I had burst forth into the drawing room of Amberdell hall with sufficient zeal to have silenced all who sat within. Indeed the ensuing muted gazing at my person conveyed the depth of the party’s surprise. I employed this pause in the conversation to arrange the words that would exactly communicate the tumult of my emotions upon an occasion of such magnitude, I settled upon;
“It is impossible for me to communicate my emotions upon an occasion of such magnitude. My name is Francesca Tapestry Nonsense and I am your fallen relation.”
The silence was now of profound and impenetrable quality, with a nature far more suited to mourning than joyous reunion. It lasted a full five and twenty minutes. I was not idle in this time however, I took the opportunity to gaze upon my family. Indulging the instinctive inquisitiveness of those sans parents. I confess I was bitterly disappointed by the company before me, for not one of them had a refined brow or bore the appearance of dignified accomplishment. For all their grandeur they were truly very plain. Such plainness was both repugnant and shocking to me. And yet what was greatly more surprising to me was, not the gouty appearance of the eldest son but their distinct lack of exultant exclamation. They were entirely devoid of happy sentiment. I had fully expected them to burst into spontaneous song, dance an impromptu quadrille and call “Hazaar, Hazaar, Hazaar!” as they raised me above their heads in a manner that, despite it’s lack of propriety would have precisely articulated their delighted raptures. They would then, I was certain, have embraced me in the warm familial clasp.
Yet they did not. There was a distinctive lack of sentiment, both Lord and Lady Amberdell, their two sons and their daughter (whom it ought be noted strongly resembled a sow in satin) were quite still. As composed as though they had been carved from stone by an excellent mason. My reverie of the perfect reunification was interrupted in a mode that was highly impertinent.
“I beg your pardon Miss Nonsense, but have you taken leave of your senses?” Said the mama of this unhappy party.
“Pardon me, Madam, but such a question bears a close resemblance to vulgarity!” was my reply.
“Vulgar or nay child, you seem quite mad the victim of hysterical delusion! We have no fallen relation, for that would be vulgarity!” As she spoke I became aware of the reason why I been greeted with such terrible taciturnity.
“Madam, Lady Amberdell, I comprehend that your rebuttal is the result of a natural sensibility. For I am certain that such an event as this is a regular occurrence for you. You are undoubtedly the recipient of every designing vagabond who wishes to lay claim to stateliness. But allow me to speak quite plain.” And I proceeded to recount to them the indubitable connection betwixt us.
I could sympathise with the poor lady’s concerns, she believed me to be one of those intolerably ill-bred churls from an unfashionable part of London who have given themselves airs and graces so that they might claim connection with those of superior rank, in order to secure the hand of the heir, thus inheriting all. How mistaken she was. It was evident, as I continued to tell of the beauteous woman in the tapestry, that her opinion of me was greatly altered as she began to see me for who I truly was. However she was quite unwilling to relinquish her prejudices so soon. She proved a worthy advisory as with her next sentence she threatened to overturn my contention.
“Miss Nonsense, you are entirely mistaken for that woven hanging has been in the family only a twelvemonth. It was purchased in town by my husband, and thus your pretence is utterly ridiculous!”
“Lady Amberdell, you and I both know that that is a scandalous falsehood! Though I greatly admire your desire to protect your family from usurpers, allow me to assure you it is entirely unnecessary!” I concluded.
Upon my words the great lady turned to her husband and said;
“Upon my honour Sir, she is quite unhinged!”
“I shall have the footmen cast her out!” Lord Amberdell spoke for the first time and I was saddened to discover that his voice was better suited to an ailing dowager than to a great man.
“Certainly not Sir. For she is quite possessed by the deuce and like as not if we were to cast her out she would set Amberdell hall ablaze, we should be reduced to ash in our beds! Nay, such scheme is for a gamblers constitution and I have not the nerves for it. We ought keep her incarcerated here until her family or representative from whatever asylum she came from can be summoned to remove her and return her to the madhouse from whence she came!” Concluded the lady passionately.
I knew her game and it was not piquet! She meant to strike fear into my heart with her lofty speech. She hoped all her talk of asylums and hell fires would frighten me away. It was as though a gauntlet had been thrown down at my elegantly shod feet. Lady Amberdell expected me to prove myself to be one of her clan before she would recognise me as kin, for her the mere striking resemblance to that heirloom was not to be sufficient.
I thought to myself that if Lady Amberdell expected me to evanesce in the night through fear of being called out she would be gravely disappointed; I was not the feeble and timid creature that my delicate complexion suggested. I was no mere damsel in distress, I was in the grip of familial reunion.
As I was led by a footman with a displeasing odour and a musket, to a chamber of such disappointing proportions for such victim of disunity from one’s true home as I was, I vowed to myself that I would endeavour to irrefutably prove that I was no mere interloper, I was Francesca Tapestry Nonsense nee Amberdell! And with such a rapturous conclusion I decidedly and enthusiastically threw myself into a nervous fit.