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  1. Today
  2. Robert Greaves

    Lowther's Plotter

    6 April 1678 North and South
  3. 6 April 1678 You could fill a book with the differences between the North and the South of England. Some wise-crack probably already had done. In fact, there were probably several sitting on booksellers' shelves somewhere or other. Ever since leaving Turnock Abbey in the rugged, windswept moors of Yorkshire, Robert had been keeping his own mental log of the differences, in the very manner that any proper Northerner would do when forced to go south of the Trent and venture into the heartlands of the soft, pleasure-loving, fleshy "Southrons." Before you get the wrong impression, Robert (the seventh Viscount Lowther) was not a hayseed hick, to whom Harrogate or York constituted the "biggest place on Earth." He had done his fare share of travelling across France, the Low Countries and Germany. He had been into the deliciously different fat lands of southern England plenty of times. Indeed, he had been an unwelcome houseguest of his late elder brother, the sixth Viscount, when the latter had lived in London for years, vainly striving for some sort of Court preferment until he was untimely carried off by the miasmas and inclement airs of the fetid metropolis. In all honesty, there was little point comparing the two places properly, because they were ultimately chalk and cheese. In his homeland, Robert could enjoy the huge, unspoilt vacant vistas of rugged heathland, thick forest and rolling hills. A patchwork rural idly that looked like it had burst off the canvas of a cheap landscape artist. Plenty of rosy, buxom village lasses, beer drinking ruddy yeomen and wizened, pipe smoking old greybeards. Good hunting. Wild weather. Hardy folk in a hardy land. Not rich in possessions but rich in spirit, tradition and soul. But, let's face it, if you wanted more than a pleasant view or a good chase then there was little more for you there. The family lands did not produce enough to have them live in great style, for that they needed preferment. Further, as the Viscount was in want of a wife, it was a common knowledge that the capital had plenty of eligible young women with handsome...assets. So, having done his best since the untimely death of his elder brother to steady the ship in the North, Robert had made the decision to follow in his footsteps and take residence (in the Season, at least) in the metropolis in the dual hunt for preferment and matrimony. Although he was plenty familiar with London it still always took him some getting used to. From miles away you could see it: a thick smudge of sooty black clouds on the horizon. Closer still you could hear it: a gentle buzz which soon became a Babel roar of conflicting noises from human, animal and material. Finally, you could smell it: hitting your nose like a football on an icy day. Travelling with a not inconsiderable chest of clothes and materials, he had travelled the entire way from the Abbey to London via a relay of coaches. Crushed between a prattling minister and a rotund coal merchant, he had been jolted, jogged and shaken the several hundred miles, putting up with scurvy inns, weak beer and bad company for over a week. By the time the coach finally ground to a halt on Piccadilly he positively bounded out of the enclosed space, ignoring the invitation of the minister to attend his next sermon and unceremoniously treading on the toes of the fleshy, deeply sleeping merchant in the process. Making himself known to the innkeeper of the Red Lion where, for now, he had decided to take lodgings, he waited on the street outside as servants lugged the oak chest up to the room. Offered wine by the innkeeper, he had instead elected for the sort of beer workmen drank in bucketloads. There was plenty of time to come for him to put on the airs and graces of the well-to-do in the capital. As he stood in front of the inn, leaning against the wall, he watched the fast flowing river of people passing by with dizzying speed. The first thing which struck him was how well dressed (and to his mind, dandified) most of the men of quality seemed to be. He, on the other hand, adopted the no-nonsense functional garb of the rural gentleman and former soldier. A sturdy dark blue coat, a relic of his days with the Dutch army, with buff breeches and thick leather riding boots (despite the fact he had travelled by coach). A black belt slung over his shoulder held up his sword and behind the buckle he had stuffed his gloves for easy carrying. He ran a finger and thumb along his moustache and spiked beard. He was not sure where to begin. He had goals, sure enough, but putting them into practice was a different matter. For now, a drink and a people-watch seemed like a good start. If, as they say, London was the city of opportunity then it was not beyond the realm of possibility that all he needed to do was give himself up to it and perhaps the city would smile on the good Viscount Lowther?
  4. Darlene Hamilton

    In Search of a Evening Cup of Tea April 7

    That he did not change his mind was practically compliance to her revealed intents - Darlene beamed and hugged him again, “I cannot wait! Shall I make something for you to wear too, as a silent declaration. Ha, who would ever have thought bold people like us would ever be so subtle.” She grinned. “Perhaps I can sew you something, I am quite nifty with a needle don’t you know. What would like my sweet, shall I perhaps detail a pocket square or some such. Tell me what would you most like?” Yes what would he ask for, Darlene couldn’t hardly guess for Charles was usually so very selfless. It seemed to her that most about all of his days were spent righting wrongs and fixing injustices, like this 100 year old crime even. Catching his jacket as he pushed it off, Darlene tossed it over the bed end. “A house dedicated for parties, goodness Charles you are even grander thinking than me!” she grinned, he was teasing surely?! And as he sat on the bed to be helpful, she moved to take off his pin, and at a much better position to kiss his face as she did so. He smelt just perfect, slightly salty with the days activity mixed with his natural scent. “Guests like your brothers, or my brothers, or my sister and her husband even.” Her fingers tickled under his chin as she loosed off his cravat, then setting the pin on the bedside table she nodded in agreement. “You need to recline, laying like a cat in the sun – ooh but not with shoes on.” Her attention moved to his boots, ungainly things. She never paid his boots any attention before, she slid fingers up them as she mused, “Are your boots made in Cornwall Charles, and do they make ladies shoes there also? And… and do you grow cornflowers in your gardens there.” But she was not game to try pull his boots off.
  5. Yesterday
  6. Charles Whitehurst

    In Search of a Evening Cup of Tea April 7

    What sort of person would withdraw the gift after the motive is revealed by a lady? "Of course I will give you such a brooch," he agreed readily. The idea of gold versus silver was sobering for a man of limited wealth, but he knew that jewelers could use gold plating or leaf, so that could be done on a budget. It was also sobering that Darlene wanted to use the brooch as an announcement of their affection. That would need careful thought. Perhaps he could find a way for ladies to wear such things without the same meaning. At the rate she was going, it would be mere days before the entire court would know of their intent to be betrothed. That would mean that he would have mere days to tell Catherine and perhaps Davina. He felt the worst about the latter but this was no time to be thinking of other women. Darlene was the one for him, certainly in the moment if not for eternity. "The villain is a fool indeed. I shall get to the bottom of this soon enough." She was right about the age of the crime and it would cause him to reflect further on the matter ... when he did not have such a perfect creature distracting him so completely. "Maybe we shall save the house for guests, or parties?" It would seem a cold thing to suggest selling it. "I knew it," he remarked on the affirmation of the hardness of his buttons and cravat pin. "Your porcelain skin is so delicate." He began removing his jacket as she removed his cravat, fully intending to press another hardness upon her. "Come, let me sit on the bed so that you can get a better angle on my pin." He was so much taller that it provided an easy excuse. As he moved he remarked "it has been such a full day of soldiering and you have had a full day of ... hobbying, perhaps we might ... repose together on the bed. Just basking in your presence intimately beside you will reinvigorate me, and perhaps you?" He had energy enough to lift her, cast her on the bed and dive in; but, having met those urges in Dorchester House, he thought it more fun if they spoke of things in a gentile way, like having a cup of tea or a bit of repose. It might provide some light-hearted fun.
  7. “The artists remain in Florence.” George revealed simply, “and yes it is my hope that the collection I’ve curated will be well received.” He was in fact fairly confidant in it’s success with the fine Lady Habersham as spokesperson – still as mentioned, he hoped that some of the younger crowd would also attend. “I shall let you guess.” He replied upon his own singular input to the exhibition. Since his (unlikely!) love life became topic du jour he further revealed, “it was a commission of a sort, for the young mystery lady who bid on me at the bachelor auction. Truth be told I was quite inspired by her. Please do not consider me a cad to keep kind thoughts of not just one but two ladies.” George did come across as a rather proper fellow at times, and on the matter of ladies especially. Then at other times he showed a more relaxed side – such as now and with her limerick. The serious faced Earl broke into laugher! “Hah hah! That is fine, so clever and witty! I love it!” his expression was warm, almost jubilant. He downed the rest of his coconut rum in a happy gulp. “Have you another?!” Yet it was with a sober disposition that the pair talked about Lady Frances. “Thank you.” George accepted her promise of secrecy. “No I ha not told her of the idea yet, I do not want to upset her emotions, I am keenly aware she is trying to be very stoic about her families choice for her. I do not want to give her a false hope, for should I fail a second time her spirits may never recover.” George knew a good deal about the death grip of depression, and would not wish that on an enemy let alone a gentle kind soul like Lady Francis. “Yes the family will be furious, yet I am sure that their feelings will soften in time, most particularly once there are children. And Dorset, well he is a clever fellow, he shall find some other place to poke his ambition.” There was a notable coldness to Georges tone when he spoke of Dorset, due to no fact other than the others successful bid for Frances hand. “I am not deterred at thought of Dorset’s enemy. I hardly expect that he will be heart broken by it, and believe that the ladys happiness will outweigh his anger. Or at least… He listened closely to her advice, she brought up things he’d not thought about, such as his little Whitgrove. George nodded slowly as he considered it. “You have a point that the extended family may frown upon it. While just last week they have invited me to take Easter dinner with them. Which was a very pleasant surprise, believe me. “ He had to think long and hard about this, the Ashburnhams, Lord Bedford and Lord Russell, were valuable connections. She saw that she’d perturbed him, and with womanly instinctiveness Anne-Elisabeth reached over and squeezed George’s hand. He squeezed hers back. “This is exactly why I need advice… I am uncertain what is the best thing to do.”
  8. Henrietta blushed most becomingly, Charles mused. He really would not mind seeing more of it. But he had decided to at least try to take this semi-seriously, and so he gave himself a mental shake and pressed on. "Not a bad beginning. Pi can be a tricksy thing," he said, "and better yet, it gives us a place to begin. Circles." He reached for his compass and a fresh sheet of paper, and scribed a large circle. He slid the diagram in front of Henrietta and leaned in to start his explanation. "We shall start with the circumference, which is simply an overly-complicated name for the perimeter of the circle. When you draw a circle, what you draw, in effect is the circumference." He drew a second circle to illustrate. "The radius, then, is the distance between any point on the circumference and the centre of the circle. When you draw a circle, it is the distance between the two arms of the compass. See?" He held the implement up for her to observe. "Finally, there is the diameter, which is the name we have for the length of a straight line linking any two points on the circumference that passes through the centre of the circle. That last bit is the important part of the definition - if it does not pass through the centre then it is not the diameter. The simplest way to think about it is to remember that, by definition, the diameter is always twice the length of the radius." He grinned at her encouragingly. "As for the relationship between those values, you need but remember two simple formulae Selene. Firstly, the circumference is equal to twice the radius times pi. Secondly, the area of the circle is equal to the square of the radius times pi." He paused, wanting to be sure that she understood.
  9. Darlene Hamilton

    In Search of a Evening Cup of Tea April 7

    And he agreed. “Daisies? Yes daisies, you have said such lovely things about them that they might become my new favourite.” While she could not brag about a bunch of daisies, shed certainly show around daisies cast in gold. “Oh, and in gold Charles, you have surely noticed I just never wear silver.” A beau had once given her some jewellery in silver and she’d hardly managed to hide her dismay. “Really I would prefer your regiments insignia to be the main statement of the brooch, with the flower to be an added prettiness…. …Charles, you are such a darling to ask me these questions, I like to be included in choices. Shall we talk of many thinks like this do you think?” she hoped so, it had not been like that with Thomas. Thomas, though much the same age as Charles, had been stuffy minded of the roles of men and women. Punctilious even. That he was so open in discussing, had her open up with an admission too. “The reason I want your regiments insignia so clear on it is, because I want all your men to know that we are, important to each other. It will be a little bit like an announcement.” Telling on herself like this was an odd situation for Darlene. “I hope you still want to give me a brooch now Charles?” Darlene listened to his tales of adventures, it sounded horribly fun. "How wonderful, and what a foolish fellow! But why is he so worried about an old crime? Does anyone even care what happened so long go. If I was him, when I found out you were onto me, Id have the sense to surrender!” She grinned and gave Charles a wink. There was a part of her that would like to have been involved in the theatre he talked about, but somehow her usual compulsions hardly even spiked. Perhaps it was the very newness of their closer relationship that made her more biddable. Or perhaps it was a simple happiness and contentment. Nodding she then tipped head. “What shall we do with this house then, there is hardly any point in having two houses in the same street.“ She was pleased to hear his house needed a ladies touch. “It’s not just your house that needs that…” they hugged, tightly! “Oh yes that did hurt a bit.” It had not, but playing along Darlene helped Charles with his ‘dangerous’ metal buttons. This physicality was still very new between them, and her heartbeat raced with an excited nervousness and need. “And your cravat pin, it could cause damage too I think.” Her fingers moved to remove that while she tiptoed to claim another kiss.
  10. Charles Audley

    On A Wing And A Prayer | 6th April, morning

    Charles snarled atavistically down at Sophia, thrusting hard and fast into her. "Perhaps I like you like this, desperate and needy," he growled through his bared teeth, "but I suppose I could be persuaded to teach you some discipline." Charles could not have said how long passed between his climax and the return of his senses. It might have been a heartbeat, or it might have been an age of the world. He floated on an almost spiritual sea of ecstasy, with no awareness of time, or indeed of anything but the soft, warm, wonderfully wicked creature pressed against him. His soft, warm, wonderfully wicked creature, as he was hers. "I have to be, to keep up with such an exemplar of sin as yourself," he murmured, moving slightly to press his lips to the top of her head, his hands wrapping around her waist. "Can you linger much longer?" he continued, rolling his hips teasingly against her. "My appetite is only whetted, I confess, but if you must go, and feel you are ready to pretend to be a lady again..."
  11. Last week
  12. Lucy kept most of her thoughts to herself, not allowing Louis a window into each of her concerns. As such, he awaited her voiced questions. "Good. It is a grand game Lucy. Find friends that are worthy of you, ones that can do you favors in the future; but, do not overlook the palace servants. They can be the very best of spies for you. It is no coincidence that I am the Treasurer of the Royal Household. I have rare access to the palace servants. Only Arlington has more power as the Chamberlain. I have yet to decide whether he is more worthy as an ally or an adversary," he laughed. "I am rarely wrong Lucy," he replied to her concern about Nicci, "especially about family. Nicolette will stand with us. I am sure of it. But, for every risk, I have a contingency plan. There are obstacles in our path and we will find unwelcome surprises along the way. These are to be expected. This game will destroy the unprepared. I am moving the game pieces in our favor and now we each need to do our part, knowing that we will fail the game if we fail our family. It is just beginning for your part." He gave her hand a reassuring squeeze. "We share the same blood so how can you be anything but a masterful player in the months and years ahead?" His smile was of the kind that one wore when one already knew the outcome of an event. "Be sure to keep your husband loyal to you and to me. He has an important role to play in the future."
  13. Charles Whitehurst

    interrogating the Servants April 7 morning

    Charles cared not for the separation of the married couple. He dismissed their complaint for now. Once in the side room, he returned Sam's salute and turned his attention to the snobbish servant. In that moment he decided to temper his tone and try a more friendly approach, despite his desire to thrash the man. "Well Mister Granger, perhaps we have the wrong man and there has been a misunderstanding. First I shall need some background information," he explained. "How old are you, do you have a wife and children? I understand you are a servant. Please tell me how long you have been in service to your current employer. I need you to confirm his name and likewise demonstrate that you know his age and his family members." The young officer was wanting this questioning to sound routine, as a preliminary for more detailed questions about the reason he was there.
  14. Charles Whitehurst

    In Search of a Evening Cup of Tea April 7

    He had not seen Darlene beg for anything from him before. He would have gotten her a brooch anyway, but this made it all the more urgent. "Of course." He would need to send Elam to find the right jeweler to di custom work. "What flowers would you like? Daisies? Do you want the flowers just a hint or just as prominent as my regiment's insignia?" He would hate to disappoint her. "My adventures? I swept the park with my soldiers to clear it for decent folk. There is a man that is wanting to steal something to hide a murder that happened a century ago. I had to interrogate servants of the blackguard to learn more about the man, his goals and weaknesses. He can only hide from me so long." He offered a confident smile. Women, he knew, needed reassurance that all was well, or they would panic or attempt to interfere. Neither would be welcome to him. This was a dangerous game he was playing and he did not need for the villain to learn of Charles' own weaknesses for the ladies he loved. Fortunately, the sight of a double bed was helpful in his mental inner turmoil about how to keep Darlene safe. "I'm glad," he replied softly as she explained more about Phillipa. "Friends are important." There was talk about living with her in her house. "We would live in my house after we marry," he explained, not seeing the danger in such a response. "It is a larger house and in need of a lady's touch." He smiled again at the thought of the two of them happily married, even though he rather liked having the affections of multiple ladies. "And I love you too," he joined as he embraced her tightly and leaned down to give her a passionate kiss. He pulled apart and apologized, "I must have hurt you to crush you against the buttons of my tunic. I think it best if I remove anything with buttons or metal. Your skin is like satin and I would prefer to revel in your embrace more naturally." he was already reaching to remove his coat but looked to Darlene to see if there was resistance. Despite his appetite for her love and flesh, he was a gentleman after all.
  15. Cordelia Lucas

    Newcastle Residence, the 6th, 2pm, Matters of Marriage

    Cordelia watched the play of emotions from the Duchess secure that everything would go to Plan. "I am glad that you think my words were good Council. It is a most trying time for you - with planning Frances' wedding and all. Is there a date yet? Will you hold it at Court ...." A nice change of topic yet still within their purpose of meeting. "Let me think. I have some appointments ...." She said falsely. "Let us agree upon Wednesday? Shall I come here again - it is no trouble." She smiled and rose to retake her chair sitting calmly one hand reaching for her cup only to find it had gone cold.
  16. “Well then, the courtiers will be impressed with the painting of the artists you are supporting.” Anne-Elisabeth grinned. “Are they still in Italy or are they staying in London?” Italian men were said to be amorous and handsome, and she wouldn’t mind admiring them along with their art. She could seek out the ones whose paintings she liked most and praise their talent. Flattery sometimes did get you everywhere. Lord Chichester’s blush was adorable. Was he not accustomed to compliments? “Will you show me your one contribution to the exhibition, or will you make me guess?” Her tone of voice was playful, teasing. The young Countess hadn’t expected him to ask her to recite one of her limericks and she racked her brain for a poem that wasn’t off-color. Most of her limericks were downright bawdy. The poem she had recited to the King at the New Year’s ball came to mind. Yes, that one would do quite nicely. “This is one of my favorites, based on a true story.” A tall friend is always complaining That he's tired of people proclaiming 'How's the weather up there?' So without any care, He spits on them and says that it's raining.” The conversation meandered to astronomy and she was pleased that the Earl was willing to work with her and not just Lord Gray. When they had met, she had been hesitant to mention her interest in science, afraid that he was one of those pompous gentlemen who believed a woman should not try to expand her mind but that she should be content doing nothing but managing a household and raising children. She had been elated to find out that he was broad-minded instead. Anne-Elisabeth was more worldly and experienced most girls her age. Her supposition seemed like the most logical explanation for him mentioning Lady Frances’ marriage. And she had predicted correctly. She didn’t say a word while Lord Chichester outlined the problem and a possible solution, waiting until he had stopped speaking before offering her advice. “I’m not shocked at all,” she assured him. “And I promise I shall not breathe a word of this to anyone. I will take this secret to the grave with me.” If the young lady didn’t want to marry Dorset, neither of them would be happy. They both deserved a spouse that would compliment their personalities and lifestyles. Had she been the marrying kind, she wouldn’t have protested marrying Dorset herself. Yet why would she wish to marry again when widowhood gave her so much freedom? “I think your idea is a good one, as long as both of you are aware of the possible consequences. Have you spoken to her about it yet? She needs to be aware that her family may disown her, that they may refuse to speak her or even acknowledge her existence for the rest of her life. She will be rebelling against her father's authority and he will be angry in the extreme. All Dukes are powerful men. Both of you could be ostracized from court and have to move to another country. The Duke will always be your enemy. “Also, I remember what you said overcoming your past troubles. This course of action will bring you new ones and may even extend to your little nephew. If you decide to elope, you must both be sure that it’s the right choice and that your affection for each other will be able to withstand difficulties of epic proportions. “That said, there is a snall chance that her parents will want her to be happy above all else and will accept her choice and welcome you into the family. I don’ t think there is any way you can know in advance what their reaction will be.” Anne-Elisabeth reached over and squeezed George’s hand. “I’m not trying to dissuade you. I support whatever you decide to do, and will do everything in my power to ease any strain the two of you may experience. Sometimes, if you know in your heart that it’s the right thing to do, you have to take the chance, no matter the complications that stand in your way. Nothing worth having comes without risk.”
  17. Sophia de la Cerda

    On A Wing And A Prayer | 6th April, morning

    His feral grin was disarmingly dangerous … or perhaps dangerously disarming. Or both. Sophia’s breath caught in her throat as Charles looked down on her. She sensed a playful savagery in him that she wished she had the time to explore. Her knowledge of lovemaking was limited and she had never taken part in sexual role playing. She had read about it in racy Italian novels and now she knew without a doubt that she wished to try it. The petite singer wanted to be ravished by him while she pretended to fight against him. He would conquer her in the end, of course, but getting there was half the fun. “Yes,” she managed to whisper, enjoying the ripples of pleasure that spiraled through her with each deep thrust of his cock. “Next time. I shall expect it. When you find a place that is safe for us, you can abduct me, tie me up, and take me there.” It was strange how strongly that notion appealed to her, to be completely at his mercy and to surrender her will as well as her body to him. The beguiling sensations that the fantasy evoked were nearly painful … delectably and irresistibly painful … as they grew in intensity. Never before had she felt quite like this and she never wanted it to end. His hiss in her ear brought a blossom of goosebumps to her skin . “I am so wicked that you must tame me,” she whispered back. “I need a firm hand and a hard cock.” She already had the latter and Sophia could feel it pulse inside her, powerful and compelling and oh so delightful. Fearing that the passion of her climax would cause her to scream in ecstasy, she was elated when Charles did as she asked and crushed his lips to hers. That final plunge sent her careening into rhapsody, reaching the most beautiful crescendo that she had ever experienced. Sophia felt his warm seed spill into her and knew that Charles was sharing it with her. Her back arched as a breathtaking flood of knife-sharp euphoria ripped through her body and soul, filling her her with so much exquisite exultation that it completely and utterly consumed her. Her inner muscles convulsed around his cock in a melody of its own. She felt as if she was dying a thousand deaths and being reborn a million times. Did he feel the same way? Were they now irrevocably and splendidly connected by a bond that would last forever? How fanciful I am, she thought as her climax slowly began to ebb, leaving her both satisfied and exhausted. Still, she couldn''t stop hoping that it was true. Her fingers relaxed and no longer dug into his bum and she moved both hands into his hair. Breaking the kiss, her lips found the curve of his neck and she began nibbling on it gently. He lips climbed to his ear and she breathed into it. “As I said before, my dear Eros, you are absolutely magnificent.”
  18. ~arrives on the morning of April 8 Frances was happy to receive Lord Kingston’s letter, though she had secretly hoped he would have contacted her before now and perhaps sent her a gift. She loved gifts from gentleman. Yet after reading the first sentence, how could she be angry at him? He had missed her and had no qualms about letting her know it. That was, she supposed, a gift in itself. She chuckled at the mention of tea. The Duchess had not forgotten their jest and she had certainly not forgotten their kiss. It had been brief, but sweet, and it had awakened something inside her that she couldn't quite recall, probably related to that confusing night in Brighton. She’d had the feeling that they had kissed before. Maybe they had done more. If so, it was utterly unfair that she could not remember. Did he, or was he as much in the dark as she was? Though she did want to spend Easter with him, she didn’t want him to think she was too eager, and so she would reflect that in her reply. When she showed up, he would be pleasantly surprised.
  19. Henrietta had heard of the Pythagorean theorem and knew that it pertained to geometry, but that was about it. As he explained, she studied his diagrams and it actually made sense, though she wouldn’t have been able to measure it herself. Not yet anyway. She felt that excitement that accompanied any new tidbit of knowledge and she longed to know more. Lord Chatham met her eyes and she forced herself not to look away. “No, your questions are not insulting. You can’t teach me if you aren’t aware of what I’ve already learned. I know what a right-angled triangle is and that the hypotenuse is its longest side. I can measure the area of squares, rectangles and triangles, and to a lesser extent, circles. Radius, circumference, and diameter have always confused me, but I do know the value of pi.” She could feel heat blossoming across her cheeks. Hopefully, she had not embarrassed herself too much.
  20. Charles Blount

    An Apt Meeting | Rupert's 7th AM

    “Most men of Cumberland’s accomplishments have earned the right of a quiet and comfortable existence in their later years but Cumberland is not most men.” He recalled that Lord Brook was much older than his son, more of an age of Mountjoy’s grandfather even though Beverly was a good ten years Charles’ junior. “And Pall Mall is not so very far away if one wishes to bestir themselves from their fire and venture to court if one feels the need so your father has the best of both worlds.” Like Lord Brook, after the restoration his Grandfather felt his work was done and retired to private life to live out his remaining years. To Mountjoy there were basically two types of ambitious courtiers, those that wanted to aggrandize the Realm and those that wanted to aggrandize themselves. Riches and recognition were due to both but he had always felt that it was nobler to serve the State and take what was left than to first take and leave the remains to the State. Such men as the former might not always be the wealthiest or most powerful men in the land but in the long run they were the backbone and strength of the realm. From the views expressed he assumed Beverly was one that would give more than they took and he felt that perhaps they might be able to work together in the future. The young man already had a powerful patron and apparent ability so it was only a matter of time before he made his own way. Charles did not perceive any deficiency in Robert’s conversation for war and horses were apt topics for most gentlemen. True he had discovered that Beverly was not overly fond of hunting, a deficiency to be sure but one he was all to willing to remedy in the young gentleman if given a chance, but broader subjects would come with time and he had already mastered the art, conscious or not, of name dropping. But for now horses and the race were sufficient to provide pleasant discourse. He nodded along as Beverly described the challenges of a difficult course. “Chalk downs such as there are in Epsom or Newmarket make for a fast track and a good show for spectators but I have always found more uneven ground such as heaths or woodlands to be more challenging for the rider. I suppose sand and beaches provide the same type of challenge.” He replied to Beverly’s exposition and naturally provided one of his own. “When I was a younger boy in my teens I had a Dales pony that I called Gringolet because of his ears. He was barely 14 hands tall and was not very fast but was sturdy, loved soggy ground and could trot through riverbeds and soggy moors for hours without tiring. I would often go fowling with him to bring back ducks for the pot and he had such a gentle and steady gate that I could reliably fire from ponyback at birds in the wing. He was a gentle creature but would always give a little buck when I shot from the saddle.” He smiled at the memory of his carefree childhood. “He is 26 now and still spry although he is not ridden. When I go back home he is content to follow me around like a dog when I go for walks.” He bent forward and conspiratorially added as if revealing a great secret. “I once, during a farce thunderstorm, brought him up into my bedroom so he would not be scared. The Housekeeper could not fathom what caused the scuffmarks on her polished floors!” He concluded laughing. As they discussed the possibility of a short little get away to the forest, something that Beverly seemed to be in favor of, an unexpected kernel of knowledge was introduced. Mountjoy’s eyebrows shot up as he was informed that Lady Beverly had been appointed a Lady in Waiting to her Majesty. Why did he not know that? As the Queen, before she became the Queen, had resided with the Mountjoy’s in Saxony House and he had been one of the staunchest supporters of her candidacy to become Queen, he had an almost paternal concern in her wellbeing and interests. True he was away and the Margravina was perfectly capable of organizing the Queen’s affairs he still felt overlooked. “I was not aware Lady Beverly was placed in the service of Her Majesty. Additional congratulations are due My Lord. That is yet another commonality between us. Once Her Majesty has safely delivered and recovered enough to become more active I hope to be of greater service to her. Perhaps I could persuade the King to add some sturdy but gentle ponies into the Royal Mews in anticipation of the Princelings that are sure to come? Ha, but the King is a generous man and a proud father so I doubt he would need any prodding from me.” As their conversation progressed an idea began to form in his mind. It perhaps was premature for he could not be certain of the outcome but Lord Brook came from a respectable and established family with a history of supporting the Monarchy. His son seemed to have a good head on his shoulders and to be trustworthy as evidenced by the trust shown him by Prince Rupert. The Prince might have been a capricious youth once upon a time but had left that behind and was not known for suffering incompetents or fools in his service. He became more serious. “You have a practical way of putting things my good sir. You have an air of competence and maturity that is worthy of someone who has graduated from Oxford.” That might not sound overmuch like praise but for Mountjoy, a proud alumni, it was quite the compliment. “Have you ever thought of becoming more political? I do hope and prey that Lord Brook is with us for some time yet and you are not obliged to prematurely succeed to your birthright and your father’s seat in the Lords but there is always the Commons… if you can stand the company…” He smiled at the aside of a good natured jibe at the opposite house. He then paused for a moment as he thought before deciding it would be a good risk. “There is also an option, if Lord Brook would be amenable, of petitioning for a writ of acceleration that would allow you a seat in the Lords In dextera tua as the Viscount Beverly.” He cocked his head and added “I could perhaps assist with that if you are interested.” He looked at Lord Beverly to see what effect his statement had on the gentleman. The idea was not unheard of and indeed not all that uncommon. He was young true but he already held a position of responsibility and his family had influence and patronage. Rupert’s support would be crucial but that would likely not be an issue as it would almost guarantee the Court Party another vote. The deciding issue would be if Beverly himself wanted such.
  21. Aria

    Newcastle Residence, the 6th, 2pm, Matters of Marriage

    The Duchess pondered Lady Lucas’ suggestion. Margaret’s chaperone had come with several references and all of them had been checked thoroughly. There had been no complaints and she had been praised for how well she had taken care of her charges. She had only been dismissed from her previous positions when those charges had been wed. Whether the girls were model wives, she did not know, nor had she inquired about them. Maybe the woman had been responsible for filling their heads with silly notions. She was Catherine’s chaperone too and the Duchess made a mental note to speak with her younger daughter about her. Catherine was much more open than Margaret and her mother could usually tell when she was lying by the look in her eyes. That child was not skilled at hiding her emotions, but she was only thirteen. Her marriage was still a few years off. Because of Margaret’s strange behavior today, she vowed to take a larger hand in making certain her younger daughters stayed on the right path. She should have learned that lesson already because of what had occurred with Elizabeth, but she had not thought that anything similar would happen to her other daughters. There was still hope for Margaret. Flattery was a diplomatic ploy Lady Newcastle had used many times, but she truly meant what she said about Cordelia. She had looked into her activities since she had been at court, and had asked several people what they thought about her. The woman had an impeccable reputation and everybody who knew her appeared to hold her in high esteem. The Duchess was pleased that Lady Lucas agreed to help her guide Margaret in the right direction. That they were only related by marriage didn’t matter to her; after all, she was only related to her husband’s family by marriage as well. She appreciated Cordelia’s gentle touch on her arm. The Baronetess was a caring and compassionate woman and together they would be able to mold Margaret into a young lady who would have gentlemen beating down the door hoping to wed her. Perhaps a friendship would even grow between the two ladies as they worked with each other. “She will have plenty of time to ponder her actions,” she promised. “And I agree that it’s a bit premature to go through your list today. I would liked to look at it, though.” Lady Newcastle liked the way Cordelia referred to their collaboration as a campaign. In a way, it was exactly that. They would have to wage war against Margaret’s obstinacy. There were reasons why she had voiced such inappropriate ideas. They had not simply popped into her head in an instant. “Shall we meet again after Easter, perhaps on Tuesday or Wednesday?”
  22. Lucy continued to pace while Louis gave her yet another history lesson. This one was well-known to her. The King was indeed generous to those mistresses he cherished most, but would Nicci become one of them? She was a totally against their cousin becoming a Duchess, especially one in her own right. Sometimes the King married off the women who became pregnant with his children. Maybe that would be Nicolette’s fate … to remain his mistress but to wed a man he chose for her, who would most likely not be a Duke. There were few of those who were still single. Of course, he could make any gentlemen a Duke, but there would be opposition to it. There was a balance he needed to maintain. Young as she was, she understood that much. Her brother’s explanation made sense. His Majesty was a caring King and he would surely reward her husband if he was the cause of her own dismissal. But … the Queen was not going to oust her while she was pregnant. She was known for her kindness and would never be so cruel. Such an action would also decrease her popularity at court. So Lucy had four months to prove her loyalty and make herself indispensable. She wouldn’t be dismissed during her confinement either. That too, would be considered heartless. Now that she knew what faced her, she could meet it head on. Louis wasn’t the only ambitious and arrogant Killington sibling. And as for that office, whether or not she was removed from the Queen’s service, she was determined that Francis would have it. There was no reason to mention that to Louis now. She would do so when the time was right. Louis claimed that Nicci could be trusted because she would need to rely on the Killingtons and Seymours when another lady took her place in the King’s affections. It would happen. It always did. The question was when. Picking a flower from a nearby bush, Lucy sat back down beside her brother and sniffed it. She was calmer now but still a bit anxious about her own future and that of her family’s. Her marriage to the Duke of Somerset had been one of those steps that they were taking to increase their influence at court. Nicci’s rise to the King’s favor was another one. There would be others too as time went on. Still, she wasn’t completely convinced. And yes, they would acquire new enemies because of this development. As if they didn’t already have enough. “Nobody will malign us in my presence, though I suppose some of my friends might tell me if anyone does … assuming I don’t lose them because I am related to Nicci. I always keep my ears open, Louis. And my eyes.” Looks could be more damaging than words. Maybe she should ask one of the Queen’s other ladies for pointers. Susan Herbert was an expert at ferreting out rumors that could hurt their mistress. She purposely befriended ladies that liked to gossip for that purpose. Perhaps she would introduce Lucy to them. The young Duchess wove the stem of the flower between her fingers. “What if you’re wrong, and the King makes Nicci a Duchess and gives her so many properties that she will be wealthier and more powerful than we are? What if she expects us to defer to her every whim or she will disgrace us? I know it’s a long shot, but it could happen. Will you let her rule us or will we all work together to destroy her?”
  23. “We’re married. You can’t separate us,” the woman insisted. “You heard the orders,” the soldier replied. Charles would be able to hear increased protests as he walked into the holding room. Sam, who had remained with her prisoner, saluted him and the left to help with the couple, anticipating that was what he would want her to do. He could handle one unarmed man. The servant had been quiet since she had brought him into the room. He was sitting in a chair. The well-groomed servant didn’t glare at Charles, but he didn’t look impressed by him either. “My name is Quentin Granger and I demand to know why I been brought her. I ain’t committed no crime. I’m a fine upstanding citizen, I am.”
  24. “It is not my own work in the exhibition.” George was hasty to clarify, “well, except one piece. No the artworks are from artists I am promoting from Italy. Not all of them Italian of course, Florence is something of a melting pot when it comes to aspiring young artists.” Her comment gave him pause to wonder though if perhaps his own artworks might be generally well received? He did not usually self promote, and felt a bit uncomfortable, perhaps even nervous, at that thought. “Still, you’ve given me something to think upon.” He added in a quiet tone, cheeks pinking as she said such a nice thing. He was embarrassed, but also happy at the same time. Conversation flowed onwards, weaving around to her announcement of art form she favoured for herself. “Limericks?” It was not at all the cliché. He tried to make sense of it, then asked, “have you an example perhaps?” “Then I shall plan a supper and have a you both invited; and I shall propose a threefold collaboration!” of Grey it made perfect sense. Making a mental note to introduce Anne-Elizabeth to Kingston (who imported foreign commodities regularly) George took another sip of the rum as they settled to the divan. Yet loosed an ungracious huff as she stated the publicly know marriage plans. “If you mean that is what is agreed between Dorset and her father yes.” Women were uncanny clever intuiting about these sorts of things, and by his comments, awkwardness and disposition Anne Elizabeth drew the conclusions without his even stating it. “Please do not appear so shocked, but yes, that is the truth of it. Lady Frances even promised to wait for me till I might win around her father. Alas, Dorsets plans quickened over the recess, and I now find myself at a difficult point. Never to mention the fact that Lady Frances faces a life of misery. She and I. We… Well, we would make the perfect match you see.” He was not going to actually say he loved the young lady, but he did enjoy her company a good deal, and… and she was a goddam Cavandish if you please. Such a lofty match was enough to lubricate any gents juices! “You must keep this a secret.” He dropped his voice to a hush, “but I contemplate stealing her and an elopement. From how I see it, it would be for the best.” The earls dark and serous eyes met her own… seeking her opinion on that.
  25. "Military skills rarely include matchmaking.” George commented with a wry smile at her comment. He could not help himself but further ask, “but is he actively seeking work? I would think, with the approach of war, his expertise might be very much in demand to train up all the young bucks?” "Well I would allow you to assemble such a group,” He settled with a pleased smile, “and to choose what you might like to play – and I shall of course foot any bills.” That was an unexpected bonus, for George had completely forgotten that music might augment his exhibitions success! He was certain Lady Habersham would be delighted with the development. “This is just grand.” He settled, well pleased when Caroline paused to think and discovered a fancy for choosing her own artwork. “You must let me offer you a personal preview then, I can offer you insights of the various artists works, and besides, it’s always more fun to choose with company.” Her question then made his dark brows rise. “I could not refuse such a prettily placed request, though must beg use of your own Christian name also.” It was rare for George to be on such familiar terms with an unmarried lady, hiss cheeks even pinked a little at the boldness of it! And he took another sip from his glass.
  26. Charles Blount

    Admiration Alcove

    I do not think France is far enough away to save CW from his lady problems!
  27. Hope

    Lord of Pickles | Thursday late morning

    "What is thought is often different to what is said.” The young Queen bantered in reply, holding to her original statement, “yet your modesty in this is a noble characteristic, such actions are of course a clearer statement than mere words.” “Then I shall not send for my taster too soon.” A frown briefly formed, “what a confusing gift, a food that might be best savoured not by the eating of it but by the looking.” before it vanished and a smile retook it's place. Francis drew the verbal play back to the candy flowers & also bees. "Do not let your Lord Buckingham hear that! I have seen his cheekiness in action and do not doubt that he’d have you dressed next in stiped of black and gold!” The levity continued; it was a wonderful break from the arduous waiting. “Will you bring me another surprise next week, after Easter perhaps?” she smiled, if he was a bee, then she supposed her ladies in waiting were the flowers he was happy to buzz around. Or at least one of the flowers talked about this bee rather too often for it not to be a mutual pleasure therein. “My clever Ladies Dorothea and Agnes shall of course help you again.” “Yes, it is warmly meant.” She confirmed, and while her ladies moved apart to see the craftsman refreshed she lodged her question in private to Francis. “Do you think he seeks royal employment, he would make a fine addition to the royal kitchens, but if he prefers private enterprise then I shall not ask, as refusal would then not be an option.”
  28. Nicolette Vauquelin

    The Ladies are Jonesing | 2pm 7th Golden Pestle

    “I can hardly take credit for it.” Nicci replied on how well the place was laid out, “for the most part we have left things just as they were… it was not the practice that was broken, but a little hiccup with the RCP that cousin Louis saw swiftly sorted out. You know how efficient he is on such things.” She flashed a smile, “Oh but it is wonderful I do agree.” She could not help but feel a little pride of the place! "Thank you my dearest.” Words warmly said, as her friend spoke encouragingly with a mind to allaying nerves. “It is the beginning of it that I am nervous of, it is an important first impression you see.” No doubt Mary understood completely! Barely were those words out when the jingling of the bell announced the darling Richard Jones himself with his Lady Mother – and he swift enough to announce his own nerves. Nicolette laughed cheerily at Lady Ranelagh’s return, meeting her eyes briefly before dipping a curtsy of welcome to both, “Welcome then, to my den of wonder and mystery” she trusted that either the Marchioness or Earl would provide the proper instruction to the Countess. Meanwhile the 3 ladies knew the answer to Ranelagh’s question, or at least Nicolette was certain she knew. It was her application/her interview/her audition to Lady Ranelagh, with regard to her ultimate goal to one day be embraced into her own household as her only sons wife. With a grin Nicolette supposed, “But ought we ladies placate your pretty bewilderment Milord? I could say that you will not be the focus of our experiments today, but I suspect Lady Ranelagh has honed your intuition far too cleverly to believe that.” Heavens, but he looked more adorable every time she saw him, and here today especially.
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