This is the start of my latest WIP. It’s a steampunk space opera set in Dartmoor in the summer of 1893. There’s a reason I can be that specific, but you’ll have to wait for later to see it. It starts with the heroine arriving at her Uncle’s house. Her family hopes the fresh air and clean environment will help slow the progression of the consumption that is carrying her off.
Consumption it is, but not in the way that is usually meant.
(c) 2015 Amelia Treader.
Uncle Sylvester Receives a Visitor.
It was nearly dark when the pony-trap carrying Elizabeth from the station at Moreton Hampstead finally arrived at the farm at Barnecourt. Venus, the evening star, shown brightly in the dull orange band of the western sky. She presaged a clear and starry night. Nobody noticed when she winked out and fell to Earth with a quick bright streak of light. George Trent, Dr. Standfast’s man-of-all-work, drove the trap to the front of a small farmhouse in the country not far from the isolated village of North Bovey on the outskirts of Dartmoor.
After stopping, he gently awakened his sleeping passenger, “Miss James? We’re here.”
Elizabeth James, a slight young woman, dark haired and pale, with the gentle slight cough of incipient consumption, stirred. Her parents had arranged for her to visit her uncle. He lived and practised in the country, and they all hoped that the fresh air would suit her lungs better than the stale smutty air of London. They had waved goodbye as she boarded a train in Paddington in the morning, her first step in the longest journey of her life. London, to Bristol, to Exeter, and then on the stopping train to the end of the line at Moreton Hampstead. There she was met by her uncle’s servant with a one-horse trap, and now, finally, she awoke in front of his house.
“Yes, Miss. Let me tie the horse and I’ll help you down.”
The clatter of their arrival brought Dr. Standfast to the door. Unusually tall, thin and surprisingly active for his sixty years, he shot out of the door and said, “Elizabeth! You’ve made it at last. How was your trip?”
Elizabeth replied, “Tiring.”
“I can see that, but are you feeling well. At least as well as can be?”
She gave a slight cough, and then said, “I think so.”
The cough made her uncle frown, “We’ll see what we can do about your cough.”
“If you can do anything, Uncle Standfast, it will be more than the doctors on Harley Street could.”
Her uncle walked to the trap and offered a hand to help her down, “You should call me Sylvester. Uncle Sylvester if you must. We’ll see, but I’m sure the fresh air and clean water of Dartmoor will help.”