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Elizabeth sat in the beauty shop the next afternoon listening to the Lakeview ‘elite’ discuss Danny. Why were they so against him?
“Disgraceful, if you ask me,” old Mrs. Nelson said. “Why Mildred would take on a boy like that....” She shook her head and clucked her tongue.
“It’d be different if he was really her nephew, but a son of an old school friend.” Mrs. Leonard added her two cents. “Just because his mother died while he was in high school.”
“I heard she left him penniless to boot, not that Nora had much to begin with. Honestly, I don’t know why Mildred took up with Nora Sullivan. She didn’t even come from the right stock.” Mrs. Nelson crossed her arms across her ample breast.
Elizabeth swore Mrs. Nelson was the town’s biggest gossip and busybody, yet couldn’t stop herself from listening to every word the old ladies said.
The way Mrs. Nelson’s lips pursed made her look like she sucked on lemons. Crabby old biddy. Poor Danny didn’t stand a chance with this group. Unfortunately, Elizabeth knew her father felt the same way as these women. Malicious slander that’s all it was, simply because he hadn’t been born on the ‘right side’ of the tracks.
“Well, Nora married well and Mildred took a liking to her. Heaven knows why. Of course Mildred isn’t like the rest of us anyway. She always did like the commoners.” Mrs. Leonard fluffed her hair.
“Now, ladies,” Lily said. “Mildred is his godmother. She took him under her wing and sent him to college. I’d say that’s pretty admirable.”
Elizabeth always liked Lily. Sure, she owned the beauty shop, but it was just a hobby to her. Wasn’t like she had to work; Lily did it for fun.
“Admirable, ha! Well now she’s invited him to spend the summer. Mildred doesn’t understand you can’t teach refinement in a summer. That’s something you’re born to.” Mrs. Nelson was the last one Elizabeth heard since Lily put her under the hair dryer.
Stupid, old crows. Right stock, they sounded like her father. As if Danny was a horse being inspected.
Just the other day she heard her father tell someone that he thought Danny was a scalawag. He even went so far as to say Danny took advantage of Mrs. James’s kindness. Her father always used old-fashioned words and phrases. Elizabeth thought he should have lived in the last century instead of this one with his outdated ideas. He would have fit well in the Victorian era. Didn’t realize things were different now. Her father was so preoccupied with society—he missed out on seeing people for who they were, instead of who they were related to, or how much money they had.
She wished her mother were still alive, she’d tell these biddies a thing or two. Mother took people at face value, never mind their worth. Sometimes, Elizabeth wondered what her mother saw in her father. They had totally different views on life.