Monday, July 4, 2016

Antoinette Clancy, Chp. 4, Gen. 5, 1801

Dearest Diary,

     I suppose it has been a while -- perhaps much too long, since I last wrote. I hope you will find it in your heart to forgive me, my old friend! There is simply so much to say.

     Bartholomew left us recently. Well, he did not quite have a say in the matter, as it was our father who ordered him to stay at his mansion for a couple of months. Father claims that it is key for Bartholomew to live at the Barnes Mansion for the time being so that Father can teach advocacy more effectively; and, therefore, Bartholomew will be able to learn advocacy more effectively.  Mother was not supportive of the idea, but Bartholomew reluctantly agreed to go.  
     Bartholomew later confided in Mother that the only real reason why he wanted to go was because he was preparing to stand up to Father and rebel against the pressure to follow in Father's footsteps as the next advocate.  I have a feeling this has only made Mother worry more.
     The day Bartholomew left, we just locked eyes and stood in silence for longer than socially reprimanded.  

     "Farewell, my Nettie," Bartholomew said softly.

     "Goodbye, Bartholomew.  Take care."
     I wanted to say more.  Oh, how I wanted to say so much more!  But neither of us know how.  We haven't known how since last spring -- I have been unable to forget the sharp words he spoke to me, and we have both avoided conversations with each other since.
     How I miss him.  Even before he left the house, I missed him.  I miss the person he was, but is no longer.  
     Forgive me, Diary, but I must change the subject to something that will make me smile.

     Diary, you would not believe how successful I have been with my plan to master the cello!  You see, dressing up as a boy has truly paid off!

     At first, I was just so afraid that the tutor Mother and Ivan hired would catch on to me, or that Bartholomew or Franklin would rat me out.  But Mister Jeremiah has become quite fond of me, and he is very pleased with my ability.  Besides, Franklin never pays attention and Bartholomew rarely attended lessons because Father had him start seeing another tutor because having piano skills is more desirable or respectable or something of the sort (I think he just does not trust Mother's judgment).  I think that both of my brothers have been so wrapped up in their own lives that they have forgotten me.  

     A few months ago, this would have hurt me, but now, I'm almost grateful.

     Forgive me, Diary, but I must go now. It is time for my lesson, and I need to put on my costume! I promise it will not be long before I return.

     Your friend,



     Anne was painting when she heard the notes floating down the stairs.  They glided into the study and swirled around her ears -- such a beautiful sound that she paused from her work and closed her eyes.


     She was tempted to stop him and ask him where he learned to play like that, but he appeared so caught up in his melody that Anne scrapped the thought.  Soon, trying to stop the mysterious young man seemed like the worst idea in the world as the music swept around her and brought tears to her eyes.

     This skinny young man with the glasses, this man with the feminine fingers -- he reminded Anne of one of her own.  Somehow, she felt connected to this scrawny, yet graceful figure as he strummed each perfect note.  It was like she knew him, but he was just a stranger.  Well, he was, but the music was not.  The music felt like a part of her soul.
     And then, the unthinkable happened.  The young man came out of his trance and met Anne's eyes.

     Simply the oddest expression came over the young man's face!  His face seemed to twist into a mixture of a polite smile and a horrified wince.  He immediately stopped playing and appeared rather uncomfortable.

     "I-I-I'm so sorry, Moth-- Madame," he stuttered in a higher voice than Anne expected to hear.  "I-I..."
     "Oh, my heavens, please do not apologize, young man!" Anne walked up to him.  

"Your music was the most beautiful thing I have ever heard in my life!"
"I think you are something amazing.  I do not know who you are, but I know beautiful sounds when I hear them, and I have not heard nearly enough of them.  Please, enlighten me.  Who are you, and how  ever did you learn to play like that?

"Thank you. Uh, and my name is An-- Anderson.  Uh, Anderson Worthington.  And I, uh, I am friends with Franklin."

"Oh," Anne replied.  "I'm glad to hear that.  It's just that I'm very concerned about him.  I did not know that he had any friends.  He's been very troubled, but as his friend, I'm sure you know that."
"Um, yes. Yes, of course.  I am aware."
"Anderson, you seem like a very kind young man.  I am surprised that I have not met you before. You certainly look very familiar. "

     "Well, Madame Clancy, my Father has suffered a, um, bankruptcy in his business.  I, uh, can no longer afford to pay for my old tutor anymore.  Franklin told me about Mister Jeremiah, and the cost is much more, um, affordable.  In order to help my family, I-I had to sell my own cello. Franklin said I could have my lessons here, with him, and that I could share his cello.  I will do anything to be the best, but if you do not want me come here anymore, I will not. I, um, I am sorry."

     "Anderson, you are very thoughtful and ambitious.  Of course you are welcome here.  You will always be welcome here. I have no doubt that you will be the best."
     "Thank you, Madame Clancy.  It really means so much to me."
     "Say, Anderson, have you met my daughter, Antoinette?"
     "Uh... No. I... cannot say that I have."
     "I would love for you to meet her.  You remind me a lot of her.  I think you would really enjoy her company.  When she was a child, she wanted to play the cello and I think she would love to hear about the cello from someone who is so passionate."
     "Well... Um, it would be a pleasure to meet her sometime."
     "I wonder if she is in the attic.  I asked her to look for something for me up there today.  I can go and get her if you would like."

     Anderson chuckled nervously. "Oh, no, Madame Clancy.  Please do not bother.  I must get going soon, anyway, and I do not want to rush through meeting your daughter.  Thank you so much for the kind words and for allowing me to continue my lessons here at your mansion."

     "I understand, Anderson," Anne said, turning to leave.  "I hope I will see you around here again soon.  Please never give up on your dream to be the best.  Do whatever it takes to follow your dream!"


     Antoinette stood in the room Anne and Ivan shared, gazing at her reflection in her mother's mirror.  Anne, Ivan, Franklin, Millicent, and Agnes were all eating supper in the dining room, but Antoinette told them she was feeling ill and had lost her appetite.  It was true, but not the real reason why she was skipping supper.

     If I had been born a boy, I would not have to sneak around and lie like this.  Nettie studied her features in the mirror.  Her beautiful long eyelashes, her soft long locks, her rosy red cheeks.  All of them fought against her aspirations and forced her to cover up the things that made her who she was so she could follow her heart.
     I'm lying to everyone, but maybe I'm lying to myself, too.  Maybe I'm doing myself a disservice by wearing that hat and mens' clothing.  Maybe I should not be covering up who I really am.  
     Nettie almost stopped.  She almost reconsidered what she was about to do -- and what she had done so many times in the past few months in order to continue her lessons with Mister Jeremiah.  Almost.
     Shaking her head as if the thoughts were crazy, Nettie opened her mother's dresser drawer and fingered Anne's small pouch of coins.  Mother was talking about visiting the tailor to be fit for a new dress.  Nettie bit her lip and slipped some of the coins into her corset.  Head hung low, she quietly trudged out of the room and went up to bed.


*The Antique Legacy*
Antoinette Clancy

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