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Sunday, August 5, 2012

A magpie and a real toad, together

Cropped from the painting by
John Singer Sargent, 1884
provided as a prompt for Magpie Tales
The Diner

The year was 1884 and she sat in the hotel's dining room alone, needing no companion to increase her comfort, her happiness, or her enjoyment of a meal.

An independent woman of independent means, she knew some evidence of decorum was required of a woman alone in public in 1884. Therefore, she had her maid bring her a note, which she proceeded to read elaborately.
  
 "Oh dear, how unfortunate! My dinner companions are unable to join me," she lied to the waiter. "I will dine alone."
  
Refusing the waiter's suggestion that she dine in her room, with her maid in attendance, she insisted she would be much more comfortable in the dining room than in her bedroom.
  
The waiter bowed, listened to her dinner order, and went to the kitchen, where he told his friends about her.
  
Meanwhile, at her table, she smiled, suspecting what he was doing, and thinking that some day it wouldn't be at all unusual for a woman to dine alone.

© Kay L. Davies, August, 2012


Posted for Magpie Tales'
Mag 129
and for Open Link Monday with the online writers' group
Imaginary Garden with Real Toads

27 comments:

kaykuala said...

Dining alone for the liberal lady of means is no big deal these days. A very good take on the norms of society back in the olden days as a comparison. Wonderful thoughts Kay!

Hank

jane.healy said...

I wish that day had come! It's not unheard of but still a little unusual in a restaurant. Nice take

Mimi Foxmorton said...

Mags and Toads....my two favorites! :)

Wonderful!

Other Mary said...

It's easy to forget how far we've come, though I still prefer not to dine alone in restaurants. Interesting take Kaye.

Other Mary said...

(sorry, I don't know where that extra 'e' came from!)

aprille said...

So much packred into a few words. Luckily there have been more trailblazing women since then to bring about equality. Nice vignette.
[had to check with the dictionary to make sure that was indeed the word I wanted :-]

Brian Miller said...

there are times i dont mind dining alone, but then again i think i would much rather be with someone to enjoy it with...but to each their preference...

izzy said...

Wow- that is an ambitious lady! I can relate to her elaborate ruse: To get out and bust loose!

Fran said...

I love this! I must admit, I still find it uncomfortable to dine alone in public! xxx

awakenedwords said...

not so unusual at all...well told

Mark

Abin Chakraborty said...

funny and pointed.it's a myth that only women gossip.men can be as bad.

Daryl said...

wonderful

Mama Zen said...

Can you imagine having to go through all that just to eat? Great write, Kay.

Heaven said...

I love your perspective ...a strong woman who isn't afraid of dining alone ~ Cheers ~

Kerry O'Connor said...

I really like your prose approach to this image, and you make a pertinent comment about women "of independent means" - not every society is accepting of them even now.

Sue J said...

Nice Mag. Thank goodness those days are over :)

Daydreamertoo said...

And, how bad it was back then for women having hardly any, to no rights at all.
Thank goodness for those early suffragettes who were the first to demand women's rights.
Very nice write Kay.

Susan said...

Lovely! No wonder society held women suspect when it forced them to use trickery to get the same rights as their fellow man. A wonderfully dramatic and suspenseful poem, very convincing.

Jim said...

Very nice, Kay. It reminds me of my lonely dining visits (I love them!!). I will take the newspaper or a book I'm reading and stay for hours, sipping on coffee refills.
..
P,S. Later today I'll visit your Succintly Yours post. Right now I'm doing an Open Link Monday post.
..

Susie Clevenger said...

How far we have come and how much more distance we need to travel..great take on the prompt!

Bee's Blog said...

A divine piece of writing. Love it. It's many years since I dined alone and when I did, I didn't mind at all. I was young, single and living in the big city and to dine alone sometimes was bliss. What I did mind though were those men who because I was alone, seemed to think I needed company and almost always sent a drink to my table which amused me because invariably I'd have half a bottle of red wine on the table!! I used to send the drinks back. The 70s!

Sue said...

Glad I didn't live in that era, and yet there's something so romantic about it.

Good one!

=)

Mary said...

She was a woman ahead of her time! Dining alone for me is no biggie....

vivinfrance said...

If ever I have to dine alone, in hotel or restaurant, I always take a book to read. It's still an uncomfortable position to be in.

Tess Kincaid said...

We've come a long way...

Little Nell said...

That was very brave of her, but she looks determined!

Karen S. said...

...and that day has certainly arrived! What a fascinating tale you weaved!