Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Dandy Fellows


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by Sasha Soren
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We first met the infamous R.V.B. (Red Velvet Blazer) in the pages of Random Magic. Then again at 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.

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

Of course, he’s wrapped up warm in some glorious cashmere and immaculately fine tailored wool lined with silk. There was some question whether he’d be able to arrive on time at all, given the appalling weather and the havoc it would wreak on his polished leather winter boots.

But here he is at last. While he’s in the cloakroom, let’s revisit his first appearance at Pemberley Ball, and then we can hear about his delicious drama on the way here.

Lounging deliciously on a comfortable divan in a secluded nook was a convivial young toff wearing a modish ensemble, having a leisurely chat over refreshments with Mrs. Bennet... (more flashback here)

Alas! Darling R.V.B. has been called away on a tailoring emergency -- for his adorable spring wardrobe, because, as with gorgeous tulips that burst forth in the sun, a little preparation is de rigueur.

But he’s left a remarkable document here for our perusal, and a personally engraved invitation for each and every someone, to partake of a private party ‘round about midnight at The Idler, as he’s in town for the season.

So, then. All is well.

And what is this remarkable document? Well, let’s have a little peek. Ahem. Paper crinkling gently as it’s unwound -- marvelous quality, this. Creamy linen. Aha. And here we are:

Daily Itinerary, R.V.B.

12 noon
Arise? Dearest angel -- forgive the impertinence, but are you mad? Leaping forth at the world, fisticuffs to ensue immediately, is for people with far more starch in their unmentionables.

Otherwise no one sane -- and certainly no one who wished to be charming through three courses at Lady Tewstone-Darling’s dinner party -- would be up and about at this hour.

Have plumped pillows to have a comfy cat nap, as anyone with uncommon sense absolutely would.

2:30 pm
Enjoying a light breakfast in bed. Marvelous brioche and Mariage Frères thé de Noël to welcome the winter season, accompanied by some plump fresh figs, a sliver of Comté and Bleu du Vercors-Sassenage, and cherries steeped in eau de vie.

Yes, naughty, but was disinclined to resist the temptation.

But what is this? A poached egg? It is grinning evilly at me, it’s far too early to be accosted by comestibles hatching cunning plots. Take it away! If it has been poached, then let its confrères roam free to knock at another door.

Although I will have a quick tidbit of Brillat-Savarin, as that’s just arrived in an attractive hamper, compliments of dear Lady Augustin de Varens.

She’s forgiven me, I see from the marvelous selection. Unless she’s tempting me with too many treats so that that lovely new selection of winter waistcoat will be punished by the strain of too much good living.

Minx. Perhaps shan’t have that dash of Brillat-Savarin after all. Strategy.

3:30 pm
Selecting a set of perfect cufflinks for the winter season. It’s extraordinary how many of them are miniature chefs-d'oeuvre, it’s a bit distracting as they’re all so lovely.

4 pm
The torment of indecision continues.

5 pm
Success! Forzieri and Chaumet have won out, but what extraordinary ideas of fashion have appeared this season, it’s as if everyone’s had the same mishap at the studio, and tripped into a box of paints, flinging innocent cufflinks hither and yon.

After the arrival of the first few trays of accoutrements, very nearly had to have a lie-down merely to recover from the unruly couleurs primaire.

Only imagine if some charming person came upon those, unaware. The shock would put them completely off their afternoon brunch. It was a duty to defer, out of sheer politesse and concern for the aesthetic sensitivities of others.

And only imagine if I’d met with an unfortunate accident on the way to the theatre, and my last performance would be to appear in these inadequate sops for the artistic temperament, it just gives one a frisson of mild horror.

And then there were such odd and vulgar patterns in diamante. I ask you. But Forzieri’s winter collection, although a tad exuberant, continues charming. How delightful.

Now if I were to meet with some unfortunate accident, would be perfectly presentable.

It must be noted in passing that it was impossible to select but one pair, but that only leaves more to be enjoyed, as with any good and beautiful thing. Bravo, Forzieri.

5:30 pm
Good lord, is that the time?

5:45 pm
Belated start on dressing for the Opéra-Comique. Will surely miss the start of the program.

Luckily, nothing terribly exciting ever happens in the first act of any opera. No, all the delicious drama always stored up to be uncorked spectacularly in the third act for all latecomers, which is terribly considerate, have always felt.

6 pm
Beautifully tailored batiste and fine wool, waistcoat, new evening jacket with dashes of velvet to arrive by special courier any moment, now.

Boots well-polished with champagne, à la manière de Beau Brummel, the dear chap, what a selfless and delightful discovery.

6:30 pm
What a marvelous shade of prune.

7 pm
A vision!

8 pm
A charming program and exquisite performances by all involved. The new cufflinks also made a dramatic appearance and received -- and this is reported much humility -- due applause. Bravo, Forzieri.

9:30 pm
Dinner with Lady Tewstone-Darling and assorted company, like a bouquet of posies. Have landed between vicar and scandalous actress and have to carry on completely different conversations on either side and pretend to be hard of hearing and so on.

She’s having fits, again, dear Lady Tewstone-Darling. Her cook must have the patience of a saint. In any event, she -- or he, for we must be fair -- cooks like a divine dream.

Lord Mimple has declined to attend, and with excellent reason, as he’s stolen Lady Tewsone-Darling’s butler, the rascal.

But what inspired pilfering. If only I’d thought of it, first.

11 pm
Retiring to The Idler, a haven in the midst of the city, for a round of drinks with some marvelous people in a private room. More news to arrive for perusal.

12:30 am
Baccarat with some charming fellows; Hosky, Plum, Beau and someone who claims he’s the King of Naples, which is either a charming eccentricity or perfectly true. Delightful company, in any case.

2 am
Rounding off a thrilling night of cards with a round, provided by a Count something with a name which is all vowels, with some sort of hot beer with cloves floating about in the foam. How perfectly barbaric.

2:05 am
…and how delicious. With the addition of raspberry liqueur, more than palatable. Must try this again -- or spring it upon company or anyone dour-looking who could do with a bit of a cheery surprise.

Barouche to arrive within the half-hour, accompanied by throw rugs, as the weather a bit nippy.

2:30 am
Stop to admire the moon.

3 am
Night cap and off to bed to refresh mind and body. What an exhausting and lovely day it’s been.

Must rise early -- perhaps around noon-ish -- to address the question of the Marchioness of I-forget-her-name’s ball. Or perhaps not. It’s necessary to work up to these things.

Around five, then. Yes, that leaves plenty of time for an afternoon nap to have a bit of a rest before an early dinner at the Beau Carême. Five it is, then.

Adieu, moon. À tout à l'heure. Tomorrow is sure to be lovely.


~-~-~-~-~ guest ~-~-~-~-~
by Sasha Soren
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* image source dandy fellows in evening attire

* image source for holiday dandy card which you can order from the

~~*!~~ Dandies & Delectables schedule ~~!*~~

*** winterlong schedule ***

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