“Miss Ter Bronnen,” Lady DuChamps-Harding called out, “please help us with this impossible puzzle, Mrs. Lilling and I are most confused…” Lady DuChamps-Harding was a sly, scheming creature. It was of no surprise to either Mrs. Lilling or Beth that she was creating a distraction so that her ward received as much of Mr. Lilling’s attentions as possible. Beth smiled graciously and made her way towards the two ladies. Mrs. Lilling arched her brow knowingly at Beth, and they shared a private smirk. Beth sank down at the table where the ladies were working on a printed puzzle with hand-painted colours brought by the English ladies. The wooden pieces were fairly rectangular with squiggly edges. It was a puzzle that one had to order the succession of English monarchs. A few were paired, and there were two rows completed, however the remaining rulers were scattered all about the table. Beth sighed and sipped her tea, placing her cup down and reaching for a piece holding George I. She tapped it against her lip absentmindedly as she searched for his successors amid the shuffle.
“Miss Hart, Mrs. Lilling and I are planning a short trip to the market in Mechelen next week. We thought we’d go and look at fabrics for gowns. Mrs. Lilling wants very much to host a dance soon, and how can we not make all new gowns for such an occasion?”
“How could you not?” Beth echoed, smiling gently. She wondered how long it would be before Mrs. Lilling would find a way to suggest that the party be hosted here at TerBronnen. She sighed and grasped another piece of the puzzle, placing it in its rightful spot on the puzzle.
“You should join us. I brought a pattern I am sure you will delight in… of a style that is of the latest trends in Paris. You should come and buy some delightful silk or muslin…”
“Let me think on it. I’ve visitors coming soon; I want to insure that the house is prepared for their arrival.”
“Oh?” Both Mrs. Lilling and Lady DuChamps-Harding blurted in unison. Beth quietly delighted in their curiosity. She reached out and snapped four kings together and then slid them into the notches on the third row of monarchs. She sipped her tea agonizingly slowly, and then carefully plinked her cup back into the saucer. The women waited. Miss Hart broke into yet another chorus of laughter, and the periodical shook and wrinkled some more.
“My cousins are coming, we see them very rarely. Kathreen received my news of our having such lovely new society this summer, and her curiosity got the better of her… she could not resist, so she has decided to accept my invitation and visit from Brugge. She determined to make your acquaintance and to be Miss Hart's newest friend. She is bringing her brother as well, so we shall be a merry group indeed. I received her correspondence just this morning.” Beth slid a few more pieces of the puzzle in place.
“Oooh, your seaside cousins, how delightful!” Mrs. Lilling declared, clasping her hands. “Miss Kathreen's singing voice is resplendent. And she's coming with George... how wonderful. An excellent sportsman and a resplendent dancer. Isn't that wonderful Jean-Marc? George is coming!” Mr. Lilling simply smiled wanly and nodded, and Miss Hart gazed over the table now with open curiosity. The Lillings were highly regarded by the VanDelst cousins, and Jean-Marc was a good friend to George. It was George that Beth had in mind when she'd scrawled out her hasty, rather manipulative letter a week before to his sister, after Miss Hart had gone back home for the night. Miss Hart had found a foothold into the TerBronnen household and was there more often than not now--and it would be rude not to invite her at all since the pair had glommed onto Mrs. Lilling. Jean-Marc was constantly subjected to Miss Hart’s most flagrant flirtation, and it was the first time in their long acquaintance that Beth wished him away. But she knew her cousin Kathreen was besotted by all things English, and the idea of taking company with a young Englishwoman of good society was all that Kathreen needed to desire an immediate departure. She would be with Miss Hart at all times. Beth had also been quite deliberate in describing Miss Hart's loveliness, and her strategy worked, for Kathreen's letter arrived shortly after announcing her plans to depart and declaring that George would be coming as well to see his old school-friend Jean-Marc. It was a triumph of orchestration to benefit the much-beleaguered Beth who feared losing her beloved to this English rose.
She sipped her tea, and handed Mrs. Lilling a piece of the puzzle, which the charming woman fitted into place. With a sweet, unassuming smile, Beth glanced at Jean-Marc and found his eyes filled with quiet amusement. She should have known he was too sharp to let this little maneuver pass unnoticed. With a smirk, she let her eyes slide to Miss Hart. She on the other hand was no longer laughing... she was riveted. The prospect of another gentleman--an available gentleman, had very much caught her notice.
The wooden puzzle snapped again, and Mrs. Lilling exclaimed, "The puzzle is finished!" She sat back in her chair with a victorious air and beamed. "So, when are we going to Mechelen?"
This visit was part two of my girly-medical day. Part one included less pleasant things, but it did have some really positive outcomes. My new OB, Dr. Kahaner prescribed me SIX cycles of Clomid. It's a fertility pill to cause ovulation FYI. I'm trying not to get all crazy with high-hopes, but it's hard not to get a little excited. I've tried this drug before, but it didn't work out because my husband went on his travel job and was gone so much, it made no sense to take the meds which are cycle-based.
Tag is getting his summer coat and is dappling on his belly (it's cute). He's being bratty as usual and keeping me busy. It's what he does. I love him.
My husband carried this little fellow (kicking and silently screaming) all the way from Boston for me. I miss lobster something fierce (it's either too expensive, frozen or the wimpy imported kind that has no claws)--so I got special delivery. Mr. Pinchey here got steamed the moment I got home, and I whipped up a batch of my face-wrinkling lemon-butter, and spent a ridiculous amount of time winnowing every piece of lobster-meat from his little body that I could. Large lobsters like this one doesn't amount to all *that* much meat, but boy it hit the spot. Hubby is the most amazing creature ever!
The only thing left from my path of lobster devastation were the little weird fibrous gilly-things, his shell and his antennae. I also left that green goo some people like to eat, but I prefer not to. Other than that, not a nook, cranny, knuckle, knee, leg or claw was left undevoured. He was a pathetic pile of shell, the poor bug.
Steph II came over a while ago, and showed me how to make real pastry cream (I cheated before that when I made my infamous tarts...) This tart was duly devoured. It happens.
I received my 8 yards of cotton-linen blend + dye from Dharma today. That means my riding habit will be under construction soon (alongside some men's stuff I've been needing to make for a while). The ORS is having a Fox Hunt in September. I am excited to make a Regency riding habit. I've always wanted one. ;) I already have the makings for the hat since I already have toppers from my dressage days... Plus a bowler hat. I will likely blog that project here, or the ORS blogspot page, not sure yet... but keep an eye out for it. :)
I got 'Just Because' roses today. Man this day is good. Happy Friday all.