Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Grand Ball

As I contemplate what I am about to write I truly marvel that it has yet to happen. I am still quite amused by the McLean house gathering. Lady Simpson and I have many fond memories and catch each other musing about it on a regular basis.

With that in mind I will propose the following dangerous idea... A Grand Ball. This would be a gathering to rival all others that would require all chapters to come together and pool their endeavors into one giant party, ANNUALLY.

This suits us here in "the country" fine as I am doubtful that our sparse population is ready yet to host a gathering here, but would be willing to co-sponsor with anyone who wanted to hold one in the Portland under the auspices of our multiple "manors". I realize this may cause some trepidation, of which I hope all realize is quite innocent in its genesis on my part.

It could even become a fund raiser at some point, with profits going to sponsor other events or activities for the chapters. Perhaps the Grand Ball can be the finale of a weekend of merriment and sport? The options are many and varied.

I would love to hear from any and all interested in throwing such an event. Surely with our varied locations and numerous resources this could happen. I also don't like seeing Lady Debourgh losing here mind at our expense.

I welcome your response.
Cheers- Lt. A

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Of Saturdays at McLean Manor

Dear Friends,
As I take pen in hand this new day to set down my recollections, I will allow my thoughts to drift back to an accounting of the revelry of Saturday last. After a somewhat harrowing coach ride across the mountains the previous night, my good and most angelic Lady Georgiana Simpson and her cousin Adelheide Goetz (her parent’s were patriots of Prussia before Boney’s reign) and I found our party arrived at the 12th Night Feast.

It would seem effortless to write and extol the evening’s delights as enthusiasm, but in sooth, it was a capital time of the highest order. One becomes used to such parties by the well meaning and appointed, especially as well traveled as my life has been to this point in His Majesty's service. I have been received at many a ball, grog haul and cotillion with many long periods of confinement aboard a ship of the line as a magnifying influence on the most mundane of swillings. However, it is with most earnest words I will attest that this was no short endeavor, being the best and most first rate time I have had in recent memory.

One knows I have made regular trips to the colonies in the service, but the apotheosis of good company, fine food and splendid friends, I had not yet had pleasure of discovering until the feast. I have had many occasions during the American War to find myself in the colony of Virginia for many victorious parade and amusement to benefit His Majesty’s troops, played many a throw of hazard and heard many fine measures played and sung, but Anachreon himself would have been well enjoyed of the company.

Singularly, I must say the diverse entertainments were well met. The Lady of Portland House issued exquisite intonations. It was as if the cherubs of Aphrodite where all in chorus from her mouth by her seraphic notes that would make even a Cesar faint with reflection. The Master of Portland house was quite the sharp at whist and a wry fellow indeed, with an artist’s eye for taking likenesses.

Lady Debourgh and her Chef de Cuisine arranged an extravagance rivaling that of the Regent. One expects from these fine houses abhorrent ragouts and claret, but not here. Many fine courses and cuts of meat were served, after which Lady Debourgh called dances for us in the hall. It was a tremendous honor bestowed upon her guest methinks.

One knows that as a pensioner of Portsmouth, I am troubled by my old wound attained on that terrible occasion in 1781, which makes my dancing somewhat ham-footed. I have never been allowed to dance and encouraged with so much patience as I had Saturday last. I was giddy as an Arab lad in a stygian whirl-wind by the end of it all.

I must remark most notably upon the Footmen, Jonkins (a Cornish name I believe) and Timothy. While base fellows in conversation, they were very attentive and the service was vigilant, even as they would seem to be idle souls given to drink and dice, they did not falter in their tasks.

Most quirsome was that there were few gentlemen. I can testify that I feel acutely blessed to no longer be a bachelor as of late. Lady Simpson is the finest and most beauteous lady of the most lucid quality I could ever hope for. She and the other ladies, were as so many nymphs as written about in the ages of Macedon.

Lads, if I were a bachelor with even the meagerest of prospects, poorest of purse and wanting in physique, I would endevor with even the meagerest of efforts to polish my pumps, have my linen freshened and make occasion of some future event with this splendid array of the fairest of dainty society and spare a few shillings to make my attendance. Your only opposition would be other fellows not in attendance. One gentleman in particular was spoken of regularly with great gaiety and frequency.

All the women discussed some absentee gentleman, some fellow named Mr. Knightly who is a sullen and melancholy sort by all accounts of him. He sounds as distatseful as that fellow who inherited Cum Magna some time whence. Genuinely, what do the ladies see as quality in such gentlemen as these?

Well I must lay down the quill for now and go to market to buy linen for my tailor to make trousers as the vernal season of angling will be upon us most readily. I hope that my former companion from the HMS Victory is to be present shortly. It has been some time since I have lifted a bumper to the Navy and the King.

I hope to see you all on the occasion of the 20th of February next. I here it is Lady Debourgh’s birthday, an occasion not to be missed.

God Save England!

I remain your most obedient servant,

Lt. Wm Armstrong

Friday, January 8, 2010

Be seeing you....

...At the Feast of the 12th Night in West Linn. Our boots are polished, linens pressed, coats and jackets freshly brushed, and the Phaeton loaded for the long journey to the McLean House. We look forward to making your acquaintances, dancing, and "whisting" the night away.

God Save the King- Mr A.