Lady Constance Ward-Courtly.
Biography of a feline Lady - 1902
At the residence of 615 Easton Place, Central London, you would find the three-story home of Lady Constance Ward-Courtly.
In it, Her Ladyship could often be seen sitting in her dressing room brushing her long, soft fur. Reflecting on her younger days as simply Constance Ward.
A popular young cat at the time. A debutante. Her formal announcement to society began with an introduction to the monarch and other socialites and a debut at a high-profile ball. , Swiftly followed by cocktail parties, dances, and other special events. These were indeed exciting times for a young cat.
At one of these parties, a horse racing event, she met her future betrothed, Lord Gregory Courtly. He spied her literally through his racing binoculars. With rakish good looks and a confident walk, Lord Courtly presented his card to her.
After a brief courtship, they were married. When the celebrations, guests, and endless parties settled, and normality descended on the home, a time of quiet stillness, uneventful weekends, and stilted dinner conversations soon became the norm. It was clear that Lord Courtly preferred the company of his society friends. He missed the weekend retreats, the silly party games, and the heated discourse on philosophy, art, and politics. His new wife was very much a home person. She shied away from such company. He tried including her. He hoped she would become part of his little group of friends. They were always welcoming and polite in return. But it was never quite the same. Group friendships are often a fragile construct.
So, Lady Constance opted to stay at home. Lord Courtly would travel and be absent for days at a time. It seemed better this way—this arrangement. But the Courtly home now had a sad air of solemnity.
A most unlikely source often lifted Lady Constance's spirits, her two mice maids, Daisy and Rose. They both thought very highly of her Ladyship. They were protective of her feelings, too. Often, in the early evening, they would do their best to entertain her. To ease her mind from her sadness. Reading books to her, acting out plays, and funny little skits. She would try to mask her smiles and laughter by placing her paw over her mouth, as a lady of the time would. But oh, how she enjoyed their attention and their friendship.
After several years, it became apparent to both His Lordship and Her Ladyship that their differences were unreconcilable. They decided to separate. Three years later, his Lordship passed away in a tragic boating accident. Her Ladyship mourned. Then, after an appropriate amount of time had passed, she allowed herself to be courted again. She was socially introduced to Mr. Edmond Quilley via a dinner party. He was a brash American cat. A little loud for the table. But perfectly wonderful in Her Ladyship's eyes. He was self-confident without being conceited. He was intelligent without being boorish, and most interestingly, he was single.
The day after the party, Mr. Quilley sent a messenger to Easton Place, presenting his card. A formal invitation to mid-morning tea from Lady Constance was returned. He immediately accepted. And so, soon, they laughed; she played the piano for him, and he read to her. He engaged her imagination with stories of his life in the USA. He was a rancher. Such a different cat from any she had known.
Behind the closed parlor door, Daisy and Rose fought quietly to be the one to serve tea and biscuits. They also wanted to meet this man who could perhaps be the key to her Ladyship's future happiness. After he had left and asked permission to call on her Ladyship again, a smiling, even grinning, Lady Constance looked at both her mice servants, and with a subtle nod and a look, both Daisy and Rose approved of him.
Lady Constance soon became Lady Constance-Quilley. It was with great sadness that she left Easton Place. Despite the comfort of their life in England, Lady Constance was eager to embark on a new adventure in a foreign land. As fate would have it, she was to become a rancher's wife - a path she never would have imagined for herself but one that was full of promise and excitement. She invited Daisy and Rose to join her, but both had their own paths to follow. Daisy couldn't bear to leave her family behind, while Rose had become engaged to a Welsh coal miner. Despite the distance and social class between them, the three friends remained close, writing to each other for many years to come.
Daisy and Rose have a separate biography
'Two Mice Maids'
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