MASQUERADE: The Masquerade Gown by Sally Madison

Word:  Masquerade

Word Count:  417

 

The Masquerade Gown

Sally Madison

 

The two children were watching from behind the nearly closed door of the parlor, as Elizabeth regally descended the massive oak staircase.  Their faces were struck with awe, but they were surprised.  They thought she would have been delighted to go the masquerade ball, but her lovely face was sullen and thoughtful. How could they have known that the man she had wished to marry, would be announcing his betrothed tonight? But it was not her.

 

The brocade gown glittered from the golden threads.  The ruffled cuffs and layers of hems were lined with gold scalloped edges, with pearls framed by each scallop. The layers of brocade draped over her hips and with her snug bodice the gown accentuated her tiny waist.  Her ballerina slippers peeked out from under her gown to show the same brocade as her dress.

 

A rope of white pearls intertwined with her light brown hair piled high on the crown of her head.  Three more ropes of pearls hung on her ivory neck.  In her hand she figured the ivory stick supporting the gold and white pearled and feathered mask.  From her wrist dangled the matching purse she had made for the occasion, adorned with the black pearls that her mother had smuggled from Moravia.

 

The children watched their father, the butler, holding her long sleeved cape of ermine and matching hand muff, as she approached. After her ensemble was complete, he opened the door intending to guide her down the steps, but she took a deep breath of resolve, and pulled her hand away in independence.  Distracted by her dread of the evening, she focused on the fine carriage and four horses waiting at the carriage step, blindly negotiating the icy granite steps.

 

Boom, boom, boom, in a flash she was on her bottom at the foot of stone steps.

The children jumped in to action: the little one to the kitchen to fetch more help, and older one outside to assist. “Are you alright?”  They kept asking. “Yes, I think so.” she whispered.  ‘I won’t be able to go to the ball after all… What a waste of this beautiful gown…  Maybe I really didn’t want to go to the ball… The Lord works in mysterious ways …or maybe it wasn’t the Lord this time, but my self-preservation, ‘she thought.  They tried to lift her. Moaning in pain, she winced, “Oh that hurts!”  Thinking to herself she analyzed, ‘it’s hard to say which hurts worse: my pride, or my backside.’

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