Elizabeth White: If Only

Charlie had escorted her to a chair so that she could sit for a while. She was rather out of breath from the dancing and perhaps she was not used to wearing a corset so tightly. She was glad of the corset though, it gave some shape to her otherwise boyish figure.

She stared out across the floor at Marianne and her dancing partner, Mr McConnely. She sighed to herself. She knew of Mr McConnely, they had even met briefly once but she doubted he would remember her with her plain face and freckles. If only he would have. In her head she concocted various scenarios of him catching her gaze across the room and leaving her pretty little sister to come over to her and ask her to dance. Her cheeks flushed pink at the thought of him taking her by the hand and twirling her around before whispering in her ear that he thought her the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.

"Lizzie...I mean, Beth...are you listening to me?"

She turned her head sharply. Oh yes, Master Charlie. She was quite disappointed that her daydream had been interrupted especially as it brought her crashing back to the reality that was Charles Baker.

"Sorry, I was just thinking that it would be lovely to have some punch. Would you fetch me some Charles?"

He gave her a big grin that showed his odd tooth and nodded before wandering off to get her some punch.

Charlie was nice and kind, always polite and very pleasant. He was not an ugly man but he was not dashing in the way that Mr McConnely was. Perhaps then he was her perfect match; two plain people together, just as things should be she supposed.

She saw her cousin, Grace, dancing with another handsome man. She did not recognise the gentleman and so could not add him to her daydreaming as easily as Mr McConnely. Grace looked over in her direction and she held up her gloved hand and gave a small wave, unsure if Grace had seen her. The grinning face of Charles Baker then blocked her view of her cousin.

"Here you are Beth. Perhaps you might like another dance once you have taken your refreshment?"

His big cow-eyes had a pleading look about them and Elizabeth nodded her head in agreement more to appease him than out of any wish to dance more. He sat beside her and sipped at his punch occasionally while chattering about this and that. Elizabeth offered the odd smile and nod as he spoke but really had little interest in his father's business dealings. Instead her interests lie with watching Mr McConnely.

The End

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