Tears in Blessings

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Summary

This is the story Lourdes, who was a girl on the verge of entering the adult world in the 19th century. She is a privileged child from a very rich family. Her parent's ambition is that she will get married to the right person and be a good wife. The life of a lady in the upper class seemed very dull to Lourdes. She wanted more from her life.

Genre:
Drama
Author:
Victoria Temple
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
7
Rating:
n/a
Age Rating:
13+

Lourdes

I was riding the most beautiful horse through a field of roses and tulips. I sat on the horse like any normal person and not the way some say a lady should sit on a horse. I could feel the wind flowing through my hair and the sun shining. I was free! I was in heaven. I was -

" Lourdes, concentrate on your dance lesson!”

For the next hour, I went through the motions of the dance lesson. I used to love dance. It used to make me feel so free and so alive. However, the dance teacher took the fun out of it. Everything had to be a routine. The dance teacher would scold me if I made the wrong step. Then I would have to do it again and again. When I told her that it was no longer fun, she would just say to me that it is not meant to be fun. It is supposed to make me more graceful and more eloquent. It was part of being a lady!

My name was Lourdes and I was an only daughter. I was 13 years old when this story started. I think you can say that I was a privileged child that was born into a very rich family. I read in the newspaper that I was supposed to be the richest girl in the whole country. This meant that I had the best of things. I had the most beautiful dresses that came from Paris. I had the best dolls. I had music lessons and dance lessons and could speak several languages. I was told that every child would be jealous of the privileges I had.

The year was 1872. We lived in a rural part of England. There was a village close by that had several factories. I never spoke with these people, as I was kept in the house all the time. It was expected that I only associated with people from our social class.

After I dance that day, I had to get dressed for dinner. This was a big affair and something we endured every day. We would be dressed in our best clothes and we would have the best food. Of course, this was served by servants. We would get a lot of food, but we would often just take small bites and try not to look as if we were gluttons. I would not say that much. I did not understand the adults that talked about politics or money. These meals could be long and they were more of a chore than anything else.

After dinner, I would go into a small room with momma and we would sit and sew. If there were other women there, they would gossip about others. At times, it seemed like it was a competition on who could have the best gossip. I did not see much to my parents, as a governess took care of me most of the time. Still, I knew momma was very proud of me. I was polite and I had the perfect smile. Momma would boast on my talents, especially my musical talents.

My governess would then get me ready for bed. This was also a routine as everything else was. I was not allowed to get undressed. The governess did everything for me. I often wondered what it would be like to get dressed and undressed by myself. Why did I even need help? I always wondered who helped the maids get changed.

The governess asked me if I was sad. I smiled at her and told her that everything was fine. However, there was something that was bothering me. I just could not point my finger at what it was, I knew I had a privileged life and I should consider myself to be very lucky. There was something missing. It was something I could not explain and did not even know if it existed, as I never tried it.

The next day, I woke up to a lot of noise. Usually, I wake up and some maid quietly helped me get washed and dressed. Today was different. This girl about my age was going around my bedroom and talking while she made sure the fireplace was lit and then after bringing warm water so I could wash.

She told me that her name was Emily. She was the same size as me with rosy cheeks and her hair was in pigtails. She was a bit plump and wore the same uniform as the maids.

" This is my first day here,” she told me, ” I hope that you slept well. Today will be a lovely day as the sun is shining and the birds are singing. I was up at the crack of dawn and spent some time in your lovely garden. There are so many beautiful flowers. I would imagine you could spend all day just spending time in God’s nature.”

I slowly got up and stood there waiting for her to wash me. Emily just looked at me with a confused face. She was obviously not told what her job was. Emily could not stay quiet too long as she asked me if I was disabled and could not get dressed. I snapped at her and assured her that I was in the best of health.

It was the first time in my life that I washed and got dressed without help. You may think I am totally crazy, but it was the most exciting thing I tried in a while. By the time I finished dressing, Emily and I were chatting as if we were friends for life. I wanted to know everything about her.

Emily was born in Ireland, and her family moved here to get a job. She had a few brothers and parents. Her Dad and brothers worked in a factory, while her mother repaired clothes. Until now, Emily went to a public school where she could learn how to read and write. She told me the teacher was nice and very patient. She felt blessed that she had the opportunity to learn. I ate my breakfast as Emily told me what it was like at school. She told me about the friends she had and the many games they played.

Now Emily was 13, and this meant that she had to find some work so she could help her family. She told me she was hired as a maid for me and was told that she could be a companion. This made Emily laugh, as she thought it was strange that my parents would pay her to be my friend.

It was time for my classes. I did not go to the local school. A tutor came and taught me in a small room in the attic. I could not concentrate that much, as I was thinking about Emily. She experienced so much and she seemed so happy despite that her family was so poor. I thought it was strange that she spoke so much. She talked about things that were not important. In a way, this was totally new for me, as I was told a child should be seen and not heard!

She also spoke a lot about her parents and she knew them so well. This made me think that I really did not know my parents. They only have seen me when the governess bought me down to eat or when I was allowed to sit with momma at night. Otherwise, the governess took care of me, and in many ways things that a mother does. I knew my governess very well, and she was the mother figure in my life.

Another thing that I thought about was the fact that my parents paid for Emily to be my companion. This made me think that I had no contact with children my age. I had no friends. This made me think that Emily lived a completely different life than me. She had friends and she enjoyed life. It was like I was imprisoned in this big house, and my childhood was just a preparation for what would be expected of me in the future.

After the lessons and eating some lunch, the governess suggested that I take a walk in the garden to get some fresh air. She told Emily that she should accompany me. I do not think that the governess wanted to listen to Emily’s constant chattering. She even scolded Emily a few times, asking does her mouth ever stop chattering?

We walked around the garden, and Emily was like a small child that was seeing flowers for the first time in her life. I smiled as she nearly stopped at every new flower. She had to smell it and admire its colors. I started speaking more freely with Emily and even laughing and joking. You may think that this is a strange thing for me to write about. Remember that I really never had anyone to speak with and never laughed.

Emily told me we should lie on the grass. At first, I opposed the idea, saying my dress would get dirty. Emily smiled and said that clothes can be washed. It was like I could not say no to her. We were on the grass looking at the clouds in the sky. Emily told me that if I looked closely, the clouds looked like something. It was God’s way of telling us a story. So we spent a long time looking at the clouds and guessing what they looked like. In the end, we were telling each other a story. This experience was so fun!

Then Emily got serious and asked me what I wanted to do when I got older. I was to be a lady in the upper class. When she asked me what I would be doing, I could not really answer. I would be married, and have dinner parties and sew at night time. I would do the same as Momma.

Emily, on the other hand, told me that she would love to be a scientist and find some medicine that would make people’s lives easier and cure many diseases. This revelation made me silent and admire Emily for her ambition. She was a maid now, but she could end up being an important person for humanity.

On the way back to the house, we seem a new stable boy. I stood there in shock and just looked at him for a distance. He looked to be our age, but he was not native. He was dark-skinned and to be honest, this was the first time that I ever have seen a black person in my life. Emily thought that we should go and speak to him. This made me stammer and stutter, where I finally told Emily that it would be improper. I also had to rush back and have piano lessons.

Emily told me that there were a lot of black people in the area, as they came from the colonies. She admitted that her own family was poor, but she knew the black people lived in misery in slum areas. They never got proper wages and many people thought they were inferior. This shocked me, as I wondered how could a person think they were better than another person, because of their color or even social status.

I could not concentrate on piano lessons. So much happened that afternoon. It may seem very little for some, but I do not remember when I spoke with a person so much. I cannot remember when I smiled and laughed so much. I realized that Emily was just not a maid. I considered her a friend. I am sure that my parents would disagree and insist that I not be friends with a girl who was just a maid. That did not bother me.

The piano tutor was mad at me and complained that I was not concentrating. This was true. How could I concentrate when there was so much to think about?

That night, I could hardly sleep. I was thinking that if I was not forced to be a lady and have my small role in the upper class, what would I do with my life? It did not take me long to realize that I wanted to help people. I wanted to give people a better life. I wanted to give the children an education so they could also lead a productive life. With education, children would not be forced to work in factories or jobs they did not like doing. With education, they could be the person they wanted to be.

I wanted to be a teacher.

The problem was, what would my parents say to my new ambitions?

to be continued

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