Genevieve Bakers clipped a rose from the rose bush in her garden. Bringing it up to her nose, she inhaled its sweet scent before adding it to the other roses in her basket. She could feel her mother's penetrating eyes on her back, and clipped another rose.
"Don't you think you've cut enough of those?" her mother called from the back porch. "And for goodness sake do you have to smell each one of them?"
Genevieve tried not to stiffen, "I'll just cut a few more." Please go back inside.
Every evening when Genevieve's family wasn't entertaining, Genevieve enjoyed toiling in the back garden. Her mother thought it an immense waste of time. Why Genevieve could be doing needlework, and embroidery, and endless boring tasks like that. "You've got to prepare for a husband," her mother would say "You're twenty three and still cannot stitch a hem. You've got no prospects, and no interested suitors. It's time something changed; garden work is for the gardeners, and you are a lady."
Genevieve's father would usually come to her rescue if he wasn't locked away in his study. He would spar with her mother, and then her mother would go off in a huff. For days Genevieve would be subjected to glares from her mother, and subtle gestures that made it clear she wasn't happy with her daughter.
Genevieve wasn't against marriage. She was against all the suitors her mother thrust upon her. Genevieve wanted love, something her mother didn't understand. All the men her mother introduced Genevieve to were pompous, self-conceited, uncaring males. Not once did she feel remotely attracted to any of them. Genevieve was convinced that she would find the right man one day. She might be practically on the shelf, but there was still hope.
Genevieve heard her mother's exasperated sigh, and she reluctantly turned to head inside. Through the iron fence she caught a glimpse of a horse riding up to the house next door. Apparently her mother had noticed it too, because she immediately whispered to Genevieve "That must be him."
"Who?" Genevieve asked stepping onto the porch.
"The man who bought the Bunker's house," her mother whispered. "Mrs. Glister says he's a violinist. Can you believe that? A violinist! An unmarried violinist no doubt," she peeked towards the iron gate. "Musicians never can afford to marry; there isn't one alive who can hold down a job. Bad on their luck, they are. Dreamers the lot of them - humph! I'm surprised he could afford to buy that house."
"Mother really," Genevieve said "Musicians cannot afford to marry? Not one alive can hold down a job? Have you ever heard of Mozart?"
Her mother swatted a hand at her "Don't be silly, of course I've heard of Mozart. Why, I have a whole piano bench filled with his music."
"It was a rhetorical question." Genevieve said.
"I don't care what kind of question it was; there is no way on God's green earth that that man," she pointed towards the house on the other side of the fence, "Can make a living in this city. Why we've already got opera house full of musicians, there's no room for him. What does he think he can gain by moving here? Of all the people he could have moved next door to he moved next to us." her mother's voice shuddered in frustration.
"What do you have against him? You've not even met him."
"He's – he's common. A common no-account violinist."
"That's prejudiced and you know it," Genevieve said. "There is nothing wrong with playing the violin. I'd play it myself if I could." Genevieve narrowed her eyes "You cannot judge him without even knowing him. I won't have you making him an outcast just because you want to agree with Mrs. Glister."
"But Mrs. Glister is a knowledgeable woman. She –"
"She is a rumor spreading gossip. She does not have one piece of factual, reliable information to give."
"She's my friend, and I won't have you speaking about her that way," Genevieve's mother protested.
"You should have heard what she said about you the other day in Mrs. O'Bryan's dress shop. I could have slapped that woman."
"What did she say?"
"I can't tell you," Genevieve said.
"But I'm your mother!"
"I'm not going to tell you. Ask Mrs. Glister herself."
"Humph." Her mother turned around walked towards the door, "Come inside. I don't want my daughter out in the garden like a common girl. It's time you started acting like a lady. Why, you don't even have any suitors. It's time to remedy that."