The evening had called and it was time to pull the lovingly worn, but decidedly proud, faded brown velvet curtains. The sitting parlour was bathed in an inviting amber glow from the evening lamp, and a solitary candle stood lit on the fireplace mantle. It was Rose’s favourite room. In this room she was surrounded by the pleasantries that make life your own. The shining silver tea set rested contentedly on the well-oiled dark oak sideboard. A lace table runner covered the piano, which had been imported from Italy, and handed down by a beloved godmother. The inviting wing chair sat a gaze beyond the window, where she could look out on the sparsely wooded hillside sloping down to the road. Through the green mist of newborn spring foliage she could just catch a glimpse of the barn of a neighboring farm.
Rose came to this room often, and sat in the stillness of the twilight before the whole household arrived home from their various wanderings. She sought a certain solitude whenever she entered the parlour; not only a rest for her weary body, but a respite from all that sought to distract her soul. It was in these needful respites that she often let her hand fall and rest on the black leather Bible that sat on the ornate book rest near her wing chair. As if in an invisible transfusion, she often gained the refreshing she needed by simply resting her hand on that unopened book. A young child looking up would see her lips form the very words of scripture that were ingrained on the tablets of her heart.
It was during this blessed time of repose that a loud obtrusive slamming of the front door shook her out of her reverie. “Mummy, Mummy, where are you?”
“Right here, dear, in the sitting parlour,” Rose replied. A warm smile welcomed the eager little girl of 12 who hurriedly pushed open the parlour door.
Straining in the dim light of the room, the little girl walked confidently toward her mother. “Guess what happened to me today!” she proudly exclaimed. “You will never guess!” The mother gazed at her child, beaming at the vitality of life that shone brightly in her intense green eyes. He auburn hair was pulled back in a tight schoolgirl braid. “I was chosen to play the lead part in the school Festival Theatre! I will be playing Ophelia, the most romantic of leads! I will play her part with every centimeter and core of my being! I am Ophelia!” A dramatic fluttering of the hands completed the transformation that was occurring in the little girl
A contented smile wove its way across the mother’s face. “I am so proud of you, Leona, but remember that you promised to help care for Mrs. McKenzie’s two daughters in the afternoons this summer. I hope this doesn’t interfere with your commitment to them.”
“Oh no!” gasped Leona, “I can’t let the school down!” Rehearsals are every day until the play opens. I just can’t watch Mrs. McKenzie’s daughters.”
The mother’s knowing gaze lingered on her forlorn daughter. “Well dear, sometimes we have to choose the harder part. Obedience and integrity sometimes come at a great cost and the cost is mostly to us.” The girl leapt up. After patting down her starched school uniform, she proudly announced, “You’re right, Mother, so I guess Mrs. McKenzie will be needing some help from me in finding a replacement. I had better start by asking Jane across the way.” In a flash she disappeared out the parlous door.
“Leona, be back in five minutes,” called her mother. A sober pall fell on Rose’s heart. She sat back in the wing chair, her hand falling once again on the worn bible. An oft repeated prayer formed on the grateful lips of the mother even as a cry was uttered forth, “She has much to learn, Lord.”
To be continued…
If you are new to “The Paladini Potpie” or have not visited in awhile you might want to read about Jane Jardscg and how this Novel Adventure came to be.