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Nicolette Vauquelin

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About Nicolette Vauquelin

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    Mistress Vauquelin

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    Botany, Herbal Medicine, Horse riding and Gentle conversation.

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  1. Tuesday morning was not near as exciting as Monday had been, Nicci had enjoyed a leisurely le petit-dejeuner* in the perfection of the room Buckingham had allowed her. The world felt rather different now she had 'graduated' in a manner of speaking. While aware her movements were more scrutinised now than ever, she felt surprisingly liberated, it was a kind of independence. But she still had not heard from Louis. Perhaps Lord Ranelagh had forgot to deliver the message (though he would not have been so negligent not to have informed his Lady Mother!) Sipping her dark-as-night coffee the French Belle contemplated those thoughts with an indulgent smile upon her face. She would pen a note to Louis, and imagine a note she'd not send to Richard Jones. Naturally any missives she sent from her new abode would pass though The Dukes attendants hands. Ah what a sweet theatre Le Game was. Sanding the letter, she read it again. Louis would not like her comments on Margaretha, it had been a point of contention between she and Lisa all season, though Nicolette was sure he knew she was in the right. She was half tempted to rewrite the letter and take that bit out, but... there were murders going on. The family could not afford to be seen as fence sitters. Perhaps Nicci was over cautious. Puffing a breath, she stood and smiled, checking her stylish state of dishevelle in the mirror before abandoning her room to go in search of a messenger boy to deliver the letter. What then? It was hours and hours too early for the Duke to be up yet, but perhaps she'd catch Kingston. Francis had a thing for practising fencing outdoors in his shirtsleeves, and she had a thing for watching him do that. * le petit-dejeuner breakfast
  2. "And I would offer her Brandy." If Mall heard about this and called round for Tea, it would be a stiff drink that any of them wanted. Dramas like this were not to be taken tea total. Ruvigny was very much a French name, though Nicci still did not want to believe the attack had been French endorsed. Hadn't Buckingham said that regicide was not the Sun Kings way. "Yes I must ask Francis to tell me the tale, there is no doubt many facets to it..." Her eyes turned with a questioning openness to the Dukes then dark statement. While it was advice, it came from a perspective of having been betrayed. "Can also loyalty come from places unexpected?" She hoped he had found this too, that in his past, some dark moment, there had been an unlikely hand to help at the right moment. Unless he was speaking of today even, and this dire and dark, and it was an immediate warning to herself. "Your Grace..." Nicolette softly mused, "these dark things are the stuff one peers at, squinting, trying to fathom. But right now I can hardly care of them. Let us speak of life, not the death of things, even if what we greave is innocence to enjoy without cares. Let us pretend that carefree again until it is our reality. My Duke - " she stood to her feet and extended her hand, and with a grin asked, "- may I have this dance?"
  3. "Until Brighton, why that is very recent indeed." Nicolette was surprised that the Duke and Francis mothers reunion could have been so recent as to be within her own brief time in England. "I wonder if she was there at the bathing pools with the ladies? That was where I first saw your sister holding court, which she did magnificently." Mall had been the star of the show that day, though Lady O'Rourke had been a close second. "I've heard very little of what happened at Windsor." she replied to the Duke's descriptions of Francis big splash there made. She'd been in France still at that time. "The French papers reported almost nothing of it, while at Versailles there was wide eyed aghast, much whispered but nearly nothing said out aloud." To the best that she could fathom at the time, Le Roi was furious. "It was a poorly executed plot, probably the Dutch." No good Frenchwoman spoke well of the Dutch, even an expat one like this. With a laugh of the jest, and glasses refilled, she gave a nod to the Dukes comment. She understood. "One must choose wisely the moments of vulnerability - for when with those who have been proven, whom one can trust."
  4. Francis did not seem yet 30, but 30 was the number she used to understand the Dukes math. That would be 10 years of exile, and 15 years at sea, which seemed about right. Perhaps Francis actually was 30 then. "A life of fractions. It is all rather poetic, I dare say your clever sister could make verses with that." "...and has Your Grace known Kingston for the Whole of it - or just for the Tenth he has been at Whitehall?" She did not know if Francis had been at court 3 years actually, but it seemed a fair guess (and she tried to impress the Duke by matching his quick math) She smiled at the memory of the day they chose the seasons outfits, that had been an incredible day, never before had she shopped indulging every whim. Frances however, would rather be doing _anything_ else. "I just remembered" her voice dropped to a conspirational hush, "the costume made of a dozen colours we ordered for him. As a tease. He has managed to avoid wearing it all season, though he must have noticed it within his wardrobe. I think he's been hoping we have forgotten about it." Which they sort of had. Nicolettes eyebrow mischeviously rose, but then she sighed "But this is not the time. And as you say His Majesty is unlikely to remain much longer in London, not now, when he has wife and unborn child to protect. Sober times such as this does not suit frivolous jackets." Francis had dodged that prank. Nicolette nodded quietly to Buckingham's perceptive question. Reluctant to say more, but also wanting to, for Buckingham was her friend. "I do not want to argue, but find hard to remain silent." Nicci wished Cousin Lisa would heed her Mothers council, and that Cousin Louis would commit fully to the Dukes camp. Bucks cheerier thought was that Charles Rex might come to visit. Nicolette smile flashed back into place, "That would be fine, perhaps we'll get to spend some time out at the riding ring." She paused, then added with a laugh," One way or the other there might be riding." From a floating feather lofting on a breeze, to an unforgiving Rock upon which 'other things' could be crushed. It was such a man-thing. A counterpoint of violence. But given that mornings events, very understandable "Other things like traitors and assassins" Nicolette surmised where he'd like to direct the lack of mercy.
  5. "Oh hush before I give you a token to carry," Nicci simmered a joy at his words, her smile beamed as she teased, "though more correctly I would give a kerchief to Kingston to tote about, on account of how he fetches and carries so prettily. And so obliging too. Was he always so, or is that due to your tuition too?" The French belle gently digressed from the more meaningful revelations, for she appreciated that it was an uncommon conversation, and easier couched with those more familiar. It was a milestone though, and clearly marked, no mistaking - the Duke was her Protector. "Your house is second only to the Palace when it comes to entertainment," she grinned, "and only because it would be improper to surpass. Hmm, but really yours is quite a different sort..." And likely the freedom at Buckingham's was a sanity break for the King often enough. "But I would be very pleased to be allowed a room for a time, if I may, far longer than to preserve my flesh." She would not say it out loud, but living with the Basildons recently had been very hard. Lisa's insistence on nursmaiding the Dutch girl, and Louis weakness to telling her no, was very trying to watch. There were other things too: Nicci's, and the Basildon's thoughts rarely matched. Drawing a deep breath, and feeling suddenly emotional with the relief, she looked away. "Have you watched a stray feather floating, caught around and about on the breeze, sometimes tumbling down and you wonder if it shall land? And you know if it lands, this is not likely to lift again. And then a twirl of air lifts it up, and with it your heart, up into the blue."
  6. Nicolette Vauquelin

    Thanksgiving Poll

    I am thankful that Nicci missed out on getting a puppy. She would have been, "Oh. But you shouldn't have.." I wanted a horse!
  7. The Duke was a fantasy, one that had preceded any thoughts towards the King - perhaps Nicci was foolish to still entertain thoughts of him, but in so many ways she was far closer to Buckingham. It was her understanding of George's regard for his honour that made his reply unsurprising, "I understand..." Nicolette replied, her accent thicker with regret she wished him know. Though, he already did, she was sure of that now. "La, but I do not like the words 'less bothered'." eyes that had closed as he'd kissed her hair then opened and met his, "please know Our beloved English King shall never find bother 'less' or 'more', for my inclination is towards a most singular devotion." Although in her heart she imagined that devotion was towards the Duke, which he knew, but that the Duke, loving his childhood friend so deeply, gave the treasure that was her love as his gift. It was perhaps a convoluted thought but made such a beautiful sense to her romantic mind. "The days going forward from now shall be different, won't they." In a reflective tone she considered. "There's a part of me that wants to stay here for ever. But I can't, can I?"
  8. Her heart swelled, for she knew she had dared, and might be reproved. (She had a memory of asking him once what she should call them, and he'd said, as though it was an indulgence 'Duke Buckingham'. ) "That would please me a great deal." Though Nicci could not know how very few persons were allowed to call him George, his lack of usual banter was its own sort of punctuation. She let her hand slide so that her fingers slid between his, stroking in an interlocking fashion. Although all she wanted was to kiss him. Looking to the fair haired man's eyes, she wondered if he was anything like Francis. She and Francis had spent many times together, and she had learnt a thing or two of how he liked to play. But perhaps The Duke, with his greater experience, was different? Nicci's eyes darkened as she half stood, hand abandoning his, so as to touch his hair. "I can hear the fun for your friends who call you Bucks, that it rhymes with another thing that we love..." She whispered as she pressed his hair back off his forehead, and placed a kiss there, while sampling his name. "George" Truly, Nicci would have liked a good romp at that stage, and could argue that it would be good for Buckingham too. Had she drunk too much that morning?
  9. Buckingham spoke of the Kings regard for the 'order of things', a reference she did not understand at first. Hers had been more of an accident for mentioning York so soon after Monmouth, but as Buckingham continued on she understood it was the order of succession that he spoke of. "Ah, yes..." The brunette nodded slowly, "and there cannot be any higher topic on our minds at this time. So much unrest shall be settled with the birth of a new heir, it shall be a whole new era for England." "I suppose therein is the wisdom of the King's keeping Monmouth away at this time, his son is even protected by his absence." Nicolette reasoned with herself out loud, though she still found it sad for Monmouth to be removed from his father. At least James Scott could not be blamed for any oddities in England at the moment. She like to imagine that that was a foresight the father provided him. While the Dukes further words, thoughts on toleration and the suffering the King had been through, brought a fresh softness to Niccis tone, "Your Grace, Duke Buckingham, or George if I am so bold," she sat her hand upon his, "do you know what a conduit to love that you are? You make me suffer such a sweet confusion, is my adoration of your master - which you let me view through the reflection in your eyes, in fact a love of the storyteller? Please don't answer, for it is a happy bliss to feel both - my heart is content to be bursting with it." Yet again Nicci rued the existence of Gwendolyn, and also Mary Fairfax for that matter.
  10. "La - so the standout fact that had me thinking more of him, was not 'standout' at all." Which was disappointing to Nicolette's ears, she was one who prefered to think that everyone had some quality redeeming. Even now, with Duke Buckingham's viewpoint plain, in her heart she still believed the King's eldest bastard son had an unknown potential. It was less of a surprise to hear that York did not share her opinion, no, the surprise came from something else: "Vote?!" Nicci partly laughed, thinking this must be a turn of phrase not fact, "is there a vote to be made sure there was only one vote that decides!" Perhaps it was her French upbringing under King Louis, that made the notion of voting seem remarkable. England really was a different place. But speaking of CR's younger brother, "His Grace York keeps a low profile in recent times. I had wondered if he pined for Lady O'Rourke? or perhaps it is with the approaching birth of a new heir he reassess his situation. Hmm... it might do his public image much good to be wholly supportive of the new entrant. "I have heard Duke York is a remarkable military strategist, yet in the arena of court we do not hear often of his victories. That is perhaps because he is Catholic? It is the thing defines him. Perhaps it is possible, if CR's efforts towards toleration are day successful, then that religious label shall mean less to all men." She mused in that half-cut way of solving all the world's troubles. "Oh. I wonder if Charles efforts in that way, a quite particularly towards Yorkss favour. He must surely want the people to love his brother also." She realise belatedly that she'd used the king's Christian name, which while allowable for Buckingham, might be over familiar. But it was already said. And this was a quiet manner of conversation, far far from pomp and ceremony.
  11. Buckingham had seen other sides of Francis, Nicci was yet to witness his raunchy side. That the Duke made that statement so freely, had her wonder if Frances had been on best behaviour with her? "Yes it must be the setting and company. Which is considerate of him really, I'm not terribly good at the 'English bawdy' thing, if I was to witness him doing it I think it would be me blushing!" So the king had vowed not to Do his wife's household - which was more news to Nicci, and good to know. "Feral," she repeated with a grin, enjoying the mental image. "It might take many saucers of milk till he is ready." She came to agree, making a mental note to herself to simply stop worrying about that. Francis was different to her in that way (he did not need a marriage contract ultimately for his future security.) She did. Her niggling question on Monmouth was finally asked of a person with the credentials for a qualified reply. "Well that is a relief, His Majesty's heart might be broken further still if he was missused again..." "... It must take an innocent perspective on his part." She mused of James Scott, "I have never met him personally, but have heard also he's recklessly brave. The tale I heard was his using explosives to halt the fires from consuming more of the city. Which was clever too, though also destructive." "How long will His Majesty keep him away?" She had slipped well off the topic of the dead body in the garden. But this seemed important too, in it's own way it was like a precident that might one day apply to any number of the youngsters growing up around His Majesty's heels. Little Lord Ossory, for instance, was bound to make eager-accidental trouble.
  12. Nicci had not thought of pickles in that way, and burst into laughter as Buckingham put a naughty spin on it. "Poor Francis would turn as bright red as a beet if he heard this conversation, under some circumstances is really rather prim! It must be highly unlikely he's trying to debauche any of Her Majesties household!" "... hmm what I'd really thought, was that if one was thinking of choosing a wife, there is a fine array of respectable ones on offer there. So you were right to guess he's never mentioned anyone to me - and I certainly have asked, and I certainly have watched him!" "No I do not think he will be causing any pickles there." And though the Duke might tease, he surely also knew that Francis thought far too highly of his duty then to malign it with rouge-ish behaviour. Finally losing a sigh Nicci added "...on that count he's a blinkered horse, a confirmed batchelor, to the best of my estimation." Ruminating possible leads, Nikki had wondered if the field was narrowed by knowledge of them meeting. But the King's movements at Whitehall was anything but secret. "So many? Then that is no help at all." Talking openly as they were, Nicci thought to ask something she had wondered about. "Your grace, when Lord Monmouth sent away to Holland, was he sent supervised? I wonder because my cousins offhand suggestions result is in so much trouble due to Lord Monmouths ready enthuse; that should his impressionable ears be whispered into by someone truly deceitful, a whole world of problems might be created." "Please know that I do not suggest any lack of love for his father, for certainty His Majesty is loved especially by all his sons. I have rarely witnessed a man who adores his children so much. They are the most blessed youths."
  13. The Dukes cheer at talking of Francis being a protector of ladies, and further comment on himself, bought a large smile to Nicolette's face. "You most certainly have been that for me I was really quite lost before I came into your company." "I treasure the memory of when I first saw you, that night in the ballroom, when you danced so magnificently. You stole the floor. There was no one who could hold a candle to you. I think it was then, that night, that I thought there might be a place for me in England." Ah but they talked of Francis, their voices fond. "Lady Susan Herbert is his cousin is she? I did not think of that. I've only noticed that he does seem to be delivering pickles terribly often. And these pickle deliveries take rather longer in most deliveries do!" Yes Nicky hoped that there was someone Francis really fancied. She and he were close of course, but they would not make a future together, they would never be matched. She had hoped he'd found a possible prospect, someone's whose fortunes he could unite with, like how she had her plans for the witty and clever Ranelagh. The lighter talk and the enhanced coffee drink relaxed and eased conversation, while always present in minds was the murder of that morning. The Dukes agreement on the unlikely risk to the Queen came with its own suggestion. Nicci pressed hand to her lips with thought. "Then who else new of our planned rendezvous? The message only arrived Sunday after church, delivered by servant in livery. Perhaps that servant was bribed? Or who else was aware of His Majesty's plans." "I still think that one of the oddest things about it was that whoever killed that Dutchman did not stick around to claim the victory of it." Nicci had concluded the body was from the seven provinces, partly due to being French with a natural distaste for those sorts. "Has anyone been able to identify the body yet?"
  14. Nicci smiled at the mental image he drew, "Ah the charm of little boy at their most earnest, a charm that is still upon you this day." There was affection in her tone, the relationship shed grown with the duke was surprising at many turns, and always treasured. It had grown little by little, shed managed to disarm him somehow and hed revealed depth far greater than his glittering appearance suggested. Father, brother, lover. any and all she would be happy with. "Then let us repair that," Nicci motioned a servant. a gesture that was likly un-needed, as the dukes attentive staff stood at the ready to provide his every whim. Neeverthe less she signaled a tippled drink to be brought, and yes shed have another too. Unlike george, this would be her fourth or fifth this morning. "Lord kingston might be pleased to serve as her majesties protector, he seems to have some attachments in her household mmm?" Nicci mused, brushing a lighter topic, before continuing "Though the assassin cannot have been after the queen in the wee hours of the morning."
  15. The kiss to her forehead was a fatherly gesture, not that shed been raised by father but grandfather instead. In any case their relationship was something quite different. But it felt nice, like a mutual care for the other. Softly she replied, "Duty is a far tougher master than His Highness is. I would guess that He would prefer to have you at his side right now too." Male duty was unlike anything that existed in the female realm, with nuances to it that she found hard to understand. That the Duke explained he had a role to play that required him to remain here, suggested that there were plans already in place - perhaps in case of just such a thing as todays attempt. Perhaps the meetings at Windsor last recess hadn’t only been about the Hill boys and deciding to call in closer the King’s bastards. "I understand you carry burdens of responsibility and care, and of secrets you must keep. It must be draining... the only way I can think I might help is to be a soft voice of support. A vote of confidence I suppose, of knowledge that your savvy shall foil those who work against us," she lowered eyes and amended, "forgive me - I mean against the Royal family."