Another World: Part 3

March 28, 2011
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Evening









May 1829


My prediction was correct; the preparations for the ball took a very long time. I was reluctant to take one of Elizabeth’s gowns, but she assured me that she had enough gowns to last her an entire century. I examined the gowns, taking in the details of each one. Finally, I picked out a dark blue empire gown, so dark that it almost looked black. I was brought a thick wrap and fair-lined slippers for the cold (‘The Passionate Shepherd to His Love’ by Christopher Marlowe); Elizabeth had warned me that the nights were chilly. Then began the process, of combing and fixing my hair. My dark hair, contrast to Elizabeth’s blonde one, had small twists that come together as a larger intricate twist. The maid put in small blue clips in it and then worked with my bangs. Instead of leaving them, she twisted the hair and put it up with more clips. When we were finally done, we got in the carriage to go to Windham Mansion. The ride was short and soon we were stepping into the doors leading to the main ballroom. The sight was breathtaking; chandeliers hung like glittering diamonds and the room was a maze of colours. The women wore gowns of every colour and the men, wore impeccably neat, and fitted suits. It was a far cry from a school dance.

I soon became immersed in the crowd; many curious about the unknown lady that had accompanied the Duke of Ashcombe and his family. I talked to many, discussing things which many would consider superficial, and soon I became bored. Luckily, William, one of the brothers, rescued me in time. My face fell, however, when I realized his rescue plan. I had to waltz with him. Waltz! I did not even know how to do the Macerena, and he expected me to waltz? But I followed him to the floor, since it was the only escape from; what I learned, the boring nobilities of England. As soon as I got there however, I realized my mistake. The entire ton would now watch and criticize my every move. Seeing my expression, William told me not to worry; that I was just to follow his lead. I kept my skepticism to myself, not wanting to alienate William, and did as I was told. It was relatively easy, for all I had to do was follow his lead and he kept me from embarrassing myself in front of everyone.

The evening flew by; I danced with all three brothers and the Duke as well. After my dance with the Duke, I curtsied and said, “Thank you for everything, Your Grace”, wanting to thank him for taking in a stranger into his home. He laughed, drawing the eye of others and told me not to call him by that title. He then smiled and introduced me to some of his friends who were in the navy. We got into a deep discussion about Napoleon, and I cringed inwardly as one of the men told us that he had witnessed Marie-Antoinette being guillotined.

Soon, it was time to leave and I said farewell to the friends I had made. I was content and it was then that I realized that I enjoyed living this life. Perhaps there would come a time when I would despise the idea of living like a spoiled little girl and when I would despise the pestering maids. But I've been sitting around this life for years, not enough laughs and too many tear; trying to figure out where it all went, these wasted years that I have spent (‘New Life’ by Paul Bodet). I realize now that I am happy, living the life of a pampered lady.


Serena





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Penfencer said...
Apr. 23, 2011 at 9:31 am
So glad someone knows that dukes are called 'Your Grace.' Everyone's so befuddled nowadays.
 
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