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 Emerson Ball: "Caledonian Laddie", 4/14 - pm; BH and IR
Imogen Rathbone (Vikki)
Posted: Oct 16 2009, 07:55 PM


Lady Imogen


Group: Members
Posts: 276
Member No.: 53
Joined: 27-May 08



Though Imogen had attended private balls before, this was far and away more extravagant than any arrangements she had ever seen. Even Lady Constance Lambert's engagement party before she married the Marquess of Kempton. On expressing her awe to her mother, she received a reply to the effect that it always seemed to be those families with French connections who were this lavish - in a tone that suggested that this wasn't necessarily a virtue. Perhaps she was inclined to think badly of the family after all that business with Lord Emerson and the duel... But if it was even true - surely no good Christian gentleman would raise his hand to a lady, as she had heard, or issue a challenge during Holy Week! - Imogen preferred to not visit the sins of the father-figure on the rest of the family. Besides, Miss Pritchard had been entirely charming when they had met, and Miss Hampton had certainly looked the part.

Imogen had followed her mother as she mingled, looking for any of her own good friends. Such a shame that Miss Clare was not out yet, as she no doubt would have enjoyed this evening's spectacle. And Selina did not appear to have arrived yet, even though she must have been looking forward to the ball. They did find the Duchess of Claitonborough and Lizzie, at least (thank goodness for mothers who were mutual friends!), and stopped to greet a number of others too before the debutantes made their grand entrances. Once again, Miss Hampton looked the picture of angelic innocence, although there was a general murmur Imogen could not quite make out about Miss Pritchard. There was something odd about her dress, but from this vantage point she could not tell any detail. Whatever it was, she would no doubt find out soon enough.

She had just taken a seat and was slowly fanning herself when Mr Hutchinson approached, and she greeted him with a warm smile. He was such gentle company, and it was a shame he had been unable to call the morning after Almacks. Not that she would likely have been allowed to receive yet another visitor anyway... but still.


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Imogen's Profile
For the evening, Imogen wears an ivory gown with forest green sash and shawl
Benjamin Hutchinson (Amy)
Posted: Oct 28 2009, 03:53 AM


Tradesman


Group: Members
Posts: 84
Member No.: 59
Joined: 12-June 08



She had tried to stop him, really she had. After what had transpired the previous evening during Mr. Stapleton’s visit—his warning that Ben should not be allowed to let his feelings for Lady Imogen carry him entirely away—she could hardly do otherwise. But how was she to influence him? She, an inexperienced younger sister, a stranger to matters of the heart? Especially when she found herself immediately engaged for the first dance and drawn off to the floor, watching her brother over her shoulder as he made his way through the crowd towards a seated figure.

Ben, for his part, felt irresistibly drawn to that chair. Its occupant smiled at him—divine creature!—so much of the angel in her it was no surprise God wished her back in Heaven. He had never approach a woman in quite this way before, but something about her made him discard the reserve that customarily would have affixed him firmly to the wall. Making a solemn bow, he greeted her. “Lady Imogen, it does me good to see you again.” He was not entirely sure that this was true, for even as his heart seemed to swell with joy, it felt leaden with fear. Under normal circumstances, he would now proceed to inquire after a lady’s health, but in this case, he judged it sadly unnecessary. Instead, he determined to hint at the issue in as delicate a fashion as he knew how. “I hope you are enjoying the entertainment thus far. Do you mean to dance this evening?”


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Imogen Rathbone (Vikki)
Posted: Oct 28 2009, 01:55 PM


Lady Imogen


Group: Members
Posts: 276
Member No.: 53
Joined: 27-May 08



"Mr Hutchinson, you are too kind. I am glad to see you here. Is your sister also in attendance?" Imogen asked as he greeted her. She hadn't managed to catch sight of Miss Hutchinson, but the younger girl must surely be here. She couldn't imagine a gentleman like Mr Hutchinson being so unfeeling as to attend a ball and not bring his sister, and it was early enough in the season that people would not have many alternative plans to keep them away.

It was becoming extremely refreshing -- more so than she could have expected -- to have people not ask about her health at all... or at most in such a tangential way. They were always enquiring after her health, and never seemed to consider that it might be a train of conversation she was tired with. There was more to her than illness, after all. But there was no cause to feel like stamping her foot in childish impatience tonight, as she sometimes did (though she had never actually given in to the urge). If anything, her smile grew warmer. "Indeed; it is the most splendid ball I have ever seen. Lady Emerson must be surpassed only by the Prince in terms of lavishness and comfort. And I do intend to dance at least a few sets."


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Imogen's Profile
For the evening, Imogen wears an ivory gown with forest green sash and shawl
Benjamin Hutchinson (Amy)
Posted: Nov 3 2009, 04:45 PM


Tradesman


Group: Members
Posts: 84
Member No.: 59
Joined: 12-June 08



“Yes,” he responded, “Sukey is here. She was quite eager to dance, and has already been whisked away.” And had thrown him a very peculiar look as she went, he reflected. But his attention belonged, for the moment, to Lady Imogen, who had just mentioned the Prince. The Prince? Ben paled a shade. Had she actually attended royal balls? But no—he reconsidered her words and concluded that her comparison was more likely only speculative. “Though I have been to very few such events, the décor and the atmosphere are most opulent. I am sure you are right.”

Before his color could return, however, she continued, affirming her wish to dance during the course of the evening. Though he managed to keep a steady countenance, Ben could not quite fix his eyes on the lady, and alternately seemed to be peering over her shoulder, above her head, and down at the ground. At last, his gaze rested somewhere in the environs of her nose. Clearing his throat, he clasped his hands behind his back to disguise the fact that they had begun shaking, ever so slightly. “While I understand that you have only just succeeded in claiming a chair in this crowded hall, I wonder—do I have any hope of tempting you away from it?”


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Imogen Rathbone (Vikki)
Posted: Nov 3 2009, 05:19 PM


Lady Imogen


Group: Members
Posts: 276
Member No.: 53
Joined: 27-May 08



"Oh, good," Imogen replied. "Hopefully I will have a little more opportunity to speak with her than at Almacks, though I'm sure she will be whisked away at every opportunity." She did wonder why Mr Hutchinson seemed so overcome with nerves suddenly. To be sure, he hadn't struck her with his boldness before, but she could not imagine why he would be nervous now... even when he finally brought himself to ask her to dance. Surely gentlemen were always asking ladies to dance at events like this, and she was not such a dragon as to reply unfavourably. Or at least, she hoped he was asking her to dance. He might simply be asking her to take a turn around the room with him. Either way...
She smiled encouragingly, and rose to join him."I would be delighted, Mr Hutchinson."


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Imogen's Profile
For the evening, Imogen wears an ivory gown with forest green sash and shawl
Benjamin Hutchinson (Amy)
Posted: Nov 10 2009, 04:27 AM


Tradesman


Group: Members
Posts: 84
Member No.: 59
Joined: 12-June 08



Ben smiled broadly upon hearing Lady Imogen accept his offer of a dance. He extended his arm and led her to the bottom of the set. The first tune began briskly, and he wondered if it had been a poor choice given the state of Lady Imogen’s health. This worry caused his smile to fall, and he cast a cautious glance at his partner to gauge her reaction. Again, he thought, the usual subjects of conversation seemed more shallow than ever. “I hope you had a most pleasant Easter,” he said instead. “Did you enjoy the services this morning?”

(OOC: Sorry this is so short! Ben's not a very able conversationalist outside the walls of the bank.)


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Imogen Rathbone (Vikki)
Posted: Nov 10 2009, 09:21 AM


Lady Imogen


Group: Members
Posts: 276
Member No.: 53
Joined: 27-May 08



Imogen curtsied to her partner, reflecting that it was a good job that this was the first set, so that she was quite fresh for a fairly energetic dance. But she would have to time her responses well; she was almost certain to be breathless before it was over, but at least she had learned from Almacks, and this evening was not so excited at the novelty of London as to forget and let her partners see how tired she was. Especially not Mr Hutchinson, who would probably feel mortified and immediately offer to escort her back out of the set as soon if she seemed to be struggling.

"I did indeed. Easter Sunday is always so uplifting, I find." She paused while they danced, saving the rest of her answer until other couples had their turn. "And then finished with such a pleasant afternoon in the park, with glorious weather to match. Did you also enjoy the day?"

(OOC - don't worry, it's ok! It's all part of him, and we don't need much during the dance.)


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Imogen's Profile
For the evening, Imogen wears an ivory gown with forest green sash and shawl
Benjamin Hutchinson (Amy)
Posted: Nov 17 2009, 03:08 AM


Tradesman


Group: Members
Posts: 84
Member No.: 59
Joined: 12-June 08



“Yes, yes I did,” Ben returned quietly, though reflecting on the day he recalled several moments wherein his feelings could hardly be described as “enjoyment.” Rather than express such inauspicious sentiments, he waxed philosophical. “There are some times when, for the space of an hour or a day, I could almost believe myself gazing upon a vibrant painting rather than taking part in the world. This afternoon, I seemed a passive observer of the park, in all its beauty.” At such moments, he neglected to add, he fell prey to fear and melancholy. In watching events unfold outside his power to slow or influence—especially events that affected his beloved sister—he experienced himself as profoundly disconnected, and very, very tired. He wondered if Lady Imogen would understand him at all, or if she would simply think him a curious eccentric.


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Imogen Rathbone (Vikki)
Posted: Nov 20 2009, 04:44 PM


Lady Imogen


Group: Members
Posts: 276
Member No.: 53
Joined: 27-May 08



Imogen nodded as she listened, eyes widening as she realised he was describing a sensation that was familiar to her. "Yes. I know precisely what you mean. I have felt myself an observer several times. And yet it is not always entirely unpleasant - I would rather be observing than not experiencing it at all." Of course, she would much rather be an active participant, but she had to take what she could get. She smiled shyly as they came back together again at the end of a turn. "Although sometimes I believe I am not quite as grateful for that opportunity as I might be."


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For the evening, Imogen wears an ivory gown with forest green sash and shawl
Benjamin Hutchinson (Amy)
Posted: Nov 24 2009, 05:28 PM


Tradesman


Group: Members
Posts: 84
Member No.: 59
Joined: 12-June 08



She understood! Indeed, she did! There was something about her eyes, he was sure, that spoke of shared experience, of deep wisdom. “It is not always unpleasant, as you say. One can learn a great deal in the process of observing. The difficulty arises, I feel, from the perception of being unobserved oneself. All too easily, one loses the sense that one matters in the world.” Sometimes, the oppression of activity equaled that of emptiness. He might shout on a crowded London street or in a darkened cave, “I know who I am!” and in either case, a question smoldered silently in the dearth of acknowledgement: “do you? Do you?”

“And yet,” he continued, reclaiming himself from such thoughts, “one’s mere presence may benefit others in a thousand unspoken ways.” His lips seemed to move unbidden, rushing ahead to unburden his heart, but in the end they could form only hints and allusions. “A life matters not only for its own sake, but also for the feelings it inspires, even at a far remove.”

Unfortunately, what it had inspired in him at that moment bordered on genuine illness. The heat of the room, the proximity of Lady Imogen, the fear of saying too much—all things collaborated to make him a trifle light-headed and weak. He was most grateful for the momentary respite while they waited out a turn at the bottom of the set.


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