A Very Victorian Bachelor Challenge - Prologue


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Prologue to my BC where I try to marry up the challenge with my Victorian Legacy.

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A Very Victorian Bachelor Challenge - Prologue

  1. 1. Hello everyone and welcome to the prologue for Theodore Harrison's bachelor challenge. For those of you are unfamiliar with my Victorian Legacy, Theodore is the son of one of my third generation spares Enid and her husband Frederick. He has grown into a very good looking young man, and although the female population of his university and the neighbouring finishing school are falling over themselves to try to get him to notice them, he has remained oblivious. At the end of his second year at university he applied for, and was accepted into a research project. He is going to get more than he bargained for. The Bachelor Challenge is by PA Vicky on the BBS.
  2. 2. It was a beautiful summer's day in Regalton, and things were going well. The boys were halfway through university, and although I had reservations about Alexandra's continuing relationship with Joe Grundstrom, I wasn't too worried at the moment. I was relaxing in the drawing room when the doorbell went. I opened the door to find DocNerd there. "Hello Doc, come in." "Thanks Di, I can't stay long though." Said Doc. *** DrSupremeNerd is the writer of the totally awesome Vetinari Dualegacy.
  3. 3. "Oh why's that?" I asked. "I'm packing at the moment. I came by to say that I'm skipping town for a bit.“ "Really? Where are you going?“ "Riverblossom Hills." She replied. "Oh I hope that Cypress isn't causing mayhem for you."
  4. 4. "No more than usual. No I'm travelling to your Riverblossom. I've been accepted onto a research project over in the Hills.“ "That's great!" I exclaimed. "Although I'm slightly surprised that they were willing to take females on a research project in 19th century England.“ "So was I, but the gentleman who interviewed me seemed very impressed by my resume, and offered me the spot very quickly."
  5. 5. "Well it's not entirely surprising he was impressed Doc." I smiled at my friend. "Look have a good time away, and I'll see you when you get back.“ "Thanks Di. I'll see you soon." She turned and walked out the house.
  6. 6. I decided to seek out everyone else and let them know that Doc was going to be away for a bit. I walked into Gin's room to find her packing a trunk. "Hey Gin, you off somewhere?“ "Oh Hi Di. Yeah me and Michelle are taking part in a research project.“ "Oh." *** GintasticNecat writes the amazingly wonderful the Science of a Legacy.] Michellefobbs (Michaelfobbs) the author of the insanely brilliant Planetary Apocalypse.
  7. 7. Gin heard the surprise in my voice. "Did Michelle not tell you? I thought she was going to tell you.“ "No. I knew nothing about it, although I was looking for you to tell you that Doc is going to be out of town on a research project.“ "Maybe it's the same one, how fantastic would that be?" Asked Gin excitedly. "Yeah it would be I guess. And a huge massive co-incidence.“ "You're too cynical at times Di.“ "Mebbe." I replied turning on my heel and walking out.
  8. 8. My next stop was Michelle's room. "Hi Michelle.“ "Oh hey Di. I was going to come and see you earlier, but I over-slept. Working late is killing me, but someone needs to be in charge of the fake criminal enterprise round here. Gin and I...“ "Are taking part in a research project. Yeah I know." I said.
  9. 9. "Oh. Well we should be leaving this afternoon, the project is due to start tomorrow.“ "You know this house has gone from being full to bursting before Angela's marriage to practically empty once you and Gin go.“ "We're coming back Di, stop being so maudlin.“ "I know, it's just I'm seeing a lot of changes here in Regalton, what with the heir-ship about to be passed along and all. I guess I really need something to keep me occupied at the moment." I mused. *** Angela (thepiepers5) writes the fantastically brilliant Tha' Simple Life and has recently married one of my third generation spares, Charles. They are very happy and she is currently expecting their first child.
  10. 10. In Riverblossom Hills a carriage had just dropped off Theodore Harrison. 'Well here I am, Hope Springs House. Better get my trunk inside and start checking out the facilities I think. I do wonder when the other scientists will arrive. I cannot wait to get started on the project.' He thought as he pushed open the gate to his home for the summer.
  11. 11. As he walked towards the front door he saw a little enclosure containing two telescopes. He put the end of his trunk on the ground and opened the gate so he could take a closer look at them. 'Well these are not as advanced as the one Grandpapa bought for Grandmama...' he thought
  12. 12. 'Mind you, that might be a good thing.' He still hadn't got over his experience as a teenager and had not spoken about it to anyone, not even his best friend and cousin Edward.
  13. 13. He approached the first telescope and looked through it. He made a couple of adjustments. 'The optics seem in good order though.'
  14. 14. He stepped away from the telescope and looked back towards the house. 'What is that?' He thought spying something he had never seen before.
  15. 15. He approached the strange device, his mind full of questions. He pushed one of the rings and watched as it swung on its mounting. 'It appears to be some sort of gyroscopic device,' he mused. 'but it looks like it is big enough for a grown man to stand in. Maybe one of the things we will be investigating is the effects on the human body of being inside this device.‘ He looked at it for a further moment.
  16. 16. 'I know I should probably wait for the other scientists to arrive, but...' he thought standing in the device, 'if I put my hands here...'
  17. 17. '...and my feet here...that has got it.'
  18. 18. "Wheee, this is fun! Oh I have got to get me one of these back home!"
  19. 19. I was sitting reading in the study when I heard the doorbell ring. "Oo Di listen to this recipe. Decadent chocolate torte, I might have to try that out." Said Lea pouring over a cook book. "Sounds lovely Lea. Anything with the words 'decadent' and 'chocolate' in needs to be made." I heard Gin speaking from the hall. "Oh hi...yes she's in the study, just go through.“ *** Lea (ths0) is the author of the awesomely brilliant The Barsoom Legacy.
  20. 20. I looked up as our visitor walked into the room. "Hello Lauri, I wasn't expecting you to move to the village until next week.“ "I know. I've actually stopped by to say that I might be delayed with moving here.“ *** Lauri (Lauriempress) writes the fantastic Legacy of Jubilee.
  21. 21. I put my book down and stood up. "Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. Do you mind if I ask why? I do hope that nothing bad has happened."
  22. 22. "Oh no nothing bad at all. I applied for a spot as a housekeeper for a research project a few weeks ago and I've been accepted. I'll be living in Riverblossom Hills until it has finished." She explained. "A research project in the Hills eh?" I said a fixed grin on my face. "Are you alright Di?"
  23. 23. "Yes, sorry I'm fine. It's just that three of the other simselves here are also participating in a research project.“ "What a coincidence. Well I had better be off, I need to get to the train station. I'm being put up at a boarding house in the Hills before arriving at the project base in the morning.“ "Oh I had better not detain you then. Have a pleasant journey Lauri, and I will see you when you return.“ "Thank you Di." I saw her to the door and watched her walk down the path.
  24. 24. Once she was out of sight I picked up the phone and asked for the house next door. "Hello Regalton 255" said the voice on the other end. "Circe is that you?“ *** Circe is the simself of hbcirce who writes the utterly brilliant The Geogacy. She's a little more abrasive than hbcirce.
  25. 25. "Yes Di it's me. What can I do for you on this fine day?“ "You're in a good mood.“ "Well don't sound so surprised it has been known to happen you know."
  26. 26. "Sorry, I didn't mean to. It's just I've got something on my mind. You see four of the simselves have been to see me today to say that they are heading out of town for a scientific study. I don't know anything about it, but to me that seems like too many simselves for it to be a coincidence.“ "I agree, that is too many.“ "Well I was wondering if any of the guys living with you, apart from Doc, were also going.“ "Hang on, I'll go and find out.“ I heard her put the receiver down and walk away.
  27. 27. "Ok Di," she said when she returned, "what in the name of plumbbob is going on?“ "More packing?" I asked. "Yes, both Annie and Jessica are loading their trunks now. That makes six simselves. I don't like this, I would not be surprised if someone like Gentry is behind all this.“ *** Annie (tatdatcm) writes the incredibly good The Doublet Legacy and the Potpal Legacy. Jessica is the simself of Mzyra who has just started the fabulous Kennedy Shufflacy.
  28. 28. I listened to Circe rant on about Mr Gentry for a bit before interrupting. "Circe, Mr Gentry is not here. No, I think that there is someone else behind this, I just need to find out who. Thanks for finding that out for me, I'll let you know when I know something more."
  29. 29. My way of finding out some more information was to gather everyone for a house meeting. Only Denise was absent due to work commitments. "You have been a bit like a cat on hot coals today Di, what is this about?" asked Lea once we were all seated. *** Denise (Avidreader2466) writes two awesomely good legacies: the Puritanical Green Thumb and Grafted Roots.
  30. 30. "Truth is, I'm slightly concerned about this research project you are going on. It seems a bit of a coincidence to me that six of you are participating in a study in Riverblossom. Maybe I'm just seeing plots everywhere, but I'm worried that this could be some elaborate ploy to reduce the simself presence here and allow persons known or unknown to set out to destroy the legacy."
  31. 31. "You're thinking Henry again aren't you?" said Gin. "I'm always thinking Henry." I sighed. "Look, he seems to have settled down since marrying Dita, I'm sure she can keep him in check.“ "You're probably right, but I'm worried." I sighed. "You said six simselves." Said Cee, "who else is going apart from me?“ *** Aphrodita is the writer of the just amazinf Scarier than Thou and is one of the brains behind the Reclaim Your Game website. She is married to my legacy villain Henry. Cee is the simself of charris who writes another brilliantly bonnet filled legacy the Regacy.
  32. 32. "You are taking part too?" I asked stunned. "Yes, I am part of the housekeeping team looking after the scientists.“ "Well that makes seven of you." My worry levels escalated. "How did you find out about this project in the first place?"
  33. 33. "I can't speak for the rest," said Michelle, "but I saw it advertised in a copy of 'Mad Scientist Monthly' a couple of months ago.“ "So did I actually." Added Gin. "You mean it was in my copy of 'Mad Scientist Monthly' which I never get to read because someone else has always borrowed it?" I asked.
  34. 34. "That's the one." Said Michelle grinning. "I find it very difficult to believe that such an esteemed publication would allow just anyone to advertise in it." Said Gin shrugging. I thought back to some of the adverts I had spotted in the past, but decided not to say anything, after all I'm sure that the man offering womrat/cockatoo hybrids for sale was perfectly sane in his own specialised way. "What about you Cee?“ "I saw it in 'Country Cookbook' when I was flicking through it at work." She said.
  35. 35. "So you all applied. Was that just it? Did you have any contact with the organisers?"
  36. 36. "Oh yeah, I had to attend an interview." Said Michelle. "Me too," added Gin. "Yeah and me." Responded Cee. "The gentleman was very nice who interviewed me," said Michelle, "and in fact the interview took place right here in Regalton.“ "Really?" I asked, "Where?"
  37. 37. As they told me my jaw dropped. I couldn't believe it; surely he wouldn't, would he?
  38. 38. Over in Riverblossom Hills Theodore had finally got off of the gyroscope once he started to feel dizzy. He was sitting on the steps to the gazebo when two strangers approached. Remembering his manners he got to his feet and greeted them. "Good morning Miss." He said taking her hand "Morning sir." She smiled back.
  39. 39. "Good day sir, my name is Mr Roth and this is Miss Wan." Interrupted the back haired man. "How do you do. I am..." Theo didn't get the chance to finish the sentence. "I must say we were surprised to get the call to make the house liveable five months ago. I had really thought that the old chap had forgotten all about his family home and this village, but I guess not. Anyway we've completely re-decorated and re-planted the garden for you and your...female guests."
  40. 40. "Thank you Mr Roth, but I am not sure I completely follow you. I am here to participate in a research study. I have no guests joining me, only fellow scientists and a small housekeeping team." Said Theo.
  41. 41. "All I know sir is what I was told." Said Morty a slightly fixed smile on his face. "The General was most precise with his instructions and we have carried them out to the best of our ability."
  42. 42. "General?" asked Theo, events and past conversations fitting together. "Did you just say that a general had asked you to re-decorate this house? His family home? For myself and an unspecified number of female guests?“ "Yes sir, General Harrison. Of course he was only a captain when he left for his posting in India, but it came as no surprise that he was promoted right to the top."
  43. 43. "Oh, why is that?" asked Theo, his mind racing. His grandfather had set this up! "Runs in the family sir. His father and grandfather were both military men, and I understand that his son is also a general." The mention of his father made Theo scowl even more. If his parents were in on this... "I am sorry sir, but I did not catch your name." Said Morty, suddenly wanting to leave this scowling young man alone.
  44. 44. "Oh, yes, my name. I am Theodore Harrison.“ "How surprising! One of the Harrison family then sir?“ "It would appear so. Now if you will excuse me I have to try to get in contact with my grandfather."
  45. 45. As Theo and Morty were having their conversation Violet Harrison walked into the sunroom of her house looking for her husband. "Thomas darling, I have someone here about the 'research project.'“ "Well send them away Vi, you know as well as I that all the spots are filled.“ "I really think that you should see this young lady." There was an underlying meaning to her words, but Thomas engrossed in reading about the latest campaign in Africa missed it. "Oh very well send her in." He exclaimed irritably.
  46. 46. Violet showed the new-comer into the room and quietly closed the door. "I am very sorry but all the vacancies for the study have been filled Miss...?" he said not even looking up from the paper. "Meeeee." Came the stony reply. "What? Miss Di?" Came the shocked response. He put his paper down and offered me a seat which I gratefully took.
  47. 47. "Thomas just what do you think you are doing?" I asked. "You have got half the simselves in the village traipsing over to Riverblossom Hills on some 'research project' and for what? I don't understand."
  48. 48. He regarded me for a moment. "It is simple Miss Di. My grandson has not shown any inclination to start courting yet, nor does he seemed worried about the continuation of the family line. He needs to come to his senses and I am going to help him do that."
  49. 49. I looked at him shocked. "So you are going to put him in a house with seven beautiful women and hope that he falls in love with one of them." I stated.
  50. 50. "I would not put it so bluntly, but yes, that is correct."
  51. 51. "Thomas! You cannot force people to fall in love. It doesn't work like that.“ "I am not forcing anyone Di. It is just that my grandson is human and has needs as much as the next man. Putting him in this situation, I am certain that one of these ladies will...pique his interest shall we say.
  52. 52. In Riverblossom Hills Theodore Harrison picked up the telephone receiver and asked the operator to put him through to Regalton 395. He was not happy with what he had just found out.
  53. 53. My reply to Thomas was interrupted by a knock at the door, and Violet admitting herself to the room. "What is it dear?" asked Thomas. "Our grandson is on the telephone. He does not sound happy.“ "Oh, I had better speak to him then." Said Thomas. I got up too and followed them out of the room.
  54. 54. "Grandpapa," said Theo when Thomas was on the line, "what is going on? I've arrived here for this research project, only to find out that a 'General Harrison' has been in contact with Mr Roth to ask that his family home be made habitable for the arrival of a number of guests."
  55. 55. "Well you see grandson I have arranged for you to stay there with seven beautiful women for a week. I thought that it might do you some good.“ "And how might it do me some good?" asked Theo, a bite to his voice. "I thought that you might find a young lady you would like to court."
  56. 56. "You are trying to arrange my love life? Grandpapa, how could you? I will take care of matters such as those on my own. I do not need your help!"
  57. 57. "What do you expect me to do Theodore? You have shown scant interest in the opposite gender, even though you are now a grown man! To me it seems as if you need all the help you can get. And I am still your grandfather, show me some respect when you speak to me!" Both men were now shouting down the telephone. Violet stepped in. "Let me speak to him Thomas."
  58. 58. "Theodore, it is Grandmama." She said taking the receiver from her husband. "Please calm down dear."
  59. 59. "But Grandmama he is trying to arrange my life, and I cannot stand it. I am a grown man; I can take care of such things by myself!"
  60. 60. "I am afraid Theo that your grandpapa is set in his ways. He is convinced that he does not have too much time left, and would dearly love to know that his bloodline will continue to the next generation. As the only son of your father, that burden falls to you."
  61. 61. The meaning of Violet's words hit home. "Grandpapa doesn't think he has long left?" he asked. "No my dear, he does not. It would make him happy if you do this for him. You do not have to marry after it, but you might find someone you want to get to know better.“ Theodore was silent. "Besides, you are a well-brought up young man, is it too much to ask for you to be nice to seven spinsters for a week?“ "No Grandmama it is not." He answered. "I just do not like the fact that Grandpapa is forcing these circumstances on me. I have always said that I will find the right girl in the right situation at the right time."
  62. 62. "Ah," said Violet sagely, "sometimes circumstances need a bit of nudging to set up the right situation." Listening I felt my face grow red. After all, had I not suggested to Thomas that he employ Violet as governess knowing full well that the inevitable chemistry between the two of them would mean that it would be miraculous if nothing romantic developed between them? How was what Thomas doing any different to how I had acted? "Very well Grandmama, I will go through with this for Grandpapa.“ "Good boy. It will make him very happy." Thomas gestured that he wanted to speak to Theodore again. "Your grandpapa wants another word Theo, hang on."
  63. 63. "Theodore," said Thomas taking the receiver and starting to pace, "there are just a couple of things you should know.“ "What, more surprises Grandpapa?" asked Theodore testily. Thomas chose to ignore the tome of his grandson's voice. "Firstly do not use the gyroscope in the gazebo outside."
  64. 64. "Why?" Theo asked, thinking that he had spent quite a bit of time on it that morning. "There have been cases where men who have experienced what you have...disappeared whilst on it.“ "Disappeared?“ "Yes, so I think it best if you leave it alone. I could only get the military researchers to allow me to have it for one day anyway and they will pick it up in the morning. Secondly there is an envelope containing suggestions for how you might wish to spend your time over the coming week on the bedside table of the master bedroom. They are only suggestions, but I think you should follow them.“ "You have certainly planned this with military precision Grandpapa.“ "Of course grandson. I have not spent my entire adult life in the army without learning a trick or two."
  65. 65. By the time Theodore put the phone down, he was resigned to the fact that he was going to do what his grandfather wanted, but that doesn't mean that he was particularly happy about it. 'I cannot believe he is doing this to me.' He thought. 'Oh well I had better have a look round and see where I will be living for the next week.' He was also interested in seeing his grandfather's childhood home.
  66. 66. 'Well,' he thought looking at the drawing room, ‘at least I will be living in comfort.'
  67. 67. The drawing room was a sizable room with plenty of seating.
  68. 68. There were also two chess boards, poker table, Myshuno and a dartboard to keep the residents occupied.
  69. 69. Off the drawing room was a dining room with a table set for eight and a buffet table.
  70. 70. Also off of the drawing room was a library. Theodore perused the bookshelves. The library seemed well stocked, not that he was particularly surprised: his grandfather has always loved books and he expected to see that echoed here.
  71. 71. His next stop was the garden, and it looked as if Mr Roth and the other residents of the village have done a fantastic job of planting it.
  72. 72. Also in the garden was a second gazebo covering two spa pools. He went back to the first gazebo where he had left his trunk after speaking to Mr Roth. *** Not the most Victorian of items I know, but none of the alternatives I came up with for the hot tubs would have worked to give the same scoring opportunities as these. Plus, come on, Theo in his bathing costume? Who wants to miss out on that?
  73. 73. He lugged the trunk upstairs to find a corridor with two communal bathrooms and four small bedrooms coming off of it.
  74. 74. There was also a master bedroom with an ensuite bathroom, and, as promised by Thomas, on the bedside table was an envelope. Theodore sighed, and started to unpack.
  75. 75. Back in Regalton I was still talking to Thomas. "I am still not happy abut this Thomas, but if Theo is in agreement, then it can go ahead."
  76. 76. “Miss Di I only want what is best for my grandson." He explained. "I know Thomas, I just don't think that you can force things such as love." I sighed.
  77. 77. When I returned home I found everyone, including Denise who had returned from work, in the hall, their trunks piled up near the door. "Ready to go then I see." I said.
  78. 78. "Yes," Said Gin, "the carriage will be here soon to take us to the train station, but we thought we had better speak to you first. Is it a nefarious plot to lure us all away?"
  79. 79. "Less a nefarious plot, and more a..." I sought the best phrase, "...bachelor challenge." I replied.
  80. 80. "Bachelor challenge? The bachelor isn't that cad Stanley is he?" Asked Michelle. "Because if he is I don't think I can take part.“ "No, he is Theodore." I replied.
  81. 81. "Did you just say Theodore?" asked Cee. "Yes.“ "Theodore as in, Theodore Harrison, as in, to quote Doc 'nummy Theo'?“ "Yes that Theodore."
  82. 82. Gin looked at Michelle. "Well in that case I think that I can put up with taking part in this, don't you Michelle?“ "Absolutely!“ "What about you Cee?"
  83. 83. "Do you even need to ask? It's Theodore we are talking about. Is that the carriage I can hear? Let's go girls!" said Cee excitedly.
  84. 84. As we waved the three of them off, I was starting to plan my next move. I couldn't stop this, but neither was I just going to stay in my mansion twiddling my thumbs waiting for the result. As the carriage turned the corner I heard Doc shout "BC WITH THEO? SERIOUSLY GIN? WHEE!"
  85. 85. We were about to go inside when Circe walked down the path. "Di have you found out what is going on? Doc was postulating about the number of non-scientifically minded people on the project as the carriage pulled off."
  86. 86. "Well I think Gin has just filled her in with what is actually happening." I said. "Thomas has tired of Theodore taking ages to find a girl he likes, so has set up a bachelor challenge for him in Riverblossom Hills."
  87. 87. "A bachelor challenge? Hardly Victorian is it?“ "No, not really, but that is what this most resembles." I conceded. "So, what are we going to do about it?"
  88. 88. I looked at my companions. "Ladies, pack your trunks; we're going to Riverblossom Hills.“ *** That's it for the prologue. I know that BCs don't normally have prologues, but I am trying to integrate this into the legacy, and this seemed the best way. Thanks for reading it, and I hope that you have enjoyed it. Thank you to the creators of my CC, especially Judie at All-About-Style and the creators at MTS2. Big, big thank you to the wonderful people who allow me to use their simselves, and thank you especially to those of you who volunteered your simselves to take part in this challenge. Join me soon for day 1. =>
  89. 89. Ouch that's a nasty paper cut Di. =>
  90. 90. "Man I have got to get me one of these!"