Earl Charles Cornwallis

Earl Charles Cornwallis

A Chapter by Kayla Amaro

The next moment when Jem was truly conscious of her surroundings was when she found herself back in her father's study, him admonishing her for not having a presentable enough posture. Mere seconds later, Earl Cornwallis appeared at the doorway in a most intricate outfit: a spotless shirt and cravat, a dark coat embellished with golden buttons and lined with golden stitches with matching breeches, smooth stockings and shoes. His dark brown hair was tied back with a navy blue ribbon. His overall appearance was immaculate. 

He was a tall man, Jem noticed, with a broad chest, perfectly fair skin, and bright green eyes with speckles of gold in them. In short, although Jem knew this man was thirty years of age, he had pleasant features that never showed a hint of it. The Earl took a polite bow. 

"Colonel Jones."

Her father returned the favor. 

"Earl Cornwallis, what a pleasure. I would be delighted for you to meet my daughter, Jemima."

The Earl turned his attention towards her now. She was trapped into looking at him straight in the eye. He stared back. She could feel the heat rising in her cheeks as they turned a delicate pink. She curtseyed, looking towards the floor, praying for it to swallow her whole. 

"Charmed," he said, his voice as smooth as silk.

She looked up and managed a small, shy smile. 

"The pleasure is all mine, my Lord."

"Jem, dear, the Earl and I have some...business to discuss."

"Of course," she said, her smile fading as she curtseyed once more. 

She rushed out of the study and to the drawing room, taking deep breaths. Were men always this intimidating? She furrowed her eyebrows and huffed, chastising herself. She had to get a hold of herself. She refused to let this man intimidate her, much less court her. She could imagine what "business" her father wished to deliberate with the Earl. Sighing, she walked over to the bookshelf, grazing her fingertips along the spines of the books. She pulled one out gently, and sat down in a cushioned chair. Perhaps reading would divert her attention elsewhere. 

                                                                                                ***

The two men back at the study clinked their crystal glasses of malted beverage, discussing the colonel's experiences from the previous war. Sooner than he wished, however, the conversation turned to the subject of politics. Not simply any politics: that of which affected the colonists. 

"I have heard many stories," muttered the Earl with a grave expression, as he took another sip.

"Indeed..." the colonel replied, sharing the same expression. 

"What is your opinion on the subject?"

The colonel looked at him now. 

"Quite frankly, my loyalty is to the crown and to Parliament's decisions. We, the people of the mainland, have to suffer through a great many taxes. Therefore, if the colonists claim they care for the same rights as us, it is only just they share the same responsibilities as us. Parliament is not imposing as much taxes there as they do here."

There was a moment of silence while the Earl took yet another thoughtful sip. 

"I see your point," he finally replied. 

"Now, I've heard of your work as a member of Parliament. You do not share my opinion. In fact, you support the colonists in their demand for these rights they speak of."

"I believe that if the situation changes the political rights of the colonists for their benefit, it will undoubtedly change the political rights of the citizens here on the mainland for our benefit."

"Are you still loyal to the crown?"

The Earl's eyes widened in shock at the question.

"Of course I am," he replied.

There was a long silence as the two men got lost in their webbed out thoughts. 

"Enough about politics," the colonel said. He allowed a pause while sipping his own drink before continuing, "What is your opinion of my daughter Jemima?"

The Earl chuckled, wearing a grin he couldn't pull back. 

"I think she is a very agreeable young lady."

The colonel smirked, satisfied. The Earl resumed chuckling, putting a hand on his hip and looking upwards at the ceiling. 

"I was certain you would take to her. She has blossomed into such a lovely creature, just like her mother."

"How is her temper?" the Earl asked with a mischievous grin, "The same as her mother's as well?"

"Worse," the colonel said with a smile. 

The Earl's smile slowly faded. 

"I have been very occupied as of late. With my father's recent death, I have been burdened with the responsibility of arranging careers and suitable marriages for my siblings. I am afraid I have no time for myself and would not be able to give your daughter the attention she deserves."

"I understand." The colonel waited two beats. "You know, she shares some of your same political opinions, though I'm sure she is not aware of the fact that I know. It makes me frightened to my core for her future. She believes I try to make her life miserable by suggesting she marry someone such as yourself. However, I firmly believe, since you two are so similar, if she were to marry you, she would be happy."

The Earl looked to the floor. 

"Well colonel, I do not wish to steal anymore of your time, and I have a great many things to attend to this evening."

"Of course."

They both took respectful bows and the Earl swiftly strode out of the study. On his way to his coach, he stopped at the drawing room, noticing Jem was inside. He silently stood at the doorway staring at her. She had fallen asleep in a cushioned chair with a brown book sitting open on her lap. Upon watching her sleep, he felt a warmth rise within him. She was the most beautiful creature he had ever laid his eyes on. He slowly felt himself studying her. The way her chest rose and fell as she breathed softly. The way her long lashes fanned out from her closed eyes. The way the sunlight through the window reflected off of her golden skin. His sudden attraction to her almost frightened him. He recalled everything her father had told him about her. 

The Earl closed his eyes and made up his mind. Despite the pressures of managing his family, he would make time to court a young lady, a bride for himself. He opened his eyes and rushed back to the colonel's study. He was startled by his sudden entrance. 

"Colonel, would you do me the honor of allowing me to court your daughter?"

The colonel stared back, surprised at the sudden proposal. 

"Yes," he finally answered, "yes of course."




© 2017 Kayla Amaro



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Added on October 10, 2017
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Author

Kayla Amaro
Kayla Amaro

Philadelphia, PA



About
I am an extremely avid reader. I don't know how to put a book down once I've started! Currently Reading: Winter by Marissa Meyer. I'm a band girl. If you love P!ATD, TØP, FOB, we're basical.. more..

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Jemima Jones Jemima Jones

A Chapter by Kayla Amaro