Amanda Hardcastle’s Visitor

Image by Richard Jenkins

Amanda Hardcastle was in the garden, attempting to read her book but failing miserably. She feared that she would never see Frederick Livingston again although her mother assured her that he had promised that he would visit them before he returned to America. The last time he was there, it was on the night of the ball.

It had been a glorious night. She thought she had succeeded in wresting him away from Rebecca after she persuaded him to sneak off to the study on the pretext of continuing their conversation which Rebecca had interrupted. However, soon after they arrived at the study, he wanted to return. “I don’t want Rebecca to return from dancing with your father and I’m still not there,” he said. “After all I did promise to dance with her.”

“What about me? Don’t you want to dance with me?”

“Certainly, I do, but–“

“Then, ask me.”

“Miss Hardcastle, may I have the pleasure of dancing with you?”

“You certainly may, Mr. Livingston.”

They went to the ballroom and he danced a few dances with her. Then, he curtly bowed, excused himself and went over to Rebecca. After apologizing profusely, he asked her to dance and she accepted. For the rest of the evening, he remained at her side while Amanda watched them, bristling. They spoke to each other again when he bade her goodnight and left.

That night, Rebecca went to Amanda’s room and demanded to know where she and Frederick had run off to. “Why didn’t you ask him?” Amanda had asked her coldly. “Were you afraid of what his answer would be?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, it’s obvious to everyone even if it isn’t to you. Frederick’s feelings for you are those of a brother, not a suitor.”

“That isn’t true. You’re just saying that because you have you designs on him.”

“If he had romantic inclinations towards you, dear, half-witted Rebecca, he wouldn’t have gone off with me or danced with me. Now, I suggest that you give up on any romantic notions about Frederick and direct your attention elsewhere.”

After a heated argument, Rebecca had fled from Amanda’s room. A couple days later, they heard the terrible news about the murders and Rebecca left for Savannah. Frederick had visited in the afternoon but unfortunately she, Amanda wasn’t there. She had gone to Bath with her cousin, Anne. Weeks had passed since then and she was beginning to wonder if Frederick had returned to America without bothering to visit.

Her heart leapt now as she watched a tall, familiar figure approaching her. It was Frederick. He had come. She remained seated but closed her book. He looked rather handsome in his outfit. He was carrying his jacket since it was a very warm day. When he reached her, she inclined her head as he bowed. “Good afternoon,” she greeted him with a slight smile.

“Good afternoon.”

Image by Trevillion

“I expect you’ve heard about what has happened at Frogmoss Plantation.”

“Yes. That’s why I’m returning to America. I want to be there for Rebecca.”

“She’s fortunate to have such a loyal friend.”

“She needs all the friends she can get.”

“I thought she was going to die from the shock when she heard the dreadful news that her dear father had been caught in bed with a slave girl and then, shot to death by her mother.”

“Yes, it must have been quite a shock for Rebecca and that’s why I must return to America and be with her.”

“I expect that you and your family must be quite relieved. “


“Yes, that you’re now off the hook.”

“Off the hook?”

“Yes. You’re not obligated to marry her now.”

Frederick’s expression darkened. “If I were in love with Rebecca, which I’m not, I would have married her despite what has happened.”

“No decent man would marry a woman under such circumstances, not even for the sake of love.”

“Where’s your compassion, Miss Hardcastle?”

“Whom should I feel compassion for? Rebecca? Her adulterous father? Her murderous mother? The wretched slave girl?”

“How about compassion for all of them?”

“I’m sorry but I don’t feel sorry for any of them.”

“Thanks for letting me off the hook.”

She stared at him blankly. “What do you mean?”

“I was invited to stay and have dinner with you and your family, but I’m not obliged to do that now. And I’m not obliged to pursue any further association with you. Goodbye, Miss Hardcastle.” He turned and stalked away.

Amanda watched him go. Then, she dissolved into tears. She had ruined any chances she might have had with Frederick Livingston.

3 thoughts on “Amanda Hardcastle’s Visitor

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.