Page the Second


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

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment