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3rd October 1814, All the Gaiety of a Ball

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3rd October 1814, All the Gaiety of a Ball

Post  John Vickery on Mon Dec 09, 2013 10:56 am

Vickery had decided on what to wear that evening, and changed his mind more than once before finally deciding that he would go in uniform. Whether he would be mistaken for a cavalryman or not (and it had happened, more than once - it seemed everyone 'knew' that infantry officers wore red!), he was proud of his service. He had sighed over the necessity of changing comfortable trousers for less comfortable breeches, stockings and buckled shoes but had resigned himself to the necessity.

Emma had chosen to wear her sage green silk, with her hair in a Classical-inspired style held with a dark green velvet ribbon. She had emerald drops in her ears and a simple emerald cross on a chain. It was almost too simple for Town, but this was the Little Season, not the full three months of the Season, and a private ball to boot.

Their mother was in a claret-coloured velvet evening gown, Lord Saltash was in a sober black and if Robert was going to be there, he had elected not to come in the family carriage.

The Saltash party was not the first to arrive but nor were they startlingly late; there were other people already in the house as the party was announced and the musicians were just tuning up.

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Re: 3rd October 1814, All the Gaiety of a Ball

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Mon Dec 09, 2013 11:23 am

His carriage had been meticulously cleaned, wiped of any dust that might have accumulated, checked and made certain that not a single wheel would have sustained damage quickly, nor that there would be squeaking of the sort that was unkind to the ear. The horses, coal black friesians, had been brushed until their coats felt and looked as if made of silk. Their manes had equally been tended to, combed through to a point they allowed and then kept in such fashion that they might not catch and cause the animal discomfort. He had had two pull the carriage which carried the coat of arms of the family. It was slightly older, but in that perhaps a little grander as well.

Inside sat Lord Gwydyr and his grandfather. Willoughby had chosen to wear his uniform as well. His best had been chosen. The pelisse hung slung over his shoulder, kept in place by the thick braided strings, while beneath he wore a dolman, buttoned up with each button looking as polished as those of the first coat.

It was a ball and thus his feet were buckled in, the stockings high and breeches worn in the correct fashion  but causing the young man to be somewhat self conscious.

When they had arrived they were among those that came later but also without being considered inconsiderately late.  His grandfather looked tired, wrought with age and experience that had not been kind to him. They had traveled in silence and only when they were quite close to their destination had the man begun to give the other a lecture on things that could be and those that were absolutely not to be done, but even this lasted a very short time.

With a somewhat slower pace they proceeded towards the entrance and then entered. They were announced and were finally among the many of the visitors who had already begun to mingle amongst each other.

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Re: 3rd October 1814, All the Gaiety of a Ball

Post  Edward Torrington on Mon Dec 09, 2013 11:21 pm

Rather towards the end of the time that was considered polite, two carriages, bearing the crests of the Earl of Gleve and the Earl of Thine, respectively, drew up before the entrance, the family having dined together before.

Edward was the first to alight, decked out in his scarlet uniform with its golden braid. When he had dressed, he had eyed it with some misgiving. It was hard to look ones best in a colour one felt was not the best suited, and he still felt quite uncharitable towards whoever had first suggested to the Duke to change the colours from the royal blue to the more common red. A matching waistcoat, shirt and cravat (bound in a deceptively simple and understated style, but pinned with a saphire pin), tight fitting breeches and stockings in immaculate white, an officer's sash and spotless shoes with silver buckles completed his dress and showed off shapely legs, and after adding such paraphernalia as his fobwatch, gloves and hat, Edward was rather pleased with his appearance after all. Subscribing to Mr. Brummel's dictum, he instantly forgot about his clothes the moment he set a food out of his house, and was therefore able to help his sister out of the carriage with all his customary grace.

Bella, still constricted to the pale colours suitable for marriagable ladies, had chosen a gown of pale blue silk with a silver-spangled overskirt and a shawl of the same material, a demure set of pearls around her neck and on her ears, and a tortoise shell comb in her dark hair, and looked in Edward's eyes alltogether like a lively water sprite. But she was on her best behaviour and waited patiently until her parents had exited the carriage. Her father, greying but still quite fit, had elected to wear dark blue, holding to the believe that black was for the men of the cloth, and was offering his arm to his countess with as much elegance as his son possessed. The lady herself was easily recognizable as Bella's mother, even with her hair under a fashionable turban, and was arrayed in a gown in hues of topas and dark amber with a heirloom set of rubies. She laughed at something her lord said (causing him to raise a sartyrically upswept eyebrow) and waited for her elder daugther and her husband to join them. This they did, barely a minute later. Lord Thine, a bit on the portly side and not much younger than his father in law, but in some instances more susceptible to new ideas, appeared in faultless black and white and presented a suitable backdrop for his wife's auburn hair and intricate gown of patterened green satin.

The party arranged itself and climbed the stairs to greet their hosts, then split up to mingle. Both elder gentlemen disappeared at the earliest opportunity towards the card room, Lady Gleve wisked Bella away to introduce her to some old friend, and Edward was left to escort his older sister for the moment.

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Re: 3rd October 1814, All the Gaiety of a Ball

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Tue Dec 10, 2013 12:09 am

Lady Susannah had arrived a little earlier than Willoughby, and her daughters were in the company of the other ladies when he was announced. It was for that reason that upon the arrival of Torrington's they were already in conversation. Susannah had come to greet lord Parham with a small courtesy and lead him away from the young trio. Catherine, who was the eldest of the two had been the first to speak. With an enchanting smile, innocent mischief in mind, she had teased their cousin for his uniform had been a sight to see. So many buttons, she mused, on a single coat, and more than half of them never to be used. There were dresses and coats much simpler than that of a cavalryman. It was quick that Anne inquired, she a more timid but curious girl, whether the hussars would have to button both the pelisse and the dolman all at the same time and if it ever happened that one would button the pelisse to a dolman.

She was quickly scolded by her sister for asking such a question. Both animated, they seemed in hurry to relate to Willoughby of what ladies they have so far met and who he could ask for a dance, and who had already shown interest though they were not supposed to tell, but he would be very kind, should he act on what he just heard.

Then Anne inquired if he had asked any yet, or whether all the dances were still to be offered or were there none. It was an important bit information indeed. Upon hearing that he indeed had only one dance taken, they both seemed most curious into who the lady was. Willoughby felt overwhelmed by the rain of questions for something so simple as having met and then asked Torrington's sister for a spin. Before he knew, Catherine promised that she would inquire of the interests of this lady and he had to quickly ask her to promise him that she ought to do no such thing!

"You would introduce us, won't you, dearest cousin?" Catherine spoke when her eye caught a selection of hussar officers, arrive at the gate. " Oh, you were a soldier, you must know so many." Anne sighed softly, smiling. The uniforms have been a much more frequent novelty since these men had returned from war and they were quite a sight to see, different from the common coats that men wore and promised to speak of all those romantic stories that they had probably read about.

"Oh look, they have arrived! It is Lord Torrington and that is his older sister, Lady Thine." Anne indicated more with the tilt of her head than anything more, pointing would not have been ladylike. She then caught sight of a man in a rifle's uniform. "Is he a hussar as well? The one in green." Willoughby turned to see whom she had meant and shook his head lightly. "No, they are from the rifles..." When Anne looked questionably at him he continued to explain. "He is not a cavalryman, but would command riflemen, men that use rifles." A terrible explanation no less. "It is a weapon, such as a musket, but somewhat shorter and more accurate, like a hunting rifle, remember." There were hunts that used those and thus more easily explained in such fashion.  

Anne nodded but could not help to ask again. "But is he foreign, or why does he wear a coat similar to yours?" Willoughby gazed at his own, wishing to say that the similarity was just slight, but continued patiently. "It is the style of wear of their officers. I do not know more." Before Anne would inquire further.

"Will you introduce us to Lord Torrington, please?" Catherine seemed less curious off the different kinds of soldiers and they were at a ball! They ought to enjoy it. "And then to him." Anne wanted to know more about these green clad men. Why such a dull, morbid colour, why though still so fashionably ornamental?


Last edited by Timothy Willoughby on Tue Dec 10, 2013 12:38 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: 3rd October 1814, All the Gaiety of a Ball

Post  Allhands on Tue Dec 10, 2013 12:35 am

There was another announcement of the Spanish group of ladies and men with a few Portuguese as well. They were presently in London and had been invited to the ball for they were indeed exotic.

There was the soon to be married Lady María Inés Manrique de Lara, then there were several others along with the men who had given the man that was to announce them quite the headache. The names were long and sometimes awkward to pronounce. Of the ladies that followed one was also Andréa Estefania Lopes da Almeida. And then it seemed there was relief for the last of them had been announced and thus normality returned, with lords and ladies who did not need a good part of the hour for their names to be said.
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Re: 3rd October 1814, All the Gaiety of a Ball

Post  Marashar on Tue Dec 10, 2013 1:09 am

Somewhere in the back of the ballroom, Mrs. Bromwell tried to catch a glimpse of the persons entering. Being a rather short woman and having arrived rather early, thereby being pressed to the other end of the room by the following guests, she had some trouble doing so. But determined to excert herself to the best of her ability for the sake of her daughters (because really, with three marriagable daughters a mother could never be idle on any ball), she sharply tucked her son's sleeve.

"There, is that the Viscount that you met? Go, escort Fanny around and introduce her! If Torrington doesn't come to scratch, she needs an alternative. And find that other officer, too! If he is a Vickery, he must be related to Saltash, and that might do very nicely for little Sylphy!"

Sylvia, the youngest of the three girls, made a face at that - she wanted a lord, too, and she would be a much better lady than boring Fanny. The eldest daughter could find no fault with the current plan, however, and swanned off in Willoughby's direction on the arm of her brother. Charlotte, the middle sister and of a shyer and gentler disposition, looked quietly mortified.
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Re: 3rd October 1814, All the Gaiety of a Ball

Post  John Vickery on Tue Dec 10, 2013 2:12 am

Vickery turned as he heard a somewhat familiar name being announced. Estefania was in Town? And, more than that - here. Well. And with a party of other Portuguese, no doubt come to find out where all the soldiers had gone after leaving the Peninsula.

The room was filling quite nicely by now, and he could hear more than one party discussing the various uniforms, though nobody within his hearing had mentioned his own green jacket, or at least if they had, it had not been loudly enough for him to overhear.

He noticed Willoughby, surrounded by a party of girls, though there was some familiarity in their actions and a certain similarity in their looks, with regard to Willoughby, that made him think perhaps they were somehow related to the hussar.

It seemed that everybody was heading for Torrington and he sent the Engineer a sympathetic glance. He was bound to be surrounded by his own crowd of chattering girls and their chaperones before he was half prepared for it, and wondered whether the card room might not be the safest place to spend the evening.

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Re: 3rd October 1814, All the Gaiety of a Ball

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Tue Dec 10, 2013 2:48 am

Willoughby sighed. "I shall have to, won't I?" He pretended that this would be a terrible sacrifice for him, though the tug at his lips already betrayed his true feelings. He was simply, amused. "Come then. And be polite." The trio proceeded towards Lord Torrington without much noticing that there was a Bromwell on the prowl for at least one of them. Catherine's poise straightened and she did walk a little as if having a very private grand entrance. Her younger sister seemed less in need of such flamboyance and more interested in what and whom she could see on their way, though she was very polite and attentive as they neared the man. It was a good show of proper upbringing.

Willoughby bowed his head politely in greeting of his friend. "Good evening.Yet contemplating to flee?" When his two cousins gave him the faintest of nudges he smiled and gave an introduction of first Catherine, and second young Anne.

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Re: 3rd October 1814, All the Gaiety of a Ball

Post  Allhands on Tue Dec 10, 2013 9:30 pm

María Inés Manrique de Lara tilted her head just a little, so that she could speak in private with Estefania, her gaze still on the people gathered in the hall. They had come later than Lord Towcester and she tried to seek him out in the crowd. She indicated, again with a curt nod, the few people that she had come to know, through his connections and who had also served in the Peninsula.

They commented on this man and that, nodded in greeting when a familiar face appeared, chatted perhaps for a short moment or two, then proceeded through the crowd, closer and closer towards the center of the hall. Maria's dress held only few details of her Spanish heritage, while taking on the style and fashion of the English world, while Estefania's had been much more of the fashion of her homeland.

They neared the rifleman, all dressed in green when Estefania had just begun to tell her friend a story of one event that had caused this man to be without tent and what had come to be a rescue by the Portuguese, who had provided him with some necessities as would befall an officer. It was an engaging story in which Estefania had offered the tidbits that even Vickery had not known, for he had not been there. Maria gazed at Vickery, hiding her amusement behind a fairly elaborate Spanish made fan.
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Re: 3rd October 1814, All the Gaiety of a Ball

Post  Edward Torrington on Wed Dec 11, 2013 12:45 am

Edward had heard the announcement of the Spanish party as well, but he was on the other end of the room and he lost sight of them once they had begun to mingle. He would try to catch them later - he was rather curious about how they had fared once the war had moved on.

Having lost his sister to one of her particular friends, he was just in the process of securing himself some dances. Bella, more to keep her entertained than out of need, still took lessons with a private dancing instructor and Edward offered to stand up with her for several of those lessons in the last few weeks; thereby he had managed to refamiliarize himself with the steps and learn all the new figures without the indignity of having to hire a dancing instructor himself. Bella had of course seen through his game, and immediately used it for some sisterly blackmail, directing him towards those of her friends who would profit from his name on their dance card.
As there was a clear understanding that he was doing this for the joy of dancing alone, and nearly all of Bella's friends were at least passable dancers, he didn't mind.

He had just secured the hand of Miss Fothringale for a country dance and was contemplating how to approach Charlotte Bromwell without getting entangled with the rest of her family when Willoughby with his cousins caught up with him, and soon he was bowing to the young ladies and assuring Willoughby that if he had wanted to flee, he surely had to reconsider now if the ladies would be willing to grant him a dance?

Then he bowed galantly to the two young ladies

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Re: 3rd October 1814, All the Gaiety of a Ball

Post  Marashar on Wed Dec 11, 2013 12:55 am

Fate had it that the chattering young girls caught up with Vickery before he could make good on his escape. On her way through the ballroom, Mrs. Bromwell had spotted the green uniform, recognized it thanks to her son's (carefully edited) description of the morning, and immediately changed course towards him, dragging a pouting Sylvia and a reluctant Charlotte along.

"Major Vickery, isn't it?", she adressed him in saccharine tones.
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Re: 3rd October 1814, All the Gaiety of a Ball

Post  Isabella Walham on Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:19 am

Under the watchful eye of her mother, it took Bella little time until her dance card was filled - the dreaded walz happily granted to a distant cousin. After thinking matters over some, she had decided that she had not done anything wrong, and confessed her little problem to her mother, who had laughed, agreed that it had been a difficult situation and pointed out that James was too seldom in town to have much female aquintances here and that he would likely be very grateful if he found that his cousin had kept a dance open for him and perhaps was willing to introduce him to some of her friends.

Having thus successfully completed the business part of the evening, Bella ventured out to enjoy it. Linking arms with her cousin, who had the uniform of a naval commander and a slightly weather-beaten but pleasant countenance to recommend himself, she started to pull him around the room, pointing out such persons of interest as she recognized and introducing him to those friends she encountered.

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Re: 3rd October 1814, All the Gaiety of a Ball

Post  John Vickery on Wed Dec 11, 2013 2:41 am

Oh God. Some matron was bearing down on him, two debs in tow and there was nowhere for him to go. The card room undoubtedly would be the safest place to spend the evening, but he saw his chance of getting there rapidly shrinking.

The matron seemed to know his name - maybe she was an acquaintance of his mother's? - but he certainly didn't know hers.

"I... don't believe we have been introduced?" he said, trying not to make it obvious he was looking for an avenue of escape.

He should probably just have stayed in Spain.

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Re: 3rd October 1814, All the Gaiety of a Ball

Post  Allhands on Wed Dec 11, 2013 7:04 am

Estefania chuckled halting her friend when she saw that Vickery had been approached by an older lady with her young daughter, clearly still open for marriage. She murmured something to her friend in Spanish, and Maria leaned closer into the fan to murmur something back. Both nodded in agreement, their eyes betraying amusement. They continued onwards very slowly, for standing would have suggested they were quite impolitely wanting to listen in or stare, but moving only indicated that they were in no hurry.
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Re: 3rd October 1814, All the Gaiety of a Ball

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Wed Dec 11, 2013 7:14 am

Catherine bowed slightly first and smiled:" I would gladly, lord Torrington." She said, her voice lively and pleasant. Willoughby did not seem to have any objection, for he nodded lightly to the eldest cousin and to his friend as if to confirm that it would not displease him at all should he wish to dance with either.

Anne looked at Torrington more timidly and looked eager to accept, but uncertain whether now that her sister had done so already, she could be of want for her own.

"And Anne wishes too. "Willoughby politely added, smiling. Anne's cheeks coloured but she nodded. "Should you have any space left on your card."

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Re: 3rd October 1814, All the Gaiety of a Ball

Post  Marashar on Wed Dec 11, 2013 7:14 am

The woman was clearly an expert strategist, because deployed her daughters to the left and forced Vickery to look away from the majority of the other guests if he wanted to be polite and face them when conversing.

"Oh, no, but I couldn't wait for it to thank you for saving my son this morning!", she gushed. "Charlotte and Sylvia here particularily wanted to meet you, too, to do the same, didn't you, girls? They are very fond of Augustus!"
A sharp look of Mrs. Bromwell made both girls curtsy, but while Sylvia was much reconciled with her prospects when she found the soldier she was supposed to marry was obviously a cavalry man and cut quite a dashing figure (though his uniform really should have more gold!) and gushed "oh, it was so heroic!", Charlotte mumbled something unintellegible and didn't meet Vickery's eyes.
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Re: 3rd October 1814, All the Gaiety of a Ball

Post  Edward Torrington on Wed Dec 11, 2013 8:20 am

"I certainly have!"

He took first Catherine's dance card and pencilled in his name next to the supper dance, thinking it a good opportunity to introduce Cathrine to Bella, since they seemed to be of a similar age and probably would enjoy chatting during supper; then he took Anne's and selected the first reel, handing the little booklet back with a slight bow.

"Have you met my cousin, Commander Walham, yet? He has recently returned from a dispatches run to India."

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Re: 3rd October 1814, All the Gaiety of a Ball

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Wed Dec 11, 2013 8:36 am

"No, I do not think I have. Has he come to the ball as well?" Willoughby answered while his two cousins looked quite pleased. Catherine was of course more happy about the dance order that she would have, for it did mean she could accompany Lord Torrington as they would have to the tables. Anne was just glad to have that dance and could not find fault with the man. He was kind, pleasant, welcoming and very handsome too. He was a soldier, though this did not impress her too much. Soldiers would die and it would mean a sad lonely wife, though if there was no war, soldiers lived too.

Both had thanked Torrington and put their 'booklets' away again. It was promising to be a most pleasant evening!

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Re: 3rd October 1814, All the Gaiety of a Ball

Post  John Vickery on Wed Dec 11, 2013 8:54 am

Saving her son? He wondered for a moment whether Bromwell - these had to be Bromwell's relations, after all - had told them of his escapades before calling at Torrington's and getting somewhat chewed out - and precisely what form his story had taken.

Augustus, though... Somehow that fit the man. The girls seemed more sensible than their brother, at least, although that didn't mean much.

He bowed. "Miss Bromwell... Miss Charlotte Bromwell. I was pleased I could be of assistance to your brother."

Though if the idiot took better care of his horse when riding, and was a better rider, the incident need not have happened. But he was not going to mention that, of course.

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Re: 3rd October 1814, All the Gaiety of a Ball

Post  Isabella Walham on Wed Dec 11, 2013 9:08 am

Sylvia gave a rather piecing laugh, as if she just had achieved a personal triumph. "Oh, no, Major! I'm the youngest! Charlotte just usually doesn't say much. Fanny is Miss Bromwell!"

Poor Charlotte looked even more mortified and say quietly that it didn't signify and that she hoped that the rescue had not interrupted Major Vickery's own ride too much.

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Re: 3rd October 1814, All the Gaiety of a Ball

Post  John Vickery on Wed Dec 11, 2013 9:19 am

"I beg your pardon." Now, this would be why the formalities were observed, so people didn't go and make stupid mistakes and look like fools. So, here he had the middle and youngest of three sisters. And he probably ought to ask at least the eldest of them to dance to make up for his gauche mistake.

Damn it all.

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Re: 3rd October 1814, All the Gaiety of a Ball

Post  Isabella Walham on Thu Dec 12, 2013 2:30 am

James, who indeed very much enjoyed the attention he got from his cousin, was the first to spot Edward's wave and steered Bella into the direction of the little group. As soon as Bella saw why her brother had summoned them, she dimpled and dropped a very nice curtsy.

"Lord Gwydyr! How nice that you are here already! Have you met my cousin, Commander Walham? He commands the Dancer."

James bowed. "A pleasure, Mylord!"
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Isabella Walham
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Re: 3rd October 1814, All the Gaiety of a Ball

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Thu Dec 12, 2013 2:36 am

It would truly have been easier had the cousin of Edward not been accompanied by Isabella. Willoughby bowed quickly, though his eyes lingered on Bella for a moment. The colour she wore flattered her, and the cut was quite stylish and pretty, she looked beautiful of course, regal even. He turned to James and nodded a greeting to him again, without realising he had done so before.

"All mine, Commander." He answered then smiled. "The name ..it is as perfectly fitting as can be for today." It was certainly no attempt to mock neither the ship nor its name.

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Re: 3rd October 1814, All the Gaiety of a Ball

Post  Marashar on Thu Dec 12, 2013 2:43 am

Mrs. Bromwell immediately jumped in:

"Oh, yes, my Fanny is the oldest, and such a success!" - A rather curious description of a girl more than a year older than Bella and still not even betrothed.

"She is here somewhere - She has so many friends! But ... go, Charlotte, and find your sister! Surely she wants to meet the rescuer of her brother in person! And try to be a bit more lively!"

Poor Charlotte dropped a curtsy and flet with an apologetic look at Vickery.
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Re: 3rd October 1814, All the Gaiety of a Ball

Post  Isabella Walham on Thu Dec 12, 2013 2:49 am

James nodded to Edward in greeting and smiled, obviously quite proud of his ship.

"She is only a sloop, of course, but I dare you to find a ship in the fleet that dances better with the wind."

He looked at Bella, waiting for her to introduce him to the girls, too. Bella, however, didn't know them either, so could only look at Willoughby for help. After all, since they were on his arm, he should know them!

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Re: 3rd October 1814, All the Gaiety of a Ball

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