Thanks go to Tess Kincaid who organises and hosts this meme J The challenge is to respond in verse or worse to the prompt she offers. To read more Magpies please click here.
'Banquet Scene with a Lute Player' by Nicolas Tournier
Beatrice was twenty, almost unmarriageable according to her mother. Mrs Fuller had begun to despair of ever seeing her daughter wed until the nephew of a friend came into society. She decided that an intimate dinner à deux would lead to a more serious liaison and perhaps soon to a marriage proposal from Benedict. She had arranged the evening and had made sure that her daughter dressed with care, modestly but with style. She was gratified to see that Benedict had paid similar attention to his own toilette. Maybe her days of longing would soon be over and she could join the ranks of matrons joyfully planning their daughters’ nuptials.
Mrs Fuller’s advice to her daughter had been to keep her opinions to herself and to be a good listener. ‘Men don’t like clever women,’ she cautioned, so Beatrice curbed her natural wit and flattered Benedict by seeming to hang on his every word, greeting every ponderous attempt at humour with soft rippling laughs. At the same time she stifled a yawn and wondered if his wit might improve with time.
Her mother had arranged for music to be played at the table. Beatrice was rather surprised that the lutenist sat down with them but he was attractive and in other circumstances she might have allowed herself a little flirtation. He caught her eye and smiled engagingly and she felt herself blushing. She glanced quickly at Benedict but he had not noticed the looks passing between them. In fact he seemed interested in little else than the state of his dress, constantly brushing off imaginary flecks of dust and rearranging the skirts of his waistcoat. It was a pity, Beatrice reflected, that such good looks should be wasted on a tedious man like Benedict. Whatever had her mother been thinking, to hope that her daughter might marry such a dullard?
At that moment the main course was served but as she was about to start eating, a third man joined the party. Really, it was getting rather crowded at this small table. Benedict introduced him as Rodolfo and it soon became apparent that they were intimates. Her previously dull companion became a source of incandescent wit. Rodolfo paid no attention to Beatrice or the musician - he was entranced by Benedict and Beatrice realised that her mother’s hopes were never to be realised. She sighed with relief, winked at the musician, who picked up his lute, and they left together.