Desire & Decorum: Chapter 10, On Your Marks

So I originally wanted to post my review of Pride & Prejudice: A New Musical, but I am still transcribing my notes and editing them. Instead I am posting on:

So it has been almost a year since I last reviewed one of these chapters from the Choices videogame. The problem was I was playing faster than I was reviewing and getting everything mixed up as what happened in each chapter.

So I resolved to not play another chapter until I finished reviewing what I already had played. Of course things came up and I got distracted by other things on my list to write/review/etc-so now I am getting to Chapter 1 of Book 1, while I think Pixelberry has already created book three or four of this videogame.

What am I going to do with all these?

Yes. Anyway, quick backstory since it has been so long. This game is storybook based where you have a story that progresses, but at times you make a choice what to do, say, who to fall in love with, etc. Some choices require you to spend diamonds to play, which you can earn every time you play a chapter or purchase from their store. Some “books” have different side quests, like i this one you want to become an accomplished woman and certain choices allow you to gain items.

 It’s really fun as you have the power as to what path the story takes.

This game is set in the Regency time period, and of course is catered toward Jane Austen fans. In this game you are the illegitimate daughter if the Earl of Edgewater, something you had discovered on your mother’s deathbed. You met your father and he accepts you and wants to make you his legal heir, as your half-brother passed away.

You have an evil stepmother and conniving stepbrother Mr. Marcastle, with a dim fiancé, Miss Sutton. They are all plotting against you.

And a lot has happened since the beginning of the book: you have held a garden party (which you rocked), you are currently having a London season, you go to Mr. Sinclaire’s house (a suitor I am all about)-who has a sad Rebeccaesque backstory and he gifts you a book, you visited the Opera St. James where your mother used to preform, went to see an Opera and were stuck with the Duke who is a handsy jerk, took a walk in the rain with Mr. Sinclaire, learned to paint, helped your friend refuse a gross geezer, and have just learned that your father has fallen ill.

Wow!

Whew! That’s a lot. Now onto the next chapter!

So we start off where the last chapter left off-you just received a letter that your father is ill.

That’s not good.

I want to go back home and be with him, but my grandmother won’t let me.

Please, oh please!

I have a really bad feeling about this, that this illness will end in…death.

In his letter he has chills, but thinks he will be over it soon. I however am not convinced, as I want to go home and care for him.

But my grandmother, the Dowager Countess, says I have to be here. Finding a wealthy man is my main duty if I want to protect my claim of heiress of Edgewater. She decides the next course of action would be to go to the races.

And they’re OFF!

My grandmother encourages me to purchase a dress in the house colors, as it will boost morale, and I wasn’t going to, but changed my mind as the dress is beautiful.

I get a ride in the carriage with Prince Hamid who thinks I look gorgeous. That’s one really nice thing about this game, almost every other character compliments you and thinks you are awesome.

How sweet!

He wants to take a walk through Hyde Park as the carriages are moving oh so slowly, but I have no extra diamonds, I just bought my dress, so I refuse and we wait in the carriage until traffic continues and we can go to the track.

Oh, well.

We get to the track and Briar (my former friend and now lady’s maid) runs over with Mr. Marcastle, my evil stepbrother who is plotting against me. Why Briar, why? He’s engaged and trying to get with Miss Holloway (a Miss Bingley-esque lady), and messing around with Briar. Come on Briar, you are smarter than that.

I thought you were my friend?

Mr. Westonly also arrives, the geezer that is trying to get with my best friend Miss Parsons. She is also attending the race, along with Mr. Chambers, and ugh Miss Holloway.

Briar and Mr. Marcastle are looking cozy, too cozy. I decide to break it up and bring up his fiancé’s name Miss Sutton.  They then step away from each other. Good, you two need to keep apart. I know that sounds mean, but Mr. arcastle is awful and plotting against me, and I need to do anything I can to protect my friend and her reputation. Plus, she’s my friend.

Later, the time has come for gambling. Miss Holloway bets on her horses, Bellington Hall-but I am not in fear. I know that Edgewater Estates has some of the finest horses. I’m betting on mine today!

The race is on-it starts off with Holloway’s horse in the lead and I’m biting my fingernails as they go down the track. I hope mine does well!

Please, oh please!

They keep going, and running and just at the end-the Edgewater horse pulls forward and wiiiiiiiiins!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’m excited, but before I can finish watching the races, the Duke comes and pulls me down next to him.

Ugh, not again…

Ugh. I hate him.

It was so awful!

If only he could just keep his hands to himself. And it is my fault as I’m “so alluring”. Ugh!

I HATE this character!

He won’t stop talking and I’m just so over it.

Like just leave me alone!!!!!

Mr. Sinclaire comes to my aid trying to block the Duke from accosting me, but the Duke won’t listen. He wants to do a race to see who will win me, really?, seriously?

Thankfully Mr. Sinclaire agrees with me, aw that’s why I like him. I hope I end up with him but as there have been three or four books, you know that means there will be lots of drama.

Wow!

Mr. Marcastle pipes up and the Duke goads him into racing him. I try to encourage him not to, but he won’t listen. Ugh, male pride.

Mr. Sinclaire doesn’t want him to race Duke Richards, as he knows nothing good will cone out of it . They race and Duke really gets in there good-making the turns fast and cutting him off. The Duke wins but Mr. Marcastle takes a tumble!

I may not like Mr. Marcastle, but I don’t want him dead! Briar and Miss Sutton rush out there to check on him. Mr. Sinclaire leaves, angry again at the Duke and how he plays with people and how Sinclaire has nothing he can do to stop him.

Mr. Marcastle is angry-and rude saying we are making a big deal out of nothing when he could have died. Oh Mr. Marcastle.

Th horse is wounded, but luckily it will heal with care. Mr. Harper, our horsemaster, invites me to the stable, but I can’t go check on the horses-I still have zero diamonds.

Oh, well.

That evening Miss Sutton tries to help Mr. Marcastle but he’s acting like a spoiled brat. Poor Miss Sutton. She deserves better.

Miss Sutton is worried the wedding might not happen as she hasn’t been as blind as I thought. I decide to try and gain her as an ally-turning her against Mr. Marcastle’s evil mother. Besides, I do feel for her. Poor girl, her fiancé is a jerk trying to get around with other women.

But while that is good news, there is bad news too. Grandmother has received a letter from father. It appears he has grown worse, he has fallen ill with yellow fever.

So I love history, an my time period is the 19th century, particularly America 1850-1900. For one of my college classes I wrote a whole paper on yellow fever during the Civil War. Yellow fever was horrible, in fact it did better against the Union troops than the Confederate soldiers. It is a horrible disease:

“Yellow Fever is an extremely lethal disease as it sweeps through the body, destroying it from the inside out in a short amount of time. Yellow Fever is named as such, because it interferes with the metabolic activities, especially the conversion of the yellow pigment in bile. Instead of the yellow pigment following its normal path, it circulates throughout the blood, turning the patient’s skin, eyes, and body fluids yellow[1]. The symptoms include chills, headaches, fever, backaches, leg pains, exhaustion, flushed face, light sensitivity, nausea, vomiting, and constipation. The fever disrupts the clotting of hepatic cells, which leads to internal bleeding, hemorrhaging, and deteriorating heart muscle.[2] At this point the system would purge itself of the deconstructed internal mass in the form of black vomit. When black vomit occurred, the doctors knew that the patient was not long for this earth. As Nurse Mary Phinney, described it in her correspondence; “Till you are with it you can have no idea of this dreadful fever; nothing else approaches it…No one expects to live, and when the black vomit comes that look of despair…”[3] If one made it over seven days they were sure to recover, but most did not reach that point.”

-The Deadly Enemy: Yellow Fever in New Bern, NC, personal paper by author of this blog.

[1] Ethne Barnes, “Transoceanic Hitchhikers: Yellow Fever and its Dengue Cousin,” in Diseases and Human Evolution (Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 2005), 304.

[2] ibid.

[3] Mary Phinney, “, September 30, 1864,” September 30, 1864, in Adventures of an Army Nurse in Two Wars: Edited from the Diary and Correspondence of Mary Phinney, Baroness Von Olnhausen, by Mary Phinney, ed. James Phinney Monroe (Boston, MA: Little, Brown, and Company, 1904), 149-152.

I am most certain he is going to die. Now the question is, will I make it back in time?

Please, oh please!

I guess we will just have to wait and see…

But thinking about it, I don’t think England had a yellow fever outbreak in the Regency era. It occurs in warm climates, so it does’t make sense in England. I suppose he could have traveled abroad to Haiti, Jamaica, or Gibralter and was bit by a mosquito and then came back. Hmm…

Hmmm…

For more Desire & Decorum, go to Desire & Decorum: Chapter 9, An Indelicate Proposal

For more Choices, go to Did the Bride Run Off Or Was She Kidnapped?: Veil of Secrets (2018)

For more stories at racetracks, go to For Darkness Shows the Stars

Desire & Decorum: Chapter 8, Ill Repute

In the last episode I was invited to the opera by the Duke, ugh, and was able to get a preview with help from the Prince. That opera house was where my late mother used to perform. I also got a letter from my father warning me about the countess trying to slander me and that I need to do some husband hunting.

So you were just reading your father’s letter:

Keeping an eye on you!

So I have two goals: one stop all rumors that the Countess is spreading, and two-find me a man. I write back to let me father know that I don’t have anything concrete-no formal proposal or possible engagement.

After finishing my letter, I hurry to Mr. Woods so that he can mail it out before Countess, Miss Sutton, or my step-brother tries to steal it.

I got this!

Mr. Woods and Briar are planning on going off to drop letters off. Briar is such a little flirt with Mr. Woods and with Mr. Marcastle, she’s going to get in some serious trouble. And, as my dearest friend and the one I was raised with, IF she gets a bad reputation, than so will I. I’ve got to keep my eyes on her.

They ask me to come with them. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to spend my money on that, BUT, if I let her go off-she might do something. Plus, I might run into Mr. Sinclaire. So after some hemming and hawing, I decided to go with them.

Remember how in another chapter I bought a horse?

Since I have her, Fancy is what I named her, I get to ride her around London.

ME!!!

The first person I run into is Mr. Sinclaire.

Hello there!

We give him the letter, and then have to go on our way.

That’s it? That’s all I get?!!

You better have something better for me!! I’m going to be mad if I wasted 19 diamonds!

We get a little back story on Mr. Woods, how he grew up in London and went out to the country-hoping one day to settle down, marry, bring his parents out there.

Briar says how love is the most important thing, that it would be okay to “be as poor as a church mouse” as long as she is with the man she loves. Then why are you messing around with Mr. Marcastle? Hmmm…? Stay with Mr. Woods and leave Marcastle ALONE!

Seriously

We then visit with Mr. Chambers, who’s pants are undone as he was getting it on with another guy. We give him his letter and move on.

That’s it!!!!!????

To be honest, this is soooooooooooooooooo boring! I WOULD NOT buy this at all if I was you!

Just skip that “adventure”.

And I know that this is present thinking on the past to include a gay character and have nobody care-but I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the widespread view. I mean in Regency times, sodomy was illegal-and faced severe punishment. I mean it was there, it did happen, look at Oscar Wilde. Anyways…

Moving on…

Later at home, Miss Parsons pay me a visit and brings a little puppy pug. Her sister’s dog had puppies, and offers me one-but I don’t have enough diamonds to purchase one. I don’t really want one as all I can think of is in Mansfield Park where the Mrs. Bertram has a pug.

“She was a woman who spent her days in sitting, nicely dressed, on a sofa, doing some long piece of needlework, of little use and no beauty, thinking more of her pug than her children…” –Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Afterwards, Miss Parsons and I head over to the opera house in Prince Hamid’s luxurious carriage. We are discussing things, and Prince Hamid tells me how he has heard awful things about me…but he still likes me:

Of course I am, because:

So we get to the Opera where the Duke is trying to get all over me-

I’m not interested!

The Viscount Westonly is trying to get with Miss Parsons, and I’m trying to help her avoid him. Her family is trying to marry her off to anyone with money, they don’t care that he is a seven wife widower. Hmm…did they die of natural causes or…!

Murdered!!!!!

Just kidding, it was natural causes…I think.

Hmmm…

At the Opera, Mr. Chambers also joins us and, ugh, Miss Holloway.

Miss Parsons mentions that she hasn’t seen Mr. Sinclaire at the opera and the Duke gives a comment that Mr. Sinclaire visits other costumed ladies-ladies of the night!

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I can’t believe this!

Could Mr. Sinclaire be a skeeze? I know the Duke is one. The whole performance he keeps trying to touch me and comments about how he wants to see me-see me naked is more like it-ugh.

After the opera, instead of having my ride with the Prince and Miss Parsons, the Duke’s sent them all away.

Should I stay in the carriage and risk being assaulted by him?

There aren’t a lot of choices for women in the 1800s.

I spot Mr. Sinclaire and follow him. He is on his way to do something, and invites me along. I know it isn’t proper to go off with him, but what other choices do I really have? At least I know he will keep his hands to himself.

We go off as Mr. Sinclaire is giving food and clothing to people who live in the poorer areas. He is amazed that I would go with him, but first-he hasn’t been a woman trying to fight off the Duke, and second-he’s forgotten how I grew up. A little dirt won’t bother me, and I remember what it was like to have little.

Mr. Sinclaire is a very charitable and kind person, he thinks that no matter where or what station you are born, you should be treated right. So then why did he act like a jerk the first time I met him? He almost ran me down and then:

Right when I’m thinking that, he apologizes for any way he treated me that wasn’t right. Did he just read my mind?

I don’t apologize for the way I thought about him:

We walk along together, and then Mr. Sinclaire shares his feelings with me, but we get interrupted by rain! Romance always blooms more in rain!

After he holds me close, he calls a carriage and takes me home. It turned out to be a nice night…

That is until I get home and Grandma is there!

That is not good,

She’s heard the rumors that have been spreading about my “reputation” and has set out to control my London season.

She wants me with the Duke and will do whatever she can to catch him. I want nothing to do with that guy.

I don’t want to do this.

So with Grandma coming, how will it go?

Keep reading to find out! Or play the game yourself!

For more Desire & Decorum, go to Desire & Decorum: Chapter 7, Opera St. James

For more choices, go to Desire & Decorum: Chapter 6, An Intimate Affair

For more on the Opera, go to Le Fantôme de l’Opéra

Desire & Decorum: Chapter 6, An Intimate Affair

 

So in the last episode your father made you his heir and gave you a London season! You and Miss Parsons traveled to London, you on your own horse,

Only to have Mr. Marcastle plot against you and try and keep you from arriving. You make it out okay and meet a Prince. 

You confront Mr. Marcastle angry that he treated you that way, Miss Parsons agreeing with you in her anger. The two of you manage to scare the daylights out of him.

Miss Parsons leaves to go to her sister’s house, as they are expecting her, while you return to your father’s townhouse and spot your friend and ladies’ maid Briar canoodling with Mr. Marcastle.

Forget you!

Now Mr. Marcastle is your evil engaged (as in very not single) stepbrother trying to sully your reputation and Briar was your best friend from back home. But is she really your friend as she is trying to have a relationship with Mr. Marcastle, your enemy!

This is soooooooooooooooooooooo bad for you. Can you imagine the kind of reputation you will get when this comes out.

And Briar what are you thinking? He’s evil! He’s plotting against me!!!! You are suppose to distrust him not jump him!!!! You are a bad friend.

See Hook agrees with me.

Plus he is engaged!

C’mon Briar, you are smarter than that!

So I am going to Mr. Sinclaire’s tonight for a dinner party, so Miss Sutton and I go shopping. I decided to buy the dress as I want to impress Mr. Sinclaire.

And I have to say out of any clothing purchase I have made this one does affect the game. Mr. Sinclaire sees me in my red dress and can’t look away.

He compliments me in front of Miss Holloway.

What?

Ugh, Miss Holloway is just as bad as Caroline Bingley. She keeps trying to make fun of me and drag me down, but is struck down by Mr. Sinclaire’s compliments. Very reminiscent of a certain scene:

Boom, shut up Miss Holloway/Miss Bingley.

Miss Holloway tries to make you seem an illiterate buffoon, but Mr. Sinclaire comes to your aid. He also takes you to his extensive library…

Hold up- Stop right there.

He’s perfect I’ve decided-he’s the man for me. You know me:

He then pulls a book off the shelf and reads a page to me, it is William Shakespeare’s book of sonnets, Sonnet 18:

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate.

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And often is his gold complexion dimmed;

And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed;

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,

Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,

Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade,

When in eternal lines to Time thou grow’st.

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,

So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

After he reads to you, he offers you the book. It costs 15 diamonds, but I don’t care, you know me:

It looks like I just have one thing left to get-Painting, maybe?

Miss Holloway makes a snide comment about your birth and then the Duke storms in-uninvited.

Ugh, I hate this dude. I hate people who do that-just show up uninvited and expect others to accommodate them. Such jerks.

Then not only does he do that but muscles his way next to me-no I don’t want him to like me-ugh!

This upsets the table with Mr. Chambers having to sit next to a man instead of a woman. Table settings are super important- remember A Change if Fortune

“Custom, however, has lately introduced a new mode of seating. A gentleman and a lady fitting alternately round the table, and this, for the better convenience of a lady’s being attended to, and served by the gentleman next to her. But notwithstanding this promiscuous seating, the ladies, whether above or below, are to be served in order, according to their rank or age, and after them the gentlemen, in the same manner. – John Trusler, p 6 from Regency Manners: Seating at Table at janeaustensworld.wordpress.com

Mr. Chambers doesn’t really care as he’s gay and is next to a very interested member of the party.

After dinner, you all go off to the drawing room. Mr. Sinclaire and you meet up aside from the others and he warns you off Duke Richards. Why does he dislike him so? And why is he so interested in who you might marry?

Mr. Sinclaire becomes so furious with the Duke he takes off on an errand…you have the option to follow. What do you do?

I followed him outside even though that wasn’t really acceptable in Regency time. It turns out that Mr. Sinclaire had an unfaithful wife, one that became involved with Duke Richards. It is very Rebecca:

Oh my gosh! Duke Richards totally makes me think of Jack Favell

The two of you have a heart to heart, Mr. Sinclaire baring his soul to you. He worries that maybe I would have been better off in the village then the shark infested society. But we still enjoy our time together.

Afterwards we go inside and join the party. They ask me to play and I blow them all away, thanks to the lessons by Miss Parsons.

 

The party ends later, you saying a fond farewell to Mr. Sinclaire.

The next morning you are awoken by Miss Parsons and Briar. You’ve been invited to the Opera St. James. The Opera St James!!! That’s where your mother used to perform!!! Will the night be fun…or a flop?

For more Desire & Decorum, go to Desire & Decorum: Chapter 5, The Road to London

For more on Choices, go to Kissing the Blarney Stone: 7 More Irish Heroes

For more on William Shakespeare, go to Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues