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Doomed Love — Book 1

Doomed Love — Book 1

Barely visible in the inky gloom,
The cold bodies of the young lovers lay,
Just a glimmer of pale flesh in the dark,
The watery fastness their woeful tomb.
Unmoved by the sun’s warming ray,
Never again would they rise with the lark
And in the meadows laugh and play
Like innocent children out of school,
Or lie on shady banks beside the brook
On hazy afternoons where the air was cool
Happily lost in the pages of a book,
Dreaming of days of endless bliss.
But now entwined in fatal embrace,
The water’s kiss their final breath,
They were forever united in death,
Doomed to lie far from the light of grace.
Theirs was a love that would not pass,
For this was an age, and she was from a class
Where money overruled the heart
And affection could not be freely given;
But so deep was their attachment,
That they could never bear to part
And like fabled lovers from romantic story
They chose to die by church unshriven,
Tragic victims of a love forbidden,
One in death in true lovers’ heaven.

It should have been a day of celebration
And joy at the joining of a young couple
In the blessed state of holy matrimony,
But the real truth was much more subtle,
And there was a more serious intent
To all the feasting and ceremony,
Because after months of negotiation
And heated exchanges in smoke filled rooms
Between the lawyers of the two tycoons,
This union marked the final assent,
To the merger of two great mercantile houses,
Sealed by a contract between spouses;
And the deal which was finally agreed
And signified by a solemn handwritten deed,
Was the true meaning for all the conviviality,
Besides which the wedding was a mere triviality.

The groom was someone big in the City
Who was totally lacking in sentiment or pity,
And had never until then given thought,
Since all that he wanted could be bought,
To finding for himself find a suitable wife,
Who could look after the domestic side of life.
Self-made and ambitious, hard-nosed and stern,
As the owner of a serious concern
Devoted solely to the making of money,
His will would not be overridden
By appeals to ideas of humanity,
And he expected his every dictate
To be obeyed without question or debate.
The pursuit of wealth was his overriding passion,
With no time to indulge in the latest fashion,
Deeming art and culture to be mere affectation,
And of no value to the life of the nation.

The young bride’s father was a textile baron
And Yorkshire landowner with a vast estate.
Highly influential, he had been made a peer
As a reward for services to the British state,
In yet another of the country’s colonial wars
At the turn of the century against the Boers.
He ruled his employees with a rod of iron,
And notorious for his petty cruelties,
Even his wife lived in perpetual fear
Of his fearsome temper and biting tongue,
Which would lash out at the slightest wrong,
If she ever neglected her household duties.

It was his great grandfather’s ambition
Which had started the family's elevation
From the ranks of the labouring masses
To its present pre-eminent position.
A common farmworker's son,
Unschooled and homespun,
He was uncommonly sharp of mind
And to his lot would not be resigned,
So seeing a way for advancement
Through wise and prudent investment,
From the farmer, he borrowed a horse and cart,
And went to village weavers for their cloth
Which he then sold at the Leeds cloth mart.
Within a few months, he had saved enough
To start in business on his own account,
And by offering a significant discount
The new company was soon prospering,
Rich reward for his initiative and daring.

With the prospect of war against France,
He saw that fate had given him the chance
To further expand and consolidate,
And he negotiated a government mandate
To sell scarlet cloth to the British army
For the distinctive tunics of the infantry.
The following years were ones of plenty,
For with this monopoly in their hand
And by investment in property and land
His successors rose to the ranks of gentry,
Far removed from their former estate.
But fortunes change in the longer term
And after many hours of heated debate
The directors were forced to concede
That the only way to reverse the decline
Was through merger with a rival firm,
And both parties unanimously agreed
On the need for appropriate guarantees
To confirm the seriousness of the deed
And that marriage between the families
Would be an eminently suitable sign.

The bride to be was just twenty years old
A gentle soul with a heart of pure gold,
She was by nature romantic and tender,
But also possessed a spirit most rare.
In appearance, she was tall and slender,
With a complexion like peaches and cream,
The kind of which all Englishmen dream,
But her chief glory was her long flaxen hair
The rich colour of ripe corn at harvest;
Falling heavy about her waist untamed
And in heavenly beauty unashamed,
It had inspired the passion of many an artist
To capture its flaming splendour in pigment;
And many more were the young swains
Who yearned to bestow their caresses
On those richly flowing tresses,
But however ardently persistent,
None had been able to gain her affection
With only one exception,
An honest youth whose simple art
Had succeeded in capturing her heart.

In common with girls of her class, the lass,
Named Charlotte after her father’s mother —
Probably the only person he ever truly loved —
Had been entrusted to the care of a governess
For her education, a choice which proved
Ultimately fatal, for this kindly creature
Was rather indulgent, where another,
By imposing more austere control
Might have restrained her willful nature,
And taught her ways more fitting to her role.

As an only child, and sole heiress
Charlotte was a company asset to be used
When necessary, to ensure success
In whatever venture her father proposed,
A future in which she would have no say,
And where romance had no part to play.
This marriage was, therefore, no love match,
To be celebrated in sentimental verse,
And for a young girl, the groom was no catch,
For sad to relate, in naked commerce,
Love was an unfortunate inconvenience,
And a regime unmoved by emotion,
Would not permit any lenience,
Regarding marriage as a negotiation,
And deeming any romantic notion
Of happiness, a minor consideration.


This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than storiesspace.com with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © 2020 by Keith Paver

All rights reserved, including all copyrights and all other intellectual property rights in the contents hereof.

The compositions and contents herein are not to be copied, reproduced, printed, published, posted, displayed, incorporated, stored in or scanned into a retrieval system or database, transmitted, broadcast, bartered or sold, in whole or in part without the prior express written permission of the sole author. Unauthorized duplication is strictly prohibited and is an infringement of National and International Copyright laws.

All names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

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