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Salvation of Ignorance - Chapter 1: Yes, A Charming Man, Indeed.

by rawrafied


(Updated to last post by ZLYF)

It had been brought to her attention, at least once by anyone who caught her in private conversation, that Peter Talwin was a man of admirable charm and upbringing that should not be forsaken. In accordance to each repeat of the previously presented white elephant, Phoebe Mae Barrettmore made sure to assure the advisor that she was indeed well aware and that she had no intention to speak otherwise. Yes, very aware.

As the daughter and only child of a small plantation owner, she was mindful of her incapability to escape societal life, and, even more so, a hand of potential marriage. Despite being the only heir available to inherit her childhood estate, she would be unable to legitimately run the plantation and would need a husband to give his name to the business. A husband posing enough sentiment to run the plantation as a farce to hide its true intent: using it as a place to give minorities a free ticket into the new world of proclaimed liberty. Her home, America, land of the free white man.

Aside from this, she had been formerly content with a future as a spinster living out her inheritance.

For Phoebe, marriage was a lottery on love. There was an immense quantity of factors weighing down the number on a person's chance to find it. Instead of love, she believed the best route was to approach courting with a mind of business. Marry your social equal, and be satisfied should they be decent enough in persona. In time, children would be produced and the spouses would find themselves with enough occupation to ignore one another.

"Surely, you jest."

"No, madam. If I did, you would be in stitches with laughter."

A giggle squeezed past her barely parted lips, and after receiving a nod of appreciation from the man, she ceased.

Yes, Mr. Talwin was a very charming man. More charming than a woman of her romantic realism could imagine into tangibility. It was a shame, however, that his manners faltered by his continued delay in arriving.

­­­­Balls were rarely attended by Phoebe, but through Mr. Talwin's interest in attending them, Phoebe found her own. The gentleman would never seek her at home, but when chanced upon each other in public, such as a ball, he would give her brief moments without his presence. Tonight, in his stead, she found company through an enlightenment of tales of western savagery by a visiting colonel. All true, she was reminded once more.

"--the redskin had me with spearhead to my Adam's Apple. Was saying the 'Our Father', I was. When, blam!"

The smacking of two dry hands diverted Phoebe's attention, from scanning the room, back to the older gentleman, "Young Timmy shoots a clean 'eadshot from outta the bushes."

She turned to her friend, Elinor Wade, who met her gaze with both lips tucked in her mouth. Poor Elinor was forced to bear the burden of contributing exchanges of ideas, for the only other person present was socially incompetent.

Their looks were initiated by the lack of comfort toward the topic of this exchange, but not even that could conceal the sympathy that Elinor held in her gaze for her friend. Phoebe returned her smile to the colonel, deciding to devote herself to the usual endeavor in company of a stranger: making the man believe she was interested in his words so that he may tell others that Phoebe was a sweet girl with terrific listening skills.

While the creases of her mouth burned sorely, Phoebe contemplated how to convince Elinor that sympathy was unnecessary. Yes, Phoebe was a little distressed by the absence of a certain gentleman, and yes, she knew that her incapability to utter words in public could wane Mr. Talwin's affections. However, it could not be argued that no effort was made on her part.

For example, she made an entire day's event to primp herself for this night. Her dress was currently the best of her wardrobe and she was constantly mindful not to itch her head in an attempt to alleviate the pain of several hair pins irritating her scalp. Most importantly, she endured distasteful conversations for this man. Was that not declaration of her love enough?

"Mr. Talwin, how did the cargo fair the seas?"

Phoebe took in a breath after hearing the conversation beginning behind her. Elinor made a final statement of their enjoyment in the story, reassured the colonel against his claim that he spoke too much, and excused herself and Phoebe from his company. Placing her hand in the crook of Phoebe's arm, Elinor turned her around to join the group attended by the person they truly wished to speak with.

"A few packages lost to the kraken, but nothing out of the ordinary. Thank you for the inquiry," Mr. Talwin delivered the sentence while his eyes caught Phoebe's. She returned his smile with her first sincere one of the night.

Peter Talwin was an oddity in a small southern town. A good oddity, but he stuck out nonetheless. His suit was cleanly cut with brass buttons on the closed tailcoat. Although of a darker shade, the coat was purple and he wore his cravat tied and secured in his vest, rather than the previous ruffle fashion still adorned by the countrymen. His sun-kissed, brown hair coincided with the recent Grecian fashion, with his hair trimmed short aside from the front strands which were kept a little lengthy so that they may be styled back to emphasize the layers as they curled atop one another. In short, he was a modern city man who seemed a long way from home.

"And what might the kraken be feasting upon tonight?"

The elderly man seemed intent on keeping Mr. Talwin's attention, no doubt hoping to eventually direct it to a business negotiation. Mr. Talwin joined his father in trades in over-sea's exchange. Phoebe believed that was sufficient enough to make him sympathetic to her business cause, when other matters were taken care of first, of course. This made Phoebe sympathetic to the old man, and silently wished him the best in his endeavor.

His misty grey eyes never left her person, "I believe some wine and ale."

"Ah, then any plans to depart to the old world must be done so immediately before he sobers again."

A laugh was produced by the group, joined by Phoebe, who glanced about awkwardly, waiting desperately for them to cease so that she may join them in that as well.

"How are you, Miss Barrettmore?"

Pleased to hear him address her, she still wringed her fingers in discomfort to be the target of many eyes. She was pleased to see one pair depart with the man who no longer saw a business prospect for the night, but a bit saddened to know her the source of his failure. Without any verbalization, Phoebe had an impeccable gift of gaining the condemnation of acquaintances.

"Quite well...thank you for asking...and yourself?" She finished with a third hasty breath.

"Very well, thank you for asking."

Phoebe nodded and glanced away nervously.

"No, really," He added quickly, earning her look once more, "Thank you...for asking...it's wonderful to know that you care."

Her lips had parted during the declaration and she tried to keep her brows from rising in condemnation at the excess thanks to so general a greeting.

"Uh...." When proper words never replaced the temporary sound, she hoped he would settle with another nod this time.

Looking down, he wiped invisible creases off his stiff coat. Once content, he looked up to give a quick nod to Elinor, who in turn gave a small curtsy, before smiling back at Phoebe.

"Ms. Barretmore. Ah, Ms. Wade," He quickly gave a second nod to Elinor, then stared at Phoebe for a moment, who stared back waiting for him to continue with whatever he had to say. Moving back, he directed their attention to the last member of their quartet, "May I introduce, my good friend, Mr. Niall Claremont?"

Upon taking in his image, she felt small fingers slither on the outside of her stomach and she clenched the muscle in retaliation. Niall Claremont brought reconsideration to her definition of an oddity, having achieved this in a unique fashion to his friend. His hair was a bit of an unusual length; it seemed too short for a ribbon's securing, but too long to be worn down without receiving questions from an observer. And his hair needed securing. The chestnut locks were womanly thick and, though he groomed it back on his head, strands had rebelliously disagreed with the notion. His sideburns were of fashion, but the bristle on his jaw made a larger statement. Phoebe thought him gorgeously disheveled.

Not that he was disheveled in an inappropriate manner. His jacket seemed as stiffly pressed as his friend and the two gentlemen were one of the few men to wear gloves at the assembly. Yet Niall Claremont's dark jacket had enough of a green tint to accent the warmth of his bronze skin. Then there were the scars, not extraordinary in size such as the ones that were common among countrymen, which seemed contradictory to his up to par city fashion. No, his dishevelment seemed to make an honest character of him. That even though he was dressed for the public, traces of sides unknown to her was peeking through the garb.

His hair broke free to gravity during his bow, mostly in part with having barely bent at the waist and allowing his head to finish the bow. Phoebe clenched her stomach muscles once more, a remotely difficult task when she neglected to relax them the first time. Just as he began to rise from the bow, Phoebe hastily supplied a curtsy. This hasty nature inconvenienced her with the opportunity to catch his eyes. His dark brown eyes that also brought an emphasis to his skin.

She bit the inside of her cheek, narrowed her eyes, and let out a puff of breath through her nostrils. All this in an attempt to swallow her appreciation for an example of nature's talent with the chisel.

His eyes narrowed in return and his lips parted, provoking her to fear that he may speak. The moment was short lived as a small jerk of his divine lower jaw consumed the gap.

"Miss Barrettmore, are you quite alright? You seem flushed."

The reminder of Mr. Talwin's presence beside her brought a slight jerk to her shoulders. Then the severity of the situation sunk in. That without uttering a word, Niall Claremont had managed to have her temper altered to a state where Peter Talwin had not.

Phoebe brought a hand to her cheek and was surprised to find herself a well-established thermal source, "The...room is rather stuffy."

Mr. Talwin sheltered her free hand between both of his; the first time they had physical contact with one another. Not even this could rage war upon her stomach. In fact, it had subdued any previous anxieties she felt, and she realized just how empty she became in Mr. Talwin's company.

"Here, sit for a moment," He gently led her to a nearby seat, abandoning the other members of their party.

Once settled, he squeezed her hand and lowered himself to her eye level, "We shall fetch some punch."

Rising, he finally rid her of Mr. Claremont, as it thankfully seemed to take two men to pursue refreshments. Meanwhile, Elinor joined her in the seat to the side.

"Well, your Mr. Talwin seems as attendant as ever."

Phoebe could only nod.

Elinor and she had been friends since girlhood. Her friend, often times, served as a storage barn for things that couldn't be said and things that couldn't be held. However, leasing of this facility came with the payment of constant reminders of the inhabitants accumulating. As much as Phoebe desired to take this moment free from Mr. Talwin's witness to enact upon Elinor's services, it seemed unlikely to help. No, it was much better to forget the earlier fluke entirely.

"Was that Mr. Talwin just now?" The late widow, Mrs. Emmons, stood at their wake.

"Yes, ma'am. They've gone for refreshments." Phoebe was grateful for Elinor's exclusion of an invite to the woman.

"I see. What a charming lad. To be young again, I would only snatch him for myself."

Yes, very grateful.


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Thu Apr 10, 2014 4:19 am
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Certainly Love wrote a review...



"Surely, you jest."

"No, madam. If I did, you would be in stitches with laughter."

A giggle squeezed past her barely parted lips, and after receiving a nod of appreciation from the man, she ceased.

It seems you started out your dialogue out of no where. Maybe a short description of what the two people are doing in the room before heading into the conversation, maybe describing them in appearance and who they are then going into conversation.

I agree with Aurora99. I skimmed through and realized there was not much excitement going on or suspense. Normally, the first thing I expect from a first chapter is events that have you at the edge of your seat. Try to throw some fun and crazy characters in. Throw in a loud family who draws attention and women who are ridiculous. Just some suggestions.

Other than that, I believe you have potential. Your style is well thought out. A bit more editing is in order, but very good writing. Best of luck!

Amanda




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Mon Mar 24, 2014 2:43 am
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TheCrimsonLady wrote a review...



Hello, love!

I like where the story is going. However, I really did never figure out if this is in the future or the past.

If in the future: make it more clear, please!
If in the past: Don't say punch, say lemonade or champagne (sham- pug-nee) :)
I didn't see any grammatical errors or spelling errors- applause from me!

The way you started the chapter was.... excessively descriptive. Show, don't tell. I found my self skipping paragraphs so I could get to the action. If this is your first chapter, I'd encourage you to give it something that will hook your readers!

Overall a very good start. Needs some editing to make it better, but good all the same, love!

Keep Persisting

Evilly,
Aure




rawrafied says...


It's the past. It's labeled 'historical fiction'. ^_^ And 'punch' is correct. It was introduced around the 1700s.

But I agree, it is description heavy. This is very common in most romantic era novels, which I'm trying to emulate, but I still want it to read a little bit modern than that. So, I'll keep trying to work on that. Thanks for the review. <333



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Wed Feb 26, 2014 12:11 pm
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PiesAreSquared wrote a review...



Hi rawrafied! Here to review as per food (Sorry I took so long, but this required a really critical read, and that took several hours!!). You need to leave me something to eat! :D :P

Anyway, on with the review. I’m going to go over point by point through this story, and it might get tedious. Overall I really like how you start with the situation of the MC and then continue on to an action in a place. I think that’s really neat.

Ok, I’m going to quote now bit by bit, and tell you my thoughts on it as I go.

Peter Talwin was a man of admirable charm and upbringing that should not be forsaken


I just really like the use of “who” in the place of “that.” I think “who” is a much more powerful term than “that” when referring to a person.

she was mindful of her incapability to escape societal life, let alone a hand of potential marriage

I think this sentence is really awkward. It’s bulky but it doesn’t have much of a punch, especially the last phrase. Let alone a hand of potential marriage? It takes a lot of thinking to puzzle this sentence through.

Perhaps a better phrasing would be: “...she was both mindful of her inability to escape social life, as well as the potential of being given away in marriage.” I think that sounds better, but not by much.

That despite being the only heir available to inherit her childhood estate, she would be unable to legitimately run the plantation and would need a husband to give his name to the business.


This is not a complete sentence. If you omit the first word, yes, it becomes a full sentence, and really neat at that, but not exactly smooth flowing in context, so you might want to consider changing some things around here.
A husband posing enough sentiment to run the plantation as a farce to hide the true intent: using it as a place to give minorities a free ticket into the new world of proclaimed liberty.


This sentence is awkward and not flowy with the rest. “...the true intent..” should be “...their true intent...” or “...her true intent...” However, this should be considered more of a writing style incongruency than as a grammatical problem.

Aside from this, she had been formerly content with a future as a spinster living out her inheritance.


“formerly” content? Aside from this and formerly do not mix well. I would suggest omitting formerly entirely. “had been” already implies a past.

that his manners falter by his continued delay in arriving.


Try to keep to the same tense. This should be “faltered.”

The gentleman would never seek her at home, but when chanced upon each other in public, such as a ball, he would give her brief moments without his presence.


This caused another of my “huh?” moments. How could they meet and “he,” ostentatiously Mr. Talwin, give her brief moments “without” his presence. Shouldn’t this be “of”? I really don’t know what to make of this sentence.

mindful not to itch her head in an attempt to alleviate the pain of several hair pins irritating her scalp


“itch” here is the incorrect word. itch is a desire, so to be mindful not to “itch” is awkward. Also, pain alleviates itch, not the other way around!

Phoebe took in a breath after hearing the conversation beginning behind her.


This sentence quite frankly is awkward too! I know this is a historical-fictional work and that you want your language to reflect that style. However, you still must take care to be as concise as possible, while still keeping the style, which I know from my own reading to be pretty long-winded. Here “took” can be replaced by a more powerful word, like “drew,” also “deep” before breath, or some other adjective, would be great! To make Phoebe aware that the conversation is just beginning makes the sentence bulky. I would suggest the following as replacement! “Phoebe drew in a sharp breath at that question.” That sounds much more concise, doesn’t it?

reassured the colonel against his claim that he spoke too much

I think here the form “reassuring” suits the sentence much better!

to join the group taken with the person they truly wished to speak with.

The repetition of “with” makes the sentence less readable.

Mr. Talwin delivered the sentence while his eyes caught Phoebe's eye.

I would suggest using the term “as” instead of “while.” The latter infers that he makes that comment to the benefit of Phoebe, but the former makes it coincidence, or simply well timed.

Peter Talwin was an oddity in a small southern town

“A” small town or “this” small town? “This” gives a stronger sense of belonging and draws the reader better.

His sun kissed brown hair coincided with the recent Grecian fashion

“Recent” or “latest”? Recent suggests that there might be a later fashion around, while from the rest of the paragraph, “latest” would suggest more appropriately that as a city person, he had kept up with the latest trends.

The elderly man seemed intent on keeping Mr. Talwin's attention, no doubt hoping to eventually direct it to a business negotiation. This made Phoebe sympathetic to the old man, and silently wished him the best in his endeavor. Mr. Talwin joined his father in trades in over-sea's exchange. Phoebe believed that was sufficient enough to make him sympathetic to her business cause, when other matters were taken care of first, of course.

There should be a paragraphical break after the second sentence, because the topic switches entirely. I took awhile to realize that, and before thought that the visiting colonel was the elder of Talwins. Try adding more flesh to the first proposed paragraph, like why Phoebe wished him the best.


waiting desperately for them to cease so that she may join them in that as well.

Do you think that “wishing” might be a better term than “waiting”?

"Quite well...thank you for asking...and yourself?" She finished with a third hasty breath.

Dramatize this!! Use the dots in between to delve into Phoebe’s thoughts! Take in one breath, what was she thinking, how was she thinking! Take in two breaths, how? Thoughts? What? Why? Let it flow from the keyboard!

Looking down, he wiped the invisible creases off his stiff coat

“the” is redundant here, I think.

"May I introduce, my good friend, Mr. Niall Claremont?"

There is no need of a comma between “introduce” and “my.”

Not disheveled in an inappropriate manner

I would suggest adding “that he was” after “Not,” as it makes for a more pleasant read.

His hair broke free to gravity during his bow

I would suggest refining this. “flung” or “tussled” could be good replacements for “broke.” Broke just sounds dull!

This hasty nature inconvenienced her with the opportunity to catch his eyes.

“Nature”? Why nature, when gesture would do the job much more fluidly? “an opportunity” would be better than “the opportunity.”

That without uttering a word, Niall Claremont had managed to have her temper altered to a state where Peter Talwin had not.

Temper? I suggest using a different word for such emotions, but temper I would strongly discourage.

Phoebe brought a hand to her cheek and was surprised to find herself a well-established thermal source,

The ending of this phrase is rather flashy, but it doesn’t do well to convey the image to the readers. Better I would think is “smouldering” something rather than “well-established thermal source, that sounds too extravagant!

stood at their wake

“stood in” is better than “stood at.”

Alright, that ends my quotings! I would suggest using more descriptions of body language in your future pieces! This piece really shows your potential in writing, so don’t be disheartened!

That’s all I’ve got for you!

Keep Writing!




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Flame here, as promised!

I immediately received the impression that you enjoy reading classics. Clauses spanning impressive lengths, laced with high vocabulary, descriptions cut to a minimum, stitched tight to their action counterparts. A delicate patchwork of poetry and prose.

So, of course, everything was paced perfectly. The paragraphs cut off at just the right places, and the sentences, as well. No two different ideas interlocked. And what's more, the dialogue sounded completely natural. Even the old man's accent:

"Young Timmy shoots a clean 'eadshot from outta the bushes."


Totally imaginable :D. So, thanks to this fabulous writing, I have to actually hunt for mistakes, peel apart the layers...

Allow me to double back. I mentioned "clauses spanning impressive lengths." And they really did--to the point that it made me uncomfortable. Trick's to limit your use of prepositions and adverbs, to isolate fragments--snare the reader's attention, make an idea look shiny and important. In other words, see what you can clip without affecting the meaning.

Grammar...

Pretty solid. I'll just pop in a lesson on dialogue: When a period concludes it, but the period's followed by a speaker's tag, then the speaker's tag should be replaced with a comma, and the speaker's tag should be uncapitalized. A speaker's tag should be uncapitalized regardless.

So what qualifies as a speaker's tag?

He said, she said, it remarked, they chorused. Not "He quickly gave a second nod to Elinor", as it isn't relevant. It doesn't describe his speech, his manner of tone. If I was too confusing, this might help.

That said...

...in accordance to each repeat of the...


"Repeat" should be switched to "repetition."

It was a shame, however, that his manners falter by his continued delay in arriving.


Accidently switched to present tense here.

While the creases of her mouth burned sorely Phoebe contemplated how to convince Elinor that sympathy was unnecessary.


That introductory phrase is over three words, so we're going to need a comma after it.

His sun kissed brown hair...


"Sun kissed" should be hyphenated.

"Thank you...for asking...it's wonderful to know that you care."


The ellipses are wholly unnecessary here. And if they jump into the start of the new sentence, as is with this case, you should add another period, to indicate the end of the sentence, and accordingly capitalize the beginning of the new sentence.

His hair was a bit of an unusual length for it seemed too short for a ribbon's securing...


Comma before "for", as this qualifies as a compound sentence.

"We shall fetch some punch."


This sounded a little unnatural and choppy to me. I'd suggest converting it to a question, removing the word "shall."

...of an invite to the woman.


Should be "invitation."

That's all I have. Keep up the good work! Looking forward to more! :D





"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."
— Dr. Seuss