I was named after my great-great grandmother, Arabella. She was a famous beauty, her azure eyes and cobalt-black hair the stuff of legends. Her swains wrote countless sonnets for her, fought many a duel over her. There is even a fountain in our estate that is reputed to have been financed by one of her suitors.
But alas, all I share in common with my namesake is simply that - my name. I have nary a suitor of my own - not that my looks would claim the attention of any admirer - and my own eyes are plain brown, while my hair can't seem to decide whether it's brown or black. Mousy, I guess would be the name for it.
"Mousy" also happens to be my nickname. I have my older brother, Gerald, to thank for that. He says I am always sneaking about and that I don't speak, I squeak. I think this is hardly fair. So I'm shy and don't like announcing my presence - I would hardly call that "sneaking about." So my voice is a little high-pitched - well, I am only thirteen and my voice is sure to deepen with the years. (I hope.)
Despite what appearances may seem, Gerald is really a wonderful sibling. After my mother died of consumption when I was five, he was a great support. Father was always away after Mother died, supposedly overseeing his shipping industry, and so Gerald virtually raised me. Thanks to him, I learned how to ride a horse, how to hunt, and even how to cook a rabbit out in the wild.
As a result, I've grown up rather tomboyish, a fact that makes my governess despair.
"Arabella, you are the daughter of a Baron, for goodness sake. It's high time you began acting like one. Daughters of barons do not track mud into the foyer. Daughters of barons do not consort with the kitchen staff. And daughters of barons most definitely do not wear such unseemly boots! I will need to speak with your father about taking you into town to purchase some decent shoes. And you're all but busting out of your dresses. When was the last time you were fitted for new clothes? Arabella? Arabella, have you even heard one word I've said?"