Old Fashioned Romantics

In “Anecdotal Tales”, stories will be told. Some will be fun, some will not. Some will be great, some will be less so. Some stories are true, some are merely possible. This is one of them.

Old Fashioned Romantics

Be careless in your dress if you must, but keep a tidy soul.” –Mark Twain

From the very beginning it seemed that Charles and Caroline would make the perfect couple.  They met at Lord Dirkshirke’s annual ball.  Lady Dirkshire, who always considered herself the ideal matchmaker, despite what others said when she was not about, had taken it upon herself to make introductions.

Charles was a businessman whose success was already being murmured across the countryside.  He had stakes in several townships and owned the third largest home in the town.  His was a life that of guaranteed servitude, success, and security.

Caroline’s reputation was entirely acceptable, if not quite less extraordinary than Charles’.  Her father was the lead exporter of cattle, though he of course was never required to actually handle any of the filthy animals himself.  He was in the process of acquiring areas of land, but was finding few members of the community will to part with their lots.  However the people took notice of his efforts and applauded him.  Whoever was charmed by Caroline was sure to be allowed a sizeable dowry, especially with her being the only daughter amongst her family.

So it was that Caroline and Charles met.  Caroline was immediately taken with his friendly demeanor; approachable and charming, but never overstepping his bounds.  Secretly, she was also quite taken by his very handsome feature, especially his facial hair that looked handsome as it stopped right before his chin.  Charles found Caroline and her raven hair to be fascinating.  She had been renowned as a terrific entertainer, both singing and playing the piano to the appreciation of each party she attended.  However no one had mentioned her wit to Charles before.  She was clever to the point of being brash.  For any topic that Charles hit upon as they danced about the room, Caroline paused for only a moment before returning with some statement in reply.  Her quips were well thought-out and at the same time, heart-felt.  Charles did his utmost to occupy all of his time with Caroline that night.

Thus the courtship began.  Two days later Charles had been called away on business.  But he had sent a letter of intent to Caroline.  He apologized for not making such a declaration in person, but he wanted it known that he fervently desired Caroline’s company and would be honored if she would accept his admiration and return it in kind.  Caroline felt the blood rush to her cheeks.  She asked the servant to wait while she made a reply.  As fast as her quill would allow, Caroline wrote that she held Charles in only the highest esteem and should be delighted to further make his acquaintance.  She felt sure that her parents would be entirely agreeable to his paying a visit when it was convenient to him.

Their walks became frequent and lengthy.  Charles returned from his work and set himself to the task of learning more about Caroline.  They walked all the paths of Caroline’s estate and beyond.  Charles was kind enough to loan his jacket when the rain began to pour down.  He apologized that he could do nothing about her feet, but Caroline only laughed at the mud that that splashed up to meet her.  Even with the turn in weather, the two were reluctant to end their stroll.  It was only the threat of the rapidly approaching night that caused the two to cease their adventure.

When Charles returned Caroline to her doorstep, he soon asked permission to call on her again.  As he removed his jacket from Caroline’s shoulders he saw her smile invitingly as she encouraged him to visit often.  He did just that, returning not five days later.  Within weeks, it seemed a guarantee that there would be a wedding coming to the countryside; though the townsfolk knew not when.  In the meantime, there were still social functions to attend.  To the approval of all, Caroline soon found herself linking arms with Charles at each of these.  If these engagements had all been held in a central location, the couple would never have found themselves in the midst of a scandal.  Though, it seems that every romance has a degree of gossip that it must undergo and Charles and Caroline’s relationship was no different.

ImageBlame for the ordeal that followed might be laid at the feet of Duke Kelling.  He had retired from the public life and spent many months in his quiet country home.  However his position and the boredom of his wife required him to host a gala once a year.  The marble dance floor, the high chandeliers; all had been put into their home with the assumption that glorious gatherings were to occur in this residence.  Duke Kelling did not seek out extravagant parties himself, but it kept his wife content and assured his place in the community, so he acquiesced.  This year, Charles and Caroline decided to attend as all assumed they would.  However the estate was located in the middle of their two homes.  Caroline’s family was invited, and Charles would be coming from working, so they agreed to meet at The Duke’s.

Caroline’s driver was a reckless sort.  He always got the family to their destination, but it was not uncommon to find that he had overindulged in spirits.  When Caroline went to visit the fowl of her home, she often found Stuart sleeping in the barn.  He seemed to have no regard for his reputation and only went about his tasks after being roused from his slumber.  Caroline’s father had kept him on despite his wife’s disapproval of the lout.  Caroline’s father maintained that Stuart’s family had been with his home for years and he would not chop down an entire family tree only to spite one decaying branch.  He continued to hope that Stuart would wake up to the state he was putting himself in and better his manners and attitude.

Stuart drove the carriage with the three family members bouncing about on the dirt road.  Normally, even with Stuart’s haphazard skills at controlling the horses, the ride was pleasant enough.  The week’s weather had been unseasonably wet, and the roads were much the worse for the five days of rain that had beaten upon them.  Driving the horses too fast around a sharp turn in the road, Stuart soon lost control.  Caroline and her parents screamed as they felt their carriage turn over and they were tossed about inside.  They found themselves in a ditch on the side of the road.  The four of them all had scratches and bruises.  Caroline went to check on the horses only to step in the byproduct of one animal’s terror.  She was glad that her two favorite horses were not injured, but she knew that the putrid scent on her shoes, along with her now muddy and torn dress; would render her quite inappropriate for the formal affair.

A discussion of returning home was quickly been dismissed.  The rear axle of the carriage had snapped in half and the Duke’s manor was considerably closer than their own home.  Stuart stayed with the horses while the family trudged their way the last two miles to the Duke’s home.  They were met with horror and shock at the front door.  Lady Kelling quickly pulled the ladies aside while the Duke took care of Caroline’s father.  Caroline’s mother was easy enough to fit with new attire.  She and Lady Kelling were of roughly the same size, so with some tidying up, a quick wash, and a borrowed gown, Caroline’s mother was ready to make merry once again.  Caroline, however, was not suited for such an inconspicuous return.

Caroline’s physique tended more towards her father than her mother.  Consequently, she was a good deal taller than her mother and Lady Kelling.  The woman did her best to furnish Caroline with a suitable dress, but she was simply too short to be of any help.  Caroline found a dress that she thought would do, cleaned her shoes as best as she could, and attired herself with what she hoped would be suitable clothes.  She hoped Charles would not be too upset by her appearance.

As soon as she stepped into the ballroom, the room took notice.  Caroline could feel attention being focused on her, but not due to her musical talents or her conversational skills.  The hushed tones all turned audibly towards the same conversation topic; Caroline’s ankles.  When she had rushed to put her shoes back on, she had forgotten to find some sort of legging or stocking to cover her feet.  With the dress being far too high to cover the last six inches of her legs, Caroline’s ankles were scandalously naked for all the room to see.  The onlookers gasped and chittered to each other.  “How could Caroline think this sort of fashion was allowable?”

Caroline was mortified.  She had not meant to cause a scene and debated her options.  Her own dress was quite suitable in length, but was currently quite hideous in every other way.  It might recover some of its former grace when cleaned.  However that would take some time.  She considered searching out Lady Kelling for some assistance, but could not find her in the crowd.  Caroline started to believe that it was too late.  The damage to her reputation had already been done.

At the main entry, a servant announced Charles’ arrival.  He shook a few hands with agreeable companions, took in the room, and smiled when he saw Caroline.  Excusing himself, Charles made a straight line to the one he adored.  Charles approached, placed a kiss upon her hand, and bowed to her.  Caroline was too embarrassed by her attired to reply.  Charles looked at the redness on her face and knew something was wrong.  He looked to his intended and noticed what she was wearing.  Then the voices around him began to register in his mind.  Caroline felt tears welling up in her eyes as she saw a dark scowl take over Charles’ face.  She began to fear that she had lost his favor due to her appearance.

The Earl of Pudd came up to Charles and launched into one of his famously obnoxious observations.  “I see, Charles; that you are as mortified by this heinous situation as I am.”  The Earl shook his head in disapproval and the chins on his neck all swayed back and forth to punctuate his gesture.

“Indeed I am”, Charles replied.

“Surely you think this situation should be remedied?”

“Are you asking me to take the matter into my own hands?”

“If you do not, then I certainly will.  Why, a woman looking like this…”

“Very well then”, Charles replied.  He turned, addressing not only the Earl but all in the room.  “I find no fault with the woman’s attire.”  The attendees gasped.  “I am quite positive that I find her the most wonderful lady in this entire room.  Should certain parts of her be visible, then I see no cause for concern.  For this woman is a creature of magnificent grace.  These are the legs that allow her to move and float about with a loveliness and polish that have no equal.  I believe they should be complimented, not scorned.  I happen to be quite in love with this woman’s ankles”, Charles paused, and turned back to Caroline smiling, “along with everything else that makes this beauty who she is.”

The crowd continued to chatter, but Charles paid them no heed.  Whether or not his speech was scandalous, possibly even lewd; he was still one of the wealthiest men in the town.  None wished to incur his wrath on the matter, certainly not when there were so many to bear witness.  Charles led Caroline underneath the giant chandelier and held her hands.  She smiled at him, he did the same.  The gossiping and whispering were soon drowned out by the orchestra.  The musicians played a waltz which the happy couple serenely danced to.


About Cosand
He's a simple enough fellow. He likes movies, comics, radio shows from the 40's, and books. He likes to write and wishes his cat wouldn't shed on his laptop.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

counting snails

oh hi, it's me.

Avoiding Neverland

A teacher's thoughts on preparing teens for life

Late~Night Ruminations

...for all the ramblings of my cluttered mind....

Short...but not always so sweet 💋

Life is a series of challenges ~Happy endings are not guaranteed

Running Away To Booktopia

Because let's face it, reality sucks most of the time.


Exploring my own creativity (and other people's) in the name of Education, Art and Spirituality. 'SquarEmzSpongeHat'. =~)

The Land of 10,000 Things

Charles Soule - writer.

You're Gonna Need a Bigger Blog

This blog, swallow you whole


easy reading is damn hard writing


S1NGLE living H1GH thinking

Listful Thinking

Listless: Lacking zest or vivacity

The Byronic Man

Joel K Clements

The One Year Challenge

A one-year chronical of no flirting, no more dating and absolutely no sex.

Beth Amsbary

Workshop Leader, Storyteller, Grantwriter,

%d bloggers like this: