(1938-09-08) There's Mud In My Stew
Details for There's Mud In My Stew
Summary: Friends meet and mingle in the Leaky Cauldron; there ensues an unfortunate mix-up with the meals ordered by a Muggleborn and a Malfoy…
Date: September 8th, 1938
Location: Leaky Cauldron

The Leaky Cauldron

This cramped, angular room is the taproom of the Leaky Cauldron. A long bar runs along one side of the room, plain wooden stools set out before it. Smoke from pipes and candles fills the air. The patrons of this curious little bar, many of them elderly, sit hunched over their mugs at the tables. Waitresses sometimes coined 'Wenches' bustle back and forth bearing trays of food and mugs of ale. Many of the people seem strangely out of place, dressed in cloaks and floppy hats, as if they stumbled out of another century. Notably absent is any modern muggle devices or electric lighting, or any sign of electricity at all. Still, the occasional muggle does find their way in here, usually declaring it to be 'quaint' and 'atmospheric'.

Isobel gets a little wave from Phil and then like magic her drink has arrived and she is heading over to Graham and Sorcha's table. The Chinese dragon on her umbrella huffs out steam as it dries up the raindrops. The reporter lowers herself onto an empty chair and sets her fizzy gin and tonic on the the table. "Hello to you." She looks around and says, "I rather like it when it is more people our age in here instead of old fuddy duddies."

Brei scowls heavily at the growing crowd and picks up her book puts few coins down for her tea and slips out the door leading to London. She has no wishto be social at the moment apparently. The door shuts behind her rather firmly but not quite a slam.

Graham smiles "I still owe you one at least." the young man says to her comment though he sets his menu down deciding to go with his usual. He looks back up "Ah, Good evening." before he turns "Hello Phil." he says with a smile in greeting though he will wait till the others are ready to order before he motions anyone over.

On cue, as though summoned by Isobel's thought, for such coincidences do befall one in the wizarding world, a small black-clad witch with her lips pressed into a firm line shoves open the door from Charing Cross Road and pushes through it as though pursued by an unpleasant smell she is keen to leave behind. It's plain to look at her that she has some fuddy-duddy in her; though in unrelieved black, with a silver serpent for a belt-buckle, possibly some Slytherin as well.

She has two parcels tied up in brown paper and string under one arm, and she holds them tightly against herself as she catches the eye of a waitress, utters three or four peremptory words, and has herself shown to the only remaining empty table… which is just next to those young people. Well. Anything but sitting at the bar.

Isobel waves to Phil and Sorcha, as well as Graham, taking her own seat near Sorcha and Graham. "Well…well, well well well." She taps her table for a moment before waving down a server. "I'm gonna be havin' a steak an' kidney pie, if ya please an' thank ya'. An' a pint o' your strongest stout. Oh! An' perhaps…nah, I'll leave tha' 'till later. Never ya mind it. Thank ya kindly."

Rhyeline slips into the Leaky Cauldron from Diagon Alley, hugging a parcel wrapped in brown paper to her chest. Catching sight of such a crowded room, the little one hesitates, as if debating whether or not to stay. But, the lure of a hot cup of tea draws Rhyeline up to the counter where she makes her soft spoken request.

A few minutes after Rhyeline enters Michel follows. The silver blonde haired man smiling warmly as he glances around. He heads for the bar not minding that he cannot find a free table. He settles near Rhyeline and offers her a kind smile as he orders a cup of tea for himself. "Good eveing Rhyeline. I hope you are well?" He smoky grey eyes scan the room spotting Isobel and Phil and giving them a gentle wave and a warm smile.

Letting her blue gaze drift casually over the growing population of the bar Phil spies Rhyeline and breaks out into a smile. "Excuse me a moment," she says to Graham and Sorcha and then bounds with her graceful energy over to the bar to speak with someone she has not seen in months. "Rhyeline!" the reporter calls out as she makes a beeline for her. Michel takes up one side so she is forced to stop on the opposite and between his sylphlike fairness and her impish darkness poor little shy Rhyeline is trapped between them.

When Phil makes the comment about older people, Sorcha's eyebrows go up a little and she laughs, "Philomela!" She shakes her head, but she's obviously amused, turning her attention to Isobel as she sits, "Kidney pie sounds delightful… hmmm…" With the crush of people the new arrival next to them gets a polite smile and nod before she looks at her menu. Sorcha glances up to Graham again as Phil bounds off to greet other people, "You do yet, don't you. I'll have to come up with something appropraitely penitant for it."

Rhyeline stands at the bar, hugging the parcel in her arms (looks like a book) as she waits patiently for her tea. At Michel's greeting, she blinks and peeks up at him. The little mouse seems particularly cautious in such a crowd, and so biting her lower lip, she gives Michel a little nod in greeting, but does not speak. Hearing Phil call her name, the girl pauses and looks over, but squeeks in surprise when Phil appears standing next to her. To those who have not seen her for some time, her hair has grown long and hangs loose, gathered a the small of her back by a crimson ribbon. Her complexion is as snow white as ever.

"That's fair enough." Graham orders his usual fish chips and cider since it's not broken after all. He looks back "I knew the place would start filling up not soon after." he grins though Phil moving off towards the bar gets his look he recognizes at least one of those there being Rhyeline but he turns back to his table. "How have both of your days been?" he asks those still at the table.

The older witch, having arranged her parcels in her lap with a fold of her robes tucked about them, rather than setting them down upon the table (by the drawing-in of her breath, the slight rise of one eyebrow, she indicates her suspicions that it has not been adequately wiped), is interrogating the waitress (she hasn't let her get away) with regards to today's specials. Her voice is high and clear, very educated, and none too pleased. The polite glance of greeting she receives from the ginger-haired girl at the next table is answered with a dubious tilt of her own head; if she doesn't already know you, she's not sure she wishes to start now.

"You may as well bring me a bowl of the stew," she says at last to the waitress, who has been growing perceptibly more nervous under her eyes, "and a pot of China black. Plenty of bread and butter, and honey for the tea, mind, not sugar."

With a smile on her face Phil reaches out a slender-fingered hand to gently squeeze Rhyeline's shoulder. "I was so happy to hear of your return. I am going away on vacation for a little while but when I come back can we please have tea like we used to?" The clever little reporter misses nothing, noting the differences in her friend's appearance but also the slight nervous demeanor. She leans in to murmur quietly to her.

When the witch next to them seems affronted at the polite interaction, Sorcha turns her attention to the others at her table instead, ordering from the waitress, "Ah, shepherd's pie, please. And a butterbeer." She offers the menu back before looking to the others at her table, "Well enough, the shop was fair busy but I did have enough time to finish the orders I had on hand. Not enough time to restock I'm afraid, so I'll have to see if Nia or I can take the time to start them tomorrow."

"Doin' a fairly well there, good sir Cohen." Isobel grins. "Oh! I met someone who has jus' started workin' in the Auror office the other day. Said ya were a fair bit helpful, ya were, as she was lost as a botton on in a candy store." Which probably doesn't even make much sense in the Scottish village she comes from, but she hopes her meaning comes across. "She was a one…Rena? Irene? Rena? Rena Lee?" She shrugs. "Anyway, I gathered she really appreciated bein' shown around." Leaning forward so she can see Ismene, she says to the older woman, "The stew here's mighty fine. I'm sure it'll do ya good an' well, it will! Hefty an' fillin'. Not ta mention delicious!" She grins. "Ya will nae be disappointed in your decision."

Rhyeline hesitates, gazing up at Phil's familiar face. At the mention of going away on holiday, her eyes brighten a bit. The suggestion of meeting for tea upon her return is met with a little nod. The barkeeper returns with a cup of tea which he places into the girl's hands. The mute mouse nods to him in thanks before peeking back up at Phil with a small, shy smile.

Michel smiles at Phil as she joins them at the bar. He doesn't say anything more but his eyes flash with concern at Rhyeline's aparent nerves. He places a gentle hand on her shoulder trying to offer comfort. "Its alright…I don't think anyone here is likely to bite you. I might..but only if you ask first." He teases her in a gentle tone trying to show that it will be alright or at least offer a distraction. His tea arrives and he moves the hand to lift the cup taking a slow sip.

Graham nods his focus returned after the blitz of people entering to enjoying his evening letting things fall where they may as it were. "Well if you need help with that just let me know I should have tomorrow off. I dont mind of course good company and all." he offers to help in the store as he does sometimes. He looks to Isobel as she speaks and nods "Ah, yes new Initiate. You remember what the ministry was like on your first day it's a maze and easy to get turned around." he shrugs not thinking he did much in the way of helping.

Rhyeline's narrow shoulders seem quite tense as both Phil and Michel place hands upon them, though both are meant to be reassuring touches. Michel's playful remark about biting causes the little mouse's gaze to widen and her cheeks to warm, turning a bit pink. Clinging tight to her cup of tea, she glances hesitantly up at him.

"I'll see you later," Phil says, clearly promising Rhyeline she will. A nod is given to Michel and then she is gone, drifting back towards her gin and tonic across the room.

Taken slightly aback by having her business commented upon by this young Scottish person, who appears to be from a lineage so impoverished that they can't keep her in shoes, the older witch at the next table peers at Isobel for a moment through sharp black eyes. "I hope I shall not be disappointed," she ventures, "though the service in the Cauldron can certainly be… variable."

Michel sips his tea watching Rhyeline's expression with a soft smile. He chuckles a bit at the blush spreding across her face. "You look very pretty when you blush you know that right?" He takes another sip of his tea keeping his eyes locked on the shy young woman.

"Oh? That'd be grand, Graham." Sorcha replies at the offer to have help at the shop on his day off. She leans over and drops a kiss on his cheek before turning her attention back to Isobel, "He does have a tendency to be helpful, doesn't he? I can't imagine not being turned around for a fair while in the Ministry honestly, there's so many hallways that look just alike." When the woman next to them seems not to be reassured by the other girl's assurances, she gives Isobel a little smile again, turning as the waitress comes back with their drinks, "Thank you."

Rhyeline watches Phil go, still clinging to her tea. Hearing Michel's soft spoken words, her gaze widens and her blush deepens a fair bit. Biting her lower lip, she shifts, peeking up at him rather hesitantly.

"Aye. The initiate. And aye, I certainly can remember that frightful first day at the Ministry." Isobel laughs. "More like frightful first month! I could barely find m'way around!" She sighs and shakes her head. Her drink arrives just then, and she thanks the waitress, taking a sip of it. "Ah, the service. I think it gives the place its charm. What's a pub 'thout a bit o' charm, eh?" She smiles brightly at Ismene. To Sorcha, she nods. "Aye, he does seem ta be the helpful type. Which is certainly a good thing. Especially with the career he's chosen!" She gives a little chuckle. "Aye. There are many alike lookin' corridors. Ya get use ta them after awhile. Ya start ta notice the little things, little scratches on the wall or some such. That an' they jus' seem ta become second nature. Ya donnae even need ta think while you're walkin' through 'em!"

As she nears the table Phil pats herself down. She can't quite find her small money purse. Unbeknownst to her she has dropped it near Rhyeline's feet.

Dorothy waits for the waitress to approach before making her own order of food and drink. She does overhear some of the other discussions but doesn't attempt to interject, though she does think that people who spend so much time in the Ministry building must be pretty important…

"Cheers." Graham calls as he accepts his cider taking a drink he smiles at the kiss but agrees with a nod "It really can be hard to navigate until you get the handle of it quite true. Some are worse than others he says." he cant go into that but shakes his head at the thought he shakes it off smiling. He looks back to Sorcha "How has Niamh been anyways, i'm starting to think she doesn't like me. she's not around often when I vist." he chuckles joking.

Michel smiles softly at Rhyeline. He looks away for a moment, his eyes sweep the room and he notices that Phil's purse has dropped at Rhyeline's feet. Bending down he picks it up and makes his way over to the reporter offering it over with a smile. "Here…I think you dropped this."

Turning as she hears a voice near her Phil smiles at Michel, "Oh thanks. I wondered where it had gone." She leans in to murmur something to the confectioner. Then pats his arm in thanks again.

Rhyeline watches as Michel heads off towards Philomena to return the dropped purse. Taking a little sip of tea, Rhyeline slips off to stand at the fireplace which happens not to be too far from Ismene's table. The little mouse gazes at the fire in silence, taking small sips as she continues to hug the parcel (book) to her chest.

Michel nods to Phil and a slight frown tugs at his lips as he glances over to Rhyeline once more. He smiles softly and nods again offering phil a soft smile before going over to a newly vacated table by the fire. It happens to be very close to where Ismene sits as well. He settles gracefully into the seat and sips his tea his eyes wandering the room.

Sorcha offers a reassuring smile to the girl with the book that obviously doesn't like crowds. Even going so far as to give her a brief wink before she turns back to Phil, "Are you leaving bits all about the pub now? That doesn't seem very effective." Taking her butterbeer and sipping she nods to Isobel, "I suppose it's like anything else. On the surface it might look wildly different to someone that's overfamiliar with it rather than others who don't see the difference."

Tucking her coin purse away again Phil finally makes it back to her chair. "I know," she says to Sorcha with a laugh. "And I don't have Laurence here to pick up after me like he usually does. Thankfully Michel stepped in most gallantly." She picks up her gin and tonic and sips from it. At least the fizz hasn't gone out of it yet. "I haven't seen you in ages Isobel, how're things? Busy summer testing students?"

Rhyeline takes a long, slow sip of tea. Hiding behind her teacup this way, she peeks over at Phil's table just in time to see Sorcha's reassuring smile and wink. Rhyeline pauses before lowering the cup and giving a proper nod in greeting. Her gaze flickers to Graham, and then back to Sorcha. A look of recognition flickers in the girl's eyes at Keenan's sister.

"Yes you learn which lifts go where and from there it's just about knowing which department or person your looking for." Graham accounts for the ministries twists and turns. "Ah hey Phil, yes losing that could put a damper on ones evening indeed." he says with a small wince, he takes a drink and a bite to eat though he looks back towards the journalist. "I'd have paid for your drink, so you didnt have to clean dishes but all the same." he grins. He catches the look to Rhyeline and gives a wave in greeting.

The traditionally-garbed older witch, now practically penned-in by these young people with their pink toenails and maddening accents, sits straight-backed and with immense dignity at her solitary table — onto which a waitress, not the one she was interrogating earlier, but one of her colleagues, is now dispensing the contents of a tray. Teapot, cup upturned upon its saucer, little jug of honey, knife, fork, spoon, plate of bread and butter… and another plate, containing a heaping portion of steak and kidney pie.

Its recipient recoils an inch or so in distaste. Gazing up at the waitress with her best impression of a basilisk, she utters in a voice grown freezing cold: "This is not what I ordered, you witless child."

The waitress, suddenly feeling a presentiment of mortality, murmurs something uncatchable and uncaught.

As she looks at the older woman Phil inclines her head towards Ismene, "Good evening madam." It sometimes takes an old blooded family to recognise another. For all her painted toenails and current company there is that which sets Phil apart. A slant to the cheekbones, a colour of the eyes - hinting at her links to families as old and ancient as possible. It is there too in the cultured tones with which she speaks.

"Two knightly gentlemen in one place." Sorcha offers with a grin to Michel with a glance to Graham before she takes another drink of her beer. When the woman next to them berates the poor waitress she frowns, sending her a decidedly unimpressed look before she looks back to the others at the nice table, "Yes, I don't know that I'm entirely sure which season of the year it is that's more busy for the education office, honestly."

"Oh, aye. You're right in tha', Graham. Some hallways are certainly worse'n others." Isobel may or may not know the halls that Graham was talking about. She turns to Phil ans smiles. "Aye, it's been a while. But it's certainly good ta see ya. My summer was busy with markin' o' tests an' such, yes. An' then makin' sure I was up ta date on what the teachers at Hogwarts were teachin'!" She shrugs. "An' how've ya been? How's the journalism world?" It's at that moment that she's delivered a bowl of stew. She looks down at it and back up at the waitress who delivered it to her.

"I believe there's been some sorta mistake, Miss. I didnae order this." Isobel smiles and stands. "Donnae worry, though. I know exactly where it's goin', you jus' rest easy." She holds the bowl gently in her hands and takes it over to Ismene's table and places it down behind her food. "I believe our food's gotten mixed up. That'd be mine ya got, I do believe. Here's yours. I'll time mine off your hands." She gives the waitress a sympathetic smile.

Michel looks over those present his eyes coming back to Rhyeline once more. If she happens to look his way he will offer a soft smile and a gesture to join him should she wish to accept it.

Dorothy looks toward Ismene and the waitress with a frown. She sympathizes much more with the waitress in this matter; she's had enough letters from editors to know well how often you make silly mistakes when under stress- and judging by the crowd, it was likely a stressful day for the staff at the Cauldron. She's relieved when Isobel corrects the mistake herself, rather than complaining about it.

Rhyeline lifts a hand towards Graham in return, her arm still pressing the book to her chest. As Ismene scolds the hapless waitress, Rhyeline bites her lower lip. Hugging the book a bit tighter to her chest, she catches Michel's invitation and moves to join him.

Sipping her drink Phil watches as the food is mixed up and then sent to the correct people. She isn't eating so there is no issue for her. As it is early in the evening this is her first drink and so she is still sat properly, her back not touching the chair, her legs together and tucked to the side. "Graham said you two had a lovely holiday together," she mentions, looking at Sorcha - presumably to give Isobel time to eat.

Graham turns at the noise of the disturbance but seeing the look on Sorcha's face he reaches across and squeezes her hand lightly before watching Isobel move over to switch the food a curious look on his face as he waits to see how this will go for both parties. He takes the moment to take in the whole of the pub once more time see who else is here.

The other party to the culinary misunderstanding rolls her eyes extravagantly to Isobel, as though to say 'Now, what was I just telling you?' — and lifts the plate of steak and kidney pie, guiding it into Isobel's hands, to make room before herself for the bowl of stew — which does indeed smell as delicious as Isobel was just telling *her*. "The wenches serving here are more impossible with every year," she sniffs. "Half-bloods and squibs and worse, all of them put together without the brains of a Flobberworm." She turns over her cup and commences calmly to pour her tea.

On the opposite side of her from Isobel, the little waitress, hands knotted together, murmurs again, more audibly: "So very sorry, Madam Malfoy."

"Oh, stop apologising and get along," the Malfoy lady (now that she has been revealed to be so) says impatiently, putting down the teapot with a grumpy thump. "I shan't want anything else for the time being."

Sorcha takes a looooooooong drink of her butterbeer. It's probably a good thing her siblings aren't here this evening, really. Her own food is set down in front of her and she makes sure to smile brightly at the waitress, "Thank you it looks simply delicious. As always. I just love coming here, it's such a nice place to sit down with friends and have a pleasant meal." It's definitely loud enough that Ismene won't have any trouble hearing if she's deigning to listen in on the conversations of those lowly patrons around her. She picks up her fork and gives her attention to Phil, "We did, thanks. There was a lovely train ride, Bath was quite nice, and we got to make up ghost stories about a muggle castle."

Perhaps because it wasn't her food involved or perhaps it is her natural sangfroid, whatever the reason Phil seems to take it all in stride. "How lovely, and Graham does like history. I can imagine all the little things you two got up to." She even somehow says that without lacing it with innuendo. Man is she on a roll tonight.

Accepting her own meal from the older woman, Isobel's smile stretches a little bit, looking a little bit strained, though not too much so yet. "I donnae know…I think they're doin' a lovely job here. But, when it's busy, it can certainly be easy ta make a…simple mistake such as this." She looks back at the waitress and says, "You're doin' a lovely job, Miss. It was jus' an honest mistake, is all. Donnae worry 'bout a thing."

Turning back to the other woman, Isobel raises an eyebrow. "I apologize tha' those half-bloods an' squibs an' muggle-borns, like m'self, cannae live up ta you're standards…Madam Malfoy, was it?" She tries to put on a less strained smile. "I know I'm no waitress, but I do apologize for the mix up here."

Michel smiles happily as Rhyeline join him. His gaze goes to the nearby lady who seems to have had some problem with her food. He raises a brow at the comment and takes a sip of his tea refraining from commenting for now.

Rhyeline's gaze widens at Madam Malfoy's statement. As a half blood (though only just), she bites her lower lip and frowns, but averting her gaze, she just takes another sip of tea.

It's a rare time with Graham isn't the cool customer but his look now says quite the opposite as he turns against towards the outburst, but it's neither time nor place to debate politics and he decides instead to take a few breaths instead mumbling under his breath "Purity nonsense." he cant help it would seem one thing is certain to strike a bad chord with him. The auror turns back though nodding to Phil as he regains himself "Yes it was very nice, the train ride was much better than I expected we shared a table with two very nice couples and the food was great."

Dorothy looks indignant at Ismene's words- being a Squib married to a Muggle, she's definitely on the wrong end of those comments. As the waitress arrives with her order, she smiles. "Don't worry yourself so much about it, dear," she says to the waitress. "Magic or not, we're still mortal women. Mistakes come naturally… as do successes," she adds, noting her correctly-delivered food.

For each reaction there is a counter-reaction, or well there is one in this case. Phil doesn't even flinch at the words which she hears coming from Ismene Malfoy, perhaps because she has heard them before. Focusing on the light-hearted conversation she is having instead she says to Sorcha, "Laurence is taking me away. We are going to view some saplings in Italy. He gave me the most lovely old phrase book. It is filled with beautiful drawings."

"Oh, that'll be delightful, I'm sure. I've never been to Italy." Sorcha says to Phil, taking a bite of her shepherd's pie. She smiles when she hears Dorothy's words over by the bar, glancing to see who said them. When Isobel sits down again with them, she gets a brilliant smile from the ginger girl, "How does your kidney pie look? It sounded lovely on the menu, I can't remember the last time I had it here." At the same time she reaches under the table and pat's Graham's arm a little reassuringly before she takes up her butterbeer again, "

The Malfoy lady's face sets into a graven alabaster mask at that word — 'Muggleborn'. It is not by any means the word she would have used. Holding the edge of the saucer in her left hand, she lifts it six inches from the table, plucks the cup from it with her right hand, and brings the latter steadily to her lips, without glancing down, without taking her eyes from Isobel, whom she is regarding rather as though, now that she's got her stew, she's found a FLY or a BEETLE in it.

With that strengthening mouthful of tea in her, she speaks: "One apology for a matter not your fault, and another for a matter far beyond your capacity to mend. I am overwhelmed." And, returning cup to saucer with a faint clatter, she turns away from Isobel and applies herself to — well, not the stew. To the plateful of bread-and-butter.

Isobel starts to move back toward her seat, but looks back at the Malfoy woman. "Well, perhaps m'parents raised me good an' proper ta be nice. Sometimes tha' means apologizin'. Even when an apology is nae desired or required. I'll always be glad for the values they instilled in me." And with that, she does indeed take her seat. Though she doesn't show it, she may just be pleased at the woman's reaction to the stew, now that she knows that the receptacle was handled by a muggle-born. "Hmm?" She responds to Sorcha. "Oh, aye. Delicious. It's one o' my favourites here, I must say."

Graham smiles at the hand squeeze before looking back to his drink and takes a large sip though he's listening "That does sound nice, I would like to travel further next time maybe schedule more time off when this investigation is over. I will likely need by that time." he says it's assumed of course that Sorcha is invited but he's speaking to the both "Welcome Back." he greets Isobel with a smirk glad she spoke her mind.

Taking a last sip of tea, Rhyeline sets it down on the table and rises with slow, graceful care from her seat. With a cautious glance over at Ismene and a little nod at Michel, Rhyeline makes her way back out to Diagon Alley to continue her errands.

It is actually Isobel's food which Phil finds revolting. "You are eating offal? How can…nevermind. You're Scots." She shudders at the very idea of eating any living creature's formal internal organ. More gin please! She sips her gin and angles her chair so that she cannot see what Isobel is eating, as if the kidney might produce bodily fluids right there in Isobel's dish.

Actually grining at Phil, Isobel nods. "Oh, aye. It's mighty delicious. Ya should try it! Tha' and haggis. Oh, m'mother makes the most delicious o' haggis I've ever eaten. An' she's originally a Welshwoman ta boot!" She grins. "I donnae get what people have against eatin' steak an' kidney pie, though. Or that of the offal variety in general! It's mighty good an' healthy!" There is a glint of amusement in here eyes, though.

The young man shakes his head at the talk of food but it's up them what they will eat he supposes. "Think i'll stick to my fish and chips." Graham says with a chuckle though he looks between the others "Oh and cider of course." he takes another drink before setting the mug down a moment.

"One day Graham," says Phil, "one day you are going to wake up and feel like being adventurous. You are going to eat something radical like steak tartare and wash it down with a fine vintage burgundy." She smirks a little, "I just hope someone notes that day down on the calendar and then checks to make sure you haven't been slipped an illegal potion."

Dorothy then decides to open the letter while she starts on her food. She looks quite surprised once she reads the contents, and looks back at the envelope in confusion. She looks around, quickly finishes her drink, leaves her payment on the table without finishing the food, and quickly makes her way to the back exit of the Leaky Cauldron, clutching the letter tightly.

Whilst good-nature teasing goes on about her, Ismene Malfoy masticates in silence, tucking away slice after slice of well-buttered bread within her small frame and shapeless black robes. The stew she ignores for a time; upon tasting it, she grimaces and transfers the bowl to the far side of the table (incidentally, its original place when Isobel brought it to her), where it congeals while she drinks her last cup of hot, sweet black tea.

"If they do I can come up with a counter-potion." Sorcha says with a grin to Phil, "Though it's not all bad. I would say you should make sure that you know that the cook is versed in preparing it of course… when we're not at table I can share a story of my sister-in-law who's never been allowed to cook kidney pie again. But for the most part it's quite good."

Michel goes silent and watches the interactions around him. He seems thoughtful and once his tea is finished he rises with a smile paying and heading out to Diagon Alley.

Graham looks offended but grins a moment later. "Hey i've done much better with my adventures lately." he says with a nod believing this with his current actions. He looks to Sorcha with an arched eyebrow " That sounds like quite the story, but i'm glad you would comes to my rescue." he says with a smile.

"I've ne'er been able ta properly make it m'self. I always seem ta fail. I donnae know why!" Isobel shakes her head, taking a good mouthfull of the food. There's a glance to Ismene's table. "Stew not ta your likin', Madam Malfoy? I certainly smelled good ta me when I was bringin' it over ta ya!" Yep. Kill your enemies with kindness. That's how Isobel plans to do it.

Glancing at her watch Phil says, "I'd best be off. More packing to do before we leave." She rises to her feet and says to the trio of friends, "If I don't see you before I go I shall undoubtedly see you when I get back."

As Phil gets up, Sorcha gives her a smile and a wave, "Have a safe trip, send us a postcard." She grins, taking another sip of butterbeer to cover her reaction to Isobel's engagement of the Malfoy next to her again. Turning to Graham she smiles, "Of course I would, don't be silly."

Madam Malfoy affects not to hear Isobel. Or perhaps she really doesn't hear, such is her concentration upon not leaving a single crumb upon her plate.

And when her tea has been drunk to its bitterest dregs, this bad-tempered hag who has unwittingly had such a good go at making her chance-met dining companions uncomfortable summons her original waitress by dint of staring; and enters into a low-voiced confabulation at the end of which coins from the dark recesses of her robes are transferred into the Cauldron employee's hand. The latter doesn't look altogether happy about the number of them OR their weight; but there's no denying the other girl made a mistake… and not much arguing with a Malfoy who tells you your stew tastes disgusting today. For, though the others present may not be able to hear what she's saying through the hum of general conversation, the gesture of her bony little white hand toward the still-full bowl, and the twist of her lips which accompanies it, doesn't leave much doubt of what she's on about.

Her chair scrapes backward; her parcels once more firmly beneath her arm, she straightens her robes to depart; she nods to Philomena, obviously the best of a motley bunch, and makes a dignified progress out into Diagon Alley.

Isobel says, "Enjoy yourself. There's nothin' like a good trip ta give a person a good piece o' mind." Isobel smiles at Phil. "We'll have ta get together when you're back, have a good visit." There's a glance at the Malfoy woman as she speaks quietly to the waitress and then gets up, starting to leave. "Tata, Madam Malfoy. I do hope our paths cross once more. An' once again, I apologize for any follies on my part, if there were any." She smiles brightly at the back of the woman's head as she watches her leave. "What a…an interestin' woman, that Madam Malfoy." She says to those at the table next to her.

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