The Harris family didn't have a private carriage of their own. The most they had done was use the local transport that moved twice a day from the village they lived in, to the next one and the other towns where one would have to change carriages.
It was a reason why both Madeline, as well as Beth, appeared to be looking out of the window with eager eyes, and this included Mrs. Harris.
Madeline, who sat next to Beth, looked outside the window with the trees that passed by one after another. The sky had turned dark two hours ago due to which it was just their carriage that had fixated lanterns that gave out light outside along with other carriages that were either in front of them or behind them heading in the direction of the castle that was emitting light from the lanterns.
The young girl continued to look outside the little window until she heard her father say,
"Were the Hamptons invited?"
"They have been invited," it was their mother who answered to this who had been sitting prim and proper with a straight back as if trying to rehearse how to rest as she was wearing a gown herself that was made of silk, "Mrs. Hamptons kept speaking about it in every conversation with everyone she met as if the King had come to invite her personally. She wanted to let everyone know that her family was special; therefore, I made sure to tell her and some of them that the King invited us to the ball too."
Beth and Madeline smiled at their mother's words who had knit her brows as she said it. Their father said, "I am sure you did that, my dear."
Beth chuckled to say, "It is the King so everyone cannot wait to show off that they have been invited to the castle."
"That is true," said their father, "It must be the very first time that the King decided to invite people like us," people who lacked when it came to both money, as well as status, had always been separated from the rich folks.
"Do you think the King is a good man, papa?" Beth asked her father.
"It is hard to say," muttered her father and then said, "Once we reach the castle, make sure both you girls stay together. We have seen the castle only from afar. I wouldn't want my daughters lost and where your mother or I will need to find you girls later in worry."
"And do not cause any trouble," their mother added to have both the young girls nod their head, "I heard the castle is vast. As big as the village," said her mother that had her father continue with the conversation but Madeline didn't listen to it. Instead, she turned her head to look outside at the trees.
As they neared the castle, they were able to see glimpses of it from afar, and they continued to ride in the carriage. She clutched the mask that was in her hand. It was a masquerade ball. If it weren't for the ball and Beth's persistence of wanting to attend the ball tonight, they wouldn't have got the opportunity to wear dresses like these or go in the carriage now.
When the carriage passed through the big pillars, Madeline looked at the leaves and creepers that decorated the gates. The land was vast with trees and gardens that were beautiful like one would imagine heaven to be. Like Madeline, there were some men and women who were busy looking at their surroundings.
Madeline took her mask that was gold in colour, tying it around her face before they would reach the entrance of the castle.
The carriage finally came to a pause and the door of the carriage was opened for Mr. and Mrs. Harris to get down first who was followed by Beth where she had to make sure she didn't step on her dress. Two servants came forward to straighten her dress once she had stepped down before they moved to help Madeline.
"Thank you," Madeline bowed at the castle maids after they had helped in fixing her dress.
The castle was lit up with torches of fire, and right now it looked beautiful. Madeline continued to look at the castle which in truth was as big as the village they lived in. Every person who had stepped out of the carriage and was getting down were dressed in different materials and texture of clothing that was eye-catching.
"Please head this way ladies and gentlemen," the guard stood guiding the guests who had stepped out of the carriage.
Madeline, along with her sister, walked inside the castle that had wide doors that were carved beautifully. There were paintings on the ceilings that lit up for view because of the chandelier that held many candles in them and these hanging chandelier's carried stones like diamonds that reflected light around them. While the elites continued to walk forward, it was the poor people who couldn't help but look at beautiful things they were surrounded in.
When Madeline and her parents were taking their time to look at their surroundings, Beth urged, "Let's go to the main ballroom," she noticed how the people who belonged to the higher class spared them one glance and showed the distaste on their lips.
"Look at that painting. What do you think it is made of?" Mrs. Harris whispered to her husband.
"It should be an oil painting; they still look greasy," answered Mr. Harris.
"Really?" asked Mrs. Harris in surprise, "I would have never thought."
"I saw Milton having one of these. It takes a lot of time to dry. It should be very old, though. Some have excellent qualities," Mr. Harris responded to his wife's curiosity.
One of the couples who passed by them snickered as they heard the Harris speak and Madeline noticed this. She heard the man say, "I don't think it's hard to differentiate people from us," and the woman smiled with a smirk. Her eyebrows drew together with the way the eyes looked at them even though there were masks on their face.
Madeline knew the kind of place she and her family members had come. Though the King for the very first time had invited the villagers and people who lived in the town, she wondered what was the King's motive in doing so.
"Maddie!" Beth called her, "Let's go," giving a smile, Madeline walked next to her sister, and Beth took one step forward so that she was the first one to be seen.