The Assembly Ball. An event of the season whereby the wildest dreams of almost every hopeful young lady and young gentleman do come true, whilst the older couples, married and forever in their dotage, dance far into the evening—until, with an eventuality as common as retiring to bed each night, the women, seemingly much fatigued, take themselves off to sit with their female companions on benches or high back chairs so as to better observe the scene before them; and, the men do retire to the card-room to perhaps cheat, bluster or tell the most frightful Banbury tales about their days exploits! As to the former, the older contented women sit quietly, gazing serenely and with singular admiration at the majesty of the room: the numerous chandeliers, the ornate walls, the exquisite marquetry of wooden trim framing high back windows, before their keen eyes settle over the room and over all manner of persons strolling about. With their lorgnette's glued to one eye, these very same women do also gaze with a critical eye upon the most admirable of the Comparable Woman, even the titled and the gentry, to perhaps speak upon their remarkable, or unremarkable fashion sense as the case may be, before dwelling upon the next best thing: speaking civil whiskers of the most common type—some of it yet being roundly mean-spirited, some of it yet being practical and pragmatic to the core, and some of it yet stemming from a keen eye toward matchmaking in the interest of their young cubs!
However, the men, having no interest in the promulgation of idle gossip—and this is to be expected, for the male’s absorption in all things pertaining to manly pursuits, naturally reflects a tendency toward a conceit that is, at its worst, most selfish in nature, and, at its best, frivolous in the ways of light-hearted banter, which make it nigh on impossible to talk about the lives of others, or even about their peers, or other family members! Instead, male talk as to the usual centered around these important pursuits: the latest in male fashion for those Dandies who followed the exploits of Beau Brummell, horse flesh of the quality that might make even the most ascetic man wish his wife were so well equipped!, the latest boxing matches, and, for a few licentious males—how they do brag about their latest Bird of Paradise, and how they do pull the wool over their wives’s eye! Perhaps it is all a bag of moonshine, but of assurity the male tendency to exaggerate their position, their wealth, their sporting acumen, and their gallant successes with the ladies is ever an eternal one in the grand scheme of Life!
What was most certainly not to be expected at this particular Assembly Ball, was an action so shocking, so bosom-beating bad, so indescribably horrific, that it did cause vapors of the sort that fell three and quarter women, all of whom took with some immediacy to swooning in their chairs!; and, whereupon all of the sporting males did come running out of the card-room; and oh! even the Master of Ceremonies fell like a mighty tree in a forest of giant oak by the entrance to the Assembly room! It was a scandal of such prodigious proportions, with such a breech of manners, and with such a display of character deficiencies numbering into the hundreds that had ever been witnessed in the most decidedly dignified pump rooms of Bath! And it did most certainly leave one with a bitter taste in one’s mouth, like as to alfalfa added most injudiciously to a plump piece of apple pie, as people were for days upon days talking about the Scandal of the Century! People travelled from far and wide, from London, from Brighton, even Northumberland and Cornwall! and by whatever means necessary to view with their own eyes the infamous place where disaster had befallen the beleaguered and yet still beloved city of Bath! What would be the causation of such egregious manners and wanton conduct, which culminated in a devil-may-kill attack on the mores of society? It ‘were’ the ill-bred, barn-yard behavior between younger members of the aristocratic female set—two to be precise—!! But, yet is the author ever getting a wee bit ahead of herself! We must needs go back a fortnight or so prior to the Societal Scandal of the Season.
It had all begun innocently enough and within several days of Lady Angela’s complete humiliation on that infamous Sunday—days that our dear Lady Angela, in a fit of the blue-devils, had spent in bed sulking and eating to the excess food and sweet cakes snuck in by her dear brother Roger, and on his aunt’s most expensive sterling silver platter mind you!—as the cherished boy tried to lift the poorly spirits of his sister, only to be boxed in the ears and thrown out of the room upon the delivery of said platter! For it was at that precise moment, that is to say, the moment immediately following the delivery of the goods that Lady Angela required the calmness and quietness as a piece of lint falling gently to the floor, so as to hatch the first step of her plan to revenge the humiliation brought on by Lady Lucretia’s poaching of her heart’s desire, the villainous Lord Devilyn—the consequences of which would lead to the aforementioned most unfortunate, calamitous societal event ever. You see, Lady Angela’s patience having been sorely tried by the overly-solicitous concerns of her brother and aunt, with their constant fussy commiseration's and urgings to leave her sickbed, on the which it did leave her in such a foul-tempered state, that it was poor dear sweet Roger who would receive a box on the ears more often than not as his reward for attempting to lighten her spirits.
Lying prostrate in her bedchamber day after day, Lady Angela did chew cakes and candies, and plot, though taking time now and again to sally forth from her boudoir to embark on a nature walk with the only friend she had yet acquired in Bath, a Lady Cassandra Rumpling, a woman, who, though having the most bounteous generosity of nature which to her great misfortune quite matched her overly disproportionate figger; and, a figger which could thus be likened to an hourglass whereby the sand has sunk far to the bottom, and a woman, who, rather lacking in the prerequisites of fair wit and sharp wisdom, of which such qualities are a rarity in even the most well-endowed beauty of the day, but is of absolute necessity to snare a swell of the first stare, had a singular fondness for chattling on and on about mundane matters such that might even bore even the most talkative matron ever! Still, Lady Angela, despite these character deficiencies in her friend, had, in the main come to enjoy the woman’s companionship, for Lady Charlotte did have a most sensitive ear and a singular gift for listening, when she wasn’t talking that is to say! But to what decidedly and most intriguing purpose was behind the lovely ladies eagerly awaited walks, save for Lady Angela’s superficial desire for communion with nature? Was it the faint hope—and, a hope which lay so deeply seeded within the narrow and confined chambers of her heart much like the narrow-leafed campion did lie frozen in the Siberian perma-frost ever since the Ice Age, where, upon its discovery, it did flower some 30,000 years later?—that she might pray be witness to another sighting of His Lordship?
That remains to be seen, for though it has been said that hope springs eternal, what is not said is that in order to spring eternal, hope must ever be a constant, without the raging ebb and flow of a river turned to rapids! In our heroine’s case, hope was tres certainement not a constant; it sprang forth with consulting expediency. Therefore, regarding the whole of it, when the Lady Charlotte and the Lady Angela set out on their communal walks, each day our heroine would wonder to the crazy if she would run into the most exasperating, yet strangely quite fascinating man she had ever met. But, as is somewhat common when one’s expectations quite exceed the actuality, the ill-timed meeting never re-occurred as Lord Byron was acquitted elsewhere—to settle a debt perhaps?—so that, owing to Lady Angela’s very great mortification and disappointment at this reality, it did cast her spirits into a well of complete and utter darkness! to such an extent as to cause our heroine to sally forth back to her bed where the cycle of self-pity would begin again as she pondered more seriously this question: how best to beat her formidable rival with a knock out punch so severe, it would secure for her the permanent affections of such a highborn gentleman as we know Lord Devilyn to be. Well, in regards to one possible answer; might it be by using the most normal, albeit with hints of trickery, method at her disposal—a method used by women of the ages to outdo their rivals—women who are to the usual on the cusp of decidedly questionable virtue, though, it is also to be admitted that in love and war where epic battles are fought over the kingly mane of the male lion, resorting to whatever means as necessary to gain the advantage is indeed fair play in all classes of society!—at least in the mind of Lady Angela, and perhaps Lady Lucretia as well.
Suffice to say it was our heroine’s brother, Roger, who broke that cycle of morbidity of self-imposed misery that Lady Angela had decided to indulge in. There happened to commence one fine day in the which Lady Angela, accompanied by her aunt, Roger, and her bosom buddy friend, Lady Rumpling, all set about on a shopping expedition to find for Lady Angela the most exquisite gown for the ball, and with it, the most exquisite accessories to enrich the soon-to-be lavender muslin ballgown, with a rather daring cut of the bosom—most exceedingly low by any decent standards, and most decidedly unseemly for a girl of Lady Angela’s marital state, not to mention her good breeding! As the quartet ventured from shop to shop, Roger begged to be allowed to attend the Parade of the finest Arabian stallions ever, set to begin in the Sunday’s Park for the Aristocratic at precisely 2:00 pm. His Aunt Joan murmured acquiescence but with stern instructions, of which I can assure you that Roger did fail to heed on account of he was halfway to the Park before the last murmurings did leave his aunt’s lip! It is, therefore, no wonder that Roger became an urgent object of concern when he did not reappear at his aunt’s side by that prearranged agreement.
“I do declare I shall box his ears so completely, he shall not be able to hear for days and days,” proclaimed our Lady Angela in a most frightful hint of tone, such as one might use to scare away a pestiferous rat. “Where oh where can he be, Auntie Joan?” Up and down the walk way did she pace and fume, her bonnet a tour de force for her anger as it did slip precariously from the crown of her head with each step.
“Now, now, my dear,” Lady Brumbly murmured reassuringly, whilst glancing about to see if any of her society friends were, pray as naught, witness to the scene, “doubtless your brother will appear shortly with some grotesque ground-bobble creature in his hand. Still, had I my wits about me I would have set his fob to the half-hour short of when he was to meet us.”As if not to be left out of this singularly important conversation, Lady Rumpling did her best to reassure her dear friend as well, preferring to stave off a fit of the blue-devils, or heaven forbid, should her fair Lady Angela raise a breeze such as could lead to social embarrassment. “Pray where in the name of heaven can he have gone, my dearest Angela? Oh! we must think very hard. Perhaps a solution will present itself.”
A solution did indeed shortly present itself, but not in an ordinary way; nay, only in such a way as to take a gel’s mind off her immediate troubles in the which the object of concern or reproach is no longer the subject of the problem. And what would cause our Lady Angela to completely erase from her mind the immediacy of worry over Roger’s whereabouts? Only one person alone could do such a thing!—Lord Byron Devilyn. Indeed, it was the sudden appearance of His Lordship on that most blackest of horses, Lucifer, a beautiful stepper whose hooves routinely dance the streets of Bath with the superb grace and the supreme lightness of a prima ballerina, and whose nose does blow with the splendor of Aithan, the fire-snorting, haughty and most divine steed of Ares, the son of Boreas the Wind-God of the North!; and, upon whose back is now seated not only the most splendid and handsomest of men on the finest saddle Lady Angela has ever seen, but upon a saddle which seem to meld straight away into Lucifer’s magnificently curved back as like marmalade on a scone! Of course, and not to put too fine a point upon it at the risk of redundancy, dear reader, it is to be remembered that these same magnificent hooves of which I write, were verily instrumental in the completest destruction of Lady Angela’s most beautiful bonnet! a fact, for which I can assure you, our ladyship has forgiven the fiery horse most completely.
“Oh!” exclaimed Cassandra with caricatural awe as the magnificent rider drew near, his eyes put forth straight ahead as if he were nescient of all the admiring glances of every female on every block! “I do believe he is looking your way, dearest Angela!” Or, he was not for Cassandra could not see the straightforwardness of Lord Devilyn’s gaze from whence she was standing; therefore, it is to be suspicioned that it was merely wishful thinking on her part.
No matter, as Lady Angela had scarcely lent an ear to her friend’s comment so wrapped up was she in her own thoughts in regard as to how she would speak to His Lordship when—and make no mistake upon the matter, Lady Angela was confident to the utmost extreme that our Villainous Lord would, at the very least, politely countenance her presence because to believe otherwise would simply not do—he reined in his horse beside her; like, as to whether she should speak first or curtsy, and if she thus spake first, what would she say, or, horror upon horror! supposing she lost all manner of speech and could utter infantile sounds only her dearly departed mother would understand? Would that not be the most humiliating thing ever? No, it would not, though this question also must be asked: how much more humiliation could our Lady Angela endure without suffering a complete loss of her spirited nature? We would know almost immediately, for Lord Byron Devilyn trotted on by without so much as a glance at our heroine, without so much as a by-your-leave, and with not one scintilla of recognition, for he did not even deign to turn his head to the right, nor to the left, but continued only to look straightforward, as if his quarry—as in the way of a fox teasing a hound—was fashioned in the direct line of his vision!
Finally! Hopefully it won't take another six months to get an episode out. I been kinda busy this last month. And it's not 'cos I been sick. That's ovah, praise to every living creature on this here earth. Nope, my daughter, UteroKid, is about to embark on probably the most important 18 months of her life. I'm so excited I haven't been able to write much. Not to mention getting her ready for this momentous occasion. She's heading out to serve a mission for the Mormons. Now, I'm not a church goer myself, as I've indicated before, but she and her father are pretty devoted. Shame on me, huh? Fortunately, I'm told God loves sinners such as myself. And that's pretty much the extent of my religious knowledge other than me trying to live by the Golden Rule. Sometimes, I succeed. Sometimes, I've been known to curse like a sailor on dry land, and beat the hell out of carpets on a clothesline! But I do see great value in dedicating one's life to a cause one believes in, even if it's only for a short amount of time. And that's why I'm so excited for her. Not only that, I also have a new perspective/patience with Mormon Missionaries, Jehovah's Witnesses, as well as missionaries from other religious organizations.
So that's been my life the last month or so. There were health, dental and insurance forms to be filled out, interviews to be had, and meetings to go to before she finally sent her papers into SLC last week. And now, we wait…FOR THE CALL. It will come in a large white envelope with a booklet and letter which will say(in part):
Dear Sister SoAndSo,
You have been called to serve as a Missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints. You are assigned to labor in the ???? (DD's first choice is the England, London, or Scotland/Ireland Mission.)
BUT, there is an almost no chance it will read:
Dear Sister SoAndSo,
You have been called to serve as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Lost City of Atlantis. You will be prepared to preach the gospel in Ancient Greek. (daughter faints dead away, Mother shouts hooray)
Dear Elder SoAndSo,