Victoriana, Alternate years

From the Journal of Temperance Elizabeth Winholz

I find myself completely perplexed. So much ahs transpired over the last few weeks it has kept me constantly engaged. Engaged, ah there is a word. One of the things my late grandfather prided his self on was the fact that I was a very sensible girl, with a good head on her shoulders that is much more than a hat display. I had never noticed Mr. Teche acted any differently towards me than anyone else. And I pride my self on my observational skills. He was my grandfathers closest confident and assistant. I did notice that my grandfather would chuckle at Eustice’s seeming inability to deliver dialogue in a timely matter but I attributed this to the endearing situation of it all. My days were becoming rather a comforting pattern of Grandfather and Eustice working on various projects, me focusing on my current topic of study or the latest journal, Grandfather and Eustice falling asleep in the smoking room with black boards of calculations or theorems. I would sneak in and put out grandfather’s cigar and quietly correct whatever hang up Grandfather was stuck on so in the light of morning he would see he figured it out after all. But although Eustice wasn’t unpleasing to the eye he was so timid in nature and though Grandfather had seen to a very proper and challenging education for me outside the realm of Acadamia he treated as a young child. I was not allowed to transition up to a more adult style of dress as is appropriate for a young woman my age and certain a coming out party would never happen b/c of my “condition” I had rather taken as a point of fact I would probably be an old spinster living in my light room reading about the outside world. Not that I had silly notions or fancies of balls and courtship. But then my world fell apart for the second time. Grandfather had been shot. Not being one to blubber and suffer typical hysteria and let someone else decide my fate I did my best in the days that followed to direct it. And soon everything I knew was spiraling out of everything but my understanding of the futility of trying to escape all of it. I’ve been very nearly killed several times in the last few weeks but I have had a coming out party, finally been fitted for a womans dress (though I’ve not yet received it looking very forward to possibly having a figure), I’ve met all sort of creatures, demons, and monsters. In all this chaos it would be easy for me to lose my way and my head but I’ve had one constant and that has surprisingly been Mr. Teche. I will never be able to court let alone marry most suitors b/c I am a woman who is very good at thinking for herself, any proper husband of this day and age would never allow. I would be forced to needlepoint and child rearing. Also with my condition I do not know if I will be able to rear children without passing on this condition which I refuse to do. But Mr. Teche has always treated me with respect and honestly valued my opinion. He speaks to me as a equal in academic discussion or debate. Though the only childish fancy I’ve ever had was of some dashing rogue-ish adventurer to come into my life, through keen observation I’ve learned that though these men might make even my stomach flutter they are no better and in some cases worse than the average gentlemen. I am nothing but something in need of romancing or saving to them. But Eustice though on the surface appearing timid and even weak has revealed his true character as of late. He has put himself in harms way for me time and again. Miss St.Clair being my first female confidante and my superior in social navigating pointed it out that Mr. Teche was in love with me. I at first dismiss this notion and silly fancy, Mr. Teche in love with me how absurd. Then I notice the strong curve of his jaw, the gentleness of his hand when helping me from a carriage, while injured I couldn’t help but notice the strength and firmness of his arms. Whether its my condition which is causing uncharacteristic urges or my own humours fluxing I found myself wanting to be in his arms. I’ve not felt that loved or safe since before my grandfather was killed. And so when Eustice actually confessed his feelings for me I was taken a back b/c for the first time in my life I wanted to be a silly woman and gush and flutter and swoon. I of course refrained and blamed my condition and said nothing. But as I took no rest that night as I was so flummuxed by what had been said. That I realized it was honestly my hearts desire to be around Eustice. But I didn’t understand why I went over and over all the variables and facts and could find no path to the solution…just the solution. It was logical for me to care since he had been in my home most of my life. It was logical for me to want someone who would respect my grandfathers work and understand the importance of my bell jar and my studies. But these were facts for a courtship of convenience. Why then am I feeling so swoony and overwhelmed around him now? I even found myself stuttering some b/c I want him to see not only for my mind but my body as well. What is wrong with me? Then Mr. Teche did the strangest thing when I very ineloqently tried to profess my feelings for him, He proposed. For the second time in less than a day I was stumped. I couldn’t think or remember words…I was light headed. And I finally remember enough of the English language to say, Yes. Now I am engaged to Mr. Eustice Teche. But now I am scared beyond reason not of the prospect of marriage but that I will lose Eustice as well. My parents went missing when I was just a girl parts of me still hope that they are exploring some vast previously undiscovered part of the world and are well but that is naive and illogical, grandfather sacrifaced himself to protect another and is gone now as well, what ill fate awaits Eustice for daring to love me? I am dreadfully afraid for him now.

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