My stupefaction, induced by the Duchess Lady Countess of Inveracity’s announcement that she was my true Mamma, lasted nigh on seven days. A lapse of time which I, incidentally, felt was perfectly calculated to convey the gravity of so revealing a revelation. T’was the following Thursday afore I stirred. my revival permitted the continuation of our conversation as though no such interruption had taken place. The perpetuation of our animated exchange occurred principally in the Duchess Lady Countess’ carriage. She had had the estimable notion that prior to my beginning my new life with her, a life entirely sans Martha and Robert Nonsense, they ought perhaps be informed of the redoubtable revelations.
Upon the occasion of Martha and Robert being mentioned, I confess I was overcome by an acute revulsion towards those unhappy and questionably attired rustics, who had so cruelly enacted the charade of parentage over me. When all along the truth of my progeny lay in the noble and distinguishably tall Duchess Lady Countess Of Inveracity.
I was soon, however, happily diverted. During our pleasant but interminable journey, I discovered that In the Duchess Lady Countess I had found my equal for beauty, talent and accomplishment. She delighted me for above six hours with her recital of my preferred opera. We then engaged in drawing each other. Her sketched likeness of me was of such technical exactitude that I believed I was looking in a glass. Our similarities ran beyond mere aptitudes, our opinions and tastes matched in every way, we were as one!
We travelled at a pace that did not merely convey the importance of our mission and our rank, but also rendered it necessary to stop only once. The sojourn was at a silversmith’s in order that my Mamma might commission a coronet for my own beauteous head that would communicate to my charlatan family my newly acquired elevated situation and fortune. And it was with these jewels upon my head that I waltzed with the Duchess Lady Countess into my previous home in Cheapside to announce the glad tidings to Martha and Robert.
“My dear Mr and Mrs Nonsense.” Said the Duchess Lady Countess of Inveracity, addressing the churls with more cordiality than they deserved. “For these past six and ten years I have lived with a great schism of supposition that I must be desperately lacking that brightest of jewels, a daughter. However, since Francesca’s animated quadrille spoke to me of a girl tragically orphaned but naturally gifted, who sought, with admirable fervour, her true family, I knew her to be my own!” Concluded the lady.
Upon the close of so eloquent a speech there was silence for above four and twenty minutes. Robert was the first to recover his senses enough to speak.
“Oh heavens!” Cried he. “It has happened! I had always been afeared this day may come, when Francesca found someone to equal her madness, to believe her fantastical tales and indulge her precocious whims!” And with that the man, who for so many years had claimed paternity over me, reached for the fortified wine and, undoubtedly overwhelmed by the true horror of what he had done, indulged his partiality for intoxicating liquor and descended into folly.
“I take such scandalous conduct to be confirmation of your guilt sir!” Said I in tones of reproachful censure.
“Francesca,” Martha stepped forth and spoke in a voice that was better suited to an ailing man. ” I am rendered quite speechless by so laughable a farce! I am at a loss as to know how many more times I must assure you that you are our own child!”
“Martha, forgive me for speaking so plainly.” Said I “But you have shown yourself to be an ill tempered, ill humoured liar and a charlatan. culpable for attempting to ruin, perhaps forever, the happiness of one so fair as I with your scandalous falsehoods and your wicked tricks! I beg now that you cease. I urge you to be quite candid, perhaps for the first time in your life, about the matter!” Concluded I with feeling.
But the unlucky, ill fated Martha displayed a wanton disregard of propriety toward an adopted daughter of considerable social standing. She continued to insult me with her persistent claim that I was her own flesh and blood. I could not tolerate another lengthy sermon upon the subject thus I interrupted with force.
“Madam, this shall not be borne. So insistent an insistence is intolerable to me! I must demand that you abandon so grossly offensive an offence. You have already exposed yourself to ridicule and vulgarity of the acutest kind by attempting to claim connection with me. Any continuation of so intolerable a pretence would reduce you to the position of the lowest, most ill bred rustic! I continued in this vein for some time, employing the most animated language at my disposal.
Martha had soon turned a hue of a most undesirable mauve, the kind better associated with gouty constitutions. However she was a worthy opponent and summoning all her wicked disdain she said.
” Perchance Robert was right in his estimation that we ought have sent you to the asylum!”
I could restrain myself no longer; and impassioned with rage, I struck the impertinent Martha’s visage! I knew afore my hand had touched her puce face, that I had gone too far!
“Francesca, you ought have known afore you struck Mrs Nonsense’s puce face that you had gone too far!” Said the Duchess Lady Countess of Inveracity. She bid me desist, and sent me from the parlour to occupy myself with the diversion of counting how many times the letter O appears within the complete works of Shakespeare.
T’was not long before I fervently regretted beginning my task with “Othello”. Thus whence I had reached an insurmountable level of tedium I turned my attention instead to the dulcet tones of the Duchess Lady Countess, which were audible from the parlour. I noticed with exuberant mirth that Martha seemed to have consented to my leaving Cheapside and residing instead with the Duchess Lady Countess of Inveracity. Unfortunately she was not as easy to fully defeat as a French monarch.
“Very well.” said she with gouty determination “If you are all forceful insistence that Francesca go with you, she may. I will not, however, permit you to let her be widely known as your daughter!”
“Wretched vixen.” I spoke beneath my breath.
“Mrs Nonsense,” Began my own true Mamma “You are all propriety. For exposing Francesca to so sudden and so very public a change of parentage would undoubtedly make her a subject of unspeakable hearsay. Thus compromising her hopes of making an advantageous marriage. Which, may be entirely necessary, considering my own lack of fortune.”
As she concluded her speech I felt myself to be perilously close to being overwhelmed by a fainting fit. Instead I carelessly cast aside my undertaking, having barely counted beyond four score and ten letter Os, and hastened to the parlour.
“Mamma,” I addressed the Duchess Lady Countess. ” It is unfathomable that I have been twice deceived! You had led me to believe that you had a fortune to equal the abundant quality of so very many titles! And yet you mean to entrap me by false pretence of grandeur! This is beyond belief!” I cried in tones of distressed sensibility.
“Pray, do not alarm yourself my dearest child. For I have deduced a scheme of such brilliance to rectify so gross an injustice!” Replied she, ” We shall travel to Portsmouth, from whence we shall set sail to the East Indies upon the HMS Bounty to find husbands, fortune and diamonds!”
Upon hearing a plot so entirely calculated to delight and reward I was nigh on overcome by sentimental wishes for my future happiness and wealth. I longed to throw myself decidedly to the ground in nervous apoplexy, but such an indulgence would have to wait. I would not delay so momentous a journey by even a minute. Thus without so much as a hasty Adieu to my previous home and my despicable former parents, I left number 1 Miserly Street, Cheapside for the last time, and, with my once long lost Mamma, departed for the East Indies, adventure and Diamonds!
I was soon ensconced within my Mamma, the Duchess Lady Countess’ Carriage. We travelled forth to Portsmouth at a speed that with, every wave of the coachman’s whip, spoke of a search for wealthy beaus! As I glanced toward the window I caught sight of my reflection and was struck, not by my seraphical beauty, but by a sudden thought. This notion was of so startling a nature that it robbed me of my breath as the highwayman robs a duke of his jewels!
The perfect symmetrical harmony that existed betwixt myself and my reflection caused me to understand that I was too unique in my singularity to be entirely individual! I must be one of a perfect pair! For how else could one explain the pang of separated siblings that I had just felt?! Nay,t’was an incontestable truth; I Lady Countess Francesca Tapestry Nonsense had a twin! I must find her!