I am busy busy busy and exhausted with exams, so right now I can only post more of Evelyn’s story. Do comment and like!
At precisely one o’clock, a gong was rung and the guests flocked towards the marquees like a herd of giraffes, making their way towards the plates piled high with sandwiches, pies, nibbles and cakes. Someone opened a champagne bottle with a pop, followed shortly by a cry of pain as a man was hit in the shoulder by the flying cork. An enormous laugh went up around the tent, with people around making jokes and quips at the man’s expense.
“What’s the prognosis, doctor? Will he live?”
“A fatal blow to the shoulder, I was told. A cork wound.”
“Will we have to amputate?”
“Ha ha! Oh Robert, do stop making jokes at poor Colonel Williams’ expense.”
“He should be used to dangerous flying objects, being in the army and all that!”
All rather shallow jokes, Evelyn though privately, but she smiled along and pretended to laugh into her hand whilst inwardly cringing at the bad taste of humour she was hearing.
If this was the high and marvellous society Rose was always talking about, Evelyn really couldn’t see the appeal, but perhaps she was being narrow minded. After all, she was perfectly content leading the life she was living.
“So to finish, I fully intend to increase Britain’s trade with India in as many goods as possible whilst maintaining critical policies and friendly relationships from both countries. I know that it is in everyone’s best interests, Britain and India, to exchange goods and make the most of our country’s resources, and I know that every one of you assembled before me will strive to keep our fine industries going. Thank you.”
Evelyn clapped cordially along with every other person in the tent, and then when the clapping died down and her pitaa had stepped off the podium, did she pick up her fan and continue wafting it in front of her, in tandem with the rest of the ladies sitting nearby. The governor stood up and mopped his brow with a large handkerchief, cleared his throat and flattened out a sheet of paper upon which was written his speech. Evelyn could see that it was a long speech; small, neat writing taking up two sides of the paper.
This had better be good, she thought to herself.
“Have you seen how long that speech is?” Evelyn whispered to Rose. “I can’t be in here with so many people for much longer.”
Rose pulled a face but never took her eyes off the governor, whose raspy voice made him sound ill.
“I think I might faint.” Evelyn said, closing her eyes as a wave of light-headedness fell upon her. She felt dizzy and thought she was swaying in her chair, but when she opened her eyes she found that she was sitting as still as one of the stone statues outside.
“Not if I do first.” Rose said, her voice wavering a little.
Upon closer inspection, Evelyn could see that the governor really did look ill. His face was covered in a light sheen of perspiration and his skin was an unhealthy sallow colour. Evelyn’s heart jumped a little as she realised that what she saw before her was a man ill with malaria. Surely not though, for why would he be so silly as to attend an event like this when he was ill?? It made no sense, and maybe he was just hot, like the rest of them.
She was interrupted from her thoughts as, out of the corner of her right eye, she saw Rose slump forwards and fall off her chair, her eyes closed, yet she still managed to make the fall look graceful, landing on her back with her legs bent to her chest and one of her arms above her head and the other on her heart. Her hat had fallen off, revealing her dark brown hair coiffured in the latest style and her pearl necklace was tightly pressed against her throat.