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...

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26. 26.

The ruddy-cheeked, broad-shouldered man standing, cane raised, over the unconscious forms of Georgia and Mr Emmerson did not even notice Elizabeth or Maddy as they rushed, the latter persuing the former, onto the scene. When he did notice, however, Joseph Emmerson turned around and Elizabeth felt sick with fear and dizziness.

"Ah ha!" he cried, drunkenly pointing a fat, hairy finger in Elizabeth's direction. "Thought you could sneak up on me, did you? Hmm? So you are this wife everyone has been talking of? Elizabeth, is it?" He came closer and Elizabeth shivered, strongly reminded of the vicar again.

Behind his father, meanwhilst, huddled against the ornate wooden banister, on the ground, Mr Emmerson dave a low moan. All of Elizabeth's fear drifted away upon hearing it - fear of his father, anyway - and she rushed over to her husband and knelt beside him. There was a deep gash across one of his hands, as well as a newly-formed buise across the side of his neck. Elizabeth, feeling his pain, softly began to weep ans her tears mingled with the blood and the bruises. 

Joseph Emmerson cackled. "Oh, my poor sweetheart. Pity... Such a pity..." he said softly, but his voice was full of cruel sarcasm. 

Anger seered Elizabeth's mind. "Vulgar man! You cowardly, vulgar man! How could you do something like this?- And to your only son, too!" she sobbed.

But Mr Emmerson's father only smiled. "Only son, maybe, but not only child. Fitzwilliam means nothing to me." He then turned and poked Georgia's sore body disrespectfully with the toe of his boot. "Nor, for that matter, does this pathetic little wretch." he said.

Elizabeth saw red. "Because they had the courage to stand up to you!" she spat, moving so that her face was directly leval with Joseph Emmerson's. "I know what happened! Your son told me!"

Really?" Mr Emmerson's father raised one eyebrow. Elizabeth took a step backwards; he stank of drink. "And did my son also tell you that he was, until you came along, supposed to be married to a Miss Amelia Westchild?"

Elizabeth silently gaped. No, she thought. It could not be... Mr. Emeerson would have told her. Or not.

"Well?" asked the drunk, tapping his foot impatiently. "Did he? Or was he too... Courteous?"

Elizabeth Emmerson remained silent. Still Joseph Emmerson looked more amused. "He did not tell you, did he, Miss Marton?" he paused lightly, stroking his many chins with another single, fat finger. "No... I thought not. Why else would he have kept his love for you a secret for so long?"

Furiously, Elizabeth unclenched her jaw. "My husband kept it a secret because he knew that, if he did not, you ought find out about it!"

"Ah, yes? Then why was Fitzwield not told? He has no acquaintance with me; He could not tell..."

"There was his sister, Lucinda, to think of!"

Joseph Emmerson laughed coldly. "Lucinda Fitzwield doesn't even know I exist! And Fitzwield would never have told her, anyway!"

Elizabeth, at this, was finally stumped. Stumped, but curious and so she enquired meekly who Miss Westchild was.

Mr Emmerson Senior grinned triumphantly. "She is my dead wife's friend's daughter." he said. "A very acomplished woman and one with whom, before he left for his friend's stupid new house and met you, my son was very much in love with. And-" Mr Emmerson's eyes flickered over his son, whom was still slumped against the banister, and he smirked. "-I daresay she returned his tender sentiments."

Elizabeth paled, the sick feeling rushing again to overpower her stomach. So sick was she, in fact, that she did not even notice Maddy silently slinking away, to where, however, no one knew.

 

Twnty minutes later, though, where the little maid went was finally revealed.

"Dear Mrs Emmerson." sneered Mr Emmerson nastily. "I am quite afraid that, after this day, you will have to merel;y go back to being Miss Marton. But, of course, a Miss Marton in disgrace!" and he raised the silver-topped black cane - a possesion which he had then snatched from his wounded son's body - and held it high above his head. With a crack like a horse-whip, Joseph Emmerson brought it down. Down... Down... Elizabeth flinched and-

Thwack!

It was met with a blow from a gold-topped, marroon cane and flung backwards with such force that Mr Emmerson Senior went flying backwards down the stairs and out of sight, a series of comical thumps and then a single loud clatter concluding the fall.

 

Elizabeth opened her eyes and lowered her arm, which she had previously raised to try to minorly defend herself, coming face to face with none other than Sergeant Peft, whom was examining his marroon cane with a sort of satisfied interest. Behind the sergeant were two medics, now tending speedily to the likes of Georgia and Mr Emmerson, and a very bashful Maddy.

"Oh." said Elizabeth and she laughed shakily. "Thank you, sir - and Maddy, too, of course. You... You saved me."

Peft looked back at her and chuckled. "Yes. It was rather too heroic, though, do you not think. Not at all tasteful. I usually go for the more subtle approach, you know...The sneaky kind."

Elizabeth smiled, then, as quickly as she could without seeming rude, moved worriedly in the direction of her husband, who was now able to stand. He embraced Elizabeth steadily when she was within reach and tenderly stroaked her hair with the hand that was not bandaged.

Tearfull, Elizabeth told him of all that had happened, hesitaiting, though, at the part which concerened Miss Amelia Westchild. She did include that, too, however, and when she'd finished speaking, Mr Emmerson's brow did crease.

"Oh, Lizzy! Amelia Westchild? Dear me... This really is not the way I should have wished you to find out." Then Mr Emmerson shook his head, thought for a minute and continued.

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