A NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:

Hello, my name is PiecesOfRainbow7, also known as BlatantMarySue on the website ! Some of you may have seen this story before - unfortunately it was plagiarized by a certain "author" on this site who shall remain nameless unless she decides to do anything else annoying! Yes, someone actually copied and pasted it on and tried to pass it off as her own!
Well, it's all sorted out now, so here is the original, unadulterated story! Hope you all enjoy :D

CHAPTER ONE:

Alexandra shifted uncomfortably in her corset and sighed an exasperated sigh as she gazed listlessly out the window into the streaming rain. The voice of her father's scolding was droning in and out of her ears.

"…Absolutely disgraceful, you have brought nothing but shame to this family, when we have sacrificed so much to give you…"

Her father was pacing ungracefully in front of the flickering fire that mirrored his rage. "What have you to say for yourself?"

"Nothing," she responded, defiantly. "I'm sorry to have caused you distress, father, that is the best I can offer." Her father's expression softened.

"Alexandra, you're all I have left since your mother's death, and you know I love you no matter what… but you cannot expect to behave so badly and not expect to receive any consequences."

"What consequences, specifically?" Alexandra's eyes narrowed. Her father took a deep breath and turned away.

"I've made a special arrangement, daughter."

Well this was different.

Alexandra stood looking at herself in the mirror. She was bound in a thick navy blue uniform and her flaming red hair was tucked away in a jaunty cap. So this was what her father had meant.

Though she loved him, she felt a resonating anger toward her father. It was only because of his neglect that she had ended up in this mess to begin with. It all started with the death of her mother a year before to the fever. Unable to cope, retired General Dewitt had sent his daughter to a finishing school in London. Alexandra only wanted to stay and spend her twentieth year among the many family farms with her friends and her father, the only parent she had left. Instead she found herself in a stuffy school surrounded by affected, competitive teenage girls. She had never been much of a girl's girl, always preferring to spend time outside getting dirty rather than sitting by dim firelight embroidering daisies.

In London she grew restless and entered into some situations that could be considered debaucheries—the pinnacle of which consisted of embarking on an intimate relationship with the stable boy who then proceeded to sell the story to the papers. Not only was it improper for a socialite of her status and wealth to be matched with a poor, working-class man, but it was also a complete scandal because the entire London population and indeed many in the country knew that the couple had engaged in dangerous interactions with no plans whatsoever to marry.

Now, she knew nothing of his whereabouts. The last she heard from him, he was moving to the industrious North to work in a cotton factory. Well, good riddance, she thought to herself as she crossed her arms in front of the mirror and inspected herself more carefully. To her, what she saw didn't look like a man. Certainly, her ample bosom was bound tightly and her hair was securely fastened atop her head and hidden underneath the cap, but her eyes were still womanly. She exhaled gruffly and slouched, trying to adopt a manly look.

There was a quiet knock at the door.

"Come in?" She said in a high voice, before catching herself and repeating, "Come in!" in a lower register. Her maid, Isabel entered and gasped when she saw her mistress.

"My Goodness," She gasped. "You don't look at all like yourself!"

"Don't I?" Alexandra asked, uncertainly, before looking back at the mirror. "I'm not sure…"

"Oh, no, Mistress. Really, it's an amazing transformation." Alexandra continued to adjust her posture for a moment, before giving an exasperated sigh.

"I'm sorry. Did you need me for something?"

"Yes, miss, your father wants to see you." "Of course he does." Alexandra said, flatly. Then, with a softer tone, she turned to face the maid. "Isabel, do you think this is foolish?"

The maid thought for a moment before saying, "Isn't it what you wanted, miss?"

"Well, yes!" Alexandra emoted. "Of course I want to fight! I care about the cause just as much as any man!"

"Then I don't think it's foolish, miss. I think it's brave."