I gazed at Charlottes reflection in the mirror. She looked so elegant and regal as she stood in front of me, her dress billowing around her, and I felt like I couldn help but stare; the way she was dressed made it difficult not to gape. She was clad in a short-sleeved, low neck white dress with gloves. A train formed a tail and big white feathers adorned her head like a crown.
It was finally her debutante.
I noticed a lock of her hair out of place. I went forward and pinned it back in place. My eyes went over her complicated hairstyle. It had taken us two hours. It gave the illusion that she still has her long hair. Her chopped hair had been collected and stored. Now, they were fixed to her head with a hundred pins.
She could not go with short hair. Not in front of the Queen.
”You look beautiful, dear, ” the marchioness said caressing Charlottes cheek.
”Thank you, Mama. ”
”Lets make haste. We do not want to be stuck on the road. ”
Charlotte put her train over her left hand and strode behind the marchioness.
I sighed and went to Charlottes room. I looked at the mess inside and began cleaning, ignoring my throbbing head. Without Charlottes chatter, the room was shrouded in peace, easing my headache. Sunlight flooded through the window and lit up my face. My hands were covered with dust, making them glisten. The chirping of birds added to the peacefulness. I wiped off the dirt from my work and began folding her belongings. I placed her clothes inside the trunk and took some books off the shelf. They
e for later. She needs more reading material than those little novels she likes. It would probably be easier to read those stories by herself.
Finishing my work, I exhaled and left the room.
I was free for now. I took the books and headed to the library.
”Are these for the lady? ” A maid inquired.
”They are. ”
I walked into the library and browsed for books. Finding some of the books that would suit Charlottes taste I left the library. I headed to her room and went to the shelf. I looked at the books in my hand.
Which one should I pick?
Lets take this.
I took Dantes The Divine Comedy and began reading.
The Divine Comedy is a trilogy of poems that depicts the journey of a man through life to paradise. This was not my first time reading this.
A nostalgic smile danced on my lips as I recalled the person who first read this to me. Thinking of this, there is a line that suits now, ”There is no greater sorrow than to recall our times of joy in wretchedness. ”
I sighed and continued reading.
”The path to paradise begins in hell. ”
Is it so? What is this paradise? A place where you experience eternal happiness? A happiness that I have forgotten to feel? Or perhaps its the suffering I have caused?
Pain shot through my abdomen and recognising it, I put down the book in a hurry. I ran towards my room not greeting anyone I passed by. A liquid began sliding down my legs.
I reached my room, closed the door behind me and quickly undressed. I took out a cloth and wiped the blood off my legs. Taking out the T-bandage, I folded the napkin and wore it.
A T-bandage, consisting of a napkin, called the guard, is folded like a cravat, which is pressed against the genitalia, while the ends are secured to a string or riband tied around the body above the hips.
I wore an extra layer of petticoat and inspected my uniform.
Thank lord. There isn any blood on it.
I redressed and looked at the blood drops on the floor. Sighing, I began scrubbing the floor with a wet cloth.
I rubbed the sweat off my forehead and gathered my bloody petticoat. I frowned.
Where is Bessie? With her mistress at the palace, I assumed she would be resting here. Well, it is good that she is not.
I walked to the laundry area. The maids looked up from their work upon my arrival.
”Good afternoon, Miss Allen. ”
”Good afternoon. Is there a space I can use? ” I asked.
”Of course, ” a maid replied. She picked up the basket and pointed to a section of the floor. I thanked her and set to work.
Dousing my petticoat in a bucket filled with water and kept it aside.
I will have to wash this later. I should make preparations. Charlotte will have hers soon.
I sighed and went up, enduring the pain in my abdomen. Doctors advise women to rest completely during this time of the month. But we do not have that luxury. Only upper-class women do.
I saw a figure standing in front of Charlottes room.
”Good afternoon, my lord. ” I bowed.
The marquess turned around like a startled fawn and looked at me. ”Oh, Myra. I… ” He hesitated, wrinkles forming on his forehead. He stared at me, unknown emotions in his eyes making me feel uneasy. After a couple of seconds, he cleared his throat and smiled softly. ”Have a good day. ” And he left.
I watched him leave. His form receded further into the distance. I entered the bedroom and sat on the bed.
What in the world was that? Why was the marquess here?
I shook my head and resumed reading The Divine Comedy. I was almost finished when I heard soft footsteps approaching the room.
My heart skipped a beat.
I held my breath, listening to the movements coming closer. As soon as I recognised it, I let go and relaxed. It was Charlotte. I looked at the door and waited for her arrival. I quickly put the book back on the shelf and went over to the bed, pretending to fix it.
After a moment, she came. She ran inside, the feather in her hair bouncing. She rushed and hugged me from behind.
”Myra! Her Majesty called me a proper lady! ” She gushed.
My eyebrows rose in surprise. Oh my, perhaps her first social season will be a success. Then again, it might not be so due to her hair.
”It was certainly my ball. I think it was named Queen Charlottes ball for me. ”
As if it was.
”Charlotte! Hands off her. I will not have you fraternizing with the servants, ” the marchioness shouted.
”I apologize, Mama. ” She released me. I chuckled. I knew what her mothers reaction was going to be.
”And you, what are you smiling about? ”
”I heard of the young ladys successful debut, your ladyship. ” I bowed.
”That is certainly a thing to be happy about. Go on about your work. ”
But its leisure hour now.
Nonetheless, I retreated.
I went back to the laundry area and looked at the petticoat I had soaked.
The blood had diffused into the water and a light stain was left. I went to the corner and lit the stove and waited for the water to boil. After it was done, I poured it into the wooden tub and put the petticoat inside it. I used the dolly to turn the clothes, using every bit of strength I had left, whilst panting.
After a while, I retreated and slumped on the ground. This is tiring.
I got up and began scrubbing the bloodstain on the metal board and turned the handle on the mangle to squeeze the water out.
I wiped the sweat off my forehead and hung the petticoat to dry.
Finally, I was done.
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