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The most magical time of year (Open) | Morning, 27th- Xmas 1677

Douglas FitzJames

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Catherine grinned when Lord Dundarg said he liked at least one of her suggestions. “I will pick out a few fans for you to choose from,” she said and promptly moved to the fan display, smiling at the girl who had called out to them. “Maybe you would like to help?” she asked her, always eager to male new friends.


Bridget knew there were other customers in the store, but she didn't pay them much attention. She didn't want to see them turn away from her with haughty looks of disgust and scorn. People treated her now as she had once treated those courtiers who were out of favor in the past. Now that she knew what it felt like, she didn't think she would snub anyone ever again.


Lord Dundarg seemed impressed with the shawl, touching the fine silk and admitting how pretty it was. “And the color is perfect for her. It will bring out the red in her hair.” Bridget might be a bit on the arrogant side, but she did have excellent taste. She was absolutely certain that she could convince Douglas to buy the shawl for Fiona.


She was quite surprised when another gentleman spoke to her, and she turned in his direction. He was holding up a beautiful blue wool shawl with silver edges. “It is quite lovely,” she said, her gaze moving from the shawl to his face. He didn't seem appalled by her at all and kind words were so rare these days that she latched onto any courtesy that came her way.


Bridget didn't notice Lord Maldon until he spoke up, introducing her to all four of his companions. So the man with the shawl was a Baronet, too low in status to hold any real interest to her. She sized up the Dwight girls, but didn't feel threatened by them. Unlike Fiona MacBain, they didn't hold titles in their own right and to her knowledge, none of them fancied her brother.


“It is delightful to see you again, too, Lord Maldon. And a pleasure to meet your friends.” She smiled thinly at Sir John and the three girls. Lord Dundarg introduced himself as well as Catherine and Sophia. Catherine looked up from the fans and waved. Her twin Sophia, still by the display of fabric roses, smiled shyly.


Lord Dundarg didn't seem to be acquainted with Lord Maldon, looking to Bridget for an introduction. “Lord Dundarg, this is Lord Maldon,” she said, smiling a bit more cheerfully now. “We met at the Christmas ball.”

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The air was chilled but despite that Lady Lucas was determined and so directed her maid to attire her in a gown of chocolate brown velvet trimed with cream lace which had been until recently a rather older out of date gown now new made.


Leaving her abode and in a hired coach that, she was pleased to see, offered hot bricks wrapped in flannel for the convience of its passangers feet on their journey gave her directions and then sat back and quielty discussed with her maid what was absoutely necessary for the meeting on the 30th. She intended to provide a well made table for the Baron when he came to call as well as present herself attractively.


Reaching the shop she was assisted out and made for the entrance stepping thru the door and then pausing to allow her eyes to adjust to the interiors and also to take stock. Having already purchased a few items she would be known to the owner as would her prefered tastes.


She pushed back her furred hood and then turnd towards the sound of voices a small smile at the ready as she walked forward only to pause mid step as her gaze took in the scene. She felt the heat to her face then its departure as she observed the grouping before her.




The single word said that held meaning for two of the men present.

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Bethany was quick to join Catherines side and begun looking through the fans, each was a marvelous surprise at the unfolding... meanwhile while Eunice, the youngest, blinked wide eyed at the sudden glut of introductions. She stood quietly, her eyes swinging to the girl Sophia who was near the fabric roses, and giving her a small smile.


"Take his place?" Lizzy giggled of that, having no idea what Lord Maldon meant, but guessing it was some sort of tease he was making. Her smile as she then was then announced was light and breezy, she'd never met most of these people, what an eventful shop this was! "I am afraid my Aunt is using the dressing room, so if you want to try on any dresses, it shall need to wait." she announced to all in a clear voice, "The ladies that is. I hardly think the gentlemen shall find anything they want to try on!" she then laughed again.


Sir John thought Bridget to have a very pretty smile as she turned it upon him. As those fine fellows yonder provided the introductions, he then learnt her name. Her families was one of those power house of court names, but he too out of touch to twig that her family was also out of favor. "Enchanted." he mocked up a bow in the unlikly situation, and reached for her hand to kiss. And then the door bell rung again, an stone the crows, you wouldnt believe it, it was his mother.


"Mother." Sir John's attention was pulled away from the pretty he thought to flirt with, the soft blue scarf within his grasp seemed to go limp.


"What a joyful surprise. You are known to everyone here?" and then it was Sir Johns turn to test his memory with the recanting of names and titles that had been issued out, for this one for that one, in descending order of prescience, until quite finally the verbiage ended with supply of Eunice Dwight's name. (That young lady gave the court matron a bobbed curtsy. "And this is my Mother Lady Lucas."

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Her recovery was seamless as she moved closer to the grouping her keen eye moving amongst the females pausing to linger a bit longer on one face in particular - so that was Bridget Osborne, Danby's daughter - how fortuitous indeed before moving on to the Gentlemen where, if they so wished, her hand might be kissed. She expected no Salutation fron her son.


"A Joyful Surprise indeed." She schoed back


Her smile went to the Dwight sisters and especially the one that had offered a curtsey automatically and she knew that the others' must follow. She turned to the Gentlemen next starting with the higher of the three by Rank


"Lord Maldon I trust you are keeping well you look it and Lord Dundrag you have changed little since our introduction at the Ball. It is quite a rarity these days to see Gentlemen amongst the Ladies in such surroundings but then mayhap the search for gifts has prompted it?"


Her gaze went to her son at last. They had not seen each other recently and yet the sight of him warmed her heart but she was weary still for anything could set him off.


"I am glad to see that you have made Maldon's acquaintance - tis always such a nice thing when relations are discovered."


She saw too that her son had been speaking with the Osborne girl which would never do especially as another had her in sight. But she also thinks that as her son has not been long in London he might not know of her Family yet he had many connections and so she might have been already pointed out to him. Was that the reason for him being there now? Was he moving into the idea of taking at Wife at last?


But NOT this girl. She made a mental note to start her own hunt from amongst the "list".


Her smile took then all in and she, practiced from years of trying, would be seen as exactly the woman she wanted them to think she was. If her son thought to make issues well she'd set him down.

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John’s voice lowered as other people entered within earshot. “Well yes, if he’s g-g-going to run off with someone I can’t be left alone.” John said with a mock-whining tone, as if dreading some horrible fate. He wasn’t quite good enough an actor to pull it off.


John let out a good laugh at the idea of gentleman trying on dresses. Enhanced by the presence of the Scotch, though John was too tactful to make the obvious joke.


“Lord Dundarg.” John said with a smile. He didn’t give his name because he was the highest-ranking person here. Introductions were supposed to be made to him first. But Bridget quickly obliged.


John waved kindly as the introductions were made. The younger sisters paired off and John’s attention turned back to the group that was talking to him.


John puffed at Bridget’s description, acting as if amused at her modesty. “Lord Ogle wanted to d-d-dance with her. So much he passed up a princess.” John acted suitably impressed at the feat, as much for the sake of giving Ogle credit for gallantry as anything else.


He wasn’t sure what to make of the thinness of her smile to him and his friends or the warmth of hers to Dundarg. But John was ever sensitive to such things.


Then Cordelia entered. John cooled for just a moment as Cordelia entered the shop. He did not want dirty laundry aired publicly. But things recovered quickly. “Well enough,” John said with a cheerful smile. He suspected her focus would be on her son and subtly looked to Sir John to see if he would signal that he wanted to be left alone or aided.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Catherine chattered cheerfully to Bethany as the two girls looked through the fans. Sophia smiled at Eunice, silently welcoming her to join her. As they were so new to court and didn't know many people, they had not yet been treated poorly because of their father's disgrace. Bridget tried to protect them as much as she could. She didn't want their first season to be remembered with sadness.


Lord Ogle had passed up a princess to dance with her? Or was Lord Maldon only being kind to her? She smiled warmly at the Earl and her mood began to lift when Sir John bowed to her and reached for her hand. As soon as she held it out, the doorbell rang and a middle-aged woman walked in. By the Baronet's reaction, he knew her and when he called her 'Mother,' Bridget looked at her with interest. There was definitely a resemblance between them.


Lady Lucas gazed at her too. Perhaps it was her imagination, but she thought that the lady seemed to disapprove of her. Defiance flashed in Bridget's blue eyes. So what if she did? If not for her father's situation, she would not have associated with either of them. She had simply appreciated his kindness in a world that was sadly lacking in compassion.


She curtsied respectfully when she was introduced, though. So did Sophia. Catherine hadn't even noticed that somebody else had entered the store. Bridget and her sisters had given their advice to Lord Dundarg. Perhaps it was time that they go.

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The dynamics of the situation continued to change.


With the appearance of a somewhat harried woman in her forties from the dressing room, "Have them delivered by Friday." she spoke a little louder than need be, deafness perhaps, or aparant nerves, who knew? "Girls?" she scanned the room looking for these that were hers, "Come along." like a receding tide she left drawing the young women with her. "You shall have to meet her another time." Lizzy quickly said, the ever-smiling girl squeezed his arm before she returned to her Aunt Veronica. Bethany murmured something to Catherine, before gathering up the youngest and the three hurried on off.


Meanwhile Sir John had noticed his mothers response as he introduced her to Bridget. His first instinct was to shelter the young woman from his mothers penetrating gaze. Stepping between them he uttered, "I understand Ogles incline entirely." in follow on to his fellows comment. It was true, you have to be royal to marry a Princess, so why dance with one. A man on the hunt for a wife need focus on those that were attainable. Bridget Osborne, might be on his par.


Dundarg responded politely to this one and that, his amicable nature embraced fold of all ranks and files. Yet his interest was caught by something outside. In his awful Scottish accent that was a challenge for any to understand, eh said something that might have been excusing himself to look after something outside, before he made sounds of farewell and exited out the door.


"Lord Maldon and I are upon prepare for his Snow Fort event in just a few days time." Sir John revealed in part for his mothers benefit (she might be pleased that he was indeed befriended to the man she'd recommended him) in part for Bridget's. "I hope you ladies are all attending?" his gaze returned to the Osborn girl, before sweeping on to include the rest of the lovelies.



OOC: I am moving Douglas out of the shop so we can continue the thread - he can return if he returns to play while our thread is active. Meanwhile, we have fallen into the 'closing up time frame' so lets see how we can wrap this up darlings?!

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John was being kind to Bridget. But it was also true. And perhaps Bridget had heard John talking about the princess when she’d approached (for she’d arrived a moment later).


John smiled and waved lightly at the Dwight’s departures. He looked forward to tea with Elizabeth. For all his increasing experience, John still didn’t know that she was dreaming of changing her name from Dwight to Bramston. But he did find her pleasant company.


Speaking of, John approached Bridget and Sir John. “Would you c-c-care to take tea sometime?” John offered to Bridget. She seemed primed to leave and the offer was a good note for her to do so on. It appeared he and Sir John would be sticking together after all.


“Ah, yes.” John said when Sir John invited the Osbornes to his snow castle. “You’re all welcome. Yes, I’m sure you… will be most welcome.” John’s tone on the unnecessary last sentence hinted that he would do what he could so her father didn’t matter.


Sir John and Lord Ogle both stood as proof that men John had influence over treated her decently. John had never done otherwise, even before Basildon had extended his protection.


OOC: Agreed on closing this up.

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She took careful note of how this Osborne girl responded back but could not find any fault initally in her Salute nor from the others'. Noted too how her son stepped between but she merely kept her pleasant expression firmly in place.


"Do you?" She whispered back her gaze holding his for a moment then she turned it towards the Company. His comment was in reply to anothers and not to her directly but she knew he had heard it. He then spoke of this thing planned with Maldon.


"And I am sure he appreciates all your .. experiences with such things .. and I am glad that the two of you have acquired some common ground." She looked to Maldon and nodded.


Her son then asked if the ladies were attending and followed his eyes back to that Osborne girl where it rested before moving to inclued the rest of them.


Twas then that things began to turn with the departure of some of the girls with what Cordelia presumed was their Mother as she appeared and took them out of the shop.


The Scottish Baron was next and she nodded and smiled but did not add that she would see him soon. Knowing when the time came to retreat she did just that. Telling her son and Maldon to enjoy themselves she glided past intent to finish her own business.


A cool "Mistress Osborne" was uttered as her eyes once again looked intently at the girl then she smiled and departed.


She did not expect anything from her son yet her heart still would have liked a genuine greeting and pleasure at the sight of her.



(fin for me tnx)

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Bridget was surprised when Sir John stepped between her and his mother as if to shield her. She smiled at his comment about Lord Ogle. Would he ask her to dance at the next ball? She rather hoped that he would. The young blonde appreciated his concern for her.


The Dwight girls left with their aunt and Lord Dundarg departed a few moments later. Bridget and her sisters were now left alone with Sir John, his mother, and Lord Maldon. Glancing around the store, she saw that her sisters were still looking at the merchandise. They didn't seem in any hurry to leave.


She didn't listen closely to the conversation between mother and son, and she was startled when Lord Maldon spoke to her. She had not seen him walk over to her. “Tea would be lovely,” she replied.


Then Sir John invited them to Lord Maldon's snow fort and the Earl agreed that they should come. It seemed to be a party of some sort. She had not been invited to any private parties yet, except for the one Lord Basildon planned to take her to.


“Oh can we go?” Catherine asked, returning to her sister with a pretty fan in one hand. “It sounds like so much fun.”


“It does,” Bridget admitted. Smiling at both gentlemen, she added: “We will all attend if we can.”


She curtsied to Lady Lucas as she left the store. “My sisters and I should finish our shopping.” Picking up the shawl that Sir John had recommended to her, she draped it over her arm. “I hope I will see both of you soon.”


With Catherine in tow, Bridget moved to the back of the shop where Sophia was still admiring the fabric flowers.



OOC: ~finis~ for the Osbornes, who have faded into the background. Figured they'd still want to do a bit of shopping.

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