A Day at The Breakers

Amanda Tanguay
Sep 28 · 25 min read

“Yes, these rooms will do quite nicely!” said Kate to Alice Vanderbilt, the wife of Cornelius Vanderbilt II.

“They’re just wonderful!” Brigid gushed. Rosie stood speechless beside her aunts, in awe of everything she’d seen since their arrival.

The Breakers’ grounds were immense and lavish. The front lawn alone was three times the size of the entire Grand Theater, filled with well-manicured bushes and an endless variety of flowers. Standing outside the limestone mansion, one could hear the ocean waves breaking against the cliffs; this was how The Breakers was named. The front hall featured one-of-a-kind pieces of artwork, and the interior architecture and textiles were certainly fit for royalty. The hall opened up into a grand ballroom with a fifty-foot-high ceiling and Rosie envisioned it filled with waltzing dancers in grandiose costumes. The east side of the ballroom faced the ocean and featured all glass doors and windows. Twin red staircases delicately wound their way up to a second-floor balcony, where they now stood outside Kate and Brigid’s extravagant bedrooms. Everything in the mansion was beautiful, from the limestone tiling of the floor to the maroon uniforms of the servants.

Mrs. Vanderbilt wore a white summer gown with intricately embroidered roses on the skirt, and extremely voluminous bishop sleeves. From her experience with her mother, Rosie could tell that the dress must have taken many hours to embroider. Mrs. Vanderbilt was a beautiful woman with curly brown hair piled majestically atop her head, and soft brown eyes that made her appear younger than she really was. Mrs. Vanderbilt opened a door and led Rosie and her aunts into another hallway.

Brigid silently mouthed the words, “Another hallway?” to her relatives before turning to Mrs. Vanderbilt. “By the way, Alice, how many rooms are there?”

“Seventy rooms in total, I think. I’ve almost lost count,” Mrs. Vanderbilt replied with a gay laugh. Although the Vanderbilts engaged themselves with mostly friends from the upper class, Rosie found them to be kind individuals who treated all people with respect. If it wasn’t for the gigantic mansion, they might have been normal people with normal lives.

“Excuse me, madam, the luggage from New York City has arrived.” A servant appeared at the far end of the wide hallway, which was now congested with trunks and suitcases.

“Thank you, John. Please put Miss Brigid’s luggage in the Trade Room and Miss Kate’s things in the French Room,” Mrs. Vanderbilt ordered politely.

“Yes, madam,” the short man replied with a bow. Although a servant, it was apparent that John held seniority amongst his fellows. Unlike the crisp maroon livery of the other staff, he wore a dark suit with long tails. He had a distinguished look about him, too, an almost noble presence.

The Vanderbilts’ neighbors were involved in foreign trade, so Brigid’s room was decorated with Ming vases, Persian rugs, bamboo flooring, and an exotic looking bed. Kate’s room looked like a French country home, with provincial accents like rooster wallpaper and a wrought iron bed. Both rooms were extravagant, the complete opposite of the living quarters on the Lower East Side. Rosie and her aunts followed Mrs. Vanderbilt down the brightly lit hall.

“You can stand here and gaze down at the ballroom, but we would rather you join us down there for all the dancing,” said Mrs. Vanderbilt. “You will have a great view from your room, Rosie,” she added with a smile on her face. They came to a door and Mrs. Vanderbilt allowed Rosie to enter the room first. Rosie gasped, like Brigid and Kate had done when first viewing their accommodations.

Rosie felt as though she was suddenly in an underwater grotto of swirling water and oceanic life. The muted blue wallpaper featured hand-painted green sea plants and purple coral. The fish painted on the wall were so well-drawn, they looked like they really were swimming.

“This is my daughter’s summer bedroom, and you are to stay in it while Gertrude is touring overseas. I hope you like it as much as she does.” Mrs. Vanderbilt brushed past Rosie to open the curtains, her large skirts rustling noisily with every movement.

There was so much to look at and admire in the room, and every piece of furniture was beautifully crafted and designed. There was a wooden armoire painted a bright turquoise to match the velvet curtains. In one corner was a vanity with a small tabletop mirror for when brushing one’s hair or applying makeup. A larger, full-sized mirror stood in a far corner, which seemed an incredible distance from the room’s entrance. Behind the curtains was a small alcove with a padded blue cushion, which looked perfect for curling up with a good book. The windows looked out to the ocean, and the open lawn in back of the mansion was just as expansive as the front, if not larger.

But what really caught Rosie’s attention was the bed and it’s textiles. There were purple sheets and a patterned tourmaline-colored comforter. A dozen pillows, in various shades of the room’s main colors, leaned restfully against the headboard. Drapes hung down in gauzy multicolored strips surrounding the entire bed.

“It’s just beautiful, Mrs. Vanderbilt!” Rosie remarked with astonishment. “I feel like a princess!” Rosie pushed back the drapes and gracefully sank into the softness of the mattress. John entered and began piling her bags in a corner of the room.

Mrs. Vanderbilt looked pleased that Rosie enjoyed her new room already. “I will send for Prudence, one of my best attendants, to unpack your belongings.” Mrs. Vanderbilt tucked a brown lock of hair back into the mass atop her head, and turned to leave with John.

“Oh, I can do that myself.” Rosie was not used to having butlers and maids to attend to things. She had sat up on the edge of the bed, yet still sunk low in the soft and luxurious covers.

“Nonsense, Rosie. Don’t trouble yourself. I want you to explore the rest of your rooms.”

“More rooms?” uttered Rosie in disbelief. Kate and Brigid stood like statues, their mouths agape at the mention of more rooms.

Mrs. Vanderbilt laughed. “Oh, didn’t I tell you ladies? You each have a bedroom and a few extra areas to explore!” Giving them a radiant smile, she swept out of the room. Brigid and Kate took a moment to squeal in excitement, and then raced each other out to the hallway. Rosie ran to the door to watch them compose themselves enough to briskly walk in a ladylike fashion, just in case Mrs. Vanderbilt was still nearby.

Rosie jumped off the bed, also excited to investigate. Next to the armoire was a door that blended in with the rest of the wall, which is why she hadn’t seen it immediately. She pushed it open to reveal a tiny hallway with two doors, one on each side. She chose the one on the left first, which led to a small library. Each wall was stacked with more books than Rosie had ever seen in one place. Velvet love seats sat before an enormous stone fireplace, and a large green chair in the corner looked like another perfect place for reading.

Rosie quickly turned, curious to see what could be behind the other door. Inside, was a giant bathroom like none she had ever seen. In the center of the room was a white porcelain claw tub. Fixed to the tub were four handles; two were labeled “seawater” and the others were labeled “fresh water.” Rosie sighed with the anticipation of many relaxing baths in this tub. She’d definitely be in the lap of luxury for the next three months.

A sudden and faraway knock startled her. “Come in!” she called, returning to the main room. A young girl appeared at the door in a modest servant outfit. The female servants wore long maroon dresses, white starched aprons, and small white caps on their heads.

“Good evening, Miss Rosie,” greeted the girl in a heavy British accent. “My name is Prudence and I’ll be unpacking your bags.” The girl curtsied and reached for Rosie’s nearest suitcase.

“These are dreadfully heavy, so I will help you,” said Rosie as she assisted in lifting a full carpetbag. Prudence hesitated for a second, thinking about Rosie’s offer.

“Are you sure, Miss Rosie?” she asked with a worried frown.

“Of course, Prudence,” Rosie insisted. “I’m used to doing things for myself back home in New York City.” Rosie smiled at the rather serious-looking girl with broad cheekbones and a prominent, defiant chin. She wore her blond hair tucked neatly under her cap and her blue eyes shined like jewels. “How old are you, Prudence?” Rosie inquired, opening her armoire and hanging up a nightgown.

“I am seventeen years old, but I’ll be eighteen in December.” Prudence hung up a few dresses beside the nightgown. She was moving much faster than Rosie, she was obviously an expert at her job.

“I’m seventeen, too. It will be nice to have someone to talk with while I’m here.”

Prudence bobbed her head in earnest agreement. “I look forward to that, Miss Rosie. Since Gertrude Vanderbilt has been away, I’ve had no one to look after.” Prudence seemed to be warming up, becoming friendlier in every passing moment. In a tiny drawer of the dresser, Rosie placed her ballerina music box, her mother’s cameo necklace, and her leather journal. Since the night of the social, she had drawn three more illustrations of a fashionable, red-headed girl with a lovely smile on her face.

Rosie turned back to Prudence to ask another question. “How long have you worked here for the Vanderbilts?”

“About two years; since I moved from England. I am here every summer, and then spend the winter season at the New York City home, Miss Rosie.”

“Please, you don’t have to address me with a title. You can just call me by my name.” Rosie continued to unpack, but noticed that Prudence was standing still by the armoire, apparently shocked by Rosie’s request. “Honestly, Prudence, just call me ‘Rosie,’ I promise it’s acceptable.” Finally, a happy smile crept across the serious girl’s face.

“Very well, Rosie,” said Prudence with a little laugh, “but then you must call me Prue, since that is a nickname I am very fond of. But please don’t tell the Vanderbilts that I’m so informal with you; my salary could be docked.”

“I won’t tell anyone. I promise.” Rosie held her hand out in offering, and Prue gladly shook it in agreement. Rosie felt instantly at ease with a new friend.

The two busied themselves with hanging up dresses and getting to know each other. Prue showed Rosie a whole rack of outfits, once belonging to Gertrude, which were now at Rosie’s disposal. Prue said Gertrude didn’t need them, and that Rosie was free to borrow or even keep all that she wished. The outfits were all top-notch qualities of the most fashionable styles. After an excited perusal of the wardrobe, Rosie asked Prue if she knew when the first performance would be.

“In a few days time,” replied Prue. “The next couple of days you are likely to do what you please. After that, I’m sure that you’ll be performing quite regularly.” Prue removed the last of Rosie’s dresses from the trunk and neatly hung them in the armoire with the others. “Oh, and I almost forgot, Mrs. Vanderbilt left a few other presents for you.” Prue went out into the hallway, returning with a pair of white bloomers and about a dozen different colored petticoats.

Rosie tugged at the lacy hems of the petticoats. “They’re all so beautiful! Much fancier than the plain white cotton ones I have.”

“Too bad you have to wear them under your dresses,” said Prue with a wink, which reminded Rosie of Brigid. The girl had grown more comfortable with Rosie, for which she was grateful; it would be nice to have a female companion in Newport, especially since Rosie was so far away from Darra and Fern.

John, stiff and regal, now appeared outside the door. “Lunch is ready, Miss Rosie.”

“Thank you, John,” Prue answered. “Now, let’s get you changed into something special for your first luncheon at the mansion.”

“What do you suggest?” asked Rosie.

Prue rifled through some of Gertrude’s dresses. “Here, wear this dress, it will be perfect for this afternoon.” Prue took a two-piece ensemble from the closet and carefully removed the bodice and skirt from their hangers. The cream-colored bodice featured periwinkle polka dots and a high neck trimmed in cream lace. The large leg o’mutton sleeves grew voluminous at the shoulders, just like Mrs. Vanderbilt’s, but were smaller at the elbows through the wrists. The blue skirt featured red trim, and a red belt connected the two pieces with a cream button right in the center. Rosie made a mental note to make sure she sketched this beautiful dress in her journal.

“By any chance,” asked Rosie, “is there a matching hat, in case I go outside?”

“Of course, my dear girl! Gertrude always wears matching hats.” Prue had to practically dive headfirst into the armoire to find one of Gertrude’s hatboxes. The one she pulled out contained a straw sun hat, with a faux bluebird nestled between red berries on the top.

Removing her traveling clothes first, Rosie slipped into the white bloomers and two of the lighter petticoats from Mrs. Vanderbilt. Prue fastened buttons on the bodice and skirt, and when she was done, they found that the dress fit Rosie perfectly. Gazing into the full-length mirror, Rosie felt she looked like a Newport native.

“Let’s do something fancy with your hair,” Prue suggested, leading Rosie to the dresser. Prue put Rosie’s hair up in a bun, in a bouffant style that was the newest fashion. “I’ll bring your hat along for lunch,” said Prue, quickly escorting Rosie out of the room.

“Thank you for all your help, Prue,” exclaimed Rosie, moving through the door with her skirts swishing loudly. “Oh my, these petticoats make me sound like Mrs. Vanderbilt!”

“You’ll never get lost in this big mansion, we’ll be able to hear you from miles away!” The two were laughing as Prue shut the door behind them. She led them down the gigantic staircase, through the ballroom, and into what appeared to be a large dining room. Like the grand ballroom, the ceiling was incredibly high. The room featured red alabaster and gilded gold columns, and a large chandelier hung in the center. At the far end sat a cluster of people, waiting to begin lunch. A mahogany dining table with red covered chairs could well have fit fifty people around it, yet this was apparently the everyday arrangement. Maids and servants were stationed around the room, and waiters poured water into crystal glasses.

“Good afternoon, Miss Rosie,” came the deep voice of Mr. Vanderbilt as he stood up from the head of the table. He looked well dressed in his double-breasted, gray business suit.

When he bowed, Rosie curtsied in return. “Good afternoon,” she said. Mrs. Vanderbilt sat to his right and Rosie leaned over to politely kiss the matronly woman’s cheeks in greeting.

“You remind me of my beautiful daughter, Gertrude,” said Mrs. Vanderbilt dotingly. Rosie’s two aunts sat on opposite sides of the couple.

“Your own aunts would like kisses, Rosie,” said Brigid, dimples emerging on her rosy cheeks. Rosie kissed her aunt and then walked around the table to kiss Kate.

“Save one for me,” said a voice she didn’t recognize. Rosie looked up, surprised to find a new person standing at a chair beside Kate. He was a handsome man, maybe in his mid-twenties, with a wide grin and twinkling blue eyes, and instantly, a blush flushed Rosie’s cheeks.

Mr. Vanderbilt laughed heartily. “Please forgive my puckish nephew. Miss Rosie McMurray, meet Mister Cameron Bradley Vanderbilt III.” The young man extended his hand. Rosie offered hers and he kissed it with a smile.

“I prefer ‘devilish,’ uncle. ‘Puckish’ makes me sound like a child,” Cameron said, returning to his seat while Rosie took hers next to Brigid. “At the mature age of twenty-four, I am no longer a child.” Cameron’s full lips curved handsomely over perfectly straight teeth. His skin was a light tan, probably from afternoons spent sailing on the Atlantic. His wavy hair was a golden yellow, and he wore it in a longer style. Add to this his chiseled features and muscular physique, and he was like a Greek statue come to life. A waiter interrupted her thoughts, pouring water into her glass.

“Yes, dear nephew, you certainly are a devil,” Mrs. Vanderbilt agreed with a giggle, and gracefully bit into a browned biscuit.

Kate suddenly cleared her throat. “On behalf of The Sullivan Girls, we want to thank you for this wonderful opportunity. We are humbled by your hospitality.”

“You’re quite welcome,” said Mrs. Vanderbilt with a kind smile. “And we are honored to have you here as our guests. We very much look forward to introducing you to our neighbors and friends.”

Mr. Vanderbilt made a gesture over his shoulder and a servant quickly exited the room. He soon returned with several waiters carrying silver trays and platters.

“You three are such beautiful and talented performers,” said Mr. Vanderbilt, “we’re lucky you have graced us with your presence this summer.”

Rosie lowered her head, somewhat embarrassed by such a compliment in front of the handsome Cameron. She now stared at his hands. They were quite large, but had likely never seen a day of manual labor. His nails were immaculately manicured, and an expensive-looking gold watch on his wrist reflected the afternoon sun.

“On a different note, there is nothing planned for you today,” Mrs. Vanderbilt informed them. “In fact, your first performance will not be for several days.” The Sullivans watched while a waiter arranged their salads and expertly served a soup course. “Would you three like to come shopping with me in downtown Newport?”

“I would love to explore Newport,” said Brigid, and Kate nodded in agreement.

“I will not be joining you ladies,” said Mr. Vanderbilt. “I have a business meeting concerning the usual locomotive affairs.” Mr. Vanderbilt began cutting a large piece of lettuce from the fancy salad. “So what will you do, Miss Rosie? Will you take the carriage downtown with my wife and your aunts?”

Rosie, who had just taken a sip of water, raised a hand to show she was unable to talk until she had finished swallowing. Although she loved shopping, she was hoping to explore more of the house. But feeling like she couldn’t refuse, she opened her mouth to convey her compliance.

“I can show her around the Breakers,” Cameron offered before she could speak, his deep voice echoing through the huge dining room.

Mr. Vanderbilt nodded, obviously pleased. “Thank you for offering, Cameron. Miss Rosie, does that sound agreeable to you?”

“Are you sure, Mr. Cameron?” asked Rosie. “I wouldn’t want to take you away from any business you may have.”

“Of course I’m sure,” Cameron replied. “I may be a devil but I am also a gentleman, and a wonderful tour guide. I’d enjoy showing off our quaint grounds to a beautiful city girl.”

Rosie had to conceal a laugh; The Breakers was anything but quaint. “Thank you very much, Mr. Cameron. Then I will stay here and take a tour of the home.”

“What a lovely plan, Cameron,” said Mrs. Vanderbilt. “And now that we’ve arranged our afternoon, let us enjoy our lunch together.” Mrs. Vanderbilt took a ladylike bite of her salad.

The rest of the meal was spent in pleasant chatter. Mr. Vanderbilt talked about his railroad empire and how he had inherited the business from his father. Mrs. Vanderbilt discussed her four boys and her daughters, Gertrude and Gladys. The children were spending their summer with their grandparents in the South, except for Gertrude, who was on an African safari. What Rosie could gather from the conversation was that Cameron was a second cousin to the family, and also an heir to the Vanderbilt fortune. Cameron asked many questions of The Sullivan Girls, especially Rosie, about their life in New York City. When lunch was finished, Mr. Vanderbilt excused himself first. Mrs. Vanderbilt and Rosie’s aunts were next, Brigid promising she would buy something special for Rosie, and suddenly, Cameron and Rosie were left to themselves.

“So, Miss Rosie,” said Cameron politely, “I’ve heard you have a beautiful voice.” He refolded his napkin and placed it on the table. “And if it’s as beautiful as you, I believe we are all in for a real treat this summer.”

“I’m not one to judge my own work, Mr. Cameron,” said Rosie modestly, “but I have heard some speak of my voice in those terms. And you can call me Rosie, if you’d like.” Rosie found herself copying the flowery language of the upper class Vanderbilts. Although she wasn’t an elite member of society, she would have to pretend to be for the next three months.

“Yes, I’d like to call you Rosie. And please, call me Cameron.” Dimples appeared when he smiled; he was definitely a handsome man.

“How long are you staying here at the Breakers?” Rosie inquired.

“Oh, as long as I would like. Or as long as something I like keeps me here.” It was suddenly very clear that Cameron was trying to charm her. He wasn’t overbearing, but Rosie instinctively felt that he might try to court her this summer, and she’d have to politely persuade him otherwise. She was confident she’d be able to stave off his flirtations in a respectful, dignified way.

“Well then, shall we begin the tour?” asked Rosie, feeling at ease now that she had figured out his apparent plan.

“Certainly.” He got up quickly and appeared behind her chair to help her to her feet. A servant produced a straw boater hat, which Cameron placed on his head before holding out his arm for Rosie.

“Thank you,” said Rosie, hooking her arm over his. Servants quickly began cleaning up the table behind them, and Prue discreetly handed Rosie the summer hat that matched her outfit.

“So, Rosie,” said Cameron, leading them outside through one of the many glass doors, “tell me about yourself. I’d like to know as much as possible about you, and your life as a vaudevillian star.” His voice was perfectly crisp and proper, and his pale yellow suit was obviously made of the finest materials money could buy.

Rosie briefly took her hand away to secure the hat to her head. “Where would you like me to start, Cameron?” Although Rosie had never conversed with the heir of an enormous fortune, she was going to treat him like any new friend. He was handsome, eloquent, charming, and of course, very wealthy, but he was still just a person.

“Well, if you don’t mind me asking, why do you live with your aunts?”

“My parents have passed. My aunts have been very kind to me, and have made the adjustment to New York City a very pleasant one.” Rosie found it easier to speak of her parents, especially after discussing her feelings with Liam.

“I’m sorry to hear of your parents’ passing, Rosie.” He reached over with his free arm and wrapped hers more tightly around his proffered one. She could feel his strong bicep under his jacket and crisp white shirt. He was taller than her and his gait was relaxed and slow, perfect for a jaunt around the mansion.

“Let’s see, what else can I tell you…” pondered Rosie. “Well, I love to sing.”

“And you’re clearly very good,” Cameron remarked, “otherwise Uncle Cornelius would not have invited you here.” When he smiled, Rosie turned her head to admire the beautiful garden through which they were walking. She saw potted plants on various stonewalls, and thousands of roses in pink, red, and purple. The roses smelled heavenly, and the sun beat down warmly on Rosie’s back. She thought of Liam and how much he’d enjoy a garden like this one. Seeing this garden made her wonder how the Little Central Park garden was doing.

After a moment, Cameron spoke up, “May I ask you a personal question?”

Rosie was hesitant at first, but had warmed up to his charm. “Yes, Cameron, you may.”

“Do you have a suitor?” Cameron now slowed their leisurely walk to an almost complete stop so he could look directly into her eyes.

Rosie smiled shyly. “Well that’s a forward question but, yes, in fact I do.” Rosie thought of Liam and her heart skipped a beat, for she missed him already. She fondly remembered the moment when he told her he loved her. She felt a grin spread across her face.

“That is a very happy and very beautiful smile. I was foolish to think a gorgeous, talented young woman like yourself would not have a suitor, or two or three, for that matter.” Rosie was both shocked and flattered by his comments. Cameron’s compliments of her beauty were so nonchalant, so matter-of-fact. No boy had ever been so frank with her after such a short period of time. He grabbed a purple rose from a bush and held it out to her.

“Why, thank you, Cameron, you are very complimentary.” She appreciated his honesty, but she stayed polite and professional, fearing that he might get the wrong impression and woo her harder.

“Well, you are a stunning creature,” continued Cameron. “You have wonderful hair, gorgeous hazel eyes, and the most adorable set of freckles. I am heartbroken that I shall spend an entire three months with you, wishing I’d be held in your heart with the same love you hold for your suitor.” Cameron shaded the sun from his eyes and looked at her with a sad expression. The look reminded Rosie of Lucky’s sad face when she was leaving New York City. She politely looked away to not encourage his melodramatic indulgence; he certainly had a flair for theatrics.

After a moment, Cameron cleared his throat. “Here we are; the most beautiful view of the grounds.” Rosie was grateful he had moved on to complimenting something besides her looks. He was right about the beautiful view; from where they stood they could see the Atlantic Ocean in all it’s glory.

“I wouldn’t mind sitting for a moment,” she said, enjoying the view of her new residence. He led her to a stone bench in the center of the garden; arranged so it was facing the ocean. The waves frothed and smacked against the cliffs in the distance. The sea breeze was touched with salt and felt cool and refreshing upon her face.

“What do you do in your free time, when you’re not singing?” Cameron asked, unbuttoning his jacket so he could sit beside her.

“I like to sketch, mostly fashion illustrations, which is something I learned to do from my father.”

“Oh, really?” he said, leaning back on the bench. “Do you do self-portraits? If I was an artist, you’d be my favorite subject to paint.”

“I do, actually, and I thank you for the compliment, again.” Rosie was acutely aware of the blush on her face. He was kind, but his fawning over her was growing tiresome.

“Please forgive my honesty. It’s not everyday that I find an intriguing woman to converse and spend time with.” He suddenly sat up very straight, as if he was embarrassed to have embarrassed her.

“No, it’s fine, Cameron. I’m just not used to flattery from strangers.” She put a gloved hand on his arm, hoping that she didn’t make him upset.

He laughed loudly and smiled broadly. “I promise I’ll do better with holding my tongue. But, you had better get used to compliments from adoring fans. You’ll be receiving a lot of attention from the audiences in Newport!” His blue eyes sparkled when he laughed, and Rosie could tell she had not offended him.

Feeling more relaxed in his presence she laughed along with him. “I suppose you are right. Oh, the pains of being an artist!” she joked. It was clear that Cameron was more than just a fawning admirer, and maybe Rosie could really enjoy his conversation and company while in Newport.

“I’m an artist myself,” he said, “But I specialize in poetry of a passionate nature.” Cameron tipped his head, “If I share my poetry with you some evening, will you share your illustrations with me?”

Rosie nodded politely. “Of course, Cameron. You must write interesting poetry, you seem like a real romantic.” Her observation was an understatement.

“Oh, yes, I am quite the romantic, but I’m sure it’s not that obvious.” Cameron gave her a wink.

“I’d have to be blind, deaf, and dumb not to notice your romantic nature.” Rosie winked back sarcastically. Surprisingly, she felt the warm touch of his hand cupping her cheek, his thumb placed gently on her chin.

“Hmm,” he murmured, “beauty and brains. I would never have guessed you to be as witty as you are beautiful. This will only make my summer more full of despair.” He dropped his hand, and hung his head in mock depression.

Rosie laughed at his antics and patted his back reassuringly. “You’ll be fine, I promise. Let’s finish our tour, shall we?” He smiled, and they started to make their way through the beautiful garden. The rest of the long tour consisted of some of the grounds and various rooms within the Vanderbilt mansion. The childhood playhouse was the size of a modest home, which Rosie found remarkable.

Rosie was quite taken by Cameron’s charming demeanor, his dashing attitude, and his distinguished looks. She was deeply impressed by his intensive knowledge of subjects like politics, history, and art. Cameron was an entertaining storyteller, and their conversation was lively and interesting. And luckily, he had stopped trying to court her with compliments and kind words. By the time they had finished the tour, it was early in the evening. Cameron escorted her up to her room so she could freshen up before dinner.

“I will wait for you out here,” Cameron offered, leaning against the hallway banister. He crossed his arms over his chest nonchalantly.

“Oh, I’ll be more than a few minutes,” said Rosie, “I need to write a letter. Thank you for the tour, Cameron, I’ll meet you later in the dining hall.”

Before she knew it, he had brushed past her into the room. “What if you get lost? I don’t mind waiting for you in the other room, Rosie. Besides, I haven’t snooped through Gertrude’s library in ages!”

“This isn’t very proper, Cameron!” chastised Rosie, but she knew he wasn’t paying attention to her.

As he dashed off to the library, Rosie took a seat at her vanity to freshen up. Her cheeks were red from the sun, and her hair needed a few pins to catch the falling curls. She left a few at the nape of her neck, deciding it best not to pin them up because the humidity would probably make them do whatever they wanted to anyway. When she was finished, Rosie left her bedroom to find Cameron in the library, idly spinning a giant globe and giving her his gorgeous smile. Rosie gave him a pert look, and then sat at the writing desk to compose her letter:

Dear Liam,
The Breakers is a beautiful home, and I am very excited and pleased to be spending a few months here. I received a tour of the mansion and I feel like a princess in a castle! Mrs. Vanderbilt has a wonderful garden of wild roses you would enjoy.
It is hard to believe the many turns my life has taken in the last few weeks: First losing my parents, moving to New York City, singing onstage, falling in love with you, and lastly, moving to Newport.
Say hello to everyone, and give Lucky a kiss from me. I miss everyone in New York City so much, but I especially miss you.
Always yours, with love in my heart.
I love you,

“Who’s Liam?” asked Cameron.

Rosie hadn’t noticed he was standing over her shoulder. “Oh, he’s the suitor I told you about,” she replied, quickly folding the letter and stuffing it into an envelope. She wanted to seal it with a kiss, but that was an intimate display of affection that she did not want to show in front of Cameron. “We promised to write each other every day while I’m away.”

“Talk about being a romantic. So Liam is the lucky fellow? I am certainly jealous of him,” said Cameron, pouting with his full lips, eyes twinkling with mischievousness. “I know I said it before, but I’ll say it just once more time; I will suffer this whole summer long while you happily dream of your Liam.”

Rosie sealed the letter with a dramatic kiss, showing Cameron that she would not be bothered by his ridiculous and flirtatious antics. She then placed the letter in the desk drawer and while she was doing so, Cameron caught a glimpse of her leather journal.

“Is that a diary, Rosie?” He snatched it up before the desk drawer closed. Jokingly, he flipped through the pages as if he was reading it quickly and absorbing every word with great glee.

“No, it’s my sketchbook of drawings I told you about.” Rosie sighed at his juvenile behavior, and she went to retrieve the journal. She grabbed for it, but Cameron moved it out of her grasp. Rosie tried for the journal again, and he hid it behind his back. Guessing it was in his right hand, she pointed at it, and his hand came forward empty. She pointed to his left, and that hand came forward empty too. She put her hands on her hips in exasperation, and Cameron playfully tossed the journal back to her.

“You said you’d show me some things,” he said pointedly. Complacently, she opened to her most recent drawings. Cameron studied them intensely and flipped the pages with his strong hand.

“Liam inspired me to draw again after I stopped for awhile. He loves my work.” Rosie smiled as she traced her finger along the edge of the journal.

Cameron sighed. “It seems like I share a love with Liam.” His comment could only mean two things; that he shared a love for her sketches, or for Rosie. It was evident he wasn’t going to clarify his statement, but Rosie could care less about his answer; she certainly was not going to encourage his behavior. Instead, he tossed his hair back, his golden waves bouncing across his face. “Does Liam love you?”

“Yes, he does.” Rosie thought of all the wonderful things he had done for her. He protected her from danger, and always made her a priority. But most importantly, he kissed her with passion, and he supported her hopes and dreams.

“And do you return his love?”

“Yes, I do,” Rosie declared, thinking of how she felt when they had parted at the station; that a piece of her heart was still in New York City.

“Well then, Rosie,” said Cameron, “because you have found your true love who anxiously awaits your word with baited breath, I will put your letter in the mail for you. If I am quick about it, I can send it off today with the postman, and then meet you in the dining room before anyone notices I’m missing.”

“You would do that for me, Cameron?” said Rosie, slightly wary of his good intentions.

“Of course, Beauty,” he said, lifting her hand and kissing the top. He then winked and took the letter from the drawer, striding quickly from the room and pulling the bell to summon Prue on his way out.

She then ran out of the library and, in a decisive tone, called out to Cameron. “Wait!” Cameron was halfway down the stairs and came back to meet her in the hallway. “One more for good measure,” said Rosie, taking back the letter and giving it a swift kiss. Although she couldn’t really kiss Liam, she could send him her love in spirit.

“Ah, sealed with a second kiss! It’ll get to him even faster, floating on the wings of love!” Cameron bowed to her, took the letter, and was off again down the staircase. She heard the front door open and close as he made his way to the mailbox.

A little suspicious of his offer, Rosie went down the hall to an office overlooking the front of the house. The office belonged to Mr. Vanderbilt and was decorated in a nautical theme, as if he was the captain of his home.

Rosie sat in a chair by the window, watching Cameron walk down the gravel drive. The open window allowed her to hear him whistling a happy tune. He took long strides, but it still took him some time to arrive at the mailbox. Before he could put the letter inside, Rosie saw the postman turn into the drive and approach Cameron. The two exchanged a friendly greeting, and then Rosie watched Cameron hand her letter directly to the postman. The postman stashed it in his delivery bag, and then was off to the next house down the street. Satisfied, Rosie sighed with contentment. It appeared she could trust Cameron. His jealously was merely an act, and he respected her and her relationship with Liam.

Cameron waved to a paperboy at the front gates before heading back toward the house. Halfway back down the drive, he glanced up into the mid-day sun and saw her at the office window. With a charming grin, he saluted her like a soldier, and she saluted him in return. Although Cameron would probably continue to compliment her beauty because of his overly romantic nature, Rosie was happy she had found another new friend in Newport. Cameron was intelligent, entertaining, and trustworthy, and she knew she could handle his playful demeanor. Rosie skipped her way to the dining room with joy in her heart, excited for the adventurous days ahead.


A New Chapter
The Streets of New York
The Replacement
A Night at Grand Theater
Newsboy for a Day
A Smart and Stylish Girl
A Day at The Breakers
More Fireworks
An Empty Heart
Life Imitating Art
Unexpected News
All Questions, No Answers
An Evening to Remember
The Fox
The Return

Wild Irish Rosie

A new life on the vaudeville stage brings love and adventure in this historical romance by Amanda Tanguay.

Amanda Tanguay

Written by

Director. Choreographer. Actor. Writer. Mom.

Wild Irish Rosie

A new life on the vaudeville stage brings love and adventure in this historical romance by Amanda Tanguay.

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