Attack And Receive

Entry by: percypop

14th September 2018

Lady Bellamy wore diamonds.

"No well born gel would choose anything else!" She paused, "Of course, if he offered matched pearls that would be nice too!"

Jenny sat mute. How could she tell her mother what Jack had given her?
"But there are lots of other lovely jewels!"
"Such as? "

The interjection stifled any reply. How could a ruby ring match up to her standards? But Jack was so sweet and kind. He looked so dashing in his scarlet unifom and he swore eternal love. Anyway, the ring was the envy of the other girls.

"I hope you bear in mind the family name? Your father was a dear man and died in the service of our Queen. You must never forget he was 'The Hero of Mafeking.'

"No Mama, I think of it daily! How could I forget when you remind me every hour!"

"Go to, you pert child! Such common instincts! You'd do better to emulate the sweet young Dora who is the picture of decorum and virtue. Besides, she's the daughter of an Earl."
That meant a lot to Lady Bellamy, the widow of a mere baronet.

Jenny ran upstairs to her bedroom and sat down at her dressing table. A petulant image looked back at her. What could she do? Her fingers crept unbidden to the secret draw where she kept her most precious things. The ruby ring sat there nestled in its little mahogany box.

"Lovely thing!"

She jumped with fright. Dorcas, her maid stood at her elbow.
"Sorry Miss, I couldn't stop myself! It's lovely isn't it?"

"Don't tell Mama! She doesn't know I have it."

'Course I won't! Be more than my place's worth. And he's a lovely young man!"

"Do you think so? Yes, and he admires me so!"

For a moment, Jenny forgot herself and exchanged her inner most thoughts with her maid; the gifts he sent her and how they met secretly. All the while Dorcas smiled and encouraged her to talk. Soon conversation turned to her mother's resistance.

"Her Ladyship is a very firm lady. And she needs to be."

Jenny looked askance at her . "What do you mean?"

"It's no matter." Said Dorcas.

"Yes it is! You must tell me at once! Why should my mother be 'firm,' as you say?"

"Well, I don't know hows to put it," The old lady paused, uncertain how to go on, "mayhap she feels tardy about the past."

"About the past? Tardy? You know something to make my mother 'Firm'?"

Dorcas fidgeted; her fingers twisting her apron strings into a hopeless knot.

"Well my cousin Nancy came with her when she wed

"Yes I know, but this was before my time and the girl never stayed long. I know all that."

"Too true, she never stayed long! Your mother was firm indeed!"

"What do you mean? Out with it!"

Dorcas looked down and the last shade of a blush tinged her faded cheeks.

"Nancy was her dressing maid, like me to you. And she kept your Ma's jewellery from before she married. When she left, she was given all your mother's old jewellery, to be rid of."


" Nancy kept the best bit which was a garnet on a pewter ring. Not even silver!"

Jenny sat mute for a long time, then she spoke in quiet voice. "Who has the ring now?"

Dorcas said nothing but left the room. Within a minute, she was back and handed a small cardboard box to her mistress. Inside wrapped in brown paper sat a steel coloured ring with a crimson stone.

"Happen you might want it yourself?" Jenny nodded and without a word, took the ring and slipped it onto her finger, it fitted perfectly.

That evening, guests were invited. Lady Bellamy enjoyed her reputation as a hostess. The Fanshaws were there and most of the county families were represented at the table. Jenny came down after they had arrived. She looked dazzling in an evening dress of white silk and long white gloves.

"My Dear! What kept you so long? The guests have already arrived. Where were you?"

Jenny smiled. "I misplaced my gloves." She said, and moved to greet Bertie Fanshaw. Her mother's eyes followed her as she drew off her gloves to give her hand to him. The cheap garnet ring glittered in the candlelight.

"My Word! Where did you get this ring?" Bertie held her hand up for all to see.

Jenny smiled and turned to her mother.

"It's a family heirloom, isn't it Mother?"