Index > Ongoing Stories > A visit to the Elmsworths from Miss Christianna Nott;

A visit to the Elmsworths from Miss Christianna Nott;

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Grizella Campbell-Coffin Grizella sat next to Eliza at the pianoforte in a gown of mulberry-she had thought to avoid paler shades, even white, around her sister, so as not to make her feel as though /they/ were in any competition . Her playing had improved since Eliza had come, she thought-Eliza and Earnest's opinions may very well differ, but having found herself so easily affected by their words as of late she had decided not to ask their opinion yet.

Christy, wearing a shade of yellow that does not particularly suit her but that has attractive light blue embroidery, knocks on the door of the Elmsworth residence, a small smile on her face. She is truly looking forward to seeing her friend and meeting Miss Elmsworth.

Eliza watched her sister in law's hands as they worked through one of the songs in the composition book her brother had ordered for Grizella. Grizella's handwork had very much improved---but Eliza was worried she might grow disinclined as she began to realize the occasional tedium that was necessary for true proficiency. "You are--" She begins, pausing as the butler announced a visitor at the door--the name another unfamiliar to her. Eliza wore her white muslin with blue stripes--the dress steadily appearing to be her favorite as of late.

Grizella smiles broadly at the announcement of Miss Nott and rises. "Of course, please show Miss Nott in."

Christy enters, the small curve of her lips becoming a beaming smile as she sees her friend. She curtsies and says warmly, "Mrs. Elmsworth. It is wonderfull to see you again."

Grizella smiles warmly, curtsying. "Likewise, Miss Nott." She turns to her sister. "Eliza, may I present Miss Christianna Nott, of Kent?"

Christianna smiles with equal pleasure at her friend's sister in law, admiring her dress.

She rose from the piano, and offered her own curtsey, "A pleasure to meet you, Miss. Nott." She offers a shy smile--slightly nervous after the last visit that had taken place.

Grizella pulls the bell, and then moves to the settee, motioning for them to sit. "How do you find the Stanton residence, Miss Nott? I hope your journey was not too arduous."

"Likewise, Miss Elmsworth." Christianna seats herself and smiles. "It is a lovely house. Mrs. Stanton is a very gracious hostess and the company of Miss Hughes is as charming as ever. My journey was long, but not unpleasant, thank you. And you have been well, I hope?" She smiles at both the ladies.

The name Stanton was familiar, but Eliza could not place it. Was it the name of one of the ladies Grizella wished to invite to tea? "Yes, Tyrhampton is quite enjoyable. Will you be here long, Miss. Nott?"

"I . . ." Christy hesitates, looking unsure, "I am not certain actually. I came at the invitation of my friend Miss Hughes, and a date for my return to Kent has not yet been discussed."

Grizella smiles as the tea arrives and she prepares it. "I hope you shall be staying as long as pleases you, Miss Nott-and I am sure the Stantons and Miss Hughes feel similarly."

Eliza perked up as she heard a name she DID recognize. "I have met a Miss. Hughes--not formally, but we came across each other at the library a short time ago. She seems a very nice sort of lady."

Christy smiles brightly. "That sounds like her. She /is/ and a very talented musician . . . A singer and composer." She clearly has a sisterly sense of pride for her friend.

"How is Miss Hughes, may I ask? I saw her briefly when I retrieved a letter from Mrs Hatch's, but I am afraid we were unable to converse."

Christy smiles warmly, though she is unsure how much her friend would wish her to reveal. "She is very well, I believe."

She was interested to hear of a lady composing music, and found herself eager for another meeting with the young miss.

"Your sister mentioned you are an accomplished musician yourself, Miss Elmsworth?"

She flushed at hearing that she had been spoken of, "Y-yes. I rather enjoy the pianoforte. The instrument of Grizella's is quite impressive."

She smiles wryly. "How fortunate there is one here to play it properly."

Christianna eyes her friend with amusement. "Indeed . . . Will you still play for no one, Mrs. Elmsworth?" Her tone is slightly teasing.

She raised a hand to cover her mouth as she muffled a surprised giggle. "My sister is far too humble. She plays wonderfully."

She laughs a little. "Miss Elmsworth, being kind enough to help me improve my playing, must suffer it. Mr Elmsworth must endure it as well. And Mr Roland, I suppose."

He'd been in the hallway, heading for the door--when he heard his name. He made for the parlor, and paused at the door, recognizing the girl within instantly. Then he was out of the door and against the wall--hidden from view, his face tomato red.

Christianna stiffens slightly, her brow arching without her meaning it to and much of the warmth fading from her voice. "Mr. Roland?" She cannot conceal her disdain, though she tries to temper it for Miss Elmsworth's sake.

Grizella's smile freezes to her face, unsure what to do.

Eliza was confused, then irritated at the shift of the room. She glances at Grizella, before rising to her feet. "If you'll...excuse me, for a moment." She says, before walking out of the room. She felt a mix between humiliation and irritation. The sound of angry whispered words being delivered back and forth can be heard from the hallway, then the sound of someone departing for the stairs. Then Eliza had returned, both her embarrassment and frustration apparent. "I....I apologize, my brother was unaware there was to be company, and is unfortunately unwell." The lie felt thick on her tongue.

Grizella raises a brow, but smiles again. It was for the best, surely. "Yes-I recall he mentioned something or other about it, I believe."

"I . . . I see. How . . . unfortunate." Christianna does not quite manage to sound sincere.

Eliza cleared her throat, "Yes, very."

Christy, clearly very uncomfortable, clears her throat and says somewhat abruptly, "Are you fond of gardening, Miss Elmsworth?"

"What? Oh, yes. Greatly, in fact." She straightened up slightly. "I actually like to think of myself as something of an amateur botanist." She managed a laugh, glad the subject had drifted from Roland. "And you?"

Grizella manages to avoid quirking her brow in surprise. She thinks this is the first she's heard of Eliza's interest in botany.

Christy lights up a little, pleasantly surprised to find they share this interest. "Oh, yes! Your sister," She smiles warmly at Mrs. Elmsworth, "Gave me a lovely book on the subject . . . I know more about herbs to be honest, and what flowers are best for bees, but I enjoy imagining what it would be like to plan a garden."

"You are interested in herbs?" Eliza's face began to show an enthusiastic energy that had not previously been present. "Have you had the opportunity to read Rousseau's Letters on the Elements of Botany? I found them quite informative. I was given the luxury of experimenting with a portion of the back garden at Goodhill, and I fear I would have been quite lost without the proper instructive guides." As well as a great deal of trial and error.

A slow smile spreads over Grizella's face. This was better than the meeting with the Russian chit in every conceivable way.

"Oh yes!" Christianna beams. "What are your favorite blooms?"

"An impossible question!" Eliza laughs. "I feel as though I am betraying one flower for every other bud I select in its place." She tried to offer up what she could, "Zinnia's are an easy enough flower to make bloom--but there is a sense of victory when you can coerce roses to blossom, two seasons ago I managed a lovely bush of white roses."
Christy smiles warmly. "I am very fond of roses . . . Though my favorite bloom has always been the foxglove. There is a field of them near my house that I have always longed to paint. Though I have little to no skill with a brush." She smiles with faint embarrassment.

"Foxgloves are very fine."She gives a nod of her head, "Are you an avid painter, Miss. Nott?"

Christy laughs lightly at this. "No! Not at all. I sketch sometimes for my own amusement, but it should be a shame to waste good paint and paper by letting me anywhere near it. Yourself, Miss Elmsworth?

"Not with anything you might call accomplishment. I fear the paper would be equally wasted on me." Eliza admits with a laugh of her own. She was having a good time, she hoped that Miss. Nott would indeed prolong her stay in Tyrhampton.

Christianna smiles warmly. "Well, from what I have heard of your musical accomplishment, that is only because you have devoted your time to other talents."

She flushed her blotchy red, "Grizella has been flattering me." Or was Miss. Nott familiar with Cecelia?

"Then you must play for me sometime, and I may decide for myself," Christy says encouragingly.

She looks to Eliza, smiling still. "Oh, it's hardly flattery." She returns her gaze to Miss Nott. "Miss Elmsworth was helping me in improving my playing before you arrived."

"Ah," Christy realizes she has rather overstayed the polite time for a visit and rises, blushing a little herself. "Well then, I should let you return to that. It was lovely to see you Mrs. Elmsworth, Miss Elmsworth, a pleasure, truly." She smiles warmly and sincerely at the other girl.

"Yes, I look forward to speaking with you again soon." She already couldn't wait for the return visit she and Grizella would need to make.

Grizella stands, somewhat regretful that Miss Nott /wouldn't/ overstay, when Miss Karavayeva /did/. "Good afternoon, Miss Nott. It was wonderful to have you, as it always is, and I hope you shall visit us again soon." She curtsies.

She curtsied, and waited until Miss. Nott had departed before Eliza actually showed a rather uncharacteristic childish side. Rather than ask permission to be excused, she leaves the room in a hurry; clearly on a Roland hunt.

Grizella is clearly surprised and a little horrified. "Eliza!"

Eliza had reached Roland's room, and began to go on a brief tangent about how embarrassing Roland's conduct had been, and how she was so close to making a friend--and really how DARE he. Roland meanwhile interrupted his sisters with proclamations about she didn't understand, and she was being ridiculous, and really--it had all been for the best. A pillow MAY have been tossed in someone's face. Someone's nose MIGHT have been accused of being too long. Someone's eyelashes MIGHT have been referred to as being far too girlish. The disgruntled twins managed to keep their voices down--but anyone even slightly near Roland's door would have been able to hear them clearly enough.

Grizella had pursued Eliza-albeit at a subdued pace-to Roland's chamber, opening the door without knocking, /hopefully/ stopping the childish bickering.

The conversation did indeed cease at the suddenly open door as well as Grizella's appearance. Both Elmsworth twins had the decency to look rather shamefaced, and Roland dropped the pillow.

Grizella frowns and raises a brow, waiting to see if one of them shall say anything in their defense.

Eliza had seemingly become incredibly fascinated by the floor--and after glancing at his twin and confirming she would be absolutely no help, Roland offers up an explanation. "All things considered, I thought it would be best if I didn't meet with Miss. Nott at present."

Grizella nods. "I am inclined to agree. Regardless, you ought to have excused yourself more politely, do you not agree, Mr Roland? Further, if you could have conducted yourself in a friendly manner... well, Miss Nott would have something positive to write to Miss Miriam, would she not?"

His cheeks turned red as he considered the wisdom of her words, "....Quite right."

Mrs Elmsworth looks between the siblings. "Anyone who wishes to be treated as a young lady or gentleman in this household must cease to act like a child. Am I understood? There shall be no chasing one-another through the halls, nor childish bickering."

There was a quick murmuring of apologies and agreements to the new Mrs. Elmsworth.

Grizella continues looking between the siblings for several moments. "Thank you. I would not like to have to send you both back to the nursery. You're both rather too tall for the one in this house, I am afraid." With a small grin she quits the doorway, heading back downstairs at a slow, measured pace.

There was a period of thoughtful silence after Grizella had departed. Then one of the Elmsworth twins may have taken the opportunity to throw a pillow in the other's face for one last time.
Posted 5 months ago

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