Week 5 Word: Mahogany
Mary’s New Desk
The first inauguration of the ‘Lord Mayor’ was a special event in the American colonies. The ladies were all in their finest fashions, adorned with jewels which they had brought from London. Their hair was piled high in an unnatural state. They huddled together to comment on each new gown as the guests arrive.
“Mary certainly dominates the room tonight,” says Lydia, admiringly. “She looks exquisite in that gown, and what an interesting purse.” Mary is smiling, standing next to a fine piece of furniture. “Her desk is beautiful. I’ve never seen anything like it. I wonder if Captain Mitchell knows anything about it.” Lydia pinches her checks as the captain comes near. “Captain Mitchell, can you tell us about Mary’s new desk? I understand that it arrived on your ship.”
“Of course”, replies the captain, as he bows to the ladies. “I was told that it is made from a special wood from the Caribbean islands that is used to make canoes. The French realized it had superb qualities and had it shipped home to make furniture. That desk is probably the only one in the American colonies made of that wood. They call it mahogany.”
Behind her fan, Sara whispers to Lydia, “My maid said, that Mary’s maid said, that Mary had been searching for a secret compartment in that desk. I wonder what in contained.”
Lydia whispers back, “Hush, here comes the Lord Mayor.”
Lydia bows to the Lord Mayor. “Congratulations on your appointment, Lord Mayor. What a lovely inauguration ball! Your wife looks lovely. Is that a new gown?”
Bowing in return, the Lord Mayor replies, “Yes, Mary had it made especially to match her grandmother, the Duchess’, purse. It’s quite the family treasure, according to the Duchess. It is heirloom from her great-aunt the Countess of Ostrava. It’s decorated with the black pearls that were hidden in the Countess’ dress when she escaped from Moravia during the Turk’s invasion. The Countess had the pearls sewn into the hem of her dress so the guard wouldn’t find them. So many people had their jewels in their purses, and they were confiscated. The Countess was a very clever woman. When the Duchess received the pearls she had them added to the design of that purse Mary’s holding. The Duchess had hidden the purse in the secret drawer of the mahogany desk for safe keeping. The Duchess had this desk made in France, but later, had it shipped to London, when she married Lord Duncan. She wanted Mary to have it, as part of her dowry.”
“Lord Mayor, are you telling us that Mary is a royal?” questioned Sara in amazement.
“Why yes, didn’t you know? .. Oh, I am sorry … perhaps I talked too much,” he admits. Embarrassed by his disclosure, he hastily makes his retreat. “Oh, excuse me ladies, I must attend to my other guests.” With jaws dropped, the ladies stared at Mary, aghast, frozen into silence.