This is the second part in a series, so if you have not already done so, you might want to read Part I before continuing.
“Is father home, yet?”
“Not yet, miss,” Peggy said as she inserted the last hairpin into Sarah’s curls.
“Will you tell me when he is? And I mean as soon as you see him walking up to the door.”
“Of course, miss.” Peggy curtsied before leaving the room. Sarah knew she had only a precious few moments to herself and she had every intention of making the most of them. As soon as Peggy had closed the door behind her, Sarah started to sing.
She went right into her announcement of Siegmund’s death. She knew she should warm up before singing such a challenging song, but she couldn’t help herself. It was her favorite song of the whole opera and she didn’t have time to warm up and sing it through before her father arrived. She promised herself she would be careful, keeping her voice soft as she sang.
Sarah found that the song fortified her. She hated these parties, she hated the part she had to play, and she knew it was blasphemous, but there were times when she hated her father – not so different from Brunnhilde, actually.
The difference was that Brunnhilde was strong, riding through the sky on a winged horse. Sarah could only imagine, but imagine she did. And the more she sang, the more convincingly she imagined it, until she could almost feel the wind blowing through her hair.
Her reverie was interrupted by a knock on the door. Peggy didn’t wait for a response before entering and saying in a loud whisper, “Your father’s home, miss.”
Just as she finished saying it, Sarah heard the front door slam downstairs. She thanked Peggy and prepared herself to greet her father.
“Ah, there you are. All ready for the party?. If you have any of those last-minute touch-ups women always insist on making, I suggest you take care of it now.”
Sarah suppressed a sigh. “No, father.”
“Good. I expect you to be waiting at the door with me when the first guest arrives, which should be any minute now.”
“Yes, father. May I just check on Peggy and the hors d’oeuvres?”
“If you must, but be quick about it.”
Sarah was relieved to see the hors d’oeuvres were just coming out of the oven and the pre-dinner drinks were ready to be poured. Everything was just as it should be, down to the tiniest detail.
“Peggy, you’re a miracle worker. I don’t know how you do it all.”
“Just doing my job, miss.”
“And a marvelous job at that.”
“Thanks, miss. There’s the door. Better hurry.”
Sarah went hurried into the front hall as best she could in all her smothering finery, then slowed and forced herself to breathe normally and look as though she had merely been strolling at the sedate pace expected of her. She smiled brightly as the door was opened to admit the first guest, as though there could be nowhere in the world she’d rather be and no one she’d rather see.
To be continued…