Lord August

Lord August

A Chapter by Jimii
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The Mayor of a little village in the Cotswolds holds his annual banquet to commemorate the founding of the village. A man to bewitch them all.

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Noon, was it? Certainly must have been, at least at Caesar Manor. The sun’s splendid lustre descended bright, greatly enhancing the already beautiful estate on the hill. Bathed in endless lanes of rose bushes, vast beds of chrysanthemums, and marigolds immaculately planted around the yard; the entrance had never looked so grand. At the centre, there flourished a watering fountain, cast of stone. Streams spewed at various angles from the different tiers: all meeting at the basin, flooded with exotic sea life from distant oceans. Yet, atop the great fountain overlooking the marvellous garden, stood an imposing Erebus statuette.

Between two mighty lit braziers, a perfectly opulent and ornate gate marked the entrance to the glamorous garden. Beside it stood the guard: a young and muscled man, uniformed to a tee. He welcomed the wealthy visitors as they arrived in their Rolls Royce limousines. However, they were dwarfed by the extravagant Victorian Estate.

Winding through the garden lay a bricked path, splashed with the occasional step, which routed the way to the front door. Made up of three floors, the manor towered over the blissful hill. The main building consisted of two wings �" the east and west �" that sandwiched a larger keep; both were brought forward and terraced, classically gabled. They served to enclose the manor as if archers on lookout, barring something extravagant, perhaps. All sides of the house were plagued with narrow windows, allowing the right amount of light inside, yet nothing was granted out. Along the roof of the main body, four symmetrical gabled dormers were divided by a larger fifth, directly above the entrance. The door was a fine woodwork: a stained-mosaic window double door, displaying a beautiful interpretation of the Virgin Mary cradling baby Jesus.

It was an exquisitely Victorian, architectural piece of red brick accented in white.

There was one last ‘charm’ to the manor. It was neither the marvellous bouquets nor the decadent artefacts. Its resident was, perhaps, the most wonderful of all. His extraordinary yet distant nature had every housekeeper beguiled, every guest bewildered, every relation bewitched. Yet it all mattered little to him. Perhaps, he was the attracting incentive, the inviting magnet, the reason people would traverse the shire to attend these marvellous fêtes. It was a rarity to spot him, however. He did not show his face much around the town, but whenever he did, his presence and kind words would headline the local journal. He would spend a considerable amount of his day inside his chambers. Nobody bothered him, of course. Though no one came to mind, it was heavily advised not to be on bad terms with the Lord. Perhaps, it was not he himself who appealed to the average mind, but the uncertainty and improbability that he possessed.

When people visited these magnificent events, they must have wondered who could possibly manage such a stressful preparation. What a meticulous mind he must have!

“Everybody in position! Guests will be arriving shortly. I would not want to disappoint the Lord.”

In this particular case �" and every other case for that matter �" greeting everyone at the entrance was the butler of the manor: Mr Thomas Reynold. He was a bit agitated that day. It had been awhile back since the manor last hosted an event of such magnitude, but never would you see anything but a smile on this man’s face. He had slicked back silver hair and a finely styled French moustache. Although this man was certainly past his prime, his skin, though a tad wrinkly, was extremely well looked after. Uniformed, as everybody in the estate, he wore black derby shoes which paired nicely with his white shirt, black bowtie, saved for special occasions, and his black morning blazer, paired with light grey trousers.

“Oh, Sir James, it is an honour to see you again.”

“Good afternoon, pleasure to see you again too, Mr Reynold.”

“On time as always, Sir James! You never disappoint, do you!” Exploded Tom. The first arrival, as expected, was Sir James Ridley and his controversial murder of crows.

He was the most punctual glutton in all of the Cotswolds. Though he was not an unpleasant man, he surrounded himself with uneasy subordinates. You could never know what they were up to. Their heads were constantly on a swivel as if they were being preyed upon. He was a rather stout man for a small build, but elegant. He wore a black pinstripe double-breasted suit, and a light blue bow-tie, fairly well. It was a mystery whether this dwarf had hair or not. He never removed his top hat! Unfortunately, he was a victim to rosacea, marking his cheeks noticeably. Although as a form of respect, it would never be a topic for discussion. Never would you see a face so perfectly round. In addition, his moustache covered his minuscule mouth, providing a comical look. Physical appearance aside, he was your typical upper-class Victorian adjuster, with a fair ounce of respect towards classes beneath him.

“I certainly hope so, Mr Reynold.” Remarked Sir James. “I imagine Constance shan’t be long then.”

“James, what a pleasure it is to see you!” Tailing Sir James, was the wonderfully rotten widow climbing the steps to the manor, Lady Constance Eirnstein. She arrived in solitude, as was the normality. Her walking mannerisms were peculiar; of the undead, some dare say. Clearly, her youthful and robust blonde hair had been slowly withered away. Of course, mentioning such information was unprecedented in a gentleman, however it did not require a scientist to hypothesise such. It was a mystery to Tom how such wealthy individuals had so much trouble taking care of their appearance. She wore a beautifully sown patterned polo dress, but in some horrible and twisted manner, on Lady Eirnstein it was remarkably ragged. Was it really such a laborious challenge? Her once beautiful and tender face had unfortunately turned wrinkly and unsympathetic. Impressive how time can severely hurt a person’s appearance, is it not?

“Oh, James, it truly has been a long time, too long perhaps!”

“No doubt, Constance, two weeks is a horribly long time.” Replied Sir James, tinted with discreet sarcasm.

“I must admit that suit is perfectly matched for you, James.”

“I appreciate your compliments,” while obnoxiously smiling he said, scratching his left cheek: “But of course, looking as beautiful as ever.”

“Oh, James!” The Lady blushed, but rapidly shifted back to her cold nature. “There’s no need to flatter me, darling.” Tom stood there watching; sweating and twitching before the aristocrats.

“Shall we enter?” quickly proposed the butler.

“Lead the way.” Proposed Sir James.

Tom called three of the housekeepers to aid him in the opening of the gate. Such an enormous gate could have never been opened by poor old Tom!

The rich smell of various spices and delicacies stormed the receiving hall of the manor. A most arabesque, scarlet-red carpet, framed with gold vessels, meandered to the mounting front-gated archway of the manor from the double doors of the banqueting hall. Beside the entrance, were two gigantic walnut bookcases, brimmed with knowledge, and two U-shaped stairwells at either side of the hall.

Dozens of chefs slashed away in the kitchen, preparing a mouth-watering feast. Many exquisitely crafted finger foods to entertain the guests: Oysters Rockefeller, devilled eggs, cheese platters…and cocktails of sumptuous gins and rums. As a charming starter, the chefs had fabricated a traditional pot of parsnip and celery root bisque. And last, but certainly not least, they had laid out an endless countertop of entrecotes, waiting to be cooked to perfection.

In the marvellous banqueting hall, thirty housekeepers hurried, finely setting the ornate dining room. In which were, shelves of many trinkets from alien lands, a myriad of knowledgeable tomes, and a tall, golden chandelier �" French-made.

A plate at every chair? Oh yes. Countless cutlery at either side? Most certainly. A variety of fine wines from foreign lands? No doubt.

The rest of the wealthy countrymen arrived at Caesar Manor, filling the banqueting hall. This left the Lord of the Manor’s special chair the only one vacant.

A finger food supply can only entertain so much. The Lord had yet to show, and the guests were devouring the menu at a frightful speed.

“Where may the Lord be, dear butler?” abruptly queried Lady Eirnstein, who had rudely left her seat. After such impatience, she was met with an inappropriate, yet deserved passive-aggressive tone from the butler.

“He will be down shortly, Lady Eirnstein, pardon me for the wait.” Tom contained his inner irritation and forced an awfully awkward smile, as a loyal butler would do. The butler hurried to the supposed room keepers of the Lord, who were conveniently standing at the foot of the left staircase looking towards the door. He had become severely agitated due to constant complaining from guests. Such rudeness, how dare they!

“Where. Is. The Lord!” Tom whispered angrily to one of the housekeepers.

“Pa-pardon the wait, sir, th-the Lord hasn’t left his room as of yet.” A sweet and innocent maid replied.

“Oh, deary me! This is no time to be�"” The butler was suddenly interrupted by a soft, yet deep voice. A most welcoming of tones, almost harmonious, descended from the heavens.

“My apologies, beloved Reynold,” announced a voice from above, “as always, the battle with my attire was a fierce one.” In came Lord August. Such an imposing figure, six feet four inches no less, yet he emanated a comfortable atmosphere. Large broad shoulders, and relatively thin hips. His mane-like, dark-brown curls were flawlessly combed over to the right, sitting above his clean-shaven, olive face; home to his gorgeous and radiant blue eyes, and his slightly crooked nose from his days as Old Theshites R.F.C’s lock.

Perfectly, pitch-black velvet loafers cushioned his feet as he floated down the stairway; splendidly cooperative with his dark-green corduroy three-piece, and a light-blue, cotton shirt. He held a matching blue handkerchief, which he carefully made it into a pocket square and slid it inside his front blazer pocket. And of course! Oh how could we forget! His spectacular charcoal bowtie: the piece that brought his whole attire together:

“But as most of the times, as I’m sure you know,” Tom had heard this line time and time again, but it never bored him! “I emerged victorious,” proudly stated the Lord, ending it with a smile as he buttoned up his jacket. A sense of relief overwhelmed the butler, as one would expect. “I hope I haven’t caused much distress due to my tardy appearance.” The butler hesitated but pleased him regardless.

“Oh, my Lord, don’t even mention it. The guests have been of the most patient.” Both room keepers looked confused, but remained silent.

“That’s certainly surprising, for spoiled wealthy guests, anyway.” These words comforted the squire but simultaneously left him greatly perplexed.

Lord August strode through the receiving hall, aiming for the gold-vesseled carpet.

“Thomas, could you fetch me a top hat and a coat. Any will do.” Politely requested the Lord. “I could never dream of receiving my guests in such a homely attire.” The housekeepers in the hall were all astonished at the Lord’s statement. Of course, comparing their clothes to his. The butler handed him a pitch-black top hat to carry beside him, and coat alike. “A splendid choice, Thomas. Certainly from someone who cares about style in the slightest,” remarked Lord August, which over-imbued Tom with excitement.

The Lord grinned as he finally reached the banqueting hall, where he was met with a full house.

“Pardon my unpunctual, yet fashionable arrival. I sincerely appreciate your time.” Every eye was on Lord August.

Everybody loved him. Everybody admired his extraordinary appearance. Everybody aspired to be as great as Lord August Caesar IV; the mayor of a little town in the Cotswolds, flooded with upper-class roaches, as Lord August would describe; Thesham on the Hill.



© 2021 Jimii


Author's Note

Jimii
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Added on October 20, 2021
Last Updated on October 29, 2021
Tags: Gothic, Victorian, Story, Chapter, Dandy


Author

Jimii
Jimii

London, Greater London, United Kingdom



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