Things start to get strange.
Following from the last installment:
Early that morning, while it was still dark, Elizabeth woke to the noise of something scrabbling at her window. She turned in bed to look at it, and then saw a thundering combination of flash and noise. She said to herself, “Must be a thunderstorm.” She rolled over and went back to sleep, ignoring the other claps of thunder that followed.
Indirect daylight was diffusing into her room when she woke in the morning. She leaped up, well rested, and dashed to the window to look at the view she could only see indistinctly the night before. It was, as Mary intimated the night before, lovely, striking, and indeed beautiful.
Even more striking, when she looked down at the farmyard below her, was her uncle. Walking back from the fields, he carried a large rifle and a shovel over his shoulder. He looked up and waved to her before he entered the house. She threw on her house-dress and dashed downstairs to catch him.
She found him in the kitchen, seated informally with Mary and George. She noted that his clothes were mucky, as though he’d been digging. Pouring himself a cup of tea, he offered her one. “We don’t stand much on formality here. I generally breakfast in the kitchen with my servants, but if you’d prefer to use the parlour?”
Elizabeth laughed, “No, this is fine. Better than fine, it’s cosy. What were you shooting? I think I heard you last night, unless it was a storm.”
Her uncle paused, “Rabbits. After the storm.”
“Rabbits?” Elizabeth pointed to a gun that was sitting in the corner. “With that?”
“Isn’t it a bit big? It looks like my Cousin James’ service rifle. He said they used it to hunt elephants and buffalo when he was in Africa.”
“They were big rabbits.”
“They’d have to be. The cartridge is bigger than my finger. I wouldn’t think there’d be much left of a rabbit if you hit it. Even if it was a big rabbit.”
“If you must know, I used a shot-shell. Didn’t have the best of hunting, though, so it won’t be rabbit pie for dinner tonight.”
“That’s a shame. It looks like no rabbits and you slipped in the mud to boot.”
Mary asked, “Did you sleep well, Miss Elizabeth?”
“Other than that thunderstorm, like a baby. This is the first time I haven’t had my nightmares in a couple of years. Well, I did wake up to something scrabbling at my window, but that had to be mice.”