Bogged Down
#16
Despite his feigned indifference to the young woman, Robbie’s ears pricked up at mention of the bog mummy. He had heard others talking about it, of course, around the castle and around the village. It wasn’t anything exceptionally novel. Bodies seemed to re-emerge from the bogs from time to time for no apparent reason. Some put it down to a restless soul looking for satisfaction, and crossed themselves when they spoke of it. But he thought such talk was daft. Rob fancied himself a modern man, and a forward thinker, and he was reasonably sure some men of science somewhere had some better explanation – probably gases or such like. Gas seemed to account for a lot, it seemed.

But he had never clapped eyes on any of said hapless wayfarers, though he had once seen the corpse of a sheep that had fallen prey to the mire. It seemed this weird young woman wanted to see the human corpse that had lately been extracted, by the doctor and the school teacher – Rob had not heard that one of the gypsies had been involved. He’d be curious to have a gander at the thing himself, so he listened to see if that opportunity was going to present itself – by virtue of this unsettling, dark creature.
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#17
”I wish to see its nails,” she replied, in that same monotone. She lifted one slender, delicate hand from her side to show her own, in way of demonstrating what she was speaking of.
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#18
“Erm.” Dr. Dietrich knew he could presumably take the woman back to the manor and let her examine the corpse. But she frankly made him uneasy and would rather they part ways sooner rather than later. It seemed unfair, but he wasn't some kind of sideshow host.

Oliver tried, at least, to give her the benefit of the doubt. “Why, exactly? It is a very delicate specimen and really out not to be overly handled.”

The doctor glanced to Rob. That rudeness he chastised the boy for before might come in handy now.
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#19
Although mildly disappointed that it seemed as if he would not get a look at the mummy, Rob quite easily fell back to his guard-dog like protectiveness over the good doctor and the manor, and its other inhabitants apparently. It was just his way, a natural tendency to growl a low warning, whenever anything seemed not quite right. ”Aye – ee’ll nobbut be ‘xpectin’ t’go traipsing ‘round the castle like some fine lady!” he exclaimed, in support of the doctor’s hesitancy, though for entirely differing reasons. ”’N what’ll ‘is lordship say if ‘ee sees the likes ov’ee in ‘is ‘ome? Or Lady Madswitte, ‘ey? Think’ee they’ll be invitin’ee t’tea?’ He scoffed at her, looking wholly superior.
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#20
The young woman finally turned her gaze on Robbie and it was not an unpleasant one, exactly, but it held a good deal of frostiness in it, as did her tone. ” Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise, and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.”

She was quoting King James to him, but whether he’d know that, or whether he’d even understand the jest she was making at his expense was questionable.

Without waiting for a reaction, she turned back to Oliver. ”I only wish to look. Not to touch. Five minutes, no more – and then I will tell you what I know about the properties of that plant.” She nodded at the scar of freshly revealed earth where the bog rosemary had been cut away.
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#21
Dr. Dietrich was in the middle of massaging his brow, trying to keep a vein from popping between Rob’s attitude and the woman’s strange behavior, when she turned back to him. When she spoke this time, her intention was clear as day and her meaning a needed relief. Perhaps she had just been acting oddly to frighten them, or to make a reputation for herself. Oliver thought of Ms. Emory, and her pretense as a fortune teller. He hadn’t spread news that she admitted her claims were false. She seemed nearly as unnerved by the seance as he had been, respecting the mythos she had built for herself seemed like the least he could do.

“Alright, miss.” The doctor agreed warily. “I can agree to that.” He looked at Rob, “When do you expect we’ll be returning to the castle today?”
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#22
Yes, in fact, most of what the dark skinned girl said flew right over Rob’s thick skull, although he definitely got the sense that she was insulting him somehow. But how to respond effectively eluded him. So he just continued to glare at her.

His scowl turned to a surprised and disappointed look, though, as the doctor agreed to her request. With something of a surly pout, he mumbled, ”Mayhaps it’d be a couple-three ‘ours, sir.” He would have liked to make it longer, in hopes the girl would change her mind and say she’d wait ‘til another day. She definitely gave the young groundskeeper the creeps, and even the lure of seeing the mummy – which was now dematerializing apparently, just like the elusive specters of the castle – wasn’t enough of a draw to make him want to meet up with her again.

Of course, it was for Dr. Dietrich to decide the how, when and where – and who should provide her escort - if she was willing to wait until their return to the castle.
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#23
She waited, accepting the man's acquiescence to her request with neither joy nor gratitude, hands at her side, face placid, letting Rob speak without comment or reaction, and then asking Oliver, "I will come to you then. Where shall I find you?"
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#24
The encounter was starting to give Oliver chills. It felt as though they were now arranging some kind of rendezvous if not illicit, was certainly reprehensible in some way. It was nonsense, of course, there was no harm in letting the woman take a look at what they had found. With any luck, the mummy would clean up to be a fine museum piece anyway, and waste its days away being gawked at by all sorts.

Still, the woman unnerved him.

“This evening, after dinner.” He replied abruptly, stifling a glance to Rob. He didn’t want to seem as uncertain as he felt. “I’ll bring it out to gazebo in the gardens.” He added, loathe to the idea of pulling out the decaying corpse in the middle of the foyer for a perfect stranger. Best to stay out of the way.
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