Busy villagers were balls on a snooker table’s green baize as they mingled and chattered on the green; the warm sun exposing them as a floodlight illumining the playing surface. Vibrant and bounding, one bright red ball bobbed towards a deep black, stern sphere ahead of her. She glowed as she hopped across the small common; the same beaming rays irradiating her ruby locks revealed a blue blob which gawked wistfully as she swept past. Prodded by the sharp cue of a mother’s instruction, a smaller sphere, clothed from head to foot in buttercup yellow, rolled after her elder sister and the mature green orb, characterised by an extravagant sunhat of that colour, remained motionless in her deck chair, retiring into the shade whilst keeping a watchful eye over her two key players.
All agreed that the village fête was a resounding success; in fact, Mrs Green was forced to lift the rim of her sunhat and divide her focus (hitherto close upon her two daughters) for a short time as she was drawn into conversation on the fact.
Meanwhile little Marigold, gleaming in her new dress, the same colour as the sun’s glorious rays as they bounced off the abundant daffodils which lined the sides of the tall gazebo, hopped along merrily in pursuit of her doting, affectionate older sister. These characteristics attributed to her by the young girl caused some to draw different conclusions in other circumstances, being great clues to the frivolity in her nature. But precious, innocent Marigold simply loved her sister and cherished the teasing attention with which she was spoilt – to her it held no significance as an intimation of the playful harm which her beloved Rosy might cause with her light-hearted charm, when it was unaccompanied by a less consistent attention or affection than that demanded by the filial bond.
On this occasion, however, despite the potential flaws in character which may be ultimately damaging to those around her, the young lady shone at her finest. The auburn hair which was so much admired and envied within the village was today let loose from its habitual bondages of braids, twists and hairpins. Cascading far past her slender shoulders, it hung at once thick with its seductive sheen, and light with its inviting, curled ‘bounce’. As she paraded past one of the small collections of villagers which filled the bustling green, she had a special smile for one in particular of the group. This she delivered with the sweet magnetism which seemed to be her natural, unpractised gift; the perfect teeth, displayed for the appropriate time whilst eye contact (so delighted in by the recipient) was held briefly, were again hidden as a toss of the richly adorned head broke the spell. Treasured contact, delicious interaction was over, and she continued on her way.
Mrs Green, thankfully not burdened with a talker who was overly attentive to her own engagement with their speech, pursed her thin lips at the scene, nodding relieved approval as her eldest daughter pursued the course which the watchful mother intended.
The anonymous young man in light blue overalls and workers’ boots was at the present time filled with such elated happiness that in his young awkwardness the inability to hide his deepest feeling made continuing his conversation rather a struggle. Shortly, however, his passion was quelled and his emotions underwent an unfortunate change as his eyes followed this glistening ruby across the field and observed her actions. His sigh was low and barely audible but its melancholy reverberated strongly.
Her path ended finally when she positioned herself beside the loquacious, middle-aged vicar. Mr Trubball was certainly gratified and charmed by her presence at his side but managed to complete his fine discourse (addressed to an indifferent neighbour) on the matter of the restoration of the pews without too great a disturbance in his grave delivery. Rosy secured his attention directly he finished spouting, relieving the numbed listener and flattering the proud speaker. Marigold’s approach was close upon her sister’s and the little cherub amused the pair with her child’s play and silly fancies, carefully influenced earlier in the day by some casual remarks dropped by her clever mother.
Mrs Green gazed on from her seat in the distance, soon released from the hold of the incessant conversationalist who had earlier accosted her. Her mind’s eye danced over visions of future happenings, her thoughts returning continually to, and alternating between, the tragic passing of her insolvent husband and the rumoured fortune of pleasant, mature Mr Trubball. She leaned back, content in blissful contemplation of her schemes.