The Butler’s Accomplice wore Silk Part 2
This particular High Tea I am writing about was held in early October.
We were both 14, seasoned players of our roles with two years under our belt.
The tea was taking place outback by the gardens. The day started blustery so Papa had put up a large tent. But by the time the guests arrived, it was a perfect sunny fall afternoon.
That afternoon I was wearing a short black, buttoned back dress, of slick taffeta. Black silk stockings and black hush puppies with rhinestone bows.
My jewellery consisted of a wide rhinestone choker, matching earrings, bracelet, and usual rings, worn to be fancy like the adults. My hairpiece and white apron on I was ready to play my role
My brother was wearing a stiff collared ruffled white shirt, black tie, black trousers, and the ever required white gloves.
Thus attired we went out to help mum attend to her guests
Now amongst the usual caste of characters, there was a lady from church who had her sister visiting up from London. She had asked if the sister, her name was Clarice, could come, which of course she was more than welcomed.
Clarice had with her a lovely shy toddler named Claire, all of 3 years old. An adorable blue-eyed imp with long gold tresses of hair.
Claire’s mum must have been told about how all the guests were dressing.
Clarice was wearing a short shiny satin dress of teal, an unadorned scooped neck with layered scalloped sleeves hanging just over her shoulders. Her jewels were a pair of silver chains hanging down from her neck, diamond stud earrings, and a diamond tennis bracelet, along with her pricey looking engagement and wedding rings.
She had her daughter Clair dolled up in a long yellow lacy silk number with a teal satin sash that held a round rhinestone pin. Along with a neat black velvet Bolero style jacket.
The little darling was soon running around unheeded, tripping over herself in excitement to be on the loose.
I had always heard first-time mums were always ultra-protective of their firstborn. But not Clarice. She let her young daughter have the run of the place figured others would keep an eye on the tyke. And there were plenty of mothers in that group who did
But It only took the one time I came to her rescue and picked her up cooing to her as I held her
that she became my fast friend and shadowed me exclusively as we served the appetizers.
It was an odd thing, the way it happened.
A grandmotherly looking lady was wearing a long silk garment, wood beads hanging from her neck, and a turban. She seemed out of place with Mum’s crowd. I mean who wears wood beards to a fancy dress?
She had come up to me right off and admired my cute outfit. Stroking and caressing along my taffeta dress with clammy dime store ringed fingers, which she also used to finger my hair,
as she bombarded me with questions.
As she reached up to admire my necklace, I saw her beady fox-like eyes were darting around.
She gushingly told me I was the prettiest thing ever, and she would not be surprised to find the mother of one so cute would also be pretty. She looked around.
“So which of these lovelies is your mother sweetheart?”
She drew out her words while asking this in a silky, but still oddly demanding tone of voice.
I obediently looked around but failed to spot mum, and told her she must have gone inside.
“I would have thought it was that fetching lady over there...”
she said this whole digging her fingers into my soft sleeve while pointing out a lady wearing a silvery slinking gown similar to the one I saw as an adult worn by the character Ana Steele in the movie Fifty Shades Darker.
“Mrs. Shannon? No that’s not my mum. “
I assured her.
Mrs. Shannon also was wearing some rather nice rubies, which wasn’t surprising seeing her husband was a snobby jeweler.
Then the lady, looking directly in my eyes, asked a most peculiar question as she massaged my side.
“So sweeetest, is your mom dressed up even prettier than that lady ?”
I had no idea how to answer that, and I knew then what a doe caught in the headlights of a nasty automobile felt like.
Of course, my mum was dressed up, and I thought she was by far done up glitzier than Mrs. Shannon.
But something in this lady’s very odd eagerness to know that fact warned me off of admitting that to her.
At that point, I heard my brother calling me and with relief told the strange lady I needed to go.
She smiled and said “ok sweeetie, if you must” Then threw her arms around me and drew me against her to hug.
Her long fingers groping fully into the backside of my downy soft dress.
It was not pleasant, she smelt a bit like an old eel and stale ginger. I managed to squirm free (a feat accomplished far easier than if I had been wearing a velvet or cloth dress)and made my escape from her clutching fingers without looking back.
So much later, as I walked past the tent, I saw the same lady had captured and was holding a sad Claire, looking around like she was also trying to figure out where her mother was, and probably how she was dressed.
Figuring poor Claire was receiving the same treatment I had, I went up and boldly said, there you are, and snatched the eager child from the wood bead wearing Grandmother like lady’s arms.