“More tea, darling?”
Amelia looked at her half-full cup of tea placed right in front of her on the table. She realised Mother was just trying to point out she would like more tea and it was Amelia who was supposed to offer it.
“No, thank you. How kind of you to ask.” Amelia smiled absentmindedly and nodded towards the servant to serve Mother another cup of tea.
“I still don’t understand why you insist on serving afternoon tea on the terrace. Such extravaganza.” Amelia loved being outside in the summer. It was such a lovely weather. She was tempted to adjust her large straw hat that was shielding all the sun away from her face, so her skin stayed pale. The white ribbon was matching the scarf with expensive lacing, making her red lips stand out. Then she realised that would look way too vulgar and stopped her hand midway. Instead, she placed her hands in her lap, looking at Mother attentively.
“It was so nice of George to bring Miss Cavesham and her parents over for dinner.” Mother had been so eager to meet her that Amelia was a bit surprised George hadn't introduced them earlier. After all, it was time for him to settle down. She nodded in agreement.
“She is such an agreeable creature, Miss Cavesham. I think her eyes are her most striking feature, don’t you think Amelia?” Amelia thought that possibly the most striking feature of poor Miss Cavesham was her dowry that would allow both her and George to lead a comfortable life. But truth be told, Miss Cavesham was as good as any of the other young girls in desperate search for an appropriate husband.
“You could be almost sisters, you look so similar. And the way they look together.” Amelia was not sure how they compared with Miss Cavesham. Where Amelia had warm chocolate eyes, Miss Cavesham had blue. Amelia’s hair was dark brown, while Miss Cavesham’s hair was somewhere middle way between blond and brown. Miss Cavesham’s eyes were full of admiration for George where he was kind yet a bit distant. Amelia smiled at the thought of George’s eyes warming up when he saw her.
“Truly, they are an ideal couple,” Mother continued. It was true. Miss Cavesham was everything a second son with no prospects of coming into money could wish for. As for George, he was trading his name and family connections. Match made in heaven.
“You will help her, won’t you Amelia? With a little polishing, she will be an amazing hostess. She reminds me so much of you at her age, “ Mother said warmly. Amelia realised how much it was true. She was sweet sixteen-year-old girl when she met George at a country dance and fell in love. Life was full of opportunities and promises. She was seventeen, a grown-up woman when she married George’s older brother. He was rich and with a title, she was young, beautiful and penniless. Match made in heaven. Ten years later she was a distinguished lady of the manor entertaining her mother in law, wearing expensive pearl earrings and matching necklace as was the fashion of the time.
“Of course Mother,” Amelia said with a kind smile.