Welcome Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen.



Welcome Lords, Ladies and Gentlefolk.

This blog will be devoted to my literary and cosplay interests and stories set in my own alternative historical steampunk background. I hope people enjoy the stories, as much as I enjoy devising and writing them and that it stimulates their own artistic interests, entertains them or if nothing else fires their own imaginations.

A special note to new readers of this blog, the entries "Nation States" are gazetteers of the nations as they exist in the An Age of Steam, Steel and Iron background, each with a few remarks/observations about each nation as they exist within. Any post headed by the title containing the words "Story Snippet" or "Fragments" is a stand alone, snapshot of the background, they will be developed into fuller stories in future, but at present they serve to give the viewer/reader a measure of what this world is like, what is going on in it and who some of the players are. Full stories, will be headed by their title and a roman number, as they will generally be in several parts.

Comments, suggestions or remarks by readers are welcomed.

I would like to thank the following people:

Yaya Han, for getting me seriously interested in cosplay at a time when things were looking very glum for me back in 2006 with several extended stays in hospital due to illness, and motivating me to get actively involved.

Ashley Du aka UndeadDu, for her unfailing friendship and cheerful support since we first met in 2014 at the Hamilton Comic Con, and for being my Cosplay mentor and advisor.

Sara Marly, for her interest in and support for my writings, since we first met in 2016 at the Hamilton Comic Con and incidently helping me make up my mind to finally do this.

Stephen Thomson, my friend, for his advise and assistance with creating and setting up this blog.

Daniel Cote, my friend and co-worker for his advise and friendship over the years.

The People of the The Aegy's Gathering (particularly Jonathan Cresswell-Jones, Scott Washburn and Jenny Dolfen, all of whom I have kept in contact with over the years), who were brought together in friendship by a certain randomness of chance and a common interest in the Honor Harrington books and stayed together despite distance and the strains of life.


The People of the Wesworld Alternative History website, who gave me the opportunity to sharpen my writing and story telling skills while directing the affairs of Lithuania and briefly France during their 1930s timelines.

My parents Mary Ellen and Logan, my siblings Adam and Danika and various friends both online and at work and play for putting up with me, encouraging and supporting me both in the very good times and the very bad times.

I remain as always yours very sincerely, your obedient servant, Matthew Baird aka Sir Leopold Stanley Worthing-Topper








Sunday, December 11, 2016

Attendence at the Kendal Ball (Part V)

Piccadilly Square, London, Great Britain: January 1886

The pretty auburn haired waitress withdrew after placing the shallow bowls of savoury Consomme Olga soup before them at their private table in the Restaurant Calvary. The owner of the very exclusive, very fashionable London restaurant, Charles Francis Calvary, was an old school friend of Sir Leo's, they had attended Barchester College together. Sir Leo had helped arrange the financing and advertisement for the restaurant when it first opened some years ago. Calvary an enterprising and efficient manager, maitre'd and chef himself had made the business a splendid social and financial success. Consequently, Charles insisted that his old friend, Sir Leo, who in the course of time had been the best man at his wedding, favourite godfather of his children as well as his business partner be given preferencial treatment by the staff whenever he dined at Calvary's.

"Thank you, for inviting me to lunch, Sir Leo."

"You are welcome, Ursula. I thought it necessary in the circumstances, although I admit the pleasure of your company makes it less an unwelcome duty."

"What trouble could I ever be to you, Sir Leo?" Ursula asked mildly perplexed, by Sir Leo's, suddenly serious tone and manner. When his man Saunders had unexpectedly turned up at her door that morning just after breakfast she had been delighted at the offer of luncheon together by Sir Leo. It would serve two purposes for her; it would allow them to catch up with each other, share their news and experiences, and it would save her from having to accept an invitation to an early afternoon tea with the horridly boring Timberton sisters and their equally banal coterie of aristocratic courtiers, sycophants and hangers on in their society salon in the Grosvenor Mansions.

Sir Leo, fixed his gaze on her through his monocle, for a long moment, obviously thinking over how to best tackle the subject. Suddenly, he gave a small shrug, then spoke without attempting to dress up or finesse the issue at hand.

"What you are Ursula, is a newly minted, young and unmarried duchess; the pinnacle of the titled aristocracy short of the Royal Family, with a very desirable fortune. A fortune that makes you one of the richest women in the Empire, let alone Europe. Fifty-three million pounds sterling in the Bank of England, twenty-two million in the Bank of Switzerland, seven point five million combined in the Banks of Nova Scotia and Montreal and the Royal Bank of Canada, and some fifteen million in the Imperial Bank of Brazil. With I might add, a personal monthly income running into the six figures. All of which when taken together with your very considerable personal charms and considerable landed properties and corporate holdings makes you a most desirable bachelorette."

"Just how do you know so much about my financial situation?" Ursula asked, a trace of apprehension and confusion filtered into her voice.

"Your father made me one of the seven man council of executors and trustees of his and by extension your estate, several years ago."

"Oh." Ursula looked down at her soup, stirring its contents idly. "A single woman in possession of a fortune must be in want of a husband?" She could see her parents setting things up like that to protect her, she felt grateful that even now after their deaths they were still looking out for and after her best interests.

"A good paraphrase of Jane Austen, my dear. So quite a few unmarried and financially challenged men will think. Some will be moved to take a gambler's throw at you, they have nothing to lose and a king's or in this case a duchess's ransom to win. Very few of them will have your best interests close to their hearts."

"Well they can save themselves the effort, Leo." Ursula said with some heat in her voice and expression. "I am not some prized mare to be haggled over or bartered for."

"Good." Sir Leo, announced over the edge of his glass of Port. The slightest of smiles played on his lips. To her surprise and not a little relief, Sir Leo suddenly shifted the tract of the conversation. "Still set on that young fellow of your's, Captain Thomas Jameson?"

"Yes." Ursula responded, the barest hint of a blush creeping onto her bronzed cheeks. "I intend to use the ball on Friday to make that perfectly clear. To everyone." Sir Leo's slight smile widened still more and his brown eyes twinkled at her.

"Good. Name the wedding day and I will be there, in full dress uniform, come hell or high water. Even if I have to marry the two of you myself."

"T-Thank you, Leo." She murmured softly her voice catching in her throat, it was obvious to him that she was suppressing with difficulty a great depth of feeling. "That means a great deal to me. Do you, think that Papa and Mama would have approved?"

Sir Leo considered the question for a minute, before answering.

"Of you becoming, Mrs. Jameson? Yes, I think they would."

Mrs. Wraithdale-Jameson, if you please." Ursula reproved him with a smile playing on her lips. Sir Leo's own smile blossomed into something like a grin.

"Thomas has agreed to that?" He asked observing her with an arched eyebrow over his glass.

"Well no. Not yet... exactly, but he will, I just need to convince him."

"Ursula, the last time I recall seeing you 'convince' someone, it involved you liberally and repeatedly applying the blunt end of an army service revolver to their skull."

"Well, yes. That was a somewhat... ahem... extreme case on my part, I admit. Although I do not think, in this instance, Thomas will require... quite that much persuasion on my part."

"A toast then." Sir Leo lifted his glass again. Ursula lifted her own glass to match his. "To the successs of your first social ball as the Duchess of Kendal, Ursula, may it be the first of many for both of you."

Their glasses clinked together musically.

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