Selfish Gratitude

The morning rays dissipated the thin layer of mist that fell on Northampton, leaving pearly dew as a reminiscence of the cold night. Amy dipped her quill in the inkwell and signed the letter with impressive and elegant calligraphy. She folded the letter and slipped it into a white envelope, sealing it with the promise of acquaintance.  She heard Charles impatient footsteps in the living room and hastily exited her room with unchanged delight.

“Good morning, Charles,” she greeted with a smile, “sorry for making you wait. Shall we go now?”

“Good morning Amy,” he said, “the day is indeed very young and the morning holds promises of fair weather, nonetheless, we’re late. We want to get the best cart and horse for our trip.”

“Let’s go then,” Amy laced her arm with her brother’s and urged him forward and out of their garden, “we have to enjoy the pleasures of a fine morning in Northampton for we won’t witness such pleasantries for a week!” She didn’t say this begrudgingly but with high spirit and gaiety. The sole idea of meeting their father after so many years was a miracle. Amy felt overwhelmed by her feelings toward their grace and sudden change of path. What was there in Rosehall that would make the memory of staying there memorable? She understood perfectly how Charles felt toward their father; after all, he had played the role of a father for as long as Amy could remember. Hopefully, Charles will accept their father and amend any grievances that might shatter their relationship. Her thoughts drifted to the society their father pertained to, a higher class with balls held among its members every now and then. She has only heard of them through gossip in town when young women gathered in the linen shops to discuss of their supposed misadventures near the richest estates in Northampton. They praised the colossal building in which it takes place and the warm interior cast by the chandelier, and most of all, they were speechless at the sight of such elegance and opulence. The ladies dressed in high couture gowns that exalted their beauty and their hair adorned with sparkling gems and trinkets made of gold and the gentlemen wore formidable and elegant attires. The serene music and the dancing couples were a sight to behold. Excitement tingled in her heart as she wondered if the same enchanting experience waited for them in Rosehall.

“You’re very quiet and pensive,” Charles’s voice brought her back from her daydream state. The last house was passed by some metres back and they found themselves standing in the bustling town.

“It has changed a great deal since I last was here,” she said, feeling daunted by the amount of people and carts with horses. She looked around the place and spotted certain familiar faces from shop owners and neighbours.

Charles laughed, “Will you be okay on your own? I have to bargain an affordable price for a good cart and a healthy horse to travel the miles ahead of us.”

Amy nodded, “I will send this letter and will meet you by the flower shop. I reckon our house needs floral cheerfulness.” She recollected her thoughts of the broken vase and the rose on the floor. Charles agreed and walked to the right, disappearing among waves of merchants and busy passers-by. Amy walked to the postal office and sent off the letter to their dear father. On her way out she walked into nobody else than Bethany Harper.

“Miss Harper,” Amy acknowledged the young lady before her, “how are you doing in this fine morning? How is your family?” She gave Bethany her most pleasant countenance whilst in the inside a maelstrom of feelings whirled in her heart. Bethany was the only woman Charles had ever loved- after his mother and sister- and she was the one who broke his heart. Amy couldn’t blame Bethany, she felt guilty for interfering in their happiness and these thoughts were voiced by her to Charles. He dismissed them and told her that other reasons- and not his family- decided against his proposing to Bethany. Even though Charles was adamant in keeping his reasons to himself, she felt it was entirely due to family ties that prevented him to marry her. Bethany did not belong to a rich family either and therefore would not produce a dowry of great quantity, Charles had no title and his income was scanty and limited, the marriage would prove unsuccessful in the present. The news of the wedding of Thomas Medley and Bethany Harper was unexpected, Charles spend most of his days in his room.

“I am very well, Amy,” she smiled, “my family is in good health, thank you. I venture to say they’re as excited as I am for the coming joyous event. How is your brother?” Her smile seemed to diminish and Amy caught sight of that.

“He is well,” Amy replied, “he went to get a cart and a horse for a trip we’re planning.” For many months, Amy had contemplated the idea of Bethany being her sister with utter delight, but that idea was forever buried. She felt high esteem for the young bride though.

“I heard of the news,” her tone dropped by an octave and her words were heavy on her lips, “your relatives must be very happy to have you with them within a fortnight. Mr. Medley told me he talked to your brother when he was on his way home.”

“They are,” Amy replied cautiously, “it is very unfortunate the visit is to take place during the time of your union. I am very sorry we cannot take part in your special day, but you have our blessings.”

“Sometimes you cannot have a say on how the events turn out to be,” she replied softly, “well, I have to continue with my shopping. It was very nice to see you, my dearest Amy. I hope our relationship remains strong. Give my regards to your brother and have a nice, pleasant trip.”

“I will,” Amy half promised, “we will be sure to drop by your house to congratulate you formally. Have a nice day.” With a parting wave of the hand, Bethany disappeared among the jostling crowd and Amy made her way to the flower shop to wait for her brother. Her heart beat wildly and for a moment she felt selfishly grateful that Charles's would escape his misery for a week.

The End

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