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Did you know?

The Language of the Flowers was a popular method to express feelings where words might be improper, but did you know other means of doing so? Some ladies used their parasols, as well as their fans, gloves, and hankies to flirt with a gentleman (or alternatively, tell them to shove it!). — Bree


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Ester Montgomery for Thomas Montgomery. The one that got away (with the pornographer...)
This boy, then. He wasn't new. Wasn't one of the worst people in the common room, those rotten rich boys - like Mr. Jailkeeper - who could not fathom a world beyond their own farts. Was a good working class lad, so he'd heard. Had a bit of a weird looking face, and a bit of a weird thing for preaching. Still.

Aubrey Davis in The Under-Sofa


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Throw Me a Lifejacket
#1
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August 30, 1888 - The Destiny Hotel, London
Aphrodite Soiree
Elsie Beauregard

It was a form of success that Percy had survived dinner. Felicity had managed to convince him to attend despite her own inability to do so, a fact that did still baffle Percy. But after their chat about such matters when he had returned from the hospital, he had let himself be led into such an event much too easily. Perhaps because Felicity had mentioned the ball for his birthday that had been cancelled (much to Percy’s own relief) and then brought up his past. He had known he had been smart to keep that from her for the past decade. But he was here now and vivacious Lissy was not. He was truly on his own. Dinner had been an affair of keeping face between the two missus he’d been placed between and now he lingered on the edges of the dance floor. It would be the polite thing to ask someone to dance, he reasoned, but there was the matter of his leg .... and really he had had quite enough. Not even Mason or Quin were here to bolster him.

Almost all hope had been lost when he spotted a petite brunette nearby in the crowd. Although he had not seen her in six months he recognized her easily as she was often on his mind from their letters. Regardless of the awkwardness of how they met or what might be, she was at least a friendly face. He would hardly believe there was any attachment between them, for who would ever develop such feelings for a man hobbled by a cane and rapidly gaining years. But she understood his own preference for being places not like this and he felt assured that she would at least grant him a moment of conversation or even a dance (if he could even manage that) to help alleviate his own discomfort. Perhaps she even felt as out of place as he did at this event.

Mind made up Percy started through the crowd arriving before Miss Beauregard with a smile on his face. “Good evening, Miss Beauregard. It is a pleasure to see you here.
[-] The following 1 user Likes Percival Adlard Jr.'s post:
   Elsie Beauregard



Wonderful set is a work of art from Lynn!
#2
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Elsie really hadn't been joking when she'd asked Dolly if she could send her support from afar. Her sweet friend had insisted however and Stella had also pushed for her attendance, so here she was; and she was miserable, as expected. A love-themed ball sort of seemed like a slap to the face, but nobody, aside from Lucinda, knew that and Elsie wasn't exactly about to tell anyone either. Adella had dolled up an old dress of her own in a soft, pretty blue and Elsie was at least thankful it wasn't too loud. It was much easier to blend in with the wallpaper if you wore muted colors.

Thankfully Meri and Vivienne were also here, along with a few girls she knew from school that were in Harvey's year. Elsie also thought she'd spotted Mr. Adlard at a table nearby, but hadn't been sure enough to venture to find him after dinner. Of course none of them were at her dinner table and she'd spent the majority of the meal trying to maintain polite conversation with people she had little to nothing in common with. Needless to say by the time dinner was over, she was ready to go home. Of course it was far too early in the evening to do that and she would hate to be rude to Dolly and simply take off.

So Elsie hovered near the outskirts of the dance floor wondering if she could find Meri so they could commiserate together, but she was so far having little luck. With an untouched flute of champagne in her hand, she was hoping it would dissuade any invitations to dance, though she was fairly certain there was a dance card somewhere she was supposed to be fulfilling (though she likely wouldn't). It was on another survey of the room for her friend that that Mr. Adlard appeared out of the throng of people. A genuine smile crept onto her features, finding that at least somebody she knew had managed to rescue her. If she remembered right from their letters, he was not a huge fan of these kinds of events either.

"Mr. Adlard, it's lovely to see you again," She couldn't help the flicker of concern when she noticed the cane, but tried not to make it obvious. "Are you enjoying your evening?" She asked lightly, though she had a sneaking suspicion they were on the same page on that front.



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#3
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It was hard to miss the look Elsie gave him when she noted the cane. Yes, the cane. Percy hated the damnable thing, had even attempted to go without it. But to no avail. So he hobbled along with it, attempting not to let it get him down - literally and figuratively. But her smile at his appearance assured him that she was fine with his company, indeed, he rather felt she was happy for it - perhaps that was going too far. Fine, was likely the better adjective. He returned her smile, glad for the respite her company brought.

Miss Beauregard looked quite lovely in her gown. The blue suited her well. Years with sisters had given him reason to believe he knew something of such matters. Lissy would encourage him to say something, and he started to but it came out as, "You look quite well this evening." Instead. He didn't want to scare away the only person who he rather felt he'd like to converse with.

Perhaps it was the letters they had exchanged, or perhaps he was beyond uncomfortable with the whole event, but Percy decided on the truth rather than the polite answer. "As well as I can for an evening such as this." He nodded his head at the crowds before them. "My sister pressed me into coming." He admitted with a frown.



Wonderful set is a work of art from Lynn!
#4
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Elsie chuckled lightly at his comment. Well was a relative term; last time she'd seen him in person she hadn't been well at all. Then she'd admitted to being ill during their correspondence, apparently her penchant for getting sick had been noticed. At least she knew they were likely of the same thoughts on their attendance tonight. A reply about being surprised to see him was lost on her lips as he explained his reasons for coming.

"Ah, I too was coerced." She admitted with a sheepish smile. "Mrs. Diggory, one of the hostesses of the evening, was my roommate in school. I tried in vain to support her efforts from afar, but alas, here I am." Were Elsie a more social creature she wouldn't have hesitated, were she less of a friend she would have turned down the invitation politely, but Dolly had been so very excited it was hard to say no in the end.  

So far it had been fairly pleasant, barring the dance cards, which she was trying hard to ignore. Elsie was also steering clear of the guest of honor tonight. As lovely as she sure the woman was, Elsie had zero interest in meeting a matchmaking seer. That was certainly not for her. Elsie would however, be a dutiful friend and support Dolly, quietly, from the outskirts and in the company of those like Mr. Adlard, who thankfully, did not hold her shyness against her.



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#5
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At least Miss Beauregard didn’t seem taken aback by his mishandled compliment. Percy relaxed ever so slightly at the chuckle that crossed her lips. Perhaps after their letters the awkwardness of their first meeting had begun to fade. He could only hope so because he did truly enjoy their letters and the conversations they held.

Ah.” At least he wasn’t the only one who had been dragged into this. Old schoolmates did have a tendency to do that though, he reasoned. Quin and Mason had both dragged him to the odd event here or there before. Although, really, his sisters were the true culprits. Sometimes he wondered if Lissy and Cat conspired with Quin to get him out of the house. “Old schoolmates do have a tendency to do that.” He admitted his thoughts out loud. “Did she leave you quite on your own?” He asked, somewhat concerned. He hated that feeling and suspected that Miss Beauregard had similar sentiments.



Wonderful set is a work of art from Lynn!
#6
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Though she didn't think too much of it, Elsie was amused that she and Mr. Adlard seemed to have quite a bit in common. It was refreshing to have somebody who understood where she was coming from at least. "Understandably, she has quite a bit going on this evening." Elsie hardly expected her friend to hold her hand around the room this evening.

Plus, if she were seen with Dolly too much that would be just far too much visibility for her to handle. It was far easier to stick to the outskirts of the party, mingle with people she knew and call it an early evening. It wasn't as if she had any intention in truly participating in tonight's theme after all. She was going to do her due diligence as a friend and stay long enough for it to be noticed, then take her leave. It wasn't as if she got invited to a lot of these after all, she could suffer through one or two every now and then.

Surveying the room around her, at least Elsie could recognize that Dolly had managed pull off a great event, even if it wasn't her thing. Venturing a brave statement, Elsie confessed, "I will hopefully be able to make my escape soon enough, if I'm lucky." It was still a little too early, but soon enough it would be alright without looking rude.



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#7
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Indeed, I’d imagine she does.” Percy nodded, having in no way intended to do a disservice to the friend. “Only with the theme of the night I’m rather surprised she hasn't found someone to stand by you all evening.” He explained, trying to keep his tone light, despite feeling as if he had misstepped.

At her admission, Percy nodded, the feeling was mutual and yet he had the distinct clairvoyance that if he were to arrive home early Lissy would hear and then he’d never hear the end of it. There would be no impunity for him when it came to his sisters hearing of such news. “I wish I had such a choice. I could only imagine what my sisters might do if they caught wind of such news.” He admitted with a disheartened shrug. Although… “Perhaps, I might be able to help you make your escape?” Percy suggested. Such a clandestine plan might find them both safe from such an evening.



Wonderful set is a work of art from Lynn!
#8
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"Thank Merlin for small miracles, I suppose." Elsie passed him a small smile and a little shrug. She could be pretty elusive when she wanted to be; years of practice after all. In being such a petite, unassuming figure, Elsie had always been able to melt into the shadows and stay out of the limelight. It was more of a survival skill at this point. Her self-preservation skills were subtle, but critical.

Being able to sympathize with having somebody watching your every move, Elsie would, no doubt face similar critique if she were to arrive home too early. Her mother should have come to expect it from her by now, but Stella must have still been holding out some kind of hope that Elsie would start to enjoy things like this at some point. She wouldn't. Elsie paused to wonder if Mr. Adlard's sister had been in school with her at some point. She thought she remembered a Ravenclaw with the last name maybe a year or two behind her, but she was pretty terrible with things like that.

"Oh, I have a little while yet. I'm afraid my mother would rather act along the same lines as your sisters if I were to leave too early. I'll be glad for the company though." At least if she were seen speaking to a gentleman that had to count right? Mr. Adlard would have to suffer through a hopefully-less-painful situation than last time, but for all intents and purposes she had fulfilled her duty of being social in some aspect. Thankfully he didn't seem to mind, though he could just be incredibly polite, especially after what she'd put him through at the library this winter.  



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#9
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Indeed.” Percy’s chuckle admitted that he was finding his lack of matching making this evening a much more preferable status than the poor gentleman who were dragging ladies onto the floor by the whim of a mere pocketwatch.

Knowing what she meant he frowned sympathetically and nodded, but a smile crept on his lips at her request. “I should very much enjoy that.” He admitted, rather truthfully. “Although, if you wish to dance, I’m not sure I shall be able to indulge you.” He adjusted his weight to subtly wiggle his cane. He was sure Miss Beauregard would understand, but one never did know. She might love dancing, it had never come up in their letters.



Wonderful set is a work of art from Lynn!
#10
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A small, albeit genuine smile curled the corners of her lips, though she looked out over the dance floor as he mentioned it. "Oh, no. I think I've subjected you to enough of my shortcomings already," Elsie could dance. She actually wasn't terrible at it and would likely fair alright with Mr. Adlard because she wouldn't be overly worried about making a fool of herself. However, she wouldn't subject him to that, not when she couldn't quite tell if he was being serious or not.

"I'm afraid I'm not terribly good at it." It was a little white lie. She was capable, if she knew the person she was dancing with well- like her cousin or...  Basically she couldn't dance and keep up small talk at the same time like a proper young lady was supposed to. She could do one or the other. If she wasn't chatting she could dance well enough, if she was expected to chat, well that's when her dancing started to suffer and nobody wanted that, lest chaos ensue. "Not very good company am I?" She shrugged sheepishly, remembering the champagne in hand as she took an idle sip, hoping he didn't mind all that much.



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#11
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Relief flooded through Percy at her admission, although part of him rather doubted dancing was a shortcoming and she was just saving him the embarrassment of having to try. Lissy might try a little white lie such as that if she were in Miss Beauregard’s position. Percy gave her a grateful smile though and waved away her self depreciation without comment.

It was surprising how comfortable he felt around Miss Beauregard, especially as he’d only really met her once before. But the silence that momentarily surrounded them was nice compared to the chatter around them and the conversations in their letters made him feel as if she were an ally in all this.

She tore his thoughts away from comfort he felt with her next comment. “Hardly!” Percy was rather surprised she could think of herself like that. “If you don’t mind me being so bold, but I rather enjoy your company, especially in such circumstances.” Percy almost surprised himself with his own forwardness and could feel the tips of his ears beginning their tell tale sign of warmth. But it was true.



Wonderful set is a work of art from Lynn!
#12
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Elsie hadn't really meant her comment about being poor company, not when they'd been doing just fine, but she had been sorry about passing on a dance. In fact she'd been more relaxed since his arrival than at any other point in the evening, but leave it to her to make things awkward again. Feeling the familiar heat in her cheeks at his admission, Elsie knew she was blushing a furious shade of pink and also knew she had to move past it as quickly as possible.

His sentiments were indeed quite sweet and not wholly unwelcome, but she was rather bewildered. Elsie had never really thought of herself to actually be very good company, quiet and mousy, awkward at best, though she supposed it did help he was of a similar temperament to herself. Still, she was flabbergasted. "It is nice to have a sympathetic ear at such an event." She managed, wondering if she was giving Mr. Adlard the wrong impression. Then again she hadn't any clue what kind of impression she left on people to begin with... She was rather comfortable in his presence, but she also felt like she'd gotten to know him a little bit through their letters. He seemed a kindred spirit, an introvert who liked books, just like her. Certainly that was all there was to it? Right? Right. She was reading into too much into this, he was just being kind.

In an attempt to recover the conversation, Elsie turned toward her favorite fall back, "I haven't seen you at the library lately, have you been sourcing your reading material elsewhere?" It was a light jest, hopefully books, something they were both fond of, would suffice for a discussion topic.



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#13
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The instant he saw the look on Miss Beauregard’s face he regretted the words that had slipped from her lips and quickly nodded at her response. “Yes, precisely.” He agreed, as if he had meant nothing further than that.

Conversation turned to talk of books. A safe and comfortable conversation, Percy found himself relaxing again. “Oh! No.” He assured her as if aghast at the mere suggestion. “I wouldn’t dream of it.” He added with a chuckle of his own. “I’m afraid with the fog and my recent position…” Percy stopped awkwardly, almost tripping over the idea of his promotion. He hadn’t meant to bring it up and certainly didn’t want to seem as if he were bragging. “I’ve hardly had time to sleep, let alone read.” He ended in a rush, a bashful smile over his lips.



Wonderful set is a work of art from Lynn!
#14
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Momentarily concerned that she'd upset him with her question, Elsie was ready to backpedal, but then he was laughing and she still felt like she'd gone and said the wrong thing yet again. A fresh wave of pink tinted her cheeks as she stumbled forward in the conversation. Maybe she should try and make her escape soon and save Mr. Adlard the trouble. "Of course, I didn't mean-" She wasn't holding it against him, she was apparently still just as terrible at small talk as ever. "I'm sure the fog kept the ministry unnecessarily busy this summer." The undue idleness she'd been forced to endure during it had nearly driven her mad, not being able to work through it, her only worthy distraction.

It was then that Elsie remembered he mentioned working in the ministry, in the Beast Division? That sounded right. "Recent position? Something new?" She was grasping at anything now to prevent any awkward silences. Working with creatures must have certainly kept him on his toes, especially during that unnatural fog. She did remember he mentioned he read rather extensively on the subject, or did when he had the time.



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