Lucy was, on the whole, a sensible sort of person.
Her full name was Lucinda Margaret Farthington, and she belonged to a very ordinary family of six siblings, two dogs and a particularly irascible tabby cat. They lived, for the most part, in the family house of Carlingcott at Peasebody St John’s, nestled in the easy country between the Avon and the Mendip Hills. The house was truthfully in need of repairs, but none would be made for some years yet, for what little income the family could spare was taken up in the keeping of two pairs of carriage horses. One might be considered enough for a family, especially one in which the youngest child was not yet twelve, had Carlingcott not had this singular advantage: it was very near to Bath.
Lucy, as the eldest, would inherit the estate and its modest rents. The second sister Jane had been originally meant for the Church, but had proven such a determined young person that she had been sent to the law instead, and was even now at the courts in London, where she proved a very regular correspondent, to Lucy’s great pleasure. Sally was next, and enjoying herself immensely in the pursuit of heartbreak amongst the young men. She was of the fathering kind, and near glowing with charm. Sally of course would have no profession but parenthood, and not much dowry either; the sooner she could find herself married, the happier everyone would be.
The twins Samuel and Timothy were next, both possessed of a fine teenage stubbornness which kept either of them from quite settling on a path in life. One of them ought to go into the Church and have Jane’s place there, but it seemed every week they changed their minds about which it would be. The other had been proposed variously for medicine, soldiering, lawyer or professional botanist; there was no agreed answer nor any prospect of one.
Last and most loved was eleven-year-old Kit, whose greatest pleasure was to sit with the adults and be included in their conversations, and who would make a fine mother one day, if they could only reveal themselves to be either Catherine or Christopher. The whole family eagerly awaited the answer, for there were three suitable matches around Carlingcott, but none of them could be decided upon until Kit admitted to a gender. Since hastening that day was beyond any power but God’s, there was nothing to be done but wait, and in the meantime enjoy the rich field of speculation, with all the marriage possibilities in the country still available to consider.
In any family, the question of marriage for the children must be of the utmost concern, and the Farthingtons were no exception. Though Lucy would inherit, she could not hope to maintain them all on her small fortune. She would need partners, to manage the estate and continue the line, and Jane and Sally were both old enough to wed - Sally indeed might have been married away last season, but she had taken an intense dislike to the gentleman in question, and made herself so disagreeable he had suddenly ceased to call.