Why does the woman want her to marry her son. An Unlikely Arrangement. Chapter 5 – 2

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A VG Serial: An Unlikely Arrangement

Chapter 5 – 2

Frightened, she hurried to the end, reached for the cloak, and stopped cold. A single blue boa feather lay on the floor. Her hands trembled. She bent down and picked it up. “How did this get here? The fancy dresses were gone. Sarah must have moved them. Too bad she didn’t take a little more care. I will put this in her face, and she cannot deny it.”

She deposited the feather in the pocket of her dress and turned the corner. She stood dumbfounded. “What in blazes?” In exactly the fashion she left them, hung all the beautiful dresses she had ogled over, the shoes, the gloves, the jewelry, everything. Static electricity crackled, and once again, the heavy perfumed air made her reel, and dizziness overtook her.

I must hurry, they will be here soon, cannot be sick now. I should remind Sarah to air out the closet. Uh, oh, my head…I need to sit for a moment.

Sarah’s voice penetrated the musky air. “Ruthie? Where are you? Come out of there this instant.”

“Coming, Sarah.” She ran to the front of the closet, pulled the light cord, and closed the door. The doorbell snapped her out of the confusion.

From the top of the stairway, Ruth squealed while she bounded down the steps, “Ginny! I thought I would never see you again. I’m so glad you are here.”

“Why would you think that? Who is this woman taking us shopping? I must say I am surprised at the invitation. Did you get into trouble? What did your mother do?”

“Stop blabbering, girl. Come in the parlor, and I will tell you everything.”

They scampered off, heads together, chattering like chipmunks.

Fifteen minutes later the doorbell rang again, and Sarah ushered Mrs. Kirby into the house.

The girls stopped to listen, held each other’s hands, and stared into each other’s eyes. They could see the new arrival through the open door. Her navy blue suit dress complimented her cornflower blue eyes and fair hair.

“Good morning, Sarah. Are our girls ready?”

“They are in the parlor, ma’am. Before you go in, I must tell you, I am a bit concerned about lettin’ these girls out together. They can be a bit of a handful, and there are the rules the Squires gave me to follow…” Sarah wrung her hands.

“Not to worry, dear Sarah. I have plenty of experience with children. I have raised three, you know. All boys, granted, but handfuls just the same. We will be fine and dandy. It will do Ruth a world of good. Trust me.”

Sarah sighed and ushered her guest into the parlor.

“Girls? There you are. Ready for a day in town? Are you going to introduce me to your friend, Ruth?”

“Hello, Mrs. Kirby, yes, this is Virginia Whitlow, my best friend. Ginny meet Mrs. Kirby.”

“Ginny…what a spunky name. It suits you. Where did you ever get that lovely dress? The green reminds me of the willow outside my window.” She reached out to shake Ginny’s hand.

“Mrs. Kirby, so nice to meet you. Thank you for the compliment. It’s the newest fashion. Mother ordered it from the catalog. Isn’t it divine?”

“Oh, do call me Elizabeth. I expect we will become fast friends, since Ruth will be part of our family.”

Ginny giggled. “Okay, Elizabeth. That is exactly what I will do. Where are we going today?”

Elizabeth moved between the girls and encircled each waist. “Well, I think we will start with lunch at my favorite restaurant, Antoine’s. It is the newest thing in town. Everybody is going there. Afterward, we can stop at all the good dress shops or any place either of you would like to go.”

Both girls looked at one another. “Oh, Ginny, I have so wanted to go there. Mother thought it too extravagant.”                                                                                                              “I know, Mother wouldn’t take me, either. Are you sure it’s all right? I didn’t bring much money,” Ginny said.

“I know people, dear. Put your money away. The treat is on me. I live with three boys remember? It is a blessed relief to spend a day with female companionship. Come on let’s go.”

The rain did not dampen the spirit of the day as they went from shop to shop, and lunch at Antoine’s took Ruth’s breath away. She reveled in its elegant décor, the well-dressed patrons, and the waiters’ black tie uniforms. Even though she relished the sheer joy of dining in such a place, Ruth kept an eye on Mrs. Kirby. She wanted to like her, but her emotions remained mixed.

I need to catch her off guard, get her to admit she has ulterior motives. Why does she want me to marry her son—someone he doesn’t know? It is not done any more. 

“We have so many parcels. I’ll get my driver to stow them in the automobile. I would like to take afternoon tea at Rosie’s. How does that sound, ladies? Afterward, we will take a walk in the park.”

“In this rain, Mrs. Kirby? We’ll get soaked,” Ginny said.

“No we won’t, Ginny, not with these.” They stood by the mercantile store where a container full of umbrellas stood beside the door.

“Mr. Arnold, would you hold three of these for me? We are having tea at Rosie’s, and we will be back for them.”

“Why, of course, Mrs. Kirby.” He pulled out three parasols and took them inside.

 

Chapters of the novel appear on Monday and Wednesday.

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