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3rd October 1814, All the Gaiety of a Ball

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

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Thu Dec 12, 2013 2:57 am

"Ah yes..she must." He gazed at the two girls who were giving him equally a little nudge and the eye for not having introduced them yet. They were both proper enough though not to interrupt him, nor to demand it. Catherine more bold looked just a little more impatient, but her younger sister just looked timid again.

"Meet Lady Catherine and Lady Anne.." He began and elaborated in what relations they were to him, cousins, daughters of his aunt. Both girls curtsyied to the commander when introduced.

"And this is lady Isabella, sister of Lord Torrington." he explained, as he happened to know her too. Catherine glanced at her cousin and then at the newly met girl and nodded as if it all made sense. She could forgive her cousin for forgetting to introduce them. This was the cause, obviously!

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

Post  Isabella Walham on Thu Dec 12, 2013 3:12 am

Under appropriate bows, curtsies and phrases everybody made each other's aquintance; Bella (who had to admit to a tiny bit of relief at hearing that they were relations) smiled at the girls and nudged her cousin.

"Come on, ask them! The first dance will start soon!"

Both James and Edward looked at her in fond eyasperation, but she said it with such charming cajolery, that it was impossible to do anything else but grin, bow and inquire meekly:

"Then would the ladies take pity on a poor sailor and, if their cards still allow it, grant him a dance?"

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

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Thu Dec 12, 2013 7:28 am

Catherine again was the one who spoke first, and brought forth her little booklet to see which dance was still free and to offer a spot to the commander. Anne waited patiently and then offered for the 'poor sailor' to choose a dance he would have liked instead.

Willoughby stood a bit to the side, amused but glad that his cousins would have a rather entertaining evening and that their dances might be fully booked. It was more important perhaps for Lady Catherine, but even Anne could and should have the amount of entertainment that she wished.

He gazed at Bella again and gave her a soft, rather quiet compliment on how she looked and also on her dress. With his own being a rather dark blue, he had appreciated the colour even more perhaps. He glanced at his cousins briefly then smiled. "So, I reckon, you had yours fully... oh full in matter of minutes from your arrival?" It was almost more a conviction than a question, but never the less.

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

Post  Isabella Walham on Thu Dec 12, 2013 8:38 am

The commander selected his dances carefully, knowing that he was rather out of practice. But he hoped that he could muster some reels creditably enough, so when he found one open on Cathrine's card, he immediately took it. Anne, who seemed rather shy, still had the very first dance of the evening unclaimed, and after checking that she did not look dismayed when the pencil neared the spot, he filled in his name there.

Bella blushed prettily at the compliment.

"Yes ... it was." She answered honestly. "but I didn't forget your dance. Here, look!" Dimpling, she held out her dance card where she had penned in Willoughby's name with great care next to the supper dance. She had spend an hour before dinner interrogating her mother about the Lord Gwynyr, and given his undoubted suitability, she naturally assumed that he would have had plenty of opportunity to find partners for all dances as well.
"Is this the uniform you wore in Spain?", she asked, rather curious. All that fur seemed a bit much for a country she imagined as pretty hot most of the time.

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

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Thu Dec 12, 2013 8:57 am

It seemed to bring Anne quite a great deal of joy that her first dance was now filled and with a pleasant man such as was the commander. She dreaded that perhaps she would have had to sit that one out, not so much for the lack of trying but because she would have been too late. "Thank you." She said as she took her booklet back, her sister thanking the man as well. She already had the first dance taken and there were several more before she needed to mingle about to fill them.

Anne gazed curiously at James. "What sort of ship is a sloop?" She inquired. "Did you chase the French with her?"

Willoughby looked quite pleased to find his name in the place for which they agreed on, and not only that, but some care had been taken so that the writting was not as done in a hurry. He glanced at his dolman and at his pelisse, both groomed untill they looked as new. "I have." He touched the furr on his pelisse thoughtfully. "Though not.." He had nearly said that he had not worn this one the whole time he served, but while this would be true, it would have raised only more questions. Instead continued with: "There are different ways in which you wear this.. also different times at which the pelisse is fully worn, or packed away to be kept safe from dirt. " He was quite satisfied with the answer. "And of course, we'd wear a different pair of trousers, much more suited to long periods in which we would be found riding." He added. "Mind....Spain was quite hot during the day. The footsoldiers would be seen fainting, and they were red woolen coats."

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

Post  Isabella Walham on Thu Dec 12, 2013 10:23 am

"No, not quite - rather the French chased us. But they never captured us!", the commander told her, justifiably proud. "You see, we are a Bermuda sloop - an advice ship with just 18 guns, so we are not even rated. But a sloop is much better than the bigger ships at dashing across the wide oceans and ferrying communications around, which is what the Dancer mainly did. We just came back from India."

------

"Like my brother now wears? He doesn't like it very much. He always complains that he wants his blue coat ..."

Before Bella could finish the sentence, somebody pushed quite rudely into their circle - Fanny and her brother had finally found their prey. Miss Bromwell also had a plan to further her brother's suit, and so, just as she appeared, she 'slipped', bumping into Bella and sending her tumbling into her brother's direction, while she conveniently fell towards Willoughby.

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

Post  Edward Torrington on Thu Dec 12, 2013 10:30 am

Edward, had meanwhile procured some lemonade for Lady Catherine and was making polite conversation, inquiring after the family and offered information about his own connection to their cousin. When the Bromwells appeared, he briefly closed his eyes and breathed deeply, then determinedly finished his sentence. "... from our schooltime, but lost sight of him, so I was rather surprised to meet him again in Portugal."

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

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Thu Dec 12, 2013 10:54 am

"Oh, so you are swift on the waves and are the ones that bring us the news we are so desperately of want, and you bring news to those of the military that need it, so that they could fight Napoleon and defeat him?" Anne asked animatedly smiling brightly. She did not seem to care that the sloop probably saw much less fighting than other ships. It did mean the commander would possibly live longer and if not, he was the one who would bring post to them so that they could know if their cousins or brothers of friends, still lived.

+

Willoughby was about to answer her, knowing how much more miserable lord Torrington was ever since his beautifully coloured coat became rather mundanely red. But just then there was whirl of motion and his instinct was to step forward, to reach out and catch Bella for it appeared as though otherwise she might fall to the floor.

He had not even seen Fanny at first, for she had come into his vision quite suddenly and unexpectingly. It was this reason then that he reached for her hand at the very last moment.

He was not quite sure what had happened and so acted on reflex rather than thought. Still it was clear Bella had been his priority, for it was she that he had attempted to save first and she that his arm had, through such action, still been embracing.

+

Catherine stepped back in surprise and looked on, first at her cousin, then at Fanny and Bella and then at the other Bromwell who must have been terribly clumsy to cause this!

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

Post  Edward Torrington on Thu Dec 12, 2013 11:08 am

Edward, reacting on the same instinct as Willoughby, reached without thinking for his little sister as well, but ended up with having to catch Fanny, as she rather came in the way. With Willoughby holding her arm, the saving was probably a lot more uncomfortable than she had expected, but wit two lords catching her, she wouldn't complain. Instead she began to profusely and rather loudly apologize, claiming that some brute had knocked into her.

Torrington, who who was perhaps not quite as polite as he could be while setting her back on her feet and detaching her hand from his coat, only smiled rather grimly.

James, who had automatically stepped forward to shield Anne and catch his cousin, had collided with Bromwell, but as he didn't know the gentleman, he assumed him to be innocent and merely helpful and was now apologising to him.

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

Post  Isabella Walham on Thu Dec 12, 2013 11:16 am

Bella suddenly felt something thrust into her backside, the she was tumbling, and suddenly she changed direction and ended up closer to a hussar's uniform than she had ever been before.

For a moment, she was rather confused, but then she saw Fanny clinging to her brother and things started to make a bit more sense. Blushing, she moved back a bit - not tearing away, but indicating that she wanted to be released.

"Th... thank you, Mylord ...", she stammered, trying to find her composure again.

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

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Thu Dec 12, 2013 11:31 am

Willoughby looked positively flustered and very apologetic, as he helped Bella up a little more before she drew back. He released her quickly, allowing her full freedom to move and stepped back.

"My apologies, Lady Isabella. ..Is all in .. order..? I hope I have not..." He trully did not mean to cross into her personal space but it had been one thing he could not have avoided. "I'm sorry." He spoke again, though glad that she had understood. She even said thank you!

He had nodded to Fanny, if only to aknowledge her profoused appology then looked at Torrington, knowing that he might need to apologise to him next if only for having his hands on his sister, even if it was solely to save her.

Anne had stepped back and observed the two men, Bromwell and James while realising just what had just transpired. The commander had stepped in her way to protect her! It was sweet and quite flattering to the young lady. Her smile was shy at first, but so radiant now. A dashing hero, what the commander had now become, if only for the few moments of glory!

"Are you alright lord Torrington?" Catherine asked then turned to make certain that her sister came to no harm and lastly did turn to see that Bella too was alright, for she had become this little band's vital member. She knew of Fanny enough not to feel as if she needed to see about her well being. Perhaps, though she had no proof of it and thus she was still pleasant and respective, Fanny had tripped on purpose. It would not have surprised her at all! Still, perhaps there was really something of a hurry that contributed to it, and so the girl could not be put to blame.

"Good evening." She greeted the two members of the Bromwell family, because that was a proper thing to do.

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

Post  John Vickery on Thu Dec 12, 2013 11:23 pm

Three unmarried girls, all of whom were being thrown at him, obviously with the intent that he should pick one of them. This was beyond reasonable. He could see where the son got it from now. Of the two he had met, Miss Charlotte seemed the best choice, although she had not even said a word. Vickery could not tell whether that was from shyness, a natural reticence or an equally natural embarrassment at the situation she found herself in.

If he could get away without having to introduce any of them to his mother and yet not be thought rude, he would consider himself fortunate indeed. Although, he could escape to his brother's club, he did not think Emma would appreciate having Mrs Bromwell come to call.

If he had to dance with any of the three at all, he would ask Miss Charlotte, who was sent to find her sister just as Vickery had decided to ask her.

Damnation. He would probably have to ask the eldest after all.

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

Post  Isabella Walham on Fri Dec 13, 2013 7:19 am

"Yes ... thank you ... just got my breath knocked out of me ..." Bella patted her hair, which had an unfortunate tendency to escape its constrains. It had, but only a little, and Bella decided that without her maid, she would not be able to repair the damage and likely made it worse. "Fanny, are you alright?"

The other girl, feeling that Bella might likely be the only sympathetic listener, started to pour her story into Bella's ears. Mr. Bromwell tried to get closer to Bella, too, but James, either by chance or because he had realized that the attack was rather staged, stood in the way. So he switched his plan and, ignoring the sailor, adressed Willoughby with all signs of good cheer:

"Oh, Mylord, I'm very happy to report that the hack is well and only strained his leg a bit!"

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

Post  Edward Torrington on Fri Dec 13, 2013 7:32 am

"Thank you, I am. I hope you and your sister are likewise unharmed?"
He took a moment to look the girls over and assure himself that everybody was alright and everything was settling down again. Settling his coat, he shot Willoughby a sharp glance, then bowed perfunctorily to the Bromwells.

"Miss Bromwell, Mr. Bromwell.

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

Sylvia and Mrs. Bromwell meanwhile looked rather expectantly at Vickery. The older woman felt that she had played her cards quite cleverly - now Vickery practically needed to dance with Sylvia.

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

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Fri Dec 13, 2013 8:11 am

Seeing Bella occupied and recognising the sharp look that Torrington had given him as a good warning that he was to keep himself to be most proper around her and at his best behavour or else he might have to deal with her brother, no matter whether he was his friend or no, or perhaps more so because of it, he nodded lightly and then addressed Bromwell, who now seemed keen on talking with him. Well it was better him than his cousins or Bella.

"That is indeed good news. No broken bones or torn muscles is a blessing for a horse. "He spoke with an easy air. He was silent for a few moments, not quite sure what else to say. He gazed at Anne and Catherine of whom one had seemed more animate with James, but kept her proper distance and also decorum, and Catherine who had stood quietly there, watching the whole ordeal as merely an observer. He could not ask Bromwell about his service, when he had done none, he could not want to ask him of his family, or else he might be dragged towards them to be introduced all too eagerly. "It has been a fine day never the less. Not too cold for this time of year. No?" Perfect, if he was graded in smalltalk he would probably have been given an F just now.

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

Post  Edward Torrington on Fri Dec 13, 2013 10:23 am

"It has indeed, though there has been a slight chill in the air, I'm sorry to say, Mylord."

Mr. Bromwell seemed quite ready to discuss the weather until the next ice age, if it kept him in the company of the heir to the Earl of Parham. Torrington, however, put in rather forcefully:

"Bromwell, your sister has had quite a shock. I think you might do better to escort her to a place where she can sit down in quiet for a bit!"

He had quite enough of how Fanny now exploited Bella's good heart with her tale of woe. And if he had made certain that the last open seat in their vicinity had been taken by the Dowager Duchess of Wigan before he spoke up ... well, one could argue he had just not wanted to interrupt the conversation before the important topic of horses had been discussed.

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

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Fri Dec 13, 2013 10:53 am

"Lord Torrington is correct. Your sister needs your attention, so that she might still perhaps enjoy the evening." Wiloughby spoke and indicated the poor woe and oh Fanny that was taking most of Bella's time.

"If you excuse me." He added politely then and turned towards Torrington's sister, briefly clearing his throat so as to draw attention to himself without rudely interrupting them. "Would you like some lemonade?.." He asked Bella. Anne had wished to go with the commander now, thirsty herself and in want to find a quieter area where she could actually hear what James was saying, unlike now when everybody only heard the Bromwell's miss.

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

Post  Isabella Walham on Fri Dec 13, 2013 11:05 am

"Oh, yes, please."

Bella took Willoughby's arm - she had to admit that she might be a tiny bit possesive there, but she had been talking to Willoughby when they had been interrupted, and quite intented to finish that conversation.

"Fanny - I think there is a chair over there by the terrace door! I will send a footman with some water for you. If you just sit still for a moment, you will be right as rain when the dancing started!"

Edward deftly transfered the hand that had managed to attach itself to his sleeve again to Bromwell's arm and, just to make certain, took Catherine's instead.

"You better hurry, Bromwell - chairs seem to be in rather short supply tonight."

Unable to counter that in any way, Bromwell admitted defeat and pulled his sister away, 'accidentally' nearly crushing her hand between his ribs and his arm when she opened her mouth to make a spectacle.

James, who still was not certain what was going on here but felt that a strategic retreat might be in order, asked Anne:

"Should we likewise go and fetch something to drink? It is a trifle hot in here."

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

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Fri Dec 13, 2013 11:18 am

Willoughby stole a quick glance towards Torrington. He quite certainly wished for no spectacle because he had taken his little sister away, even if it was merely to have her drink more and not be parched or faint from the lack of liquid in her system. He smiled warmly at her though. When he could help it, he would make sure that she would have a pleasant evening, if it was with dance, talk and supper, so be it.

Catherine smiled at Torrington with a certain amount of understanding, though she was neither too bold to speak it, nor too crude to show it. She did gladly take his arm while keeping her composure. "Was it like this, when you were in the Peninsula?"She asked more quietly, when she saw the pair leave. She did not mock them, no, she pitied them to a certain extent. They did not do this because they enjoyed it, they did it, because it was in a certain amount, necessary.

Anne bowed lightly then looked to her sister who nodded in response. Anne's shy gaze brightened a little. "Gladly, commander." She said. "Would you tell me more about the sea, and your ship and the world you have seen?" She asked politely, but with the curiosity of one who saw so little of the world, and wished to know a bit more because books promised a land of wonder.

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

Post  Edward Torrington on Sat Dec 14, 2013 1:06 am

Torrington, tacitly implying that unless Cathrine indicated she wanted to go somewhere else, they too would go with the party, shook his head with a rather wry smile that did not reach his eyes.

"Having young ladies stumble into me? No, not quite. The French usually heralded their immediate approach a little more loudly and never apologized for it."

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

Post  Isabella Walham on Sat Dec 14, 2013 1:15 am

Bella, blithly ignoring her older brother, gently pulled Willoughby along, linked her other arm with Anne and asked her cousin: "Have you been to Portugal and Spain recently, James? Lord Gwydyr just came from there - think, you might even have ferried his orders!"

The commander laughed softly.

"More likely the orders for his commander-in-chief, but yes, I did - though I have seen little but Lisboa and Porto. Beautiful towns, though, if a bit worse for wear at the moment, wouldn't you say, Mylord?"

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

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Sat Dec 14, 2013 10:33 am

"It must nost have been pleasant." Catherine spoke softly, though she thought that neither was the earlier event. "Do you miss Portugal, or Spain?" She asked, glancing at her sister only to make sure that she was still in good hands and that James behaved properly. She cared for her little sister even if they sometimes argued.

--

"The towns that have been struck by war, both in Spain as in Portugal, have not faired well, regretfully. Indeed as the commander says, neither have Lisbon and Porto. What the French do not destroy.." He paused and chose a different course for his explanation. "It is enough that the people abandon their homes, that places are condemned to ruin." He did not add, that even their own have sometimes been to blame for the damage.

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

Post  Isabella Walham on Sat Dec 14, 2013 10:46 am

"They will rebuild. Now that Boney is beaten, they can rebuild in peace, and we all will feel quite save again trading with Portugal, and soon they will have their former wealth again", the commander said optimistically. "Did you know that Portugal once was considered the richest nation of the world? That was before we took possession of India, of course."
---

Edward, reckognizing Cathrine's attempt, slowed his stride until they were strolling behind the younger couples and could chaperon them easily. "Sometimes I already miss part of my life there, yes", he answered honestly. "But not enough to go there again."

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

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Sat Dec 14, 2013 10:59 am

"Let us hope that he indeed remains a prisoner where they have condemned him to live.."Willoughby spoke softly. He could not imagine that man as an idle civilian with little or nothing to do. He had lead armies, had fought, planned, made new strategies at the spot and while he did not admire him for who he was, he did see skill and drive.

"But.. " He gazed at Bella and then quickly lowered his gaze then lifted it to look ahead. "Let us speak of lighter things, shall we? We are at the ball after all, we needn't ruin the mood for the ladies." He saw Anne humpf and gaze at James as if asking him not to stop telling stories and describing the places just because her cousin thought it unwise!

--

"How was it? ..I reckon it could not have all been bad." Catherine inquired, following easily alongside Torrington at his pace. " Were there any social events there at times of....more peace, such as here?"

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

Post  Isabella Walham on Sat Dec 14, 2013 11:21 am

"Elba!", Bella was quite happy to be able to inform the company. "It's near the Tuscany coast."

She shared a glance with Anne, likewise unwilling to be relegated to boring talk about the weather again.

"Have you ever seen him, Mylord?"

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