Hi CW. I think that you have captured the feel of the 19th century novel perfectly in that story yet established your own style in the telling. It is engaging and full of empathy. You give a strong sense of place without it over-shadowing a strong central character. I love your prose. It really carries the story forward and I feel it is a strong enough ‘engine’ to take this story into a novel-length narrative.
SEMI-SPOILER ALERT: You avoided the rescue of our hero at the end. Why? Too obvious? I think we wanted that and for that character to go on to better things. But your alternative was an excellent twist. Or should that be ‘Twist’?
I don’t know what you plan to do with the story but thanks for sharing.