Penelope is more than just her name. She’s the daughter of a peer, or a titled nobleman, and therefore a bit higher in rank than some of the others of the upper classes of London. After the passing of her father, her brother takes on the title of Baron Claymore, but not much changes for Penelope at this point. The expectation around Town — that is, London — is that she would eventually marry a peer, perhaps even one higher-ranking than her brother. Or, failing a peer, at least a man who has extensive holdings of land and considerable wealth. It is no secret that her family’s fortune is dwindling.
For herself, Penelope plans never to marry. In fact, she is rather weary of the entire mess which is called Polite Society. There was nothing polite about the manner in which her grief-stricken father failed in his parental duties. There was nothing polite in her brother’s visiting only when he needs more blunt — or cash. Even those who she might have hoped to call friends seemed ready to run at the first scent of scandal concerning her family. Is that polite?
Still, she cannot hope to live apart from Society. After all, at this time in London, there is very little financial stability or means of support apart from Society. If one is not a member of Society, one serves them–either as a merchant, craftsman, or as an actual servant. If one does not serve a member of Society, one is in the poorhouse or must leave London.
Penelope has very few options. She cannot live alone, but neither can she bring herself to trust many people. She needs a hope for her future.
Where do you find hope?
Penelope has been searching for hope within herself. She thinks that if she simply does enough to secure her future, everything will fall into place. Since childhood, she has been planning for her future. The entire focus of her life has been the plans she’s made, changes, refined, and finally begun to execute. In spite of the godly influence of people like Aunt Essie and Violet in her life, Penelope refuses to to believe in a caring, compassionate God. Why would He have allowed such misery in Penelope’s life?
When her plans meet with difficulty, and failure is on the horizon, where will Penelope turn?
How do you rest in God’s Word?