Charming is a Victorian Era Harry Potter roleplay set primarily in the village of Hogsmeade, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and the non-canon village of Irvingly. Characters of all classes, both magical and muggle — and even non-human! — are welcome.
With a member driven story line, monthly games and events, and a friendly and drama-free community focused on quality over quantity, the only thing you can be sure of is fun!
As she'd said in her letter to Nova the day before, she hadn't bothered to ask her grandfather before she'd gone and gotten herself a job as a fashion columnist. She wasn't really worried about what he would say, though, because it didn't seem like he much cared what she did, anyway. The only thing she figured he might care about was how this might affect her prospects, since she had the vague idea that Armando was looking forward to her marrying someone so that he could be rid of her. Well, if he was really concerned on that front, he ought to have done a better job of introducing her to eligible men, as far as she was concerned. Ophelia hardly thought it was her fault she wasn't married yet!
She'd given up on Armando being a good guardian for an eligible young lady, however, and since she wasn't likely to fall in love any time soon, she had turned her attention to her other passion--fashion. While actually working in fashion was not really the sort of work a well-bred, upper-class lady ought to be engaged in (particularly the seamstressing bit of the process, as that was decidedly a lower-middle class sort of occupation), Ophelia didn't see anything objectionable about writing about fashion. Some of the men her grandfather seemed to respect a good deal were writers, and of course, she had a good impression of writers after her infatuation with Mr. Waffling, however poorly that had ended.
Anyway, there wasn't anything he could do about it now. She'd already accepted the job, and had her first article half written on her desk (though she would likely rewrite it a dozen times before she actually sent it in, trying to make it perfect). Ophelia was confident, therefore, when she came down to the breakfast table that morning, having decided that she'd best make the announcement before it grew suspiciously delayed. "Grandfather," she declared as she took her seat, in lieu of a good morning. "I've decided to become a writer."
Armando was enjoying a very nice breakfast. It was a very nice breakfast because he was enjoying it both in solitude and someone in the kitchen had decided to cook his favorite breakfast food: sardines, toast, and boiled eggs. When Ophelia made an appearance, it hardly spoiled his breakfast, but it did decrease his enjoyment of it some when she suddenly began talking. Had she started talking about dresses or balls or something, he'd have had very little trouble tuning her out and just 'hmmm'-ing at all the appropriate moments as though he wasn't miles away. However, she decided to disturb his tranquility with talk of... writing?
What had inspired that, he wondered. Perhaps this was her way of announcing that she intended to start keeping a journal. "If you'd like a journal for Christmas, that can be arranged." It would make a nice change from frantically picking out the first dress or hat or frilly something he came across for lack of knowing what she'd actually like.
Armando didn't dream for a second that she was suggesting she'd write for money.
Ophelia sighed in melodramatic exasperation when her grandfather didn't immediately know what she was talking about, though in all honestly since they'd never discussed anything even remotely similar to Ophelia taking a job before, she really couldn't expect him to be on the same page. Still, he was ancient; he ought to know something. He clearly knew nothing about women or marriage or courting. (Ophelia tended to forget that in order for him to become her great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather in the first place, he would have had to at some point courted and even married a woman, because that had all happened so long ago that it wasn't really real anymore, in the same way that she didn't really believe half the stories that they told about Merlin).
"No, Grandpapa," she said, "Not that kind of writing. I'm going to become a real writer. For a magazine," she announced, feeling all the weight of this impressive declaration on her shoulders, as if just saying it out loud made it more true and real and therefore made her more mature by extension. She decided to leave off which magazine, at least for the moment, because somehow, she didn't think her grandfather would be quite as impressed if she told him the magazine she was going to write for was the scandal, gossip, and fashion magazine. Not that he looked outstandingly impressed now, come to think of it. He ought to have looked more impressed, shouldn't he have?
It took him a while to digest the impact of her words. Writing for a magazine. A magazine. Ophelia wanted to write things that would be published, people would read what she would write. She'd be paid to write things publicly. No matter which way he tried to think of it, it was shocking. Could she even write like that? Who had put such an idea into her head? Women oughtn't to write, really he didn't see the real value in them even learning how to read and write but supported it simply because literate female students made for easier teaching during his time as a professor.
"Why would you want to do a thing like that?" he asked, a touch more forcefully than he would a question like, 'where is my hat?'
Oh, why was he being so difficult? Ophelia was sure she could expound for days on the benefit of her having a profession, and particularly of having such an influential and delicate and academic profession as being a writer (even if it wasn't, strictly speaking, the most academic subject matter that she'd be covering). There were so many reasons why it was a great idea that she didn't even know where to begin!
Except that wasn't metaphor; she literally didn't know where to begin, because the only thing that was readily occurring to her now, out of all of the dozens of good arguments that she was sure existed in favor of her having an occupation, was I won't be bored so often, which she didn't think he'd really appreciate as much as she did. Well, he would probably appreciate it only to the extent that it would keep her busy enough not to bother him, but Ophelia didn't really know that it would take up a great deal of her time. It was only one short column a week, after all, so even if she edited it three or four times it couldn't possibly occupy her for longer than a day or two, could it? She might feel the need to go out and do research, but that would hardly prove a reprieve for her grandfather--to the contrary, he'd have to spend more time chaperoning her around to places he didn't want to be.
"Well, what else am I supposed to do?" she finally said in exasperation. "No one's taken an interest in marrying me, or seems likely to," she pointed out, thinking but not saying that this was probably at least as much her grandfather's fault as hers. "And I can hardly just sit around the house for the rest of my life waiting to grow old and boring! For all you know I might live to be two hundred," she said testily, "And that's an awfully long time to not be allowed to do anything!"
Armando was sure there were lots of other useful things she could be doing that were more ladylike. He couldn't actually think of any of these things but they surely existed for other young unmarried ladies - and spinsters - got along just fine. "The way society's going, by the time you're my age it'll be perfectly acceptable for you to do anything you like," he remarked bitterly, lamenting more the change of times at that moment rather than her decision to take a writing job.
Why, out of all of his descendants, was he left with not only a female, but possibly the most willful female that ever was? Perhaps if she had been more inclined towards meekness she might have been wed a long time ago. It really was a disappointing state of affairs. He had had so many children over the years and all he had to show for it was a strident young woman, not one grandson to carry on the Dippet name!
"You'll find a husband soon enough, you're only..." He couldn't remember how old she was but she was far from a spinster age as far as he could tell. "Someone would have to hire you first and you've no experience." The chances of someone hiring a complete amateur and a female seemed pretty low to him. There really wasn't much to worry about in the end. There was no harm in letting her aspire for something that wasn't likely to ever come to fruition. It was also easier than flat out saying no and he did so hate confrontation.
Ophelia tensed up at the implication in his words. It was as though he was saying that she was worthless! Though he didn't come right out and say those words, he really might as well have. It certainly didn't help that right before he'd laid in on her lack of experience, he'd made a very poor attempt to try and reconcile her about her inability to nail down a husband. Even with her recent gloomy resolution to just give up and wait for spinsterhood, it wasn't exactly her favorite subject.
"I won't marry!" she declared in a tone that was something between a moan of despair and a threat. "And I shan't sit around waiting for a husband any longer. For your information, grandpapa, someone would hire me. In fact, someone already has!" With this, she crossed her arms defiantly over her chest, feeling as though she'd just pulled a surprise trump card from the sleeve of her gown. She realized a half-second later that it was slightly childish to cross her arms over her chest like that, but felt that she couldn't really go back on the gesture now, so she just committed to it and hoped her grandfather wouldn't remark on it.
Armando stared at her in shock. He wasn't actually sure which he was more shocked about - the not marrying thing, or the someone had already hired her thing. Upon reflection, the latter had the edge. If he was honest, the entire scene playing out before his eyes was just downright unprecedented and alarming. While he could hardly say that Ophelia had been an ideal granddaughter, she had up until now shown for the most part fairly sound judgement and relative maturity. Now he wasn't sure what had possessed her.
This shock was quite clear from the look on his face which featured, among other things, a slightly agape mouth and incredulously posed eyebrows. When he did finally manage to say something, all that came out of his mouth was a lame, "What are you talking about?" He really didn't think he wanted to hear any elaboration on what he'd just heard, but he was also hoping that somehow she'd explain how she hadn't exactly meant anything that she'd just said.
Ophelia's cheeks flushed, partly from a sense of embarrassment over how bold she'd just been, but partly from pride, as well. She was only embarrassed at all because she knew that she ought to be embarrassed--this was the sort of thing they taught you not to do at finishing school. Despite that, however, she was very proud of herself--for having obtained an occupation when her grandfather seemed to think it would be impossible, not for making declarations in a rather unladylike fashion. Maybe she ought to work on that. She started by uncrossing her arms and laying them back in her lap, where they were supposed to be, and took a moment to compose herself before answering.
"I met the editor of Witch Weekly while I was out for tea," she announced serenely, as if her slight outburst a moment ago had never occurred. "And we talked for quite a while, and she thought it would be very agreeable if I would write for her magazine," she said, although this was a slight exaggeration and a bit of a equivocation. She hadn't really spoken to the editor at great depth on any subject, and Ophelia dared say the older woman didn't know much about her references or qualifications at all before she'd offered her the job. The way that she'd presented it to her grandfather also made it seem as though it had been entirely the editor's idea, her writing a fashion column--as if Ophelia's poise and wit in conversation had just been so irresistible that she'd been hired on sight, which was hardly the case. She didn't want to tell Armando that she'd eavesdropped, and then, after inserting herself in the conversation, more or less asked for the job--although she'd be appropriately subtle and coy about it! Somehow, she didn't think that would endear her grandfather to the idea of her working for Witch Weekly... not that he seemed very keen on it at the moment, anyway.
"It's not as though I'll be out every day, working," she tried to reassure him. "It's only one article a week, and I can just send it in by owl. And I'll write under a pen name," she added, "So no one who reads Witch Weekly will know who I am. It's only something to do," she concluded. That ought to reassure him, she figured; the dangerous thing about women working, she had always felt, was that they would go out and become too much like men--with strong ideas about politics, and rough hands, and all those other undesirable traits that came from spending too much time outside the house, and tended to make one unmarriageable. From that perspective, Ophelia was hardly even getting a job at all; she'd still be in the house when she was 'working.' She just had to be sure to attend all the high-society functions (which, honestly, she would have found an excuse to attend anyway, just to save herself from boredom, no matter how old and spinster-esque she became).
If she was trying to startle him into an early - not that it would really be 'early' at nearly 250 - grave then she was doing a good job of it. She didn't want to marry, she wanted to work, except she had already gone and gotten a job at Witch Weekly, possibly the most disturbing publication around. What was the world coming to? Women could duel like men and own property! Oh to be in the 1600s again...
For all his objections to what she was doing, he was far too shocked to find outrage enough to demand she not work for that 'paper'. What were they even calling it now? A magazine? Dishcloth would be a better word for it, he thought. "You're- You're the most trying young woman I have ever had the misfortune to claim as my descendant!" he lamented in sputtering frustration. He supposed he could very well crack down on her, but then he felt oddly reluctant to do so. "It's as though you're trying to shock me to death," he added irritably, focusing back on his plate which he no longer had an appetite for. He turned to incomprehensible muttering under his breath as he did this, words such as 'marriage' and 'Witch Weekly' just about audible.
"Well, don't you worry about that," she replied hotly when he gave her the title of most trying descendant. She didn't think she'd really done anything to deserve such a title; he was simply a stodgy old man! An old man who was almost certainly being melodramatic, as he didn't look about ready to be killed by shock. Ophelia wondered, briefly, how her life would be different if he did die--the very last Dippet, she would probably inherit all of his money and become the sort of young, rich heiress that evil men chased after in French stage comedies. Or she'd be penniless and tossed to the streets, because Armando would have forgotten to even include her in his will. Probably the latter. Maybe Nova would take her in, temporarily, until she could find some place to live that wasn't horrible.
"At this rate, I'll be the last one you ever have to deal with," she offered, raising her eyebrows at him archly.
Armando's face contorted into something pained and quietly furious. Why were women such trying creatures? Why did he seem to find himself connected to the most difficult of them? Maybe that was a little unfair, Ophelia was many things, headstrong was one of them but she hadn't really ever brought public embarrassment upon him. That didn't make her any less of a headache for him, however.
"Quite suddenly I've lost my appetite," he declared. Slowly, he pushed his chair back and rose to his feet. It was his intention to retreat to his study at once, though at his age he could hardly march swiftly out of the room.