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Fashionably Late | 30th- Xmas 1677


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OOC: the first player joining this thread can set the time stamp



Saint Mark Hall is the residence at Whitehall for guests of the King that do not merit an apartment in the Palace itself. From here it is an easy walk to the Privy Garden.


Entering the doors to Saint Marks Hall one steps upon an intricately worked parquet floor. Ahead a wide staircase ascends into the upper levels of the buildings, at it's foot a liveried servant stands to assist those that might need it, running small errands, such a notifying an occupant that they have a visitor.


Reception Room

To the right, through a wide arched entrance draped with dark green curtains, a drawing room where ladies or gentlemen await each other - for it is not seemly to call upon the opposite sex in their chambers directly. Windows from the drawing room look out upon a small rose garden, and in the warmer months are left ajar during the day allowing the sweet fragrance of their blooms to enter the room. Several groupings of chairs are laid out, again in highly polished mahogany, yet all in view of those passing through the lobby.



The woman was seen through to the Reception room.


"We were not expecting you until tomorrow marm." said the Steward apologetically. Behind him a air of chamber maids rushed upstairs, while a pair of liveried lads grappled with a great truck they'd need cart up stairs.


"May I send for some tea and macarons, or perhaps a cup of mulled wine."


The woman, in that age bracket where age is no longer prudent to speak about, gave a strained sigh. "I was assured that my step-son had made all the arrangements."


"Oh they are indeed made my lady, there are just a final few touches to make."


Mary paused at the door, and looked about the reception room. It had been renovated since her last visit with a showy opulence that was practically French! A smile grew on her face, “this will do very nicely…” she entered the room, “I shall have coffee with brandy, and some of those macrones you recommend.”

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  • 2 weeks later...

In the hours that had passed since her Guest had not appeared she'd done several things - attempted to finish some needlework but tossed it aside; started a letter to some distant relations but that soon found its way into the fire until finally she gave a great sigh called out for her maid and said she was going 'out'.


Out was simply a mirgration to the Reception Room but on her way down she'd been forced to seek shelter as a great trunk was dragged up the stairs by two lanky serving men all skin and bones. Flat aganist the wall Cordelia gathered her chocolate colored velvet skirts up into one hand anxious that they not be tred upon. Assured again of saferty she continued down.


Expecting to 'see' the usual assorted faces she was therefore surprised to find one she didn't know. A Lady, newly arrived by the look of her, standing at the doorway. She could hardly brush past ...


'I do beg pardon. Might we enter together?"


She caught the eye of the Steward and he, good fellow that he was, might remember that she prefered the two deep chairs by the hearth and would easily see them there. He was obviously running short of someplace and so Cordelia sought to send him on as quickly as possible and yet still make an introduction.

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Hearing a friendly voice, Mary turned with pleasant expression - thinking perhaps it would be someone long past familiar. "I would enjoy that." She did not recognise Cordelia: who was an older woman, but not past her prime.


"I am Lady Chatham." Mary Audley provided, "Dowager that is."


"Dowager, such a difficult title to become aligned to. They are just finishing my room, I would be very pleased to keep your company, my lady..." it was an apt mooment for Cordelai to provide her own go-by.


Mary was a woman with exquisite etiquette, plainly had attended court before, even if her past half decade had been spent in the country. She was a woman in her early thirties, carefully styled in accordance with the latest French plates, and quite handsome.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Cordelia assesed beneath her smile taking note of every detail of the younger woman that stood by her missing nothing. Noted too that she eschewed English for French style and wondered if that perhaps offered a clue as to the Lady's personality.


"Lady Lucas. A Pleasure. Shall we?"


She took the lead and was soon before the area that she had secretly hoped would be made available.


"The air even inside is oft times chilled so i have a fondness for this spot. Please sit. Dowager - ah so your oldest son is married then ~ that can well be an adjustment when not used to it I'd imagine. Does she please you your daughter-in-law? My son alas is not yet wed to my chagrin."


She now knew that the other was at the very least an Earl's Widow and anything higher was doubtful for she would hardly be placed to come to St Marks to reside!

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Her stays softly creaked as Mary settled into one of the opulently upholstered chairs. "Far from it, my stepson to my late husbands first marriage is atrociously single, and I fear shall remain thus till his death. He is by nature unsuited to the title, a fact of which his father and I had oft lamented. Anyone will tell you that the second born son, that of my own loins, is the superior candidate."


"Ah yes. You are a woman of sons I can had already divined. Women of sons acquire the finest insights, and ask the keenest questions." A pause. “Ah, but the weight a mother tirelessly carries, with concern for her sons..." she gave a gentle sigh of acknowledgment that they were peers in this.


"Yet it is at my stepsons invitation that I thought to attend Christmas court. He seems to have fallen in with one Arthur Cadogan. Do you know anything of such a man?"




OOC: I stand corrected then that she is still titled Lady Chatham until the new Earl marries! Thanks for the tip

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Cordelia smiled across at the younger woman pleased with the reception.


"Yes, son's are indeed a Trial yet how Glad we are for them. Why lament about 'Dowager' then? You are far too young to be addressed thusly and as both are yet unmarried you needs must make full enjoyment of being the Countess! Time enough if marriages occur to hand that over."


"I have but one son living out of three children. I had Hopes naturally that Ambition and Pride of Place might make up for what is lacking but, well, he and I are not of the same mind."


"This is the first or so I have been told of a Christmas Court here in many years. I must say that things are indeed different here. Our Lord of Misrule is a Lady of Misrule and a Frenchwoman who is an unmarried relative of the Lord Treasurer. I was quite shocked when that was announced I can say in all Truth as were many others'."


"Your step-son had arranged for you to reside here and not with him - but then mayhap tis far better for you. I have been here for some time and this place is well enough. Since it is close to The Palace that makes it sought after. I do hope they bring a warm drink to us ...."


She looked about seeking to capture the eye of a servant


"No I do not know that name. Is he a Peer or a Gentleman - what sort of person would your step-son keep Company with? You might ask the Landlord. His ear is atuned to EVERYTHING."

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  • 2 weeks later...

Mary found Cordelia's words uplifting, and smiled - though not in a girlish manner, rather it was the smile of one who understood how things were. "You are kind. And yes I must admit that I do find a new sense of appreciation for this visit to London. It is the first that I have made of my own choice, of my own freedom you even might say, without the demands of a male over my comings or goings."


Which she might guess Cordelia was more accustomed to than herself, Mary had been widowed barely half a year yet.


"Perhaps he shall still come around." of Cordelia's son she well-wished, "It is hard to know what will be the making of a man, a Mother does her best to expose a youth to things that might inspire the best of male nature, but with some we can only pray for a catalyst, or even a miracle. He is of an age?"


"Yes certainly - though I did hear the reports of Windsor last year." Mary had not attended that tragedy of a Christmas season, the drama of which had been blamed rightly or wrongly upon France. "It would seem that wherever the Christmas season is held, France finds a way to meddle in it."


"Oh no, our New Lord Chatham is staying here at Saint Marks also." She rectified the misunderstanding given, "to be honest, I am not at all keen for him to spend Chatham monies upon a townhouse, for a guest address at the palace is surely finer precedence. And I might now add, the calibre of ones neighbours is exceptional." she gave a little laugh at this embracing comment. "Pray, what is your room number may I inquire, perhaps our rooms shall be convenient?"


Servants eye having been caught with Cordelias reminder, presently the rattle of a trolley upon wheels could be heard bringing in coffeepot, teapot, cups, and a multi-tired platter of dainty treats (including the macaroons) for the ladies to select from.


As far as Arthur Cardogan when, Cordelia had no further light to share upon the man in review, but put forth the most amusing suggestion. With musical laughter Mary replied, "I assure you Lady Lucas, have I opportunity to speak to our Landlord, I would find better use of his ear than to ask for advice upon that topic. Heavens." her laugher settled into warn chuckles, till she was able to ask, "Have you yourself had much occasion to speak to the King?" who must be the landlord Cordelia had referred to.

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"I should have extended my Sympathy at the start for your Loss. There will be adjustments of course and I am glad that you have adapted that view - for we, as wives, had really only two options - to grieve the loss and shut ourselves away or to come back into the Light."


"I chose the later and even as a Wife my freedoms were many yet I was amazed by how many opportunities presented themselves to me in the years since my Husband died. You will find it so as well. After a time."


Her words were quietly said and meant with kindness


"Ah well we shall have to see just how willing my son will be come the New Year for I intend to see him wedded, bedded, and a heir in her belly by this time next year. I am quite firm on this and I hope you have the same with your own son."


"I think that you are a wise woman Lady Chatham and so think many doors shall open for you and to have come now, at Christmas Court, tis indeed Fortunate! The French seem to be in many things theses days but tis a Blessing that there is no embargo on materials for then we two will be much inconvenienced."


She gave a nod towards the others' taste in clothing


"I am in 216 facing The Park. And you ...."


Refreshments then came and Cordelia waved away the food but happily encouraged the other to partake but she would only have a tankard of mulled wine content for the moment.


A look of surprise that changed to amusement crossed her features at the question


"Well I suppose in some Technical fashion The King is indeed our Landlord but I refered to the man that runs this Establishment and holds that position. Tis very likely that his knowledge is great and he knows all that cross his threshold so you needs must seek him out and ask about that man."


"I had the Honor of being introduced to His Majesty over the Summer in the Company of others'. He was most pleasant and not at all what I had thought but I must confess my knees did feel weak at his smile and greetings!"


She smiled at the memory of it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

"Thank you." Mary gave small nod of head with acceptance of condolences. Yet she was not to dwell upon stages of grief, that was a most private thing. Even if Cordelia alluded to an understanding of her progress, that she was ready to face society spoke much she supposed.


"An equanimity to the situation develops I would guess, but you are right to understand that I feel a reserve with myself to a degree, even as much as I wish to set about those interests that my husband discouraged. For instance, I had always adored attending the theatre. And now, I might attend daily if I held the wish. Yet the funny thing is I am not entirely ready for self indulgences."


Taking a sip of the drink, she was grateful for the shot of liquor within it. Truth be told she was also a bit nervous of seeking Charles again, though she'd never want him to know that.


She was able to chuckle of Cordelia's candidacy. "I am sure you are a well capable to bring this to pass!" the older woman seemed nothing if not capable.


"Yet of my own son, he is but nine years old still, and I a devoted mother to him." seeing to the choosing of his tutors personally, and indulging in a frankly unfashionable closeness!


If her Parisienne influence in garments, Mary gave a smile and said, "There is a flare, an aplomb in the French fashion plates, that is simply lacking in most English designers. I regret that I even say it, yet may I assure you Lady Lucas that every seam is stitched by an Englishwoman. Design be one thing, employment another."


"Wonderful, I am 217, our doors must surely be opposite. How very convenient for a friendship." If one developed, it was foolish to press something like that, but simply see how things developed.


As amusing as it was, the misunderstanding was then corrected. "Ah, I see. Then yes I shall speak to the Steward. Apparently the man thinks himself known to me. Naturally I am cautious in such a situation."


"I have never spoken to him personally myself. But I have a friend, Arabella Churchill, who has written to me often enough of court life around-about him, that I feel I know his spirit. In which case, Lady Lucas, I can quite imagine a weakening of knees in his presence. His smile must be winsome, enchanting even, that really I think the sensible of our sex should fear it!"

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"I should think to begin at first in some small things that do not require much thought. You are right in thinking the way you do of course but then you must also think would your late Husband have wished for you to hide away?"


"Forgive the intrusion and I have no intent to pry - for myself my husband was much changed after the Troubles under the Last King and so he sought to live a life more devoted to Family. He was not, at least in the beginning, attuned to my wants."


She paused to allow a small smile to follow her words.


"But then I was and am of a temperment different from his and I was glad that he allowed me freedoms others' did not enjoy. I had grown used to attendance on a singular note and then as befitted my 'new status' as Widow I saw that there was not much difference between the two."


"Yet you are different in some ways for you have a Title beyond my own and that allows for a greater encompassment of things to do. The Theatre must not be the only interest surely? I have heard in passing about a Garden Society and have hopes it will reappear come Spring. Might that interest you?"


She too drank and enjoyed the warmth of the wine.


"Ah. I had thought you spoke of your step-son as candidate . I had not realized you have a son of your own - and yet you have given no thought to his future Bride? Your Rank is sufficient to attrack I believe and so you needs must begin - do not wait until all the good ones have been snatched away by early earger Mother's intent on snaring a connection to a wealthy Family!"


"We have both heard of contracts made at birth, in cradle and upon breeched - your son is past that age by two years. You can not be such a thing! Why tis a Mother who arranges all and who else should share that closeness if not her?"


Left unsaid was her own sad state of affairs with her own son.


"And now you have come at a Christmas Court with every spare space filled up with those not normally in London but content to rusticate! And so attend the Court Lady Chatham on the arm of the Earl or in Company of new made friends! Allow your eyes to wander and take in details and learn faces and names much as I have done. It will surprise you at the quickness of how introductions are made and information is learned."


"Ah. Then we are to be close. Tis indeed across the landing. I do hope, in all sincerity, that I have not made you leary of seeking out my company for that was not my intent. I have a tendency to "Mother" and become attached and wish good things as you might discover when you make inquires into me."


She chuckled a bit ay her self-description yet did honestly feel a liking with the other woman.


"Well mayhap you shall have the Priviliage as well for tis Christmas and no doubt their Majesties shall appear - yet I am sure the Queen will be careful but she has some months yet until the babe is born. There are those in gossip that spread the tale of a falsehood but I for one do not pay attention. We have sharp eyes and those that have breed will know the signs soon enough. And the KIng is attentive so another clue is provided."

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  • 2 weeks later...

"Well there is a question I have not considered." Mary discovered amusement to that fact, though she hardly knew why it struck that emotion! "I can hardly know if he would or would not have. He was not overly keen upon attending court himself, you understand, he was more a man for home and duty you see."


Cordelia, being a keen reader-of-people, might notice a glint in the others eyes that said that Mary was not such a shy creature herself, even if she had been kept in the country. (Or perhaps because of that!)


Then here the elder spoke of her past, a very honest confession. Mary drew still, and listened. "You felt guilt for that realisation? " she gently asked of Cordelia’s admission hat it had not been so different after all. Nodding quietly she agreed, "there are expectations we are raised with, of how we are supposed to feel in certain situations. But, the reality of it is seldom what the poets would write. More often than not a new day is not so different to the old. Yet still, one almost feels an obligation to allow the poet his due..." her head was tipped with the thought. A thought shaded by Cordelia’s influence.


"Mmm... a garden society does not excite me no, better yet an equestrian society, are those about too?"


Back to talk of sons. "In truth my more immediate concern is for his schooling. My stepson the new Lord Chatham, wrote me with a mind to seeing Francis to Royal Academy of Equitation in Angers. Such a distance. If anything should happen..." her motherly concern showed, "there would be no need for a match if he's died."


"I expect to see him presently." of Charles she uttered. How that conversation might go she could not guess. "I hope he was only jesting with his talk of sending my son to the French. His humour has always been somewhat perverse." she did not reveal that she returned it in kind.


Mary gave a light laugh at the others self-depreciation then, while she had no need for nursing, she too found herself liking Cordelia. She was a women upon a par, upon a weighing scale that took into measure rank against experience etc, they struck an equality of a sort that allowed for free speech and simple enjoyment of each others company.


"Some would deny a pregnancy?" She double-checked that detail. "Why what strange people would do that, Catholics perhaps? An heir is all that England desires to safe guard us from the clutches of the Papists."

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She was forming the opinion that Lady Chatham was more than what was presented and inwardly thought that twas a most refreshing change.


"Guilt? I do not know if I would apply that word but yes, I found that feeling, and if it was such then ..." She gave a small shrug of one shoulder. "My husband was filled with faults but then kindness' came later and when our children were reduced from three to one he was Strength to my Sorrow yet I know he too suffered."


"Yet the days, weeks, then months, and now years have all come and gone and I am left still to wonder if what I chose to do or want to see would be thought of as 'wrong' - does that make sense?" She asked softly in return. "But still I press forward and do them anyway."


Here she smiled and as the topic was turned offered


"Well I too am not much into plants and dirt and I used to ride but have long since abandoned that sport! Yet the Mews are not far from here and I am sure if you ride Lord Chatham can set you to rights. Over the last Season there were numerous events played around that and I am sure once the Spring returns more shall re-appear."


"To France?" she said in some surprise with a raised brow. "But why? He is a small boy and if Lord Chatham seeks to place him there because it twas the Plantagenet Stronghold and therefore Historical I do not see the wisdom. There has been unrest there Politically so I have heard."


"I would not send my boy and I would caution you now. Who would you send for Protection and with all this talk of War ...."


She drew off as it was hardly her place to advise another in regards to their offspring.


"It is true. There were Broadsheets put up on walls filled with nonsense and I personally read several on route to my dressmaker. Disgraceful it is and I think you have hit upon the very suspects - Catholic indeed! The King has shown much Grace to those people tis true yet with his own Family in the middle ... tis no wonder there is such goings on."


She had lowered her voice having no desire to be heard here for one never knew just who kept Company and resided there. She knew that there were many that turned the nose in Public but Believed in Private.


"Once a Prince is born it will all stop but if the child is female there will be sad days for the Queen but she is young and a son will appear as is usually the custom - as we married women know full well. It is the lot of those of our sex I fear. No matter the Station in Life an heir is always wanted."


"Shall you attend the Ball on the first? That is unless the World comes to an end as proclaimed by that woman - have you heard of it? She is some self-made 'Seerer' and did write to both the King and Buckingham in October declaring that the World shall end on December thirty-first!"


"She has many followers here in London but a husband as well and he, poor fellow, is trying to have her put away but her supporters rallied and so far she remains free."


"Why just yesterday I heard here in this very room wagers being placed on the outcome!"

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Mary Nodded slowly with Cordelia's thoughts on that, of the husband long passed, and of the ongoing ratification of a surviving wife. "I am yet newly treading that liberty path."


"Perhaps it is for those feelings that many wish to marry again, to relieve the instilled discomfort we have of female independence? Yet there are others who thrive thus, and, upon my first impression of you, you seem a woman with the world at her feet." Though Mary felt a reticence in Cordelia too, imagined perhaps?


"Mmm... if not riding itself, what of carriages, and in winter, sleighs? It has been some years since my debut, but I remember doing circuit after circuit in the park. Seeing, and being seen. And To ride in Sleighs fully decked with festive bells, is a thill of it's self." She was placing a suggestion really, wondering if some manner of activity the pair might mutually enjoy?


"He only wrote of it briefly, it was enough for me to set aside my other plans and come to London to discuss. Plantagenet? Well it would be a first for him to observe any such protocols, he attended St Pauls himself. I suspect, though am not sure, that he hated it. Perhaps he blames me that his father sent him there..." She had married his father that same year.


"My I quote you upon your thoughts against sending him to Angers?" Sometimes saying 'so and so said' could add much theoretic weight to a conversation.


"You had your man take the sheets down I hope!" she was aghast at such blatant propaganda.


"Yes frankly any child would be a relief at this stage, just to know her capable of carrying to term. That poor Catherine, for all of her poor choice of religion, I pitied her. And such a gentle soul. But this one. Queen Karoline seems a woman of tougher stuff. I can quite expect boys from her, and many of them."


Blinking then, sober mouth disrupted into a quiver of laughter. "Why I had planned to attend, but indeed, if the world is ended, I probably shall not!" she tittered of that. "Why, it just goes to show that people love to believe drama. Now where are those bookkeepers now? I would put ten shillings upon there being a January the 1st, mmm... and another ten that it begins with a beautiful sunrise."


"Hmm.. but what is the ladies name. Do you know what it makes me fancy doing? Why, to take a carriage to her house, and have my man knock on her door the next morning, after her 'apocalypse'. Would you like to join me hmm? And what shall we instruct my man to tell her."

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The Complement was a nice addation for Cordelia for she rarely heard such anymore.


"The thought to remarry is entertained for I think that is natural but each must be taken as a single unit - in otherwords for me, who has no young child or children, that need for a man to Head is far less than for those that are similiar to you Lady Chatham."


"You have a minor child and are still of an age to have another yet you are not in dire needs of a 'Protector' for you have that in your step-son the Earl who will as part of his Duty see that you are both kept safe and are cared for. So I would not apply that term of remarriage to you now and frankly the choice is yours after all. I can only hope that the Earl is of a willing mind and so take heed of your voice."


"I have expected to see that very thing arranged here but as yet it has failed to happen - perhaps there is more planned over the next week? Or the Lady of Misrule has something that will do as you say. But I am in agreement and think that the two of us might partake of such a thing ourselves! Why London is ablaze with People come up from everywhere so no doubt many will see and remember you so there is your chance to re-establish contacts."


"Let us watch the weather and if more snow falls then set a time for next week shall we? I am sure a sleigh can be procured as well as decorated!"


Her eyes shone with the idea and she felt animated and so hoped her new-found Friend will be in agreement of it.


"You may use my words as you wish but I do not think it will diswade the Earl if he is set upon that course - but then tis not my voice that matters but your own."


"I am sure a whispered word to the Landlord or better still a servant will see a hand eager to find you for that wager! And I am quite tempted to follow suit ...."


She waved a hand in a dismissive gesture


"There is not need for that for yet I think I would much like to see it - for I am sure that the 'populace' of London will make thier own voices heard and she will soon find herself in straights and either carted off to jail or making a hasty escape from the City!"


"But can you imagine if we were to do as you say? The very idea ......"


She had leaned a bit forward in her chair to almost whisper that last part.

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"That is my hope also, it has been some time since we last spoke person to person." there had been letters, and messages.


Yet onto the topic of sleigh rides, Cordelia's eyes lit bright. "Why sometimes the doing of something is all that is needed. Why wait for the Lady of Misrule, or any others to pick up the notion. The hour always used to be between three and four, shall we set out for our circuit of the park then Lady Lucas? I shall bring a flash of hot chocolate - unless you prefer something a little stronger." she gave a light laugh.


"Perhaps. But are not all people concerned with others opinions? Even a reckless man like he. If I mention that others may think less of him for such a choice, it might just make the vital difference."


It almost seemed that they would be placing their own private wagers on that score, until Cordelia’s gesture removed the notion. Rather, the thought of what would next become of the 'Seer' was the topic. "Londoners are rarely forgiving." Mary nodded sagely, while a smile tugged at her lips, "for a certainly she will rue her deception of the public and self aggrandizement."


"Yet if what you say is correct, and I think it is, then odds are that upon the eve of her prophesy’s fulfilment that Seeress shall secret herself away." a pause, and then thought expressed, "why the Prophesy shall be true one person at least, it shall be the end of her world indeed!"

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"I am indeed surprised Lady Chatham to find a 'Kindered Spirit' and so shall most willingly agree to this Adventure - yet I fear tis too late for this day and we need to procure a sleigh first and foremost - and if you will allow, and as I have resided here longer, I shall catch hold of young John who has many talents and thus supply that vehicle."


"The time you state shall be the one then and shall we aim for Saturday - that way we can Celebtrate the World NOT ending upon the next day! And I think Brandywine a fine accompaniment Lady Chatham. My how well you shall be rec'd once you are seen again here in London."


Now how that was to play out was a vital ingredint for Cordelia. Lady Chatham was no adle-brained young thing who could be easily led. And if her friends or acquaintances were of like mind then so much the better - thru her and them doors might open thus providing her with much needed new faces and circumstances.


This step-son might also prove to be useful - unmarried and an Earl with an income she was sure judging by her companion's attire.


She smiled across the table and then drank from her goblet her gaze friendly and her manner that of one sure of this new 'friendship'.

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A further servant arrived, this one lingering silently on the fringe of the room, awaiting acknowledgement.


"Saturday then." the Countess smiled, her expression youthful with her anticipation of the pleasant occupation. More so, as Lady Lucas spontaneously claimed that she'd be welcomed back to London.


"I do hope so." the younger said, "I shall admit to you and you alone, that I was just a tiny bit nervous."


Mary then turned to the servant, whose linger was irritating, "Yes?"


"Ah, Lady Chatham your room is ready."


"Can you see that I am busy?" Mary sighed, and turning to Cordelia tutted to her friend (who no doubt agreed that the servants pressure was bot unnecessary and impolite). "I suppose I must collect the key. Would you care to join me, I am loth to leave your company so soon."

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"I shall earnestly Pray for Snow then so that we might have a successful outing! Nothing worse than slush to stall an Adventure!"


"Foolishness! You have no need for that emotion Lady Chatham I swear for you appear to be someone well like'd indeed."


Just then a servant approached and apparently the others' accomadations were at last ready yet was somewhat surprise at her reaction to that news. Servants, after all, had duties.


'Indeed it can be tiresom at times. But yes, I should like much to continue, but allow me to take some leave while you are settled in. I would welcome company for dinner in my own rooms if that appeals ..."

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Mary flashed a grin and replied, "Well, as they say, appearances mean everything." Covering mouth she then laughed of it.


This meeting with Cordelia seemed to bode well.


"Ah, now that would be lovely indeed." she accepted the others invitation. It was considerate of the other woman to appreciate that Lady Chatham might see herself settled, and wash away the traces of travel that remained.


"What time do they dine in the Captial these days, I should hate to mark myself a bumpkin by turning up an hour too early." Cordelia's company was already proving invaluable to Mary, to learn this and any number of other questions.

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Pleased that this new acquaintance had started off so pleasantly prompted Cordelia to offer


"If I might be so bold to ask - I would welcome company to sup in my own rooms if you are willing? I am afraid I have nothing that speaks of abundance as here in this place yet I think a chicken bread cheese and desert plus a good wine all within space of a nice warm hearth just the thing after the troubles suffered upon the roads."


"And will you attend the Ball tomorrow night? I am in doubts of my son as escort so there too I would welcome your presence and be glad of arriving with You."


She knew the risk of her being thought of as over-stepping for she was but a Baronet's widow and the other a widow as well but a Countess - which counted for more.


"Yet do not feel obligated Lady Chatham as no ofense shall be had on my part and I shall then look forward to a next encounter."

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While the invite was accepted, Cordelia gave further detail to the modesty of her arrangements. Mary smiled warmly with this and assured, "I am certain that we shall have a glut of rich foods with the new Years celebrations - the contrast of simpler fare for our dinner will only allow His Majesties gourmand theatre the greater glory, long live the king!"


And she in buoyed spirits, arose to her feet.


"Well I hope that my step son shall not be so tardy, though then again. Yes we are wise to make alternative arrangements. Perchance we are surprised and both make their appearances at the correct hour, our delight shall be..." she left the thought there and inclined her head upon a smile.


"I shall see you anon."

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She released the breath she'd not realized she'd been holding as Lady Chathan accepted her invitation to dine later.


She gave a small answering chuckle then she too rose to her feet then adding


"Well I shall say a Prayer this eve that my son does appear and if he does not as I suspect then we two can be well set to arrive together."


"Well as I am 'just across the hall' no need for Ceremony I think. I shall leave the latch off so you may enter as you will. Do not rush yourself Lady Chatham but set a leisurely pace."


She smiled and nodded as the other woman took her leave. She would sit awhile longer to linger by the fire and caught a passing servant to request a glass of Brandy be delivered the desire to be quiet amongst the noise of the room.


She would soon enough make her own way up the stairs and set about making things ready for her guest .....

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"Very well, you shall see me when you do." Mary's lashes fluttered some with surprise at the informality. The lack of pretence over time was the manner of old friends, and she had a pleasant sensation that Cordelia advanced their newly found friendship several strides already.


Flashing a smile, she then turned to the awaiting servant. "Well then, lead away!"


And off Mary went with an air of energy about her.




OOC: Lovely thread please do go ahead and load our sequel!

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