When at last I turned from the window and looked directly into the full-length mirror, I gasped. My gown was nearly the same as the one I wore waltzing in Prague. The emerald green fitted bodice was studded with small pearls, trimmed with delicate lace, and draped elegantly to my satin slippers. I stared in awe, my heart fluttering as I recalled the depth of the fantasy that had engulfed me in my delirium. Only my hair was a different color and style. I made a mental note to have my maid, Marie dress it as I recalled the waves and curls.
This is actually the end of segment one and should be with the first part above. Elyse continues.
The Season, which I had before dreaded, could not begin soon enough. I knew by the way my lover was dressed in morning attire when I saw him outside the shop window, he would surely be at some of the affairs and events that I would now joyfully attend. My family was not of nobility, however we were expected to take part in many of the same events. There were morning rides in Hyde Park, followed by brief calls on dear friends. After luncheon there would be more calls by the ladies, while the men conducted themselves to Parliament, their business pursuits, or their clubs.
Mother insisted we pay calls to those who had eligible sons for the prospect of marriage. I had once demurred, begging her not to make me attend those flagrant, look at my daughter, calls.
Now, praying to again see the lover of my fantasy, I dressed with care after the morning ride. Our calls were brief, as was the custom. Decorum dictated we stay until another caller arrived, when we would discreetly take our leave.
Upon our third call, before we would be hosted at a luncheon, I sat upon the delicate spindle backed Windsor chair quietly listening, or pretending to listen to the social chatter. It was during that dull routine that he came into the room, accompanied by a young woman of beauty and grace. My heart held its beat as he smiled directly at me, then presented his sister, Emily. I could breathe again.
Our hostess, Dame Allyson Willby, introduced him. May I present The Viscount Sir James Atwood. My ears became deaf as she presented us. I could only remain mute as I lowered my head acknowledging the introduction. When I raised my eyes, I was startled to see an image of him beyond the moment. It was a glimpse of another time, another place in the long ago past. It was quickly gone as mother took my arm, bid me to stand, excused us, and hurried me to the foyer.
“What happened? You paled. I thought you might swoon.”
I merely shook my head, trying to recall the vision, resisting the desire to return to the salon to gaze upon him.
Fearing I might be returning to my previous illness, Mother deemed it best we return home for luncheon. She entreated me to eat lightly and repair to my room to rest before afternoon tea at the Dowager Marion’s home.
I eagerly took to my bed, dismissing my maid and undressing myself. Slipping on a light gown, I sat in my damask lounge chair resuming the the earlier arrival of my fantasy lover. I now knew his name was James Atwood. Viscount James Atwood, a nobleman, however my inner vision of him was not of royalty or nobility. Closing my eyes, I was able to recreate the vision. His look was different. He had lighter hair in my visionary image, not quite as tall nor as handsome. Only his eyes told me he was my lover, not only in Prague but also in Vienna in the early 13th century. Before I could further the vision, I fell fast asleep. In the dream state I felt his arms around me as we made ardent love
This story is finished. I post the rest of it in small segements.