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Changing Yesterday by Sean McMullen

Changing Yesterday by Sean McMullen

Author:Sean McMullen
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9781921665370
Publisher: Ford Street Publishing
Published: 2011-03-13T16:00:00+00:00


Chapter 6

MUSICIAN

With Barry safely confined to the brig Daniel felt a lot more at ease, yet his problems were not yet over. At first he tried to read on the promenade deck, but he quickly learned that people on long voyages were a lot more affable and outgoing than in their day-to-day lives. This was because everyone travelling first class assumed each other to be genteel company, so they had no reservations about needing to be introduced before opening a conversation. Worse, the stewards were always on the lookout for people to drag into deck games. Daniel was a prime target because as far as they were concerned, someone reading a book was doing nothing.

Tuesday was the sixth day since leaving Melbourne, and the weather was already warmer. A steward told Daniel that they were only a few hundred miles from the tropics, and to celebrate there would be a ball. This was yet another problem for Daniel: there were a dozen girls of about his age travelling first-class, but only four boys. One of those boys was in the brig, however, leaving three girls for every boy. Two of those boys were only twelve years old, meaning that Daniel was the boy of choice for any girl in search of male company. All that Daniel wanted to do was pine for his lost love, yet he was pursued by girls wherever he walked, and surrounded by girls when he stopped.

The ball was the second of the many diversions planned for the voyage. Unlike the music hall concert, this was for first-class passengers only, and was entirely formal. People were announced and introduced as they arrived, so that they were not entirely unknown as they began to mingle.

‘Daniel William Lang, travelling to Britain to do a preparatory year at Harlingford, prior to studying law at Oxford,’ declared the steward as Daniel entered.

Every mother of every eligible daughter instantly gave Daniel their undivided attention. Going to Harlingford meant that Daniel came from a family that was either rich or at least prosperous. Oxford and law meant that Daniel had very bright career prospects. Daniel was also tall and handsome, and his suit disguised the fact that he weighed only a hundred and forty pounds. His name and school were written into twelve little notebooks trimmed with gold.

The dancing started with sedate waltzes, but as people became a little more relaxed in each other’s company the band moved them on to livelier dances like the ‘Champagne gallop’ and the ‘Railway steam gallop’. Daniel had learned all the latest dances at the Middle Brighton Dancing Academy, and his dancing created a very good impression with nine mothers and twelve eligible daughters.

Daniel was naturally shy, but he did have a little experience with girls in his past. There were eleven two-hour lessons at the Dancing Academy in the company of two dozen girls who were no better at polite social banter than himself, and fifteen years of being dominated and ground down by his sister Emily.



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