Her rose patterned teacup rattled as she placed it back on the matching saucer.
“Honestly, Matilda, you would have left the room, too! The way she was dressed, it was scandalous! Every bit of her ankle was showing, all of it I dare say!”
Matilda sniffed audibly and reached for a cucumber sandwich, which she placed on the small sandwich plate.
“Why do you care, Priscilla? Surely Grace is of an age that she can decide these things for herself? Dresses in the modern fashion are shorter. I, for one, look forward to not having to scrub the hem of my dress every night. What does a couple of inches matter? And…”
Priscilla attempted to break in, but Matilda rolled right over top of her words.
“And, any man rude enough to stare at a woman’s ankles is no gentleman to start with.”
“Wait till you see her at church” spluttered Priscilla. “Mark my words, the pastor will send her home to change!”
“It seems to me that the pastor’s wife was wearing the latest from Singers Fine Sewing shop last Sunday. You must have seen it, the blue dress with all the ribbons worked into the bodice? I did not hear you going on about her ankles showing?”
Priscilla glared at Matilda.
“Only a fool would cross Cynthia” she snapped “especially within ear shot of Pastor Wyatt. “And, her ankles were quite decently covered, in her heeled boots.”
Priscilla poured herself some more tea and added a dollop of honey, stirring it briefly before taking a dainty sip.
“Grace is a vixen, a raven haired trollop. I have seen the men at the saloon eyeing her. She smiles at them. Smiles, I say, in encouragement. She might as well become a saloon girl.”
At that moment the parlor doors swung open and in stepped a tall, slender woman. Grace’s eyes took in the two women, perched at the edge of their chairs, ribbed corsets tightened to the point their voluminous cleavage spilled over the top of their dresses.
Grace lips stretched into a thin smile and she pushed the doors closed behind her.
“Perhaps I should become a saloon girl.” She spoke with an eastern accent and her words were smooth and educated. “Lord knows they are the only ones in this flea-bitten town who see anything of the world.”
She strode to the table, ankles flashing and helped herself to a cup of still warm tea.
“The women in the big cities are wearing pants now, you know. Pants, like the men.”
Priscilla spit out her tea, gagging on the mouth full. Matilda smiled.
“I would like to see that, yes I would” she murmured around a bite of cucumber sandwich.
“It’s an outrage, a scandal! No decent woman shows her ankles!”
Grace’s smile was genuine this time.
“Priscilla, you are such a goody two shoes! I am afraid that the world will pass you by, shortly. Thank you for the tea. It is time I returned to my office.”
Dr. Grace left the room, closing the doors gently behind her.
English Idiom “Goody Two-Shoes”: A prudish, self-righteous individual; a goody-goody…This expression alludes to the main character of a nursery tale, The History of Goody Two-Shoes (1765), who was so pleased when receiving a second shoe that she kept saying “Two Shoes.” The goody in the story is short for goodwife but means “goody-goody” in the idiom.
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