Thursday, January 19, 2012
Mistaken Identity~Part 1
It was a cold spring evening when Clarence Howell and his wife Miranda were coming home from a business dinner in Boston. The roads were wet with patches of ice. Clarence had plenty of staff to do the driving for him but he did like to get out occasionally and feel the reins in his hands. He was driving slowly when a clap of thunder spooked his horse who reared up and forced the carriage over on it's side with his passengers thrown into the creek by the road.
It wasn't until much later in the evening when a worried Hortense Hill persuaded her husband Julian to check the roads for their beloved employers. Julian came upon the wreckage and with grief in his heart carried them home knowing they would never see the light of day or be with their precious daughter Bethany again. Bethany awoke with a start. She knew something was not right but had never imagined when her mother and father kissed her goodbye earlier that evening it would be the last time she would ever see them alive.
Bethany was 11 years old and the only child of Clarence and Miranda Howell. Bethany was a beautiful child who was turning into a beautiful young lady. She was loved by all the Howell household staff as were her mother and father. Her very best friend in the world was the daughter of one of the servants. Gertie had turned 9 on her last birthday and loved Bethany and her life in the Howell household. Her only nemesis was Eloise Hanover. Eloise was the caretaker's daughter and had a mean streak a mile long. Bethany was even able to find some good in Eloise and refused to say an unkind word about her. Gertie was afraid of Eloise and just stayed away from her as much as she could. Bethany was devastated by the death of her parents. Not even her dear friend Gertie could help her with her grief. Gertie just sat by her side and held her hand while she sobbed until there were no more tears to be shed.
Behind closed doors, the Howell lawyer was accessing the situation. “The household staff will be let go with a large stipend according to the Last Will and Testament of Clarence Howell and his wife Miranda. The estate and all assets will be sold with the proceeds going to their only daughter, Bethany making her a very wealthy young lady. Bethany will be sent to live with her Aunt Isabelle Howell.”
Aunt Isabelle was a lovely elderly woman who had met Bethany only one time when she was 7 years old. She was happy to have the dear child come live with her although her heart ached for the circumstances.
Eloise kept a close eye and ear on everything going on in the household for the next few weeks. A plan was forming in her head. Not that her father would care, but she told him she was leaving Boston. She had found a position as a companion for an invalid 12 year old girl and would be living with her. Archie Hanover didn't know why anyone would want to have his daughter around their child but at least she would be out of his hair so she was welcome to move on.
Eloise hid out until the day Bethany was to leave. At the last minute, it was decided that Gertie would be joining her friend on the trip. Gertie seemed to be the only comfort Bethany had and she already had so much taken away from her everyone thought it best not to separate her from her best friend too. The train took off with the girls on it and hiding in between the mail pouches was none other than Eloise smiling her wicked smile.
Bethany was quiet on the trip but she was slowly coming around. Her grief was still with her but her better instincts were taking over and she knew she couldn't bring her parents back by wallowing in self pity. Besides, Gertie was looking so sad herself she decided she must make an effort to cheer her up. The train had been traveling for several hours when the conductor finally made it to the girls private car. Bethany was napping and Gertie assured the conductor that everything was satisfactory. Shortly after he left their car, Bethany woke up and looked into the evil eyes of one Miss Eloise Hanover.