Nothing But The Selective Truth

June 5, 1896
Margaret Spooner

“Margaret Ann Spooner!”

It was not quite like home until mother shouted out my full name.

“Yes, mother?” I replied sweetly.

No point in letting on that I knew precisely what she was upset about. That would make it too easy for her.

“Don’t you yes me, young lady!”

“But I do not know what you are upset about?” I replied.

Okay so it was a little lie. It really is not a big deal. Well mother thinks it is but let us get with the new century all ready. Okay, fine it is still three years, six months and twenty-four days away plus a few hours, minutes and seconds if you want to get technical. I do not see why that short period of time would make all that much difference. The 19th century is over and I think it is high time for women to get a little respect.

Then again that would be the whole issue here. My definition of respect and mother’s definition of respect are polar opposites. Not that she knows what a polar opposite is but I like to tease her with big words and scientific principles. Shame on me!

You see it is all about that boy. You remember a couple pages back when I told you about Edgar? We were a little late getting back to Carrington Manor, but nobody seemed to notice at the time. I guess Mrs. Carrington was just too busy to deal with me right then. So, you guessed it, she sent a letter home to mother.

It arrived first thing this morning and I would have made it disappear except my nosey little sister, Andrea, had to make a production of it. She can wait until the next time we are alone and then I will tan her hide myself. I may be a little out of practice but I think I can manage just fine with my hairbrush when the opportunity presents itself.

“Oh don’t you? I should think it would not be too hard for you to recollect just exactly what Mrs. Carrington might take the time to write me about. Perhaps you need a little motivation?” Mother interrupted my reverie.

“Is it my grades?” I asked.

One thing I know, if you can play the game long enough, innocence is eventually assumed. The problem is, mother usually finds a way to make me back down and admit my guilt. May be I have just been away too long but I think I have a shot this time.

“Why would she write me about your grades? Did you fail a class, Margaret Ann?”

Why do parents always have to go around using first and middle names when they are upset? That is one nice thing about Primrose College, even when I am in deep trouble, they still treat me with an iota of respect by calling me Miss Spooner. It takes a little sting out of the situation, to be acknowledged as an adult even if the punishments are a bit childish. Parents seem unable to grasp this simple concept, but I suppose it is not all their fault. They just cannot seem to realize when their children grow up, especially their daughters.

“I did no such thing! How dare you insinuate I would fail a class.” I replied with my most authentic tone of outrage.

“Insinuate? What? What are you talking about, you were the one who…. Margaret! Stop playing games, this instant!” Mother replied.

“Games? Me? I am not the one expecting you to guess the contents of a letter you have never seen!” I shouted back.

Sometimes it is good to get angry. It makes mother feel guilty for being upset or thinking bad of me. She truly is a great mother, she cares so much, but she could learn to relax a touch more. Gone are the days of waiting to kiss a boy until you are married. That is if they every existed in the first place.

I think the adults of the world have just been telling the lies of how mommy and daddy met so long they have actually started to believe them to be true. I just do not see human nature to have changed all that significantly from one generation to the next. Our parents were just better liars, is all.

“Very well, read the letter then.” Mother thrust the wrinkled pages into my hands.

“Thank you.” I replied.

I gasped and blanched and then blushed and gasped some more as I read the letter over. I stood silent with it in my hands for a moment while I forced a few tears to drop from my eyes. Mother’s stern look started to soften some.

“I don’t understand.” I whined sounding as though I was about to start sobbing.

“Neither do I.” Mother replied still stern in her voice.

“I don’t even know an Edward!” I began to cry.

“Mrs. Carrington seems to think you do!”

“The only boy I know at school is Edgar. He helped me with my bags when I first arrived at Primrose and he studies with me sometimes in the library. We have never even had a date.” I sobbed.

Well it is partially true at least.

“Why would Mrs. Carrington write this letter then?” Mother asked.

I sobbed a little more and grabbed a tissue for my nose. I sat down on the sofa and stared off into the distance as if deep in thought. Mother stood by being a little patient. Her demeanor was changing by the second, becoming less and less sure of herself and the accusations of Mrs. Carrington.

Edgar did say he would call on me during the summer, but what are the odds he will follow through? I guess about one chance in three. If he does show up it could give validity to the letter in my hands. Of course if he shows up toward the end of summer, mother will likely have forgotten all about the letter and then it will not matter.

If he shows ups sooner I will likely have to revisit this issue with mother but even then it is not a lost cause. Edgar is still not Edward and even Mrs. Carrington would have to acknowledge that. Actually to think about it, she might really have made a mistake and confused me with another girl who was dating an Edward. Edgar and I thought we were not noticed and other than a letter with the wrong the name in it, I have no reason to suspect otherwise.

“I think maybe there is another girl who was with an Edward and Mrs. Carrington must have gotten Edgar and Edward confused somehow. A lot of the young men at Brown look very much alike from a glance.” I suggested.

“Are you certain this is not you? You better not be lying to me because I will write Mrs. Carrington and find out the truth in time.” Mother said.

“I swear, I do not know an Edward, mother.” I said drying my tears.

“All right then, I will write a letter to Mrs. Carrington and I think it might be best if you write one as well.” She replied.

“Yes, mother. I will do it straight away.”

Of course the letters will never actually be mailed but that is another matter entirely. The joint letter writing will help relieve mother’s stress and make her feel better and in turn will make me feel better knowing that mother has worked out her frustrations on the issue.

Now as to Edgar, well I think I better write him a letter and suggest he not visit this summer or at least wait until August.

1 comment:

Paul said...

Ashley, seems to me that you all are getting tired of spankings. lol
Warm hugs,