Bella and Vittoria . . .

Rebecca Bingham continues the story of The Masked Ball.  It seems we are getting close to actually sighting the amulet and finding out what it does.  As you can see (which is probably more than the three of us can!) the amulet will be pivotal to the plot (what plot, you may ask?) and pivotal to the drama of The Masked Ball.   

“My dear Vittoria, I am charmed to see you again. Thank you so much for coming to call.” Bella hugged her friend. “Would you like to come to my

bedchamber? We can be private there and I will have tea sent up.”


“Ooh, let’s!  I have so much to say and, truth to tell, I would prefer not to air my tender feelings publicly. I am certain that you understand!”   

“I do indeed.  I wish to hear everything about Sir Unicorn (shall we call him that to conceal his identity?).  And, of course, I am intrigued by your costume.  I must know more.”  Leading the way upstairs, Bella turned and whispered, “I want to show you the pendant.  I cannot tell you how it intrigues me.  I begin to think I must be quite mad to be so mesmerized by a simple piece of jewelry.”   

“Yes, I would love to see it,” Vittoria said as she settled herself amongst the pale green striped cushions.  “But first, I simply must see the gown you found in your Grandmama’s trunks.  It sounds deliciously risqué!  I wonder you were able to persuade your Mama to allow you to wear it.”   

“Oh she was adamant,” responded Bella.  “I was unable to convince her to reconsider, despite pointing out that I would be masked and therefore unrecognizable.  Very unreasonable of her, in my opinion.  She would not even allow me to keep the gown in my wardrobe.”  Then, brightening, “But I do have a small picture of Grandmama wearing the gown and she looks impressive.   


Unfortunately, brother Charles commented that he felt certain the gown would look quite different on my person than it did on Grandmama. He was so disagreeable as to use the phrase meager attributes,” Bella snorted. 

For a moment, the two girls stared at each other.  Then Vittoria began to giggle.  “Oh my.  What a thing to say!  How could he dare!”   

Bella grinned back.  “Well, his statement was not precisely inaccurate, I must admit.  Just unchivalrous and annoying.  In any event, I am now completely nonplussed about what to wear.”   

Conversation was halted by the arrival of the tea tray.  Once served however, the two young ladies settled in for a long gossip about costumes and the Ball, with a lengthy detour to discuss in detail the many virtues of Sir Unicorn’s handsome face, elevating personality, and perfectly-formed physique. This last topic, accompanied by a good deal of blushing laughter, occupied their attention for some time, but eventually the subject reached a lull.  “Oh,” sighed Vittoria, “I’m afraid I am become quite obsessed.  I must attempt to exercise some restraint.  Besides, you have not yet shown me the amulet and I am agog to see it.”   

Bella rose and went toward the bed.  To Vittoria’s surprise, she did not open the drawer in the bedside table, but instead reached beneath the mattress to pull out a small object wrapped in white velvet.  Bella noticed the mystification on the face of her friend and said, “I see you are perplexed.  Well, the truth is that I did not show it to Mama at first – although I am at a loss to explain why I did not.  And then, when she took back the gown I was glad I had not yet had the opportunity to reveal it.  I do not want to give it up, you see, and I am afraid she might not want me to have it. I am unaccountably drawn to it and I have a feeling about it…” So saying, she unwrapped the little parcel and laid its contents on the table.  Vittoria leaned forward to look . . .   

A lesson . . . –>