Eight years old and deeply serious about the task at hand, Phillipa Kerr has settled herself behind the building her mother insists is ‘The Carriage House’ but all of the grounds people refer to as ‘the garage’. After all, it is where the cars are parked. This has assured her a certain amount of freedom from strict supervision. Her mother won’t bother to look for her here; it’s filthy and smells of motor oil and other unpleasantness. It’s perfect.
Not that she cares for the dirt or the scents herself; the prissy child has brought amongst her needed supplies an old linen tablecloth to sit upon. She will not dirty her play clothes, not that she can really ‘play’ at anything in a lace-collared blouse or penny loafers whose soles have no traction. But she can create
. This is why the rest of her things are so very necessary. The candles she took from the piano room, the book of matches she lifted from the butler’s pantry and the sheets of card stock that came from an artists’ kit she’d received at Christmas.
The little redheaded girl has no use for charcoal pencils and palettes of watercolor paints. Pastels weren’t very interesting either since no one would permit her to scribble the walkways with them. The paper and canvases had potential but really, it is the packing materials that are the most useful. It is what she will use as a foundation, a place to work her magic.
And to little Pippa, it certainly is magic while she melts down the candles, pours the colored wax and shapes it with her nimble fingers. She tests what happens when trying to control the flow of the hot liquid, dribble it and make it splatter. Her observations lead to decisions and new ideas, plans to make her visions concrete. The seemingly free-form little sculptures are exactly as she intends them to be.
It’s a shame she can’t keep any of them, her mother would have fits if she found out that the girl was playing with fire and garbage. Pippa keeps her artwork for as long as she dares (this is roughly as long as it takes for one of the maids to come looking for her, calling her name from across the lawn) and then she carefully folds them inside of the cardstock along with the burnt matches and candle-stubs. There’s a large green waste bin behind the garage—she likes the word better, and this is where she places everything save for the tablecloth.
The linen is left on the ground, a small act of defiance. Undeniable proof that something