Galathil: *I glance at the clock, laying out some of my neater paperwork to one side and going back to work on a messier sheet, sipping my tea as I work, waiting for Mrs. Otto to arrive. I pause and listen at what sounds like a carriage in the drive, then go back to my writing*
Miranda: *As I step out of the carriage, I look around the manor and smile. The estate is huge, and positively beautiful. I walk unescorted down the path and give my parasol, hat, and gloves to a servant attending the door before being seated in the waiting room. I look around the room, making mental notes, gathering as much information as possible, as discreetly as possible.*
Galathil: *I tell the maid to bring her up immediately, honestly, don't keep her waiting! It's as if they can't do the least little thing without having it spelled out for them. I stand up to greet her, smiling broadly* Miranda, right on time.
Miranda: *smiling* I make it a point to be punctual. Your home is quite lovely, thank you again for inviting me. Your hospitality is most appreciated.
Galathil: Of course. I'm glad you could come. Would you like something before we begin, tea, sandwiches perhaps?
Miranda: Tea would be lovely, if it isn't any trouble. *batting my lashes*
Galathil: Of course. *I nod to the maid, who goes to fetch some* Please, have a seat. *Offering the desk chair*
Miranda: *sitting with the practiced grace of one who wears a corset* Thank you.
Galathil: *Reaching over you to get the paperwork I had set aside, setting it in front of you* I had thought we might start with account sheets...the figures can be difficult to interpret if you don't know what to look for.
Miranda: Oh goodness, I've never been very good with mathematics. *it's a lie, but I can't allow him to learn how much I really do know. And aside from that... these are his personal account sheets. I graze my eyes over them and tilt my head in slight mock-confusion*
Galathil: *I smile* Well, that shouldn't be so much of a problem. If you were doing the accounts yourself, of course, it might be, but all you should really need to assist your husband is to be able to interpret them. This column here-- *I tap the paper* --that's the gross income, every pound--or in this case, franc--coming into my caberet. This column is expenses, and I have those itemised on another sheet. And this here, of course, is the total profit for the given period of time. You see, the arithmetic is all completed already, it's just knowing what to look for...and down here, these are monthly, quarterly, yearly totals.
Miranda: *repeating some of the numbers in my head, memorizing and mentally converting currencies* Oh, I see!
Galathil: *Nodding approvingly* Now this sheet here-- *I pull the next one from the stack and move it to the top* --is a list of expenses. Down this side are consistent expenses, alcohol and workers' wages and the like. Here are individual expenses--when something has to be replaced, for instance. And down here are the totals that go into the expenses column on the first sheet.
Miranda: My, but it's terribly expensive to run a business like that.
Galathil: Indeed. The cabarets, of course, are quite popular in France, so you see, I make the money back and enough of a profit to keep it a worthy investment.
Miranda: Fascinating... It must take you ages to figure all these numbers!
Galathil: With practice it gets to be quick, actually. The real devil is when you've made an error and have to go back and check everything you've done two or three times.
Miranda: That must be dreadful. I can't imagine having to do that, I'm afraid I'd never find the error!
Galathil: *I chuckle softly* Necessary evil. A lot of this I like to foist off onto my accountant, though it's wise to check their numbers every so often. Figuring errors aren't always *clearing my throat pointedly* unintentional.
Miranda: Well, there's always someone who's out to steal your money, eh? *shaking my head* It's a shame, really.
Galathil: Quite. And though I hate to acknowledge the fact, I fear if you go anywhere in business you are far more at risk. It will automatically be assumed that a woman is incapable of clear thinking, so you must always be on your guard against proving them correct.
Miranda: I might not be a mathematical whiz, but I'm no half-wit. You've got to think on your feet, and you learn to do so where I come from. Some of the society is positively savage.
Galathil: I am glad to hear it, Miranda. There is nothing more appalling than those who take advantage of the unknowing, but they do indeed exist. Best to keep a careful eye.
Miranda: Oh, indeed! One must always keep his wits about him.
Galathil: *I smile* Indeed. Your husband is fortunate to have so keen a lady.
Miranda: Oh, you flatter me terribly. I'm afraid I'm rather plain and dull, but I make due with what I have. And I am fortunate to have so kind a husband.
Galathil: Plain? *I can't help glancing her over--no, certainly not plain* Not at all, nor dull. I should like to meet your husband, if only to congratulate him on so fine a marriage! *Thoughtfully* Tell me, will he be in town this coming Friday? The Scottish Rose is having a Hallow's Eve Masque, I should like to see the two of you there.
Miranda: Oh? I'm afraid he's still away. He's gone home to arrange for some of our things to be sent here, so I'm not sure when he'll be arriving again. *sigh* I would enjoy going to a Masque, but I'm afraid it wouldn't be the same without an escort.
Galathil: A shame! But certainly, if you are not otherwise engaged, I would wish to escort you. It is quite an enjoyable evening, if the last one held there was any indication. I should certainly hate for you to miss it.
Miranda: *brightens* Would you? That is terribly kind of you, though I shouldn't think of imposing you.
Galathil: Not at all! I think company such as yours should be quite delightful. And I'm sure Lord Bean would like to be better acquainted with you, he will certainly be there, among other society worthy of knowing.
Miranda: It would be my pleasure to attend, and even moreso if in your company, I'm sure. *smiles*
Galathil: Wonderful! The theme, I believe, is the Bard's play A Midsummer Night's Dream. I plan to go as Theseus Duke of Athens, myself.
Miranda: Oh splendid, that's a lovely story. If you will be Theseus, I shall be Hippolyta. To match, you know.
Galathil: Delightful! Well then, that is settled. Shall we continue?
Miranda: Certainly. *grinning*