Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Chapter Sixty-Two

"Oh, I will never dance again."

"Do not be melodramatic Nancee.  You will tire yourself out before the night is over."

Mulishly she said, "I am ready for it to be over now.  When you mentioned that some of the young men around here were hay-for-brains you failed to mention that all of the young men around here suffered the condition."

I chuckled.  "I assure you, most of them are normally more sensible ... though I must admit I've had conversation with very few for obvious reasons.  However I believe you've simply stupefied them.  Give them time to get over their awe and their intelligence will increase."

"Saints I hope so.  I'm nearly ready to be a Persephone if it means escaping the more persistent of the idiots."

"Nancee!" I exclaimed at her boldness.

"Well ... it's true."

"And close to blasphemy so true or not, do not say it again.  There are some very influential families here tonight and being the sister of The Linder will not protect you from censure if enough of them band together."

She shrugged unconcernedly. "Perhaps I am like April and have no desire to marry."

That lady chose that moment to walk into the dressing room and remark, "Nancee it is not that I have no desire to marry.  We've had this discussion before."

"Hah!  You run off everyone anyone has ever brought forward."

"Not true."

That caught my ear and Nancee looked momentarily penitent.  "Well ... almost everyone."

"Now that is true," she said with a smile.  "Now let us drop the subject and you tell me what you are doing hiding out here in your petticoats."

"I'm not hiding.  I'm waiting for my skirt to be repaired.  This is twice ... TWICE ... that my ruffle has been torn.  The first time I could pin it but this time it requires basting.  I cannot believe what a bunch of toe stompers have asked me to dance."

I glanced at April from the corner of my eye and she nodded.  "Seems purposeful does it?  Do they offer to escort you off the floor and to the Hall for a repair?"

"Well yes.  I suppose they are trying to be polite but ..."  She stopped when she looked at her sister and then at me.  "Why those good for nothing corrupted dung beetles.  They did it on purpose?!"

April nodded.  "Sounds like.  Any excuse to have some time alone with you."

"They can stuff it sideways."

"Nancee!" I exclaimed shocked once again.  While I might have told the Sheriff that once the circumstances were significantly different.  Nancee was far bolder than I thought she was and I knew she was going to fall head first into a cauldron of trouble if she didn't reign her tongue in.  And while that might be one forest cat with spots and one with stripes I knew how to survive without my status, Nancee did not.

"Oh honestly Widow, you act like such a starchy old lady and we're the same age so stop it."

A staff person knocked bringing Nancee's skirt and I was saved from having to explain to Nancee we may have shared a birth year but we were far from being the same age.  April said she'd escort Nancee back and find her a more congenial dance partner but as she was leaving she warned me that Chell was on the warpath for some reason.

"Her husband has taken ill and it appears something contagious as John has forbidden her from seeing him and giving him a piece of her mind for his failure in his duty to provide her escort tonight."

"He's ill?" I said feigning ignorance.

"Don't worry it isn't spots or pox or anything like that so at least we don't have to worry about a plague.  And Tomas is being much better about it than I expected because he is normally a wreck when he thinks m' sister in law has been exposed to something.  He's not even hovering."

Unbidden the memories of the previous day's events rose in my mind.  It had been extremely unpleasant but as always good, hard work allowed me to put my ill temper in perspective.  But it didn't stop me from wondering what The Linder had meant by "another one."

I should have kept my mind from wandering.  Had I done so I might have been able to avoid running into the three young men.  I certainly would have not taken the short cut from the house to the gazebo that traversed a path through some tall shrubbery.

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