The Art of Deception
or Pride and Extreme Prejudice
Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors. This week continues a spy story set in late Georgian England, the year before Trafalgar. Last week, Roderick quite literally ran into Alice outside of a modiste’s. This week, as something of a graduation exercise, she and another student (Lucy or Miss Haytor) are attending the Bristol assembly. Not quite a tonnish as Bath, but reasonably enjoyable – as long as one of the ‘bucks’ didn’t kick you while showing off their extravagant dance moves. Roderick’s friend Edward has taken Lucy onto the floor and Roderick has spied Alice standing with the chaperones. She is playing Lucy’s companion, and is in Roderick’s eye’s the prettiest thing in the room. He’s used one of his minor titles as a name.
“Well, would you care to dance? I might be taking my life into my hands, amongst these wild bucks, but it could be enjoyable; if we survive.”
Alice paused, Could I risk it, dancing with this French Agent? She had recognized ‘Mr Stanton’ just as much as he appeared to remember her, even if he did believe her tale; wonder which is his real name, if either?
“Or is it too much excitement for you?”
“No, it’s –it’s just that I am a paid companion, and-“
“And nothing; you’re no worse than half the cits and tradesmen here; better bred than most of the company by far. It’s not as if I’m asking you onto the floor at the Assembly Rooms in Bath where the society is nicer.”
Alice curtsied, “I’d be very pleased to dance with you, Mr Stanton; as long as my mistress, Miss Haytor, doesn’t object.”
“Since she and Edward are lining up for the next set, I think she won’t … at least as long as you don’t stop her from dancing.”
My apologies for creative punctuation.
Unlike the relatively exclusive Bath Assembly and the very exclusive parties of the ton, or the even more exclusive floor of the ‘marriage mart’ Almack’s, the Bristol Assembly would have a wide range of social classes. Cits, tradesmen, and merchants would mix with a smattering of the minor nobility to produce a party that could be, at best, a very tedious affair. At worst, it would be a very tedious and highly vulgar affair. Much like visiting the Vauxhall pleasure gardens in London, although with fewer pickpockets and prostitutes.
Alice will have to stop Lucy from dancing a third set. Twice in a row with the same man is already a tad fast.
Like poor Cecelia, “The Curious Profession of Dr Craven” is back from the dead.
I’ve released a sweet regency romance, Miss DeVere This is a fun read.
Frankenkitty is available.
What happens when teenagers get to play with Dr Frankenstien’s lab notebooks, a few odd chemicals and a great big whopping coil? Mayhem, and possibly an invitation to the Transylvanian Neuroscience Summer School.