A continuation of thomas hardy’s on the western circuit

Charles glanced out the window of the second class carriage. Outside the carriage the rain poured mercilessly onto the ground and the clouds gathered overhead. As he leaned back into his seat he noticed his new wife as she slept in her seat.

He stared at her stomach and wondered how long it would be before their joy arrived. As the rain grew heavier still, he leaned back in his own seat and with the soothing sound of the wind outside he slowly drifted off into a slumber.The wind howled even stronger still and with a large gust of wind the carriage suddenly capsized and launched its passengers across their carriages. Charles picked himself up off the carriage floor and his immediate thoughts turned to those of the safety of his wife. He scanned the carriage and they lay upon his wife, she was sprawled near the carriage door. The obvious compounding force of the crash had thrown her across the carriage.

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Charles noticed that she was lying upon her stomach and his thoughts turned to the worst and he knew she needed to be removed from the carriage immediately. As he gently tried to lift her from the floor he noticed some blood lying on the floor. As he gathered Anna into his arms he thought of their baby and wondered if he would ever see it alive.A fortnight had passed since the train crash on Anna and Charles’ journey to their honeymoon. Anna now lay in bed in her home in the suburbs that she now shared with Charles. The sunlight streamed in through the window and she saw through the gap in the curtains that it was bright outside today. As she raised herself from her bed she moved with unmistakeable pain.

Her movements were slow yet steady, and she was stooped over slightly and clutched her stomach. The child was lost. Charles had guessed this when he saw the result of their accident. The pain still stung Anna. She had time to muse over the recent incidents when she was bed ridden. She had been left alone with her thoughts often these days as Charles was never found to be nearby. He currently made excuses and often never told Anna where he was disappearing to.

She began to grow lonely as Charles’ lack of presence became more and more frequent. Her mind was directed towards Edith Harnham. Anna grieved for her old mistress. She wished there was a way in which she could make contact with her, but of course Anna knew the impossibilities of this task.

However, she got into an unwavering mind set and endeavoured to try and make contact with Edith Harnham.Charles had tried to occupy his thoughts with his ill wife. But the creased sheets that still lay in his drawer made a constant reminder of Edith Harnham. He mused over her invigorating conversations and her genteel manner. The more reclusive his wife became the more Charles found his thoughts straying towards Edith Harnham. Charles soon found himself in contact with Edith once again. He wrote to her enthusiastically, telling her of his wife’s fate and delicately requesting a hasty reply from her. Edith was pleasantly surprised at finding the detailed letter from Charles to her yet she was still delighted at its unexpected arrival.

After many letters had been sent athwart. Charles politely requested Edith’s presence at his dignified residence in the suburbs and recommended that it would do Edith and Anna a lot of good.Anna did her best to attempt to cleanse her new home for Edith’s arrival but her efforts were in vain as she found herself retiring to slumber during her efforts. While Anna sat in solitude in her room and gazed out the window Edith disturbed her. Anna’s appearance shocked Edith.

The once radiant youngster now was noticeably paler and more frail appearing. “Hello dear mistress,” Anna smiled. Edith advanced towards Anna and embraced her. “Where is Charles?” asked Anna.

“I believe he is downstairs, he is preparing dinner for the both of us.” replied Edith. Edith glanced around the room. It was cloaked in darkness and the only the only light that penetrated it was that from the small gap between the curtains at the window.”Perhaps you and I should take a walk in your grand garden and get out of this depressing abode?” requested Edith.Anna sighed, “Yes, I think it would do me the world of good.”Whilst Anna bonneted and cloaked herself Edith retired downstairs and found herself again in the company with Charles.

As Anna rummaged through her drawers a piece of paper caught her eye. She removed the paper from under a collection of Charles’ garments and carried it over towards the window to take a better look at it. Even though Anna was not an accomplished she could recognise basic script.

She squinted even harder at the text before her and she recognised the unmistakeable calligraphy of Edith Harnham. She rushed back towards where she had originally found the letters. As she scrambled through the remaining contents of the drawer she found several more letters, each growing in length each time she discovered another. Anna stared transfixed at the letters that were before her and her body filled with rage. Charles had obviously remained in contact with Edith, this explained his frequent absences.

As tears began to run down her cheeks she tore the letters in front of her and left fragments of paper lying on her bedroom floor. Anna began to march downstairs in search of Edith and Charles demanding an answer.Edith felt an undeniable attraction towards Charles and as she observed him preparing a meal she wondered why it had not been her who was married to him. Charles turned and was pleasantly surprised to see Edith at the doorway transfixed.

He placed the meal that he just cooked and announced “dinner is served,” with a winning smile. As Edith and Charles took their places at the table and began continue with polite conversation Anna entered the room. Her pale face was smudged with the tears that were dripping down her face. “Whatever is the matter child?” asked Edith as she rose from her chair and placed a hand on Anna’s forehead.

Anna recoiled away from her warm touch and raised a finger in fury and pointed towards Edith and then Charles. “You have both betrayed me,” she quavered through her tears, “you have been having indecent relations whilst I have turned a blind eye!””Whatever are you talking about?” Stammered Edith as she backed away slowly from Anna.Anna threw confetti of paper upon the dinner table. Charles’ expression turned blank and he avoided all eye contact with both women.

“Anna…I can explain,” stuttered Edith.”There’s no need,” snapped Anna, “I just want you to leave my home and cause me no more pain.” Anna advanced towards Edith and grabbed her by the arm with force.

EdithExclaimed in pain as the young girls grip was firm. Charles jumped from his seat and tried to separate the two women. Anna reacted violently and grabbing the nearest utensil she could find which unfortunately happened to be the knife that Charles had just previously used to gut the fish for the dinner, lunged forward with intent. However she hit the unintended person, she meant to pierce Edith but in the commotion she mistakenly gouged Charles. Anna threw down her weapon upon realising her fatal mistake. As Charles body grew limp Edith screamed.

“You evil witch, what have you done!” Edith shouted. She wrapped her arms around Charles and quietly began to rock his body athwart and quietly began to cry.Anna had returned to her bedroom again. Edith was still downstairs in solitude with Charles. Anna paced her bedroom and spotted more shreds of paper on the floor. She lifted these pieces of paper from the floor and flung them out the window and watched them as they floated gracefully through the air before landing on the ground. Anna walked towards her mahogany chest of drawers and gently closed the drawer that she had found the incriminating letters in.

she stepped upon the window ledge and stared down at the drop before her. The remains of the letters blew away in the gentle breeze that was forming. And as she looked back into the room and the world that she was leaving behind her she spotted the picture of her and Charles on their wedding day and wondered what could have been.