Chapter 7

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"I am impressed," Alicia observed as she raised her brow upon her inspection of the fair when they arrived.

The countryside was beautifully decorated with wooden tables and chairs, and the trees and plants and such had been adorned with red ribbons. There were multiple small colorful tents lining the countryside, each sporting one activity or the other. Fairground rides had been arranged for too, towering beside the hills as children rushed to make queues for them. Some people preferred to seat themselves on the grass upon a sheet with their children as they enjoyed the show put up by the mime and the clown.

Different stalls had been set up, there was a ribbon stall with all kinds and colors of ribbons, and there was also a drinks stall where all kinds of fruit drinks were being served.

The children, Francis, Judith, Michael, Theodore, Mary Ann, Henrietta and Miles, had their eyes fixed quite on something else entirely. They squealed in delight as they gazed upon the enormous Ferris wheel. It was too, adorned with ribbons and seemed to go up into the sky.
The fair had, as usual, a quite considerable turnout, it seemed as though all of Southampton was here and Diana and Alicia had been the last ones to arrive with their family.

After a series of pleas, the children were granted the permission to mount the Ferris wheel.

"Adam, dear, watch over the children, don't let them out of your sight," Lady Seymour instructed to the eldest son, who narrowed his eyes a little at his uncalled for duty, but shrugging nonchalantly, he took Judith and Michael by their hands and walked with the children towards the Ferris wheel.

"Ah, there you are girls," A sing song voice came and Diana and Alicia were instantly met with the charming Madame Carp, her dress flowing about her and the multiple feathers in her bonnet swaying to and fro amongst the wrath of the winds, "How beautiful the designs look on you both, you don't mind expressing where you got them done from to the gentry, now would you? I would absolutely love and appreciate a bit of a crowd at the dress emporium when this ordeal is over."

Diana smiled, "Of course Madame Carp, we would love to."

"Oh and I see your family is here too," the Madame said as she noticed the women come up behind the ladies, "How do you do Lady Beaumont, Lady Kirkpatrick, Lady Seymour and Lady Charlotte?"

Lady Beaumont exchanged glances with her sisters and kept her lips sealed, giving the most as a mere nod to the French Madame who had just addressed them. Charlotte Allan, rolled her eyes a little at her elder sisters' behavior, they had always been quite quick to bear contempt for anything they found even the slightest disagreeable. Smiling politely, the younger and the more compassionate of the sisters addressed the Madame, "We are doing quite good, Madame Carp, I trust you are too?"

The Madame smiled joyfully, "I am as well as I have ever been, Lady Charlotte."

"How is your mother in law, Mrs Josephine? I trust she is in good health now and I've heard your brother has come too," she added.

"She is, thank you for your concern and yes, Arthur has come with his family too," Came the polite reply, "I wanted to congratulate you Madame, it seems as though the little time I was away from society and tending to my mother in law, your dress emporium has been growing with success. Now that I see my nieces' gowns, I think how inevitable it was. They are wonderfully done."

The French woman smiled as her cheek went red with happiness, "I-I thank you, Lady Charlotte."

Before the woman could say anything more, Aunt Charlotte turned to Diana and Alicia, "My dears, give Fanny to me for a while so that you both can go enjoy yourselves. I dare say my little girl has become quite tedious to manage," The aunt teased as she reached her hand out for her little daughter to take and leave Diana's hand.

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