Page the Second


A fronte praecipitium a tergo lupi. (In front of you, a precipice. Behind you, wolves.)

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Cassandry's Ball

Charlotte and her wonderful Mr. Harris are so excited. They are going to Lyonstoke to keep Christmas with Lady Cassandry and her Gerolt and Anthony. Again they shall travel through time to a castle hall.

They finish dressing each in their respective times, and out they slip to the summerhouse. The moon glows golden as a galleon on the crest of a wave of stars. They feel the pull of the summerhouse as it works its mysterious magic.

Lord Gerolt has left beautifully caparisoned horses for them when they arrive. The snow is deep, with a crunchy shell of ice. It sparkles in the sun like a myriad of diamonds, for they have arrived early.

They clatter over the bridge and into the yard of the castle, which stands perched on a hill, it's walls stretching upward into the winter sun. They are met by Gerolt's men, who take their cloaks and usher them into the hall. Such rich scents of roasting meat and greenery boughs and boughs of mistletoe and holly greet their noses.

Cassandry comes to greet Charlotte, curious about her strange manner of dressing. The two are much of a kind, however, and they go off chattering, leaving Mr. Harris and Gerolt and Anthony together.

When the ladies return, Charlotte is gowned in a burgundy gown of velvet, lovely as a ruby to Mr. Harris. He feels so blessed to have acquired such a gem. Cassandry invites them both to sit at high table, just below the salt. They share a trencher and marvel at the delectable repast.

Mummers and jugglers perform throughout the meal, beguiling in their feats of derring-do. After the feast is past, the musicians arrive and strike up. It is most felicitous that Charlotte and her Mr. Harris have taken pains to learn dance steps from the period.

The candles flicker as a slight breeze flutters the rich tapestries. Charlotte cannot contain her longing to actually touch Mr. Harris' hands and feel his arms about her.

Cassandry dances with Anthony and Gerolt, both. Charlotte watches for a moment before she discovers their secret--something Cassandry and her friends may not even know themselves.

You may join the celebration here. Don't forget to click on the clip and let it pull you back to Cassandry's time as Charlotte and Jack were.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Francesca's Ball

Charlotte and Jack are so excited. Tonight they'll attend a ball at Stirling Hall. Mr. Daniel Stirling will be their host. Charlotte has heart whispers that Mr. Stirling may propose marriage tonight to the stunning bluestocking, Miss Francesca Kennington.

With gleeful anticipation, Charlotte dresses in her new white velvet, very cozy for a Christmas ball. Mr. Harris puts the finishing touches on his tux, very dapper for a twenty first century man. He has never danced so much in his life, but he enjoys it immensely, even though he cannot in actuality touch his sweet Charlotte. He hopes he won't alarm the other guests by appearing as a phantasm. 

Miss Pennington and her beau arrive fashionably late, pulling up just as the orchestra strikes up its second set. The moon sails from the silver-edged clouds just as Charlotte is handed down by a very attentive footman. Mr. Harris comes around and places his hand at the small of her back, with a touch too light to be felt. Charlotte's smile lights the evening sky. Her sweetheart is still learning to be a proper nineteenth century gentleman and hopes not to slip.

Their wraps are taken and the couple pause at two ornately carved doors.  

"Do you know how very stunning you are tonight, Miss Pennington?"

"My goodness, Mr. Harris. You have swept me quite off my feet."

"That's the idea. Observation the second, have you noticed how closely your last name matches that of Miss Kennington?"

"T'is strange, however I have heard that Miss Kennington is a wonderful sort of person and I shall love to be acquainted with her."

"I have eyes for only one person tonight, and it is not her."

"A very good thing, as you might be obliged to fight Mr. Stirling, and I cannot think that would end well."

Jack makes a muscle. "What? You don't think I'd come off the winner?"

Charlotte is just taking his arm with a smirk when the doors open.

Stirling Hall is alight with thousands of sputtering candles. The lofty ceilings are picked out in scenes from Diana's Hunt. Gilt candelabras dot the edges, around which fluttering matrons gather to chatter about their offspring. The set is already underway, so they make their way to the host, who is alone.
 Charlotte makes her curtsy and Jack pulls off a serviceable bow. 

Jack smiles and offers his hand. "We met at the last ball," he says. Charlotte gives him a tiny shake of her head, but he blunders on. "You were speaking of hunting grouse, I believe."

"Ah yes. We have not had the singular pleasure of your company at any hunts as of yet." Mr. Stirling pauses, still, apparently, trying to remember an occasion where he'd seen Mr. Harris at anything but the last ball. Charlotte knows the man will soon either give up, or catch the scent, as there are only two sorts of people--ones who forsake what they cannot believe, or those who will not leave alone what pricks their fancy. It will be interesting to see what sort their host is.

Mr. Stirling smiles at Charlotte and favors Jack with a curious expression. "Miss Kennington is around here somewhere. I believe she may have gone to the library to secure a few books, as she thinks there may be no time later for such things."

"We shall see her soon," Mr. Harris says, leading his Charlotte onward into the crush. He leans in and whispers, "I know I botched it. But he was eying you and I can't stand the thought of anyone but me considering you for a dance."

"It is a ball, Mr. Harris. Dancing is what one does at these places. I am quite certain other people shall sign my dance card."

"And I am quite certain that I'll find a way to erase each name almost as soon as it's written." With that, he whisks her away into the formation and she has no time even to catch her breath or ponder the nature of her dance card.

You may read about Miss Francesca Kennington and Mr. Daniel Stirling here.
Enjoy the ball and do tell me if Mr Stirling manages to secure Miss Kennington's hand or if she'll spend the entire night in the library with her nose stuck in a book.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Caitlyn's Ball

Charlotte and Jack are having such a magnificent time attending the Christmas balls! Tonight they'll go to Mr. and Mrs. Reel's ball in Europe. Charlotte checks the mirror one last time and catches up her cape and fan. These balls can be such a press.
A ball on the Continent! Charlotte can't wait. She does so love an automobile ride. And before you look askance at her, it's part of the mystery. She snaps open her fan and laughs at you with her eyes.
Just in time, it's Mr. Harris ringing the bell, here to collect her for a Christmas jaunt. Who would have thought it? Going to the ball in a horseless carriage! First a ferry, then the carriage. Charlotte shall have to pack warmly.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Tamsin's Coutry Barn Dance

(I tried and tried to find a decent country dance scene without booze signs and smoking and this was all I could find so far.)

Tamsin Tucker and her handsome doctor have invited you to a barn dance in Scipio, Utah. It's a cute little town just off the freeway. They meet you at the city sign and Travis helps you climb onto the waiting hay wagon made into a sleigh. You pull a blanket over and snuggle up as the driver cracks his whip over the horse's head.

You're off in a spray of snow. Your breath plumes around you and until you hide your nose in the blankets, you think your nose hairs will freeze. The cutest guy is sitting next to you. He keeps tossing you amused grins. You wonder if you've got lettuce in your teeth. Luckily no.

You get to the barn and it's a mass of little white lights and greenery. Hay bales line the edges of the wooden floor. The hay door is open to the falling snow, but it's toasty down where the crowd is. Someone strikes up a fiddle and you notice a couple guitars, a string bass and a set of drums in a corner. It smells of pine and horses and aftershave and possibilities.

The floor is filling with dancers. It looks so fun as you watch, hoping. Tamsin and Travis dance past. There's something interesting about Tamsin's gait. Now and then you see the gorgeous girl rubbing her leg. Travis is very solicitous of her. You can tell he's really into her by the gleam in his eye as he looks at her when she doesn't know.

Then you see her tossing Travis little glances. She's just as gone on him as he is on her. There's an electric arc between them. 

Tamsin stumbles and Travis picks her up and swings her around, depositing her on a hay bale as he slips off to get them drinks of hot chocolate.

That cute guy from the sleigh ride strolls over, eclipsing the dancers. He has his hand out, asking you to dance! You jump at the chance, your boots barely hitting the floor. He's such a great dancer. His two step is spotless as he steers you deftly around the floor.

The whole night is a blur of stomping boots and whirling skirts and cowboy hats. You can barely catch your breath. You haven't had this much fun since the last ball.

Finally the dance comes to an end and Tamsin and Travis give you hugs as you pull on your coat for the ride back to your car. You wish you could get to know Tamsin and her handsome doctor better, so you click here.

You hear that the next Ball will be hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Niall Doherty of Dunhaven Place, in Ireland! Perhaps Charlotte and Jack will be able to make the trip tonight. (Quick! Click on Dunhaven Place to go.)

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Onnie Nayir Invitational Ball

Because Onnie has no blog of her own, we'll be hosting her ball here.

Onnie Nayir would quite enjoy hosting a Regency era ball on Rift Watcher Space Station. The event would, however, require a lot of research. Fortunately, Onnie’s father was born in London and might have some insight into the era and culture, though he hasn’t lived on Earth for twenty years.

With some coaxing, Onnie might be able to get ideas from Dr. Darragh Conally about suitable music from the time period, as he is a fan of 19th century opera and classical piano music. Regency era dancing would be a new skill for everyone involved and would require patience and practice. Onnie would very much enjoy the time spent with Darragh to learn them.

No doubt all of Onnie’s Station friends would participate in turning Rift Watcher’s observation deck into an elegant ballroom. It’s transparent ceilings would provide a view like no other as they danced beneath countless stars.

For costuming, Nima, the resident seamstress, would only need patterns from the era and enough advanced notice to provide the appropriate gowns. Most men will no doubt opt for their dress uniforms instead of tuxedos, but the option will be provided.

Regency style food might prove tricky to replicate, as much of the food on Rift Watcher is either Galladiran in origin or grown in the station’s hydroponics gardens. Purple Galladiran veggies would make for colorful fare. Robot cooking stations would prepare most of the delicacies, but Onnie might also try out a recipe or two to show off her culinary skills.

Captain Nayir would assuredly welcome the guests upon their arrival to the ball. He might even consider talking his first officer Eris Rhuick into taking a turn—but then again, he might let her perpetual scowl warn him off.

Commander West Murdock would be far too concerned about security matters to spend much time socializing at a ball. His sweet wife would, no doubt, make every effort to convince him to just relax.

Onnie would prefer to spend most of her evening with Darragh, but he is by no means the only name on her dance card. Ensign Fwee would happily chatter as she guides him through the steps, and carefully keep his claws retracted in his excitement. Ensign Bwudil would peruse the room with four out of five of his eyes, but keep one of them fixed closely on Onnie’s feet to get the dance steps just right.

Darragh, when not dancing with Onnie, will spend most of the evening avoiding Ms. Madessa, the tall, flirtatious, green Hatonian nearly two-hundred years his senior, but still young on her own world

Sadly, most Galladirans would be offended by such triviality as a ball, but the remainder of the station’s residents would find it a lovely distraction from the usual routine. 

If you'd like to meet Onnie and her friends, try here. And this one. And until Amazon gets her print copies, this.

Have a wonderful time at your dance, Onnie.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

A Regency Christmas Ball

I'm doing a new thing this Christmas season. Every day my latest main character, Charlotte Pennington will take a virtual sleigh ride to a virtual Regency ball. Each ball will be hosted by a different main character. 

This evening's ball will be hosted at Pennington Hall. Hit the button at the top of the page and you, too can join the merriment for a dance. 

I will add partners to your dance card as I add balls and dances, once per day. 

The snow crunches as your footman tucks you into the lap robes in your family sleigh. The air has a nip to it, and Betsy shakes her mane, jingling the bells adorning her harness. With a crack of the whip, you're off to Pennington Hall.

The expansive mansion is ablaze with light and the sounds of happy attendees wafts toward you.

The butler comes to take your wraps and you follow him through the massive doors. Tapestries of the War of the Flowers adorn the walls of the entryway.

As you enter the ballroom, you look up to behold the gorgeous vaulted ceilings painted a deep cerulean blue. Gold leaf adorns the graceful arches which embrace a quaint sort of walkway, so lush with flowers that it almost seems you are outside. Candles flicker in a host of sconces, reflected in the myriad gilt-edged mirrors. Tall windows look out on a breathtaking moonlit night.

An orchestra strikes up and Mr. Harris comes to you, offering his hand with a warm smile. You offer him yours and he kisses it, before tucking it into his.

And you are off in a blaze of black tuxedos, white silks and glittering jewels.

 After the set, Miss Charlotte Pennington comes to you and curtseys. "There is another ball tomorrow night at Wyckburg  Castle. Will you go?" She has eyes  mostly for Mr. Harris, who has gone to her side. There is something curious about him that you cannot quite put your finger on--something ethereal.

You smile and say, "Certainly!

Just then "He" comes to your side. He smiles at you and asks, "May I escort you to Countess Wyckburg's soiree?"
You feel a thrill race through you and nod, too happy to speak.
To attend the Ball at Wyckburg Castle, press here.  

To discover what has you so intrigued about Miss Pennington and her beau, Mr. Harris, read "Summerhouse" by H. Linn Murphy.

Tomorrow we'll be visiting the future with Onnie Nayir and his crew.