Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Dandy In Distress (Part 1 of 3)

A Dandy in Distress
(Part 1 of 3)

Our players:


Lady Prunella

Lord Darlish

Captain Red Jack

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.

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)

Then again, 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?

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… (more flashback here)

And the last we saw of him, he was having a long lie-in after a lovely day of receiving luxury hampers and selecting the perfect set of cufflinks for the opera.

Until this interesting epistle from Lady Tewstone-Darling arrived, only just now:

Dearest lady:
You must hear this at once! Do you know, have just seen the most extraordinary item in the daily mail this morning. To be frank, it might’ve been late afternoon, but that’s early enough for late risers.

At first, we thought it couldn’t possibly be our R.V.B., as it was in that hideous broadsheet have totally forgotten its name, the tiresome one with all that business of the markets and trade and all the terrible things that go on in the world.

Of course, R.V.B. would never accede to appearing in something so tawdry -- far more likely we’d see his gladsome and elegantly-dressed self in something more suitable, like All About The Town or The Tattler, as he leaps forth incandescently from the pages like a jewel in a flawless setting.

So, of course, had devoured a fresh Tattler, expecting to see sketches and various about his lovely pleasure party on the Thames at the weekend. Not a scrap!

But then, cranky dear swept forth with a fold from that terrible paper whatsit, and inquired -- rudely, I thought, ‘Isn’t this that peacock who flits around town making a damned nuisance of himself?’

And to be sure, it was. Cranky dear, of course, is perpetually vexed by R.V.B.’s effortless appeal and ability to enthrall entire companies, not the least among them the feminine sex, and so the manner of his description was perhaps a bit strong, and not at all fair. We must allow cranky dear his little failings. It’s the City, poor angel, how it does work upon his nerves.

But, yes! Do you know, it was R.V.B. And what a thrilling story, I’m most jealous, as he’ll have the most adventuresome tale in all of London to recount to Lady de Varens over the entrées, this Friday next.

Enclosed is the fold from the paper, detailing the whole delicious drama.

I’m sorry to tell you that I’ve torn away the first part in haste to pull it from cranky dear, and so the first part is missing, but will miss nothing on that account, never fear.

The first bit is just some plain bit detailing terrible dull things like R.V.B.’s official titles and holdings and acquaintances and so on, and we know them all, already.

They’d got them all wrong, as well, having put in a long string of names like Lord Axelby-Breckelridge of Such-And-So and a long string of silly places, when they might just as well have just called him Toddle like anyone else would, and got on with it.

I’m all aflutter. Oh, we must have him to tea! R.V.B., I mean, not Toddle, he’s a dear but goes on about his club, rather. But R.V.B., and with such a story to amuse us with, besides. You’ll come, won’t you? Of course you will!

Must dash, all best.

And what was enclosed in this delightful little missive?

Well, let us have a little peek while the recipient is dashing madly about to be dressed in time for the imminent arrival of several prize Pekinese and the redoubtable Lady Tewstone-Darling who has, since we last met her in Random Magic, evidently added a new specimen to her collection. This, however, is not that story.

Let us, then, leave Lady Tewstone-Darling and compatriots to carry on with this serious business of arranging this upcoming session of tea, crumpets, diverting tales of those blackguards of the sea (‘So thrilling, these fellows!) and, of course, a long and leisurely recounting of R.V.B.’s tribulations over some savory nibbles.

In the meantime, let’s have a quick peek at the few folds from the broadsheet, to see what astonishing thing has happened to R.V.B this time, because of course there’s always something:

(This segment of the startling news item was missing, but a facsimile of the rest is included for perusal.)

A Dandy in Distress: The Ransom of R.V.B.

R.V.B. was attending a delightful masquerade at Lord Mimple’s Mayfair home and was evidently invited ‘round to sample an exquisite port in a home just down the way.

This invitation was extended him by a batch of young fellows who’d arrived late and caused a ruckus in their masquerade costumes, having appeared as a band of reckless cutthroats.

As he had occasion to remark in passing to a Mr. Gruntle, the new arrivals were attired quite strikingly and with sartorial exactness, and R.V.B. was charmed that they’d made such an effort.

Having been invited for a brief jaunt to sample a glass of tasty port, he discovered that he’d been under a slight misapprehension. His new companions weren’t simply dressed like pirates.

They were pirates.

And so, R.V.B. was bundled along into a hired hansom cab and carted off along the Thames to a waiting boat, off to an unsavory vessel moored near the Docklands and, finally, woke to find himself deposited like a parcel onto a ship sailing under the Jolly Roger, which then set sail for Jamaica, with their new prisoner to be held to ransom!

A series of notes were exchanged, by raffish-looking homing pigeons, at least one of which was wearing an eye patch and a bad attitude. The content of these notes were collected and are presented here:

(Part the First: Kidnapped!)

From Captain Red Jack
Lord Darlish, Gov. of Port Malchance, Jamaica

We are ruthless men and hold this fellow R.V.B. to ransom for 300 pieces of eight, he’s sent word to some chum, Lady Prunella.

From R.V.B.
Lady Prunella

Dearest: Unable to attend your delightful assemblage tonight, have met with an inconvenience. More by later post par oiseau.

Lord Darlish
Gov. of Port Malchance, Jamaica
Captain Red Jack

We will not bow to demands and need proof that His Honorable, etc. remains unharmed.

Captain Red Jack
Lord Darlish, Gov. of Port Malchance, Jamaica

No demands. Pay the ransom or he gets it!

(Part the Second: R.V.B. Enjoys a Perfectly Delightful Vacation)

Lady Prunella

No caviar! What an appalling oversight. I’ve suggested we detour to the Amalfi Coast, as well, on the way to this charming city of -- Port Malchance, I believe it’s called. Somewhere exotic, too thrilling.

Ah, yes, but -- Italy, as onboard stores of limoncello regrettably low, and, as far as fruits de mer, not a fin, which is a pity, really.

Oh, and it’s just been suggested that I be invited to ‘walk the plank,’ or something of that sort, whatever that means. Of course, am game for anything and it’s terribly sporting and hospitable of them to include me in this evidently traditional pastime. Pity it’s not badminton, but when in Rome

They’ve kindly inquired as to whether or not I have any last requests, and of course this presented me the perfect opportunity to offer my suggestion about the limoncello.

They weren’t notably enthused about this, although in all fairness, it is for some an acquired taste. But how marvelous it would be, with all this delightful sun and such charming…billows. It’s very nearly a pleasure trip on the Thames, only a dozen times more exciting.

Wrapping up, to be brief. I send you a million kisses.


Note: This was scratched out and labeled in a hand significantly less adventurously rife with attendant flourishes: Lord Darlish, Gov. of Port Malchance, Jamaica

What ho, Pobby!

Hopefully that’s the correct vernacular, am learning all manner of colorful phrases. What marvelous fellows these are. You must know by now I’m on a darling little unexpected vacation, and hope to see you and your charming lady soon.

These quarters are appallingly unstylish, it must be said, however piquant.

Do you know, they claim not to have any Veuve Cliquot below-board, but I suspect the captain of chicanery in this small detail, as his first mate speaks a lovely Français.

It stands to reason that on docking in Paris, this must have been one of the first items to be added to the larder. Perhaps they've reserved a glass for after dessert. I live in hope.

Join us tomorrow, for A Dandy In Distress (part 2 of 3) in which the preposterous piratical melodrama continues.

For more about Random Magic, you are most cordially invited to browse the book trailer, which is right here:

Shown above: Random Magic, by Sasha Soren
Find Random Magic: Amazon | Kindle

Or win some marvelous plunder: Rum + Plunder treasure hunt

You might also have fun finding all the cute Little Pirate Prizes, scattered throughout the tour.

Here are the ones that’ve been discovered -- and there are lots more to be found by the end of the tour, happy hunting!):

Little Pirate Prizes found so far:

Win: Your pick of Queens of the Sea designs, signed by artist

Win: Sketch of your dream pirate

Win: The Nautical Chart, by Arturo Pérez-Reverte


* image sources: rvb, lady prunella, lord darlish, captain red jack, envelope, victorian broadsheet, veuve cliquot

* guest post from Random Magic Tour: Pirates!

~-~~-~ ...and a bottle o'rum schedule ~-~~-~

Imagination Designs
Images from: Lovelytocu