Forsaking All Other by Catherine Meyrick
Publication Date: April 1, 2018
eBook & Print; 291 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
The room was unusually quiet. All that could be heard was the slither of thread through cloth and, outside, the sleepy cooing of doves. Eloise rose from her seat and wandered to the window. She stood, both hands in the small of her back, arching backwards, the swelling of her belly obvious through the folds of her gown. She leant forward, resting her hands on the windowsill, a frown on her usually cheerful face.
‘What is it, Eloise?’ Dame Margaret asked, her voice sharp with concern. ‘It is far too soon.’
Eloise turned back to the room and brushed her hand impatiently through the air. ‘No, nothing like that. We have visitors. One is the image of Sir Christopher.’ She smiled at her good-mother. ‘Perhaps I should go down and greet them.’
Dame Margaret concentrated on her sewing. ‘Wait here—let whoever it is seek you out.’
Eloise returned to her seat and took up her sewing. After a few stitches she put it aside once more and sat back, her fingers spread on her belly, smiling to herself.
Dame Margaret held her needle still in her fingers and waited as the door to the solar swung open and her youngest son, Edmund, was led in by the footman. So like his father! He had Sir Christopher’s build and light brown hair. He would have been as handsome too but for the discoloured pockmarks spread across his forehead and his cheeks above his neatly trimmed beard.
Dame Margaret did not rise to greet him.
Edmund stopped six feet from her chair and bowed formally. He was still in his dusty travelling clothes, the faint smell of sweat and horse a sharp reminder of his father too.
Dame Margaret wrinkled her nose. ‘You have arrived, finally.’
‘I came as quickly as I could, Mother.’
‘But a month?’ she asked, incredulous.
‘I could not walk away from my responsibilities at a moment’s notice. Travel from Ireland is nothing like an unhurried ride from London.’ Edmund scowled at his mother, ‘I supposed Father had been buried long before I even received the news.’
The other women watched him from beneath their lashes while pretending to sew. Only Hester Shawe, Dame Margaret’s woman, stared openly at him.
‘I have been to the church. Is that all that will be done for Father—a flat stone in the floor?’
‘Oh, no,’ Eloise said as she rose from her chair. ‘John will explain when he returns home.’ She laid a hand on his arm and smiled, ‘I am John’s wife, Eloise, and I am delighted to meet you, Edmund.’ She stood on tiptoes and kissed his cheek. ‘John has organised a mason to come from London and is planning a monument with both your parents and all the children on it. He is certain your father would have approved.’
Dame Margaret watched as Edmund turned his attention to Eloise, saw him take in the glowing skin, the reddish-blond hair, dark eyebrows and smiling eyes. She pressed her lips together in a tight line. All men were the same—it was the nature of the beast.
‘Father would indeed be pleased,’ Edmund said.
‘Now Edmund, you must come and meet your nephews.’ Eloise linked her arm in his and guided him through the door.
Dame Margaret glared after them. Eloise should not have pushed herself forward and drawn attention to herself. She would need to remind her, yet again, of the standard of behaviour expected of her as John’s wife.
About the AuthorCatherine Meyrick is a writer of historical fiction with a particular love of Elizabethan England. Her stories weave fictional characters into the gaps within the historical record – tales of ordinary people who are very much men and women of their time, yet in so many ways not unlike ourselves. Although she grew up in regional Victoria, Australia, she has lived all her adult life in Melbourne. She has worked as a nurse, a tax assessor and finally a librarian. She has a Master of Arts in history and is also a family history obsessive. For more information, please visit Catherine Meyrick's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Forsaking All Other