Jan. 17, 2013 Circa 1814 Part 2

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My biggest guilty pleasure in life is reading Regency romance novels.  You know the ones with the embarrassing book covers (front and back) where the woman has the long wavy hair that flows down to her empire-waisted dress, showing off her scandalously low décolletage, while the buff Fabio-looking guy has his shirt unbuttoned and is caressing her from behind?  Every book title has a Duke or an Earl in it, along with words like "his wicked ways," or "how to marry" or "the pleasures of".  Yes, I am one of those women who cannot get enough of the lofty Duke dallying with the scullery maid, but eventually finding true love with a high-spirited Lady, or the Viscount who falls in love with the high-born, but poor daughter of a Baron.  I love reading the traditional Regency romance with the fine historical details, as well as the Regency historical romance that includes more love, more drama, and more sex.  They're all delicious in my book (I seem to be rolling with the puns these days :P).

Well, I don't know how this happened, but somehow I was transported back to the 1800's as soon as I left our San Francisco office and stepped into the Madame Claudine's Dress Shoppe - Your Modiste of Choice.

"What is this place?"  I marveled, touching all the gowns, hats, gloves, fans, and parasols.

"I told you.  A dress, a tux, and carriage and horses.  Go pick out the dress you want to wear tonight."

"What's tonight?"

"Why, Lady Jane.  Don't you know?  Tonight is Le Beau Monde Ton Ball, at Almack's," the shopkeeper told me.  How'd this gal know my name?  "It's a masquerade ball, so don't forget to pick out your dominos," she addressed the both of us.

"Donovan.  What is going on?  Why do I feel like a character in a Regency romance novel?"

"Your 'Gimpy,' as you call him, purchased tickets to this ball and he told me to bring you.  There's a surprise waiting for you there.  Everything you borrow and use is compliments of Sir Ascot, so borrow away."

"You're being serious?  I'm going to a real, pretend ton ball?"

"Yes, Lady Jane.  Now go pick out your dress," he commanded.

"I think the ice blue cambric gown would suit nicely with those fiery blue eyes, Lady Jane."  The modiste of the shop came out in full Regency regalia.  She had on a gorgeous muslin morning dress and spoke like a member of the ton - though in actuality, no modiste could be considered part of the upper class.

"Why Lady Jane, I think you would look exquisite in that dress," Donovan winked.

"I think I might go for the cyprian look."  La modiste looked horrified.  "I think she's about to suffer an apoplexy," I whispered.

"I'm going to be in a fit of apoplexy myself if I have to wear these tight breeches."  He was holding up a pair of buckskin pants that looked a tad bit slim and fitting.

"Those skin-tight breeches are hot.  You'd look quite the dandy, Donovan, Earl of Los Angeles.  Beau Brummel, watch out!"  I laughed.  "Just make sure nobody gets you hot, if you know what I mean, or else, we will all know what you mean."  I laughed even harder.  "There's no room for error in those pants."

"Move along, doxy, before you get what's coming to you and I put a hand to your backside."

"Did you really say that?  Oh my gosh, that was so funny.  Where'd you learn that?"

He rolled his eyes at me.  "I have four sisters.  They loved this Jane Austen kind of stuff and read it to me regardless of my willing participation.  I don't know what you girls find so fascinating about this era.  We had those embarrassing novels all around the house.  My mom loved them, too."

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