Six women glide effortlessly across the wooden floor. Their dainty silken slippers barely make a sound. The air glistens with the rustling of the ladies' skirts and the subtle perfume of rose water. The walls preen with carefully stitched tapestries and an abundance of gold-framed oil paintings. The room is overwhelmed by a slab of dark oak running long and wide down the center of its walls. The table is adorned with ivory silks, crimson velvets and cream lace. The cups and pitchers boast a selection of deep red wines and the silver platters caress a variety of fruits, both dried and fresh.
The room is filled with laughter and merriment, the women overjoyed with the upcoming dinner; their overbearing husband would not be attending. For just one night they are free from his madness. I am the one who has provided such freedom for these historical women. But, as the night wears thin, they will be forced to return to the tyrannical afterlife of Henry VIII.
I lean back in my seat at the head of the table -- the perfect place for a woman in these feigned ancient surroundings -- to watch the festivities unfold. Sure enough, my eyes are drawn to the plain beauty of Anne Boleyn. She is being her usual charismatic self, though truth be told she is getting on many of the ladies' nerves with her vivid description of her seduction of the king. The only other lady who joins in her lively conversation is her young Howard cousin, Katherine.
I stifle a laugh as the pious Katherine of Aragon clucks disapprovingly at the brazenness of these two wives. She being the first wife, she clearly does not beleive in the sanctity of these other women's marriages.
Just as it appears I will be witnessing a catfight, with darling female sensibilities abanndoned for the night, dishes are brought in under the protection of silver domes by stoic-faced butlers.
As the precious wine is sipped, I glance at the only man in attendance, Mr. Alexander Pope. I invited this man knowing full well that he would be thoroughly amused by his surroundings. Indeed he sits across from me, scribbling it all down on his nakpin, every interaction between the bounty of wives is recorded within the complexities of his verse.
I sigh in bemusement. I knew this night would be perfect.
This story is inspired from the dinner post suggestion from Sunday Scribblings.