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New Years Eve Scarlet Drawing Room- Xmas 1677


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The Scarlet Drawing Room saw the Merry Gang, far from sober, playing many games with all comers. There was the traditional limerick contest by the Earl of Dorset, though few sought to challenge him. Then, there was Thus Says His Grace whereby the speaker either states thus says his Grace or so says his Grace. In the former case, everyone else must mimic whatever the speaker does, and in the latter, stand perfectly still. Alexander Merriweather was enjoying performing a contortion of kissing his knee and a knot of courtiers followed suit. Those too inebriated to follow or too distracted to comply were given forfeits. Ordinarily these would include examples such as standing in the corner in an uncomfortable position for a period, but might be more fun such as kissing whomever the speaker instructed. The Earl of Rochester took great pride in purposefully refusing to comply with the instructions and being assigned one forfeit after another.

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Aileen, the youngest of the MacBain girls, had been left at Alyth House with Cat, who was still under the whether. Shona MacBain, old enough this year to debut, had clung to Douglas for the first part of the evening; she'd been introduced to a few friends old and new, and after a sprightly dance she was now safely ensconced with a new friend amongst the youngsters playing in the Central Drawing Room. Hopefully that was safe enough. Fiona had disappeared early in the night, and Douglas had let her go with a reminder that the King was apt to wed the indiscreet at events such as this, so she'd best behave herself. Whether or not she obeyed would be anyone's guess, but he hadn't seen her since.


Sounds of loud merry-making drew Douglas, whiskey-glass in hand, to the doorway of the Scarlet Room, where he leaned on the jamb and watched the Merry Gang playing a game; for once a relatively innocent one. Although Rochester of course was determined to be the fly in the ointment and play against the rules. Although given the fun others seems to be finding in making him do ridiculous things, perhaps there was method to his madness.


Thank God the man hadn't attended that dinner Cat had arranged. Whatever had been going through her head when she thought that the pox-ridden Earl might be a good match for Fiona? His rank was all he had going for him. Still, however grateful Douglas might be, the man had stood his sisters up, and so was a ripe target in his opinion.


Pushing away from the jamb, Douglas walked into the room proper and to where Rochester was apparently trying to kiss his own arse rather than his knee, the anatomical impossibility apparently not phasing him in the slightest.


"A life both indulgent an’ merry

A whim both callow an’ contrary

He’s caught many a … fox

Doon holes an’ hint… locks

An’ noo aw the lassies er wary."*


Douglas grinned. “Tha’s fer standin’ up my sister, as is my eternal gratitude.”** The big Scotsman saluted the Earl with his glass and a grin, then slouched into the nearest chair.



* “A life both indulgent and merry

A whim both callow and contrary

He’s caught many a… fox

Down holes and ‘hind … lock

And now all the ladies are wary.”

** “That’s for standing up my sister, as is my eternal gratitude.”

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Rochester preferred a more interesting anatomically impossible maneuver than kissing his arse, but he played along with the various forfeits. Douglas entered and tossed a limerick his way. Rochester barely heard it above the din of conversation and laughter. Fortunately, the Scot had a baritone voice.


"I have stood up all the best ladies at court," the Earl replied in between efforts to contort his body. "So your sister is in the finest company." Another courtier suggested that Johnny stand on his head instead.


Dorset was sitting on a love seat where two unknown young ladies were squeezed in beside him. It seemed as though he was holding court for the younger set of those wanting to be recognized. He had noted FitzJames attempt at a limerick. Too many courtiers were scared of composing one contemporaneously, so the double Earl owed the man a retort.


"Harken, a poet Scot has entered

In hopes to be centered

Yet the ladies misheard

For his English was slurred

In need of being properly mentored."


The blond earl raised a glass in toast as the young ladies giggled their pleasure at the volley.


In the game Thus Says His Grace, Merriweather fooled one man into mimicking him even though the proper words were not spoken. As everyone laughed at the failure, the young man now with a forfeit seemed woozy and dropped to his knees. "That drop to his knees was not commanded," Alexander insisted, looking for a second forfeit. "I do believe the lad is going to vomit," Merriweather judged upon closer inspection. Best clear away," he shooed the others, who moved away at his command only to be greeted with "I did not say Thus Says His Grace so you all owe me a forfeit now!" There were groans from the handful of courtiers that were subject to the edict. "Unfair," cried one young miss.


Charles Sedley seemed to be giving acting lessons to a group of other courtiers. They were all performing lines from a Midsummers Night Dream and he was judging the talent. Occasional applause would erupt for a well done performance.

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  • 2 weeks later...

He'd been amusing himself wandering from place to place but having no interest in childish games soon quit that Company returned to the Banqueting Hall but made no move to address their Majesties and now found his way back here where he lounged aganist a corner of a wall observing.


He was taller than adverage just over six foot with a body that is lean and muscular with jet black hair and eyes a sea-green that darken when angered or aroused. His face stops short of being 'Classical' a jaw squared in design and one that has a tiny scar that runs just beneath his chin. HIs mouth is full and sensual and his smile, when he chooses to use it, is devastating.


His presence there would indeed draw attentions but there was an aloofness about him and realizing that he needed to create the picture he wanted reached out for a crystal glass filled with whatever it was from a passing servant and then turned his eyes on one of the many females litered about and made contact.


Within a blink she went to his side to curl up aganist him her low cut gown leaving nothing to the imagination and when one of his fingers began to trail its way along her bodice then across and then to dip inside to be closely followed by his mouth he hoped his little 'show' was being noticed.


The Time at come at last. To establish himself rightly amongst them all.

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Douglas laughed loudly and appreciatively at Rochester's assertion. Likely he had stood up the best ladies at court, and all to their benefit. Truly, he had been one of Cat's worse ideas, but the man's good humour made it difficult to hold to great a grudge against him. His point had been made.


Dorset, flanked by two young lovelies, came back with a limerick in response. The man's abilities were legendary, as was his scathing wit, but Douglas, goaded somewhat by alcohol, felt up to the challenge. He tipped his hat in response. "Er ye offerin' mentorin' thain?* He asked cheekily. So many complained about his accent but few seemed prepared to put themselves out to fix it. Perhaps Dorset might be persuaded to do that kindness; after all, they had things in common.


Merriweather's game and Sedley's acting antics were highly entertaining, and Douglas glanced at them for a moment as he rolled words around in his head. Not that he imagined himself possessed of any acting ability, he knew where his strength lay.


"A bastard, an Earl and a Croon,

Shuid hae nocht atween noor aroond,

Instead thair the nub

O’ an exclusive club;

We’re thaim the red-head haes turnt doon."**


True, Dorset hadn't actually wanted Heather, but that hadn't stopped her kicking up clods in her haste to get the marriage annulled.


The battle of the poets interested Douglas more than the other shenanigans going on, and he wandered closer to where Dorset sat at his ease. "An' wha micht these lovely lairdies be?" He asked, with a smile at the man's two companions.


Once Dorset had happened on Douglas and Heather shagging, which she was still the King's mistress. The bugger had tattled, and got Douglas in a world of trouble, but time and dismissal had dampened his ardour for the Countess, which at the same time dampened his resentment of Dorset. Had the situation been reversed he'd likely have done the same. Rather the man's easy with was an entertaining challenge.



* Are you offering to mentor then?"

** "A bastard, an Earl and a Crown,

Should have nothing between nor around.

Instead they're the nub

Of an exclusive club;

We're those the red-head has turned down."

*** "And who might these lovely ladies be?"

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"I am sure that a hale fellow such as yourself will find a ready supply of mentors to help you ... sharpen your tongue." He looked at the ladies beside him as a clue to his thinking. "Your wit seems sharp enough." That was quite a compliment coming from a man like Dorset. "Though one must employ a whetstone frequently to preserve the sharpness."


The limerick about the redhead in question caused Dorset to utter a pfft of dismissal. Waving his hand as if to ward against her appearance he uttered


"The redhead of whom you speak

tis no lass quiet and meek.

No caller will she turn aside

her hospitality known far and wide.

The most accommodating hostess you could seek."


Satisfied that the Scot would know enough the insult he had made to Heather, without giving in to vulgarities that might spoil his chances with the two ladies at his side later. There was a wager to win after all, and Dorset hoped to make up in quantity what he might be lacking in quality of candidates.


Introducing the pair that seemed enthralled with his every word, Dorset offered "this is Anna and her friend May." Each young lady nodded their greeting, May being the prettier of the two. "They are new to the palace though their families are not. I intend to take them on a tour later. Ladies, this is Captain FitzJames of His Majesty's Life Guard."


"My you are tall," Anna noted.


It was then that a male servant approached the gathering and begged leave to whisper something to Dorset. The man frowned only slightly. It seemed that Arlington was using his staff of office this evening, meaning that the bit of playful burglary planned for the evening had been thwarted, at least for the present. Charles chided himself silently for assuming that Arlington would leave his white staff in his office this evening. There was a ball after all and he would want to show off his limited authority.

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  • 1 month later...

Not many people could pull off the color orange. It tended to wash out one's complexion to the point of looking wan. With her sun-kissed skin, rosy cheeks, and dark eyes and hair, Anne-Elisabeth Devereux wore the hue well. The gown she had chosen for her debut at court was made of orange crushed velvet trimmed around the low-cut, off-the shoulder neckline with a wide golden braid. The matching sleeves were puffed orange velvet over tight lower sleeves comprised of saffron moire silk. Her stomacher was made of the same saffron silk, sewn all over with raised orange flowers with golden beads in the center.


Her orange crushed velvet skirt was split in the middle, the edges and hem trimmed with more wide golden braid. She was wearing an underskirt of saffron moire silk which needed no further adornments. Her raven hair was piled atop her head in a fashionable coiffure with curls framing her face, and a few fat ringlets cascading over one shoulder. A tiara with small topaz stones sat atop her head and she wore a necklace of orange glass beads from which a single topaz teardrop pendant was suspended, nestled against her modest cleavage. It was an ensemble designed to stand out from the crowd and be noticed. The widowed Countess was anything but shy.


With her head held high, Anne-Elisabeth strolled toward the ballroom, paying no attention to the other courtiers passing her in the corridors. If they glanced at her, she didn't notice. Pausing for a moment to pull a rose-shaped pomander from her pocket, she sniffed it appreciatively. A snippet of conversation caught her attention about a limerick contest being held in a place called the Scarlet Drawing Room. I might as well make my entrance doing something that I'm good at, she thought.


After asking for directions, she made her way to the drawing room, her mind occupied by coming up with a fitting rhyme to introduce herself. The best limericks were naughty ones, so it should be at least a bit suggestive. By the time she reached the door, she was satisfied with the verse she had composed.


With a mischievous smile hovering on her lips, Anne-Elisabeth glided confidently into a room filled with courtiers who were participating in various games and announced in a loud but naturally sultry voice:


“The mysterious Lady Cambray

Has come here to London to play.

If her desires are filled

By a gentleman skilled

It is possible that she might stay.”

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Rochester had just about contorted to kiss his own arse when Anne entered the room. He did not note her as he had a gaggle of giggling courtiers surrounding him. It was only when he overheard the limerick that he called out to Dorset. "Charley, some lady thinks to challenge you"


Douglas had moved on to find refreshment, leaving Dorset to snuggle with the admiring pair of ladies. It was hard for him to plan an alternative approach to Arlington when he was so delightfully distracted.


At the new lady's entry, some of the milling courtiers move aside so that she could behold Charles Sackville, and he her. He did not find her to be remarkable in appearance so he adopted a casual air with her. He was more intrigued with poetry than anything more. He had many willing ladies waiting to rendezvous with him later. He had a score to increase before the night was over.


"A new entrant ventures here

A lady with motives unclear.

Will she stay?

Who's to say?

More to prove to become a peer."


"Come forward and introduce yourself, Lady Cambray I take it," Dorset beckoned. The two girls beside him sighed. They had been hoping the next challenger would be male, like the tall Scot.


"I am Charles Sackville, poet and Dorset. This is Anna and this is May. You have entered the realm of the Merry Gang and you had best flee while you can," he chuckled while making a sweeping gesture to include Rochester, Sedley, Roos, and Merriweather.

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Now that she had made her entrance, Anne-Elisabeth was able to take in her surroundings. There was certainly a lot going on. When one man called out to the current limerick champion, she looked over at him. Was he actually trying to kiss his own arse? She cocked her head and studied him for a moment. “You should really get someone to do that for you,” she remarked. “It's much more satisfying.”


One ebony eyebrow arched upwards when some of the courtiers parted, revealing a well-dressed gentlemen cuddled with two adoring young ladies. Was this the man who was currently ahead in the limerick competition? He was attractive, blonde, and probably nearly twice her age. A typical garden-variety courtier. Anne-Elisabeth found him an unremarkable as he found her.


She was much more interested in usurping him than sleeping with him. The two simpering creatures at his side would probably share his bed tonight anyway. And what would they get in return? Nothing more than a few moments of pleasure, most likely. Perhaps that was enough for them. Not everyone was as ambitious as Lady Cambray.


Anne-Elisabeth smiled at the gentleman's retort, nodding in acknowledgment of his skill, which she believed was almost equal to her own. He might be better at coming up with limericks on the spur of the moment, though. Sometimes she had to think for a few moments before coming up with a good rhyme.


Come forward and introduce myself? She scoffed inwardly. Who died and made you King? She stepped forward nonetheless, an amused expression on her pretty face. His two companions seemed a bit jealous of sharing his attention with her. Don't worry, ladies. Once he admits defeat, he'll be all yours.


“I'm Anne-Elisabeth Devereux, the Countess of Cambray, and aspiring poet.” She gave Dorset her full regard, ignoring the ladies completely. They didn't look smart enough to come up with a coherent sentence, much less a decent verse.


So some of the gentlemen gathered here were the Merry Gang. She had heard them mentioned at some of the parties she had attended at neighboring estates. They were favored by the King, so they were good people to know. Just not intimately. The pox is not my idea of a lover's gift.


“Are you sure that It's I who should flee?

I am no shrinking violet, you see.

Give me all that you've got,

Hit me with your best shot.

There are none quite as daring as me.”

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"A lady aspiring poet? How droll," Dorset remarked.


It was May that then whispered something in his ear expectantly. "Later my dove," he replied, not willing to end this colloquy.


"None quite as daring as thee?

Are you certain that can be?

From the tower to be flying?

A shiny palace to be buying?

Perhaps you've decided to amend your plea?"


The Earl challenged her, thinking how best to address her bravado. She needed to be careful of making boast in front of the likes of the Merry Gang.


"Ask her to fly," May suggested with a whisper too loudly to be private.

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He thinks I'm amusing? He'll change his tune when he realizes how skilled I am.


“So you don't get much completion from ladies?" Anne-Elisabeth smiled smugly. Then today's your lucky day.”


One of his parasitic companions whispered into his ear, probably something suggestive designed to draw his attention away from her. Was it just the light from the chandelier or was May's face turning green with envy? This Dorset was obviously intelligent. How did he stand the company of such foolish creatures? Maybe they had hidden talents but the young Countess doubted that even both of them together could equal her prowess in the bedchamber.


As soon as Dorset began reciting his next poem, rhymes careened through Anne-Elisabeth's mind as she searched for a fitting reply. While she linked phrases together, she realized that perhaps it might have been a bit impetuous to imply that she was as daring as the Merry Gang. She thought she was, but it would be better (and more fun) to prove it than to simply state it. Who knew? Maybe she would be the first lady accepted into their ranks. At the very least, she would earn their respect.


The dark-eyed Countess stifled a chuckle when May suggested that Dorset ask her to fly. Seriously? She's dumber than she looks. I hope she's better at sucking cock than she is at talking. If not, her mouth is completely useless.


Tired of standing before Dorset, Anne-Elisabeth sat down in a nearby chair, smoothing her skirts and buying herself more time to finish her poetry. A few moments later, she looked up and grinned.


“I could fly from the top of a tower

At a million and one miles per hour.

I could buy a great castle

Without any hassle

If I had lots of money and power.


But all I have now is my verse

To paint pictures of castles diverse.

It can take to the sky,

Over heads it can fly.

There is nothing my words can't traverse.


You may think right now that I'm droll,

But my virtues one day you'll extol.

My limericks, they flow.

I've done three in a row!

I'll bet that you can't reach that goal.”


She was quite proud of herself for producing three poems back to back, though it was doubtful that she would be able to do it again.

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Dorset stood the company of vapid little creatures because he was finding them a pleasant distraction from talk of marriage, and there was a game afoot with the Merry Gang and he was trying to win the contest by quantity, rather than quality. Already he had bedded a nestful of chicklings in the past week, fleeting amusements and nothing more.


As Anne moved to sit, the Earl briefly rose and sat again as a courtesy. "Yes, come join us." As Charles thought of a limerick in turn, it was Anna who replied, tiring of the newcomer.


"You have come here looking to wow,

but I think you little more than a vain cow.

I think you'll go far, so take a bow;

Why not head to your coach and start now?"


Dorset began to laugh. "Anna, be kind to our guest," he chided lightly. "Anna Pearl is a fine actress who has come from York to join my theater company. She is just as cutting on the stage. You should come and see." Frankly he had not thought Anna would attack Anne so quickly, but she was obviously drunk.


"And, Anna dear, that was not a limerick you know ," he added, "so it cannot count towards the contest."


"Milord, your grace, I give not a fig, may it ever please your face," the pretty actress replied sarcastically.

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Anne-Elisabeth used men much as Dorset used women. Gentlemen often aroused her desire but none had yet stirred her heart. She also became bored quite quickly and never stayed with one lover for long. Unlike the current limerick champion, though, she had no patience for idiocy. She liked her beaus to have as much substance between their ears as they had between their legs.


Size mattered, in both brain and brawn.


“Thank you, my lord.” She appreciated Dorset's good manners, which was more than she could say for his two sycophants. Both of them were clearly jealous of her, although she posed no threat to them. Anna's lame attempt at a poem might have infuriated her if it had not been so ridiculous. It didn't even make a bit of sense.


The raven-haired Countess's laughter joined Dorset's, only hers was edged with a very subtle disdain. A scathing limerick formed in her mind, but she held it back. She had no intention of becoming known as a sardonic shrew at her first court event. Anne-Elisabeth had to impress everyone she met tonight, not alienate them.


Her eyebrow arched again. “Oh, is she now?” Fine, my arse. I doubt he chose her for her talent. She probably can't act her way out of a chamber pot.


“I do enjoy the theatre. If you can promise me a good box and a charming escort, I would be delighted to take you up on that offer.” She was already planning on how to humiliate the brainless bitch. Elisabeth had attended quite a few plays in Barbados and she knew that there was often a harmless heckler or two in the pit. A few well-placed shillings could insure that their barbs were vicious rather than amusing and it should be quite easy to find people willing to lob rotten tomatoes at the stage.


“Obviously no one taught you to respect your betters,” she said directly to Anna. Her voice was friendly but her eyes spat venom. “If you go around insulting Countesses, you won't be welcome at court for long. However, if you apologize, I will forget all about it … because I'm nice.”


She was quite amiable, she thought... just not to imbeciles who were far beneath her in status. If she ever got the stupid cunt alone, she would send her running back to whatever hole she'd crawled out of with her tail between her legs.


Anne-Elisabeth's attention turned back to Dorset. “Shall we continue? If your ladies rudely interrupt us again, shall we say that you forfeit the match? The same will apply to me if my companions interrupt us in the future when we compete again.” She was hoping that he would send the silly fawners away for the duration of their poetic duel. The young Countess was fairly certain that whoever lost would eventually demand a rematch. She suspected that the blonde nobleman, like herself, didn't like to lose.

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Dorset, Elizabeth-Anne with Alice & Davina joining in


"Dorset, yes that is him." Alice nodded in reply.


But perhaps Davina was secretly-cautious like herself, for she did not sashay straight in, rather she paused -- which thus emboldened Alice to be the brave one. Firming her hold on Davina's arm she carried her on in! So that they arrived just as a lady [Anne-Elizabeth] was speaking scolding about other ladies interrupting. Now that was enough to give new arrivals regrets, trepidation even, apprehension of joining in!


Alice cast a look at Davina, and then spoke on both's behalf. "But you do not mean Us though don’t you - we are allowed to interrupt surely?!" and she flashed a friendly smile.

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Dorset, Elizabeth-Anne with Alice & Davina joining in


Davina did not enlighten Alice on how she was perceiving all the Benefits of being a Maid of Honor - and yes there were many - but being allowed to be witness to the birth was highly unlikely at best! As unmarried girls they would hold no position within the Confinement process itself for the last month of the pregnancy as those places were reserved for only the married and highest Ranking Ladies that the Queen would hand pick.


But these was all things that held no place at the moment.


She was content to have Alice in the lead for she did out rank her by position of her Birth, her father being the son of a Duke whilst Davina's was but a Viscount. She smiled at the assembled Company her arm relaxed thru the others her own blue eyes then fastened upon the girl - for she was hardly a woman - as she chastised. Hers was a face she did not know and this first impression was hardly a good one.


Davina returned Alice's look and nodded her head slightly in accordance with the words spoke. The two would be known to the Gentlemen by name naturally.

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"If you continue sparring with me via limericks, I shall send you tickets for a box," he assured the Countess. He was readying his own limerick when Anne was scolding Anna.


No one was fooled into thinking Anne was being kind, but the attempt at a pleasant reaction was well-received. The actress thought of blurting out a profanity, given her level of inebriation, but thought the better of it.


"A countess is my better.

I hope I've not upset her.

Lest I become her debtor,

I apologize in word and letter."


Anna offered the same pleasant smile that was offered her. Being a fine actress, her words seemed sincere.


"Bravo Miss Pearl," Dorset congratulated. "All is settled then. Why don't you take May and see if you can help Johnny." They were being dismissed and took it well enough. Down deep, perhaps they knew they had been bitches.


Rochester had managed to kiss his posterior but had hurt his neck in the process, writhing on the floor, using purple language while onlookers dithered about how they could help him. Davina and Alice would see the man on the floor holding his neck as they entered.


Dorset turned back to Anne. "Now then, where were we? Oh yes."


"There was a Countess who dared,

Recklessly so, but who cared?

So here's how it goes,

A limerick she'll compose

About the thing of which she's most scared."


The gauntlet was tossed.


Davina and Alice


While Dorset was focused on Anne, the others in the room noticed the arrival of Davina and Alice. Many of the toadies did not know the identity of the ladies, but they were known to the Merry Gang.


Johnny was calling for opium.


Merriweather eyed them with some interest, imagining how many points he could get if he bagged both.


Roos was on the prowl as always, but detested Catholics. Both ladies were of the Catholic minority at court. So, he turned his attention to a lady who professed to be a distant relation to the Percies.


Sedley was the most sober of the bunch. He beckoned to the pair. "Ladies come join us. We are reciting Shakespeare."

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Anne-Elisabeth and Dorset


“Then it looks as if I shall be visiting your theatre.” Anne-Elisabeth didn't plan on backing down from this delightful competition. “But no charming escort?” She pouted prettily. “I don't know many people yet and it's no fun to watch plays all alone. Surely you must know a witty gentleman who would be willing to accompany me.” Perhaps he would suggest one of his friends … or even himself. Any member of the Merry Gang would be enjoyable company.


She had assumed that Anna would hurl curses at her rather than apologize, and she was quite surprised when the so-called actress asked for her forgiveness in a poem that wasn't half-bad. The young Countess reluctantly admitted that perhaps she did have some talent after all.


“I accept your remorse with a grin.

I'm glad you admitted your sin.

Since I am so nice,

I'll give you advice:

Don't insult a fine noble again.”


The grin was not for Anna, but for Dorset. He had probably not expected her to reply with a limerick. She was on a roll tonight! Pleased that he sent his vapid admirers away, she took that as confirmation that he agreed to her terms.


His next limerick issued a challenge. So they were to play 'twenty questions' now? That was perfectly fine by her. They were strangers, after all, and this contest was a good opportunity them to satisfy their curiosity about each other.


As her mind churned with possible replies, she noticed the newcomers, ladies who looked more gently bred than those silly actresses. Rochester was now writhing on the floor, swearing as if in pain. “I told him he should get someone to kiss his arse for him,” she muttered.


Another gentleman engaged the two ladies, leaving Dorset and Anne-Elisabeth to continue their game. Her gaze meandered back to the Earl and she smiled smugly.


“I suppose that I'm frightened of dying

Disgrace would be quite terrifying

Another great scare

Would be an affair

With a man who can't keep his cock flying.


I'm afraid to be anyone's debtor,

A new marriage would feel like a fetter.

But if you want to hear

My deepest dark fear,

You must get to know me much better.


Now I have a question for you

For the limerick that soon will ensue.

So don't be remiss

When you answer this:

What would you never dare do?”

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Here was the ribald & merry court in it's fullness! Alice's attention was drawn to a man writhing in pain on the floor calling for opium - oddly most others were laughing around him rather than taking his injury seriously.


"I have smelling salts!" Alice rushed forward, not realising until too late that it was none other than the notorious Rochester.


Then Sedley was claiming they were acting out Shakespeare? Meanwhile voices with limericks were thrown about. It was all very confusing, and definitely an adventure.


From her crouch at the side of the fallen man Alice looked towards Davina…

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Davina stood motionless as she realized that the two of them had just been ignored by whoever SHE was and then continued with Dorset as if none other were present. Well that was a thing that could be fixed but before she could do anything Alice had rushed towards the man on the floor ...


With a smile Davina walked calmly towards them saying


"I hardly think that which you offer will be to his taste. My Lord Rochester has need of stronger stuff so rise you up Lady Alice. Yet I would be remiss to not offer my own voice in aid of yours." She looked down at the Earl with no real sympathy whatsoever.


"He has I am sure some servant of his own that will attend and will once again be restored to his usual self soon thereafter."


"Are you indeed Mister Sedley? I do not recall such language heard upon any Stage but then I am not as Wordly as others."


From the corner of her eye she saw Roos and offered him a small nod of her head and then the same to Merriweather who was simply staring.


All attention seemed to be focused on Dorset and the unknown.


"Do tell Mister Sedley is she known to you perhaps? She seems well equiped to play upon a Stage and judging by the lack of greeting that point might be further proved."


Sedley being a Poet himself would naturally bring him into contact with those that frequented the Stage and Playwrights as well.


She turned to her companion then to ask


"Shall we remain as witness to this contest between my Lord Dorset and the actress? Is there a wager placed on the outcome?"


Courtiers were notarious betters on anything and everything and this would be no exception.


That Davina had placed the unknown girl in with the several other 'actresses' present would be a simply thought for she had acted and now spoke as one. If she proved to be anything else, well, then Davina would give what ever acknowledgment was needed.


But she had best beware if paths were crossed again for she'd not be as nice.

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In fairness to Lady Devereaux, there were plenty of other courtiers in the room. Some were playing with Merriweather, reciting poetry with Sedley, mocking Rochester or watching the limerick competition. Thus, Davina and Alice's entrance was not the only thing happening in the drawing room.


"Of course you shall be attending my theater," Dorset replied. "The only question is whether you will be using my largesse or your own coin." That was what the competition was about after all. "I doubt that a lady of your wile will suffer long not having an escort but I shall provide assistance in that regard." He did not volunteer himself yet because he wanted to see more about this lady first.


Annes answered with another triple poem. "You need only answer with one," he offered gaily, having little interest himself in doing more than one at a time.


"In determining what one might never do;

A gentleman needs but a moment or two;

You see, to avoid the worst kind of rage,

He would never reveal a lady's age,

In fear of what she might put him through."


He smiled sweetly at taking the easiest path out of her challenge. Davina arrived and professed annoyance at being ignored by himself and Anne. "Mistress Wellsley and Lady Alice, do come join us. This is the Countess of Cambray, Anne Devereaux." He introduced her before Sedley could.


"We were just having a limerick contest you see and it is Cambray's turn, so I shall ask her to compose something for you." There was an expectant grin at the thought that Anne would light into her social inferior not knowing she was a lady to the Queen.


Meanwhile Rochester moaned at Alice. "Smelling salts be damned. Come give me a kiss."

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If he doesn't send me a ticket, I may be curious enough to go, but I certainly won't be using my own coin and I will have a good box. Anne-Elisabeth was confident in her skills at seduction. It shouldn't be too difficult to enchant some wealthy gentleman into taking her to a play.


“Why thank you, my lord. You know the courtiers here much better than I do. I wouldn't want to unknowingly accept the invitation of a gentleman with a reputation for taking advantage of ladies, and I am too new to court to have heard who can be trusted and who should be avoided at all costs.” She grinned playfully. “I trust your judgment in choosing an appropriate escort for me.”


There was an element of adventure in allowing another to select your companion.


“Oh, don't stifle my creativity,” she replied with a saucy wink. “I enjoy expressing myself in multiple verses. You don't have to match me if you don't want to.” Or if you can't, she thought.


Just as hers had done, his limerick artfully answered her inquiry without revealing too much. Anne-Elisabeth silently applauded him for that, and she wondered if perhaps he was not quite as daring as he said he was. Time would tell, she supposed.


Dorset asked the two newcomers to join them. I wonder if they're his lovers too, or if he prefers actresses to noblewomen. She smiled warmly as he introduced them to her, and nodded when he asked her to compose a limerick about them.


“It would be my pleasure,” she said. Despite her arrogance and sass, Anne-Elisabeth was a clever girl, and she knew better than to insult people she didn't know. Anna had offended her first, and she felt justified in chiding a low-born actress for not respecting a Countess. These ladies were complete strangers. They could be from powerful families or they could be close to the King. It was always best to be safe than sorry.


“You ladies present a nice view,

So pleasant and finely dressed too.

My offer extends:

I hope we'll be friends.

I'm delighted to meet both of you.”


Her eyes sparkled mischievously as she glanced briefly at her opponent, Turning her attention back to the ladies, her smile broadened. "Why don't one of you choose the subject of Lord Dorset's next limerick?"

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Even while Davina was calling Alice away from the invalid man he turned with his counter offer. Alice loosed a surprised (and secretly delighted) laugh! "Fie sir, those are not the words to any Shakespeare play I have heard of!" she grinned, "but it is Christmas after all." and so she bent and put a kiss on his cheek.


Behind her improv poetry carried on about, while Davina quipped with the playwright - peeve evident in her voice. Alice turned amidst offering her hand to Rochester to assist him upright, and beamed at Elizabeth-Anne last offering. "Oh you are so clever!" she cried out, do make another poem of our assent, don’t you agree Mistress Davina? Oh, unless you are also a poetess?”


So perhaps Davina would reply in a poetic form? Who might know. Alice meanwhile smiled back at Rochester, she could just imagine the fits her brothers would have when she told them of keeping this proximity of the remorseless roue.

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Now revealed that the other was a Countess - made such thru Marriage for there were hardly those of her age that held such title on their own - Davina thinks which altered how she had planned to counter and that made her a bit out of sorts.


Her frustrations of the night had all been counting up from the Earl she had kissed to her Lover who she wanted more from but wouldn't get and now this.


She watched Alice and smiled as she placed a kiss then offering a hand to aid him to stand and when she made her remarks back to the Countess her turn would be next. But how to respond?


"Very. T'would seem that you are indeed Clever Lady Cambray and what a fine way to come into Court."


She gave the other a small reverance as befitted her rank and that of a married woman for Alice and Davina were unwed and so must give deference.


"I am, I fear, no match for you My Lord Dorset - at last in this. Shall I? Chose a 'subject' for you. Hmmm ..."


She walked closer to where he stood and the imp within whispered and she answered.


She let her gaze travel over him as she placed one finger to her lips absently rubbing her bottom lip then sliding it the tinest bit into her mouth creating the impression that she was 'thinking' her head tilted a fraction to one side. He was she knew a very eligible man and who ever he wed would be a double Countess but she had never placed him in that sphere until now.


"It seemed that the two of you were much in play and I should hate to interupt but Lady Cambray has made the suggestion. It would be a lie if I profess talent. Very well then I will comply. Make use of the word Satisfy."


She had without realizing it made a rhyme of sorts in her reply.


Davina looked at him with eyes that danced with amusement.

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The limerick contest was becoming the center of attention in the drawing room. Rochester was helped to his feet by Alice and others nearby. He was rubbing his neck as he did so.


Sedley stopped his Midsummer Night's Dream quotations and turned to see the contest elevated, while the handful of courtiers surrounding him turned as well.


Alexander Merriweather found that those who had been playing his game had lost interest. Some left the room in search of different fun and others stayed to watch the competition unfold. Speaking of competitions, Alexander was trying to remember how many points had been assigned for bedding Davina. He was certain that she and Alice would be worth good points. There was the new Countess too. If only I could get all three tonight ... ." He rubbed his chin in thought of how to accomplish it.


Meanwhile, the Earl of Dorset watched carefully the interaction between Anne and Davina. Alice was a known quantity, The other two were less so. Davina inserted her digit between her lips. Had that been designed for his benefit? Men liked to imagine it. It was already clear to him that Lady Cambray was primed for a good swiving. The two made nice to each other, surprising the Earl. Usually ladies were more catty, not that he could not sense the competition between them Davina appeared to be no poet, which was a pity. Still, she supplied an easy topic. It was time to be more bold now that he had everyone's attention.


"There is little need for a seer,

To divine a moon-kissed lady's fear.

The men, she will decry,

Shirk their duty to satisfy,

Her true crave to ring in the new year."


It was only mildly suggestive in his own mind, but the meaning was clear in this circle. "Now then, I should like Mistress Wellsley to tell us how she might like to ring in the new year, whether in prose or wit, and then the Countess, perhaps you could compose another limerick?" He was trying to stoke competitions within the competition.

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Both ladies admitted that she was clever, which meant that they had excellent taste. “Thank you,” she said, smiling at each of them in turn. “Lord Dorset is a formidable opponent but I believe so far, I have been holding my own.” That was about as close as the arrogant Anne-Elisabeth could come to humility.


She didn't notice what was going on in the rest of the room. Her focus was completely on the competition between herself and the Earl. Mistress Wellsley seemed quite pleased to come up with a subject for Dorset's next limerick. As she stepped closer and stuck her finger in her mouth, Anne-Elisabeth barely refrained from rolling her eyes. Is it possible to be any more obvious? she thought. It was apparent that poetry was not all the lady wanted from the handsome blond. Even the word she asked him to incorporate into his limerick was suggestive.


Either she is already his lover or she wants to be. I wonder if anyone would care to bet on which woman Lord Dorset takes home tonight. Idly, she pondered as to whether her own name would be on the list of his possible conquests. Did she want it to be?


The Earl didn't respond directly to Mistress Wellseley's flirtation. Maybe he wasn't fond of virgins or he believed all she was interested in was his title. What self-respecting single lady wouldn't be? Both Davina and Alice appeared to be a bit older than she and were probably eager to be wed. Anne-Elisabeth had bagged her Earl at the age of seventeen. It was unfortunate that their marriage had only lasted a few months.


She thought Dorset's poem was a bit strained, but it was probably difficult to come up with words that rhymed with 'satisfy' and arrange them into an artful form. The raven-haired Countess attempted to come up with one herself, looking around the drawing room as verses careened through her head. Almost everyone was gathered around them now, more interested in this battle of witty words than in their own games.


Excitement pulsed through Anne-Elisabeth's young body, pleasurable sensations that were nearly identical to carnal desire. This was where she was meant to be … in the center of a crowd with all eyes on her. There was more pressure on her now to impress these courtiers with her poetic brilliance, but tension kept her mind sharp. She pushed the niggling notion that she might embarrass herself to the back of her mind and ignored it. This was no time to doubt her prowess.


Lord Dorset asked Mistress Wellsley how she wanted to ring in the New Year and for Anne-Elisabeth to compose another limerick after the lady had answered. This was an ideal situation, for it would allow her ample time to come up with a good verse. Her dark eyes looked to Dorset. “And what should the subject of my limerick be?”

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Alice was pleased to discover this to be an excellent show, even her new friend the Queens Maid in Waiting came to the limed light with a rhyme in her challenge to Dorset. "Brava!" Alice called out, and settled herself amisdt the other ladies gathered as the show went on...



(ooc please play through without awaiting Alice-replies & terribly sorry for the previous delay to yourselves *hugs*)

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  • 2 weeks later...

She heard Alice and saw her seat herself apparently wanting to watch rather than partake which posed no problem at all. Davina remained where she was her eyes drawn back to Dorset as he looked at her then to the Countess and she made the guess that he just might create mischief - hardly a surprise!


HIs return was made. Was she now to respond back again in rhyme? And Dorset did as expected and made to pit her and the Countess and while it was amusing she was no match for either of them but she could hardly refuse when those that had remained were now focused on this Tableau.


She smiled across to Dorset


"It all depends. There are many ways in which I might like to welcome in the New Year. And I should not like it said that I think any of your sex will shirk to Satisfy yet there must be exceptions would you not agree?" But since I must answer to 'ring' .... rest assured My Lord it will not be your neck."


Said in a still teasing tone, naturally.


"And I am not as skilled as the Countess so I fear I shall be a poor match."

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It was a feigned pout that Dorset gave the Queen's lady as she attempted no poetry. He understood that few had the skill for poetry, let alone limericks.


"I suppose I should be grateful for the health of my neck then Miss Wellsley. Yet some of my gender are better at satisfying than others." He paused but a moment to detect whether the lady was hinting at anything, but found her words and manner most innocent. So, he turned to Anne and declared.


"Your next limerick shall use the word 'ring" which is easy, but also the word 'neck," which is less so. Those were the words the lady used after all." With that he turned to Anne to see what she might formulate.

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If Dorset was trying to cause a rivalry between the two ladies, Anne-Elisabeth wasn't going to comply. Perhaps he believed she was volatile because of the way she had chastised that stupid actress, and while she did have a temper, she was usually able to control it. She was also too new to court to make enemies. Mistress Wellsley had friends to come to her defense; the silver-tongued Countess had nothing but her wit to rely on.


And she was usually cordial to anyone who didn't pose a threat to her. The other woman could possibly become a valuable friend if Anne-Elisabeth treated her kindly. She could be sweet when necessary, even though it went against her naturally acerbic inclinations. Those could easily be expressed in her limericks without insulting a single soul.


Mistress Wellsley was vague about her plans for the new year and Anne-Elisabeth chuckled at Dorset's pout. Perhaps he had hoped that she would say she wanted to spend the first minutes of 1678 with him?


“Amen to that,” she remarked when Dorset claimed that some men were more satisfying than others. She hadn't had a swive in a couple of weeks, and her last partner had been … well … uninspiring. The diamonds he had gifted her with a few days later had made up for his lack of imagination, though.


What would Lord Dorset be like in bed? she wondered. Is he a selfish lover or does he know how to please a lady until she screams out his name in pleasure? Assuming that she knows it. He had not yet revealed his given name to her.


“I'm sure that you are skilled at many things,” she reassured Davina. “In a contest involving one of your talents, I would not be able to a candle against you.”


The Earl then asked her to create a limerick that included the words 'wring' (which was how she interpreted it because of the way Mistress Wellsley had used it), and 'neck.' He also implied that those were the words she should come up with rhymes for. This was going to be more difficult than she had thought, but after a few moments of contemplation, she favored the crowd with a confident smirk.


“As most of you know,” she began, looking from one face to another, “some of the best limericks are naughty. And so I will not apologize for the bawdy nature of my next verse.” This was a predominately libertine gathering, after all, and with the Merry Gang and a gaggle of actresses in attendance, outrageous behavior would probably be applauded. “However, if you have sensitive ears, you may wish to plug them.”


Her eyes met Dorset's and remained there while she recited her limerick.


“To start the new year with a zing,

A lady wants only one thing.

She'll place a sweet peck

On a gentleman's neck

While her quim gives his cock a good wring.”

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  • 2 weeks later...

For Davina the Countesses response caused one brow to rise slightly and her mouth to turn its corners up as she looked between Dorset and the other woman.


Before the Earl could reply she needed to say her own


"You see, tis why I am no match at all, and I think me I shall go next to Alice and there to watch the rest! Madam I offer you good Luck."


She gave a small curtsey then turned and went to settle in next to Alice and exchange whispered words.


(ooc - sorry if I've held up the thread)

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