Regular blog readers will know that Miss Charlotte Smith's Diary is a Regency satire of Bridget Jones's Diary by the wonderful Helen Fielding. There are links to parts 1-7 on the sidebar at your left.
‘Being a companion is probably a very fulfilling life,’ said Melissa supportively. ‘And I’m sure the earl will like you. Now I come to look at them more closely, I can see that your eyes are green. And in candlelight your hair is probably quite Titian. You will write to me, won’t you?’
‘Of course I will.’
‘Good. Because I don’t want you to go away, Charlotte.’
She looked Very Sad, and I was heartened to know she would miss me.
'I won't have anyone to talk to when you've gone,' she said, 'and I’m having problems of my own.'
I was all agog.
‘I overheard Mrs Dawkins talking today, and I think, from something she said, that the curate’s engaged.’
‘So what are you going to do? Are you going to ask him outright?’
Melissa chewed her lip. ‘I don’t know. Do you think I should?’
‘I don’t know either.’
‘Because if I do, and he is, I might burst into tears, which might be awkward. And if he isn’t, I might shout ‘Hooray!’ and throw my arms round his neck, and that would be even more awkward.’
‘You could always pretend you’ve had a letter containing either bad news or good news and blame your outburst on that.’
‘Yes, I could, couldn’t I?’ she said, brightening. ‘Do you know, Charlotte, I think I will.’
Came away with the smug feeling that I have solved Melissa’s problems and am a mature, sensible woman after all.
I’d hardly finished breakfast when Melissa walked past the window and gesticulated wildly, indicating she wanted me to come into the garden. I made an excuse to Mama and Susan and went outside.
‘What’s happened?’ I asked her.
‘It’s the worst news. He’s not only engaged, he’s married. Oh, Charlotte, I did so love him.’
I patted Melissa on the back. She’s only known him for two weeks, but it seemed cruel under the circumstances to say so.
‘He was so handsome, and so kind, and so intelligent,’ she said, sobbing into her lace handkerchief.
‘But he was a bit on the tubby side,’ I reminded her. ‘And there’ll be other curates. You were devastated when Mr Green started avoiding you, but you got over it.’
‘That was different.’
‘And when Mr Frampton revealed that he never intended to marry, you recovered.’
‘I can’t expect you to understand, you’ve never been in love,’ sobbed Melissa.
‘If I get the job with Lord Winters, you can come and visit me,’ I said. ‘Perhaps there’ll be a nice young curate in the local church.’
Melissa said that no one could be like Mr Thomson, but she started to sob less and soon she dried her eyes and said that yes, she would come and visit me at Lord Winters’ house, and perhaps there might be a church where she could Do Good Works, and if it happened to have a curate, she would help him to Do Good Works, too.