Chapter 1 : Sir Edmund Potter and Miss Marrianne Montgomery
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1. Sir Edmund Potter and Miss Marrianne Montgomery, daughter of the Duke of Cornwall - 1675
“You to wed my Marrianne? HA!”
“Papa!” The pretty young redhead made as if to grab her father’s arm. He snatched it out of reach and glared at her.
“Quiet! Now, listen here, boy. I don’t know what you’re thinking. To think that I would even consider such an offer…I’ll give you a minute to remove yourself from my property.”
“No, your grace.” He was a handsome young man, dressed in the height of fashion. If there were to be fault to be found in his appearance, it was to be found in his hair. Despite all the creams and oils he filled it with each morning, his unruly black hair would simply not lie straight.
“WHAT was that?”
“I said, no, your grace. Begging your grace’s pardon, but I love Marrianne, and I intend to marry her with or without your approval.”
“Love? LOVE? ARE YOU MAD, BOY? LOVE!?!?!” He gave a bark of unamused laughter.
He whirled on her. “And I suppose you fancy yourself in love with this young…”
“Gentleman?” the young man offered helpfully.
“Yes, I do love him,” Marrianne broke in hotly. “And you can’t stop me from marrying him, Papa, you can’t!”
“Oh, I can’t, can I? We’ll see about that! Now both of you listen here. Your offer is an insult in and of itself, boy. My Marrianne, the daughter of an earl, to wed a mere knight? You’re mad to even consider it. MAD, YOU HEAR?”
“Maybe I am mad!” he shot back. “Maybe we’re all mad. But I don’t think I'm any madder than you, old man.”
Marrianne gave a little giggle. Her father turned the full force of his glare on her, and she shrunk back.
“And you. You treacherous little snake! I always knew you’d turn out to be trouble,” he sneered. “All those novels.” Turning back to the young knight, he said, “Get out of my house.” Nobody moved. “GET OUT OF MY HOUSE RIGHT THIS INSTANT, YOU LITTLE-“
“Is everything alright in here?” Another woman chose that moment to enter. Her hair, once the same flaming color as Marrianne’s, was streaked with gray, but other than that the two women could have been twins.
“Mama!” Marrianne cried, running into the woman’s open arms. “Papa has said he won’t let me marry Edmund!”
“Edmund?” Her grace turned to the young gentleman. Her eyes looked him up and down before returning to her daughter and saying, “Well, perhaps he has a point.”
“Of course I came,” she whispered, slipping into his arms.
He received her gladly, but was unable to hide his worry. For a woman to marry without her parents’ consent was inconceivable, but they couldn’t give each other up – not in a million years. “What are we going to do?” he asked her.
“Elope.” Her voice was confident, even happy.
She laughed, and in that moment he knew that he would do anything to stay with her. “Yes, dimwit. Elope.”
A week later, she was Marrianne Potter.