Roderick squatted by a scrubby tiselbane bush, all hunched and scraggly in the insufficient sun of the forest floor. “For headaches and other pains, you say?” he repeated. “But it’s a spice, too, isn’t it? For chicken stews and such.”
I shrugged. “That I don’t know. I don’t cook much.”
He looked up at me from his crouch on the ground.
Don’t cook?” he asked. “All girls can cook.”
I was tempted to reply “All men know their letters,” but that seemed too cruel. Besides, unlike Kent, I knew it wasn’t true. “Elisandra can’t cook,” I said. “Greta can’t cook. None of the fine ladies of the court can cook. What you mean is, all village girls can cook.”
He rose to his feet, brushing his hands together to loosen the tiselbane’s distinctive smell. “Maybe that’s what I meant,” he said cautiously.
“Corie is not a village girl,” Kent said, with more heat than I expected. “She’s a nobleman’s daughter.”
Roderick spread his hands. “I apologize.”
I gave Kent a stern look; he had no reason to jump to my defense. “I don’t have any interest in learning to cook,” I said. “I want to be a healer.”
Now Kent moved his frowning gaze from Roderick’s face to mine. “You could have a higher goal than that.” he said.
“It’s my goal,” I said. “I’ll make it as high as I like.”
Beatrix Potter, aged 25, with rabbit, Benjamin Bouncer, 1891. © Frederick Warne & Co. 2006
Does anyone know the original source of this image (who took it)?