Lily Stump

She uses the stage name Robin Goodfellow. An acclaimed comic actress, known for her risqué breeches roles, she’s out of work and forced to live at Harte’s Folly with her small son, Indio and maid, Maude.

Heroine of Darling Beast.

Also appears in Sweetest Scoundrel.

* * *

“Is wantonish a real word?” Lily asked Maude several days later.

She sat at the kitchen-cum-dining-room table while Maude hung their washing next to the fireplace.

Wantonish,” Maude said, rolling the word around her mouth. She shook her head decisively as she twitched one of Indio’s shirts into place over the drying rack. “No, never heard of it.”

Damn! Lily pouted down at the play she was writing, A Wastrel Reform’d. Wantonish was such a wonderful W word—and she really needed more of those. “Well, does it matter if ’tisn’t a real word? William Shakespeare devised all sorts of new words, didn’t he?”

Maude gave her a look. “You’re right clever, hinney, but you’re no Shakespeare.”

“Hmm.” Lily bent back to her play. Wantonish sounded like a perfectly lovely word to her—quite sly and suggestive, rather like the heroine of her play. Just because no one had thought of the word before now didn’t seem like a good enough reason not to use it.

She dipped her quill in the inkpot and wrote another line: “A Wastrel might indeed be wantonish but he’d surely not be wastefulish as well.”

Lily cocked her head, eyeing the drying ink. Hmmm. Two imaginary words in one line. Best not tell Maude.

–from Darling Beast