We are sad to report that Captain de Fromage's month ended on a down note when he went visiting the lady Di. He was carrying a beautiful bunch of roses, and looked most dashing and martial in his new dress uniform of the Dragoon Guards. He also seemed unwilling to make his identity plain - keeping his own hat (with a fetching sky blue plume and contrasting rose pink hatband) angled so as to keep his face in shadow at all times. This added greatly to his aura of mystery, and my first draft of this story told of a «Handsome Stranger Paying Court to Di Ode». But hélas, on the Wednesday Captain de Fromage's romantic attempts at secrecy came to naught when he met the Paris Fencing Champion Pierre de Tutu on Mlle. Ode's doorstep. M. de Tutu was wearing a very smart tunic, shiny new boots with silver buckles and a gorgeous new hat with a white plume in it.
But still, both gentlemen were so determined to press their suits with the gentle Di Ode that neither showed any sign of backing down, and Captain de Fromage was heard to mutter through clenched teeth something about not being able to order a civilian, and this seemed to be vexing him somewhat. Then he added something about Eileen finding out if he got caught in a fight, but M. de Tutu had no sympathy for this point of view and thus the good Captain was left with no alternative but to duel.
Pierre de Tutu had a sword, of course, and so too did Captain de Fromage. M. de Tutu started with a high sweep that knocked Captain de Fromage's hat off his head and revealed his indentity. This caused a couple of gasps from the handful of onlookers. Captain de Fromage, dismayed to have his incognito pierced struck back, and made a nasty hole in M. de Tutu's tunic, exposing the lining. There was some blood as well.
Then M. de Tutu did some sort of flashy swordy thing and it was Captain de Fromage's turn to yelp with pain. Moments later, M. de Tutu did the same thing again, and more blood appeared. There is no doubt that poor Captain de Fromage will need the services of a seamstress and a washerwoman before he can wear that uniform again! The Captain de Fromage did a different sort of swing and caught M. de Tutu again, this time completely ruining his tunic. And there was more blood as well.
The M. de Tutu did his swordy thing again and Captain de Fromage surrendered. While the defeated Captain de Fromage limped sadly away, M. de Tutu did his best to tidy himself up, swept off his hat, slicked back his hair, took a deep breath, rapped smartly on the door and waited. He did not have long to wait. Seconds later, the door was flung open, a beaming Mlle. Ode cried «Oh, Captain de Fromage, how bravely you - Oh! Oh, I'm terribly sorry, Mlle. Ode isn't in today. Please come back next year. Au revoir M'Sieur.» and slammed the door again.
This unhappy scene then ended with a disappointed M. de Tutu throwing his own hat to the ground and stamping on it, then limping off after Captain de Fromage, having won the battle but, alas, still having failed to win the subjective! - We think our romance correspondent means ‹objective› - Ed.
And then finally, to rub salt into the wound for Captain de Fromage, in light of this contest on the doorstep of Di Ode, Mlle. d'Overre has let it be known that she will have nothing further to do with him. Le pauvre!
This month, almost all the club activity has taken place at Hunter's. In the first week, Napoleon Blownaparte was the host to an élite crowd that included the notoriously musical M. Lemoine, the light-footed M. Pierre de Tutu, Captain de Mystère, Alexi de Camp and Captain Blownaparte's beloved Anne Ode. Half of the gentlemen present were toadying to M. Blownaparte, while the less socially advanced members of the group toadied to M. de Camp. In fact, there was also a solitary figure carousing in Red Phillips in week one - M. Piê Kéyy.
In weeks two and three, the generous Captain de Fromage was the gracious host. Taking advantage of his hospitality was much the same crowd as had been singing Captain Blownaparte's praises in week one: Captain de Mystère, as always, could be identified by his swish blade; M. Lemoine (present only in week three) by the apparent sound of a two cats fighting a pig in a burlap sack; M. Piê Kéyy (also only present in week three, to observe the drinking contest); M. Alexi de Camp; and M. de Tutu. In week two, Captain de Fromage brought his then girlfriend Eileen d'Overre along, and after the regrettable events of week four this will be the last time the two of them will be seen in public together. In week three, it was M. de Camp's turn to challenge Captain de Fromage to a drinking spree, and the tipple of choice was cider rather than the good Captain's accustomed grog. And indeed, it was a most closely-fought contest; for several rounds, the winner was too close to call, and it took most of the evening before Captain de Fromage managed to open a slight lead, and then all of his effort to slowly extend it. M. de Camp obviously thought he was on a roll, reporting that he successfully drunk more that evening than he has in a long time; and ultimately it can only have been Captain de Fromage's greater constitution that carried the contest for him. When asked to if he wished to say a few words on his hard-fought victory, our taciturn drinking champion replied, «Fsxxtz wwwbxyzrb pftyss fsphpht», so there you go.
In week four, Captain Blownaparte was back carousing in Hunter's, but was drinking alone for a change. So overall, this has been a particularly quiet month - particularly with the retirement of a couple of gentlemen from the Paris social scene, and the decision by Major Baronne to set out to the front early.
It seems like the long-running romance between Captain de Fromage and Eileen d'Overre is now over. A tearful Mlle. d'Overre, having heard of her former lover's willingness to fight a duel for the attentions of Mlle. Di Ode, swore to have nothing more to do with him. «He never fought a duel over me!», she sobbed. Meanwhile Captain de Fromage having been defeated by M. de Tutu, he has gained nothing but a few painful injuries, and while M. de Tutu may not have been physically hurt so badly, he has still been comprehensively snubbed my Mlle. Ode.
Captain Bint has been seen in the company of Mlle. Bea not once but twice this month, but still the lady does not appear inclined to succumb to his urbane charm. Persistence might perhaps be a good watchword for the courtly Captain Bint. Equally, M. Lemoine's serenading of Mlle. Benotte in week four has also yet to bear fruit.
At the other end of the market, M. Piê Kéyy had a splendid time at the Maison Char bawdy house in week two, but it is unlikely any long-term liaison will result from this.
Regimental vacancies currently stand as follows:
Candide collects Dutch impressionists, jongleurs and clowns, and has the finest croquet lawn in the Isle de Cité.
Adèle likes giggling, filing her nails, fluttering her eyelashes and peeking at prospective suitors over the top of her fan. Her favourite stones are diamonds, rubies and emeralds.
Mlle. Bea is an accomplished dancer and calligrapher and practices lacemaking. She also enjoys knitting, crochet and metalwork.
In her spare time, Ruth rules over the Paris Sewing and Tapestry Circle with an iron fist. She is also secretary of the Paris Flower-Arranging Society and likes finding witches.
The three Ode sisters share their late father's interest in natural philosophy and alchemy. Anne likes catching butterflies, Di collects cute little fluffy kittens and Cath likes fox-hunting, bear-baiting and cock-fighting.
Mlle. Panne likes wearing beautiful clothes and jewellery. Her interests are shopping, flirting, dancing and archery. If Marcie was a tree she would be a rowan tree; if she was an animal she would be a duck.
At the time of writing, the mysterious Mlle. Onne has refused to give an interview. All we can say is that when travelling around Paris, she is seen always in a silk veil - a different colour every day.
Pat is waiting for a handsome prince to sweep her off her feet and carry her away on a white charger. In the meantime she plays a formidable game of cribbage.
Sadie's hobbies are giggling, filing her nails, fluttering her eyelashes and torture.
Eileen is interested in contortionism, horse-riding and escapology. She has studied ballet since the age of 2½.
Laura de Lande is from Brittany and came to the capital only recently with her two aunts. Laura likes fishing and falconry and also breeds rabbits. (For the falcons). She loves the open air and all of God's creatures, especially veal, venison and foie gras. Mme. de Lande is a widow; her husband was the late M. Wintewun de Lande, who died tragically in a skating accident in the summer of 1606. (He drowned.)
Claire is the elder daughter in the de la Lune family; it won't be long before her younger sister enters the social circuit as well. The de la Lunes are well-known for their big round eyes and enviable ability to party well into the night. Sadly, the family is occasionally touched by insanity but there has not been any history of that for several weeks.
May studies philosophy, theology, astrology and taxidermy. She is a Libran and her favourite colour is yellow.
Lotte could drink a pint of sherry in 4½ seconds, but she has since improved on this record and can now perform the feat in 4¼ seconds. She plays the viola and the crumhorn, sometimes both together.
The Serb says: As usual, rankings in parentheses refer to gentlemen currently on campaign, whose social rankings are frozen while they are away doing their duty.