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Elizabeth Warleggan (formerly Poldark, née Chynoweth) (1864 - 1899) was the Mistress of Trenwith and the wife of the late Francis Poldark, with whom she had one child, Geoffrey Charles Poldark. She was widowed and later became the wife of George Warleggan. She had her second child, Valentine Warleggan, but Valentine's true father was Ross Poldark, to whom Elizabeth was once engaged.

Biography

Early Life

At some point, she met and became engaged to Ross Poldark. They danced together at a ball and many at the time proposed the idea that for Elizabeth, her true love would forever be Ross. But in 1780, Ross was arrested for brawling and joined the British Army. By 1783, he was presumed to have died. She fell in love with Francis Poldark and they became engaged.

Marriage

A couple of weeks before her wedding to Francis, she attended a meal in Trenwith. She was shocked when Ross Poldark returned home and felt awkward when they had to tell him about their engagement.

Elizabeth thought about leaving to speak with Ross, but her mother persuaded her to stay. She eventually decided to stay engaged to Francis, and they were married. They had a child, Geoffrey Charles Poldark, the following year.

Family Life

Elizabeth loved her son very much, and cared for him. They were very close. They survived a sickness when they were cared for by Demelza Poldark. Demelza had married Ross, something which Elizabeth was shocked about because he married below his status.

Francis remained insecure about his marriage, because he knew of her former love for Ross. He gambled and their marriage suffered. Elizabeth was delighted when Francis started to improve, and invested in a new mine, Wheal Leisure, with Ross. She was devastated when Francis died.

Widowhood

Elizabeth and her remaining family struggled when her husband died, because they no longer had the wealth they once had. Her mother had a stroke, and Elizabeth struggled to provide proper care for her. The home was freezing and they were struggling to buy food. Ross Poldark sold his shares in Wheal Leisure and gave her the money, but it was not enough. When George Warleggan, the wealthy banker, found out about her situation, he agreed to help her pay for her mother's care and to keep Trenwith.

However, he had hoped Elizabeth would agree to marry him in return. Elizabeth thought she had no choice but to agree to the proposal, in the hope of improving the future of her son. She accepted his proposal, but when Ross found out, he was unhappy. Elizabeth had tried to spend more time with Ross since her husband died, and their unresolved feelings reached breaking point. They spent the night together, but Ross regretted his choice and departed early the next day. Elizabeth had thought there was a chance that Ross would leave Demelza and marry her. However, he later made his choice to stay with Demelza.

Second Marriage

Elizabeth later married George less than a month later, and she found out she was expecting her second child. She already knew the paternity of her child was in doubt, and she and Agatha thought it likely that the father was Ross. However, Elizabeth knew she had to stay with George, and told him she was pregnant with his child, to his joy.

By the time her child was born, things had changed for her family. Ross and Demelza no longer visited them and kept their distance, to the disappointment of her son and Agatha. George was strict and cold toward her son, and was open with his lack of care for Agatha. He and Elizabeth preferred to keep their distance from Ross and she often felt like she had to agree with what George wanted.

Elizabeth was unhappy when George brought her cousin, Morwenna Chynoweth, to Trenwith to teach and care for Geoffrey Charles, without asking her. George told her that she needed to distance herself from her elder son, because he thought they should send him to boarding school the next year. Elizabeth had wanted to keep him with her, but George had the final word, telling her that she would have their child to care for soon.

Birth of Valentine

Elizabeth had given her support for the idea of changing Geoffrey Charles surname from Poldark to Warleggan, but she was very quiet when he let them know he would only let them change it to include the name Francis, being Geoffrey Charles Francis Poldark. At the time, Elizabeth's pregnancy was nine months, but she was claiming she was eight months and that her child would be born early in the eyes of George.

Elizabeth began to find ways to claim her labour had started early, and took to undertaking tasks that could induce labour. Elizabeth claimed she had a fall when George went out for the day. It's unknown whether she truly did fall, or whether she said she had when she went into labour, but she gave birth to her second son, Valentine Warleggan, following a long and worrying labour.

She managed to convince everyone that Valentine was simply born early, and George was delighted to have a son. However, Elizabeth struggled in light of her child's birth. She was quite cold toward him, and knew that he looked like Ross, even though George thought Valentine looked like him. She was upset when Geoffrey Charles said he and his brother looked very unalike, and that he also looked nothing like George.

Tensions between the Warleggans and Poldarks became very high, and contact between them was cut. Forbidden from spending time with Ross, Geoffrey Charles was later found sneaking out to meet him, which made Elizabeth and George very unhappy. Elizabeth later became very unhappy, and was sad at the news that Ross and Demelza had another child, a daughter. She and her son later moved with George to Warleggan House.

Unfortunately, Agatha and George later argue on the night of Agatha's passing, and she let George know Valentine was actually Ross's child. George was angry and would not even speak to Elizabeth, who attempted to persuade him Valentine belonged to him, and it worked. Elizabeth held her hand when she passed away, apologising for telling him.

Many years later, Elizabeth was now content and happy with her life with George. She found out she was expecting another child, knowing it was George's child, but she took the pregnancy to be an opportunity to persuade George that she only carries until she's eight months. She originally wanted to keep the pregnancy secret, and claim at two months pregnant that she was only one month. However, George called for a doctor because of morning sickness, and she had to admit the truth.

When Ross brought Geoffrey Charles back to Trenwith, she was showing Ross out when Valentine found them. Elizabeth panicked and was in the way of Valentine in order to keep Ross from an awkward encounter, but Ross wanted to look at Valentine and they shook hands. Elizabeth looked proud of them, and then waved Ross off, narrowly avoiding George from finding out about the meeting.

Elizabeth went with George, Valentine and Geoffrey Charles to London for a few months. When George's attempt to bankrupt Pascoe's bank went wrong, she encouraged George to gain favour by holding a charity ball, and they invited Ross and Demelza. Elizabeth and Demelza had a short, but friendly encounter at the ball.

One day, Geoffrey Charles walked in the same room of Elizabeth, George and Valentine, took one look at Valentine and commented on the fact he had never noticed how much Valentine looked like Ross until now. Elizabeth was gobsmacked, knowing that George now knew that Agatha was telling the truth. George then became angry with her again, and wouldn't talk to her.

The next day, they went for a walk. George walked in front of Elizabeth, and when Ross went over to him to give him the money Monk Adderley had owed him, George took the money and threw it at Ross. He then walked off, leaving Elizabeth speechless and with no idea what to tell Ross. She then followed George and left Ross amazed.

Death

Elizabeth was worried about George's actions and hoped for a better life for Valentine. She knew she needed a plan of action in order to persuade George that Valentine belonged to him, and she went to an appointment with a doctor under a fake name and asked him for advice on how to induce early labour. She admitted that Valentine was born at full term and he gave her a potion, which she kept in a box.

George continued to act off-hand Elizabeth and Valentine, and became exceptionally cold towards him. It affected Elizabeth deeply and Valentine was becoming very upset by the actions of George completely ignoring him. When Elizabeth found out Morwenna was to marry Drake Carne, she went to spend time with her and wished her well, apologising for her part in separating them years earlier. Morwenna then accompanied Elizabeth back to Trenwith and met Valentine.

When they ate dinner together later on, George came home and continued to act angry with Elizabeth. He called Valentine "the child", wanting him to be taken out the room when he spoke during the meal and upset Elizabeth further by bullying Morwenna who left the room. When Ross showed up to find Morwenna, he and George argued. Elizabeth then asked Ross to go, and she let Ross know that she had forgiven him.

It led to an argument between Elizabeth and George who was adamant that Valentine belonged to him and she was angry that he would throw her voice and love away because of a comment made by another. George apologised and admitted he wanted to believe her, but the doubt was made by Agatha long ago and he had no idea how to move on from it. Elizabeth told him that Agatha only wanted to hurt him because he cancelled her birthday party.

Elizabeth then argued that she has no way of proving to him that Valentine was their child, and that he would throw away an heir and a good life by continuing to think wrong of her. She then left the room and decided she actually would be able to prove it by taking the potion she brought from a doctor. She fainted and when George found her, she woke up in pain when the baby moved.

George called for both Doctor Enys and Choake, and when Doctor Enys arrived, they found Elizabeth was in labour. During the labour, Enys noticed odd spasms but he put it down to the fall, and Elizabeth gave birth to a healthy daughter. Doctor Enys then left comfortable that Elizabeth would be fine. George then went to spend time with her and the baby, and he apologised, saying he knew now that Valentine was simply born early.

George and Elizabeth made up and he promised her and their family a better life. Elizabeth was happy and content, and George let her know he was to be given a knighthood, calling her Lady Warleggan. Elizabeth then named the baby Ursula Warleggan. However, the next day Elizabeth was taken very unwell. Doctor Enys noticed her fingers and toes had a loss of blood supply and she was suffering from an infection.

Elizabeth continued to deteriorate and eventually became blind, telling George she was afraid of the dark. She passed away with George holding her hand. Ten minutes later, Ross came by to find out how she was, and found out from George of Elizabeth's death. He went to spend time with her, kissing Elizabeth for the final time. George admitted he loved her very deeply, and had no idea how to move on without her, feeling he had nothing to live for until Ursula was given to him. He then commented that she looked nothing like Elizabeth.

Elizabeth was later buried in a service, and during the wedding of Morwenna and Drake, George was found mourning at the grave with Valentine and Ursula. Verity and Geoffrey Charles commented that Elizabeth would forever be a true Poldark, and not Warleggan. Ross grieved Elizabeth in another way, mainly for the memory of their love and everything Elizabeth could have done, but never will.

Notes and sources

  1. See this image
  2. Poldark, Series 4, Episode 8