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Gossiping
#1
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April 6th, 1890 — House of Lytton


The success of the House of Lytton was down to their good relationship with the customer. Marcus wanted each woman who ordered a dress at Lytton to feel at home, as though she was the only woman he created dresses for. That made them more inclined to visit his House and not one of the competitors. In the recent years of Lytton's success, a lot of new stylists had emerged that copied, in Marcus' opinion, his magical designs. He wasn't the first wizard to have thought about enchanting his clothes, but he was the one to be so successful at it so far!

The lady in his office/atelier was a good customer. It was her third time ordering a dress, so by now Marcus knew enough about her. They had discussed about society, about who's well dressed and who isn't (Marcus' opinion on that would change depending on who he spoke to!) and now the woman was telling him about how a gentleman had refused to dance with her!

"He didn't!" Marcus commented and put down his cup of tea. "Did he give you a reason why?"




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set by lady
#2
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Eloquence's lady's maid, Shaw, smiled shyly at Mr Lytton, ever so charmed by his handsome beam and warm demeanor. Eloquence herself was charmed too, but in a far less soppy manner; she simply enjoyed good company as well as good dresses. And so she was all too happy to succumb to the tacit invitation to gossip, speaking of a ball she'd attended last month.

"He claimed he'd hurt his ankle in a Quidditch accident, but, I tell you, I spied him later that evening and he was no longer limping. My theory", she continued conspiratorially, and Shaw had to resist rolling her eyes, "is that I was too old for him. An odd and uncanny thing I know", she added — Loq was not very vain, but she knew she was hardly an old maid at twenty, "but I'm sure of it. For I asked around. Did a little... investigating. And it transpires the gentleman will only dance or step out with girls of eighteen, seventeen... even fourteen. And with him turning forty-two next Spring", she added darkly.


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#3
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Marcus listened to Miss Higgs story with genuine interest, trying to figure out who the man of her story could be. He could think of quite a few men with a preference for younger women. While Marcus thought it prudent for a man who has reached a certain maturity before he wedded a woman, he still found it offputting when middle-aged men picked pre-teens as wives. Besides, even though Miss Higgs did have a certain maturity to her facial features, she most certainly wasn't old. She had to be nineteen or twenty, which was by no means a mature age.

"Then it really wasn't a loss, Miss Higgs!" Marcus commented. "A man who is only looking at external factors clearly has no good motives regarding a lady." A woman's appearance was important, of course, otherwise, Marcus would have been out of business. But when a man was looking for a woman to settle down with, he looked at things beyond her age and youthful appearance. Otherwise, it was no better than picking a woman at a whorehouse to spend the night with.



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set by lady
#4
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Eloquence nodded right away — "I quite agree". The gentleman in question was no loss at all, and in fact his love of younger things (which she supposed was both aesthetic and due to their being more easily molded) was more concerning than anything else. "Though my pride may have been a little wounded at first, I was more than satisfied in unraveling his lie — and warning other ladies of it", Eloquence added with satisfaction. She'd wager that gentleman had not been able to get a dance in quite some time.

"I don't suppose you've ever been declined a dance, Mr Lytton?" she asked, curiosity getting the better of her as usual. Her tone was playful, but she was careful to keep it from flirtation.

Meanwhile, Shaw the lady's maid had to stifle a scoff. She couldn't even begin to imagine that dreamy Mr Lytton might ever be turned down.


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#5
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Marcus was a competent dancer and most ladies liked him. However, there was a certain sort of woman, who cared about finding a husband more than simply enjoying a ball, that preferred not to dance with him.

"I've been turned down by some ladies, of pureblooded pedigree," Marcus replied. He didn't really know whether Miss Higgs was a pureblood or not herself, so he added: "I bear them no ill will. After all, balls are a way for ladies to meet prospective husbands and I understand that everyone has some standards when it comes to their future mate." Just like he probably wouldn't end up marrying one of his seamstresses, or Miss Binns. The old purebloods married amongst themselves.



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set by lady
#6
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Loq could feel Shaw resisting a gasp at this revelation; but she rather liked that "quality" in her chaperone. Lent a bit of drama to any occasion. Eloquence even deigned to shoot her a smile at this point.

"I must profess, I've never truly understood the pureblood fussiness. One just takes it for granted, I suppose. I've yet to find any evidence that having purely wizarding blood contributes in any way to a person's quality." (Sometimes the opposite was true, in fact; but Eloquence wouldn't confide that suspicion in a gentleman she barely knew.) "It's something of a shame... for surely they will eventually run out of fellow purebloods to marry!"


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#7
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Marcus agreed with Miss Higgs. As far as magical ability went, purebloods and half-bloods and muggleborns were all the same. There were great wizards, mediocre wizards, and terrible wizards in terms of ability in all camps. He could understand why purebloods wanted to marry other purebloods, though. It was a similar reason to why rich people wanted to marry other rich people, Christians preferred to marry other Christians and Muslims preferred to marry other Muslims. There was an exception to this rule, of course, but it was still that, an exception. People liked to marry those who were similar to them because they weren't as open to the different. Marcus thought about himself -- while he didn't really hate any humans different than him, he likely wouldn't marry a woman who worked at a factory and belonged to a different faith. He'd pick a wife with a similar lifestyle to his.

"Humans have found ways to keep their bloodlines pure. Purebloods aren't any different than muggle royals." Their Queen had married a cousin, had she not?



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set by lady
#8
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As much as she enjoyed chatter and dish, Eloquence appreciated very much that Mr Lytton could not be heard to be taking one side or another in the matter of purebloods vs muggle sympathisers — no matter his own pedigree. Doubtlessly, staunch purebloods were among his most loyal customers; and muggleborns too.

"Oh, now muggle royals I can happily abide by", she twinkled. "Nobody does flair like the monarchy." She paused thoughtfully. And then, a challenge; "what would you design for Queen Victoria, Mr Lytton?"


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#9
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Nobody had ever asked him this question and it got Marcus' creative part of his brain working. He liked questions like this one, especially when they involved a challenging potential customer. Queen Victoria struck him as the type of customer who would be very demanding and particular about what she wanted to wear.

"I would try to get her out of black. In half-mourning colours, at least. I believe lilacs would look good on her." Was it possible for someone to love a spouse so much that they divorced colour altogether from their wardrobe? Or maybe she favourited black so much because it hid some kilograms. Queen Victoria wasn't known for her attractive physique.

"She is known to detest magic, though, so I think that she would hate all of my designs." All of Marcus' designs involved some bit of magic, even his more everyday clothes. In all honesty, most of what he created was evening wear. Only the wealthiest would want even their riding habit to have charmed embroidery on the hem.



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set by lady
#10
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Lilac... Eloquence smiled off to the side as she pictured it; and she could picture it well. A dainty, feminine colour that behooved an older lady. "That sounds marvellous to me", she replied, returning her gaze to Mr Lytton. "I quite imagine you could start a whole new fashion... dresses conceived with the Queen in mind."

She paused, and then leaned forward a little. This was apropos of nothing, but his talk of magical garments had reminded her of a rumour she'd heard the other week — "is it true you have been known to imbue some dresses with amortentia...?"
[-] The following 1 user Likes Eloquence Higgs's post:
   Marcus Lytton


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#11
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Marcus didn't think that Queen Victoria was a fashion icon, at least not anymore. In the first years of her reign, she had likely influenced the styling choices of many women, simply because she was the queen. Marcus didn't think that she had ever been capable of being truly remarkable.

Miss Higg's next question alarmed Marcus a bit. It would be a huge scandal if his dresses were imbued with Amortentia. Their purpose was certainly to attract mates for some of his customers but he would never implore such a method.

"Oh, it is just rumours!" Marcus discarded it jovially, though deep down he was offended at whoever had spread it. "Though I confess that I have no control of what my customers do with my designs once they have purchased them."

He certainly hoped that no customer would shower her dress in Amortentia, be found out, and then put a stain on his name as well!


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set by lady
#12
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Eloquence nodded, willing to accept his word on this particular matter as gospel. For she fancied herself an insightful sort who could spot a lie in a line-up of truths, and sure enough had been known to catch out several fibbers. "No to worry, it isn't a rumour I've spread, not in the least. My assumption would be that the lady who suggested amortentia is simply abashed at who has proposed to her, hence the excuse of involuntary magical intervention, but; I shall say no more", she raised a slender hand conspiratorially. Loq enjoyed a good gossip, but not if it could harm anyone's reputation. It was best to skirt around the borders of such consequences. She made a note to stifle this rumour if she heard it again; but thankfully it had been so disbelieved that it hadn't picked up much heat at all.

"Anyway!" she gave a light chuckle upon noticing the clock in the corner; "I've taken up quite enough of your time with my chatter, Mr Lytton. You've been ever so gracious. Do you have all the detail you need for my order?"


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