A/N: This story is set in the 1790s, a hundred years or so before The Mummy takes place but while Sense and Sensibility does. I understand that there may be information on Ancient Egypt that they did not have at the time which I use in this oneshot. I just wanted to see what sort of banter would occur between Marianne and Evie if an argument was prompted between the two about books. So without further ado, here is Passion.
Disclaimer: I own neither The Mummy or Sense and Sensibility. If I owned either I'd be much more wealthy and pay director's to A) cast me alongside Kate Winslet and Rachel Weisz, or B) let me write for the two of them to be in a movie together and let this conversation between the two characters occur.
Evie Carnahan was exceedingly familiar with British society, popping in and out of it with her brother and parents as a girl. She was never too fond of the formalities, though she did find herself adjusting her life to them almost automatically. Bits and pieces of the society were evident in her look- the precision taken in styling her hair, how neatly she wore her glasses and how little wrinkles were evident in her clothing. Evie was never prepared, though, for the conversation that would occur when visiting the great estate of Norland Park.
Evie and her brother rode in the carriage down the bumpy road to the Dashwood's estate. They were great friends of Evie's father, though neither Evie or her brother had met the family.
"Evie, I swear to God this is the longest carriage ride ever," Jonathan groaned, putting his hand against his forehead. He leaned on the carriage wall. In great contrast, Evie was propped up against the seat, never caught slouching.
"Jonathan, it'd do you well to stop complaining. I believe we're almost to the edges of their estate," Evie raised an eyebrow, eyes focused on the landscape surrounding them.
A while later, the great residency came into view. It was a beautiful building, quite grand in size and definitely deserving of a family as wealthy as the Dashwoods. The carriage soon pulled up to it, and Jonathan and Evie were let out. Greeting them was Mr. Dashwood, the old man with a hearty smile.
"Mr. and Miss Carnahan, welcome!" he said, shaking each one's hand. Evie offered a warm smile, with a brief glare at Jonathan warning him to do the same.
"Thank you for inviting us, Mr. Dashwood," Evie said, "You do not know how relieving it is to get out of the house."
Mr. Dashwood laughed, "Oh, I do. I hope your travels were well- do come inside. My wife and daughters would love to have tea." He gestured for the two to follow him inside. Evie nodded and followed, Jonathan practically connected at the hip. Neither one knew well of what to do in such a society, so Jonathan let Evie do most of the talking (she'd practically banned him from doing much more after an incident a few years back).
Once inside, there was a quiet song being played on a pianoforte somewhere inside the house. It was beautiful yet melancholy tones were present throughout. After a brief walk, they came upon a sitting room where the middle Ms. Dashwood, with her golden locks tied up messily in a bun, sat playing the pianoforte, and across from her were the elder Ms. Dashwood and her mother. The youngest was nowhere to be seen.
After the girl finished her song, there was a polite applause.
"Mr. Johnathan and his sister Ms. Evelyn Carnahan, I present to you my wife and daughters. Mrs. Henry Dashwood, Ms. Elinor Dashwood, and Ms. Marianne Dashwood. I apologize on behalf of my youngest- I believe she is in the library."
"Don't be worried, Mr. Dashwood. There have been a great many times when I've caught Evie avoiding company by hiding herself in the library too," Jonathan said with a boyish grin. Evie tried her hardest to keep herself from giving her brother a good smack.
"Then it seems you and Margaret will get along well," Mr. Dashwood grinned.
"Do you care for Shakespeare, Ms. Carnahan?" asked Marianne, once the group had sat down for tea. The question seemed to have no real origin, Evie was a little caught off guard due to it. But after further inspection, Evie sat an edition of Shakespeare's sonnets left out on a shelf.
"I do not," Evie replied, "though I do find writings on Egypt to be fascinating."
Marianne frowned in disappointment. "How can one dislike Shakespeare, when he writes with such emphasis and passion? His plays seem to come off the page, while history is quite literally buried in sand!"
Evie had not meant to walk herself into the ensuing argument, and usually she would not fight it- but Marianne had attacked her one joy in life- history. She sipped her tea, trying to not evidently be angry. "Shakespeare writes of fairies, and creatures which I know to be imaginary. He writes of ghosts, which could never ensue. History is all true, and the stories have already come off the page so there is no need for them to be actively doing so."
"Marianne-" began Elinor, only to be interrupted by Marianne's sharp comeback.
"But he also writes of love and loss! Have you read Romeo and Juliet? Hamlet! His stories are so wonderfully written- one might go as far to say they are masterpieces! He understands the heart greater than any Egyptian or whatnot could ever!"
"I'll have you know, Ms. Dashwood, that the Egyptians only left one organ in the body during mummification, and that was the heart! Everything else they- they ripped out and set aside, but the heart they left in! The Egyptians knew it was the source of the soul, of feelings!"
"And so did Shakespeare, Ms. Carnahan!" Marianne stood up. She was about to continue, before she was interrupted by her mother.
"Marianne, please," said Mrs. Dashwood, allowing a maid to pour her a cup of tea. "Do not vex our guest with such an argument." Marianne looked to her mother for a moment, before looking back at Evie. She sighed and took her seat.
After tea, Elinor pulled Evie over to the side. "I'm so sorry about Marianne, Miss Carnahan. Sometimes I'm afraid my sister cannot help herself."
"I tend to be quite the arguer myself, Ms. Dashwood. She's perfectly well."
"Thank you," Elinor lowered her voice.
"Oh- and call me Evie, there's no need for such formalities," Evie added with a smile.
"Of course, Evie," Elinor nodded. "But I do hope you get to know Marianne beyond her passion for Shakespeare. She's a sweet girl and even though her love for the arts is intense, her love for her friends and family is greater."
"I am glad to hear it," Evie sighs, hearing the piano begin to play once more. "Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to do some reading."
"But you've only just arrived!" Elinor raised an eyebrow. "I do hope Marianne didn't scare you away, really."
"I can promise you she didn't," Evie insisted. "I'm just extremely tired from the ride here."
"Alright. I'll see you at dinner then."
Elinor and Evie parted ways, allowing Evie to escape to the guest room she was assigned to. It oversaw the stables, and there was a strong smell of horse even from the second story. Evie did adore horses, though, and the smell wasn't too much to drive her away. Maybe she'd be allowed to ride with Elinor, just as a way to get out of the house in the next few days. She was spending a week in the Dashwoods care, most of the time which she'd be praying her brother wasn't attempting to catch Elinor or Marianne's eye.
About an hour later, she was called down for supper. Evie quickly changed out of the outfit which she'd traveled in and into a more fancy gown which she'd hoped would pass in the presence of such wealth. Evie's family wasn't nearly as rich as the Dashwoods, but they tried their best to blend in amongst such high society.
Evie walked downstairs and took a seat at the dinner table, where Elinor and her father were already seated.
"How was your reading, Evie?" Elinor asked, taking a sip of water.
"Lovely, thank you Elinor," Evie smiled. She then placed her napkin on her lap. Marianne turned the corner and then said a polite hello to Evie, who smiled uncomfortably. Then came her mother, and finally a distraught looking Jonathan.
After he sat down, Jonathan quietly said to Evie, "I left my deck of cards at home."
"I'm sure they have a deck of cards, if you bother to ask," Evie replied in an equally quiet manner, beginning to take a spoonful of the soup which was set on the plates in front of them. "You're extremely late to dinner, I hope you know."
Jonathan shrugged, "I really wanted to play a game of cards, I had to look for them." Evie simply rolled her eyes at how shallow her brother was being, and continued with her soup.
Marianne took a sip of her drink before saying in a polite tone, "I hope you enjoyed your evening, Mr. Carnahan."
"I did, thank you," Jonathan said with a grin, before starting on his soup. "Did you, Ms. Dashwood?"
"I read Shakespeare- my evening could not have been any better," Marianne did not smile, though, as she spoke. Evie took a sip of her water, before looking at Elinor, who was across the table clearly trying to eat her soup in peace.
Marianne looked over to Evie. "I expect you found your readings on Egypt to be fascinating?" There was almost a hint of sarcasm in her voice.
"Actually, I was reading a romantic novel," Evie said with a sweet smile, almost to mock Marianne's cold tone. Marianne said nothing more.
The week went by awfully slow. There were days when all Elinor and Evie would do was talk, others where the three girls (excluding Margaret, who was rarely seen in the daytime) would take the horses and explore the land of the estate.
During these times, Marianne would ask almost constantly about the content that Evie was reading, and she'd get the same sort of answers every time, which clearly disappointed her. Evie did not loathe the girl, but she did find her rather sullen. Evie much preferred Elinor- she found her to be much more pleasant, if not as intelligent, but much more fitting company.
Soon came the day where Jonathan and Evie had to step into the carriage and bid the Dashwoods farewell, one which Evie and Elinor dreaded. The two promised to keep touch through letters, but Jonathan had not grown as close to any members of the family as Evie had. That was alright in Evie's mind- she didn't exactly want either Dashwood as an in-law.
Evie and Elinor hugged goodbye.
"Thank you so much for making my time here so pleasant," Evie said with a smile. The eldest Ms. Dashwood quickly told her that the pleasure was all hers, and that was that for the two of them. Her goodbyes with the other Dashwoods were much more brief, and before she knew it she and Jonathan were on the move.
Evie and Jonathan waved goodbye to the family, before Evie briefly made eye contact with Ms. Marianne. That was the first time Evie had seen her smile.