JANE IN SPACE
Miss Polly Connor
Chapter 8 – In which Miss Austen awakes, after a sleep of 300 years
Miss Jane Austen awoke, to a most unwelcome and disharmonious set of circumstances. For what greeted her eyes was not her familiar room in the parsonage, with Cassandra, her dear sister, calling her to a breakfasting bowl of tea. With her father most pleasantly greeting her upon repairing to the breakfast-room in the morning, kidneys on the chafing-dish, and Sarah the maid scurrying to fill her teacup with precious oolong stewed in fine hot water. And her escritoire, too, cached in the corner of the drawing-room, with her manuscripts discreetly boxed away on the shelf.
Oh, there were a great deal too many lights here, and strange silvered surfaces around her. Lights winking, and numbers blinking, without meaning as she could comprehend it. And oh, the noise! Why was she in a casket of glass, as if she were Snow White in one of the faerie stories of Les Frères Grimm? Her hand strayed to her mouth, as if checking for traces of poisoned apple.
Of apple there was no trace, and yet the action brought to mind the other thing that jarred in her surroundings. Poison, Miss Austen thought dimly. Sickness. Of course, she had been most gravely unwell, the night prior. More than a sennight, it had been, indeed, since she had taken to her bed and declared herself so indisposed that she was forced to recuse herself from church duties, from her village visits, from the choir even. Almost from her very life.
“I have been very sick,” she murmured to herself, a little numb.