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London, 3rd October, 1814: A little light Music

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Re: London, 3rd October, 1814: A little light Music

Post  Edward Torrington on Sat Dec 07, 2013 11:53 am

"Good! I would be quite mortified if you had intended for me to safe you a dance and then for you not to show up", she teased. "Would you stand up with me for the Écossaise? Or would you prefer a reel? And I think there is one gigue still open as well."

Bella quite regretted not having her dance card here to immediately write his choice down. But then she had not really expected to meet such a number of new dance partners.
She briefly had considered to confess that the walz was still open as well; but considering the fact the she barely knew him and she had already put herself forward by practically demanding a dance with him, even she did not dare to offer that to him.

--------

"It certainly is", Edward agreed. "Though even practice can only bring a certain degree of proficiency if the natural talent is lacking. Don't let the music room fool you - my grandparents both were quite accomplished musicians, but I can only dabble. I enjoy playing the piano for my own amusement, but it would be of little entertainment value to others. The only feather I can claim is that I occassionally accompany Bella or fill in as a second voice for her."

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Re: London, 3rd October, 1814: A little light Music

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Sat Dec 07, 2013 12:15 pm

"Oh, I would have loathed myself to have the thought of not coming even just pass my mind. With a promise of such wonderful company, if even for a single dance, it would be a most horrific thing to pass this ball." His smile was genuine and he looked sincerely glad that she was willing too and it was not merely Torrington humouring him as a friend.

He considered the dances that have been left and from which he could choose or have her choose instead. He knew them well enough and in some there were variations in types, but he knew the more common ones and in truth, there was still a little time before the ball

"I would like to have the one that would please you most to have with me." It was no lie that he would have taken any that she was comfortable in having. It did sound a bit cheesy, but he was no expert in the hearts of ladies or women, and while his dashing uniform did much to favour him, his past experience had not been as positive.

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Re: London, 3rd October, 1814: A little light Music

Post  Edward Torrington on Sat Dec 07, 2013 12:25 pm

"Then the Écossaise? It is so much more fun to dance it with a graceful partner", Bella was quick to decide. It also was the supper dance, and she thought that Willoughby would make a rather pleasant partner there, too, while it would allow her to stay in the circle of her brother and his friends and spare her the company of such speciments as Mr. Bromwell.

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Re: London, 3rd October, 1814: A little light Music

Post  John Vickery on Sat Dec 07, 2013 12:28 pm

Vickery accepted a cup of tea from their hostess. "Perhaps it's a good thing your talents lay elsewhere, Torrington," he said, the close friendship between them allowing him the familiarity of address. "Otherwise, we would never have found our way in Spain but would have had some of the best entertainment in the Peninsula." He smiled over the rim of his teacup.

"Do you have any dances left free on your dance card, Lady Isabella?" he enquired, lowering the cup back down to the saucer.

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Re: London, 3rd October, 1814: A little light Music

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Sat Dec 07, 2013 12:37 pm

Willoughby inclined his head in agreement to the chosen. "Ecossiase it is." He spoke with barely contained excitement. Wishing himself not to look overeager or like a fool, he chose to take a few sips of his tea again, a fine excuse for his breif silence.

He felt as if that might drag for longer though, and the concern that he might instead show himself for a bore, a silent one at that, he cleared his throat again and gazed at her. What would she hold interest in? What was it that would entertain her mind and do more than have her sit meekly, for that she was most certainly not.

"Do you..." He began, hesitated and then with more confidence continued. "enjoy..." He was damned if he would say, 'that is' so instead he pressed on:".. riding as a past time, I know your brother is a fairly avid buyer and a little bit of a collector of horses and breeds.." He smiled sheepishly. "Pardon me, you may stop me at any time and divert our conversation, should it begin to bore you. I am certainly more used to the ways of battle and command, than I am of..certain other things. But be assured, I will not feel an offence, should you do so."

He paused and turned to Vickery, only then realising that the man had spoken to Bella as well, he turned again to her and nodded as if to indicate he would wait.

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Re: London, 3rd October, 1814: A little light Music

Post  Edward Torrington on Sat Dec 07, 2013 1:16 pm

Edward only grinned - Vickery was right, but he could recall several instances where they had quite good entertainment nevertheless, though not always of the type one would invite ladies to. He preferred not to think about the times when those occassional laughes and a sense of duty were the only things that kept him going on.

He bowed to Emma.

"And might I ask the same of you, Miss Vickery? I promise you that not only did I get more practice dancing than playing the piano the last few weeks, I also fancy myself to have more aptitude for it. Even Lady Castlereagh has deemed my walz 'quite acceptable'."

There - the hint was dropped, for the lady to do with as she pleased.

----

Bella was mortified. Not because she had no more opene dances, but because she actually had too much. When she had thought it proper not to offer the walz and the quadrille, she hadn't thought about what would happen if the other officer would ask her (and she had to admit that she had very much hoped that he would do so - especially after revealing his unexpected singing talent). And now, with Willoughby standing next to her, she couldn't offer those dances either - the poor man would be mortified, and that had certainly never been her goal.

So she would now have to offer one of her brother's closest friends the same safe choices she had given Willoughby, and probably dance the walz with some clumsy oaf who wouldn't realize that there was some story behind the open spot on her dance card. (At least the quadrille was not a problem - she could count on her brother to ask her for that one, if Emma did not by some unlucky chance give exactly that dance to him.)

Blushing slightly and reminding herself firmly not to stammer, she nodded rather distractedly and embarrassed to Willoughby and answered Vickery:

"Yes, certainly, Sir. Which dance would you like? I know that there is a reel open still, or would you prefer to select a dance when I have my card? I think there was some other spot open, too, but I'm not perfectly sure which one."

It was a terrible save, but she prayed that it was better than nothing.

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Re: London, 3rd October, 1814: A little light Music

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Sat Dec 07, 2013 1:31 pm

"It is gigue, I believe you've mentioned." Willoughby was only trying to be helpful, believing that perhaps the lady had forgotten that, at a later mention, though he had listened and remembered.

After that short interception the young cavalryman was however quiet again, taking his tea cup and sipping fairly attentively from it.

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Re: London, 3rd October, 1814: A little light Music

Post  John Vickery on Sat Dec 07, 2013 9:26 pm

It would never occur to Vickery that Isabella would have liked to have been able to offer the waltz to him in particular. All he could see was that somehow he had thrown her into confusion, and that could never do.

"Perhaps a country dance?" he suggested with a smile. "I fear I am shockingly out of practice for anything more, although I dare say that will improve as the season wears on."




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Re: London, 3rd October, 1814: A little light Music

Post  Emma Vickery on Sat Dec 07, 2013 9:34 pm

"Of course," Emma replied, and her eyes widened a little at the hint. He would dance the waltz, with her?

"Mama will see our names linked in all the papers before the end of the evening, sir... but yes. I believe I have a waltz free."

She would never hear the end of it from her mother afterwards, but that would be a small price to pay for the opportunity to stand up with such a distinguished-looking man, a close friend of her brother's, and the Lord Torrington to boot.

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Re: London, 3rd October, 1814: A little light Music

Post  Edward Torrington on Sun Dec 08, 2013 8:58 am

Bella returned the smile gratefully. Vickery was indeed a true gentleman to immediately help her in her confusion - even if he didn't really know what had caused it.

"I will look forward to our country dance tonight, then, Sir. I imagine you did not have much opportunity to dance while you were in Spain? Do they dance our dances there at all?"

She turned a bit so to include Willoughby into the question, not wanting him to have to stand alone, and also still feeling mortified enough not trust her composure in a conversation with only one of the gentlemen.

----------------

Edward took her hand and bowed over it.

"I'm much obliged. You gave me something to look forward to tonight - your brother has often mentioned that you are a very accomplished dancer."

Keeping hold of her hand for a moment longer, he tilted his head and said softly:

"But you will fob me off with a country dance, if you please, if anybody should make you feel uncomfortable with your choice. I fear I have been away too long to play the games of the ton easily or know the current players, and must rely on your better judgment there."

Thinking that he himself would not care to have to answer that before he was sure of his own mind, he released her hand and put the sheet he had accidentally touched with his ellbow back in the right position, giving Emma a chance to turn her attention back to the music and not having to answer him with a polite phrase, should she feel she could not give him the truth.

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Re: London, 3rd October, 1814: A little light Music

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Sun Dec 08, 2013 10:41 am

"They have some of their own dances, though we could be well entertained with our own too. Theirs are... rather temperamental, interesting really, but filled with emotion and strength..." Willoughby began, not quite sure whether she meant the question for him or Vickery. He played the empty cup on its little plate again.

He gazed about the room again. He had earlier been afraid to expose any attempt of a performance but now he had truly regretted not having a violin present. He was not even sure exactly why. He searched also for an indication of time having not had a watch of his own in his pocket.

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Re: London, 3rd October, 1814: A little light Music

Post  Edward Torrington on Sun Dec 08, 2013 10:56 am

Bella, always interested in foreign lands, especially such that could serve as a backdrop for the adventures the Minerva Press brought to her home, said dreamily:

"Oh, I wish I could see them! Will you play a tune from Spain for me when you have your violin?"

Seeing his empty cup when she smiled at him, she asked politely:

"Would you like another cup of tea?"

There was a big old-fashioned standing clock in the hall outside, and a small ormolu clock standing on a cabinet, but both were unreadable from Willoughby's current position.

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Re: London, 3rd October, 1814: A little light Music

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Sun Dec 08, 2013 11:12 am

"There will be a few Spanish ladies at the ball, as far as I've heard. I do not know whether they will be given a chance or the music to dance one of their dances, but perhaps if you inquire..should the possibility arise. And I have heard that at least one, perhaps two, do most certainly speak English as well, should you prefer that. "He glanced at Vickery, to be sure that the man might not wish to add more before he continued.

" I can try to play you something from Spain yes. I will see what is most appropriate and to which I may attempt to do justice." He smiled and gazed at his cup. "One more would be nice, thank you."

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Re: London, 3rd October, 1814: A little light Music

Post  Edward Torrington on Mon Dec 09, 2013 4:13 am

Bella gladly filled him a second cup.

"Oh, do! I want to hear all about Spain. Is it true that beat wooden spoonbowls together to mark the rhythm?"

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Re: London, 3rd October, 1814: A little light Music

Post  John Vickery on Mon Dec 09, 2013 4:35 am

Vickery smiled. "Yes - well, something very like. They call them castanets. In the area around Salamanca, the gypsies use them when they dance. They beat the rhythm with their heels too - very fast."

That sort of dance was not the sort that could ever be performed in a Society ballroom, of course, not with the women twitching their skirts in the way the Spanish gypsies did.

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Re: London, 3rd October, 1814: A little light Music

Post  Emma Vickery on Mon Dec 09, 2013 5:04 am

Emma laid her empty teacup aside and nodded to Torrington. "I have been asked to play Herr Beethoven's Rondo alla ingharese quasi un capriccio, as a favour for my lord Torrington, " she said into a pause in the conversation.

Her brother turned with a smile, grateful for the distraction from the path the conversation had strayed to; the flamenco was not a very safe subject for a drawing room conversation, never mind a ballroom dance, after all.

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Re: London, 3rd October, 1814: A little light Music

Post  Edward Torrington on Mon Dec 09, 2013 5:29 am

"Oh, beautiful!" Bella exclaimed. "Shall I turn the pages for you?" She excused herself to the two men around her and went to the piano to assist Emma, should she want it.

----------

Edward took the empty cup and bowed slightly in return, then retreated to one of the armchairs. He settled down with a look of pleasant expectation in his eyes.

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Re: London, 3rd October, 1814: A little light Music

Post  Emma Vickery on Mon Dec 09, 2013 5:32 am

Emma smiled up at her new friend and settled herself to begin to play.

It was a lovely piece of music, this, but so fast! She was glad that she was familiar with it and that she did practise every day; this was no piece for a beginner to be set, after all.

_______
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Re: London, 3rd October, 1814: A little light Music

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Mon Dec 09, 2013 6:05 am

Willoughby had wanted to counter Vickery's belief and misinformation that castanets were a tradition of the gypsies and the dance of flamenco, but sure enough, his sister had drawn the conversation to a close. Yet again he felt as if a conversation had been terminated before it had even had the chance to blossom into something more and sighed quietly, taking his cup of more tea.

He sat himself at his previous location, closer to the window and gazed outside. The great tit was gone, but in its place were a few small sparrows, pecking away at the ground in search of food. A blackbird hopped past then flew into the branches. It was the male at this time, his feathers black as coal, his beak a nicer yellow.

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Re: London, 3rd October, 1814: A little light Music

Post  Edward Torrington on Mon Dec 09, 2013 6:07 am

While she played, Edward was completely focused on her play. While he could play out a simple melody, this was far above his touch. So hearing one of his favourite pieces of music on a common weekday morning was an unexpected treat.

Bella turned the pages proficiently, hiding a smile when she let her eyes stray to her brother. He looked as if he had been given a present. But she also watched Emma, admiring how well she played. It would be very nice to see her more often. She was so accomplished, but also nice and Bella felt she might be a good influence on her sometimes overbordering spirits. When the piece was finished, she clapped delightedly. Without any malice, but with pure mischief in her eyes, she whispered slyly: "My poor brother. I think now he will be your willing slave. He has piano versions of the symphonies, too ..."

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Re: London, 3rd October, 1814: A little light Music

Post  Emma Vickery on Mon Dec 09, 2013 6:21 am

Emma smiled - unkind people might have said it was a grin, and castigated her for its being unladylike, but she did not mind.

"Oh, I do not think I could play all of them; he has wrote such a lot of pieces," she said. Maybe at some future point she would play one of her own favourite pieces for him, though.

Vickery stepped forward at this point. "I should like to perform something myself - if you and your brother don't think it presumptuous of me, Lady Isabella?" he asked.

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Re: London, 3rd October, 1814: A little light Music

Post  Edward Torrington on Mon Dec 09, 2013 6:35 am

Bella's delighted face was answer enough as she said:

"Oh, please! What shall we hear?"

She saw the Willoughby was sitting alone again and looking out, and bit her lip again. She really did not want him to feel neglected, and he did not seem to have as much fun as she was having. A pointed look at her brother however made him look up from his contemplation of the piano, realize and walk over.

"Admiring my garden?" he asked lightly. "I am told that some roses are something out of the common way, though I have no idea which of them. Isabella likes those pink geraniums with the lobed leaves, if you are wondering - I was told they mean true friendship."


Last edited by Edward Torrington on Mon Dec 09, 2013 6:48 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: London, 3rd October, 1814: A little light Music

Post  John Vickery on Mon Dec 09, 2013 6:47 am

Vickery glanced towards the window, where Torrington had interrupted (if that was the right word) Willoughby's contemplation of the garden. He had not meant to exclude Willoughby from this afternoon's entertainment at all.

"I was thinking of something that my Riflemen used to sing," he said. "It is in German, for which I apologise - I have not been able to make a good translation although when I can I shall certainly present you with a copy."

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Re: London, 3rd October, 1814: A little light Music

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Mon Dec 09, 2013 6:53 am

Willoughby had clapped as the piece was finished, both out of politeness and because she did play very well. His gaze only slowly shifted from the window though at Vickery's announcement. It was surprising how mesmerising a simple blackbird looked, struggling to pull an earthworm out of the ground. It tugged and yanked and pulled and shook its head but the worm must have swelled his body just right, to keep itself firmly still inside.

The lack of a violin and courage to sing just yet, had left him as a silent observer and part of the audience with an occasional word spoken. It was a lovely room though, ornamented finely and richly with a nice selection of instruments, large windows that allowed light in and that, where leaves on trees trembled in the wind, also allowed for some shadow play.

He turned from the window fully, when Torrington addressed him, considering it a polite, proper thing to do. " You have.." He began, but then halted himself and simply nodded and said. "Yes, a very lovely garden." He listened on and chose to glance outside, only then noticing the pink flowers. "They are lovely too." He turned from the window again. He didn't know exactly what more he was expected to say and there was a song on the way, which ought not be interrupted, so a more lengthy reply would not have been welcome anyway.


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Re: London, 3rd October, 1814: A little light Music

Post  Edward Torrington on Mon Dec 09, 2013 6:53 am

"Oh, please do! I can only say 'Guten Tag!' and know the words of a few songs. What is it about?"

Checking that Willoughby was indeed no longer alone, she settled on a chair next to the piano. If the riflemen had sung it, it was quite likely that she had never before heard the song, so she did not want to miss any of it.

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Re: London, 3rd October, 1814: A little light Music

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