A partially satirical view on Victorian society, observed during a dinner.
|Two curt knocks were emitted from the external door, announcing the premature arrival of our guests. Little was spoken as of introduction: curt nods were given and brief observations were exchanged. Such comments were worth the most minimal attention: indulging in them was a treacherous path into the rambling London society. Our guests were seated rapidly midst this whirl of obligations. All wore straightened spines, courteous smiles, clasped hands and static eyes.
The first meal was then served. Hushed servants came to the table, cowering by the rats of social presumption, in awe at their needless pomp and contempt stature. Aristocracy is like tall, stiffened posture, I conjectured: it appears worthy and necessary, but it is those who allow a little curve to their backs that dwell the most comfortably. I watched this display in silence, through lowered eyes. My commentary, so despised as to have been oppressed from instinctive contribution, was imprisoned in my throat by two guards: hesitance among unfamiliar visitors and fear of familiar acquaintances.
The soup that was poured into porcelain was eaten in slow sips. I took all movements through a precise evaluation: each lift of the silver spoon; every leaning pull towards the bowl was accounted for. I did not want to inflict the delicate state of Propriety that had been employed. Conversation had not come to this dinner, being consecutively absent from our household. Perhaps it had no taste for the company. Perhaps it disliked the culinary methods used, and silently abhorred the food. Perhaps, I speculated, enjoying my childish ponders, it was never beckoned upon: no invitation had been posted to its hidden abode. Conversation had been overlooked: confronted by the overpowering prowess of Etiquette, Righteousness, and, its most affiliated opponent: Propriety.
I sat, isolated within my own secluded abode of thought, and detested Propriety. A surge of appreciation for Conversation arose from me. I yearned for its presence. I yearned for it to defeat Propriety, to reason with it... I could, however, never spur Conversation to complete such a deed. It could never arrive unannounced, for it would be thus shooed from our house in hurried and silent reproach.
Witnessing the improbability of my prospect, I scolded myself. I drew back into my previous state of submission until the meal had been concluded; the guests dispatched from the house and the members of the family dispersed. Conversation gave neither a slim appearance nor a late attendance. I sighed, for the wrath of Propriety had overruled once more.