Virginia: Chapter Two
Virginia thought she would die of boredom. She was sitting in her
parent’s parlor with a man named Pierre Haineau. He was a banker fifteen
years her senior and was telling her a story about what he considered
to be an amusing incident that happened at the bank a few weeks back.
Unfortunately, it was no amusing by any stretch of the imagination. Virginia
continued to nod and smile at him and make interested “hmm” noises occasionally,
but all she could think about was how her parent’s connections had not
produced a single man who was interesting, charming, or even slightly
artistic. She continued to drop hints to her parents that she might find
someone along those lines to be good marriage material, but they were
apparently too dense to catch on. It would appear that Virginia would
have to suffer through many nights of tedious anecdotes.
After what seemed like an eternity, Monsieur Haineau finally announced
that he had to be leaving. Bidding her bon nuit, he gave her a prim bow
and left. Virginia heaved a heavy sigh and started to walk upstairs
to her room.
“Virginia,” said her mother behind her, “Tomorrow Monsieur Laroche
will be calling.”
“Oh?” Virginia said, trying to feign interest. “And what does
this Monsieur Laroche do?”
“Why, he is an art dealer. Hopefully, you two will have something
to talk about.”
Virginia smiled and kissed her mother goodnight. At last!
The next evening, Virginia readies herself for Monsieur Laroche’s
arrival. She wore her finest silk dress, pale lavender that complemented
her pale complexion and blonde curly hair. She admired herself in the
mirror. She had a petite frame that made her look younger than her 15
years at first glance, but she had developed womanly curved over the
last few years. She was looking forward to tonight. Hopefully, this
Monsieur Laroche would be able to introduce her to some successful artists.
She would try her best to win him over tonight. She just hoped he had
more interesting stories than all her other suitors. She was putting
on the last touches of her elaborate up-do, when she heard the bell.
She waited to hear the butler announce the arrival of Monsieur Laroche
before making her way downstairs. She heard him greeting her parents
and as she began to descend that staircase, she caught her first glimpse
of him and gasped. He was impeccably dressed, even if his clothing was
a bit old fashioned. He was wearing a long black jacket, which had obviously
been tailored to fit. Underneath that, he wore a black shirt, a black
brocade vest, and a red cravat. He removed his top hat and she noticed
his hair for the first time. It was black and wavy, perfectly groomed
so that it rested on his shoulders, framing his face. She caught his eyes
and was thrown off guard by how deep a shade of blue they were. A sparkle
came to his eyes as he suddenly smiled at her and bowed deeply.