Title: Discussing the Campaign
Description: later PM , Thursday 11th
Demelza Quartermaine (Vikki) - July 6, 2009 12:51 PM (GMT)
Felicity had departed to attend her picnic, having sat through a lecture on correct behaviour towards potential suitors from her Aunt. Demelza herself was satisfied that the child appeared to have understood, although she would prefer if she would spend less time with people like Lady Rosalind Fairmont.
Duty to Felicity's partners from the previous evening done, and instructions given as to the arrangement of her flowers, Demelza was now free to amuse herself. What better way than to call on another lady of... well, nearly her age, and discuss strategy for the season and the previous evening's events. Besides, she hadn't yet returned a call from Lady Emerson, so she might as well kill two birds with one stone.
Once there, she swept through the hallway, following the footman towards one of the Emersons' multicoloured salons and waiting to be announced.
Blake Pritchard (Lin) - July 7, 2009 05:06 PM (GMT)
(OOC: Blake's gonna come in on the next post, so please excuse Winifred for the moment!!)
Winifred Verlaine-Pritchard, daughter of a Duke in her beloved France, grew up in the life of luxury. She was born, with two older brothers, and was extremely blessed, so much so to have her whim and fancied catered to. So when she was tired with her Season in France, at the age of nineteen, she was not yet ready to be married, and so very quickly, switched over the English side, and proceeded to charm the socks off the men here.
As quickly as she came, she was snatched up by the Marquess of Emerson, a handsome enough man, but with a gruff nature that she detested, endearing her instead to his younger brother, James. Jonathan Pritchard was not a friendly person, and had a temper that made most women wary of him. Winifred was not easily intimidated, and when someone presented her a challenge, as John had, she took it up with enough tenacity to see it to the end.
Needless to say, Jonathan Pritchard was a very happy man after marriage, and there was hardly anything he wouldn't do to please his pint sized wife. He still kept a strong hold on his acerbic wit and sharp tongue though, much to Winifred's chagrin.
The one person, who had told her, that she would marry the broody marquess was Demelza Quatermaine. Though dear, dear Mellie was not even in her thirties at that time, she was formidable, and most certainly made her opinions known.
Sitting in the Blue Salon, idly flipping through the fashion pages, she was absently wondering about her children when the knocker jangled. Blake was a veritable old gruff, just like his father, thank god, he inherited her ability to at least laugh, Blake was most like his Uncle James, and Charity was an image of her mother, Louise. Elise... Ah, that girl, she would see her married and happy if it was the last thing she did.
Like an intercontinental warship, Demelza Quartermaine herself breezed into the room, and Winifred stood. Not surprising, really, it had to be sometime this week- plus with her two sons floating around in London's ballrooms, and two girls to boot, Demelza was definitely going to take an interest.
"Demelza!" She stood to greet her friend, exuberantly kissing the older woman on both cheeks. Not that much older; Winifred was still well kept at 51. Very quickly, she rang for tea, and gestured for Demelza to sit.
First order of the day, Melly's own niece was also in town for her second season. "How is your niece? Feee-li-cee-tie?"
Demelza Quartermaine (Vikki) - July 8, 2009 09:34 AM (GMT)
Nearly thirty years of friendship, and Demelza still wasn't used to Winifred's flamboyant, continental displays of affection such as kisses on the cheek. Nor could she understand how the French woman could maintain such a stubborn hold of her accent after this long. But Demelza enjoyed the visits nonetheless and put up with the kisses and painful pronunciation as a result. She settled gracefully onto the chaise, ramrod straight as always.
"Felicity is well, and acquitted herself very well last night. I heard several compliments on how fresh and pretty she looked, and she certainly did not lack partners. I am very hopeful for this season. And your girls?" she continued, noting that neither were to be seen. "I see that Blake was less adamant than usual in refusing to dance last night." Sadly, he did not seem to be quite as discerning in his choice of partners.
Blake Pritchard (Lin) - July 18, 2009 02:28 PM (GMT)
"My son, Ah, I have long decided not to interfere." Obviously Winifred counted many things that would occur to people as interfering as not. She was not above engineering a plot to ensure her son fell in love, but it was not time for such desperate measures. Yet.
"Felicity did look very fresh last evening.." She offered again, picking up the tea and pouring. "I foresee many matches to be made this season, many matches.." Her dark eyes were caught in what seemed to be a memory of her own debut, a brief interlude before she turned to Mellie again.
"Theodora's girl, Julianne, she looked beautiful as well, no? Her sister, unfortunately, cannot even compare to her.. Although Katherine was intelligent.."
Demelza Quartermaine (Vikki) - July 18, 2009 06:16 PM (GMT)
Winifred Emerson not interfere? Demelza restrained an unladylike snort - for a large part because since she didn't actually disagree with the concept of interfering in the affairs of young people. What was the point of having life experience and authority if you never used it, after all?
"Thank you," she replied, and hoped that one of those 'many matches' would be a successful one for her young relative. Much as she was hard on the child, she wasn't a bad girl. And she was family, and Demelza had a responsibility to acquit.
"Julianne did look very beautiful. That red hair makes her stand out. High maintenance, though, mark my words. She strikes me as the kind of girl who will have the heavens revolve around her, or not at all." She interrupted her judgement to accept a cup from her friend. "As for Katherine..." she pursed her lips and frowned. "She was more placid, but Theodora did wrong to let her have her way over her husband. Look where it got her; she could have done so much better. Still, she's dealing well with the situation now. It was high time she returned to society."
Blake Pritchard (Lin) - July 21, 2009 06:36 AM (GMT)
Blake had just seen Charity and Henry run out the door, and very quickly, did a quick search to acertain that Elise too, was no longer in the house. It was on one such search, that he discovered his mother, and battleaxe Demelza Quatermaine having tea. Blake, given any circumstance would have run in the other direction at all causes, but this time, he wasn't so lucky. He had simply pushed open the closed doors, and poked his head (and accompanying shoulders) around it, but before he could leave, Winifred's voice rang out.
"Blake!" She said with a wide smile. "Where are my girls?" She asked. Blake, who previously was intending to simply make a quick escape, now saw this as a time to gather some information. Mrs Quatermaine had a niece of her own, and his mother had children. They've been dealing with teenagers for the last century.. And he was the man of the house.. He shouldn't have vases thrown at him, or his cousin walking around in skintight riding habits and not able to say anything about it.
"Good afternoon Mrs. Quartermaine." He said dryly, entering the room and greeting her before greeting his mother with a kiss on the cheek. He would endure Mrs. Quartermaine if it meant she could aid in his... problems.
"Has London been agreeable?" He said immediately to the older woman, schooling his features into an expression of innocent curiosity.
Demelza Quartermaine (Vikki) - July 21, 2009 07:38 PM (GMT)
"Lord Emerson," she replied, rising to greet him as etiquette required. Winifred had asked 'where are my girls?'; Demelza wondered where indeed they were if they were not in the house or with Blake himself. Perhaps Gabriel was chaperoning them.
"London is as it always is - too crowded and with lower standards every year. Did you realise there was a banker and his sister admitted to Almacks last night? It would never have happened in my day. I mean to speak to Lady Cowper about it," she directed this last observation to her old friend before turning back to the son. "Still, I would not be anywhere else in the spring."
Blake Pritchard (Lin) - July 26, 2009 12:10 AM (GMT)
While Winifred nodded her agreement with Mrs. Quatermaine, Blake could only stare blankly. He had to confess that he was not paying much attention to anyone else at Almacks. And surely, not any attention at all if it had been a banker and his sister. "Personally I prefer the country in the spring, but still, there is so much the town has to offer.." He said vaguely, languildly crossing his legs.
"Although as appreciative as I am of London's offers, and fashions, it has come to my understanding that gowns this season are seemingly made of less and less fabric material. Is that to be expected?" This, he directed to both older ladies, and he swore he saw his mother roll his eyes.
Demelza Quartermaine (Vikki) - July 27, 2009 10:41 AM (GMT)
"Expected?" Demelza echoed, with a frown. "Well, given how certain young women" - she would not dignify such fast chits with the title of lady - "like to damp their petticoats these days, I can't say it would be much of a surprise to see." She was thoroughly disapproving of the trend to show off as much as possible to young men. What had happened to restraint, dignity and leaving something to the imagination? Demelza wasn't a fool, and she certainly didn't advocate dressing like a nun, but there were limits.
"Still, I can't think where you get the idea that it is fashionable this year. You'll see no lady of decency dressing in such a scandalous way." There had been a great deal of very presentable ladies last night, and she couldn't imagine Madame Lambert selling a dress that was not respectable. How thankful she was that for all Felicity's stubbornness, there were no problems with her dress. "Will he, Winifred?"
Blake Pritchard (Lin) - July 30, 2009 01:39 AM (GMT)
Stoutly, Winifred shook her head. "I will not allow my girls to be turned out in anything less than perfection." Blake heard this and snorted. Clearly his mother had very different ideas of what entailed perfection. If she had seen that backless dress that Charity wore last evening... He was praying that she didn't.
"Then I am sure that Madame Lambert is to be applauded for her good taste and craftsmanship." Blake was not completely sure how he was going to ask two ladies, and one of them a veritable dragon (he abruptly remembered he also called Lady Viola a dragon, and seeing her in Mrs Quatermaine's image made him shudder) how exactly to change Charity's dress sense.
"How is your niece, Mrs Quatermaine? I saw Foxford last evening, so presumably, his sister is around as well?" Yes. General questions first...
Demelza Quartermaine (Vikki) - July 30, 2009 02:01 PM (GMT)
"Felicity is very well. In fact she is at a picnic with Lady Rosalind as we speak," Demelza confirmed. She had also seen Foxford last night, and thought it was getting to be high time he married too. Preferably not her niece, although perhaps familiarity would be on her side there and there would be no hint of attraction.
That was all irrelevant at the moment, though. The season was young, and so was Felicity, and there were encouraging signs so far. Nothing to worry about at present. Taking a sip of her tea, she set the cup down again and skewered Blake with her gave. "So, tell me, Emerson, are you going to hide away again this season, or are you finally going to stand up to your responsibilities and participate?" she asked bluntly. "Anyone would think you were scared of young girls, the way you avoid it all."
Blake Pritchard (Lin) - August 4, 2009 02:26 PM (GMT)
Blake suppressed the urge to roll his eyes and instead threw a glance at his chuckling mother before turning back to Demelza. God, she might have been pretty, even gorgeous in her time, but not now, and not with that tongue! "Scared? Mrs Quartermaine, you tease me.." He said dryly, no evidence of being entertained by that notion of fear. Blake Pritchard, one of the most hedonistic rakes in town, almost indifferent to the feminine wiles unless he intended to be attracted to them, scared of tiny debutantes in muslin?
The thought was a laughable one.
Not that he'd ever admit it to be true. Especially if most of the debs this season were like Charity and Lady Juliet. And Lady Viola. Not that she would be considered a deb, she was gaining in age, that one.
"I have an aversion to conversations about the weather and an excess of swooning." Blake said lazily. "Not to mention an allergy to brainless fops."
Demelza Quartermaine (Vikki) - August 4, 2009 02:46 PM (GMT)
"I shall take that as 'No, Mrs Quartermaine, I will not be participating any more this season than previous years', shall I?" she raised her cup to her lips with an eloquent glance at Winifred before shrugging. It was a gesture she had perfected in all its elegance and nonchalance many, many years ago. "A pity. If you did, you might put some of those brainless fops to whom you have such an aversion in their places and force them to raise their game."
Speaking of swooning, though... "Goodness me, Lady Louth last night! Such a spectacle. Not that it takes a genius to work out what is behind it, of course, don't you agree my dear?"
Blake Pritchard (Lin) - August 5, 2009 02:25 AM (GMT)
Blake laughed, quite sincerely, before leaning forward. "No, actually, I would quite like to find a wife during the season.." He said, quite seriously. Winifred merely sipped her tea, she was no longer surprised by anything her sons did or said. "And I believe, Mrs Quartermaine, that you could be vital in finding that perfect lady for me." Words coated with honey, surely. Blake wasn't sure if she was going to take him seriously or snort in his face.
"Although I must say, I will not be attending another Almacks ball. The sheer number of swoons, "he said, agreeing with Mrs Quatermaine about Georgiana Haworth, "is becoming quite alarming." He however, stared blankly when evidently his mother knew what the old battleaxe was talking about. (Winifred had been murmuring her agreement with a large smile on her face.)
"What?" He said, at once impatient. Did they both know what was wrong with Georgie?!
Demelza Quartermaine (Vikki) - August 5, 2009 08:09 AM (GMT)
"Could I indeed." The compliment was calculated to win her favour, she knew. Young people could be so transparent. "Yet what would be the benefit to me, unless you intend to court my niece?" she countered, raising an eyebrow. Not that she was averse to helping along various matches... but on the other hand, it would not do to let Blake Pritchard think he could wrap her around his finger.
"Especially if I would be wasting my time. You see, I had heard some chatter about your being engaged in a wager, Lord Emerson. Something about a large prize riding on you not marrying before Miss Hampton?" She might be prevailed on to help find the 'perfect lady' for him, but not if he wasn't serious about his declared intention of marrying, and she suspected as much from his vow not to attend any more Almacks balls. "What has brought about this sudden change of heart, may I ask?"
At his impatient question, she laughed. "Lord, men are such innocents, Winifred. Think, Emerson. How long has she been married? What indisposition frequently afflicts young married ladies? The silly girl should not have been dancing last night at all."
Blake Pritchard (Lin) - August 7, 2009 11:23 AM (GMT)
Blake smiled inwardly. He might as well be honest with her. "My dear Mrs Quatermaine.." He drawled. "As much as you would believe I am a good-for-nothing, hedonistic rogue, I am quite aware of my responsibilities as the Marquess of Emerson, and a part of that, entails recruiting a wife, and carrying on the family line." He said, plainly. And while Gabriel was more than capable of looking after the family's best interest, he had made it clear he had no want for the title.
"Not so much a change of heart, but more so a recognition of the inevitable."
Demelza Quartermaine (Vikki) - August 7, 2009 03:13 PM (GMT)
Well, he was nothing if not perceptive. She did think him a good-for-nothing, hedonistic rogue. She placed her cup back on its saucer and smiled.
"I see. Recognition of the inevitable. One might in fact consider that a change of heart in itself - if one was previously denying the inevitable. But you still have not answered my question, my dear Emerson," she echoed his phrasing in a sweet tone before issuing her challenge. "How am I to believe you are serious about marriage if there are rumours whirling around town which suggest it is not in your material interest to do so, hm?"
Blake Pritchard (Lin) - August 10, 2009 06:24 PM (GMT)
"I would say, Mrs Quartermaine, that my word will be all you have to go on... Unless you imply that my word is less than honorable?" Blake questioned the older lady, quite at ease, even though his tone bellied an underlying steel. For all his, again, hedonistic qualities, the Marquess of Emerson had never proven to be anything less than distinguished and honorable. He had his faults and flaws, but certainly, the question of trust and, indeed honor, had never been one to pick on.
"I have stated that I wish to marry this season, or even, this year, and I will treat this situation as I would any other, with an open mind." He said, clearly and without hesitation.
Demelza Quartermaine (Vikki) - August 18, 2009 02:27 PM (GMT)
"Not at all," she replied, with equal ease and equal steeliness beneath it. "Merely surprise at such conflicting information. In that case, since you give me your word so forcefully, I will disregard all this talk of wagers and contradict anyone who seeks to assure me otherwise!"
She didn't really believe that he could have forgotten it, or that it was untrue, but according to the rumour she had heard, the wager was against his own ward. Given how much the marquess spoiled the two girls in other respects, Demelza could imagine that he might voluntarily let her win. Or might now, if he were no longer dead set against marriage. It was certainly a rapid turnabout. She wondered what - or who - had brought it about.
"Then I shall advise you if I find any girl who is equal to the demands of becoming Lady Emerson."
Blake Pritchard (Lin) - August 24, 2009 02:38 AM (GMT)
"And I thank you." Winifred choked on her tea as Blake spoke, but nonetheless refrained from commenting. "I believe that it is time the girls had a more... firm mother figure." Blake said, giving his mother an arch look. It was no secret that Winifred Emerson was lenient with her girls. And again it was a sure miracle that Elise turned out perfectly well brought up and Charity.. Well, Charity was Charity.
Both were going to make lucky men very happy indeed, and that, Winifred could be credited for. But their recent escapades- especially this morning, Elise and the Duke. Blake had second thoughts.
"Maman, did you know Elise offered her first dance to the Duke of Leighton?" A debutante's first dance at her ball was always significant, and to that point, Blake was not even aware of her knowing him. "Mrs. Quartermaine, I must, once again, beg your aid; what do you know of the Duke?" He asked, this time, quite sincerely.
Demelza Quartermaine (Vikki) - August 24, 2009 09:50 AM (GMT)
A more firm mother figure?! Well, of course Demelza knew that Winifred was far from strict with her charges... everyone knew that... but really! To point it out in front of company was rather rude, not to mention the fact that Emerson was conveniently ridding himself of responsibility there. She raised an eyebrow disapprovingly and countered in defence of her friend, "If they are in need of a more firm mother figure, a firmer father figure might not go amiss either. It takes two to raise a child successfully, not one." Good heavens. Winifred must have saintly levels of tolerance not to react to the allegation that her upbringing of the girls was at fault!
She subsided at Blake's question, however. "The Duke of Leighton? Well, Elise is making a mark!" she remarked with surprise. Snaring a duke before her official debut, indeed, and after just one appearance at a ball. It was a remarkable and exceedingly swift climb for a Miss, even one with such connections. Very impressive. Admittedly she did have that blonde-haired, blue-eyed doll look that seemed so much in vogue lately, a fragility that probably incited a protective instinct in men, and always appeared quite docile. A nice, sweet, biddable potential wife, Demelza supposed was how people would see it. She probably ought to be more charitable, but considering she had a niece of her own to marry off, it was difficult. Still, good luck to her. Gaining a dance with a duke for one's debut was a far cry from standing at the altar with him.
"He is very respectable, I can see no objections to him. Unlike his brother. Very tragic about his first wife, but these things happen unfortunately. Not much of a ladies' man, and rather serious. High time he re-married, I would say."
Blake Pritchard (Lin) - September 8, 2009 04:27 AM (GMT)
Blake replied with a grunt. It seemed everyone only had good things to say about Leighton. And they looked at him odd when he didn't! When did they understand that that was how brothers were supposed to be? He was having a discussion with Gabriel just on this matter, and quite rightly, both came to the same unhesitating conclusion. There would be no one good enough, until proven so. So unless Leighton intended to walk on water anytime soon...
"You mistaken. My mother has been impeccable in bringing up Elise and Charity, and you are right in saying they need a firm father figure. I have been remiss in my duties." Only Blake could could say such a line without even blinking. Agreeing yet at the same time disagreeing.
"Do I look forward to seeing you at the Emerson Ball?" He asked Mrs. Quartermaine.
Demelza Quartermaine (Vikki) - September 8, 2009 10:08 AM (GMT)
The grunt (grunt! couldn't a Marquess find it in him to respond like a civilised man, not a heathen savage?) sounded disbelieving to Demelza's ears. Well. All she'd said was that the man was respectable, serious and that she knew of no objections to him. Which he was, and all of society knew it. He was also wealthy and a duke, not to mention patient and with a kind personality. Yet this was insufficient for Lord Emerson. If he was going to be like that with even the best suitors for Elise (an untitled orphan snaring a young, pleasant, wealthy duke was almost unheard of after all), he would never get the girl married. Poor Elise. If Emerson kept this up, she would end up a spinster dependent on his charity, her position in the household usurped by his eventual wife.
But she was getting carried away. That was some time in the future yet, and Emerson might come to realise how ridiculously over-protective he was being. Certainly he seemed to have realised how ridiculously lax he had been with the girls, although Demelza wasn't convinced by his assurances that she had misunderstood and he had not in fact criticised his mother's raising of them. 'They need a firmer mother-figure' was perfectly clear and straightforward. One could not in any way interpret that to mean 'I have been too lenient and my mother has raised them perfectly'. Still, she had no interest in arguing with him. "Remember, Emerson, that you are their guardian, and ten years older than them, not an indulgent brother a mere two years their senior. They need your guidance, especially now they are entering society." She only hoped this advice would not make him even more critical of any suitor who came knocking. One did not get a lady married by setting impossible ideals.
Setting her empty cup down, she smiled. "You do indeed. However, I must make my excuses now. I have a few more calls to make and hoped to be home before Felicity returns from her picnic. Winifred, it has been a delightful chat, as always. Lord Emerson," she curtsied politely and made her exit.