Eugene listened to her mother’s brief explanation about today’s gathering before their departure to the venue of the tea party.
The tea party, which is known to be held once in every month, goes back close to a hundred years of history. The gathering is strictly limited to ladies, with only ten to twelve people attending most of the time. And though it is relatively small for a party, its reputation, however, greatly transcends its size in high society. In fact, every member was indeed from a prestigious family of wealth and honor in the Holy City.
The members of the gathering are limited to seven people. In other words, no admission will be allowed unless someone withdraws the membership. Besides that, one must be recommended by an existing member and receive consents from the rest to be welcomed as a new member.
Today, Eugene would be attending as a guest since every member is allowed to bring along one guest to the gathering. If anything, members were commonly accompanied by either their daughter or daughter-in-law, whom they intend to hand over their membership to, upon their death or if they inevitably must leave the group.
Since this is a gathering of an extensive history, the members customarily had their successor appointed in advance. Also, there hardly had been a case for someone, who’s not a close relative to the existing member, to join as a new member.
“Mother. I believe you’ve told me that you haven’t associated with people in high society for quite a long time. Then I guess it’s been a while since you last attended the gathering.”
“It’s been a while indeed. As it’s almost been twenty years…”
“You never showed up for the last twenty years and they still hadn’t expelled you from the group?”
Dana chuckled before she rhetorically remarked, “Me?”
It was a remark which required no further explanation. So instead, Eugene merely smiled back sheepishly while thinking that her mother’s reasonable confidence somehow reminds her of a man she knew well. She always thought Kasser had every reason to be overly confident, as he was a king. But now that she thinks of it, her mother’s position in the Holy City seemed comparable to that of a king’s.
‘I guess my mom is truly an important figure in the city.’
With that thought, Eugene started to see her mother in a different light, along with a huge sense of pride inside her. She still finds it hard to believe that someone, who has every reason to be self-conceited, but still wouldn’t get reprimanded for it, was indeed her mother.
“But I must say that I don’t really like the venue where today’s gathering is being held.” Dana said with a frown.
“Where is it being held?”
“We better hurry now. I’ll explain on the way.”
As the carriage left the manor, Dana explained about the venue of the gathering to Eugene.
Traditionally, the members would take turns to hold the gathering in their own respective residences. However, if it was inconvenient to do so, the members are allowed to hold the gathering at a different venue instead.
In fact, the vicinity of the city’s most crowded central square, had everything from fine dining restaurants to accommodations, as well as exhibition halls. And the very venue of today’s gathering was reserved in a social club named ‘Day and Night’.
By social club, it meant a place with various facilities such as restaurants, hotels and exhibition halls all combined. And it’s a place strictly limited to those who pass the screening at the entrance. In other words, a social club was where the so-called nobles of the Holy City would eat, gather, accommodate and seek entertainment from.
“Every room in the club is used for different purposes. And I believe they’ve reserved a room where we could have a quiet conversation over tea. However, you must be careful as you might encounter unsightly scenes should you lose your way.”
“I’ll keep that in mind. But mother,” Eugene took a pause and drew a deep breath before she went on. “What if I accidentally commit a discourtesy? I’m worried that I might bring disgrace to your reputation.”
Dana gently patted on Eugene’s hand with a warm smile on her face. “There’s nothing for you to worry about. No one would ask anything that would put you in a difficult position as they all are decent people. Just relax and enjoy yourself.”
Eugene was relieved a little when she heard that Lady Ditheo is in fact a member of the gathering. She couldn’t be more grateful to have at least one acquaintance in the group. Of course, Lady Ditheo was a great talker, but she was easygoing as well.
Before long, the carriage pulled in right in front of the club. Eugene looked up and saw a five-story building standing tall right before her, as she alighted from the carriage. But to her, a five-story building was barely considered tall at all. Still, the whole premise was so broad that it was enough to make the building look much taller than it was.
Eugene got a bad feeling from the moment she got off from the carriage. And just as she feared, there were eyes on her everywhere she went thereafter. She could literally feel everyone staring at her every move as she entered the club, ascended the stairs, and walked down the hall towards the reserved room.
When Eugene stole a quick glance at her mother, she saw that her mother didn’t seem in the least conscious of such gazes.
‘She really is a born celebrity. She seems so natural to be in the center of everyone’s attention, even though it’s been a long while since she last went out in public.’ Eugene said inwardly in a great awe.
She followed her mother into the room and saw there were six ladies gathered around at a round table inside the room.
At once, the three older ladies among six, rose from their seats almost at the same time.
“Good gracious. Dana. How have you been?”
“You have no idea how surprised I was to hear that you’re coming.”
“It’s been such a while, Helen, Anita.”
It was the rule of the gathering to address one another only by their first names.
Eugene quietly stood by while her mother exchanged greetings with her old acquaintances by giving each other light embraces. Meanwhile, she saw there were three other young ladies, who were standing rather awkwardly around the table, just like she did. She gathered that they must be either daughters or daughters-in-law of the three middle aged women.