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Blanche Mason's father is on his deathbed. Her estranged brother James is nowhere to be seen...until the entire estate is unexpectedly left in his name. Charlotte May, the orphaned girl with the voice of a songbird is taken in by her generous benefactress, Mrs Claudia Gatwick, but her generousity is poisoned by repulsive Mr Gatwick's secret eye for the young girl. Jackson, a wandering merchant, travels from the Indies to attend his dying best friend's bedside and is caught offguard by the man's daughter, Blanche. Meanwhile, Charlotte escapes Gatwick's clutches to be taken in by a young master named James who has just inherited his father's entire estate.
So, in the entwined lives of 1800s British society, sons and daughters, men and women, good and bad....all come together. View table of contents...


Chapters:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Submitted:Jun 9, 2007    Reads: 676    Comments: 2    Likes: 1   


-1-

Blanche Mason deliberated briefly over her attire before heading down to breakfast. The events of the past few days had illuminated the feeble importance of such decisions, but in a time of hardship, she found such simple tasks remedial. Indeed, as her father lay in his bed for the third day in succession, Blanche chose the ice blue ensemble over the burgundy. She relished her ability to control something, however insignificant she knew it to be. Lizzy, her handmaid for many years, rapped lightly upon the door and entered. Blanche read from the servant's overwrought and pained expression that her father's condition had not improved. Lizzy's eyes were unnaturally red and her pale cheeks stained with the sheen of fresh tears.

Although her status was officially that of a maid, Lizzy had been part of the family for as long as Blanche could recall. Mr Mason, the master of the house, had found her wandering upon the main road when Blanche was not seven years old and taken her in to save the poor child from the cold night. For his honourable act, Mr Mason was rewarded with the most loyal and devoted maid to the family any master could ask for. Lizzy immediately bonded with Blanche, who the family suspected to only be a few years younger than the lone wanderer. However, this bond, despite its strength, never gained Blanche the knowledge of where Lizzy had been going the night they found her. Blanche had often, if not incessantly, interrogated the young handmaid about the night but never obtained an answer.

"The master is ill, Miss," she weakly proclaimed upon entering Blanche's room. She need not have said it, for Blanche already knew. She did not reply instantly and turning to the window, glanced down upon the grounds. As her heavy lidded eyes surveyed those familiar paths and clearings, she monitored the new indifference in which she perceived her beloved home.

"Lizzy, I will take father's breakfast to him this morning. He has not eaten yet?"

"No, Miss. But if you're asking me, I say he won't have it."

Blanche turned away from the window for the first time since Lizzy entered, and the maid noticed how reserved her mistress's manner seemed. It seemed to her that a veil of some kind had descended upon Miss Mason, separating all others from what lay within.

"You may be right in thinking so, Lizzy, but we must persist. The doctor will be in by noon."

And in a few resolute strides, Blanche left her chamber and made for the room across the hall.

Blanche Mason deliberated briefly over her attire before heading down to breakfast. The events of the past few days had illuminated the feeble importance of such decisions, but in a time of hardship, she found such simple tasks remedial. Indeed, as her father lay in his bed for the third day in succession, Blanche chose the ice blue ensemble over the burgundy. She relished her ability to control something, however insignificant she knew it to be. Lizzy, her handmaid for many years, rapped lightly upon the door and entered. Blanche read from the servant's overwrought and pained expression that her father's condition had not improved. Lizzy's eyes were unnaturally red and her pale cheeks stained with the sheen of fresh tears.

Although her status was officially that of a maid, Lizzy had been part of the family for as long as Blanche could recall. Mr Mason, the master of the house, had found her wandering upon the main road when Blanche was not seven years old and taken her in to save the poor child from the cold night. For his honourable act, Mr Mason was rewarded with the most loyal and devoted maid to the family any master could ask for. Lizzy immediately bonded with Blanche, who the family suspected to only be a few years younger than the lone wanderer. However, this bond, despite its strength, never gained Blanche the knowledge of where Lizzy had been going the night they found her. Blanche had often, if not incessantly, interrogated the young handmaid about the night but never obtained an answer.

"The master is ill, Miss," she weakly proclaimed upon entering Blanche's room. She need not have said it, for Blanche already knew. She did not reply instantly and turning to the window, glanced down upon the grounds. As her heavy lidded eyes surveyed those familiar paths and clearings, she monitored the new indifference in which she perceived her beloved home.

"Lizzy, I will take father's breakfast to him this morning. He has not eaten yet?"

"No, Miss. But if you're asking me, I say he won't have it."

Blanche turned away from the window for the first time since Lizzy entered, and the maid noticed how reserved her mistress's manner seemed. It seemed to her that a veil of some kind had descended upon Miss Mason, separating all others from what lay within.

"You may be right in thinking so, Lizzy, but we must persist. The doctor will be in by noon."

And in a few resolute strides, Blanche left her chamber and made for the room across the hall.





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