Alice had begun to wonder if the rumbling of the carriage would ever stop. She had even dozed off after a time, so utterly bored by the endless journey that she very nearly wished for the presence of Miss Fielding's instructive tome, The Governess.
As she jounced along on the too-hard seat, Alice dully considered where her captor might be taking her this time. It was strange to realise that she was not overwhelmed by the knowledge that she had once more been kidnapped. Alice marveled how not that long ago she had been quite distraught by the very same experience.
How long ago had her father's funeral taken place? It was hard to tell. She had had ample time to reacquaint herself with the proper calendar dates whilst in the kind keeping of the Forward family, yet she had not bothered. Had she suspected that a short time later she would once more be whisked away?
Or had she simply begun to live for the moment like some summery butterfly?
Alice was unaccustomed to such abstract considerations and gloomily wished yet again for Lizzie's kindly guidance. No doubt her beloved cousin would be able to wisely counsel her on the appropriateness of her musings and warn her away if they should dip too far into melancholy.
She had to admit that she did not feel overwhelmed by melancholy, although perhaps it was one of the characteristics of that dread state that one did not seem overwhelmed by it even when one was in fact engulfed by it. It would take much pondering, Alice mused.
Tired of musing, Alice tried to apply her eye to a crack in the tight blinds that darkened the carriage. Perhaps she might see something that would give her a clue as to her whereabouts. Try as she might, however, there was nothing to be seen but a slight glimmer of light and colour that flashed by the carriage's path. There was little information to glean from it.
Alice sighed. If Lizzie were here, she would entertain me. Alice considered the point. What would Lizzie do? Draw her out in improving conversation? What might they converse about? Geography would probably be hopeless. Literature? Well, certainly it would be better to broach that subject with some evidence of the products of it in hand.
No, surely Lizzie would have generous reserves of memory to draw up and discuss at length. What stories might I dig up from memory, Alice asked herself. She tried to retrieve some details of the last tome by Mrs. Radcliffe that she had devoured. Certainly at the time, the adventures had seemed vivid and breathtaking.
In vain, Alice sought for the strands of narrative that had gripped her so completely at the time. There had been a ghost, was there not? And a heroine, of course, in grave danger. Her father -- or was it some other man -- forcing her to marry against her will? There was a nun, she was almost certain -- or had it been a priest?
Alice sighed. Why couldn't writers give one more to go on?