In keeping with this week's interviews from my current WIP, Hallelujah & the Rowan Stone, I'd like to introduce today's victim... err... interviewee: Henry Kinsey. We met at a local coffeehouse in futuristic (well... futuristic for him) downtown New Orleans, and ended up digging way deeper than I anticipated. Owing to her busy schedule, Hallie was unable to attend as originally planned, although I can personally attest to her presence in spirit. As to whether her absence proved an unfortunate happening... well. I'll let you decide.
SWBD: You keep checking your pocket watch. Not late for another appointment, are you? A previous engagement? I hear you're a busy young man.
HENRY: No, no. Bit of a compulsive habit I have, actually, checking the time more often than necessary. My father gave me this watch five years ago, for my thirteenth birthday. Belonged to my grandfather, who was a watchmaker. So...[shrugs] I suppose I inherited the impulse from him, fretting over time so.
SWBD: Ah, time. The corrector when our judgments err.
HENRY: [smiles] A fan of Byron, are you? Hallie despises him, you know. Has since she was old enough to read.
SWBD: I think perhaps I did know that. Can you tell us how you met Hallie?
HENRY: Oh, why, I... [pushes out a long sigh] When we were five or six, perhaps? Yes, I believe that is correct. We met in the summertime, at an al fresco luncheon. Ah, that is a midday meal prepared for the open air, in the out of doors. Preferably in the shade, as it can become quite hot during the summer months. The children, about ten or eleven of us, if memory serves, were fishing in the river downhill, away from the adults. And, ah, well... [blushes] whilst I was... indisposed behind a nearby tree, Hallie stole the worm off my lure.
SWBD: [laughs] Indisposed. A mild way of saying you were relieving yourself in front of God and everyone.
HENRY: I'd had quite a large helping of terrible punch beforehand.
SWBD: I'll say. So, she stole the worm off your hook, did she?
HENRY: Quite deliberately, yes. The amusing thing about it was that she thought she had actually gotten away with this bit of... well, thievery, I suppose would be the right term. But I saw her do it. Quite clearly, unfortunately, especially from where I stood. Unable to do anything about it.
SWBD: And let me guess: You said nothing?
HENRY: Of course not. A gentleman always refrains from telling a lady she is in the wrong.
SWBD: Boy, my husband could take a few pointers from you.
HENRY: Beg pardon?
SWBD: Nothing, nothing. So, would you say you and Hallie have been friends since then?
HENRY: Friends? Yes, I suppose. It is a strange thing, really, that elusive state between two people we call friendship. When we are young, it is easy. Laughing, running about the countryside, dirtying one's clothes, knowing full-well you shall receive a proper chastising from Mama once you're inside and the maids are forced to scrub you down before supper. But sooner or later, we grow older. Wiser. People begin to change in one another's eyes.
SWBD: Is that what happened between you and Hallie?
HENRY: I wouldn't exactly say it happened. Not on her part, anyway.
SWBD: On yours?
HENRY: [runs hand through hair] I... yes, I guess it did. Change, that is.
SWBD: What did you do about it?
HENRY: I asked Mr. Farrington--ah, that's Hallie's father--I asked his permission to court her.
SWBD: That's a really big step in a young man's life. How did Hallie react when she discovered your intentions?
HENRY: [inhales quickly through teeth] Not good. Not as I had originally hoped, that is. In fact, I do not believe she took me seriously at all.
SWBD: But you were serious.
SWBD: Have you reason to believe she's in love with someone else?
HENRY: Hmm. How shall I put this without coming across as a complete horse's ar... Ah, I do apologize, madam. Courtesy of having an American father, you see--decorum deserts me at the most inopportune times. Especially when I am in the presence of someone with whom I feel comfortable. I would advise you to take that as a compliment, but...
SWBD: Thank you, Henry. I believe I will. Now... you were saying? About Hallie?
HENRY: Right. Well, I am of the opinion she believes herself to be in love with someone else.
SWBD: But you don't think she is.
HENRY: I'm not exactly certain. Not yet. She is hard to read, this woman. Complex, yet straightforward and uncomplicated. Cheeky, yet kind and endearingly confident. Really, I don't know where she acquires the energy for such a high level of vitality. Incredible, she is. Extraordinary.
SWBD: Amiable qualities in any member of the female sex, I'd say.
HENRY: Quite so.
SWBD: All right, Henry. Let's move on to the big questions, shall we?
HENRY: At your leisure, madam.
SWBD: What is your biggest fear?
HENRY: A difficult inquiry, that. Probably finding myself old and unaccomplished. My father is part owner of the railroad depot in Middlesbrough, which is extremely successful. Not to mention he possesses extensive knowledge on the locomotives themselves, as well as the steam engines which run them.
SWBD: And so your goal is to follow in his footsteps?
HENRY: [chuckles] Heavens, no. Obviously the engines and locomotives are of a common interest to me. One cannot escape what surrounds them on a daily basis. However, I would much rather try my hand at politics.
SWBD: Politics? Really?
HENRY: When the time is right, yes. And preferably in America, though I know at least fifty people who would rather see me hanged. [laughs] We are a traditional lot, we citizens of County Durham. But what good is it if one loses the ability to dream? Just so happens my dreams veer far westward from home.
SWBD: Well, let me be the first to commend you for keeping hold of your dreams, Henry. I'm a firm believer in chasing after that which you want more than anything in the world. As long as it does not cause anyone harm, naturally.
HENRY: Of course.
SWBD: Next question: What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment?
HENRY: Without a doubt, coaxing my father who, in turn, coaxed Marquess Beaufort--he owns almost every square inch of land in Darlington, and then some--to bring a police force into our village.
SWBD: A police force? Have you had an influx of crime in Darlington?
HENRY: Not really, no. We have the occasional theft or public drunkenness, as does, I suspect, every other town in the world. The suggestion was more for the protection of the people and their property, rather than to catch a particular criminal. Also, I considered it an opportunity to bring a bit of modernization into our otherwise quiet town. Sure, we have a theater and a number of balls and soirees throughout the season, but oftentimes the rest of the country rather forgets we are up here. Without basic necessities.
SWBD: Like men trained in detective work and policing.
SWBD: Fair enough. All right, what about your biggest regret? Do you have any regrets?
HENRY: Several, unfortunately.
SWBD: Can you name one?
HENRY: [pauses for several seconds] That I didn't tell Hallie from the start how much I liked and cared for her. It was a poor choice on my part, keeping silent for so long.
SWBD: Do you mind if I ask how long?
HENRY: Too. Since we were fifteen, and she arrived at the first party of the season. She wore white flowers in her hair, a single strand of pearls around her neck. And blue. Cornflower blue--that perfect melodic combination of blue and purple, made into a silk gown. Certainly you are familiar with the shade of which I speak?
SWBD: I am.
HENRY: Yes, well, I shall never forget it; that is for certain. Or the way she looked. I've been working up the courage to extend a proper offer of courtship ever since.
SWBD: Have you received an answer from her yet?
HENRY: An answer?
SWBD: On the courtship?
HENRY: No. No, not yet.
SWBD: Do you suppose she'll say, "yes?"
HENRY: [smiles ruefully] As I said before, one must never lose the ability to dream.
Henry went on to share several interesting (and, admittedly, hilarious...) stories from his early childhood, including but not limited to the time when he poured a can of worms down the back of Hallie's dress. Guess he finally repaid that little incident with the fishing lure, eh? Thanks for stopping by, folks! Until next week...
Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,