I finished revising, polishing, and editing Eleanor and Catherine: Tender Hopes and Dreams today. I started on a new novella called The Highborn Governess. It’s a kind of sequel to E and C. It’s really taking off and I can’t wait to see how it develops.
An excerpt from E and C:
Robert’s mind was made up. He would propose to Miss Harcourt. His reasons were simple, mercenary, and base. He was a younger son and as such he would not inherit the estate upon his father’s death and he would only receive a small sum of money since most of it would go to his brother. He needed an heiress to make his way in the world (or so he thought).
Eleanor was such an heiress. She had thirty thousand pounds to her name, the Harcourt family was well-respected, and they would welcome an alliance with the illustrious Davrille line even from a younger son. Of this he was sure.
Eleanor’s beauty, accomplishments, and intelligence of mind meant little to him. If she had been one and thirty, had warts, and a sour disposition it would have made no difference to him. He needed an heiress and one was as good as another. Eleanor was an easy choice since the Davrilles and Harcourts were intimately acquainted.
She had given him no encouragement, but when she had given him only as much attention as courtesy demanded, he had thought her modest. When her sister Catherine had openly scowled at him, he thought that she knew Eleanor was in love with him, and did not wish her sister taken away. When Eleanor had pointed him out he was angry at first, but soon came to look at it as a sign of her admiration in wanting to show him to her friends. Such were Robert Davrille’s vain, blind thoughts.
Eleanor knew nothing of Robert’s intentions. She was certainly not looking for an offer from him and did not even think there was any possibility of such a thing. Therefore it came to her as an unpleasant shock when Robert called that morning, without any of his family and almost demanded from Lady Harcourt a private audience with her eldest daughter.
Lady Harcourt had not seen as much of Robert as Eleanor and Catherine had and so had not formed an unfavourable opinion of him. Most of what she knew of him she had heard from Lady Davrille and one of Lady Davrille’s habits was to speak highly of all her children. Therefore, Lady Harcourt knew nothing bad of him and acquiesced to his request. Had she seen Eleanor’s look of keen distress she probably would have changed her mind, but she quickly swept out of the room calling Catherine to follow her.
Catherine saw Eleanor’s face change and would have given anything to be able to stay with her, but Lady Harcourt was not to be disobeyed, so with an anguished look in Eleanor’s direction she quietly left the room.
Eleanor rose up as if to leave but then sat down again, resolving to sit through Robert’s talk with as much grace as she could muster.
“My dear Miss Harcourt,” Robert began grandly, “You cannot have mistaken the many attentions I have shown you over the past week or so. I wish you to marry me and am prepared to offer you all the luxuries you are accustomed to.” So ended his stiff speech.
Eleanor sat silent for awhile, thinking out what she should say. She resolved to be gracious, yet polite, and unswerving in her meaning. “Thank you for the proposal you have made to me. I am, however, not able to return your affection and I am not able to accept you,” she said as calmly as possible.
Robert stared at her. Then, turning swiftly, he left the room, quite angry. Eleanor sank down on a chair. In a few minutes she had recovered and calmed herself and went in search of Catherine. Finding her, she spilled out all that happened. Catherine was, of course, not shocked that he had proposed, since it was obvious he had meant to do so when he called. She was also not amazed that he had chosen to propose to Eleanor. She was an heiress, beautiful, charming, and accomplished. And although Catherine was all of these, she had a smaller fortune than Eleanor.
They then went and told Lady Harcourt. She was surprised that Eleanor had turned him down, but when they told her all that he had done to try Eleanor’s patience, she no longer was surprised but instead was thankful that Eleanor had refused him.
An excerpt from T.H.G:
Amy Ashby was alone in the world. She had been alone in the world since night before last when her father passed on. She had ran to her chamber, bursting into tears and it had taken the combined efforts of Mrs. Tirrod, the kindly housekeeper and Amy’s favourite maid to persuade her to eat something.
She only just managed to choke down a piece of bread and a bowl of chicken broth before bolting the door and falling on her bed, bursting into tears. Mrs. Tirrod could only listen outside the door sorrowfully and wait for Amy to open it of her own accord.
Next morning she calmed herself with great effort and ventured outside her room. The undertaker had made all the arrangements of which she was thankful. She had breakfast brought up to her room and spent the day with her needlework, sad and silent.
Now this present morning she stood in the spacious drawing room, looking sadly out the window at the lawn and gently sloping hills beyond it.
“Letter for you, Miss Ashby,” a maid said, handing it to her. Amy broke open the seal.