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It was love at first sight! I’d been reading Victorian Homes magazine since I was in my teens and this house epitomized my perfect Victorian. I’d been coming home from the mall and decided to take the back road through the country. I never do that, it’s so far out of the way. But today just seemed like a day for a drive in the beautiful Summer sunshine.

I saw the house briefly out of the corner of my eye and had to back up the country road to get a better look. Lordy how I wish it had been for sale! That was actually a stupid thought since I wouldn’t have had the money to buy anything that old and fine anyway. But one can always dream.

The grounds were gorgeous, and I wondered if the owners would mind if I took a look around. I parked part way up the drive and walked up to the front door. I stood there a moment reading a plaque that said the house was on the Historic Register something or other, then I rang the door bell, but no one answered. I was just turning to leave when I noticed the sign to the side of door, “We’re always open! Come on in for a visit!”

Really? There didn’t seem to be anyone around. Would it be okay? Skewing up my courage, I pressed the flapper down on the door handle, gave it a push, and walked in. The house took my breath away! I’d been in old Victorians in town before, but they always LOOKED old, even under coats and coats of new paint and wallpaper. But THIS house was in pristine condition. Almost as if it had just been built.

“Hello?” I hollered. “Anyone around?” No answer. So I stood there and absorbed the feel of the place. The staircase to the second floor was just to the right. And from the bottom of it you entered what looked to be a library of some sort. To the left was what would have been called a “parlour.” I was surprised at how small the rooms were. The ornate chandeliers and wall sconces, mirrored fireplaces in both rooms, and cabbage rose wallpaper made it seem even smaller.

I could see through the parlour a door to a dining room. And in the wall beyond that was a pass-through. That’s where the kitchen was, I assumed. The hallway stretched straight ahead, but instead of following it, I took the stairs. It was warmer in the top of the house than I had expected. The second floor was three tiny bedrooms, one larger one, and a newly installed bathroom circling a sitting room at the top of the stairs. I walked into what appeared to be the master bedroom at the front of the house and opened a door out onto a balcony. I felt just like Juliette!

That’s when I heard the music. It was coming from downstairs. An ensemble of some kind playing a classical piece I recognized. Oh no! I thought. Someone here must be having a party outside and I’ve intruded! I turned to hurry down the stairs only to be confronted by a woman dressed as a Lady’s Maid standing in the door.

“You must be quick,” she said looking far from approving. “Your guests have already begun to arrive!” She crossed to the bed and gathered up a beautiful mint-green dress I’d not noticed before. “Come now! Let’s get you dressed and put your hair up! It’s so hot today.”

Suddenly the room began to spin and I felt my legs give way. The next thing I knew I was lying on the bed and an older lady was fanning me with an actual fan. I must have looked frightened because she immediately reassured me all was well.

“I’m Mrs. Evelyn Christensen,” she said. “I own the place. You must have fainted from the heat. It’s so hot upstairs in the middle of summer. I really don’t know how folks lived in these big old houses in the hot months,” she chuckled.

When I had recovered enough to take my leave, I complimented Mrs. Christensen on her beautiful house, thanked her for her tender ministrations and made my way downstairs. But standing in the hallway, hand on the door, I glanced into the mirror over the mantle in the library and I could have sworn I my hair was done up on my head in ringlets and I was wearing a beautiful, mint-green gown. I shook my head at my silliness and waltzed out the front door to the tune of The Blue Danube playing in the background…



The Sandbox Writing Challenge 38

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