Last installment of November. Ending with 28,855 words. Had hoped to get over 30,000 at least but I can live with it. Will keep going anyway. Hopefully I’ll hit the 50,000 mark for my next nanowrimo.
The house was calmer without Victor. It was curious the effect he had on the household, even when in his bed. Elizabeth naturally worried about him. It was what she did. And it was strange to be without him again. Agatha made sure she left the house that day and they stopped for tea and pastries.
“You certainly do spoil me, Agatha,” said Elizabeth as they sat drinking their tea.
Agatha thought this a strange thing to say as this was being billed to Elizabeth’s father.
“I am not paying for this. I’m the one being spoiled.”
“Yes, but I would never do this for myself,” replied Elizabeth. “Thank you for suggesting it.”
“You need to have your time, Elizabeth. You are forever doing things for everyone else. If Victor can have his ramble in the mountains, you can certainly have a pastry.”
“I can manage with or without a day out,” explained Elizabeth, “but Victor’s constitution requires these escapes. I think one of his difficulties is that he was shut up in a school for so long. He should have occasionally come home and visited the lake. I think he would have been far better for it.”
“Perhaps he needs less time to himself and his thoughts,” suggested Agatha, who thought the family indulged his moods far too much.
“No. I understand Victor. He needs that time with his thoughts.”
“You realize that he is insane.”
“You don’t understand. He is not quite himself. Certainly he has always been sensitive, but this is something more. He was very ill at Ingolstadt. Henry suspects some terrible calamity but could get no information. Those at the school suggested he was simply overworking and became ill, but I believe Henry. And then the shock of the loss of William and then Justine. Well, you know my theory about Justine. I think it’s all just too much for a man of his nature. Give him some time to himself wandering his mountains and he will be improved. I’m afraid you have not seen him at his best.”
“Well, I might be a bit more lenient if he would remember my name. Who was this Belle? I suppose she was a servant.”
“Yes she was, quite a long while ago. But she left when she married the gardener. It was quite a surprise. How did you know?”
It seemed quite clear to her, as Victor only ever noticed her when he needed something fetched. Which she happily did for him as it meant that Elizabeth didn’t need to. But she kept that to herself and instead replied: “Just a guess.”
Elizabeth had been somewhat, though not entirely, offended at her friend’s suggestion that her brother, cousin, closest friend, all that Victor was to her, was insane. She passed it off as Agatha’s attempt at humour and gave it little thought.
The next night they were all in the library with the two fathers sitting by the fire and the talk drifted to family matters and for some reason to the death of her mother, Caroline.
“Elizabeth stayed with her the entire time,” explained Mr. Frankenstein, “though she was not well herself. Tended to her so diligently. My wife adored her so. She was never strong, my Caroline. I suppose she always knew that she would die young. She was more prepared for it than I was. I assumed at my age I would be first.”
Mr. DeLacey nodded. “My wife died young also. She was having our third child. They both died. To expect more life to enter our home and then suddenly lose a life instead — it was quite a shock.”
There was a time of silence as everyone stared into the fire, even Mr. DeLacey.
“One good thing came of it,” said Mr. Frankenstein. “It was at her death bed that Victor and Elizabeth were promised to one another. She took their hands and joined them together explaining that our greatest happiness, her greatest happiness was in the expectation of their union. They both agreed and that bond has remained.”
Agatha looked to her friend who had suddenly gone pale.
That was not what had happened at all. She had only promised to be a mother, not a wife. It was only then that Elizabeth realized that Agatha was right. Victor was insane, had probably always been so. And that she had just been promised to a mad man.