the awakening of a silly girl - 2. the biggest building
by victorine de valois
illustrated by roy dismas and rhoda penmarq
luncheon was served.
despite the assurances of the two aunts, dora, who was uncomfortable with any change in her settled existence - who in fact had difficulty even imagining such a thing - felt considerable apprehension about her proposed visit to the marriage bureau, and had little appetite.
the two aunts attacked the luncheon in their usual manner - aunt grunhilde with singleminded gusto, and aunt delphine with a delicate air of indifference, managing nonetheless to dispose of everything put before her .
as the minutes dragged by, dora's agony increased. she would have liked to ask a number of questions - but she was too well bred to open her mouth or to question the older women.
finally aunt delphine finished her last cup of tea and the cups and plates were removed.
as the afternoon sunlight receded dustily through the curtains, neither of the drowsing aunts seemed inclined to bring up the subject of the marriage bureau - could they have forgotten it? with a supreme effort, dora summoned up the effort to ask -
"should i have adelaide summoned, so that she can make ready to accompany me to the marriage bureau?"
"of course, of course," aunt grunhilde answered absently. "and i must be getting along to the countess of g---------'s".
aunt delphine seemed to have fallen asleep.
in due course dora found herself outside on the chilly street with her maid adelaide, waiting for the coachman to bring the carriage around.
despite aunt delphine's low opinion of her faculties, adelaide was as capable as anybody of shepherding dora to the administration building and the marriage bureau. a sharp-featured, impertinent creature with ideas very much above her station, adelaide was as well versed in current affairs as delphine herself, and took a particular interest in womans suffrage, a subject on which she held the most uncompromising opinions.