Index > Ongoing Stories > At the Haberdasher's with Two Feuding Chaperones and Two Young Ladies Caught in-Between

At the Haberdasher's with Two Feuding Chaperones and Two Young Ladies Caught in-Between

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Grizella Campbell-Coffin Grizella stands at one of the tables sorting through ribbon and occasionally holding up specimens to solicit Eliza's opinion. "Do you think this is too strong a color for an baby gown, dear?"

"I don't see any reason why a child couldn't wear a bright color. Why not something cheerful?" She offered, raising a green ribbon up for Grizella's own inspection.

Mrs. Bolton steps into the haberdasher's not paying attention to the other patrons, and truly what was the worth in it, none of them were of her status and quality. She wore one of her favorite emerald dresses, the thin crepe wrapping around her, the royal blue sash at the waist. She looks behind her to make sure her cousin was following. "I require my usual emerald ribbons but I believe we shall choose a few for yourself, perhaps a regal purple?"

Anya frowns a little. "Isn't purple for mourning?" She asks.

Mrs. Bolton gave the girl a look, rolling her eyes. "It is not only for mourning, I thought the regal color would suit you fashionably well, to show your status as my ward in the Bolton household."

Grizella, her condition obvious in a promenade gown of cardinal with white linen ruffles at her wrists and a feather in her bonnet, does not yet notice those who have just entered, responding to Eliza. "Yes... white is the most practical, of course, but I suppose for a hem or sleeve... perhaps I shall save it for when the child is walking..."

Anya flushes a little. "Oh. In that case, yes. Please. Thank you."

Eliza was wearing a pink day dress with yellow trim, the bonnet she wore in her hair having the same yellow trim. While she was no longer as zit covered as she had been in her original introduction to Tyrhampton, she was still the least attractive lady in the room by far. "How exciting. Do you have any thoughts on a name yet?" She asked, turning slightly, and being first to spot the two ladies entering the small shop. She flushed, and gave a quick curtsey, her eyes drifting first to Grizella, then to Anya.

"And it would suit your coloring as well, of course." Katerina smiled haughtily and then her expression changed when she say the girl holding the emerald ribbon to which she wished to purchase and the creature beside her. She noticed her face first, her own darkening and crackling with flame, then she noticed the woman's condition and her gloved hand clenched into a fist.

Anya's eyes widen, and she watches alertly, her posture a little tense.

Mrs Elmsworth smiles, still mindless of the others in the shop. "'Earnest', if it is a boy, naturally. I thought perhaps William, or Wilbur, for a middle name... I think I'd like 'Georgiana' for a girl, after my mother..." She notices the harridan in the shop, her smile falling and her back stiffening, but /she/ shall not be the one to leave, and she continues picking through the ribbon.

She was not quite sure what to do. She had a sort of budding friendship with Miss Karavayeva , but Grizella appeared to be content to not recognize the other women's presence. "Those are all splendid names." She says quickly, twisting the green ribbon nervously around a finger.

Katerina shook slightly, with fiery fury and perhaps a bit of shame. But she held her head high, her typical haughty expression, nodding not to the Mrs., but to the Miss. "Miss Elmsworth, good day. Your appearance has improved since our last meeting, would you not agree Miss Karavayeva."

Grizella frowns, and pulls Eliza away to another table, unwilling to acknowledge the harpy, nor allow Eliza to do so, putting herself between them. The shift of her skirts as she moves again notes her condition

Anya nods politely, giving the other two women a shy smile.

She flushed at Mrs. Bolton's comment on her appearance, and one of her hand raises up to self consciously feel at her bonnet. Then Grizella was pulling her away, and she quickly obliges, staring at the ground.

Mrs. Bolton shook again as she noted the condition of the other woman once more, her mind shifting between fire and ice. Not at the prospect of a child, she was not fond of children, but the thought that the woman she despised would have an heir before her infuriated her. In some miracle, she keeps her frozen mask in place, although it did not reach her eyes. "Miss Elmsworth, I trust you shall not be purchasing that ribbon, it is quite not your color in the least. Miss Karavayeva, perhaps you should also be more suited to emerald as well, it quite highlights your skin tone and eyes nicely."

Anya's breath hisses out through her teeth. "I think it will look lovely on my friend, cousin."

Grizella moved on to assessing laces, turning to Eliza, and trying to distract her as one might a small child. "What do you think of these, dear? Do you think they are fine enough for the next Elmsworth?"

Katerina narrows her eyes, but her tone still remains frosty. "Perhaps, but I do believe the shade is much more suited to you or I. Miss Elmsworth would look quite well in puce or perhaps /claret/."

Her cheeks dark with embarrassment, Anya says, "I am not feeling quite well. Might we return to your house?"

Grizella does her best to act as if the harpy hadn't even spoken. "Are you going to buy the emerald ribbon, dear? I think it would look /lovely/ trimming your Saxon blue bonnet."

Eliza blushed her usual blotchy red at Mrs. Bolton's statements and Grizella and Miss. Karavayeva's attempts to aid her. Placing the green ribbon on the table, she keeps her eyes low as she nods obediently to Grizella. "I--I find the lace to be perfectly lovely, Mrs. Elmsworth." her voice was as soft as it had ever been.

Mrs. Bolton notices her cousin's apparent distress and gives the girl a look, then looks back to the other pair and sighs. "Indeed we shall, choose your ribbon and we shall be off." She walks over to the table, grabbing the discarded emerald green immediately, however she stops and looks at the girl, giving her a slight smile. "Miss Elmsworth, do try the claret, I believe it would be quite suited to you, Mrs. Elmsworth is /quite/ familiar with the shade, I believe she would do best to guide you correctly." She turns back to her cousin.

She whispers, mortified.

She whispers dismissively.



Grizella motions for a shop assistant. "We'll have three yards of this lace, and three of the rose ribbon, and three of the /emerald green/-please ensure it is /unsullied/." She smiles to her companion. "We shall trim a bonnet, and then have some to spare for anything else you think it would look well with, Eliza."

Katerina interrupts. "I do believe as I am holding the last bit of emerald I shall purchase it, in fact we shall take all your yardage of the shade you have in the back as well, and two yards of that purple as well. My husband is quite fond of the color and Miss Karavayeva we shall trim a bonnet for you as well, you do have a lovely emerald gown that it shall match perfectly."

"Ah-um, yes. Thank you, Mrs. Bolton." Eliza mumbled out shyly, before returning her attentions to Grizella who was still adamant that they pretend like the other party wasn't present in the room. Then.....Mrs. Bolton happened. Eliza just wanted to go home.

Anya gives Eliza an apologetic look, clearly feeling precisely the same.

Grizella finally turns to the unfortunate, looking on her with vague disgust and pity, as though she were a filthy bunter whom she passed in her coach, and eyes the woman's midsection openly before returning her eyes to her face, her voice calm. "You may have the ribbon, /Mrs Bolton/. I hope it shall give you whatever /comfort/ you are so clearly /desperate/ for." She takes Eliza's arm in her own, gently guiding her over to the counter, and away from the rather pathetic pair. "We shall have three yards of the indigo ribbon, in that case-unless there's another color you prefer, Eliza?”

Anya looks down, clearly mortified.

Mrs. Bolton looked with disdain and flame at the woman, noting her glance at her stomach and then lifts her head higher, feeling a slight bit pleased indeed that she was able to at least have this small triumph as comfort. She turns to her cousin. "Do you wish for another color as well?"

Eliza shook her head numbly, unable to remember how to speak, simply relieved that Grizella was guiding her by the arm, so she no longer had to make any action other than make their purchases and leave.

Anya says, dangerously close to tears.

She ignores the distressed sounding Miss Karavayeva-although she /certainly/ pities the creature. "Perhaps three yards of Prussian Blue, and we shall see which we favor." She instructs the assistant to put it on account, and waits for their parcels.

That causes Katerina's expression to change from frozen haughtiness to something almost resembling honest upset at the rejection of her ward and then anger that she would say such a thing, even if it was in Russian, in public. She whispers.



Katerina waves a dismissive hand and gives the girl a rather stern look. She then looks to the shop assistant. "I shall have a maid return for the parcels." She turns then to Miss Elmsworth. "And Good day to you Miss Elmsworth, do head my advice on the claret...and if /you/ are in need of emerald ribbons, do let Miss Karavayeva know. We would be honored to allow /you/ some of the shade."

Anya can't look at them, looking down to hide how close to tears she is.

Eliza flushes all the darker at Mrs. Bolton's parting words, and she manages a slight curtsy, "G-good day, Mrs. Bolton. Miss Karavayeva." She couldn't look either in the eye, and she takes the offered parcel from the shop keep with soft murmured words of thanks.
Grizella ignores the woman entirely, instructing the assistant to assist them to the carriage with their parcels, and once inside, she addresses to Eliza calmly. "I apologize, Eliza. I ought to have been more frank-although I certainly thought my example would do; you are /not/ to address that /pathetic peculiar/ again, no matter what she says to you, nor where she says it. Do you understand? I never want to hear you-nor hear /of/ you-speaking to that wretch /ever again/. She is most /decidedly/ beneath our touch, and /quite/ mad."

She flushed, and ducked her head as she settled into the carriage. "Yes, I understand. I apologize." She offered up meekly. What a horrid day this had turned out to be.

Grizella smiles. "There's no need to apologize, dear. I ought to have been more explicit." After a pause, she speaks again. "One must wonder if their sight is not somehow affected. One so fair-haired as you would be entirely overwhelmed by such a dark shade. I suppose the /woman/ likely only suggested it because she once assaulted me with a glass of claret."

"Of course, it is as you say, Grizella." Eliza agrees immediately. Not because she necessarily agreed; she had no head for fashion, and could tell little difference as to how her complexion was improved whether she wore pink or red, but she had enough faith in Grizella's opinion to agree--and if it might improve her mood, all the better. "I think your baby will look very fine in the lace you selected."

She knows Eliza is only flattering her, and is mildly irritated by it, but manages to conceal her feelings with a pleasant smile. "Thank you, Eliza."

After the woman had left Katerina turns back to the shop girl. "And do cut a yard of the claret as well, and that white lace as well." She walks over to a particularly fine white lace of intricate design then looks back to her cousin. "Upon your next visit...if there is to be another visit, which we shall discuss in length in the carriage. You are to present these to Miss Elmsworth as a gift."

"No."

Katerina narrows her eyes. "And /why/ not?"

"Because I have no interest in offering a gift that is meaningless. You do not apologize with it, and Mrs. Elmsworth will be scornful."

"Why must I apologize for honesty? You will be good to learn this. And perhaps what Mrs. Elmsworth shall surmise by that is something I do not care for... /and/ I shall remind you that it is up to me if you continue your acquaintance with the girl or not. I am being quite generous and patient in doing so and you should /respect/ my wishes and you were /sent/ to learn from myself." She looks at the girl, disappointed in her actions and her rebellious nature, if Katerina was Lady Halliwell, she would strike her as soon as they were in the carriage. But she was not that woman and would find another way to punish the girl that was not physical, nor cruel.

Anya shakes her head. "I . . . We should discuss this further in private."

Katerina nods. "Then let us go to the carriage." She begins walking towards the door, making a note to send staff to collect the large collection of parcels once they returned.

Anya follows obediently enough.

Inside the carriage Mrs. Bolton sits tall, her fiery eyes assessing her cousin.

Anya sits across from her, eyes on her hands, clasped tightly in her lap.

Her voice is stern, flicked with flame. "/What/ would you like to discuss?"

"I thought you would not interfere with the Elmsworths any longer."

"I was merely being polite to Miss Elmsworth, since you so wish for her to be your friend. However, due to your insolence I am unsure that acquaintance should be continued."

"You insulted her looks, Mrs. Bolton!"

"I spoke only that her appearance had improved and suggested she wear another shade. Nothing more and I need not explain myself to you."

"But things would have been better had you not spoken to them at all!"


"Than I believe you shall not either, if you so wish they not be bothered. I have had quite enough and I believe that perhaps you have been sullied by her acquaintance, I was quite impressed upon your progress before their meeting. You shall not continue your acquaintance with Miss Elmsworth, you shall not speak to Mrs. Elmsworth. They are far beyond our worth and I should have not been so kind as to allow your friendship to begin with.”

"You are quite right that they are beyond our worth, but not in the direction that you seem to think!" She is crying now, though her tears are silent.

"And in /what/ direction do you believe them to be worthless?" Katerina snaps, quite beyond patience.

Anya shakes her head, refusing to converse further.

"You shall speak when given a question."

she asks dully.



"Does that count as Gothic, do you think?" Anya says with thoughtful sarcasm.

She fumes. "I have quite lost my patience with you cousin, if you see fit yet another punishment than I shall acquiesce. I am /not/ cruel, but I shall not be disrespected so vehemently by my ward, /in public/."

"I am caring for my own reputation and friendships, as your squabble with Mrs. Elmsworth seems to be all you care about!"

"Your reputation is perfectly intact and how dare you believe that my argument with Mrs. Elmsworth is all I care for? I care for my family, Mr. Bolton and perhaps you. I shall hear no more discussion of this matter. Your acquaintance with Miss Elmsworth has finished, you shall do well to respect me and my decisions regarding your future."

". . . Yes ma'am."

Mrs. Bolton nods, perfectly pleased to remain silent for the rest of the ride.

Anya withdraws a handkerchief and is likewise silent.
Posted 2 months ago
Grizella Campbell-Coffin ((A collaboration between the players of Grizella Elmsworth, Eliza Elmsworth, Katerina Bolton, and Anya Karavayeva. Reposted below with the offending symbols removed.))

rizella stands at one of the tables sorting through ribbon and occasionally holding up specimens to solicit Eliza's opinion. "Do you think this is too strong a color for an baby gown, dear?"

"I don't see any reason why a child couldn't wear a bright color. Why not something cheerful?" She offered, raising a green ribbon up for Grizella's own inspection.

Mrs. Bolton steps into the haberdasher's not paying attention to the other patrons, and truly what was the worth in it, none of them were of her status and quality. She wore one of her favorite emerald dresses, the thin crepe wrapping around her, the royal blue sash at the waist. She looks behind her to make sure her cousin was following. "I require my usual emerald ribbons but I believe we shall choose a few for yourself, perhaps a regal purple?"

Anya frowns a little. "Isn't purple for mourning?" She asks.

Mrs. Bolton gave the girl a look, rolling her eyes. "It is not only for mourning, I thought the regal color would suit you fashionably well, to show your status as my ward in the Bolton household."

Grizella, her condition obvious in a promenade gown of cardinal with white linen ruffles at her wrists and a feather in her bonnet, does not yet notice those who have just entered, responding to Eliza. "Yes... white is the most practical, of course, but I suppose for a hem or sleeve... perhaps I shall save it for when the child is walking..."

Anya flushes a little. "Oh. In that case, yes. Please. Thank you."

Eliza was wearing a pink day dress with yellow trim, the bonnet she wore in her hair having the same yellow trim. While she was no longer as zit covered as she had been in her original introduction to Tyrhampton, she was still the least attractive lady in the room by far. "How exciting. Do you have any thoughts on a name yet?" She asked, turning slightly, and being first to spot the two ladies entering the small shop. She flushed, and gave a quick curtsey, her eyes drifting first to Grizella, then to Anya.

"And it would suit your coloring as well, of course." Katerina smiled haughtily and then her expression changed when she say the girl holding the emerald ribbon to which she wished to purchase and the creature beside her. She noticed her face first, her own darkening and crackling with flame, then she noticed the woman's condition and her gloved hand clenched into a fist.

Anya's eyes widen, and she watches alertly, her posture a little tense.

Mrs Elmsworth smiles, still mindless of the others in the shop. "'Earnest', if it is a boy, naturally. I thought perhaps William, or Wilbur, for a middle name... I think I'd like 'Georgiana' for a girl, after my mother..." She notices the harridan in the shop, her smile falling and her back stiffening, but /she/ shall not be the one to leave, and she continues picking through the ribbon.

She was not quite sure what to do. She had a sort of budding friendship with Miss Karavayeva , but Grizella appeared to be content to not recognize the other women's presence. "Those are all splendid names." She says quickly, twisting the green ribbon nervously around a finger.

Katerina shook slightly, with fiery fury and perhaps a bit of shame. But she held her head high, her typical haughty expression, nodding not to the Mrs., but to the Miss. "Miss Elmsworth, good day. Your appearance has improved since our last meeting, would you not agree Miss Karavayeva."

Grizella frowns, and pulls Eliza away to another table, unwilling to acknowledge the harpy, nor allow Eliza to do so, putting herself between them. The shift of her skirts as she moves again notes her condition

Anya nods politely, giving the other two women a shy smile.

She flushed at Mrs. Bolton's comment on her appearance, and one of her hand raises up to self consciously feel at her bonnet. Then Grizella was pulling her away, and she quickly obliges, staring at the ground.

Mrs. Bolton shook again as she noted the condition of the other woman once more, her mind shifting between fire and ice. Not at the prospect of a child, she was not fond of children, but the thought that the woman she despised would have an heir before her infuriated her. In some miracle, she keeps her frozen mask in place, although it did not reach her eyes. "Miss Elmsworth, I trust you shall not be purchasing that ribbon, it is quite not your color in the least. Miss Karavayeva, perhaps you should also be more suited to emerald as well, it quite highlights your skin tone and eyes nicely."

Anya's breath hisses out through her teeth. "I think it will look lovely on my friend, cousin."

Grizella moved on to assessing laces, turning to Eliza, and trying to distract her as one might a small child. "What do you think of these, dear? Do you think they are fine enough for the next Elmsworth?"

Katerina narrows her eyes, but her tone still remains frosty. "Perhaps, but I do believe the shade is much more suited to you or I. Miss Elmsworth would look quite well in puce or perhaps /claret/."

Her cheeks dark with embarrassment, Anya says, "I am not feeling quite well. Might we return to your house?"

Grizella does her best to act as if the harpy hadn't even spoken. "Are you going to buy the emerald ribbon, dear? I think it would look /lovely/ trimming your Saxon blue bonnet."

Eliza blushed her usual blotchy red at Mrs. Bolton's statements and Grizella and Miss. Karavayeva's attempts to aid her. Placing the green ribbon on the table, she keeps her eyes low as she nods obediently to Grizella. "I--I find the lace to be perfectly lovely, Mrs. Elmsworth." her voice was as soft as it had ever been.

Mrs. Bolton notices her cousin's apparent distress and gives the girl a look, then looks back to the other pair and sighs. "Indeed we shall, choose your ribbon and we shall be off." She walks over to the table, grabbing the discarded emerald green immediately, however she stops and looks at the girl, giving her a slight smile. "Miss Elmsworth, do try the claret, I believe it would be quite suited to you, Mrs. Elmsworth is /quite/ familiar with the shade, I believe she would do best to guide you correctly." She turns back to her cousin.

Why must you try to antagonize them?! She whispers in Russian, mortified.

“I am doing nothing of the sort, the girl would look quite well in a darker shade, whomever chose pink for her did not think of her complexion." She whispers dismissively in return.

“But saying so is an insult to her chaperone. You are not wrong she would look well in that shade, but you don't have to say so!!”

Grizella motions for a shop assistant. "We'll have three yards of this lace, and three of the rose ribbon, and three of the /emerald green/-please ensure it is /unsullied/." She smiles to her companion. "We shall trim a bonnet, and then have some to spare for anything else you think it would look well with, Eliza."

Katerina interrupts. "I do believe as I am holding the last bit of emerald I shall purchase it, in fact we shall take all your yardage of the shade you have in the back as well, and two yards of that purple as well. My husband is quite fond of the color and Miss Karavayeva we shall trim a bonnet for you as well, you do have a lovely emerald gown that it shall match perfectly."

"Ah-um, yes. Thank you, Mrs. Bolton." Eliza mumbled out shyly, before returning her attentions to Grizella who was still adamant that they pretend like the other party wasn't present in the room. Then.....Mrs. Bolton happened. Eliza just wanted to go home.

Anya gives Eliza an apologetic look, clearly feeling precisely the same.

Grizella finally turns to the unfortunate, looking on her with vague disgust and pity, as though she were a filthy bunter whom she passed in her coach, and eyes the woman's midsection openly before returning her eyes to her face, her voice calm. "You may have the ribbon, /Mrs Bolton/. I hope it shall give you whatever /comfort/ you are so clearly /desperate/ for." She takes Eliza's arm in her own, gently guiding her over to the counter, and away from the rather pathetic pair. "We shall have three yards of the indigo ribbon, in that case-unless there's another color you prefer, Eliza?”

Anya looks down, clearly mortified.

Mrs. Bolton looked with disdain and flame at the woman, noting her glance at her stomach and then lifts her head higher, feeling a slight bit pleased indeed that she was able to at least have this small triumph as comfort. She turns to her cousin. "Do you wish for another color as well?"

Eliza shook her head numbly, unable to remember how to speak, simply relieved that Grizella was guiding her by the arm, so she no longer had to make any action other than make their purchases and leave.

I wish I had never been sent here! Anya says, dangerously close to tears.

She ignores the distressed sounding Miss Karavayeva-although she /certainly/ pities the creature. "Perhaps three yards of Prussian Blue, and we shall see which we favor." She instructs the assistant to put it on account, and waits for their parcels.

That causes Katerina's expression to change from frozen haughtiness to something almost resembling honest upset at the rejection of her ward and then anger that she would say such a thing, even if it was in Russian, in public. Whatever is the matter? Do contain yourself. She whispers.

“I can't make friends if you are unpleasant over /ribbons/!” Miss Karavayeva exclaims in Russian.

Katerina waves a dismissive hand and gives the girl a rather stern look and a response in Russian as well. “I am being truthful and you will be good to respect your elders. I had thought better of you.” She then looks to the shop assistant. "I shall have a maid return for the parcels." She turns then to Miss Elmsworth. "And Good day to you Miss Elmsworth, do head my advice on the claret...and if /you/ are in need of emerald ribbons, do let Miss Karavayeva know. We would be honored to allow /you/ some of the shade."

Anya can't look at them, looking down to hide how close to tears she is.

Eliza flushes all the darker at Mrs. Bolton's parting words, and she manages a slight curtsy, "G-good day, Mrs. Bolton. Miss Karavayeva." She couldn't look either in the eye, and she takes the offered parcel from the shop keep with soft murmured words of thanks.
Grizella ignores the woman entirely, instructing the assistant to assist them to the carriage with their parcels, and once inside, she addresses to Eliza calmly. "I apologize, Eliza. I ought to have been more frank-although I certainly thought my example would do; you are /not/ to address that /pathetic peculiar/ again, no matter what she says to you, nor where she says it. Do you understand? I never want to hear you-nor hear /of/ you-speaking to that wretch /ever again/. She is most /decidedly/ beneath our touch, and /quite/ mad."

She flushed, and ducked her head as she settled into the carriage. "Yes, I understand. I apologize." She offered up meekly. What a horrid day this had turned out to be.

Grizella smiles. "There's no need to apologize, dear. I ought to have been more explicit." After a pause, she speaks again. "One must wonder if their sight is not somehow affected. One so fair-haired as you would be entirely overwhelmed by such a dark shade. I suppose the /woman/ likely only suggested it because she once assaulted me with a glass of claret."

"Of course, it is as you say, Grizella." Eliza agrees immediately. Not because she necessarily agreed; she had no head for fashion, and could tell little difference as to how her complexion was improved whether she wore pink or red, but she had enough faith in Grizella's opinion to agree--and if it might improve her mood, all the better. "I think your baby will look very fine in the lace you selected."

She knows Eliza is only flattering her, and is mildly irritated by it, but manages to conceal her feelings with a pleasant smile. "Thank you, Eliza."

After the woman had left Katerina turns back to the shop girl. "And do cut a yard of the claret as well, and that white lace as well." She walks over to a particularly fine white lace of intricate design then looks back to her cousin. "Upon your next visit...if there is to be another visit, which we shall discuss in length in the carriage. You are to present these to Miss Elmsworth as a gift."

"No."

Katerina narrows her eyes. "And /why/ not?"

"Because I have no interest in offering a gift that is meaningless. You do not apologize with it, and Mrs. Elmsworth will be scornful."

"Why must I apologize for honesty? You will be good to learn this. And perhaps what Mrs. Elmsworth shall surmise by that is something I do not care for... /and/ I shall remind you that it is up to me if you continue your acquaintance with the girl or not. I am being quite generous and patient in doing so and you should /respect/ my wishes and you were /sent/ to learn from myself." She looks at the girl, disappointed in her actions and her rebellious nature, if Katerina was Lady Halliwell, she would strike her as soon as they were in the carriage. But she was not that woman and would find another way to punish the girl that was not physical, nor cruel.

Anya shakes her head. "I . . . We should discuss this further in private."

Katerina nods. "Then let us go to the carriage." She begins walking towards the door, making a note to send staff to collect the large collection of parcels once they returned.

Anya follows obediently enough.

Inside the carriage Mrs. Bolton sits tall, her fiery eyes assessing her cousin.

Anya sits across from her, eyes on her hands, clasped tightly in her lap.

Her voice is stern, flicked with flame. "/What/ would you like to discuss?"

"I thought you would not interfere with the Elmsworths any longer."

"I was merely being polite to Miss Elmsworth, since you so wish for her to be your friend. However, due to your insolence I am unsure that acquaintance should be continued."

"You insulted her looks, Mrs. Bolton!"

"I spoke only that her appearance had improved and suggested she wear another shade. Nothing more and I need not explain myself to you."

"But things would have been better had you not spoken to them at all!"


"Than I believe you shall not either, if you so wish they not be bothered. I have had quite enough and I believe that perhaps you have been sullied by her acquaintance, I was quite impressed upon your progress before their meeting. You shall not continue your acquaintance with Miss Elmsworth, you shall not speak to Mrs. Elmsworth. They are far beyond our worth and I should have not been so kind as to allow your friendship to begin with.”

"You are quite right that they are beyond our worth, but not in the direction that you seem to think!" She is crying now, though her tears are silent.

"And in /what/ direction do you believe them to be worthless?" Katerina snaps, quite beyond patience.

Anya shakes her head, refusing to converse further.

"You shall speak when given a question."

“Or what?” she asks dully.

“Or I shall have you eat the meal to which is made for Mr. Bolton and myself. I need not have given you that kindness either."

"Does that count as Gothic, do you think?" Anya says with thoughtful sarcasm.

She fumes. "I have quite lost my patience with you cousin, if you see fit yet another punishment than I shall acquiesce. I am /not/ cruel, but I shall not be disrespected so vehemently by my ward, /in public/."

"I am caring for my own reputation and friendships, as your squabble with Mrs. Elmsworth seems to be all you care about!"

"Your reputation is perfectly intact and how dare you believe that my argument with Mrs. Elmsworth is all I care for? I care for my family, Mr. Bolton and perhaps you. I shall hear no more discussion of this matter. Your acquaintance with Miss Elmsworth has finished, you shall do well to respect me and my decisions regarding your future."

". . . Yes ma'am."

Mrs. Bolton nods, perfectly pleased to remain silent for the rest of the ride.

Anya withdraws a handkerchief and is likewise silent.
Posted 2 months ago

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