When I awoke this morning, it was like waking from a dream where the bashful princess had married the handsome prince, and after the prince spirited her away on a spritely steed to their magical castle, they lived and loved furiously.
Oh mercy, wouldn’t Sally laugh at that if she ever read these words.
But for me, Mrs. Daniel Gold (!), it feels true! My handsome prince lies beside me on these silky white sheets, sleeping lightly as the day grows warmer, the sun’s rays piercing the curtains hanging from the high windows, ticking his eyelids, while the streets of Boston below awaken as if nothing spectacular and earth shifting had ever happened.
My wedding dress hangs in the wardrobe. For once it hadn’t been Molly who’d helped me step out of it ~ I blush at the thought of Daniel’s finger tip brushing against the skin of my back. These thoughts and what happened after are not suitable for recording in a journal, but the words ‘intensely delightful’ don’t quite capture the experience.
The day started out a little less so.
“Heat up the steamer,” Sally had demanded of June, the maid. “There’s a wrinkle on the back of my dress.” She twisted like stiff bread dough in an effort to see the offensive wrinkle, put there, I’m certain, by her strange contortion. “Do you know how much I paid for this?”
Up until this point, Father and I had been having an emotional and sentimental discussion.
“After today, Daniel will be responsible for you, and you will need to follow his commands, but you will always be my Ginger.” His eyes shone with sentiment and I almost burst into tears.
“Oh, Father! I will miss you!”
“No need. I’m coming to London too.”
The dampness on my eyelashes made them feel heavy as I blinked back. “You’re coming with us on our honeymoon?” I did love my father, but I was quite certain Daniel and I should be alone on our wedding journey.
Father laughed. “Your face, Ginger. Priceless.”
“Father!” I said, feeling quite indignant. Here I was about to be married and he was treating me like a child.
“I’m not boarding the ship with you on Monday. My ticket is for a week later. I have business to attend to there. Pippins will have Hartigan House ready for you and Daniel when you arrive.”
“Pippins?” It’d been ages since I heard Father mention the name of our London butler. He’d been so kind to me when I was a child. Hartigan House roused memories of childhood fantasy. The house was a castle, and I, at turns, as a princess, a queen, a fairy, and a unicorn, had the reign of my kingdom that had existed inside the stonewalls of the estate. I was thrilled to be returning, and with Daniel on my arm.
Louisa ran through the office, opening the door, which was how we witnessed Sally’s abuse of poor June. Sally’s voice followed.
“Louisa, stop being such a monkey and get upstairs to dress! Or do you want to stay home in your room while the rest of up go to the wedding?”
Father’s head dropped in silent defeat. “I will miss you, sincerely, my love.”
I walked to where he was sitting behind his desk and kissed him on the head. “I better get dressed myself, before Sally grounds me too.”
Molly was waiting for me when I entered my rooms upstairs.
“Are your ready, miss?”
I sat in front of my vanity as Molly swept up my red trusses and knotted them neatly on the back of my head. She helped me into my wedding dress: layers of silk and lace draping over my bodice and hips, cinched gently at my waist. The lace-trimmed veil was secured on my head, held tightly by a narrow elastic, its length hitting the floor in delicate pools.
Where the folds met my cleavage, I attached a crystal broach that had belonged to my mother.
“She would be so proud of you, miss,” Molly said.
Mother’s been gone so long, there are days, I confess, that I don’t even think of her. Then there are days where my chest aches with longing. This is one of those days.”
“I know I’m not your ma, and that no one can fill her shoes—” left unmentioned was the name of my step-mother—“but if you need a hug, I’m here for ya.”
“Oh, Molly.” I embraced her tightly, then wiped tears that had bubbled under my lids. “I’m so glad that you’re here.”
Finally, the household was ready, Louisa was dressed, Sally’s wrinkle had be smoothed, and the carriage was ready, and we made it to the church on time.
Daniel awoke and his dimple deepened as he smiled at me.
“Good morning, Mrs. Gold.”
“Good morning, Mr. Gold. Should I ring for room service?”
Without answering, Daniel pulled me back under the sheets. I’m afraid this journal landed unceremoniously on the floor after that.