|“||Lizzie looked like a field mouse that has suddenly looked up from its crumb to discover itself in the midst of a meeting of barn owls.||”|
Lizzie Wemyss Beardsley is the daughter of Joseph Wemyss and wife of both Josiah and Keziah Beardsley. She traveled to America from Scotland with Brianna Fraser as a handmaid and bondservant, and eventually settles on Fraser's Ridge.
Lizzie's father, Joseph Wemyss was a bookkeeper in Scotland. Early in her life her mother died and it was just her and her father. This created a close bond between the father/daughter pair. They were happy, at least to the extent they could be before their family's circumstances obliged her father to sell himself and her into indentured servitude. He sold her as an indentured servant to Brianna Fraser in order to save her from being indentured to a man who would make her his concubine.
Events of the NovelsEdit
On July 4, 1769, Lizzie sails as handmaiden to Brianna aboard the Phillip Alonzo from Inverness, bound for Charleston, South Carolina.
During the voyage, Lizzie contracts malaria and Brianna worries about her recurring attacks of fever. In early September, they arrive in Wilmington. Lizzie sees that Brianna is disturbed by Roger MacKenzie's appearance, and later upset, after being gone all night. Lizzie mistakenly assumes that MacKenzie forced himself on Brianna. In October, Lizzie tells Jamie and Young Ian that a man named MacKenzie, who she mistakenly believes assaulted Brianna in Wilmington, is making his way up the mountain.
At the Gathering at Mount Helicon, Lizzie starts her first menstrual cycle. Back on the Ridge, she courts the attentions of the local young men during the Hogmanay celebration, and stays by Josiah and Keziah Beardsley as they have their tonsils removed.
Her father, Joseph, asks Jamie to help him negotiate a betrothal between Lizzie and Manfred McGillivray.
In June 1774, Lizzie's betrothed Manfred McGillivray confesses to Claire that he may have gotten "the French disease" from a whore. Before they can figure out what to do about him regarding his marriage to Lizzie, Manfred flees, terminating the betrothal.
In September 1774, Jamie receives a letter from Lord John Grey regarding Bobby Higgins's proposal of marriage to Lizzie. Jamie arranges a meeting with Joseph Wemyss and Bobby Higgins regarding Lizzie, but Joseph rejects Bobby's proposal.
Claire, Brianna, Marsali and Lizzie find the MacNeill family in dire straits, struck by a devastating illness. As the same illness strikes other families across the Ridge, Claire tends to them as she can, while Roger sees to burying the ones that succumb.
In November 1774, Lizzie reveals that she is pregnant and the father of her child is one of the Beardsley twins, but neither she nor they know which one. After Jamie handfasts Lizzie to Kezzie, she and the twins go to Roger and ask him to handfast Lizzie to Jo. Their son Rodney is born on April 19, 1775.
Lizzie's second child, a girl, is born in March 1777.
Upon Claire's return to the Ridge in spring 1779, she learns that in her absence Lizzie had another son, and is pregnant again.
Shy and soft-spoken.
Fair, flyaway hair, with light gray eyes and an extremely pale complexion.
As a result of Lizzie falsely accusing Roger MacKenzie of being the man whom raped Brianna, Ian and Jamie Fraser beat him and send him with some Indians. After discovering the truth, and Brianna now being much further into her pregnancy, Ian traded himself for Roger joining a Mohawk tribe and marrying Wakyo'teyehsnonhsa.
When Ian returned in October 1772, Lizzie was betrothed to Manfred McGillivray. Following the breaking of the engagement Brianna had suggested that perhaps Ian would marry Lizzie. However, Ian explained that yes he could be content with Lizzie and when he woke he'd know where he was - right next to his sister. As a result Ian made no attempts to try and wed Lizzie.
Lizzie was betrothed to Manfred McGillivray for a while. However he called the engagement off when he realized he had contracted "the French disease". Mostly Lizzie was more upset about losing the mother-daughter relationship she'd begun to establish with Ute McGillivray.
During Bobby Higgins initial visits to Fraser's Ridge on behalf of Lord John Grey, Bobby became smitten with Lizzie though she was already betrothed to Manfred McGillivray. He often sought out her company when at the Ridge and after the termination of her betrothal had, through Lord John, requested to speak with her father Joseph Wemyss about marrying her. His request was quickly dismissed by Joseph, who, out of concern for his daughter's welfare, did not want Lizzie to marry a branded murderer with little in the way of future prospects and stability.
- Elizabeth is from Ελισαβετ (Elisabet), the Greek form of the Hebrew name אֱלִישֶׁבַע (Elisheva) meaning "my God is an oath" or perhaps "my God is abundance".
- Wemyss is derived from the Scottish Gaelic uaimh which means "cave".
- Beardsley is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from some minor, unrecorded or now "lost" place, believed to have been situated in Nottinghamshire or Leicestershire where the name is most popular.