Recently Elizabeth from the wonderfully delicious blog THE VINTAGE CONTESSA posted a picture of a beautifully outfitted jewelry/treasure box via her Instagram page, ANTIQUEGODDESS. If you don’t follow this fabulous woman you SHOULD.
I was so intrigued by this gorgeous box that I decided to write a story about it.
Elizabeth here is your story…..
I awoke with a start. The fire had died down to just embers and with a cloudy night the room was dark as ink. What had caused me to wake so suddenly? Maybe the scratching on my window as the trees swayed in the pre dawn wind or the cars splashing through the streets below. As the clouds blew away the moonlight streamed in and I strained to see across to my dresser.
My jewelry box stood open it’s velvet lining shimmering in the light. Even after a half century my heart fluttered at the thought of him. Always him. As the moonlight faded my eyes grew heavy and the sound of tires became the clip clop of horse drawn carriages and I was back there. Always there.
It was cold in my room. As I heard the early morning scurrying of our household I covered my head and sunk deeper into bed. Can dread make you heavier? If so I felt as heavy as my beloved pig Bansky.
Why did I have to go? I was content here in the world I knew – riding, gardening, reading with my old Nanny, playing with Theodore and Winston
and of course the daily buzzing that was Le Petite Trianon.
All because of some stupid letter Papa received from my Aunt Jan’e von Bowie – a secret letter. I was only eight the last time I saw my Aunt and ten years had not changed my memory of her. I was to leave for Venice today with no idea of what to expect when I arrived.
Mama’s voice penetrated the covers “Elizabeth are you up? We mustn’t fail to be on time for your train.” Well I guess that was my answer. Yes I must go.
The platform was packed with those departing and those staying behind. The shrill cold whistle announcing our departure was not a welcome sound. But even so the renowned train was impressive – the shiny ebony blue cars adorned with the gold double lion crest announced to all passengers the luxury of the Orient Express.
As the steward handed me up the stairs Mama tucked something into my muff. “Give this note to your Aunt as soon as you arrive. It is for her eyes only. Do not give it to anyone else, understand? I love you my darling. Always remember that no matter what happens. We don’t always get what we want or deserve my dear.” Pulling away I will never forget my mother’s eyes, the love and the sadness and despair. What was I traveling towards?
Oh my! My compartment took my breath away. Even the dread I felt was lifted by the opulence. It was like being inside a Fabergé egg. Beautiful mahogany paneling, crystal perfume bottles and what must be French linens. And a wonderful scent wafting in that could only be fresh croissants baking.
It seemed that the unknown ahead of me had not effected my appetite. I’d tidy up a bit, store the letter to my Aunt and make my way to the dining car post haste.
As I entered I was surprised to see that so many had already started tea. Quickly I located a table and took my seat and as if by magic the waiter appeared. “Miss, what is your preference black, oolong or jasmine? “.
The pot arrived, of course silver with the famous monogram, along with a breathtaking array of fresh baked treats.
I poured my cup and raised it for a sip when through the steam I saw him.
It was some sort of instant recognition the kind you never forget. His hair was dark as were his eyes. As he walked towards me he passed a fellow passenger and I heard him speak. English but with a very distinct Italian accent.
The steam dissipated and just like that he was gone.
The Letter & My Destiny
Unsettled. Yes I was definitely unsettled. Even after unpacking I was still flustered. But flustered by what, him? Maybe putting on my favorite dress would help. The lovely mauve one that flowed beautifully when I danced. Yes it was lovely but as I turned in front of the mirror I was no calmer.
Perhaps if I read for a bit I would calm down. As I reached for my book the letter fell to the floor. The letter for my Aunt. At once I knew what I must do.
I grab the train’s letter opener from the desk and carefully pry open the envelope and start to read.
My dear Jan’e
We are sending to you our greatest treasure our darling Elizabeth. I so wish circumstances were different and that it could be a joyous union of the heart for her. But events of a lifetime have brought us to this place and there is no going back …
The rest is a blur as the tears spill down my face to ruin my lovely dress and the contents will surely mar my life if I do not act.
I must go! I must leave this path they have chosen for me. I stuff the letter into my velvet lined case. I rush from my room and down the hallway to the rest of my life, to him my Italian. Always him.
The Beginning of a Lifetime of Happiness