Beautiful People — Eva Hughes

22 July 2013

pinterest: rifles in the south field
She was sensible and clever, but eager in everything. Her sorrows, her joys, could have no moderation. She was generous, amiable, interesting: she was every thing but prudent.
jane austen, sense and sensibility

When I answered the first set of Actually Finishing Something July questions two weeks ago and officially introduced Eva Hughes, Joy in particular expressed interest in her. As a minor character, she doesn't get to enjoy much time in the limelight — although the little she does receive goes straight to her head, so perhaps it's just as well — and I thought it would be interesting to give her a post of her own for once. I haven't filled out a Beautiful People questionaire since March, so this should be fun!

eva hughes

1. What does she look like? What are her hair and eye color?

Eva is quite like the young woman pictured to the right (although more accurately attired in the Georgian fashion). Like her brother, she has dark hair that waves naturally, and her eyes are a clear hazel. With her classic Grecian beauty and bewitching laugh, she draws the young gentlemen like flies to honey. (A problem not wholly unpleasant in her mind.)

2. How old is she?

Eva is only sixteen, but with her height and bearing, she could pass for several years older.

3. Where does she live?

She lives with her mother and elder brother in a comfortably sized home in Bradford on Avon.

3. What does her average day look like?

Eva rises late, at about eight o' clock in the morning, and often has just enough time to dress and have her hair fixed by the chambermaid before the breakfast bell is rung. Her mornings are passed in many occupations, none of them seriously pursued. Some days she sketches absently for a time; other days she practices her French aloud, to the great amusement of Kenneth, since her vocabulary doesn't extend much further than asking after the weather and the other person's health. After the commencement of the midday meal, she spends her afternoon making calls or else taking long walks outside the more populated part of Bradford. Her favorite way to spend the evening is bent over the family's only instrument, a treasured harpsichord, with a few of her dark curls falling loosely around her face (a product of her earlier artistic attempts, since Eva cannot draw without nervously tugging on a curl). When she feels she's practiced long enough (and when her elder brother's loud sighs have grown sufficiently interruptive), she normally retires to her bedchamber for the night.

5. Is she musically inclined?

Eva's slender fingers are suited to both the pianoforte and harpsichord. The Hughes have a harpsichord of their own, but she can only play the pianoforte when they dine with friends in the evening. She plays beautifully, but puts on a bit too much show in the process, and can be hard pressed to leave the bench when other young ladies desire the opportunity to exhibit.

6. What is her favorite kind of weather?

She loves the point right before a storm arrives, when the clouds with their shadowy underbellies are growing and expanding, and the wind blows eerily, stirring up a few dry leaves in its wake. She thrills at the exciting tension of something soon to come, and the thunder and lightning that follow appeal to her love for drama. Dull, sloshing, soaking rain, however, is another matter. It keeps her from paying her usual afternoon calls, and one cannot pass all of one's hours at an instrument. 

7. Does she have a sweetheart?

Eva does not have one sweetheart — she has beaux, in the plural sense. She likes to keep them constantly guessing as to which she prefers, but at present, none of her suitors are the sort she'd eventually marry. She'd much rather flirt and have fun than tie herself to one man.

8. Does she prefer the city or the country?

Definitely the city. Though the country would suit her for a day or more, it wouldn't take long for her to grow weary of it. The city is always bustling, always full of noise and gossip and excitement, which are the very things on which Eva thrives.

9. What does she love more than anything?

Trivial though it may sound (and perhaps that's only because it's been used too many times to count until it's fallen into oblivion), Eva loves life. The music she can coax from the keys, the sound of raindrops on the roof, the soft scratching of a pencil, and the lively chatter of the city streets all make up a world too dear to her to ignore. She's quite Kenneth's opposite in that she does not trundle through the world, dreading its many expectations, but flourishes under its constant attention. Perhaps that's because life has never shown her a side that would cause her to distrust it, and the sun rarely condescends to rain on her bright existence.

10. What does she fear more than anything?

Eva is too merry and lighthearted a person to dwell on such matters. If she does fear anything, she certainly wouldn't admit to it openly.

P.S. Don't forget to enter the Dragonwitch giveaway — it ends tomorrow!

4 epistles:

  1. Eva must be a trip to write: always on the go, sunny and splendid, her extreme interest in life perhaps the only thing saving her from being insipidly cheery. I don't know if I would be comfortable in her company - she seems quite my opposite - but I would wind up admiring her from afar and envying her for her beauty.

    In fact, the only things we might have in common are our brown hair and our inability to master the French language. :P

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    1. My greatest struggle with Eva is keeping her from falling into the stereotypical younger sister motifs (thinking Fanny Thornton here) of which literature has a plentiful supply. She holds many similarities with those girls, some of which cannot be removed (it would go against her nature to do so, and stereotypes do originate from somewhere), but I try to add little quirks here and there to keep her fresh and interesting. I agree with you that she's not the sort of person I'd choose for a friend — she's too cheery and lighthearted, to be blatantly honest — but she's certainly jolly good fun to write!

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  2. I smile. For Eva carries a jolly ringing bell, a flair of something similar to my character Anthea in The Crown of Life, though your Eva is more of a secondary character to the full story I presume whilst Anthea is one of the four main characters in my own novel and out-grows her pettish immaturity and jolly-ness by the story's end. And, like you, I struggled for a while not to make her... you know... so silly that it feels unreal and stereotypical. But I think this is only a superficial problem. At least I found it so, and I believe you will too, seeing how fresh and interesting she already sounds!

    But I think it is a jolly nice thing to have such a character as like as Eva to lighten and irritate the main characters of a story, and make the reader both smirk with chagrin and giggle at her antiques the next moment. As Jenny put it. I admire her cheery outlook, her interest in life (always a good thing!), and her musical skills, her pleasure at the scent of storm, and join in feeling her pain over mastering the French language... however... her vices... ahem, I think if I had her for company for long, I would scream. Just a little, inside, maybe.

    "She plays beautifully, but puts on a bit too much show in the process, and can be hard pressed to leave the bench when other young ladies desire the opportunity to exhibit."
    Just as a little thought, you know that has similitude to Mary Bennett in Pride and Prejudice - was that purposeful? I definitely look forward to the pleasure of making her painful acquaintance one day ^_^.

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  3. Eva sounds like someone who I would find difficult to get along with. She is just so happy I would get annoyed.

    My main question is do you know if it was common for people in the Georgian time to play both harpsichord and piano. I did a bit of research on the two instruments to learn the differences for a school project. I found that though they might look a like they are two completely different instruments. How you play the harpsichord is the exact opposite of how you play the piano. I also learned that harpsichordist can barely get the piano keys down, while pianist bang around way to hard on the harpsichord. I know people back then probably were more broadly educated. Mostly I was wondering if it was possible for Eva to play both the piano and the harpsichord. I suspect she probably could.

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