Write a post based on the contrast between two things — whether people, objects, emotions, places, or something else.
Poor Polly! Had she only known what awaited her on this visit to her cousin she would have stayed home! She still had 99 scarves to knit for the poor Newspaper Boys and 200 shirts to make for the orphans at her sister’s Orphanage. Plus she was on 76 committees and had 3 children and twins on the way. Her husband said it would be good for her to take a break but Doe, now Lady Doe due to her marriage and title, had changed. Oh, the wonderful times they had together as children! But now all ruined…..
Today’s twist: write your post in the form of a dialogue. You can create a strong opposition between the two speakers — a lovers’ quarrel or a fierce political debate, for example. Or you could aim to highlight the difference in tone and style between the two different speakers — your call!
Here is a shameless takeoff of Margaret Sidney’s books on the “Peppers” when Polly is a bit older——Sidney followed the “Pepper” family from youth all the way to adulthood in her many book series. I hope it’s ok to do a takeoff of her characters. The book is no longer copyrighted.
“Take a look at him,” said Doe as they sat in the park by the tennis courts at the country club.
Polly looked quickly at the handsome muscular young heir with the racquet and looked down. Doe was way too old for the boy. Wasn’t her new husband the love of her life?
“I don’t see much of anything,” replied Polly, he is still wet behind the ears.
“Oh, if only I could lure him to my boudoir for an afternoon,” she said giggling.
Polly was speechless. Alas this was only the beginning of her troubles visiting Lord and Lady Cake on the Upper Hudson.
Polly dressed with care for dinner. She came down into the Cake’s drawing room to be led into dinner by Horatio Swinefellow, a leading industrialist from Pittsburgh.
“You must try some more of this pudding,” said Swinefellow, shoveling up bites of it as fast as his little mouth could swallow them.
“Oh, I am alright,” returned Polly who carefully selected and ate her dinner slowly through the 20 course meal not wanting to overfill herself in her tight-laced gown. How would Jasper feel seeing her bursting out of the expensive wardrobe he had bought for her tall but delicate frame?
” I insist” continued Swinefellow who took the platter from the servant and dumped it all in Polly’s plate.
She gasped. Chocolate mousse with whipped cream and cherries were all over her dress!!!
“Excuse me,” gulped Polly, as she ran out of the dining room to her room to hide under the bed.
As she exited the dining room, Swinefellow was eating all the mousse off Polly’s plate.
In times past Polly and Doe had such good times together shopping and today they were going into New York. Polly had a few things she needed to get but mostly she liked to look as Jasper got her everything she wanted. As she followed Doe through the city Doe bought shoes, got fitted for new gowns, and bought some diamond earrings–all charged to Lord Cake’s account. Everything to be delivered, express to Cake Hall that day. All Polly had so far was some cloth for a winter cape she would have made at home and some stockings. Finally after 4 hours they stopped for lunch. Polly was panting with dehydration.
At lunch, while Polly nibbled on a salad, Lady Doe got a huge filet of salmon with French Fries and a huge piece of cake with 3 glasses of ale.
“Just LOOK at that ring,” choked Doe on some fish.
Lady Sparks had walked by with her new ring glittering on her finger along with her large group of friends all chatting and snorting in Lady Doe’s direction.
“Lord Cake didn’t give me half of that for our engagement,” fumed Lady Doe, “and he can well afford it. Look at that little slut! She was his nanny you know,”
“I feel sorry for his wife,” murmured Polly who was acquainted with her.
“Oh the BITCH deserved to be left,” railed on Doe, “she was meaner than a ball of snakes,” she hissed, her eyes glittering.
Polly slowly turned purple and asked to be excused to use the ladies room with the new flush toilets just installed last year.
Sunday morning Polly was up early in her beautiful amethyst silk church dress waiting for the carriage to take them to the little church that only served the exclusive people in the neighborhood. Lord Cake was up in his Sunday suit yawning and picking a piece of sausage out of his teeth while he waited with her.
“Where is Lady Doe?” asked Polly.
“Oh she doesn’t get up Sundays,” replied Lord Cake whose name was Theodore.
“She does not go to church?”
“No, Sunday is her day to relax”, replied Lord Cake, “she spends the whole day with the paper and solves all the puzzles takes a huge nap then gets up and has a pot of coffee and a pound of chocolate and paces the grounds all night talking to herself.”
“I think it would behoove her to come to church,” said Polly.
“Not really,” drawled Lord Cake, “she has the hots for the minister. I’d rather she didn’t go.”
Polly just hung her head to hide the tears that were coming. Oh WHERE was Mamsie??? Polly was now 35 years old but still liked to wail in Mamsie’s lap.
Only 1 more day to go, then the big ball Lady Doe was invited to, then HOME to Jasper and the kids….
Polly and Doe prepared for the ball together in Doe’s huge suite she kept separate from her husband.
“Hold on Polly,” said Doe, “Aimee will now tighten your laces.”
Doe’s beautiful little French maid pulled Polly’s laces so tight she gasped. “Eighteen inches!” Aimee proudly announced, and for a woman your age! Mademoiselle can only lace to 20! Doe shot Aimee a look that said “you are fired” and Aimee ran from the room.
Doe threw the curling iron at the door as she left and uttered a line of words better left out.
“That was my seventh maid this month!” she fumed. “They all HATE me!”
Lady Doe was resplendent in her green ballgown that sat off her shoulders and swept the floor. Her nails were painted green as well and she wore makeup. She had even put red hairpieces in her hair for a huge elaborate style. Polly was simply beautiful in her pink ballgown with flowers in her hair and ringlets by her face. She put on her pink slippers and watched Doe put on gold shoes with high heels with emeralds sewn in. When did Doe become like this? Her letters were always kind and chatty. Polly was beginning to see that wealth had ruined her old friend Doe.
As Lord and Lady Cake and Polly with her escort, Doe’s cousin Stanley stepped into the carriage the moonlit night was warm and flower scented. This would have been a perfect night to have a little walk with Jasper and the kids and maybe invite Phronsie.
In Mrs. Brown’s new Ballroom with electric lights the couples danced and danced. Polly had more dances than her card could hold and not one dance for her husband! She wondered what Dearly Departed Mr. King would have thought about the company she kept this week. Grandpapa would have been furious!
Finally, breathless from 20 dances in her 18 inch corset, Polly got Stanley to bring her an ice. He was good for THAT at least.
Doe had three ices in front of her while she espied a corner of the room with slitty eyes.
“There is Lavinia! OOOOOh, it’s just not FAIR how good she looks. She’s our age, you know. She must have made a deal with the devil. I could just spit,” growled Doe.
Polly looked at Doe like she might at a rabid dog on the street.
“I’m sure the Good Lord just blessed her with extended youth, said Polly.
“NO ONE looks that good at our age!”
“Oh, we are not so bad,” said Polly.
“Well at least YOU have your children, I have NOTHING NOTHING,” she whispered, angry tears welling up.
So this was the problem after all, thought Polly, Doe never discussed children in her letters and phone calls and Polly thought the couple was just happy on their own. What a miserable visit! Maybe they should adopt? Maybe not!
After another 20 dances for Polly the party finally walked into supper. It was a grand affair with even more courses than dinner at Doe’s house. Polly wondered what that new invention the scale, would say when she got home to Jappie and the kids. Stanley talked on and on about how he was building a mechanical maid to wait on him and how he was going to use helium to take his cat to space. Polly listened with one ear and observed Doe.
Doe was angry again and biting her lip. She shook with rage.
“You’d think we were upstarts,” hissed Doe.
“This was just the seating arrangement,” soothed Lord Cake.
“Why were we moved down here?” she said.
“This was our assigned place,” he continued as if he talked to a child.
“I think we deserve to sit higher at the table,” she spat.
“Mr and Mrs. Doohickie are the Browns’ best friends from Montana,” whispered Cake
“Well, we deserve the best, we are better quality than the Dookickies,” she sniffed.
Lord Cake sighed and cast his eye across the room to Mr. White’s daughter just 17. Doe was ALMOST as pretty once….
What had gone wrong?
Nights like these, Polly resented her family’s wealth and rise into society. She would trade 1000 balls like this for one night sitting around Mamsie in the Little Brown House with the bad stove and everything listening to her stories without snoopy maids or clanging bells or electric lights. Just a little piece of a candle on a summer night and Us Five and Mamsie….