6 February 2011

Lady Miriam Part 9


....As they sat later in the elegant and fine saloon, seated on comfortable sofas and drinking Madeira, Ricky inquired with useless questions of his infallible friend and the Duke answered them in his usual abrupt, sarcastic and often insulting way. Ricky bore it as one ignorant to the Dukes faults and with tolerant admiration commented many times on his fine drinks, pausing at times to refresh himself with a revitalizing glass.
“This is a deuced fine country seat Tony! You should have party old thing. In fact I’d be happy to help you with the arrangements!” Ricky added simply.
Tony put the lid firmly on the cruet and replied,
“Don’t you have something utterly useless and unproductive to do instead of bother me?”
Ricky shook his head and waved a tut-tut-tut finger at Tony,
“Are you usually so discourteous to your guests Duke? Or just to those you have a particular fondness for? Because old boy, I am damn good at teaching etiquette. In fact—”
“All right! I surrender, you mawworm! I am holding a party on Saturday and my mother is coming to host it.” He interrupted with hands raised in defeat. He turned to the mantle-piece and pressed the bell as Ricky watched with a triumphant smile; after a minute, the Duke’s man came softly treading into the room. Anthony turned to Doyle and told him to have a room prepared for Master Richard if he pleased and to have dinner ready in a half hour.
Doyle bowed and answered with a neat yes sir and then turned to Master Ricky.
“Very glad to have you here Master Ricky. Do you wish for any assistance with your attire before dinner sir?”
“I should think so old bean! How are you Doyle? Is Tony just as purse-pinched as he used to be?”
Doyle smiled faintly, but looked up with fatherly love at his master,
“No indeed Master Ricky! His Grace is more than generous. Dinner will be ready in a half hour as you directed sir.”
Tony nodded with a small smile in his eyes and turned to Ricky to find him surveying him with shaking head.
“You are a lucky dog Tony! All your servants would jump off a ship for you, and you don’t even regard it! Or appreciate it.” Suddenly Ricky’s playful smile vanished,
“A half hour Tony? How do you expect me to dress in a half hour? That’s despicable! Do not tell me that you dress in that small, tasteless particle of time?” After viewing the Duke’s unresponsive face Ricky groaned and fell dramatically back in his chair—taking great care not to crush his coat-tails.
Tony shook his head expressively and remarked on this theatrical piece with soothing accents,
“I’m more than certain that in view that I shall have my San de Chanc on the table along with my cook’s finest cuisine, you will be perfectly capable of dressing in a half hour! However, if you do dress in any worse attire than the garb you have on now, I shall have Doyle to tell you that His Grace does not allow Jackanapes to dine with him.”
Ricky’s face was of one who had been injured and shocked all at the same time, and it was a good minute before he could bring himself to speak to Tony.
“Well of all the shabby things to say Tony! I’m dressed in the newest of fashion don’t you know! How you can wound a man! Jackanape indeed…well, I suppose it don’t make a difference what I wear for you, seeing as you’ve never possessed any taste in dress. All right Tony old boy! Just for you, as you have such an agreeable way of asking.” Ricky added with a wink.
And then, on further thought he struck in, “I say, did you say you have San de Chanc? I ought to be off to dress!”
With those last words he left, to find Doyle who would convey him to his fine room where he proceeded to prepare himself for dinner.
Ricky left Anthony standing by the fire, holding his empty glass in his slender hands and staring absently at the closed door. He was not concerned that Ricky had invited himself—he had expected it in fact, and he enjoyed Ricky’s company—no matter how muddle-brained he was. The thought that Ricky would be attending the party (good word, was there any way he could stop him?!) would prevent him from tumbling into trouble and although the Dowager Duchess would scare Ricky to unease, he would be a pleasing fourth member to the group who would be staying at Calver. The Duke’s mind wandered to the guests he had invited to the coming party. He had invited a good many people, near two hundred or so and he knew that they would all be present, attending to satisfy their curiousity if nothing else.
Anthony’s country seat had always been a subject for much discussion in Town and continually found its way in amongst the tittle-tattle; his father had died some years ago, leaving the entire estate to him and leaving the Town house to the Dowager Duchess until she found no further use of it. But the Duke had never opened his country manor in Surrey to guests and had never found cause to stay there for any long-standing amount of time.
People had gossiped and imagined the horrors that His Grace might be keeping there, being hidden away and never employed for any—what the Ton thought of as—good purpose.

But indeed there was no secret, no concealed skeletons or a surreptitious mystery of family history. Anthony was in possession of two country seats, and a superior house in Town; his second country manor was found in Sussex and it was as magnificent as it was admired. He had given many balls and parties at his estate in Sussex, and although he enjoyed only few of them, he could not have been a better host. Anthony smiled gently at Ricky’s words of reproof to him; he really had no right to be so cynical and insulting, but he was not Anthony Grey of Calver if he was not. No one in the Tonnish Circles would have guessed that he was capable of such ways; Tony enjoyed being civil when he wanted to be, just as he enjoyed being a highway-man when he had the inclination to be—when life presented itself as being particularly dull.
No one knew of his undisclosed diversion, except his younger sister, who had kept his secret faithfully to the point of telling not even her husband.

A very late and long over due part 9! Sorry! Also, I'm sorry if I have any typos or anything in this part--I have ben muddle-brained (not that that is unusual for me! lol) this week:-)

Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved. Want to see more of My Lady Miriam? Go to the Stories Page!

1 comment:

  1. Coming along nicely cupcake.

    You had me giggling along there when they were talking about dressing for supper :)

    I have three recommendations, but they are just my opinion so feel free to ignore them if you want...
    1. You used to word Madeira three times in a short space of time. Perhaps you could alter this by saying something like: "Ricky paused to refill his glass." We already know it's Madeira, so that doesn't need to be told again. Or "Tony put the lid firmly in the decanter."
    2. You keep mentioning Tony's country seat, so it would probably flow better if you make up a name for it and use that rather than "country seat."
    3. The sentence where it says "but he was not Anthony Grey of Claver if he was not." I get what you're saying, but I had to read it a few times to figure it out, so maybe that could be reworded to avoid confusion.

    Other than that it's coming along quite nicely and I'm looking forward to reading the next bit. Keep on writing!!! :D

    Oh....and you might want to change to copyright date to 2011 :P