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Sophia de la Cerda

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About Sophia de la Cerda

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    Lady Toledo

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  1. Sophia de la Cerda

    Theater Royal, Drury Lane Tuesday

    Sophia had dressed in a pretty coral and yellow striped gown for her meeting with Master Killigrew. It had a moderately cut neckline that would have looked modest on most ladies. Because of the young Countess’ impressive bosom, which was even fuller now that she was pregnant, an abundant amount of cleavage swelled between a frame of Venetian lace trimmed with a row of pearls. Vertical rows of pearls also separated each stripe on her full skirt. Her stomacher was made of yellow silk embroidered with coral flowers outlined by pearls. She wore a pearl necklace, bracelets and earrings and her platinum curls were fastened with pearl combs. Over her gown, she wore a cream-colored silk cloak trimmed with white fur and fastened with a pearl brooch. This was her second spring in London and she was finally becoming accustomed to the weather, though she still often longed for the pleasant weather of Venice and Madtid. Unfortunately, she would be stuck in England until the baby was old enough to travel. She planned to enjoy every moment with her child, for she knew that Juan might want him to be raised in Madrid. Of course, she could stay as well, but did she want to? Her carriage dropped her off in front of the Theatre Royal. As soon as the driver helped her out, she could hear the cacophony of construction. It looked as if it was almost finished and she smiled as she walked up the steps. It looked much better than it had the last time she had ridden by it. Perhaps soon it would be in business once more. But would she feel comfortable watching a play there after she had almost perished in the fire that had destroyed it? She would try. Sophia enjoyed watching plays nearly as much as she adored singing in operas. There was hammering inside as well. The young singer winced. She was becoming sensitive to loud noises, probably as a result of her pregnancy. It was a good thing that her concert with Lady Kendishall had been held before they started bothering her. Sometimes they triggered her nausea. Hopefully, that wouldn't happen today. She didn't want to throw up when she gave Master Killigrew the good news that Esteban agreed to his terms, but with a few conditions of his own. Sophia had no problem finding his office. As she approached the door, she heard voices inside. One of them was Lord Arundel’s. What was he doing here, of all places? The petite blonde had longed to see him since the season began, and her heart leapt in anticipation as she knocked upon the door.
  2. Sophia de la Cerda

    NEXT SEASON: discuss

    My preference would be to close on an IC day instead of an OOC month. Since a lot of characters have plans for the next week, I think a good day to end it would be Saturday IC. Everyone gets to play out their threads and the season ends naturally. As for next season, I would prefer no later than September 1678 for no reason other than I'd like to play out more of Sophia's pregnancy.😊
  3. Sophia de la Cerda

    A Royal Summons, Privy Garden Monday 7 am

    Sophia’s blue eyes widened when Charles mentioned matchmaking. His Majesty was known for arranging marriages between his subjects. Had she not already been wed, she would have been thrilled at the possibility of marrying her delightful Eros. But then why would they need ribbons? She silently agreed that there was no point in speculating, but she couldn’t help doing it anyway. Charles asked how she and Davina had enjoyed Easter. The young Countess was tempted to roll her eyes and say ‘booorrriiinnng,’ but she didn’t think Davina would appreciate that assessment, no matter how true it was. Nor would be amenable to giving her advice on her dilemma if she responded with blasphemy. “This was my first Easter at court,” she said instead. “It was enlightening.” To say the least. Francis was the next arrival. He greeted them politely and bowed. Sophia beamed at him. She was always happy to see the former guardian who had become like an older brother to her. “And the plot thickens,” she remarked. “Have you any idea why His Majesty summoned us this morning?” she asked. He was one of the King’s attendants. Perhaps he knew what the monarch was planning. Or maybe he was as much in the dark as the rest of them.
  4. Sophia de la Cerda

    Performance Anxiety | Sunday after dinner

    Sophia nodded. “And if they do particularly well, then we’ll give a bit more that he asks for.” This would insure that Master Killigrew gave his all to this play and that he kept his actors in line. She supposed that he could refuse, but why would he? The money he made from the production might be enough to finish the repairs to his theatre. She shuddered as she remembered the day in had burned down. She and Master Greyson had nearly gone up in flames with it. It was a miracle that they had both survived. Esteban also liked her idea of soliciting funds instead of paying for the play themselves. He seemed to be considering whom to approach. Sophia had little concept of money but she knew she was going to need quite a few new gowns to accommodate the child growing within her. She also wanted to commission a few more stomacher brooches to go with those gowns. “I think many courtiers will attend, due to the success of the concert. If they were not there themselves, they will have heard that I broke a vase with my voice. They will be curious as to what other surprises we have in store for them. If the play is held outdoors, I think we should involve the audience in the battle scenes by having them take place all around them instead of just in front of them on a makeshift stage. What do you think?” She thought it important to get his opinion before she ran the idea by Master Killigrew.
  5. Sophia de la Cerda

    EASTER 1678 | Easter Sunday *closing soon*

    Sophia and Ellen parting If Sophia had not been such an excellent actress, her mouth would have fallen to the floor at Ellen’s confession. Last year, she had gone to great lengths to make certain that Ellen was jealous of her … always talking about her admirers and showing off the gifts they gave her, charming guests that were invited for dinner, and so on. Now, oddly enough, she wished for her former enemy to find happiness. Before she could say as much, Ellen turned the topic back to fashion. Was she thinking about setting herself up as a clothing designer? Her father had the money to make that wish come true and he probably also had access to fabrics and trims that had never before been seen in London. She could become a wealthy woman in her own right, independent of her father’s riches. People walked around them, ready to go home. “Yes, I should be going. My lord husband will worry about me if I tarry too long.” Impulsively, she grabbed Ellen’s hand and squeezed it. “Do not give up on marriage and children, Ellen,” she whispered, using her given name for the first time. “Perhaps you have not yet met the man God has chosen for you. You are, in a way, luckier than I am. You will be able to marry a man you love instead of a stranger that your father selects for you.” Letting go, she smiled. “I will be in touch. Have a good Easter, Mistress Doolittle.” Turning around, she joined the courtiers filing out of the chapel.
  6. Sophia de la Cerda

    Performance Anxiety | Sunday after dinner

    Yes! Esteban agreed with her … well … mostly. Sophia remembered Master Greyson’s play. It had not been hard to hear at all but it had been performed in an open air theatre. Theirs would have to staged somewhere else. The park, maybe. Lots of events were held there. Her mind swirled with ideas that would work well outdoors. The battle scenes would have plenty of space to be acted out … and oh! The audience could be involved! The battle could rage all around them, giving them an immersive experience, perhaps the first of its kind in theatrical history! . She would mention this to Killigrew when she brought him her husband’s answer. “Remember, we’re tailoring this to an English audience. They expect a bit of humor. We can tell the actors to direct their flippancy at the French characters and treat the Spanish ones with respect. I can attend rehearsals to make certain they comply." As she had expected, he balked at the cost. Sophia knew of the poor financial situation in Madrid and did not expect Spain to fund it. She had no idea how to save money but … “There are other Spaniards in England, yes? Perhaps they would be willing to contribute to the cost of a play that glorifies their homeland.”
  7. Sophia de la Cerda

    EASTER 1678 | Easter Sunday *closing soon*

    Sophia and Ellen To her credit, Ellen didn’t gloat when Sophia admitted that she was wrong. She really had changed from the spiteful young woman she had been when the blonde singer had lived with the Doolittle family. They got along much better when they didn’t live under the same roof. And they had both matured over the past year. Or at least the petite Countess believed that she had matured. She was no longer a silly maiden, but the wife of an Ambassador and a mother-to-be. “The waiting is the hardest part,” Sophia sighed. “The next few months are going to seem like an eternity because I’m so eager to hold my baby in my arms.” There had not been a Christmas season when she had first arrived at court. They had attended the wedding of the King and Queen in the autumn and the next season had not been held until spring. The young Countess decided not to bring that up since it was the year that Ellen’s mother had died and she didn’t want to stir up painful memories. “I am positive that your design will please me, though if I have ideas to enhance it, I will certainly contact you. And if this goes well, maybe you can design a few of the gowns that I’ll need when I am able to return to society after the baby is born. If you want to, of course. Fashion will surely change between now and then.”
  8. Sophia de la Cerda

    EASTER 1678 | Saturday Services *closing*

    Davina and Sophia Sophia never ceased to be amazed at how much Davina knew about the ways of court. Every time they conversed, she learned something new. “Yes, I remember and I have become more wary of people because of what you told me. Unfortunately, I know nothing that would interest those who seek information about Spain. My lord husband never speaks of business in my presence. He is very protective of me.” She placed one hand on her belly. “Especially now.” Was she curious about the things people said about her? “Of course I am, but I have no idea how to find out. I have no access to secret correspondence and I have no patience for gossip. I guess it really doesn’t matter. As you say, they are just rumors. Lies do not change the truth.” She grinned. “it would be fun to influence what they say about me, by doing silly and harmless things that will distract them from anything truly important.” It appeared that Davina was busy on Monday and Tuesday morning. Friday was best for her. It was just as well. Sophia had planned to spend those mornings with Esteban’s aunt who was teaching her proper painting techniques. She’d not had an art lesson since the season started. She sighed when she saw Compton standing in front of the church. “Yes,” she agreed, “Until Friday.” Though she schooled her features into an expression of attentiveness, the young Countess allowed her thoughts to wander to her time with Juan all through the long and boring service.
  9. Sophia de la Cerda

    Performance Anxiety | Sunday after dinner

    Sophia could sense her husband’s indecision as to whether it was safe for her to travel to Madrid while carrying Juan’s first and already beloved child. She didn’t think that her Prince would allow her to take any risks. If he could not be with her when the baby was born, he could visit as soon as he was able. She doubted he would be able to stay away very long. Now that she had broached the subject of the play, she wasn’t certain how to convince Esteban to part with more money than he had intended to spend on it. “We need to start right away to have it ready at the end of the season. The play needs to be translated into English by an English playwright first. Then well-known actors can be hired, sets can be constructed, and costumes made. We also need to find a place where it can be performed. Master Killigrew’s theatre is still not finished.” He had implied that Esteban fund its completion in order to have it staged there, but she didn’t think that was necessary. Nor would her husband go for it. “It is probably warm enough to perform it outdoors during the day. The sets and costumes won’t have to be so fancy for an outdoor event.” These were her own ideas to cut down the costs. If Esteban agreed, she was fairly certain that she could convince Master Killegrew of their merit. “It will not be cheap, but I doubt it will cost much more than the party we threw to celebrate our wedding. You will not have to pay for a company of actors to stay in London and rehearse this time.” Sophia leaned forward. “Think of it, Esteban, a professionally produced play that is entertaining for all will bring more notice to Spain and perhaps even improve its reputation among the English. It will show that we know how to have fun and will also get your message across that Spain is allied with England against the French. I think that Juan would approve.”
  10. Sophia de la Cerda

    A Royal Summons, Privy Garden Monday 7 am

    Charles bowed, adjusting his cravat as he rose. Sophia saw the gleam in that beautiful blue eye and suddenly it wasn’t so cold in the garden anymore. “Thank you for your consideration, Lord Chatham.” Her lyrical voice was courteous but there was a warmth to it that only somebody who knew her well would be able to recognize. Oh, how she wished she could pretend to stumble so that he would catch her and hold her close! No, she couldn’t risk it. Davina was smart and might realize that she and Charles were more than just acquaintances. Apparently, they had been discussing why they had been summoned before she arrived. “I have no idea either,” she said. “Or if we were the only ones. It’s all rather mysterious and exciting, isn’t it?”
  11. Sophia de la Cerda

    Performance Anxiety | Sunday after dinner

    “I remember what you told me last week. I should refer to the baby as a nightingale that he gifted me with. That would be too challenging in Spanish or English but I can write it in German or Italian.” Sophia’s Spanish was improving now that Esteban’s aunt was tutoring her, but she was not yet fluent. His aunt was also giving her art lessons. Maria was probably glad to have a female relative in the house as well. Her eyes widened and a note of panic colored her voice. “I cannot make the journey before the baby is born. It is too dangerous, particularly because I am frightened of traveling by sea. My fear would not be good for the child. Its life is too important to risk in any way. “That is why I hoped Juan would come to me. I wish for him to see and hold his baby as soon as it is born.” This conversation wasn’t going quite the way that Sophia had planned. She needed to find a way to bring up the play. Perhaps she should just spit it out. “I spoke to Master Killegrew about your play. He is willing to help us make it a success.”
  12. Sophia de la Cerda

    EASTER 1678 | Saturday Services *closing*

    Davina and Sophia Sophia blushed, embarrassed that she had misunderstood. She had truly believed that Davina was talking about Karl reporting lies to Esteban, which he would never do if he wanted to keep his job. Instead she had been speaking about almost every lord and lady at court. Some were paid for information; others spread rumors. She didn’t doubt that every country and kingdom on the Continent had an official spy in England, and English spies were posted in those places as well. However, she didn’t believe that she interested most of them. All she did was sing and throw the occasional party. That didn’t mean she shouldn’t be careful of what she said and did, but spies would be mainly focused on politics. Esteban would be the Spaniard the spies wrote reports about, not his German wife. Hmmm … was it possible that he was so aloof to her because he had to be that way with others? Did he not know how to let down his guard around his own wife? Or was he being distant to protect her from knowledge that might put her and the child in danger? It was amusing that because of this conversation with Davina, she was seeing him in a different light. Perhaps her revised view of him would improve their relationship. The petite Countess understood Davina’s concern about the things that were said or written about the Queen. She was the lady most of the spies would be watching, misconstruing her words and deeds and sometimes lying about her outright. Was that why she didn’t speak much to Sophia, despite the fact that she wanted to volunteer for the Queen’s charities and Her Majesty was impressed with her voice? Was she afraid of what would be said about her if she was seen with the wife of the Spanish Ambassador? As for herself, she did not employ any spies. She knew that Esteban had them, though. She had met one of them and found him quite likable, though he was more Juan’s spy than her husband’s and might have returned with him to Spain. Anna told her everything that she heard from other servants and Sophia informed Esteban about anything that she thought would be useful to him. He had told her he didn't want her to spy anymore after her first disastrous attempt. “I see,” she mused thoughtfully. “I am glad you are not afraid to be seen with me because of the rumors that might be spread about us. I doubt anyone will suspect us of anything. You know what men think about women … that we’re not smart enough for political machinations. I would never do anything to jeopardize your position with the Queen either." Davina was very curious about her dilemma, and Sophia wished she could tell her right now. “If you don’t want to wait until Friday, I have Tuesday and Wednesday mornings free. I suggested Friday so you would have plenty of time to plan for it.” She knew her friend was busy most of the time serving the Queen.
  13. Sophia de la Cerda

    EASTER 1678 | Easter Sunday *closing soon*

    Sophia and Ellen Sophia blinked as Ellen began to berate her for comparing herself to the Queen. She refused to argue with her former foe, but she thought she was wrong. Then again, it was true that society’s expectations for Her Majesty were different than its expectations for other women. Regardless of what was considered proper, she was going to continue to exercise as long as she could and would only go into confinement when she went into labor. It would be cold in October so she wouldn’t protest the windows being closed, but she would insist on a bit of fresh air every day. Perhaps so many babies died early in infancy because they were cooped up in an airless room where disease ran rampant. “Perhaps I did speak too hastily,” she admitted. “Yes, of course,” she agreed about Ellen’s plans for the designs. “I will let you know when my lord husband purchases our estate but everything should be able to be done before the season ends.” Sophia sighed. “Christmas. That seems so far away. I wonder if court will be in session like it was last year.”
  14. Sophia de la Cerda

    A Royal Summons, Privy Garden Monday 7 am

    Sophia was accustomed to mud. There had been lots of it on her father’s estate after a good rain. She remembered being chastised by her governess several times when she was caught playing in it. Sometimes she was still tempted to play in it, mainly to see Esteban’s face when she came inside covered in dirt. The young Countess always woke up before dawn and she had plenty of time to prepare. She had dressed in a pretty yellow gown decorated with pearls and accented with pink rosettes and mint green ribbons. To keep her skirts out of the mud, she had pulled them up a few inches and tucked the excess fabric into a wide mint green ribbon wrapped around her stomacher. Her sturdy brown leather boots and a bit of her multicolored stockings were exposed, but couldn’t be seen beneath the brown velvet cloak she wore. The cloak was trimmed with matching fur and fastened with a brooch of opals and pearls. Upon her platinum curls sat a brown fur hat with a matching brooch on one side. Anna walked behind her, carrying a braided rope made out of yellow, pink, and mint green ribbons. It seemed delicate but was a lot stronger than it looked. Nearing the meeting place, Sophia’s heart skipped several beats when beheld her dear Charles, magnificent and oh-so-appealing in burgundy, umber, and gold. Desire stirred within her, as it always did when he was near. He had a ribbon too, wrapped around his waist. Davina was there as well. As the Countess had suspected, she was not the only courtier that had been summoned by the King. She could hardly wait to find out why and what the ribbons were for. “Good morning,” she said, smiling at both of them and briefly placing a long musician’s finger against her flushed cheek.
  15. Sophia de la Cerda

    EASTER 1678 | A rousing evening with Her Royal Majesty (8th)

    Charles, Darlene, and Sophia Sophia would have been thrilled if she had known that Darlene thought of her as her best friend. She had not gotten to know her well last year before she had abruptly left court. They did seem to be kindred spirits in many ways. She had planned to refuse Charles’ offer, but when Darlene accepted, she changed her mind. Karl would not think that anything suspicious was going on if he escorted her to her carriage in the presence of another lady. Perhaps she would tell Esteban that she thought that Lord Chatham and Lady Oakham fancied each other. He would no longer see her delightful lover as a threat to his honor if he believed he was interested in another lady. “Very well,” she acceded. “And yes, our dear Lord Chatham is a true gentleman.” Taking his other arm, she squeezed it gently. “I can hardly wait either, It is going to so much fun!”