In part one of A Closer Look into our Resident’s Lives we saw what Lady Elizabeth Marlowe and Jenny Wrey aka Jenny Wren were facing. This week our dear Alice Powell seems to be caught in the middle of other people’s ambitions. Read on to find out just what is going on at No. 7 Butcher’s Row.
Old Mary, who considers the residents of Amberleigh her family, has noticed a change in Alice Powell, our most loquacious villager, who is lately as quiet as a mouse and not so eager to engage in a friendly chat which she was wont to do, opening her window and calling a hello to passers by. Her Aunt Dorcas, whom she lived with, recently decided to go and live with her son to be nearer her family, most especially her grandchildren which left Alice at odds as to who would reside at No. 7 Butcher’s Row with her, for she is merely one and twenty and propriety expects a companion of sorts to maintain her good name. Luckily her cousin Henrietta, Hetty to friends and family, eagerly accepted the invitation put to her by Aunt Dorcas and Alice’s brother William to fill that role for Alice. At first rejoicing at someone closer in age to have as a chaperone, Alice soon found life had become quite different sharing a home with her cousin. Hetty is a most prim sort of woman and has curtailed much of Alice’s enthusiasm for conversation reminding her such forwardness is unseemly. Hetty would make Alice into a demure, modest young lady that any young man in search of a wife may find appealing yet Alice does not fit this mould which is quite in opposition to her own good nature. Further, Hetty believes Mr. Clutterback the new curate, is a perfect candidate for Alice to marry, something which has frustrated and distressed Alice.
Hetty, a lovely woman of five and twenty is much too young to be a woman of five and fifty, one could safely presume. She wears caps (and has suggested Alice do the same) professing to be “on the shelf.” What should cause one so young to adopt such puritan values is what has been on Old Mary’s mind. After several thwarted attempts, Old Mary is not daunted and will discover the answer to this conundrum and with luck, in time to stop Hetty's matchmaking.
The new curate in the village, one Mr. Neville Clutterback, practices economy as an art form. He was delighted with this offer to assist Mr. Thomas at Amberleigh and Constance. Now that he has a curacy, it is only a matter of time before he shall be gifted a parish to serve and upon doing so he shall have chosen a bride so that he may set up his house immediately upon accepting his first living, wherever it may be. Having met the congregation his thoughts rest upon Miss Powell whose cousin has allowed him to see the thriftiness and demure qualities of this most charming young woman he hopes to make Mrs. Clutterback in time.
How can Alice escape the notice of Mr. Clutterback when Hetty puts him in her path at every opportunity? What possess Hetty to want to marry Alice off? Will Old Mary discover what motivates Hetty to behave in such a prudish manner? Who can tell what will happen next in this complex little triangle in the parish.