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3rd Oct. 1814: A little London season

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3rd Oct. 1814: A little London season

Post  Edward Torrington on Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:57 am

Another of Bella's court hailed her and when she checked her horse to let the young pup close up to them, Edward obediently slowed down as well, only sighing just a little.

He did not really mind accompanying Bella on her morning rides. In fact, he was quite pleased that she willingly accepted his escort and even seemed to look forward to their daily outings - probably because he firmly reminded himself of his mothers instructions not to become an odious older brother, only glowered at the most unacceptable of his sister's suitors, was infinitely patient (albeit more than once on the cost of a severly bitten cheek) when those silly puppies on their showy hacks tried to impress her with their riding skills or conversation, unfailingly polite to such of her friends as she would encounter, and quite willing to indulge her taste for oranges and roasted nuts.

But some suitors made it necessary to remind himself more frequently of his mother's advise, and Mr. Sebastian Bromwell's prosiness would try the patience of a saint. Unfortunately he was otherwise very acceptable, and Bella much too good-natured to send him away without at least inquiring after his sisters, so Edward steeled himself, exchanged polite greetings, surpressed a flinch at the three 'Mylords' Bromwell managed to pack in as many sentences, and tried to possess himself in patience.

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Re: 3rd Oct. 1814: A little London season

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:16 am

It was a fine day for a ride and though he had spent most of his previous years in the saddle, few things could keep him from it when an opportunity arose. It was a good excuse as well. A way to escape the dulness of his home and other less pleasant of things.

His horse had had to adapt to the new life of calm, where explosions were no longer the every day occurance, where it rained much more often and it could be cold for longer while never as hot as his old home. She fared quite well now though. Brushed so thoroughly that her fur glistened, fed well, exercised often. She had a company of other horses and perhaps someday in the future might have a foal of her own.

Willoughby rode at a pleasant trot at first, then briefly he brought his mare into a gallop that kicked up some dirt and some stone and grass. He slowed again, for he believed a familiar face had just been caught at the corner of his eye. Allowing the mare a rather contained and small circle he turned about. A hand was raised to his forehead and brought shade to his eyes, as if believing that would make him see further. He dropped it again and straightened.

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Re: 3rd Oct. 1814: A little London season

Post  Helen Winwood on Fri Feb 08, 2013 7:08 am

Lady Helen felt a bit bored, riding out alone with only a groom for company. Her brother was in the country still, helping George sort out his new estate and she did not expect them to be back for another week.

She spotted Lady Isabella and decided that it was high time to pursue a closer acquaintance with her. She rode up to the group confidently, bestowing a ready smile at them. 'Lady Isabella! How wonderful, I almost gave up hope of seeing a friendly face.'
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Re: 3rd Oct. 1814: A little London season

Post  Edward Torrington on Fri Feb 08, 2013 7:40 am

Bella eagerly turned from her admirer to greet Lady Helen and perform the necessary introductions. She had to gently nudge her brother with a delicately booted food, however, for he peered through the trees intently.

Edward had thought he had seen a familiar figure, but before he could look properly, a tree had cut off the line of sight. But now, thus reminded of his social duties, he quickly focused his attention back on the group around him and politely bowed from the waist to Helen.

"Lady Helen. A pleasure to make your acquaintance."

Mr Bromwell tried to imitate the bow, although he fell lamentably short in achieving any elegance, and assured Helen pompously that he was very lucky indeed that he now had found two lovely faces this morning.

Edward's mouth slightly twitched.

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Re: 3rd Oct. 1814: A little London season

Post  Helen Winwood on Fri Feb 08, 2013 7:51 am

"Oh, Mr Bromwell, does that mean you have two mirrors in your bedroom? Such luxury," crooned Helen and addressed herself Bella and her, rather attractive, brother. "Shall I have the pleasure of seeing you at Lady Caroline's ball? The prospect of having you to talk to is very refreshing. And if Lord Torrington finds female talk not to his taste, I am sure my brother and his friend shall oblige."
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Re: 3rd Oct. 1814: A little London season

Post  Edward Torrington on Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:01 am

Mr. Bromwell needed a moment to cope with that unexpected reply, and gave Bella time to dimple and sayjoyfully:

"Yes, we will be there! Mama will even make my poor brother go - she so delights in having him about again. Edward, Lady Helen's brother was in Spain as well! Are you acquainted?"

Edward replied calmly and with a quizzical smile at Helen:

"That depends on whether your brother might be Major Henry Winwood of the 27th, madam?"

A bit belatedly, Bromwell laughed and remarked: "Oh, very clever, Lady Helen! Two mirrors! No, indeed ..."

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Re: 3rd Oct. 1814: A little London season

Post  Helen Winwood on Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:08 am

Helen winced, not quite imperceptibly at Bromwell's laugh, but continued in the same pleasant vein. "Ah, no longer a Major, but a full Colonel, my lord, with the 31st. I have to admit your name sounded familiar to me, thought not due to my acquaintance with your sister. Perhaps my brother mentioned you in his letters...," she looked at Torrington questioningly as if it was his responsibility to solve this mystery.
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Re: 3rd Oct. 1814: A little London season

Post  Edward Torrington on Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:16 am

Edward raised an eyebrow.

"I should be honoured had your brother mentioned me - my congratulations to his promotion - but we are no more than bowing aquintaces."

Bromwell meanwhile had begun to assure Bella that he, too, would be at Lady Caroline's ball tonight, and he could only wonder where his sister unearthed the patience to express her hope to see his sisters there.

Indicating the way before them with an inviting wave of his hand, he asked:

"Shall we perhaps right on a bit."

Bella laughed and teased irreverently:

"You just hope you can steal away for a gallop now that Lady Helen and her groom are here!"

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Re: 3rd Oct. 1814: A little London season

Post  Helen Winwood on Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:20 am

Helen laughed. "Let him, Lady Isabella! We shall have our revenge, when my brother returns from the country. His friend is best rider I've ever seen and has an excellent horse. We shall have him show your brother a true gallop."
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Re: 3rd Oct. 1814: A little London season

Post  Edward Torrington on Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:31 am

Edward smiled back.

"In this case, I would very much like to make his aquintance, mylady. You can't throw such a challenge at a man ... But since I clearly need to practice, what do you say, Bromwell, to a short gallop? The ladies kindly have given us permission!"

Their respective age and Edwards rank made the invitation practically a command, but he had no scruple there. his sister would probably welcome a little breathing space, and while they gallopped, Bromwell could hardly talk to him instead.

The other man eagerly accepted, however.

"Certainly, mylord! Great pleasure. Let's give the ladies something nice to look at, certainly!"

'Or something funny, in your case!', Edward thought, but he only smiled politely and touched his hat to the ladies, then set his horse - a gigantic black stallion of purest Andalusian lines - to gallop down the track to where he thought he had spotted a friend earlier on.


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Re: 3rd Oct. 1814: A little London season

Post  Helen Winwood on Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:33 am

Lady Helen grinned at Bella.

"Well, now that we have got rid of the men, shall we indulge in a little gossip?"
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Re: 3rd Oct. 1814: A little London season

Post  Edward Torrington on Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:40 am

Bella grinned back.

"Certainly. Men never understand gossip properly, do they?"

She looked much like a mistreated puppy and batted her eyes outrageously, but she had to bite her lip not to double over with laugther from her own performance.

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Re: 3rd Oct. 1814: A little London season

Post  Helen Winwood on Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:45 am

"Absolutely. So shall we start with the ball? I expect your brother will prove to be very popular with the ladies. I would steer him well clear of Lady Caroline's nieces and Mr Bromwell's older sisters. The youngest one is quite charming though."
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Re: 3rd Oct. 1814: A little London season

Post  Edward Torrington on Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:52 am

"Very ... but he tends to give out set downs if they bore him or hang on his arm too much. It is quite funny sometimes! Mama is despairing, though. You see, he needs to marry ..."

She suddenly eyed Helen in a quite speculativ, although very friendly manner.

"If you manage to steer him clear of Mrs. and Miss Bromwell, he will possibly be quite grateful to you."

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Re: 3rd Oct. 1814: A little London season

Post  Helen Winwood on Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:57 am

Helen laughed. "Oh, my dear, I am much too old for your brother! Which is what happens when you are too picky about your suitors, so your brother best be careful, least he becomes a blue stocking. But I shall help him with Mrs. and Miss Bromwell. I must keep them off my brother as well! Oh, I know! We shall palm them off onto my brother's friend Sir George!"
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Re: 3rd Oct. 1814: A little London season

Post  Edward Torrington on Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:01 am

Bella now burst out laughing.

"Oh, poor Sir George! And he even is a Sir! If he has any money as well, I shall warn him of your plot."

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Re: 3rd Oct. 1814: A little London season

Post  Helen Winwood on Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:10 am

"Oh, don't! It will be much more entertaining to watch if he doesn't know of it. He has a most admirable strategy. You see, he does have money, so a few ladies have tried setting their cap at him. Well, at first he tells them that he is actually a Count, but the title is European. That takes care of anyone not fond of Continentals. If they persist, he says that his title is Polish, so they think he was on the French side. And the final stroke is to let them in on a "secret" of his father's scandalous abandonment of his mother."
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Re: 3rd Oct. 1814: A little London season

Post  Edward Torrington on Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:14 am

Bella's brows rose and rose.

"He is a Polish count? And his father abandoned his mother?"

The prospect immediately appealed to her romantic soul.

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Re: 3rd Oct. 1814: A little London season

Post  Helen Winwood on Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:21 am

Helen sighed. "You make me feel positively ancient or maybe it really wasn't such a scandal after all." She shifted in the saddle slightly. "Well, Sir Edward, Sir George's father, served in our embassy in Russia where he met a daughter of a Polish count, a Russian subject. He brought her to England, but soon turned to drink and adultery, openly leaving her for another woman."

"I believe she even left England for some time, taking young George with her. Only came back after Sir Edward died, which happened mercifully soon. Sir George was in the army too, just as our brother s, and his Polish grandfather died recently, so now he's inherited his fortune and his title."
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Re: 3rd Oct. 1814: A little London season

Post  Edward Torrington on Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:31 am

"You are not ancient!"

Bella protested impulsively, then frowned and bit her lower lip, trying to remember.

"Mama would know her, I think ... but I don't. Is she in London?"

She frowned even more and thoughtfully slung her reins a bit differently.

"My brother wrote about a lot of his acquaintances, but he never used their Christian names ... and he never mentioned any mothers, I think. Or romantic histories." She dimpled again. "At least not to me."

Tilting her head, she asked cajoulingly:

"Will you tell me his full name? Then I will know! I have a very good memory. And think what fun it would be to know whether they were friends when he doesn't even know who it is!"

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Re: 3rd Oct. 1814: A little London season

Post  Helen Winwood on Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:35 am

"He's installed his mother in his new estate. He may bring her to London when he returns for Lady Caroline's ball." Helen's eyes twinkled at Bella's obvious interest in the "romantic" figure. "Sir George Hunter is his full name. Though if you want to tease him, call him Count Hunter."
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Re: 3rd Oct. 1814: A little London season

Post  Edward Torrington on Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:40 am

Now Bella beamed.

"Colonel Hunter? Oh, he is a very special friend of my brother! He will be delighted to meet him again - I know he has written when he came home, but he wasn't sure whether the letter would reach him."

She giggled enchantingly.

"Oh, he will even forgive Mama and me for dragging him to that ball for that!"

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Re: 3rd Oct. 1814: A little London season

Post  Helen Winwood on Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:47 am

"Oh! That must be why your brother's name was familiar to me. It must have been in Sir George's letters to us. This certainly sound like it is going to be a happy reunion." Helen dropped her voice, though there was absolutely no reason for it. "Shall we keep it a secret for now? Leave it as a surprise for them?" She winked.

"When I mentioned the horseman whom I would ask to challenge your brother, I did mean Sir George. I wonder whether we could use him as a mysterious figure to goad your brother and Mr. Bromwell a little."
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Re: 3rd Oct. 1814: A little London season

Post  Edward Torrington on Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:59 am

Bella dimpled again.

"Certainly! Oh, and just imagine ... Edward wrote that the raced each other in Spain, too. And he didn't always win!"

The always was slightly emphasized - Bella was rather proud to have such an excellent rider as her brother, and not only a little pleased when he occassionally handed her a little compliment for her own style. She knew that he could be a rather harsh critique there. That brought her mind immediately back to Mr. Bromwell.

"Perhaps we shouldn't goat Mr. Bromwell too much, though - he so tends to overestimate his riding abilities. Charlotte wouldn't want him seen any more ... at a disadvantage than he often appears."

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Re: 3rd Oct. 1814: A little London season

Post  Helen Winwood on Fri Feb 08, 2013 10:04 am

"Charlotte is a good, kind child. I think perhaps I should steer her towards Sir George a little. I think he would take well to such a kind, gentle soul," said Helen with studied casualness.
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