It was the day of Catherine’s birthday.
I wish I could have seen her, but she told me about her day much later.
She got up with the sunrise and started on her hair, setting into curls which took until ten (who knew such a thing would take so long?)
And then after an excruciatingly light lunch Catherine started on her make-up which also took a few hours before she was finally ready to get into her dress.
Now, I want to talk about my day.
I got up as usual – around nine. I did all my house chores, as well as went for a quick ride on Shadow (my white mare) and then got home, showered and changed into my black suit pants, crisp new long sleeved shirt, vest and suit jacket and still had at least an hour before I had to leave.
When I got to the hall I stopped in my tracks.
It was decorated in Catherine’s favourite colour – blue. Fairy lights hung from the ceiling, but the lights where still on.
The inside was more elegant than the out. Several round tables where set up in a semi-circle at the back of the room, with little light blue ribbons tied around what looked to be white fabric over the chairs.
A golden chandelier hung in the centre throwing light everywhere. Three stairs stood at the front of the room where Catherine would enter as a woman for the very first time on the arm of her father.
She would have one dance for each eligible suitor at the dance tonight. And after, the men would line up with her father, begging him for her hand.
I, being the brilliant man I am, sought him out before the night even began.
“Sir” I started and was quickly quieted.
“Don’t start boy.” The man hissed.
“But Sir…I’m here to ask for Catherine’s hand” The older man’s eyebrows almost reached the top of his head when I said that.
“What can you offer me?” He asked incredulously
“I’ll give you ten silver shillings more than the highest bidder tonight”
It was a risky proposition, if I was the only bidder he would be penniless, if there were several bidders however, he would come off with a hefty sum.
“I’ll keep that offer under consideration.”
It was, under the circumstances the best answer I could have hoped for.
The sky had darkened significantly and we were forced to sit, eating a quick mean of pasta before everything went surreally quiet.
Nothing could be heard, but you knew every person in that room held their breath.
And she did not disappoint in the slightest.
The dress was slightly off-white, off the shoulder with a slight v-neck. The dress spread subtly at her hips, but still stuck close to her figure. Around the bottom edge there was a gold flowery design that flowed beautifully. With a slight train that fluttered down the stairs after her.
I could hardly breathe when I saw her, she was so magnificent.
There has yet to be a day in my life where I have seen anything to match her beauty in that moment.
I swear; I almost didn’t let her dance with anyone else that moment. I was beyond prepared to whisk her away and keep her by my side.
When it was my turn I bowed, smiled and slowly rested my hand on her waist, giving a slight squeeze before spinning her in my arms, gliding her across the floor in a large arc.
“You look so…” I couldn’t even find my voice to tell her.
She looked up at me, eyes curious before she smiled and laughed lightly.
I nodded but couldn’t find my tongue to keep the conversation with her.
I think my song was the shortest – I swear, one second I was with her, and the next some guy was tapping my shoulder and asking to cut in.
I quietly made my way through the rest of the night full of nerves, every now and then when Catherine would have a break from dancing she was blocked by gentlemen, all asking her questions I already knew the answers too.
I would see her roll her eyes at me from across the room when she thought no-one was looking, and I’d smile back and wish I could go and save her.
I think I spoke to her father more in that one night than I ever had before that night.
By the second or third time I think he was sick of me.
“Listen boy, you’re already in for twenty three gold pieces and several life stock. Are you sure you want to do this?”
“Yes” I answered without hesitation.
“Then by God, leave me alone for the rest of the night.”
And so I did.