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A Curtsy Now and Then - Part Two

January 12, 2015 07:16AM
A Curtsy Now and Then - Part Two
To be read alongside 'A Curtsy Now and Then - Part One' (Fantasia Gallery)

When Cassandra Austen, a 21st Century Janeite, stumbles upon a secret room in an Antiques shop things become a little too familiar.

"Wow!" I exclaim.

Pink muslin, cotton pelisses, embroidered handkerchiefs and bonnets lined with feathers are piled high above the floor. Never in my life have I seen such beautiful things! Every corner of the room is stuffed full of regency gowns and dresses, laid out on dressing tables and hung from curtain rails, seeping out of plastic boxes and piled up high against the walls.

I can't contain myself! I run to the nearest bonnet and instantly try it on. I marvel at the image of myself in a nearby mirror. Imagine wearing a bonnet as exquisite as this one each and every day, I think to myself! How very Austen!

Suddenly I hear the creak of an old wooden door from behind a pile decorative gowns.

"Hello?" someone calls from behind the gowns.

This voice seems different to the raspy voice of the old women, it sounds younger. In fact, it sounds very familiar, almost as if it is a recording of my own voice.

Startled, I turn around, and fall on a trimmed ribbon lying on the floor.

A dainty hand, smelling of lavender and the dust found in old books, lifts me to my feet. My eyes meet the young women instantly. She seems familiar. Extremely familiar. I look her up and down and realise why...

The deep brown eyes, rosy cheeks, golden brown hair, the delicate shape of her face...

She is me! Or I am her? We are the spitting image of each other, and as I study her familiar face it is like staring into a mirror.

She gives a short and startled curtsy and looks with confusion and distress around the room.

"Hello, I am Cassandra Austen. I believe I do not know where I am. I was just awaiting my sister Jane ... And now I'm... Here?" She mutters through deep breaths of worry.

I stand in the centre of the room with a look of disbelief smeared over my face. Jane Austen's own sister, Cassandra Austen, is standing in front of me!

From the first time I opened the front covers of 'Pride and Prejudice' I was hooked. One rainy Tuesday afternoon turned into years of reading and rereading, studying and discussing. By the time I was thirteen, I was christened a Janeite. I suppose that...

"Have we met?" Cassandra enquires, breaking my train of thought.

"I believe not. My name is Cass... I mean Miss Austen," I paused, not quite sure what to say. "May I ask what year is it now?" I inquire.

"It is the year of 1799," She states.

Hhmmm, what happened in 1799? Jane had just finished writing Northanger Abbey, or Susan. In two years the family will leave for Bath. Jane must be about twenty-four, and Cassandra twenty-six. Wait a minute - I'm twenty-six!

"What is that peculiar vehicle outside?" the Regency Cassandra exclaims, pointing at a car outside the arched window.

"That's a ........ Well.......... What thing?" Avoiding answering I try to move on to another subject.

Then it hits me, that wave of embarrassment. Like a bucket of cold water has just been thrown across my face. I am so gullible! This is ridiculous! There is no way that the 'Regency-JaneAusten-Artist' Cassandra Austen could possibly exist in the 21st Century alongside 'Nerdy-Janeite-DoctorWhoFan' Cassandra Austen!

"What sort of joke is this? Just because I may be a little obsessed with Regency authors, and I share the same name as Jane Austen's sister, doesn't mean whoever put you up to this has to make fun of me," I declare furiously, my feet stamping like an angry child. "I bet it was Donna. Come on Donna, this isn't funny. Why would..."

"I am not a joke Miss Austen, if that is, of course, your real name!" declares Cassandra defensively, looking rather pale. "I believe you must be the joke. You have such a similar appearance to myself, and you claim to share the same name. I must admit, your dishonesty leaves me quite bewildered. I believe I must... sit down. I fear this distress has resulted in a very... painful headache."

Cassandra reaches for the dusty plastic chair next to the mysterious door. After scrutinising the chair with a raised brow she sinks into the chair and massages her head with a look of pain.

"Ok, so if are real, how did you get here... Miss Austen?" I ask, still in disbelief.

"I was in my room, waiting for Jane, my sister, as she often comes in from her morning walk at this time of day. Then I heard a loud sound. Like that of a bee. It continued for a few seconds and then I found myself here, in this doorway," She scanned the room for any familiar objects. A look of horror spread across her face.

"How will I get home?" She begins to panic.

That's a fair question. Think Cass, think!

"Well, if you got here somehow, you should be able to go back the same way," I suggest. "Maybe if you just go through this door..."

By Sarah

Dear Archivers,
I'm sorry for any inconveniences concerning the amount of time since my last instalment of this story.
Yours Sincerely,

A Curtsy Now and Then - Part Two

SarahJanuary 12, 2015 07:16AM

Re: A Curtsy Now and Then - Part Two

ShannaGJanuary 12, 2015 04:21PM


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