An envisioning. . . Canada’s Thousand Islands up on the Saint Lawrence and a bicycling outing with a picnic. . . . . .1890 or maybe 1892.

Oh to go back and be here.

Canada’s Thousand Islands and auntie’s great camp. . . . . .1890 or maybe 1892.

Funny.  Like Scotland or Normandy, it looks. Front porch held up by logs but the rest not like the Vanderbilts’ a few lakes down. Built after one in the old country, the servants say. An ancestor from Northumberland where England and Scotland meet the sea and a great house once lived in before America.

The rest all right but the young man no. Nephew of the lady down the lake and all the way from California but a crashing bore. A strange accent like nurse’s old boyfriend back home in New York. Not supposed to go, of course, but everyone gone and no one to know. Lunch on a bench in Central Park instead of a hoop bowling across the meadow. A ticket bought, and play seen, with money for lemonade and a cookie and nurse always coming back.

But not as nice as that. Bicycle that was all the rage it was true. An expedition with a hamper of sandwiches yet to come and a forest path to explore. Woods deep enough to hide in but not yet.

Hard. Auntie and Mother liking him. A house called the Wilderness somewhere that wasn’t near woods. House on the other coast in Monterey County wherever that was.

Still. What could one do. Everyone having decided. At the cotillion and all the right dinner parties no matter how well one tried to hide. Dinner partner at two and then the last dance given up. The other beaux more fun but no choice.

If only. Someone of one’s own kind, they said. A young man like nurse’s beau, perhaps, but that would never do. No. Cast out and alone. A wedding for Christmas no matter what and the best of it to be made.

Daisies and rings for love but a satin and lace Worth frock and a cold hand to take. Babies in lace in swansdown coats to hold but nothing behind it. Ice where there should be fire. Nothing left.

Princess Victoria Toria of Wales with her first cousin Grand Duke Mikhail of Russia. 1890's.
Princess Victoria Toria of Wales with her first cousin Grand Duke Mikhail of Russia. Mar Lodge. Scotland. 1890’s. Image in the public domain.

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