"Oh Mama, we have so many weddings to attend... how shall we do it?" Maria said one afternoon. She had been sitting by the fireplace, sketching complacently, but suddenly stood and put down her pencil. "Do you think it would be all right to wear the same dresses to each?" she asked, her tone worried. For all that she had changed after the incident with Leland Smith, clothes still ranked high in importance in her mind.
"Oh dear, I hadn't thought of that," Mama said worriedly. "There is Miss Georgiana Darcy's wedding, and then Miss Liza's, and then Miss Rosie's..."
"Don't forget Lizzy's wedding," I reminded her. We had just received word of Lizzy's engagement to Captain Milton that morning.
"Oh yes, and Lizzy's," Mama agreed. "How on earth shall we do it?"
"I'm sure it will be fine, Mama," I said, patting her hand reassuringly. "After all, they are all family affairs--it is not as if we have to impress anyone. We shall just be ourselves."
"Yes, but dresses!" Mama said impatiently. "I shall ask your father if he can afford to purchase several new gowns for each of you."
"Oh Mama, that won't be necessary," I interupted. "My emerald silk will do just fine for all of the weddings."
"But Miss Georgiana's is sure to be outside, and you can't wear such a dark gown to an outdoor wedding!" Mama protested. "You will need a light colored one."
"Mama, I purchased a lavender gown about a week ago, and with my emerald silk, that will be all I need." I set my jaw firmly. "I can't allow you to spend money on me when it is not needed. Maria?" I looked to my younger sister, hoping that she would back me up.
"Well..." she said reluctantly. I could tell that she would have wanted to purchase a new gown; several, even. Maria had quite a fondness for finery. But, she knew we couldn't be frivolous. Mama had been known to spend more than we could afford when it came to her favorite daughter's apparel. "I'll do just fine with my grey silk," she said slowly, sighing.
"Maria, I think I have a gown in my wardrobe I don't wear anymore," I said thoughtfully. "It's a very light pink, and a bit small for me... perhaps it will fit you. Would you like to try it on?"
Maria's eyes lit up. "Oh yes, thank you, Eva!" she said. "May I go now, Mama?"
"Yes, yes, of course," Mama conceded. We both left the room eagerly in the pursuit of the gown.
The gown was perfect, and Mama even had a pearl necklace that matched it perfectly. Maria was all alight with eagerness for the wedding, now that the issue of proper attire had been resolved.