Goldilocks And The Pauper

August 29, 1896
Charles Birchwood

I was captivated by her from the first moment we stepped into Primrose Hall’s banquet room. Golden, curly locks of long, bouncing hair, perfectly framed her smiling face. Her skin was a delicate milky white, the sort royalty would have killed for in centuries past. In a sea of beauty, she was all that was worth the look.

If Caroline noticed my instant infatuation, she pretended to ignore it very well. We gracefully crossed the floor and made our way toward the tables and consequentially the dangerous beauty caught by my wandering eye. Her voice carried above the murmur in the room and it was that of a siren, captivating and entrancing all who happened by. When she laughed it was music and when she smiled the room gleamed a little brighter.

I had resigned myself to a boring evening, the first of many traditional Primrose events which I would be unable to find suitable excuses to avoid. I had not expected to find anything or anyone worth the time, but I was of course never more mistaken.

Caroline quickly made her way to socialize with the other women soon to be starting classes. I walked meanderingly closer to the girl, listening carefully to conversation I would normally have ignored. When at last I felt I had gathered enough trivial information, I set course to introduce myself.

Mrs. Carrington took the opportunity to ring the dinner bell and interrupted my intentions. Perhaps it was for the best, but the Carrington’s continue to be a blight upon my experiences at Primrose and if by coincidence they ever happen to do well for me it will be merely that; a coincidence.

Caroline rejoined me and we made our way to the seats reserved for us. Probably to Caroline’s chagrin we were seated with the other faculty members and their wives, rather than the students she would soon be attending with. I shared her remorse at the situation for I would far rather have surrounded myself with beautiful young ladies than grumpy old men.

Goldilocks, as I have decided to call her, was seated plainly in my natural stares view. It was fortunate, saving me from inventing an excuses for my constant curious glance. Caroline’s own gaze was captivated by one of the girls as well, but for different reason. It seemed indeed the one girl I had not noticed at all was the center of attention for nearly everyone else at the table.

She was nothing remarkable. Dark, tangled long hair, a worn dress and a tired expression of the type I myself might have worn had it not been for Goldilocks. Perhaps as the others suggested, the girl could have at least borrowed a decent gown for the evening, but I could not see where that would truly improve matters. She would have no more fit in with the crowd, save for appearance. Clearly that was their desire, but I think even then the girl would have stood out.

“Have you spoken with her? Her words are as rugged as her dress!” Mrs. Bard said.

“Oh and that awful accent! She belongs in a tavern not a school.” Mrs. Carrington said.

“She would scare off the customers even there.” Caroline chimed in.

The men for the most part merely nodded at the ladies comments. I found this disturbing and did not mind saying so.

“I do not believe this is an appropriate time or place to discuss the students and their fitness to be here.” I said.

“You don’t agree with the ladies, Mr. Birchwood?” The Dean asked.

“I will confine my opinion to her performance and ability within my classroom.” I replied.

It seemed that put an end to the gossip at the table and I was glad for it. I can see how one might be tempted to pronounce judgment by appearance and first impression, but in my experience that is often a mistake. Indeed, she may appear a fish out of water to the ladies but as I watched her interact with the other girls I was more inclined to call her a shark in the school.

The evening was rather uneventful if not quite as painful as I expected. I shall look forward to the days and weeks ahead as I get to know Goldilocks and the Pauper.

1 comment:

Paul said...

Melanie, I haave no idea Who Goldilocks is, but the Pauper will surprise a few.
Warm hugs,