For her Period Drama Week Miss Elizabeth Bennet at Elegance of Fashion invited her readers to join in with the Period Drama Advice Column. The challenge is to write a letter requesting help from a character in a period drama and then write a letter of advice from a character in another period drama. This challenge is similar to the Jane Austen Advice Column.
I had so many ideas swimming through my mind but these characters just worked for me. I tried to get away from writing as a Jane Austen character but they are much the easiest to write as because I know them so well! :)
Dear Period Drama Advice Column,
I write to you for I am mortified and do not know what I should do. I am the victim of a predicament which is not of my own making! When I was a little girl wealthy old Mr. Harmon took a fancy to my infant spirit and struck a deal with my father whereby his son's inheritance in contingent on his marrying me. Though I am in every sense engaged to young Mr. John Harmon I have never met him because he has lived abroad in the Cape. A few weeks ago old Mr. Harmon died and his son was on his way home to England when the news was delivered to me by the lawyer in the case that he is drowned! Just at the time when I am to be a bride I find that I am now to be a widow! To add insult to injury all of the Harmon fortune is now entailed to Mr. & Mrs. Boffin who were servants of old Mr. Harmon. What a glimpse of wealth I had and now it's all melted away! I shouldn't care so much if my situation wasn't so ridiculous, I know my first meeting with John Harmon should have been embarrassing because we could never have pretended to harbor and real affection for each other. All this embarrassment I now feel could have been smoothed away by money for I love money, I want money dreadfully! I hate to be poor, and my family is offensively poor (though we have a sort of half crazed man as a tenant now)! And now I must wear this insufferable black gown in honor of a man I've never met! To their credit the Boffins have offered a substantial reward for any information about John Harmon's death and they have visited me to entreat me to join them as they make their entrance into society. I told them at once that I doubted I would have the inclination to go into society. Mother says I should try to conquer these "delicate feelings" and so I am to have a little think about it. Should I accept their invitation and make my debut with these Boffins or should I resign myself to black dresses and the single life?
In Much Need of Your Advice,
Miss Bella Wilfur
(Charles Dickens' Our Mutual Friend)
My Dear Miss Wilfur,
What a predicament you find yourself in! But my advice to you is do not be so fastidious! London is just the place to find husbands and if you will not go with Mr. & Mrs. Boffin you must come and stay with me. I'm sure your mother will not mind it for I have had such good luck in getting both of my daughters off of my hands that I am sure she will think me the best person to have charge of you. I shall speak a good word for you to all the young men, you may depend upon it. And if I do not have you married by Michaelmas it will not be my fault!
By the by, do you care for olives?
(Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility)
Dear Miss Wilfur,
What a terrible distressing situation you find yourself in! I have just this moment read your letter to Mrs. Forrester and she agrees it is most distressing indeed! We in Cranford would never hear of such a thing, to put a young lady at the whim of such an old man as Mr. Harmon, what must your silly father have been thinking? Men are odd creatures but then my father was a man so I think I understand the sex.
How pitiful you must look in your mourning gown at your age! Black is not the thing for young people!
But let me assure you that being single is by no means a horrid state. I myself have never yet been tempted into matrimony and I find that my life is by no means dull. Cranford may seem a sleepy town by comparison to London but I assure you we have quite as much of interest as other places. Why only the other day Jem Hearne fell from a tree and splintered his arm! We were all sure there was to be an amputation but our young snip of a doctor took it into his head to operate and rode all the way to Manchester for needles to sew up the wound once he had set the bone! But poor man he did not have any candles to complete such delicate work! I flatter myself that I had two new candles to hand which I donated to the cause. And a Captain Brown has taken the house opposite to the Jenkyns, Lord only knows why a military man like that would wish to settle in Cranford!
Miss Octavia Pole
(Elizabeth Gaskell's Cranford)
Bella & Miss Pole are based on the BBC miniseries because I've never read the books. Mrs. Jennings is mostly from the novel but the Sense & Sensibility 1995 version is one of my favorites.
Thank you to Miss Elizabeth for inspiring this post, I always have so much fun writing as my favorite period drama characters!
Very Truly Your's,