Ms. Austen (Chapter 3, page 1 of 11)

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Chapter 3

Tom Lefroy awoke with a start as the coach came to a stop in the countryside of Hampshire. He had long since forgotten the beauty of the country, as his last visit had been twenty years ago. He closed his eyes momentarily, to take in the vast beauty that lay before him. For there was nowhere else in the world quite like it. The towering trees had begun to once again grow their leaves, and the flowers were in full bloom, scattered about like stones in the creeks he had often enjoyed that summer. The summer when he had been sent to live with his aunt and stumbled upon a love too great for words. Just then, a large figured woman appeared, excitedly hurrying his way. Was that his dear aunt? It was to his great surprise that she had aged so. Her face carried the lines and creases of a woman who had seen much hard work. But her smile was the same warm, radiant smile he had always remembered.

"Hello aunt."

"Why Thomas! To what do we owe such an honor?

Oh my boy, you have grown so! Hurry now, do come in."

Tom reluctantly divulged the reasoning behind his visit, and to his surprise, his aunt took the news of his wife's passing quite well. "You know Thomas, that Ms. Austen that you were always fawning over as a young man, well she still resides in Hampshire. And to my best knowledge, she has never taken a husband." He had to laugh. His aunt had to be the most wicked match maker in town. "Yes aunt, I wrote her a short letter as I was making my way to Hampshire just the yesterday. Sadly, she had declined to see me though, stating that she had business in London." "Well as you know, she has stumbled upon great wealth as an authoress, and must regularly visit London as well as the other great cities to which I can not afford a visit." As his aunt spoke of this, her nose turned into the air. Growing tired of her obvious meddling, Tom decided he might need a moment or two alone. "I think I might go on a walk, aunt. A little country air may do me a great deal of good." "Very well, my dear." She nodded in agreement.

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