Author's Note: A Scarlet Pimpernel story. My first contact with the Scarlet Pimpernel were the movies where Lord Tony was played by Jamie Bamber, and this is the inspiration I had for the characters.

Warning: The warning is placed here for vinsmouse, who wanted a spew warning here, claiming it might be a bad idea to drink while reading the funnier parts. So please keep in mind that drinking any kind of beverage while reading this, might be hazzard'ous to the health of your screen.

Disclaimer: I do not own the Scarlet Pimpernel nor any of his men. I only play with them for your pleasure and mine, and I will do my best to return them in their original condition.

Sometimes You Look, But You Do Not See


Sometimes You Look, But You Do Not See

Chapter 1

Lady Caroline had grown up with her father's money, she had known that her inheritance would be impressive and she knew how to make use of it. Her father was rich and old, he doted on her and had always opened his purse at her every whim. Her mother had died when she was but a child, and the old man had been left with two children, a son who would inherit his title, his land and the larger share of his fortune. He had always fancied that his daughter would be married into a position even better than the one birth had blessed her with. He was firm with his son, insisting that he learned how to handle his own affairs but he saw no need to ever do the same with his daughter. She would never run an estate, her future husband would and it was therefore more important that she knew how to carry herself like the lady she was. He had paid the best tutors to suit this purpose and he was more than satisfied with the result. She carried herself with the grace of one born to a king, and her face had the porcelain complexion of a priceless doll. Her tongue could be sharp as a blade when it suited her, but never when she spoke to her father. She was a striking figure used to only wearing the finest lace and silk, the best dresses and the most exquisite pieces of jewellery and he was never as happy as when he could show her off.

The Ball held by Sir Charles was an excellent opportunity, and he had taken her to London before it so that she could buy the best dress that Bond Street had to offer. She had returned with more than a dozen new gowns and she had spent the whole day in getting herself ready for the ball with the aid of two maids. Conversation stopped in many places as they entered the room, his daughter on his arm and his son behind him. All the young men gazed upon her and he knew they all desired her affection, but he was determined, not just any of them should have her. It would be hard to find a man worthy of such a precious lady as her.

She moved with ease around the room, her suitors following behind her all the time, and she flirted and toyed with them. She loved nothing as much as knowing that they were all at her beck and call. She had just sent one of them with a stinging remark, for even though she had found him sweet and his company enjoyable an hour ago, so fickle was her mind that she suddenly could not tolerate him near her person.

Then to her surprise she found that another young man had joined the throng around her, but he did not meekly follow in her wake as the rest did, he stepped boldly forward as only a man secure in his position would dare. No, no youth who had not yet inherited his title and his fortune would dare to be so bold. They all kept their place and so it intrigued her who would be so confident and certain of himself.

"Lady Caroline," she gazed upon him as he spoke, and bowed and for a moment she did not know who it was. Then he again raised his head and she could see his face more clearly. He stood not much more than an inch taller than she. A youth who had barely reach his full height, and not an impressive length at that. Now she knew where there had been a hint of an odd lilt to his head as he bowed, and why he had caught on her name thought it had been barely noticeable.

Raising her fan to her tiny mouth she pondered what to do with him. Lord Tony did not benefit only from his own title and fortune, that she knew to be bigger than her fathers. One had to take into account that his two closest friends were Sir Percy and Sir Andrew, both of whom had the ear of the Prince of Wales, and so did the young Lord himself if it came to that. She knew him for a halfwit who had never learned to speak properly, always stuttering and stammering. Yet one could not deny that it would be useful to have one of such position amongst her admires and it might be worth tolerating him for a while, even encouraging him for sport and fun. After all, he could not possibly have the brain to realize she was toying with his affection, and everyone knew that halfwits were too stupid in general to feel hurt when they were used. No, it was harmless fun that could not hurt anyone.

"Lord Tony," she dropped a curtsey as she would have done for any young man in a position suitable for a future husband. "I had not noticed you were here"

"I am af,fraid we were late," he stated with a small smile. "And I rue it all th,he more, knowing I missed such a beaut,tiful sight."

"You flatter me," she giggled, hiding her face behind her fan. Behind her the Honourable Thomas, a hot tempered young man who more than fancied her scowled. He did not look kindly onto the intrusion and delighted she thought it might remind him that she did not encourage him for free. It was about time he earned his position again.

"N,nay, no flattery," he smiled softly. "I speak on,nly the truth. I would not d,dare to assume, but if you had a d,dance to spare?" he asked hopefully.

"I'm afraid I've promised away all my dances already my Lord," she stated, sounding rueful. She would not dare to dance with him, his feet were bound to be as clumsy as his mouth, and he would likely tread all over her toes, and a lady such as she was very delicate. If he trod on her but once she was still certain the bruises would last for weeks and weeks. "But if you would, I would be delighted if you would fetch me some refreshment later," she batted her eye lashes as the same time as she made him her servant for the evening.

"It w,would be my h,honour," he stated softly, bowing again and she thought it was such a waste that a man in his position had to be an idiot. His appearance was not unpleasant, if it had not been for his height. It did not do to have a gentleman so short, but his face was pleasant and his eyes she had to admit was beautiful, a very soft shade of gently sparkling blue.

Indeed he was her loyal servant the whole evening, the tiniest gesture and he would be proffering silver cups of chilled punch. For some time it was amusing and she enjoyed it. It was indeed a game she loved to play and she watched as a few other young girls cast their eyes her way. She knew that there were many of them who found his childish features pleasing and who would tolerate him for his boyish charm and his polite and gentle manner.

She saw him dancing with the Lady Constance and she smiled pleased with herself. It was a well known fact that not many young men freely offered to dance with her, for just as he would doubtlessly have trod on her toes, so would the Lady Constance now be treading on his. She had a pleasant enough face, but she was clumsy and not in control of her body. Yet it was typical that a man such as Lord Tony would dance with her. The man had no true spine she thought, he was always shy and afraid of offending and so it was with a smile on her face she watched him surrender the Lady Constance back to her father. Even from across the room she could see the tiniest hint of a limp when he moved, though he soon recovered from it.

Yet she was tiring of his company, had he been quiet she might have tolerated him but he spoke several times and she decided that he served no useful purpose at the moment.

She had never before thought twice about letting a man feel the sharpness of her tongue, and she did not hesitate now. She could see in his eyes that her words hit home, even if his face did not show it. His eyes clouded over for a moment and she was surprised, she had thought it would take much more to make him see he was no longer wanted and so she had perhaps been a little too sharp.

"As it p,pleases you, my L,lady," he bowed again and turned away from her. Within a few minutes she saw him standing with Sir Percy and Sir Andrew again, but she had no further interest in him but turned her focus back to young Thomas.

TBC

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