This chapter introduces a new character of my own making, she should make things interesting. If you look closely, there's also a hint to what a character we all know and love is doing. Jack's turn is in the next chapter. Sorry for the wait, had to deal with some life issues! Enjoy!

She was too fragile and had to be protected. She could do very little herself because she might get hurt, or worse yet, because she simply wasn't able and might become laughable. No, better keep her at home, hire all the appropriate tutors and just be safe. Why subject the family to additional ridicule? It was enough that her mother liked to take to her cups (a badly kept secret), and her father, although being in a respectable occupation and having quite a success with the stocks, had the misfortune of being a Polish bourgeois immigrant and never could count among the big shots of early 1900's Wall Street tycoons. If there was one word Violett Cole could use to describe herself was average. Suppressed came second in her very much enhanced vocabulary (she tended to read rather a lot) but she would never use it in front of her mother or grandmother, because that would just offend them and make them call her ungrateful.

So, following the usual course of lifestyle for young ladies of the polite society, Violett was trained by all the appropriate tutors and then attended a very appropriate finishing school. Her classroom achievements were, similarly to the overall tendencies of her family – at the same time respectable and a little problematic. While she displayed perfectly average knowledge of geography and history (excepting the ancient history, in which she was particularly well-educated), she absolutely excelled at languages. She seemed to have an inherent understanding of their mechanisms and seemed to not so much learn them as imbibe them. This meant that although, as a daughter of an immigrant, English was not her native tongue, she spoke it with a proficiency that sometimes shamed her born and bred American classmates. German, French and Italian were also perfected to a degree which allowed her to converse with foreign dignitaries with much ease, a feature that made her a target of hate of most diplomats' daughters

Despite her lack of popularity among her own age group did not prevent her from becoming an object of interest to said ambassadors. They enjoyed her conversations and some of the yournger ones even started entertaining thoughts of courtship. These thought were soon quenched by their well meaning friends who thought Miss Cole to be far too outspoken and opinionated for a female and exhibiting an overtly visible inclination to the arts. The girlswas musical, as all the young ladies of the era were encouraged to be, but her affiliation with the art went far beyond the necessary and proper. She went as far as to persuade her father to enroll her into a conservatory (gasp) and everyone knew that conservatories produced either singing tutors for rich ladies (hardly a suitable position for a girl of her stature) or future vaudeville starlets which had no respectability at all. To Violett, all this was a drama she could well do without. Her mother's drinking provided enough stressful situations and being judged for her only escape – music - was just too much of a bother. The expectations society piled upon her made her almost retch with disgust – marry some old, balding or if she was lucky, young handsome and controlling husband and bend to his every wish and whim, become a breeding machine and lose all her looks…. Tend to the needs of a screaming child she never fancied having… None of these prospects were particularly appealing.

Years went by, suitors came and went, and eventually Miss Violett Cole found herself labeled as being "on the shelf" Twenty nine, no husband, no fiancé in sight, only eccentric behavior and too much intellect and unrealistic dreams for her own good. Her father loved her dearly and was too preoccupied with their problematic mother and his business ventures to interfere much in his daughter's life, but he appreciated her intelligence and loved her enough to want her to achieve the life she wanted to live, not the one society demanded, however much it inconvenienced him at occasional parties. – Your daughter is quite a handful John, is she not? At her age, insisting on all those silly eccentricities.

- Well, she is devoted to her passions, I respect that and admire her conviction. Not every woman of note has to come with a husband and child nowadays, Thomas. If you haven't noticed, our society is changing.

Mostly after such comments the beleaguered Mr. Cole was left alone , but Violett had a different set of problems. Having waited for many years to muster up the courage to give into her artistic inclinations, she suddenly found that 29 was not considered the freshest age of a musical debutante and not many theaters or concert halls were willing to give her a listen or even take her seriously. She did not look her age, but the question was asked nevertheless and often dismissed her at the outset. Increasingly desperate, she began approaching less, so to say respectable venues, disguising her appearance with a generous amount of makeup and a gentle face mask that rendered her unrecognizable to closer acquaintance. All she wanted to do was sing, or act and improve her skills. The alternative was just too horrid to ponder. An old decaying lady with unfulfilled dreams staring in the mirror and counting her missed opportunities. This way she stumbled upon a semi-respectable (sometimes covertly visited by high class gentlemen) music club which did not ask about its performers provenance, only demanded that she be clean and not of the prostitute profession. Auditions were held of course, and these Violett passed rather well with the provision that she should take more time to practice her higher pitch.

A few other girls made the cut – a rather shy blonde who looked to be about 22 and a very nervous looking and mysterious red-head who spoke only when spoken to and trembled at every sound of a posh carriage pulling by. Violett was too terrified and excited herself to pay the girls much attention, but she supposed they came in with some baggage of their own and wished them the best. Life on stage was not an easy path to choose.

Thus, a new cast for shows in a club under the pretentious name "Empress" was formed.

Many a high class gentleman looked forward to his first visit there, although some of them got way more than what they bargained for…