Elizabeth Marton

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...


12. 12

Mr Marton had been travelling home from town when he saw the carriage. Emblazoned with the Inklefield crest, it moved at a surprisingly fast pace. So fast, even, that Mr Marton had to struggle hard to get his own carriage home before the visitors.

At last, however, slightly out of breath and startling his daughters and wife immensely, he staggered into the sitting room and gasped "Quick! All of you! Mr. Fitzwield's bringing the whole haul of his lot over to Rolands and astonishingly fast they are moving, too, for they shall be here any minute!"

This sent Mrs Marton into an esteemed panic. "Quick!" she screamed, jumping up from her pouffe "Everybody to your dressing rooms and somebody alert the cook! Goodness me! Whatever could be their reasons for coming at such a time!" And she ushered everyone about, clucking like a chicken.

"But why are they coming?" Wondered Elizabeth as she dressed "And why the hurry?"

But, although she tried her hardest to hurry, by the time the guests had arrived, still Elizabeth had not finished with her hair. 

Her sister, Anne, hammered at her door "Oh Lizzie!" She exclaimed "Do hurry! The guests are already here!" at which Elizabeth thought it best to merely abandon her hair loose and make haste as had been Anne's advice. It did not matter about her hair, she thought, although her mother winced at the sight of it, for Mr. Fitzwield and the rest of his usual party were more important.

She sat down in a chair,which, most unfortunately, was opposite Miss Lucinda and next to Mr. Emmerson but, as it were the only unoccupied one left, Elizabeth would have to make do.

Trying, most feverishly, to ignore Miss Fitzwield's sharp-tongued comments about her unladylike hair - to which Mr. Emmerson seemed most superior, only muttering the occasional "Quite" or "Ah! Of course, dear lady" whenever it was necessary, seeming far too preoccupied himself to care much for the talk - Elizabeth made to focus on the conversation being held between the rest of her family and Mr. Fitzwield. She noticed vaguely that there was a lot of brandishing of hands on Fitzwield's part and often he lent forwards in his chair, or beamed around at Janet, but Elizabeth was far too distracted by the goings on between Miss Fitzwield, Mr. Emmerson and herself to really have a chance to focus on the business; as Lucinda ranted, and Elizabeth inwardly sighed, she couldn't help but become sidetracked by the way Mr. Emmerson kept glancing queerly at her loose hair every time he thought that she was not looking. It was also rather strange, especially for him, was that it was her hair which was attracting all the attention. Indeed, it was loose and she was the only one in the room whom had worn it so, but Janet's hair looked far better than her own, and even Kitty had made an effort with hers today. At last, however, Elizabeth grew so impatient with Mr. Emmerson that she loudly demanded him to tell her exactly what he meant by such irritating antics. He blushed guiltily when she exposed him, and the rest of the company fell silent.

"Nothing." He said "I merely forgot myself for a moment, that is all." And with that, he went quiet, staring, now, only at his hands.

With this matter now safely out of the way, everyone else immediately began to speak again and Mr. Fitzwield, whom had smiled softly to himself upon Elizabeth's outburst, resumed his intricate speech. Elizabeth, meanwhile, focused on Janet, and found that no one, if they tried, could ever exaggerate her stark happiness at this moment. Such was the glow on her cheeks, that she seemed like a beautiful, flickering ember, outlined against the night sky, and Elizabeth cursed herself, and Mr. Emmerson for having caused her not to pay attention to the conversation earlier. She glanced several times, at her parents and sisters, all of whom were agog with intense amazement and delight, although not even Mrs Marton's excitement was equal to that of Janet's.

At last, though, Mr. Fitzwield made his leave, taking his sister and Mr. Emmerson with him. The guests departed and, no sooner were they out of the front door, then Kitty and Anne at once began to leap about in ecstasy.

"You see?" laughed Kitty, throwing her arms around Janet "You see, sister? We all told you how he loved you and now here's the proof!"

"Mrs Fitzwield!" cried their mother, dabbing at her eyes with the corner of her lace handkerchief "Oh, Janet, I am the luckiest mother alive!" 

Mr Marton shook Janet's hand very hard "Good old girl! I am so proud of you. So, so proud..."

And as comprehension dawned upon Elizabeth's face, then she, too, could have danced with joy. Instead, she composed herself and embraced her elder sister tenderly. "You see." she said, echoing Kitty "You see Janet?"

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