Welcome to the Masked Ball . . .
‘Excellencies, Honoured Guests, ladies and gentlemen . . . and charming Others of course,’ the Direttore’s lips gave that curious twist that was a contained smile and so very much his signature.
He threw out his arms, encompassing the glittering chamber. ‘Such a sight!’ He took a deep breath and smiled.
‘I am ever conscious of the efficacy of shortened speeches, especially on a night such as this when we have an orchestra par excellence and feet that are tapping the floor waiting. I therefore wish only to welcome you and request that you do nothing but enjoy this remarkable evening.’ He smiled again, the black eyes glittering so that he could almost be Other himself and yet we knew him not to be. The candelabra flame shone on what remained of his exquisitely oiled hair and the large diamond stud in his cravat flashed cold fire. ‘But just before the festivities begin, and if you will allow, I should like to thank my lady board-members and ask them to say just a word or two. Sarina?’
Sarina glided to the front of the podium. She is a tall and elegant woman who is lucky still to have a head of the most glorious nutmeg-coloured hair which was pinned on her head with seductive wisps trailing. I watched Hugh watch her and was proud. ‘My friends,’ she said clearly and as ever, lacking in verbosity. ‘Welcome and enjoy!’
While she spoke, Parthenope took her place at her side and my darling artist friend in her memorable gown with dashing sword, took the audience by the shoulder and shook it, which is really her want in life I suppose. ‘Oh my dears, do indulge!’ It was an order rather than a comment. ‘There are things planned for this evening that will surprise the most unsurprisable!’
I took my place by their sides and the Direttore slipped his arm through mine. I stared straight at Niccolo
who lounged in his leathers against a pillar.
‘Indeed Veniche, dance until you can dance no more. And to open the Ball may I ask Lady Marie Burton to join the Direttore as they open the ball to the strains of The Etcetera? Direttore? Lady Marie?’ I indicated the dance floor and the orchestra began to play, the guests taking their partners. I stepped down toward Ser de Fleury . . .
NB: We suggest you go to the Masked Ball tab, then to Dances and then to The Etcetera link. All competition entries throughout the programme tonight may be uploaded into Home page comment.
(Sarina): How lovely everything looks. The catering staff has really done a superb job.
Sarina, Have you seen the plethora of escorts tonight. I want to sit with a quill and describe them. (See next post)
*clapping, clapping, clapping* for each of the Charmed Circle members. So lovely to be here. We had a little trouble at the start. One of our carriage horses lost a shoe at the gate. Unfortunately, the horse that replaced it was one of the oldest and so the traveling pace was much slower than what we expected.
Parthenope: I’m delighted to finally meet you. Lucia has raved about you ever since we have been aquainted.
A pleasure to meet you as well Signora. I wonder if I may trouble you. Where may I find the stanza di polvere? We must freshen up a bit? -Lady Vee
ahem – actually, i must go and make myself a mochaccino before i can continue on -vvb ;-D
(Sarina): With your talent, dear Lucia… but I do wonder whom else will be comine. I see faces I do not recognize.
Parthenope: I’m so glad you could all be here! The first dance is always a rouser, isn’t it?
I am exhausted. Oh there’s Lady Vee and Faustina. I am so glad you could come. Have you danced? And do describe your escort . . . after all you know mine. Niccolo? NICCOLO! Gd, he’s vanished again!
(Sarina): I think I hear the orchestra playing The Etcetera. I will go take a peek.
Sarina, the strains are almost at the end. Grab Hugh or shall miss out!
Lucia: I can’t find Niccolo. He danced with me, placed me on a chaise, kissed me and said he would find me a glass of champagne. But he hasn’t returned. I am so glad he discarded the leather tunic, but I notice the leather breeches are still with us. At least the boots are polished and the hair is pulled back.
Bravo! Bravissimo! Everything has been arranged to perfection.
Parthenope: Miss Faustina, would you care to become acquainted with my niece, Vittoria? I see her coming across the floor towards us.
Lucia: Oh Parthenope, i am so glad you have met Faustina. Have you met Lady Vee?
Parthenope: I would have known her anywhere from your description of her, and have made so bold as to introduce myself.
Ladies! Did you see the Bard in the corner over there? He is telling a story. Something to do with the Ball.
(Venus to Mars): My Lucia, Sarina and Parthenope have really outdone themselves, haven’t they, dear.
(Mars thinks): Mmmm, how I love Regency dresses. All those busoms warring to escape. Yum. Yum>
Lucia: Mars! Venus! How delightful! And as risque as ever i see. Have you heard the Bard telling a story based on the Ball?
It mirrors our real-life. Quite terrifying in a way!
Parthenope: I see that a new chapter of the story has appeared. Shall we meet again at the end of it?
Venus to herself: Oooh, that Niccolo. He’s so gorgeous. If Mars weren’t here …
Lucia: I agree. As a writer, I love to read and listen to stories. If you see NICCOLO, tell him where I am!
Parthenope: Venus, I must confess that his form is indeed god-like (you should know), but unfortunately his face puts me in mind of a weasel. Sir Hugh, a on the other hand…
(Sarina): Forgive my tardiness. I danced a bit too vigorously and tore a flounce. Usually it’s at least 3 or 4 dances before that catastrophe occurs. Lady Vee, Faustina, Mme. de Milo and Msr. de Guerre — a pleasure to see you all.
Lucia: Come on you lazybones! Move over to the corner where is the Bard. I shall see you there.
(Sarina): The sum of masculine er, presence in this room is truly invigorating. Oh — and Lucia, isn’t that Niccolo over there? Oh, no, gone again. And apparently taken Hugh with him.
I met Niccolo in passing as we entered. He seemed to be in a hurry. Everything loves absolutely lovely. I would love to meet Vittoria! -Faustina
Lady Vee, it is a pleasure to make your acquaintance. I hear of your activities a great deal. Your gown is lovely. And Faustina is charming.
Is it my imagination or is that woman in the puce gown signaling to someone with her fan? I vow, she is. Now, quick! To whom is she signaling?
Parthenope: Lucia, you do know how to keep a party on the hop!