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Bachelor Auction | 3rd Monday 9pm- Xmas 1677


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The Swan


The Swan glanced over at Lord Langdon as he stepped off the platform. She made a move toward him but another lady stepped up beside him and she changed her mind. Maybe he would see her looking toward him and  join her. She wanted to know if he had found out anything at the weaponsmith's shop, assuming he'd had time to visit it today.


Auction 11


Her attention was diverted when Lord Chichester took his place at the front of the room. He was tall, handsome, and quite appealing.  She truly looked forward to speaking with him, either tonight or tomorrow. Or both. The Swan was undecided as to whether or not to bid on him, but she found herself declaring: “Four hundred pounds!”


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Her smile was gracious as was her nod as it was acknowledged that her bid had won.

Now that it was done reaction was setting in and as she has no idea as to his true identy she again wondres if this had been a mistake.

But with smile in place she gives no evidence and now wonders how it was to proceed from here. The 'Gentleman' in question she supposes must come seek her out at the conclusion so until then ...

oh. Chichester is up now. I hope he is given satisfaction for He is deserving. I wonder who amongst all these women will offer? And Killigrew must not play with the opening amount either! 

She was pushed a lttle from behind as two ladies brushed past intent on getting a better position and so her own attention was broken and then she thinks perhaps she should attend the Seated Lady even tho others are about.

With a glance over one shoulder to the Masked Man she makes her way closer and would go round the side to quietly whisper in the ear of OWL if things were needed. She would have to craft the approach as identies were to be 'secret' still.

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Charles and Lady Butterfly, with George departing

Charles was saved from explaining that he technically did not own a hearth in London as Chichester was called to the block.

'Called to the block.' Ha! I would use the same phrase if he was walking to his execution.

"Show no fear," he advised, grinning, "and good luck."

Missed opportunity to properly make Chichester's acquaintance it might have been (and not even the first such of the day, Charles realised, belatedly recognising the other Earl from the shooting event), but Charles could not help but be thankful for Killigrew's wonderfully serendipitous timing.  Bending to kiss Sophia's offered hand, he flashed her a grin, merry wickedness dancing in his eye.

"Well then, we shall have to arrange it," he murmured. An image sprang to his mind, of Sophia reclining naked on a rug before a blazing fire, and his grin widened to bare just a hint of pointed canine. It thinned again almost immediately, as he remembered how difficult such a thing might prove to achieve. Delayed gratification was one thing, but this was rapidly becoming frustrating.

"I have missed you Psyche," he whispered as he straightened, using the motion to disguise the words. "It seems an age since we last spoke," he continued in more conversational tones. "I do not think I have had a chance to thank you properly for the invitation to the Embassy banquet, or congratulate you on its success. Yet I must take you to task. You promised that you would share your spices with me, and yet here I stand bereft." He laughed.

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Her eyes followed his progrress as his name was called out. 

One hand went to that place where her tender heart beat beneath and she wished that she was Braver. Wished that she could call out a sum that none could top.

It had been a mistake to come. She understood that now. Having to watch as another of her sex did what she could not was salt to the wound. If only she could say but a few words to him ....

Her feet moved of their own volition until she was closer and then slowed as her gaze rested on him. He looked uncomfortable not wanting this at all but Duty bound to comply. She would remain then. Standing thus and hoping that he might 'guess' at her identy for they both had looked at that Portrait and the animal was part of the Crest that adorned her Father's name.

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Charles and Lady Butterfly


The touch of his lips upon her hand and the whisper of his warm breath upon it sent a delectable heat spiraling through Sophia's small form. How was it possible that such a simple gesture could affect her so? She wanted to know what it was like for Charles to kiss her all over, to feel his bare skin against hers,  to move in rhythmical ecstasy with each other.  She longed to sing for him in pleasure, a song that would be his and his alone.


“Yes,” she breathed. The images that danced through her mind were similar to his. They were both lying naked in each other's arms on a plush rug, the flames of in the hearth throwing golden shadows over his face and body, which she traced delightfully with loving lips and fingers.


Ahh, that grin of his … the fire within her burned brighter.


“I have missed you too, dearest Eros. I have felt like a rose longing for the sun on a cloudy day. And now, finally, you are shining upon me and I can breathe again.” Charles complicated her on the banquet, bringing a blush to her cheeks. “Thank you. I am glad you enjoyed it.”


One golden eyebrow quirked subtly upward and she wondered what he wanted to reprimand her about. “I have not forgotten, but I can't very well carry spices around with me everywhere. I would smell most peculiar. Perhaps I can give them to you soon.” She lowered her voice. “I need to find a way to lose my guard dog.”

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Winners: The heat seemed to be out of the auction, with but one bid for each of the next gentlemen - and two of them (Killigrew noted) unnecessarily high. Auction 10 saw Lady Dragon win Avon, Auction 11: The Swan claimed Chichester, Auction 12: Cheeky Miles Winstanley went to One of the identical Flowers and Auction 13: saw Lady Rainbow bid and win Peregrine Osbourne.

Congratulations to all those ladies who have been successful thus far.  But please, do not despair if you've not struck it lucky yet."  He amused himself to say, "for we've been saving the best for last!   Come forward remaining Batchelors, and put your best faces forth.  Purses need to be emptied for charities sake tonight!

 Auction 14: Viscount Baintree

 Auction 15: Earl of Dorset (aka Middlesex)

 Auction 16: George Howard

 Auction 17 Man in a black mask, with gold accents

 Auction 18: Charles Somerset (Herbert)


Bidding seems done, so closing this now.   Next Auction ends at EST 17;00 sunday, at which time the follow up game (for winners of auctions) will loaded & commence. 

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He tried to not let his surprise show as a bid was forthcoming, turning he espied the lady responsible - and provided an incline to Lady Swan.  Who was she he wondered?   George's curiosity was raised.       

When done, he moved back towards... ah but no, Lady Toledo looked very engaged with Lord Chatham, exchanging quiet words. It appeared to be a private conversation. And so he settled to a place near by Peregrine (though apart from him enough to not appear connected in any way).  There he would await the Master of Revels next instruction, for all he knew thus far was that pairings were not to commence untill Killigrews word.

Peering towards Lady Swan, he saw her hair was blonde, and her gown a soft blue which ws both elegant and gentle, and quite fetching upon her too. She seemed to be a women of good taste, though with pearls rather than gems, which was almost a statment for an evening event.  George's interest grew. 

Edited by George Hardwick III
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The Demon, The Tiger & Comedy & Tragedy

She was so involved with the greeting of her friends, what with the 'tit for tat' exchange (of bidding on each others men) with Caroline, and then seconding of Anne Elizabeth’s question...

...that when she next looked the next grouping had finished!  

"La, my fishies got away from me!" She chimed cheerily with hardly a care.  She was bidding only as a sportswoman rather than a maid seeking the perfect match.  Attending this event was an amusing way to spend the evening... but the winning of men seemed ill fated due to some serious bidders out there!  

"Ooh, Alyssa, it's your Dorset" She nudged as he was announced, "You shall bid on him wont you?"  

But if there was sport still to be had, it was surely with the remining man in a mask. She was next to certain it was one of her snowball playmates, and, he was even stood right next to Herbert (who had been there also).

Having not made promises to not bid against anyone, Nicci was still more cautious now she was amongst her friends. 

"Baintree is quite the libertine..." she recommended Davina's brother to Caroline.  Nicci knew that Baintree had taken up with Elanor Needham for a time, but Eleanor had not been seen recently.  "He might prove very attentive to the right lady, he might be a bit of fun."  and Nicci knew Caroline liked fun.   

Auction 17:  "I want to bid on the man in the mask." She practically asked their permission, not quite, as she instantly raised her hand to bit, "400 pounds!"   

There, at the lest she'd outdone Davina's 375 for the other masked man.  She could feel good about that, even if some eager maiden went on to outbid her...

Keeping her eye on Lady Worchester's eldest son, the frenchwoman smiled admiring how quickly he'd grown. 

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Lady in White Mask with white Feather

Langdon did not seem to notice her - the lady in Porcelain mask pouted though nobody could tell. 

Auction 18:  "200"

While it irked her a little that Avon would probably even aprove of her bid, she thought he looked quite handsome, and fancied to meet him without all the usual fuss of guardians becoming involved. 

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Auction 15:

The Uncrowned Queen looked towards Unicorn, before calling "350"  

Unicorn did not falter before upping her bid "375"

The Uncrowned Queen "400"

Unicorn drew a slow breath, opting for a moments pause before bidding again against that woman. Bitch.  


Middlesex meanwhile found it highly amusing! 

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Charles and Lady Butterfly

Oh, the things that breathy voice did to him. Charles felt his blood quicken and warm as he imagined what Sophia might sound like entirely breathless.

"You've haunted my dreams, and your absence my days," he told her in a murmur. He had dreamed of her, too, lurid, laudanum-fuelled dreams that had left him groaning. He was quite looking forward to putting those dreams into practice. They almost made up for the pain of the migraines.

He smiled fondly as she blushed over his compliments on the banquet.

"I did rather enjoy it, yes, though perhaps not quite as much as I might have if Venus had not loomed nearby, hmm?" He waggled his eyebrows, swallowing the desire the laugh as he recalled the nickname they had devised for Toledo in the gardens.

He did allow himself to laugh as she refuted his mock-rebuke.

"Come now. If you were to walk around smelling of spices, my lady, it would soon become the latest court fashion." He waggled his eyebrows again. "And it would give me an excuse if I was caught drooling over you."

Casually, he ran an eye over the crowd.

"He is about, then?" he asked quietly, raising his brandy to his lips to hide the words.

He might have continued, but he almost choked on his drink as he heard the Unicorn's voice ring out to enter a bid for Dorset. He coughed, hoping that he had misheard, and felt relief flood him as she was immediately outbid.

Whoever you are, I could kiss you, wrinkled dowager or insipid debutante!

The flood was stifled in an instant, though, as the Unicorn promptly embarked on a bidding war.

That's my money, you grasping bitch!

With an effort, Charles shelved his thoughts of murdering the Unicorn (and Dorset, just on general principles) and returned his attention to Sophia.

"Have you had any further thoughts on how you might escape him?"

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The Lady Demon seemed content to stay in a clutch of other ladies -- Tiger and Comedy/Tragedy, so Charles kept observing.  As the Lady in the white porcelain mask approached, who he knew to be Avon's sister, he gave her a smile.  She bid for a Herbert.  The Bee, whom he suspected was his Davina, bid on the man in the silver mask.  He could hardly feel jealous since she was bidding on someone unknown.  She won.  Lady Dragon, who he suspected was Fiona, had not won a bid but he gave her a nod too.  His Swan was bidding on Chichester of all people.  That seemed curious to him.  He supposed the man was an Earl, but as a former Catholic that confessed to killing again his dead fiancé, he was a bit of an odd fellow.  He would ask her about that later, he supposed.

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Charles and Lady Butterfly


Just the sound of his voice sent lovely sensations coursing through her veins. “I have dreamed of you as well, many times,” she revealed with a smile that was both shy and coquettish. “And when I awoke, there was a hunger inside me … a craving … that still has not gone away. I don't think it will be assuaged until you make me yours.”


Her gaze meandered to the stage and the gentleman currently being auctioned. “If I was single, I would have won you, no matter how high your price.”


Sophia chuckled at Charles' nickname for Esteban. “Even if Venus had not presided over her festival, there were too many people about for me to do justice to my adoration for you. I wish we would have had a chance to speak at least.”


Another lilting laugh. “Perhaps I shall try wearing spices instead of perfume and see if it catches on. Until then, you shall have to drool for me in secret.”


Unexpectedly, he seemed to choke on a sip of brandy and she reached over impulsively and grasped his free hand in concern. The moment her skin touched his, a jolt of pure pleasure shot through her. Her hand trembled. “Are you all right?” she asked, managing to keep her voice steady.  Those many years of vocal training were useful for more than singing.


As to her bodyguard: “He is waiting outside in the corridor with the other servants. Unless there is a hidden door in this room, I cannot leave without him seeing me. I know where the entrance to the servants' passageways are in the music room, but he might notice the absence of my voice and become suspicious unless there are a lot of people there playing instruments and singing. The chance of that is rather rare.


She might be able to feign another headache and sneak out of the house, but she planned to do that tomorrow and wanted to see if she succeeded before she suggested it again.


Reluctantly dropping her hand back to her side, Sophia sighed. “Do you have any ideas that will get me away from him?”


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Auction 14:  Just when it seemed that Baintree was to be turned in - Brown Owl, such a dimiutative creature you would think, lifted her hand and bid.  Partridge gave a satisfied smile.   

 Auction 15:  The Uncrowned Queen was satisfied when her competiton desisted, but more than masked lady were holdign back to bid at the last minute.  As Tiger bid 425,  Unicorn went to 450, Tiger had more reserves still and so bid a bold 500.  600 bid Unicorn in recless heat of the moment, and that was what it took to claim Dorset.

 Auction 16: George Howard, surprsingly, recieved no bids either, but that was when Partidges minion Brown Owl lifted her hadn and bit 200.  Again the Queen gave a pleased nod, though she would be having words with her ladies that had not risen to the occaision and played this matchmaing game.   

 Auction 17 Comedy & Tragedy had expected fierce competition for the man in Black mask (with gold accents especially, for everyone knows gold is more special than silver) - but surprisingly her bid sat leading till the auction closed!   

 Auction 18: Charles Somerset (Herbert) - 200 Lady with white feather



"Congratulations Lords and Ladies, please assemble!"

Mr Killigrew wrapped up and taking up a slip of paper cleared his throat to read out the details for those winners present. “Here is where anyone who did not win may depart the room… Thank you for your attendance, but the further sport is reserved for winners only, under the supervision of The Most Treasured Lady Partridge.”

A swarm of servants moved in and removing the rooms chairs (except for that of Partidges) replaced them with 18 love seats

Once the room was emptied of needless spectators, Mr Killigrew progressed with reading out the rules of the game. 



"The game is called Mystery/Genie.  Much like a genie who grants the one liberating it three wishes, the Gentlemen must grant the Masked Ladies three requests – during which they may hope to guess their Masked Ladies identity." 

"Just three utterances, and just three replies."

"Then you need depart company through separate doors… perchance an eternal attraction is discovered your hearts shall dwell upon it over the next few months until, upon spring season arrival it might further blossom."



OOC: Three posts each, then end, no continuances allowed.  Note, we are extremely close to our new season opening (est 2 weeks now)

love seat.jpg

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Charles and Lady Butterfly

Charles smiled. There was something wonderfully alluring, and indeed refreshing, in the simple purity of Sophia's coquetry.

"Keep talking like that and I'll 'assuage' your hunger here and now," he threatened playfully.

My, but my restraint is worn thin today.

He laughed gently as her gaze turned to the auction.

"It would not have beggared you I think," he said, self-mockery dancing in his voice and eye.

The conversation flowed merrily on through the topic of the Embassy banquet, until the auction saw fit to interfere. Charles half choked on his brandy as he realised just who was bidding on Dorset. He recovered his equanimity with an effort, only to almost lose it immediately as Sophia grasped his hand.

No, we can't carry her off to a secluded corner. The Queen may be present.

"I'm fine," he assured her with a quick smile, his thumb quite unconsciously stroking along the back of her hand. He took another sip from his glass, managing this time to swallow properly as he considered the problem of Sophia's watchdog.

"I don't know the layout of the palace or London well enough to plan properly," he confessed reluctantly. "Is there anywhere he might leave you unattended?" A flash of inspiration struck, a thought that seemed to him simultaneously so brilliant and so blasphemous that it had to be of divine providence.

"The old Queen's chapel," he breathed. "It will not be a popular spot, with the current political clime. Tell him that you are considering converting, or have converted, and wish to pray in privacy. I can conceal myself there ahead of time, and we shall have at least some time and freedom." He looked at Sophia. "Unless you can think of some reason it will not work?"

Called away to attend the Sun

He was distracted once again as the Unicorn placed another bid on Dorset. A flicker of murderous rage (that was no more than two thirds financially motivated, somewhat to his discomfort) seized him and was forced down to be dealt with later.

She has money from her widow's portion. She will have used that, surely.

If she hasn't I'll flay her.

He sighed as Killigrew announced the end of the public proceedings.

"It seems I must bid you adieu, and enter the service of lady masked like the Sun, but who by comparison seems less than a candle. Think of me, sweet Psyche, as I will think of you."

He looked about for the Sun, and made his approach. He was in a somewhat ill temper now, for a host of reasons, but the occasion (and the onlooking Partridge, who he now guessed was the Queen) demanded that he maintain his decorum.

"My lady," he said, sweeping a bow and flowing through all the other requisite pleasantries before escorting her to the nearest loveseat.

"Your first request?"

Edited by Charles Audley
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She had not expected to win.  Did not even think 'winning' was sensible, not for multiple reasons, namely Louis, CR & Buckingham.  "Oh dear, how did that happen." She whispered to her friends before, with well wishing in the way of squeezing of hands, they separated towards respective gentlmen...

Nicci moved towards her Masked & Gold man

Comedy & Tragedy & Black Mask (with gold accents)  

“Enchantee.” The lady dipped a pretty curtsy with the extension of her hand, allowing her gentleman to gift her the courtesy of assisting her to the seat.  Nicci was not one of those girls what bothered with acting independent, she was more than happy to be fussed about (fully belief that gentleman enjoyed the fussing over pretty ladies.)

“My dear masked, man, I am dying to ask, was the mask your own idea or His Majesties? It makes you look so mysterious -  oh but did it hide your look of surprise when Mr Killigrew read out the Kings Mischief upon the bidding today?”  She laughed musically, for she had guessed that CR would not have told the young man what was in the note that they have brought with them.  Cheerily she declared, “The English King, he is so playful.”   

Edited by Nicolette Vauquelin
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Chichester & The Swan

It did not take that much longer for the bidding to be all done. 

Meanwhile George had come to wonder if his bidder might be the lady he'd contacted just the day before. She had said they might meet today, if not at the Chess game tomorrow.  Wrack his brain, he could not think of anyone else who might bid.  He was at least relieved that Swan did not have brown hair, for he hoped that Frances had accepted her situation (he could not be part of any delusion otherwise.) 

The game was announced, and the angular Lord Chichester approached the Swan, and bowing to her uttered, "Please accept my gratitude, for as Mr Killigrew said I indeed feel freed to discover your kind company." 

He knew that whoever this lady was, her heart must be gentle to consider him kindly.  Helping her to place, he settled upon the chairs alternative side with ine leg cocked out as he held a half turned position that he might view her.  What would she ask of him he wondered, or would she actually ask anything at all?    

Edited by George Hardwick III
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Things progressed rapidly after that and she was glad that George received a good amount yet as to who had bid remained a mystery. As for herself after hearing the "Rules' from Kiligrew she had to change her route away from OWL and re-focus on the Masked Man In Silver.

With the room thinned out it was no hardship to find him and so she went.

"Well Sir. T'would seem that You and I are now a 'pair'." Her manner quiet and calm.

She smiled gave a small curtsey and extended her hand for his Salute. All the while her blue eyes assessed judging heigth and shape based upon the Gentlemen she knew already.

"Or are you merely the representative hence the mask and some other shall take your place?"

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Bee & Black Mask w. Silver

It was easy to locate the lady with bee mask - and upon doing so bowed with a kiss to her gloved hand, "Good evening."   

"I do not know that pair is the right word to use, but rather partners in a game of charity." the young man replied with more caution than the lady.  He was tall, with dark curly hair, and eyes of blue were evident through his mask. 

Seats were then taken, and she lodged her first question. 

He was surprised at the angle she took, and gave a laugh as he replied, "Does Lady Bee find my company lacking so quickly - this is a sting!" he touched his heart, but then did answer. "I am representative of myself only, though I shall admit that an exchange out of this game appeals. To many times do I find myself thrust, that I do not find any fun in the process." Was his first reply, honestly spoken. 


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Bee With Black Mask w Silver 

They sat and he responded making her smile at his comment.

"Hmmm .... so You are You yet inclined to the 'idea' of being another often enough that it bears repeating. Now you have tugged at my own heart and yet tis I that must request the granting of said three wishes. What shall I do?"

Here she gave a small shake of her dark head her own blue eyes holding his equally blue ones. Her mind thinking to those that had his color of hair coupled with the eyes and his height.

"And so now I must ask for three things. Easy or difficult? That too was not specified but it would be unfair to make the level so high since I do not know your Situation. Yet His Majesty has said He will match the winning bid so that will mean that YOU are somehow attached."

"Very well."

She sat a bit straighter her smile on display.

"The First. The first dance at the first Ball come Spring.

The Second. The name of the Establishment that your trim is from. With a reference."

"The Third. The Third  ..."

This was not as easy as she'd first thought. Her first two were not difficult things for him to grant. Yet the last must be sufficient to warrant the coin being pledged on both sides. It was not as if she could request time alone with His Majesty! Not Really.

"Let me ask - based upon the two already said will it benefit me to stay that level or aim Higher - in your eyes. This is not a 'wish' merely a prelude to it. And since I have but one reply left and you have two I do not want to waste it."  

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Bee With Black Mask w Silver 

She misunderstood him to think he wanted to be someone else.  She had asked if he was to remain or would swap out with another, and that was what he'd agreed appealed, for the event was truly awkward.  "Oh so that was not the first request already?" he replied as she begun a set of three wishes (after he'd answered one question thinking that was the first request over and done with.

"Do you intend us to wear these masks to the spring ball, how else could I find you otherwise? I need say Lady Bee, that it seems like a breech of the nature of the event to not be commencing some manner of guessing game, for all you have asked thus far is for me to betray my identity to you plainly."

"My trim is a tailors innovation, I do not have an account number to give you, he is content to accept my family name." 

She begun making a third request with a preamble though phrased as a question.  "I am afraid I do not understand what you ask of aiming higher or lower - although it is evident that you are very anxious, so may I suggest you take a breath and discover your calm before continuing."

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Bee With Black Mask w Silver 

She sat back her smile replaced by the narrowing of her eyes and the sparkle therein no doubt highlighted by the many candles placed about.

"We are, or so I have heard from Master Killigrew, meant to be conducting this in some haste hence I dispensed and went straight to the point. I have offended you so it seems and thus offer apology. I am provided with a clue as to your personality and another by your desire to instruct me."

"I shall play the Game."

She made to handle her slow boil temper at his remarks.

"Now that is an idea! I wonder how many of us here now will have that same idea and wear it come Spring? Yet I have tried to place you simply by what I hear and see. I also think there is someone present that may know who you are as there is one for me."

"What say you? You are a Gentleman by manner and dress yet my curisoity is great as to why you wear a mask. Why must you be thus is the question I am sure all in this Company want to know! Tis Clever all the same."

"My question was so couched because I do not know WHO you are and I have no wish to cause you a distress by making a 'wish' that is beyond what you can do."

He also provided no clues as to his identy with his answers to her two wishes. And she in turn was kinder by giving 'clues' to her own personality by stating that she didn't want to run him to ruin and thus was kind-hearted!

"I am being long-winded as this is my last and I want to be clear."

She tilted her head a bit to one side studying him. Then gave a small nod her smile appearing again.

"Now you must do the same of me. That will be your last as well."

"Here then is my Third. When this is completed and identies are known and since we seem to have begun on the wrong foot and IF we two are in agreement then I shall Wish that a fresh beginning is made."

"You spend time in my company."

This might be a dangerous thing to do as he was still unknown to her and if he proved to be some odious Gentleman then she was well and truly stuck. Yet she was curious enough as well to see what might happen

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Bee With Black Mask w Silver 

She had conscience enough to go on to apologise for he brusque manner, explaining it away as, oh yes, it was his fault. "I think you must have seen madam that I am a man of honour first and foremost." he stated, beneath his mask his brow rumpled of the difficult situation.  What was he to do?! 

"Well that is true, my companion gentleman in black mask knows my identity."  Said he with a glance in that direction. He'd given the lady in Bee mask his complete attention before then, and returned it to her now.

She wished for a further meeting, despite how this one had gone.   There was quiet between, and then he spoke. "I should not refuse your demands, so let us plan a meeting in the queens gardens next spring, we in our masks and there a dance to be had." beneath his mask his face flushed, while his heartbeat raced with what he now did.  "Err, and I shall supply you with the name of the lace maker too."  Her second wish had been the strangest one, he supposed it was to work out the wealth level of his family.  His was no discounted store lace. 

"It is months away yet, but I will wait for you on the 5th of April as the sun sets." 


And there, it was their three. Arising the young gentleman bowed to said lady. The women’s exit was out the main doors, while the gents was through a smaller discovered near the back of the room.

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Charles and Lady Butterfly parting


“I wish you could,” Sophia replied in an equally playful manner. The deep resonance of his voice was alluring and though there was a respectable distance between them, it seemed that she could feel the heat of his body permeating her own.


And oh, the ecstasy that consumed her when Charles stroked the back of her hand with his thumb! It was like a small taste of the pleasure they would share if they could find a way to sneak off together.


Though at first it appeared as if he didn't have any ideas to add to her own, Charles soon suggested a brilliant solution.  Sophia grinned enthusiastically. “Yes! I think it will work. He must know that my lord husband wishes me to convert, and I think he will leave me alone if I tell him I wish to pray for guidance in a Catholic church. We should try it.”


Before they could make plans, the auction ended and it was time for them to go their separate ways. “You will always dance through my thoughts, my darling Eros, as you dance through my dreams.” In truth, she didn't always dream of him. Juan figured most prominently in her nighttime fantasies, but she did dream of him often, along with Lord Dundarg and Lord Arundel ... fortunately, not all at the same time.


Sophia watched him join the lucky lady that had won him and then she left with the other courtiers who had not participated. Her carriage was halfway home when she realized that she had not given Charles the letter she had written to him.



~finis~ for Sophia


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The Sun, the Moon, and Charles


The Sun and the Moon were still together as Charles approached them. “It is a pleasure to meet you, my lord,” the Sun said with a mischievous smile. As he escorted her to the loveseat, she grabbed the Moon's hand and dragged her along. Though she sat down, as soon as he asked for her first request, she stood up again. “Please excuse me for a few moments. While I am gone, my companion the Moon will take my place and I will give my requests to her.”


The Moon stepped backwards at the Sun's announcement, and Charles would be able to see surprise and fear in her eyes that might seem familiar to him. The Sun hurried away, and the Moon stared at the one-eyed Earl for a moment and then took the seat her companion had just vacated, perching on the edge of it as if ready to flee at any moment.


The look in her eyes changed from fright to determination. “Tell me a secret about you,” she said. “Something that nobody else knows.”


Could it be that she was trying to make him uncomfortable?


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George and the Swan


As George approached the Swan, he would see a polite smile beneath her half-mask and curiosity and intelligence in her lovely blue eyes. He was certainly gallant, she thought as he bowed to her. “Then perhaps this game shall be a time of discovery for both of us,” she replied.


Lord Chichester was very courteous, assisting her into her seat before taking his own. He was more attractive up close than he had been at a distance, and she liked the cultured sound of his voice. For a moment, she studied him thoughtfully. She had not known what would happen after the auction was over, and was not sure what to ask of him.


“I don't want to force you into making promises you might not wish to keep, my lord,” she began. “I simply wish to enjoy the pleasure of your company. So I shall ask you this: what would you like to do for me?”

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Comedy/Tragedy, Demon, and Tiger


“He's not my Dorset,” Anne-Elisabeth laughed. “And no, I'm not going to bid on him. I don't want him to think I'm one of those insipid creatures with marriage on their minds, though if he gives me a 'save me' look, I'll probably go to his rescue.” And then he'll owe me a favor.


Claiming her prize


The ladies split up when the game was announced, since they had all won a gentleman. The Countess confidentially sauntered up to Master May and smiled warmly. “I am delighted to make your acquaintance,” she said, holding her hand up to be kissed. With the pleasantries out of the way, she preceded him over to one of the loveseats so that he could watch her hips swing back and forth seductively. After they were both settled, Anne-Elisabeth leaned toward him, the fingers of one hand trailing nonchalantly upon the plush fabric of the divider which separated them.


“First, my dear Master May, I have a question for you: What would you suggest that an enterprising young lady do if she wants to come to the attention of the King and gain his favor?”


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