Chapter 3 The Audience
Scene 1 Waking Up
It felt like the ground was shaking as her eyes opened. There was little light in the room. It took a moment for her to remember where she was. When she did though she realized that it was Mrs. Wellman that was shaking her. She sat up in bed and rubbed her eyes. The room looked the same as when she went to bed as it was still dark. One thing had changed though. Her dress was hanging on the front of the wardrobe. “You finished it?”
“Of course. I might not be an old spinster, but I can sew like one.”
“I hope you weren’t up all night working on that, I would feel bad.”
“I wasn’t. it was actually very little work. I just worked on it while Harold sat and read his papers for the day. We usually sit by the fire for a while each night. You extended out nightly schedule a bit, but nothing I cant handle. Never mind that though. It is time for you to get up and get ready.”
“The sun isn’t even up yet, why do I have to. This might be the last time I can sleep in for a while.”
“We have a lot of work to do before you go see the Lord.”
“I am not seeing him though, I am just seeing if they have any jobs. I might end up on a farm outside of town milking cows. There is no need to go out of your way.”
“I know your father raised you to be stubborn, but did you ever think that you might meet a nice man today as well?”
“What does meeting a nice man have to do with anything. Most of them around here my age are just apprentices of general workers like I will be.”
“Silly girl. Lord Umberton doesn’t come this was too often. many of the more well to do families will be visiting as well seeking an audience. Many of them have sons.”
It dawned on her then. With all of the wealthy families coming to see the Lord maybe she could catch the eye of one of them. It wasn’t the best outcome for her but it might be a way to help her family more than just getting a menial job. It didn’t seem much better than an arranged marriage, but then again she could at least see what was out there and more than likely meet someone her own age. She hadn’t planned on even thinking about starting a family for a while yet. She was of the normal marrying age though, so she guessed that it wouldn’t hurt.
“Well hurry up and get out of that nightgown. I have to work on your hair, maybe even some makeup,” Mrs. Wellman added.
“You have makeup?” Angilik asked. It was a rare thing to have access too in these parts.
“Well I have to admit I used it for social events like today when i was a younger woman and even then it was years ago. I did manage to find some old items. I am not sure how good they are or if they will even look good on you. So you need to get a move on so we can find out.”
She got up and changed quickly before she was dragged downstairs and fed a fast breakfast. Then Mrs. Wellman put her in a chair and started to work on her hair. It seemed that it took forever. The older woman even started over a couple of times. Angilik’s hair was just above her shoulders when it was let all the way out. She usually kept it in a pony tail, so she knew she did not have a lot to work with. However long it did take though it seemed like forever. The sun had come up while she was doing it. After she was done Mrs. Wellman pulled out a small box that Angilik assumed held the make up. She then started to apply some of that.
Mr. Wellman made his way down to the dining room shortly after sunrise and stopped as soon as he walked in. “My Lord.”
“What is it?” Mrs. Wellman asked as she stopped and looked at her husband.
“I have only seen that kind of beauty once before.”
“And where would that have been?” his wife asked with a raised eyebrow.
“On my wedding day.”
Angilik could have sworn at that moment that the older woman turned a solid shade of red while she was blushing. “Now I remember why I fell in love with you.”
“Well I mean your sister was stunning that day…..”
Mrs. Wellman must have turned younger for a minute after that comment as she turned and threw the container she had in her hand at her husband almost as fast as anyone Angilik had ever seen. “You old coot you,” she yelled.
“I am kidding darling, of course I meant you,” he said as he dodged the assault attempt. They both stated laughing while the young woman looked at both of them embarrassed. “Well I am off. I have to oversee all of the final arrangements so that our Mayor can of course take credit for them.”
“As usual then. Our little darling her will be along shortly. If you get a chance make sure to look out for her.”
“I was hoping that you might escort her dear. Lord Umberton is having a special lunch for all of the town officials and their spouses later. i was hoping you could attend with me after Angilik sees what the world has to offer her.”
“I would be delighted.” With that Mr. Wellman departed.
Scene 2 The Market
Angilik was out in front of the house and then remembered that she forgot to ask where in town the Lord was holding his audience. Then again she figured she would just follow the crowd and could find it herself. This was of course one of the biggest events to happen here in a long time and thus the people would go to where the action was. She also figured with all of the people in town to include lesser noble and merchants she might have a better chance at finding a good job if the Lord wasn’t hiring.
The first place she went was the outer edge of the market. She could already tell that many more merchants were here than the day before. With more people, many of them rich, coming to town it made sense to set up shop and try to make a sale if one could. This was another reason that Mr. Wellman was late she thought to herself. All the extra vendors and people would definitely make his job a bit more demanding at times like this.
She saw a lot of things that she would like to buy as she made her way around the edge. Her goal was to make it to the center to check the jobs board and maybe catch her old friend since he would have knowledge about anything that might interest her. As she made her way through the crowd she started to notice the way people were looking at her. At first she thought nothing of it. Soon though it was just not how they were looking at her, but how they were acting as well. The crowd looked big to her and when she occasionally glanced over from the booths she could see people moving slowly as they were packed in together. It was on one of these glances that she noticed around here there was plenty of room.
It was as if the crowd was giving her room to move, trying to stay out of her way. When she would try to look at someone directly, they adverted their gaze to the ground. “What is going on?” she thought to herself. She looked back towards the vendors and stopped at one. He was selling mirrors and other such household items. She stared in amazement at her reflection then it all made sense. She had left the Wellman’s without taking a moment to look at what Mrs. Wellman had done. She was satisfied when the elderly woman said she was ready to go. What she saw in the mirror was almost nothing like she had seen before. Maybe once or twice when her mother was alive and got all done up for events like this.
It wasn’t ego or narcissism that she caught up in. Just the shock of how beautiful she had been done up. The dress added all the additional flavor as well. It was tailored almost perfectly and the makeup accentuated her facial features like nothing she had seen before. Her hair was so nice as well. Everyone must have thought she was a noble woman. Angilik had butterflies in her stomach. Now the thoughts of nabbing a noble husband were becoming a serious thought. She looked around for a moment and could see no one else even close to be done up like her.
“If the Lady likes the mirror we can have delivered to where she is staying,” a voice said.
She looked up and the vendor of the booth was talking to her. She hesitated a moment, “No that is fine, I am just looking.”
“Very well ma’am, if there is anything that you like just say so. I will be more than happy to help you.”
She made her way towards the next row. Then a familiar voice called out to her. She looked and saw Mrs. Wellman. She was actually relieved. Everyone else was acting like she was abnormal, it was making her very uncomfortable. She approached the woman, “What did you do to me?”
“I admit it is not my best work, I did what i could with you in the time allotted,” she said with a smile.
“Everyone thinks I am nobility or something. You have seen how they are reacting to me.”
“Well yes. I thought we were trying to make your chances of getting work better.”
“Looking like this makes me feel like getting a husband would be a better choice.”
“What is so bad about that. Harold and I were married because our parents wanted us too. Though to be fair we did know each other for years.”
“Exactly. I don’t even know if I want to get married.”
“Tell you what, let’s go see Harold and see what is going on. Then we can go from there.”
“That sounds good. Getting somewhere I don’t stand out as much would be a good thing.”
“My dear, I think you will stand out wherever you go here.” With that the pair headed towards the center of the market.
Scene 3 Job Market
Mr. Wellman was surrounded by a group of younger men. As they approached they could see him talking to one, then that man would run off. Sometimes with papers, sometimes not. He would then turn to the next man and talk to him resulting in the same action. Angilik assumed he was issuing orders to make sure that things were running smoothly. They came up to his booth and Mrs. Wellman spoke, “I would think at your age this would tire you out, but I see you love all the activity.”
Mr. Wellman turned and looked as his wife. He walked to her and the two kissed. Angilik noticed that the group of men around him were now all staring at her. The people at the center of the market we better dressed and she could tell they were nobles and merchants here. A large tent, almost the size of a house was also on the outer edge of the area. She assumed this is where Lord Umberton was holding audience and why all the higher class people were here.
After carefully looking though she realized that there were few women here and that she still stood out. Mr. Wellman touched her shoulder, “Lost in thought dear?”
She looked at him, paused. Then did a curtsey like she was taught to do. She knew that out in public she should treat him according to his position as the town administrator. To give him the respect a man of his status deserved, then she spoke. “I didn’t realize I was overdressed for the occasion.”
“Well that you might be, but I would think it is doing very well for you. Though I would like to point out I don’t think any of these young men here are worth your time. You would have better luck over there,” he said while pointing to what looked like the start of the line to see the Lord.
There were a lot of men her age and a little older standing in all their finery. Some even had fancy swords hanging from their hips. One looked her way at Mr. Wellman who was pointing. It didn’t take long before his gaze turned to her though. Soon many of the men in the line were looking at her. She looked back at Mr. Wellman, “So do you know if the Lord is hiring anyone for a job?”
“Unfortunately he is just here to see to the needs of the people. He makes these round every couple of years to here from his subjects. There are however some fine opportunities from some of the more well to do merchant families. I can direct you to them if you like, or even have them come here. I have to warn you though, because of what befell your father I don’t know if they would offer you anything commensurate of your true skills.”
Before she answered she looked back at the line of nobles. Many were talking amongst them selves. A couple looked like they were leaving the line or at least thinking about it. She assumed it was to come over and talk to her. She also knew that if they were here representing their families and they lost their place in line that it would upset their families. So they were struggling with that fact as well, duty or passion. It was making her very uncomfortable. “I think I need to find somewhere I can think Mr. Wellman.” With that comment she lifted her dress on both sides and took off at a brisk pace. She was able to move quickly through the crowd as they gave her a wide berth when she approached. She disappeared into the town.