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Degustation side thread | The Apollo room- Xmas 1677

Guest John Bramston

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John and Lucinda


Once she was within arms length John drew her to him with a brief kiss. He smiled widely and cupped her cheek, taking her hand and leading her on. He squeezed it, still finding much meaning in such small gestures. One handed he opened the door to their room, locking it behind them.


The Apollo Room:

The room is on the first floor in the southwest corner of the inn. The floors are covered with a claret-coloured woollen carpet.


A solid oak wardrobe stands against one wall and a small writing table and chair against another. The table has good quality paper, a delft-ware ink well and a few quills.


A small mirror hangs over the mantlepiece and a comfortable chair upholstered in claret coloured wool stands beside the fire.


The room is dominated by the canopied bed. The bed curtains, canopy and coverlet are of crewel work linen, that is linen embroidered in wools. The embroidery design is of Apollo playing the lyre in a contest with the satyr Pan, all depicted marvellously with attention to detail on the nymphs surrounding them. The bed is dressed with Irish linen sheets, starched crisp and soft blankets of claret coloured English wool.


John looked at Lucinda, a gleam in his eyes. With a twirling flourish he pulled her to him and indulged in another kiss, this one more passionate, longer. He breathed deeply of her closeness, convincing himself she was real. And that she was with him.

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Her eyes were bright looking into the room, "A bed, how novel.." but comments were crushed by Johns kiss, his determination still caught her by surprise. It was a pleasant surprise. His lips told of a great hunger, and her lips encouraged him to let it fully show.


Fingers ran up his front, under jacket, then up and over shoulders pushing the jacket off to the floor. Gasping for a breath she asked, "Did you rent the room for an hour, or half, or ...my god, do they rent rooms for ten minutes? How fast do we need to be?" she have a laugh, the sordidness of it was provocative. Her eyes slid back to the bed, "It's probably not even cold."


While in fact the Red Lion was rather well appointed, a cut above, and it's guest rooms rather too classy to match the role she chose for it.

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John was still new to this and as eager as a bursting dam. Lucinda’s comment might have been meant as wry but this was John’s first time in a bed. So he shrugged off his jacket, pleased at her gasp. He tugged at the offending ribbon, loosening her clothes pleasingly.


John smiled, “An hour.” That seemed long enough to do as they wished and tarry a little if they wanted. “Though it’s b-b-been made up for a nightly stay…” There was little seedy about this place. That was for the best. It made John more comfortable.


John moved over to the bed and sat on the edge. He made a play at frowning, “It’s very c-c-cold.” He tried to look the part of a man caught in winter without his jacket. He certainly shook convincingly.

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Endowed with a generous bosom, a certain amount of it burst from containment as the teased ribbon was finally loosed. "Oh now that feels so much better." Lucinda purred, tugging her neckline even lower to reveal as sinful about of flesh. Grand paps with crimson nipples taut in the rooms chill, jiggling with her glee of being in a rented for an hour room.


With narry dawdle, they gravitated to the bed. She crawled onto the bed, her clothing loose about her fell lower and lower about her torso. "I've a nice warm place just for you." Lucinda caught his hand and drew it to the edge of her skirts.

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John’s eyes were drawn to her breasts. He was staring quite openly, following their movements enraptured. She crawled onto the bed and Johan reached for her. She took his hand and guided it to her skirts. John’s hands smoothly slid under.


Despite the grip being a bit different than he intended, he still came in for a kiss, pressing shirted chest to bare breasts. He was still inexperienced but getting better with each bout of practice. One of his hands crept upward, seeking if she was ready for him to try another sort of kiss she’d hinted at in their first coupling…

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With a girlish giggle of pleasure, Lucinda dissolved into his kiss, eyes slipping closed as her arms slid around his neck drawing him closer.


It was an elemental joy, her pleasures focus being his lips, though the creep of his hand proved a titillating accent that quickened her heartbeat.

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John leaned into her arms and pressed into her kiss. But feeling a readiness he kissed her again, then her lower lip, then began trailing down. He remembered her whispered hints from their last meeting and was eager to try anything she wanted.


First neck, then chest, then a stop where he kissed her breast, gently sucking on the nipple. His hand found purchase between her legs and began to stroke gently along her lips.

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With soft whimpers of joy descending, working slowly steadily up into a heady crescendo which left our lovers collapsed and sated in each others arms.



Lucinda was laid along side John, her fingers idly trying to curl a lock of his hair that was too short for the task, as she looked into his resting face.


She had a sensation that, that, "How is the season treating you my dear?"

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John nuzzled into Lucinda’s grasp. He was happy. But then Lucinda asked a piercing question. John looked surprised, then he smiled and polite lies were on his lips, then he sunk. “B-b-better than last season. But last season ended with my debut ruined by the d-d-death of a relative to plague in the halls of Parliament.” John sighed.


“That was my entire reason for c-c-coming last season, you know. I was… so terribly nervous…” And then one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse had swooped down. John had been so eager for it to be normal, a silent rebuke to all those who'd implied he was simple.


“Nothing l-l-like that has happened this season. But p-p-people still don’t reply to me, or mock me, or f-f-forget me, or…” John trailed off with a sigh. “You know the Queen forgot me in the span of a few d-d-dances? But she remembered the lady I’d invited along. Somehow she’d come to the conclusion that lady had planned it alone and forgot about my presence entirely.” The words had a mildly sour taste to them. "And only one lady... spent a d-d-dance with me at the ball. And..."


"It was j-j-just a mistake, I'm sure. Just a coincidence. But... it f-f-feels like it keeps happening." John sighed. "I begin to wonder if I'm out of f-f-favor." He felt like it, even though he knew he wasn't.


After a moment, "You, uh. Sorry." John apologized. He blushed slightly. He was afraid he was alienating her by complaining. "I'm glad I have you. You're g-g-good for me." He held her tightly. He obviously derived some comfort from that.

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His fears, his worst imaginings, begun to slip from his lips... she listened quietly, her fingers stilled near his temple. His voice faltered at times, so dark were the visions that haunted him.


"Leicester's death is not to be taken so personally." she soothed, her voice soft, loving even. "He lived a long and productive life, there is little to grieve when a man has lived his life well, and to die with such drama; might we all be so fortunate." she placed a kiss on his brow.


"It is difficult when a man first comes to court, I've seen many come, many go." she looked towards the ceiling then, her fingers had resumed their tender stroking of his temple, "your lot is different to a womans. Yours is a longer race to run. Ladies, well you will have seen them. They arrive with a great drama about them, and everyone looks, everyone attends. Yet the span of their time may be as short as a season, some times a couple, before they are no longer amusing. Their jokes tired and wan, their conversation tedious, their coy and artifice become tiresome and cliche. Their eyes dull... and their once bright smile, now forced."


"While a man. Especially a man with sober ambition, such as yours, has a slow row to hoe. He cannot 'effervescent' his name into deep intrigue, he cannot force his way into position of trust. He need to work slowly and steadily, at times his progress invisible even to himself. But as hard a row as it is, it is a long one, that may rise to the tip of the highest mountain, that might last a lifetime."


"Mmm... but you are fortunate my sweet, that you have your eyes open. There are some men who labour for years without understanding. But you, you have a benefit now of having met your true opponents, the opponents of any courtier really; concern and self doubt." the Countess turned her face to look into his eyes once more, and gave him a small smile.


"But lets analyze it shall we. Tell me my sweet, why would another man ignore you - what answer can you think of for that?"

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John gently held her, “I w-w-wanted to feel like I’m not cursed.” John said in reply. His voice was almost childlike in the frustration at the denial. “I knew he’d p-p-pass. I know it wasn’t about me. But… it was my debut.” Again, there was an innocent quality to the frustration. He knew it had not been done to hurt him, but his first session of Parliament would always hold some special significance. A negative one now.


John shifted happily into her ministries. When she looked at the ceiling John tried to guide her back to him. “L-l-look at me please. There’s comfort in your eyes.” His tone was honest in a vulnerable sort of way.


“I know.” John was aware women, especially pretty women, burned bright and fast. “I d-d-do not expect to be t-t-taken as wise. And I expect t-t-trust only from my close friends and family.” For just this reason John had purposefully chosen to deal in small matters. At least in the sense they had little chance of affecting the power of the magnates of court. He did have cards to play in the great games but he had mostly declined to, afraid he would do more harm than good.


“But I expect respect. Basic respect, like polite replies or k-k-keeping appointments. And to be remembered when I do something. Do you know why I was successful in g-g-gifting something to the Queen? I was so accustomed to being forgotten over a span of mere minutes I planned for it. And I was right.” John sounded rather bitter.


As for why he was ignored, “Because they think I am weak.” John replied. “Because I d-d-do not hurt… anyone without reason. And I do not take my pride to be sufficient reason. It is the right answer.” But it was difficult sometimes.


John had expressed similar sentiments to Devonshire, pointing out how easy it would be to make trouble for Ormonde after he’d been insulted. Devonshire had agreed the Irish lord was vulnerable. That John could harm him and Ormonde had little room to retaliate. But John was not so petty he would destabilize Ireland over a personal insult.


Battersby, in contrast, had gotten in the way of John arranging for medicine to go to the unfortunate and England’s soldiers. So John felt he had a legitimate moral case for using his power.

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One by one Lucinda begun to address his concerns, though he added to the list as they went. But that was fine, they had an entire evening before them. It was early, figuratively and literally, yet.


"Hmm... this is more than grief of a the loss of an old man you did not personally know." she came to understand, "What had you expected at your first session of the Lords?" she smiled inwardly then, eyes casting upwards to the ceiling (though her eyes focussed far beyond) "I recall another young man disappointed, though his pride too great to admit it to me. Our Louis Killington, his first session of the Lords it was an impeachment trial. He sat upon the backbenches and watched, ignored by all, the highlight was the reading of a letter before they adjourned to private chambers to discuss it, but not with Louis though."


She did not mention others yet, though there were many examples of idealistic young man who attended The House for the first time with a gleam in their eyes, and who left with bitter disappointment. Some took it so personally that they never returned. She did not expect her cub to be like that, he just needed some encouragement, and he'd grow up to be a great bear in The House.


Here now she pushed away his hand as he tried to turn her head to him prematurely. It was example of what she already knew of him, he'd been raised apart from society, isolated, spurned -- he did not understand many social things. With love in her heart she explained, "Do not think that because I look distantly I am not thinking of you. To look distant eases the mind to reflection; to think in perspective. This is something you shall see many people do, and now you are aware of it's meaning, you need appreciate it. It is the persons engagement to you that they would draw upon their own lifes experiences to form a reply. Indeed, you can be less trusting of those that stare intently into your face without a moments let up, such intensity cannot be held naturally without some deep emotion. You must come to question intense looks, why the bearer of them is so passionate? Usually it is not to do with you at that point at all. But their own desires of converting you to their point of view." Ironically perhaps, she'd turned her face to him at this point. Smiling of it she said, "You shall come to learn who you can trust. But know you can trust me my dear."


To the second topic she addressed, he seemed a bit dismissive of her reply, grimly holding onto his negative view. It was the way of youth she supposed. "You must have already heard that respect is earned and not a given. Any peer new to court goes through a proving time, he is never hailed at the gates. 'Better is the end of a matter than the beginning' she slipped into a citation of Ecclesiastes. "You are correct to expect to be forgotten, until you have made a mark, and to plan for being overlooked is very clever of you sweetheart. Yet that need be tempered with positivity. Plan for the worst, but expect the best; and what you imagine is what you are most likely to come into."


"No my dear." she softly corrected him as he claimed his reply was the correct answer. "That is but one possible answer. What is another possible answer hmm?"

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John sighed, “I was m-m-more realistic than him. All I w-w-wanted was to vote while sitting with my family. I d-d-didn’t intend to even speak.” In fact, he had promised Devonshire he wouldn’t. The limited scope of his ambition made the denial worse in John’s mind. The only reason he failed was because of something extraordinarily bad happening.


John paused for a moment as she spoke of why she wished to look away. Then he nodded (though she could hardly see it). “As you p-p-please.” His hand shifted back to hold her. He trusted her enough to believe that her looking away was not a rejection.


“I know.” John said of who he could trust. “I like to think I know how to f-f-find that. I had to, g-g-growing up.” He was, generally. He could be blinded by affection, though he hadn’t realized that yet. As for being hailed at the gates, "What d-d-do I want that would be that?" John left out that his family often was simply based on blood and rank.


“And a p-p-patient spirit is better than a proud one.” John completed the line. “But the p-p-previous line begins: 'Surely injustice makes a wise man mad.' It… speaks of acknowledging j-j-just anger but avoiding rashness or nostalgia, m-m-moving backward rather than forward.” John actually felt he was following the passage. He was angry, and expressing that anger, but he was not acting on it without some additional impetus.


(That John had been in seminary some time and his parents had tried to remove him from succession via the church was left unsaid.)


“I have to earn p-p-people keeping appointments with me?” John asked, incredulous. “Not agreeing to m-m-meet me, but after they say they will, actually showing up?” That was the sort of thing even the lowest country squire considered good manners. It was one of the pillars of honor, credit, to keep your word on such matters.


John let out a breath, “It’s not that I d-d-drift from their minds. If the Queen needed reminding t-t-today what I did a few days ago, I would understand. But the time was so b-b-brief I don’t know how she forgot. And she d-d-didn’t forget what was happening, but specifically that I was involved.” John emphasized.


“This was after she t-t-told me to return. She and all her ladies f-f-forget that another lady hadn’t been alone. And I know the l-l-lady who forgot me that night thinks well of me.” He’d gone out of his way to earn her favor. John had with several of the ladies of waiting and the Groom of the Stole.


“And I d-d-don’t mean to pick on that. There w-w-were other incidents. This has happened repeatedly.” John said, letting out a strong breath of frustration.


Were there other possibilities? “That I hurt p-p-people until they f-f-fear to offend me, like Buckingham or the l-l-like.” John replied, his voice low. “I d-d-do not know if I have that in me.” And he felt that it tied up resources in fights over unimportant matters. Perhaps he was wrong, though, and that reputation was worth its price.

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"Better to be silent than speak at ones first session." Lucinda was reminded of another peers first time, "you need to learn the way of things before your voice will be received well." Chichester had spoken from his heart at his first session, and been publicly scathed. To the best of her knowledge he'd not attended sessions in his subsequent seasons. "The house of Lords is not the stage, is is not glory to vote there nor to speak. More often the politics is behind the scenes, and then the speakers on the day are just going through their actions. You recall the fight that ended the previous session? A contrivance, no doubt planned weeks before. While the votes are all counted long before their display at the house. Your vote, if it was needed by a fraction, would have been solicited during the weeks prior to the actual meeting. If you did not vote, then there was no vote needed. That is the simple fact of it my dear."


Her eyes looked to him intermittently, but hers was not to focus on him with intensity. Though that might have been what he wished? She belonged to no man to control.


“But you were closeted away as your mothers shame, occasions to learn who and when to trust were rarely afforded to you. Which makes you more vulnerable now. The simplest method is to give the appearance of trust at any occasion, for to express distrust even to an enemy is an insult that is is never wise to deliver. And then, in the hours, days, weeks afte; watch the others actions. It is actions that reveal fully if a man is friend or foe." she smoothed his short cropped hair and placed a kiss on his temple, "Would you be surprised to hear that discovery of an enemy presents as many, perhaps even more, opportunities to a clever man or woman?"


"You cannot move backwards my dear, a fledgling cannot revisit the egg any easier than you can wind back the clock to your first session again. The beginning of the matter, the induction of your career as a peer, is over now. It is the end of the career that we set our eyes upon now. What shall you have achieved by the time you reach the get of Leichester? To achieve anything at all, you need set aside your sulk of that first session my boy, and fix your eyes forwards."


“You have to earn prominence in their memory yes, and an astute fellow makes thet easier for his others." She chuckled at his surprise. "English society is entrenched with politeness, so you may be assured that no appointment is made without the intents of keeping it. But every man woman and child is self absorbed. This is a fundamental truth of life, and if we are together any amount of time you shall hear me say it often. The typical self absorbed man needs some lure to remember his appointments. You, as new to court, have the reward of extending your circle. So you easily will remember these appointments when made. But veterans of court have many intrigues upon their table. Many intrigues that might have them forget a meeting with a unproven peer. So, you need do one of a few things - that is if you actually want to see them again. Perhaps send a messenger with a reminder of the meeting. Otr send a not after your setting up of the meeting, with some gift of pleasure of having met. Let me assure that produce and game flows the halls of Whitehall like london's main street. Or during the conversation arranging the appointment itself retain some irresistible morsel that shall leave them anxious for that next meeting. By morstel I mean something that will benefit them personally. For remember, that man, just as much as you, is self motivated."


"The Queen too, is self focused." he reminded, which (without knowing what had happened unless he told her) was in all probability would explain whatever happend.


"Darling. I suggest you do not hold a grudge with the Queen, that is not going to end well." she advised.


"I am noticing a theme here." she then came to comment. "It seems as though you don't want my advice much after all. Rather, I am just somebody you can refute." she said as he shot down her well meaning advice yet again. He would not think of other reasons that people might have ignored him, but instead berated those who were theoretically important to him. (though were they really, for he thought so very poorly of them?!)


"If you want my advise, then answer my question. What other reasons could there have been? Use your mind, not your wounded ego, and think before you reply."

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“Yes,” John agreed. He of course agreed that it was wise to take the course of action he’d been advised to take. And had actually taken. And likewise, he’d made his political arrangements for the session before it had met. But because those arrangements had been a matter of theater, the way a debut was meant to introduce someone, it had been for nothing. If such wasn’t John’s constant experience of court, he might have written it off. But it was.


John’s childhood had been more active than Lucinda imagined. Everyone who had opposed John taking the earldom was dead and all who remained had at least accepted his succession without complaint. That had been five years ago. In the meantime, John had gone to college, stayed in the house of a great lord, and been out in some forms of society.


John nodded to her advice on how to tell friends from enemies. He felt a warmth within him that she cared enough to make up for the deficiencies and he held her a bit more tenderly for it. As for the uses of enemies, "And how c-c-can you tell who's a useful enemy?" As it was, John didn't think he had enemies. Just people in his way who he was willing to hurt to get out of his way. The distinction was he didn't dislike them or write them off as people or commit himself to hostility on the principle of the thing.


“You asked me about how this… season was g-g-going,” John reminded Lucinda gently when she told him he needed to stop looking backwards. He’d been in a good mood prior to this and his mind had not been drifting here at all. He was also not describing his plans for the rest of the season.


When Lucinda said there were ways to keep present in people’s minds, “By reminding them, or offering them g-g-gifts, attaching myself to p-p-people they’re close to, or bringing them news they’d be interested in?” John listed off what he’d done to try and keep that prominence. Some were in Lucinda’s list of advice.


John looked down for a moment, “It’s good advice. But I d-d-don't think that's the problem. I can make the right moves, say the right phrases. For other p-p-people, these lead to things. For me they don't.” Thus John's feeling he had a different experience of court, or that he was out of favor.


“Of c-c-course not.” John held no grudge against the teenaged German. But as Lucinda had said, actions spoke louder than words. “It’s g-g-good to know she favors libertines I guess.” She had, after all, favored a libertine fresh off a scandal to the point of insulting John. John, who was and had long been charitable and proper.


He didn’t want her advice? “I d-d-don’t?” John was surprised by this tack. There was a mild air of panic about him then. He didn’t want her to think he didn’t appreciate this or thought himself smarter than her. “When have I refuted you? I’m sorry.” John genuinely couldn’t remember doing that.


John wasn’t sure what Lucinda was trying to get at, not helped by the fact he wasn’t sure which of her questions she was referring to. “Uhh.” John hesitated, trying to pick his way through the conversation. “What question? About whether it’s moral to hurt people who insult me?” That was what John had meant by saying it was the right answer, he meant it was morally right to not harm people for petty reasons.


“Are you t-t-trying to say I’m unimportant? Even if that were right, how w-w-would anyone know? Three t-t-times I’ve stood beside dukes and earls, men of wealth and influence and high office in front of the King and nobility. People who have, before them all, treated me as family. And I’ve been to p-p-private meetings with them repeatedly.” He had influenced them too, though not on the major issues of the day. “Or are you saying court hasn’t noticed?”


John really was making an effort but he was groping a bit blindly. The appearance of access and influence (and the actual having of access and influence) with powerful persons was the primary form of power he understood.

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She fell silent as he spoke.


Moving up into a seated position, she reached for her chemise and begun to draw it over her head. "But everything I have said you have refuted. I hoped that you’d see some ray of hope, that I could help you with, that we could work with. But your life is a string of injustices... you see no good thing at all."


"I'd asked you, why would another man ignore you. And your reply was unduly negative, you did not see other possibilities. So I told you that was only one possible answer, and asked you to try think of other reasons it could be. To that you did not answer me at all."


"I am no help to you at all."


Silence, as she thought.


"It's not you." her voice caught. "It is me. I. I've not wanted to believe it, but my views, my thoughts, have grown old with me. I am obsolete."


Her feet slid down towards the floor, her dress was down there somewhere.

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You are a ray of hope.” Her and John’s friends. His family too. If not for them he would have fallen into complete despair. He was, very literally, at court this season only because of them. “The g-g-good things are my friends, my family, those who c-c-care about me. They are few but every one I hold as dear and precious.”


That was true. John was pessimistic about his chances at court because, empirically, he had reason to be. But he drew strength from those who cared about them. He drew his hope from them too.


His largest victory this season had come because John had been allowed to keep his extremely pessimistic vision of reality. It had been entirely accurate and a friend had believed him and helped him overcome it. Divesting him of that pessimistic vision would require a sustained period where it was inaccurate. Experience would need to disprove experience.


But giving him hope was a simpler task. Hope would come with every person who stood with him, who agreed to help, who showed they cared. It was why his mood had been picking up throughout the season.


“You are helpful.” John replied, softly but assuredly to her declaration she was no help. But then she stood up and a look of stricken panic crossed John’s face. That was just abandoning him. And the thought that was even a possibility created a great sinking gape in his chest.


John wrapped his arms around her waist as she pulled away, taking firm hold of her. He buried himself against her back. “D-d-don’t go.” He asked, obviously deeply hurt. “It’s my fault, please d-d-don’t leave.” John’s reaction to being hurt was self-loathing, a wound inflicted by his parents. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” John was on the point of tears.

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"I am precious?" partly rhetorical, she repeated the word he'd used. Though he was morose of it still, it was more positivity than she'd heard from him yet.


Pausing, she twisted to look at him then. Her foot poised, toes pointed towards the floor. Looking to see, as he made an effort, even if that effort seemed reluctantly made.


She was unaware he believed 'the only reason he'd had any success was because he kept his extremely pessimistic vision', for she'd have refuted it. It was this 'extremely pessimistic' outlook that made her unhappy. Though it did explain why he was immune to her efforts to cheer his vision. It was not her failing after all. He just thought that he needed to be that way. It was all rather emotional, even got the better of John the ultimate-cynic, for as she thought to leave he clutched at her. Calling sorry. Weeping.


She remained, and with sad eyes she stroked his hair. "I just wish you could be happy John. I just wish it with all of my heart. I just wish you could see that the world is not your enemy. Nor am I your enemy, for trying to show you what I can see. I just wish you could see with my eyes John." she fell quiet, still stroking his hair.

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“Of c-c-course you are.” John’s voice was hollow and throaty. John cherished her. There was a part of his heart that was hers and always would be. He’d never spoken a word against her, though he’d not realized he was hurting her. He regretted that. John wanted her to be happy too.


Lucinda was right John felt this was a matter of necessity. He needed to be this way because nothing else had worked. Because his pessimistic views had. When it stopped working or something worked better, John would abandon it gladly.


John nuzzled into her caress. He’d never been much of a cynic, at best something of a pragmatist. But he’d always let his heart lead sometimes. He still held her tight. “You really d-d-do make me happy.” And it was not just because of sex.


“You’re not my enemy.” John repeated, shocked at the suggestion. One thing his pessimism had never touched was his belief in his friends or his family. But he quickly fell into her arms again. There was quiet. John’s mind bobbed up and down on a sea of melancholy.


“You c-c-can show me.” John broke the quiet. His voice was quiet, hurt. “I trust you. I’d put myself in your hands. If you see things I d-d-do not, lead me to where… I can see them. Show me how to see.”

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Pessimism had become a hedge for him perhaps, a place he'd hide to nurse injuries perceived. But eventually, he needed to come out again. Here tonight, she'd tried to coax him out. But, he was not ready. Who know how long that was going to take. Ask a man like George Hardwick, it had taken him two years to recover. Lucas Cole, not at all. Hopefully John could make it over that hump, and faster.


He held her, and she held him too. A loose hold against his tighter clutch. He told her she was important, and more. Then asked her to show him, to tell him of the world through her eyes.


In a voice low she begun again. "For you I see so many choices. You've the benefit of a good family, that is a given, now you are free to roam out into court. To make friends with who you want. To find the people you enjoy to be around. You are young, there is plenty of time for sober politics later. This, your youth, it is a fleeting moment. Do not waste it with upset for men who are so busy with their own lives, or the women who will always focus on themselves first. That is just how we are. Make fast friends with the other young men about court, and they shall be your allies when you are matured and a speaker at court. Don’t try to be any different to what you are, let people see that you have a tender and kind heart. Adventure. Dare. If you make a mistake, court is so absorbed with itself it shall hardly remember in a few months. Find your confidence, and leap with it. Leap, with a call to others, but without care if you leap alone. Let people marvel of what you dare. Don’t count your failures, we all have many, but stand high upon the successes as they come."


"John. The world is yours. Every joy, every happiness can be yours, with patience in your heart, and with love in your eyes, your goals will come to you when you believe in them and work towards them." she paused, "anything that is truly important will take time. But you have time, my dear."


Unlike she. These were the words of advice she'd have given herself if she was young again, thus tinged with a little sadness of her own. Lucinda's best days were behind her.

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  • 2 weeks later...

It was almost a sort of empiricism: John was trying to predict events in order to understand how court worked. Pessimism had repeatedly predicted what would happen correctly. This predictive power was its entire appeal. He did not like feeling this way. It gave him no comfort. It clashed with his natural inclinations.


John nuzzled against her. There was a slight neediness for her love, tempered by the fact he trusted she did love him.


John was making friends and pursuing what he wanted. A great deal of that was political. John had first come to court for explicitly political reasons. He’d returned this season after promises he was needed for political plots and intrigue. So it was not something that could be laid aside.


Still, John appreciated her advice. It showed she cared, and feeling loved always helped John. Truthfully a large part of his pique was because being forgotten and excluded made him feel unpopular, unloved, unwanted.


But there was still a tugging nag. For John, the proof would be in what happened. He would be glad to be wrong, but John's slide into pessimism could only be reversed by good things happening. Good things unvarnished by occurrences like the Queen's frustrating memory lapse.


"Maybe you're right." John conceded. Although he remembered Devonshire had had to admit his mistake. He'd had to back off on some of his earlier optimism. We shall see.


“You have t-t-time too.” John said back, softly. “There will always be… young men. Maybe your next will be all full of p-p-passion and zeal for some cause. Or some handsome dullard.” From John’s perspective, she had endless possibilities. John saw a real possibility he would never amount to much.

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Perhaps it was true, that if you predict the worst then the worst will happen? Lucinda did not look at the world that way so could not comment even if it had been voiced as a theory. She was one to seek how to work within the limitations of existance, and to sieze the opportunities (or even create opportunites) that others were blind to seeing.


And so he murmured that she might be right. She smiled, unaware that he found greater strength in denying any hope. "Perhaps it's time we dressed, hmm?" she kissed his cheek.




OOC: shall we rejoin the main thread!

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Lucinda’s words had helped. And John’s reply was honest: she had introduced doubt in his more pessimistic worldview. Given him hope, returned his thoughts to brighter possibilities. Perhaps more importantly, she’d made him feel better. Lancing a boil and letting the venom pour out, showing him he was cared for. She was good for him.


John smiled wide at her kiss. He gently hugged her. A thought passed, on what would happen in time. But for the moment John felt loved. He let out a faux whine at the thought of clothes, “If we m-m-must.” He didn’t let go but Lucinda could slip out of his arms without resistance. He would dress and follow her down.


"Thank you." He said. Genuine gratitude colored his voice. He sounded almost pained but happy.


OOC: Good by me. Thank you for the side thread.

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She chuckled as he complained of clothes, "Lets make some attempt at appeaances..." though his reputation was already swinging away from entirely proper, and hers had been libertine for too many years to even count.



OOC: To the main thread!

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