Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Duke

What terrible weather we've been having.

After enduring three painful days of sultry heat with nary a hint of summer rain, I dared to set foot outside the house for a bit. Otherwise it's quite possible that the creeping ennui would drive me insane. A settling boredom only enlivened by matchmaking mamma's exhaustive pleas for me to finally settle down in the country to produce an heir. Obviously discounting the doting grandchildren she already has courtesy of my devoted brother.

For the sake of my sanity - and possibly hers, I escaped into the city despite the anxious cries of my aged retainer warning me of the sweltering heat.

In retrospect, I should have taken his advice. As soon as I alighted from the carriage, I was overcome by the devastating onslaught of infernal heat. Fell short of an embarassingly unmanly swoon though I staggered towards the steps. Surely I must have looked quite the sight - standing still at the fine shops with my coat soaked in perspiration. I could swear even my perfectly tied neckcloth had wilted under the sun.

Charles Grey
Good evening, my lord!

Still, a gentleman has to persist especially when one has heard of the latest drama involving my darling friend, Georgiana. Ever since our beloved G unashamedly flaunted her clandestine affaire with Charles Grey before the critical eyes of the haut ton - and her cuckolded husband, the ensuing scandal has become the talk of the town. According to the latest whispered on-dits, a troupe of budding thespians had gotten it into their heads to re-enact the tale in a stage play loosely based on G's shockingly eventful life.

Even the exacting Lady Fiona had braved the teeming crush of the great unwashed to catch the afternoon matinee, adeptly eluding the anxious clutches of her eagle-eyed duenna who would have been horrified that her innocent charge had elected to patronize such an unseemly locality. Had her nervous duenna only but seen the swarthy, mustachioed gentleman who followed in Lady Fiona's wake, no doubt she'd have soon succumbed to the vapours as she frequently threatened in our youth!

Still, dressed simply but charmingly in jonquil muslin topped with a decidedly modish hat, no one could have mistaken Fiona for anything but Quality. Full of news, Fiona was, telling me how G would be astonished at how closely they had copied every mundane occasion in her short life, no matter how shockingly trivial.

Fiona : Utterly scandalous, my love. But alas, there was not much our beloved G could do once the story had gotten out. The very detail right down to the very shade of her embroidered slippers!
Paul : Ingenious! No doubt those below stairs have been talking.
Fiona : Indeed! I fancy they've even gotten wind of her poor Eliza.
Paul : Good gracious.
Fiona : Dear me! I see my sweet foreigner over there waving desperately for me so I have to take my leave. Now tell me, you wretch, what is this I hear of a ball at Blackwater?
Paul : Merely a passing rumour, my dear delight.
Fiona : Fie on you, my lord. I have already placed my order of a lilac spider-gauze gown at this dreadfully expensive French dressmaker's. Clarimonde's. Simply ravishing. You simply dare not disappoint me!
Paul : Be warned! I shall serve insipid lemonade just to spite you.
Fiona : Wretch. I beg of you not to speak of such absurdities! Why, I daresay you cherish your reputation too much to spoil it with such poor entertainment!

Remind me to make a note with my man that I am to host a soiree soon.

Since my latest paramour would no doubt hold such a scandalous theatrical in the utmost abhorrence, I headed to the theatre on my lonesome. Quite a high stickler for the rigid rules of societal convention, my worthy country squire Sir Calvin. Much too painful to endure his disparaging criticisms of our beloved G and her dissipated high-born ways. Not to mention our moralistic Calvin just might follow his particular discourse on the infamous vagaries of the Upper Ten Thousand with a brief lecture on my own ramshackle manners.

Appropriately titled The Duchess - leaving no one in any doubt of who it was intended for - the staged play was not of long duration, but it lasted for quite long enough to enable me to see that the discerning writers had gotten Georgiana Cavendish true to form. Even down to the last downy ostrich feather on her charmingly bewigged head. Small wonder the talented ingenue who undertook G's pivotal role was swamped by swooning admirers brimming with flattering accolades backstage.

Miss Knightley is certainly deserving of her plaudits though I was far from joining the select circle worshipping at her dainty slippered feet. One besotted suitor, a fresh pup barely out of his shortcoats, even took to likening her feet to gentle rosebuds dipped in winter frost.


My gaze wandered away however as the other players made their expected appearances. Now there was one worthy of a flowery sonnet. Fancy I should pay a particular visit to the actor who played the role of Mr Grey. Certainly a fine specimen of British manhood. A Mr Dominic Cooper? Surely an enterprising young gentleman of his calibre is in need of a devoted patron?

Surely Sir Calvin wouldn't mind me having a little harmless dalliance with the working classes?


Janvier said...

Now if Dominic Cooper did come down and reenact that scene in Brighton for the play...

Life for Beginners said...

Ah, I still believe Ms. Knightley's got at least a couple of great performances in her... she's still young, years to come... :)

Perky said...

Calvin would probably not mind you having a little harmless dalliance with the working classes... provided he's in on it too! ;)

Legolas said...

Oh yeah, I'm totally on it.

savante said...

Oh yes, if only he would get to Bath, janvier :)

Love most of her performances, life. But then again I've always been a huge fan of period pieces.

That's true, perky. Always good to share.