Charley’s Tale Part 23

The family visited over lunch and Geneva left to rest, promising to bring the children home before dinner.  As she drove off, Miss Jessie was at the kitchen door with several large boxes.  “I’m early, but I thought I’d stop by and see if you wanted to try this dress now.  I do believe you’ll love what I brought.  You won’t see anything like this yellow silk anywhere.  I had Miss Viola put some custom touches on this beauty just for you.  Do you want to try it with these new foundation garments? I can come up and help if you’re ready.”

“Wth everything that’s going on, the fitting had slipped my mind, but let’s go ahead.” Ellen replied.  “My mother just left.  She and my girls have been with my cousin Jean all summer, and she was letting me know Cousin Jean died during the night.  She just got back in town.  They’ll be back before dinner, but we have plenty of time before then.”  She led Jessie up the stairs to her bedroom, though Jessie knew the way well.

Jessie unboxed the dress and stretched it across the bed to show it to best advantage while Ellen preened before the mirror, her back to Jessie. “I was reluctant to try this shorter style, but I think it’s quite daring, don’t you?”  Ellen asked.

“It’s charming.  I’d try it myself, but I couldn’t carry it off as well as you.   I guess I’ll keep my bun.  Now turn around and look!” Jessie said.

“This is heavenly!” Ellen exclaimed as she stroked the lace.  It’s just what I wanted.  I’ll slip into these and you can help me into it.”  With that she stepped behind the dressing screen.  Jessie handed her the corset, bra, and slip.

“Just sing out if you need help with those.”  In minutes, Ellen stepped out in her undergarments.  “I took the liberty of bringing a slip to match the other undies.”

“This lingerie is exquisite, too pretty to cover up, almost.” Ellen murmured.

“Nothing makes a woman feel prettier than frilly underthings, but I can take them back if you don’t need them.” Jessie offered.

“Don’t even think of that” laughed Ellen.  A much shapelier woman stepped from behind the screen.  “Help me into that dress.”

“Now this is more like it,”  Ellen said.  “Why didn’t you bring this yesterday?”

“I actually forgot about it.  It came in with a broken zipper and I was going to send it back, but I got Cora to put in a new zipper and put a few custom touches for you.” Jesse confided.

“Viola?  Isn’t  she the one who makes the wedding dresses? My girls will be needing dresses.  I might ask her to make them some.”  Ellen’s eyes sparkled at the thought of dressing little girls.  “And I need something for the funeral.  Maybe Viola can fix up that black satin one for me.”

Jessie didn’t like that a bit.  “She has more jobs than she can handle now.  I can dress those girls for you in a flash.  How old are they?  I’ll bring some precious things over in a day or so?”

“Charlotte is  five years old and the baby is eight months.  You can come back tomorrow, but I still might talk to Viola. I want the Evans women to be the best-dressed in town!”  She had no idea of the challenge facing her.



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