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...


17. 17

As Elizabeth finished reading, a tear splashed onto the page, then another and another. What a letter! How awful it must have been to grow up with a father and sister like that! And, to think Mr. Emmerson loved her! Actually loved her so much that losing her would be the thing that, on top of everything else would destroy him for good. Elizabeth did not know quite what to think, and a thousand emotions sped through her mind. Drying her eyes and blotting the water on the paper wherever she could, she sat and reflected on her own feelings.


Hate, she at last decided, was out of the question, for, now Elizabeth knew his motives, Mr. Emmerson was now no more despicable than Edmund Fitzwield, but whether or not she actually loved him - even at all - was a question that she had neither the will, nor the ability to answer. But what if she did love him? Or did not? Whatever was she to say to the poor man? And then it was this which Elizabeth fretted over for another half-hour. No answer, however, could come to her, no matter how hard she sat and pondered. By almost tea time, when she had still not found her true emotions, she gave up her quest, and the agitation soon turned to jealousy. To be so sure of her feelings! Whatever should she give to feel and think about the world the way her sisters did - Janet undoubtedly. Janet Fitzwield’s love for Mr Fitzwield, was so powerful and evident that there was not one single thought of doubt to be had by anybody, and being doubtless was what Elizabeth, at this very moment in time, desired most of all. But it was not until Kitty Marton was sent to call Elizabeth down to tea, and Elizabeth left the solitude and privacy of her bedroom, that she finally realized what it was that she truly envied about the Fitzwield’s relationship: It was love. It was love that Elizabeth truly wanted. Someone to talk to and be with. A confidant. A lover. She wanted to be as happy in marriage as Janet and Edmund Fitzwield was and, as this strange realization washed over her, Elizabeth discovered that she was no longer hungry food-wise, but hungry for letter writing. Much to the bewilderment of the rest of her family, Elizabeth rushed from the parlor and retired once more, heart skipping and banging in her chest like a hand creating a musical pulse on a tabletop, to her room, where she at once, without even knowing what she was going to say, scrabbled about in her desk for a pen and paper.


“Mr. Emmerson-


Following the course of your last letter,-” she wrote. Then she stopped and searched in her mind for something decent to write.


“ -which, I have to say, was satisfyingly long and detailed, I have, after a long while of deep thinking, finally come within reach of an answer. I am writing now to tell you how miserable I was to hear tales of your woeful youth although I, at least, now know more about your character than I did before, and that has influenced upon me a tendency to prefer you better as a person. However, what I really ought to be pronouncing an answer to, is this question: Do I love you the way you do me? Well, for the present time I am not wholly certain and, although I can say that, in the future my newly-sown affection for you may grow to stand on its proper two feet, for now, accompanied by my sorrow at the thought of causing you grief, I must say that I do not quite feel the same way for you in return. But I pray you will not despise me for it, Mr. Emmerson, and that you shall pay me the compliment of hearing me out. I have no intention of harming anybody, least of all you, and it is as of this why I am to say what I am going to say to you now. If we eloped, at the much trembl

aJge we are at now, it would only allow your love for me to grow and my love, or affection, of you to sink merely into indifference. I say this not because I am unkind, or selfish, but because I care about your own heart and I do not wish for you to be ever tied down to a woman whom does not love you. The burden of that would, I fear, break you even more to than losing me would.


Also, I must add that, as of the part of your letter in which you stated that you ought not let your emotions slip, I agree you ought keep it up.


Yours sincerely and with many kind regards as to your health,

Elizabeth Marton. "


Putting back down the pen, Elizabeth ran speedily to the post office to post her newly-written letter, then returned and eagerly awaited a reply.


But, alas, four whole days went by and not one note from the Peak district came. Then another two went, with similar results. Elizabeth began to feel, after Mr. Emmerson's speedy reply to the first letter, as though she had put her correspondent off her somehow, but then she cursed herself for being so fickle. Why should you care? She told herself fiercely after the eighth day had passed and still no reply to her letter had come. But, although she pretended to her heart otherwise, Elizabeth really did care for Mr. Emmerson and, a day later, her upset at not having heard from the gentleman in over a week turned into a terrible fear that something had happened to him. Wild images began to flash through her mind, each a vivid fantasy of something petrifying and, many a time, Miss Marton would awake, screaming, from nightmares in which a giant monster of a man, holding a very picturesque knife slashed his way across half of England to mutilate her, Mr. Emmerson and everyone else Elizabeth had ever loved or cared for.


Her mother, father, Kitty and Anne tried, meanwhilst, as they heard Elizabeth's agonizing cries, to comfort her, but anything they did had very little impact and Elizabeth spent the last few days until Mr. Emmerson's return alone in her room.


When, at last, came about the time of Fitzwilliam Emmerson's arrival, the Martons were situated in their own house and Elizabeth was, still, up in her bedroom. Absentmindedly, she stared at the coverlet she was supposed to be embroidering, agitatedly fidgeting with the thread. Her mind and sensibility seemed lost and she awaited Mr. Emmerson's return undoubtedly restless. As the carriage drew up to the front door, however, wheels crunching on the gravel of the driveway, Elizabeth finally managed to revive herself. Darting from the window seat, she hurtled excitedly from her room and down the stairs, not even noticing the many bewildered looks her family threw her way. By the time Elizabeth reached the front doors, however, a second carriage, this one bearing Mr Fitzwield and his wife and sister inside, had drawn up outside the house, but neither Elizabeth, nor Mr. Emmerson had any regard at all for this once they had laid eyes on each other and nor, apparently, did they have any regard for is behavior; upon seeing Mr. Emmerson, Elizabeth threw her arms around him and, not caring that everyone was watching, Mr. Emmerson kissed her.



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