Home Stretch – #nanowrimo Day 30

I’m almost there.  if you read my last post, I had decided to quit, and was ok with it.  I had accepted it.  Then something happened and i started writing again.

I began writing at 9pm, and had 18,000 words left to complete.  It is now nearly 2 am, and I have 7700 words to go.  That means I wrote about 10,300 in 5 hours !! Not too shabby.  My word count stands more or less at 42,300.  Yay for me! 🙂

Anyway, I thought I would post another little excerpt before I go to sleep and “clear the mechanism” as my husband says.

Again, i haven’t done ANY correcting.  Please excuse the mistakes.

******McKendrick Saga, Nanowrimo Excerpt Day 29.5 *****

“But I didn’t get to say goodbye!” Charity wailed. “He never forgave me, not in all this time. He’s gone now and I’ll never be out of disgrace!”

“There, there my dear, its all going to be all right,” Charles looked awkward and uncomfortable as he gingerly patted his wife’s head and shoulder, as one might pat a an adder that could turn and strike at any moment.

“Nooooo nooooo, it will not be alright” Charity continued. Her face contorted in the most unattractive crying that Jared had ever seen, even for Charity. He slunk to the far corners of the drawing room, intent on remaining as invisible an observer of the scene as possible, lest he become the object of Charity’s displeasure as he so often did.

Jolene ran over to her mother, ever one for the direct approach. “Mother, what is it, what is the matter?”

“Tell her Charles, I just can’t!” Charity moaned like she was dying right there on the chaise lounge.

“Your grandfather lockwood, and your uncle Richard Lockwood, both, have unfortunately passed away most unexpectedly as a result of the Cholera epidemic in Boston,” Charles said.

“ohhhhhhhh! It is a tragedy of the greatest proportions!” Charity cried. “My father never forgave me for marrying Charles, and now he never will! Now I will never have my father’s forgiveness or my inheritance!”

“But that is precisely what I’ve been trying to explain, if you will allow me ma’am,” an unfamiliar voice spoke from the far side of the room.

All heads turned toward the smartly dressed elderly man. Charles made the expected introductions, “children, this is Mr. Carlson, Mr. Lockwood’s man at service.”

The man nodded briefly to the children, “how do you do.” He said in a hasty if not perfunctory manner, and turned immediately back to Charles and Charity.

“Ms. Lockwood – eh – I mean Mrs. McKendrick, this is what I have been trying to tell you. Yes, your father is gone – for which I am very sorry and express my sincere condolences – but your brother is gone as well. Which isn’t to say that I’m not sorry for his passing, for I am as well, oh dash it all, I’ve come to tell you that with your brother also gone so suddenly, that you are Mr. Lockwood’s only surviving heir.”

Charity had a stunned look on her face; she ceased crying, though the hiccups continued.

“What do you mean I am the heir?” Charity said, incredulous.

“I mean you are his last surviving child, and therefore his only heir.”

“But my father disinherited me. Since Robert is dead, surely his estate will pass to my evil twin cousins Bert and Barty over in Cheshire County!” Charity insisted, but with a whole lot of hope and very little conviction.

“Would that it were true, at least bert and barty wish it so. But alas it is not the case. Your father never re-drew up his will, he never made your disinheritance legal in any way. Either he believed that the two of you might one day reconcile –“

Charity snorted loudly at this, then covered her face embarrassedly with her soggy hankerchief.

“More like the old son of a gun was too arrogant to believe he might ever die,” Charles grumbled impolitely.

“— or he did not expect, as Mr. McKendrick has said, to die so young. It is fair to say that he never expected your young healthy brother Robert to die at the age of twenty one.”

That started a set of fresh wails from Charity, “ohhh poor Robert! He was so young! He was so handsome and smart! Ohhhh” she cried. “But – “ she stopped and sniffed delicately, “ do I understand you correctly, sir, that because of my dear brother Robert’s untimely death, that all that my father has now passes to me?”

From his darkened corner, Jared rolled his eyes. Was she daft? That was precisely what he had just said. But he held his tongue.

Mr. Carlson replied patiently, “yes Mrs. McKendrick, that is precisely what I am saying. All of the wealth and holdings of Mr. Lockwood, your father, now pass directly to you – well, to your husband actually.”

“To my husband?” Charity cried her voice loud and shrill, “Whatever do you mean? You just said that I was my father’s heir. And daddy hated Charles after all. He would roll over in his grave at the very thought!” She continued, as if Charles were not right there, holding her, comforting her, hearing every unthinking word she uttered.

“That very well may be, but do remember that as a married woman, all of your property, everything you own, belongs to not to you but to your husband.” Mr. Carlson reminded her.

“But that’s not fair,” Jo said, joining the conversation for the first time. She looked apologetically at her father.

“But it is the law,” Mr. Carlson said. “If Mrs. McKendrick was unmarried, she would, indeed, inherit all of the estate. But as a married woman, by law it becomes her husband’s inheritance.”

Charles spoke softly to Charity, “My dear, you know I care nothing for such things, it is your inheritance, even if in the eyes of the law it is mine.”

“And so it should be!” She said hotly. “well never mind, Charles never did have a head for money. I shall manage it all and it shall be as if it were all mine in any case.”

Everyone’s eyes were on Charity now. She had ceased wailing and crying, and there was a scheming look, a calculating look to her now. Her mind was ticking off various properties and investments. The Mill in Lowell, the Mansion on Tremont Street, the Shipping line, and those were just the investments that she knew about.

“Do you have a full accounting of daddy’s estate? I should like to have a look at it immediately,” she said, pulling herself erect and out of Charles tenuous embrace. She no longer needed or wanted his comfort it seemed. Charles moved imperceptibly further from her on the sofa, putting physical distance between them to match the emotional distance that charity had just established.

“There is a great deal to be done, a great deal indeed. We must see to an accounting of all the investments, the accounts are settled, the debts. We must know exactly what we are worth, what must be liquidated, what must stay,” she stood up and began to pace, thinking and talking furiously as she walked about.

“And of course we will have to move back to the mansion on tremount,”

“Move?” Charles said, dazed.

“Of course we will, do you not see your daughter there growing into a young lady? You would not dare deprive her of her legacy as a Boston Brahmin?”

“What’s a Brahmin?” Jo asked, but was promptly ignored.

“And of course we will send your boy off to school – perhaps they can do with him what you have been unable to do, make something of him. I for one shall be glad to have him in someone else keeping for once,” she continued.

Jo looked at Jared, meeting his eyes. He looked cool and unaffected but she knew him. Her words hurt, even if he was well aware of her dislike.

“And Charles will have to take over running the mill –“

“Now see here! Just wait a minute, I don’t know anything about running a mill,” he protested

“So you shall learn! You listen to me Charles McKendrick! I have done it your way for ten years now. For ten years I have sat here in the middle of cow country, and played the pauper’s wife – a life I was never destined to lead. And now, now my destiny has come calling. You. Will. Not. Deny me this. If you love me. If you ever loved me. You will not deny me this Charles! You will bring the family to Boston and take your place in the family business, and you will cease this menial work with cattle!” She was screaming now, the force of her voice filling every inch of the room, sucking the air out so that no one dared breathe, no one dared utter a single word. Even Mr. Carlson stood in complete silence. The only sound to be heard was the deep and hearty draw and exhale of Charity’s heaving chest. Charity stared hotly at Charles, daring him to speak, daring him to contradict a single word of her admonishment. He did not.

Many moments passed. No one spoke, no one moved, no one breathed. The storm that was Charity McKendrick stilled and gentled, and passed.

“Mrs. McKendrick,” Mr. Carlson dared to step into the void, the eye of the squall. “I will have the accounting for you next week, if you can make the trip to town?”

She turned to Mr. Carlson, her eyes flashing with deadly promise, “I most certainly will be there. We shall all be there. With daddy’s money, we most certainly could hire laborers to pack up this old place and move it to the city. “

Charity looked around the humble, yet respectable drawing room her face a mask of disgust– all around her the room was a revelation of the last ten years and the life that Charles had provided for her, for the family. Jolene followed her gaze, confused. What did she find not to her liking? Jo loved this room with its bright and cheery windows and shelves full of books – shelves that her father had made himself, along with much of the furniture.

“No, I daresay there is not a single thing here I would deign to take. I think I shall have all new things, entirely new things.”

“But mother,” Jo began to interject.

Her mother turned on her then, her eyes still burned hotly, as they had when turned on Charles. But Jo was not afraid of her mother.

“Mother there are things here that are special to me. I shall be sad to leave them. I do not even want to move to Boston.” Jo said, making her feelings known.

“Nevertheless, you shall. You shall and you shall grow to love. You are a silly little country mouse. But believe you me, I shall make you into the very belle of society. You will have the chance that I so foolishly abandoned. You will achieve all that I did not.” Charity looked at her and vowed.

“But I do not want to go to Boston! I want to stay here with our horses, I want to stay here with Spirit!” Jo had a temper herself when it came right down to it, Jared decided.

“You will go.” Charity shouted.

“I won’t!” Jo vowed.

The slap was hard and full across Jo’s face, and whipped her head violently to the side.

Charles was on his feet before Charity had even realized what she had done.   Jo looked at her mother, holding her cheek. She looked at her mother as if she didn’t know her, like she was some stranger standing there. Jo had never been struck, not once. Jared had always been the one to be punished, and that had been enough for Jo, seeing his pain.

“I HATE you! I will never forgive you for this, ever!” Jo said, and ran from the room.

Charity, who loved her daughter despite her bitter and resentful nature, was beside herself. “What have I done? What have I done?” She kept repeating nonsensically. Charles just held her and brought her back the sofa.

“My dear its been a trying day, much has happened. You are not yourself,” he soothed.

“Yes, yes, I am not myself, I am not myself.” Charity chanted.


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