A few paragraphs to introduce one of the main characters in my proposed novel. I’m playing around with dialogue, character building and background. Please don’t read it as anywhere near finished as it very definitely is not.
Evelyn Manners, aged 26, and 5′ 6″ tall with dark bobbed hair, straightened her already very straight pearls, checked her brooch was aligned in the perfect position, and set her hat ‘just so’ on her head. She twirled round in front of her dressing room mirror, pleased with the deep rich, almost midnight blue ensemble she was wearing. It certainly set off her slim figure, and she knew it. ‘Well Mary’, she said, turning to her maid, ‘I think I’m ready – what do you think? Perhaps another string of pearls’?
‘No Madam, I think that’s sufficient – you don’t need to impress, just get them on your side is all’ responded the ever honest and dependable Mary. ‘So, just who are these people you’re going to meet today?’ Mary asked boldly. Far too boldly for a servant, but Mary was no ordinary servant, she had been at Evelyn’s side throughout the whole of their lives. Born hours apart, the two girls had been raised together and knew each other in the same way close sisters did. However, Mary was born to a servant on the estate, whilst Evelyn was born to the owner’s daughter – the owner being one Sir Richard Baggeley.
Sir Richard was, on the whole, a loving grandfather, who ensured his granddaughter made an excellent marriage when the time came. Thus Evelyn found herself married to Hugo Manners, son of an embarrassingly wealthy man whose wealth was not inherited but earned, through blood sweat and tears. One might wonder why Sir Richard had been content to marry his beloved granddaughter off to a tradesman. The truth was, Evelyn’s father had turned out to be very far from respectable – in fact, he’d turned out to be a total fraud who left his wife with their baby daughter and simply disappeared when his fraud came to light. His fraud being that he was a bigamist and therefore Evelyn carried the very deep stain of illegitimacy and his ‘wife’ the unforgivable status of unmarried mother.
Evelyn’s marriage to Hugo had, luckily, turned out to be blessedly happy. The young couple had moved into their new home (a beautiful residence just close enough to the nearest town to be neighbourly and just far enough out of town to be private), as soon as they had returned from their honeymoon and had sunk themselves into local politics, local amateur dramatics, local good works, local everything, and had, consequently, gained themselves an appreciative and thankful manor over which to lord.
Evelyn was mulling over this happy state of affairs when she realised she hadn’t answered Mary’s question. In all honesty she wasn’t really sure. The meeting had been called to discuss the use of a plot of land which had been earmarked for a factory. Hugo had hoped to buy it and build a group of cottages for new families to move into. Hugo’s political leanings took him towards socialism, whilst the council’s political leanings were firmly non-leaning upright conservative. Hugo had asked Evelyn to go and represent him at the meeting, he being unable to attend due to a previous engagement. Evelyn had readily agreed, and prepared her argument, she being in full agreement with Hugo’s ideals and personal philosophy. However, she had no idea who, exactly, would be present at the meeting.
‘Really and truly Mary, I have absolutely no idea. I’m just going to turn up and give Hugo’s point of view and hope that they listen to me’. With that she collected her gloves and walked downstairs, through the great hall and out onto the forecourt where her chauffeur was waiting for her with the car door open.
‘Well, they’ll have to listen Madam, but whether they take any notice is another thing altogether as well you know’, shouted Mary after her mistress. Evelyn saw the look Birkett, the chauffeur, gave Mary and frowned at him. All the household staff were aware that Mary held a unique, privileged and protected position in the Manners’ household, some of the household staff were jealous.