Jump to content


Your Stories Await Telling

The Queen's Ladies Talk 'In Private', Tuesday Morning- Xmas 1677

Davina Wellsley

Recommended Posts

The Queen's Presence Chamber was not exactly a place for intimate conversation as it was open to any but of late it had been quiet - as if Courtiers had forgot. Of there were still Ladies that wandered in and out but with so few in attendance it was obvious, as least to them, that NOTHING of Import was about to happen there!

This morning there was little that had to be seen to for most of them. The Ladies of The Bedchamber attended The Queen and they knew where to find any that might be needed for some task or other.

So it was that it created a perfect place in which a group of the Queen's Ladies might gather around the large hearth to sit upon fat cushions or on low stools to gossip. Some had brought needlework. Another was quietly reading aloud from some Tomé in her not quite perfect French causing giggles and offerings of correct pronounceatons. 

Several crystal decanters and glasses sat upon the wooden floor as well as a pewter bowl that held apples and pears to tempt.

It was into this scene that Davina wandered into needlework in her hands. She came to a halt looking to an empty velvet covered stool or a plump pillow then smiled and eased herself gracefull upon the carpet her cranberry silk skirts billowing a bit as she settled. Her back aganist the empty stool and the pillow would provide a place to lay her work and she gave a small sigh as she looked about the assembled group. 

"Alyce tis -  'l prit alors dans sa main un baiser sur lequel planter" ... "he then took her hand a kiss to plant upon" how can you forget the same thing every time? She teased in a gentle way for the other had not a bad bone in her slender body and was often thus hurt by unkind remarks so was looked after by them all.

She reached for a glass and poured a dark red wine hoping that it had not gone sour. Sipped, nodded, set it down within easy reach and took up her fabric content for the moment as they all were to have this time.

"Well? What is the news then?"  She began to work on the red roses that were part of a larger pattern of flowers and greenery.

This was an rare occurance and offered them all a chance to 'share' or not the latest round of rumours and other things that were so prevelant at Court.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Susan Herbert was embroidering the edge of a tablecloth that would grace the dining table in her house when she was married. Her mind was not on her stitches, nor was she daydreaming about romance. She was going over the mystery that she and Lord Langdon were trying to solve.


She smiled at Davina as she entered and took a seat to work on her own embroidery. The other lady had been very helpful to her when she had first become a maid of honor, and she sometimes wished they could spend more time together. However, they seemed to move in different circles when not attending the Queen.


Lucy Seymour was sitting in the most prominent place in the room, as if supervising the maids of honor. She needed to be close at hand in case the Queen needed her, and she enjoyed spending time with ladies close to her in age. The Duchess was working on her own needlework, every now and then glancing around at the others.


When Davina asked about news, she shrugged. “I was just contemplating how our lives are going to change after the Queen has her baby.” She envied the Queen for being pregnant and wished to give her own husband an heir.


“I think it will be fun, having a little prince or princess to spoil,” Susan added. “What do you think, Mistress Wellsley?”


The other girls continued with their tasks, content to listen.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Davina had risen, as did the others, to give Lady Seymour a curtsey - for she was a Duchess  - then resat amongst the pillows. If Davina had been hoping for other bit of news it was now clear what the main topic would be.

She glancd across to Susan Herbert watching as she worked on her own work guessing by the size it was meant for a table. The Duchess was not settled amongst them but had chosen to sit herself apart as if in some supersivory Rolé which made Davina smile for the young girl had not much changed form the year past aand was still intent upon pushing her Status. She pulld her needle thru the linen not looking up as she replied to the question put to her.

"Well tis not likely any of us shall have a chance for that. Be it Prince or Princess their Household is already soon to be established and headed and once born whisked off to be sealed in with wet nurses and other maids. I hope for Her Majesties sake tis a Prince naturally. As for all of us well, I suspect little shall change for we are not directly involved, as we are all unwed. Save for The Duchess."

"I wonder has Your Grace heard who might head the Household?"

This directed to Lucy but there was some smirks simply beause even tho she was a Duchess most knew she would probably not be part of those Ladies selected to accompany The Queen when she went into her confinement a month before the birth. Her age plus she herself had never had a child were two reasons but mainly that the Elder Duchesses and married Ladies selected had experience and that would aid the young Queen when the time came.

Davina then directed a question to another Maid of Honor which set off a train of conversation that directed them away from her. It was a ploy and it had worked. She then could trun back to Susan to whisper 

""Susan - what have you heard? I have had several stop me and ask trying to probe for information. But I have said nothing. How do you think The Queen looks? She kept me for some conversation afore the Auction in her Bedchamber  and I thought she looked well."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

“Of course, he'll have his own household,” Susan agreed, “but I would think that Her Majesty would like to see her son quite often. Why would she not take us with her so that we can admire him too? One does not have to be married to play with a baby.” She was a practical young lady and it seemed natural to her that a mother would want to be with her child as much as possible.


“I have heard nothing,” Lucy sighed, a hint of irritation in her voice. Given her status, she was one of the Queen's closest attendants, but because of her youth, she wasn't always included in the discussions the other senior ladies engaged in. They were closer in age and experience and sometimes treated her like a child. Her Majesty was not much older than she was, but she was quite mature.  Lucy hoped that eventually she would become one of her mistress' favorites.  If only she could get pregnant soon. Then they would have something in common that the others couldn't share … the joys of new motherhood.


Before the maids of honor could start conversing, Lucy addressed them and gave them each a task that sent them out of the room so that she, Davina, and Susan could speak in private. The others were all relatively new and she didn't trust them to keep what they heard to themselves. She might be young, but she was smart. The Duchess was very devoted to the Queen and didn't want any more rumors circulating about her, especially now. It was important not to upset her.


Susan barely suppressed a groan. “The same thing happens to me all the time. Everyone wants to know if the rumors are true, and a few have even tried to twist my words into an admission that Her Majesty is with child.” She felt a bit guilty that she had not paid careful attention to Her Majesty's  appearance lately. The mystery of the Lion and Swan was taking up much of her time. “I think she looks well.”


“So do I,” Lucy said. She was present while the Queen dressed in the morning and undressed in the evening. The fashions of the time could conceal pregnancy for many months, but a rounded belly was quite noticeable when one was only wearing a chemise. “I hope an announcement is made soon. I am often pressed for information as well and it is starting to get annoying.”


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Davina looked across to Susan with some surprise as she spoke about the yet to be born even 'announced' baby.

"That is unlikely. How can you say such? This child will go immediately to its own Househild watched over by a Lady Governess and wet nurses and maids and, as here, with Gentlemen who will oversee its running. Her Majesty will naturally be allowed to see her child but as for us .... I should think our first look will be at Christening. Our contact will be limited to not at all for we serve The Queen not the child. This is a Royal Babe and not like our siblings born at Manor House but even there wet nurses were employed and nurse to oversee. I remember my own late sisters when they were born and my Lady Mother employed such persons. I am sure twas the same for You as well."

"But tis possible I suppose that the Queen being German might have a voice but she is considered English now so ..." She gave a shrug. "We shall just have to wait and see."

Davina then addressed the Duchess

"Well I am sure Your Grace is approached as you are close to Her Majesty are you not? So tis only reasonable that you are asked such things." This said to try to appease any further irritations. The Duchess then set the others' off and Davina hid a smile as she plied her needle.

"I fear that that is all we can do collectively - do you not agree? Perhaps something is to be said soon? Her Majesty will not be able to hide a growing belly for much longer especially to all of US. I do not see why all the secresery is necessary. If tis true then she is past the beginnings and we know She has not been as active. That is why there is so much lose time with nothing happening on this side of Whitehall. The King's side has all the Merriment of late. Perhaps we might be able to think of something that will act as a 'draw'? Susan can you not invite those ladies you know to come and Your Grace as well. I will do the same. There can be no real objections that I can see for as I have said we are at lose ends and the diversions would be welcom'd by Everyone."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Neither Susan nor Lucy were convinced that their mistress would not have her baby brought into her rooms occasionally so that all of them could admire him. However,  Davina was more experienced than either of them in courtly ways and was probably right. They all knew he would have his own household and attendants, but they didn't think he would be isolated from the rest of court. Everyone would want to see their future King.


Lucy was pleased that Davina thought she was close to the Queen, though she was not as close (yet) as she wished to be. Her Majesty kept her own council much of the time and was not forthcoming with confidences. The young Duchess wondered what she had said to Mistress Wellsley when she had met with her privately before the auction. Could it be that she was the one Her Majesty shared her feelings with?


“Yes, it is so,” she admitted. “Status is not without disadvantages.”


Both ladies listened avidly to Davina's suggestion. “Do you think she will announce it to a group of ladies?” Susan asked. “The presence chamber has been rather quiet this season. Should we plan a gathering for tomorrow at a certain time? It will be the last chance to do anything until next spring, and surely the baby will be born by then.”


“And speaking of spring,” Lucy added, “what do the two of you think that it will bring, besides a royal heir?”


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Davina hid her smile over her embroidery quite sure that the young Duchess would never change how she was. Yet she also was aware that others' might not be as thoughtful and thus cause hurt feelings. Status was an outward presentation and the Duchess in private might be more unsure than what she allowed to show.

"Well I would suppose that any 'announcement' will come from the King's side if it is in a General Sense. I do not think Her Grace would tell it to any of her Ladies afore that simply because she knows there are many that have loose tongues and there is enough speculation already."

"It is like a tomb of late and as our Mistress does not occupy heself as she once did we are all left as we are now - adrift. The Bedchamber ladies are now the only ones that have business. And tis too cold to venture far outside and I have had enough of it anyway with that Sleigh Race! Has anyone heard how Churchill is faring? I should send someone around to see for he was injured despite all the foolishness the two of them did. Well as to WHAT we should plan that is an open question do you not all agree? Here is fine and I can think of none that would 'object' unless tis one of the Senior Duchesses? I think we should invite any that we think would come. And should that include Gentlemen as well?"

Davina already had several in mind including the Countess she had entertained. It might allow her a chance to 'see' if this was what she wanted. Somehow Davina did not see her as being one that conformed to Structure and Rigidity that was oft times the ways of service at Court. But then one never knew for sure. And as for any Gentlemen she would love for Charles to come but did not think he actually would. There was a Viscount as well .... Much would depend on who the other two ladies thought to bring.

"Susan - do you think Herbert would come? And any of his Gentlemen friends he might ask?"

The idea struck and she did have a clock that was soon to start ticking its way down regarding her own Future.

"Spring, Your Grace, is far off and so that tis hard to answer. But pressed to do so I would say Warmth and the chance to wear light and pretty fabrics; to walk in the Gardens and Park with flowers blooming. And you Madam? What are the things you wish?" 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

“I do hope that the announcement comes before the season ends,” Lucy said. As for the Queen's ladies having loose tongues, that was precisely why she had sent the others away. Davina and Susan could be trusted. They had both proved their loyalty to their mistress and had been serving her for quite some time.


“Or maybe they are planning to surprise the court with an announcement of the birth next season,” Susan speculated. There were so many things that could go wrong with pregnancies. Why announce it when there was a possibility that she would lose it or that it would be stillborn? She hoped that Queen Karoline survived. Susan had grown quite fond of her.


Both ladies shook their heads when asked about Churchill. They had heard about what had happened to Davina at the sleigh race and were now glad that they had not attended. The idea of inviting courtiers to the presence chamber sounded appealing. Maybe if she heard about it, the Queen would make an appearance.


“If we invite gentlemen as well as ladies, we could call it an end-of-season gathering,” Lucy remarked. “Not a party, though, or it will attract the wrong kind of people. We could have canapés and maybe some background music. My brother and cousin will probably come.”


When Davina asked about Susan's own brother, the young blonde shrugged. “Maybe. I can ask him.” She was unaware of any relationship Thomas might have with Davina. He did not discuss his romantic life with his sister and she was glad of it.


“Oh, we can do all those things like we always do,” Lucy said to Davina' wishes for spring. “I'm hoping for something different. Maybe there will be another trip, like the one to Brighton. Or court may be held in another palace. I'm tired of the same old thing over and over.”


“I like Whitehall,” Susan protested, “I'll be perfectly happy if court is held here again.” She and Lord Langdon still had a mystery to solve and all of the clues led to London.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Well I do not think such a thing will occur - how can one hide a growing belly and then of a sudden announce there is a new arrived baby? No I think some news will be said quite soon especially if the beginnings stage is complete and the child is safe."

"How could that possibly be? All of US her Ladies ... how could such a thing be kept  ....  it would leak out! Why even now there is much speculation." This said back to Susan.

"Well it can be a 'party' why not? And the types you think to not attract Your Grace would hardly come anyway. That sort prefers the Kings side. Besides we all know each other and so there is not much that can occur other than drinking too much or a word slipped here and there. As for food and drink the kitchens can provide and there are servants enough and a musician or two will suffice. We can also have a Tables area*  for many like to play and also Hoodman Blind* or Questions and Commands* - what do you think?"

"This is all in supposition that NONE say otherwise. Lady Mountjoy may object just to object or Her Majesty might find reason. Perpahs it should be cleard afore hand so there is no disappointment hmm?"

Davina smiled when Susan said she would ask her brother. She knew it would only be seen as happy that Gentlemen would be included nothing more.

To Lucy she responded

"Well I am in agreement Your Grace! I think diversions would be good but again that all will be determined by Her Majesty's 'state' and if True then what are the chances The King will allow her travel beyond the reach of Here or Hampton or even Windsor?"

*(ooc: Tables is Backgammon and was very popular. Blind Mans Bluff. The last is similiar to Truth or Dare)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

“Then perhaps the announcement will be made at the parade, which will be the last event of the season,” Susan said. “Everyone at court will most likely be there.”


Davina had some good ideas for an end-of-season party in the Queen's presence chamber. “But if most courtiers attend, then the disreputable types will not want to be left out,” Lucy objected. “Even if we make it a private affair, the news will leak out until everyone at court knows about it. I do like having places set up for games. Maybe prizes can be given to the winners.”


Both girls nodded. The Queen and Lady Mountjoy would have to approve their plans. “I can ask them,” Lucy volunteered. Though the youngest of the three, she was a Duchess and held the most senior position.


“Then maybe court will be held wherever the baby is born,” Susan remarked. “I wonder if Their Majesties are going to stay in Whitehall or go to one of the other palaces. If it's too dangerous for her to travel, they might be staying here. I wonder if she will want us with her, not for the birth, of course, but for companionship.”


“I may be present at the birth,” Lucy said, and smiled slyly at Davina and Susan. “You might be too, if you're married by then.”



(OOC: Susan didn't say anything about the Queen losing her baby. That was just in her thoughts.  Thanks for the info on the games.}


Link to comment
Share on other sites

"But you forget Your Grace this is the QUEENS SIDE and so tis hardly a likely place for them to appear. Tis possible that curiosity might draw but then the pasttimes observed are not like to imprress. There are guards as well Your Grace and you can simply instruct on your orders that they not be admitted. But I think you are worried too much! It will not be a large grouping so easily managed. Something that Your Grace can easily control."

Davina flattered when it as needed. The young Duchess was still arogant and taken up with her own importance. Not that she was bad or an awful person just inexperienced. Amongst other things.

"Prizes should be awared tis only fair after all. They need not be too Grand for oft times the little things carry more importance to the receiver do you not agree?"

"Well you are the only one amongst us Your Grace that has the confidence of both Her Majesty and Lady Mountjoy."

"I have the same questions Susan. Yet the Baby is new-born so I can not imagine that a Court would be held but I guess we shall have to wait and see. Once the news is out then all the wagering begins on those very same things!"

"Well if baby is born in Spring then that is little time for a marriage so I think that Your Grace will stand alone. Are you not nervous?"

"If you are indeed selected then you must go into confinement along with the other Ladies that have been choosen and the midwives of course. I do not think I could be shut up for a months time."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

“I shall ask Lady Mountjoy who should be turned away. We certainly don't anyone present who will upset Her Majesty. It would be rude to deny entrance to anyone else, but if they cause trouble, we can certainly have them thrown out.” Lucy was probably worried for nothing. Davina seemed to think that she could handle anything that came along. She had more confidence in the young Duchess than she had in herself, though Lucy was very pleased with the praise. “I'll ask Lady Mountjoy about appropriate prizes if she agrees that we can hold this gathering.”


“Maybe whether or not court is held in the spring and where will be announced before the end of the season as well as the Queen's pregnancy,” Susan surmised. “I'm sure there is already a lot of wagering on whether she's really with child or not. Maybe that's why we're always asked about it … so that the gentlemen will know if they are betting on a sure thing.”


Neither Davina or Susan reacted to Lucy's teasing about marriage. “No, I'm not nervous at all,” she replied. “It will be an honor to be in confinement with Her Majesty.” She hoped that the two of them might grow closer then, as the other ladies might be much older. “I doubt it will be nearly as boring as spending time in the country. And I will be one of the first ladies to see the baby.”


“I agree with Davina,” Susan interjected. “I wouldn't want to be shut away for a month. I'm glad that I'm not married yet. But when I am, I hope that Her Majesty will still want me to serve her.” To Davina: “Do you wish for the same thing?”


Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Well let us all Hope that no objections will be found! I can not think it will be but Your Grace must judge the mood of Lady Mountjoy afore you ask. Timing is important after all."

"Well, if I was to be asked, I would wish to know what else will occur once the doors of the Bedchamber are sealed. I know some ..." She clipped a thread then selected another needle with a different color of silk thread. "No men will be allowed. Tis a Company of Women only. A midwife will attend and then deliver with her servant. Carpets will be laid on the floors and tapestries hung on walls to keep out the cold. Windows are closed and drapes as well allowing only enough light in. Candles will be lit and incense will burn to keep Spirits at bay. Prayers will be said for the safe delivery of Mother and Child."

"Do you suppose books and a lute will be allowed in? A whole month is long and I would be afraid that once things are said what else can be discussed? And what about when the labor is begun - I know nothing and can not think I would be of help so no doubt I would take a seat far enough away from the bed and let those that do set to work! Will there be a lot of blood .... and other things?"

She knew she was lying it on pretty thick and so hid a smile. The Duchess grated on her nerves and she found the smugness unattractive. A bit of a scare might allow her to see it differently. Would she still think it so wonderful to be included? Well apart from the fact she could Lord it over all that she WAS THERE  ...

"And yes Susan I want the same as you - to serve Her Majesty. We are Ambitious after all."

She smiled across to the other. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lucy didn't really like Davina telling her what she must do, particularly when she was right. “Of course,” she agreed, smiling politely. “I wish we had more time. I will need to approach her sometime today if our party is going to be held tomorrow. And maybe Her Majesty as well, but I doubt that Lady Mountjoy will give me a definite answer without speaking to her first.”


The Duchess had never considered the actual facts of going into confinement with the Queen, only how much of a privilege it would be. A slight frown crossed her pretty features when Davina spoke of being closed in and unable even to look outside. In the company of older ladies, she would probably be bored indeed and maybe … horror of horrors … ignored completely. As for the actual labor and birth, she shivered inwardly. Lucy had no idea what it was like either, but it must be messy and bloody.


Why did Mistress Wellsley even say such things? Was she jealous perhaps?


“Books and musical instruments are harmless, and Her Majesty might enjoy listening to music or being read to.” Lucy refused to be intimidated by Davina's words. “I won't like being shut inside a dark room but it is a small price to pay for such a great honor. Since I haven't had any children, I won't be able to assist, but I can hold her hand and give her encouragement.”


Susan smiled back at Davina but before she could say anything, Lucy spoke again. “I suppose that whether you'll be allowed to continue to serve her will depend on your husband's status and influence.  But I'm sure that your brothers will choose well for you, just as mine did."


Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Well then there you have it Your Grace. I shall think you will just fine then."

Davina smiled nicely as she slipped her needle in and out of the fabric. She was on the last corner of the handkerchief and she quite liked the white daisys with their pale yellow centers and stalk and stems of moss green all on a background of pale green silk that had come from China to Lyon then to England.

She and Susan exchanged a look and then Davina answered the comment regarding husbands

"Well Baintree is allowing me to choose my own. I have several in mind. And I am after all older than Your Grace."

She looked back to Susan and in a tone of voice that implied jesting said

"And who knows we might well become sister-in-laws if Herbert were to marry Me."

Oops. She had said it without thinking but now it was out there and it WAS a Truth and the posibbility did exist that Herbert might marry her yet twas the probability factor that was not great. But no point in adding that at least for now. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lucy pretended to have more confidence in herself than she really did, but she didn't think it would be too difficult to convince Lady Mountjoy that Her Majesty could benefit from a small intimate party on the last day of the season.


“Oh yes,” she said, not looking up from the pink flower she was carefully satin-stitching,. “I had forgotten that you are old enough to make your own choice. How lucky you are, Mistress Wellsley.”


"Or if your brother marries me." Susan laughed at Davina's jest. She wouldn't be surprised if most of the unmarried ladies at court fancied Thomas. Some of her friends seemed quite infatuated with him. "I won't be able to choose my husband,  but I doubt that my brother will insist that I wed a man I am completely set against.” Despite his volatile temperament, Philip loved her and she believed that he wanted her to be happy.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Why that is also True! What a happy Thought!" She said back to the other.

Indeed she had not placed Susan Herbert within the realm of possible candidates for her brother but now that it had been said even in jest it just might hold merit.

"I wonder... No tis sillyness that we tease yet one wonders at the 'idea' of it ... yet I think you would make a fine sister-in-law."

Nothing wrong in greasing the wheel ahead if time.

To The Duchess she smiled and said kindly "Well yes that is true Your Grace and someday soon you too will be in the same place - imagine what all you will have seen and learned by then!"

It was not said to be condescending at all.

"Now about talking to Lady Mountjoy Your Grace  ... if that Lady disproves or Her Majesty for any reason they we shall have to table this until after Recess. Which might not be such a bad thing for by then most will have returned to Court and there will be much to discuss and debate and ALL shall know what we suspect and that too shall be something eagerly awaited. Susan do you agree or have another idea?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Had that been the reason that Davina had spoken of becoming sisters-in-law … because she wanted to do some matchmaking between Susan and her brother? Maybe she wasn't interested in Thomas, after all. The young blonde felt a bit awkward. She didn't know Lord Baintree, but she had seen him at court. He was just another garden-variety courtier and she had never paid much attention to him. She didn't think he was high enough in status for Philip to allow him to court her, though he did come from a good family. Perhaps she should tell her brother she wasn't interested in him, just in case he did wish to wed her. Maybe he had asked Davina to find out if she fancied him.


“You would make a lovely sister-in-law too, but I doubt that either of us will marry each other's brothers. It's a nice thought, though.”


Lucy wasn't certain what Davina was talking about. Did she mean that she would soon have a child and would have learned a lot from watching the Queen give birth, or did she think that the Duchess would be a widow soon and be able to choose her second husband? Francis was often in poor health, but she certainly didn't want him to die. She decided that it must be the former, and decided not to comment on it.


“If neither of them agree, I will suggest a gathering in the spring. It will give us more time to plan.”


Davina then asked what Susan thought. “We've already discussed food, games, and music. I can think of nothing else our party needs. If we have to wait until spring, then maybe it can be held outdoors if it is a warm and sunny day.”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The idea of it ever actually happening was slim yet she smiled back her answer saying that "Well one never knows what Fate has in mind. Perhaps we both should ask our brother's?"

The Duchess added her thoughts and then Susan followed. 

"Well then we shall look to Your Grace to make the first move with Lady Mountjoy and will wait for the answer. Yet I have to agree that Spring would perhaps be the better time for, as yoou say, twill provide more planning time."

There was nothing else to be said on this Topic and she breathed out a quiet sigh.

"I am pleased by how this has finished." She said after snipping the last thread and hold the kerchief up to view. "Do you need help Susan?"

She stood to relieve a foot that tingled from how she had sat, picked up her glass from the floor where it had sat, and set it on a table. She hummed a tuneless song as she walked a bit about the room her eyes taking note of things out of place or as was the case of a cushion without its tassel. If she did not find it then she intended to excuse herself as there was no sign of the others' returning. Unless the Duchess was set on keeping them all there. Which would mean a searching of topics to discuss. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Susan laughed and made a face. “My brother does not discuss his love life with me, and that is how I prefer it.”


“I will try to find a time to bring it up today,” Lucy said, “but if I can't, we can postpone it until spring. I think Her Majesty would benefit from a small gathering now, though, so I hope that Lady Mountjoy agrees. We can always plan another for next season.”


Both ladies admired Davina's handkerchief. “It's beautiful,” Susan complimented. She shook her head when asked if she needed any help. As the tablecloth was to go into her hope chest, she needed to do all the work herself.


“Yes, it's lovely,” Lucy agreed. She paused her own sewing and watched Davina prowl about the room. “I have an idea,” she ventured. “Why don't we all start working on a tapestry for the Queen? It can be our gift to her and maybe if we finish it in time, it can hang on the wall while she's in confinement. It will also give us something to do if she takes us with her this recess.”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"A Tapestry?"

Davina stilled her navigations turning to look back over her shoulder. "And what then is to be the 'theme'? We can hardly do Madonna and Child as no announcement has been made. Yet the idea has merit. If you both have ideas I will be happy to sketch a design ..." This in reference for her known Skills with a needle.

"And once tis agreed upon I think we should split it into three parts with each of us responsible to that section. Or does Your Grace think to involve ALL the Maids and Ladies? If so the extra hands will be welcom'd but not every one of them has the talent."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

“We couldn't do Madonna and Child even after the announcement,” Lucy said. They all knew how dangerous childbirth was and if the baby died, the Queen would be saddened whenever she looked at the tapestry. And if she felt depressed when attended by the ladies who had presented it to her, they could be dismissed.


“Some of them are talented enough, but it might be best to keep it a secret between the three of us. Then Her Majesty will be surprised when we give it to her. We know how to keep secrets."


“What about a garden scene?” Susan asked. “Or perhaps the four seasons? We could each take one, and perhaps work on the fourth together.”


Lucy glanced at Davina. “What do you think, Mistress Wellsley? Have you any ideas to add?”


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Davina shook her head.

"I think the idea of a Garden theme is much better Your Grace. After all twill be Spring so that will fit perfectly."

She conceded politely for it WAS a good suggestion!

"Shall we then agree? Shall we three deciede then on what flowers we will choose - so that over Recess we can work on our parts? Will this be a linen base or some other? You must say what you prefer in the choice of flowers first Your Grace."

That too was correct in form.

"Then all the parts can be incorporated and the frame filled in with what ever else is needed. We shall have to base the colors as well and ensure there is enough thread  ..... The stall in the Royal Exchange carries most and I am well known there so it will be an easy thing to aquire more."

"Yet they will not be willing to hand over their entire Shop so some Special Order will need to be made. We are after all in Her Majesties Employ and so no Merchant will gainsay a request made."

"We do not have enough in private form after all and this should be looked into soon."

Davina was mentally thinking of her own reserves and depending on what flowers she took and then the over all design just how much would really be needed. She had a goodly portion but no where near the amounts needed. 

Such an undertaking was not to be taken lightly for it would require much effort from all concerned.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

“Then a garden theme it is,” Lucy decided. She was glad Davina and Susan liked her idea and was pleased to be in charge of the project. Maybe the finished tapestry would so please the Queen that she would give her more responsibility despite her youth. “I think linen will be fine for the base. We're all familiar with embroidering on it. As for flowers, I choose roses. They will be red, white, yellow, and pink, and some of them will decorate a trellis, maybe in the middle of the garden.”


Davina knew much more about tapestry making than either of the other ladies. “We should go the Royal Exchange together,” Susan suggested, “so that our colors will coordinate with each other.”


“When we've picked out everything we need, I can make the order,” Lucy said confidently. “Any merchant will be happy to have his fabric and threads on display in the palace.”  And no one would refuse the request of a Duchess.


“Which flowers will you select?” Susan asked Davina. As she had served the Queen longer, she thought that Mistress Wellsley should have second choice.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Davina was more than willing to have the Duchess take the lead and being responsible for ordering all the necessary threads.

"Well since Her Grace has choosen 'Roses' I think I shall take Peony. The double varity and for now I think copper orange colors with sky blue forget-me-knots to surround. Yet I also quite like white with crimson flecks as well as a soft lavander-pink with cream centers."

"And what will you Susan?"

"We must also agree that tis fine if all of us use the same colors yet when combined the over all effect will be charming and harmonious."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

“I'll choose hyacinths and zinnias in a variety of hues,” Susan said. “And I agree that we should use some of the same colors so that the tapestry will not look pieced together.”


Lucy nodded. “If Lady Mountjoy doesn't approve our party, then perhaps we can go shopping for supplies tomorrow, if Her Majesty will let us all off at the same time.” Since their mistress would be preparing to leave on the last day of the season, she might not need all of her ladies to attend her. The other girls could run errands and help the servants pack her things.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

So it would seem that all three were now in agreement.

As to a 'shopping expidation' that held no appeal for Davina at all - or rather Susan Herbert's Company  was fine - but traveling with the Duchess and her affectations might well result in more frustrations than successes.

But she smiled and nodded nonetheless.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

“Well, that's settled then. I will let you know what Lady Mountjoy says about the party.” Now Lucy hoped that she wouldn't like the idea so that they could buy the materials for the tapestry instead. “Be ready to ask Her Majesty for some time off tomorrow if her answer is no.”


One of the maids of honor who had been sent from the room returned, finished with her task. “Did I miss anything?”


“No,” Lucy said. “We've just been working on our embroidery.”


The others came filing in, one by one, returning to whatever they had been doing before the Duchess had given them errands. It seemed as if the private conversation between Davina, Lucy, and Susan was at an end.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


  • Create New...