“Julieanne, I cannot believe we are picking up your wedding dress from the seamstress already. My darling daughter, look at how you’ve grown up right before my eyes,” the Governor James Andrews said, smiling nostalgically.
“Oh, Daddy, don’t be sad,” Julieanne took her father’s hand from across the carriage, “for you still have Emma to keep you and mother company.”
“Of course, but that’s only for a short time,” he said looking mischievously at his niece sitting opposite him, beside Julieanne. “I wouldn’t doubt Emma’s betrothal within a fortnight, you mark my words!”
Julieanne laughed as Emma gasped. “Uncle! Do not even imply such a thing! So far as I know, I shall not marry, for indeed I find no interest in suitors.”
The governor was the one who gasped now. Emma continued, “I plan to stay your sweet niece for a very long time. I don’t want things to change. I want to stay the same. I don’t know why everyone wants to grow up, get married; I’m happy as I am. No man I have met has tempted me into the state of mind to fall in love with him. When I do fall in love, the man must fascinate me and occupy my every thought; and he must think of others, and not only himself. He needs to be charming, handsome, adventurous, and...I don’t know...villainous!”
“Villainous, Emma?” the governor cried.
Emma laughed, “Yes, villainous...or a man that could be villainous and wouldn’t. Now you know why I shall never marry, Uncle, for there is no man in this entire colony who could fulfill all of my requirements. Oh, and above all, he must make me laugh, and all the young men in this colony are far too serious, besides my dear cousin-to-be; but alas, he could not be villainous.”
Emma’s cousin and uncle laughed again. “And so, I shall remain companion to my uncle and aunt, ever entertaining them with my imagination, and grow to be an old maid,” Emma smiled.
“Oh, my silly girl, do not sacrifice a lifetime of happiness simply to entertain an old man. To rejoice in the weddings of two daughters would give me enough pleasure to last the rest of my life. You are as a daughter to me, my dear sweet niece,” Emma took the governor’s other hand. “Any man who can tame your wild imagination of this non- existent husband and win your heart would be one of the luckiest men in the world.”
Emma gave her uncle a calculating look, “any man who would try to tame my imagination would indeed not be for me,” they all laughed, and the carriage came to a stop. The footman opened the carriage door and assisted the young ladies out. Just as the party was about to enter the dressmaker’s shop, someone called to them, and they stopped.
It was a young man in his mid-twenties who had called them. “Governor Andrews! Good day to you!” he said as he crossed the street which was bustling with the everyday business of the thriving colony.
“Ah, good day to you, young Master Livingstone!” said the governor taking the man’s hand and shaking it heartily.
“Miss Julieanne,” Livingstone gave a small bow, “all my best wishes for your wedding tomorrow.”
“Why, thank you Mr. Livingstone,” she smiled.
“And Miss Emma, perhaps we may hope to be favored with your lovely singing voice tomorrow,” he took her hand, and kissed it, bowing his head, but never letting his eyes stray from her face. Emma tried to smile politely.
“Ah, I shouldn’t want to ruin a perfect wedding with my average singing, sir.”
“Don’t be silly Emma,” Julieanne said.
“I agree with your cousin, Miss Andrews, I doubt your voice to be capable of ruining anything,” Livingstone added, who finally dropped her hand. The governor took notice of this gesture, as did Emma, though he did with approval, and she did with annoyance.
“Now, tell me Jonathan, how is your father’s plantation?” Governor Andrews inquired.
“Thriving more than ever and busy as always. We’re making ready a shipment that will be sent out in two days time. Father has sent me now to check the loading docks, it’s a rather large shipment, and they started loading things yesterday morning. Father just wants to be sure that things are running smoothly.”
“And am I to understand that your father plans to sign over all the aspects of the plantation to someone else? I was most shocked when my secretary told me there were some legal goings on with the property.”
“Well, sir, it’s nothing for anyone to worry about, except for myself of course. Father has promised it to be signed over to me as a wedding present.”
“Ah! Congratulations! Who is the lucky girl then?” Governor Andrews asked, smiling.
Livingstone turned slightly pink around the ears as he said, “well, that still has to be put in order...”
“I would suggest acting quickly in such matters,” The governor said, glancing sideways at his niece, “young ladies simply don’t wait forever, you know.”
Livingstone‘s cheeks now matched his ears. “Very good advice Governor Andrews, I shall take it to heart. Well, I must excuse myself, I’m afraid I must be getting to the docks, and I do not wish to keep you from your own business.”
“If you must depart then, but pray, will you dine with us this evening, young Master Livingstone?”
“It would be an honor, sir.”
“Splendid! We shall be having a small party of our dinner then. My family will be there as well as Julianne’s fiancÚ. Indeed, our table will be surrounded with excellent company this evening.”
“I look forward to it, sir,” Livingstone said, glancing at Emma. “Good day to you all.” Then he hurried off and Governor Andrews, Julieanne and Emma entered the dressmaker’s shop. Inside, the governor’s wife, Mrs. Andrews, and the governor’s mother, Mrs. Margret Andrews, were waiting along with the dressmaker.