled himself up
onto the bed and opened the book.
"In the year 1878 I took my degree of Doctor of Medicine of the University of
London, and proceeded to Netley to go through the course prescribed for surgeons in the
army. Having completed my studies . . ."
Ramses continued reading. Both their heads were bent over the book, Ramses was leaning against his mother's shoulder as he read the mystery novel out loud. And that, the very picture of familial affection, was how Radcliffe Emerson found them, some time later.
If Amelia seemed at all out of character, it's because she doesn't feel well.
Please review and let me know what you think! No flames please!