Elizabeth Marton

This is also a historical fiction. Enjoy!

From even her first sighting of him, Elizabeth strongly despises Fitzwilliam Emmerson, the silent, surly friend of Edmund Fitzwield, owner of a nearby estate. However when things take a funny turn and something more than what Miss Marton could ever have anticipated is revealed, she begins to realize
exactly how wrongly judgemental she has been, particularly concerning Mr. Emmerson's father...

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"The most scandalous thing I have ever beheld in all my life!" Exclaimed Lucinda Fitzwield, shaking her head firmly. It was almost lunchtime and everyone - with the exception of Elizabeth and Mr. Emmerson whom had both been barricaded in separate rooms of the house as a consequence of their behavior - was gathered in the parlour, sipping tea. Kitty Marton helped herself to a cake. "On the country! I thought it was rather sweet." She said, for she was a girl whom had a taste for romance, particularly - as well as unfortunately - romance of the more intense kind. But no one else, apart from Mr Fitzwield, whom, as was always the case when something of this sort happened, was looking rather irritatingly smug, seemed to agree with her.

 

Mrs Marton, whom had already been looking strongly mortified, looked even more so upon hearing the words of her youngest daughter. "Sweet?" she gasped. "How can it be so, for our entire family has now been thrown into shame. Whatever could Eliza have been thinking? Her purity, dignity and opportunity have all been vanquished by her kissing the lips of an unmarried man! If Lizzie does not marry Mr. Emmerson now, then we shall all be portrayed in disgrace!"

Mr Fitzwield spoke up. "But what if Elizabeth wanted to marry Fitzwilliam, anyway?" He said, quietly. "Surely, then, none of this should make any difference?"

Mrs Marton laughed hysterically. "Want to marry? Want? My dear sir, how can you possibly be so naïve as to think Elizabeth should ever want to marry that awful man?"

"But," continued Mr Fitzwield patiently. "I was under the impression that kissing was a sign of affection, not, as you suggest, of hatred."

Nobody had any answer to that.

Mr Marton looked at his quivering wife. "Perhaps I ought sit in the library with Mr. Emmerson. Send Elizabeth up to me, someone, and I shall take it upon myself to talk to them both separately and in confidence." With that, Mr. Marton arose from his chair and quitted the room and a maid was sent for to fetch Elizabeth from her own bedroom.

 

Whilst all this had been taking place, however, Elizabeth had been sat at the chair beside her bed, feeling rather confused, but inexplicably happy at the same time. When the maid tapped nervously at her door, however, she stood, abandoned her bedroom and headed for the library. On her way, she passed Mr. Emmerson, whom had been heading in the opposite direction to her and whom caught her wrist as she passed. A tingle was sent down Elizabeth's spine which, as he whispered "it's bad news with your father. Be civil, do not relate the contents of my letter to him and do not be afraid to elaborate on the truth." turned to a shiver of dread. She nodded, however and, face set, continued on her way to the library.

 

She knocked politely when she reached the door of her destination, too which Mr Marton replied "come in!" His voice, Elizabeth was relieved to hear, did not sound, in the slightest, a bit cold and she entered the library feeling a little more reassured. Mr Marton was facing the wide window that overlooked the front garden when his daughter walked in. As soon as Elizabeth entered the room, however, he ceased his staring and turned to face her, before resuming his previous seat at the desk and offering Elizabeth a seat opposite him.

 

Elizabeth took it wordlessly, her worry having now, in the presence of her business-meaning father, returned to her chest. Once she was well-seated, her father leant forwards in his humble chair, steepled his fingers together in front of him on the table and addressed his second daughter like this:

 

"Elizabeth Marton. You were born and raised up well under this luxurious roof of mine. For almost two decades, it has also been here where you have, quite comfortably, lived out you days and it is also here where you seem to have now found the lover of your life."

Elizabeth said nothing.

Mr Marton continued. "Notice how I said 'lover', not 'love' in itself. Mr. Emmerson, Lizzie, whilst he is a man of both great wealth and, I dare say, intelligence, may only be described as the former. How could he be anything but? Naturally, without knowing the man as well as, I will admit, I should - he is too rude to get to know and far too reserved - I cannot possibly prove it. However I will ask you to hear me out: There are many a man, Elizabeth, as I am sure you are aware of, from your brief acquaintance with the vicar, whom are more than capable of luring a woman into the suggestence and false security of their embrace, their arms and handsome features compensating for their lack of ability to truly love. Many of these men, I am afraid to say, Lizzie, roam our lands perfectly freely and under no suspicion whatsoever. Naturally - as your father - I am duty-bound to protect you, and your sisters, from such sinful people, through a good, worthy education so that you never have cause to face the evils surrounding us. What I do not wish to do, however, is remove your freedom and nor do I wish to snatch from you the feelings and experiences of joy that making your own matrimonial decisions can bring. But as much as I am inclined to let you romp about and be merry, it would not be at am morally right of me to let you elope with Mr. Emmerson - Mr. Emmerson of all people! No, Lizzie. As much as you seem to be - Ahem! - physically attracted to the man, I cannot help but be suspicious of his behavior towards you. Do you not remember the unkind words he gave you upon your first meeting? How he treated you with minimal -or indeed no- respect? And yet, after all this, after everything negative he ever said to you, the man is in love? Dearest Elizabeth, can you not see what he is trying to do? The man wants money! Power, land and money! That is all, Lizzie, with maybe some scandalous pleasures along the way. And then, when you have walked right into his little trap and willingly presented him with a nice legimate heir, he will abandon you on the streets with no money, no food, no family and not a single other man willing to take you in! You shall end up a disgrace, my dear daughter, a disgrace. Is that what you want? Is it?" And Mr Marton stared, long and hard at his daughter.

But Elizabeth shook her head. "Father. It does not matter wherpther I marry Mr. Emmerson or not. Even if he was the sort of man whom would do such a thing - although I can assure you, he is perfectly amiable - I would be a disgrace without marrying him. After my own act of stupidity! And you must not call him such names! I know too well that Mr. Emmerson would never do a thing like that! Least of all to me!"

Mr Marton only sighed. "Lizzie, do not be so stupid. No, I cannot let you marry Mr. Emmerson after the way he has treated you. Do you even have any proof that he is truly a good person?"

Elizabeth, at these words, was strongly tempted to reveal to her father the entire contents of Mr. Emmerson's letter byput, remembering what he had said to her in the corridor, she kept quiet on that subject and instead, feeling rather angry, said "My word is the proof!... Or is that not good enough for you? Mr. Emmerson is a perfectly civil gentleman and he is also the man I love!"

But her father was not to be swayed. Adamantly, despite his daughter's protests, he continued to reply that she was speaking nonsense and demanded that, for her own good, Elizabeth was to be banned from coming into contact with Mr. Emmerson ever again. Upon hearing this, Elizabeth, despairing, began to weep, but her father only insisted harder and would not relent, apart from when he grudgingly allowed Elizabeth five minutes in which she and Mr. Emmerson could say goodbye, supervised, Mr Marton said, by Edmund Fitzwield whom was, at this moment, having a word with his friend downstairs. Mr Marton then rang for a maid to fetch Misters Emmerson and Fitzwield, stating, as he rose to fetch himself a drink, that he would be five minutes maximum. It was then that the maid arrived alongside the two gentlemen - Mr. Emmerson, whom was quite pink from embarrassment and staring intently at the floor, and Mr Fitzwield, whom, for the first time since Elizabeth had known him, looked rather serious.

 

At the sight of poor Elizabeth, however, whom was, in fact, not looking her best due to the extensive amount she had been crying, Mr Fitzwield smiled gently and gallantly told the hiccuping Elizabeth that he would allow her and Mr. Emmerson some privacy by waiting outside the door. He then backed from the room, jokily warning them against any further scandalous behavior, a thing which at least cheered Elizabeth up a little and forced Mr. Emmerson's blush to recede.

 

Mr. Emmerson's eyes then found Elizabeth's and, for a long time, they stared at each other in complete silence. Elizabeth found herself wishing she had something to say, but could think of nothing.

Mr. Emmerson, however, surprised her immensely by clearing his throat. "I am most awfully sorry," said he "for everything I have ever bestowed of burdened upon you. It is why I did not write to you again, you see. I feared, once more, your indifference and irritation at my pestering of you

"Well then you feared wrongly!" cried Elizabeth, wiping fiercely away at her tears. She then proceeded to lower her voice slightly. "Instead, I grew to pine for you, to love you despite all the resent and hatred I indeed felt for you in the beginning. The heart is a many-layered, complex thing of much beauty. And, yet, there is always insolence and negativity there, too. Ignore the latter two we must, however, and work tirelessly on to listen to the organ, learn from the organ and, most importantly, understand the organ."

Mr. Emmerson smiled. "Yet more proof that the female sex is just as wise and well-read as the male one. Well said, dear lady, well said... I hope that-"

There was a sudden knock at the library door. Mr Fitzwield's voice floated through the wood. "May I cruelly remind you of your meagre time's finale? I can hear your father, Miss Marton, coming up the stairs and I shall need to be back in the room with you before he gets here."

Mr. Emmerson turned quickly back to Elizabeth, speaking in slow, urgent voice. "I hope that I shall soon find a means of communicating with you, despite what your father and mother may say. Look out for an admirer called John Faxton. He seems very taken with you and you ought to expect letters from him soon - much to my envy, of course!" He smiled again and Mr Fitzwield came back into the room. Mr Marton, to Elizabeth's dismay, came back to, very shortly after.

"I hope they behaved, Fitzwield." He loudly said.

"If course, sir." replied his son-in-law, but he winked at Mr. Emmerson and Elizabeth when Mr Marton was not looking.

Elizabeth had to suppress a giggle and she forced a look of sobriety onto her face, making sure to keep dabbing her cheeks with her lace handkerchief.

 
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