Go HERE for more Magpie Tales.
Stella leaned back in her chair, or at least as far as her corset would allow. She enjoyed observing the guests around her long dinning table. Her secret to throwing a successful dinner party was not only her unpredictable sense of humor but how she could feel the flow and movement of the evening. She sensed that tonight's party would be in need of more than a little assistance.
To her the dinner party was a symphony and she took a moment to loose herself in the performance. Voices no longer formed words but joined in the concord of sound taking the form of the strings and winds. The china and crystal became the percussion. And the staccato of laughter quicken the tempo always enriching the texture of the movements.
She knew that her symphony had already played out the first movement, the animated talk around the table, the quick steps of the servants as they circled the table attending to each guest. But now silk gowns began rustling as the women stirred restlessly in their chairs signifying the second slower movement. To keep the evening interesting, they couldn't linger on the Adagio where satisfied appetites and drinks could lead to lethargic guests. Parties were much more enjoyable when the evening ended with a lively minuet.
Stella was the conductor and it was her job to keep the symphony moving. It was time for the group to move to the parlor for after dinner drinks, conversation and cards. This was her favorite time of the evening but as they settled around the room she felt the awkwardness hanging in the air like an atonal instrument. (she should have never invited the Hamiltons and Wellingtons to the same party!). The tempo continued to falter after the dull story told by Mr. Brentwood.
"Desperate times call for desperate measures" was her thinking as she excused herself for a moment to the side bar where champagne was being poured into crystal flutes by James, one of her servants. She had only done this once before.
She removed her glass eye (the result of a childhood injury) and placed it in one of the glasses of champagne. She whispered "James, give this one to Mrs. Brentwood."
Upon my return from Africa and following several phone conversations with close friends inquiring about my experience, it became apparent to me I would be ...