Cornelius: Presumer of Hope

Penelope’s brother is the Baron Claymore. When a man receives a title, whether by birthright or by having it bestowed on him, he gives up his family name in favor of the title. When Cornelius and Penelope’s father died, Cornelius ceased to be Cornelius Drayton and took on the title of Lord Claymore, or Baron Claymore. For Americans unused to peerage systems, this can be confusing and difficult to understand at first. I found this website very helpful when I was working out the different ranks and how they are to be addressed.

In the Regency genre, there is often a peer, Lord So-and-So, who is the male protagonist. In Penelope’s Hope, Cornelius (a bit of an antagonist) has been the Baron for some years, but he only recently reached his majority. Prior to a man reaching a certain age, his fortune was often held in trust, and he was only permitted full access upon his reaching a certain age. This is where Cornelius finds himself at the opening of Penelope’s Hope.

Whereas Penelope has long been considering her future, it seems he has not. As a first son, and the one to eventually inherit, he would have believed nearly all his life that his future was secure. He was to inherit the title, the house, and the fortune of his father. His hope for the future was given to him.

Unfortunately, the temptation to think only of the privileges of his position and not of the accompanying responsibilities allowed some ill-behavior to manifest itself in Cornelius. I won’t reveal more at this point, but you can judge for yourselves when you read whether Cornelius is the opposite of Penelope, or whether they might have more in common than even they suspect.

Hope is a powerful thing. Cornelius hoped in the assurance of his position and in the excitement and happiness that his gambling brought — and possibly in the expectation of a bog win. The problem with hoping in these sort of things is that eventually, they’ll fail us. Even a title cannot save someone from disgrace, and when no self-control is exercised, the rush of taking chances can leave us bereft. Hope in God’s Word is hope for eternity. Even when earthly things disappoint, when difficult times come (because they will), His Word stands firm.