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Sleigh Race -- Afternoon of New Year's Day- Xmas 1677


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Lady Lucas and Lady Chatham Observe


It was cold. The sun was watery. There was no wind. Perfect.


Lady Lucas was attired in black head to toe. Made over 'hunts' several times before now had a new life and if she was minus those precious jet buttons oh well. She had an image to project after all. It was important that any saw and then undrstood that she was kin to Newcastle and under his Protection - untrue - yet twas the idea that she had it that counted.


Lady Chatham was yet to arrive at their arranged place and the sled was absent as well yet mayhap she would arrive encased in it swathed in furs no doubt just as she herself was.


'I hope tis not black for then we shall be too alike. She seems sensible enough so let me hope she has worn a color that way how pleasing to the eyes we shall both be!'





(place holder for Lady Chatham)

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Charles, Frances, and Sophia with Davina joining


Frances gaze followed Sophia's unspoken gesture towards the guard, her eyes then turned back to the pretty lady who seemed to want to make her think they were in the same miserable boat.


"I feel so sorry for you." she replied unable to keep the cynicism from her voice. Sophia looked anything but hard-done by, and Frances did not think them to be anything alike. "Lord Langdon locks me up, I dont know what your warden was like, but mine is not so liberal."


Charles meanwhile seemed distracted during this quiet exchange, perhaps it was due to the approach of Davina. Now here Davina was, and there was another exchange of greetings.


"Afternoon M'am" Frances did a little dip, trying to smile though all she wanted to do was cry. Perhaps it was something to do with the stress of it all, that she realised she'd done a bit of wee.

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Beverley joins Nicci at the registration


Nicci was very happy to speak to young St Leger, "Lord Beverly, my favourite!" she crooned. He was one of her many seduction projects in the progress (though she was not sure that he knew that, his naivety was legendary).


"La, it is colder than I thought it would be." she claimed, ruing that she had her gorgeous furs on, for otherwise she might have suggested he hold her to share body heat. Yet so beautifully covered (she did so love her Mink!) Mlle Vauquline could only pretend at vulnerability for so long before grinning, "but we shall all be warm enough soon, when the sport has begun!"


"Modus?" His question was casually said, like she should know what he meant, but she was unfamiliar with the term. But she could guess that he was asking what everyone was asking - a say in who he was partnered with. "Well." in a secretive gesture she moved to talk hush, shoulder to shoulder, "It will depend..." she paused, wondering if she might extract some personal promise or indulgence from him? Much was possible, if one truly set their mind to it. And his eyes were so - ah!

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Lady Lucas and Lady Chatham


Their plans had not turned out quite as they should have - she'd learnt at the mews that there was a fixed number of sleighs to be raced. And one did not disagree with His Majesties Master of Reveries, or at least not over something like this. So instead Mary arrived just like any other, with a niggle of uncertainty to just what was to take place?


A fur lined burgundy cloak was her garb, trimmed with the handiwork of the finest seamstress in Chatham; namely needleworked bells, mistletoe and berries down the front edges and around fur trimmed hood. A muff kept her hands warm, but aught could be done for the chill upon nose.

Still the attendance of her first sporting function in many a year had her ignore the bite of cold, her eyes were bright as she looked around, wanting to see any she might know. And there was Lady Lucas. All in black.


Mary waved, and made to approach, all while hoping that the dark of the others attire did not represent her mood. "Good afternoon my friend!" she greeted flashing a smile while her eyes carried on to continue inspect the attendance. In a lower voice she added, “Is anyone of significance arrived of yet?” Mary, nay, ladies both, were ambitious women afterall!


Should Cordelia look beyond her approaching friend, she might notice the sturdy stepped approach of a man in a brown camel coat.

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Lady Lucas and Lady Chatham


Cordelia caught sight of the figure of Lady Chatham only she was not sitting in a sleigh looking charming but rather on foot.


"Why Madam what has happened to our conveyance?"


She called out to the other taking in the attire pausing to admire the handiwork that adorned the cloak and glad that it was not black. At least now she had a better chance of standing out yet that was tempered by the thought that Lady Chatham was the younger and also better Titled so whilst she herself might gain a look or two the other would certainly acquire more returns!


"Of Signifiance you ask? Well I am but a few minutes ahead of your own arrival and so have only seen that area there. Shall we gather ourselves up and move to that fench line?" Indicating the spot but a short distance away and with a path already cleared.


"Tis a good vantage point I think and from there we can look over the Field. Quite a few are gathered and I have spied Killigrew and I see that Lady of Misrule is also present where that group is now .... I will wager mischef is afoot if She is here."

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"Perhaps we should combine them one day," Francis said, smoothly. "Coconuts and oranges would mix well."


If anyone enjoyed a good turn of phrase, it was Francis. He could not resist.


"Do not search now or we might all three go down," he added with a grin. "Well, we shall not allow either of you to go cold, and I am sure no gentleman would either. There will likely be plenty gentlemen to go around."


He knew quite a number were planning on coming who had not yet arrived and surely there would be many more than those he knew.


"In comparison to many lords, it is not very difficult to be seen as modest. In fact, that is generally not an affliction to ever be ascribed to a Villiers, who might be the definition of vanity.


"Middlesex, I mean Dorset, is little different, but he is a good friend. One of the first relations I met when I arrived, for I knew none of them beforehand." He gave a nod to Anne-Elizabeth, "You have made a good acquaintance, for he is close to His Majesty and travels well in most court circles."


Dorset was one of the few of the Merry Gang who could keep the company of more proper society as well as the libertines.


Francis' eyes followed Caroline's but was not sure what she was looking at that seemed to pull her attention. He was too polite to ask a woman to share her thoughts. Caroline, he knew, would share if she wished.


"I have been, yes, but it is not where I spent most of my time when I was sailing. Though I did like the rum."

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Charles, Frances, and Sophia with Davina joining


Charles had been distracted in thinking how best to retreat from the awkward situation. He should have taken Frances sledding by himself. This was not a place for children. He had miscalculated.


There was whispering going on between Sophia and Frances. Although he could not make out a fair amount of it, he doubted it was helpful. The fact that Frances responded with a remark about being locked up was only an acknowledgement that they were already speaking of topics he wished to be taboo. Frances was locked up because she attempted to run away and hurt herself.


Davina's arrival was welcome. "Mistress Wellsley, this is my ward Frances. I had hoped to go sledding with her today but I am not so sure that there will be any sleds remaining." He was already trying to create an excuse for leaving. "I was hoping that an outing might cheer her and help her be more content." With her status. "Miss Wellsley is a lady to the Queen," Charles introduced. And my secret lover Even the nosey Frances would know nothing of their affair. Sophia and Davina knew each other. Davina had been at the Spanish party Sophia had hosted.

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Caroline, Francis, and Anne-Elisabeth


Ahhh, yes,” Anne-Elisabeth replied. “The hardness of a coconut wrapped in the softness of an orange. It would be perfectly divine.” He would most likely guess that she was not talking about either fruit or alcohol. But if did want to mix his brandy with her rum, she had brought a couple of bottles with her. She had seduced a nobleman who had dabbled in trade for them, and she was saving them for a special occasion.


A sensuous pout turned down the corners of the Countess' full lips when Lord Kingston suggested that they not look for his flask right away. After Caroline's encouragement, she had been ready to do some creative searching. The other lady did not seem to be the least bit possessive of him, which, in her opinion, gave her free rein to do as she pleased ... with his consent, of course.


“I definitely don't want to fall again, but you have me craving it now. When we're on safe ground, you can either give me a taste or I shall explore every inch of you until I find it.” She doubted she would have to look any farther than his pockets, but she could even make that quite pleasurable for him.


“So you, too, long for adventure.” Anne-Elisabeth grinned at Caroline. “Let's hope that both of us find a few thrills today.”


To Francis: “Your modesty is refreshing. Pompous gentlemen are fun to tease, though.” Middlesex? That's a funny title. It would lend itself well to a limerick. I shall have to remember it. Lord Kingston spoke highly of her partner in poetry. The Earl seemed to have more facets to his personality than she had thought.


“He was the first person I met as well. I'm fairly certain that we'll see each other again. At some point, he is sure to demand a rematch. He doesn't strike me as the kind of gentlemen who likes to lose.” Lady Cambray lowered her voice conspiratorially, glancing from Francis to Caroline and back again. “Don't tell him I said this for it will probably go straight to his head, but I believe he is the wittiest lord I have ever met.”


If Lord Kingston had spent a lot of time sailing, he probably owned a fleet of ships. Nobles did not work as common sailors. “Where did you go? Did you come across your orange brandy during your travels?”

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Charles, Frances, and Sophia with Davina joining


Davina's eyes strayed to that horrid little creature that was wrapped around the neck of Lady Toledo with concelaed distaste - she had never found it the least bit amusing and could not see how it was looked upon as such and really it twas too much like a 'flea fur' only alive.


Her gaze then fastened back upon the girl now introduced as his ward.


so this is the creature that is making him so misrable and unhappy? why she is but a child not even out of the nursery! I wonder why he has let her run over him - there is more to this than he is telling


"Mistress Frances. Yours is a face we have not seen afore." She smiled down at the girl then looked across to Charles "You have picked a good time to make yourself known for tis to be some kind of 'race' so we have all heard .... Misrule reigns so it appears and so perhaps tis not the best of sports to begin?"


She cautioned him quietly just because as of yet that Lady had not been acting upon her temporary Title and so none of their fellow Courtiers had any idea as to what she planned.


"I am here, but under protest, and so will pout prettily at any 'idea' that I participate! And do you intend to Lord Langdon - with Frances perhaps or have you an eye for Lady Toledo?"


"I have dispatched Lord Beverely to make inqueries and so he shall find me and 'report' as to what is afoot."


She was teasing him regarding the Ambassadors wife and her smile would make that clear to Sophia as well. They had a 'history' of sorts already and Davina wished her no ill but had given up with her attempts to educate.


"Might you allow for her to be my shadow for a space? Unless you wish join in?" This directed to Frances herself.


"I shall not for the idea of getting wet and then chilled does not appeal. I'd much rather sit in Baintree's coach under a blanket of warm furs! Baintree is my elder brother and I have his coach for my pleasure." She offered in explination to Frances.


"Tis there - not so far that anything can not be watched or seen."


This last offered to Charles as a way of saying that they would be much in plain sight if any troubles were tried by his ward.

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It was then that the King could be seen arriving, with an entourage of Cavendishes. Newcastle himself was with the King, as was his son Ogle, and son-in-law Ablemarle. The deal had been struck with the Percy heiress and Lord Ogle to marry and there was a mood of celebration in the air. Newcastle had spent a small fortune in bribes to the girl's grandmother as well as the King; but her fortune would be many times that amount.


As they approached, the King bade Ogle to attend him as they approached Killigrew and Nicolette to register. Newcastle had no interest in participating and Ablemarle, as usual, preferred to watch.


The 17 year old Ogle piped up "I should like to enter and I shall sponsor His Majesty in this race. Neither of us have a partner." Both men were looking for a pretty companion of course. Killigrew, at first, moved to take charge, but then halted himself to allow the Lady of Misrule to assert her authority.

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Charles, Davina, Frances, and Sophia


Well, that hint had fallen on deaf ears. What an obnoxious little chit! No wonder her mother had gone insane. Frances had probably driven her to it. Regardless of how impertinent she was, Sophia refused to stoop to her level. “Well, you shouldn't feel sorry for me,” she whispered. “Because I know how to charm my jailers and soon I will have both my husband and my bodyguard wrapped around my little finger. You could learn to do the same, but judging by your attitude, you're not interested.”


She then turned her attention to Lord Langdon and Mistress Wellsley, completely ignoring Frances. Aurora stared at the girl for a brief moment before following her mistress' example. Davina was as pleasant as always, and Sophia laughed when she jested about Lord Langdon and herself being partnered together. “I will be racing with my lord husband. He is getting us a sled.”


She wondered why Davina didn't want to race, but when she asked if Frances could sit with her and watch, the petite singer thought she knew what she was up to. The Queen's lady was always full of advice, and her well-meaning lectures had taught Sophia a lot about court life and had helped her to adjust to her new circumstances.


Perhaps she planned to impart some of her knowledge to Frances. Davina was firmer than Sophia and hopefully she would get through to the girl where the young Baroness had failed. She still planned on visiting Lord Langdon and Frances tomorrow after Church. Maybe Frances would be more polite after Davina explained things to her and more open to Sophia's friendship.

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The ten sleds were moved into position around the starting line, prepared to be populated. Killigrew leaned in to the Lady of Misrule and mentioned "we have an extra sled pulled by mules and another pulled by mere ponies ... if you were to find such an assignment to be amusing." It would allow her to embarrass a couple or two, if she so wished.

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"Your fur is very becoming," Beverley complimented, admiring it. He wondered if his father would give his wife something very fine such as that, for they could surely afford it. "Indeed, yes, a little exertion will be quite, erm, warming."


She did not seem to understand his question which surprised him enough to leave him unsure how to explain it. The military sort of folk he generally interacted with so very frequently knew such terms.


"Yes, erm, it means, well, the method of a thing. Erm, how are we doing this sledding business."


He leaned in a bit. "It will depend?" he asked, in his quiet voice, devoid of the saucy sorts of flirtation of most men his age. It was not that he did not find her attractive, but he was rather hopeless in many ways with ladies.

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Beverly and Nicolette nearing King&company


"Mmm, why thank you." Nicolette fluttered her lashes to Beverley while her appreciation of the developing situation around her grew; The murmur from Killigrew in her ear (a silent nod given in response) The arrival of Royals, and the lad Ogle being free with his cash too. She slid her arm through Beverly's and with a self satisfied smile drew him with her to the registration table.


Beverly meanwhile was all serious about explaining the meaning of his fancy Latin words, of which she leant half an ear.


"Why men are all about their focus upon strategy, while we mere ladies can only marvel at it all." With an outward show of ignorance, inwardly Nicci laughed at her humour.


"But yes, it depends." They approached the King and Ogle, Nicolette would continue her ongoing game with CR. A glance given in the King of England’s direction, before she provided whispered instruction to the most innocent courtier at her side. "Depends how reluctant you are to leave me Lord Beverly, the more eager you are to remain the better sleigh and company you shall gain."


She wanted CR to see how popular she was, that he might covet her even more.

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Charles, Frances, Sophia and Davina


"Look lady you know a bit of what I’ve been through." Frances tried not to let her emotion at Sophia's attack show. Did not want to give her the satisfaction of knowing her words were a knife in an already wounded heart. Meanwhile it did not help that it felt a bit strange, down there.


Frances bobbed another curtsy to Davina, the lady seemed to look at her hard but spoke to her plainly which Frances appreciated. "Not for want of my asking to attend." She made clear that it was Charles doing that she'd never been allowed to a Court function before.


Her ward for his part then voiced how he thought it this today was his worse mistake. Frances sighed. with a shrug of that. He was so horrible to her, but nobody else seemed to see it.


"Er, um, I'd like that Marm." She replied to Davina, while mostly she expected Charles to turn them both around and go back home.

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Ladies Lucas and Chatham


The space between them was closed, Cordelia's smiles of greeting replaced with voiced concerns: the promised sleigh's absence.


"The trouble is the Master of Revels doing, why every sleigh at the mews was reserved by him weeks ago, even those derelict." she explained, 'Indeed even from here we might observe that not all the vehicles are road let alone race worthy." Mary peered towards the grand assemblage of vehicles.


Both women were peering that direction as Cordelia pointed out Misrule & Killigrew. "Some are about to be made a laughing stock, that is plain." Mary replied, "I think the sport of spectating shall suit our ambitions rather better." Of this both might surely agree.

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So that explained that then.


"Well tis nothing to be done. Indeed?" She followed the others gaze giving a small chuckle at the assembled modes of conveyance that were being readied.


"In Truth I think me some shall be most put out yet that is the intent of Misrule do you not suppose? She has done nothing really and so might, when all is said and done, be a disappointment and His Majesty might rethink choosing another for next year! Ah well."


"I am in agreement Lady Chatham and see no need to subject ourselves to the folly that will follow. Perhaps tis age on my part but I have partook of enough Games over the years and missing this causes me no distress at all."


"Have you a spot in mind? We can go closer and still withhold participation and it might be better to do that for then if the retelling of anything is needed it shall be easier. What do you think?"


Cordelia was glad of a sudden that the sleigh never happened for then they might have been drawn into the foray - unless Lady Chatham wanted that?


"But then mayhap you have a desire to join the Company? If so I shall not stop and will gladly 'cheer' you on!"

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Charles, joining Caroline, Francis, and Anne-Elisabeth


Charles had, in fact, utterly forgotten about the sled race. He had opted to stroll through the park in lieu of anything more stimulating, feeling pleasantly aimless. He had only recalled the event when he caught sight of the gathering crowd. A quick flip of a coin made the decision to watch for him, and he altered his course.


For a moment he was tempted to fence again with his stepmother, but decided against when he saw Caroline and Kingston deep in conversation with a lady he did not recognise. Caroline was always good company, and Charles thought Kingston an excellent conversationalist. Talking with them promised to be entertaining, and might help to divert the energy that had bubbled within him since the ball before he turned it to yet more unwise ends.


"Kingston, Lady Kendishall," he hailed cheerily, bowing as he waited to go through the requisite pleasantries of being introduced to Anne-Elisabeth.

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Beverley & Nicci


Beverley was happy that his female conversation was going so well, for this was very well for him. She even seemed to wish his company, for she drew him along with her.


There is the King...with Ogle... Beverley had not forgotten how Ogle had slighted him at Brighton. It had been a driving force behind the ease of his superior marriage choice, no matter how much he had enjoyed Francis Cavendish. Worcester and his family has also pursued the match whilst Newcastle had not particularly.


He was quite happy to have Nicolette with him, for the King always intimidated him, and he did not particularly wish to converse with Ogle.


"I should be happy to stay as long as you wish if you, erm, need my assistance. We are family after all." In the roundabout way of relations of the time.

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Charles, Frances, Sophia, and Davina


Davina caught some of the under breath words between Sophia and Frances but then the girl gave her another curtsey and said she'd like to go with her.


Davina smiled and looked up at Charles saying


"Well then. Since she is willing and I am as well will you allow it? I have no desire to race and ..."


Her words trails off as there was a commotion and then a large group came into sight and it was easy to see its members especially the tallest of the Gentleman!


"I had not heard he would come ... Lord Langdon let me have her hand if you please. Frances, when I tell you follow my example as best you can, and do not I beg you play out. The King has arrived with his Company and so we needs must pay respects."


She would wait for a moment for Charles to respond but then would simply take his hand away from Frances' and exchange it for her own. With a nod to Sophia who would no doubt follow Davina intended to move out into the open where they would clearly be seen and at the right moment execute her reverance.


"You DO know how to curtsey?" She whispered to the girl her blue eyes twinkling as she watched to see where the King would move to first. If he did not come close enough to them then she would simply give a reverance but if he were to come closer then she'd go deeper and hold it.


How Fun if He would come for she'd enjoy being singled out - after Lady Toledo naturally - and a bit of flirting wouldn't hurt at all!

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Frances seemed intent on vexing him this day. Yes, he had realized his mistake in bringing Frances, but he had not given voice to it. Rather, it haunted his thoughts. He could see Frances run off as soon as she was freed of his hand, and he would need to give chase, which would be unseemly. He would need to explain that she was a delinquent and would need to be sent away from court. It would be embarrassing, but it would pass in time.


Frances seemed rude to Sophia, which seemed odd because she seemed to only want to help. Perhaps Frances just needed more training in being a lady. He sighed as he considered that he was not the one capable of it. Somehow he had thought it to be mostly natural. Maybe he needed to send her away with a lady.


"Frances, you are too young to debut at court. That is done typically around a lady's 16th birthday," he tried to explain, expecting both Davina and Sophia to support him. "This race, however, is not really a court function. It is a sleigh race and I thought it might be a fun outing together, and give you a chance to meeting some charming ladies."


Charles laughed at Davina's notion that he planned to race with Sophia. "As charming company as the Baroness is, I was planning on racing with my ward," he answered Davina. "I wanted to test her arm for throwing snowballs," he attempted to explain. If she is half as good throwing a snowball as she is at throwing a fit or insult, she should be a deadeye, he thought to himself.


Why did Davina want to take her hand? Was she trying to free Frances? Surely not. Did she not know that the girl would attempt to run away?


He would need to bow, just as the ladies would need to curtsy. He released the girl's hand so that he might bow. Frances had accepted Davina's offer, so maybe she would not dash away immediately. If she did, he was certain he could catch a child in heavy skirts.


"Yes, take her hand," he agreed, moving his own to touch Davina's hand with his own and then attempting to transfer the hold of Frances instead. As if to join the ladies, Charles gave a bow in the direction of the King.

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Davina, Charles, Frances, and Sophia


Sophia decided not to acknowledge Frances' rude comment and to pretend that she hadn't spoken at all. She had already turned away and gave her no indication that she had heard. Why did everyone think that their lot was worse than everyone else's? In the young Baroness' opinion, Frances … whom she assumed that Lord Langdon had rescued off the street along with her mad mother … had it good compared to most common girls. She had a roof over her head, plenty of food to eat, warm clothes, and she was receiving an education. Eventually, she might be married to a rich merchant or even a minor lord.


Yet the girl couldn't see beyond her indignation at having to do what her guardian said. Had she been that pigheaded when she was that age? Perhaps, because it was her own stubbornness that had resulted in her singing onstage when she was only a year or two older than Frances. She was trapped then too, but she learned how to trick her Italian guardians so that she could continue her double life. If she had been like Frances, she would have been too busy complaining to come up with a clever plan for escape. Unfortunately, she'd been caught, but she had gotten away with her mischief for two and a half years.


Maybe Davina would set Frances straight. Why, she wondered, was she so quick to trust the Queen's lady but so wary of her? Was it the closeness in their ages? Sophia looked younger than she was and was no taller than a girl of twelve. Maybe Frances thought that she had been married very very young and was afraid the same thing might happen to her.


Davina's words alerted Sophia to the King's arrival. She smiled softly as she curtsied, remembering their exchange last night. Perhaps if he spoke to them, he might ask about the condition of her heart, which she had claimed he had broken by not allowing her to sing at midnight. Maybe their little game of hearts would evolve into an ongoing jest.

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The King and Company


Newcastle and Ablemarle approached with the King as the courtiers they encountered bowed to their monarch. Lord Ogle approached the table and gave a nod to Beverley and a smile towards Nicolette.


:I should like to commission two sleighs. One for His Majesty and one for myself." He was looking at Killigrew as he spoke his instructions. "Milord, you are to stand good for the entry fee for both?" The young Cavendish son gave a dismissive look. "Of course." Killigrew queried "and no ladies to enter as well?" "No." "Very good then, My Lady of Misrule is handling the partnering."


The King acknowledged both Beverley and Nicolette, looking eager to be amused. Taking deep breaths of the cold air, he pretended to look about the track, which was pretty much a straight path forward, narrow in many places because of trees, which would be likely to cause a congestion of sleighs, where snowballs would have an easier time finding their mark and drivers would be challenged to enter those narrows quickly.


Voices carried well in the cold and the King was able to hear everything the ducal heir had to say to Killigrew. A smile tugged at the corner of his mouth as Killigrew mentioned Nicolette's role. He expected the pairing would be fortuitous and distracting, but he said nothing as one courtier after another approached to wish him a happy new year.

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Nicolette was the picture of contentment as she sashayed arm in arm with Lord Beverly. Meanwhile her mind whirred - the immediate problem of finding a Duke for her new friend was solved as Albemarle turned up - Nicci did not even properly look at the vexing man. Perhaps Anne Elizabeth would have more luck, he was a challenge worthy of her.


"Why Beverly, your gracious assent only accelerates my fondness of you." She crooned, eyes sliding towards the King to whom she winked. Killigrew's words slid though the air around them, and it would seem a given that she'd pair herself with the King. In fact it was so predictable that she could not even do it. Where was the thrill in an expectation met?


So armed with Beverly she had a personal challenge set: to somehow give CR a pleasant surprise.


"It is time for the draw of partners! We have stood in the snow long enough, and though I doubt His Majesty has ever had cold feet, let us not take a risk!"


Somewhere or rather a hat had been brought, where names had been placed. Nicolette made a show of mixing her hand through the pieces of paper therein right now, before plucking out the winner. CR naturally had to be announced first. "His Royal Highness Charles the Second, is teamed with... Lady Beverley." Nicolette showed surprise on her face, while hoping that CR would appear duly disappointed - the choice of Mary had been strategic, Nicolette was banking on Beverley's further assistance later.


But for now, she passed the piece of paper to Beverly to dispose of… the doe eyed gentleman may or may not notice that it had in fact been Lady Kendishall's name written down.




OOC: Depending on how that goes I'll post a comprehensive list of Nicci's pairings next round

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Lady Cambray seemed quite taken with Francis and why not? Caroline had always found the man to be quite witty and entertaining yet also kindly and someone you could rely on. Anne-Elisabeth also seemed quite comfortable with inneuendo too. Searching for blood orange brandy indeed. Caroline might have entered into the teasing if it wasn't for the fact she was rather distracted watching the goings on with Lord Langdon and his ward, Frances...now approached by Sophia. She certainly hoped Sophia was not plotting with Langdon against her? Mayhaps that was a bit of paranoia on her part though and she returned her attention to Anne when she mentioned they both wanted a bit of adventure this race.


"Oh very much so. I have never been much of one for spectator sports, I need to participate," Caroline nodded.


The subject turned to poetry or something horribly boring like that so again Caroline tuned out for a moment to cast another critical glance at where her true concentration was on. Anne leaned to say something about someone being the wittiest lord she had ever met. Caroline once more nodded, "Ahh, indeed."


Then Anne went back to Kingston thankfully for further conversation, that was just about the time who should show up but her Minister of Evil, Chatham. She was always delighted to see him, now there was a rogue but a damned fun one! Her kind of man.


"Why there he is, Lord Chatham! Good to see you once more. I do hope you are going to participate in the sled race? Who knows, we might even be on the same sled. Lady Vauquelin is drawing for teams even now I believe."


She would let Francis handle the introduction of Anne-Elisabeth.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Lordy how did I miss that it was my turn - sorry!


Davina, Charles, Frances, and Sophia


Was Frances a odd fish? Perhaps. Her lips firmed upon the mutual decision between she and Sophia to ignore each other. Why was Davina different? Because she was not talking down to Frances (and there was no negative history either), Davina seemed t her a soft touch while Sophia was not. So Frances moved closer still, especially as it seemed Charles would set her into her care.


Frances even smiled to Davina, though it could not quite remove her petulant outlook. Charles was busy justifying why he'd kept her locked up, downplaying the imprisonment as though it was something all girls younger than 16 had to endure.


She curtsied towards the King as that became the thing to do. Hoer opinion on Davina slipping some as she'd found a need to tell Frances when to curtsy. Everybody seemed to think Frances was an imbecile.


Please just leave Charles Frances willed, as she had intent to ditch Davina and make off first chance she got... meanwhile though it was physically and mentally confusing, for the harder she tried to 'hold on' the more persistent her 'accident' became.

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Cordelia and Mary

With a pleasant expression her gaze followed Cordelia’s, while the words spoken were acid dipped. "What could be expected from the French, it is their common habit to place lady spies amongst us - yet this one is certainly more lack lustre than the rest."


... looking on Mary wondered if there might be enough sleds that they could participate? Even though she voiced thoughts opposite in response to present company. Had Cordelia pressed even a little bit, Mary would have been signing them up just like that.


"Yes. Closer." she agreed, prereferral vision being a boon then as the gay assembly of His Majesty and coterie approached. Mary managed to move with Cordelia to be in a position not too far from that illustrious group. And yes she curtsied, all the while her ears wagging for strands of the gentlemen’s conversation, you never knew when you might hear something potentially useful.


Was it something of the look in Mary's eye then, for Cordelia suggested she might like to join the race after all. And this, just after the arrival such fine possible 'partners'.


"Why do you know, I should think it would be the very last thing the French want; namely for quantities of high calibre English women compete. Why I think we ought both put out names into that hat."


Names were already being drawn, so the pair best decide on that quick!

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Cordelia and Mary


The two, in agreement, began to move but the arrival of The King with his entourage made a change of direction absolute and so Cordelia found herself yet again making her reverance to her Sovereign and she wondered if he might have a remembrance of her ....


Not close enough Cordelia could make out but one word in three that carried in the air and then Lady Chatham made her own admission.


"What?" The word sounding flat as she was taken unawares. "You are serious Lady Chatham? Why I thought ... That is I do not think .... I couldn't possibly ...."


Her gaze moving to the Arena that was fast being set up some space away and one hand when to her heart as if too moved by the sight before her then back to Lady Chatham.


'why I shall do no such thing! Not even if The King Himself asked it of me'


Her reply uttered in her head so sure was she of THAT never happening.

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King and Company


Lady Beverley? The King had thought ... . There was no time to show disappointment. He was certain that Mary would make fine company, but what was the fun in being paired with a married lady? The King was well-able to mask his feelings, so Nicci would only see a quizzical look cast in her direction. Had she been honest with the pick then? Her role was one of merriment. What did Basildon's cousin have in mind? Was there to be a later twist?


"Splendid," the King offered gaily, as the courtiers around him were quick to agree verbally. Ogle waited to learn with whom he would be paired. Newcastle thought the sleigh pairing proper. He was only glad that Lady Beverley was not paired with his son who, though well-trained, might become too cozy with the young lady.


Two senior ladies at court seemed to be discussing whether to purchase a sleigh, putting on pretense that they weren't interested no doubt. No doubt they each hoped for an attractive male companion. "Master Killigrew, we would like to see two of our experienced ladies join the race. I am certain I heard them express an interest." He smiled at Cordelia and Mary. They dared not disagree. "Let them be entered at Our behest in the spirit of the holidays."


Killigrew, ever the sycophant with the King, bowed and uttered "of course Your Majesty," still hoping the crones would come up with the coin later. "Shall we two slips to the hat then?" Killigrew asked rhetorically of Nicolette. He was cruelly thinking how fun it might be to pair the would-be womanizing Ogle with one of the old widows.

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