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Fern-hunting parties became popular, allowing young women to get outside in a seemingly innocuous pursuit with less rigid oversight and chaperoning than they saw in parlors and drawing rooms. They may have even had the occasional romantic meetup with a similarly fern-impassioned beau. — Bree


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WANTED:

Bunny Devon for Anne Devon. My fair lady of the night
Separating was also not a great idea, though they weren't doing great at staying together anyway. If she were to volunteer to be the human sacrifice.. well... Hogsmeade had plenty of debutantes anyway...

Barnabas Skeeter in CYOA: Group D


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Well-Traveled

Complete threads set in ten different forum locations. Threads must have at least ten posts, and three must be your own. Character accounts cannot be combined.

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Edge of All You Knew
#1
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...yeah it's starting now,
Why are you running from your own crowd?
Where are you going and what do you plan to do
When you reach that edge girl, of all you knew?

29th April, 1888 — Fudge and Son's Desserterie
Elsbeth Lupin
With all they were planning for May Day, the errands were endless. This was no bad thing, of course. Jude always felt better with something to work towards. He'd already picked up the rest of the flyers from the printer's - in large bundles, tied up with string - and dropped off the last of the pamphlet designs to be printed. The printer's shop was on a little side alley, off a larger muggle street which Jude now took a brief detour down to a little bookshop he quite liked. There was more he had to do, but he'd had a letter saying an order he'd requested had come in, shipped from New York - and, well, the rest of the week would only get busier: if he didn't pick it up today, it'd be sitting there for at least a week.

He was making good progress nonetheless, he decided upon turning back towards the magical alleys, the Augurey his destination for the rest of the afternoon. Admittedly, he'd been going to have lunch there as usual - the food being cheap, and the company all familiar, and it being generally empty enough to work - but the scent of fresh baking wafted his way as the passed Fudge and Son's, and Jude... couldn't quite resist.

Not only had he treated himself to a Danish pastry, but he also dug out the new book he'd picked up, entitled Women and Men, by Thomas Wentworth Higginson (who, despite being a muggle and an American, had plenty of admirable things to say about the sexes) and began to skim the essays.

Jude blamed the book for seeing him sit at one of the desserterie's tables for far longer than he'd intended; once he realised just how long it had been, he leapt up and gathered his things to be on his way. Only - scarcely ten minutes later, he stopped in his tracks and winced at himself, rifling through his things. He'd left the book on the table.

With a frown, Jude briskly retraced his steps, the bell jangling as he entered the shop again and scanned the room for the table he'd sat at, hoping against hope that it was still laying there.



#2
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Elsbeth wasn't often in London, but when she was, she made sure to stop for sweets to bring home for Leo and Lysander. Mostly Leo, but she did like Lysander a bit and so would get him a few as well. It wasn't his fault he was a half-vampire. That was his father's doing, which made Elsbeth not get August any sweets, though that likely didn't bother him anyway.

She placed her rather large, extravagant order to be sent home to Wellingtonshire. Once that was done, she ordered some fudge for herself and settled at a table near the window so that she could eat and people watch. Only, there was a book on the table that had distracted her from it. As she daintily nibbled at her fudge, she scanned the cover. Women and Men. She'd never heard of it, nor the author. It did not occur to her that snooping through a stranger's book was inconsiderate - and even if it had occurred, she'd have ignored it.

Elsbeth flipped through the thing one-handed, briefly scanning the pages but not reading anything. She'd expected there to be sketches of anatomy or descriptions of sex somewhere with a title like that, but thus far she was coming up empty handed. She looked up as someone entered the shop and looked right at her. Making the assumption that this book belonged to him, she asked cheekily, "Where are the dirty bits?"
#3
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It didn’t take too long to spot the right table, although Jude did stop and look over for a moment before approaching, surprised to see that the blonde woman sat there was leafing through it without qualm.

“Excuse me?” Jude returned, the apology about forgetting his book there slipping away in favour of his eyebrows knitting. “What -” he had started to ask, but he glanced down at his book again and recalled its title, reconsidering. The possibility of being misled by the phrase was not something that had - even faintly - occurred to him, so it took a moment before it clicked; and even so it was the last thing he had expected anyone to say, not least a well-dressed woman in a sweetshop. “It’s not that sort of book,” Jude said finally, feeling it necessary to impress this just in case she hadn’t been joking.

It was a contentious book in its own right, of course, but Jude liked to think that even if he had owned a single publication with the kind of ‘dirty bits’ her tone well suggested she had meant, he wouldn’t have been lewd enough to read it in the middle of the desserterie.



#4
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"Pity," She said dryly, "I had hoped for some entertainment. No matter then," She wiggled once, an exaggerated motion that she had settled into her seat, and motioned toward the chair across from her, "Have a seat and tell me what this book actually is about. They're taking forever to get my order ready and you appear to be my cure for boredom."

It had occurred to her that he likely had things to do and places to go, but she wasn't bothered by it. She'd hold his book hostage until she was satisfied with their interaction. Besides, she couldn't exactly ask to borrow the book. Elsbeth hated reading, unless it contained 'dirty bits.' The title of the book had intrigued her. Rather than read it herself, she would just get a summary of it. She could bother August with it — he seemed to know everything and likely would be familiar with it because he was an insufferable know it all — but he would explain it to her in a patronizing way and scold her for any cheeky questions. No, it would be far more fun to quiz this stranger on it, if his reaction to her first question was anything to go by.
#5
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Jude's eyebrows slowly unknitted themselves and began to rise in abject disbelief at every aspect of her response. He half hoped she hadn't been serious before, and certainly couldn't tell whether she was being serious now, but: loath as he was to heed the instructions of someone who had just called him and his book her cure for boredom, she was still holding onto the latter.

His first instinct here was to protest - his first instinct anywhere was to protest - but Jude managed to bite his tongue for just long enough to consider the alternative option. Telling her about the book, even dubious stranger that she might be, was still an opportunity to talk about the book. About social problems. To a willing audience.

It was, essentially, a moral obligation, Jude considered. She might start - continue? - mocking him or it, but there was an equal possibility that the book would be of profound interest to her; she might even have something illuminating to say. Nothing about her suggested in the least that she was a working woman, but the status and the hypocrisy towards the position of women, all of them, was just what Higginson had been writing about.

Jude gave her the benefit of the doubt, and dropped into the seat across from her. "I've only just started reading it," he acknowledged first, quietly giving himself an excuse to keep the conversation short if it proved a mistake; but then, already with more zeal, explained: "but it's a series of essays about women - about the sexes - and their social position. It questions the limits of what's still acceptable, or respectable, for a woman to be or do; argues that they - you - deserve a more equal standing in our society." He paused there, honestly curious about what this woman thought of such a stance, whether she would renounce or applaud it.

After that, well. There were two very different ways this conversation could go.  



#6
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As he explained, her ears perked up. Equality? Really? This hadn't been what she'd been expecting, but she was incredibly intrigued. She leaned forward in her seat, "Of course we do. I've been saying that for years." Not to anyone who shouldn't hear it of course, and subtly at best. She'd made comments here and there to her friends, but none had responded positively enough for her to have felt comfortable enough to continue.

"Do go on," She urged him eagerly, waving her hand at the book as if he were actually reading it aloud to her. For a brief moment, she considered that this conversation was not the most appropriate to be having - with a strange man - inside of a desert shop, but that hardly mattered. After all, wasn't this exactly what he had spoken of? What was respectable and appropriate of a woman vs. a man?
#7
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If he were honest, he hadn't been expecting that answer, either. He brightened instantly. She had been saying so for years! "Then you hardly need me to tell you," Jude pointed out, pleased, but he supposed he could indulge her interest anyway, and see if he could discover any of her own opinions in the process.

"But, yes. It looks back at the traditional position of women: living lives confined to the domestic sphere, their responsibilities being solely as wives and mothers who, so it was said, were not an active part of society, and so not afforded the same rights. The problem is," Jude explained, shaking his head slightly at the hypocrisy of their modern picture, "nowadays women do play an active role in the running of society - the largest proportion of women work now for their living, precisely as men do! - but society's expectations of women haven't changed at all with the times. Women are thought less of, if they work, as though they're neglecting their other duties - and are still lacking in plenty of formal rights and privileges that should have been granted a long time ago." Jude frowned sympathetically at her.

"It's a muggle book," he admitted, as an aside, "but the issues are the same. You might call the magical world even more hypocritical about the sexes, actually."




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