The Afterlife Journals: The Blue Ribbon HTML version

“The earl gave you this garment to wear tonight. To not be seen wearing it would be an insult. You knew this
day was coming.”
The gown was a dark blue color with a sort of quilting to it with a high waist and square neckline; it was
different from my other gowns because my white satin kirtle could be seen through the split in the front. The
sleeves were fitted to the wrist but had small vertical slits all the way down. I actually liked this gown as far as
style goes but would never admit that to my mother. She continued her lecture on my fast-approaching
separation from childhood.
“I allowed you to be boyish long enough. It is time for you to take on responsibility. Your father and I have
already begun to negotiate your arrival at court.”
WHY! Why did you do that? Have you ever considered that I do not want to go to court? Besides, I will only
embarrass you. I have no skill in the ways of being a lady.”
“You will just have to learn. Sarah, I know that you do not enjoy being told what to do. However, without
position all you will be doing is taking orders.”
“Is that not exactly what would happen to me? Taking orders! How is this any different?”
“At least in at court you are granted some freedom to speak and be heard. As much as you like to engage in
conversations on politics and other such topics, I would think you would jump at the chance to be present at
court. How else will we find you a good match?”
I want to clarify at this point that my mother never condoned any kind of underhanded behavior or false
representation of one’s self. My parents always acted with nobility and required their daughter to do so as well.
I am proud to say this, as it is a rarity in these times. Most fa milies were fighting for and pushing their own
agendas. Whoever had more influence with the king and queen had the power. As history shows, the king was
very susceptible to the charms of women. So many fathers would parade their young daughters in front of him
at court hoping to strike his interest. The concept of virtue was second to power.
Reluctantly I put on my new frock and we all left for the party. I remember the earl’s home being much nicer
than ours, as to be expected. The walls of the foyer were adorned with paintings of past and present family. The
candelabras were silver in color and buffed to a mirror like shine. I actually enjoyed looking at all the
embellishments around the room. My wandering about the house on this night would actually lead to the fated
meeting of a very important person in my life.
“Oh, excuse me,” I said after I bumped into a particularly tall young man.
“No, no, forgive me. I saw you and assumed you had seen me.”
“So you ran into me on purpose then?” Immediately after saying this I bit my lip. Realizing that my joke may
not be well received.
The man smiled at me and replied. “And I would do it again.” To my memory this was the first time I was
ever flirted with. At that moment I heard my mother calling my name.
“Sarah! It’s time for your introduction.”
I took off in the direction of my mother as the man said, “Until we meet again.”
Being the opportunist she was, my mother promptly asked me if I knew who he was.
“No, Mother, I did not ask his name.”
She smiled and took my arm. “Come along, people are waiting.”
“Who is he, Mother?” She did not answer. I asked again, “Who is he?” Before she could answer, my father
appeared and took my hand leading me to the head table in front of the dance floor in the Grand Hall. The
music stopped and my father began to speak.
“I am the proudest father on this night. My eldest daughter is getting married and such is cause for this
celebration. It is also my pleasure to introduce formally to you my daughter Lady Sarah Walden. She is to begin
her duties at court soon.”
As was custom, my father then offered my first dance of the night to our host. The earl complimented my
dress, which seemed almost boastful since he was the one who bought it for me. After this dance more pomp
and circumstance ensued. My second dance was essentially auctioned off to the highest bidder of position. The
first to step forward was James. James was the son of another one of the earl’s men. He and I had grown up
together. He was like a brother to me. There had been many talks that James and I would end up getting
married. Neither he nor I really wanted that. Thus this was really just a gesture, as he did not really want to