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Anne-Elisabeth Devereux

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  1. Anne-Elisabeth Devereux

    A Good Friday Morning Constitutional (April 8)

    The King’s smile dazzled the young Countess. “I was hoping you would say that,” she remarked with a playful grin. Lord Mountjoy spoke more of the races. A dressage competition for the ladies sounded a bit dull to her. Maybe it would have been more attractive if she had been able to find an instructor. As it was, her horse was trained in dressage, but she wasn’t. Even if she had been, she much preferred to gallop at full speed and jump over hurdles. Perhaps the King would have a different view on the kind of contests the ladies could participate in. If so, he said nothing about it, instead suggesting that the Queen sponsor the races. May’s idea was quite intriguing. That man was a marvel. She would never regret the money she had spent on him at the bachelor auction. The King seemed to be considering the notion. “Perhaps the winner could have special privileges for the rest of the season," Anne-Elisabeth suggested. "Something similar to the Lady of Misrule.”
  2. Anne-Elisabeth Devereux

    Desperatis hic in Vinarium | Saturday after 10pm

    Anne-Elisabeth was pleased that the King acknowledged her poetic skills. Perhaps he also remembered that she liked a good challenge for her certainly gave her one. She had spent most of her life making people laugh. Now she had to keep a straight face and prevent humor from coloring her voice when she asked Lord Kingston how he had required the dildo. Would she be able to do it? Of course. She could do anything if she set her mind to it, and she would much take part in an intellectual dare than a physical one, like the arm-wrestling contest. The Duke agreed with the King, and expanded upon the requirements. “As you wish, Your Majesty, Your Grace,” she replied with a saucy smile. “Never let it be said that I backed down from a challenge.” She had until the end of the match to prepare. It was true that the Barbadian Countess would have to drink a copious amount of alcohol before she could be convinced to arm-wrestle, but the task that had been set for her required a clear head. Lord Chatham gave her a good excuse to drink lightly. “That is true, my lord.” She loved the way his eye twinkled in merriment. “I shall heed your most excellent advice.” Caroline claimed that fighting her would be futile. Anne-Elisabeth didn’t doubt it. She relied on her wit to get by, not her physical strength, of which she had little. “That’s good to hear. I’m glad you consider me a friend. Hopefully, the match between these two ladies will be enough for the gentlemen and we can move on to other things.” Lord Kingston joined them and was greeted by Charles. Caroline apprised him of what was going on. “You just missed the opportunity to make a wager,” she added. Anne-Elisabeth smiled warmly at her soon-to-be victim, hoping that she would be able to make him blush. He would look quite fetching with his cheeks flushed with color.
  3. Anne-Elisabeth Devereux

    A Muddy Scene | Early Monday AM | Before Chapel

    Anne-Elisabeth had seen a few somberly-dressed gentlemen whom she assumed were foreigners simply because of their strange attire. She had not met any of them so she couldn’t be certain of the dead man’s nationality. “Nor do the Spanish, but he’s not one of them.” His skin was too light for a Spaniard. She appreciated Nicci’s concern that she might get blood on her. How kind she was, thinking of others when she was clearly the one who needed taken care of. She still looked shocked, as any lady should be when coming across a murder victim. Perhaps she had never seen a corpse before. The Countess had held her husband in her arms as he died and she had looked upon the bloated bodies of her dead family before they were buried. Her mother, she remembered, had seaweed in her hair. Anne-Elisabeth’s curiosity was greater than her horror “I’ll be fine,” she assured her friend. “I’m not going to touch him and these boots can be cleaned.” They had become quite muddy and she wouldn’t be surprised if there was some blood mixed in. If so, Bess would probably have a lot of questions that she would rather not answer. The young Life Guard looked like he was about to faint. Despite the seriousness of the situation, she chuckled when Nicci offered him a seat. He was completely useless. She wanted to tell him to go home to his mommy, but she held her tongue. It was possible that he was the son of an influential lord, and she couldn’t afford to make enemies while she was so new to court. How else would a hopeless moron have obtained a position that most gentlemen would kill for? “We’re not going anywhere,” she told him. “Nor do I think a dead man needs any air.” Anne-Elisabeth stayed where she was, still studying the body and looking for clues. She nodded when Nicci suggested that he should be covered up. Unfortunately, she didn’t have a handkerchief with her and she was not about to part with her dove gray velvet cloak, lined and trimmed with black fur. English spring mornings were frigid when you grew up on a sun-soaked Caribbean island. Her friend did have one and she leaned over to place it on the dead man’s face. The Earl took off his justacorps to wrap around Nicci. The playwright … his name was Etherege, if she remembered right ... glanced around the area, perhaps searching for the culprit, Was the murderer hiding nearby, getting some kind of sick satisfaction from their reactions? The Countess wouldn’t be a bit surprised. Another Life Guard arrived. This one had a much more confident air. The younger soldier seemed to want to impress him but he sent him away to alert the guards around the royals. He inquired as to whether Nicci was okay and then asked her the same question. ‘I’m doing better than this poor sod,” she replied, nudging the body again with her boot. She stepped back to let the (quite handsome) Life Guard examine the body. His questions were directed toward Nicci, as she had been the one who discovered the body. The young Countess moved next to Etherege. "I do hope this sort of thing doesn't happen often here at court."
  4. Anne-Elisabeth Devereux

    EASTER 1678 | Saturday Services *closing*

    Anne-Elisabeth and Ernle Though disappointed that Captain Ernle could not walk with her after church, Anne-Elisabeth was thrilled that he was willing to sit with her through the service, enduring the boredom of a sermon beside her. Compton had excellent timing. Whether her handsome companion was speaking the truth, she did not know. It sounded like an excuse to sit with a charming lady to her, but perhaps that was her vanity speaking. The Countess knew virtually nothing about his family other than what others had told her. “I’m sure they will forgive you,” she whispered as she followed him to a pew that had enough space for two more. He was gallant even to the two old crones who looked at him with what she interpreted as displeasure. As she turned toward the front of the chapel, she prayed that they would have a bit of time to converse further once the service was over. God should be pleased with her. She didn’t usually pray at all.
  5. Anne-Elisabeth Devereux

    A Muddy Scene | Early Monday AM | Before Chapel

    Anne-Elisabeth didn't sniff her pomander just to mask nasty odors. The heady scent of roses also helped calm her down when she was upset. Who wouldn’t be upset when confronted by a dead body? It wasn’t something you usually found around court. Or anywhere really. Her heart’s frantic pace began to slow when she realized that Nicci wasn’t hurt. If he friend had not been covered in mud, she would have hugged her. The young Countess had grown quite fond of the Frenchwoman. “Are you sure he was murdered?” A morbid curiosity eclipsed her initial shock. Surveying the grisly scene, she noticed that there was blood everywhere … on Nicci, on the ground, and splashed upon the side of the fountain. “Maybe he got drunk last night and fell and hit his head on the fountain.” Peeing closer, she noticed that that the corpse’s head was wet, but not bloody. “Never mind. He was definitely murdered.” Anne-Elisabeth nudged him with her boot, but he was too heavy for it to do any good. She was curious as to whether there were wounds on his back. Had some coward stabbed him from behind? “He’s not an Englishman. Look at his clothes. No Englishman in his right mind would dress like that.” She turned toward her friend. “You’re right. He had to be left here for somebody to find. Most killers don’t leave their victims lying around. I wonder who was supposed to discover him.” The Barbadian Countess was about to suggest that she and Nicci hide nearby to see if somebody came by, but a Life Guard who looked not much older than she was ran up to them. His words were brave but when he saw the body, his courage seemed to fail him. Had he ever seen a dead man before? If he served the King, he must have been well-trained. Hopefully, he would be able to keep a level head. “As you can see, this poor fellow has been slain. Recently, I think." She sniffed her pomander again. “Can you figure out what killed him, Trooper Whitehurst?" That seemed like the logical first step in an investigation to her anyway. Anne-Elisabeth was out of her league when it came to murder. Imagining killing her mother-in-law in gruesome ways didn’t count. She moved closer to Nicci for moral support if she needed it. Voices alerted her to more arrivals. She recognized two of the men she had met at the tennis match ... an Earl and a playwright. They both had twigs in their hair. Had Nicci’s screams interrupted their tryst? Or perhaps there was another reason for their disheveled appearance.
  6. Anne-Elisabeth Devereux

    Desperatis hic in Vinarium | Saturday after 10pm

    “Perhaps he shall make it up to me tonight,” Anne-Elisabeth replied with a cheeky grin. “Then he will be spared a chastisement.” She was pleased that the King was still talking about their encounter the day before. I must have made a favorable impression on him with my poetry and my wit. Buckingham surmised that the feathered dildo she was so fascinated by was not really from the New World. The Barbadian Countess laughed at the idea of Lord Kingston explaining why he needed a dildo. The King suggested that she be the one who found out. “I would be delighted, Your Majesty. Do you think I should ask him with a limerick?” The monarch said nothing when she asked if she could try his cognac, so Anne-Elisabeth assumed that he didn’t mind and poured herself a glass. While Nicci and Diana prepared to arm-wrestle, she strolled over to Caroline and Charles. “I hope they don’t want the two of us to go next,” she said to Caroline. "If so, I need a few more glasses of rum. Or cognac. Or both."
  7. Anne-Elisabeth Devereux

    A Good Friday Morning Constitutional (April 8)

    “Thank you for your vote of confidence, Lord Mountjoy,” she said with a warm smile. Anne-Elisabeth had no desire to become one of the King’s mistresses. He would expect her to be faithful and ‘fidelity’ was not a word in her vocabulary. She would much rather be known for her wit. She was naturally flirtatious, though, and who would pass up the opportunity to flirt with the King? “I do hope I can defeat Dorset again, but I no longer have the element of surprise on my side. He knows how skilled I am now. He is very talented and much more experienced. I always knew he would demand a rematch. Perhaps this contest will give him the perfect opportunity. I will be ready for him." She loved the way the two of them sparred with each other through poetry. They got along well in ... other ways ... too. "Will you be judging the competition, Your Majesty?" Mountjoy mentioned the horse races that the young Countess had heard much speculation about. “I am looking forward to the races as well. It will be fun to compete in something more active than a poetry contest. I do hope there will be races for the ladies.” If they were to be held the following weekend, she would not have a lot of time to practice.
  8. Anne-Elisabeth Devereux

    A Muddy Scene | Early Monday AM | Before Chapel

    Anne-Elisabeth yawned as she strolled through the garden at a brisk pace, trying to avoid the mud. If she was going to join the King’s entourage, she needed to practice getting up before dawn and walking a long distance. This was difficult for somebody who generally didn’t wake up until noon, except on those occasions that she spent the night alone. She wasn’t planning on going to church today, so after her walk, she could go back to bed. Yesterday, she had stayed at home too because of that late-night drinking party the night before. She also didn’t want to see all the families gathered together. It made her sad that she had no relatives at court and brought back painful memories about the shipwreck that had taken her family from her? Why was I the only survivor. I’m the last ... A scream pierced the air, waking Anne-Elisabeth up completely. What the hell? Was somebody else up at this ungodly hour? Were they in trouble? The shriek had come from the direction of the fountain. Hiking up her skirts she hurried in that direction. There was a figure up ahead. It was Nicci, covered in mud. She must have fallen. Breaking into a run to help her friend, she noticed something else on the ground as well. “Nicci! Are you all right?” she asked as she rushed up to her friend. Her dark eyes widened when she saw the corpse. Taking out her rose-shaped pomander, she took a whiff of its strong floral scent. “Is that … is that a body?"
  9. Anne-Elisabeth Devereux

    EASTER 1678 | Saturday Services *closing*

    Anne-Elisabeth and Ernle Anne-Elisabeth winked. “I already have Hopefully, my streak of good fortune will continue when it comes time to find a seat.” She glanced around the chapel, looking for a pair of young gentlemen sitting together who did no seem to be related. Surely there had to be a few. She couldn’t be the only courtier who had no relatives at court. The young Countess had been hoping that he would offer to join her, but family obligations came first. Sometimes she was glad that she didn’t have one. For the first time in her young life, she cold do as she pleased. “Perhaps after the boredom of Easter is over then. I am counting the days until Tuesday.”
  10. Anne-Elisabeth Devereux

    Desperatis hic in Vinarium | Saturday after 10pm

    The laughter of the King and the Duke was music to Anne-Elisabeth’s ears. Unlike most ladies, she loved to be laughed at (as long as it wasn't behind her back or meant as an insult). She was a humorous person by nature and enjoyed making people happy with her poetry and her wit. When her comments were met by laughter, the thrills that coursed through her body were much like carnal desire. Lord Kingston had given Buckingham the dildo? She had planned on asking him about it at the card game. It was what she had wished to discuss with him later in the evening, but unfortunately, the opportunity had been lost. Now she was glad that things had turned out the way they had. Laughter wasn’t just music to her ears; it was food for her soul. “Yes, I know him, though not well. I believe I first met him at the sleigh race last winter.” She hoped the King remembered asking her to compose a limerick that summed up the race. Not that it mattered, considering that she had impressed him with her wit only yesterday morning. His praise had been worth the irritation of rising so early. “Over the seas? Well, it’s certainly not from the Caribbean or I would already have one. Perhaps it originated in the New World? I can’t imagine those savages using dildos.” Anne-Elisabeth grinned. “Perhaps they have a different significance there. Maybe they are sacred symbols of their gods.” The King seemed certain that Lord Kingston would help her obtain one. “I shall ask him when he gets here, then.” While the others discussed the arm-wrestling contest, she polished off her glass of rum and stepped toward the King's cask. "May I try some, Your Majesty?"
  11. Anne-Elisabeth Devereux

    A Good Friday Morning Constitutional (April 8)

    Anne-Elisabeth did speak the truth. Except when she didn’t. Flattery was a game that all nobles played, and not just at court. It was a popular pastime in Barbados too. She wasn’t certain that she would have been eager to marry Arthur if he hadn’t pandered to her considerable vanity. At the time, she had not recognized his ploy. Hindsight was, indeed, twenty twenty. Lord Mountjoy agreed with her about the King’s spaniels and surmised that she, too, had prevailed against great odds. The pretty Countess shrugged nonchalantly. “A girl has to have some secrets, you know.” Her grin turned to the King. “Very true, Your Majesty. I’ve also heard it said that the best things often come in small packages.” Standing at five foot two and thinner than most ladies, Anne-Elisabeth included herself in that category. Master May suggested a poetry contest and the King put him in charge. “Oh good! Another chance to beat Dorset! I would love to have one of these adorable spaniels.” She had an idea that she wished to run by May as soon as they were alone again.
  12. Anne-Elisabeth Devereux

    A Good Friday Morning Constitutional (April 8)

    “I only speak the truth, my lord.” Anne-Elisabeth smiled warmly at Lord Mountjoy. “I imagine that, as a lawyer, you are a quite formidable opponent and able to sway the most cynical of gentlemen to your views.” She considered his question. “Music is more common than poetry in Barbados.” As to the muses, she grinned. “Perhaps Calliope, seeing that I was cursed by Euterpe, bestowed upon me the gift of poetry to make up for my dreadful singing voice.” The King thought that her poetic expertise was a gift from God and then asked what she thought of poetry that didn’t rhyme. Before she could answer, Lord Mountjoy’s great dog loped up to him with a stick, which was thrown back for him to fetch. Some of the King’s spaniels followed and Anne-Elisabeth stepped aside as a fluffy yapping blur sped past her. She laughed at their antics. It was no surprise that the mastiff returned with the stick. “The mastiff gives them a challenge,” she said to Ablemarle’s remark. “Something to strive for.” The raven-haired Countess bent down to pet one of the King’s dogs. “Someday one of these clever and enterprising spaniels might just get the upper hand.” Rising, Anne-Elisabeth gazed up at the monarch. “As to your inquiry, Your Majesty, poetry comes in many forms. Those that don’t rhyme are often more profound while those that do are humorous. It is the essence of the work that distinguishes it as either poetry or prose.”
  13. Anne-Elisabeth Devereux

    A Good Friday Morning Constitutional (April 8)

    Anne-Elisabeth chuckled at Lord Mountjoy’s reply. He had an astute sense of humor that she found intriguing. He was quite an interesting fellow, not nearly as stuffy as his wife, though she did understand Lady Mountjoy’s wariness of a young widow with no family who wished to serve the Queen. She had claimed that somebody must recommend her for a position in Her Majesty’s household. How shocked would she be if that recommendation came from her own husband? His acquaintance was definitely worth cultivating. “It is more difficult in prose than in poetry, I must admit, but just from hearing you speak, my lord, I can tell that you have an eloquent way of stringing words together. That is a rare talent indeed.” Flattery, the young Countess discovered, could open many doors that would normally remain shut. The King’s approving nod was more satisfying than a roomful of applause. Anne-Elisabeth had hoped he would appreciate her cleverly cloaked admission of arrogance. He was close friends with Dorset, and that gentlemen was so arrogant that if one looked up the word in a dictionary, one would see his portrait. His haughtiness was one of the many things she liked about the blonde Earl, maybe because she shared his inflated sense of self-esteem. This time, she did not answer the King’s question with a humorous poem but with honesty and sincerity. “To my knowledge, Your Majesty, I am the only poet in my family. I felt an affinity with rhyme after hearing it for the first time when I was a small child. Composing my own poems just came naturally to me. In fact, when I was seven, I spoke in nothing but verse for a few months.” The dark-haired Countess chuckled again. “As you can imagine, my parents were quite annoyed with me. “It’s quite challenging to make up limericks on the fly, but very satisfying as well. I’ve heard it said that everyone was born with a single gift. If that is true, then poetry must be mine.”
  14. Anne-Elisabeth Devereux

    EASTER 1678 | Saturday Services *closing*

    Anne-Elisabeth and Ernle “That would be unfortunate,” Anne-Elisabeth agreed. “I’m so new here that it would be easy to make that assumption, as false as it is.” She lowered her voice conspiratorially and leaned slightly forward. “Though I doubt anyone remembers how we met except the two of us. It is our little secret.” She was pleased that Captain Ernle recalled that incident. Drinks had been flowing freely and some of them had been fortified with something stronger, probably opium. Luckily, she had not drank so much that she made a fool of herself. Captain Ernle looked around the chapel, probably for his family. He didn’t seem too enthusiastic about joining them. Be thankful you have one, she thought as her dark eyes roved appreciatively over his fine form. Sometimes she missed her own, but their watery demise had given her a freedom that she would never had experienced had they lived. Loneliness was temporary. Marriage was forever. “Hmmm, a very good idea. I wonder where I can find two such gentlemen. It seems like everyone is sitting with family today.” The young Countess sighed. “I’m thinking of taking a walk around the lawn after the service to stretch my legs. I don’t want to get right into a cramped carriage after sitting all day in a pew.”
  15. Anne-Elisabeth Devereux

    EASTER 1678 | Saturday Services *closing*

    Anne-Elisabeth and Ernle Anne-Elisabeth had feared that her intrusion might be unwelcome, but he greeted her warmly and with a complement. “Why thank you, Captain. Your presence is equally enlivening.” She grinned at his assessment of the services. “About as much as you do. I will be glad when these observances are over. I sat so long yesterday that my legs are still numb. When we are dismissed this afternoon, I’m afraid they might buckle underneath me.”
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