Bethany Harper was seated in the drawing room of her home. To all who may have seen her as she occupied herself with some embroidery, she appeared quiescent and serene, untouched by trouble's talon-like hands. But inwardly, Bethany wept. She wept for a lost, pure love, her one escape from her parents' grasp around her slender, pale green existence. She gently smoothed down her dress and continued with her embroidery, her mind occupied with the thoughts of Charles Everwood, the gentleman who was even now the object of her affections. Charles, with his wonderful countenance and charming good nature had become the man Bethany held in such high regard.
She remembered the ball at which they had met. Sitting, looking pretty, and saying nothing, Bethany had waited. Charles had come and asked her to dance. In as demure a fashion as she could manage, she agreed and soon found herself like a bird released from a golden cage. Her parents meant well, she presumed, yet they never allowed her to stay at such gatherings for too long, and she found herself being beckoned away from Charles to return home. She had spent the journey back in deep thought, holding to the emotions she felt with all her might. A month later, they met again, this time able to make arrangements for letters to be sent between the houses. Everything was surreptitious, clandestine, exciting. She had known then that she wanted to be wed to Charles Everwood. Every day she pined for his hand.
When at supper her parents raised the question of marriage, Bethany's heart led her voice. She spoke his name. Her parents gasped.
They had called him unworthy, beneath them, a foolish choice. She remembered her tears as she lay on her bed, knowing her parents would never bless the match.
The illness of Charles' mother had been unexpected. Charles and his sister cared for her, Bethany knew very well. Then she recieved a letter. Mrs Everwood was dead. Charles had told her that they could not be wed - his duties lay at home. Bethany had decided then that he would never marry her. The letters stopped. Feeling more unwanted than ever, Bethany cried inwardly. Bethany had been silenced. She was resigned to her fate, a puppet. Her parents worked the strings.
She was to be married to Thomas Medley; she dreaded the day with all her being. But she dreaded it in silence.