Chapter 9

Oh my goodness! I thought with excitement as Rose pinned up the long skirt of my lovely, white, lacy, evening dress. I looked at my appearance in the mirror. I looked elegant, beautiful, and charming. Hopefully my charm would prove itself today at this party.

After Rose finished with the dress, I kindly thanked her and put on some handsome white shoes, and a gold bracelet, which my grandmother had lent to me, for the evening. Before leaving my room I quickly put on a coat, it was winter afterall. I also put on a loose hat, to not ruin my hair, and protect my head from the cold.

Quietly I walked down stairs, where my grandparents were waiting with Henry. Henry looked handsome with a black suit that looked very new, he was also wearing a coat and scarf. My grandparents looked pretty good themselves, even in their older evening clothes.

“You look wonderful Shirley. That dress really suits you.” said my grandmother sweetly.

“Oh thank you grandmother. You look lovely yourself.” I replied, warmly.

“Thank you.” said my grandmother.

“Well we better get on our way.” said my grandfather as he took my grandmother’s arm, and led her towards the door. Henry gestured to take my arm, which I accepted. 

The drive to Mr. Clark’s was a short one, and before Henry and I knew it, we were stepping out of the automobile, in front of Mr. Clark’s medium sized estate, which was full of light, music, and the chatter of guests.

Henry took a deep breath. “Well here it goes.” he said to me, as he led me towards the house, I nodded, I was nervous myself.

Inside, it was overwhelmingly full of people. It was a long time since I had seen so many finely dressed people, or a party actually. I removed my coat and handed it to an awaiting servant, who dutifully took it, Henry did the same.

Almost immediately our grandparents let Henry and I to Mr. Clark, who was a very intelligent and rather handsome middle aged man, who welcomed us graciously. There are grandparents  recommended some people to meet, then they headed off to speak to some people themselves.

Henry went off also, to speak to other guests, and I was left alone, which quickly changed, when some young women, came to speak with me. It was easy to interact with these people, you just had to sound intelligent, polite, and charming. Soon enough I had spoken to more than ten people.

Happy with these results I decided to go find Henry. Finding him was easy, like every party we had gone before, Henry was surrounded by people, I had not seen him enjoying himself, like that in so long.

After waiting for a little bit I finally had the chance to speak with him. “Oh Shirley, this is Martha Moore, Mr. and Mrs. Moore’s daughter. ” said Henry introducing me to a pretty, golden haired, and tall young woman, who was not yet twenty.

“Hello, Martha, I am Henry’s sister Shirley.” I said politely, as I shook her hand. I knew that the Moore’s were a wealthy family by name, but unlike most they choose to live more simply, yet they still came to this party.

“Well hello. I think we met, at that children’s tea party that your grandmother hosted around a decade ago.” said Martha, with a sweet laugh.

“Oh yes. I remember. I believe I spilled tea on your dress that day.” I said with a smile. This was true, I had spilled tea on Martha’s dress.

“My, I completely forgot about that.” she replied with a sweet laugh “Shirley, that is a lovely dress you have on, it suits your fair complexion.” added Martha, complimenting me.

“Oh, thank you! Your dress looks lovely, I love the shade of blue.” I said, sweetly.

 After some back and forth with Martha and Henry, Martha left to speak with her parents, and Henry and I were left alone.

“I can’t believe she remembered me.” I said to Henry with surprise.

“Well it’s not easy to forget you.” replied Henry with a smile.

“How’s the party so far?” I asked, changing the subject.

“Pleasant, social, and extravagant, I’m rather enjoying myself actually, if I do say so.” he replied.

“Tell me, do you have a fancy for Martha?” I asked teasingly.

“Why do you think so?” he asked, pretending to be confused.

“The way she looked at you, and the way you spoke to her.” I said this time more seriously.

“Well, where old friends, so that hopefully answers curiosity, Shirley.” he replied pretending to sound annoyed.

“I will just leave it there.” I said shaking my head. I knew Henry too well. Henry smiled uncomfortably and excused himself to speak with some of our grandfather’s friends.

Almost immediately after, Martha walked up towards me with some other young ladies. It was nice to speak and associate with people near my age, at a party. The other young ladies introduced themselves as Martha’s sisters. Which was rather amazing in a sense because they did not resemble Martha at the least.

The youngest of Martha’s sister’s, Juliette Moore(a pretty girl with light brown hair, and brown eyes), was around the same age I was. We soon bonded and before I knew it she was leading me to meet her parents.

Mr. and Mrs. Moore were very similar to their cheery and happy daughters. Mr. Moore was a short man, with a jolly and happy personality. Mrs. Moore on the other hand was a tall and skinny woman, with an elegant sense of style, and personality. Both seemed very kind and warm, it made sense why Martha and her sister’s were the way they were.

After some more socializing and interaction, Mr. Clark announced that some more refreshments were ready, which I gratefully enjoyed. Interacting with people made you famished, but I avoided eating too much, there was no use in making my dress tight.

While I ate a lovely pastry, Henry hurried towards me, anxiously. “Shirley, come quick.” he said as he took my arm, and gently removed the small plate out of my hand, and gently placed it on a table.

“What’s happening?” I asked, confused

“I can’t explain, come.” he said as he led me out of the large and vibrant room, down the hall and towards an opened door. Mr. Clark nervously was standing in front of it, and so was grandfather.

“Shirley, your grandmother feels ill, very unexpectedly.” said grandfather, very orderly as if this was a normal occurrence.

“Oh dear, how is she, where is she?” I asked with genuine concern.

“Not well, she is heading home now, with a doctor. But we have to go home, that is why we called you.” replied my grandfather.

“Of course, we have to go home.” I said heading my way back to the large room where the party was, to collect my things.

“Good.” replied my grandfather, as he turned around, and grabbed his things, so did Henry. I was a little saddened to leave the party early, but I had to be home, my grandmother needed us. So I ignored my selfishness and grabbed my things, avoiding people that would recognize me.

Soon all three of us were outside, starting Mr. Clark’s automobile(Mr. Clark had kindly decided to lend it to us). Because my grandfather could not drive, Henry drove, it was probably one of the worst experiences in an automobile. Henry was not an excellent or an experienced driver, and because he had not driven in so long, he was rather unsteady. Thankfully we arrived home in one piece, even though my poor grandfather poured with sweat, and my fingers ached by clutching onto the side so hard.

The rest of the night, I slept very poorly, in worry of my elderly and rather frail grandmother. The next morning though over breakfast, my grandfather announced to Henry and I that our grandmother was out of danger, and was recovering in her room. Which was relieving.

After breakfast I hurriedly went to see my grandmother, who seemed surprisingly cheerful. “Good morning Shirley dear, and I am sorry for forcing you to leave the event early.” she said, taking my hand kindly.

“Don’t apologize, grandmother. Nothing matters until you are well and full of health again.” I replied, kindly.

“Don’t be silly. Well that foolish doctor instructs me to remain in bed for a week’s time, which is ludacris, I am feeling better than I have in days. So because we will have to miss many gatherings and parties, including a visit to some family, I am planning to host a Christmas party, here at this house.” announced my grandmother indignantly.

“Are you sure? You should rest.” I said trying to calm my now excited grandmother.

“Rest! I rest too much, besides I will be doing all the party planning in bed.” replied my grandmother as she pulled out a nicely written and very long list, which she quickly went over. Then I was forced to carry out the list. No wonder people think I am difficult to deal with, I am just like my grandmother. I thought with an annoyed sigh.

The next few days I was busy, taking orders from my grandmother, arguing with servants, and getting things done. Being someone with social prestige was difficult. No wonder grandmother got illness spells, this was exhausting and irritating. Maybe this was not worth it, but yet it very much was.


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