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Authors: Kathleen Whelpley

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BOOK: The Haunting of Josephine
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“Do not worry Miss
f
ittings are only once a season. And if you remai
n the size that you are and do no
t gain or lose
too much
you should be able to get away with
only needing
the actual fitting part
with the dresses
and not have to endure being measured often.” Before Jo had a chance to thank the maid she bowed her head and hurried out of the room. Turning Jo noticed that the
maid’s
departure had to do with
Katherine
’s return to the room.

“We do not talk to the help so casually Josephine. They are only to be spoken to when you need them to fetch something or do something. Otherwise they feel that they can be too fami
liar with you.” Jo looked at
her
Aunt
in
sheer horror. How could you treat a human being like that? Was she really expected to treat someone so callously when a few days ago there had been nothing to Jo’s own situation to have prevented her from being equals with the maid? To have possibly been friends?

Jo realized that
every day
that she lived with her Aunt and Uncle she was likely to find more and more things that pulled her further away from the life that she had once known.
This saddened her really. She had known that her life was going to change but for some reason had not realized that not only would she have to reconcile herself with finding a husband but that she was going to have to look down on her entire former way of life.

The maid returned to the room with her arms weighed down with several gowns. Guiltily Jo suddenly did
n
o
t feel too reluctant to give up the old ways of life. Previously she would get maybe two new gowns every other year. And here she was being presented with four and that was
n
o
t to be the extent of her wardrobe. No longer reluctant Jo tried on dress after dress and the tailor made note of her favorite colors and fabrics for the rest of her wardrobe.

 

That evening they were again joined by Mr. Genus
; however, there was also the addition of
Mr.
Bradley
Kinsley. “Mr. Kinsley is a
gentleman
of proper breeding and background. He is the perfect example of the type of man you will now need to learn to interact with. Though he is
too
far out of your possible reach for
suitors
it will be good for you to talk and interact with him and hopefully you will be able to snag one of his close friends.”

“Is there anything in particular that you suggest I talk with him about?” Jo wondered what it was that would make a man too far out of reach. Was he too rich? So snobbish that he would
only tolerate
talk
ing
with her but never consider her?
And what exactly did Aunt
Katherine
mean by maybe she could snag one of his close friends? Was the way to finding a proper suitor really to first befriend the best one and hope for one of the lessors?

“No, you will let him lead the conversation and you should be intelligent about anything he discusses without showing so much mind that you become boring.” That was confusing to say the least.
Why was it so important to make sure that she seems smart but not too smart when having a conversation with him?

“I will try my best Aunt
Katherine
.” Jo busied herself with things like checking her gown and her hair in the looking glass. Though she was sure that she looked fashionable she could
n
o
t help but feel like she was playing dress up and therefore looked silly.

Upon Mr.
Kinsley
’s arrival it was immediately clear to her why he was so far out of her league. Besides the fact that he was gorgeous his clothing was immaculate. And though he was a man he bore several jewels on his clothing with matching rings on his hand
, though he wore the jewels with such grace and class their addition to his clothing brought an air of importance.

It was easy to tell that Mr.
Kinsley
was probably the richest person she would ever know. Yet, though he clearly was rich he did
n
o
t seem
to have any haughtiness to him;
w
hich
many rich people several stations
below hi
m
in life would sometimes possess.

“Ahh, this must be the lovely Josephine.” Mr.
Kinsley
bowed a brief nod in her direction though he was talking to her Uncle. “Your description of her hardly does her justice. She is absolutely stunning. Where have you been hiding her all these years?” Mr.
Kinsley
began approaching Jo slowly as if mesmerized.

“Oh, you do run on sir. It is a pleasure to meet you.” Jo shifted into a deep curtsy that her Aunt had shown her just that morning. Not realizing the reason for that particular curtsey was intended to show of
f
her cleavage and
that was
almost f
a
ll
ing
out
of her evening gown. Blushing Jo stood back up and shifted so that she was closer to
her
Aunt
sure that
Katherine would need to
whisper some instru
ction
or another
and was surprised when
Katherine
had nothing to say and
nudged her closer to Mr.
Kinsley
.

“May I escort you into the sitting room for a cocktail?” Jo smiled as she took Mr.
Kinsley
’s extended arm a
nd allowed him to lead her
into the next room
.

“What can I get for
you sir?” Jo asked Mr. Kinsley doing her best to try
and be the good hostess that
Katherine
had told her to always make sure that she was.

“Oh please call me Bradley. How about I get myself my drink as well as some
thing for you?” Jo looked to
her
Aunt
again
for direction not sure on if she should allow a guest to serve themselves when one of the rules she had been told was to never have a guest serve themselves.

“Mr. Kinsley would
you
please
sit down
over there
with Josephine and I will get your drinks. I already have them prepared.” Jo was impressed on how easily
her
Aunt sidestepped Mr. Kinsley’s request to serve himself.
She realized that there were probably a great many thing
s that she could learn from
her
Aunt
that she would have never
have
thought before to be useful.

“Alright then. After you Miss.” Mr. Kinsley motioned for Jo to sit first and waited until she was comfortably seated before motioning in question if it was alright for him to take the seat next to her. Again Jo looked to
Katherine
for direction and was g
rateful for the slight nod of
Katherine

s head telling her it was alright.

“Please join me Mr. Kinsley.” Jo motioned her invitation
to the chair that was situated just to her right
.

“Please call me Bradley. I have a feeling we are going to be seeing a lot of each other and would hate it if you felt the need to have to be so formal with me.”
Again Jo felt herself blush and found herself curious on why it was that he thought that they would be seeing enough of each other that they should not feel the need to be so formal.

“Alright Bradley. Do you mind if I ask what your profession is?” Mr. Kinsley gave Jo an odd look. “I am sorry if I offended. It is just I am a bit out of practice when it comes to starting up a conversation and that is the first thing that
popped
into my head.

“No, it is
n
o
t that I was offended. Actually
I found it quiet surprising,
intriguing
, and nothing short of refreshing
to have you ask.” Now it was
Jo's
turn to have an odd expression on her face.

“And why would a question like what is your profession
be
intriguing
or surprising? Let alone refreshing?
I am sure that in a society like this that it must be one of the most commonly discussed topics.” Mr. Kinsley shook his head in agreement.

“You are right. And because it is so widely popular of a topic I tend to find it refreshing when I run into someone who has to actually ask me what my profession is.” In a clearly faked
whisper Mr. Kinsley leaned over and said, “
Most
people around here like to start off their conversations with me by asking about my practice.”

“Oh, well, than I guess I should ask how your practice is going. How is your practice?” Mr. Kinsley laughed a little when Jo got a confused look on her face
and Jo looked to
her
Aunt for some tip on what to do and decided to just try and ask a different question
. “Umm, what is it that you practice?”

“Well Josephine, those are some fine questions. I practice law and in fact I handle almost all legal matters for everyone in town. Hence why it is shocking that I have run into someone who did
n
o
t already know what
it is that
I do for a living.”

“Oh, well, I hope that you have found that refreshing. So are you the only lawyer in this fair town or do you have a large practice?” Again Mr. Kinsley laughed a little and Jo no
ticed the look of delight on
her
Aunt’s face so she must be doing alright talking with Mr. Kinsley.

“My practice is large though I
am the only lawyer at it really;
however
, you will find that there are other lawyers in town. But not to ring my own bell I am the lawyer that wins the most cases.” This made Jo rather curious.

“I am sure that every lawyer has had their share of lost cases. You can
no
t win them all.”
Mr. Kinsley smiled at Jo as if she had challenged him to something though she was not sure to what it would be
that
she would have challenged him.

“You would think that; however, I took advantage of my family’s affluence and got the best education that I could get making me the most educated lawyer in town.
” Jo found herself mildly surprised to learn that Mr. Kinsley not only came from a family of means but that he had still insisted on getting an education and working to earn his occupation.

Sure there are
others
who come from families with more affluence than mine.
Yet, those lawyers used their families’ power so to speak in order to get a foothold in the door with very little education.”
Jo shook her head in understanding.

“Oh so it is
n
o
t just that you have more education but you probably have a more unique view poi
nt than the other lawyers giving
you an advantage.”
Mr. Kinsley shook his head in excited agreement.


Exactly
, not only did I challenge myself by getting the best education out there but I am able to relate to a
broader
number of clients by the sheer fact that I learned to understand what it
means
to have to work for what you get.”

“Well, I think that may be one of the smartest things that I have ever heard any man say.” The butler came in ringing the bell for dinner. Mr. Kinsley and Jo both rose and walked together into the
dining
room carrying their conversation with them
and failing to notice or care who joined them
.

“Exactly. Now do you mind if I ask how much education you have
pursued
? I always find the answers of what a women’s family may consider education to be rather interesting an
d wide spread.” Jo looked to
her
Aunt
knowing that the extent of her education had been a bit of a sore spot with he
r family and was surprised when
Katherine
answered for her.

“Mr. Kinsley you might be impressed to learn that Josephine here has had a traditional education. Enough so that if she were so inclined she would be able to teach school.” Mr. Kinsley looked both shocked and proud.

“I am glad to say Josephine that you
may
never fail to amaze me.
You are fully educated? I was made to understand that your parents are
n
o
t quit
e
as affluent as your Aunt
Katherine
and Uncle
Joseph
which makes not only a bit of education impressive but that you have a complete one.
I am beyond impressed by you.

BOOK: The Haunting of Josephine
5.14Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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