So my town was reported as getting 33.8 inches of snow. The neighboring town, which is within 1/2 mile of my house, received 36. I’ll split the difference and say we got 35 inches. Please keep in mind that these pictures are not just the snow from this storm, but in addition to a storm on Saturday that dropped, I believe, about 6 inches-8 inches.
So, lots of shoveling, for which I made my husband hot fudge for a hot fudge sundae. It was surprisingly easy to do. I mostly followed a Martha Stewart recipe. I halved it, because it was for only the two of us. It wasn’t too sweet, which I appreciated. I didn’t realize until this morning that I forgot to add the vanilla.
I have written about New England blizzards before, in Wicked Woman, for those of you who haven’t read the book. Below is an excerpt. It’s in the beginning, from chapter two. Ward Montgomery, a Boston aristocrat on a mission to restore his family’s good name after his father has destroyed it with scandal, has just discovered a woman and thief–Morgan, the heroine–sleeping in his wharf office. He’s got no choice but to bring her home. His cousin and employee is with him, and wildly anxious about the consequences of Ward’s actions. Ward, meanwhile, is not only worried about the consequences, but about his instant, harsh attraction to Morgan, who is currently calling herself Miss Brown.
In the meantime, Morgan, penniless and on the run from Philadelphia for murder, is desperate enough to have offered herself to Ward as his lover. To be fair to her, she met him on board his ship a few years before, and has always been a little bit in love with him. He, however, does not yet remember her.
“Herman, you’re still awake?” Ward asked his butler as he and Rob escorted a sleepy Miss Brown into his house’s dimly lit, mahogany-paneled entrance hall.
“Certainly, sir. I’d never go to bed before you returned home.”
“Well, you ought to have,” he replied. Sometimes well-trained servants were a distinct disadvantage. He’d hoped to slip the girl in unseen. “This is Miss Brown, a cousin of Rob’s from Worcester. She’s been in a carriage accident and requires assistance. Would you be so obliging as to find her a bedchamber where she may wash up and rest for the night?”
Herman’s eyes flickered for the briefest of moments, but he nodded, took Miss Brown’s dirty elbow, and proceeded upstairs. Rob stared after him, following Herman’s process up the curving staircase. Ward stripped his gloves and waited for the tirade that Rob’s tight expression had threatened the entire ride home.
“My cousin! Good God, Ward,” he snarled, when Herman was out of hearing, “if my mother hears of this she’ll hang me!”
“Worse, ” Ward answered, removing his hat and coat to lay them on a marble-topped corner table, “if it comes to my grandmother’s ears.” He crossed the hall to the library, his boot clipping business-like on highly polished marble.
“Your grandmother lives two states away!“ Rob followed hard on Ward’s heels. “My mother lives but two towns from here! Whatever possessed you to bring the woman to Beacon Hill?”
“You’d have me send her back to the street? Rob, it’s freezing!” he spat back, closing the heavy library door behind Rob. A welcoming wood fire crackled in the grate, courtesy of Herman who regularly attended Ward’s needs before he knew of them himself. Recently installed gas lighting bounced off the mahogany bookshelves of Ward’s favorite room, bringing him a small measure of comfort—until Rob’s next explosion blew it from his chest.
“Well, she can’t stay with you!” Rob snarled, dropping his own outerwear on Ward’s desk. “We should never live down the scandal!”
“Fine,” Ward snapped, and marched toward a window. “We’ll take her to your house.” He yanked open its red velvet drapes to reveal an angry dawn and a small enclosed garden shaded in winter grey.
“Teresa would love me for that.”
“Which is why it’s infinitely preferable that Miss Brown be your cousin and my problem.” As he’d suspected big, white snowflakes had started collect upon the ground turning it white. “At least I have no fiancées with which to contend.”
“She’s not my fiancée yet,” Rob reminded him, his voice bitterly.
“That’s none of my doing,” Ward said, crossing the room once more to fall into his favorite easy chair. “I offered to set you up in whatever style you deemed necessary to marry Teresa. You refused.”
“A man wants to care for his own.”
“Hopefully before she dies from old age.” He leaned forward to extend his numb hands toward the leaping flames.
“Oh, for God’s sake!” Rob spat. “This is all beside the point. What do you mean to do with the girl now that she’s under your protection?”
“For the love of God, Rob, sit down and warm yourself. I fear the cold has destroyed your brain’s functioning.”
“I’m not cold. I’m too worried to be cold. And you haven’t answered the question!”
“I mean merely to assist the girl out of her difficulties, as you well know.”
“Not in return for the payment she’s offered, I hope!”
“Of course not.”
“Although it shall certainly appear that way!” Rob replied, running fingers through his hair as he paced in front of the fire. “We must remove her from your home, and quickly too, before the other servants hear of it.”
Ward sighed and suitably thawed, leaned back, folding his arms over his chest. “They’ll hear soon enough. I don’t recall swearing Herman to secrecy.”
“You ought to have.”
“Only to have Mrs. Bartlett discover the girl asleep in one of the rooms later?”
Rob scratched his head and frowned. “There must be somewhere we can place her, some female who would take her for us.”
“An excellent notion,” Ward answered derisively. “We’ll hand her over to Teresa. No doubt she’ll be pleased to receive a ragamuffin off the streets.”
“Not Teresa. Someone else.”
“Think, man! If the woman you love won’t take her, who else would?”
“Confound it, Ward, your grandmother will rake you over the coals when she hears of it! You know that! How long do you mean to keep her?”
“The girl or my grandmother?” he asked with a slight smile.
“This is not a laughing matter!” he snapped shaking a finger at him. “You’ve pledged your life to clear the Montgomery name of scandal. Bringing a vagrant woman into your home isn’t exactly the best way go about it!”
The amusement riding through Ward’s chest subsided, leaving behind his habitual heavy heart. “They’ll say I’m my father,” he said wearily.
“And your grandfather before that.”
Ward rubbed his neck where the muscles corded. “We’ll find her employment of some sort. A factory or mill work.”
“She’s already sleeping in your bed.”
Narrowing his eyes, Ward replied, “She’s not in my bed, Rob.”
“It’s your home. They’re all your beds,” he said waving one hand in an arc.
“Then what do you propose I do? Send her to the stables? Have her sleep with the stable boys? Aye, sir, that will quell the gossips!”
“Send her to sleep with the maids.”
“It never stopped my father,” he growled. An oily pit opened in his stomach at the recollection of his father’s use of the maids, and the consequences.
“Fine,” Rob said, leaning against the mantle. “If you insist upon following this course of action, then I shall stay as chaperone.”
“Another excellent scheme! Instead of one man abusing the poor woman, it’ll be both of us!”
“By God, we’d do no such thing!”
“Certainly not, but upon hearing of your stay, our families will expect the worst. Your mother will hang you, my grandmother will give me a sailor’s blessing and a hanging party. And even if the story never went beyond this house, our families would never forgive us for such recklessness. That’s no solution.”
“Oh, for the love of God,” Rob groaned, and finally dropped into a chair opposite Ward. “This is mad.” He stretched his feet toward the fire and stared moodily into the flames, brow dark with thought, while Ward searched his weary brain for a solution. A hotel perhaps? But every hotel in Boston knew the Montgomery name.
“Well, then, what if you are discovered? What is the worst that can happen?” Rob asked after a time. “We are, after all, full grown men Ward. This is nothing others haven’t done before us.”
“Not,” Ward said icily, “in Boston.”
“Your father did and your grandfather before that.”
“And you wish to follow those examples?”
“No,” Rob said, with a sigh. “Well then, we shall let her rest a few more hours while we search for somewhere to place her. Our two heads will doubtless devise some respectable scheme.”
Ward glanced toward the window, and shook his head. “It won’t be our two heads, Rob. Look outside. The snow thickens.”
Scowling, Rob followed Ward’s gaze to the blur of white outside the window. “It will ease.”
“It won’t. It’s a Nor’easter. By noon that wind will blow strong enough to unhair a dog.”
“A nor’easter? But it’s only November!”
“Nevertheless, you ought to shove off.” Ward rose and walked to his desk where he picked up Rob’s coat, hat and cane. He held them out. “It falls, I suspect, at an almost an inch an hour. If you wait much longer, you’ll spend the night.”
Rob’s eyes widened. “Ward, you must reconsider—“
“I’m out of options. She stays.”
Rob’s shoulders drooped and he too, rose. Silently he took Ward’s offering, and shrugged into his coat. While Rob buttoned it, they walked together into the hall, still empty, although already Ward could hear the sounds of stirring in the sleepy house. The smell of java drifted up from the kitchen below. “All right,” Rob conceded, “she may stay for this one night! For that,” he said, putting his hat on, “you might still be forgiven, as such affairs are not a general practice of yours. Possibly you’ve built enough credit in Boston that it will be dismissed as a whim.”
Ward flashed a small smile. “Even though, in truth, I’ve done nothing wrong.”
Rob shrugged fatalistically. “It’s not what we do, but what we seem to do that matters.”
“You’ve missed your calling, Rob,” Ward said, opening the entryway door to a curtain of falling snow. The street was deserted, the common across the road slowly taking on the fairytale atmosphere that only new-fallen snow could give. A half inch had piled up on his stone steps. “You would have made an excellent Greek philosopher.”
“Certainly. I shall write the book tonight while the snow falls! Tomorrow morning, sir! Bright and early!”
“Not too bright, please, and not too early. Neither of us has slept this night.”
With that, Ward closed the door on the snow and Rob’s stickler of a conscience. His eyes ran up the stairs. Which room, which bed, did Miss Brown presently occupy? They’re all your beds.
He hadn’t lied; he thoroughly intended to deflect all improper offers from Miss Brown. But when he remembered that kiss, he wondered just how successful he would be.