One of my really good friends started a chain story, so I’m going to publish my part of it on here. I got second place. (Which I’m glad for!) If you’re one of the first, you can shape the way the story goes, so it’s a great place to be.
Here’s the background for the story. Maria Elizabeth Charlotte Yerby is on a ship with her older brother Charles, or Charlie, her Aunt, Uncle, and cousin Emma in 1838. Maria Elizabeth…oh, she’s called Liz. *ahem*, Liz and Charlie are called into their Aunt’s presence and are told they are going to be separated, which sent Liz into a swoon.
So, without further ado, I shall plunge into the story.
I grabbed Liz around the waist as she lurched forward with the boat’s rocking. I didn’t even know she had passed out until her head came back and hit my chest.
It was probably a good thing that Liz had fainted. She always overreacted (point proven!) and she had a tendency to cry when gruffness would work better. Plus, I was the more responsible of the two, and the wiser by far.
“You…you uncompasionate, rich, rude, ugly woman! You do not even deserve to be called aunt!” I yelled as I dragged Liz to the door.
“Charles, those words were socially unacceptable. I hope you repent of them later,” Aunt said sternly.
Me? Repent of the truth? Never! I thought as I dragged Liz into the hallway. As I was going through it, I ran into Emma. Her flaxen curls were arranged to perfection. Emma actually looked more like my sister than Liz. Her big grey eyes were heavily fringed with long, dark lashes.
“Well, what do we have here?” she asked in her high voice. She cocked her head to one side, which made her long curls bounce.
“Leave us be, Em,” I huffed. Emma hates being called Em.
“I am not privilege to know an Em,” Emma smirked.
“Do not be snarky,” I said, stopping and glaring at her.
“Do not be snarky, Charles,” she grinned tauntingly. I was about to slap her when Captain Thomas came down the hallway.
Captain Thomas was a perceptive man. He soon discovered Liz’s and my position. He was nice and polite to everyone, but he was also stern.
“What do I owe this pleasure to, my lady Bentenck?” Captain Thomas gave Emma a short nod. “Mr. Yerby, could you use my assistance?”
I nodded my head as Liz slipped a bit from my grasp. Captain Thomas came and scooped Liz up in his strong arms.
I never knew how heavy Liz was! I mean, I knew she liked her biscuits but I didn’t know she liked them that much! I followed Captain Thomas as he went to our cabin, but not before we both nodded to “My lady Emma Bentenck, daughter of the Early of Portland.”
My uncle and aunt were the owners of Marylebone, one of the biggest plots of land in all London. The Bentenck and the Germain family, who were the Dukes of Westminster, were some of the wealthiest people in all London. Since they were so wealthy, they were dubbed the governors, even though London had no form of government.
We came to our cabin number thirty-six. I opened the door and let Captain Thomas in. After he played Liz down on a bunk, he turned toward to me.
“You look like you could use some help,” Captain Thomas said.
“I think I could,” I said, kicking my trunk.
“Then why do we not talk in my cabin?”
My eyes fluttered open as I felt an overwhelming wave of nausea. What happened? I wondered, as I tried to sit up. Then, suddenly, I remember.
I did only thing I could do; I laid down on my pillow and sobbed. My tears came fast and furious as I considered my bleak future. Leave my homeland, England, forever? And then go to an old couple who lives in America, one of the rebellious colonies that won its independence? I also would never see Charlie ever again!
I couldn’t do it! No! I couldn’t. But what could I do to stop it? We get off the English Gem tomorrow. When would I get on another ship?
I was surprised and alarmed when I heard a knock on the door. I tried to smooth my curls and wipe away my tears before I cried, “Come in!”
I was even more surprised to see Uncle walk into the cabin. He was indeed a handsome man, as his presence was commanding and his form was straight.
He wore a highly tailored black tail coat, under which was a plain, white, ruffled muslin shirt. His studs at his wrist and his watch at his waist glistened as they caught the light. His fawn colored trousers touched the tops of his laced boots. To finish his outfit, he had a cravat tied around his neck and a top hat which he fiddled in his hands.
“Elizabeth.” Uncle always calls me Elizabeth. My mummy was named Elizabeth and she was Uncle’s little sister. That’s why Uncle calls me Elizabeth. “I do not wish to do this to you or Charles.” Here he paused.
Charlie was notorious for getting into trouble. If anything was out of the ordinary, it was most likely Charlie’s fault.
“But it seems necessary. You shall leave in a weeks time on this very ship, the English Gem.” He cleared his throat before continuing. “Charles shall leave in two days.”
“Uncle!” I cried. “So very soon? But, Charlie is all I have! You cannot separate us!”
“Elizabeth,” Uncle said sternly. “I can and I will.” With a stiff bow, my Uncle, the Earl of Portland, took his leave.
Two days? Only two more days to spend with Charlie? echoed through my mind. Only two more days!
I was startled awake as the cabin door opened. Charlie came in and looked at me. He was beaming and rosy with health and happiness.
“You are to go to Mr. Roger’s in two days,” I said miserably.
“Oh,” Charlie said carelessly. What was going on? Why didn’t he care?
I gave Liz one last hug. She was crying like a two-year old. I backed away and nodded to my aunt. I stuck my tongue out at Emma. Emma ignored it and smiled proudly at me.
I got into the wagon with Mr. Roberts. He was lean and thin like a weasel. His face even resembled the creature. His voice was low and rough as he said, “Have a good day, my lord and lady.”
Mr. Robert’s tipped his cap and chirped to the large Shire horse in front of the wagon. As soon as we were out of sight of uncle’s house, Mr. Rogers told me the rules in his gruff baritone.
“You get two meals a day, no more. You shall work from sun-up to sun-down. If I ever find you swaddling, you shall be whipped. You shall not touch the colts, or you shall be whipped. Do not interrupt, mind your manners, do not touch my gals, keep the chickens happy, and eat what your given. If you do all this, we’ll get along.”
I cried for a whole week. I would never see Charlie again! At times, I almost wished I had run away, but now I didn’t care what happened to me.
“Maria! Why are you not ready?” Auntie demanded. I sat quietly on my bed, not saying a word. Auntie’s hair was in the newest style. She wore the modern Victoria sleeve on her dress. The sleeves were tight everywhere except the elbow, where it formed a balloon of sorts. Her bodice was tight-fitting and low-necked, coming to her shoulders.
“Maria! I spoke to you, answer me.”
“Here, get into this dress,” Auntie picked out the dress I was to wear. The neckline was low, but not off the shoulders. I slipped my arm into the en sabot sleeve. I put on my shoes while Auntie placed a dimity cap over my curls.
“You are such a troublesome child!” Lady Bentenck huffed. I mutely followed Auntie out of my room and through the corridors.
I was sure I would never miss this house. It was much too grand. I also did not care for those who dwelled in the house.
We got into the carriage and I endured the silently ride. When we arrived at the harbor, my stomach lurched at the though I would soon be leaving England. We stepped out of the carriage and a servant carried my trunk aboard mid complaints of its weight.
I endured Auntie’s silent kiss and Emma’s dramatically woeful goodbye. Lastly, I turned to Uncle. He gathered me in his arms and whispered,
“I am sorry, Elizabeth, truly I am. Please write to me. Someday, I shall see you again.” I was surprised to find tears in my eyes.
“Goodbye, Uncle,” I gave him a squeeze before I turned and climbed the gangplank. I waved goodbye to my family on land before I went to my cabin.
My cabin seemed too spacious. I missed Charlie more than ever now, and as I lay down on the pillow, I sobbed. After the passion of my grief passed, I lay silently on my bunk.
I sat up and stared at my trunk
It was hopping…
Against the wall!
My hands shook as I walked toward it…
My heart thumped as I undid the latch.
I slowly opened the lid.
To my astonishment, my clothes went flying through the air and Charlie’s head popped out of the trunk.
“Finally! I thought you’d never get the lid off!” Charlie gasped as he nimbly stepped out of the trunk. I stood there, shocked. A lurch of the boat brought me back to reality.
“Charlie, how did you get in my trunk?” I demanded.
“Well, that is a long story,” Charlie replied as he sat on my bunk.
“Tell me now!” I cried as I sat next to him. He ran his hand through his hair, and began to relate his adventure….
And I don’t know how the next person continued it! I hope you enjoyed the snip-it of that story. It was a lot of fun to write and research about London in the reign of queen Victoria.
And that’s all for today, folks!