Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Magpie Tales #70 Portrait

Thanks go to Tess Kincaid who organises and hosts this meme J To read more Magpies please click here.
Image copyright Tess Kincaid

Cool intelligent grey eyes stared at the camera. Charlotte appeared confident but there was a slight tremulousness about her mouth that betrayed her true feelings. The studio portrait had been commissioned by her father. It was to be sent to her fiancé who had left England for India some months previously to manage his family’s tea plantation. Charlotte was to join him soon.

Though she and Edward were engaged, they barely knew each other. They had been introduced by their families who had declared them a perfect couple and delightedly arranged the marriage. Edward had accepted the decision with poor grace but acknowledged that his prospects lay with the family business. Charlotte had demurred but was ignored. As the only daughter of a rich family she was expected to marry well – and that meant marrying money. ‘Keep it in the family’ was the unspoken rule.

She contemplated her fate with dismay. India held no allure for her, Edward even less. There was no spark of attraction between them; they had no interests in common. If he didn’t make her skin crawl, neither did he make her tingle.

When the telegram arrived informing of Edward’s untimely demise – he had fallen prey to cholera – Charlotte felt an enormous sense of relief that she disguised with an air of solemnity and which the families interpreted as grief. The portrait was returned with Edward’s possessions and thenceforth Charlotte was treated with deference. Her subsequent marriage was to a man of her own choosing. Her wedding portrait showed a smiling, poised young woman, all hint of timorousness vanished. 


  1. Loved this!! :)

  2. Let me be the first to criticise this as a cliche. Sorry! It wrote itself.

  3. You have a way with the written word Janice. I know you saw it as cliche, but it was still an enjoyable read.

  4. Cliche or not is for you to decide. On balance I don't agree that the story is clichéd. Whichever - she had a lucky escape.

  5. All's well that ends well, I'd say. Nicely done, as always.

  6. don't be too harsh on yourself - it reads like the outline of a successful novel ...

    but I would like to say, having met many people/couples from arranged marriages, they are not always repugnant and emotional disasters, but rely on both parties having their eyes open and their expectations managed: and in many the grow to love each other deeply

  7. It was completely unexpected and I liked that part the most. May be, there is something, you want to reflect in your words. Good work, I would say!

  8. You could easily turn this into a short story. Anyway, I am glad for her.
    Does that sort of thing still happen? I suppose it might, but you'd be free to get your 'tingle' elsewhere, so long as you were discreet about it.

  9. Very nice, J.L!!
    If someone wants to make it into a movie I am sure it will be a very neat 'Chick Flick film.
    Happy MidWeek Blues! I'll be back for it. :)

  10. I like this, too, Janice. I think clichés become clichés because there is a lot of truth in them.
    I would love to see this beautiful young woman smiling.
    — K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

  11. India held no allure for her, Edward even less

    I do love the scene in "Fiddler on the Roof" "Do You Love Me?" they had an arranged marriage and learned to love one another. But Edward sounded a bit of a bore...

  12. Cliche or not is was an interesting read, I enjoyed the story.

  13. Poor Edward. But a happy outcome for Charlotte. Yay!

    Ellie Garratt

  14. I like the way you have created a personality that matches the picture. Love the story.

  15. An all too real story. Still true for some parts of the world...

    a statement

  16. I thought it was very well-done and engaging I loved your interpretation of the expression in her face.

  17. Good stuff jabblog and (his) death gave her freedom. As gautami rightly stated arranged marriages exist for many.

    Anna :o]


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