I have worked on my novel for some time now (you can read about it here and here.) And the big news is…I finished it last night! Since it only has about 15,000 words it would be called a novella or short story, but I’m really pleased with what I’ve accomplished and to celebrate I’m going to give you three chapters of my novella – the two proposals (since there’s two sisters) and the double wedding. These chapters do not come one after the other in the full novella.
Eleanor was taking another morning walk the next day when again she met Henry. Had he purposely sought her out? she wondered. They talked comfortably together, although all the time Eleanor’s heart was beating fast. They scarcely noticed where they were going, but by some chance finally found themselves in front of Eleanor’s home. She was about to go inside when Henry spoke.
“Miss Harcourt, Eleanor…wait.”
She turned around eagerly and waited.
He faced her and awkwardly said, “Eleanor, I have observed you for these past few days, in Wollington, and in London and each time, I have been more impressed by your beauty, charm, and musical ability. I would like to…I want to ask you something.” He paused.
“Yes, do go on,” said Eleanor, hardly breathing.
“Will you…will you marry me?”
Eleanor stopped breathing. “Yes, Henry,” she said, and burst into happy tears.
She ran into the house with Henry close behind her. Luckily, her mother and Catherine were both upstairs which gave Eleanor a few moments to dry her tears. They came down quickly upon hearing Henry’s voice and in a few joyous words, Eleanor and Henry told all. Great were Catherine’s and Lady Celia’s joy when they heard. To Catherine it was not such a complete surprise because of the talk she and Susan had had yesterday, but to Lady Celia it was total surprise.
After they had given the news to the Catherine and Lady Celia, Henry and Eleanor went over to the Davrille’s house where Henry introduced his future wife to them all. The joy was no less great there and Jane especially welcomed Eleanor warmly into the family.
After mutual happiness on both sides, Lady Davrille discreetly left the two lovers alone and they had a long conversation.
“When did you first start to fall in love with me?” Henry asked Eleanor.
“I am not sure. I think it was the night of the party (so long ago it seems!) in Wollington, but I cannot say for sure. I know I was most definitely in love when you came to the party in London.”
They continued talking for some length over many different subjects and settled the wedding date to three months from that day.
Eleanor and Catherine talked about several things that evening.
“Eleanor, I’m so happy for you!” exclaimed Catherine.
“I know, Catherine. It seems like a wonderful dream, but perfectly real,” Eleanor replied.
“If only William…but never mind. When is your wedding taking place?” she asked with a slight sigh.
“Three months from today. But why are you distressed? I am sure William feels for you. Have you heard anything in the contrary?” Eleanor asked gently.
“Just this,” said Catherine, displaying a letter.
Eleanor snatched it up and this is what she read.
How are you finding Bath? I write to tell you that my brother William will be arriving in Bath soon for a few days. I hope he will pay your family a call shortly after he finishes up his business. Please write back.
Your dearest friend,
“Why would Julia write to you just about William’s coming? Does she know about your attachment? I’m sure there’s some mistake and that William will be here.
“She must have discovered my feelings for him. Oh, Eleanor, do you think my feelings were too plain?” Catherine asked.
“No, Catherine. You did not show your feelings that much. Rest assured that William will be here. If he feels for you he will be here.”
Early the next morning Catherine awoke, finished packing and was just about to leave the room and go down to the dining room when William again entered the room.
“Excuse me, Miss Harcourt, but I wish to speak with you,” he said.
“Please sit down,” Catherine said calmly enough, but her heart was thumping.
“Thank you,” he replied, and then hurriedly went on, “I have just had a confidence from my sister that you purposely came here after reading Mama’s letter. I would like to thank you for coming with my sisters, giving up the comforts of home just to come here and help my family.” He paused, and then went on, “The more I see of you Catherine, the more I am impressed by your beauty, your talents, and your cheerfulness. You have become very near and dear to my sisters as you have become to me. In short Catherine, I am…I am in love with you. Will you marry me?”
Catherine was overcome with joy. “Yes, I will,” she managed, and then, like her sister, burst into tears.
Julia had been walking along the corridor, toward Catherine’s room to see if she had everything was ready. When she heard Catherine burst into tears she quickened her pace and came into the room. When she heard the happy story she could hardly contain her joy and the all three of them, beaming happily, went down to the breakfast table.
The news was shared among all the Ashbys and everyone was extremely happy with the news. It was soon arranged that William and Julia would go back to Woodland Manor. William, as a trustworthy escort, and Julia because she wished to extend her stay at Wollington. Fanny chose not to go.
When the Harcourts heard the news they were very, very happy. Eleanor was so happy that her sister was to be married that she and Henry agreed to put off their wedding until arrangements could be made for a double wedding.
All the Ashbys traveled to Wollington to be present at the wedding. By mutual consent, the families had agreed to have the double wedding in Wollington not London. For one, both brides and one of the grooms came from there, and Lady Harcourt disliked London. The Lord and Lady Ashby wished to see Wollington so the arrangement was very agreeably made.
“Oh, Eleanor, I’m so happy!” Catherine exclaimed. “William and I will be living in his house in London but he is also thinking of taking a house near Wollington so we can be close to you and Henry.”
“Henry and I will be living on his estate. It is only a few miles from Woodland Manor.”
Both couples looked forward to their wedding excitedly and at last the day arrived. The brides looked very pretty and no-one who was there, except the grooms could tell which was prettier. Of course the grooms where partial. The grooms were handsome, the ceremony went well, and so did the wedding breakfast after. Both couples set off for the same honeymoon destination where they would stay for several weeks even months before coming back to their homes. They were both as much in love when they came home as when they had left and the two couples lived together happily ever after.
I hope you enjoyed reading these excerpts. I had fun writing the story and I hope you will have as good success with your stories.
Here’s the ‘cover’ I made for my novella: