Eleanor & Laura: A Romance Novel in Two Scenes
Miss Laura Clark and Miss Eleanor Croft sat primly in their chairs in the drawing room of Sundale Manor. The heat was oppressive, but as young ladies of a marriageable age they were not permitted to sweat.
Eleanor fluttered her fan, and Laura smoothed her gown.
“What a lovely gown,” Eleanor complimented Laura, noticing the garment for the first time.
“Why, thank you!” exclaimed Laura. She looked at Eleanor, smiled, and continued, “We are clearly both in possession of superior taste. As such, I have come to the conclusion that we ought to be great friends.”
Eleanor smiled. “And so we shall. You must call me Eleanor.”
“And you must call me Laura. How glad I am that we are friends!” The two friends smiled at each other, and parted ways.
The next day, at the same time, found the two friends in precisely the same position – Eleanor languidly waving her fan, Laura fussing with her apparel.
“Lord, this heat is oppressive,” Eleanor moaned. “Laura, may we not call for some refreshment?”
“Certainly we may. The bell is over there.” Laura pointed to a corner across the room.
Eleanor laughed. “Dearest friend, I meant for you to get up and call.”
Laura looked affronted. “Why on Earth should I?” she asked.
“It is your home!” Eleanor cried. “You have a duty as a hostess.” She narrowed her eyes at her friend. “If Colonel Fitzgibbon were here, you would be calling for refreshment even now.”
“How dare you!” Laura exclaimed. “The Colonel and I are simply acquaintances!”
“Is that so? Then tell me, Miss Clark,” Eleanor hissed, “from whom did you receive a letter this morning?”
Laura gasped and blushed. “My – my brother Frank, of course.”
Eleanor scoffed. “Frank shan’t be able to write for another fortnight, he told me so himself.”
“And how would you know that, Miss Croft?” Laura spat with an accusatory glare. “Why would my brother have given you such information, and why do you refer to him as Frank rather than Captain Clark, as would be proper?”
Eleanor blushed, looked at her hands, glanced around the room and leaned closer to Laura. “The truth, my dear friend, is that your brother and I are secretly engaged,” she whispered.
Laura gasped. “Engaged! But – when did you meet?”
“Two months ago, at Weymouth. We fell in love instantly, and I’ve not told a soul out of fear your father would find out and disinherit Frank.”
Laura’s eyes grew wide. “Why – this is – it’s simply – how wonderful!” she cried. She rose gracefully from her seat and crossed to the bell which would call in a servant. “This calls for celebration!” Laura rang the bell, and a serving maid appeared.
“We require cool refreshments, Sally,” Laura ordered.
Eleanor smiled to herself.