Jump to content


Your Stories Await Telling

Kissing Cousins | Late Sunday Eve- Xmas 1677

Nicolette Vauquelin

Recommended Posts

Somerset Mansion (Lord and Lady Basildon)

  • A spacious home made out of fashionable geometric shapes with details in sculpting, and the walls painted terracotta and white. The front lane was dotted with white gardenia's, blooming early. The entry was covered in vines with little white blooms and two hanging baskets with fresh spring flowers in different shades of pink.
    The mansion was three stories high, with enough room to house guests and hold several events. Downstairs one would find the parlour, the study, the dining room, the library and of course the garden room filled with a multitude of ferns and a jasmine brush. In the back a large lawn and a teahouse that looked small and frivolous.
    On the second floor there was a Master bedroom and a Ladies bedroom, both with a walk in closet. The walk in closet of the Ladies bedroom had recently been expanded. The third floor housed the guest rooms and the old nursery. Servants stayed in the attic.




Nicci had enjoyed a lovely afternoon Lady Cambray, then had further good news in the letter from Beverly.  She was very excited to attend the shooting, all those daring men to impress her, it was bound to be a marvellous outing (especially with Caroline and Elizabeth there also!)   She was not sure, but thought that probably Louis was attending also, after all he was terribly rich, and also related to Beverly, so was sure to have been invited.  Perhaps he would take the Irish boys with him also, it would be interesting for lad's their age.  

"Lou - ie?..." Nicci announced her visit by sweetly calling his name as she entered.

Nicci was wrapped up in a simple house robe (Louis would recognise it, for it was Lisa's) her hair down, and pair of thick over size socks on her feet (which he'd also recognise, they were his).  She was carrying a decanter of his favourite brandy with a pair of glasses, a warm smile upon her face.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"My, aren't we looking comfortable," Louis quipped as he caught sight of Nicci's attire.  He was still dressed reasonable.  His waistcoat was unbuttoned and his cravat had been removed,  His jacket was tossed carelessly over a chair.  So, he was in his shirt sleeves, breeches and stockings.

The evening was a good time to review company correspondence.  There were many dangers of sailing goods into the New World, and trying to get them back home again.

"I hope you will be joining me with that brandy.  We have much to catch up on.  Have the webs you have been weaving caught any interesting creatures?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites


"It's been a big week." Nicci explained her 'slumming-it' as she padded into Louis office (we was working again, so late at night - did he ever stop?). 

"Of course is it." she put the glasses down and poured them both generous shots.  "It's been far too long since we 'talked'."  she gave a light sigh to punctuate that thought, "but goodness Louis, with how well the season is going I feel I need to touch wood at the end of every sentence."   with a raise of eyebrow she met his gaze. 


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Taking to his feet, Louis moved towards the door.  "If we are to talk of secret things, then we should attempt secrecy as best we cam."  He closed the door and turned the key in the lock.  "I am certain that the King and Buckingham have compromised more than one of my staff.  Perhaps Danby too."  Being a paranoid person by nature, he suspected others as well.

Moving to the two stuffed chairs by the crackling fire, Louis signaled for Nicci to join him, sitting opposite him.  The chairs were moved close enough that the two could lean forward and whisper in each other's ear.

Taking his glass of brandy, he invited Nicci to place her legs upon his lap so that he might stroke her legs gently with one hand while sipping brandy with the other,  They could whisper later when things became more interesting.

"Tell me dear cousin of your successes, for each of your victories is, in part, my own."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"But not Daisy surely?"  Daisy was one of the Basildon staff, instructed by Lisa to serve as her own maid. 

Nicci took some pleasure in seeing Louis' take measures for secrecy, though it was likely less paranoia but good sense that he did.  "Do you really think the King would have recruited a spy?  How terribly flattering." she smiled happily.   (That Buckingham might have an inside man or woman hardly need be questioned!)

Moving to the seat he silently suggested, she lifted feet to cross her calves over his knees.  "a well deserved rest..." she breathed a warm contentment.  Probably this was what a perfect marriage could be like, a warm familiarity without any judgement. If she ever married Ranelagh, it would never be like this.  But the Captain?  Just perhaps, though that was unlikely too.   This was particular to Louis, perhaps then it was a uniquely family thing.  She reclined into the arm chair and appreciated the moment...

"And would a slight against me be as one against yourself?" it followed.  Yes Louis was as much her protector as if they were married.  But anyhow, she was really was not thinking about marriage.  Where did these stray thoughts come from?

"We had a victory at the ball, Sir Burgoyne introduced me to the Earl Oxford, his wife was there too.  I must have made a fair impression, for he is agreed to my attending the parade with them... the Baronet told me that Oxford is the paramount royalist, and shockingly wealthy too.  I am only dismayed that he has given up hope of an heir and married an old woman who's been unable hitherto to produce.  It's practically criminal don’t you think?" she mused, all the while watching Louis' form (those parts she could see not concealed by the wing of his seat.  “Why would a man with military mind, which I’d have thought was a mind for winning, ever concede to take a baron woman to wife?”

“Not that I am heartless, you understand.” said she. 

Perhaps her thoughts continued to thinking of marriage these days because she was becoming aware that her plans with Ranelagh were possibly flawed. Possibly.  

Edited by Nicolette Vauquelin
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Daisy is likely compromised," Louis speculated as his fingers glided lightly over her legs.  "Ever since Buckingham and the King have taken an interest in you, who better to know your every move?  A threat of prison or a generous gift would likely do the trick.  Trust no one with your actual thoughts," he counseled.  The King's new spymaster did not seem as talented as Williamson, so perhaps the King did not have as many spies about.

"You have become of great interest to the Crown, so you are near the top of the list.  As for me, the King and Buckingham know I am ambitious and clever perhaps.  I married the most eligible lady and my sister became a Duchess.  My poor cousin from France has become the belle of the ball.  I would say that we are being watched," he chuckled.  "Together we are unstoppable," he bragged.

"Of course a slight against you, my favorite cousin, would be a slight against me too.  Soon it will be a slight against the King and Buckingham too, if it is not already.  Of course, I assume they will fear me more," Louis laughed.

Burgoyne was not much of a catch, but Oxford sounded more interesting.  The man belonged to the class of old cavaliers that were dying out.  He was not in the King's inner circle but he might be useful.  "Well done.  Sounds like we need to rid the poor man of his barren wife and you might supply him with an heir in return for his estate."  It was only wishful thinking, but the man sounded perfect for Nicci -- at least if he died quickly.

"You aren't heartless," Louis played along.  "You are merely concerned about his welfare."  He played along waiting for her to continue.  His glass was drained, so he set it aside, freeing both hands to work on her legs.  "How go things with the King?  Once you have him, you will need to curtail other carnal interests."  One did not risk the King's wrath lightly.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

"I hope for her sake it is a bribe, you don’t really think they would threaten her do you, that seems so unlike those fine gentlemen."  Nicci liked Daisy, and far preferred to think her maid gained a financial advantage to keeping two masters.  Louis, in his natural paranoia, warned her of revealing too much, advised guarding her innermost thoughts.  "But Louis darling, my intents are as pure as the driven snow, what might I need to hide?"

While Louis.  Louis was the scheming one, and with odd things going on that she did not understand. Like, why were these Irish boys staying with them, what was going with Danby really, and why was Lisa away with the Prince of Orange for so very long. There were many more things afoot, Nicci was sure. Resting her hand upon his she uttered, "I promise I say naught of family business to anyone."    

Louis boast that together they were unstoppable was very pleasing to the ears. Nicci grinned of it, and commented, "Upon that thought I have been thinking to define our circles.  Any nobles with great success have a group of supporters, for arguments sake lets call them friends, I have been trying to grow my own group recently."  there was a hint of question within her tone.  She'd not be so gauche as to actually ask it, but she wondered to his stance on that score.   Louis did walk court as something of a lone wolf at times. His ties were anything but obvious. Or did it just seem like that to her? "You are attending Lord Beverley’s shoot on Monday?  Next season we must surely host some event of our own, something exclusive, were our  preferments shall be shown." she paused, "but no acrobats in trees this time." 

The last party had been a disaster, thanks to Niccis less wisely chosen friend.

"That's what I was thinking." Nicci agreed with Louis.  "but an annulment at this stage would be scandalous, she apparently had previously been his mistress for however many years. I rather doubt his good character would even consider such a thing.  And... another plan came to mind.  Imagine if I was able to assist Lady Oxford?  There are certain herbal treatments that a lady can take that improves her odds of.  Imagine then how indebted Lord Oxford may become to us." she paused, allowing Louis a moment to consider this. "I think this is where we use the English phrase, more than one way to skin a cat."

Naturally Louis wanted to speak of the King.  "I do not intend to go to the Batchelor Auction." she replied.   "But still, I do not think I need to paint myself as a nun, His Majesty enjoys my popularity, why Buckingham himself told me that I ought ever keep the thill of the party around myself as part of the allure. Or something to that effect. Still, I know what you mean."  a pause, and she asked, "would it surprise you to hear that I have been rather exclusive already?"  

Louis did not really think she's been fooling around with every chap she fancied did he? 

“It’s like I said Louis, I am practically as pure s the driven snow.” She chuckled. Louis meanwhile massaged her legs, but it was their conversation that interested her most.  

Edited by Nicolette Vauquelin
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Playing along, Louis responded "why I should think you would wish to keep private just how pure those thoughts are inside your head."  He smiled.  His intentions were pure too -- pure ambition.

As Nicci promised secrecy, her cousin was left to consider how diligent she might be in that regard.  Heather was an incurable gossip and could not keep many secrets.  Would Nicci be the same? 

"Yes, a circle of friends is a valuable thing, but one must remember that they will fade with the first scandal or need.  Still it is fashionable to have an entourage," he laughed.

The idea about Lady Oxford sounded inspired.  "How old is she?  Is she still of a childbearing age?"  If not, all the herbs in a magical garden would serve her not.  "An attempt to help her would play well for your reputation, if nothing else.  We should think of ways for your tonics to become a valuable thing that every might want."  He wondered silently whether she might sell some love potions, but the idea could do more harm than good, raising questions of witchcraft and whether she had given the King one to ensorcel him to her.

"I am not attending, but I have my own event planned.  Sadly there is not enough time to bring it about this season.  Remember my idea of a council of lords to discuss world events and diplomacy?  What better than having the reputation that the greatest minds and the most powerful bodies would come here to Somerset House to think great thoughts?"

"Rather exclusive?"  He smiled.  "That must be difficult."  One stray hand moved up her inner thigh to test the theory.  They had enjoyed each other in secret at times but Louis was considering how best to adapt to the King becoming her lover.  They needed to keep their great attraction for each other a secret from his spouse and her lovers. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

“Quite so, I would hate to seem so pure as to be boring.” His reply was very amusing! “Like Mistress Davina – she is such a yawn!”

Was Nicci a gossip? Surely not.  Though she enjoyed discussing the lives of her peers just as much as any courtier.  Call it ‘an active interest in life around her’, or the ‘broadcasting of significant events’.   But she was very unlikely to chatter about anything that did not personally interest her.  For she, like Louis in this regard, were most interested in the application of what they knew towards their own advantage.

She nodded with Louis comment upon sycophants, that he felt a need to cite this made her wonder if he’d been burnt? Perhaps when he was young and naïve… what could he have been like back then. What people had treated him poorly, abandoning him when true friends had been needed? Nicci knew Uncle Killington had denounced Louis when he’d been a teen, but had never heard the story to why.

Direct questioning was not her method of conversation for Louis (he was better to open up things upon his own compulsion than be directly asked), but despie this she tentatively asked,  “Louis, do you ever wish you and Uncle had not somehow rowed?”

Upon another topic, The Oxfords, Louis liked her idea.  “She is not past child bearing age yet, I would guess she is perhaps 30.”  Nicolette paused and added, “success of the project might be twofold, appreciation for the attempt as much as if it proved fruitful or not. And, well it helps with my ‘pure as the driven snow’ persona don’t you think.” She winked.

It did her heard good to hear Louis want to promote her herblore knowledge. (When they had first met he’d practically scoffed at her interest!)  “Hmm.. perhaps I should have a signature gift for my ‘friends’, a posy with a vial of fragrant essence.  A little like how Buckingham’s admirers wear his signature blue. But a far humbler version – as long as my popularity holds the essence might become sought after.”  

Nicci was realist.  She knew that as a woman, her lobed-into-the-air success would be brief.  Looks and any ‘fashionable’ popularity not last forever, possibly not even very long.  Both she and Louis needed to achieve as much as they could while she was so blessed.  While Louis, as a man, made slower progress, but his achievements (so long as he did not do anything stupid like Danby) would endure his whole lifetime.

"Oh I do love that idea.” Nicci crooned with pleasure as he reminded her, and confirmed his intent to pursue the plan of the great minds of England meeting.  It was a little like the French exposé salons, but with a Political Gentlmans club twist.  “Shall it be exclusively royalists upon your members list, or shall you include Country Party thinkers too?  It may be a little controversial to include both, but potentially might be most interesting.  Why, potentially you might become the father of an understanding between the two.” She imagined in a marvelling tone, then with a grin and wink added, “That, or spark the next revolution.”

“Well I shall be going to Cousin Beverley’s event, I wrote and asked him for permission directly. The dear fellow had quite forgotten that gentlemen shooters shall love a female audience that to delight. Lucky for him that I pointed that out.”   Louis hand was moving higher, she pretended not to notice, and in reply to his comment on exclusivity said, “Perhaps Prince Rupert will want to kiss me again?”  

Edited by Nicolette Vauquelin
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Is Davina Wellsley  a rival then?" Louis inquired.  he knew her, having given her a ride in his coach once.  She seemed to be hot-blooded in that encounter, ripe for seduction.  Yet, he had no interest in pursuing her at the time, fooling about with others instead at the time. 

It was a curious turn in the conversation for Nicci to ask about his father.  His face lost its humor at such a serious topic.  He supposed that this was a conversation they should have had months ago.  "Well, it was not me that rejected him I suppose, but he who rejected me.  The rows were only tirades as to why I was such a great disappointment to him."  Someone who well-understood the psyche of the young might find plenty of seeds to explain the rebellious nature of the youth and the unrivaled ambition that ensued.  Was he trying to prove something to his dead father and dead brother?  If so. Louis was not cognizant of it.  As for his paranoia, Nicci might be correct.  A young man abandoned by family and friends might find it hard to trust others in the future.  Yet, Louis would have scoffed at such thoughts.  To him, it had merely been a learning experience and he was the better for it.

"If Oxford's wife is that young, then there is plenty of time for her to bear him a son," he mused aloud. It seemed, as a result, that an herbal remedy was less urgent.  "Still, I like your idea of an offer of herbs, and gift baskets for friends."  It would be a nice way to capitalize on the shop and encourage purchases, as she suggested.

She liked his idea for a gathering of great minds, and no wonder -- it was a great idea, if he did say so himself.  "It is a shame there is no time for it now, especially with war looming."  As for her question, Louis replied "perhaps we should invite one Country party member to throw to the wolves," he laughed.  "Though amusing, I wonder whether it is worth the effort to risk their gathering intelligence on the Court Party."

Attending a Rupert event would be useful, though Louis was not aware of the purpose.  He was a good shot and might like the challenge.  "A audience of ladies is always welcome.  You should be placed in a prominent location so that you seem the queen of the event."  The more opportunities to showcase her, the more popular she would become.  "He has already kissed you?" he asked with a pleased grin, his hands going further up her legs to distract her.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

"I would not call her a rival.” Nicci replied, “I simply suffered the most tedious lectures from her lips, she seems to believe me some manner of fool. Her self-righteousness is extremely irritating!  So that nowadays I find if I think of anything that is not fun her face flashes into mind.  Poor me, I am thus accosted by her practically upon a daily basis!  She even finds her way into my prayers of late, for I entreat the Lord that she will marry quickly and be sent to reside in the country.”

Nicolette’s tone held a sarcastic humour (Louis should guess that she was not actually praying for Davina.)

To the topic of the late Uncle Basildon, Nicci fell hush and listened to the tale, a tale of arguments and a fathers disappointment. Her eyes lowered, it sounded so sad.  “Do you know what he had wanted from you?” She without a father, had still imagined that her Father who looked down from the Heavens would not be overly critical.   Would her father, if he had survived, have been disappointed in her too? “Did you get to see him before he died, did you get to make amends?  It seems that many upon their deathbeds are more forgiving.”  Had Uncle Basildon regretted alienating his son in the end?

"Then I shall try broach the subject with her,” Nicci promised of Lady Oxford, “perhaps a visit in private, where we might speak freely.”

Of Louis’ idea for a place for political meetings, Nicolette listened and then gave her honest opinion.

“If it is only royalists attending...  Mmmm, your meetings needs to be different to the Woolsack, you don’t want to be just a mini-woolsack do you.  In order to be set apart from the Royalist’s club you’d need a point of difference.  Just one Country party member would be not enough for equality of discussing, for it would be most likely a scene of bullying of opinions rather than candid political discussions.  I think your Meetings would be most remarkable if it was focused not on existing fractions and alliances, but upon policy and the future.  That is how I can imagine a new political meeting house could gain great repute.  A place that raises above what exists currently.”

She paused.  “But I am just a girl, so what do I really know.” She smiled letting the subject go. “Yes Rupert kissed me.  Mrs Hughes hardly even minded, but made a witty joke of the Christmas sports. She is quite a lovely lady, I do like her a lot.  She does not seem to be in this extreme of court or that, but is unique of herself.  I do hope to see her some more.” She moved her hand to stay Louis wandering hands, unlike other nights, tonight she was not making it easy for him.  

Edited by Nicolette Vauquelin
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Perhaps we should corrupt her," Louis offered about Davina.  "Match her with the wrong man perhaps," he mused with a smile.  "I would corrupt her, but I already have that Osborne chit to complete and be free of.  One soul per season is enough I should think."  Still, he toyed with the idea in his head.  He was certain he could corrupt even the most prudish person; but then, he had great confidence in anything he did.  If there were a few more days in the season ... .

Back to his father, Louis was less amused.  "He wanted to be like my brother Richard.  Perfect.  He was perfect.  You never met him.  He would have been perfect for Miss Wellsley.  No mind of his own, he did whatever pleased father.  Embraced Puritanism.  That alone condemned my brother.  Nothing is more boring or wrong.  They would pass through this world with as little notice as possible, reading the Bible all day.  Why even live?  Best to die young and be spared.  That is what happened and when it did, it broke my father and killed him too.  They are happier now reading Bibles together in heaven condemning the angels for dancing or enjoying themselves.  The irony is that I was everything my father abhorred and it is I that lived, thrived and have taken his title.  He cut me off but not well enough.  I have a skill for coming out on top in the end."  Perhaps there was a bit of hyperbole in his story, but it brought back bitter memories.  "No, we never spoke after he cast me out.  It is just as well.  My mother, your mother's sister, was forced to come to terms with her rebellious son.  We came to an understanding of sorts.  Her disapproval was quiet and she preferred to stay in Basildon, but you could see in her eyes the pride she took in my rise from the ashes.  I spoke to her on her deathbed and we were reconciled.  She was more practical than my father," he disclosed. 

Trying to dispel any gloom, he added "this is a happy tale Nicci, not a sad one.  We cannot live life trying to please another that does not share our values.  It is the path of failure and frustration.  We must be true to ourselves and those who are true to us.  Lucy understands these things and our blood binds us together.  And you, my dearest cousin, we share blood and vision, forging the greatest bonds.  Why, we are nearly perfect together," he laughed as he took her small hand and kissed it, abandoning the more suggestive moves of his hands, for the moment.

Her ideas on the meeting were valid, and Louis nodded.  "My thought had been to invite the diplomats as diversity and then excuse them and debate politics amongst friends thereafter, allowing a chance for deeper alliances to grow than those formed in the confines of the Woolsack.  Yet, if we are to turn Somerset House into a center of wit, power and learning, your path has more appeal.  Perhaps, the Country Party could be of some use to me if I were to curry favor with them at these dinners.  Of course, there is the real danger that discourse will break down and be nothing but a rump session of the House of Lords.  I suppose I could invite men of science, art and military as well -- those who cannot join the Lords debates."  He found himself stroking his chin in thought.  "Maybe a lady or two?  Between Lisa and you as guests, how could we fail to bring around the most recalcitrant Whig?" he laughed.  He was coming around to Nicci's way of thinking.

"Then, invite Mrs. Hughes to dinner here one night.  There is great opportunity to cultivate those on the outside that prefer to be on the onside.  Rupert's influence in all things is great," he observed.  As such, Louis viewed him as worth cultivating.  Oxford was a good project too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"You mean you have not 'completed' her already?" Nicci replied surprised, "After the ball and I saw the Basildon carriage left without me, I imagined that you were putting your seal that matter upon the way home." The French miss's tone rose some on that subject, Louis knew very well what she felt about Bridget. She warned him any number of times that he'd not be rid of her easy, that the longer that he dallied the worse he was going to make it for himself.  

He was telling her about way back when... his tone far less chirpy of that.  Bitter.  Bitter was the best word to describe Louis vantage, and with a freshness (almost anger) as though it had not been a near a decade ago. as though it have been just yesterday.  Of the Uncle shed never met. “He does not sound like he was a happy man by nature.” Was her soft comment.

Nicci was pleased that he’d finally reconciled with Aunt, her Mothers sister (and her link to him.)  “Of that I am pleased. If I have been related upon your Father’s side, you may never have let me in the door.” She mused, while still wondering some of Uncle Basildon who had been so awfully stern.  “Did Uncle, your Father, side with Cromwell? He sounds like he and that man would have seen eye to eye.”  

But then Louis was revealing the moral of life that his personal tale had taught him, and taking her hand kissed.  She smiled softly, grateful for this turn.  “Yes nearly perfect,” Her eyes twinkled discovering humour in the moment, “if only you were not married hmm?” How else could he have meant that they were not a perfect match already? It could not be her at fault! Lifting their conjoined hand she kissed his likewise.

Louis expanded upon his idea for theme and style for Seymour House, it was good, and then the ideas merged and grew – until he was even considering letting women attend.   “Perhaps after you are established.” Nicci was surprised and inspired by the idea, “I would hate to threaten the clubs early success, though I would love to attend eventually.  I imagine any number of sensible ladies might be also intrigued, such as Mary, the Marchioness of Worcester I mean.”

“What if you were to base invitations upon your personal preferences. Invite men with minds whose thinking you admire regardless of their political alliances.  I love your idea that you would have a speaker to kick of the evening, providing the meat of the conversation for conversation ‘between friends’.  And yes, sometimes speakers from fields that are entirely different to the norm, England has no shortage of clever persons, or perhaps even speakers from aboard.  It would be terribly ‘cultured’, and might easily become very fashionable.”

“Perhaps Lisa and I, rather than attending your event itself, could separately entertain any wives. There is an entirely different and arguably as effective means of garnering support possible in that also.”  This later she said because she was under no illusions that Louis could see potential benefits to his own political career in this.  Nicolette was not so naive to think they would go to all this trouble for humanitarian reasons.   

"Oh may I?” Nicci expressed pleased surprise.  She had invited any number of people to the house to meet Louis, bestowing the introduction to her favourite Louis as something of a favoured gift.  It was a rarer thing for her to invite someone for more personal reasons.  “There are only some few days of the season remaining, but perhaps she is available tuesday night or wednesday. I shall write her in the morning.”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"I need another gentleman to complete her," Louis replied.  "It would be unseemly for me to do it, even based upon revenge."  There was also the small matter of Lisa inquiring of his dalliance with her and asking  if he had swived her.  Louis preferred to tell the truth, even if not the whole truth.  A statement, even a misleading one, that was truthful was good enough for him.  "I was thinking it more appropriate for Buckingham to bed her since her father was his bitter enemy.  Yet, I doubt he will take the bait easily.  Danby has so many enemies, perhaps I will find one more suited."  It could not be Ibracken, given his marriage to the King's cousin.  Maybe one of Nortfolk's brood would do the honors.  Louis knew that Nicci disliked Bridget so there was little need to dwell on the topic.

"He was a zealously godly man, meaning he was an unhappy man," Louis agreed while expanding his disclosure.  "The blindly pious sacrifice this life for the next, content to live in misery if need be ... all based upon a divine promise that might never be kept.  Their happiness has been swindled from them Nicci and they do not know it.  One can both be happy, ambitious and godly all at the same time.  Otherwise, religion is only a taste to be enjoyed by the wretched and miserable."  He could not help but continue to share his philosophy of such things.  "Your aunt was compelled into that compact but her blood was the strongest.  You have confirmed it for me.  It certainly gave us both the beauty and charm that others find it so hard to resist," he ended with a laugh.

"I like where this is going.  Your own success, my dearest cousin, will help attract the most intriguing guests to our house.  Let us make it come true next season and devise a guest list together."  Nicci had earned not only his love and trust, but he was coming to respect her savvy in the ways of court.  The idea of adding wives might be an interesting one, every now and then.  Lisa would prefer to be in the room with the men, rather than with the wives.  Would Nicci develop likewise?

"Whenever you wish.  We have a night or two free."  It was never too early to start cultivating interesting and influential ladies. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nicci was both surprised and relieved!  “I wish you’d said so earlier!” Perhaps Louis had been enjoying his cousins jealousy?

“So, who are you grooming to do that deed?” Perhaps she’d been so wrapped up in her own intrigues that she’d not noticed Louis fielding the Osborne girl out to the scurrilous gents of court.  Louis listed The Duke and other very prominant men  of court.  “Roos would certainly do the honours, of if not him, any other of the merry gang do not need much encouragement. But to be defiled by one of the Kings Favoirites is hardly being ruined at all,...

No, Louis might say he wanted someone else to do the deed, but he was in no real hurry to ruin the girl.  Louis liked to think himself a cad, but Nicci knew better. He’d probably match Bridget with someone who was noble minded and would marry the girl after.  Louis would of course claim that was all part of his cunning plan of making her beholden to her for a marvellous match -  at which point Nicolette would agree he’d been most cunning (heaven forbid that Louis think himself sincerely good!)

“...if you really want to spoil her, have a nobody bed her.”  

 The pair delved into the topic of religion… “Well I like to think I am quite Christian in all I say and do, though some would judge me poorly too.  Morality is possibly the stumbling point.” She mused upon Louis advice, “But I like to think of it as being caring and sharing, and savoring our eartly delights.  Further, it is taking advantage of the opportunities the Lord places within our path.  To pass by opportunity would be wrong, don’t you think? Ungratefulness a sin also. And yes… I am extremely happy.” She smiled to Louis, “and intent to remain so in this life and the next.”

“You are extremely happy too Louis?” she checked. He seemed to be, and despite his claims he’d recklessly ruin Bridget, Nicci was certain he’d be admitted to heaven.

“Yes, next season we shall have a grand time planning.”  Which brought Lisa to mind.  Nicci was less sure of her relationship with Lisa, though more recently she’d come to think the hesitation was upon her own part and not Lisa’s.  Lisa had recommended her to the Marquise after all, and quite possibly spoke well of her to others too.

“Shall I be able to talk with Lisa as freely as I can with you?” Nicolette voiced, “I feel much grown since last seeing her, I hope that she will see this too.  When last I spoke in private with Lisa, she found it hard to understand my ambition in absence of desire for a marriage.   But you must know too that one day I shall want, even need to be wed. Just not yet.”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Of course Louis was trying to make Nicci feel jealous.  Was she not doing the same?

"I was thinking Roos as well.  It would need to be a lord since she has a high opinion of her status."  If he was truly cruel, he could put her in Rochester's hands.  Maybe he would.  "I have to find someone she would find attractive.  I cannot just fob her off on someone like Arlington.  Someone younger would be good," he mused.

"You may be right.  No one bedding her would be cruel, especially after I had her take her own maidenhood with a candle privately.  So, if I do nothing, there is that disservice I did her, or perhaps it was truly a service."

Back on the topic of philosophy, Louis replied "morality is overblown.  One should be true to their inner code.  Beyond that is gravy."  He offered an agreeable smile.  "Yes, I am quite pleased with everything and I am quite pleased that you are so happy dear cousin.  I share in your joy so that it makes my own overflow."

"I think you can speak freely of your thoughts and plans with Lisa; however, you should not speak of us.  She is quite jealous.  She knows that I am a man with strong appetites.  In fact, I believe one needs to have sex as often as one eats -- morning, noon and night.  She knows that she cannot satisfy that appetite when she is gone, but she does not wish to hear about any unfaithfulness to her while she is gone.  When she does suspect it, it is better that she knows that my darkie chambermaid, Diana, is the one emptying my slops in the morning, as she has done for me quite often at noon over the months.  The slave is no threat to her.  You are.  You live under the same roof and she will see it in my eyes  the deep love that I bear you.  It will be difficult to hide, but you must be ready with an answer -- which is that you have eyes only for the King and perhaps some other lord or two that are not me," he laughed.  "I will have the harder task."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"…or perhaps Chatham.” Nicci suggested the scallywag Earl, most recent gent to be embraced by the Merry Gang, “Although, however highly she thinks of herself, she lacks sufficient wit to amuse anyone much.” So that is why Louis took her to the libertine party.  But none had taken that bait, she failed to interest a single one of that band of rogues.

“But really Louis, I tire of this topic.  You shall surely admit it to me some day that the only one who has any interest in spoiling her is yourself.” She sighed dramatically. 

Where she failed, she Nicci  sure in the knowledge that Lisa was sure to rid the family of the bane that was Bridget Osborne.  It was only a little while longer that she needed to tolerate her cousins unhealthy distraction.   

“A candle? How nasty.”

For a fleeting moment she felt sorry for the girl.  How desperate she must be.  

Louis held up his epicurean philosophy, “...and repentance is for our deathbeds?” she returned less convinced.  “I think not cousin, but feel that every day completes it own reckoning upon ourselves – through the very same ‘inner code’ you speak of.  That is that being true to ourselves is measured against ones personal morality. 

Hmm… It is an apt time for the topic, what with the turn of the new year perchance resolutions.  Have you any visons for yourself that you would raise up at this time?”   

Question asked, a moment was spent reflecting upon the topic herself.

“Eww - slops!” Nicci wrinkled her nose and reached to slap him at use of the term. “how truly nasty Louis.” she scolded, measuring herself against the same word.  It was the most unromantic thing she’d ever heard from him.  Was it any coincidence then that he progressed to speak especially warmly of her, his instincts telling him that he should never have said such a thing. 

“Well in our favour is that I have been very occupied with Buckingham’s household this season.” On the Lisa front she replied. “And all things going well, I might be relocated to accommodation nearer to His Majesties chambers next season. Thus Lisa will be spared the accidental looks we might give one another.”  

“Where ever I might be, I hope that our bonds of family might remain strong. I do not wished to be carried away upon courts current to then one day realise I am far far away from you.” It was her own admission of love, even if his talk of seed as slops was still very visual in her mind.  (An entire chamber pot full, thrown out an upstairs window onto the street.)

Edited by Nicolette Vauquelin
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chatham was not well known to Louis and had not been considered before.  "Do you think he might be interested?"  It was then that Nicci mentioned uncharitable things about anyone's interest in Bridget.  "You may think that m'dear but most gentlemen would swive a lady with no looks or wit quite readily.  Most are pigs with no discriminating taste.  Fortunately, I outgrew that juvenile outlook -- as a juvenile."  Truth be known, Louis had swived all manner of women, of all classes and ethnicity.  When he was cut off from his father, he had been paid to swive women that none found attractive anymore.  It was why they had paid him after all.  He was not as proud then.  Now, his eye was attracted by beauty ... beauty of looks, wit, charm, cunning, and resourcefulness.  Bridget appealed to him only in the harm he might do to Danby thereby.

"Better that the candle debauch her than I," he smiled.  He needed deniability.

The slops comment drew a greater negative reaction than expected.  It had all been in perverted humor that it had been offered.  Fortunately, she seemed mollified by the rest.  He would need to be more careful about use of terms better shared amongst men than women.

"Royal accommodations would be quite advantageous, for so many reasons," he agreed.  That would remove her from the scrutiny of a jealous wife, perhaps.  Her admission of attachment was a welcome thing.  "Indeed, we might not wander too far from the things we love for all else is fleeting.  We should take advantage of all that is fleeting, but it is best enjoyed with those we love.  If we become too far apart then we must send the other a reminder and immediately meet to renew our admiration and vows," he offered.  "I vow that I'll not use the word slops with you again," he laughed.  "And I could never stop admiring you."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

“Yes I suppose…” Nicci was a bit grudging to agree to anything he said when it came to Bridjet.   It was true though, no doubt, just so very different to her own experience.  “She doesnt need to be mistress calibre does she.” 

Yet then going on to the candle, and her better nature peeked out again.  She nodded that a candle was better than him.  But now that she was thinking about the poor girl so desperate to please Louis that she’d do just anything – and her hardened heart caved.

“Perhaps I best speak to her.”  She uttered, “she is not beyond redemption, yet, and, well there does not seem to be any rush to her ruination.” (Could it be that more men respected Danby thus did not want to cross them, than what Louis thought?) 

Louis I think I would cut a deal – you have the rest of the season to do what you wish with her, and following that you shall give the reins to me.   When Lisa is returned it shall be impossible for you to continue that game anyhow. And… well I cant help but pity her. She is so particularly uninteresting. But if anyone can help her, it would be me.”

“Besides, Francis told me that I shall need to be quite exclusive, if events ‘stick’. So I shall need a hobby or two to keep myself busy.”

Nicci seemed to discount the fact that currently Bridget hated her like non other!  (That was just another bump on the road.)

The slops comment drew a greater negative reaction than expected.  It had all been in perverted humour that it had been offered.  Fortunately, she seemed mollified by the rest.  He would need to be more careful about use of terms better shared amongst men than women.

Louis agreed that a change of address would play into their hands, but not without a sacrifice.  He spoke on a little more, and a misty emotion welled up within.  “We have your room at the Apothecary. and… any such talk may all be premature.”  It was reluctance of leaving him that said this, rather than any lack of belief that plans were running well.

Sliding her legs from his lap, she leaned closer, “Even if you did speak so, I could not hold it against you –I could forgive you just anything.” she looked into his eyes with an intentness, her voice caught.  It had been distressing when Francis said they would not be able to carry on as anything more than friends, but surely not Louis too?  She was ambitious yes, but did not want many farewell.  Searching his eyes she replied, “It is not only your admiration I need.”

Edited by Nicolette Vauquelin
Link to comment
Share on other sites

He could not help but laugh at her change.  "A hobby?  Really?"  It was priceless and he gave her a triumphant smile.  "As I recall you were the one saying that I would go all soft on her and likely doubted my unscrupulous plans for her.  Now that I have proven my ill intent, here you go wanting to save her.  My dear, you have a hidden kind streak in you too.  I do try to keep mine locked away and saved for special occasions.  The girl thinks she loves me and that I love her," he whispered as she leaned in.  "She wants to become libertine and steal me away for herself.  Pray tell how are you going to redeem her?  I saw that jealous look.   She wants to lie with me when you might be unable to do so.  How cruel is that?  Danby is finished.  The poor girl has little use except as a pawn."  He paused to see what Nicci might offer in the way of a suggestion.

The idea of the two parting permanently was something that he had struggled with as well.  He had rationalized it to himself that it was the price of admission into the King's inner circle.  "The King has the best spies.  Blackmailers would be interested as well.  Assignations at the shoppe would be quite dangerous," he warned. "It might be that we could steal away on a rare occasion as part of an elaborate ruse."  He was good at such things.  "Tell me what you need dear cousin."  He gripped her hand and returned the intent look.  He wanted to make sure her inner thoughts were those that he imagined.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

“You admit it then!” she declared triumphantly, “you said a kind streak too!” 

Which was not the only thing she took from his amused reply, but the accidental admission did trump the rest.

“Hmm…  but she does have that charming brother. The name of an bird, ah, Peregrine. And I have not met him yet.” Which was not really an answer to how Bridget could be useful to anyone, but somehow felt related.  “Oh but not everything has to be sense.” She sighed, “You are right, there is no rhyme nor reason to save her from her own wishes.”

“Still I like the idea of a project for next season, have you some other lady that you’d recommend to me, one with greater potential?”

“Yes, too dangerous.” She agreed quietly on liasons at the Golden Pestle being ill advised.  “We are too clever to risk it all for a moment,” she paused, lifting his hand to her cheek she pressed his knuckles against her skin, “there is still our forever.”  

Her smile was soft as she added, “Aren’t the very best stories those where forces keep lovers apart?  Louis, you shall never love me as much as when you cannot have me. This I know, for I have always loved you thus.” She moved closer, to pressed a kiss to his forehead, her fingers sliding past his jaw and under his ear.

Edited by Nicolette Vauquelin
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"I shall deny it if you reveal," Louis offered with a chuckle.  "Who would believe such a thing anyway?"  There were some of his intimates that would.  "I suppose I am kind to you," he mumbled as if making a confession, but it was all a game to see what she might say in return.

"Peregrine Osborne is the black sheep of the family, which is saying much after the recent conduct of his father," Louis continued in a gay mood.  "He is everything I was when I was a wastrel, which makes me wonder whether I was ever that bad."  He laughed at the thought and the irony.  "Of course, he is not as witty as myself, or as handsome ... or accomplished, gifted, crafty ... or as humble," he added in self-deprecation.  "The best thing we could do for the pair would be to send the two off in a ship for months and they would undoubtedly pleasure one another in time.  If Danby were still First Minister, his son would be sought out by some.  Now he is a pariah.  We may have seen the last of him," he speculated.

Louis had toyed with helping the young man, knowing that the friendless were the most grateful for support.  It was that sort of support in the darkest hour that bound one man to another for life.  Being a creature of passion, the Earl sought relationships grounded in passionate loyalty, discounting attachments of other kinds.

"What sort of project did you have in mind?  One that I bed that you help rise to a creature of use to the both of us?  One naïve that you train?  One cast out that you save and forever earn her gratitude?  One that shall fall in love with you such that he or she would destroy themselves just to earn your smile?"  The last sounded delectable.

Then came the sad reckoning that their time together was drawing to an end.  More emotional creatures would shout their defiance and do foolish things to undo the inevitable and self-immolate in the process.  Fortunately, or unfortunately, the couple were too wise for that.  There was a price to be paid to fulfill an ambition.  Each was prepared to pay the bill.  In their hearts, did not each think themselves clever enough to cheat on the bargain when the opportunity arose?  Would it not be a test for the most clever?

Nicci revealed something profound to him and the ever-prepared Basildon might lose the cool demeanor for a moment.  Not only was she correct about the power of absence but she confessed a love for him that he had not fully appreciated before.  As she kissed his forehead he whispered "ma Cherie Il n’est rien de réel que le rêve et l’amour.  Nous partagerons à jamais les deux.  Quand je te verrai avec lui, je sourirai pour un rêve réalisé, mais je souffrirai pour l'amour partagé uniquement dans l'esprit."*

As she mentioned his heightened love when she was unavailable, he gave her an intent gaze.  "Is it possible for me to love you more than I do in this moment?" It was whispered in such a way as to suggest that the answer was obviously not.  He closed the distance between them slowly to place the softess of kisses upon her lips.


* "Nothing is real but dreams and love.  We will forever share both. When I see you with him I shall smile for a dream fulfilled, but I shall suffer for the love shared only in spirit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

She laughed along with his joke of it, yet retained a sense of knowing him best!  

“Described so, I am inclined to agree. Do you think either of them have the good sense to banish themselves for a time.  They are fortunate we are not in France, for such a shame could never be lived down. But here, indulgence is so high that there is a hope for them that in few years time English court will be ready to embrace them again.” She supposed.  Not actually knowing this, but with a guess at English courts forgivingness.     

“But none of those things appeal to me cousin!” She chided, he was thinking of projects that he would enjoy rather than she!  “Well perhaps a naive one to train, but really dim-wittedness frustrates me.  No… oh you know what I miss so much Louis, a rival to match my wits against, I keep hoping that one might be Lady Davina, but she is too reserved to be any fun.  Do you remember the daring Lady Madeline. What did happen to her? For a while we were practically attatched at the hip.” She lamented.

Perhaps Louis thought himself able to skulk behind the Kings and Buckingham’s back – but he ad an independent means that could sustain him if he lost one (or both) favour. Nicci, she was not so blessed, which perhaps made her doubly blessed. For she, having thrown all her whole lot in with her role, kept nothing in reserve and knew the thrill of living upon the fullness of the moment. She had not hedged bets, no back up plan, she trusted all into the Dukes hands and could be noted for that fact. 

She would not risk it all for a dalliance, not even with Louis, nor Francis, nor any other.  But when it came to flirtation and enjoying their company however, now that was another thing - one she’d never deny herself!  

Here in this moment though, where it felt like a final farewell she uttered a truth from her heart – and if formed an impression on Louis, his bravado for a moment disappearing.   The utter romance of the moment caught them up, her throat chocked up as he spoke her native tongue. She never known him to be a poet. But perhaps it just sounded poetic to her ears, for the heart that beat behind the words.  

She might nearly cry, her gaze held his… it was such a big feeling within. 

<<Is it possible for me to love you more than I do in this moment?>>

His lips brushed hers softly, pulling her in like a magnet - Nicolttes hand touched his jaw, her fragrance of lavender and rose radiated outward with the flood of warmth of her form. “Yes. Most definitely yes.” She leaned back away.   

Moving to the door she opened it ajar (for the servants aka spies benefit) before returning to her seat with a soft smile upon her face.   “I have been thinking about the Hill boys, dear cousin, I hope their stay is not too brief.”  She changed the subjet from this petite heartbreak, though her soul remained in her gaze upon him.

Edited by Nicolette Vauquelin
Link to comment
Share on other sites

She wanted a rival wit?  That was a surprise.  "I thought you wanted a project to salvage ... not ravage," he chuckled.  "Truth be told I have not found a lady, other than you, Lisa and Heather, that have any wit at all.  It is a shame really.  There is so much room for that here at court.  That is why I had thought you sought to tutor one.  Still, wit is not something easily learned," he lamented.

"Your friend Caroline has potential," he hastened to add.  "Though she is Catholic."  That was a bad thing to be these days in London.  "Better if she was a Huganot like you."  Darlene was special too, but he would not breathe her name to anyone in this house.  Diana had potential, but she disappeared after she married that Irishman.  He did not remember Madeline very well, so he had little to offer.  "We need to send for more French ladies from Versailles perhaps," he jested.

A spot of poetry had sealed the moment as it seemed an event worthy of such.  There was a transition in their relationship.  He could only laugh as Nicci proclaimed that he could readily love her more.  He savored the moment.

Quite unexpectedly, she became business-like, moving to open the door.  She now heeded his warnings about spies when moments before she had nearly urged recklessness.  He marveled a moment at the transition.  Perhaps it was just a way to ignore the hurt.

The Hill boys were an asset to be sure.  He had yet to unlock the reason why they were so important.  They were a valuable piece on the game board.  Danby had risked much to seize control of the piece when it might seem that there were far more important pieces he could have sought.  The explanation given made sense, but there was something not explained.  The boys' grandfather held a special place with the King, and one that needed to be explored further.  Ordinarily, he would view the boys as intruders and spies that risked interfering with his machinations.  The upside of their presence, however, outweighed the risk the boys presented.

"I quite agree.  Where shall we take them during recess?  To Basildon perhaps?"  He certainly did not wish to go to Ireland.  "Or, perhaps we tour with the King and bring them along?"  He had forgotten momentarily that Nicci would need to follow the King now, as opposed to her cousin.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Louis rightly perceived that her wants and visions for herself were very fluid indeed.  “Well if it was Bridget, it would be to salvage, she can hardly get any worse off.  But like you say, the personal rewards for doing so simply is not worth any effort.”

“Alternatively, a friendly rival would be my first choice.”

It was true what Lois said about the lack of prospects in that regard – which was precisely why Nicci missed Madeline so much.

“Caroline would not be interested in that at all.” Nicci knew her best friend well enough to be certain on that.  “La!” she scolded with laugh as he spoke of sending for more French!  As funny as it was, he might have hit upon the swiftest alternative.

The moment was poignant, and he poetic.

Yes, it hurt, she was truly sad of it.

Nicolette was not sure if this was the fabled ‘true love’, but in that moment it felt like it.  If their situations were different would they fall into each others arms and never ever let go? She suspected the answer to that would be no.  They were a fine pair in so many ways, but also so independent.  This end for a time, need not be an end for ever -- this she’d said and this she believed.

In making a statement to a man in a mansion many miles away Nicci then opened the door to the study.  That other might never know, but it crystallised in her heart the choice that she had made.  This motion was her own version of doing the noble thing, a promise given from her heart, kept to.

The topic she chose was the boys (briefly brushed upon with the King.)

"They might enjoy the company of Worchester’s boys, Arthur and Herbert. And you recall I am invited to stay a while’s with the Lady Worchester.” Nicci had made fast friends with Mary, and had been looking forward to staying with her in the recess.

As of yet she’d not been told to keep close to the King, these were early days yet, she knew not to be impatient. The King had told her that one day she would miss the quiet and freedoms that she could enjoy currently. 

“And Ranelagh works close with The Marquis, he might be to visit them too, maybe.”  Nicci knew she should not even be thinking of Richard Jones, but, could not help it.  

Edited by Nicolette Vauquelin
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Their relationship was not storybook.  Far from  it.  Storybook was too common for the likes of Louis and Nicci.  No, like Lisa and Louis, the were a power couple in the making, but not tied together by mere binds of partnership, but by a love for the kindred spirit that they saw in other.  That was far more rare and far more heady.  Were they a modern day shadow of Anthony and Cleopatra in the making?

"A friendly rivalry then," he agreed.  "Perhaps I can see if I can stoke such with Miss Wellsley when you are ensconced with His Majesty."  He was beginning to think he might succeed in loosening up Davina into an amorous creature worthy of rivalry.  His confidence was certain that he would succeed if he tried.

"The Worcester boys would be good mates," Louis found himself agreeing.  "Let us plan an event after the season ends and they flee London."  He had in mind continuing to exert his influence over the Somerset clan.  The mention of Ranelagh cause Louis to roll his eyes, if not in jealousy than in snobbery.  "The man is an Irishman dear cousin.  Next you will be wishing to associate with chimney sweeps," he laughed.  Louis was perfectly willing to flatter the Irish when they were powerful and useful, but his cousin was too precious for the likes of one.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


She deserved that. It was his return poke at her for having mentioned Lord Ranelagh.  Meanwhile Nicci was quite certain that Braintree’s sister was Queen Prig of the Prudes, that there was not a chance her cousin could up a hand on her sleeve much less up her skirts. 

"Well that is a fine idea Louis, if you think you are able.  Not that I doubt your powers of seduction at all, but, Mistress Wellesley use of candles is less than creative."  Challenge lodged, she did not believe she would ever feel any jealousy on that front!

"Is the boys father still missing actually?  His Majesty said something that led me to believe that the situation is far from remedied yet, something about Lord Ibracken and Norfolk, needing keep them near so they might report to the boys swiftly when it is all over." Nicci explained, "Do you know the King is terribly affectionate to the young ones, why they almost seem to take a precedence in his mind over their elders.  I should think he would think very well of us if we follow his kind example."   

And then he was disparaging her favourite Irish Earl, Nicci broke into laughter loving the sight of his jealousy.  "But I have been practising the greeting already. ‘Top of the morning to you, Lord Basildon’." 

Edited by Nicolette Vauquelin
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Louis could not help but laugh at Nicci's description of Davina, and the quip about candles was well done.  How entertaining this conversation was compared to the tiresome banter with others.  It was not everyday that someone could challenge him.  It caused him to remember the girl that had first shown up on his doorstep with a note from her mother.  That girl was uncertain and looking for charity.  Now look at her.  She had spread her wings and ascended.  How could he not be proud?

"Yes, there is some mystery surrounding the boy's grandfather.  He was on some sort of secret royal errand I think.  It is all hush hush.  No one is speaking plainly.  What sort of secret assignment could he have drawn?  Surely he is no envoy to the Dutch or French.  He is on the Continent."  His mouth twisted as he tried to solve the puzzle with so few facts.  "I suppose we will need to dote on the boys then," he replied to her disclosure.  "I'll teach the elder to shoot pistols.  He was playing with one when I found him.  Teach him to be a crack shot and he'll remember."

As Nicci attempted to sound like an Irishman, Louis scowled playfully.   He adopted his own Irish accent to reply.  "Well then, why is a wee lass like yourself talkin when ye can be drinking?"  Neither of them were likely to imbibe anything without class, like fine wine or brandy.  "Maybe your friend Ranelagh could take Bridget off my hands.  It would be fitting for Danby's girl to bear an Irish bastard.  Maybe you could ask him?"  Louis was toying with her.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Oh but that would be perfect, the boys shall love that, both of them,  I am sure." Louis suggested he teach them shooting, those would be master-class lessons she was sure. "And I we shall have an award ceremony for them afterwards, and present them with badges - and of course cake for everyone!"   

On the missing Grandfather she pondered, "Hmm... perhaps it was Danby's errand rather than a Royal one, the two would seem to be separate things." She was grateful that Louis shared this information, though she had no idea how all the pieces fit together. "And why kidnap the boys, was he afrade they knew something and would tell..." surely Louis had asked, everyone must have asked them that by now.  

"Could he have gone to Ireland rather than Europe?" Perhaps it was her interest in Ranelagh and the Worchester’s that had her consider the very opposite direction.  "When was he sent do you know?  Was it after the scandalous session of the Lord where they broke out in punches - wasn't that when some to-do do was exposed in Ireland? La, but as likely not... still I would sooner ask Lord Ranelagh about that, than to muddle about with Bridget." 

Louis mocked up an accent too, it sounded funny, she laughed breifly but then became more serious.

Why was Louis being so hard on that darling man, hadn’t she explained in great detail how large and opulent his house was, and right next to the Chelsea Physic. And then the man himself was a sparkling gem at court, sprightly of wit and daring in spirit. "Louis, I think you can never have spoken to Lord Ranelagh before, for if you had you would have a far different opinion of him. Perhaps you should come with me also when I visit the Worchester’s, you might get to speak with him properly about proper things. Apparently he works with Lord Worchester, something to do with the Chepstow Garrison.  There are marches, I think.  And for some reason that is a problem for Ireland. Or perhaps the problem is for England, I cant remember!” 

"You might like him one you meet him Louis, and he’s not even got an Irish accent. Mary said he was raised right here in London. Why don’t you come to Badminton with me, it shall be fun, and you shall enjoy his company.  One day he might be related after all.” Nicci’s eyes sparkled watching his reaction. 

Truth be told there was another gent who she'd been secretly watching lately, he was another favorite of the King, but this one having the chivilrous Stuart style.  But marriage might be years away yet, she was not in any hurry (and neither was her recent focus.)  

Edited by Nicolette Vauquelin
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"I'm not sure that the younger is ready for a real pistol.  The force could hurt him."  It was the only thing dampening the idea.  "We can't be responsible for the gun knocking out his teeth or breaking his arm.  The King might not forgive us."  It would likely be better to train the eldest.

"Danby was not scared of what the boys knew, of this I am relatively certain.  No, it was what the grandfather knew.  I would speculate that the old man knew a secret or two about Danby and he held the boys hostage to keep the grandfather from doing some mischief against the Chief Minister."

The topic returned to Ranelagh.  It was jealousy that outsized his dislike for the Irish.  He told himself if Nicci ever carried an Irish pup in her belly he'd need to carve it out.  Of course he would never do that to her.  When one cared for someone, one supported that person, even through foolishness.   "Speaking properly about proper things sounds positively delightful," he teased her.  "I suppose if you like him he cannot be entirely horrible," he conceded.  "Better save your charm for the man with the crown and keep your discourse with the Irishman properly proper," he continued to tease.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


  • Create New...