the adventures of lady elizabeth frost

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
i am just testing the waters with a first chapter of a novel i am currently writing. its basically a girl version of sherlock holmes in a time period where ladies aren't supposed to be more than delicate flowers that sit and sew or play piano all day.

Submitted: August 01, 2019

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Submitted: August 01, 2019

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Chapter 1

A blood curdling scream pierced the pale, moonlight, night. A barrel of a gun illuminated in a silvery luminescence. The resonant sound of a gunshot. Lady Elizabeth Frost, or Beth to her family, woke with a start. She had nightmares like this before, but they had never been this vivid. She sighed and rolled over in her large four poster bed. Ever since her mother had been murdered she had these nightmares. Her mother, Countess Claire Frost, had been murdered almost three years ago by a drunken sailor, who mistook Countess Frost for his missing wife. The sailor's wife had disappeared while he was at sea, never to be seen again. The rumor around town was that she ran away with a wealthy merchant and was living happily in the West Indies. It was quite the gossip of the town. Beth cared nothing for that, it was all so very frivolous. That all changed one midsummer night. 

Beth and her mother were walking along the docks coming home from a party. Her father had stayed at home, attending to some business that required his immediate attention. The Frost Manor was just five houses down from the main juncture of the port, which was where the two women lived. As they walked, they began to catch the pungent smell of a stale, yet strong, liquor. The two increased their pace in effort to slide past a ragged sailor, his dark hair long and greasy, an unkempt beard covering the majority of his face, his skin a dark tan, almost brown from long voyages at sea. Unfortunately for the women, the quickening of pace merely managed to grab the attention of the sailor and, in turn, alerted him to their presence.

With swaying steps, the sailor approached the two, shouting. “Dawn where have you been you traitor! Dawn look at me! Dawn!” He was calling for his wife. When he received no reply, his already impaired judgment was pushed further still, causing him to pull a gun from the folds of his torn jacket. He stumbled toward the women and raised the gun pointing it at Beth. The gun glinted in the moonlight, Beth screamed, her mother shoved her out of the way. Beth hit the ground hard, her gloves ripped and the pavement scraped her palms and arms. She turned her head just as the sailor pulled the trigger of the gun. The bullet hit her mother straight in the chest. Countess Frost dropped to the ground, blood pooling around her. Thinking he had killed the women he loved, the sailor looked into Countess Frost’s face. Cold realization hit him. The woman he had shot was not his wife. The sailor had a moment of almost sober horror, he fell to his knees, white as a ghost, before dropping unconscious. Beth, blinded through her tears, crawled over to her mother. Sobbing, Beth lifted her mother the best she could into her arms. Beth did not care that her best dress was now covered in blood, it was just a dress. Unlike most ladies, Beth cared more for her family and novels than the latest fashion statement. As her mother lay there edging ever closer to the wings of death, she gathered the remaining strength to address Beth. “You are so beautiful. You will do well my dear. I am sorry my darling Beth, but it's time for me to join the angels. I love you my sweet girl. Tell your Papa and brothers I love them too.” With those precious last words, she rested against Beth’s arms. As Beth gazed upon her mother’s fair face, her beautiful amber eyes glazed over. Beth felt her mother’s weight crumble into a heap upon her lap. Beth screamed and sobbed as she clutched her mother to her chest, blood staining the bodice of her once white dress.

 A couple gentlemen from the town, who had attended the same party, heard Beth screaming and sobbing. The two gentlemen came running down the dock, “Lady Frost, are you alright?” said one of men, whom she immediately recognized as Lord Theodore Davenport. Beth couldn’t respond, she was sobbing and shaking uncontrollably. The other gentleman walked over to the unconscious sailor and said, “What in the world has happened here?” Through racking sobs, Beth told them what had transpired. “By heavens, you poor girl, how brave of your mother to save you from this  fiend. Rest her soul.” Lord Davenport sighed, “Well something has got to be done. Captain, will you stay and keep Lady Frost company while I go and get a servant to get the constable. I will also order a carriage for Lady Frost. She is in no such state to be walking home.” The young gentleman nodded and walked over to Beth. With that, Lord Davenport headed off at a run into the darkness of the night towards the nearest residence.The young gentleman, that Lord Davenport had called Captain, bent down to Beth and handed her his handkerchief. She wiped her tears with the handkerchief.

 “My Lady, I apologize for my friend Lord Davenport , I can assume he was too concerned with the tragedy to realize that we have never been formally introduced, Captain Aaron Butler at your service,” he said with a tip of his hat. Captain Butler had a thick American accent, which complemented his deep soothing voice. Beth smiled slightly, a very becoming sight for the Captain. “It seems that Lord Davenport always forgets his manners. I am Lady Elizabeth Frost,” Beth said solemnly. Captain Butler nodded and looked down at her. Just then two carriages came around the bend of the street and stopped near Beth and Captain Butler, followed by Lord Davenport. Lord Davenport was mounted atop a majestic black thoroughbred, leading the second horse behind him. It was a beautiful pure white Arabian horse, rare in Britain and the envy of any gentleman who could ride. One of the carriage doors opened and the constable stepped out. “I am so sorry, Lady Frost, it's time that we move your mother. Captain Butler will you please escort Lady Frost home.” Before she could even respond, two more men came from the carriage and carefully carried the Beth’s mother to the first carriage. Beth did not even have time to say her last goodbye and collapsed to the ground sobbing. Captain Butler offer his hand to help Beth up. The moment his hand touched hers a feeling of pure warmth, like a summer breeze aboard a ship at sea spread through him.

The feeling was unknown to him but it was a wonderful feeling indeed. Although entirely inappropriate for the situation, he tried to settle this feeling the best he could. Captain Butler helped Beth to her feet, Lord Davenport  dismounted and handed the reins of the Arabian horse to the Captain. “Thank you Lord Davenport for bringing Moonstone to me.” said the Captain. Lord Davenport nodded, he turned and remounted his horse. “Lady Frost, I will help you disclose the tragedy that has occurred to your father,” Captain Butler said with kindness. Beth nodded and let Captain Butler help her into the seconded carriage, the first carriage was rolling down the road in the opposite direction . “I will accompany the constable and take this brute to the jail.” Lord Davenport stated as he pushed the unconscious body of the sailor on his horse “I shall call upon you sometime tomorrow if I may.” Again, Beth nodded, too traumatized to speak. Once Beth was safely aboard the carriage, Captain Butler mounted Moonstone. He bid Lord Davenport farewell and followed behind Beth’s carriage as it started down the street. Beth looked aimlessly out the window in to the dark of the night, as the carriage transversed slowly down High Street.  Her mother’s death was playing over and over in her mind, all the while thinking about how in the world she would break the news to her father. 

Cedric Edward Frost the Earl of Gloucester was pacing the length of his parlor room at Frost Manor. His beautiful wife and daughter had never been out this late before. He had stressed over his five sons over the years, but his darling Beth was his pride and joy. The only sweet angel, other than his wife, the good Lord had blessed his life with. He cursed under his breath, pouring himself a small measure of Brandy from the glass decanter sitting on the fireplace. He thought to himself,"Why did I not go to that stupid party?" Suddenly, there was a banging at the front door. He put the glass down, still full, and yanked the parlor door open just as the butler opened the front door. There was Beth, very pale, her golden hair escaping from the pins where it could. Her white dress splattered with a horrid stain of what looked like fresh blood. Earl Frost stopped dead as he saw a tall, handsome young gentleman following in the door behind his daughter. He marched forward and demanded “ What in the world has happened?!?” Beth fell into her father's arm sobbing. Captain Butler spoke, “Lady Frost is fine, my lord, but she has had quite the shock. I will tell you everything that has transpired.” Beth assured her father that she was unhurt and begged to change out of her blood soaked gown. “Very well, You are excused to change Beth” Earl Frost said a little frustratedly. Captain Butler reached out his hand to shake Earl Frost’s hand, “My name is Captain Aaron Butler, Captain of the merchant ship the Falconer. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, sir.” He then quickly remembered that this was not America, and inclined his head rather awkwardly to Earl Frost. “Please do forgive me Sir, there are times I forget that British customs are quite different than American customs. I was told by the constable to escort Lady Frost home after the tragedy that has occurred." Earl Frost was surprised at this American’s manners. They were almost better than any English gentleman he had ever met. “Captain Butler, I appreciate you escorting my daughter home. “ I am Cedric Frost, the Earl of Gloucester. I must ask as to why you were asked by the constable to escort my daughter home?Pray, come into the parlor and have a drink with me, and you can recount the tragedy.” Earl Frost said as he walked with his guest into the parlor. Earl Frost offered a glass of brandy to the Captain and was astounded when he politely set it down. “My sincerest apologies Lord Frost, but I do not drink.” Earl Frost was not allowed much time to take this in however, as his thoughts of this where interrupted when Captain Butler told him what had happened a mere hour ago on the docks. 

When the Captain had finished, Earl Frost sat distraught upon the sofa. There was a knock on the door and Beth entered the parlor in a plain, clean, baby blue day dress. Her golden locks where plaited into a long braid that was pinned up in a bun. Captain Butler was struck with how beautiful she was, even with her pretty sea blue eyes slightly red from weeping. He realized his feelings were yet again entirely inappropriate for the situation and likely would never be returned. He hid his feelings, thinking to himself, "What in the world has she done to me? If I do not leave soon I will be leaving my heart here."

“Oh my darling Beth, Captain Butler has just told me everything that you have endured. My poor girl, whatever shall we do without your dear mother.” With that, Earl Frost broke into tears. Beth rushed over and sat on the floor by her father and said “ Oh Papa I do not know what we shall do. “Thank you, Captain for bringing my daughter home safely, no doubt we owe you a great debt of gratitude.” the Earl directed Captain Butler to the door. 

They left the parlor the servant had opened the door and they had stepped into the cool night. One of the stable hands had brought around the Captain’s horse. Captain Butler nodded “Thank you Sir, I will call tomorrow if I may.” Remembered his earlier blunder of British customs, turned to Earl Frost and gave a confident bow in his direction. Earl Frost chuckled a bit at the Captain’s over confident bow, and stretched out his hand to shake. The men shook hands, Beth curtsied and smiled, “Thank you Captain for your kind deeds to my family.” Captain Butler smiled at her warmly and said “ The pleasure is all mine, Lady Frost ” He bowed, that warm feeling he had earlier of the sea breeze filled him again, by just the mere sight of her smile.

The next morning, Captain Butler and Lord Davenport had just dismounted and handed the reins of their horses to the stable hand. The butler opened the door for the gentlemen and said “Gentlemen, please follow me, the family is waiting your arrival.” The butler showed them to the door of the parlor and announced the two gentlemen before showing them into the room. Earl Frost smiled as they entered the room “Welcome, it is good to see you again Captain Butler and of course Lord Davenport you are always welcome here, please have a seat. Lady Beth pored tea as the conversation turned to horses. The Earl asked “ Do you like to ride Captain?”  Captain Butler smiled saying, “Yes and I have a very fine horse that has suited me for years. My horse, Moonstone, happens to be pure white Arabian stallion.” Lord Frost said, “I will have to show you my stables, Frost Manor has the finest stables east of London. We have many different breeds, but nothing close to you Moonstone.”

There was a knock at the door and a servant entered “ Sirs and Madam, dinner is served.” the servant bowed and left the room. As they enjoyed a wonderful dinner, talked of politics and the Captain told them of his adventures. The Captain shared a story about his first time aboard a ship at only 10 years of age. The Captain had almost died but saved when Atlas Barton, one of the pirates, took pity on him by helping him escape from the notorious pirate Thornton Crane of the Poseidon's Curse. After the Captain’s finished telling his story the Earl said “How fascinating Captain. I have never had a interest in business at sea for the very reason of the vile pirates.” The Captain said “ Mr. Barton was not a bad fellow he not only saved my life we had become very good friends in the time I had been held captive. He still sends me a letter asking after my health every year on the anniversary of my rescue. It’s quite decent of him even though he chose the wrong profession.”

They continued to talk. When they finished their meal and returned to the parlor. The Earl poured himself a glass of Port and continued the conversation on matters of state. An hour later Captain Butler stood to take his leave. The Earl said “ Captain Butler I must thank you again for watching over Lady Frost yesterday and bringing her home safely. If you ever find yourself back in Gloucester and are in need of any assistance, please do not  hesitate to ask.” The Captain thanked the Earl. “ I was only doing my duty Earl Frost. Thank you for dinner and the opportunity to met your most charming family.” Earl Frost smiled “ Come Lady Frost let us see the Captain out.”

As they walked over to the door, Captain Butler was mulling over what Earl Frost had said about if he ever needed anything. Once they were at the door the Captain finally said, “My Lord, I happen to be leaving to sea in a three weeks, this voyage is going to be longer than normal and I’m afraid rather dangerous.  Therefore, I do not want to take my horse, Moonstone, with me on this voyage. I was wondering, if by chance, you could spare room in your fine stable for him while I am at sea?” Earl Frost contemplated for a moment before saying “Of course Captain, we can accommodate Moonstone, I will personally see to it that he is well taken care of, until your return.” Captain Butler said “ Thank you, Earl Frost. It was a pleasure to see you and Lady Frost again. As well as to meet your sons.” The Earl smiled and shook hands with the Captain saying “ You will always be welcome here at Frost Manor.” Captain Butler smiled and bowed to Lady Frost, she smiled a slight blush coloring her cheeks again. Captain Butler had a warm feeling spread through him at the sight of her smile.  He took one last glance at Beth as the stable hand arrived with his horse. He savored the feeling for a moment knowing she would never have feelings for him as he had for her. He mounted his horse and rode off into the dark of the night. Little did he know that he had stirred feelings inside of Beth as well. As the Captain rode away from Frost Manor, Beth had an overwhelming sense of sadness come over her. This was such a strange feeling, she had never felt like this before. She didn't even really know the Captain. She shoved the feelings down and buried them in the different type sadness of her mother’s death. 

 


© Copyright 2020 E.R. Johnson. All rights reserved.

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