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  1. Relieved that he was not insulted by her words, Edith exhaled. She had not realized that she had been holding her breath awaiting his reply. "Well put George," she agreed with his self-assessment. "You are the most underappreciated lord in the realm." She believed it truly. "It is just as well that you are or you should not have had any time for me," she confessed with a smile. "I would have been far less happy to sit in the waiting room of your office for hours hoping for a meeting." "Are you content, dear George, to be a modest lord and to sit modestly to await your turn at court?" she asked with a point in mind. "If so, then your choice of wife matters less. She merely needs to keep you happy and patient while you await your due." Edith was unsure how content George was with being overlooked. At times he seemed to relish the shadows and at others the limelight. "If you weary of seeing others less qualified rise above you, then you should think of a wife and family who might rectify that disappointment." "Lady Kendishall may be right for the former and less so for the latter. You would need to rely on your friends instead. You may always rely on me, of course, though I shan't be here forever. I pray you will forgive my worry over you, for you are the kindest man I know." "I shall meet this lady of yours George. My ... admiration ... for you requires it. Do forgive my passion to protect you," she asked with less bravado than was her practice.
  2. Blackguard

    Away & Here Notices

    Yes Diana, that is exactly what I was saying, though you did not mention the flavor of the cupcakes, which I assume are chocolate for you and Hope. Sadly, I neglected to inform you that the insurance money has a deductible that would not be met by a fire of a cart, unless that cart was digital and full of Bitcoin.
  3. Blackguard

    Away & Here Notices

    We miss you both. Set small goals for posting at first and build up to it again.
  4. Blackguard

    Easter 1678 | Easter Monday (11th all day)

    Churchill was surprised but an easy smile appeared on his face. Burgoyne looked startled and embarrassed with the attention of the two beauties. "If it was words of praise you overheard, then it was surely about you," George assured Darlene. "Ladies, may I introduce John Burgoyne? He is an aide to the Earl of Oxford and a fine fellow. John, this is Lady Oakham, a most charming lady and sadly widowed and this is the Countessa Toledo, a favorite at singing events and the wife of the Spanish Ambassador. I am certain that these two are the most beautiful ladies at court this season," he flattered. "Imagine having them both together." He could only imagine. "Ladies what a rare privilege to make your acquaintances," John offered with a bow. He could only hope that they had not been overheard. As for the most beautiful lady at court, John had a favorite beauty, a French one, that eclipsed the two in front of him, at least in his opinion.
  5. Blackguard

    A Witching Hour Seance Tuesday night

    Albemarle House There had been an argument between Duke and Duchess this evening. He had, once again, declared his wife was foolish for her fascination with the spirit world. He did not trust Count Forensi. He doubted that he was even a nobleman. Darlene Hamilton had been invited this evening. Christopher Monck did not know whether to count the lady as an ally or an accomplice to his wife. One thing was sure, she was easy on the eyes. Both he and his young brother-in-law, Lord Ogle, shared an appreciation of admiring fine women. The Duke was one satisfied to gaze at a beauty and let his imagination run wild whereas other men were more prone to action. He had retired to his quarters upstairs to work on important documents, or so he said. This left his wife downstairs in the library to be dabble with her magic. Elizabeth Monck was dressed in a purple gown with ebony bodice. A silver tiara adorned her head. Silver chains wrapped her neck and wrists and a silver ring with a large bloodstone adorned her right hand. Count Forensi was there, dressed in jet black attire with a white shirt and silver and sapphire cravat pin. He too was wearing silver jewelry. A pretty young woman accompanied him this evening, having been introduced as Jenny Rhodes, a London woman who seemed attuned to the spirit world. She wore a more simple dress of crimson, silver jewelry peeking from her exosed flesh. It was time for the final guest to arrive.
  6. "My dear dear George," Edith whispered. What have you done? "The Duke of Newcastle is not half the man you are. Oh yes, he might have a lofty title now, but his father was the son of a mere knight, not an earl," she reminded George. "He may have the finest stable in Europe, but hardly a speck of your artistic talent. He has what money can purchase George. Your value is innate." It was clear that she believed what she was saying. She smoothed her skirts and moved to the mantel above the fireplace to pretend at straightening the ceramics arranged upon it. "My younger brother was a man who believed he was nothing. It was what our father had told him. He spent his life trying to prove otherwise. He was handsome, fluent in five languages, well-read, and a fierce warrior. Though I begged him otherwise, he could never believe that others saw merit in him." She paused with a lump in her throat as she lifted what appeared to be a ceramic candy container from the mantel. She examined it silently as if admiring an old friend. "He died climbing a siege ladder in the low country." She silently replaced the container to its original spot. She turned back to him, no sign of tears in her eyes. Ladies of her age and dignity cried only in solitude. "Other than having a Papist past, you have no blemish George. If only I possessed a mirror that would show you the man you truly are." As she rejoined him, there was a sigh of defeat. She was certainly capable of telling a series of stories to try and sway him, but she respected him enough that she shelved her lectures. "Other than finding you to be the man I know you to be and believing in you, what does Lady Kendishall have to recommend her, other than a troubled past?" Which is hardly a recommendation "What would she bring to the marriage? Wealth, lofty ancestors?" French children. "I want to approve of her," she offered though she doubted very much the possibility.
  7. "Yes, the market for pretty things is mostly fashion I suppose," she agreed, thinking it a novel way to look at the tulip situation. 'If we might predict the next foolish fascination, we might be set for life," she observed with more seriousness than she ordinarily might give to a business matter. Edith schooled her features as George explained his possible matrimony with Kendishall. She fought to control her angst. "Let me see if I have this correctly." She tilted her head as if in thought. "You went to a French lady to seek advice about kidnapping a Cavendish. The French widow responded that you were a desirable match. You asked if she thought you an acceptable mate. She said yes, and a bargain struck?" It was really a rhetorical question. She needed to let the simplicity sink in. "This is one of the most important decisions of your life George. Did you not think that I would aid you? I know Lady Newcastle well. I could have spoken to her on your behalf. She has other daughters besides Frances, a rather sad child. She has another daughter, Margaret, in search of an earl for a husband. Ormonde has daughters and Pembrooke has a sister. There are other great families with debutantes in search of someone like you. Please tell me that you jest and I shall forgive you. You surely would never do less diligence to find a wife than you would buy a horse. Have you looked at her teeth even?" she asked with a snort. "Do allay my concerns dear George. Tell me this is just a way to make me help you find a wife ... a wife worthy of the great man that sits before me."
  8. John Burgoyne walked the short distance from Lady Habersham's house to the Earl of Oxford's townhouse in London. Accompanying him was a young man with a soldier's step. "Imagine, an original letter from Cicero to Atticus Richard. The Earl will be pleased. I wonder why the lady was willing to part with it now?" "Well,. it fetched a pretty coin and maybe she really just wanted an excuse to give you love advice John," he laughed. "She could tell immediately that you are a love sick fool," Brewer replied. "I'm over it now. It was just a lesson to learn," he replied and the pair plowed past a commotion around a milk wagon. It seemed as though there was a spill and voices were raised in anger. The pair attempted to distance themselves from the chaos. "Stick to books and leave the ladies to me," the other man offered. Suddenly a child parted from the commotion and grabbed the parcel in John's hands and dashed off. "What in blazes!" John shouted. "Thief!" The two men set off after a lad that seemed talented in weaving through crowds. "You cut him off," John shouted to his colleague.
  9. Blackguard

    Easter 1678 | Easter Monday (11th all day)

    John Burgoyne left in the company of George Churchill. It might seem that the blond man was trying to cheer the dark-haired Burgoyne. They paused outside the door after greeting a few other guests. "They are both pretty," he said a little loudly. "I could let you have one if you wish," he offered in jest. "You could buy me a few and tell me which you like. Come on." The pair turned to take their leave.
  10. Blackguard

    Theater Royal, Drury Lane Tuesday

    So they parted, in stealth, with the ironic goal of acting out an innocent foray in a theater. A ruckus could be heard in the next corridor as Arundel could be heard to curse about a careless worker, drawing attention to himself in the process. Karl was waiting for her, having chased off a small mob of children intent upon mischief against the coach. He was happy to see her arrival so they might begin their journey home. ~finis
  11. As the Duchess took her leave, she had been convinced that an Oriental servant was the trendsetting move. That alone, was something valuable to take away. "Yes, Forensi knows all about silver jewelry." She lowered her voice to add "he also has fashioned weapons out of solid silver do you know? He carries a silver dagger with him at all times. He claims to have silver bullets and mini balls, as well as a sword glazed in silver. The poor man mentions that he is both a hunter of and hunted by the supernatural. There is danger in all of this Darlene. He has spent a decade or more at it. We must be very careful." On a happy enough note they parted and Elizabeth was satisfied for the moment that her grandfather did not leave her a letter or message behind. ~finis
  12. "Heavens yes, he was far too young for that tulip nonsense," Edith admitted. "Still, he remained fascinated by the flower, as if it might make a resurgence one day." She was shaking her head slowly at the thought, though she had no reason to criticize the financial accumen of her husband, especially now. George made a valiant attempt to sing the praises of Lady Kendishall, but Edith noted the foray seemed overly short. "Yes, I see. Tell me why you are keen on this lady George." The elder widow had her suspicious but could not ascribe impetuous moves to a gentlemen that she knew to be so ... prudent. "Surely not ... ." She dared not say the words that could be the sum of her fears. "As you get older George, not that I am so much older than you, mind you, you find that you need to eat less. Mr. Habersham would explain it that man has a growth spurt in one's early years that needed no further fuel when growth was complete. That could explain it. Oddly, I found his appetite diminished little as his hair thinned. He wished for meat at every meal, convinced that mankind was most in its element as a predator and a carnivore and that it maintained vitality as long as it stayed in its element. Frankly, I think he spent too much time with Ferdinand the butcher," she offered with light humor, hoping to distract George from more than one topic.
  13. She fell easily into the comfort of using his first name when her servant left the room, but her smile brightened when George reminded her of the freedom they enjoyed together. "I shall get by without her," Edith replied softly before changing the topic. "The flowers are beautiful," she exclaimed as she inhaled deeply their fragrance. "My man shall find a suitable vase. Thank you so much. You are such a dear." Her attention turned to the tulip. "It is a reminder George. Not long ago, during the great south seas bubble, the demand for tulips were so great that the cost of one bulb would be more valuable than this house. Fortunes were lost when the bubble burst and people came to their senses and realized that a tulip is just a tulip. It is a pretty flower with surprising durability. Mr. Habersham believed the tulip built the Dutch empire. He had an odd fancy for them." The manservant arrived with the pot of hot tea and two cups. Pouring tea into each, he collected the flowers George brought and went in search of a vase. Once he had left, Edith responded. "Kendishall is an English name but the lady is not if I know the one," Edith said so softly that it was almost beneath her breath. She sipped her tea as if testing her memory. "I would be pleased to meet any lady that might capture your fancy," she offered lightly as if she knew there was some reason he wanted her to meet the French woman. "I was a bit under the weather," she explained her absence from church cryptically. "I am feeling better now that you are here."
  14. The door was answered by the Habersham servant. His face lit with hope when he beheld George. "Oh, your lordship you are expected. Do come in." The parlor had the drapes open to allow the sunlight to bathe the room. A vase with a red tulip in full bloom adorned the center table. It was but a moment before Edith swept into the room, her day dress forest green, an accent to her silver hair, with a string of pearls around her neck. "My lord, she greeted with exuberance. My day is now complete with your visit. Do make yourself comfortable. I apologize for the state of this room. My maid was not diligent enough and I had to let her go, so I hope you will be so kind as to not look so carefully as to the state of things." She signaled her servant to fetch tea and moved to join George at a nearby chair. "My dear George, however have you been?"
  15. Blackguard

    Theater Royal, Drury Lane Tuesday

    Sophia did not seem overly distressed about the topic, so Henry decided that there was likely little concern that he could be the father. "Friday afternoon, same time and same room," he repeated as he kissed her neck softly from behind. "I shall slip out first to draw the attention of the theater and you then follow behind. I will try and hold their attention while you slip out the door to your coach." His servant had told someone that Henry was sick, so he would need to put on an act. "And do not forget my sister is in Madrid, if you need to explain why we may be seen together from time to time," he reminded as he collected his hat and was ready to on his way. He gave her a final kiss and tried to right the tricorn on his head, allowing Sophia to correct the angle if necessary.