Colonel Banestre Tarelton was standing at the far end of the study in front of the window upon her entrance. He stood there perfectly erect with his hands laid at his sides in a clean uniform, different from the one he had been wearing earlier. Instead of the dark green wool coat he had on when he had captured her, he wore a bright red uniform coat embellished with gold buttons and decoration. It was of a much lighter and more cheerful disposition than his earlier habit that even made his face appear less cruel. Though he was looking straight at her as she entered, the door closed shut behind her to leave the two alone in the quaint study, he did not seem to see her. His gaze was set fixedly on a spot slightly beyond her and a certain thoughtfulness took possession of him giving almost a placid look to his features. He certainly took no notice of her until she made a slight tapping noise with her foot to rouse his attentions from the distant land they seemed to be in. At this dissolution of whatever had occupied his mind, he turned into an entirely different person from the one she had expected. His eyes sprang into action, taking in her appearance as he neared her in a way she thought much like a deadly serpent observing its pray. He came within five feet of her before stopping short and folding his arms behind his back, a polite smile creeping onto his features.
"Breakfast was to your liking, I hope?"
"Why...yes, it was very satisfying, my compliments to the cook."
Grace was very puzzled at this sudden change in emotion from her captor. Unsure if she should trust such kindness, she decided she ought to heighten her guard and not let it down for a moment.
"That is very good, very good indeed."
He smiled a very cordial and handsome smile.
"Come, I'm being very impolite. Please sit down."
He pulled out the chair facing his desk as his ushered her to take a seat. She sat without a word, looking quizzically up at Tarelton who was all smiles as he proceeded to ring for tea and took his own seat behind her father's large chestnut desk.
"Now, I have no intention of startling or intimidating you in the least. I must beg your forgiveness for the insensibility I showed towards you earlier. I know I have absolutely no excuse, for being overcome with exhaustion should never amount to such incivility towards anyone, regardless of their affiliations."
Grace quite unknowingly raised an eyebrow at this as she could not conceive how the man who took her prisoner in so wretched a manner could seriously be speaking to her as if they had met casually at a social gathering.
"I can see you are confused, and rightly so. A captor being so kind to his prisoner is almost unheard of and more than likely at least a little suspicious to any intelligent person. I can assure you, however, that there is no need to look at me so for there is no duplicity to my conversation. I simply wish to make it clear that you are not to blame, Miss Lewis, and should therefore not be punished for having been unlucky both in birth and situation. I wish you to be treated very well here, as a gentlelady should be in the company of fine English gentlemen."
Who did he think he was? Unlucky both in birth and situation? Just as she was about to give him a piece of her mind in retaliation, a servant appeared with her mother's plainest china tea set atop one of her family's pewter trays, as everything of any value had been smartly taken by the Lewis family upon their escape. As Grace took her cup of steaming English tea, she couldn't help but smile at the fact that Tarelton's soldiers had been left the plainest and least valuable of their families wares to use.
After taking a sip from his tea cup, Tarelton proceeded.
"After all, I do not believe lovely young ladies such as yourself should be inconvenienced more than necessary in these matters. If your only real purpose here is to stay under my care until a ransom can be devised and answered by your father, I see no reason not for you to be given all the comforts which are due a lady. And do not think that your capture is on account of any ill will towards your father. He is an honorable man in his own right, but war does not discriminate between good and evil, merely on one man's idea over another. It is a matter of the necessity of war that you are here, nothing else."
YOU ARE READING
The Prisoner (Completed, Editing)Historical Fiction
"There are no beautiful surfaces without a terrible depth." - Freidrich Nietzsche Colonel Banestre Tarleton is an unfeeling young officer, head of a regiment of British Green Dragoons during the American Revolutionary War. Grace Lewis is a bold and...