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10. The Honourable Eloise

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Rich heiress the Honourable Eloise Jarvis moves into her new country home and tries to make the acquaintance of the local gentry, among them Margaret, the neighbouring Squire’s poor niece, and the haughty and elegant Lady Coltishall with her two daughters and a rather odd niece-of-sorts. If Eloise would like that they become her cronies, she finds that they each have a different agenda, as does she, for that matter, part of which is annoying one of her trustees, the wealthy, fashionable, dashing Duke of Kenilworth. Basically, there are three stories going through this.

684428 words

 First Page...


Anne Hauden ©


                        It had been expressly stipulated in the will of the late Viscount Jarvis that, on a date computed to fall due exactly one calendar year after that of his burial, his executors were to place the fortune he had seen fit to leave his daughter, on trust.  The will provided for the structure of that verisame instrument, named the trustees, added provisions beyond but not contrary to the rules of Equity as to the responsibilities of and restrictions upon the verisame trustees, and declared that the trust would come into operation on that same date, unless a trustee objected to his appointment.   As the latter had a year in which so to do, as there was a duty on the executors to replace him before then in such a case, and as Miss Jarvis, the cestui qui trust, was to sue them in the Chancery Court if replacements were unready by the date due, it was ensured even from beyond the grave, that the trust would become operational when stipulated, whether there were objections or not.  The reason wherefor the late Viscount allowed a year between his funeral, after which his will would necessarily be read out, and the moment his daughter’s trust was to come into being, was not simply to allow lazy, cavilling or recalcitrant trustees to voice protests and learn that they were not indispensable; his lordship had been a wealthy man, but one with a sense of fairness, for rather than let much of the vast family fortune slip into the hands of his only son and heir by operation of the Common Law, which would operate to pass his lands and titles to the male in any wise, leaving his daughter unequal to her brother in wealth, or needing to find a rich spouse, he had divided his liquid assets between them, unequally in favour of the female.  Her wealth thus consisted of vast sums of invested capital, and a valuable collection of movables, legally known as ‘specialty’- as opposed to ‘realty’.   Out of the funds at her disposal the executors were to buy for her a lucrative landed property with a manor upon it, so that her accustomed way of life hitherto would be resumed with no further break in it than travelling from one house to another.  Furthermore, they were to acquire for her the controlling interest in, if not compleat ownership of, a commercial property like a mill or a mine, for the value of the Pound Sterling was dropping steadily without let since the last years of the previous century, after Mr. Pitt, reeling drunk, had announced that the Commonweal of Great Britain was going to war with France, herself in the throes of a bloody aftermath to what had begun as a most welcome Revolution or change in her form of government, long overdue, and saluted – until the bloodbath began – by Whig men of politics even in England.  Ground, and industry, a growing form of wealth, were the best bolsters to riches when currency vacillated, and the year was granted to the executors to ensure these purchases, so that when the trust came into operation, these two pieces of realty would be among the assets to be administered by the trustees accordingly.

            Ordinarily, a trust, for which the old-fashioned name was a ‘use’, was administered by two trustees at least, but the rules of Equity, developing haphazardly in a typically English fashion outside the rigid and limited scope of the Common Law, itself unfair, ordained that trusts including realty should be administered by at least four trustees.  Equity aimed to protect those who sought the benefit of its rules, whereas the Common Law aimed for restriction even if it was in perpetual evolution among the hands of Judges setting precedents...

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Grateful thanks to The Yale Centre for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut,
The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.,
Michael Judkins, at Pexels.