Thursday, 21 June 2007

Part II..the plan

There was a party, a ball at the castle in April of the year I turned sixteen. My first ball! I went to London with Mrs. Davidson my governess and bought my first pair of high heel shoes, three-inch Bally black suede with peek-a boo toes. The seamstress came to the castle to measure me for my first gown that she ordered from Paris. I spent two months in fittings and practice walking up and down, back and forth the hallway upstairs in those damn shoes and up and down the stairway to the foyer below.

“Look up, never down. Lift your chin, shoulders back, and smile confidently,” said Mrs. Davidson over and over from her position in the comfortable chair at the end of the hallway. “Keep the book steady. Don’t wobble. Glide. Glide.” Like a metronome she recited the phrases again and again, as I stumbled, then tromped, and finally – glided up the hallway and down the stairs!!

In preparation for the night of the ball I had drawn up a battle plan that would make Patton proud. I was leaving nothing to chance. I needed him to see I was not a child any longer; alright still not old enough for him to consider romantically, but no longer a child.

I had called everyone together in a meeting. After securing their co-operation, I assigned positions and tasks. Dr. Hogan, Dr. Chang, and Sir Angus Campbell were to secure him at the doorway just inside the foyer, while I made my entrance from upstairs. After engaging him in conversation, they were to watch for the sign from Mabel the maid who would be collecting the coats and wraps at the door. She would be signaled by Maise the upstairs maid who would ring the bell for the dumb waiter. Once I started my walk to the staircase, the men were to turn him facing the staircase.

The staircase in the Castle Dunvegan is one of those grand affairs of stone. It runs along the side of the entry wall starting at the width of five feet and gradually widening each step until the last step as you enter the foyer is twelve feet across. Once you commit yourself to the middle of the case there is no banister for support.

My gown was emerald green silk with a satin bodice and darker green underskirt. It came off one shoulder, cinched at the waist and opened out into a heavy bell skirt. It floated when I walked. I had never felt so beautiful or so terrified. What if I stumbled? What if I fell?! I could feel the silk against my skin, cool and sliding with each step. The weight of my hair felt odd so high on my head, like a piled up bit of laundry. I was too chicken to have my ears pierced, so I had the heavy clip on emeralds that Van Cleefs had sent from London. They were drop earring with just enough dangle to refract the light from the overhead chandeliers.

More?

24 comments:

Mama Zen said...

More!

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Yes more! What happened to that gorgeous dress?

marymaryquitecontrary said...

You really are a Lady!! My first 'ball' was to the local Town Hall;where I jived and twisted the night away with my friends. Have just seen that very staircase on the Castle website.

debio said...

More, more - I can't wait. Won't be late tomorrow - just hope you're having the same weekend as me.....

lady macleod said...

mama zen

by your command. thank you for coming by.


WUASTC

All righty. It had its day and went to live somewhere else. It was so beautiful (sigh). thank you for coming by.

Kaycie said...

Yes, of course, we need more!

Brillig said...

I too have been going through the castle website, with the crazy realization that I have BEEN THERE. I can hardly believe that you are one of THE MacLeods!!!

This story is so wonderful and so beautifully told. I feel like I've stepped into a rich and delicious romantic movie. I can hardly wait for part 3!!!

lady macleod said...

marymaryquitecontrary

I remember the twist! I learned that dance some years later in the bathroom at Maxims's in Paris. I was such a dork I had no idea how to do any modern dances. Oh my I have to go to see if I can find this photograph. Thank you for coming by.


debio

is this a hint that you are having a fab time my friend? what's doing? thank you for coming by - at whatever time.


kaycle

good, i always like to check... thank you for coming by.


brillig

When were you at Dunvegan? I have to get to this website! Thank you for the kind words, and thank you for coming by. I hope you are feeling better!

The Good Woman said...

Gosh Lady M! Is this real? I want it to be, but it all seems so fairytale.

Scruffy Mummy said...

Sounds like a beautiful fairtale.

Oh, I just read a comment of yours at SAHD on in the midnight garden and I wanted to say I am a child of the 70's and I loved Mr. Rogers - it's a beautiful day in the neighbourhood!

mutterings and meanderings said...

fab....

Omega Mum said...

I am loving this though vaguely confused as to centuries. You're not doing a Time Traveller's wife on us, are you? - this really is how the other half (no, make that the top 2%) lives in the 20th/21st century. I love the maids with their M-names.....You are basically born to private jets and gorgeous men with all the trappings etc etc. Get the lot. And love. And a happy ending. And do it for the rest of us.Phew. That's better.

lady macleod said...

good woman

i will go with that description as long as you remember that fairy tales come with monsters. i could have done without that bit. thank you for coming by.


scruffy mummy

yes, Mr. Rodgers! better than a shot of 10 mg of Valium in the bum! thank you for coming by.


m&m

curtsy. thank you for coming by.


omega mum

well some one HAS to do it eh? perhaps you can come over for tea to check i have it just right.. perhaps Hassan can find something for Francis to take away some of the saudi oil millions...again, someone has to do it!
thank you for coming by.

jenny said...

..~**!sputter!**~.. More? You're ASKING if I want MORE??? OF COURSE I WANT MORE!!

What's the website?? Lemme see!

Sigh... Lady M, you may have been raised in a castle and surrounded with all sorts of lovely characters, but inside, you were just like the rest of us at 16-- of course at 16, I didnt have a man I wanted to marry. I'll be back tomorrow!

I Beatrice said...

I too have been to visit the castle online - and having it in my mind will add an even more romantic and thrilling dimension to the story. Do please go on!
Though let us linger a little here and there too, won't you?

(How do Macleods and Campbells get on btw? I'm a Campbell through my mother - will that put the tartans in a twist?)

jmb said...

What a place to leave us, she says, gnashing her teeth. Usually your posts are long but it seems this one just got going and poof. Come back soon!
Hair like laundry, not a good simile. That will never impress.
regards
jmb

Stay at home dad said...

This had something that reminded me of Emma Bovary's wide-eyed amazement. Though she was of course merely an interloper and you were obviously born to it...

Drunk Mummy said...

As someone who spends an inordinate amount of time in a dressing gown, I have to say this is wonderful escapism!

lady macleod said...

jenny

So you want more? I had never been to see that site myself. Nice of the gardens, but doesn't show much inside the hoose.
I was the same as sixteen; I spent the majority of my time in wellies and "hip hugger jeans", and a cap to cover my waist length unruly mop of hair. I never wore makeup but when someone else applied it, and the majority of the time my nose was stuck in a book.
...but I did have John, or at least the dream of him. thank you for coming by.


i beatrice

i don't quite know how to work that... i had planned this just as the story of that one instance, but if you all want more story we can put it in between the tales of Moroco?
ooch, Clan Campbell. right powerful family you had there. like most of the clans we go on well as long as our interest did not clash. John Mcleod Campbell was a 19th century theologian that would fit nicely in your story i should think.
thank you for coming by.


jmb

if you knew my hair, you would know that laundry is one of the kinder adjectives i have applied!
thank you for coming by


stay at home dad

poor Emma, i read that story when i was far too young to get the nuances. such a sad tale of unrealized hope and longing, don't you think?
thank you for coming by.


drunk mummy

good! thank you for coming by.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

now I thought that Lady Mcleod was a cutesy blog name, are you really a lady?! I notice I am cutting to the chase and everyone else is being vague...i'm such a commoner
Pigx

Gledwood said...

I used to live in a big shared house with 6 other people. One of my housemates was a teacher. She got invited to a "May Ball" ... so she duly went out and spent over £300 on a ball gown ... came back devastated and in disbelief ... "I wore a ball gown to the ball and everyone else wore cocktail dresses ..." Ooer, you live and learn. For that money she could have bought something really nice and saved for later ... What really did it for her was when someone else in the ladies elbowed her outta the way at the mirror and remarked on the "meringue" she was wearing. O dear!
Charming blog you've got here. I am a blogger too (what a surprise!) I'm at http://gledwood2.blogspot.com if you want to drop by you're most welcome. See you there hopefully~ all the best
from
Gledwood
"vol 2" ...

lady macleod said...

piggy

if i tell it all now, there will be no mystery. what do you think eh? thank you for coming by.

gledwood

a sale tale about your friend. thank you for coming by.

Andres Carl Sena said...

is there a fall in ordeer. . . .

KarenO said...

I read this post yesterday and didn't have time to comment. *sigh* Your memories are so beautiful !