Renowned dandy, indeed the very finest of all dandies in Parquet, Barberry is a man that inspires admiration and envy throughout the fashionable, the quality, and the Looms. Whilst there have long been dandies it is Barberry that has made of them something admirable, for who could fail to admire Barberry? Not possessed of any residence he has a salon in the Looms. That salon sells nothing and displays only Barberry and to which each day many gather to admire him as he dresses. It can take a very long time for Barberry to dress, for all things must be exact, the salon well stocked in the possibilities of his dress whilst not boasting so much as a single chair. For Barberry always stands, unless it is to lie down, and he only lies down when he has chosen for himself a suitable bed for the night. Chairs, he will say, are for those that wish to compensate for a poorly turned leg, and few are as well turned as Barberry’s. For such competitors as there might be in the manner of the leg fail otherwise by what lies at either end. It is Barberry that has encouraged in Parquet the full length trouser, tight, the high-waist coat, and most especially the shirt and scarf of the admired and conscious worthy. His wigs are made precisely to reflect his chosen mood, and always of his own hair. His canes are matched perfectly to glove. His shoes, ever troublesome, are identical only as far as each indicates a precise flaw. In adopting such a flaw, however unseen, Barberry accepts that even he may do better. A wit, a cultured flatterer, a dancer of talent, a worthy of particular magnificence, so important is Barberry to society that should he choose not to attend a ball, then there is no ball at all. A room there might be, dancing assuredly so, but a ball there is not. Barberry rarely misses a ball for the first person invited to any ball, is Barberry. This is eminently sensible since before even the ball’s patron is made aware of the event forthcoming, Barberry’s attendance must be assured. And at the door of each ball, even those which he elects to condone, Barberry will stand and choose who may, or may not enter, from those not possessed of an invitation. It is accepted that he may turn aside one that had been invited, and it has certainly happened, though never is that the case with a member of the quality. If Barberry is the very toast of all society, then it is necessary for society to be there to do so. In this Barberry shows little favouritism. It is true that as a dandy he loathes the fop, but a ball without fops would be a drab affair, and fops make the dandies look so very good. But only the best fops, the truest fops, even those fops who passingly are Barberry’s mortal enemies. Barberry would not have anyone his mortal enemy if they were not the very best mortal enemy society allowed. Born to Parquet of parents whom Barberry does not care to discuss, there was wealth if hardly standing, but sufficient to groom the young man such that he secured a post in the milicio Victus. He remained there only sufficiently long to be known, before leaving having refused to engage in swordplay. Not from cowardice (he fought instead with the cane), but because of the scandalous manner by which a blade was apt to spoil clothing, that all of good heart had been up before they were in their bed to attend to. Much as in more recent years he has begun the practise of carrying his coin in an open topped pocket, since one that is truly fashionable would not suffer some sneak fish to cut free their purse, nor more importantly concern their selves at the loss of mere treasure. And Barberry has no fear on ever likely being short there, for tailors would not think to charge him for their wares, and indeed many, his preferred, would think it terribly rude not to force upon Barberry some expression of their gratitude that he does so at all. The best tailors do attend balls; they are feted well for their important labour. Of all his enemies, his greatest nemesis is that grandest of fops Cornelius Prachtig. Prachtig is never troubled to receive or require invitation to any ball. Often at such social whirls Barberry and Prachtig will keep company with one another, quipping and measuring insult, acting as if they were the very best of friends whilst assuring absolutely everybody that one day each will ensure the fall of the other. Such deadly earnest enemies are they that they will often save the reputation of lesser dandies and fops by waving away any that would trouble the other. So clever are their verbal duels that to an unenlightened ear it would sound as if they were passing the time of day, or gossiping outrageously about anyone else there of position, influence, or quality. Only the truly fashionable can hear the pointed remark, the subtle inference, or the delicately clever nuance to every remark. The truly fashionable will roundly mock any naif believing that the pair, noting that the Marquesa Tesero has further contrived to render her duckies more unfeasibly monstrous that night, is actually talking about the lady herself! Barberry when not at ball, salon, or dressing for his tailors will be deciding upon where he might take his bed for the night. Having no address, he requires none, selecting each evening whose he shall bless with his presence until a late morning and a light breakfast. Barberry’s presence elevates anyone in society for that time, and his favours he spreads widely. Husbands and wives eagerly present their spouses for his choice, often a dozen possible paramours will follow his every step waiting for his notice. Though Barberry has his favourites they are a curious mix. Perhaps he values variety for whilst he might choose one fashionably rounded, he is as apt to enjoy one quite frightful as he is one notoriously beautiful. Though Barberry takes pains to pick, he is otherwise seemingly not picky. Nor curiously is he himself what many would consider conventionally attractive, having barely any good fat upon him, a chest capable of containing drawers, and a stomach taut as a mother’s opinion of her daughter’s young man. Barberry has, in short, had everybody worth having (and those that were worth having more often, often). Those whose bed he has not visited are therefore roundly regarded as not being worth the having, else they would have been. The sole exception to this is the Baroness Rosalinda Von Bode, of whom alone Barberry will attest he is unworthy. Barberry’s name has leant itself to a verb in the contemporary lingua franca. In its purest form ‘to barberry’ is to upset a person’s attempts to woo another in order to press one’s own case. Following Barberry’s own renowned appearance at the bedchamber of Lili Aloof, the milicio celebrate one another if they ‘perform to barberry’, which is to put aside another in the very act of love in order to take their place. Such is never, as such, to join in (for Barberry is a dandy, not a fop) but rather to distract and put aside, and ideally beyond the house itself. To interrupt, to pirate the privy prize. In the lower lingo, to bar the berry is simply to sleep with another citizen’s spouse. All such slang is rather unfair as all implicate a party that is unwilling, is fooled, or otherwise mocked. Barberry would never do such a thing, for he has no need of such duplicity. Barberry never takes cheese at night from the pantry when the cook will always be there a supper tray in hand. It is not that everyone likes Barberry, though in the Looms and the Grails certainly he is admired. Cutting, still he is charming. Vain, he is always superbly dressed. The picaroon, whilst rarely moving in the same circles, will have it that he is nothing more than a silk stocking stuffed with shit. Faced with such insult Barberry showed, by the tightness of his trouser, that what they spied stuffed to the extent of his stocking was not (as they were convinced) shit, but his pizzle. Further that he, Barberry, was not the least surprised that a picaroon did not know the one from the other.