Q is for quietness leading to mystery: after The Club.
Chloe D’Aushinger and her family were learning quietness.
Chloe’s silent arrest had shaken all of them, from her husband’s mother down to her youngest child. What they were learning now did more than shake them. “It feels,” her daughter Marie whispered, “as if we being changed into different people.”
“And that is both exactly what we are doing and not at all what we’re doing.” The good lady Nicholle had a skill for overhearing things that was nothing short of preternatural.
Marie, who was just old enough to think that adults should be more reasonable and far less silly, raised her chin and studied their hostess. “Please explain.”
“Who you are – who you really are – must not change. Your mother interested us for the same reason that she interested The Doctors.” Nicholle paused, exactly as their tutor did when waiting for them to figure out an answer.
Marie shared a glance with her older brother Tomas. He looked back at her expectantly. Marie worried her lower lip, and said, carefully, “She says things. She says things Mrs. Gershwin – she was our tutor – said I musn’t repeat.”
“She does. And more importantly, she says things that indicate she is thinking. Now, sometimes you are thinking things you don’t wish Mrs. Gershwin to know about, yes?”
She looked directly at Tomas this time, and it was Tomas who stuttered and nodded. “Yes, madame.”
“Well, just as like then, you must learn to project quietness, so that you may be as loud as you want in the privacy of your mind. This comes with some added advantages, of course.” Nicholle looked up as Chloe entered the room, pitching her conversation to include her as well.
“Yes?” Chloe raised her eyebrows. “Do tell?” Mme. D’Aushinger had taken to pacing the length and breadth of their “safe house”, muttering of the wasted time and penning as many missives as her hosts would allow, even while her children were enjoying the unexpected holiday, strange lessons or no.
“While you learn to project quietness, to smile just so while matters are being discussed, to say, so honestly ‘I shall say nothing on that’ when inappropriate questions are asked, when you learn all of that, you project an air of mystery. Soon, people will assume you an expert on all manner of things, and they will make the time and the quietness to come to you. Then, then you may speak without fear of the Doctors, for the Doctors have many foes, and they know how to make silence stick.”
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