On the appointed day of the tea party, the dumb girl started to blab something about stopping over in the neighborhood she used to live. Of course I refused.
“You forced me to come along based on the story that we’d be going to a tea party today, didn’t you? Why has this suddenly turned into a talk about us going to the place where you used to live?”
“…I mean, I’m missing my old home…”
“It doesn’t have to be today, does it? Wouldn’t it be alright for you to go there on another day instead? If you ask your father, he’ll gladly take you there, won’t he? …Or do you want to humiliate us by coming to the tea party late? Of course you’re free to do so by yourself, but on top of forcing me to accompany you, you’re going to disgrace me? What kind of punishment game is this supposed to be? ―A new kind of abuse? You’re certainly not trying to tell me that you’ve plotted with your father to deceive me, are you?”
I don’t think that she’s come to terms with it, but it seems she gave up on the idea at least.
Since she didn’t bring it up anymore, we managed to arrive on time.
But then I got a headache from the dumb girl jumping off the carriage before I could instruct her on how to act properly.
“Elder Sister, hurry!” She selfishly prompted me, but I ignored her, and gracefully descended the carriage with the help of the driver.
Watching me, she apparently realized. She looked behind her, and when she noticed how the faces of everyone, who had come to greet us, had frozen, she froze herself as well.
“…Step back and imitate me while watching my every move. If you don’t, you’ll experience embarrassment as you haven’t experienced so far.”
I didn’t know how much of it she comprehended or whether I’d be able to cover for her, but after scolding her in a whisper, I ordered her to do as I do.
However, to be honest, I can totally relate. The otherworld me was a commoner. If a small child rides a vehicle for the first time in her life, she’d frolic around and jump off the second the vehicle reaches its destination. It’s unthinkable for such a child to be capable of performing a polite greeting. She has no mother who would scold her about it, and unless her home tutor was the Spartan type of teacher, it’d be next to impossible to drive it into her. I can’t believe that man has hired a strict tutor. In the first place, that man looks like he doesn’t even understand the general concept of educating a child. He’s most likely embracing the misguided idea that she’ll probably be able to do it even without proper education.
The one in trouble won’t be me, and even if he blames me for everything at all times, this child will be in a dire predicament once she has to stand on her own feet someday. And the one losing face over her inadequacies then will be that man.
Such being the case, I’ll act perfectly in order to not embarrass myself as I don’t want to get dragged into any of the coming backlash. Moreover, I’ve decided that I’ll escape and lay the blame on her if she starts to do as she pleases without abiding by my earlier instruction.
Also, I won’t go to any tea parties anymore either. I’ll make sure to wrap this one up so that I will never have to attend any tea parties again.
After we somehow managed to get through the greetings, the tea party started.
I think it’s actually quite the big tea party. It’s hosting a buffet, and just by a cursory survey of the venue, I can spot more than ten people.
And then I got my hands on a major piece of information. The woman who gave birth to me originated from a Ducal House. Seeing how she married into an Earl House, she must have been below second daughter in standing within the family.
Moreover, even at this place I was told that I resemble that woman.
…Do I really resemble her so much? Isn’t that just because we share the same golden eyes with emerald rims and a cocoa gray – closer to gray – hair color? I don’t remember her except for her demonic face. But, I don’t pull such a face.
――Anyway, the dumb girl apparently threw my instruction to the wind right away. I did tell her quite explicitly to stay behind me, and forbade her to speak unless prompted by me, and yet she immediately drew all attention by frolicking around while squealing as soon as we entered the venue, just to make a beeline for the sweets in the next moment, which then earned her criticism by the nearby children.
Is she an idiot? No, I guess it’s obvious that she is.
She looked my way asking for help with her eyes, but I didn’t care, and deliberately ignored her pleading look.
I had my own plans to carry out.
“…Miss Primrose appears to be a very lively lady.”
“Quite so. Father loves her dearly. It looks like he cannot get enough of her liveliness.” I replied with a sweet smile. “I was taught manners quite harshly by my mother, but father appears to follow the idea of letting that girl do whatever she likes. …He told me to teach her manners, but even if she fails at it…he never scolds her for her lack of conduct. Claiming that my way of teaching is wrong, he has been disciplining me very strictly, resulting in only my manners improving.”
“Ho ho ho,” I laughed unnaturally.
I’m playing up how much I’m hated by my father to such an extent that it leaves no room for doubt. In this world that has a severe lack of entertainment, I’m going to spread this scandal during my society debut. Considering that man for who he is, I’m sure he’s spreading evil rumors about me, but I don’t intend to live my life as a noble. It doesn’t bother me at all to give the people here a topic to gossip about, even if reaches a level where we won’t be able to attend tea parties out of embarrassment.
“…Just the other day, I was slapped and told, 『Don’t make any mistakes, there exists no proof of you being my child』…”
“He said something so terrible!?”
Before I noticed, I got surrounded by adults who all jumped at my tragic heroine act. Although they were expressing their sympathy, I didn’t miss the sparkling gleam in their eyes.
“…At first I wasn’t allowed to attend this tea party either. My little sister apparently invited me, not really understanding the circumstances given that she’s being doted on by our father, but I…I have not received any dresses after my mother died, so while it’s very embarrassing, this one here is a dress he bought for me as secondhand goods.”
For a while now, outcries of surprise arose many times over.
Come to think of it, this deception of my listeners by acting like a tragic heroine is just what a villainess would do, isn’t it? The target of attack isn’t the heroine, but my father, though.
I’ve roughly spread the scandal, and well, since I’ve played my hand so far as it goes, it’s about time to pick up the dumb girl.
“Oh my, I beg your pardon for having you listen to these unsightly stories of my family. ――But, my little sister is innocent since she was raised without learning about any of this, you know? I am certain my father will sooner or later stop lazing around and hire her a tutor to teach her the manners of a lady. She does not listen to a thing I tell her, and it’s probably because I am the only one getting scolded, but after experiencing today’s tea party, my little sister will undoubtedly realize just how important it is to learn proper manners, and start requesting a tutor on her own accord. …I must admit I cannot handle her myself.”
Adding the unnatural act of me having realized this only now, I rattled on up until this point.
“Well then, I would like to go back home anytime soon. I also believe that it is a good time as I am feeling that my little sister is close to reaching her limit of staying still in one place. Thank you for your time. Please excuse me.”
After bowing, I headed over to the dumb girl. She was completely depressed. What I had noticed at the corner of my eyes while circulating my gossip among the adults was her being splendidly avoided whenever she approached one of the boys and girls groups all over the place. Moreover, I saw children making fun of her behind her back at the perfect angle of being diagonally behind her.
But, I really wonder why she’s being hated to such an extent? For a child, the dumb girl falls into the standard category, I’d say. Is she being seen as an oddball by the children who were strictly taught proper etiquette?
“Primrose, I’m sorry to interrupt you while you’re having fun, but how about we go home anytime soon now? Your father will worry if we come back too late. It’d result in me being blamed and severely scolded, so please, let us go home, okay?”
She probably thought that I had finally come to save her. Ignoring what I said, she was about to bawl. Elegantly and kindly taking her hand, I led her.
While bowing my farewell to the surrounding children, I urged her, “Primrose, your farewells.”
While half-crying, she bobbed her head left and right. …I clearly told her to imitate me, but for her to be so forgetful… Giving up on her, I sighed, and quickly took her away from this place.
――I learned of this only later, but although the children were supposed to be accompanied by their parents to this tea party, I had apparently been attached to Primrose as her foster parent and maid. Knowing that only married women with children would attend this occasion, that trash of an earl had absolutely no interest in showing up, and thus pushed everything on me. He’s really the worst scum.