That Man, Is He a Rogue or a Gentleman
"Nice, you look even more beautiful."
"Please don't make fun of me."
"Why would I? Although I think you'd be cuter if you smiled a little more."
"For what reason should I smile?"
Just what is with this guy. Lydia let her disgust show on her face.
"......Come to think of it, why do I have to attend dinner?"
"But you're hungry, aren't you?" he asked coolly.
Well, that was true. Lunch had been some bread she'd munched on while waiting for the stage coach.
"That's not what I meant. It'd be more comfortable eating alone."
"That'd be a waste. There's be no chance to show you off then."
"Huh?! I'm not one of your accessories."
"Naturally, you're the main attraction, while I have a supporting role. I'm sure we'll make a good impression. While being escorted poorly can on occasion make people hold a lady in lesser esteem, if done well, it can give a much more charming impression of both parties."
Ultimately, it's for yourself. Unfortunately, they reached the dining room before Lydia could protest.
The doorman respectfully opened the door, and prompted to go through first as befitted a lady, Lydia had no choice but to enter.
"And now, you get to show me off, Lydia."
Such insolent words.
But they weren't just words.
Music drifted throughout the large hall like a wave along with the glitter of the chandelier, silverware, and the jewelry the women wore. Light conversation could be heard at several of the tables.
Any way you looked at it, Edgar's manner as he escorted an unsure Lydia through all that was completely and utterly that of a member of the nobility.
When he'd been dressed shabbily, his slender form had seemed unimposing. But dressed in a well-tailored evening coat, he looked like he was someone who'd never known heavy labour.
His clothes were pure white with a high collar and cascading tie. He had a tri-coloured violet in his buttonhole. There probably weren't many people who had as noble a countenance as the combined keenness and sweetness of his features and his shiny blond hair conveyed.
Most likely everyone else had the same opinion as Lydia. Not only did the young earl charm the marquis and his wife, but he also charmed the other great people at the table.
As for Lydia, she was introduced as a friend, and not having to pay particular attention to things, was able to concentrate on the cuisine quietly.
According to Edgar's story, Lydia was the daughter of a good family who'd been at her grandparents doing charity work at an elementary school in Edinburgh. She was headed for Leeds to attend the wedding of an old friend. Her strict father had been quite unwilling to let his young daughter go on the short voyage, but when Edgar offered to accompany her, her father finally relented.
Well, he's certainly good at coming up with stories.
"Still, it's a very thoughtful thing for you to do for your friend."
"Anyone would do whatever they could if they thought it would win them the favour of a beautiful female friend, don't you agree earl?"
"You understand! She, however, continues to refuse to call me anything but a friend."
We only met today.
His singular young gentleman's act had the marquis and his wife looked at him as though looking at a grandson, and succeeded in giving a strong impression of innocence to all the older members at the table.
"My, what a waste."
"Travelling by ship is not a chance one gets everyday, and is supposed to make any woman a little sweeter, isn't that right, miss?"
"Is that right, Lydia?"
His gentle voice gave the impression that he really was attracted to her, making Lydia feel a little odd.
"......I wonder," Lydia answered bluntly both not bothered yet also semi-annoyed.
Edgar could only give a slightly lonely shrug.
That reaction, no doubt by design, bought him the sympathy of everyone at the table.
"As someone her father trusts, it pains me that I can't win her over any more than this.
Even though the charming young earl was attracted to her, the virtuous young lady refused to loosen up. Edgar made Lydia seem almost like a saint.
So this is what he meant by her showing him off.
Just by being next to him, young ladies of esteem at other tables stared at Lydia in envy. By it was meaningless to Lydia. Even though it might have a good feel there, Edgar wasn't really Lydia's friend, and it was like being done up with fake jewels.
So, just why was Edgar wanting a pseudo female friend adorn his arm? While he did seem to be having fun at his game, he also seemed to be like one of the pieces on the board. Someone who, taken off the board, didn't exist.
Is he really an earl?
"Ah, come to think of it, Earl Ashenbert, your descended from the famous Lord Blue Knight, is that right?" a man seated at the end of the table asked. He was a scholar who until just moment ago had been animatedly talking about Chaucer.
"Famous is going a bit far. While not as famous as Hamlet, most English people consider the Lord Blue Knight in the same manner--as a fictitious character."
"My, do you mean that the Lord Blue Knight really did exist? I'm familiar with F. Brown's work, but it was a most fantastic story."
Lydia, too, knew the tale of the Lord Blue Knight. Lydia listened in interest at hearing that Edgar was of that bloodline--something she didn't expect.
Asked by a noblewoman, the scholar began to explain.
"Yes, Madame, the model for the story was a knight who swore fealty to Edward I. Back when the king was still the Crown Prince, they led the Crusades together. He said he was from the Land of the Faerie, and told tales of adventures in other foreign lands, and is said to have been most enchanting...... According to Brown's work, the work of Lord Blue Knight's fae followers was very reliable and resulted in a very fantastic work of fiction. The fae followers aside, someone known as Lord Blue Knight did exist among King Edward I close advisors."
Edgar said nothing and only nodded letting the scholar speak as he wished.
"Even now, by King Edward I, Lord Blue Knight continues to hold the rank of an English Earl. Since he's also a lord in the Land of the Faerie, since his oath of fealty is eternal, it means that the English monarch also reigns over the imaginary lands where fairies live. It's very much in keeping with English humour, don't you think?"
"You're wrong. Lord Blue Knight really was a lord of the fae," Lydia said without thinking.
Everyone looked at her. Aa, I'm going to be made fun of again. Despite thinking that, having taken offense at the scholar's words, Lydia refused to stay silent.
"Umm...... but Mister...... how can you say that Lord Blue Knight did in fact exist, yet at the same time claim that the Fae Lands are a person's whimsy? They were spoken of in the same manner, yet claiming one part is real while the other part is made up doesn't make sense."
"Miss, while the talk of faeries is too fantastical, there are papers speaking of the Lord Blue Knight being conferred the rank of earl, so there's no doubt that he himself did exist."
"That's true. However, those papers record the Lord Blue Knight as Earl of Ibrazel. Ibrazel is Gaelic and is a legendary Faerie Land beyond the sea. Which means this is also real. Would the people of that time consider the Faerie Lands as whimsy?"
Did he protect me?
The strange looks directed by the others towards Lydia immediately fell away.
"Certainly, people in the past didn't doubt the existence of fairies or demons, so perhaps Edward I was the same. In which case, I'd like to ask you do you really have territory in the Faerie Lands?"
"Naturally, it's been passed on to me from the previous generation."
He spoke so easily; that itself could be taken as true British humour.
"My, I would love to receive an invitation to go there."
"It's a family tradition that the only person who can be taken there is one's bride."
"My, my, I can certainly understand why Miss Lydia would believe in the Lands of the Faerie if wooed with talk like that."
"Meaning there might be some hope?"
Edgar gave Lydia another tender look.
While the conversation was clearly meant in jest, no one denied that the Fae existed. It was a strange feeling.
Almost like they'd been playing pretend.
Lydia, rather than being made fun of, was looked upon fondly thanks to Edgar's skilled conversation.
Even though Lydia herself couldn't come to like her dull reddish-brown hair, she was complimented on it enviously because it was so straight. And her green eyes which made people think of witches or fairies were likened to peridot.
Lydia felt herself getting drunk from the excellent wine, the reflections off the chandelier, and the scent of perfume. She idly wondered if the human lord who supposed ruled over the Fae--the descendant of the Blue Knight Earl--might possibly understand her.
......Only one more scene for this section? Is that right? Oh boy. *sigh*
Having caught myself almost skipping a line while translating, I'm definitely going to have to go over these posts again later and make sure I haven't missed any lines. Ah well, the joys of translating on the fly. :P