Chapter Eight Part one

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Chapter Eight
Mysterious Chalice

I packed away all my new clothes and had a last few bites of cheese and bread.  It was an interesting day, full of events, that would stay with me for long after.  I found solace in the scriptures of two Corinthians seventeen and was comforted by Aland and Lily’s positive attitudes.  I heard a shuffling noise outside my door.  Moving closer, I discovered that it was a piece of paper, being shoved underneath my door.  Maybe another letter?

Yes indeed!  Another one from Aland.  I went through the process of carefully opening it without tearing it.  It was a short letter.  He was inviting me to attend the church service in the castle’s private abbey the next day. 
It started at eight o’clock and lasted until nine thirty.  The royal family always sit together in front.  It was his duty and the tradition to do so, so he would send someone to lead me to a seat. 

If all goes as planned, his father would be back the next afternoon and then it would be appropriate for me to meet him at last. To be truthful, I was afraid of meeting the king.  From what I’ve heard about him, he was a feared matriarch.  It had to happen some or other time.  I was, after all, a guest in his castle, residing for free.  Now, taking up a room that surely belonged to a royal rather than a peasant. 

Maybe it was time for me to inquire about lodging elsewhere and earning some money of my own.  I had the most beautiful garments to choose from, but the shoes...  They were still a problem.  I decided to write a note to Lily.  Maybe she could find the letter under her door in the morning and assist me.  I peeked out and saw that poor Herbert fell asleep, still waiting for my reply note.  I carefully waked him and asked him politely to slide a note underneath both Lily and Aland’s doors.  
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Ethel was on time!  She knocked and came in at seven sharp, carrying an armful of shoes.  She put them down quickly and went outside to the corridor again. I wondered what she was up to.  Then she hurried in with an armful of hats.   Now for the monumental task of pairing the appropriate dress with its suitable partner.

“Good morning!”  It was Lily’s thrilled voice. 
She was a paragon of elegance and gracefulness.  She wore an amazingly detailed and superbly constructed gown.  It featured lace, cord work, appliqué and beading, which made it worthy of attention.  Her hat, she told me, was a  cloche.  A close-fitting hat with a deep, bell-shaped crown and a narrow, turned-down brim.  It was typical of the early nineteen hundreds.

The array of hats awaiting me, were also cloches.  Lily was keen in helping me find the perfect shoes and hat for my dress.  I decided on a  more modern, cream coloured dress, a three-D rose bodice – design.  The whole bodice was truly the image of a reconstruction of a rose, by fabric manipulation.  I tried on a few pairs of shoes, until I found the pair that was a unanimous choice.  They were handmade with pointed toes and a two or three inch heel.  The beige shoes were made from silk with buckles as decoration.  It was decorated with rhinestones at the tips. 
The hat was an easy choice!

It felt akward having to wait for a stranger to accompany me to the abbey and I wasn’t sure if Aldrich would be there today.  One last glance in the mirror and we were set to go.  Lily was waiting with me in the corridor.  It was soon evident who her companion would be.  Darwin was neatly dressed and approaching us from the opposite side of the corridor.  I complimented him on his attire.  He graciously thanked me, but made it clear that he wasn’t attending church in the castle’s private abbey, but one of the people’s own, within walking distance from the castle.  He wanted to escort Lily and then set off to his congregation.

No one showed up as we all waited.  Time was passing by too quickly and I started to feel panicky.  We stood at the top of the staircase.  Darwin linked arms with Lily and there they went!  I called after them, but they just took off.  It was rude!  I heard footsteps and turned around.  There was Aland, approaching hastily.

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