A/N: This is an AU, inspired by the works of the wonderful Jane Austen.
Set in the 19th century, this is the story of Mr John Smith (a completely human but very mysterious gentleman, known to some – shall we say, questionable alliances - as 'the Doctor'...) and Miss Rose Tyler (a young woman of relatively average social status, but who is pretty enough to attract the attention of all the unmarried men in the county; and most of the married ones too...)
It is the story of how they first meet; of how they quickly become friends with an unbreakable bond; of how that unbreakable bond is tested in its tenacity in a variety of ways. It is the story of how they observe those around them, sometimes curious, sometimes cautious, sometimes unconcerned. It is the story of how these two people - in a society driven by the want of fortune, of recognition, of status and power and possession - only want for veracity and adventure and forgiveness.
It is the story of kindred souls meeting palm to palm and never wanting to let go.
A Flowering Adventure
- Chapter 1 -
It was somewhat an acknowledged truth in the little town of Leadworth, that Miss Tyler was the most wonderfully charming young lady to have ever walked the Earth.
Granted, she was a stubborn young lady, too, but it was of very good opinion within the area that such a feature enhanced her witty disposition and handsome figure rather than lessened them. Indeed, her remarkable take on the world and the air of friendliness, openness, and honesty which she displayed upon meeting any person – whether they were of consequence to her social standing or not - placed her to be one of the most desirable women across the county. And this was a grand achievement, in light of where she came from in life, in comparison with her supposed contemporaries.
"That Miss Tyler," Mrs Jackson, a woman of a great propensity for gossip, began to Mrs Jones one Sunday on their return walk from Church, "Is sure to find herself in much trouble. She is so mischievous!"
They had just now borne witness to the aforementioned girl engaging in a fruitful discussion with the vicar, Reverend Golightly, about whether it was well within her rights to arrive late to the Church service, seeing as she had been conversing with God up on the hill in any case. Singing and dancing, no doubt, an elderly member of the congregation had muttered in disapproval, but the Reverend, struck by the girl's belief in her words and the unspoken apology written clearly in her eyes, had pardoned her.
"That is true," replied Mrs Jones. "And yet one can't help but like her. She is so...I'm not quite sure. I can't place it. She is different, indeed, has been since she was a little girl, and the young boys of the village are certainly taken with it, and yet...it feels like she doesn't quite belong. Far too outspoken and witty for any man to want to marry her; I fear she is run away with her feelings almost too much."
"Yes, I agree. It is lovely to see, now and then, a young lady becoming more confident than, dare I say it, society allows. But it will surely keep her single, no matter how much the males like her when they are young, for she would not make a very excellent wife when they are of age. And that is unfortunate, for she has such a pretty smile, and a thoughtful tendency to others."
"Hmm, yes. Although, that thoughtfulness for others, even those in the lower class, is what makes her so unusual, truly..." Mrs Jones considered thoughtfully as they came to the end of their journey together, before which they would go on in separate directions. They stood on the edge of the path, observing the congregation departing around them. "I suppose it is so because of the fact that she was not, strictly speaking, born a girl of the upper class society. It is the fortunate connections of her late father that allows her and Mrs Tyler to live on Mr Mott's estate."
"That is true, dearest. Very true. Very fortunate for her indeed, or else she would have become a serving girl, no doubt!"
"Oh, the idea of it! What a poor child she would be for that to happen. Although, she is always keen to help...alas, a lot of young girls today, well, aside from my own daughters, of course, are too content with vanity and ribbons and balls than to think of helping their mothers or indeed, their lower class citizens."
"Ah yes. How wonderful it is that yours are sensible enough, Mrs Jones. And speaking of your daughters – how are the young Miss Jones and Miss Leticia Jones? Have they yet caught the eye of a wealthy prospective husband?" inquired Mrs Jackson curiously.
"Well," conspired her friend in a hushed tone. "There is hope from the pair of them that they may meet this new gentleman coming into Leadworth at Mr Mott's ball on Saturday. They are very eager to meet the new gentleman, an old friend of Mr Mott's, apparently, though I can hardly see how, as I have also heard the new gentleman is reasonably young, in his thirties, perhaps? In any case, there is excitement amongst all the girls in the neighbourhood, all eager to impress the new, wealthy man and hope to secure him! Of course, my girls have picked out their best clothes and are hoping to impress him the most. Think of it, Mrs Jackson - how wonderful it would be if one of them were to marry him!"
"You have not even seen him yet!" exclaimed Mrs Jackson light-heartedly. "He could be completely unattractive!"
"Unattractive? With ten thousand - perhaps even twelve! - a year, I hardly think the man's attractiveness would matter to any of the girls in the slightest," Mrs Jones chuckled.
"But it does help," Mrs Jackson noted with a smile, turning to leave.
"Of course," her friend agreed.
Mrs Jackson was about to nod her goodbye, when she suddenly thought, "You say he is to visit Mr Mott's ball on Saturday?"
"Yes," Mrs Jones confirmed. "Why?"
"Well, it occurs to me, my friend, that what with two young ladies already staying at the residence, even if the countless interested and interesting girls in the village were not to attend, your daughters have a little competition already, from both Mr Mott's granddaughter and the young lady we were earlier conversing about," Mrs Jackson pondered, not noticing the scowl her friend sent her way. "No matter, though," she shrugged. "As you say, your girls are pretty, free from vanity, and not in the least insensible, and I am sure in this their characters make up the same virtuousness as Miss Tyler herself."
And with that, Mrs Jackson wandered home, unaware of the seeds of doubt creeping into her good friend's mind about whether she did indeed like this young Miss Tyler after all.