It would be quaint to start with ‘once upon a time’, but the time dare not be mentioned. Well, instead the story shall begin with ‘once there lived a man who had three very beautiful daughters.’ Alas, there is more, as it is with these stories, you see, each had naught a penny to their name. The eldest could not seem to find love in any man, the second was much in love with a man she had never spoken to and the last could not find her way out of love as it happened upon her each day. They all belonged to a doting father and ambitions mother whom on occasion loved to push her limits to desperate. And it was in desperation that the girls lived by, to stay away from marriage for money and seek it out for love.
Together they were strong and unyielding; separately they were easily torn down by every criticism and speculation that came down about their ears. Jane, the eldest, was unconcerned with personal criticism and subtly made a mockery of their words. Yet she was moved by slander towards her family and most ardently defended unkind remarks towards her sisters.
It was their delight to keep close to one another, at all times, through breakfast and dinner. Even to the courtly balls that the neighbors held every so often; especially in the coming months of summer, when the gardens were set at the happiest shade of green.
It was on every morning once the season of the dance had started, that the trio would walk the lane that circled their estate. As it was tradition they walked arm in arm, connected in the center by the middle child who was the thinnest of them all. Cassandra needed warmth on their walks and always had her sisters on each arm. They would nod in unison to the passer-byes without pausing in either their footwork or their mouths. For the three could always be found with a discussion on their lips and it was rare that when in each others company that something was not being analyzed or deliberated.
It was on such mornings that they would wander a bit farther for the middle child, so that they would pass by the mansion that which her admiration lived. Livenson was the home of the La Flore family, the youngest of which was named Henry. Yet the other two sisters, not infatuated with Mister La Flore, referred to him as ‘Cassie’s Henry’.
She hated it as an infringement to her very nature, but secretly she wished it were more true than her own name. Cassandra loved a man whom she had yet to speak one word to. The shy child had been unable to even speak her own name or a polite greeting when they had been introduced. Under sworn secrecy her sisters had rushed Cassandra from her Prince Charming’s presence before she had fainted dead away.
That was one instant that was never to be spoken of, for the event was entirely taboo around Cassandra. The other two loved to discuss it in private and try to discern a way to break their sister’s shyness, but thus far their secret conversations had come to no avail. Perhaps Henry, being an average human would understand her silent stammering to be a declaration of undying love.
Yet, Henry, being what he was, male, would perhaps see through her shyness to her true passions. Then again, perhaps not. For as any woman knows you must show some affection before a man will even began to pursue, unless he is himself interested. You must give him an inch before he will consider taking the time to pursue the mile.
The eldest, Jane, was a sensible creature and lived by her wit and by her serious, albeit controlled, fiery demeanor. For without it she would not be herself. Yet no matter how many suitors came to call on the eldest, she would not have him, no courting or offerings would persuade her different. She watched after her sisters and spoke of their beauty, so that they may marry rich. She said it kept her to busy, but in truth it was her dissatisfaction with the male outlook that she ostracized with vicious intent.
It was her love of painting and drawing that kept her days busy, not sewing dresses like the second child or writing little stories that the youngest was always scribbling. Poems and such; poetry that spoke of love and undying devotion.
It was love that she found everyday; in the simplest factions of life.
It was said that Anne could find love even in the worst of things. She had such a talent for it. Anne was the youngest, and wore her heart planted firmly on her sleeve. She found some amiable quality about every man she met to fall in love with.
Her tongue that was quick and her charm grand, it was in her heart that was her undoing. The looseness of it around attractive men; and by attractive it is meant that they were single. Yet little Anne was not hated for this quality, as full of scandal as it was at times, she was revered for it. Her charismatic conduct allowed for all offenses to be shrugged off.
Though she had been made many offers, she was as determined and desperate as her sisters to find love in marriage. Until she found a man that made her tongue still and make her wish her virginity away, she would not marry. At first she had read tale upon tale about how men and women lay together on their wedding night. Now she had taken a liking to writing them. She would boast proudly, taking her elder sisters words, that if she was educated enough to read them, then she could very well write them.
As they wandered down the lane and the Livenson manner out of view, Jane took it upon herself to reflect on outspread observations.
“You are much more likeable than me, sisters.” Jane spoke as they turned the final bend.
“Nonsense, you are as beautiful as us.” The middle countered.
“It is your demeanor that is wretched not your looks.” The littlest commented slyly, she always was one for cruel jokes.
“You are harsh sister.” The middle spoke as the eldest laughed.
“Ah, Anne, it is your looks that allure and your approach that causes offence among the suitors. My sister, your tongue, which is apt for excessive silliness, is both your strength and your weakness,” Jane spoke with a chuckle in her throat and a twinkle in her eyes.
“If only you knew what else I did with my tongue.” Anne said coyly.
“Sister!” Cassie said, stopping to gap at her.
“You are offending her shy, innocent nature.” Jane got them walking again; it would not be wise to dawdle in such chilly weather.
“We promised not to speak of my obvious weaknesses,” The middle spoke as she looked down to her mud caked boots that poked out every once and again as though to remind her that they were still there.
“It is an admirable quality that we both love, do we not sister?” Jane commented to the littlest one.
“Yes,” but like always she had to distinguish herself by obtaining the final word, “Soon Cassie’s Henry will come to cherish it.”
“Anne!” Cassie cried as the youngest of them all took her hand and pulled her along laughing like a child.
Running down the lane, the trio laughed with their hands on their bonnets and in each other company. The morning mist settled around as their home came into view. Rosilyn Gatehouse was located in the middle of the county. It had been a gift to their mother’s mother from their great grandfather as a wedding present. He had hoped for many children. In his final moments he had found himself content with five grandchildren, all of which knew their grandfather before his death at 52.
The second oldest was their mother, Miss Anne Radcliffe, who had kept the house after the rest of her family had been married off or had died. She married Mr. David Locke not long after they had met. He was a doctor of animals that had saved her on the road when her horse had gone lame. They claimed they married for love and their daughters would not settle for less, much to Mrs. Locke’s constant dismay.
The girls always came home from their walk just as breakfast was being served, but it was on this day that their mother ordered that no breakfast be served, and once the girls had arrived they be brought before her immediately.