Monday, July 15, 2013

A Debuntante through the years

Edwardian Debutante


I am sorry I have not posted much of my story here... I have been writing I promise. As I have said in the past I usually have to write out my story in my notebook and then I type it up. Unfortunately with the heat wave we have had in Boston  and also due to some of the emotional issues I have shared I have not had the energy to sit at my computer and typed it up. As I have postponed my thesis I want to spend more time fun writing and then typing it up. In my story I am up to the year 1913. Daphne, the oldest daughter is now being presented into society. I was first introduced to the idea of a debutante through Gilmore Girls... though the debutantes have changed over time there definitely something very traditional about them.

I know it is old fashioned but there seems something about a girls debut that seems so nostalgic. In the books I have been reading The Dream Kingdom and The Restless Sea the author Cynthia Harrod-Eagles makes a girl's first season to be the height of their life. It is also a pivotal point in a girl's life... it is here the girl can finally leave the home and perhaps have some adventure. It is also during the season a girl had hopes to find love and marriage. (I had truly wished Downton Abbey had shown Lady Sybil's season.)

The book To Marry an English Lord writes "In the June fortnight between the Derby and Ascot, the seasons reaches its peak. Invitations like in stacks on silver salvers just inside every front door. More dinners, parties, balls, concerts, teas, breakfast even, than anyone can possibly attend. The aristocracy socializes morning, noon, and night, going without sleep for the sake of another dance or one last hand of 'baccy'" (p. 25).


And now it is Daphne's turn to partake...

          It was now the early spring of 1913.  My sister, Daphne, was now eighteen and the height of her beauty and was preparing to be presented in society. Lady Adelaide had slowly come back to us, though she was forever weakened. She could be lively when she need be. Lady Adelaide had generously invited the position of tutoring and hosting Daphne for the season. When I asked her if she was sure about this position knowing how her heartache when Aurora died, she promised she was certain. Daphne was to attend the best of society. Father grumbled at the dressmaker's bill but mother  knew it was all the key to getting Daphne married off well. Mother wanted Daphne to be the talk of the town and mother was repeatedly telling Daphne she had the beauty to capture a viscount or earl if she put her mind to it.

      Daphne and I spent most of the spring practicing dancing and other refined manners. Mother though t best that I too be prepared for my debut. Of course by the time my presentation would come we would be at war and the season was hardly thought of. However, for now I was happy to have such an open time at Cranston Court. I enjoyed being able to see Lady Adelaide most everyday and I felt our presence was a comfort to her since Lord Welford had been splitting  his time between York and Manchester only rarely coming to Cranston. Parker was away at University and even when he had a holiday he spent it with some of his classmates. Marcus did the same.

      "Men were not to stay at the home," she once told me. I never knew if that was meant to console her heart or just a truth.

      And as Parker and Marcus were away Lady Adelaide enrolled Shane and Kelby to be our dance partners. Until now I only saw Daphne having a crush on Shane but it was during our time at Cranston I began to see Shane had feelings for Daphne. It all came on gradually it would be hard to pin point when I first notice an affection between them. Then one day we were dancing and the floor was too slippery and Daphne tripped and he gallantly picked her up and carried her to the sofa. I am sure any man would have done the same but there was a look that I saw pass between them. After that it was only looks I noticed. They had to be discreet as it would bring ruin to both Daphne and Shane if a servant to fall for a lady. While at this point it was only looks I never imagined either one of them would act on it. Daphne knew the desire mother had for her life and Daphne was the finest defender of propriety. So the moments of their affection would be off the page if it wasn't for my for my vivid imagination.

This has been particularly interesting in writing this part as my story is told from first person perspective, Rose's perspective and she is not with Daphne. So far letters have told the events of what is going but I need to think of other ways... perhaps more will be told when Daphne returns home.

Besides the books I have listed there have been some websites that have been quite helpful...


1 comment:

Lisa said...

Fun to read this bit of your story!