“T-Theodore, I-I am sorry.”
Theodore shook his head, placing a hand to his forehead.
“I am the one who should be apologising to you. For a moment there, I fear that I sounded so much like Mother and was out of line, I did not mean to snap.”
Jane’s expression softened. “No matter, are we going into town this morning?”
“Have you forgiven me?”
“Thank goodness. Yes, Mr Howard is just seeing if the groom is ready.”
“Why yes, he is going to be our escort.”
“Oh, I see.” She muttered, unimpressed. “Why do we need one?”
Theodore raised an eyebrow. “I think you know the answer, it is not…”
“I despise being watched over by him, you know that! What are going to be doing?”
“I explained yesterday.”
“And I have forgotten Theodore, must you patronise me?”
Theodore wondered if she had been listening. He sighed, for he was racked with nerves and hated how she criticised Mr Howard. He smiled and immediately felt better.
“Why are you smiling for no reason?”
“Father always told me to smile when I am nervous.”
“Oh, but then people might think that you are a little bit simple.”
“I am no more simple than the next fool!”
Lady Jane huffed and rolled her eyes. “Do what you must Theodore, I do not care one bit.”
“Shall we go, Lady Jane?”
“If it pleases you.”
Theodore offered her his arm, gritting his teeth. This was going to be a tedious day.
Bonnie checked every, single vegetable ensuring that they were all unmarked and clean. She dressed in her every day dress and pulled her hair back into a neat bun. Bonnie placed the vegetables in a large basket and arranged them as neatly as she could into rows. Maira sighed and looked up at her from where she was knitting.
“Are you sure that you don’t mind?”
“Of course not! We need this extra money.”
Maira nodded. “Have you had breakfast?”
“Yes, of course. I always do.”
Bonnie pulled on her black bonnet and shawl and set off to market. The basket was full and made her forearm ache terribly, but she willed herself not to cuss or complain inside her head.
“I’m sorry that I am doing this Father, but I do fear that Mother would have kittens and refuse to speak to me if I cut my hair again. Please don’t let me make a fool of myself and send a wee bit of money my way.”
She arrived at market and placed her basket down, placing it on her stand. She glanced around at the other stall keepers and felt incredibly out-of-place. The first customer came along and Bonnie forced a small smile, despite her dreary mood.
“What are you selling?”
“Fruit and vegetables, they’re all home-grown in our garden.”
“What do you charge per item?”
“Hmm, I don’t know.”
“Very well then, I’ll have an apple please.”
Bonnie pointed to one of the large cooking apples. “They’re very nice in pies.”
“One of those, then.”
She took her money and handed over the apple, putting the two-pence safely in her apron pocket.
After an hour or so passed she had sold five of the items. Bonnie was grateful for the little stool she had been given. She froze, for across the way walked a finely dressed young couple, arm in arm. The gentleman wore a midnight blue tail coat, with shiny black buttons and gloves to match. His top hat was so very tall. It couldn’t be, she thought. Bonnie did a double take and examined them again. Although she had never seen him before, Bonnie was sure that the young gentleman was Prince Theodore for he fitted her Father’s description to a tee. A servant stood but a few places away from them. Bonnie thought that she must look frightful, but she pinched her cheeks, re-pinned the sides of her hair and adjusted her dress accordingly. She listened in to their conversation and…
“Your Father is too quiet; that is why!”
“Shh, Lady Jane it is not your place to make such accusations. Please don’t say any more.”
“As you wish. I want to go, this is so dull, Theodore.”
Bonnie opened and closed her mouth. It was Prince Theodore, and how stunning they both looked as a couple. Lady Jane stroked Theodore’s arm which she held in her grasp and whispered something in his ear. He smiled a little and shook his head. Lady Jane tried to kiss him, but he pulled away.
“Oh Theodore!” She sighed. “Please don’t be a cold fish.”
“Eyes are watching us, Lady Jane.”
“But Mr Howard is looking at that stall over there.” She pointed over to Bonnie’s stall as they neared it. “Just look at her carrot hair!” Lady Jane giggled.
“It’s called auburn.” Theodore corrected. “And what precisely is wrong with it, my hair is of a chestnut shade is it not?”
“Yes, but it isn’t bright red, and just look at her shabby clothes.”
“Jane, you are out of line!” Theodore’s eyes widened and he shook his head.
Bonnie had heard every single word, she pressed her lips together. If only the finely dressed woman knew of her pain. She turned her head away, so that they couldn’t see her crying. Lady Jane sighed and stormed to the next stall. To her dismay, Prince Theodore walked towards her stall. He was just as stunning as her Mother and Father had said, with perfect skin and silky, chestnut hair. Theodore smiled and Bonnie’s heart froze, as the warm tears rested on her cheeks.
“Good day.” He spoke with such beautiful diction, that Bonnie’s jaw almost dropped open.
“Your Grace?” Bonnie squeaked.
“Why, yes.” He laughed.
Bonnie curtsied quickly. “Um, I-I am pleased to make your acquaintance, your Grace.” She said, in little more than a whisper.
“And I yours.” He picked up an apple with his thumb and forefinger and examined it. “They look like lovely apples, are they home-grown?”
“Then I’ll take two, please.”
He selected the two and handed her a one guinea coin. Bonnie panicked, for she did not have much change in her pocket.
“Excuse me, but I-I am afraid that I cannot take-” Bonnie began.
“I don’t need change. I insist.” Theodore stated in such a sincere way, that Bonnie just
nodded, a little flustered. She glanced at his warm eyes and relaxed. Lady Jane marched over again, taking a firm grip of Theodore’s arm. She didn’t even acknowledge Bonnie and began to pull him away.
“Theodore, what are you doing?”
“I am buying an apple.”
“I am sure that the young woman has a name.”
She pulled at his arm. “You cannot be seen doing that!”
“Doing what exactly?”
“Talking to scruffy, ugly, commoners. I think it is you who is out of line! Come away this instant, Theodore!”
“She has feelings too and she wasn’t ugly at all.”
“She is poor, the poor don’t.”
Theodore shook his head and turned to Bonnie as Lady Jane turned her back to them and walked away. “Sorry.” He mouthed.
Bonnie took a deep breath and plucked up every ounce of courage within her.
“P-pray forgive me, but I couldn’t help but admire your suit.”
“Why thank you, it isn’t particularly new. It was made in a local tailor shop beginning with ‘V’, gosh I wish I could recall the sir name of the person who actually made it, but it was something Irish or Scottish sounding.”
“Why, yes!” Theodore beamed. “Mr McGrath must be exceptionally talented, for it is the nicest suit I have ever owned. Good day to you.”
©Sophie Bowns 2011-2014