II. Education is Important
No, she got it when she was six and ten.
It was a surprise to see that her parents were rereading the letter again and again as if they cannot believe that Darla was making the leap than most of her peers.
"But, darling," Lady Cascadian said, "Would you want to go with your peers to the academy? It will be a lonely world without your peers that were close to your age," she said like a mother hen that was worried about her safety.
Darla wanted to roll her eyes but she controlled her facial expression and told her mother that she did not care about her peers and all that. She just wanted to get her education as soon as possible that she could and that letter was her ticket to get them.
"But darling," her father intervened, "you will not be attending any more parties and house callings. Are you sure this is your decision regarding this?" Lord Cascadian asked before Darla pulled her chin up and nodded at her parents.
"Yes," the determination in her voice was booming across the drawing room of their manor in Scatterford, "I will be going to the academy. And I will ace them," she said confidently before her parents were looking at each other then they nodded at her.
"As you wish, my dear. You know we only have your best interest at heart and if the academy was your decision, then we will support you along the way," her mother said before she crossed the room to hug Darla. Her skirts rustled as she was hugging her before Darla smelled the ever-present of her mother's perfume.
Honeysuckle, the best that their money can buy from Scatterford.
After that conversation, her mother insisted that Darla and her will go shopping for new dresses that Darla will be wearing at the academy.
"You never knew who you will meet there, darling. It is best for you to look simply the best version of yourself," her mother said before they were visiting their favorite modiste in town to place their orders and to be sent to the academy once Darla was there.
"But mother, I don't want to focus on young lads. I want to forge my own path and not end up being married to one of the young lordlings," she said before she was looking at the shop that they frequented in the past. Her mother laughed at Darla's statement.
"Oh dear," she said as the footman was opening the carriage door and helped Lady Cascadian to get off from the carriage before he helped Darla, "you are too young to be thinking like that. Of course you will marry and there is no such thing as a spinster in our household," her mother said before she went inside the shop and greeted the modiste. Darla grumbled behind her but kept quiet when she was greeting the modiste and they went to measure the new dresses for her.
In which Darla did not know when she will be wearing them. She was going to the academy, not the Tempest Ball for Christ's sake!
After the modiste finished taking the right measurement to ensure that the gowns will not be fitted at the places that would be scorned by the society—and gave the scandalmongers to talk about—they left the shop before Lady Cascadian was pulling Darla to try the newest place in town.
"Come on, darling. You must sample the tarts and the hot chocolate that they make," her mother said as she was walking beside her. Their bustles were pinching against each other as her mother was pulling Darla by the elbow.
"And how do you know that, mother? I don't see you leave for town recently," Darla said before her mother was smiling down on her.
"Oh, one of the maids was kind enough to come here as I instructed. And now that we are here, we cannot simply let this opportunity slide pass now, shall we?" she said before Darla was rolling her eyes before they were pushing the door. The bells echoed inside the shop as a person was approaching us.
"Good morn, my ladies. May I take your bonnets?" the manservant said before Darla and her mother gave it to him. he smiled before he ushered them to the nearest empty tables before he provided a list of the food and drinks that were served in the shop.
"I will be Victor, call me when you have decided, my ladies," he said before the baroness was nodding at him and scanned the list.
"Oh, this is wonderful. I never thought they would have so much to offer for us. Aren't you excited, Darla darling?" her mother asked before Darla was smiling politely at her. Not that I can't help it if I don't want to be in here, mother, she mused before she decided to have pineapple tarts and some hot chocolate drinks that her mother loved so much.
"Victor," the baroness asked before the manservant was coming to greet them.
"Have you decided, my ladies?"
"Yes, we will have the pineapple tarts and some hot chocolate, please. And I heard that you have un glasse de gelato? Make that two please," her mother said before the manservant was making his way to the backdoor. Darla was looking around as she noticed the shop was cooler than the outside weather.
"It is called air-conditioning. I don't know how the devil they make and work, but it is much better than anything else. Oh, how I wish your father would purchase one," her mother exclaimed before Darla blunted her question.
"Was it using sorcery to power it up?" she asked before the manservant, Victor, arrived with their food and overheard their conversation.
"Fear not, my ladies. The air-conditioning was generated on coals so there is no sorcery involved, I can assure you that," Victor said before Darla was smiling at him. Was he trying to get my attention or what? Darla thought before she was focusing on the pineapple tarts as she nibbled one.
Mother was right. This is the best tart that I ever tasted, she mused before she was trying to school her expression not wanting to make something amiss as her mother was chatting even more with her as Darla was nodding in acknowledgment.
Let her think that I was listening when as a matter of fact, I was not, she thought before she reached for the pineapple tarts again and occasionally sipped on her hot chocolate drink.
"That was delicious. I wish we could go there again sometime later," her mother said as the carriage was moving toward their manor in Scatterford. Darla was smiling as she was sitting in front of her mother before she nodded.
"That would be a wonderful idea, mother. I would love to go there again," she said before the baroness was smiling at her.
"Oh look at you," she said before she took Darla's hand as her skirts rustled as the baroness moved forward, "all grown up and will be continuing your study now. Ah, I cannot wish for you to be engaged to someone later," her mother said before Darla forced a smile.
"Oh, I simply cannot wait," she said before she was trying not to vomit on the lies that she was putting it through her mouth. Does her mother not see that Darla was not wishing to settle down like any other respectable, sensible lady? She had a dream and she will accomplish her dream first before she can find a respectable lord and marry him.
If there was someone left for her later.
"Now, now, don't get teary eyes on me, mother. I was just going to Hamptor, not leaving Caga," Darla said before she was wiping the tears that were sliding down from her mother's cheeks. The Baroness laughed before their carriage stopped as the horses neighed.
They arrived at the manor.
"Come, we will have to rise early tomorrow since it will take 3 days to Hamptor. I hope everything was prepped and ready?" she asked Darla as the footman was helping them to get down from the carriage. Darla chuckled.
"Of course, mother. Who do you think I am? This is not the first time that I was not prepared for anything," she said before her mother sighed.
"But it will be the first time for you to be out in the world on your own, my darling. Oh, I wish you are not going. I still have so many things to share with you," her mother said as they went into the manor as the butler was opening the door for them.
They took off their bonnets and handed them over before Darla was excusing herself to make sure that she will be getting all the stuff that she needed in her traveling trunk before the journey tomorrow. Her mother kissed her cheeks before she went upstairs to her bedchambers.
Once inside her bedchambers, Darla asked her maid if everything was prepped and ready. The maid was smiling before she bobbed her head.
"All is well and ready, mum," she said. Darla nodded before she was asking her to remove her gown to bath for the evening. She wanted to look fresh for supper with her parents.
Her last supper in the manor.
The maid did her work before Darla dismissed her and went to the bathing chambers. The steaming water was filling the copper bathtub before she got in. Darla sighed as she was lathering the rag with her soap and washed the sweat and grime from her adventure today.
Later, after felt like an eternity, Darla got out of the bathtub and dried herself before the maid came and helped her to get into the evening gown for the supper. Then, she was off to the dining room for one last time.