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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  Edward Torrington on Sat Dec 14, 2013 11:25 am

"There were some, and I was happy enough to be able to attend some theatrical performances with a friend there."

His mouth quirked. Attending the theater - or indeed any event - in Hunter's company had certainly always been interested. Goats and other animal life included.

"It somewhat reconciled one for missing the premiers here - I would have liked to see Kean's return to the stage. Have you had the fortune to see his Shylock?"

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

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Sun Dec 15, 2013 8:27 am

"No I must say that I have not had the fortune or perhaps the misfortune of seeing him. " Willoughby admitted, though he could have boasted about anything and the ladies could have remained none the wiser. But he did not want to lie, when this could ruin good relations and when Torrington could as well attest for what was the truth.

"I have seen only his image, I believe, but we have not gotten closer than that." He glanced at James and then turned to Bella. "The higher the officer is ranked, the rarer the occasion that you can see him up close. It is not always true of course and it does depend of the army sometimes, even a regiment itself."

---

Catherine nodded smiling. "I have been quite fortunate to have been able to see it yes. The production was splendid really." She continued by describing it in not too much detail so that nothing could be spoiled, should it have even been possible. On a second thought she could believe that Torrington had been the educated Lord and thus would most certainly have known more than enough about it.

She gazed ahead of the four infront and then at the table beyond them. The drinks could be taken but of course now, that they had arrived second, they would first have to wait for Willoughby and Walham to serve their ladies, or in other words, pass the drinks to their ladies before she and Torrington could get their own. She gazed about curious to see what other ladies and gentlemen had arrived at the ball.

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

Post  John Vickery on Wed Dec 18, 2013 9:14 am

Vickery had the familiar feeling of being surrounded, though this time it wasn't by the French, thankfully. He did not like the feeling of being backed into a corner, but it was painfully obvious that Mrs Bromwell expected him to ask Miss Sylvia to dance.

He had plenty of experience of discharging a distasteful duty, however, and gallantly inclined his head to the young lady - it was not, after all, her fault that her relations were as they were.

"The band seems to be ready to begin. Have you promised this dance to anyone?" he asked. It was the quadrille, he seemed to recall, and he could fulfil his duty as quickly and painlessly as possible if she had not yet been asked for this dance.

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

Post  Isabella Walham on Wed Dec 18, 2013 10:41 am

"No, I haven't!" Sylphia batted her lashes at him and only barely refrained from grabbing his hand. Her mother beamed very approvingly and with more than a bit of speculation and shrewed planning in her eyes.

The musician made the usual noises of getting ready and commenced the introduction, signalling for the dancers to get ready. Lady Caroline and her husband together with a duke and his dutchess immediately went to the dance floor to form the first set.

Edward had arranged to dance this measure with Bella and bowed formally to her, sending her into a peal of laughter before she accepted his hand with a becoming curtsy and was led to the rapidly filling space. James likewise bowed - not as polished, perhaps, but with grace and a good-willed politeness that suited him very well.

"Shall we, Miss Anna?"

A fresh-faced youth came to claim Catherine, somewhat intimidated by her present companions covering it up with the cocky assuredness, Fanny was led to the floor by her own brother, and Charlotte, send by her mother on a fool's errand and therefore without the time to find any partner, came to a halt besides the refreshment table just after the dancers had left, starring at their backs with a rather sorry feeling for herself and a decided wish to smash the punch bowl - a feeling that rather shocked her herself.

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

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Wed Dec 18, 2013 6:44 pm

Anne curtisied at James with a soft."Most gladly, commander.", and then took his arm to be lead to the dance gracefully and with good poise. She was smiling on the way there and equally as they took the position from which they could begin, once the music would start. She had smiled at her sister too, who had followed her dance partner after placing the empty cup onto the table, to be taken away.

Willoughby made no move to follow either of the departed, nor to look for his own dance partner, for he had none for that dance. He had made little attempt earlier to find it and hoped he needn't spend the evening looking. It had been a fairly short time from their arrival as well and he had busied himself with catching up with the old friends and talking to Bella.

He stood so, when he became aware of a girl at his side. It was one of the Bromwell's, that he could tell. At first he thought she had been sent here, but then saw she looked just unhappy , away from him and that she was Charlotte, the one who seemed to be less pushed about. He hesitated for a little longer, gazing at the dancers settling into the dance floor and then, seeing her quite so unhappy, stepped towards her. He could have ignored her, but somehow he felt it would not do, he could possibly make her happier and it did offer itself as a chance for this first dance.

"Pardon, " He began softly and politely. He gazed about just to make sure she was not really waiting for someone but thought he had evaluated the situation properly. "Would you care for this dance?" He held his hand out, feeling a little bit of a fool and hoping he had not made the mistake. If her mood was sour for a different reason,.. well, he had not intended to dance earlier anyway. How much worse could it be than being told no because a dance partner was only rudely late?

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

Post  Isabella Walham on Thu Dec 19, 2013 12:06 pm

Charlotte looked around at first, surprised that she was addressed, but after a moment she found her composure and a little smile tucked at her lips.

"Gladly, Mylord!"

She curtsied and took his hand. Neither she nor Willoughby could see the look her mother was sending after them once she had spotted the pair: First startled and displeased, it soon became calculating and rather determined.

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

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Thu Dec 19, 2013 6:53 pm

Willoughby smiled, glad he had not been mistaken but also, because he had been atleast part of the cause for that frown to disappear. With a much more confident walk, upright, not too fast, not too slow, he took them to a spot which was still free and where they could join in.

The count allowed them to join another group of couples as this had apparently been the version of the quadrille with four couples, which had just been missing the last pair. It was the later version, more complicated in ways, perhaps, but Willoughby felt quite confident.

The square was finally formed after a few greetings, light bows of the head and a rather lovely lead of a half circle to bring Charlotte to his side in the square.

The quadrille that was chosen was the Les Lanciers. The head couple had ended to be the one infront of them meaning that they would most certainly be the first to start together with the first figure. And then the music began.


Last edited by Timothy Willoughby on Fri Dec 20, 2013 10:30 am; edited 2 times in total

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

Post  Isabella Walham on Thu Dec 19, 2013 8:19 pm

When she passed in front of Willoughby, Charlotte smiled at him as dazzlingly as she could, just as her dancing instructor had told her to (her mother also had told her that her smile didn't amount too much and that she should try harder, though). But at least her smile stayed after she passed out of his sight again.

She had been asked to stand up for the first dance with a very personable and sought-after man. Without any strategems or polite blackmail. Her bleak mood from before was gone, and Charlotte intented to enjoy this dance thoroughly, nevermind whatever her mother and sisters would say afterwards to spoil it. When she found Bella in a set not too far away, she shared a happy smile with her friend, and Bella grinned back and made an encouraging gesture.

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

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Fri Dec 20, 2013 10:38 am

Willoughby was surprised to see Charlotte's radiant smile which most certainly made her look prettier. She should have smiled more as the smile, unlike the previous frown, flattered her and it brought light to her eyes, her gaze was warm and there was that enchanting power that many women wielded and some knew how to use to it's full extent. He had not expected that his small gesture would lead to this, and he was reminded that ladies could as well be innocent with such a gaze as they could be cunning.

If rumours though were correct, she was pleasant and not the same sort as her mother. She had not been the one to force herself onto him, nor had she been accidently stumbling into him, or using her charms to bring him in an awkward position, where he could as well loose face as he could cause the loss of hers. She was pleasant company. Happy, and hopefully a good dancer too. Of course he would not hold it against her, should she proove herself less than one, but would guide her as best he could and whatever error they may make would be chuckled away in good nature.

At the beginning of the music each couple bowed to each other in the sense of decorum, and then Willoughby and the lady opposite of him began the first few steps, coming towards each other and going each towards their right. There they made the few hopping steps then each moved to the left, repeating the same hop and slight kick of leg. As amusing as the movement was, it was not overdone and so neither appeared as monkeys who had been taught to hop to a tune, but rather like dancers.

Finally they turned towards each other and locked hands then went into a spin. Parting ways again, Willoughby returned to Charlotte only to head forth again, this time on the outer side of the first couple, Charlotte would need to follow with the same. The hopping walk was repeated, only this time he was the one to lead Charlotte down the inner path, while the first couple went around them. So far the lord danced with confidence of the step and with a certain grace and poise, sharing a smile with Charlotte when he returned to her hand.

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

Post  Isabella Walham on Sat Dec 21, 2013 11:27 am

Bella and Edward moved through the figures with the graceful assurity of people being well used to each other, and when the third and fourth couple began their turn, Bella for a moment turned her head to share with Charlotte another delighted smile. The middle Miss Bromwell was not quite as elegant or practised a dancer as Bella, but she was not ungraceful either, and there was certainly no need for Willoughby to be embarrased for his partner. While she was still somewhat shy in claiming his hand when the dance required it, her smile seemed to more and more settle in on her face and became more natural there.

While he was clearly out of practice, James aquitted himself quite well, too, having learned early on that keeping the rhythm and facing in the right direction was more important than getting all the steps right. He smiled ruefully at Anne, and when the dance allowed it, suggested quixotically:

"If my clumsiness does not make your grace stand out more, it will certainly emphasize your charitable disposition in dancing with me."

Bella was quite content - her brother was a pleasant and skilled partner and did not force her to concentrate on him and engage him in the usual flirtuous conversation. Therefore she was free to enjoy the merriness of the dance and look around her. A good friend of long standing and a new one seem to be dancing together happily, a beloved cousin had been set up with a partner he seemed to find quite engaging, and all persons who would want to intrude into this happy circle were safely packed off to other sets. If the evening could just continue this way ...

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

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Sat Dec 21, 2013 7:45 pm

Willoughby was enjoying himself. At the beginning of this ball he had thought of these sort of events as perhaps needed, but just as well more pain that they were worth. Of course it had been long since he had properly entered the scene, and there had been the disconcerning thought that his return to the graces of his grandfather and his return to actual existence would cause a swarm of the interested to surround him. So far though it was bearable. He had gone through another set of steps with Charlotte after the 3rd and 4th couple had gone to stand again, and when it was their turn to rest a few moments he gazed at Charlotte. "The evening had most certainly improved." It had not been the best of his beginnings for a conversation, but while dancing had not been the problem he was still quite of practice to converse in small talk, where long philosophical debates were banned and even topics most often did not revolve of neither the dark subjects, such as battle and war, nor of the technical unless the other partner truly insisted. Charlotte had been rather quiet and Willoughby put that down as her merely being shy. She did smile and honestly. Like a proper gentleman though, he remained with his attention on his dancer and when required on their partnering couples.

===

Anne may have often danced with men of greater poise and grace than the commander, but few had caused her a fond feeling and interest in what they did and who they were. Few if none had even felt that they were nothing short of perfection in dancing even if not all had been better than James. She smiled warmly at his humility and shook her head. "I do not think I should consider myself charitable, commander, but rather most fortunate that I have the privilege of having this dance with you." He bowed her head timidly and averted it from him. "I hope you find my own, of adequate quality." She added softly, while waiting for their next turn again. Even with her gaze away, a smile lingered there still. Awkward dancer but good company was better than a terrible one at company but perfect with his feet and James kept the rhythm and always appeared where he should, when he should, so there was little to complain about in Anne's opinion.

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

Post  Edward Torrington on Sat Dec 21, 2013 10:22 pm

"Adequate to your poise and beauty, certainly."

James cringed inwardly. He was completely out of practice, it seemed - could there be a more hackneyed compliment? And one that could be so easily turned upside down - he was just glad he was not generally known for irony.

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

Post  Emma Vickery on Sat Dec 21, 2013 11:22 pm

Emma had been asked for this dance by an old acquaintance of her family, someone she was surprised to find was in Town for the Little Season. Mr Courtenay was a good dancer and a better conversationalist, and so she had hopes at least of this dance's being enjoyable.

She was surprised to see her brother standing up with one of the Bromwell girls, though, and hoped that the daughter was not as self-centred as the son had seemed to be.

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

Post  John Vickery on Sat Dec 21, 2013 11:26 pm

Vickery scanned those standing up with a practised eye and a desperate hope that the past few days spent refreshing himself as to who was in Town and their standing in Society would mean that he would not make some clumsy error, and led Miss Sylvia to (he hoped) the correct place in the correct set for this dance.

Thankfully, nobody commented, and he was left free to enjoy the dance. "Do you come to Town often?" he asked as the dance progressed.

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

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Sat Dec 21, 2013 11:32 pm

Willoughby grew quiet again, though kept the same poise and same character as before. Kind and polite and respectful of his dance partner, doing none of that claping, none of the loud laughing nor of the forced sort of conversation in which the partner merely wished to flee. He danced through the steps well, while with the second figure, there was certainly more interaction with the partners in the pair, than during the first figure. He had not missed a beat, he enjoyed this dance and thought back on something that carried the same name, though it hardly was danced or performed in that fashion.

The quadrille performed by riders on horseback. His thoughts returned to the dance again, observing as the third and fourth couple performed their routine. The dancer on the left had missed a mark once, but managed still to catch up and to return to his spot. He had walked less than hopped and skipped, but it had worked out. The lady on the right had been somewhat older and thus her skip was not as pronounced, nor as high but certainly still graceful. The man who danced with her was her husband and guided her with a confident and proud hand. The figures of the dance would progress in complexity as well as at times change rhytm and always the melody.

He would not speak unless she chose so, but instead concentrate on having the steps done as gracefully as possible and hopefully stop thinking about the horse type quadrille because quite obviously he did not have a mare at his side, nor to his left, right or front. From a distance, he could catch two words though. Hussar, quadrille, and then as that couple had come closer , their set rather close to the one where Willoughby and Charlotte were, he could hear it again. "Those hussars.." The conversation went between the two dancers as they stood and waited for the new exchange. "All they can do is ride straight, now I, if I could have my horse here and a couple of friends, you would see a perfect performance of our version of the quadrille. Oh yes, them, the cavalry, they can flaunt and prance in their shiny bright uniforms, but their riding is, I believe, better described as... holding onto a horse and trying not to fall from it and if they manage to swing a sabre... now that's their only achievement!"

----

Anne smiled sheepishly and seemed to be quite amused at their next dance step, it was not because James would have made a fool of himself, but the hopping from side to side did feel somewhat silly. When they joined hands again, to excuse her previous conduct and to be certain to tell him that it was far from his fault for it, she spoke again. "Some steps... I wonder who has thought them up.. for they are quite silly, and others, much more elegant." But to not sound as though she was merely interested in the simpler ways of life, she added softly. "...The men on board ships...did they ever dance while...well, during the times where nothing was happening and you were just sailing?"

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

Post  Isabella Walham on Sun Dec 22, 2013 8:47 am

"Yes, very often!", Sylvia gushed. "Mama never misses a season!"
She was a good, but rather demanding dancer, and not above shoving Vickery in the right direction if she thought he was too slow. When the dance allowed for it again, she batted her eyelashes and asked rather coyly:

"And will you be staying in town, Sir? Or are you going to spend some time in your country estate? Where is it?"

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

"Well, probably who invented them had some compassion for those poor souls who can't join in and have to watch. That way they at least have something to laugh ..."

As if to prove his point, a woman in the set behind them slipped on the polished floor, and James, trained to react fast, reached out for both her and Anne when the other woman collided with her.

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

Charlotte, well accustomed to hearing such disparaging remarks and knowing how much they could hurt, blanched. She hoped very much that her partner had not heard them - it had been such a perfect dance till now, but she feared that Willoughby (who was after all a hussar himself, and was therefore most likely prone to more dash and courage than common sense - at least that was what she had heard, although from a pretty reliable source) might react rather violently. And while it might be very romantic in stories if a matter of honour developed in the course of a ball, in practice she would greatly prefer if such things didn't happen.

Trying to distract her partner, she scrapped together the courage to ask:
"It has indeed, Mylord. Is this the first ball you attended since returning?"

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

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Sun Dec 22, 2013 9:59 am

Anne was about to reply when true to james's words, something quite unexpected happened. People could have laughed, had they not kept to a much more stifled and proper wave of the fan and a giggle behind it. It was not as amusing to Anne and James though probably to the unfortunate woman as well. James had moved to catch her, Anne had felt the full force of the contact, cushioned by James intervention and the lady, well she had just embarrassed herself.

They stopped, which caused a chain of events in their set as well as the one who had just lost a partner. This only excellerated the confusion, almost like tipping over the first domino and all the others would follow.

----

Willoughby had heard every word of the bragging man but pretended, at least for the course of the dance and for Charlotte's benefit that his ears have been quite deaf to it. He nodded to Charlotte, answering with a slightly embarrassed: "It is indeed. I hope that it does not show too much."

He was about to continue after the next movement when his partner suddenly ... was not there. He was confused gazing back and then ahead, thinking he might have missed a 'figure' or a step. But it was not that and he quickly saw the reason for the distraction. The lady he ought to have taken the hand of, was being helped to straighten up again by James.


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

Post  Isabella Walham on Sun Dec 22, 2013 11:47 am

Setting things to right again took some time, since it did not only require to set both ladies on their feet again, make sure that they were unhurt and apologize for the liberty of simply gripping their arms. They also needed to arrange themselves in proper sets again and find their place in the dance.

James managed the first one easily, the second by the simple measure of asking them, and the third with a short bow - after all, he had nothing to be ashamed of. He had simply taken action to prevent an accident. He was having some difficulties with the last part, however, and so glanced hopefully to Anne. If she wanted to stop dancing, however, he was quite willing to lead her to a chair (a quick glance located one that could be reached in just a few steps, if she had been hurt in the accident).

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

"It does not, ..."

Charlotte had been holding the remainder of the sentence on her tongue until her partner was returned to her, but in the following confusion she swallowed it. Immediately feeling for the woman who had slipped, she stepped out of the way, waiting for everybody to find their places again while continuing the dance in her head to know which figure came next.

She would have offered help or the smelling salts she always kept at hand in case her mother needed it, but the distinquished looking officer and the lady's own partner seemed to have things well in hand, and she did not want to intrude unless her assistance was really called for.

---

" ... probably some country bumkin ... don't know what Caroline thought inviting all those soldiers ..."

Whoever made these remarks seemed not yet finished, and the slight accident seemed to have provided him with a new reason to complain. And he did not exactly take care that he was not overheard.

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

Post  Emma Vickery on Sun Dec 22, 2013 12:03 pm

Emma had not seen the accident itself, merely its aftereffects, but she was unfortunate enough to be in the same set as Lord Alconbury, who was making some very disparaging remarks and in no way attempting to moderate his volume as he did so.

Thankfully - or not! - she had some passing acquaintance with his family and was able to comment crisply as the figure led her past him, "Indeed, my lord, it seems that Dr Johnson was right when he said that every man thinks meanly of himself for never having been a soldier."

If he was not extremely careful, he would found himself being called out - never mind that duelling was illegal nowadays. Emma did not think she would be sorry to hear he had, in fact, been challenged to a duel; he would probably lose it anyway, if his opponent were a soldier.

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

Post  John Vickery on Sun Dec 22, 2013 12:12 pm

Vickery had been about to say something himself, only to hear the clear tones of his sister as she passed a cutting remark. It had sounded as though it were Lord Alconbury commenting. He had never had a very high opinion of those in uniform, and probably felt as though they showed him up, regimentals being much more gaudy than his own sober evening coat.

He had managed not to get too knocked about; it seemed Miss Sylvia had very decided views on what her partner should be about. Thankfully his duty would be soon discharged and then he need not ask her again. And he had the pleasure of a dance with Lady Isabella to look forward to, and he would not object too strongly to asking Miss Charlotte Bromwell for a dance either.

"I daresay we will spend the rest of the Little Season in Town before heading into the country for the winter. Lord Saltash's estate is in Hampshire." He himself needed to look around to find a country house of his own, at least to rent - it would hardly do to return to his father's roof having left it to make his own way in the world.

"Remind me again which part of the country you call home?" he added. The conversation was somewhat taxing; Miss Sylvia struck him as being a somewhat stolid, unimaginative woman.

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

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Sun Dec 22, 2013 7:47 pm

Anne smiled at James, thinking him quite a man to have thought about the safety and well being of them and to have acted as quickly as he possibly could. He perhaps might have even saved the other lady from twisting or hurting something to a point where the dance would have been over for her, and he did save her from a similar fate. So, it was not at all an effort to her to guide him quickly into the next few steps, most with her own movements and some with a whispered instructions on what he could do. she had of course thanked him again when they came full circle and complimented his quick responce. She was not thinking about breaking the dance at all, not only because it would end it for the other three couples, but because she wished the dance to last as long as it could, trully enjoying James's company. He was not only intelligent and polite but also a man who would act, when needed, to protect those around him. "You have been quite impressive, commander. Had Britian more man such as you, we would have not needed to fear anyone." She spoke, her eyes merry. "Thank you." She looked sheepishly, yet happily at him. In retrospect, being taken around with their cousin, Willoughby had proven itself a good action.  

She had been close enough that she could still catch the snippest of those remarks, but thought the man jealous and so no ground to think lesser of James. In fact, with his earlier action, he had certainly risen in her eyes.

---

Willoughby turned to see what exactly went amis and how it had happened that the lady from one of their couples went missing. It was then that he saw that it was his cousin and the lady that must have in some way colided. He was about to ask for permission to see whether all was well with them, but then saw James, the commander from before, treat the subject with enough decorum for the amount of 'touching' he has done. He did not cross the line, and he most certainly had been eager to apologise. Anne seemed fine too and Willoughby did look relieved. It was just a bump that could have gone into a full out crash, but that had been stopped on time. James was allowed to remain with his cousin a little longer.

He turned back to Charlotte, the comentary of the man about the military nearly forgotten - though he had used  the opportunity to look who it might have been - when the man spoke again. He had been chided with some words from Vickery's sister, Miss Emma. It was crisp enough and well formed that it did not insult directly, while it did offer a light jab veiled under the niceities of words. He smiled briefly then stepped back into the dance, with Charlotte at his side as if it had never stopped.

He had marked who the man was and later perhaps he might address him. Not now though, for it would have been terribly inconsiderate and rude of him, had he interrupted the nice, joyful dance with Charlotte for his personal cause.

"Do you ride?" He asked conversationally, knowing she might excuse him the topic for the uniform he wore. "This dance, well the name of it, quadrille, has been used in the performances of fine horses as well." He added as they proceeded towards the fourth figure and needed to pause for the music to begin again.

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

Post  Edward Torrington on Mon Dec 23, 2013 7:32 am

Torrington, who had heard the comments as well, stiffened. He and Bella had ended up in another set then the others, and he had not been in town long enough to identify the speaker by voice alone. Turning and staring openly would be grossly impolite (not that the remarks weren't, but Torrington tried to hold himself to higher standarts), but when the dance progressed and he had a chance to glance around, he tried to make out the culprit - only to be pleasantly surprised by not only having Miss Vickery identifying him, but also putting him firmly into place.

As often as he felt that his profession was in no way comparable to what the members of the King's army did, at the moment he felt insulted right along with any other soldier wearing the red (or green or blue) coat. As a lady's efforts never should be spoiled, he would hold his peace for now, but should this lord open his mouth again ...

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

Post  Isabella Walham on Mon Dec 23, 2013 12:26 pm

James faintly blushed at the compliment.

"There are, and better men than I will ever be. I just happend to be in a position to react where her own partner could not."

He nodded to himself when the next figure really was the one he had expected. Concentrating to find his way in the dance again, he had not heard the disparaging remarks sofar, but he noticed now the tenser stance the hussar opposite him, who was dancing with one of the foreign ladies, had. Tensing somewhat in reaction himself, he tried to move the converstation slowly to a more neutral topic again and remarked:

"The floor seems to be rather slippery tonight - that was now the second lady slipping next to us."

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

Charlotte did indeed ride, but she was not quite sure how to rate her own ability. Bella told her that she was sitting her horse well enough and should try some more spirited mount than the beautiful, docil and rather stupid mare her mother insisted she rode, but her mother insisted that she was not dashing enough to carry off riding at anything than the most leisurly pace creditably and always found much to correct in her posture and behaviour. So she settled on a unspecifying: "A little, Mylord. Did you learn to ride such horse-dances in the cavalry?"

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

Ah, so this Vickery was obviously a quite close relation to the viscount! Probably not more distant than a cousin, if he had the entrée to the Saltash family seat during Christmas. Sylvia started to like her future marriage prospect more and more. Quite thrilled, too, that her little ploy had garnered that much information, she simpered:

"Oh, then we are quite neighbours! My brother always rents us a house in Hampshire for the winter!"

Or at least he would once she had told her mother why he should do that.

---------

Alconbury paled and two angry red spots appeared on his cheeks. Being chastised by a young woman - and so cleverly to bout - was more than his pride could bear. With ice in his voice, he replied:

"He would have done better not to generalize from his own experience. I would value a man who had stayed at home and worked the land and paid the bills so that Wellesly could ramble through Spain higher than any soldier - after all, if Boney had gotten over his fear of us and invaded, where would they have been? Although it can hardly be expected that everybody sees those things in a larger frame."

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

Post  Timothy Willoughby on Mon Dec 23, 2013 8:06 pm

Anne followed James's gaze briefly before the next step in the fourth figure, had forced her to turn away again. It was her cousin, that had been quite tense and glancing at James, she saw he had seemed to react to it too. She smiled at first with the comment on the slippery floors. "Indeed they are, one must be quite careful." Though she believed the second to be more of an accident than the first. She had to part from James as the 4th figure required she join another couple in the dance. They hopped to the front, back had exchanged the greetings separately with the other man and then spun together with him and his lady only to part ways again. She stood beside James, watching the dance progress and able to talk again. She wondered if James had tensed earlier because of a different hussar or his cousin, but to be sure said anyway. "Do not worry about my cousin." She said softly. "He is a flighty, prideful hussar but he is also kind and of a considerably good temper."

The 4th figure had come to an end and they stood there, waiting for the last one to begin, starting it, as the others, with a proper bow. The beginning of it, with jolly, merry music, would allow less time for conversation as they cruised among the other partners, but as they locked hands again to form a line, a bit of time could again be spared. This was just as well.

´´

"We have learned a great deal in the hussars. Some men had not known quite well on how to control a horse. But in time they wanted us to be quite natural in the horse. I've riden before, as... was expected of officers, and so had little problem." He bowed his head humbly and then grinned. He was not lying, even if he was not quite going into detail of which group he had begun with. Much the same, it did not matter how he started, but where he ended up! "You would need to know how to have them jump, how to perform coordinated charges, movements which, if you failed at cooperation, would cause quite a deal of confusion and mayhem in the lines. You need to know them as well as know to give them." He had to halt his explanation, waiting to come around the inner line of the group.

"Horses too had to know their riders too, though there was a great loss among them in the fighting. A trully good one was hard to come by even for officers, once theirs may have been lost." The topic was heading for more somber waters so Willoughby thanked the opportunity the dance offered, where they each moved back with their line. When he returned he smiled. "I would gladly show you, that we do not merely right forward and cling to our animals.." This he said loudly enough that Alconbury as others could have heard it as well, but not so loud as if to make it impolite.



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

Post  John Vickery on Thu Dec 26, 2013 11:18 pm

Vickery tried not to sigh; at this rate, he would end up spending the hunting season with Torrington somewhere just to get away from the girl. She was every bit as irritating as her brother.

He heard Emma's put-down and smiled at it - let Miss Sylvia think he was smiling at her, if she chose. It was never a good idea to insult the army in Emma's hearing, especially when there were so many officers present.

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