Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Rose of Another Name

The love that surrounded the happy couple seemed to shimmer in the air. I could not believe that in a few weeks that would probably be me standing there and getting married to someone that I loved utterly and completely. John stood next to me, smiling gently.

"Do you believe in fate, Rose?" he whispered.

"Yes, I think I do," I answered.

"Then will you do me the honor of telling my sister that she need not be afraid of Mama disapproving of Herbert anymore?" John was smiling.

And then I saw it: Herbert and Lady Kingsley where talking and laughing together, as if they had been friends for years.

"Oh John, the world seems perfect right now! If only I could pause it at this moment," I whispered.

"Don't pause the world yet, you still have to be the Rose of another name," John teased.

I smiled at him. John leaned toward me and when our faces were only a small distance away from each other, he whispered:

"Are we to be completely scandalous, Miss Morgans?"

"No indeed, Mr. Kingsley," I answered in my most hoity-toity tone.

"Please call me John."

"When you call me Miss Morgans then you will be Mr. Kingsley."

"Then I shall call you Rose, for you will always be my beautiful flower."

John kissed me on the lips.

"Rose! Look!" Amae's voice came quickly from a short distance away.

John and I looked where she was pointing and, to our great surprise, a woman with long grey hair was in a great carriage along with a girl who looked very ill. 'Twas none other than the Lady Catherine de Borgh and her only daughter, Anne.

Mr. Collins had of course told her where he was going to be and she had decided to come and see her niece off. The happy couple were gone by now, and she was in an uproar.

"Rosie, vat kind of voman is zat?" Amae whispered in supressed horror.

"I don't know, Amae, but let us hope she will not be too much of a nuisance!" I whispered back.

Aunt Lizzy and Uncle Darcy had to be the ones to receive Lady Catherine, as was proper. I saw Aunt Lizzy bite her tongue before she uttered a few rude remarks more than once.

"Rose, it's time to go," John said.

I only nodded and ran to Eva, Maria, Lizzy and Liza. Kissing each of them on the cheek, I bid them a tearful fairwell, for I did not know the next time I would see them. Before long, John and I were in the carriage with Amae, making our way home. And as we rattled and bounced along in the carriage, the only thought that was in my head was "I am to be married in four weeks," echoing over and over again every time we hit a bump.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Oh, Hear the Wedding Bells Ring!

"Mama, hurry up! We will be late!" Maria's voice was anxious as she rushed down the hall and into our mother's bedroom, where I was helping Mama dress for the wedding.
"Child, 'tis only eight o' clock! The wedding does not begin until ten! Why are you so anxious?" Mama turned from her dressing table to look at her daughter's face, her countenance puzzled.
Maria did not answer, for was standing before the mirror fixing her curls for the tenth time.
"She is eager to be on time because a certain someone may be at the wedding..." I said teasingly, my voice low. 
Maria's cheeks heightened in color, but she tossed her head as if she did not know of what I was talking and retied one of her pink ribbons. 
"Such nonsense," she said lightly. "I am to be an old maid, remember?"
I didn't reply, but I doubted very much that she would remain alone all of her days. 
"Besides," Maria continued, still preening in front of the glass, "it is our own Aunt Georgie's wedding--why, we should be there at least an hour early! We are family, after all. Do I have to have an ulterior motive just to see my own aunt?"
"Maria, she is the Darcys' aunt, not ours'. We have met her but two or three times... we certainly are not as close as Liza and Lizzy are," I admonished practically. "We shall arrive with the rest of the wedding guests--no one will need us before then."
My sister turned back to her hair with a petulant frown. "Mama?" 
"Evelyn is correct, Maria," Mama said sternly. "Now go and see if breakfast is ready, dear."
Maria flounced out of the room, a bit of her former prissiness returned.
"Do you know why Maria is so adamant about arriving early?" my mother questioned me when we were alone. I was surprised that she had even taken notice of Maria's strange behavior. Mama normally concerned herself only with our gowns, ribbons and prospective beaus; anything beyond that was of little matter to her.
"Oh Mama," I said kindly. "You know as well as I that Maria loves to prepare for a formal event. It is in her nature. Naturally, she does not want to be late. That is all."
Mama satisfied herself with that as she finished her dressing. I put on the charming lavender silk I had been saving for this occasion, and sighed as I withdrew my new bonnet from its wrappings. I wondered if Edmond would like it on me, then blushed to be thinking of such things. Silly girl, I scolded myself. This is to be Aunt Georgie's day, and all eyes are to be focused on her--not you. Now fix that ribbon and go downstairs like a good girl... and not one more thought about Mr. Kingsley, mind you! I smiled at myself in the mirror, knowing full well that not thinking about Edmond was easier said than done. 

~ ~ ~

Pulling my bonnet from my head, I stepped into the pretty country church where the wedding was to take place. It fit Aunt Georgie just perfectly. I began searching among the crowd for a familiar face, but my searching seemed to be in vain.
"Hello, Miss Evelyn."
I jumped as someone behind me spoke, then relaxed when I realized it was Edmond Kingsley. I extended my hand and he bent to kiss my gloved fingers lightly. 
"It's good to see you," I said, smiling up at him. "But why are you here? I did not know you knew Aunt Georgie." 
"Oh no, I have not had the pleasure of meeting your aunt yet--"
"My cousins' aunt," I corrected.
"My apologies," Edmond said. "You refer to her so often as "Aunt Georgie," so I assumed you were related. But, enough about that. I have been a good friend of Matthew Clock's for some time, and I came here today because he would not allow otherwise." He grinned. "How could I refuse?"
"Well, I am glad you did," I said softly, blushing slightly. But Edmond noticed my somewhat-anxious eyes, and he questioned me about them.
"Is something wrong, Eva?"
"I'm looking for Pierre DeJohns," I replied. "My sister Maria will be heartbroken if he is not here."
"Isn't she the sister who--"
"Fainted at the Darcys' ball? Yes," I finished for him. "But she is much changed now. She no longer harbors any affection for Mr. Smith, other than that of a friend. Her heart lies elsewhere."
"She is not acting too quickly again, I hope?"
"Not at all. Pierre and she are good friends."
"Very good friends," Edmond said, nudging me. I turned and spotted Maria already sitting in one of the pews, speaking with Mr. DeJohns. Her face was alight with happiness, and they seemed to be having a most interesting conversation."
"If you will excuse me, Edmond, I think I'd best go get my sister so that we may sit down. Mama and Papa will be wondering where we are."
"Of course, Eva." He tipped his hat, then went to sit down himself. I managed to get Maria to come sit down with the rest of us, although not without some difficulty. 
A hush came over the church as Aunt Georgie made her way down the aisle on the arm of her brother, since their father had passed away many years before. Her dress was absolutely breathtaking, and her happiness made her radiant beyond comparison. Mr. Clock had eyes for no one but his beautiful bride as he watched her walking slowly toward him. 
The wedding ceremony was beautiful. I noticed not just one sniff coming from the audience as both Aunt Georgie and Mr. Clock said their vows. How beautiful, I thought as Mr. Clock kissed Aunt Georgie sweetly on the cheek. The way they looked at each other was just precious--I could see so much love shining through the two pairs of eyes.
After the ceremony, and many hugs and kisses to family and friends alike, the newlyweds climbed into their carriage. Big white satin bows, flowers, and many ribbon streamers hung from the vehicle, and all of this festive decoration fluttered in the wind as the carriage made its way down the country road, 'round the bend, and were gone.

I am Married

The dress that I had was beautiful--I had my nieces to thank for that. Standing next to my to be husband, I smiled up at him. He smiled back at me. My Matthew was so handsome. Behind me, I could hear Lizzy sniffling. Such a dear girl, and now she too was to be married. The service was done before I could even think, and then Matthew kissed me lovingly on the cheek. Everyone cheered for us as we ran out of the chapel. Matthew and I kissed again outside. Then I had to say goodbye.
"Oh Lizzy! Liza! I'm going to miss you!" I said to them.
"You'll have a wonderful time, Auntie," Liza said. I hugged them both tightly. I thought of years ago, when they were just little girls, and then I thought of how quickly time flew by. I let go of them and asked,
"You'll be good girls?" 
They laughed and said, "Aunt, we aren't three anymore." 
They should have been twins, I thought. I hugged them again. Then I hugged my sister-in-law, the first Lizzy.
"I'm so glad that you're happy," she said, her cheeks pink with excitement.
"Thank you." We where like sisters and it made me sad to think we would not share tea in the early mornings anymore. I saved my brother for last, because saying good-bye to him was the hardest. He had tears in his eyes. We hugged each other, neither one of us wanting to be the first to let go.
"You look lovely," he whispered.
"Thank you. I'm going to miss you."
"I will too."
"You have have been the best brother a young lady could ever have," I said softly, trying to hold back my tears. Darcy did not say anything, for Matthew had gently taken my arm and led me to the carriage. The last thing I saw was Lizzy and Liza waving madly to me. How I loved them. And how I loved Matthew.

The day has arrived!

I could hardly believe it, today was the day that my very dear Aunt Georgie was to be married. I sat in the front row, Aunt Georgie stood by her to be husband, both smiling lovingly at each other. As I wiped a tear from my eyes, I felt a hand squeeze my arm. I looked over and saw Liza. Putting my arm around her waist, I smiled at her and she smiled back. I felt a pang in my heart; if only William were here with us. But his commander had a last minute job for him to do. Liza looked at me and whispered: 
"He'll be here soon."
"I know. At least you have your Lee." She blushed prettily and nodded. We both turned back to the ceremony. Too soon, all too soon, it was over. The bride and groom kissed and everyone cheered. We followed them out of the small country chapel. Aunt Georgie covered us with kisses, which we returned through tears.
"Come back soon!" Liza said as they got into the carriage.
"Have a wonderful time on your honeymoon!" I said.
Liza and I stood arm-in-arm, waving madly until we could see them no more.
"She's very happy," Liza said to me softly.
"Yes. Just think, that will be you soon." We smiled.
"Yes, and then you." I blushed.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Pierre Comes to Call

I was passing through the halls one morning, looking gloomily out the windows at the pouring rain. I had intended on taking my daily walk, but the rain had made that impossible. Every time I tried to sit down and read or do a bit of stitchery, I found it hard to concentrate. I was just about to go in search of Maria, in the hopes that she would have an idea as to how to spend our afternoon, when the maid entered.
"There's a gentleman at the door, miss," she said, curtsying. "He's inquirin' after Miss Maria."
"Tell him he may come in," I said, curious as to who this gentleman may be. I knew that Edmond was out of town for a week on business, and besides, the man was here to see Maria and not I.
"Mr. De Johns, miss," the maid said softly, interrupting my scattered thoughts. A tall gentleman with dark hair stood behind her.
"Pierre!" My voice was shocked.
"Miss Wickham," Pierre said politely, removing his dripping hat and bowing. "I, er... would Miss Maria be in the house?"
"Yes, she is here," I responded quickly. "Please, do sit down. I will go and fetch her."
"Thank you," he said, taking a seat by the fire.
I turned and left the room quickly, trying to think where my sister might be.
I soon found Maria in the bedroom we shared, reading a book. She looked up when I entered.
"What is it, Eva?"
"Mr. De Johns is here to see you."
Her face colored. "Here? To see me?"
I nodded, then took her hand. "Come, he's waiting."
Maria allowed me to drag her along the halls until we reached the parlor once more.
"My sister, Mr. De Johns," I said politely, curtsying.
Pierre rose from his seat, a wide smile on his face. "Miss Maria!"
Maria's cheeks turned pink once more, but she smiled a small smile. "It was good of you to come, Mr. De Johns, especially in such horrid weather."
"I didn't mind the rain a bit," Pierre assured her. Then they fell to conversing like old friends. I slipped out of the room quietly, a smile on my face.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Forever..

"Rosie!" I heard Amae's voice calling me. She had come for a visit to cheer herself up.

"Amae!"I said, running down the steps.

We embraced each other.

"It is so good to see you!" I exclaimed.

"I must say I thought I vas completely stuck with zat horrible man, but I found out zat ze marriage vas not valid for ve had no vitnesses other zan ze parson. So, I am free from his clutches forever!" she exclaimed joyfully.

"I am ever so pleased, Amae," I said, smiling at her.

Then, taking Amae's hand, I brought her to the garden where flowers were in full bloom.

"I shall have roses for my wedding--red ones," I said, pointing out the lovely blossoms.

"Roses... love everlasting..." Amae said softly.

"Amae! You are always going to be a dreamer, aren't you?" I teased.

"I dream because I have friends in England as vell as in France. I have crossed the barrier between zem, and I am almost ready to do it again."Amae paused and smiled. "I must return to my family in France. But I shall not go alone. Pierre will go with me. Do you know, he is always wanting to talk about a certain Maria, and I am almost tired of it! I hope that taking him with me to France will cure him of this nonsense."

I laughed "Oh Amae!"

"Rosie, it is true he never stops talking now. Oh, how I wish he was the solemn brother that you met in France!"

Peggy, my maid, came up from the house with a letter in her hand.

"It is from Mr. Kingsley," said Peggy, handing the note to me.

"Thank you, Peggy," I said to her.

I opened it and read its contents:


My Dearest Rose,

I request the presence of your parents and you, of course, at my mother's tea party this afternoon. Please bring your friend; Mother has decided that the more there are, the better.

My father is away on business as usual; he never seems to be able to leave it. But, you shall
enjoy yourself, for Lillian is to be married to Herbert, and I'm sure you and Lily will have much to talk about in the way of wedding arrangements.


Please come.


Forever yours,


John Kingsley


"Amae, we are invited to a tea party at Lady Kingsley's!" I exclaimed, closing the letter.

"Let us change into something more formal, so that ve shall be dressed appropriately for a party. And ve should alert your parents as vell," said Amae.

My mama made a fuss, of course, while Papa laughed at her bobbing around trying to find Jenny to do her hair.

"Now dearest, calm yourself; Jenny isn't the only one in this house who can do your hair!" said Papa, his face cracking into a smile.

Amae and I slipped up the stairs and went into my room to pick out the dresses we would wear. I chose my green paisley with a white shawl, and Amae brought out a light pink dress.

"Rose! Miss De Johns! The carriage has arrived," called Mama.

Amae and I walked down the stairs, out into the garden and onto the terrace, where the carriage was waiting. Papa helped me and Amae into the carriage.

"You see, Amae, we shall be quite happy when Rose marries John, for he shall make her happy and he also has a large estate in Devonshire, but oh, we shall miss her dreadfully," said Mama mournfully, when we had finally set off. 

"Of course, it will be a relief to see your daughter well situated in her own home," said Amae kindly.

"Yes it shall, but... It will be very lonely without Rose around... Well, we shall have to manage. Rose has been away from home for a long period of time many a year," said Mama sadly. Papa gently took her hand and smiled at me.

"John is a good fellow, and he will take Rose down to see us often, my dear," said Papa. Hardly anything could dampen his always-cheerful spirits. This made me very grateful.

By this time, we had arrived at the Kingsley's manor, to be greeted by John and Peter.

"Rose!" said John, helping me down from the carriage.

"Good afternoon, John," I said, a happy smile on my face.

He looked tired and a bit stressed.

"I must beg you to excuse her, sir," John said, looking to my father. "I have something urgent to tell her." 

Father nodded, and John led me away from the cheerful party.

We stopped underneath an apple tree.

"You might have heard rumors about our business failing, Rose... Dearest Rose, I must tell you that these rumors are true." He looked greatly troubled, as if a large burden weighted him down. "I must go to the Indies and keep the business going. It is hard for me to ask you to rush our marriage on such short notice, but we must. I will be gone for two years, and I don't want you waiting that long to get married."

"I would not mind marrying earlier than planned," I said, smiling up into his eyes.

I held his hand, and it seemed as though time had stopped for us two. Taking my other hand in his, he leaned down and gently kissed me under the apple blossoms.

Of Weddings And Other Matters

"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.