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Assignation, Privy Garden, Thursdsay between 1 and 2- Xmas 1677

Davina Wellsley

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The Privy Garden at Whitehall is laid out in ordered blocks with statues in the center of each square, the classical creatures easily draw the eyes of lovers of art. The different statues depict the nine Muses (Calliope, Clio, Erato, Euterpe, Melpomene, Polyhymnia, Terpsichore, Thalia, and Urania) and the three Graces (Aglaia, Euphrosyne, and Thalia), each holding or surrounded by that which is most associated with her, such as a lyre or scroll. As one wanders, it is often noted that the red roses remain on one side of the garden while the white ones remain on the opposite side, thus creating a pleasant contrast throughout. About the garden are scattered several benches, but none are secluded.



As they had agreed the meeting was to be here in this place last visited in the Springtime when she had worn cream silk and amethysts and pearls but was now so different covered with snow and plants barren of color.


Then she had only needed a thin shawl to keep out the morning mists but this day found her huddled in her cloak of thick black velvet banded with red fox fur about the collar and hood and down the length of both sides. Beneath she had opted to wear not some court gown but rather her hunts - a tight bodice made of pewter-colored velvet embelished with braided trim in royal blue in a soutache pattern that was masculine in design but yet showed her figure. Her skirt was of the same velvet but closed and the trailing length easily caught up if needed.


Beneath her hood her long black hair was scooped away from her face not in a snood but in a simple cascade of curls so artfully tangled together by her Poppy that it looked like one single curl. Small pearl headed pins had been added for ornamentation that went well with the drops in her ears. Her neck was bear and she wore the gloves from the Scottish Baron on her hands. Black leather boots protected her delicate feet from the cold and the snow that had begun to melt and turn to slush.


Reaching the 3 Graces Davina paused her blue eyes searching out the area but seeing no one that fit the description of "The German."


Too cold to remain still she paced a bit here and there hoping that he would arrive soon and suggest they go inside to some place warm with a fire.


(place folder for Von Bruhl)

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Perhaps because he, upon seeing her, had followed after -- so that only as she turned to complete her circle of investigation she would see the man approaching upon the same path she was upon.


"Mistress Wellsley." the man bowed. His costume was largely hidden beneath navy blue cloak -- it was the silver head of his cane (engraved with his family's crest) that was most evident as the hand holding it swept wide in the gesture. He reached to kiss her hand if it were offered - his expression reserved, though there was a glint of appreciation in his eyes for the fine looking woman before him.


"You have been well I trust?" he still had his neatly trimmed beard, still held himself with a military precision, and spoke with an articulate exactingness. "In hindsight I wondered if you would prefer the indoors to... this." he himself was pleased to be outdoors for a time, and it was a warmer day today.

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She was chilled thru and this pacing was not helping and so the timing of a voice calling out her name made her look up with a ready smile.


He must have followed her she thinks and remained where she was her eyes assessing the Gentleman taking in his great navy coat that hid his attire but she noticed the cane and the way of his gesture so she slowly removed the glove from her right hand offering him its warmth and for his Greeting.


"Von Bruhl. I am indeed well thank you for the asking."


She said his name adding a curtsey as her eyes held his. He still had his beard and that same demeanor that spoke of his Military training which only added to his overall presence. He then made to offer her an apology for the location and she was quick to agree.


"Well much as I like this Garden tis indeed not as it was last Spring and so my apprecation for all its beauty is a bit lacking. But then you I think quite like it for you come from a Country that is colder than here or so I have heard."


"The Air is crisp and clean and I will not be the one to deprive you of its Merits and so shall agree to walk a pace or two - but only if you then remove us to some warmer place inside the Palace. And an open hearth would do nicely too and if you can see to that I can aquire the refreshment that suits the conditions."


"I am after all employed by the Queen and so my face and commands are well enough known."


She stood calmly by him her blue eyes filled with a bit of amusement as she made her requirements known. It was a small 'test' to see just how much he was willing to accommodate and a high degree of curiosity as to just where he might suggest they go.

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Arising from his bow, the press of his lips leaving their memory upon her bared hand, Sebastien was understanding that she accepted his offer, and turned to offer the crook of his arm to escort her indoors.


"It is true that our winters are colder, though the warmth of the summer is quite as intense, and yes appreciated." was she meaning to speak in metaphor he wondered? Perhaps not.


"I chose the locale for the discreet way I might provide a location to you, I understand the Queens ladies have a mischief of reading each others letters at times, permission given or not. And I thought to afford us some privacy." and it had worked, there was no gaggle of nosy ladies spying upon them here. That said, no Davina's companions would later quiz Davina from knowing who she was with.


"Shall we?" and upon her movement he commenced their walk back indoors.


"May I assume then that you have recently made a study of my homeland?" maintaining a professional expression he never the less teased her of the little knowledge she had just revelled.

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He admited to the coldness of his Winters then made clear the reason for this location which made her chuckle.


"Ah. Well I appreciate that you thought to have privcy for us away from any prying 'eyes' yet I shall have to educate you further about the ways of Court Life!"


Accepting his offered arm she let him lead contuning


"Firstly, my correspondences are not read by any of those that I share Service with, as I have my own room and do not reside in the dormitory where such things happen. Secondly, and this you must commit to memory, there are 'Eyes' everywhere. Why I'll wager that even now we are observed - you think only a Courtier will act as a spy - you have left out those common folk who are employed at this place."


"Look you there .... That gentlewoman dressed in blue livery with a basket slung over one arm looking amongst flowers that do not bloom - what might she be about? Her livery says Household and I am sure all innocence yet it is possible that a penny or two has been exchanged and she watches me or you or waits still for another to appear. This is a Christmas Court and so the numbers have swollen like ticks overfed with boundless chances for giving and receiving of bribes."


"Do you not, as a Solider, employ that same stratigity when information is needed about opponents? Well tis the same here. Your German Court cannot be any different."


"You may 'assume' what ere you wish to. I have not enought knowledge other than what is writ upon maps and such stories told by those well traveled. So will you not then be kind and educate me further on your homeland? I am a quick learner."


She was teasing him outright. But she had said a Truth - she was indeed a very quick learner and an excellent pupil but she could hardly tell him of what Charles had taught her!


"Where will you take us then? I am curious as to how 'private' you want us to remain. If you are unsure I can assist for I know of a few plces that will allow us to be alone or remain within sight but not overheard. Which I wonder will you pick?"


That she flirted he had to see. Would he be able to see that she had changed from their last meeting and that she was bolder and more confident now? That he did not make her nervous or cause her to be shy in his presence? She also viewd him in comparrison to Whitehurst noting how different they were and her thoughts drifted a bit as she also wondered .....

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The lady told her of situations, which seemed somewhat different to the information he'd been given. The Queens view was there her ladies had scant little privacy, but apparently her ladies maids had more privacy than Karoline realised. Though still Davina counted herself watched always, and illustrated the possiblity by imagining a possible gardener who might have existed there - although the garden was quite empty, still her point was made.


"Interesting." The young Freiherr replied. He was not bothered that she believed it her place to correct him on both counts, though most women would not do so if they wished to encourage a suitor. But then she had never encouraged him had she. Never the less, Karoline had said she would speak to Davina after their first meeting, and so he called upon her again.


To his viewpoint she seemed like a woman who pushed others away as a habit that she was oblivious to. It was a minor failing in the grand scheme of things, and perhaps if she came to trust her, she'd be less prickly.


"Our courts are somewhat different to that of England." he replied in a calm voice, "you will understand that Germany as you call us, are in fact a quantity of independent states: Prussia, Bavaria and Saxony and so on." he walked with her through the arches that led indoors, "My own families lands, or more particularly those that I am heir to, edge the Thuringian Forest. A chain of ancient rounded mountains, covered with trees. There is never a shortage of wood for our fires."


As oft happens when one speaks of home, there was a warmth to his tone in it's memory. "The village of Ilmenau is renown for it's mines, where copper and silver is wrung from it's rock. Though also the industries of glass and porcelain keep the people busy. While most goods are set out for sale to the larger towns and beyond, there are wondrous markets where my sisters and brothers both, have spent many an hour." He looked to her, gauging if she'd heard her fill.


"My family is attached to the Electors of Saxony, that is Duke of Saxe-Weissenfels presently, thus my connection to Lady Mountjoy. You are known to the Margavina are you not, a judge of her character might reveal much of the style of court I am accustomed to. The many whisperings of courts like England, might find a European counterpart in France more than Germany, my lady." he hoped he had sufficiently explained. "It need be seen, I suppose, to be understood - I am only a humble soldier, not an architect of society whom might better expound the differences to a curious lady."


Was she curious really? If she was, then that was probably a good sign.


Here they entered the corridor, timely, as he question to their direction was then asked. "To a fire perhaps? Perhaps to the music room, perchance we are blessed with a musician at practise. Unless, does my lady possess a musical talent?"

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He made no remark past his frst regarding her attempt to 'school' him on their immediate surroundings but instead launched into descriptive narration of his Homeland which, to her surprise, she was drawn into. That he was Proud of it was clear by his tone.


"Yes I knew of this - not one but many 'States' as you call them. I wonder how it must be to live amongst such? To travel between one and another within boudries and rules set then another to be adopted once a border is crossed. Confusing I am sure but then one needs must adapt or else be confned to one place always."


He continued on adding in bits and pieces on what he must have thought would suit her questionings and then came to that part of his connections which drew her brows together for a moment in thought. She had somehow lost that he was within the Camp that Lady Mountjoy herself was part of and so his suggestion that she look to that Lady for guidance in how familiar he was with a Court.


"I think that you are more than a humble soldier My Lord - as you words just now have proven. It takes a measure of Skill to say words that allow the listner to embrace places told of. Mayhap you should look to be an Ambassador? And as for Society itself, well, there too I think you are better informed than you will say."


"I am indeed curious and why not? I have never been beyond these shores and while I would wish too there is a far greater part of me that seeks to plant roots firmly in English Soil."


She moved ahead of him as they reentered the Palace and stood for a moment to acquaint herself then turned to face him as he offered his own ideas.


"Music Room? No not there. And I have no Talent sadly and tis far too cold I should think for a 'singer' to be about and Muscians will play anywhere but they too would feel the chill!"


Her supposition on both was merely that for she had no knowledge of either.


"We are near enough to the Privy Gallery and there we shall be assured of warmth for all the fireplaces shall be lit with enough space between for conversation and chairs as well. Shall we go there then? No doubt we shall have 'privcy' yet be amongst others' mayhap set upon the same idea!"


The idea that by going there they could acquire one of the firplaces as theirs alone and with chairs be warm yet still converse. She wanted to see just what else this Gentleman was going to offer her and what she might offer in return.


She had offered him a hint by way of her comment on planting English Roots and she wondered if he was smart enough to have caught it.


She suspected he had.

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"Perhaps you can imagine it as similar to traveling in England through it's various Duchies" he made further effort to explain, and looked to her again if she cared to continue the topic. It seemed to him they would move on.


He was pleased at least that she saw past his modesty, and appreciated that he was far more than a humble soldier. A puff of air and restrained smile expressed his sentiment to her suggestion he be an ambassador. "If you wish to relay your recommendation to Duke Saxe-Weissenfels, I am sure he will take it into consideration." he was making a joke and chucked now of it, "Yet as an emissary of his to the Queen, I am satisfied - yet as to any greater influence in England I cannot be sure." He had kept Karoline in touch with developments back home, and she had been pleased enough to recommend he take a wife in England, which he understood as the Queens inference that he remain.


He nodded to Davina's declaration that she wished to remain on English soil, "You have your family here of course." which was scant real reason for a woman to remain really, look at Karoline, torn from all she had ever known. "Yet your service must be the greatest tie, as is indeed for us all."


The English maid then broke apart from him, and stood midst the foyer looking about. He suggested the music room, and she declined. Instead she suggested the Privy Gallery. "By all means." while his elbow was available to her still, yet if not take he'd clasped his hands behind his back to walk that direction.


Just as she wondered to what he could offer her, he wondered to what she could provide to him, both aware there needed to be rather more to a match than soley Her Majesties suggestion.

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He was receptive of her suggestion thankfully for she had no desire to wander aimlessly.


"Ah. So tis like if I were to travel between one County to Another here - is that what you mean?" She asked thinking that she had managed to get it right.


He seemed pleased with her suggestion regarding Employment and teased back


"Well then. If the Opportunity arises then I shall put forth your Name! How can I not? For you must know that on the whole Ambassador's can be a rather staid and oft times without any traces of Humor ..." She continued linking her arm thru his to continue onwards.


"We Maids of Honor are tasked with 'entertaining' you see and that can be a hardship. We must listen and engage when needed all the while trying to remember everything that is said but with an "Ambassador" such a you I think we would all be settled at your feet!"


Her gaze traveled ahead picking out familiar faces - those alone or in small groups - and she would steer him towards them if he asked it but she prefered to simple Be Seen by all the eyes that watched sure that it woud reach the Queen's ear at some point. Now if only one of the older Court Lady's were about who had lose tongues and were quick to speculate so much the better.


She was determned to not take the lead in conversation but to listen and asked what she hoped were intelligent questions and since she had admitted to being curious he might be more forthcoming in revealing what his palns were. Yet she knew him as a Solider so like any entering the Field he would not give all away and she would do the same.


This was a Battle fought with words and flattery and little white lies but she had to be careful for one wrong word or misunderstanding might see her really married to him!

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Privy Gallery


The Privy Gallery extended from the passage over the Holbein Gate, past the Privy Garden, and into the main rooms of the Palace, including the Council Chamber. It was warmed with fireplaces spaced periodically along with wide hallway. Windows looked down into the Privy Garden and chairs were placed discreetly at intervals near the fireplaces for those in need of a brief rest and a little warmth.



"Correct. You would not find a palace with all the houses represented, but a castle with that locales presiding family and their supporters. Yet the life styles and happenings upon that smaller scale are still representative to the larger courts of Versailles and Whitehall. So you see milady, I am less of a country bumpkin that you first thought." he finally completed that he was not in need of her instruction. His male ego took offense to it in fact, but with his politic manner did not state as much, instead he spoke around the topic to hopefully bring her to the desired conclusion.


Rather than continue on their walk separated, she retook his arm. His eyebrows rose at the surprise, and he calmly walked on. "The art of conversation is a fine skill. Then you think I would I reduce it's necessity, if I held that status?" He had a feeling that she was explaining that without that formal position she was less interested.


They passed the doors to the Central drawing room.


The hall was busy at this time of day, the weather naturally kept most indoors, and there were at least as many servants as there were nobles moving about. Sebastian did not seem to know many as they passed, though he turned to note after those that Davina acknowledged with a nod and smile.


Music filtered into the great hall from the next door that they passed; the Music room. Sebastian's head lifted to try recognise the tune, but he kept on walking, understanding Davina aversion to it. "Do you play the game of Latrones? Her Majesty's young companion Lady Dorothea has brought with her a set from home." Much to the queens delight.


The next door they approached was to the Royal Library.





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Had he just delivered a reprimand to her?


"In Truth I would not have used such a term to describe you at all. The one thing you are not is someone used to rusticating in the country. But since you have delivered your point so 'diplomatically' I can only answer that the point has been taken."


She quietly chidded him for his thinking of her thoughts.


She caught the gesture of surprise as she engaged her arm with his and hid a smile as they walked on. "I have always thought that as well which is why I said what I did. You have a certain manner of speaking , in describing if you will, so that those listening would be unwilling to depart your Company."


"But why would I think such a thing? Conversation - in all its forms - is a necessity suruly everywhere but more so at Court do you not agree? You will do well no matter what Position you hold and I say that truthfully. And a Man that holds well with his words is much more interesting than one who simply uses banter and flattery and tis worse when apparent tis done withou true sincerity."


She noted the passing of the first set of rooms and she knew his gaze followed hers as she made acknowledgment of a smile or a bow or a nod of a head without a word being spoken to any. If he was curious and wanted to further his own Circle why did he not press for introductions? But mayhap he was simply using this as a Testing - to see just how much interest might be generated?


Next was the Music Room and as was expected sounds from within signled it to be occupied and she gave a small silent sigh as he continued on.


"Latrones? This name is not know to me. Ah. Lady Dorothea is German as well so it follows that it must be one that is as well yes? How is it played? Do you play it well? I imagine that you would! Is it a Game only for men then - well no it must not be for you said that She brought one with her. Perhaps on some subjects related to Sport or Solidering? Tis played with dice perhaps and one wagers to win or lose?"


"If so this will be popular right quick here at Court for most will wager on anything!"


She knew that the Library was next would he take her there? If so then he wanted to be alone with her away from all the 'eyes'. Well. This could be very interesting. Indeed.

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Placated that she appreciated his experience, he gave a small nod and smile. Onwards they walked, taking in the shifting scenery of courtiers in this the Privy Gallery. (He'd no intent to take her anywhere other, as this room had been her expressed preference)


"With such a collection of admirers, a gentleman would be happy to remain." he even laughed a little at that. He was not at all sure of the message she thought to deliver by it! "Though I shall admit it is the favour of one, and not all that I seek." His own point was plainly made


"Just as a woman with skill at loosening a hesitant voice, is sure to shine in many a field, whether in service to her Mistress the Queen, or someday her Husbands house. The lady becomes desirable indeed for her capability and polish, burnished through the gem-tumbler of court."


"It is less a gambling game, and more of strategy." The gentleman explained of the game Latrones. "I shall admit to some skill of it myself - it is a game simple to learn, and difficult to master. Yes, ti may well become popular amidst the Queens ladies at least. I would be happy to teach you upon some occasion. I can arrange to have the counters made, and we might play it upon a chess board easily enough."


"It is a game of capturing ones opponents pieces, of lure and anticipation, and keen to the key positions to be held. Said to be military in origins, though truly, it is equally light and fun, with no wagers other than the pleasure of being the winner if one does well."


Past the library they walked, did he sense her arm tighten upon his for a moment before they passed? He turned to look at her, but she did not suggest they go inside. So onward they walked... past groups of courtiers that conversed near fires, past servants that scurried about.


The next door they approached was to the cardroom, before they would come to the point that they could exit the hall to the Shield Gallery or Great Hall -- or, turn and walk back the way they had come.

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She glanced up at him as he remarked about the favor of one then added that he sought more. Making the guess that he spoke of Her.


"Indeed? There is Pride to be found in either occupation I must agree yet one can argue that some profess more that makes them so desirous or those those who's faults are not seen clearly until tis too late. Too much polish can also weaken yet the luster will continue."


The walked on without going towards the Library as he instructed her in the makings of this new Game he was interested in offering to teach her at some point. So his intent was to then keep walking her without a pause to become warmer? Would he be that uncaring despite his pretty words? If that were it then she would assert herself and make it clear that she was in need of warmth!


"I should like to learn yet I fear you might find me an inadequate player compared with those who know the workings? Like Lady Dorethea - you have her acquaintance already it seems - as one can be lost at first".


"Her Majesty will appreciate another Countrywoman even for a visit for there are not many that speak the language fluently amongst Court Ladies. Well, Lady Toledo, the new wife of the Spanish Ambassador, does but she is not able to hold any Position now that she is his wife."


"Have you met her? She is quite lovely on the eye and sings this Opera that so many are engaged about. Did you see her performance?"


She was curious about his sensibilities. Was he Libertine or Consertavative in his views?


Some passing warmth from one of the many fireplaces caressed as they walked by and she gave a small sigh her eyes lingering for a moment upon those fortunate to be sitting away for a moment from the drafty corridor and the feel of it on one' ankles. She was tempted to suggest that they go to her rooms just to enter that place where it was already made cosy and Poppy would have made some hot drink .....


But he would no doubt be Shocked

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He was not perfect no. Having come to the hall she desired, he did not realise she wanted to specially stand in front of a fire, just as he was not aware that she wanted him to ask her to introduce him to her friends. Was that truly a failing, a cold hard callousness, or was it a mere oversight as he was absorbed by the conversation?


"With due time, a better estimation of the gemstone can be attained." he initially understood her reply to mean she did not want to rush.


"Yes I know Lady Dorothea." he tipped his head, did Davina sound jealous? "She is a kind young lady, who is very devoted to the Church, why I believe she sees her future aligned with it. Her visit to England is quite temporary as I understand. I would prefer to teach the game to one whom might remain longer, that the sport might endure."


Failing Dorothea, Davina nominated yet another lady as a Latrones partner to him. It finally dawned upon the German, what she was doing. "Yes I saw her performance, and think it more than her marriage to the Ambassador of Spain that precludes her from attendance upon Queen Karoline." he replied of Sophia but understood more of Davina. Davina would suggest just anyone other than herself to play the game with him. She was giving him her answer.




And here they reached the end of the hall, he with her reply. It was a pity, but as they said, better sooner than later. "I am sure I shall find someone to practise with." he inclined his head to her then, "It has been a pleasure Mistress Wellsley."



OOC: I"ll pm BG to bring his npc in as mine leaves.

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It was sudden yet skillfully played. But she was not happy.


"So was this all then?" She asked stopping to face him."You asked for us to meet, then Paraded me up and down this corridor without a care for my comforts all the while striking my curisoity about your Homeland and filling me up with Tales."


Her eyes glittered when her temper was roused darkening to an almost sapphire color and she favored him with that display now. Her cloak had grown heavy and made her feel over-heated so she let it slip from where it had laid about her shoulders to the wooden floor billowing to rest about her feet.


"Ah. So you speak Truth at last! I am indeed not worthy to be seen as one who might be 'taught' this foreign game then? You make an assumption yet again about me without thought for how that will hurt. Mayhap then tis best for you to look to elsewhere for I should hate to see you waste your Time upon ME."


That she never had any True Interest in this Gentleman was not a thought at this moment for her. She has expected him to play the Game better. She hadn't really thought he was that interested in marrying her anyway but the Idea of that had flattered.


"You have dissapointed me. You surrendered the Field so easily which makes me see that there was never any intent to engage."


Her voice had been low-pitched but to any observing it would be clear that she was agitated for the color was high on her cheekbones as she adopted her straight backed posture her body angling away from his.




(ooc: too short!! ok)

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He did not expect her to take affront, when it was he that was rejected. His gentlemanly composure was tested as the took a temper with him. "We are in public still." in an undertone he reminded her that others were privy her to conversation.


"You desired to visit the Privy Gallery, and here we are." he made a small show of defending himself, "you did not say you wanted to sit. I have found movement keeps the body warm far better than standing near a decorative fire in a drafty hall."


He discovered her to hae quite a flare for drama, a she slid free of her cloak that it fell at her fee, and caused a scene. Faces were turning towards them. What was she trying to achieve?


"Madam, you nominated any other person you could think of to learn the game of Latrones rather than yourself. Further, you demeanour towards me has not encouraged my suit, but has been as chilly as the hall. The gift I brought had not been worn. I am not a trap laid for you, which is the sense I get from you. I certainly gained no sense that you enjoyed nor wished to maintain my company. I do not know why this scene you cause is necessary, it certainly does not build a bridge to embarrass me like this." he bent and picked up her cloak, and passed it to her ladies maid. If walking had not warmed her up, her temper certainly had.



OOC: and so it continues a bit longer then!

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"Did you just toss this back on me? And I know full well how Public we are. And you surmised that I wished to not sit or be by some warmth simply because I did not voice it but thought to simply rely upon your own observation."


"Well Sir you are a MAN and thus should be able to take the chill far better then my sex. That is not meant to infer anything but that. Such a thing as a 'decorative fire' is far better to be before than out into the open spaces here."


He then laid bare his apparent resentments which she, naturally, made to correct


"I did no such thing. I spoke of how very few of the Queen's ladies speak German; then added that Lady Toledo did - which by the way was only said as a away for that information to be used if Lady Dorethea or even Yourself wished to hear the language of the place you must miss."


"As to your 'gift' well I have not made use of it in all truth because I cannot make up my mind as to how best to employ it. Tis such a pretty color and one must not rush into a decision that will be regreted later when tis too late to alter."


"And as for that "Game .... You infered that twas a thing that required intelligence and so when compared to Lady Dorethea who is even so briefly here and one you spoke so nicely of with praise at her ability it made me feel .... less than. That was why I did suggest them."


She had the grace to advert her eyes then for her temper was cooling and even she had to admit to herself that she may have come about to strongly aganist him.


"I have meant no offense and I am sorry if you are."


He retrieved her cloak and handed it off to Polly who, Davina knew, was lapping up this whole thing and would deliver her view later.


"I have never thought of You as a 'trap' and how can I encourage anything when ...."


She broke off for to continue on with what she had been about to say might give him the idea that she really held an interest in his offer so she said instead


"We are but newly acquainted and thus how can any conclusion be spoke of? This all confuses me so."


That was indeed true and she was confused by it all. Being pulled and directed by those wanting to control her Future.


The fire had burned itself out and she seemed deflated and her eyes when they looked back up at him held sadness as well as the hope he had understood, even in some small way, how she felt.


If by chance it was noticed a place near enough to where they stood had become free and two low chairs placed close to one of those 'decorative' fireplaces was now available.

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She was angry at him because he’d not read her mind. How like a woman.

“I notice your cloak is no longer necessary.” He commented on how she’d shucked it to the ground, all while she called his honour into question, that he’d leave a woman to shiver of the cold. She’d not seemed cold. Nor did she seem cold now. (Fiery of temper rather!)


"I did not understand that from your reply at all.” So it had been some sort of misunderstanding, he had not gleaned from her speech that she was recommending German conversationalists at all. He’d thought they were talking of Latrones.


Davina spoke more of why she’d not worn the ribbon, that she admitted to jealousy the pious Dorothea came as a surprise, yet then she apologised with profession that she’d not viewed him as a trap. The latter he viewed with scepticism, for what other reason could there be?


“Enough said.” He settled at the end of it all, “Neither of us were in a pleasant position, thrust together, and plainly very ill suited for each others company. I do not think we’ve said a single word to each other that has not been misunderstood by the other, and poorly so. “ he at least felt that she assumed the worst of him at every turn, and perhaps he was doing the same with her? She was well placed in English society, but had personally was aloof to him. She did not smile prettily nor flirt with him like a gent would want, instead he felt uncomfortable and needing to defend himself when in her company. She did not find him attractive, he was certain of that. “We would be foolish indeed to consider a marriage, when even in ‘friendship’ we have no affinity.


He remained ready to leave, hearing no request from her to remain. At least they had spoken through the disagreement, so a possible future meetings was less likely to be terribly awkward, and there was bound to be future meetings for she & he were both part of the Queens circle.

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She heard him thru in silence knowing he spoke Truth. She had and was treating him without good manners and that spoke ill of her and was not her true nature.


She could see that there was a chance at last to sit and so she asked him quietly


'Will you remain for just a while longer? Might we sit there ..."


She gestured to that space just off to their left and moved towards it calling over a shoulder to him




She settled and cast her Poppy a glance that had that woman give a nod in understanding and move a distance away but she would remain within call. What her Lady was up to she could not guess but by her manner there seemed to be no 'temper' now involved.


Davina was calm and she knew that the time had now come to be frank and honest wth this man. To at last be clear and try, she hoped, to salvage something that might benefit them both.


But would he do as she asked and remain or had he had enough of her?

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He was pleased to have these things all said. And pleased in part that the question mark that had hovered about their possible pairing was removed for now he knew where he stood. He could plan further.


And Davina too, she too seemed quieter, calmer now, and asked him to remain to keep company a while.


"That might be nice." The path to a friendship might be theirs out of this odd beginning. He gestured for her to enter the seated area first, and after she'd taken a seat he sat also. A deep breath drawn and exhaled.

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She released the breath she'd held when he agreed to stay and she did as he wanted and took a chair first her eyes speculative as she watched him then do the same.


It was warm here and someone had scattered herbs amongst the wood so the mingling of smoke and spice was pleasant and the warmth she felt welcome'd as she settled in. He too appeared calmer and less judgemental of her and so perhaps things might be accomplished after all.


"We have misjudged each other greatly I think."


She said quielty into the small space they occupied somewhat removed from Center stage but still viewable and no doubt many ears strained to catch something that might be then repeated all about. She would not embarass him or her again.


"I knew that you sought me out because you had been told to. My Mistress is not to be Denied by any - even a countryman. I thought too that my Brother had been employed in some way for the sudden interest taken in my un-married state."


"Yet I was determined to outplay and so sought to disrupt. I am sorry for that but I will not feel ashamed for speaking out against an arrangement that I did not want."


"We were indeed thrust together as you said. Charged with a task that, at least for me, I did not desire. Do not mistake my words. You are very charming and pleasing on the eye but this you know already! I found it ..... challenging to see how far you were willing to let me travel before the wall was reached. And did you not do the same with me?"


"You flirted but I never responded as you'd expected no doubt thinking that I thought you unappealing in some manner. I did apurpose try to not make you care for me so I offered no encouragement for I was afraid that I would then be married off and taken away to some far off place with nothing and no one to aid me."


That she had been afraid was a truth. She had entertained many ideas, most probably unfounded, that if he had indeed married her she would have been packed off to the wilds of his Country away from any 'Court Life'.


"That will no doubt make you even think more ill of me but these matters are of great import to those of my sex and I have not explained it very well I am sure but can you not find a way to understand?"


"I do not see you as an Enemy. But the reverse. We must be in contact for that is where we are employed and I do not wish for dissent as a daily occurrence."


She had rambled on with her thoughts and feelings in no order thinking that if she told him the matter of factness then he might .... what exactly? Suddeny discover that she was NOT as horrible as she'd tried to persuade him she was? Or that he might smile and reassure her and then speak of how they might try to be 'friends'?


And it will be a Hot January

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He would not have said 'Greatly', but let her words be what they were. He was surprised at her admission of having been deliberately contentious, So I'd not been imagining it. But again, this politic man kept his expression plain.


"I have not met Lord Baintree your brother." he spoke. "Yet court is not so large, no doubt I shall one day."


"I do not think ill of you for your maintained position." of the rest he replied, it was now water under the bridge. "But am pleased that is past. Perhaps we shall indeed play Latrones one day, yet without the cloud courtship would have been to you."


Sebastien felt very generous to say as much, it required a large dismissal of wounded male ego to say so. He'd refer to leave to make his mental adjustments in private and move on, but she seemed insistent he stay, and he was too much a gentleman to refuse. Women did like to talk. Men needed to be able to listen.

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A better judge of the Male Ego now Davina knew that he was standing on Pride and therefore she thinks much prefer to abandon this conversation and to nurse his thoughts in private.


"You are indeed generous and also kind enough to say it to me directly. I treated you unfairly and that alone gives you cause to be less than you have been here. That you have called Pax - at least on this - marks you for a Gentleman indeed. That is a Complement by the way so you should take it thusly."


She looked across at him then smiled. One of true softness and in it he might read that she was thankful for his understandings. For his added words that they might indeed develope a 'friendship'.


"I should like that very much. It shall be under a friendship, I hope, and that given time we might be at ease with the other."


There was nothing really left to be said. She would release him and let him take his leave.


"You are, I think, ready to go about your way and so I shall not keep you any longer. We will no doubt be in the compay of each other over this Holiday but I will not seek you out unless tis wanted. There will be no adversity in my manner or words."


She would remain seated but would offer him her hand in parting.

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"I think I saw her in that direction sir," came the reply of the helpful servant. Richard had been looking everywhere for his sister and had followed a trail of subtle clues to trace her path.


Into the hallway the Viscount Baintree stormed, his anger sustaining him. In the distance he saw his sister and some gentleman sitting together. He better be a bloody earl to refuse our generous cousin! The viscount marched forward so that he might better identify the gentleman that was with his sister. If Davina saw him, he was certain that she would feel obligated to introduce him.

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Sebastien arose to his feet, bowing then to make his departure - when he understood a prickling to the air. Turning he saw a man arriving upon Davina with a steam up.


Not knowing who the man was, the German thought to remain a moment in case the woman needed his protection (his concern for some manner of trouble was never the less well concealed, as he provided the approaching man a questioning look).

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She did not stand when he did and when she saw him look behind her she turned in her chair her blue eyes widening a fraction as she saw her brother bearing down upon them.


"Well it seems that you shall meet my brother sooner rather than later." She exclaimed for his benefit adding "And there is 'trouble' if he has searched me out. Yet I shall observe the nicities and make introductions ...."


She could see by his stance that there was indeed trouble and she gave an inward sigh wondering just how much worse her day was about to become. When he drew level she looked to him then to The German saying


"Freiherr von Brühl my brother Viscount Baintree"


An inward grown as she somewhat mangled the pronouncation but she added a small smile then sat still letting the two Men eye each other. She knew that the other would not linger and part of her would have welcom'd his remaining but then far better to get whatever it was that had her brother come over and done.


She had a suspecion that it did not bode well for her.

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Richard was not exactly sure what a Frei Herr was, but it sounded like a Germanic title. His anger dissipated for the moment so that he could be more civil to the foreigner. "Good afternoon Frei Herr," he uttered politely enough. What are you doing with my sister? Are you the one that is turning her against her family I wonder? "I hope I am not intruding. I was in search of my sister to discuss some family business, but it could wait a bit if I have interrupted ... ."


It was out of politeness for the stranger that he stayed his verbal assault on his sibling. Yet, Richard was impatient to have Davina alone, and it might show.

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Her Brother. Her forewarning in hand, Sebastien acknowledged her wry comment with a nod. It was almost funny, but not.


"Good afternoon Viscount Baintree," he greeted cordially, and yet as Davina had advised him there was some family matter to hand. "Not at all, I was in fact just leaving. I shall hope to meet again when time is less pressing." and a nod given to Richard, before a fuller bow to the Lady. "Until again."


And he made his exit, wondering what it was that had the brother all worked up. It could be near anything in a lively court like this.

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She watched him take his leave then her gaze went to her brother


"Will you sit or have you come to drag me off? I am comfortable here and we have some privcy as you can see .... You are near to bursting into flame and I wonder what has provoked?"


She knew all too well why he was here. Norfolk. She gave a small sigh and then turned back to face the hearth hoping that she might be able to control him as well as herself.

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"Good afternoon," Richard replied at the German's exit, with a polite smile. The smile quickly vanished as Baintree turned to regard his sister. He would be happy to drag her off but did not wish to make a greater scene.


"Are you insane Davina? What were you thinking?" Richard's tongue-lashing began. "How can you treat our cousin the Duke so shamefully? After all he has offered to do for us, you reject George out of hand and then insult the Duchess at the same time! I thought you were the sensible one. The Duchess offered to embrace you as a daughter and you slapped her face." He was shaking his head in disbelief as he spoke.


"Now it is left to me to salvage our patron. You could not have told her you would consider it? You could not have met George and given him a chance to court you? I could have negotiated a good situation for you. Have you some better offer to inform me of?" Realizing that he had given Davina no opportunity to answer, Richard clamped his jaw shut in an abrupt manner. He had no expectations that he would hear anything satisfactory in the way of answers.

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