Weekend Writing Warriors #90


I thought I had completely missed joining this blog hop, and had a bit of a panic moment. Almost a 'my bad' moment. Life has a funny way of intruding and before you blink twice, the week is almost over. Ah, well, if that is the only thing I can complain about, I have a pretty good life.

Anyway, we shall continue with an excerpt from A Rose By Any Other Name. We left off with:

Father found me injured and bedraggled in the river Derwent and claimed me as his own. That is, until… if… we ever find my true family. He had been riding his estate, of which the Derwent flows through a vast portion. Thank goodness it was a beautiful sunny day, or I might not have survived, because the sun glinted off my amber cross necklace and that is what drew him to the river’s edge, whereupon he discovered me draped across a large log which had gotten snagged on an exposed root of a willow tree.

Continuing with:

He waded into the river, forever ruining his favorite Hessians - to his valet’s eternal disgust - and carried me up the bank. With the help of his son, Eric, he managed to not only wrap me in his jacket but hoist me onto that great beast he calls a horse and - as he said - rode like the hounds of hell were on his heels to bring me to the manor house, called Briwood.

I have no memory of the next few weeks, but I have been told it was very unsettling as I had a raging fever and the doctor feared I might fall victim to a putrid lung from the amount of water I had ingested and inhaled. Thankfully, I pulled through, and though I felt as weak as a proverbial kitten, my strength and health returned, my memory did not.

Despite sending out riders and flyers throughout the region, no one stepped forward to claim me as their own. My clothing was of good quality, indicating that I was either the daughter of a gentleman or a wealthy tradesman, and - here I must blush at revealing such intimate details - Mother thought me to be about fourteen years of age. She based this determination on my body showing signs that I was on the cusp of womanhood. During my recovery I had… well, suffice it to say, she had to call for some linens for me to use discreetly. I later discovered this also sent a wave of relief through my adoptive parents, as the advent of my courses indicated there were no repercussions from a violent attack, of which the doctor feared I may have been a victim.

Shall I whet your whistle further?

Father and Mother, Lord Conrad and Lady Patricia Grantley are the Viscount and Viscountess Hughson, and until I was found in the river, they had only one child, Eric. At the time of my discovery, he was eighteen preparing to enter Cambridge at the start of next term. 

As I could not remember my name, my parents decided to call me Rose because, etched on the back of my necklace, was a single rosebud in its first bloom. They have loved me as their own and I have never hesitated to return that love tenfold. Father was pleasantly surprised to discover I have an avid interest in books and languages. ‘Tis funny how the mind works, I cannot recall my name or family, but I remember lines and verses from different passages of great novels and poems as if I had read them only a few minutes before any discussion. Mother has teased that maybe I was a French spy in training as my French is more than passable for conversation. I am mediocre on the pianoforte and have been told my singing voice is lovely. Father already has plans for me to study with the Master when we make our way to Town.

I know many of the popular dances, even though I am not of an age to attend any balls or assemblies, I can embroider but find it dreadfully dull and take some solace in painting tables, although I detest netting purses. Ugh… I would rather go back into the river than net a purse. However, my greatest love is being outdoors, whether I walk the park around our estate, or ride with Father, I feel at peace when I am outside, marveling at the beauty of creation.

Rules of engagement for Weekend Writing Warriors:

Weekend Writing Warriors is a fun blog hop where authors share eight to ten lines from a Work in Progress. If you'd like to check out some of the other author's writing, please click on this link: WeWriWa

Tuesday Tidbit ~ Entails

Luckington Estate - more fondly known by fans of Jane Austen as Longbourn

I do believe I heard your eye roll, dear reader when you saw the title. What a dreadfully boring subject, but one that is vital to the story of Pride & Prejudice and the beleaguered Bennet family with five unmarried daughters. Miss Austen also saw fit to add entails to Sir Walter Elliot's property in Persuasion as well as the Dashwood's estate in Sense & Sensibility. 

Mr. Dashwood was upset because he could not cut down the woods on his estate and sell them to add to his daughter's dowries because it would take away / lessen the value of the estate.

Mr. Bennet's property consisted almost entirely in an estate of two thousand a year, which, unfortunately for his daughters, was entailed, in default of heirs male, on a distant relation; and their mother's fortune, though ample for her situation in life, could but ill supply the deficiency of his. 

"You allude, perhaps, to the entail of this estate."

"Ah! sir, I do indeed. It is a grievous affair to my poor girls, you must confess. Not that I mean to find fault with you, for such things, I know, are all chance in this world. There is no knowing how estates will go when once they come to be entailed."

When first Mr. Bennet had married, economy was held to be perfectly useless; for, of course, they were to have a son. This son was to join in cutting off the entail, as soon as he should be of age, and the widow and younger children would by that means be provided for. Five daughters successively entered the world, but yet the son was to come; and Mrs. Bennet, for many years after Lydia's birth, had been certain that he would. This event had at last been despaired of, but it was then too late to be saving. Mrs. Bennet had no turn for economy, and her husband's love of independence had alone prevented their exceeding their income.

Five thousand pounds was settled by marriage articles on Mrs. Bennet and the children. But in what proportions it should be divided amongst the latter depended on the will of the parents.

They lived in the house/estate and enjoyed the income. They did not truly own it. They couldn't sell it or do anything that would lower its value. They could not mortgage it and they definitely could not determine who would inherit it.

If there had been no entail, Longbourn would have been divided, upon Mr. Bennet's death, five ways between his daughters.

When Mr. Collins inherits Longbourn, he becomes what is called a tenant in tail, or the 'real inheritor', which means that there were limitations on the entail. After so many generations, the entail would be broken. At the time, the real inheritor, if he wished to reestablish the entail for x many generations, kept Longbourn under the name of Collins, rather than Bennet.

The time limit on a tenant for life entails was usually a generation for life. Translated, this means the grandfather would establish the entail for the generation living. The estate would pass to his son and then his son's son and the final inheritor, his grandson's son, would become the 'real inheritor' and legally own Longbourn. The real inheritor could do what he liked with Longbourn. He could mortgage it, split it up, sell it - whatever he desired. Usually, the real inheritor would establish another entail to keep the property whole and within the family.

Mr. Bennet had very often wished, before this period of his life, that, instead of spending his whole income, he had laid by an annual sum for the better provision of his children, and of his wife, if she survived him.

"Indeed, Mr. Bennet," said she, "it is very hard to think that Charlotte Lucas should ever be mistress of this house, that I should be forced to make way for her, and live to see her take my place in it!"

"My dear, do not give way to such gloomy thoughts. Let us hope for better things. Let us flatter ourselves that I may be the survivor."

The reality of the entail helps us understand some of Mrs. Bennet's famous 'nerves' and 'flutterings'. She had cause to worry about where she and her daughters would lay their heads at night if Mr. Bennet died before ANY of her daughters were married, and married well. I think we can all agree she set about promoting her daughters in a stupid manner, but she was not given a gentlewoman's education and relied on base instinct.

Happy Canada Day

Today is July 1 and we, in Canada, celebrate the 'birth' of our country. Hamburgers will be cooked. Potatoe salad will be eaten, and I'm fairly certain a glass of wine might find its way into my hand. What are your plans?