Day 3 of November and a third installment to my tale. This bit just conversation written in pieces at work and now to be turned into something more cohesive I hope. I can always fill in more details after.
Mr. Frankenstein wondered what was happening to his children and what could be done about it. First a son lost for months to dangerous and delusional fevers and now Elizabeth seemingly become insensible. Clear-eyed, sensible Elizabeth, who could be counted on to not fall to passion, but looked to to keep everything in order.
“I do not understand, Elizabeth. Who is this Miss DeLacey? What do you want of her? What does she want of you? You know nothing of her other than she was impersonating your friend and that her family is living under aliases!” Mr. Frankenstein attempted to glower at her from his great height, but the last few years had eaten much of it away so Elizabeth was not nearly as intimidated as she once would have been.
“She was not impersonating anyone. Having fled persecution her father simply thought it in aid of his family’s well-being to change their name and that name happened to be that of my friend and their address similar enough or near enough that when I sent a note, that was where it was delivered.” Elizabeth tried to glower back, but her gentle beauty robbed her of the effect as much as her adoptive father’s failed height robbed him.
Mr. Frankenstein stalked up and down the room, his hands clasped behind his back, only occasionally looking at this suddenly rebellious daughter. She was usually so obliging. What had gotten into her? He felt for a moment a terrible, creeping dread work through his heart. It seemed to him, and not for the first time, that some dark force had entered his family, or perhaps fortune had simple left it. Taking with it first the sweetest and most constant of wives, one that should have outlived him by decades, and then later the health and reason, if only temporarily, of a brilliant and robust oldest son. Now it seemed to threaten new dangers. Mr. Frankenstein was far too pragmatic and optimistic a man to entertain the thought of dark forces for too long, but he could certainly believe that luck may be lost if not held tight. Fearful of what might come next he fought to keep what he had left.
“People can say anything in a letter. It does not make it true. Tales of monsters in the night, families fleeing and fleeing again. It is utter fiction my dear. You sent a letter of inquiry to a girl you hoped to be your friend and they seized upon it. You wait my child, the blind old father will have conveniently died before your friend arrives and her supposed brother, (more likely a husband or lover, and a brute on top of it) will appear a short while later to take up residence with her in our cottage.”
Elizabeth had not been without such doubts herself and already owned the obvious solution. “We are not helpless in such matters. We simply have them thrown out if they are not as made out. And if she arrives alone we are not obliged to let her in.”
“Oh Elizabeth, what is this in aid of? Are we not family enough that you feel it necessary to bring strangers into our midst? You are all we need dearest daughter.”
Elizabeth’s resolve was not to be broken. “I love you all dearest father, as you well know. But I am without female companionship. I have no one with which to share those confidences that a woman is sometimes burdened with.”
“What burdens could you have my sweet Elizabeth, we care for you so? And what of Justine? She is returned to us now. Certainly Justine can fill that place.”
Elizabeth felt a momentary pang at the suggestion that a servant, even one as adored as Justine could take the place of companion to her.
“We all of us love Justine, and I think of her as family, but she is not a friend. I am without female friends, we are so solitary here. And Justine’s health and temperament are both much changed since her return. I am not altogether comfortable with her.” Elizabeth, sensing her father weakening, pressed on. “And you, dear father, who have done so much for so many, done so much for me, you surely would not deny me this opportunity to help a fellow creature. It is what you would do in similar circumstances, what you have done. And I am sure that Miss DeLacey will be as useful to our family as I have strived to be.”
Mr. Frankenstein collapsed into his chair feeling defeated. At his age, his energy no longer sustained him and his opinions as it once did. He waved his hand in a faintly mumbled acquiescence.
Elizabeth kissed him on the cheek. “Thank you father. I am most grateful, especially as I had sent the letter inviting Miss DeLacey and her father to stay some time ago. I received her reply this morning. They have accepted our offer.”
Mr. Frankenstein nodded, still wondering what had happened to his most dependable daughter. “Well, I hope the roads are good for them. The weather has been most uncommonly fair and we are bound to pay for it somewhere.”