Monday, 23 May 2011

Magpie Tales #67 The Best-Laid Plans

Thanks go to Tess Kincaid who organises and hosts this meme 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.

19 comments:

  1. Is there a hint of something between R & B or my overactive imagination off tangent...enjoyed this intrigue tale and kudos to the girl for following her wit or should I say heart?

    ReplyDelete
  2. A delightful full length romantic novel in a few paragraphs. Oh that some other writers could be so economical!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh, very nicely done, Janice. I wondered about the third man at the table!
    Although this photo didn't inspire me in the least, it seems to have been able to light a spark in other Magpie contributors.
    — K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

    ReplyDelete
  4. That's it girl, take your fate into your own hands. I'm also pairing off the girl with the lute player.

    A excellent tale.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ah, the best laid plans are often the biggest failures, aren't they?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Surprising twist at the end! Very interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  7. well well well.....good decision!

    ReplyDelete
  8. You seemed to capture the atmosphere of the era (slightly skewed).

    ReplyDelete
  9. Amazing what can be learnt just with the eyes! Neat little story!

    ReplyDelete
  10. This is a well-written and very original tale! I thought Beatrice would be too naive to be aware of the relationship between Benedict and Rodolfo. Then she was bold enough to leave with the lutenist! Great farce!

    ReplyDelete
  11. What a relief it must have been for her to realise that Benedict bats for the other team.
    Great Magpie.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Wonderful imagination and story development. love your surprise for interest!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Such is life - nothing is what it appears to be! Ah to be the lute player - for it is he that seems to win the maidens affection!

    Anna :o]

    ReplyDelete
  14. Delightfully surprising twist!

    ReplyDelete
  15. hehehhe... well well.. all's well that ends well...

    This was too good!! :))

    ReplyDelete
  16. This tale is well told, so you kept my attention all through, but it was the little twists that won my appreciation, those insertions that reflect only your imagination and creativity: the subtle interaction between the lute player and the woman, the change in the men's demeanors when together, and then the lovely escape with the lute player in the end. None are predicted--all come from your genious. Keep it up!

    ReplyDelete
  17. An entertaining story indeed and very well put together.

    Mothers don't always know best!

    ReplyDelete

I appreciate that some people like to give awards but for me your comments are reward enough.

Thank you for visiting. I love to read your comments and really appreciate you taking the time to respond to posts.

I will always try to repay your visit whenever possible.