Homeward Bound Train

June 3, 1896
Elizabeth Bassett

“All aboard!” The train conduction called out.

I settled back into my bench. The train was half empty but the third class car was nearly packed. I was stuffed between two young girls who looked like they would be more at home in a saloon. I did my best to keep my opinions to myself but I imagine the disapproval I felt was clear enough in my expressions.

Despite the discomfort of the seating arrangements I was actually quite happy. I had not been home since the Christmas Holiday and while my father had made a visit to Primrose in April it was far too short a time for catching up. The train lurched as it left Union Station in Providence, Rhode Island.

I settled in for a long trip, a day and a half until we reached New York City. I closed my eyes and thought happily of mother and father greeting me at the station. I wondered briefly if my brothers, David and Robert, would be there as well. David had not even been home for Christmas, but I suppose it is only natural now that he is married.

He used to write me reliably every week. Then he met her, Sylvia. She sounds impressive enough. Five foot ten inches tall, dark curly hair, soft brown eyes, curves in all the right places and a smile to light the world on fire; is how David described her in his last letter to me. I cannot be too sad as he sounded happier than I have ever known him to be.

They met working in a laboratory in Florida. Two scientist on a collision course with love. Could there ever have been any doubt they would create something together? Not to me but I understand it came as a surprise to each of them when she became pregnant. Mother and Father do not know that happened before the marriage and I certainly will not be the one to inform them.

Besides we are on the brink of a new century. Is it not time for the old traditions of prudishness and false propriety to fall away? I definitely think it is, but I suppose not everyone is ready for change. Just look at Primrose College and Lucy Meyer. Change is coming whether we are ready for it or not, but maybe the pace is too fast.

I heard an odd roaring sound from outside. Looking out the window I soon realized the sound was coming from one of those new machines they call an automobile. The operator wore a leather helmet and goggles but I am fairly certain it was a young man. He did something to cause the machine to an almost musical sound and then waved. I think he might have been waving directly at me. I waved back.

The automobile jumped up and down on the ground and from my perspective the ride appeared to rougher than riding a horse at full gallop. Still, I must admit it looked terribly fun. I read they were organizing a race somewhere around Chicago for these automobiles, something like the Kentucky Derby only without the horses. I think it was supposed to be sometime in May, I will have to ask my father about it when I get home.

As amazing as the automobile was, sadly it could not keep pace with the train. After a few minutes it was lost in smoke and dust. I wistfully daydreamed of riding in one someday. To make it even more perfect I decided, Jonathon would have to be the driver.

Thinking of Jonathon, I wonder if my behavior the night of the ball has scared him off. I thought if he desired me as he claimed, my gesture of a kiss would be accepted. Instead, he grew distant from it and I suspect he looked at me with something akin to disapproval for the remainder of the evening.

I had a wonderful time at the ball and he was more wonderful to me than I could ever have hoped for, but there was that nagging barrier between us. Is he void of passion or is it really so easy for him to maintain control? For the slightest moment in that kiss, I felt a spark from his lips. I thought it was magic and then he pulled away and I thought it must only have been static electricity. In the aftermath I wonder if my first impression was correct and he was only afraid to be so forward.

In time I will know. The hardest part is always the waiting but the good men are worth the wait. That is what my mother has always maintained at least. I am not so certain, especially when it is so hard to tell if they have manners or just are not interested!

The sun set in the distance and the moon rose over the empty landscape. I slouched down on the bench and closed my eyes for a nap. I dreamed of Jonathon and my family all together at my home. There was new automobile in front of the house and father was looking proud again. Mother wore a new dress and so did I. It was a nice dream and I of all people know that dreams can come true.


Paul said...

Ashley, nice post, thank you.
Warm hugs,

Jen said...

This was a very nice slice of life from the past. Romantic in its own right. I must say though, I am hoping for a return to some mild spanking action soon!