Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Fortune-Teller's Gift by Sasha Soren

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by Sasha Soren
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Our dear R.V.B. occasionally slips from the pages of Random Magic to see a bit of the world and entertain himself (and us) with tales of various escapades that come about due to...curiosity, mainly.

We first met the infamous R.V.B. (Red Velvet Blazer) in the pages of Random Magic. Then again at last season's Pemberley Ball, where he spent a delightful time, having slipped from the pages of Random Magic to come and enjoy a tray of delicacies and a bit of light drama.

For Random Magic: Winterlong and Dandies and Delectables, he slipped out from between the pages once more to have a bit of fun - because who wouldn't?

The last time he apprised us of his further adventures, he'd gotten himself carried off by pirates, and all we can add on that score is that no one deserved their horrid fate less than that crew of rapscallions - although R.V.B. was ever so obliging, it might be said fairly, by anyone not directly involved with the incident. (A Dandy in Distress: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Perhaps you have apprehensions that R.V.B. would find nothing much in the way of outlandish goings-on to be involved in, in connection with a sedate party for Georgiana Darcy, a charming young lady of but 16.

Trouble yourself no more on that account, as R.V.B. is as prone to glide gaily into the most preposterous adventures as he is to being the most elegantly attired gentleman - with the most divine profile - in any room.

And, so, never fear - he's gotten himself into yet another interesting predicament to be retold over cognac in the library after dinner.

Alas, for he will miss the excellent sweet and savory pastries and tarts and tidbits that one anticipates will soon bedeck a legion of elegant silver trays.

But he's courteously sent a note ahead for Georgiana, by way of the pet monkey of that celebrated and eccentric lady, Countess Bijou. By coach.

And here we have this curious missive, which Georgiana had occasion to share in a quiet corner with the genial, if sharp-tongued Elizabeth Bennet:

Dearest Georgie:

Delighted to attend your charming soirée, although have some anticipation of being delayed by a deliciously improbable story and can't bear to leave without being in at the finish of it to find out what happens.

If not invited to enjoy a weekend away as a guest of the Crown at the local watering spot for detained gentlemen, will arrive with the last course and just in time to ascertain whether or not Lady Prunella should have worn that dress or left it on a curtain rod where it more properly belongs.

In the meantime, as I know you're always fond of pretty things and puzzles - a diversion!

Have discovered a marvelous little shop of assorted oddities, and, do you know, one afternoon, while perusing lacquered music boxes as a surprise gift for myself on my next gloomy rainy day - an unanticipated bit of cheer, you understand, and shall be delighted to receive such a delightful surprise and in such exquisite taste - what do you suppose might have happened?

No, afternoon tea wasn't delayed at all, as we just had all the music boxes swaddled up and sent 'round, to be looked at after a light repast and and a leisurely catnap.

But this curious thing has happened; do you know, there was a woman introduced us as a friend of the mad little proprietor, of most curious and piquant appearance and dress, although her manners were just what one might desire in any charming sort of passer-by, even one who hoves aloft a parasol in a shop when there isn't a trace of rain. Or sun. Or weather of any kind.

Of course, it wasn't the parasol at all which gave one pause, but the dancing. One was very nearly more than indifferently concerned about the fate of the nearby row of porcelain monkeys all wearing little jewelled top hats.

Belatedly, one is at a loss for the concern and might just as well have let fate go its merry way.

Ah, but to continue...

Evidently, we'd had occasion to accidentally reunite this picturesque person with her long-lost daughter. Or perhaps it was a niece. Or possibly an aunt of the youngish variety.

At any rate, this misplaced object of affection is now an opera singer. Had extended the courtesy of the use of an opera box to her, last season. The piquant lady, not the daughter or niece or youngish aunt whom she'd so thoughtlessly misplaced.

Well, the opera, of course, is an excellent place to display oneself for the enjoyment of others. It's such a lovely evening out, as well, when one misses the first act and arrives late, perfectly in time for the exciting third act, at the end of which there's no one left on stage except for those who've perished decoratively.

She, on the other hand - the lady not the mysterious personage - is a devoted practitioner of that melodious art, although now retired from the stage, mainly. And this was all divulged to me in this little shop, although in fact we'd met before.

You see, having been introduced at a charming tea at Lady I've-Forgotten-Her-Name's, I felt as if someone might use the box so that the first and second acts - and third acts, as do enjoy a late dinner - might edify someone, if not myself, and so that's how that came about.

And had totally forgotten all about it! Yes, forgotten all about her, even considering her inclination for bursts of theatricality, dear girl, because of course I'd be the very last to take exception, or, indeed, to notice, if the subject hadn't been about something memorable like this season's most fashionable cut in tailcoats, or myself.

But what a commotion ensued upon the discovery that the chorus singer in the second act was none other than- oh, of course you've not been told the particulars of the story, being of a somewhat tender age. What a delightful bit of happenstance, however; in all respects it was an ending nearly better than fiction.

No matter, this is not that story.

This story concerns the fact that one of her mild eccentricities, evidently, is a love of charades and a gift for reading tea leaves. How exotic, you might say. But such a pleasant pasttime it turns out to be.

She's made me the gift of a basket of splendid things, in appreciation, and with them arrived the most extraordinary box of playing cards, which I lend you for the evening, as they're quite charming and sure to amuse you.

They will be the happy means by which to divert you and your company until I - or some accommodating ally of Hermes - may be at leisure to arrive with your gift.

What must be done is quite simple, simply lay the cards upon a table in a quiet room and ask them to tell you your fortune. And, do you know, they will!

Regrettably, didn't think to ask them if I should or should not have accepted the invitation to attend a masked ball with some good fellows in, of course, masks, and this accounts for the current contretemps of having to explain a smashed shop window and a good number of jewels which were no doubt borrowed with nothing but the best of intentions.

Dearest Georgie, what an adventure we've had! Why, I've missed a lovely tea and three fittings amid all the delirium and excitement. I shall, however, regrettably be delayed.

So, these cards shall have to amuse you until I have a moment to climb out this window. Won't they be surprised.

Or I might save myself the bother. It shall all come out well in the end, as the jewels are paste, as any fool could ascertain in a moment.

À tout à l'heure!

And there, nested in the box, were a set of vivid and pretty playing cards of an unusual kind. As for whether or not they might have the gift of telling fortunes, well, we shall see.

Here we have five cards, such as were selected, and Georgie's amiable guests are invited to partake in a game of chance. Will or will not one of these cards tell the story of Georgiana, Elizabeth Bennet, and Georgie's estimable brother, Mr. F. Darcy? Who can say...

You're welcome, of course, as an esteemed guest at Pemberley Ball, to try your own hand at picking one of the five - and seeing what they reveal for you.

Is the story of Georgiana, Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy contained therein? Perhaps. Perhaps not.

But in any case, we must have a rest before La Boulangère begins in earnest, and so all are welcome to see what - if anything - the cards will tell them...

Postscript: Dearest R.V.B. has extricated himself from the latest remarkable situation, and might very well arrive just in time to be fashionably late.

And won't that be lovely, as he'll have Georgie's 'real' present in tow, wrapped in velvet and silk and beautified to perfection with an exquisitely rendered bow, as R.V.B. has always had a natural gift for tangling and untangling knots,
cravats - and life. Bien sûr que oui, gentle friends. Bien sûr que oui.


Guest post created for Pemberley Ball event by Sasha Soren, author of Random Magic
© 2011. All rights reserved.

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by Sasha Soren
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* image source rvb, quill and ink, Card one, card two, card three, card four, card five

~~- Pemberley Ball schedule -~~

1 comment:

  1. What fascinating friendships you keep, Georgiana! I wonder what you may expect as a true gift when the RVB arrives.


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