"Who is this gentleman you dare call by his first name?" Martha asked and then Joseph saw me looking at him and spread a smile across his youthful face and left his friends to come to where I sat with Martha and Cynthia.
"Wait is that who I think it is?" Cynthia said and I got up as well.
"Let us go to the ladies room please?" I got up and so did the girls to leave our mothers alone.
"Please girls I cannot go unaccompanied," I begged and so they followed me as we came out of the box seats Joseph was already there.
"Lady Alice," Joseph said stopping our getaway and I had not gotten used to being called Lady Alice when he came and kissed my hand.
"How lovely it is to see you once again, I had been looking forward to this day."
"Uh good evening it is a pleasure to see you after such an extended time, this is the son of the Lord of Bridgeston, Lord Joseph Stanley," I smiled politely introducing him nervously hoping I did not do it the wrong way.
"And these ladies are?"
"This is Miss Campbell and Miss Thomas," I presented them to him.
"Pleasure to make your acquaintance ladies," he kissed each of their hands and Cynthia almost fell backwards.
"Uh Lord Stanley what an honor," Martha blushed.
"Um how long have you been in London, Lady Alice?"
"A couple of days."
"So you really retired from the city for a while?"
"Yes I did."
"And how is your family? I never got the pleasure to meet them."
"Great; my mother is with Mrs. Campbell and Lady Thomas."
"Then will you not take me to her?" He asked and I nodded.
We opened the doors to the box seats where mother sat surrounded by Mrs. Campbell, Lady Thomas and two other women of their age who had no daughters out in society.
"Ladies," I said and they all looked at Joseph.
"Lord Stanley?" Lady Thomas asked baffled before I introduced him.
"Lord Stanley this is Lady Thomas, Miss Thomas's mother, and this is Miss Campbell and her mother Mrs. Campbell."
"Good evening ladies," he nodded with his hand straight across his torso.
"Lord Stanley to what do we owe the privilege?" Mrs. Campbell as well as the other women were clearly impressed by him.
"Oh the privilege is all mine certainly, I came here because I previously met the lovely Lady Alice and here I am."
"How polite of you," Lady Thomas remarked.
"And Lord Stanley this is my mother Mrs. Theresa Stewart," I made the presentations being the only one who knew him personally of the group.
"It is a pleasure to meet such a young Lord," mother said and he kissed her hand.
"The pleasure is all mine Mrs. Stewart," he said as all the women stared at him.
"Joseph you disappeared," the young man Cynthia had shown to me earlier spoke to Joseph.
"Sorry I crossed paths with Lady Alice and had to meet the party she came to the theater with," Joseph always looked around the room when he talked.
"Ladies," the young brown haired man smiled.
"Everyone this is Sir Arthur Scott, my oldest friend."
"Yes but not old enough to be old," Arthur joked.
"Arthur and Joseph I always lose you both out of sight," Sir Walker the one Martha liked said.
"And this is Mr. Henry Walker," Joseph introduced him.
"Ladies," he said in a more serious manner than Arthur.
"We unfortunately have to go but I hope to soon see all of you again, goodbye ladies" Joseph said.
"Goodbye Lord Stanley," I bowed and when the boys left the mother's and girls cheered.
Everyone thought it the best coincidence to see we were all intertwined in the light of my old connection with Joseph but in my stomach there was a knot from seeing half of my past had resurrected.
"Lady Alice you are an angel sent from God!" Lady Thomas laughed.
"How easy will it be to arrange you good marriages now?" Mrs. Margareth Campbell exclaimed.
"How is that so Mrs. Campbell?" My mother asked.
"Lord Joseph Stanley is known to have many friends, very fine friends and surely one of them will suit our daughters Theresa," Mrs. Campbell explained.
"I am happy my dear Alice was of help," mother smiled at me.
"And you should let the boy marry her if he asks he is set for life being the only heir, his properties I believe match yours equally or more," Lady Ruth Thomas helped the case.
"Thank you for the advice Ruth," mama replied.
"Lady Thomas," I corrected mother.
"Lady Thomas, I mean." She corrected herself and the girls thought of ways to gather us all under the same roof which overruled my better judgement to not keep in contact with Joseph.
The next two days passed and we received an invitation for dinner at the Thomas's, mother gave the news there was a chance the Walkers and Scotts might be there. Joseph had introduced the parents of the boys to Lady Thomas in a social event the other day and she was delighted to have made the acquaintance quick enough to ask them over for dinner. The week continued and while I practiced the piano forte with Mrs. Miller, Joan walked about the house with her nanny Nicolette and my mother peacefully embroidered like every other day.
"There is a gentleman to see you Lady Alice," Mrs. Trudor announced.
"He says his name is Mr. Joseph," she repeated though his rightful title was known to be Lord Stanley he was not one to enforce it, not around me.
"Right, let him come in and it's not Mr. Joseph it's Lord Stanley," I stopped playing the piano piece immediately.
"The son of the mad Earl of Bridgeston?"
"The mad Earl?" I was offended by her speculation.
"Forgive me Milady, I will announce him," Mrs. Trudor said I was only glad mother did not hear her since I was closest to her when she talked.
Mrs. Trudor was an odd creature, unfriendly and worse than Gertie for she was not scandalous but always condescending saying little mean whispers here and there.
"Come Joan I am going to feed you so that you may be strong," Nicolette said leaving mother, Mrs. Miller and I alone in the front parlor.
"Lord Stanley m'lady," Mrs. Trudor opened the door and Joseph walked in.
Copyright: All Rights Reserved to A. Sena Gomes
YOU ARE READING
The Greatest JourneyHistorical Fiction
Miss Alice Stewart is a poor girl, recently fatherless with a mother and two younger siblings to take care when she finds a job in service as a maid with her aunt Mrs. Green. Soon the family she works for loses money and lets go of her, in need of w...