Beyond My Control

October 3, 1896
Anna Cushing

It is all Sarah’s fault. Everything. Every little thing.

The day started out wrong and just got worse. My morning bath was cold water only as the furnace broke just before my turn. How is that Sarah’s fault you ask? She was the last one to get a warm bath this morning. She must have done something wrong with the furnace to break it. God knows the backwards girl probably never saw one before coming here.

Suffering through I managed to approximate cleanliness before returning to my room to dress for the day. I had laid my dress out carefully on my bed before heading to the bath and it was still there only as I started to put it on the seems began to rip out. Never have I suffered such humiliation before in my life and I was alone in the room! It can only be the rotted thread of Sarah’s ragged excuses for clothing that have caused the thread in my own things to begin to rot. The girl is a tragedy and she does not even know it.

After settling on a blouse and skirt combo for the day instead, I began to style my hair with the help of my mirror and brush. The mirror slipped from my hand as I was inserting pins to keep my hair up. The handle was greasy and slick, it must be from Sarah’s hair touching it. Her hair is always greasy and unkempt. The mirror shattered of course and that can only mean seven years of bad luck. If it is the last thing I do, I will see to it that Sarah gets those seven years.

Breakfast at least went without further disaster, but my first class revealed I had forgotten to bring my books and my homework with me. If not for all the disasters of Sarah’s making from my morning that would never have happened. It was completely unfair that I found myself bent over a stool, bare bottom waving at the class, while being spanked within an inch of my life. As if that was not humiliation enough the bastard made me wear the dunce cap and sit on the stool for the remainder of the class. It should have been Sarah and I swear it will be as soon as I can devise how.

Teasing from my fellow Primrose Girls was entirely unacceptable and completely unavoidable. A lady should never be subjected to such ridiculous and archaic methods, particularly for such a simple and completely understandable mistake. Naturally, I called home to complain to Daddy. He was unavailable though and Mom was practically gloating about my predicament. I responded as one does when ridiculed, by cursing and slamming the phone down without allowing Mom to reply.

Unfortunately, I turned around and ran straight into Sarah, knocking her down. She was walking and talking with Miss Bowen. Why could she not watch where she was going and stay out of my way? Does she not understand that it for peasants like her to steer clear of the path of ladies like me? Miss Bowen is equally ignorant of such matters, little more than a peasant herself. She demanded an apology from me. FROM ME!

I demanded the apology I was due.

“Excuse me?” Sarah stammered from the floor.

Miss Bowen helped her up but managed to stare disapprovingly at me the entire time. I waved her off before I said anything to create more trouble and walked away to focus on my studies. I should have known better by this point. I should have gone upstairs, crawled into bed and waited for tomorrow to come. Should have, would have, could have, none of it matters when you do none of the above.

The spine of my mathematics text was somehow damaged and as I tumbled through the pages to the appropriate section, the pages fell from the book to the floor. I screamed. I cried. I stormed out of the house for a ride in hopes something might go right for the day but when I got to the stables the door was locked.

Frustrated I went back to the house and took a nap until dinner. At the bell I came downstairs and took my place at the table, next to Sarah. I was still annoyed with her but I gave my best pleasant lady smile to her. She nodded at me as if that meant something. Strange girl.

Dinner was vegetable stew with cornbread. It was tasty enough and appropriate to the days cold weather. I sipped it with pleasure and tried to let the days misdeeds flow away into the warm comfort. Sarah however, kept bumping me with her elbow. I moved as far to my left as I could to avoid her but it made no difference. Obviously no one ever taught her table manners. Naturally, I took on the job. I dumped her bowl in her lap. That ought to teach her right?

Miss Bowen saw me. I thought she was preoccupied with Miss Bassett, but she saw anyway. I was sent up to my room to wait for her. I groaned on my way out but was smart enough to keep myself from saying anything to make matters worse. Sarah was getting all the sympathy and she was the real problem.

Who would have thought going to my room would actually lead to more trouble? Believe it or not it did. I arrived at my room to find the door open and a flickering light illuminating from within. I stepped into the doorway to see a man busily sorting through our schoolbooks and tossing them recklessly around the room which looked as if a tornado had ran through it. I cleared my throat.

The man froze and then looked at me. He was mostly in shadows so I could not get a good view of his features and then he threw a lantern at me. It hit me in the head and shattered. The man ran straight into me, hit me in the stomach and then kicked my feet out from under me, sending me crashing to the hall floor. He then disappeared. I am sure it was not into thin air but I did not see where he went.

Miss Bowen arrived a few moments later when I had managed to sit myself down on my bed. She looked around the room, looked at me and shook her head at me. I started to speak but she cut me off.

“I don’t know what is wrong with you today and frankly, I don’t care. Your behavior toward Miss Waters today is unacceptable and I will not tolerate it. Further I will not tolerate you destroying books or throwing temper tantrums in your room. I am going to let you off this time with a warning as long as you clean this mess up before bedtime, but make no mistake, if this behavior resurfaces again, I will not hesitate to give you a whuppin you’ll likely never forget. Understood?”

“But…” I said.

“Understood?” Miss Bowen interrupted.

“Yes, Miss.” I replied, defeated.

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