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Bah Humbug! | 29/12, morning- Xmas 1677

Sophia de la Cerda

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Sophia peered out the window as her carriage trundled through the busy streets of London, heading out to the countryside. The lively scenes gradually gave way to the peaceful tranquility of forests and farmland. Her gaze scanned the landscape for a picturesque place to set up her easel. Twice already, she had told her husband that she had gone out to paint to cover for other adventures, and she thought he would continue to believe her if she had some partially completed paintings to show him. She didn't have anything else to do this morning, so it was a good time for it.


The coach jerked to a sudden halt and the petite Baroness lurched forward, bracing her hand upon the opposite seat to regain her balance. She could hear the horses neighing and the wheels turning, but the carriage did not move. Through the window, she saw the driver and her bodyguard move toward the back of the coach, and their voices sounded urgent.


After a couple of minutes, she pulled her fur cloak around her and opened the door, intent on finding out what was holding them up. As she stepped out, she didn't look down and her small shoes sank into a thick icy slush. The entire carriage was bogged down in it and the wheels could not be seen. Even the four horses seemed to be stuck in place.


Deciding it would be warmer to wait inside, she picked up one foot and began to turn back to the carriage. As she yanked it out of the slush, she tumbled to the ground, twisting her ankle painfully. Karl and her driver were occupied with discussing ways to free the coach and they didn't notice that their mistress had fallen.


Sophia tried to stand, but her hands kept slipping in the slush and she wasn't able to propel herself to her feet. It didn't help that agony shot through her brain whenever she tried to move her ankle. She sighed in frustration. This wasn't the way she had hoped to start her day.

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The slush was not just icy, it was very much so less than pleasant. It was not the smell of freshly fallen snow surrounded by pines. For such a fine lady, it might seem quite disgusting indeed and when she wrapped her mind around the physical pain of the fall, the emotional one might involve some rather spoiled clothing as well.


Karl and the driver were not in easy view, having moved to the other side of the carriage to see if the ground was any surer on the other side.


There was a gentleman who had seen the fall, but he was not even close enough to call out. With the street now a bit backed up, would he still be the first to arrive?

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Although her mind was clouded with pain, Sophia could feel the cold wet slush began to seep through her cloak as well as her shoes and stockings. Now she wished she had worn her riding boots, but she had not expected to venture far from the carriage. At least she always wore her older gowns and cloaks to paint. No matter how careful she was, sometimes she accidentally dropped a tube of paint or stray droplets of color from her paintbrush splattered over her clothes. If her clothing was ruined, it would not be much of a loss.


Her oil paints smelled bad enough, but the stench of the slush was positively repulsive. Her stomach heaved and she felt as if she might throw up. She reached up to cover her nose, realizing too late that her gloves were covered in slime. Gagging, she slipped one of her gloves off and tried to reach beneath her cloak to the pocket in her gown where she usually carried an embroidered handkerchief.


Sophia's ankle was still throbbing painfully and she was afraid to move it too much. Each minute that passed felt like hours and she feared that she would be stuck in the slush forever. Though she prayed for rescue, she was embarrassed for anyone to see her in such a deplorable and humiliating condition.

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The gentleman that eventually made his way over on horseback, yelling at people to move aside and somewhat busting through any who hesitated to move. Though she could not see him, she might hear him.


She might have sighted a fine pair of boots and legs meet the ground but little more from her position in the slop.


Though her ankle smarted, her delicate sensibilities likely made it seem worse than it was truly. There was no way for any to know.


"Your mistress is on the ground, you fools," he said to the coach driver and servant. He did not stop to think it might be a bodyguard.


A fur-lined glove reached out a hand to her. "Let me help you, my lady." In truth, he might have scooped her up, but she was quite filthy!

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Sophia managed to remove the handkerchief from her gown and held it to her nose, pinching her nostrils slightly. She still felt the urge to gag, and not only from the smell. The slush itself was revolting to look at and she cringed inwardly at the thought that her backside and legs were covered in it. She doubted that her clothing could be saved, and what she longed for most at this moment … besides rescue … was a hot bath.


There was quite a bit of noise behind her. Her coach was probably holding up traffic. She heard the steady cadence of hooves drawing closer. At least those on horseback would be able to go around the carriage. Yet the sound abruptly ceased, and she turned her head. Had someone stopped to help her? Oh, how she prayed it was so!


Even that slight movement sent waves of pain through her ankle, but she did see a pair of finely crafted boots hit the ground and a cultured voice reprimanding her driver and bodyguard for not noticing that she had fallen. Sophia blushed and kept her head lowered, although she was curious about the gentleman who had come to her aid. She was too ashamed to meet his eyes. If she had only looked down before she had stepped out, she wouldn't be in this predicament.


A fur-lined glove came into her line of vision. “Thank you, my lord,” she murmured gratefully. Slipping off her other glove so that his would not be soiled, she placed her small hand in his, wincing as another sharp pain shot through her foot. “I think I twisted my ankle. It hurts horribly but I believe I can stand.”


Finally, she looked up at him, her curiosity eclipsing her embarrassment.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The gentleman was the young Lord Herbert*, who was returning from university to court for the remainder of Christmastide. He was handsome and about the same age as Sophia, with pretty locks of caramel coloured hair.


"Let us get you out of the mud then but perhaps do not move the ankle?" He would support as much weight as he could, reaching around her as she moved to hold more of her arm and under the other one. "Your man can carry you if need be, Lady....?"


(* not Captain Herbert. THey are two different dudes )

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Sophia's eyes widened when she beheld her savior's handsome young face. She knew him. They had conversed at a party during the summer when she had been admiring the painting on the ceiling of the banqueting hall. He had stared at her bosom quite often and had pointed out that her last name meant 'pig.'


She had also sat next to him at his sister's wedding to Lord Beverley. He and his brother had asked about the spices she had sprinkled on her food and they had briefly discussed theatre. The petite Baroness had thought him quite pleasant, and now she blushed, embarrassed that their third encounter was in such unfortunate circumstances.


He was very considerate of her, helping to support her as she attempted to rise. Pain stabbed through her injured ankle and she squeezed his hand tightly, biting her lip to keep from crying out. “Lady … Toledo,” she managed, trying to ignore the agony in her foot. Sophia felt pain keenly even when she wasn't hurt very badly. Perhaps part of that was due to her overly dramatic nature.


“I … I believe we have … met before.”



OOC: I think he was the guy she met at the banquet and wedding. If not, let me know and I will edit my post. Or maybe Sophia is just being delusional … lol.

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"Oh, oh yes, yes we have," Herbert replied.


Did his cheeks color some?


His lord father had told him later that it was not tactful to tell a lady that her new surname meant "pig." He was more skilled with mechanical things and knowledge than with ladies. He was yet a bit awkward though school had opened his eyes some.


"I wish this meeting was, uhh, in better circumstances."


He blinked as she became upright. "Your...dress...is rather disheveled I fear. Where were you headed? Might I ride ahead and give word that you will be delayed?"


That was the gentlemanly thing to do. His father would be pleased with such an action.


Sophia's bodyguard came back around and seeing her upright and all right, waited to see what was needed*.


(OOC - you can play him as part of your household for this thread since you probably know more about him than I do )

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Was that a blush she saw on his cheeks? Was he embarrassed that he had called her a pig on their first meeting? She probably smelled like one now. Sophia's own blush deepened and she instinctively lowered her gaze. All she saw was the disgusting muddy slush and her ruined cloak. She looked up again when her stomach started churning, and she concentrated on getting to her feet with his assistance.


“So do I, but I am grateful that you stopped to help me.” Her grip on his arm remained firm. She was afraid that if she let go, she would tumble back into that repulsive mess. “You are very kind.” The young Baroness would make sure that Esteban knew how compassionate this young man had been to her.


Sophia pulled her cloak closer around her when he commented on her clothing. It was damp and uncomfortable and she was freezing, her small body trembling with both cold and distress. “No one is waiting for me. I was trying to find a good place to paint. I would rather not worry my lord husband. When this is fixed, I will go home and change.”


She noticed Karl approaching and waved her free hand in his direction. “I am all right. Please go and help the driver with the coach.” The bodyguard bowed and went back to what he was doing.


That small movement caused her to slip again and she barely managed to regain her balance. Sophia tried to put a bit of weight on her ankle and winced in agony. “Will you assist me into the carriage, my lord? And if you do not have pressing matters to attend to, will you stay with me until the coach is freed? We are holding up traffic and I do not think I can deal with angry courtiers while I am in so much pain.”


The main reason she wanted him to stay was that she didn't want to be alone.

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"Paint? In the cold?" he asked, raising a brow. His own proclivities were less for art and more for natural philosophy and the like. He could boast being the youngest member of the Royal Society. Now that he had his own time at University, his mind was maturing faster.


"No, no pressing matters. I am simply returning from university." He smiled in a boyish way. "I would be happy to help." He tossed his reins to his own valet, who had caught up on a bay mare, so that he would not have the hindrance of a horse.


He helped to support her back toward the coach. "Here, let me help you get this cloak off. It is quite dirty and wet. I will give you mine to keep you warm." As he had been traveling out in the elements atop his horse, his cloak was richly lined with thick, warm fur.


"We must make sure we can be seen inside to not be doing anything untoward. I should not wish to give any gossip." His last mishap at court whilst in Brighton as still a fresh memory though long faded from his backside. "But I shall make sure none wag their tongues impatiently."


The eldest son of a marquess had some pull. At least in Herbert's mind.

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“Winter has an austere beauty that I would like to immortalize in my own unique way.” 'Unique' was just a nice way to say 'amateur.' “I planned to stay out only long enough to make some quick sketches. I would have filled in the detail laters, preferably in front of a fire.”


Sophia exhaled in relief when he agreed to stay with her. His smile was quite appealing and he seemed more enthusiastic to keep her company than she had thought he would be. She knew very few gentlemen close to her own age. Lord Maldon was probably the youngest of them.


She hardly knew how to act around Lord Herbert. He was quite pleasant and attentive. While she found him handsome, she didn't fancy him. The young Baroness had discovered that she was only attracted to older, more experienced gentlemen. Her royal lover was over thirty years her senior and he was perfection in her eyes.


The carriage was only a few steps away, but it seemed like miles to Sophia. She tried to support herself as much as possible, so that he wouldn't swing her up in his arms and carry her because it would be quicker and easier. Karl would most likely report such familiarity to Esteban. As it was, she leaned on him heavily, hopping on one foot so as not to put any pressure on her ankle.


“But then you will freeze,” she protested when he offered her his cloak. Still, she would take it gratefully if he helped her out of her old one. Sophia didn't tolerate cold temperatures well and she was shivering already.


“We can sit opposite each other in front of the windows so that we can be easily seen, Do you think we might close the door to keep the cold from seeping in? Or would that be inappropriate?”

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"I still have my justacorps, and I am dressed warmly for riding," he replied with a bit of puffed up masculinity. "It is no trouble especially inside whilst we wait."


He helped her to put it on, careful not to touch her in any strange way. In fact, he seemed a bit overly careful. It might have been because of the state of the item or he might have been overly worried about being male and her being married. Husbands were scary to youths.


"There, that's better," he said. Then he hung her cloak on the driver's bench with a toss before helping her inside.


"I suppose so long as we can be seen from the window." He looked out one as he climbed in, casting a glance at the servants for a moment before turning his attention back to her.


The look on his face probably conveyed that he was not entirely sure what sort of conversation one had in such a situation.

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If he said that he would be fine without his cloak, Sophia wouldn't argue with him. She was freezing in her sodden clothing and she desperately needed warmth. She tried her best to shrug out of her ruined garment with as little assistance as possible.


He seemed a bit reluctant to touch her, which she could certainly understand. The Spanish had a reputation for being expert swordsmen, although she wasn't sure how adept Esteban was with a blade. Lord Herbert was probably afraid that he would challenge him to a duel if he thought he had not acted properly toward her.


When he wrapped his own cloak around her, Sophia sighed in relief. The soft fur lining tickled her neck and her cleavage, the only exposed areas of her skin. It was warming her up already and by the time he helped her into the coach, she had nearly stopped shivering. She was glad that he agreed to close the door.


Settling against the cushions, she watched him as he looked out the window and smiled when he turned back to her. Luckily for Lord Herbert, Sophia was rarely at a loss for words. “Remember the night we met?” she asked. “I was admiring the painting on the ceiling in the Banqueting Hall. I would like to go back and study it one day. I wonder if it is open all the time or only when events are being held there.”

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Lord Herbert's eyes flared in recognition for a moment as she mentioned the night they had met. He tried to school his expression but a hint of a blush might have found his cheeks too. He had insinuated she was a pig, after all.


"I do...remember that night," he started. "And the painting, yes, the painting."


Then he mentally kicked himself. He did not much remember the painting. There had been some doings and some drinking betwixt then and now.


"The hall? Yes, I do think it is open. I do not know, honestly. I cannot say that I have ever gone there when there is not some event."

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Sophia would have forgiven Lord Herbert for calling her a pig, but she didn't think there was anything to forgive. Her surname did mean that' in Spanish. She had not known it when she married Esteban, but names were just names. If someone tried to insult her with it, she would just say she was a pretty, intelligent girl, which could be shortened into p.i.g.


“It was very beautiful,” she said of the painting, “and there was so much detail. I should like to view it when the hall is empty, so that I can enjoy it without having to worry about stumbling into other courtiers.”


Pulling his cloak closer around her, which meant a slight shift in position, Sophia winced in pain when her injured ankle accidentally collided with the base of the seat where it met the floor of the carriage. “You told me that the painting was of King James. I will probably not understand all of the symbolism as I do not know much about that period of English history. Do you know of anyone who might come along and explain things to me?”

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Herbert's face winced some in sympathy. He looked down toward the ankle and then back up again.


"You do not think it is broken, do you?" he asked, unable to help himself. He was curious and stiff propriety sometimes escaped him.


"Oh, hmm, well if you wish a full tale one of the old Cavaliers would be best. I should think one that is old enough to have been alive around then would know the most, but there are not many of them left," Herbert said, thinking aloud. "Or even one knowledgeable from the late King's reign? Or an artist?"


He might have offered himself, but while he might know some of it, he was far from knowing all and did not wish to seem foolish. If she was hinting he should offer, it went rather over his head.

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“I do not think so.” To test her theory, Sophia swiveled her injured ankle from side to side, grasping the side of the seat as a wave of agony shot through her brain. Her face paled and she couldn't stop from crying out. Brightly colored butterflies danced in front of her eyes. “I can move it,” she said, her voice a bit strained. “That means it is not broken, ja? I cannot see it but I can tell that it is swelling because my shoe is too tight.”


Inappropriate or not, she would lift her skirt slightly and extend her leg in his direction if he asked to take a look at it. Maybe he was studying medicine or had some knowledge of healing. It would not be wrong to show her injured ankle to a doctor.


Sophia had been hoping he would offer to accompany her to the banqueting hall. His suggestions were met with a frown. She would rather have pleasant company than a history lesson, and she didn't know any elderly people who might have been alive during the reign of King James. Perhaps Lady Habersham was old enough to remember that period of history, but she had a tendency to ramble.


“Would you be interested in going with me, my lord? I do not need an expert opinion, and you know much more about that painting than I do. Perhaps your brother would like to come along as well?” She knew that he didn't think it was proper to be alone with her, and he was not yet aware that her bodyguard followed her everywhere. If his brother was welcome too, maybe he would be more likely to accept her invitation.

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Herbert liked taking apart contraptions and figuring out why they did not function. He was not quite as inclined to inspect a married, foreign ambassador's wife! He did not ask to examine it but rather took her word for it.


"That is a relief, for you would not wish to not be able to stand for any festivities." Christmastide usually had a plethora of court and personal events. "Life must be busy at the embassy," he commented.


For a moment, Herbert faltered as she asked him. One part of him was flattered by being asked by a beautiful woman. Another part was worried of impressions with a married woman. Yet another part thinking on if such staring at paintings would be enjoyable. The last part remembered his duty to his family.


Finally, he said, "I am only just returning to my family, so I must speak to my lord father before making any arrangements, but I would like to." He smiled in the way of young men who were bolstered and yet surprised by their successes.

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Sophia was hoping that he would ask to see it because she was curious as to what it looked like herself. Was it horribly bruised? What if it really was broken but she just didn't know it? It seemed to be swelling by the moment. Beneath her gown, she slipped off her shoe, which caused her to flinch again.


She doubted that she would be able to put it back on. When she got home, she would send Karl inside to find something to wrap it with. She certainly didn't want to walk barefoot through the snow. If by any chance Esteban was there, he could carry her inside. But then he would probably want her to stay home, and she didn't want to cancel her plans for the rest of the day. She hoped her husband was at the Embassy instead.


“I think it will be better by tomorrow.” Sophia smiled optimistically. “There is a lot going on at the Embassy now in preparation for our banquet tomorrow night. I must be able to stand and walk around then. I hope you and your family will attend. They should have received an invitation.” All of the important and influential families had been invited, as well as almost everyone else at court.


Her smile brightened when he said he would like to join her in the banquet hall to look at the painting. “I do hope your father does not mind. My maidservant and bodyguard will accompany me, so we will not be alone. I gave my maid the day off today, which is why she is not with me. She wanted to spend time with her family for the holidays.


“Maybe we can look at the painting in a few days, after you have settled in and my ankle has fully healed. I can send you a letter and you can tell me if you are able to go. Or you can send me one.”


Sophia gazed out the window for a moment and then turned her gaze back to her charming companion. “What do you study at university? Do you enjoy it there?"

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Herbert smiled politely and nodded. Not having been home, he had little idea what social engagements were in the future or what invitations had been received.


"If it was not a bad fall, I am sure you will be quite fine for your party," Herbert replied, wishing to be gallantly optimistic for the injured lady. "Or else you can have gentlemen carry you about in a chair," he teased. Although he had seen it done before.


"I was not overly worried of that," he added, with a smile. "It is quite a public place." Servants around did not bother him either, for he had lived a life with servants constantly around. He was the future Marquess of Worcester and a Plantagenet descendant after all; there were standards to live up to.


"Please do. I shall eagerly await it." Whether he was flirting or simply being very gallant, it was hard to tell. Perhaps it was both?


"Classics mostly, natural philosophy, and law," he replied. He did not think he needed to specify that he was not studying for any particular profession, simply for the advancement of his mind for his future peerage.

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“Hmmm.” Sophia tilted her head to the side, smiling playfully. “That is an excellent idea.” As appealing as it sounded, though, she knew that if the Spanish Ambassador's wife was carried around in a chair, it would look like she believed she was better than everyone else. It would be counterproductive to endearing the English to Spain, which was one of the purposes of the banquet.


At least if she sat down and her foot was bandaged, she would appear humble and brave instead of insensitive and arrogant. Even hobbling about on a cane would look courageous, although she didn't know where to come by one. Maybe Esteban had a few. Gentlemen often used them as fashion accessories.


Lord Herbert didn't seem as nervous around her anymore. His concern with being alone with a married lady didn't extend to public places. Not that they would actually be alone. He would probably bring his own servants along as well. Now she hoped that he didn't bring his brother on their adventure. She wanted to share it only with him.


Was he flirting with her? Or just being polite? “Very well. I shall write to you as soon as my ankle is better, which might be as early as tomorrow.” Sophia grinned playfully. “I do not wish to make you wait too long.”


Sophia came from a long line of nobility. She knew why young gentlemen studied at university and why a tour of the continent was often part of their education. They had to be knowledgeable and politically astute to take over their fathers' responsibilities and their seats in the House of Lords.


“That sounds fascinating,” she commented with a sad little sigh. “I wish ladies were encouraged to learn such things. I need to know about politics now that I am the wife of the Spanish Ambassador. A friend has been teaching me, but I fear I will never learn everything without some kind of formal instruction.”

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"A gentleman is always willing to wait for a lady." He had been well-trained on the arts of courtly manners. Ladies were indulged in many ways if not in others like politics or business.


He tried to keep his eyes from traveling across her form. She was very pretty. It was a bit easier considering the smell from the slop that was still present.


"And why would you need to know about politics?" he asked. Wives were more used for hostessing and arranging parties, not in negotiating politics. That was a man's world. Men were not even supposed to talk about politics around a woman. "It is uncouth to even speak of politics around a lady..." His brow furrowed in confusion.

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He was charming as well as attractive, much more appealing than he had been when they had first met. Accustomed to the practiced allure of older men, Sophia had thought of him as an unpolished youth. He had changed a lot in the last few months and she now saw him as a very appealing gentleman. University had apparently been good for him.


She noticed how he kept his eyes on her face and didn't allow them to travel lower. He had seemed fascinated with her bosom that night in the banqueting hall. That he didn't stare at it now was another sign that he had matured. Idly, she wondered what he would be like in bed, but she quickly pushed that notion to the back of her mind.


“I wish to be an asset to my lord husband,” she replied without hesitation. “Knowing what is going on in the world will help me become a better hostess. I will know in which ways to direct conversations so that no one argues with each other or becomes uncomfortable. I would not discuss politics in public. I know that is considered unseemly. But all knowledge is worth having, and understanding the topic could be invaluable in many ways.”


She smiled disarmingly. “I would bet that more ladies are politically inclined than you think. They just keep their opinions to themselves like I intend to do.”

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Charles shrugged. The thought of ladies and politics was simply foreign to him. They did not have the sort of education in history to discuss such things on any meaningful level, and he had little aspiration to be a tutor in order to discuss such things.


There were far more interesting things to him like horses, science, and mechanical things. Unfortunately, two of three of those were not topics for ladies either.


"Spheres are simply different," he replied. He knew little of hosting parties. To him is just seemed like preparing a skillful menu. He was too young to care to think deeply on such things. Women were more pretty things to look at and admire rather than partners for deep conversation.


"Perhaps they are, and that is likely wise to do." Things which skewed the organization of society tended to be frowned upon. He had received enough lectures of the importance of knowing one's place and operating within it himself.


As they were speaking, the coachman appeared at the window and said, "We are repaired, my lady."


The body-guard added, "Let us get you home. It is not good to be wet in such weather."


Herbert smiled at her, "I see that is my cue to collect my horse and continue to my family. My lady mother is likely waiting with an eye to the window. I had sent someone ahead to expect me very soon."

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Sophia knew quite a bit about history. It was one of her favorite subjects to read about, but she usually skipped over the more political parts because they were difficult for her to understand. And boring as well. She would have to pay attention to them from now on. Understanding the past was important in understanding the present. It was fortunate that she spoke three languages and was learning two more. She could read about a country in its native language, although it would take her some time before she was able to read easily in Spanish or French.


The petite singer was not interested in mechanics or science, and all she knew about horses was how to ride them. Her favorite subjects were music, art, theatre, and fashion, which would probably bore Lord Herbert to tears.


“You do not have to voice your opinions to use your knowledge to your advantage,” she pointed out. “It is always useful to be informed.” She would have said more but the coachman came to the window and told her that the carriage had been repaired. Karl was eager to take her home. If she became ill, he would most likely be blamed for not preventing her from leaving the coach. He might be her watchdog, but Esteban also wanted him to keep her from harm.


Sophia returned Lord Herbert's smile. “Thank you for staying with me, my lord. I do not wish to keep you from your family. I guess you will be needing your cloak." He would probably have to help her remove it. She was sitting on it and didn't think she could stand without assistance. Her own was still draped over the coachman's seat and drenched in slush.


"Or would you rather me have it cleaned and send it back to you with my letter? It must smell rather dreadful now.”

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"You are welcome," the young lord replied.


His eyes cast over her once more as she asked about his outerwear. He smiled and said, "It shan't take me long to get home. Let it keep you warm."


It would be quick to get home by horseback because it was easier to navigate. Plus, he was young and full of bluster to keep him warm.


As he moved toward the door, "You can send it to me. I have more at home until then. I hope you days ends better than it started, Lady Toledo. Good day."


(Fin Get that girl cleaned up and warm!)

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“Thank you,” Sophia said again when he said she could keep his cloak. She might have to explain its presence to Esteban but she thought he would be grateful that Lord Herbert had offered her his protection and company while the coach was being fixed. There was no doubt in her mind that Karl had watched them closely enough that he was aware that their behavior had been impeccable. Would her husband ever begin to trust her? It wasn't as if she fancied every gentleman she met.


“Very well. Look for it within the next few days.” She smiled disarmingly. “You made my mishap much easier to bear. I would wish you a pleasant day as well but I already know you are going to have one. Now go, my lord. Your family awaits.”


Her smile vanished as soon as he disappeared from view. How lucky he was to have a family to go home to! A solitary tear slid down her cheeks. Even after a year, she still missed her father and regretted betraying him in his last months of life. If she could go back and do things differently …


As soon as she got home, she told Anna to have a bath drawn for her and to have Lord Herbert's cloak cleaned as soon as possible. Only when she was up to chin in hot water did her chill evaporate, and she sighed in contentment as her maidservant scrubbed her and washed her hair. The warmth of the water also soothed her injured ankle. When she was dressed again, Anna wrapped her swollen foot in strips of cloth and the young Baroness was ready to continue her day.


~finis~ and thanks for a fun … if a bit smelly ... thread~

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