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And why Not! | visiting the Doolittle's, 27th late morn- Xmas 1677

Ambrose Turnbull

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The House of Lord Cedric Doolittle, Baronet and shipping magnate


Although the area of St. James Square only recently became of interest to the wealthy who migrated westward of the city after the Great Fire, certain individuals have sought to build in a fashion that would make their grand new residences appear old and well-established. The Doolittle residence is one of this kind. Set back from the street, the Romanesque stone mansion boasts a façade of pillars, although it lacks the arched windows of the re-purposed monastic buildings. The small garden in the front of the mansion only hints at the expanse of groomed hedges and topiary to be found behind, but warmly welcomes visitors up to the vast double-doors of the front entry. With a mere 6 rooms on each of its 3 stories, however, this is not among the largest of London's noble residences. Still, it speaks of wealth.



Ambrose was at a loose end, fancing some interest to the day, but it was too goddam early to expect any in the Merry Gang to be ready for sport. Ellen. The girls face had popped into his mind, although she was such a stuffy girl in many ways, she was also bolder than most.


Why not? With a twist of lips the out of uniform Lieutenant set out, fully aware there were dozens of reasons he ought think better of calling on a lady who was so determined to land herself a match, but uncaring to the danger. He'd faced all manner of dangers at sea and they'd not got the better of him, so what risk could a hundred and twelve pound girl present him? Besides, he liked the verbal sparring they did - further she was the only women he'd met at court thus far that did not wilt at his sport.


Rapping at the grandiose door, he tucked his tricorn under his arm and waited.



OOC: Ambrose is in civies today.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The Lt would be admitted by a servant who would show him into a room just off the entry.


He would see at once by its design and furnishing that it belonged to Times Past - back even before the Late King - with stone walls covered with tapestry on two sides and a huge hearth with a fire that truly did warm the room and belched out the pleasing scent of herbs. Above the fireplace was a portrait of a woman she too dressed in the fashions of long ago.


The well trod wood floors were covered in two areas by Turkish carpets in blend shades of blues with several large round table and chairs done in a scrolled Akron pattern, a table that had been converted to a desk sat on the wall that was paneled in dark wood its surface covered with rolled scrolls, several half open maps, various bills and ledgers. In a tall high backed chair sat the eldest daughter of Sir Cedric.


She wore what she normally did at home but decent enough for callers - cranberry wool spun so fine it was soft to the touch coupled with a chemise that was bordered along the top edge with a narrow band of black satin and was a foil against the creamy skin where it rested. Her blonde hair was in its usual long braid tired at the end with whatever she had found at hand. This day it was a purple ribbon.


That she had been working would be indicated by the bits of ink that stained her fingers of her right hand but she put down the quill and smiled at him as he entered.


"Lt Turnbull. Come warm yourself by the fire for I am sure you are half frozen. Is it still snowing?"


She expressed no surprise at his arrival. For had she not asked it?


"Will you take some libation - you will find it there in those decanters. Father is trying out some new wines from Spain ....." She smiled again across to him her brown eyes watching.

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Ambrose gave a nod to the servant, and followed in to the house proper.


His eyes gave scant interest to the house as he passed, but he'd never been much of a man for interior decor. His elder bother might have appreciated it all better. Instead, the mans eyes sought around the room for the lady of the house. She appeared to be working. How about that. Women and work (women of quality that is) were not two things he would put together.


"Mistress Ellen." Ambrose approached, and bowed with a genial grin upon his face. She seemed unmoved that he'd visited, perhaps was angry at him still. What had he said to her the other night again? Odds were that he'd offended, by and large that seemed to be the end state of his brushes with females.


"You are looking well, bonny girl, had I said before? Yes bonny. And a drop of rum would be just the thing to warm the gizzard." he stood midst the room then, feet a foot apart and hands behind his back, one of which held his hat. "Not snowing no, but bloody cold. Err. I mean pretty cold, especially compared to the Caribbean."


"So, you are helping your father out with his numbers?" he speculated of the curious state he'd found her in, she did not even seem embarassed of it, why in fact, she seemed to want to continue at it. She did not actually arise to fetch a drink, but still sat at the desk with that patient sort of watchfulness.


Belately it dawned upon him, and with a gesture of hand that included his hat he apologised. "Oh. Oh, you are busy. Perhaps I return some other time, when you are at liberty."

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He was so much like those men about the Docks - with their use of language and mannerisms but then also not. Perhaps that was what had drawn her attention to him?


His descriptiveness was straight forward and the way he then tried to correct it made her smile but then as she continued to watch she realized that she had made a mistake. Her manner was too friendly for such a short acquaintance so she had best mend it now.


"You must forgive me Lt for my lack of Hospitality - my head is full of plans you see for my father is desirious of expanding one of the warehouses and you have caught me adding up figures and lines when I should have bid you Welcome. Please sit."


She stood then and indicated a large tall backed chair with a comfy looking cushon in dark blue velvet that had been embroidered wth yellow daisys. It was a 'mans chair' and he would be able to lounge with ease. And the warmth from the fire would be welcomed but not over-powering.


"Rum there is none but will a French Brandy do? The Carribbean? Was that where you have sailed from then?"


She had moved across to the table that held the various bottles and several glasses in different sizes and shapes. She reached for a decanter made of frosted crystal and removed the cork and poured a healthy measure into a small glass that was made of apale green Sea Glass of which he might be familiar.


Turning she crossed over to where he had hopefully sat and once the drink was delivered she would take up the identical chair a few feet away her frame made all the smaller by the size of it.

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The simple fact was that Ambrose did not have enduring friendships with women to draw upon, Ellen's informality was not a situation he was familiar with. (Well, there was his Cousin, but they'd known each other from childhood, which made it entirely different.)


So it was that as Ellen slid into the more usual protocols, the Lieutenant smiled, and understood his welcome. Some might say he was dense, some would say he needed a woman to train him, the verdict for now was out.


"Thank you." he moved towards the chair, and then lingered knowing he needed wait for the lady to sit first. He was endeavoring good behaviours. "French brandy, is your cabinet always so exotic?" he asked, first the foreign wines and then this. "Well yes I shall try a nip. You are drinking too, yourself?"


He stood with hands behind back again as she saw to pouring. How many points was she worth again? Egads, but he was going soft if he reconsidered. She was rather sweet though, and tolerated him well. She'd not tolerate him any more if he despoiled her and turned her in for the prize money.


Looking a little bothered, Ambrose accepted the drink then and following her decent to chair settled.


"It sounds as though you are holding the fortress together with your pen and math. He has no book keeper for such?" with hat now settled upon his lap, he leaned forwards over it to taste the brandy. Being from france, he did not know what to expect.


"The past few years in the Carib yes. I was 1st Lieutenant aboard the Frigate HMS Foresight. Patrolling the waters for England's interests, trying to keep rule and order. A task that I fear a score of ships like her would be pressed to achieve."


"But your father must have trade in those parts also, so no doubt you know the scourge of scoundrels." Talking of sensible things, Ambrose was almost a different man, the bluff and bravado, the string of expletives were gone. Though perhaps too, the thing he contemplated was weighing upon his soul. It had seemed fine sport when laughing over it in the wine cellar.

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She had been right and once she assumed the Rolé that he was most used to she sensed his relaxing.


She did not drink but instead leaned a bit forward in her chair as she answered him back


"Oh he has many that do such. But in some matters he relies on me. He has no son you see and I am the eldest so ... And I find I have quite the head for Business. You must visit the warehouses, if you like, sometime. I think you'd find an interest there."


She watched as he tasted curious if he'd appreicate it. He would, she surmised, make the most of it but long for ale or beer and she'd be happy to oblige that as well.


"I have longed to travel. When I was younger I made several small journeys never more than a day as Mother did not hold with it. And somehow I never managed to convience father to go over her Ruling!"


"You must miss it? The Sea I mean. Yes, I have heard the Captains speak many times of the dangers that lie in wait for those that do such. Father worries much over it and we have lost only three ships but that was too great so now, well, everyone is more 'fortified'."


"Did you ever face such dangers yourself Lt.? You carry yourself so it apperas as a man without injury ..."

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The brandy was sweet, warm too. After a sip he held the glass still, drew a breath and listened to her concerns. They were not the concerns he'd have guessed to for a lady, but then they were brought into a title, not born with.


"You are set to inherit his business one day then, I'd wager. Though may that be scores of years away yet." Doolittle was a fit man, in his prime with health and knowledge. "Is it buildings that hold your special interest then?"


"I can understand their caution, unmarried ladies present a pretty target when traveling." he advised discreetly as he could. Looking down at his glass again, he turned it between fingers. "Ahyyeah, yes. Yes I miss the sea, the thrive of industry aboard, eyes to the horizon, a joint goal. On land. On land I..." he shrugged leaving the topic be.


"As is only prudent, I wish more ships traveled with better prepare. Lack of training has let down many a crew that was theoretically prepared for an attack."


He smiled then of her question. "I've spent a decade in His Majesties Service, not all mariners carry the scars of their battles readily apparent. Though I would assert that some men are more reckless than I, yes. And perhaps my innate caution has not sped my career. I have peers that made Captain years back, peers also upon that path have passed into the Ocean's watery embrace. Judge me what you will. Ack, but you have me ruminating now. Too much reflection serves no man well. With my fathers passing, I chose to come to land, to be at my brothers assistance should I be needed." which made his hope to become captain one day moot. At least for now.

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sorry for the delay




She smiled a bit at his assumption.


"I am the eldest of three daughters. My middle sister, Viscountess Melville, has recently birthed a daughter who bears my name. If they continue to produce then in all likelyhood a son will be born which speaks for the Doolittle Fortune being carried on."


"It is also possoble that there will be daughters and no living sons - as happened with our Lady Mother - so then to whom might it go to then? So that makes 'Me' a topic of discussion amongst those eager for it but not quite so for me."


"My father enjoys his Health thus far. So God Willing he will for longer."


"My interests? I think you might be the only person ever to ask that. I have been educated in all things the befit a 'Lady' so can well manage a Household. I am not a skilled horsewoman but do enjoy. I do not care for blood-sports such a bear baitings and the like."


"I am well-suited I think to Water and thus appreciate the Sea and can undrstand why you are drawn to it."


She watched as he turned the glass between his hands and then spoke about his own longings for it and she made a guess that he wasn't happy to not be at sea.


"Well then I am glad that you bear no scars of the visible kind - not that that would make any difference - at least to me. I am sorry to hear of your father."


"Your brother?"


"Ah. You mean he is the elder and so inherits or is he younger and you the elder which makes you the Heir and thus cancels any plans of advancement ...."


It was an all too personal question yet he had begun it by the asking after hers.

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"A business is not like a title, I would think you underestimate your fathers appreciation for your work." Ambrose alleged as she claimed she'd not inherit any of the company. Rumor was that Doolittle had already given away a percentage of the company to Melville as part of the dowry, it thus followed that Ellen (or a husband) was due a percentage too. Perhaps a larger share, for she was the only Daughter actively interested in it.


She was surprised of his asking after her interests, perhaps because they were already apparent. It was plain she enjoyed her fathers business very much, "Water you think?" yet she managed to consider an alternative. "Then you must test your theory soon, in the least you must travel the Thames. Though perhaps you already have excursion-ed upon river, and it is the sea that holds mystery to your mind?"


Another sip of the drink.


"Hmm, well not an end to my career per se. Being heir does not ruin my goals so much. It is merely, that at this time of adjustment for my brother, I feel a need to remain close. To assist if needed." he made a bunch-cheeked-smile, and then carried on, "besides, upon land I might advance my marine cause through other means. If I was prudent, I'd already have a course planned. I ought do so now, I am thinking." Only just thought of that, actually. This quiet conversation might be beneficial to the man, who was in a generally pensive mood after the weekend.


"So you keep your own company for the most part at the house. It seems quiet. I imagined you might have the company of your younger sister." Not that Ellen seemed lonely.

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She made a small motion at his mention of how much her Father must appreciate her but did not counter back. He now doubt had heard all that had been said about them so no use to keep repeating that Story.


"I much like the River and have traveled it many times both up an down and as for the Sea, well, to be honest I have also traveled that as well but twas always a secret from my Lady Mother. Yet I suspect she knew of it as she did most things in this Household. No son ment that she had to make some allowances and for that I am grateful. I miss her."


That little gesture of shaking her head as if to clear her thoughts made her ear bobs twinkle and catch the light - tiny gold balls from far off India - that has caught her eye and she wore often these days.


So HE not the brother was heir and if things went as in most families was not so smooth as one transitioned to another Head of the Family.


"I hope that you are able to keep those ideas Lt and Ambition is a fine thing. Here, in London, may opportunities will no doubt present themselves. Will there be War do you think? Nothing will happen till after the thaw naturally and I have been in the Gallery myself and seen all the posturing for place and position . I do not much care for War."


"My Father will argue tis good for business and how he might benefit! 'ships will be needed By God and I can provide ...' She mimicked.


"Will you fight then or must you now restrain - if you are Head of your family will they not try to keep you on land? But you also have your own conscience. I do not envy Men in this instance at all."


"This house runs itself with the many hands employed but I keep my own hand in as is custom just as Mother did. When a routine works why change it? I spend time at the Docks as well going thru the warehouses and now and then make a suggestion or two but you know well enough the mind set that rules there - a woman's place/voice."


"My younger sister is just out of the schoolroom at ten and five. She knows nothing save for fashion or beauty topics and even less of the World beynd this house. Yet she is the fairest of US and will, no doubt, be quickly taken up. Any man that takes her for wife needs must be parpared to be very patient I think! To have to explain the reasons for everything will not make for a happy start."


She had leaned back farther into the big chair relaxed and at ease comfortable with his presence and the course of their conversations. She wondered just how long it might last before he too showed all the signs of those 'Gentleman' that had come before.

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'Keeping secrets from her mother', well that came as a surprise. Ellen had not seemed that type, even if she was not successful of it, as she supposed. But his question unwittingly gave opening for her lamentation, and again she spoke of her unfortunate position. Since they had met she had bemoaned being unmarried, undesired, out of favor, without prospects, any number of other misfortunes. And now having no brother, and a diseased mother seemed also wounds she nursed.


Did she truly want his pity? It seemed so. He'd resisted giving it till now, tried instead to show her alternatives. But, she was stubborn in her search of it. So now finally he gave what she seemed to want.


"I am very sorry to hear that Mistress Ellen. It is unfortunate indeed."


Somehow there was a misunderstanding at that point, upon his position in his own family. But unspoken of, so he had no opportunity to correct it. Instead he spoke of ambition, and she provided a well wish.


"Yes there shall be war. Though I cannot know if it shall be a war with the French, nor what time frame it shall take." he spoke, having lived long enough now to know another war was inevitable. "It is nature for women to lament of wars and for men to lust for them - yes for it is good for business, for ambition and those with vision. Yet the toll it takes is high."


His glass was half emptied, so he conserved it. It was warm in here, the room comfortable, and Ellen too, despite her depression, proved good company.


But then the topic of his placement in his family was re-mentioned, and he able to correct the miscommunication. "My brother is the Baron. And yes I shall fight again when summoned, it is both my profession and duty as an Englishman. Ah, but fret not of the position men are put into, under strain the most violent friendships are formed. And to become part of the outstanding machine of war, keeping once place, and resisting in unity. While all around clamours, though blast and assault, though the clash of nations...not to mention the role of Our Father therein, and victory. The shock of it even. The finish line is a strange thing, when it is over, there is a sudden urge to do it again... before exhaustion overwhelms you." he suddenly realised he'd become lost with memory. Halting, he looked up again. "Is a life to be proud of; to fight for England."


Of her own life, an orderly method and seeming quietness was at it's core. The younger sister seemed to have the better lot, seemed to have pleasure in her days. "Ah." he nodded. The picture that Ellen painted of her little sister, seemed to him that she was a girl who would be easily enough indulged. Most could afford a dress bill if that was all it took to have a happy wife. And a blank mind was the sort that could be easily molded.


Ellen was a different story.


"Did you enjoy the Opera the other night?"

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Alerted to the change she sat up straighter with her eyes narrowed a fraction and her head tilted a bit to one side she asked him


"I will accept that if tis in sincerity not because you feel Sorry for me Lt. Pity I have had enough of! Is that how it is?"


"My Life is not as I had hoped and it has taken me long enough to unerstand that. In truth, I was indeed very sorry for myself - once - but that has passed over the last year and now I am settled. When I say that Marriage is not a thing I may have twas said simply because there are no candidates. I shall wait, naturally, in hopes of it but ...."


She gave a small shrug of one shoulder then stood and went to where the decanters sat, took up the brandy, and went to his side offering him more if he wanted it.


"I do not like War. Of any kind." She resumed her seat her braid falling over one shoulder where she absently toyed with the ribbon on its end. "I can reason well enough that tis oft times unavoidable and that men will die. Do you? Lust for it I mean?"


"I have seen the women at the docks as they wait for a ships return heard too their lamentations when it fails to appear round the bend in the River or the face they seek does not come off the ship ... Tis indeed a high cost."


"So then you will be free to risk life and limb."


Somehow that thought bothered her.


"The Opera?"


Her laugh might take him by surprise so she quickly explained


"I am sorry for that laugh tis just that Sophia, er Lady Toledo, has always been Dramatic. You see I have known her quite well before she married even. She lived here rather than with her Guardian Lord Kingston. She is young and so that was the excuse made many times. She is not English and so her ways do not match."


"I had hoped that now that she is married to the new Spanish Ambassador for Spain she might had understood and so curbed her ideas and manners. Her Performance was unfortunately well received so I am worried that she will continue. But her Husband shall hold Control and he looks not the type to condone anything inappropriate."


"You, being a man, will have enjoyed it no doubt!"


"Tell me what are you doing this evening?"


"I ask because my Father and I are going to The Red Lion as invited and as you are still new to The City and tis Christmas after all might you not join us?"


He would decline she was sure but then one never knew

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Surprisingly she took offense, and the lieutenant blinked, not sure how he'd gone wrong. "It is both, I am sincerely sorry for your situation."


She tried to explain why he should not feel sorry for her, though, he in honesty shook his head "Resign to a situation is... a rather sorrowful situation, to my mind, also."


Feeling that he'd managed to insult her, he hardly felt deserving of a refill at that point so shook his head.


"But we simply view things quite differently, as we'd already identified." they'd talked of it at length at the Ball for instance, where he'd suggested she live a life of daring, but she'd declined. "Though I appreciate your reserve when it comes to that, it is not as though a woman's life can amount to much ever."


Foot in his mouth, Ambrose continued to drive it in deeper, to which the chap would flounder more to try make amends.


"No, I do not lust for it so much, not in that all encompassing way. I used the wrong wording I suppose. I mean, war does consolidate a purpose, and unite. When there is an enemy at hand, we may all rally up together. And yes, I do miss that. Here... in London, I feel so... well bloody idle, if you will excuse my french." the impassioned word seemed simply neccessary.




He agreed, and looked at her. She was not a traditional beauty, yet she had an appeal to her, in that sensible and sound sort of way. And that ribbon at the end of the braid seemed quite fetching. If they were sweethearts, she might give it to him, maybe. And he'd keep it in his pocket, like other men kept miniatures in theirs. He wondered if she would miss him if he left and never returned. As she spoke of it, she seemed a little quieter.


"I've never had someone await my ships return."


His question upon the Opera (that had been asked wondering what of life she might enjoy), opened a proverbial can of worms, or at least a well rounded opinion upon it. Or more precisely, the starlet performer, the ambassadors wife no less.


"Unfortunately well received?" It seemed that he might have missed some drama on the stage, "I was posted at the water gate, and saw naught of the show." he reminded gently. "Though I could hear some of the music, and... well I am a sailor too and partial to songs that I can sing along with." he said, partially to side with Ellen's apparent dislike of the singer. Heaven knew he needed to make amends somehow. She was his friend for all of their disagreements, and likely the best friend he had in London.


Then equally out of the blue she invited him to dinner. He grinned. Then remembered Beverly.


"Err... what time would that be, I am planned to meet a fellow officer this evening, I met him while on duty at the gates. And. Well as you say, I am new to the city and wish to make some friends. What say we attend tomorrow evening?" He suggested, unaware that it was a one off deal.

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She could see that this topic at last was a thing not easily settled and so she opted to accept his version at least for now.


"You are right in that Lt. We do view things of the same nature differently and I suppose tis why each of our sex was made so."


He declined the refill and so she went back to her seat setting the decanter on the floor beside her chair.


"Think you that is so? That a woman's LIfe can amount to nothing I mean. As a Wife and Mother that suruly counts. As the manager of her Lord's Household and possibly Estates in his absence that too matters as it requires knowledge and skill."


"If I am to remain unwed does that mean that my father will value me less for it and will not seek to involve me in his Business for lack of a husband? Ones 'Duty' can manifest itself in many forms Lt. And if I should chose to break free of some confines, as you yourself suggested, will I then be fated to fail there as well since as you have said A woman's Life can never amount to much ever."


She was being too hard on him perhaps but he had caught at her temper. He had not intended she thinks to cause insult yet it had certainly riled her into tossing it back.


His speaking of of his idleness and then War was a topic change and she breathed out letting herself relax.


"If War does come that idleness will be gone and so will you. I would miss you - even with all the differences between us."


She smiled across at him calm once again.


"Lady Toledo was, is, impulsive you see and her thoughts of what is right and proper are oft times confused. Oh I had thought that once all were inside that you might have gone inside to watch. But then you were commanded to that place as watcher ..."


"I do not care for this type of performance. I cannot speak fluently in languages and so twas lost on me and then I had to bear the cross-whispers of those about me intent to offer versions of what was being sung as well as those 'remarks' about her attire! I am used to those types as well and I grew up hearing Sailors' Songs tis so much easier to enjoy."


"I beieve tis early evening if I remember it right. Then you needs must keep that appointment naturally. You will have made other introductions besides mine! Yet I shall extend it none the less and mayhap upon some night that is cold and you are in need of food that satisfies beyond what is offered at Taverns will you come here to sup?"


"I know my Father would welcome the company of a Man at table and I would as well."


She had extended it in all sincerity. Yes she would have prefered this night but there was nothing between them and she was determined to NOT allow her thoughts to leap ahead and create things not bound to happen.

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That their view of the world differed was then proven again, as she took an offense to his lackluster view of the woman's lot. Ellen's temper rose greatly, the beginning of her defense being upon Wives and Mothers (which was not her role so he did not count), before she angered that she was important to her fathers business.


"That I can well see." he replied with gesture towards the table with paperwork she'd been attending to. "I merely mean you shall go unrecognized, barring perhaps a plaque dedicating the building to you - perhaps - if anyone happens to have a thought to do that. There are many buildings, and doubtlessly many women who had a say in their planning, but not many plaques."


She'd already explained to him that she'd not be inheriting any part of the business she worked upon, so it seemed to him the only recognition she could hope for was her Fathers pleasure. He was being pragmatic. A quality Ellen herself excelled in.


Yet they then talked of war, the man with his need to do something, and she in the end accepting. Even saying she would miss him.


Ambrose was silent a moment, before replying "Thank you for that." and then there was another pregnant pause. "And for all our rowing, I would miss you too."


"Could this be the same Lady Toledo as I met in the garden?" he puzzled now to hear Ellens view of Sophia's person. "For the woman I met nearly died when I joked and ... err swore. She then went on to act very much a prude, and I took her to be a very stuffy sort. She certainly did not seem a woman to flirt ever or act friendly. Rather, insinuated me to be the cheating & devious sort. This seems an opposite to the women you describe on the stage."


He frowned, wondering if there was some sort of mistake.


He chuckled then of the grown invitation, "Mistress Ellen, every night is cold and I am always hungry. May I come to dinner tomorrow night instead. I should like to meet your father, to broaden my circle you understand. I need not explain that it is not with a mind of courtship. my prospect are uncertain, my future yet unknown, I am not in the market for a wife. Yet your friendship, your candor, ack, your tolerance of me, makes me desirous of keeping your company."

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She let his comments pass regarding her own searchings.


"I would in all Truth feel much sadness should some harm befall you so that is why You must endeavor to remain whole. Is it not a curious thing - whatever is between us that allows for such a relaxed way of words - I am glad that you might miss me."


She smiled across at him her pleaasure at his words obvious.


"Oh? You have met her before? Lady Toledo chooses who she will be generous with carefully and tis usually a Gentleman that will fall helpless at her feet willing to do what ere she commands. She must have thought you had nothing to offer. Her loss I am sure."


"But you must remember that she is used to having her own way and that her thoughts and ideas are so unlike those of her sex might be. I suspect she was much indulged and so thinks that will be the way of it here too."


"I do not know much about those that perform upon stages but tis like any other actor - would she not play a part to whatever the situation might be?"


"Let it bother you nought Lt and if you meet again then make a new attempt."


He refused but then offered a compromise.


"You are free to do as you please but I should be happy to welcome you. How kind of you to be so blunt in what you seek. My Father will not have the wrong idea so do not worry - you are not what He seeks for his two remaining daughters."


Her tone was light and so he might not think that she was in fact rather hurt by the bluntness of his little speech.


"I set a comfortable table. And until you do something that shall change my opinion of you you will be welcome'd."


"Now, will you have another drink?"


One navy shoe became visible as she began to edge the decanter with her foot in his direction a smile about her mouth as she then looked across to him adding


"So much better to meet half way do you not think?"

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It might simply be that neither of this pair could afford to be fussy when claiming a friendship, that even a companion with whom one disagreed was better than no companion at all. Whatever it was, Ellen expressed favor upon keeping his company with all his abilities in tact still. "Then I shall do my best to comply with your request." He gave a wry laugh at that.


Yet they manged to find one point of agreement, namely odds with Lady Toledo. Ellen's smile at this point appeased Ambrose earlier concerns of having slighted. "Yes she did seem like a girl spoiled, I expect a girl like that prefers gents who carry on in the same trend." His own ego was oddly soothed as Ellen explained in that frank way that he had nothing to offer Sophia, and that was why she'd been as she had. It was better that, than some other unfathomable thing.


"I have written her an apology, and a forfeit of the sport I had asserted to win. I still firmly believe I would have won that game however. But. Well people at court are such prissy and sensitive things. Would you believe that I also managed to offend the renown cad Rochester. Now if I'd have thought anyone would posses a thick skin it would be him. But. Well, as said, people at court are hardly up to it." he sighed, then realising he'd gotten a bit wound up and defensive over that.


And defensiveness would not do any good.


He needed instead to confirm if he was to get anywhere -or else he'd forever be a man with nothing to offer women. Nor their Fathers. Ellen reassured him that he was not what her father sought for his daughters either. Good news he supposed, though the plainness of the statement cut too. He pulled a toad faced smile and nodded.


"Half way yes." his eyes dropped to her hem, shoe that peeked, decanter nudged. Lifting eyes to hers again he completed his drink and set it down. "I have drunk enough of your spirits, and stolen enough of your time from your work." He gave a fuller smile then, and pushed himself up to his feet. "Thank you for your kind hospitality Mistress Ellen. I am looking forward to dining again at a family table. It shall be a treat indeed." he bowed then.

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So he had taken her words to be true and that he would keep himself Safe - or so she Hoped.


"Rochester? Well for someone new come to Court you seem to have managed to put yuurself into all different places! You must tell me how tis done mayhap I might be able to follow your example."


He followed her movement but did not accept the offer. Instead, he drained his glass and stood, adding that he looked forward to the next night and the offered meal.


She followed him rising as well bending to take up the decanter and placing it back in its place turning it a fraction before she looked across to him.


"I hope that you shall keep well between tonight and tomorrow - no dangerous persuits along dark alleyways."


She was at his side with a few steps and offered him her hand


"Until the morrow then Lt Turnbull."


She knew that he would come back and perhaps even might enjoy himself as would her Father and a nagging thought teased - should she let her younger sister join them? There was not much enjoyement and twas Christmas after all - she would sleep on it. An unwillingness to share him taking hold.

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Getting Rochester offside was a positive thing in some peoples books. Ambrose gave a rough laugh at Ellen's request for tips! "Well apparently he's a might sensitive of his poxed ... err... cover your ears miss, 'appendage'." Which was likely a tad more colour that Ellen would be used to hearing about on a morning (or afternoon, or evening too for that matter!).


"Though I would ward you away from raising the subject with him yourself, or with anyone for that matter. Well, I am of course different, I've really no shame on the subject being in fit full health. Not that that is a question in your mind." sometimes Ambrose wished he could reverse back a conversation as he realised he was digging himself a (well intentioned) hole, "err, what I mean is that our conversations are something entirely different to what you might have with just any other man. Not that I have any possession over your ears, nor the topics you might choose." the Lieutenant was turning beet red, "Ack. If you want to talk about that with him then do! But Still I would advise against it!"


Yet with a dinner invitation in hand (proverbially), he was content to give the woman her leave. He felt some optimism for the dinner, a personal invitation like that was quite a compliment (even with the warning that her father probably wouldnt like him).


She dipped a curtsy, and he had the pleasure of making a formal bow over it to kiss her hand. Dignity. "Yes, until the morrow." he echoed warmly.




Although Ellen could not know it, Ambrose Turnbull was not even contemplating meeting the 'as advertised' prettier sister as he strolled off across the Square on his way back to the barracks. Instead he was smiling to himself recalling her puck and firmness, Ellen was a girl steadily growing on him.



OOC: Fab thread! Thankyou

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