Word Count 383
The First Cotillion
By Sally Madison
The master of ceremonies announced, “Miss Sarah Hogan of Alexandria, Virginia. Mr. Arthur Morgan of Charleston, South Carolina.
This was Sarah’s first cotillion and she absorbed all the sights, the sounds and the smells.
The six gigantic crystal chandlers lit the grand hall as brilliant as an early morning, as it shone on the pale blue walls and white woodwork. Over the huge fireplace hung a painting of the Madonna and Child that was set in a gilded frame. Other paintings included cherubs and angles. The air was filled with the sent of magnolias and lilacs from the flower arrangements hanging in the sconces on the walls. Potted palms and orange and lemon trees lined the walls strategically. The wood floor glistened like sunshine reflected on a pond. Music from the harps, flutes and violins floated as they played waltzes, minuets, and reels. The exquisite gowns created a swirl of color like a bouquet of lily-of –the –valley, periwinkle, marigolds and carnations.
Sarah’s gown, with puffy sleeves and pointed bodice, resembled a blossom of Bleeding Heart, with the skirt like a spray of Baby’s Breath. She twirled, she smiled, she laughed …she was having the time of her life. Whenever Arthur was not her partner, she would check to see if he was watching, and every time he was, she would smile and laugh as if her dance partner had made the most clever remark of the evening.
When Sarah saw him shaking hands with the host, as he prepared to take his leave for the evening, she panicked. She couldn’t let him go, yet. She headed for the doors to the balcony, as if for a breath of fresh air, sashaying in front of him. “Mr. Morgan, are you leaving without saying good-by?”
“My apologies, dear lady,” he replied. “Although the hour is early, I have business to attend.” Then he whispered, “However, with your permission, I will call on you in a few days. Would that bring me back into your good graces?” Sarah blushed, “Oh, yes” she said agreeably.
As morning approached, Sarah was lying in bed, thinking of the events of the evening. ‘It’s hard to sleep when you have a grin on your face’, she thought. She giggled to herself. ‘The only thing missing …was the glass slipper.’