July 11, 2016

In Which Hollie Is Not the Suitable Comforter

June 24, 1201

So much for a nice, quiet day with Ricky.

Just when Hollie had finally had a day to spare, she'd made the ride out to Armion only to find that Ricky had and his father had left to survey some construction projects in the area, and that his mother was calling on her sister in Tetran.

But, Aldhein had told her she might as well stay, because Camaline had just received a letter from the woman who would have been her mother-in-law, informing her that her betrothed had died. He'd said she was in need of a suitable comforter.

Hollie didn't think she had been a 'suitable comforter' at any point in her existence. But, Camaline was her little cousin and would one day be her sister-in-law, so she'd resolved to do what she could--which was, apparently, nothing.

"I mean, I-- I-- I'm practically a widow!"

Had Camaline even met Farilon? Hollie didn't recall any instance in which she might have. Then again, what did she know about long, pre-arranged betrothals? Unlike herself at that age, Camaline had likely held a clear picture in her head of how the rest of her life would play out. Someone had taken a dagger to that canvas and slashed it to shreds. "Don't say that..."

"But I am! And what's to become of me now? Who's to say if Father can find anyone else for me?"

That couldn't have been much of an issue for a pretty, generally charming daughter of a duke and a princess, but it felt insensitive to point that out. "You're younger than I was when your brother proposed to me. Someone will come along."

"Will he? You know how early most of us are betrothed; every young man worth having is spoken for." Camaline took a minute to wipe her eyes while Hollie pondered the meaning of 'worth having'. Surely the existence of marriage hold-outs such as her brother hadn't been lost on her? "Now I'll probably end up as some old man's third wife, or I'll be promised to some little boy and I won't be married until I'm past thirty--and I'll be stuck here until then as a maiden aunt!"

Again--Hollie didn't think that would be the case. But, it did sound like a drag. "If it helps, I can cover for you if you decide to... you know, not be a maiden."

"That's not the point! I just don't want to be... extraneous. Purposeless." Camaline sniffed, a sob caught on her throat. "Well, and I don't want to be a maiden for that long either. And even if I technically wasn't, I don't want people to look at me when I'm that old and consider me as some woman-shaped child who knows nothing of the world and ought to be kept that way."

"Aww, you know Ricky and I will punch the lights out of anyone who treats you like that." But she just collapsed into tears again--because that didn't erase the possibility that people would. "I'm sorry. I'm... not good at this whole 'comforting' thing."



Van said...

Bleh. Thunderstorm season here. :(

Winter said...

Poor Camaline! (Although, I would have paid good money to see her namesake be in Hollie's shoes, if only for the straightforward common sense that would have been laid down.) If she wants another arranged betrothal, Lorn and Leara will be able to find her one. Between Naroni, Dovia, Carvallon, and anyone else sending their nobles to the university, there are suitable matches to be had. The market for a young, healthy, good-looking daughter of a duke and a princess will be wide enough that she isn't stuck with an old man or a young boy. And her parents are considerate enough not to want that situation for her, either.

Van said...

Granted, Camaline had a bit of wedding angst herself if Sparron had rejected her based on her menstrual woes--but, definitely, the Camaline of today wouldn't have been a good choice for this talk. Sympathetic enough... but logical and to-the-point.

Hollie and you are right about there being a wide enough pool to choose from. I think Lorn's main concern is avoiding another Rona situation, but he at least learned from that (if only because his relationship with Rona never did quite recover). I think they'll wait for her to process it at first. Who knows? She may want to find someone on her own. But, she might like knowing that she's settled.

But yeah--she's not about to be stuck with anyone completely inappropriate.

S.B. said...

At first I thought Camaline was ludicrously overreacting, and still sort of do, but surely what she fears isn't that uncommon. It's too bad that she considers her life ruined and purposeless if she's not married and to someone she considers suitable, but if she does, then she does.

It would be hard to comfort her when the likelihood of any of those bad things happening is so slim. Better to just say 'there there' and 'don't worry' and 'probably not' and hope to leave shortly.

Van said...

Yeah... Camaline's worries are valid enough considering the times, but you and Hollie are right about her life not being ruined. Hopefully, Camaline will find something to give her life meaning outside of marriage--but even if she does, she might still want to get married. And she probably still will, but now the question of the groom is unsettled.

Comforting is hard! Plus sometimes, people don't want comfort and suggestions so much as they want someone to agree that something sucks--which is understandable. It can be tough to tell which someone wants, or if they just want to be left alone.