The Scholar (Emerson Pass Historicals 3) - Page 55

“You’ll have such fun tonight,” Quinn said. “Will you go dancing afterward?”

“Dancing?” I shot a quick look in Mother’s direction. She wouldn’t like me to dance, I didn’t think. “Where would we dance?”

“Oh, well, that’s the part I’m not supposed to know about.” Quinn’s eyes sparkled with mischief. “There’s a clandestine dance hall in the basement of the lodge.”

Mother gasped. “Quinn, tell me it isn’t so.”

“Pamela, it’s harmless really,” Quinn said. “The kids go there to dance or, in Fiona’s case, play music. Raucous music, not the kind she and Li play at church.”

“There’s not alcohol, is there?” Mother’s eyes had widened. A splash of red dotted her neck.

“Of course not. It’s Prohibition.” Quinn looked over at Mother with an innocent look in her eyes. “You don’t think I’d allow Flynn and Phillip to do something illegal, do you?”

I couldn’t tell if she was being truthful. For my sake, I hoped she was or Mother would not want me to go. Surprisingly enough, I would very much like to go to a dance hall and hear raucous music. Especially as Theo’s date.

“She’ll be with Theo,” Quinn said. “What’s the worst that could happen?”

“If Simon were still alive, she would not be allowed to go,” Mother said.

What had happened to me being an adult and not needing permission?

“But I suppose I’ll have to trust Theo to look after her properly. I have to say, Quinn, I’m shocked you’re allowing Fiona to play music at such a place. And Cymbeline unescorted?”

“Flynn and Phillip run the joint.” A hint of defensiveness slipped into Quinn’s tone. “Li doesn’t let Fiona out of his sight. Cymbeline goes with friends. Anyway, this is Emerson Pass. There are no thugs or criminals here. The girls are perfectly safe.”

“Have you ever been there?” Mother asked Quinn.

“It’s not a place for old people,” Quinn said.

“Which means you don’t know if there’s alcohol?” Mother asked. “Louisa, I really wish you wouldn’t go there. Have supper upstairs and then have Theo take you home.”

“That’s the plan,” I said. “Don’t worry, Mother, Theo won’t let anything happen to me.”

A sliver of excitement ran up the back of my spine. How I’d love to go to the dance hall just once to see what it was like to be a young person who wasn’t the pastor’s daughter. Drink would never pass my lips. Not after what it had done to Pa. But dancing? That was quite another matter altogether.


Fiona and Cymbeline shared a bedroom. There were two of everything: twin beds, vanities, dressers, and wardrobes. Decorated in pinks with flower-patterned quilts and lamps with sparkling crystals, it was exactly the kind of room I would have liked. “I love your room,” I said.

“The twins used to share this one when we were small,” Fiona said. “But when they left, we moved in here.”

“Where does Theo stay now?” I asked.

Fiona pointed to the far wall. “The next one over. It used to be a guest room, but once the little girls came, we had to use it for the family.”

Three dresses were splayed out on the bed. I couldn’t decide among them. One was a light blue dress decorated with tiny beads around the collar and dropped waist. The other two were made of chiffon, one the color of the outside of a peach with a bold pink sash tied over the right hip. The other chiffon was in a light green with a scoop back.

“The green is too revealing,” I said. “Mother won’t let me out of the house exposing that much skin.”

Fiona held up the blue one. “This would match your eyes.”

“Beads are festive,” Cymbeline said from the chair in the corner where she was fanning herself with a magazine. She wore only a slip. Her bare legs were dangled over the arm of the chair. “But hot and heavy for this weather.”

“True.” Fiona pointed to the peach dress. “I say try this one on and see what you think.”

Fiona and I were also wearing only our slips. Fiona brought the dress to me and helped slide it over my head. The material felt light and smooth against my bare legs. I gazed at my reflection in the trifold mirror. Sleeveless with a scoop neckline that flattered my creamy skin, the dress made me look rich and sophisticated. “It’s such a pretty dress.”

“You look perfectly perfect.” Fiona clapped her hands together before scooting over to the vanity. She yanked open a drawer and came out with a long strand of black beads along with a beaded headband. “Sit here and I’ll fix your hair.”

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