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Torn Curtain Pt 68

Part 68: Strength of Composure


She came upon him sitting on the high wall of the fort's parapet. She was told that it was from this wall that Elizabeth had fallen all those years ago. It was no wonder. The winds were high, and there was a portion of the landing that was unprotected, probably left to accommodate a canon. She followed the lieutenant's gaze to a strip of sand where a raven-haired young woman was twirling in the wind.

“You expose your feelings, Lieutenant,” Magpie said, amused. “You are not as transparent as your absent friends, but anyone who takes care to look can see that you are besotted.”

“Gillette wears his heart on his sleeve because it is in his nature,” Groves said, continuing to stare at the girl. “And Norrington does it because, after years of struggle, his strength of composure wore thin. He fell in love with his wife when she first reached her maidenhood and it was a very long time before he could show his regard.”

“Do you envy his restraint, Theodore?” Magpie asked, lightly touching his elbow.

“Sometimes, Mags, I do,” he answered, finally turning to face her. “But there are other times when I wish that I could allow myself to act every bit the besotted fool that Gillette does over Miss Marianne.”

“Why do you feel the need to show restraint?” she asked. “It is very unlike you.”

“Where Miss Margaret is concerned, it is quite necessary that I do. She has an aunt who is a Countess, an uncle who is a Baronet, and her father himself has been knighted. She deserves to return to England to find a man who has ambitions beyond a captaincy.”

“You are speaking to the daughter of an Earl, sir,” Magpie said, pursing her lips. “And you, yourself, are the son of a Baronet. Why do you find your own lack of title to be an impediment?”

“That is not the only thing, Mags,” he said, quietly. “You know my history. Were it known to her, she would be repulsed.”

“You make too much of it, Theodore,” she told him, shaking her head.

“Perhaps, were I a better man now, that would be true. And maybe, someday, I can be a man that would be well within his rights to court her.”

“But, by then, you may have rivals.”

“And that may be all the better for her.”

Suddenly, out of the corner of her eye, Magpie noticed something in the distance. She turned, and squinted. She wasn't sure what she was looking at. They were probably birds on the water, but something told me that the white things moving across the water at a distance signified something else entirely.

“Theo, give me your spyglass.”

She took it as soon as he held it out to her. Pointing it in the direction she had just been looking, she scanned the water with its help. It was as she suspected. There were three ships in the distance that looked to be traveling toward the island.

“What is it, Mags?”

“Ships.”

She handed the glass back to him, and watched as he scanned the water for himself.

“The Dauntless, The Dragonfly and The Discovery are coming into port,” he said. “Norrington and Gillette have returned.”

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
classics_lover
Oct. 24th, 2008 04:21 pm (UTC)
This installment is just plain made of squee.

That is all. :-D
sprkysage
Oct. 25th, 2008 10:49 pm (UTC)
I can't wait until Torn Curtain is finished so that I can, perhaps, tackle a proper Mags/Samuel epic (and, thereby, feed my addiction to The War for American Independence).

You created such a great character in Magpie.

I miss your fics.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )