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Doomed Love — Book 2

Doomed Love — Book 2

In hindsight, there was an inevitability
To the tragedy that unfolded that day,
And no doubt that responsibility lay,
With the magnate’s conceited pride,
In proposing a match of such unsuitability
Just to restore the company’s image,
Regardless of the feelings of the bride.
Despite his own family’s humble lineage
As a child, she had been strictly forbidden
To associate with the grubby children
Of the common people he so despised.
There had only been one exception
To his foolishly absolute injunction,
For his steward had a daughter too,
About the same age as his only child,
Who as companion might just do;
But fearing his line would be defiled
By any person of inferior birth,
He was at pains to make it plain
The very fact of her unequal worth
Meant that she was fitted only to serve,
Ordering his daughter never to feign
A familiarity she would never deserve.
But in his arrogance, he had forgotten
That human emotions cannot be bidden,
And not only was he needlessly cruel,
But showed he was a pompous fool
To believe he had the power to thwart
The formation of a close connection
With a girl whose unselfish affection
Filled with love the aching void in her heart.

The steward also had a son, a carefree lad
Who had been blessed with natural grace,
And a manner that was generous and gay,
Making the hearts of all who met him glad.
His father hoped when he grew old and grey
The boy would be the one to take his place,
But also knew that if his son should aspire
To fill the steward’s post, he would first require
A thorough grasp of every task, great and small,
To manage such a large estate, from stately hall
With formal gardens, lake and landscaped park
To farms and villages, river and moorland,
Where at the noble lord’s express command
Rich men would come to enjoy his largesse
And those country pursuits, which were the mark
Of his wealth and power, and whose lavishness
Was intended to impress, and thus enhance
His reputation, and increase his influence
In the cut-throat world of commercial enterprise.
In order to ensure his son’s eventual rise
To the primary position on the estate,
The steward determined he should begin
His education the same way his had been,
And once he had learned his letters and tables,
He took him from school at the age of eight
And sent him to work as a lad in the stables.

Though he was older by six whole years,
Tom doted on his sister Jane from her birth,
Watching with wondering fascination
The tiny form sleeping softly in her crib.
As the infant grew, so did his adoration,
And he it was who was on hand to guide
When she made her first tottering steps,
Always ready to dry her childish tears
When she often stumbled and fell
With gentle kisses to make her well,
And after work was done, each night
He would make from straw for her delight
Little dolls, which made her clap her hands
And laugh with unselfconscious mirth.
Visitors to the home would usually find
Her clinging to his side in sisterly devotion
And would often remark to their mother
On the unusual bond of filial affection
That had grown between sister and brother.
The child would often beg to be allowed
To go with her brother to the stable,
And when she was four, and able
Her father said, not to get in the way,
Her mother, to still her constant pleas,
Would send her off at noon each day
With his lunch of bread and cheese
Wrapped in cloth, and a quart of milk
To quench his thirst; and thus proud
She would gaily run from the house,
And arriving, sit as quiet as a mouse
Soaking in the sweet smell of the hay
And the pungent scent of the sweat
On the shining flanks of the horses,
Hot from their morning courses
In the field, whilst with brush and comb
Her brother would begin to groom
Their coats and mane to make them neat
For his masters afternoon inspection.

Jane's life soon took a new direction
When her father and mother arranged
For her to become the sole companion
To the young Charlotte, whose education
And upbringing she would share.
So at the tender age of five, she exchanged
The familiar comfort of her family home
For the austere grandeur of the hall,
Where she would be entrusted to the care
And discipline of complete strangers,
And cut off from the love she had known.
Powerful men accustomed to obedience
Fail to see the limitations of their influence,
And are often blind to the obvious dangers
Of situations that cannot be defended
Against the natural inclinations of emotion,
Feelings they never attempt to understand.
So despite her father’s express command,
Charlotte and Jane rapidly developed
A close relationship of mutual devotion
In a bond of friendship that transcended
The difference in their birth, abandoned
As they almost instinctively believed,
In a mysterious and frightening world,
Of adults who seemed distant and cold.


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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