Heyeroines in need of a slap
5. Penelope Creed (The Corinthian/Beau Wyndham)
Who among us has not, at one time or another, found themself being coerced into a marriage with a cousin that they do not love, by an aunt with a ridiculous name? And yet who amongst us has responded to such sore provocation by cross-dressing and climbing out of a window with the aid of that hoary cliché, a rope of knotted bedsheets? I am certain that the answer to that second question is "none of us", and even if there are those who have acted in such a precipitate way, I am willing to wager that they made sure that the sheets were sufficient to reach the ground.
Miss Penelope Creed's incompetent decision making and even more hopeless planning when faced with such commonplace circumstances do not presage well for her future happiness. Her lack of thinking skills is further evidenced by her behaviour on a public coach where, while she should be maintaining a low profile in keeping with the fact that she is travelling under an assumed identity, relationship and indeed gender, she manages to engage in conversation with all around her, from the humblest farmer to such local eminences as Mr James "Jimmy" Yarde (whose taste in clothes, including a remarkably fine catskin waistcoat, should be considered second only to the Corinthian himself.)
Needless to say such ill-judged behaviour is more than enough to entangle Miss Creed in all kinds of lunatic criminality, and it is hardly a shock for us to discover that Mr Piers Luttrell, the childhood friend of Miss Creed upon whom she has fixed her sights as a suitably dull foil to her eccentricities, seems more than happy to have slipped the traces of her unstable affections while she was in London, and that he plans to settle down with the infinitely more suitable Miss Lydia Daubenay.
Sadly but predictably this clear indication of a wish for disengagement is not merely ignored by Miss Creed, but taken as a reason for her to involve herself in poor Miss Daubenay's affairs to the extent of devising a disastrous scheme for an elopement, a course of action that places at risk the reputations and even the lives of not only that innocent girl, but also Mr Luttrell, Sir Richard Wyndham and that most respectable pillar of society, the Honourable Cedric Brandon.
In her defence one could argue that nominative determinism forces our heyeroine's hand, for is not "elope" Pen Creed's middle name? Such defences cut little ice here, however, and Miss Penelope Creed's future, even under the soubriquet of Lady Wyndham, can only lead to Newgate or Bedlam, unless she snaps out of it sharply.
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