Dear reader, welcome to…….
Miss Clara Knight is a Victorian girl possessed of a particularly independent nature, who has spent many years travelling the country with her father, an eminent Professor of Archaeology. As they search for wonders of antiquity, Clara compiles treasured collections of her own………
Our stay at the coast is proving to be utterly delightful. Father and I are presently the guests of one of his favourite cousins, Mr Idris Knight, and his wife, Cordelia and their small son, William.
Father has been very preoccupied with the excavation of a nearby site of archaeological interest so, when my assistance there is not required, I have been exploring the seashore and the surrounding area. The sea here is a vast and breath-taking sight to behold as it is buffeted by the bracing sea breeze.
There are so many places to explore around the seashore: great stretches of pebble-strewn beaches, soaring cliffs to walk along with far-reaching views of the sea and areas with little rock pools just waiting to be investigated. I have already discovered many curious specimens of natural history to add to my collections.
From time to time, Cordelia accompanies me on my walks. She is such a pleasant-natured person, with a similar sense of humour to my own and I do find her to be very good company indeed.
Although searching for treasures has always seemed quite natural to me, Cordelia much prefers to converse with her neighbours and friends when she is out walking. She likes to be aware of any circumstance of note that may have occurred across the county.
Yesterday, she eagerly informed me that, in the week before we arrived here, a shire horse belonging to a local farmer had broken free from its stable and gone for a jaunt through a nearby village! Being an extremely large and rumbustious animal, it evaded all attempts at its capture for absolutely ages and caused a considerable amount of chaos, until it paused to partake of luncheon in an apple orchard.
I believe I have had a compulsion to collect ever since I was very young. Father has always encouraged me to do so as he always perfectly understood my interest. As my mother died when I was quite small, Father felt it his duty to take me with him on his travels, along with my nurse and a seemingly never-ending assortment of colleagues, students, and staff, who assisted him at his excavation sites. It was definitely a most unusual upbringing for a child, but one that has always stood me in good stead.
I am particularly looking forward to inspecting and cleaning the specimens that I found today along the seashore. This does generally take quite some time, but it is such a worthwhile occupation: I do love revealing the formation of patterns and textures on these fascinating objects.
Cordelia’s housekeeper, Mrs Butterfield, made it known quite early in our visit that she would much prefer me to perform this task outside so, consequently, I have the use of the gardener’s bothy. The gardener, Old Tom, has kindly supplied me with bowls of water and a variety of brushes and cloths. I am quite used to spending many hours cleaning the finds in the open air when Father and I are at a dig, so this arrangement is quite comfortable.
Once I have cleaned and polished these precious specimens to my satisfaction, I will arrange them all on the desk in the small study, where I can examine them properly and make the appropriate notations and sketches of my observations. As soon as my research is completed, they may be catalogued, then carefully packed away in tins and boxes so that they can come to no harm.