Ballrooms and parties were among my least favorite things; the crowded people in the hot halls gathering together to gossip. I didn't mind dancing though. With an aimiable partner, I enjoyed the dancing and music. My brother Edward was perhaps one of the finest dancers, I thought, and it was quite fun for him to swirl me about just as we had done when we were younger. The music stopped briefly, and we all applauded before Edward briskly grabbed my arm, guiding my off to the side of the dancefloor. To my great suprise, a group of young, sharp looking men, strangers to me, in deep conversation looked up to meet us, grinning as they recognized Edward.
"Mr. White!" cried one of the men, a hooked nose protruding from beneath his eyes. He reminded me of a crow, bending over to peck at corn rather than to gracefully bow. "I was told you were not to make it this evening."
My mind drifted from their brief exchange, as I observed the men. My eyes caught those of a good-looking solider, dashingly dressed in his fine uniform. His eyes were perhaps the bluest I had ever seen, like the pictures painted brought back from the islands of the Americas. I flushed slightly as he bowed his head slightly, acknowledging my glance to him. Averting my eyes, I caught Edward's words of introduction to me, "...and this is one of my dearest sisters, Miss. Margaret White."
We all made our pleasantries, as I curstied and they bowed, the introductions read off. I listened quickly for the soldier's name; a Captain Howard. I had not the slightest idea why I was so intruiged by him, only that his manner seemed completely effortless, though his words, how few I had heard, not fake and stale, nor outrageously flaboyant, and the subtle, bright emotions which flickered in his eyes made me wonder more of him. Often, as the group spoke, he caught me looking at him, and smiled slightly, making me turn a darker shade once more and turn away. I did not know why I acted so childish, staring in the way I did, as usual I left such things to my younger sister, admiring the beaus and sorts.
After a while, a Mr. Clark asked me for a dance. His eyes were dark, with a strong, sturdy appearance. I fancied that many, or rather most, girls thought him handsome, though his shady eyes made me feel slightly uncomfortable as his cool, emotionless gaze remained upon me. We did not conversate as we danced, something of a melancholy song played, seeming to move in slow motion and matching a piece of his manner. He was not the best of dancers, which I didn't mind all that much, though to my disappointment at the end of the song he remained at my side and suggested some punch.
There was nothing bad about him, other than my suspcions and wariness of his manner, so I stifled a sigh and smiled at him, allowing him to guide me here and there. We conversated sparcely, he seemed intelligent enough, though his eyes lingered elsewhere as if he was bored and I was simply the prettiest woman available to walk with. On occasions, he confronted me with a blank, stony gaze as I talked, like he was half listening, or if he caught something that came to his disfavor, his eyes would flash, he would shake his head, and say something about it "being ridiculous". Soon I learned to fall silent and simply walk, helplessly waiting for someone to save me again.
I was quite suprised when Captain Howard was the man to rescue me, asking me for the last dance before our departure. Happiness, and partly anxiety, filled me as he took my hand and smiled, almost bashfully. He looked quite spectuacular in his bright red uniformed jacket, and brilliant blue eyes. Though he did not have as handsome features as one as Mr. Clark, I felt myself smiling as the dance begun and him returning it.