Baroness Karen Part 1
The first recording for The Baroness Karen Recording 1
Baroness Karen was soon to be forced into a married life she loathed at the thought of being reminded by her mother. At seventeen, it was apparent when she overheard her mother discussing with her grandmother that she would marry one of the brothers in the Winter family. She overheard that private conversation coming down the stairs. Just as Karen stepped into the foyer her cats Trixie and Spuddles started to meow. Spuddle’s meow was awfully loud, he sounded like an old dying cat, but he wasn’t. Karen’s mother immediately heard the cats and said to her mother, “Shh! Hush mother that might be Karen. Karen is that you?” Karen tiptoed to the front entrance and didn’t reply. She became so nauseated at the thought of her mother’s lack of empathy and common sense, she hurried to run outside and throw up on the rose garden.
She had thrown up on her mother’s prized red roses. The only thing to do was to cut off the roses that were ruined and stuffed them in her shirt pockets. Then she went to the door and let Trixie and Spuddles outside. She picked up both cats. One enormously overweight. As you might have guessed that was Spuddles, but Trixie was a white Persian cat that groomed herself regularly. They were coming along for the walk to listen to Karen, which was already a common thing for her and her cats to do.
She said to Spuddles and Trixie, “I can’t believe her stupidity.” Spuddles meowed, as if he really understood Karen. For all we know he might have. “If she thinks that I’m going to bow down to her nonsensical idea of trapping me into an arranged marriage, she and father have another thing coming. I have to start planning our escape. I’d rather runaway than have them arrange my entire life to someone else’s dowry which is piddling minuscule next to mine; not to mention that’s all Michael Winter would be interested in and the ‘passion thing’.” Spuddles meowed one more time. “The other two have no idea what they want. I’d be squandering all my virtues wasting away in bondage. They are still in the dark ages, thinking that this family has to be married to that family to maintain the pedigree; of what? It’s ridiculous to think like this.”
First of all, she had no plans to marry; ever. Second of all, she detested the family her parents were plotting with at her expense. There were three boys and none of them appealed to her good senses. Who wanted to be stuck, married to one man your entire life. She questioned, “Was it even possible?” As an independent spirit, she said to her best friend “That would be hell on earth married to Jules Winter.” She would not marry for the sake of being married. It was ridiculous. Who were they kidding, certainly not her? Karen said to her friends Aubrey and Natalie, “Jules Winter is a sycophant; a fawning parasite.” Yuk! to be kissed by him or much less anything else involved with the ‘passion thing’ as Aubrey her friend had described it.
Karen’s inherent and virtuous way was to own her own business, add to her wealth and travel the world. Writing appealed to her immensely. She imagined herself in Africa, on her own farm with her pets; an Elephant name Trixie; a giraffe family, a monkey family, a zoo, free to the locals and a charge for the tourists. Writing in her spare time and eventually being published. Those were her dreams and aspirations at seventeen.
That night at the dinner table everyone was particularly quiet. Karen looked at her mother with her fierce green eyes and made her mother feel uncomfortable and guilty. Catherine was almost sure Karen had overheard the private conversation she was having with Karen’s grandmother Elda.
Elda was unaware of the chill in the air. “Oh, these are absolutely scrumptious. I always loved brussel sprouts since I was a young girl. I add a little butter, sprinkle some brown sugar then add the almond slivers. Just so tasty with the prime rib. I’m always famished these days,” said Elda.
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After dinner, it was customary to go into the living room and relax with coffee and sweet tea biscuits. Elda had baked a fresh batch earlier in the day. Catherine looked flawless with her dark brown hair worn up, wearing the dangling diamonds on her ears Johnathan had given her for her birthday. She picked up her black silk dress, took her shoes off, folded one leg underneath her and sat on the plush red wine sofa opening her favorite book, “The Chariots Of Fire” by Eve Nightingale. Karen went to her black piano and started playing one of her mother’s favorite pieces by Eric Satie, Gnossienne 1. While Elda dipped the sweet biscuits into her hot coffee smiling away. Johnathan, Karen’s father, was talking about his business as the majority owner of the train system in England. He was a superb mechanical engineer.
Catherine said to Karen, “You know my favorite piece, my sweet child.” Catherine closed her eyes and her beautiful face swayed to the mellifluous music. She watched Karen’s hands as her fingers danced upon the black and white keys. Karen asked, “Do you like this piece mother?” Catherine said, “I absolutely love it. It was one of your fathers and my favorites on our first date. He took me to a piano concert and held my hand.” Catherine looked adoringly at Johnathan.
“So you were in love with father or to be more exact, you fell in love with father. It was your choice to choose father to be your husband. Is that right, mother?” This was turning into an inquisition for Catherine. She kept a stiff upper lip and stared at Karen fiercely. Calm your nerves Catherine and swallow. Catherine took a deep breath and said, “Yes, it was my choice, my dear child.” Elda said, “You had an enormous crush on Johnathan and I knew that he was the one for you, Catherine.” Catherine looked at her mother and said to Elda, “Mother, you knew Johnathan’s family quite well and it was yours and father’s wish and hope that our families would merge as one.”
“Well, to be honest my dear Catherine, I think marrying your father at 17 was much too young. What does any young girl know at seventeen, not even a woman, about marriage and all that it compromises of your daily life; not to mention your entire life.” said Elda. Catherine’s dark brown eyes couldn’t believe her mother was saying such a thing in front of Karen. She put her book down and walked to the fireplace and stood in front of it, trying to think of something that would put this uncomfortable discussion to rest. She turned with her wits beside her and said, “Johnathan would you like to share a few words with us.” “What did you say my dear?” responded Johnathan. Catherine looked at him and said, “Weren’t you listening to our discussion regarding Karen, your only daughter.”
“Dear, the times have changed and Karen is excellent in math and I think Karen should choose for herself and go on to college which is my hope for her. I was planning to discuss this with you sooner rather than later. But we’re in the subject now and as a family we should discuss it together. Elda what do you think?”
“Well I think I’ve already said enough.” said Elda. She tried to calm her daughters nerves with a smile. Elda was funny. “I remember when I went to the new opening of the Museum on Stranton Street. I had an entourage, practically breathing for me. You would have thought I was the Queen of England. When I stopped at a painting and studied it; mind you, it was immensely passionate. I looked at the painting and said, “Well, it wasn’t quite like that for me. Remembering, your father had tremendous difficulty with the clasps on my wedding dress.”
Karen laughed that her grandmother was so blatantly truthful. Spuddles meowed as if he was equally entertained by Elda. Johnathan looked at Elda and tried not to laugh while Catherine was practically having a heart attack. For Karen, this night was going swimmingly, curiously well. The battle had now begun and college was looking mighty tasty. Sweeter than the sweet biscuits baked by Elda.
Elda knew only to well how fast she was aging. As often as she could she enjoyed sharing from her raconteur experiences with the family. After all she was wise and blatantly truthful. She said, “There was another time with your late grandfather, we had been invited and we promptly attended a very important dinner at the Queen’s palace. The Queen was herself, very formal and her mum looked dazzling in that ruby-red necklace and the matching earrings, my God did they sparkle across the table. Some of the people there were quite persnickety. I thought the whole event was superfluous.
It was a very important dinner for the ambassadors and dignitaries at the palace. The first course was soup. As we were being served, the Queen’s Mum said to the server, who was a very young pretty girl, “That isn’t nearly enough for me”. The young server curtsied and for the slightest moment she paused and then she served the Queen Mum another helping of the soup. The Queen mum smiled and said, “Thank you”. The Queen lifted her spoon hitting the crystal and of course we were all waiting for her to start the dinner. She said, “Let us eat and please enjoy”.
Well, we were weren’t half way into the soup when the Queen’s mum stood and asked “Who didn’t serve themselves more pudding?” What? “There were a few of us who were startled and confused in that behemoth room. People’s eyes opened wide and we were as still as mannequins and Jeffrey, your grandfather, who was a superb doctor whispered in my ear and said, “It’s dementia”. The Queen said to her mother. “Mother, we all have served ourselves extra pudding.” The Queen Mum smiled and said “Very well then lets proceed.”
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