His father had not been as proud of him as Horace had thought he would be. Father thought photography was a waste of good time and money. "There are better ways to make a living," his father yelled. "You need to get a more respectable job. You are getting older... you will have to provide for a wife and family. Photography is o.k. for a hobby but it won't pay the bills!" And with that father huffed out of the room. Horace was determined to prove him wrong.
That night Horace developed the plates he had taken for the day. "Not bad if I say so myself," he thought to himself. "Now to pick the right one to have made into a print for Mrs Langdon." He pondered. He had taken three and two were really good. He picked the one that would be best cropped, and set out to his favorite chemist shoppe to have the print made.
Mr. Watson was an old man, but he did a great job with printing Horace's prints. The two men talked and Horace decided to get a print made of the two ladies together too. After all Penelope was in the picture. Mr. Watson wasn't busy so he told Horace he could pick the print up the next day. Horace was elated.. he could take the print to Mrs. Langdon and get his first photography payment.
The next day Horace picked up the print and set off for Mrs. Langdon's house. It was in one of the better neighborhoods. He'd never seen so many fancy homes in one place. Fine lace curtains, wrought iron fences, pretty flowers in pots, and well groomed stairs lined the streets. He found the address and knocked on the door. Mrs. Langdon answered.
"Hello young man," she said.
"I have your print for you m'am," said Horace.
She let him in and he stopped in the doorway to take in the sight as she closed the door. It was a grand house decorated in all the latest finery. The new clock Mrs. Langdon had purchased the other day bonged in the entry way. It's tick tocking echo'd down the halls as they walked into a small office. Horace showed Mrs. Langdon the print he had taken and she said it was lovely. She handed him an ornate picture frame and he carefully placed the print under the glass. When it was all snug he turned it over and Mrs. Langdon smiled the biggest smile he had seen from her yet. "My parents will love this!" She opened a small drawer on her desk and handed him his payment. Horace's eyes opened wide. "Thank you m'am!"
"Now young man... Erm..." she started, searching for his name.
"Horace m'am," he said.
She proceeded to tell him that her family would be over on Friday. She gave him a time and he promised to be there. They agreed on a price and he was off to get more plates from the chemist shoppe. He used part of his earnings from the print to pay for 10 more plates for Friday.
The week went fast and soon it was time for Horace to get ready to go to the Langdons. He had shown his father the payment Mrs. Langdon had given him for the print, but his father didn't seem interested. He ate a quick lunch and gathered his photography equipment and was soon on his way.
By the time he reached the familiar door of Mrs. Langdon's house his heart was pounding so fast he thought it would burst from his chest. He gave a knock on the door and to his surprise Penelope opened it.
"Penelope??? What are you doing here?" he asked startled.
"Mrs. Langdon is our housekeeper," she answered. "We are letting her use our house for her family gathering. She is such a nice lady."
Penelope reached down to help Horace with his equipment but he stopped her saying "Ladies don't do manual labor." And they both laughed. This was great... he had a photography job AND a chance to ask Penelope out on a date. He hoped she would say yes.
The day went smoothly and with Penelope at his side helping, Horace was happy. She made sure ties were straight and dresses were wrinkle free. Not a hair was out of place. He was glad she was there with him. They made a great team.
When the plates were finished being exposed Mrs. Langdon came over and paid him a deposit for the work. He would get the balance when the prints were delivered. She commented on how professional he worked and told him that her parents loved the portrait he did of her. Horace smiled to himself. Surely his father would be proud of him now?
As he packed up his equipment and he and Penelope walked to the door he took one last look in her deep blue eyes. He wanted to memorize every bit of her.
"Horace??? Horace???" He heard Penelope talking to him. "Erm.. yes?" he said shyly. "Thank you for doing this for Mrs. Langdon. It was great seeing you again." She smiled at him. Now was his chance..."Penelope? Ermm... Would you like to go to dinner tomorrow night with me?" He blushed. It was the first time he had asked a girl out on a date. "I'd be honored to," she said as she kissed him on the cheek. He turned and walked out the door in a haze.
As he walked down the street he thought to himself "I'm gonna marry that girl someday... And I KNOW father WILL... approve of that!"