No quotes today since this post is long.
Today I’ll share a segment from Chapter 4 of The Space BetweenTime, the novel I’m currently working on. Jenna has merged with Morgan’s consciousness a second time. It is early spring, 1859. This is the day of Morgan’s father, Thomas’, funeral. In this scene, Morgan is facing her Aunt Veronica who has always tried to control her life. Now that Morgan is an orphan, her aunt thinks she can gain the upper hand once and for all but Morgan stands up to her.
For those who didn’t get to read last week’s segment, Jenna has found Morgan’s journals and when she reads, she merges with Morgan’s consciousness.
“So, you and your father decided to deceive me,” Veronica said with malice. “How do you think this will look when my friends back in Boston hear that you did not tell me of Thomas illness? Don’t you think I had a right to know? After all, I am family.”
Morgan felt a shiver run down her spine. Jenna understood very well how she felt. It had been the same for her when interacting with Fletcher and Mr. Dayton, but they weren’t family, and she didn’t have to associate with them any longer.
Morgan squared her shoulders. “Father wanted to be left in peace. He and I wanted to spend what time we had together uninterrupted by fussing nurses, which you no doubt would have insisted upon. We didn’t want that.”
“Your father never knew what was best for you. I’m sure he did this to spite me because I wanted to take you away when your mother died to give you every advantage he couldn’t.”
“Aunt Veronica, father was a good and kind man who loved me very deeply. He knew that I’d be just another bobble for you to polish and have admired as your crowning achievement.”
At this statement Veronica bristled and lost control of herself. “Morgan, you are too independent by half. I see now that your father has taught you too much and not had a thought for your future. If he’d cared about you, he never would have raised you to think like a man nor would he have involved you in this underground railroad nonsense.”
Morgan gasped. How had her aunt found out about that?
A malicious smile spread across Veronica’s face. “Ah, you’re surprised I knew about that. Your father exposed you to filthy, shiftless slaves who ran away shirking their duty to their masters. Any number of terrible things could have happened to you because of your father’s thoughtlessness. I intend to change your foolish notions by taking you back to Boston with me and see that you’re properly looked after by marrying the right sort of man. I will brook no refusals. You’re not getting any younger, you know. Go upstairs this instant and pack your things. We’re leaving on the evening train.”
Deep calm swept over Morgan, as she spoke softly to her aunt. “No, Aunt Veronica. I am not going with you.”
“How dare you refuse! You have no other relatives and no money to support yourself. No one to protect you if you get caught helping slaves. You must do as I say.”
“You’re wrong. Father has saved some money and there is also the money left me by mother. There is quite enough for me to live on until I decide how to support myself. If you don’t believe me, I can send for Mr. Bachman, father’s lawyer. He’s staying at the hotel.” Morgan stood looking at her aunt in defiance with an emotionless face waiting for her aunt’s reply. Emma, Mrs. Waller and Mrs. Carlsen came into the hallway to lend their support, though once they got there they realized they weren’t needed.
Veronica’s mouth was gaping open uncharacteristically. She’d thought it’d be easy to manipulate Morgan into doing as she dictated. She hadn’t made a plan for Morgan’s removal except to order her to pack her things and get her to Boston as quickly as possible.
She looked over and saw the three women stepping forward behind Morgan. “This is a family matter, ladies,” she said with a snarl of derision accompanied by the most withering look she could muster.
Mrs. Carlsen, who had not grown up in Rutland, broke the strained silence. “Mrs. Alistair, I’m new here, but I can tell you, you’ll not find anyone to take your side. If you try to force Morgan to go with you, we’ll stand in your way. We love her, as it is obvious you do not. She’s of age and will remain here to make up her own mind about her future.”
Just then there was a knock on the door. Emma went to answer it. When she came back, Dr. Waller, Mr. Bachman and Reverend Carlsen were with her.
Mr. Bachman, a short, portly, middle aged, well dressed gentleman, stepped forward. “Hello Madam. I’m Mr. Gregor Bachman, Mr. Carlyle’s lawyer. I’m very pleased to meet you. Your husband is quite well thought of in Boston.” He came forward extending his hand. Veronica looked at it as if it were a snake coiling in the grass. Mr. Bachman went on as if the snub had not happened. “I’ve got Mr. Carlyle’s will here. He wanted me to read it in your presence as you are mentioned. Shall we sit down?” He extended his hand to the sofa. Veronica, too dumbfounded to object, took the few steps to the sofa and plopped down as her knees gave out. “Please everyone, gather around. Reverend Carlyle wanted you all to be here.” Dr. Waller and Reverend Carlsen brought chairs from the kitchen table. Morgan sat in her father’s chair with Emma by her side. Mrs. Waller sat in a chair provided by her husband as did Mrs. Carlsen. The two men remained standing. Mr. Bachman took up a place near the table, opening his briefcase. He withdrew the will, which was backed with blue paper, and sat next to Morgan in what had been her chair. No one sat near Veronica.
“The will is short and to the point.” Clearing his throat, Mr. Bachman read, “I, Thomas Wendell Carlyle, being of sound mind, do hereby bequeath to my dear friend Dr. Joseph Waller the chess set that he so admired as we often played together. Thank you Joseph for sharing your wisdom with me over the years. I also bequeath the sum of $100.00 to you, Joseph …” Veronica took in a quick breath, which no one acknowledged, while Mr. Bachman continued on without missing a beat, “for you do not charge enough, and can use the money to support your family. To Reverend Martin Carlsen, I leave my concordance and other books pertaining to biblical criticism and church ministry. I also leave you the sum of $50.00 for the support of your family. In the few short months you’ve been here, I’ve seen that you are a wise man. You have given me good counsel. I know the congregation is in good hands. To Miss Emma Martell, I leave the cameo brooch that belonged to my dear wife. On her death bed she asked me to give it to you on your wedding day. Since I won’t be able to give it then, I leave it for you now. She said you had admired it, and since Morgan did not have an affinity for it herself, she wanted to give it to you, Morgan’s dear and devoted friend.
“To my dearest daughter Morgan Angela Carlyle, I leave all monies in my savings account, the rights to all the books I’ve written, and any future royalties they shall receive. I also leave you the remainder of my books, furniture, household goods, and the jewelry left by your mother upon her passing. In addition, I leave the small amount of money she left for you upon her death. Words can not say how much I have cherished being your father. I’ve watched you grow in wisdom and beauty. You are an intelligent and loving woman. I leave these things with all my love.
“Finally, to Veronica Masters Alistair, I leave you the rope of pearls left to my dear wife by your mother upon her death. The rope of pearls you wanted so desperately that you cut off all relations with my wife, your sister, because your mother did not give them to you. The pearls are yours now. I have taken legal steps to insure that you will not get anything else, nor be able to interfere with Morgan’s future. Take the pearls, and may they make you as happy as you thought possessing them would. Signed this day, December 30, 1858.”
Mr. Bachman folded the will and slowly placed it in its envelope and gave it to Morgan. No one moved, each alone with his or her thoughts. After a few moments. Veronica rose, breaking the spell and said with venom dripping from every word, “This is not over. You are a young single woman. You can’t inherit any amount of money. I’ll be back with my attorney.” She looked at Morgan with a cold stare and walked out of the room to get her own hat, coat and gloves. A moment later the door slammed shaking the windows.
Again, this is a work in progress. I hope you have enjoyed reading another small section of my novel. Feel free to leave a comment or share with a friend.
Lucinda Sage-MIdgorden © 2015