asks Anne Stenhouse one or two pressing questions
Hullo, Anne, I’ve been longing to ask you about MARIAH’S MARRIAGE, the book you wrote about my descent from the educational moral high ground to simpering miss status.
It’s good to have you here, Mariah, although that sounded a wee bit aggressive in tone.
Sorry. I’ll try again. I was enjoying the challenges of my life - teaching and keeping house for my papa – when you threw me into the arms of Tobias Longreach.
Didn’t want you to land in the muck when that pig charged...
I can see that, but you’re the writer, why a pig and why Tobias?
Pigs did breed and run wild in nineteenth century London, so I thought it was more interesting than avoiding a horse. Why Tobias? Well, come on Mariah. Did you really think a girl with your capabilities should be wasted on a wan individual with ink on his fingers? Tobias was a troubled man in need of a wife to challenge him and be his intellectual equal. Your spirit had been flattened a little by living with an older parent, by always placating the dreadful Peter Sharp and by having NO FUN.
Yes, that’s all true. Driving in the earl’s curricle was great fun. At the same time, I was doing good work teaching the urchins their letters. Why did you pitch me into the aristocracy?
Because your qualities were better used raising funds and, forgive this trendy 21st century expression, awareness among the wealthy. As Tobias pointed out to you, it was not necessary that one individual did the teaching, but that some were enabled to carry on with the task.
Did you think I’d become stale? Is that why you made me look at my maid, Tilly, and recognise the ambition in her eyes?
You are a clever girl. That’s exactly right, I did. I also wanted to make you aware of the constraints other women were living with.
You’re talking about the book’s dark underbelly now, Anne, the bullying Lucas Wellwood. He was a frightening man.
He was and sadly many women live with the kind of domestic fear a Lucas Wellwood creates. We won’t go into that any further because we don’t want to spoil things for those who haven’t read it yet.
No, of course not. Thanks for discussing it with me, Anne. I’m glad you chose me – and Tobias. Especially, Tobias.
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