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. They’ve made their way to the house in the distance, but not without slipping in the muddy lane.
The Master was introduced here. He was somewhat annoyed at the disturbance, but willing to see that his guests were properly entertained. The housekeeper, Mrs Hobbes, leads Rachel and Lucy to their rooms to prepare for dinner The carriage wright makes a cameo appearance in a previous snippet.
Last week saw the arrival of Rupert’s Uncle George and a hint at the complicated family history – a history that was not completely … harmonious.
After a peek into Rupert’s history, George makes a somewhat unusual proposition to Rachel which was continued. The rain finally scuds off to the North Sea leaving a fine day – for riding and other things. Rachel, unsure of her own feelings, arranged for her companion to use the only sidesaddle. Meanwhile Rupert and Rachel discover a shared interest in music, which leads to a proposal. George has just returned from finding a magistrate to deal with a mob. At the ball a slippery character from the past makes his first appearance. George disposes of him, for the time being, in the this snippet. Rupert explained about his previous work in chemistry and Mr Oliver returned equipped with a search party.
Rachel gets a start on clearing the mess, in the library, because she can actually read the titles.
A Surprise Visit, continued for your delectation.
Eventually, tired of being ignored and of enduring her intended mother-in-law’s sputtering temper, while equally curious about the contents of Lord Hartshorne’s library, Miss Deacon rose. She knelt beside Rachel and said, “May I help?”
“Thank you, I’d love help. I’ve been sorting the books by author.” She pointed to the piles, “It’s a long process.”
“I see.” Miss Deacon picked up the ill-fated volume of Kant’s critique. “This is in the original German. I received Geo- Lord Bedlington’s answers to my questions. Most insightful. I didn’t know he had it in him, not to mention that he could read academic German … what are you sniggering at?”
“Nothing. He and Rupert, um, they worked together on your questions.”
“Oh. At least he was improving his mind.”
Lady Bedlington fiddled with her reticule, pulled out her fan, opened it and fanned herself, then shut it with an echoing snap. “Cha- Miss Deacon, I am distressed sitting here. Escort me to my room. I have a headache.”
“Yes, Lady Bedlington,” Charity started to rise, but Rachel was quicker. She curtsied, “My Lady, let me call my companion, Miss Holloway. She’s an excellent nurse and very skilled at relieving headaches.” Poor Lucy. Lady Bedlington started to object, so Rachel continued, “I should so much like to know Miss Deacon better.”
“Maybe you’re right … Miss Deacon do not over tax yourself. Remember you’re not strong.”
“If you’ll let me assist you.” Rachel added, “I’ll help you to the hallway and we’ll find my companion.”
A few minutes later, having safely delivered Lady Bedlington to Lucy’s care, Rachel returned. She asked, “What did Lady Bedlington mean by ‘you’re not strong?’ You seem healthy to me.”
“I don’t know. Maybe she thinks Geor- Lord Bedlington would enjoy a languid wife.”
“The George,” Rachel saw Miss Deacon stiffen, “The George I know wouldn’t. Let’s not pull caps, we should be cater-cousins. May I call you Charity? Much nicer name than mine, Rachel.”
“I punned just then. Did you catch it?” Charity saw from Rachel’s confused expression that she didn’t. “The word Rachel means ewe, or ewe-lamb.”
Once Charity explained the joke to her, Rachel laughed, “I’m even gladder now that my father didn’t pick Delilah or Jael. No scholar, he just read the Old Testament to find one he liked – thought it would demonstrate his piety. Not that he really had any.”
“Delilah’s queen of the night and Jael mountain goat.”
“Then I guess Rachel’s not too bad of a name. Charity, at least that’s an English word.”
“Don’t you know Hebrew?”
“No. My education rose to Fordyce’s sermons and the house books. No more.”
“Poor girl. I’m helping George, my George, to remedy the defects in his education. Would you like to join us?”
Amelia reminded me to put a link to our book page. We actually are preparing books for publication and have some sort of plan – amazing as that seems.
Fordyce’s sermons to young women show up in Jane Austen’s work and were a real book of rather dull exhortations to proper behavior. There is a reason Mr Collins is enamoured of them. Novels, light fiction, and entertaining reading were not good for females, at least according to their male relatives. After all, you wouldn’t want your sister to look as dissipated as the young women in Mr Cruikshank’s cartoon, now would you?