Chapter Two: The Waiting

06 Oct

The next day a flurry of activity started.  There had been things to buy: books, pen nibs, satchels. I had a million questions to about my new school and schools in general because everything I knew came from books. Mother took the time to answer a few of my questions.

A few weeks into the preparations a delivery of bolts of white, black and navy fabric arrived. These were the colours of my new school and not long after that a letter arrived containing the school patterns so Nanny got to work.  I’d be at school for the spring and summer terms and I always tried not to shiver as the lightweight dresses were fitted. That’s an old Highlander tradition, that if you’re not shivering then you’re not really cold, and once you start then your body knows it’s cold so it won’t stop.  Mother used it on her wedding day and Papa swears lives at sea had been saved by not shivering so I had no doubt it was true. I still believe it to this day.

One day I was standing— not shivering— as I had my hem marked.  I looked into the mirror as Nanny knelt down. Would it be as good as what the other girls would be wearing? Would their fabric be finer or their stitches neater? The door to the sewing room was open a crack and I heard voices in the corridor.

“No, I haven’t received a reply, and I sent the letter off weeks ago. Yes, we’re still going! We need to get to the bottom of it all”

I brightened, it was Mother’s voice.

“Mother, come in and see my dress!” I called out to her. Sure enough, Mother came in with one of her society friends.

“Oh Bobbie, just perfect! Give us a twirl!” Mother said.

“Let me lift you down Miss Roberta.” Nanny said. “I don’t want you stuck by a pin.”

I let Nanny lift me down then I did a twirl while mother and her friend— a Mrs Morgan— made all the appropriate sounds.

“I can’t believe my little baby is so grown up!” Mother said. I smiled. At last the dress had her seal of approval!

Closer to the date of leaving there were the guests to be received and gifts to be accepted.  Most of the gifts were small and practical such as a new needle case or pincushion but a good many were purely decorative and for me to “do up my room” at school in a manner to my own fancy. For Christmas Mother gave me a beautiful bedspread to take away with me and Father, who was in the middle of the Tangarian ocean, send me a box of paints and a beautiful carved pen handle.

Winter passed and it was spring before I knew it.  I had been ticking of the months, then the weeks and finally the days before our departure.  Mother had a farewell party for me where I said my final goodbyes to the ladies of society.  It was a funny feeling, walking down the stairs to the ballroom, knowing that it would be another six months before I would do this again.

Finally I crossed off the last box and it was the night before we left.

I crept into bed and lay beneath the covers in the darkness, my mind spinning.  Over the months there had been new dresses and books and a million questions and all of a sudden I felt nervous for the first time.

Suddenly I heard the door squeak and a light step in my room.  I cautiously looked over my shoulder and who should it be but Elen?

“I thought I might come tuck you in.”  she said.

I grinned, Elen used to tuck me in every night when I was little, but I was too old for such things now.  I would miss Elen so much, she wouldn’t be able to come see me off at my new school because it would be unfitting for a girl like her to make her own way back.  Elen was the younger of my two nursery maids and had been hired when she was but twelve years old when I was a baby.  The two of us were firm friends.

“I wonder what the other girls will think of me there.”  I said as she sat on the side of my bed.  “What if they think I’m just some girl from the colonies and not worth their notice?”

“Nonsense!”  Elen said soothingly.  “They will think you are just wonderful, just like we all do.  Who on God’s earth couldn’t love our little Bobbie?”

“Thank you Elen!”  I gave her a big hug.

“Oh, sweet-pea!”  Elen bent down and kissed me.

“Now you better get to sleep, you have an early start and a big day ahead of you tomorrow!”


“Goodnight poppet.”


Posted by on 6th October, 2012 in Future's Present


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12 responses to “Chapter Two: The Waiting

  1. medleymisty

    7th October, 2012 at 13:00

    Found this through your comment on Kaydee’s story, The Runners.

    I quite like it, with the proper tone. I grew up reading 19th century classics.

    I looked for the scifi elements, but so far I haven’t seen them. But then, I can be slow like that sometimes. Very much looking forward to seeing how you develop them. 🙂

    • kathleen

      7th October, 2012 at 20:30

      Thank you so much for your comment!
      I also grew up reading the 19th century classics and school stories are a favourite of mine.

      Thanks for letting me know how your sci-fi element spotting is going! They ARE really subtle so far and the sort of ones you might pick up on later when I refer back to them. Of course, Bobbie doesn’t know about the sci-fi things going on, so it’s interesting trying to let the reader in on what the narrater doesn’t know.
      I hope you enjoy the story as it progresses!

  2. jadiss55

    10th October, 2012 at 12:44

    Oooh, I like your pictures and plot – keep going!

    • kathleen

      10th October, 2012 at 12:48

      Thank you very much! The pictures are something I’m trying really hard to work on, so I’m glad you like them. And yes, I am going to keep going! 😀 Thank you for your comment!

  3. ghekate

    14th October, 2012 at 21:20

    Bobbi is so adorable! I don’t know why I feel so nervous for her about going away to the new city and school.

    • kathleen

      14th October, 2012 at 21:44

      Thank you! Bobbie is sweet, isn’t she? It would be a pretty scary thing for her, going off to school with all the changes etc. I’ve also tried to do a bit of foreshadowing in this chapter 😉

  4. ghekate

    5th November, 2012 at 12:22

    The mailbox and picture of the car?

    • kathleen

      5th November, 2012 at 12:28

      Picture of the car– yup. Mailbox… oops? Man you did well spotting the mailbox though! I There might be a few mailboxes in a few pictures, never thought about those. I could, however, work that into the plot. Hmmm….

      • ghekate

        5th November, 2012 at 12:35

        No worries, I didn’t see mailboxes anywhere else lol!

  5. daijahv

    6th February, 2013 at 03:27

    She and Elen seem really close. It’s nice that she has someone like that she can talk and relate to. I’m sure with her Mom always so busy she’s needed someone for sure. Elen seems really nice and I like that she went back to “tradition” and tucked her in, seems like she will miss Bobbie when she’s gone.

    One thing I noticed:

    Beneath the picture that starts: “Closer to the date” where Bobbie is coming down the stairs for the party – the end of the first two paragraphs is repeated.

    • kathleen

      6th February, 2013 at 12:40

      I really love Elen, she is one of my favourite characters. Thank you so much for noticing the paragraph! I can’t believe that went for so long without being spotted! It was a copy and paste fail.


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