Francesca Tapestry Nonsense (Part 7)
The odious blow of familial rejection I encountered while declaring my connection to the Wintry Summertons was so entirely humiliating and distressing that it took nigh on a fortnight afore my composure was fully returned, and my hysterical fits satisfactorily subsided. The hearty Mrs Foley was all anguished guilt throughout, as she should be, for had it not been at her behest that I ventured forth and exposed myself to the vulgarity of assumed grandeur and imagined connection?! Intolerable!
The Foolish woman had displayed a severe lack of feeling during my convalescence by her continued attempts to ease her conscience by blaming a fever of the brain for my malady. She was all insistence that an apothecary ought be sent for. When I countered such a notion with a cry of “No apothecary can ease such an ailment!” her ill breeding was further thrown into light when she said “Perchance, then, I ought send for the surgeon child, for your affliction seems of the acutest nature?”
“Surgeon?!” Cried I in disbelief “Surgeon Madam? There is nought that can be done by even the finest surgeon in the land to alleviate my suffering! Nay the only cure would be the discovery of my relatives and my safe return to the bosom of my family or my instantaneous death! Now, pray, leave me for your visage is merely a reminder of the reckless declaration made by me at your unkind urging, and subsequent rebuttal and wounding of every delicate sentiment!”
And with this speech she fled from my chamber and I threw myself gracefully to the floor in order to indulge once more in my not inconsiderable distress. I remained in this agitated state until dinner, for no heroine, however refined, can endure such tempestuous emotional pangs without adequate sustenance. However as I took my place beside Sukey and was served by a footman I realised that my appetite had abandoned me and all I was able to eat was three helpings of the roasted swan and four sponge puddings. Though this did little to revive me it did provide me with some diversion which was entirely necessary as Mrs Foley was all joyous relief that I seemed so entirely recovered, and Sukey seemed determined to talk triviality by the hour. I made no reply to either and took my leave as soon as I had consumed enough of the fine cheeses to give me strength for another fit of hysteria.
Once I had reached my room I arranged a collection of the prettiest cushions on the floor that they might break my fall, for while delicate turns of nervous fever are commonly associated with elegant females, bruises are not! I was on the point of indulging in yet another faint when Sukey burst forth into the room.
” My dearest Francesca, I have news of the most wondrous variety …” She stopped suddenly and glanced about the room. “Francesca, pray, what are you about, arranging your cushions thus?”
“They are for the indulgence of nervous seizure!” I replied
“Well you may indeed need them when I tell you this news, for you shall be quite overwhelmed with joyous anticipation when I tell you!”
I was suddenly all impatience to hear this felicitous news.
” I am all impatience to hear this felicitous news.” I said, though Sukey’s manner, her lack of composure and the flush upon her visage which gave her the unfortunate hue of an inebriated sailor spoke so strongly of a girl in the grasp of matrimonial hopes that I could fathom for myself what this news might be.
“Have you received a marriage proposal of a most advantageous kind?!” I enquired with feigned surprise.
“Nay.” Said she animatedly “Tis more thrilling than that! My lace glove of the hue exactly reminiscent of that of a dove’s wing has been found! I’m sure you recall my losing it two weeks hence. Well,Mamma had a notice placed in the newspaper and it has been found and shall be returned upon the morrow!” And with that Sukey sank to the floor, quite exhausted with Joy. However her words had given me an idea of not inconsiderable brilliance, and afore she had reached the carefully placed cushions I gasped at my own ingenious notion.
“Pray, Francesca, are you ill?” Asked Sukey in tones of alarm, mistaking my sudden pallor for the onset of a tropical fever.
“Fear not Sukey I am merely overcome by the happy relocation of your beauteous glove.” I said, concealing my true thoughts. “May I beg your leave that I might fully appreciate such a miraculous stroke of fate!” Finished I with all the feeling I could summon. Not three seconds together had passed since Sukey’s hasty departure from my chamber, and finding myself happily sans friend I plotted my plot.
It occurred to me that if I ever wished to be reunited with my true family I must act with decided haste, and Sukey’s intolerably ill pleasing glove had provided me with the very action I must take. I would place a notice in the newspaper! I fled to my desk and began.
I have always been fortunate enough to have had at my disposal a literary talent, more usually associated with a poet thus it took me not above three and forty hours until I had composed my notice.
” Noble Family Sought. Miss Francesca Tapestry Nonsense, tragically orphaned; naturally gifted and formerly in the care of the odious Mr and Mrs Nonsense of Cheapside seeks her veritable relations. Only those of the most elevated standing need reply, for my personage, accomplishments and charms render it incontestable that I am of high birth. Pray, direct enquiries to Miss Nonsense, C/O the Foleys.”
Upon completion of so elegant a note I was once more filled with the hope of the imminent discovery of my own Mamma and Pappa and their fortune, desirous of no further delay I hastened to the village to arrange for the immediate placement of my address in as many reputable newspapers as i could think of. Yet before I had reached the establishment of Churl & Rustic my attention was caught by a most ill witted peasant who was engaged in pretending to read a newspaper. The newspaper in his gnarled and ill bred hands bore a cartoon of our monarch and his sister. Upon seeing so refined a cartoon I was instantaneously and simultaneously overcome by the double emotions of shock and elation, which can, when acutely felt in one so fair as I, be somewhat perilous to one’s complexion.
Casting away the cares of propriety with an almost wanton disregard of convention I approached the churl.
“Pray, my good fellow, might I impose upon your gentlemanly sensibilities a moment and ask that you allow me to glance at your newspaper?” Said I in a melodic tone, for I was unaccustomed to speaking to those of such inferior rank; thus I decided that song might be the most certain way to secure his compliance.
The vagabond looked at me askance from below a brow that, to describe as untidy would have been a grievous understatement. He muttered a reply of such despicable elocution that the only word I was able to decipher with any certainty was “Nay!”
“Sir,” Said I in strained tones “I am a young lady upon the very brink of happy familial reunification and I believe the answer to my long and difficult quest lies within your newspaper. Allow me therefore to press upon you the utmost importance of your indulging your gentlemanly generosity, if indeed you possess any, this very instant!” I concluded.
He did not, however extend the newspaper to me, instead he spoke in that same churlishly vexing tone. On this occasion the only words that were comprehendible were “Folly, insanity, lack of propriety and Nay!”
I was so enraged by so un-curteous a response that I allowed my composure to abandon me.
“Now you son of a churl, pray attend to this. If you do not release that newspaper immediately I shall call you out as a highwayman and summon the constabulary and the militia!”
At my words he whitened and despite the mutterings of “Lunatic!” he did as I bade and gave me his newspaper.
“You, miss, belong in an asylum!” Said he in some vexation.
I cared not for his insults upon my person for as I gazed upon that cartoon I saw there was the most striking and irreversible likeness betwixt myself and the sister of our own Prince of Wales. Our eyes, to me, seemed exactly alike, and as for our enigmatically elegant seraphical air, well that was beyond anything coincidental. I knew in all certainty that I, Francesca Tapestry Nonsense, was royalty!