March 19, 1896 - Penelope Sumter

Another Troubleday gone. Thankfully, this week it failed to live up to the name in quite the same way as last week. I was the proper student in school, the diligent young lady at the dormitory and the irresistible debutante with Elizabeth. It was a fabulous day.

After classes I was riding back to Carrington Manor with Elizabeth as usual, when we crossed paths with Jonathon Goulding. Elizabeth began blushing as soon as he was recognizable. I have only met the young man once or twice but I was very much aware Elizabeth had a crush on him.

“Hi, Jonathon.” She tweeted.

“Good afternoon, ladies.” He replied cordially.

“Pleasant afternoon.” I said.

“What are you doing out this way?” Elizabeth asked in an unusual bold moment for her.

“If I may be so bold, I was looking for you.” He said with a smile and then as he glanced at me he continued, “Both of you.”

I smiled at his nervousness.

“Whatever for?” Elizabeth pressed on all the while trying to hide her glowing cheeks.

“A few friends are gathering on Friday night for billiards in celebration of finishing midterms. Would you ladies honor us with your presence?”

“We would love to. When will you be by for us?”

“Is eight acceptable?”

“We shall be waiting.” Elizabeth said fluttering her eyelashes.

Jonathon continued on his way smiling brightly like the infamous Cheshire cat, canary feather hanging indiscriminately from his lips. I am quite certain Elizabeth is the unsuspecting canary. She tries hard to appear devoted to her studies and education, but I have noticed her fleeting and long glances at the other girls whilst they socialize with the young men. Jonathon more than most has caught her eye. She is timid and shy though and for reasons I can only guess. Her family background is as impeccable or more so than most of the Primrose girls.

Elizabeth was positively bouncing when we arrived in our room. She bubbled over herself telling anyone who would listen about her brief encounter with Mr. Goulding. Were I not present at the event I might have thought the young man had proposed marriage. I let her have her moment and added reinforcement whenever a girl showed signs of disbelief.

I hope Jonathon is expecting half of the Primrose girls at billiards. They are all certainly prepared to go and Friday is only two evenings hence. Once the girls had all settled down and we were once again left in peace with only ourselves for company, Elizabeth mentioned she had never before indulged in a game of billiards.

We exited through the window at the north end of the hall when we left. It was past ten and definitely past time for us to be in bed. The hardest part was getting through the college gates. Guards were posted to protect the school they say, but I am quite certain their purpose lies more in the realm of ensuring students stay in rather than keeping anyone out.

I did my best to fake familiarity while I planned our escape spur of the moment. I had almost forgotten that Elizabeth thought I did this sort of thing regularly. Fortunately, my mind was working as fast as our feet were walking.

Instead of exiting the normal way I led us through the field down toward the river. Once there we followed the river until we crossed under the bridge. We then climbed up to the main road and more shocking to me than Elizabeth we were within sight of the tavern. I breathed a sigh of relief and got a strange look from Elizabeth.

“I am always stressed until I make it this far.” I said hoping she would believe the lie.

Inside the tavern we did our best to remain inconspicuous. We did a shameful job of it. Less than five minutes after our entrance, we were accosted by two handsome young men.

“Look what we have here.” The tall one said.

“A couple of strays from the girl’s school unless I am mistaken.” The scraggily haired one said.

Elizabeth and I blanched.

The young men laughed.

We spent the rest of the evening learning to play billiards until the tavern owner kicked us out with threats to report us to the college. Perhaps the city was rubbing off on us because as providence would have it, we never exchanged our names and are therefore safe from ever being found out.

We came back the same way we left. Climbing up to the second story hall window was more difficult than I had imagined. I am quite certain Elizabeth is now certain my rendezvous’ with Remington are not exactly as I have told them to be. I will worry about that another time. It is only two hours until morning bell rings and tomorrow is looking like Hurtsday again. Only this time it will hurt because I am dead tired.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A charming chapter.
Thank you.
Mr R Fane