Hey guys! Well, I've got another chapter finished, and I'm even proud of this one. Not that I'm not proud of the rest of it, but this chapter I think is my favorite one so far - I had to scrap my first attempt and re-write the begining so now we've got a better story for all of my enthusiasm for good writing. I want to say thanks to Jakeline and Caroline Matheson for your excellent reviews that point out my errors and what not - so very appreciated. I guess I'm wierd because I like it when people actually tell me if there's something wrong with my story. Thank you to all of my dear reviewers and viewers - your support is very much appreciated!
Caroline: I would answer your question about the name change, but if you're still confused after this chapter, then re-state it for me if you'll be so kind. I'm quite sure that, if you hadn't quite understood it from previous chapters, you'll get it in this one.
When the tea had been brought to Margaret and she was undressed, she sat next to the first and took out Romeo and Juliet; though it was not her favorite work, Margaret enjoyed the tragedy and drama of the beautiful story. On this occasion, however, she would not seek relaxation or comfort in the pages of poetry, but for a phrase, a line! Page by page, she carefully flipped them one by one. The fire cast a warm shadow over the paper and Margaret squinted with covetous curiosity that must be satisfied.
Finally! she had found the passage of interest:
See how she leans her cheek upon her hand!
O that I were a glove upon that hand, that I
might touch that cheek!
"Oh, how humiliating!" cried Margaret. "William Witkens, you are an uncontrollably enthusiastic flirt, whispering such things in my ear! The very thought of it, oh I cannot recall it without shame! I wish you would stop teasing me and leave me alone, wretched fool!" She continued in this distressed state for some time and reflected on the improper eagerness of Mr. Witkens. Though his reference to Romeo's speech was small, its memory in Margaret's mind was magnified for reasons unknown. Margaret did not care for William in that way, and though it was now known to Margaret that he cared for her, Margaret then determined that she would have Henry Tilney for a husband.
Though she had known him only a week, Henry's gentlemanlike and kind behavior towards herself was more than enough to encourage Margaret to fall in love. She also thought that she had seen Henry glance her way, but look in another direction when she glanced in his; surely this was a signal in her favor! Oh, and his smart smile! Henry always smiled around everyone except herself, and Margaret, on noticing this happy distinction, felt her heart flutter; they were in-love! she was absolutely sure of it. These signals confirmed all of Margaret's hopes, and her cheeks glowed with such ferocity that, when her mother came to her (ten minutes after Margaret's future was determined), she thought that her daughter had fallen ill.
"Oh, mother, I am well!" cried Margaret with ardent happiness. "I am better than I ever was before, for I love someone who loves me too! This evening confirmed it. He visits tomorrow and I am sure that he and his sister will stay past dinner. What joy will there be! Mother, I am so very happy, for I know beyond a doubt that Henry loves me! He really loves me, mother!"
Lady Thyme, startled by this passionately dramatic outburst, misplaced her ability to speak for several minutes. She seated herself on Margaret's bed and recollected herself for a moment before speaking. "Henry?"
"Yes, mother! Henry Tilney, a very gentlemanlike man."
"Henry Tilney, son of General Tilney of Northanger Abbey?"
"Yes, the same. Do you know them?"
"No, I don't." After a short pause, Lady Thyme rose and stood by the fire. "Are you sure about this? If you love each other, then I am happy for you, but will you not consider William?"
"Do not speak of him; he is much too enthusiastic and is the most disagreeable flirtatious man I have ever met!"
"So you will not think of William?"
"Mother, I would never think of him, even if he was the last man in Bath!"
Her mother looked grimly into the fire, the warm light dancing and lighting the once-handsome features of her face. Though Margaret denied that she looked even a little like her mother, a third party would discern the same fine complexion, dark pretty eyes, and exquisite red lips. And, although Margaret was ignorant of the similarities between herself and her mother, she was certainly sensible of the perceived differences in character. She flattered herself that she was compassionate and feeling, though Margaret saw her mother as priggish and cold. She knew that her Lady Thyme had married her father for money and, on observing her parent's sadly indifferent situation, had decided years previous that she would marry for love. She had educated herself on the topic of love by reading the works of literature. Margaret treasured Shakespeare above all things and would follow her fellow heroines' examples by falling passionately in love with her hero and they would be happy for all of their days; with all of her heart, Margaret wished this.
To have this desperate desire satisfied at twenty years old was truly a marvel, for Margaret was of the opinion that True Love may not come about even once in a lifetime (this was the only opinion allowable to a true romantic heroine, of course!). She congratulated herself on the finding of her hero so early in life and, as she crawled into bed, her mind was already calculating the vast joy that would be hers.
She awoke the next morning from her dreams to the dawn's awakening. Why she had awakened so early, Margaret could not see any logical reason, so she attributed it to her heart's anxious desire to see Henry again. She breakfasted in high spirits and took extra time afterwards to study her dearest Shakespeare and become refreshed in the words describing what love could only be. Happy hours were they that Margaret spent pouring over the affirmations of her and Henry's love! Oh, that they had never ended and the Tilneys never came!
But come they did, to Margaret's intense pleasure. Henry and Eleanor arrived at half-past eleven and stayed for the shortest ten minutes that Margaret had ever experienced; she had expected great joy from Eleanor and shy attentiveness from Henry, but she was greeted with kind friendliness by her (which was not objectionable, but still a little disappointing), and distant civility by him. Margaret tried several times to engage him in conversation but soon had to give up and resign herself to speak mostly to Eleanor. She was friendly enough, but offended Margaret by, after her usual enquiries into her welfare and family, speaking only of the subjects that had been discussed on Margaret's visit the week previous and didn't ask anything new of Margaret.
However, even this conversation was limited for, as was previously stated, the Tilneys stayed only ten minutes. They said they had several errands to run and were obliged to be home before dinner. As they left, Eleanor apologized for their short visit and, though disappointed, Margaret graciously forgave them. In stark contrast to his sister's friendly manner, Henry Tilney said only, "Goodbye, Miss Thyme." This was the most he had spoken for the entire time he had been there and he said it so soullessly. Such and utterance in such a time! and then to leave without another word, without another look, or, worst of all! without another magical connection. To the contrary, this cold civility had uttered what his lips had not, just as his previous politeness had been thought to say what his behavior had not.
Margaret stared after the Tilneys from her doorstep as they walked down the street, away from Thyme Manor. Her heart broke as Henry turned the corner without even looking back. Margaret stood in front of her house for a moment. That moment became a minute. That minute became ten. After her attempt at staring Henry back onto the street had failed, Margaret walked inside as slowly as could be humanly possible and did not bother to shut the door behind her.
Presently, she walked into the library and sat on the ladder, staring out the window at the merry people on the street below. Cold silence crept into the room and gripped Margaret's consciousness. Silence swept over the space and subdued it; such absolute silence absorbed Margaret's heart without mercy and spewed into her substantial sorrow.
Quietly, she gazed into the streets of Bath. "So many people," uttered she. "Who am I, but one?" At this, she fell silent, surrendering to her thoughts; she saw no longer the numerous people, but the scarce times she had done anything for anyone other than herself; she had not succeeded in getting her man, the one thing she wanted most and, in consequence, perceived herself: the wretch, the spoilt wretch, the most wretched wretch of all! Until that moment, she had never known herself, but now she looked upon herself and could not see the once-perceived beauty, the fresh-gone sensibility, or the no-longer-imagined compassion. She would flatter herself no longer now that she could hide in the dark no longer and speak of herself to strangers from under that black veil.
She was selfish, but not this only, for Margaret could have forgiven herself that. Of her ignorance, she could plead innocence, for she was ignorant of it. Even her unbridled enthusiasm could be overlooked tolerably. It was not by her faults that Margaret felt shamed in this moment, but her previous pride in them! She had prided herself on being a self-sustaining, unaffected, and feeling girl, but that which was previously esteemed now ashamed Margaret, humbled her violently, and shone light on the arrogant self-regard that now infested her. Was there ever a time that she considered helping someone in need instead of buying new things for herself that she barely even wanted? Was there ever a time she stopped her speech making to enquire after her friend's family and their health? And if she had ever learnt of a friend's sick family member, had she even considered sending her own physician to her sick friend? No! She had not! She had never thought of helping even the family of her friends! "How cruel!" exclaimed Margaret in self-disgust. "How selfish! Never have I met someone worse than this! I, who would not help a friend, a neighbor! I have deceived myself! Oh, how I have deceived myself! Oh! Father in Heaven, have mercy!"
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