NaNo Excerpt Week 1: The Magpie Legacy

This excerpt is in draft form, and as such, undoubtedly contains typos among other grammatical issues, plot holes, reminder brackets, etc.

From Madeline Ellison’s Journal, to begin our story:

May 24, 1917

There aren’t many things I’ll miss about Boston. Least of all, Mr. Preston Chaswick, who has made it his personal mission to take every cent my father left me, whether by marriage or murder. I don’t think he cares which, honestly, which is why I’m leaving on the first train tomorrow, disappearing into the great American West and protecting myself from the fate he would force upon me if given the chance. 

 I very much doubt the small town- settlement, really- will be much of an improvement over the bustling port this city has become, but it will be different, and quite out of the way, and most importantly, devoid of Mr. Chadwick, and thus a far superior place in which to continue living.

Meadowlark is a very small town, as I understand it, and I’ve accepted the position as teacher for their little school. There may be as many as ten students to start, and my room and board will be provided by the town. I’m sure it won’t be anything so grand as the family house I grew up in here, and I shall miss the great staircase with its wide wooden bannister, the well-endowed library I’ve spent so many hours traveling the world in, and the view of the harbor looking out from my desk as I write this.

However, all this will be taken from me soon enough if I stay, so no point in prolonging the inevitable. The Ellison family was once one of the grandest, most respected families in Boston, and now father’s affinity for wartime gambling has left me, his only surviving family, no way to pay his debt but to marry or sell all that we own.

If I’m honest, I’m excited by the chance to travel, and experience new places and culture. It will be an adventure to ride the train all the way across the country. Perhaps one day I’ll meet someone not so disagreeable to settle down and have children with. But if not, I’m happy to keep my own council and ensure the next generation knows their letters and numbers.

I’ve packed simply – just two chests and a valise, and sold anything else I could that wouldn’t be too obvious. I’ve written a letter to father’s solicitor instructing him to sell the rest and the house once I’m gone, and to use the money to pay father’s debt. I’ll leave the letter with the staff to be delivered tomorrow, along with envelopes for all the staff with a couple week’s pay and their termination notice.

I’m leaving no forwarding address, and while I regret leaving the few friends I have without word, I think it’s best, at least until I’m well settled in my new home and position.

The fog is rolling in over the harbor, and I think I shall turn out the light and watch it, probably for the last time. Not living by the sea is the only thing I may well and truly miss.

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One comment on “NaNo Excerpt Week 1: The Magpie Legacy

  1. Carol

    I love the feel of this excerpt, and Maggie’s “voice” is perfect for the story. You’re off to a great start!