Total Wordcount: 11692
Hours worked: 3 (straight, no breaks)
Here's a peek at the story:
She tried not to gawk about her as Greville guided her out of the morning room and into the center of the house, but the astonishing beauty of Netherfield could not be ignored. Above her head ceilings adorned with paintings of cherubs and angels soared, framed by gilded alabaster carvings so intricate they appeared to be constructed of golden lace. More paintings occupied every wall in sight, in clever arrangements that captured the eye and invited longer contemplation. Although entirely out of fashion with the current trend of sculpture salons, the free-standing statues that appeared in random spots seemed perfectly placed, and were often flanked by over-large floor vases containing small trees and other living greenery.
The staircase to which Greville led Anne flowed up from the polished walnut floors like a long, elegant arm gesturing toward the heavens. She paused to admire the dreamy grey-shot white Caldia marble steps, which invoked a sense of stepping onto clouds, and smiled at the whimsical newel cap of a life-size hare sitting on its haunches with a carrot between its paws.
"You have noticed the rabbits, of course," the colonel said as they preceded up the staircase. "I should warn you, the house is quite overrun with the beasts."
She smiled. "Mr. Fieldhurst must have been very fond of them. He was said to be quite enamored with all things French, which makes me wonder if rabbits have any singular meaning in their society."
"French monks in Champagne have been domesticating rabbits since the fifth century," Greville said. "Although I'll wager their purpose never strayed far from the dinner plate."
"I have heard the people of India are somewhat odd about their animals," she said carefully.
"In India all animals are considered holy and in some sense worshipped," he told her. "The holiest are cows, which are never used for meat. They are instead painted and adorned, and permitted to freely roam the land."
"How exotic." As most English people were inordinantly fond of beef Anne supposed such practice would offend her countrymen, but perversely she found it rather charming. "How do they get on with rabbits?"
He gave her a wry look. "They make them into curry."