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Playing for Queen Victoria_001

March 7, 1893

Pearl played for the Queen in her new red gown. The Queen wasn’t actually in the room; Victoria was elsewhere in the world, England to be precise, if she were still alive. Pearl didn’t know for sure because there hadn’t been any news on the island for quite some time.  It was 1893 and Victoria would live for eight more years.

Glancing up at the photograph above the piano, Pearl played her best, which was only average but inspired and that may be more important after all.

Having been born and spending her childhood in France, Pearl hadn’t had Victoria for a Queen for most of her young life. That changed when she found herself in a weird, alternative version of London for what seemed to be an eternity but was actually less than a year. Having learned she had to create a sense of home for herself wherever she was, she’d looked to the larger-than-life Monarch for a sense of normalcy in the nightmarish world she’d found herself in.

London seemed long ago and so far away now. There was no one around to wear the gown for; she’d finally put it on to play to the empty room in the tavern and to the portrait of the Queen.  She’d found the dress packed away in one of her trunks months before, and was looking forward to an opportunity to wear it–an opportunity which had yet to arise.

She continued to lose herself in the music and this let her forget for a while one of the real issues at hand; the ships had stopped coming to the harbor. Not only had there been no news of politics, the theater and of ladies fashion, which she was sure was all changing, but there had been no supplies delivered of late.

There was plenty of liquor in the tavern and she had a fair amount of wealth but the ships had simply ceased arriving. She’d taken careful stock of her food supply, the chutneys she’d made during the winter and the dry goods in the pantry. She’d found a shovel near the open crypt, the one with the coffin and strange altar, nervously borrowing it to turn over some soil to plant a small garden.  There were still tea and scones to be gotten at the Café Serenity and Hester never seemed concerned about anyone starving, although she hadn’t been forthcoming with any details, being as efficient and brisk as ever.

It was likely that all was well; still Pearl could not help but wonder. There were signs that others had been about the island although she rarely saw them.

She sighed and got up from the piano to pour herself another brandy and then raised her snifter in a toast to the portrait of the Queen.