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Ceasebury: Chapter Three
Ceasebury: Chapter Three

Ceasebury: Chapter Three

Mitzi1776Mitzi Danielson-Kaslik
1 Review

The two young men at the bottom of the sweeping marble staircase were both tall and well dressed. One dressed in a light blue jacket and cream trousers while the other was dressed in burgundy and black. It took me no time at all to tell which was Master Kingston, he was the former gentleman, dressed in the lighter shades with thick dirty blond hair, similar to that of his sister. As Gabriella and I reached the bottom of the stairs, both men took a deep bow and we turned to face them directly, me to Master Kingston and Gabriella to the Marquess.

“Ladies, I would like to present to you Master Kingston,” My mother gestured to him “and Marquess Ravenswood.” Both men bowed once more as they were named. I became conscious that Master Kingston held his head quite high up was he stood (even when he bowed for that matter). His nose pointed up to the ceiling as if he were trying to perpetually balance a ball, like a performing seal. I let out a little snigger. My mother looked disapprovingly at me.

“Marquess Ravenswood, this is my daughter, Miss Theodosia Antoinette Ceasebury. She turned seventeen in February and despite her young age, we - that is to say, her father and myself – have made the decision that she is ready to make an excellent wife.” She asserted proudly. I took a slight side glance at Gabriella and noted her confused look.

“Charmed, I’m sure.” Marquess Ravenswood remarked, almost as if he had seen something very interesting. Had he ever seen a girl before? I thought he was a Marquess not a monk.

“And this is Miss Gabriella Carlotta Kingston, she was left in my care as a child.” My mother continued to the Marquess as an afterthought. I looked at Master Kingston and he looked unmoved by the poor introduction his younger sister had just had to the man she - as he thought – would marry. He just continued to look to the side, staring blankly at a portrait of me on the swing in the Secret Gardens painted a few years ago. I wondered what he thought about it.

“Gentlemen, please follow me into the dining room.” My mother led the four of us through the vast white halls and flung open the white double doors so hard it was a wonder to me that the tiny crystalline panes of glass within them didn’t shatter onto the marble floor. Gabriella’s greenish eyes seemed to dazzle with an artificial softness towards the world at large as I walked where I had been placed (between the two gentlemen) and she walked to the left of her brother who seemed to regard her with a subtle distain. I thought that most odd.

I couldn’t believe the opulence of the dining room, illuminated by the dying sunlight and the waxy luminance of what must have been over a thousand candles. It was as if the stars that would surely emerge later had conspired to break into the manor through the shutters and assign themselves positions in the place of flame.

My mother bid us all sit down (myself with the Marquess on my left and Master Kingston on my right, Gabriella beside her brother). Gabriella broke her gaiety for a moment with a slightly concerned look, even she wasn’t so stupid as to see that something was wrong here. We began to eat and I felt somewhat disconnected from myself in this beautiful room full of beautiful and powerful people. Everyone else in this room seemed to be okay with all of this. My mother seemed to be okay with the fact that she had abandoned any hope Gabriella might have of a strong match and – likewise – Master Kingston seemed to have accepted the fact that his sister had been taken from Kingston Grove under false pretences. It must have become clear at this point to everyone that this evening was not about Gabriella finding a good match, it was simply about securing me with a better match than the one I already had.

“So, Miss Ceasebury,” I switched around “how do you like the summer?” Master Kingston said, rather loudly.

“I like it very much, Master Kingston. I love hot days like this when I can go out to the edge of the grounds and sit in the Summer House for hours.” I replied, trying to avoid his gaze.

“Good. Summer does wonders for the plantation.” He responded quickly.

“Oh, what do you grow?”

“Cotton. My plantation is the other side of White Wood. It takes up all of my time but hot days like this do it wonders. You should visit it some time.”

“I would love that dearly. Perhaps in a few weeks Gabriella and I could visit in the carriage one Sunday afternoon and laze around and enjoy the summer sun.”

“You could, but I’m not sure I would be able to join you, Miss.” He spoke only to me, not to Gabriella. “Organising the estate takes so much of my time.”

“Doesn’t Lord Kingston help?” I questioned.

“No. He’s in such poor health these days he cannot.”

“What?” Gabriella stared at her brother. “What’s wrong with father?” she gasped.

“Oh, he got a touch of tuberculosis last January and hasn’t really been right since.”

“Brother, couldn’t you put this in a letter? The first time you wrote to me since Christmas was two days ago to tell me you were looking forward to meeting Theodosia.” She shrieked down the table.

“Well – “ Master Kingston was cut off.

“I’m sure it’ll all be okay; his lordship will recover, and everything will be fine. Control yourself, Gabriella.” My mother interjected.

“There is nothing okay about this, Dorian. You cared about me and our family once. You changed when Mother died.” Gabriella cried, ignoring her.

“I’m sure we can sort this all out, Theodosia, take the Marquess to the gardens while we sort this out.”

“Um, alright.” I stood up hastily. “Marquess Ravenswood, would you like -“ He cut me off.

“Yes, yes, alright, I heard. Come on.” We both stood up and left the table.

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About The Author
Mitzi Danielson-Kaslik
About This Story
11 Mar, 2021
Read Time
5 mins
5.0 (1 review)

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