Smoking and blushes

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says: Good day, Miss de Vitis.Sir Andrew d’Ackerley sits in a stiff leather armchair.

Georgina de Vitis is sitting, reading a book of poetry with a smile on her lips. Her finger traces over the lettering.

Georgina says: Good evening, Sir Andrew.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley settles in and takes out a sleek cigarette from a silver etui. He lights it and leans back. “And how does the day find you?”

Georgina de Vitis smiles, her eyebrows arching upwards, “I have a small technical problem with being a librarian. You?

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley asks: Oh, indeed? No more shelf space, I imagine?

Georgina de Vitis chuckles and shakes her head, offering the little book of poetry, written in Agatean. “My education is lacking. I cannot read these languages.”

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley asks: Ah. I shall be expecting you in my senior classes then?

Georgina says: I believe I shall have to start with the child classes first, I fear.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says: We must all crawl before we can walk, Miss de Vitis. I am still struggling with Klatchian grammar myself.

Georgina de Vitis lifts her eyebrows, hesitating before she comments softly, “And yet, I believe you were married to one?”

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley politely says: My first wife was Djelian, not Klatchian. There are similarities, but the two languages are not identical.

Georgina de Vitis nods, and looks a little embarrassed. “Ah forgive me.” She attends to her book once more.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley shakes his head. “‘Tis an easy misconception. Klatchian is… more guttural.”

Georgina de Vitis tilts her head, lifting her gaze to him once more, “How interesting.”

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley smiles mildly. “It is to me. I suspect that I am a member of a somewhat exclusive minority, though.”

Georgina de Vitis shakes her head, giving him a smile, “No, I can see the interest. I wonder why there is a difference… although, perhaps we see the same here.”

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley blows a smoke ring. “I trust that on the whole, the guild has taken to you kindly, though? It must be quite the change from Genua.”

Georgina de Vitis smiles, her eyes warming as her cheeks colour. “Very kindly. I have had some lovely … acts of kindness”

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley nods his mild approval. “Very good. I do like to think that we are at least a match for the Genuans in hospitality.”

Georgina de Vitis nods, sitting back in her chair, “Definitely.”

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says: The weather must be quite a change, though.

Georgina says: It is rather, and the streets are so different. But Ra… the good doctor has kindly shown me the sights a little.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley nods. “Very good. I trust that he has also warned you against certain parts of the city, the Shades and the like?”

Georgina de Vitis nods, giving Andrew a wry smile, “He has. We took a brief tour of some locations… ”

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley nods again. “As long as one does not thoughtlessly amble into the
Shades, the city is quite safe for us who wear the black.”

Georgina says: And the rooftops are a convenient route to everywhere…

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley amusedly says: Ah, yes. Montague does like his rooftops.

Georgina says: I do too, rather. There is a pleasure in the freedom to run across them…

Georgina de Vitis smiles, and a little blush enters her cheeks.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley softly says: Oh, quite, quite. I tend to find myself out of breath too soon, though.

Georgina says: Practice, Sir Andrew. Exercise is everything…

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley mildly says: I suffer from consumption. The Morporkian air is not kind to me.

Georgina asks: That is very unfortunate. Perhaps a kinder climate at times?

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says: Aye. I rather enjoyed sailing around the Rim, for that matter.

Georgina de Vitis smiles, nodding quietly, her face thoughtful. “I haven’t travelled that far, I admit.”

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says: We sailed, for five years. The disc is a marvellous place, Miss de Vitis. Marvellous, and vast.

Alaia arrives from the east.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley greets Alaia with a nod and a small smile.

Alaia stalks past and then comes back. “Hi!”

Georgina smile at Alaia.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says to Alaia: Good day, Miss Alaia. Miss de Vitis, Alaia here is one of Montague’s little female bundles of trouble.

Alaia beams brightly.
Alaia says: Actually he says I’m more of a pest than anything else.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says to Alaia: Take a seat. Miss de Vitis could do with getting to know a few more people.

Alaia sits on one of the tables.

Alaia says: Alright, but those armchairs are so stuffy and stiff.

Georgina says: I believe we have met. The other day, I think? How are you, Miss Alaia.

Alaia perches her bottom on a table instead.

Alaia asks Georgina: We did meet. Aren’t you the book lady?

Georgina de Vitis nods, her smile curving her lips, “I am indeed.”

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley steeples his fingers and, not being the deportment professor, says nothing about sitting on tables.

Alaia crosses her legs, ignoring skirt etiquette, and beams at you both. “Isn’t this nice?!”

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley amusedly says: Quite, quite.

Georgina de Vitis chuckles. “Rather lovely.”

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley asks Alaia: I trust Montague has let you off the hook for whatever it was he had you doing extra classes for?

Alaia considers this, and casts her mind back to several punishments ago. “Oh yeah. He’s
punished me loads more since then.”

Georgina asks: You are often in trouble, Miss Alaia? Perhaps this is something I can help with?

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley hides a small chuckle behind a well manicured hand. “And, pray tell,
have you learnt anything?”

Alaia says to Georgina: You have ideas for more mischief? I don’t think there’s more I could do.

Alaia says: I mean, I just fell off the roof and onto Professor Pendrake, and I mean, he said it was the worst thing ever.

Alaia solemnly says to Sir Andrew d’Ackerley: Don’t fall.
Alaia says: But if you, make sure there’s a professor under you.

Georgina softly say to Alaia: I was rather more thinking about how not to get into trouble.

Alaia wrinkles her nose. “But that sounds so boring.”

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley mildly says: Then he edited the truth a little. I think that time I met Pendrake in the woods, a bull dog attached to the seat of his pants, was worse.”

Alaia giggles.

Georgina de Vitis chuckles and shakes her head, her eyes twinkling.

Alaia folds her arms on her lap, looking way more demure than she could ever possibly be. “And anyway, Doctor Montague would be bored too if I were suddenly good.”

Alaia says: I’m really thinking of him.

Alaia assumes her most selfless expression.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says to Alaia: Might I amend your lesson learned to, make sure it is a professor of some physical size? I do not think I would cushion your fall well.

Alaia says to Sir Andrew d’Ackerley: I think you’re stronger’n you look.

Georgina says: I’m sure he would be delighted. If you fear he would be bored, perhaps I could distract him

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley asks Georgina: Did she just call me weak looking?

Alaia looks interestedly at Georgina. “Oooooh.”
Alaia says: Doctor Montague and the book lady, sitting in a treeeee.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says: On a roof top, dear, we are -assassins-.

Georgina de Vitis chuckles, giving Andrew a smile, “I’m sure she merely meant…” She trails off, blushing, “We are just friends, Miss Alaia.”

Alaia says: No, no, that’s not how it goes.
Alaia appears to be rhyming with roof under her breath, and can’t think of any naughty
rhymes. She gives up sadly.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says: Poof.

Alaia says: Not really ideal here and anyway that’s rude.

Georgina says: Spoof. Hoof.

Alaia says: Love is love.

Alaia nodnods noddingly.

Georgina says: Tooth, if Georgina says it in the Morporkian style.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley chuckles softly.

Alaia sneezes, and looks surprised. “Gosh I hate cigar smoke.”

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley looks at his cigarette.

Georgina says: Unfortunate. This is the smoking room, it may be inevitable.

Alaia says: The only cigarette smoke that is sort of nice is the Klatchian cigarettes that Doctor Montague smokes in his office sometimes and that’s only because it’s Klatchian.

Alaia assumes a ferociously patriotic expression for someone who has never been to the land of her fore-fathers.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says: I am partial to these Krullian ones myself. I may have to import them.

Georgina de Vitis chuckles, sitting back in her chair and watching them.

Alaia hopefully asks Sir Andrew d’Ackerley: May I try one?
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says, “Certainly,” and offers over his silver cigarette case.

Alaia helps herself to one and looks at it suspiciously from the tobacco end, holding the filter end away from her. This could take a while.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley watches with amusement. “Might want to turn that around, dear.”

Georgina de Vitis chuckles softly, watching the pantomime with amusement.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says: I used to be partial to Djelian tobacco, but I find that the mint leaves help me breathe a little easier.

Georgina says softly: Are you aware of the rumours that smoking does not help these things? I believe I read it in a book somewhere.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley nods. “I have read something to that extent as well. I like to think that a man should be allowed at least one vice, though, or surely he will die from being so absolutely dull.”

Georgina de Vitis laughs softly, replying quietly, “Perhaps practice other vices…”

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley inquires with amusement, “Might you have recommendations, Miss de Vitis?”

Georgina says: I believe there are some excellent lists in the etiquette books, Sir Andrew.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley studies his slender, long-fingered hands. “Ah, but these hands were not put on right for flower pressing.

Georgina de Vitis chuckles, her eyes twinkling. “Gloves are an excellent addition to any gentleman’s wardrobe.”

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley honestly says: I have never liked them. I like to feel the texture of what I touch.

Georgina de Vitis tilts her head, considering, “How interesting. Man is such a tactile creature.”

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley politely says: I do play the violin at times. I suppose one might call that a vice, at least if one is trying to sleep at the time.

Georgina says: It may be one, if you are not talented. My abilities on the recorder, for example, are the bane of those in the same building as I am.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley offers a small smile. “I shall take note to run away if you open a recorder case.”

Georgina de Vitis glances down at her little bag, where a recorder is poking out.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says: Touch it and I will run.

Alaia eventually gets it right and puffs away at the cigarette with a thoughtful expression on her face, clearly not bothering to inhale. “Hmpf and what a fuss to make of such a silly thing.”

Georgina de Vitis chuckles, giving a smile, “I am not certain that the image does not amuse me.”

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says: I only play for my own pleasure, I must admit. And usually without an audience.

Alaia says: But it’s so easy.

Alaia blows smoke like the god of wind.

Georgina asks: Smoking or playing an instrument?

Alaia waves a hand airily. “Oh, I play the clarinet really well. No, I mean smoking.”

Alaia says: I don’t think it’s

Alaia interrupts herself by accidentally inhaling – the way she’s supposed to – and turns a delicate blue with a very unladylike coughing fit.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley watches with polite interest. Such fascinating shades.

Georgina de Vitis tilts her head, “Do you need a glass of water?”

Alaia wheezes sadly, holding the offending cigarette far far away from her.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley softly asks: A bit too minty, perhaps?

Alaia croaks, “A bit too hurty.”
Alaia gets up and walks to the table and plonks the cigarette into the ash tray there with unnecessary ferocity. “I KNEW they were evil!”

Georgina de Vitis smothers a laugh.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley looks at his silver cigarette etui. “Evil certainly comes in neatly
engraved boxes these days.”

Alaia glares at Andrew. “Or immaculately clothed gentlemen.”

Georgina says: They are not to be trusted, Miss Alaia, they do lead you astray.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says: Oh yes. I lead Alaia across the courtyard once.

Alaia giggles.

Georgina de Vitis laughs, covering her mouth demurely.

Alaia says: I don’t think a lot of the girls would mind Doctor Montague leading them astray…

Alaia titters.

Georgina de Vitis blushes, ducking her head to study the book in her lap.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley mildly says: The good doctor does seem to be quite popular with his Widows. I suppose that he does have that certain dangerous look of the classy assassin.
Sir Andrew d’Ackerley looks at his thin hands. “Unlike those of us who just look, well, domesticated.”

Alaia says to Sir Andrew d’Ackerley: I don’t know, I met your wife. You’re lucky.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley asks Alaia: I believe that I heard some of you young ladies started a fan club for his hair?

Alaia giggles.

Georgina de Vitis has a sudden interest in her book, “I’m certain that your wife would disagree.” The blush is taking on its own life.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley amusedly says: Let me just point out that my hair does not have its own fan club.

Alaia nods and laughs. “Yes there’s a fan club for his hair. And some girls have found a way to look inside his office.”
Alaia says: I dunno, a stick and a mirror and another mirror and something something.

Georgina de Vitis lifts her head abruptly, her cheeks now scarlet, a look of mortification showing for a moment before she schools her features.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley quietly says: I suppose I should find out how that is done, so I can keep my office private. I did go in there. Once in the last nine years.

Alaia says to Sir Andrew d’Ackerley: But I keep telling them he won’t ever be interested in them and they won’t listen, they’re silly.

Alaia giggles.

Alaia says: I can find out for you if you like.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley amusedly says: By all means, although I do not think that my cobras are quite so interested in my private doings.

Georgina de Vitis coughs, covering her expression with that hand. “I’m sure the Doctor would be grateful for the privacy.”

Alaia says: Serves him right for being so hot then.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley laughs mildly.

Georgina de Vitis gives Sir Andrew a look, before she returns her attention to the book.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley amusedly says: I shall have to ask him how it feels to be so hot.

Georgina de Vitis murmurs, “I’m certain any companion of his would appreciatethe privacy.”

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says: I am certain that half the Widows would like to bury any companion of his.

Georgina softly say: I do hope they would recall their manners before…

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley politely says: We do train people to kill. Fortunately we also train them to have restraint.

Alaia says: Oh, I’m glad he doesn’t have a girlfriend, I’m sure the girls would take her apart.

Georgina hastily says: For money only, Sir Andrew, not for petty jealousies and revenge.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley quietly says: Aye, indeed. I had the, ah, pleasure of coming across a very well made necklace recently. Prone to poison its wearer slowly.

Alaia blinks.

Alaia says: Okay, that’s just evil.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says: ‘Twas commissioned for my wife. Jealousy and revenge, indeed.

Alaia stares at Sir Andrew d’Ackerley.
Alaia asks: By whom?

Georgina de Vitis drops the book, reaches down for it and, in doing so, covers her face. “How awful.”

Alaia says to Sir Andrew d’Ackerley: Hope you got that person back.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley politely says: The guild is not in the habit of revealing theĀ identities of those who take out contracts, dear.

Georgina asks: But surely you have some idea?

Alaia folds her arms. “Then there has to be a rule against contracts like that. That’s just evil and unfair.”
Alaia says: I mean, that would work on me.
Alaia exclaims: I love jewellery!

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley mildly says to Alaia: I imagine that most clients are unhappy with their contracts, dear. I am just trying to illustrate that while we kill for money, the money is still paid for by petty jealousies and revenge.

Alaia says: Well that’s true.

Georgina softly says: It is wise to rise above petty jealousy then. I hope none of the Black Widows would behave s…

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says: Not unless paid, I rather like to think.

Alaia’s ears prick up and travel slowly in Georgina’s direction.

Georgina says: Absolutely. Payment is the thing…

Alaia looks interestedly at the lady. There’s a lot to tell and gossip is its own currency
in a school such as this. She grins to herself.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley steeples his slender fingers. “The wizards have also been known to
be quite competitive. And, of course, the gentry.”

Georgina de Vitis returns the look with a smile and guileless eyes. “Dead men’s
shoes in the Wizards. I will shortly have the benefit of interviewing Grissom, for his

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says: It is a curious thing. One realizes one’s age when the men of one’s generation begin having biographies.

Georgina says: A man who achieved so much so young. His reputation is interesting.

Alaia says in a sing-song voice, “One is one and one plus one is two and one never knows one does one?”

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley chuckles softly.

Georgina de Vitis gives Alaia a bemused look before she turns back to Andrew. “And Lady Llylia.”

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says: I remember her as a waif of a girl in her blonker.

Alaia shudders visibly. “I hate those silly blonkers, I never wore mine and lost several in many creative ways.”

Georgina says: I’m afraid that the studying I did to convert saved me the dreaded blonker.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says with quiet relief, “Old money. Saved from the disgrace.”

Alaia says: My mum kept writing notes asking the school to return the blonker I’d left behind at gym and the school kept writing notes to my mum asking where my blonker was.

Alaia says: Neither of them got any notes at all.

Alaia assumes her most angelic expression.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says: It is a good thing that I do not teach the young students. I should likely have them all turned into blonkerless rebels.

Georgina de Vitis covers a smile, her eyes laughing.

Alaia says to Sir Andrew d’Ackerley: And it’s very hard being only one of five day scholars here, we’re always under the spotlight.
Alaia plaintively says: It’s not FAIR.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley contentedly says: Not a teacher of students.

Alaia pouts as hard as she can.

Georgina de Vitis smiles, her eyebrows lifting, “Life is, in my experience, rarely fair.”

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley softly asks: Life is what we make of it, Miss de Vitis. Who has the skill to go elsewhere and become somebody else entirely if not we?

Shadwell tips his hat stylishly.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley greets Shadwell.

Georgina softly say: There are sometimes barriers to doing so, Sir Andrew. Money, for example.

Shadwell says: Ah, Sir Andrew. Well met.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley asks Shadwell: Good day, Master Shadwell. The day finds you well, one hopes?

Shadwell says: Fairly well.

Shadwell sits down in one of the armchairs.

Alaia discreetly sticks her tongue tip out at the new entrant.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley politely says to Georgina: I would argue that money only dictates what level of society one might attempt to blend into.

Shadwell eyes Alaia’s dexterous digit, and chuckles.

Georgina de Vitis gives Alaia a reproving look, her eyebrows arching, before she replies to Sir Andrew, “I disagree. Should you wish, for example, to make a new start in a new city, money is remarkably helpful.”

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley quietly says: If one wants that start to be in comfort, certainly.

Shadwell says: I would have to agree. My father grew up in the Shades, and he seems to be blending into the nouveau riche environment quite well.

Georgina says: Such comforts as clothing, housing and food…

Shadwell grins at Alaia.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says: To some, those are comforts, my dear.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley politely says to Shadwell: Might one inquire as to the name? I do have connections among the, ah, young money.

Shadwell says: Bennington Shadwell… but some might know him better as Bent Shades. He wouldn’t like that one getting ’round, of course.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley softly asks: Shadwell… There is a Shadwell and Wainwright law firm, I believe? Or are we speaking of another Shadwell?

Alaia asks Shadwell: What’s your name?

Shadwell looks embarrassed, then says “Radiant Moonstar Justin Shadwell. Please, let’s just keep that in this room.”

Alaia blinks.

Alaia says to Shadwell: Radiant…

Shadwell says: Justin, then.

Alaia giggles.

Shadwell says: My mum’s influence.

Alaia says to Shadwell: Alaia.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says: Andrew Michael Etienne Chesterton d’Ackerley at your service, Master Moonstar.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley looks quite amused.

Shadwell bows deeply to Alaia.

Alaia giggles.

Georgina says: Oh you poor thing. I am Georgina de Vitis. Sadly, no middle names to share.

Alaia blushes. “Alaia Fathima Al Rashid.”
Alaia says: But JUST Alaia.
Alaia looks fierce.

Shadwell says to Sir Andrew d’Ackerley: Da was kind of a black sheep; even after he cleaned up on owning a lot of the pork in some of the pork futures, they still wouldn’t talk to him.

Shadwell nods at Georgina.

Shadwell says: Just Justin, or Shadwell, is fine here.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says: I can imagine. My paternal ancestors came to these parts several hundred years ago, and we are still on the fringes of Ankhian gentry.

Alaia snorts derisively. “Then you can imagine how we feel! My mum and dad migrated here and we’re rich and my sisters and I were born here and we’re Ankh-Morporkian but everybody still says we’re foreigners.”
Alaia exclaims: And we’re not!

Shadwell smiles and says, “I’m told we’ve been here a long time, too – I’m supposed to have bits of the last five invading armies in my bloodline.”

Alaia stubbornly says: I’m Ankh-Morporkian.

Georgina de Vitis remains silent, her hands folded on the book.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley politely says: If one wishes to be considered Ankhian gentry and -proper- nobility, one must have a direct link to the Selachiis or the Rusts, really.

Shadwell hums a few bars of “Morporkia.”

Alaia says: Oh no. I just want to be considered Ankh-Morporkian.

Alaia says: The gentry is so boring and I saw Lord Rust at a horse racing thing and he looked like a horse himself.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says to Alaia: Change your name to Agnes or Mary, dear.

Alaia says: Only a very constipated one.

Shadwell says: Or be truly indispensible, as our dear Patrician has done.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley looks amused. “You are speaking of my grandfather, I should probably mention.”

Alaia says to Sir Andrew d’Ackerley: Why should I? I like my name.

Alaia doesn’t look contrite at all. “Well, he does.”

Shadwell says: Really! How fascinating.

Sir Andrew d’Ackerley says to Alaia: He sounds like one too.

Alaia giggles.

Shadwell leans back and taps his chin thoughtfully. “You don’t suppose the next Patrician might have the surname, oh, just speculating here – Vimes?” He grins.

Georgina de Vitis rises to her feet, holding her book against herself, giving them a smile, “I must check this into the library. Thank you for the talk, Sir Andrew, Alaia, Mr Shadwell

About Georgina

A book lover, and previously the librarian for both the CS and the MR, Georgina is a demure and quiet person, until books become involved. With a passion for books about history of the Mano Rossa, rare herbs and cookbooks, she is a great collector and often visits the other guilds to examine their rare collections. Her history, should one examine it, is unremarkable, with parents who were a book binder and a librarian...
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