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How we do | 29th arvo- Xmas 1677


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#43 The Townhouse of Lady Kendishall

The town house was commissioned many years ago - and boasts a sweeping crushed drive way to expedite the arrival of carriages with guests. And what parties have been had in this house, it's libertine reputation remains to this day.


Ivy has grown up the walls of the tall building, and a glorious display of flowers bring brightness to its sober lines. Within its grounds are intermittently placed sculptures of frolicsome scenes of nymphs at play.


The sporting young gentleman about town Rowland Alston, a-happened to be ambling down Piccadilly street on his way to the Cross, when he noticed all manner of goings on at number 43. A cart was stationary in the drive, with boxes being hand-trucked through to out the back - while a second cart was waiting out on the street, apparently with a load of goods to come in also.


It might have been house moving sort of thing: but that Alston’s keen ears perceived the clinking of wine bottles.


Pausing his step, he turned and watched on over the fence, twirling the edge of his moustache. A party, and he, without an invitation!


"I say, good fellow!" Rowland called out to the chap with hand cart, waving him over to the fence with the alluring flash of a shilling. "Looks like the party of the year is to take place here, who's place is this then hmm?" he waited a rely before flicking him the shilling, a shilling that spun and spun glinting in the winter sun.

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The vendor's workman snuck a quick glance toward the side door, checking to see if the petite young noble lady was there, thus far she had been flitting about, supervising everything and being a bit of a hard driver. She had chastised him for almost dropping one of the grocery boxes but the damned thing was heavy. She was inside so he decided to risk going over to see what the gentleman wanted.


"Canna help you, sir?" he asked, the man was well dressed so always best to be polite to such.


Sure enough the effort earned him a coin he snapped out of the air with the ease of a man who had done it before. And the question was not a difficult one to answer either.


"Can't say I knows who owns this place but...." again a quick sidelong glance to see if the coast was clear and it was so he continued, "a certain Lady Kendisher...or Kendish something has gone and ordered herself 'nuff food'n drink to feed a small army, that be certain."


With that he grinned, quite pleased with his wit.

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"Good man, good man..." Rowland approved of the chaps complicity, "That must be Kendishall surely." still leaning on the fence he tried to remember the gossip around the family. The mental effort was fleetingly made, then abandoned.


"Well then, seems I arrived just in time." the dark blonde and impecably tailored Rowland grinned as he begun to move down to the gate. "You shall need more hands to move such a load, its surely my duty as a gentlman to help, at times of war and all that." then a wink. "... and I would not mind a glimpse of this hostess you talk of."


The most direct route was Rowlands preferred, he'd carry in some boxs, and talent scout while at it.

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"Kendishall...err..right!" the workman nodded enthusiastically, he had been close at least.


He was then quite surprised, make that shocked when the well dressed fellow happily volunteered to help with the job and was even making for the gateway? The workman had never run into this unusual situation before and was unsure how he should react or even what to say.

Suddenly his train of thought was interrupted by a commanding female voice.


"You lot! I am not paying you to stand about and chat with the neighbors!"


He spun about, eyes wide as he hastened to get back to the still partially loaded wagon, "Yes, m'lady!"


Well, Alston certainly did not have to wait long before he got his wish to see this Lady Kendishall because the young woman, a thick blanket thrown over her shoulders, had just appeared emerging from the side door of the residence. There was a stern glare on the otherwise girlish face, people oft thought she was younger than she actually was and her lack of height and petite build did not help with that either.


Caroline saw the well dressed man but in truth she had no idea if he was actually a neighbor or not as she had yet to meet any but it was plain as day he was neither a workman nor a street beggar. She paused then to eye him suspiciously.

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Rowland looked as guilty as anyone at that moment. Carolines tone was rather comanding! A thrill ran down our noblmans spine, and his head jolted round to see an unexpectedly petite figure standing there! Quickly enough the delivery man returned to his work...


Recovering himself, and giving a smile the dapper fellow lifted his hand and gave a wave. "Lady Kedishall, I presume." she was a pretty one, oh yes, he definately wanted an invitation to this party, "I was just asking your man if he needed any help with those boxes? Did not mean to get him in hot water."


"Rowland Alston, at your service." he gave a partial bow for the obstacle of the gate was but the first of obstacles between them. "Oh if this house could talk eh? Oh the parties it's seen.." he spoke in a loud enough voice for his words to carry, but in a conversational tone. Curious to the figure hid beneath that blanket. Those doe eyes, and yet such strength of character.

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This dandy doffed his hat as he suddenly addressed her, explaining he had only been offering to help unload the cart. Strange? He certainly did not have the look of a commoner, why on earth would he wish to engage in common labor? Given his wardrobe he did not need what little coin such a task might gain him. Not that she was willing to pay another halfpenny for this job, she'd paid this lot already.


He also knew her name...well close to it anyhow. That put him one up on her who had no idea who this was. Perhaps he had been one of the oh so many menfolk at the ball? By the end of it, she had engaged in enough imbibing to affect her memory of details.


"Well, that is certainly ...........kind of you," she was going to use another word - 'odd'.


He then introduced himself, the name was vaguely familiar alright. Not a nobleman or he would have used his title.


"Master Alston, nice to meet you," she said to be polite but without enthusiasm, she had other things on her mind at the moment.


It was then that he suddenly engaged her full interest - he mentioned the house's reputation of parties past! Had he been in attendance at some of them? At that she beamed at the fellow who was handsome enough in his own way she supposed.


"Yes, yes, so I have heard. Might you have attended any? A friend or relative of the last owner by any chance?" she was definitely curious now.

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Dandy?! Just lucky that Rowland did not know she thought him a dandy, he was a man of far more substance.


Yet he could tell by her pause that she was not impressed, if nothing else was ubious towards his offer of help. "I am just a 'kind' sort of guy." he flashed a grin, chuckling of her cynicism.


She posed a challenge, and he was up for the task of softening her up.


Why look, she'd already begun to melt. "Not a relative, but a friend surely, of the last owners were the Rochfords. Yet even prior to them merriment of your house continues. How does it feel, to be stood atop such a laudable reputation - daunting, or perhaps inspiring?" He leaned on the gate in a relaxed pose as he spoke.

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"A regular saint then?" she smirked at his declaration of him being such a nice sort.


Her less than enthusiastic attitude toward the young man vaporized in an instant though when he talked as if he knew something about the house's past and even more importantly, the former owners. Caroline was indeed interested in that sort of thing. She had to ask as she drew further away from the side entrance and closer to the gate where the man now stood.


"Oh Rochfords, I daresay I do not know them but then I'm fairly new to London myself, having only arrived last season," she shrugged.


He then put it to her that it was almost as if there was a sort of pressure upon her to keep up (or would it be down?) to the libertine standards of past celebrations in this very residence. It actually had not escaped her thoughts once she first sent out the invitations. But it was too late to panic now, nothing for it but to brazen one's way thru it tonight. Didn't mean she wasn't nervous about it all though.


"I only heard about the history after I was living here. You see I did not buy this place, my now deceased husband did. But I am willing to take on the challenge. This, you see, is my very first of what I hope will be many parties. We shall see, it is tonight," she let him know.

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"That's me. You cant see my halo? Ack - that's right I sent it in for polishing last week, darn thing gets so grubby here in London. And don’t get me started on the soot." he chattered flirtatiously, continuing to eye the pretty lady. What was she wearing under that blanket?


Her reticence was vanished and replaced by curiosity (a point of her nature that this scallywag tucked away for later reference.) "Ah yes, the house was vacant a year, perhaps two. Though I'd have wondered, when you moved in, if you had not found the mysteriously disappeared blue silk stocking? Ah, now that was a party some might prefer to forget!"


She had come a little nearer, though still stood in the shelter of house eave. "Tonight eh?" she all but dangled an invitation before his eyes. "Then I shall wish your party every success. You seem to be very well supplied, and I dare say your guest list is as well stocked. It shall be a fine thing to see the house full lit again - if only from my humble standpoint at your gate." he endeavoured a pitiable expression, foiled only by the hopeful pitch of eyebrow and glint of eye.

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"Ahh, that explains it. About the halo then. Pity I would have loved to see how you look in it...or.. rather under it," Caroline grinned.


But then the man revealed some of the house's past, exactly as she had been hoping for. And he started right off with an intriguing tidbit of information.


"Blue stocking? Why..no, there was no blue stocking about. Unfortunately...but you simply must tell me all about it," she urged him. Perhaps it might even be useful to incorporate into her party festivities?


She pointed out her party was this very night and it was his turn to sound intrigued as he wished her success. He did have a cute almost pouty expression she had to admit. She was quite confident the fellow was angling for an invitation.


"Well, I do not see how you will be able to judge if the party is a success or not unless you are one of those present to experience it yourself, correct? That is should you be free this evening? If so, consider yourself invited, Master Alston."

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Caroline had such a charming smile, and was that a hint of innuendo in her reply? "I look dashing under any number of things my lady." he replied with faux-sober.


She wanted to know more. With a showman’s glance past each shoulder, the chap then replied, "But is this the place to reveal such a tale?" meanwhile the delivery men were just there listening in as the pair called across to each other. "or rather, within the very house itself?" but perhaps he was being too forward. So he commenced narration al fresco, "It begun with a chap who was not even in attendance, perhaps you have heard his name however, one Martin Walker. His stockings however were not silk, but an English wool. One of the merry sorts brought out a pair, and wafted them about like a pennant while singing a song - the song all the more funny because Walker, a gentleman-would-be-merchant,was prone to bursting into song at the most inappropriate and unexpected times. Ha!"


And so his tale telling begun.


Rowland Alston, self professed ladies man, one of the founding members of the Moustachio’d men, and champion of both dice and daring - then found his luck held. He beamed as Caroline provided him with an invite. "I am honoured, my lady, why I shall shuffle about my evenings occupations to be sure to attend!" his smile was utterly radiant in this, which he felt was a fine success!

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His reply was a bit cheeky but she liked it, showed he had a sense of humor which Caroline always appreciated, stuffy men held little interest for her. It helped too that he had a nice smile. Once he mentioned this mysterious blue stocking, her interest was more than held and she pressed him for details, which he obliged. He wondered if being outside and workers present was the proper place for such a recounting. Caroline turned to the men.


"You there! Keep moving...you're almost done. Try and earn your money, will you?" she snapped and they hurried to comply. The girl had definitely learned something of her soldier father's commanding ways.


So Master Alston began, Caroline forgetting even about the cold as she listened. The story turned out a bit less than she had hoped for what with her libertine imagination. Oh well.


"That's it? Well.....let us hope my party can turn out to provide more thrilling memories for my guests than that," she huffed with a shrug of blanket covered shoulders.


Nonetheless she invited him right on the spot, he was young, handsome, and there was that smile again as he accepted with alacrity.


"Excellent!" she beamed then shuffled her blanket covering a bit, "I am beginning to feel the chill, dressed as I am...or should that be... undressed."


"A quick retreat and a warm cider should fix that issue would you not agree?" she posed.

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He'd been angling for an invite indoors, but instead she surprised in responding with organising her workers back to work as efficiently as any major might manage (though prettier indeed!)


So his plan to continue his story under more intimate surroundings failed, and she looked expectantly to him to continue. (Shouting the tale out like this was not his first choice - but oh well!) "The tale is of silk stockings my lady, not these wool ones that do little for the hedonist." he explained, "as it was a lady in our midst was gifted in proclaiming that her own stockings would make a better pennon to bolster merry spirits. A nomination was quickly gained and seconded and third’d too for that matter - the votes came in an utter landslide. So off to a parlour the dear lady was marched for the new flags procurement, with an escort that would befit royalty might I add." he laughed gleefully of the libertine tale at that moment. "Then... some many many minutes later she appeared once again."


He wagged eyebrows. "And can my lady guess the conclusion?"


Finally the invite he'd been hoping for. Was it his tale that was doing the trick? Difficult to say, but he definitely liked the way she dropped the word 'undressed' into the conversation. "I can be quick if that is what you desire lady Kendishall, but yes, to the warming of souls I fully agree!" he pushed open the gate with a cheeky grin.

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It seemed though the stocking story had more to it than she first thought and so the young man added to it, she wondered if he was now embellishing upon it when he noticed she had been less than impressed with the initial part. No matter, it was an improvement and he was both pleasant to listen to his voice and was easy on the eyes also.


"Well, I would venture the lady in question was without her silk stockings," Caroline concluded.


It really was getting cold though so Caroline decided she must beat a retreat but decided to accompany that with an offer to him to share some warmed cider. Once again he accepted without a bit of hesitation and this time opened the gate to enter the grounds.


"Very well, come on then, don't dawdle," she moved fairly quickly and added just as he re-entered thru the back door, "I don't have any stockings on either right now, just so you know."


Turning her head about to face him she directed, "Stamp your boots if you have any snow on them. God only knows how much these workmen are dragging in with their comings and goings."

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Rowland was a story teller, as such he did not reveal his punchline too soon - like a skilled lover he engaged in foreplay first. He begun with the prequel, tickling her interest, the tale of how the subject of silk stockings had come up in the first place. Then the more robust lead up, arousing. Not until he thought her appetite well whetted did he intent to bring his tale to it's climax.


Perhaps she'd have preferred him to just get on with it? Different strokes for different folks!


"Yes!" she had guessed correctly, "it was all done with mock pomp and ceremony, our troop excited the parlour with one blue silk stocking waving high, and more song of course. I can hardly remember how much later it was that somebody noticed both her feet quite bare. The question was lodge to the whereabouts of the other stocking." he chuckled. "And then the hunt was on."


His cheerful banter flowed as he strolled up the path, stamped his feet as ordered, and then sauntered into the house. Her comment of not wearing stockings, just tossed in there amongst her commands, made the lover of woman laugh. He quite imagined how she might be in the boudoir! Up front and direct. The thought was entirely novel. "You are a lady who knows what she wants, and stands no fuss about it!" he crowed cheerfully, with a glance up the stairwell and waggle of eyebrows. If commanded, he'd march right on up there.


But likely the coming and going of workers preceded that particular activity. (Though he'd be game if she was).


"It was that parlour over there that aforementioned blue stocking vanished." he pointed to one of the rooms off the hall, "Went into a private collection I suppose, though not mine, I regret to say." Rowland winked.

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  • 2 weeks later...

There was still more to the story, it seemed in the end the blue stocking was missing. Either misplaced, hidden from sight, or more likely in Caroline's opinion, one of the partygoers had stolen it. In the end he pretty much affirmed her view on it, saying it ended up in someone's collection though he assured her, not his.


"Ahhh, well certainly not mine either. And we never found any stockings when I moved in," Caroline replied, "So one of life's mysteries."


She walked him into the kitchen where a small crew were already laboring over food preparation of the party that evening. All eyes went to her, a rather imposing fellow spoke up then, "My lady?"


He was the famous cook she had hired. Caroline smiled, "Ahh, might you heat up some cider please? Two mugs of it and spiced too........of course."


The man frowned, "We are quite busy as you can see."


"It's two ciders not a side of beef," Caroline frowned, glaring at him. She was paying this fellow a rather exhorbitant bit of money for his service.


He gave in, "Very well, my lady. Where shall you be waiting?"


Caroline smiled in triumph then glanced at her guest, hoping he noted her little victory. But it was to the chef she spoke, "The study."


With that she turned to Alston, "Shall we take a seat and relax there then, good sir?"

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"Indeed." Rowland smiled of his tale. It's telling had done the trick nicely, for here he was no longer leaning on the fence looking in, but invited into the ladies parlour. Parlour? Or wherever it was she fancied taking him.


Ah. The busy kitchen. A temporary destination surely.


He'd never been in this room before, and looked about at the quantity of food being prepared for pending party. Caroline had to take stern words with her staff to secure a simple drink. His eyebrow rose towards the chef, it was an eyebrow of disapproval that the fellow bickered. Whether the eyebrow assisted or not he was unsure, but the cook finally conceded.


"Yes the study will be splendid." his lips stretched into a grin again, it was something about the way she called him sir. "Studying is precisely the mood I am in... if you would allow yourself to be my days muse?"


He offered the little lady the crook of his arm to make their escape from the uppity chef.

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"Ahh, so an ardent scholar are you? I must confess I never much enjoyed books but then we women have no real need for proper educations do we?" Caroline revealed, though whether she really believed in that was unclear, perhaps sarcasm.


Of course he meant he wished to study her and that she could approve of.


"I hope I will prove a worthy topic of inquiry," she smiled as he accepted his arm and continued onto the study thru a narrow hallway.


"I really desire that my guests enjoy the banquet tonight so I hired that fellow back there, he is a French chef much sought after by London aristocracy. Why he still is not practicing in France I have no idea nor do I particularly care. I just hope the quality of the dishes tonight make his salary worth it, for his price ....let me assure you....is exhorbitant," she huffed.


She turned to look him in the eye, she had to look up for she was shorter than the man, "I hope I do not horrify you but I think French cuisine is delicious, better than ours."

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In Rowlands experience ladies did not say those words if they were serious. Those blessedly ignorant women, were too dim to even realise they had another option.


"Well I certainly think an education of my particular speciality would suit you." he tried to keep a straight face as he said it, while he stole a peek down her bodice from this advantage. Her bubbies were a little size, loosed, they might be just as pert as they were constrained.


Unconsciously he licked his lips.


"You hope so hmm? Well, there is certain things you can do to increase that likelihood." he flirted with her still, pleased to be placing a distance between them and the overbearing chef.


"He's a bit of a tyrant though, isn’t he." Rowland lowered his voice to reply.


Caroline revealed that the Chef was shockingly expensive, affirming his opinion that she was financially independent. It was then that she looked up at him, with a sinful admission of french favoratism. His eyes dilated of the sight of her like that, so meek, so alluring. "That's naughty of you to say that, Lady Kendishall." he breathed, letting his arm slide to her waist, "yet I could be convinced to keep your secret." his eyes flitted to her lips and then back to her eyes again. He wanted to kiss her in the worst sort of way.

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"Ahhh, so you have a speciality in your education? How interesting," Caroline smiled.


She then remarked as to her hopes she would prove to be a topic worthy of study. He glibly pointed out she could further that along by her own actions. It was all such obvious suggestive flirting on both their parts but Caroline had discovered, since coming to London, how much she enjoyed that very thing. However, it did not mean she would immediately jump in bed with anyone she flirted with. Her big party was this very evening, she had no intention of permitting a seduction this morning then. But leading him on could be fun and then who knew what might happen during the party?


"I imagine I could. However, I'm too chilly to shed any of what I am wearing. You will simply have to settle for charming me, drinking my warmed cider, and then ....most importantly...attending my party," she pointed out as they arrived in the study.


She griped a bit about the expensive chef she had hired but actually she felt herself lucky to secure his services if she wanted top notch food this night. He remarked the man seemed a bit of a tyrant to which she nodded, "Yes, much ego there...especially for a commoner."


She also revealed her liking for French cuisine over English fare but he did not seem all that put out, merely teasing her how naughty she was.


"Oh...I reveal a grand secret and now I must be the one to bribe you to keep it? I see how this is going," she grinned as she then turned to face him, "Very well then, name your price, good sir, and I warn you do not get too greedy or your effort might backfire."

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"Hmm... how to warm a lady?" he grinned of the challenge she set him, the string of which suggested a culmination of the achievement at the party. "And so this party, do you think you shall have multiple fires burning to warm? I would be fool to not think there many others who would nuzzle those dainty fingers, stoke your embers and melt your heart. Perhaps I shall bring with me buckets of water to douse my rivals flames!"


He understood he'd not necessarily have precedence of her attention at the party, after all he'd only just met her, she did not fully realise how glorious he was!


He was less interested in talking of the chef of food, far more interested in talking of her. "This is the way with all secrets," he snickered that she was surprised that he took up the opportunity to press for a favour -- meanwhile he had drawn close enough that he could smell the scent of her, it was intoxicating. "Well... in appreciation of your preference for French, I might beg a kiss of that same kind." his eyes glinted, his hand sliding softly further about her waist. "Is that too bold a request?"

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"Oh of course, every fireplace shall be stoked. We cannot enjoy ourselves if we are miserably shivering. I like things..............hot," Caroline assured him.


But she knew he wasn't referring to actual fires and let him know that, "You need concern yourself less with rivals than with me, I would think. But anyhow, please no water....you may bring alcohol though, we can never have enough of that."


The young lady replied provocatively about the so called bribe attempt, fairly daring him to try something. He did not disappoint but moved up closely, putting one hand about her waist as he named his request, all with a clever allusion to her love of all things French.


Caroline smiled, "Well, to be honest, I have never kissed a Frenchman but if you think you can perform adequately as a substitute I am more than willing to cooperate."


She knew what a French kiss was though and prepared herself for it as their lips met. She would let him take the lead but certainly she would do her share too. She hoped the ciders would not show up too soon.

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Saucily she replied, encouraging him on even. "Then I have my mission set for the evening." Rowland grinned at the prospect of warming her personally - if there was a lack of rivals than so much the better!


"Aha, now there's a finer idea, how better to weed out the dross than with a drinking game. I may assure you my lady, that I have a ridiculously high tolerance. Other men shall be limp messes on the floor, and I'll still be raring to go..." he allowed himself father admiration of her skin, porcelain fine, and creamy.


It was progressing along very nicely, flirtation on both sides, till he found himself quite close. Hand at the small of her back pressed, drawing her closer still. She'd never kissed a frenchman? Then he'd do his best to assist. "Oui oui, madame..." bending in he hammed up a French accent, his warm breath whispering past her ear, tickling the tiny hairs on her neck, "Voulez vou francais." his free hand moved to her jaw, his eyes lifted then to look into hers. "Magnifique."


Having expended his working knowledge of French, he kissed he lips. Warm and succulent lips that he savoured some long moments before he sought to part with probing tongue into the moist heat beyond - hand tighting upon her back as he did.

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Caroline confided that her party would not lack for a high alcoholic content. He seemed pleased to hear it and even bragged of his high tolerance for drinking. That brought a wicked smile to her pert features.


"Oh, really? Well, anyone who knows me will tell you my ability to put away drink after drink and remain both upright and even functioning is a true wonder. Modestly I might venture it is my one greatest talent. You see it runs in my family."


Their flirting progressed to a challenge, one she encouraged and he didn't hesitate to take advantage of as he closed in for a kiss....of a particular French kind. She let him close, felt his hands then his lips pressed against hers, and yes, there it was, his tongue was seeking entry. She threw herself into the kiss and opened her mouth to contact his tongue with hers.

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Commencing slowly his ardour duly increased, till with experienced flair Rowland ravaged her lips - that when he finally broke apart from the pretty his eyes were dilated and fully upon her. It was his hope that he'd made her all ragged and breathless.


A lighter kiss then brushed those reddened lips, a smile tugging at his own, somewhat of prospect of greater plundering yet to come. "French suits milady rather well..." yet he did not let go of his close hold, that her form pressed against his in all the best places. “I cannot wait for your aptly themes party.” His lips brushed against hers again.

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Unsurprisingly as their tongues entwined, it turned out to be a rather long kiss, as kisses go. Not that Caroline kept track of such things, she simply enjoyed the moment until it was then over when he broke it off. She hoped she had satisfied the man. She smiled.


"Magnifique indeed!"


He wasn't ready for it to be finished yet though for he again kissed her, this time lightly on the lips and pressed his frame against hers.


"Well, my parents were French though they certainly did not teach me to kiss," she beamed.


He was impatient for the party, exactly as she was hoping for then.


"Well, you will just have to wait for further............entertainment tonight then. I will look forward to your attendance, Master Alston and shall simply be crushed if for any reason you fail to show," she declared.

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