“Oh, I’m not afraid for father’s sake! I rather guess he can stand on his own two feet. And as for me, well, Peter, my mother was a Russian Jew and a dancer and my father is an Irish Catholic, but I’ve never been as proud of my parentage in my life as I am this minute!”
-From The Good Adventurers
I asked around which character I ought to interview next, and though Ivy appeared to win at first, The Henchmen overtook her when I turned my back. 😛 But never fear, readers! They are next.
First things first. When were you born?
November 21, 1898. I wasn’t supposed to come until Christmas or so. My mother died a few months later because of that.
What is your earliest memory?
I have several that I cannot put in order. They all seem to be my earliest memory. One is sitting backstage during one of father’s performances. He really threw himself into his music after Mother’s death, but he never forgot me. Mendelssohn was his specialty in those days, and whenever I hear it I think of America, and Father as a sad-eyed man with no grey hair, and being held by his colleagues. It was like having eight or nine uncles at one point.
What is your full name? Do you have any nicknames?
Ivy Elizaveta Byrne. (Elizaveta was my mother’s name.) Some of my friends in Paris called me Vivi, but I never cared for it.
What is your greatest regret?
That I would not let father teach me to play the violin. Whenever I’m feeling stubborn I remember that I could play like him and like Peter if I hadn’t been so pigheaded and uncooperative.
Are you trained in any art?
I learned to play the piano, of course, and when I was at school in Paris I learned to dance. It was a required part of the education. But I never danced anywhere but there. Mother was training at a school in St. Petersburg to be a ballet dancer before she married father and he doesn’t like me do it. Too much likeness, perhaps, though he asked her to stop when they were married.
What is your greatest fault?
I have a hard time trusting, and I was very nosy and impertinent as a girl. I’m certain that long before Peter loved me, he hated me because I wouldn’t let him be.
How did you feel when Peter told you the truth about himself?
A bit like slapping him for being so horrid. But, really, the first thing I did was think of every faux pas I’d made and everything I’d said that I wouldn’t have if I’d known he was a baron.
When you fall in love with him?
It was gradual. At first I felt sorry for him and I was desperately curious where the handsome darling had come from to drop into the lobby of that Swiss hotel as he did. He had a way of making my heart ache for him. There was never a time I didn’t like him. He wasn’t like the French boys; he treated me like a sister and a lady and father with respect. I thoroughly admit that I was thrilled when he asked to write me, but I never knew whether it would become serious until he sent me to England.
When and where were you happiest?
What is your worst nightmare?
I suppose you meant that figuratively, but I do have a worst nightmare from time to time: Helmut Sachs pulling me off a horse. What happens after that varies. It’s anything that ever happened during our few encounters. A threat or a gun to my head, but most of the time he starts strangling me. I can never seem to wake up when that happens, so that is my worst nightmare.
In real life, my greatest fear is new enemies.
What is your greatest extravagance?
My wardrobe. Spending my girlhood evenings watching the cream of Parisian society at le Opera undoubtedly influenced my tastes, and father did not object. That surprises me now, that he was not more adamant about keeping me his baby. He let me put up my hair and wear long skirts a a younger age than most girls. Who knows? Perhaps Mme Thayer swayed him.
Ivy pulled her riding crop from her boot, but she never got a chance to use it. Robin nickered softly, and Ivy realized that she was not alone. Someone was holding the bridle. Peering more closely, Ivy discerned a face in the dim. A hand shot out and seized her, dragging her from the saddle. The crop flew from her hand, landing in the path, her hat was knocked from her head as she tumbled to the ground, and her breath and mobility were taken away.
As she lay gasping for air, the face bent over her, a scornful sneer curling the lips. A flood of remembrance came to Ivy; a warm summer day, ugly carpet, bells ringing. Then another tide overwhelmed her, this time of terror and anxiety, and she mustered enough breath to scream, before her lips stiffened and the sound died in her throat.
-From The Good Adventurers