I heard the clock strike the hour, and I knew it was time to go downstairs for the ball. I turned once more in the mirror, looking for any flaw. I peered anxiously at my hair, then spun around as fast as I could and laughed at my own foolishness. Lizzy was still getting ready, but Liza had already gone downstairs. I loved the floaty feeling my dress gave me as I descended to the party below. I saw Leland and Liza already talking to the few guests that had already arrived, and as I glanced out the window, I saw my cousins' carriage pulling up the lane.
Feeling a little thirsty, I moved as elegantly as I could towards the dining room. The punch bowl was already out and filled and some little snacks had been set out. A young lady and two gentlemen were around the table drinking and laughing merrily. The younger gentleman turned around and I drew in my breath in surprise.
"Richard!" I cried.
"Rebekah!" He exclaimed. Forgetting for a moment the cup in his hand, he nearly spilled it as he ran over and gave me a big hug. The other gentleman grabbed it from him just in time and laughed heartily at my surprised.
"What are you doing here?" I asked, pretty much winded from the bear hug he'd given me. "I though you were back home!"
"I missed you too much, so I wrote James and he came and picked Margaret and me up in his carriage yesterday morning. We arrived late last night." That's when I recognized the young lady to be my sister Margaret and the other gentleman to be James. I thought I'd had enough excitement to last me a lifetime as I embraced Margaret and kissed her on both cheeks.
"You can't imagine how much I've missed you both!" I said, the tears standing in my eyes. "I've been lonely sometimes, missing my siblings."
"Have you enjoyed yourself?" Margaret asked, concerned.
"Oh, yes! But there's no place like home." I said with a sigh. Then I turned to James. "Thank you so much for bringing Meg and Dick here this evening."
"No problem. It was the least I could do." He replied with a gallant bow.
That comment struck me as strange, but I had no time to think about it because all of sudden a great commotion broke out in the front hall and we all hurried in to see.