A Formulaic Romance
This is the start of another story Amelia and I are putting together. There’s a pun in the title that will become obvious in time.
It starts with the trope, Lady Rachel on her way to London, is stranded in the country by an unfortunate accident. Her carriage is a wreck, the thoroughbrace, a leather strap that holds the cabin up, broke. When the cabin fell, it broke the axle. It’s snowing and they’re in trouble.
“That’s bloody torn it!” Miss Rachel Heppleworth, the youngest and only surviving daughter of Lord Hayforth, rarely used such rough language, but her ancient carriage finally failed on her way to London.
On her one chance to join society and find a suitable, rich, and hopefully reasonably good-looking or at least good mannered, husband. Preferably, not vicious, a non-smoker, though she approved of snuff, at most a moderate gambler, and willing to squire her to the occasional assembly. It would be an extra benefit if he were discreet in his affairs and sensible in his conversation.
She and her maid stood while the rain soaked through their pelisses and trickled down their backs. They surveyed the wreck of their carriage. One postilion had ridden ahead to find help. The other had simply ridden off.
Lucinda, her maid, companion, and confidant replied, “Miss?”
“The weather … raining, almost snowing, the thoroughbrace broke and the weight of the carriage body snapped the rear axle. We’re stuck, here in the middle of nowhere, and worst of all we were due in London by the end of the week.”
“Miss Rachel, we can always send a letter. Lord Bromley would understand.”
“If the post runs out here.”
Lucinda shivered; the cold and damp had already penetrated her pelisse. Miss Rachel did not fail to feel the chill, nor did she ignore her maid and companion’s discomfort. She pointed to a massive pile of bricks and spires in the distance. “We could look if anyone is living in that pile of stones. There seems to be a fire and lights.”
The experience of riding in a carriage is one that modern people, most of them at least, don’t really appreciate. One good reference for this is Mark Twain’s “Roughing It.” The first half of the book describes his journey with his brother Orion to the Nevada territory. (Orion really was Twain’s brother.) They had the thoroughbrace fail, but the carriage didn’t fail as severely as Rachel’s does.