Weekly drabbles are written in an hour or less, lightly edited, and highly inaccurate to history. Enjoy them at your own risk. They are based off WritingExercises.co.uk’s Random First Line Generator.
His solution to the problem of having two children to care for was to find another woman to do the job.
Lady Woolthief dropped her tea cup onto its saucer and slumped back into her chair. She wasn’t sure what had made her date’s nose crinkle, the clatter of glass or her posture, but he was now looking at her with quite as much disgust as she felt toward the idea of raising his children. When would the men of her generation understand that having a… sacred rose did not make every woman matronly. This was the 1850’s for goodness sake!
“Please be careful. That tea cup is very delicate,” Lord Smithers said gruffly. “Hand-painted, one of a kind.”
“It didn’t break,” Lady Woolthief replied simply. She didn’t find this an appropriate follow-up to the proposal of marriage he had made not thirty seconds before. A fit of laughter, along with an admission of humor would have been preferable.
Lord Smithers grunted his dismissal. “Back to the matter at hand. I can give you a good life. You’d be living here.” He gestured around the grand parlor as if that was all she needed to see to make up her mind. “Biscuit?”
Waving away the silver platter, Lady Woolthief asked, “Why not just hire a maid and nanny?”
“This is the more economical option,” he said, picking up a biscuit without the slightest bit of remorse that he’d just told Lady Woolthief he wanted to marry her because she came cheap.
Lady Woolthief’s fingernails danced across the table in an irritable fashion, her lips in a taut line. “We only just met. You don’t know me or my tastes.”
His laugh told her he thought this was the funniest thing in the world. “This is what I like about you,” he snickered through mouthfuls of biscuit. “Allow me to correct myself. You’ll be cheaper than hired help, but living three times the life you could possibly afford making those obnoxious hats.”
The derision he showed toward her independence made Lady Woolthief smirk. Even if she were allowed to hold a higher position, she’d choose to be a hat-maker. Even if she condescended to marry him, she’d persist. She loved two things: hats and sheep. They were both symbols of her freedom.
“Now, Lady Woolthief. Let’s stop playing coy. We both know you are a woman of a certain age–”
“Exactly,” he nodded, as if she was agreeing with him. “No husband. No children. No prospects, really, other than working in that hat shop for the rest of your life.”
“My hat shop.” It was small, but she was proud.
“You will never receive a better offer than this.”
“Oh, I don’t know about that,” Lady Woolthief said, waving him off. “You already outdid yourself when you offered me a biscuit.”
Lord Smithers eyebrows knit together as he unraveled her insult.
“I need to not powder my nose.” Lady Woolthief said, swooping up from the table and heading straight for the front door. A draft of fresh air hit her face as she walked outside. She inhaled deeply. It had been stifling in that over-stuffed, pretentious parlor. Moments like this made her miss… She sighed, refusing to think his name. It was too painful. He had never expected her to birth and care for his children. He had never wanted her to be anything other than what she was. But he wasn’t in the picture any longer, and she needed to move on. She just wouldn’t be doing it with Lord Smithers.
Lady Woolthief walked briskly down the front stairs of the mansion, heading for the long road that led back to town. She caught a whiff of something and impulsively changed direction, heading for his fields instead. She wanted to check on Lord Smither’s sheep. Perhaps she’d smuggle one or two with her as a consolation prize for that awful tea.
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