The richest family in every city is held, not only in high esteem, but also in high fashion; the Thyme family in the city of Bath was looked on as the example of the finest society. On the particular night when this story begins, three of the four members of the Thyme family were seated in their beautiful carriage. Margaret Thyme stared out of the coach window watching the beautiful people of Bath run to and fro, squabbling with each other, and not knowing quite what to do with themselves at two and twenty 'o clock. She sighed as her heart pounded with excitement; the Witkens family had invited the Thyme family for Mariah Witkens' birthday ball, and Margaret had been buzzing about town for the whole week previous in search of the perfect shawl. Now dressed in her white silk shawl and blue satin gown, Margaret and her father and mother made their way to the Witkens' family home.
"Do you suppose it's a very large house?" Margaret asked her mother.
"Pay you no mind to the size of the building, Margaret," replied her mother. "Though it does not matter as ours is much grander."
As the coach pulled up to the Witkens home, Margaret observed that, though it was indeed a large house, it was still a good deal smaller than her own home; the building in front of her now was but two stories high and could not have been 100 feet wide. The Thyme family ascended the stairs with all the elegance becoming the richest family in Bath; however, Margaret's thoughts drifted inside and could even now foresee the well-looking people inside as well as many handsome young men ripe for the marrying. As Margaret entered the modest mansion, she found her imagination had deceived her as she could see only a sea of pink and blue gowns that clothed older women. Indeed, the only men to be seen were the servants and husbands of the old women.
She walked through the rooms admiring the general splendor, which was not quite as grand as her own home as her mother had predicted, though it was very lovely in its own way. Through the laughter and noise of multiple hundreds of voices, Margaret could hear the lively music being played in the grand hall and she set off in search of more age-appropriate society.
She succeeded to navigate her way toward the hall and found, to her great pleasure and relief, many of her acquaintance and age. To give her more satisfaction still, there were several handsome young gentlemen in the room as well, for a rich young lady not yet one and twenty is most attentive to all such details.
For the next hour, she talked with girls of her own acquaintance, danced with many a young man, and had as much fun as she cared to have. The following hours provided much of the same diversions, and, as mid-party approached, she could have believed that she had met and danced with every young man in the entire city of Bath save for the one man who was seated on the sofa near the room's wall.
He was very tall and very close to being handsome if he wasn't completely a well-looking man. He was speaking to a woman who looked to be a close relation of his. Margaret's curiosity enveloped her, and she addressed William Witkens.
"Do you know that man over there?" Margaret asked, nodding in the man's direction.
"Yes, indeed," replied Mr. Witkens. "His name is Henry Tilney and he is a distant cousin of ours. He happened to be coming to Bath for two days and so my mother insisted on inviting him and his sister to stay while Henry engaged more permanent lodgings."
Margaret fell into a moment of thoughtful silence before expressing her wish to be introduced to him. Soon enough, Mr. Witkens and Miss Thyme had made their way over to the sofa adjacent to the wall. "Mr. Tilney," said Mr. Witkens. "May I introduce to you Miss Margaret Thyme, the daughter of Lord Ambrose Thyme?"
Mr. Tilney stood to his feet. "You may indeed," he answered. "Miss Thyme, I am delighted to make your acquaintance." He bowed.
"I hear from your cousin," began Margaret, "that you're only staying two days in Bath."
"I leave the day after tomorrow." Mr. Tilney glanced over to his cousin, nodded slightly, and then turned his attention back to Margaret. "Would you like to take a seat, Miss Thyme? I see that you have been on your feet all night."
"Thank you, Mr. Tilney," thanked Margaret as she took her seat next to the lady that she had seen before.
"Miss Thyme, I present to you my sister, Miss Eleanor Tilney."
Margaret smiled at Miss Tilney. "It's a pleasure to meet you, ma'am. How long are you to be here in Bath, Miss Tilney?"
Eleanor smiled and Margaret was pleased with this young woman's friendly air. "I have been in Bath for only a day here at the Witkens' home while my brother finds us lodgings. My father, General Tilney, wishes to stay for about a month, and he will be joining us in one week."
"Your father is General Tilney!" exclaimed Margaret, who was surprised. "Truly?"
"Have you heard of him, Miss Thyme?" inquired Mr. Tilney.
"Yes, indeed! My brother, Jack Thyme, was under his command in France."
"Oh, I see. Have you ever been to France, Miss Thyme?"
"Twice, sir. Yourself?"
"Never, I'm sorry to say. I hear Paris is particularly lovely at this time of year."
The ladies and gentleman continued talking in this attitude for the next while and at the end of their conversation, Margaret felt that her acquaintance with Mr. and Miss Tilney must continue. As she, her mother and her father rode home in their carriage, Margaret's mind and heart fluttered as butterflies would from daisy to daisy on a warm spring day. She was silent the whole ride home for her thoughts were engrossed with the smart smile of Mr. Tilney.
Thanks for reading! If you find some storyline error, please contact me (I'm pretty sure I got rid of them all...) Please, review and tell me what you thought! Your opinions and encouragement mean so much to me.
Disclaimer: Mr. Henry Tilney, Miss Eleanor Tilney, and General Tilney don't belong to me, but everyone else does.