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Monday 4th 11 am - A Days Adventure Begins

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Lucas Residence

She had looked at the sky from her bedchamber that morning pleased to see Sunshine but it was windy as well so that altered her wearing apparel. She looked at the two choices with a critical eye. Baron Grey may be but that in Rank yet he came from an Old Family and she did not wish him to think her not able to be well kept. It was Spring and so Winter dress had been folded and tucked back into the clothes chests yet in all truth she was not in possession of a wardrobe that abled her to not reuse garments. She had already taken the lace from two gowns and together with her maid they had 'transformed' the pale gray so it was more in the Fashion and the other was the one that drew her eye back. It was changable taffeta in a shade of pear green but with a yellow undertone that was a perfect foil for her auburn hair and did not wash her out or make her look ill. She nodded and indicated her choice.

Lord Grey was to arrive at eleven of the clock and together they were set to 'explore' whatever it was he wished to see. It was also a way for Cordelia to have the change to visit things she had not seen either. It was assumed by almost everone that once you rresided in London one had opportunities aplenty in which to do so but that was not always the case! She set about her toilette.


She had given instruction that Baron Grey's carriage should be watched for and when it had come up the drive she was to be told. She had made use of little Betty elsewhere and any visitors would be greeted by a middle-aged man with dark hair and a serious face and mannor. Baron Grey was to be taken into the front Parlour which she had adapted as her own as she liked the pink and green colors. She heard his arrival but remained seated. She was a pretty picture in the light from the windows as she sat with some needlework apparently without a care. Her hair was worn up but she had one lazy curl that trailed down her back half way and she had matched her jewelry to her dress - Pearls went so well with the taffeta after all! She was but a few years his Senior and both were without spouses and she was after all a woman so it was a simply matter to play to Vanity.

A knock on the double wooden doors indicated his arrival  .....

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     The facade of the House was a mass of dark green ivy vines, set amongst great oak trees whose pale green new leaves shimmered hopefully in the spring breeze. A small pond was set in the front yard, dappled with lily pads.  Four columns supported a great roof over the front doors, which were fashionably designed with stained glass panels to either side.

     At five minutes before eleven on the clock a black berline, pulled by six blue roans of even temperament, entered the drive of Lucas House. No arms were painted on the sides of the coach, but on closer inspection the arms of Grey could be seen carved into the wood. The carriage stopped as it reached the roofed entrance, and the coachman jumped down to lower the step, open the coach’s door, and help his passenger alight from the vehicle.


     The foyer was suitably grand matching the entrance: here two walls were wallpaper done in a random garden-like design, with the other two covered in paint.   Several doors exited off the foyer, one to an office or another withdrawing room, and another to the Parlour. The ceiling in the Parlour was high, with complimentary furnishings of green and rose. There was a small fireplace tucked into a corner.

     Henry had been expected, and taken immediately to the parlour, where Lady Lucas sat awaiting his arrival. She looked very elegant in her taffeta dress, with her auburn hair worn up, and one lazy curl that trailed down. Pearls at her neck completed a well-executed ensemble.

     If I did not need to sire an heir… the thought was left unfinished.

     The baron was dressed in maroon brocade justaucorps and breeches, a moss green silk coat and white silk shirt, cravat and stockings. A gold watch chain came out of his left waistcoat pocket, and on his right hand he carried a walnut walking stick with spherical gold head. As usual, he wore no rings except for his signet, but there was a red coral pin on his cravat. He had tried to look his best but, although his clothing was of quality and looked new, it also looked a bit out of season.

     “Lady Lucas, you look positively stunning”, Henry said gallantly as he bowed formally from the entrance to the parlour. “Young men are going to ask me permission to court you, thinking that you are my daughter!” He added with a glint on his eye.

     Closing the distance between them, Lord Grey produced a gift he had carried under his arm. “A house warming gift, Lady Lucas. I hope it meets with your approval”. Henry opened the lid of a mahogany case, filled with almond and egg nougat, and offered it to Cordelia.

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She remained where she was setting aside her handwork to welcome him smiling as she added

"Was it you Sir that claimed to have no lack 'for Courtly Manners or Speech' yet here you are sprouting nonsense! You are indeed the very Picture of Spring."

and we shall play off the other well indeed and with just some small alterations to your attire and to your diet as well  ....

"Ah - do you tempt me to see if I am more child-like and thus satisfied with such a offering or to see if I am more refined and thus requiring of more effort?"

She teased him gently with amusement in her eyes as she peered at the contents.

"Have we time to pause or must we set out? Where shall we go to first? Have you arranged things to your liking? Will the wind be a factor do you think?"

She sounded very much like someone who had indeed been given a treat. How could he not be appreciative of her eagerness and anticipation!

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     “Lady Lucas, if I am the picture of Spring, it is only a reflection of being in your presence. I assure you, once I leave, I will be back to being Old Man Winter”, he said with a smile and a glint in his eye. She might a good friend make… one with the experience to know how things truly are, and the age to freely state her opinion.

     As she referred to the contents of the box, Henry replied, “I could not call on you without bringing some sort of gift, my lady. It would not have been polite. But time will help me, I hope, to better select a more proper gift next time…”, he paused, “…meanwhile, the nougat will have to do, I fear”, he added with a smile.

     “You set the pace of our outing, my lady. We can pause for a moment, if you so wish. As for where to go, and what to do, I hope you help me in that regard. I do not recognize the London of my youth anymore”. Henry had studied in St. Peter of Westminster before the Great Fire. “As for the wind, I took the liberty of selecting a white bear skin for your comfort. It is waiting for you inside the berline”.

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She made no comment to his offering further 'gifts' of a more proper nature but it was stored away for future use.

"Well I do like a Man that has sense Lord Grey as for the elements but for the other .... It has been that long since you were last here in London? Well. I had not expected that and so was prepared the other way round. But no matter."

"Let us not linger when there is much to investigate." She rose from her chair to stand beside him one hand resting gently upon his forearm. "Will you not name a place that you long to re-vist first? There are so many places that I too have not seen and it will be all the better for the Company."

She smiled charmingly her eyes alight with anticipation.  She would lead him from the room and back towards the front doors that stood open. Her maid waited with a good woolen cape and muff to keep her hands warm. If she became to uncomfortable she could leave off the cape in his carriage.

Her eyes took in his carriage and she called over her shoulder to him "How clever of you to have such a conveyance Lord Grey! Have you had it long?"

Cordelia knew that this berline was somewhat of a new invention of recent years and she was looking forward to experiencing it. It had only two interior seats which would allow for some familiarity of which she was not aganist.

I do not smell an over-indulgence of perfume or oils nor unwashed flesh so that marks a good start

She waited patiently for him to offer his arm and see her to it.

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     Henry raised his arm as Cordelia reached him and allowed her to lead him back to the entrance. “Places I would like to revisit? Hmm…” the baron thought about it for a moment. “The Monument to the Great Fire I have never seen. The reconstruction of St. Paul’s Cathedral would be interesting too. The one place I do recall with fondness, though, would be St. James Park, and the warm milk from red cows…” He smiled as the memories of his youth came back to him.

      Her words brought him back to the present. “This berline was my brother’s before it was mine. They started to become popular last decade, I think. This particular model is one of the wider ones. It does not fit six people, like a grand carriage, but it does fit four comfortably. It can be pulled by only two-pair, but an additional pair of horses helps when it is either loaded heavily or there is too much mud on the road”.

     The vehicle was indeed a clever design. It used two chassis rails instead of the one used by previous passenger designs, and the body was suspended from the rails by leather straps, which made it quite comfortable… unless a strap broke. It was also far less likely to overturn.

     Henry’s liveried coachman was at the ready, having opened the door and lowered the step so Cordelia and Henry could climb up. As the pair reached the coach, the baron offered Cordelia a helping hand. “Please allow me, my lady…” Lord Grey was not about to let his servant help Lady Lucas up if he was able to.

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"Well we are close enough to The Park yet I think we should go towards St Pauls as that is important for you to see at the start. After that, well, shall we just make it up as we go along?"

She smiled for he was likable and she felt relaxed in his Company.

She eyed the six horses with some amusement. He would soon find that London of his Memoey was not the London of Now - heavily populated and built up - thus two horses made for easier maneuvering. 

"It is a nice looking thing nonetheless. I am glad Lord Grey that there are two of us and not four."

She took his hand and entered then began to settle herself on the seat. Her cheeks faintky flushed from her excitement at being out. That she was also in the company of a Gentleman was an added Pleasure.

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     Henry waited until Cordelia was seated comfortably before climbing onto the berline himself. He then handed her a full-size, thick, warm, white bear skin that had been folded on the side of the seat. “In case you feel a chill, Lady Lucas”. He then took another skin, that one from a black bear, unfolded it, and covered his lower half with it.

     “You deserve undivided attention, my lady”, the baron replied. Besides, there are topics one does not want heard by any but the intended party.

     Rapping on the coach’s ceiling, Lord Grey gave instructions to the coachman. “To St Paul’s Cathedral by the most expedite route!”

     As the vehicle began moving, the baron then turned his attention to Cordelia. “As I said yesterday, I hope this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Would you like to tell me a little about yourself? I want to know who Lady Cordelia Lucas is...”

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She took the bear skin gratefully. Removing one glove she ran her hand appreciatively over the fur smiling across at him exclaiming

"Why tis so soft! Is this a thing you hunted perhaps? From what place I wonder?"

She removed the other glove and began to settle in. She was amused by his choice of words.

"Keep that up Lord Grey and you may well come to regret saying it! I am as any other woman and flattery is always appreciated."

"I am as you see nothing more nothing less. But that will hadly sufice and I can not be unkind so I shall spill a drop or two."

"Where shall I begin? You chose the starting point."

She sat back curious as to what he might ask. She did not think he wanted much time in childhood references but she could be wrong.

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     “Me, hunt? My lady, I am more likely to shoot myself than to shoot whatever I aim at. My brother was the hunter. I am merely a thinker, I am afraid. My inability with weapons extends to swords, and to horses, for that matter. Me attending a Royal Hunt, for example, would be an exercise in humiliation, I must confess”.

     “The skins come from Prince Rupert’s Land, across the ocean. If I recall correctly, they were bought from the Hudson Bay Company, and they have a variety of colours”. The baron’s memory was good, but what was bought where was not something he would consider important, so he did not recall the other colours available, nor the other many types of furs they had for sale.

     Lord Grey did make a mental note that Cordelia had like the bear skin, though.

     “Flattery is only bad when it is not the truth, Lady Lucas, but in this case, the truth it is. Now, as to my previous question, I know you have a son, Sir John, who is the Baronet. That tells me you are a widow”. He took a moment. “By the way, your son seems to be a good lad. He listened to reason regarding the saltpetre endeavour, and toned down his exposure to risk. I am sure with time and experience he will make his mother and his Name proud…”

     And perhaps I can help him do so…

     “But getting back to the original topic, why don’t you start with your engagement and marriage...” it was as good a point to start the tale as any. "And work your way to the present?"

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He was a man not easily diswayed and she further guessed he might well be somewhat stubborn as well.

 "Very well. My Father was Landed Gentry and I was a late-born child hence my naming." She smiled across to him. "When I was ten a marriage was arranged with Sir John Lucas, a prominent Royalist, who had three sons. But the age difference of the chosen son was deternined too great and the consummation at least a year away."

"Thus another was made - still a Lucas but of a Cadet Branch. I was fourteen and He ten years my Senior. We grew to fondest and three babes were born but only one lived - and he you have met. The War intruded and my husband went off and became one of thousands wounded but still alive. He moved us into Hertfordshire where he had lands and built Longview Manor where we lived. The death of my husband's father made Humphrey a Baronet.

"My connection to the Cavendishes comes that way. A Cousin of my Husbands. The late Duchess had been a Lucas afore she married the Late Duke - she thirty-one years his Junior - in 45'. My husband and I were often in their Company and attendeed in 65' when the Title was gained for the Dukedom. Her death a few years later has left an empty place and she is much missed."

(a pause for some 'dramatic effect' as well a slight embellishment of facts re the Cavendishes.)

I did not want to remain rusticating in the country-side any longer and thus came to London. It was not an easy thing to do and St. Marks has provided stability. Returning to a Social Agenda has been somewhat .. daunting .. I can not lie in that regard and I think that you will understand it. My son is not always dependable and so I am oft on my own. This recent aquring of a residence is new and there I shall have to adjust but I am sure I will do well here. I do wonder if he has intention to Marry? Tis my hope and naturally I will do all I can. I have, or so I have been told, a knack for pairings! Why just this past Recess I was able to arrange a Happy Union of which the bans were read in Church yesterday."

That she was pleased with her efforts was clear.

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     “If there is a story that gives me hope that England can mend after that atrocious civil war, it is yours, Lady Lucas. You have not only endured, but prospered. Yes, you have lost some, but you have a son with a future, a house in Piccadilly, and an occupation as a matchmaker to look forward to.” Henry liked Cordelia. She might be stand offish on the surface, but there was a tender heart underneath it all. “And, in time, grandchildren will flock around you, and you will admonish them for this or that, while at the same time fighting back tears of joy…”

     The baron was perhaps being too sincere, but he was no creature of court. Perhaps not yet, perhaps not ever, at least not with his close friends. Which he hoped Lady Lucas would become.

     The clip clop of the horseshoes on the cobbled street was unimportant. Their conversation, on the other hand, was not.

     “I was born the second son of the twelfth Baron Grey. My father did not take sides during the civil war because he had no children, and he did not want the senior branch of the Grey family to die out. Then my brother and I were born, my father passed away, and my brother Richard became baron, while I spent my time happily at Cambridge. But a hunting accident changed that, and I am now the fourteenth Baron Grey”. It was an extremely short version of his life, but it contained everything important. “And since I don’t want to be the last Lord Grey of Codnor Castle, I need to find a wife and sire an heir before the Grim Reaper has his way with me”. Henry had, after all, already passed the expected lifespan of an Englishman, which was about 35 to 40 years.

     “So, if you were to help me in this endeavor, Lady Lucas, I would not only consider you a friend, but I would also do what I can to see your son develop his potential to the fullest”. Cordelia was not a prospect for Henry; he needed a young woman that could bear children without much risk. But he could make sure her son the baronet had more opportunities to improve his station. In Lord Grey’s eyes, that was a fair exchange for her help.

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He was a constant surprise to her. He was book-learned and expressed the inabailty to be as other Courtiers regarding conversations and such. Yet here he was offering up such a speech!

She watched him with interest as he then spoke of himself without interruption. She nodded in places and smiled and even raised an eyebrow once or twice.

"That you too have been thru much is also clear. Yet you weathered the Storms and are here ready to take up your Place. You have a kinship I presume to those other Grey's and so that will prove beneficial I should think when it may be needed. Do not underestimate those connection Lord Grey nor should you be unwilling to accept whatever they might do. My kinnship is but thru a marriage and the death of my husband should have ended that but the late Duke was kind as well as generous and the present Duchess is following suit. In fact tis She that I am meeting later this afternoon and by chance the conversation is the same as yours only regarding her daughters."

"You are very kind in your thinking for myself and my son. I should be quite Honored to be of what use I can. I would like to see you well wedded and then a son born."

"Yet I will caution as well. - my 'successes' are now somewhat declined and I do not want to undertake this for you and fail."

She had to be honest after all.  

"If you do not wish my help I shall understand." 

"But if you are willing - will you tell me what things you are looking for? Do you have Families in mind perhaps?"

She needed to ask simply because it would make everything simplier.

She was jolted a bit by the roughness but settled smiling across to him. Even a conveyance as fine as this could not escape the horrible conditions of London streets.

"Shall we speak more on this as we continue on until St Paul's? I am interested to hear what conditions you set for your Baroness."

Would he she wondered be one of those men at his age that MUST have a virgin bride no matter the age differences? Would he have no qualms about a Widow without children of her own? Or might he prefer an older unmarried daughter or sister from a good well-connected Family?

Her thoughts were whirling and so she took a breath to achieve some calmness.

She knew that she was not a contender which was a shame really. They might well suit the other. 

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     The berline continued its advance. The fact that three pair pulled it made its advance a little slower, as it needed more space to make turns, but at least it was comfortable. Lord Grey pulled the bear skin upwards a little, as the wind moved through the carriage.

    “The name of Grey is old and well established, true. Lady Jane Grey was Queen of England, even if it only lasted a few days. But there have also been attainders and executions. You cannot say the name of Grey has had a boring history, that much is for sure”. That other Greys would like to see him succeed he had not considered. It was a thought he would have to ponder in front of a fire... with a glass of his favourite brandy.

     “Lady Lucas”, Henry replied at her words of not being up to the task, “I am sure you will be more than adequate. You have had one success already, and I hope to be the second. As for your wishes of wanting to see me married and with a son, may God hear your kind words, my lady”.

     What do I have in mind? That is a most important question, yes…

     “One thing I will say, for your ears only. I do not want a Howard, nor anyone related to them by blood…” Should I tell her why? Yes, why not! “It was the Third Duke of Norfolk who sent Lady Jane to the ax. Time may have passed, but things like that you just can’t forgive… nor forget”. Family was, after all, everything, and there had been no need to have a seventeen-year-old girl decapitated. Exiled, maybe, but not executed for treason.

     “Nor a Stanley or a Bouchier, for the same reason”. It was only the logical continuation of the first thought. They had been Norfolk's lackeys in the mock trial. “Any family that opposes the Howards would be my first choice, I think…” as long as it is a noble family with the proper standing, and the finances for a good dowry, of course. The last thought was not voiced. The baron was certain there was no need to do so.

     “I would also much prefer a family that sides with the King, and not the country party, although that is not critical, and could be dropped if there are no other options”.

     What else? What other things would I prefer, or avoid?

     “I would also prefer a lady that is not too young, although childbearing age is, for obvious reasons, a necessity”. Alas, it was true. Someone close to his own age would make for better company, he thought, but he did need an heir. “Lastly, a widow or… shall we say, a lady whose innocence has been taken advantage of by a rake, could be considered, as long as she would swear on her family’s honour to be faithful until death do us part”.

     Henry’s voice became steel. “If she were not to keep that promise, I would kill her with my own hands…” He had not raised his voice, if anything, he had almost whispered. But there was a finality to his words. "A young lady that is known for her continuous lax behaviour, however, should not be considered". There were plenty of those, he surmised.

     The vehicle was getting closer to St Paul’s.

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She had leaned a bit forward to better hear him her eyes watching his face carefully as he spoke. That he was quite determined on several fronts was made very clear.

"I understand that sentiment. It does credit to your kin Lord Grey."

well that narrows down the prospects considerably.

"I am glad to hear that you are not seeking a bride that is much younger than yourself for that adds additional issues. A woman is capable of bearing a child into her middle years Lord Grey if handled carefully so I do not see this as being difficult."

"Now as for the last ...' She paused to give a small sigh before continuing. "That which you speak of will not be a thing that is spoken of in quite so open a manner. For such an 'act' to have occured is a shame not only upon the girl but her Family as well. For such a contract to be considered you should be aware that the victum may not wish for a marriage thinking herself now unworthy. It would take a special kind of man Lord Grey to have the patience required."

"Her fidelity would be absolute in theory but how could one know what might transpire into the Future of the marriage? I will counsel you to think of this as some last resort should all the others fail."

"And Lord Grey - if we are to have success then I must advise you to refrane from thinking that Death will come knocking anytime soon - a prospective Bride will hardly take it kindly that she must soon think to be alone after she is just wed."

"Doom and Gloom is hardly the Motto to hang above ones bed."

Her rebuke was gently done and accompined by a smile yet he had best listen. 

"Ah. We are soon to arrive. Might I make a request? Will you allow me to think more of what you have said before we continue? I wish to formulate you see and write my thoughts down. I do not like to be unorganized especially in a serious manner as this."

 "Shall we just enjoy what there is to see and take delight in the Company."

"I wonder how you will find things ....."

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     Henry understood the social stigma that came with a lady having sex before marriage. He had just wanted to state that, to him, faithfulness after the wedding was far more important. Besides, Cordelia had asked, and all he had done was to answer the question to the best of his ability. It was a strange thing to fail miserably at trying to be logical in matters of marriage.

     Yet, even though he looked a bit puzzled by her admonition, he assented lightly and smiled. “I bow to your expertise in these matters, Lady Lucas. I will follow your advice”. After all, the lady had been married already, while Henry had not. She was bound to know more than he did.

     “Take all the time you need, Lady Lucas. I understand the need to take enough time to ponder a problem”. His vocation had taught him so. “And if you need to ask or suggest anything else, please feel free to do so”.

     It was then that they arrived at St. Paul’s or, more precisely, to the reconstruction site. It was located on Ludgate Hill, at the highest point of the City of London. After the Fire, it was at first thought possible to retain a substantial part of the old cathedral, but ultimately the entire structure was demolished, and reconstruction begun. The building was not complete, not by a long shot, and all that could be seen were men working everywhere. It seemed like there was no way they would be able to go inside safely.

     “Alas, it seems St Paul’s is still a few years off completion, Lady Lucas. And it does not seem to be safe for us to walk about with all the work being done. Is there another location you would like to visit?”

OOC: St Paul’s is off limits until the building is finished is finished... in a few years :)

Edited by Henry Grey
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Had he taken some umbridge at her words?

"Perhaps there might be some things that I said that may seem odd - if so will you please make that clear? It would become ackward indeed if we two are at cross purposes."

The carriage arrived ony it was not as she'd remembered .... St Paul's was indeed a building site and there was no way that either of them could think to walk about.

"Well this does dampen things somewhat. Might I suggest The Royal Exchange? We are close enough to it and if you have not already been it might well be a good starting point. Or we might set out for The Strand which is similiar to the first yet beneath it in Character."

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     “Lady Lucas, truth be told, I am totally out of my depth. I had never considered marriage before, so if I seem lost at times, it is not that I disagree with your words, it is that I am trying to process concepts that have not been part of my previous experience”. Henry smiled. “I am extremely grateful for your help in the matter and, as I said, I will bow to your wisdom. Consider me an ignorant but pliable and quick student”.

     Then Cordelia stated her preference for another location. “Weldon, to the Royal Exchange!” the baron instructed his driver. He had never been there and, although he would sully himself with direct involvement in trade, the experience might benefit his planned speech in Lords. “If time allows, we could go to the Strand next, Lady Lucas. But the Exchange does sound like a fascinating place to visit”.

     He was not about to impose on her, so Henry left it to Cordelia to decide if she wanted to continue after they had visited the Exchange.

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She smiled across to him in a kindly fashion. Yes he was indeed of Guidance.

"You are as any man Lord Grey when in the pursuit of a wife so do not chastize to harshly. You have stated well what you are seeking and the challange will be in the acquiring of suitable females that met them. But I am confident!"

"I have suggested The Royal Exchange as a starting point simply as something to be seen. There are shops that line it and Coffee Houses as well. But I am fine with The Strand as that no doubt has more on offering."

"You know its History? The Exchange I mean? I have troubled myself to learn some small things   ..."

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     Henry was notoriously relieved at Cordelia’s words. She would, no doubt, be able to do what he would only fail at, at least in his first half a dozen attempts, or so. The baron wanted to be married within the year, or, at the very least, be betrothed and with a marriage contract signed and sealed within that time span.

     “All I know of the Exchange is that it was founded last century by Sir Thomas Gresham to act as a centre of commerce. The original building was destroyed by the Great Fire of London, but a second one was built and opened in 1669. If I understand correctly, this is where all the exchange of goods of any import takes place”. The baron was not interested in involving himself in trade, but trade was important to England, so he had been reading a bit, as part of his planned speech at the House of Lords.

     The vehicle arrived at the place, but there were too many commoners around and coming in and out of the building for Lord Grey’s taste. “If you do not mind, Lady Lucas, I would prefer to move on to the Strand. Perhaps there is a place there where we can share a cup of tea? The Strand sound more like a place for a lady of quality to be seen at…”

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"I must confess I knew little except what you have just said. But I was curious as to weather you have sought out this Greshman College yet and made use of what it must offer for your Interest? I have been told that lectures given there by what was it .... oh .... 'Resident Professors' or something like that so suruly you will find like-minded Gentlemen as well!"

She peered thru the window at the Building noting the large number of people - mostly men - and so was in agreement when Lord Grey voiced his thoughts.

"Yes. I see that while it holds interest and even the shops from what I can see appear to be busy and there is a coffe house but it will not Suit at all."

She smiled across to indicate she didn't mind at all.

"There is much more opportunities there and I should think we shall have no issue with the finding of such a place - you might even send a man on ahead to navigate so that we are placed well. We shall find it as busy as here no doubt!"

"It will allow me to spend more time in such comforts and in good conversation. Tell me how have you been spending your time? Do you go out all all? Have you Family here or many friends?" 

She was quielty fishing for information that would aid her in putting together a picture of who Lord Grey was, what Family, if any, might hinder or help, and lastly who his network of male friends were. This was inportant as single men could not really benefit unless they had younger sister that would fit his criteria and those married - thru their wives - would provide names and backgrounds if pressed. Or so she hopes. 

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     The baron instructed his footman to get them a good table at an appropriate tea shop, and then ordered the coachman to take them there at a leisurely place. That would give the other man time to make arrangements.

     “Gresham College? I have not attended any of their lectures yet, but I do intend to on the evening of the 7th. The Honourable Robert Hooke will talk about the theory and practise of the Coil Spring, it seems”. Henry left Hooke’s dislike of him unvoiced, as it would take too much to explain, and too much of it was too private and too shameful to share with a new acquaintance. Perhaps after time had passed and had tested their friendship.

     The clop-clop on the street stones drowned out some of the city noises, which helped the baron focus on the conversation. “I spend as much time as I can on my research. I am focusing on telescopes and spyglasses at the moment, although that, I am sure, will change with time”. No man of science he knew could hold his focus too narrowly. There was always something interesting that went in a totally orthogonal direction. “I am also in love with the Moon, and I intend to make as detailed a map of her as I can”. That might sound either too poetic or too strange, but Henry was now a peer and could state it without worrying what others thought.

     “As for friends and family, Sir Isaac Newton is someone I consider a friend, and he is staying in The Red Lion too…” the thought of the genius made him smile. “And I paid my respects to His Grace Buckingham yesterday. A princely man if ever was one. It was due to his influence that I was made Fellow of Trinity College, in Cambridge, and I just had to visit as soon as I arrived. An impeccable host, of course”.

     Lord Grey did not notice the fishing. If he had, though, he would have probably said the same words. He did not know many people in London, and had no family there, at least not close. “I am a very distant relation to the Greys of Groby of which the Earl of Stamford is the current Pater Familias, and the Greys of Ruthyn, but I have never met any them, to my chagrin”.

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She listened. Everything carried an importance no matter how small or insignificent and she was learning more about this Gentleman.

That he was too much alone she could see right away. Then came his comment regarding the Moon.

"Did you say that you are 'in love with the moon'? What mean you by this? When a man makes such a declaration it tends to allow other's to think he speaks of a Lady. But you say it of an object in the sky. Tis a Scientific observation and I do not make light of your Work but Lord Grey it calls to mind that you might well have little time to spend on your Wife - will she then be set aside or must compete for attentions? And this makes me think she will spend many nights in Solitude."

"Your connection and kinship no matter distant can be a sweeter as it were for your intended bride's family and they need not know those small details. The names alone will sufice. And now Buckingham comes into play and that there is a closeness can not be argued. Does His Grace know of these plans of yours? Will he be a person that has an interest do you think or is that too much of a presumption? Having him vouch for your Character would be immensely helpful. And yet you told me that you have not been up to many things since your arrival."

She chastized with a smile.

"Your friends are all Academic and Scientific except for Buckingham. I think we shall need to push you a bit out into the open. The next Court Event I shall partner you and together we might approach those that could be beneficial for you to be introduced to. Also those that have eligible females."

"It is important that you become known. And who is to say that amongst these new acquaintances might not be those that share your interests?"

"Let us then think of it as an Experiment - in which you make me aware of those Ladies that you find to be worthy in looks and manner and I in turn will have a better understanding. Saying you like 'blue eyes over green' or dark hair over light' says nothing. I need to see what attracts you."

"Do you think this is a thing you might accomplish?"

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     “To say that I am in love with the moon is a way of saying that the focus of my research is the moon, along the things that go along with it, like telescopes, for example”. Perhaps I should find another way to state this. “I assure you, Lady Lucas, that my wife will not feel any absence. Even if I were to spend a night mapping the moon, my wife would have my undivided attention both before and after my night of work… for several days even”.

     It was becoming obvious to Henry that his working habits would have to change after he got married. His working schedule might suffer, but his wife would not.

     “If distant relations are of value then Lady Jane Grey, the Nine Days’ Queen, was a distant relation, through her father, the Duke of Suffolk. We are all descendants of Sir Anchetil de Greye, a vassal of King William I”. The name of Grey was an old one, indeed. The baron hoped that it would carry as much weight as he needed it to carry.

     “I did not mention to His Grace Buckingham the fact that I am looking for a wife, no. But then again, the visit was short. I did not want to impose on him on a Sunday after church”. Had Lord Grey known that Buckingham had been underselpt and overpartied, his visit would have been even shorter. “It was his influence that got me appointed as Fellow in Trinity College, so I think we can safely assume that he looks upon me with kindness. I will mention it to him in a future encounter, if you think it necessary”.

     “Ah, I had forgotten! I made a new acquaintance yesterday. The Earl of Chichester. A rather amicable lord, I must say. We are in the beginning stages of a joint project that includes both his art, and my natural philosophy”. Henry would elaborate if asked, but he did not seem to think that the details had anything to do with seeking a wife. “Also, His Grace Buckingham told me that he would introduce me to his relation, Lord Kingston, who has been appointed as Chancellor of Cambridge. It has not happened yet, but it should happen soon. In the next session of Lords, perhaps? I do not know”. Time would tell.

     An experiment? An experiment! The concept helped Lord Grey get into the right mindset. “I am all for experiments. The first thing I can say is that I find intelligent ladies extremely interesting…”

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Cordelia gave a nod as he offered explinations.

"Then you have reassured me Lord Grey. I am glad to hear that tis related to what your Explore and not some other thing that might suggest an impediment of some kind."

She said it bluntly but without any desire to be cruel. The way he spoke gave the impression that he felt as a MAN might for a WOMAN so she was truly relieved. And if this comes up again she will counsel him to find a better way to express it.

"Are you I wonder in someway also related to Anthony Grey the Earl of Kent? There is also another Baron Grey but of Ruthin. Ones Family Lineage has many branches so one never knows who one can claim a kinship to. Your lineage can be simpled stated as being a part of the Illustrious Name of Grey and that is True. As for the Duke of Buckingham I do not see the need to press this case to him unless you wish for some masculine input which you are quite free to do. Ah. Lord Chichester I have seen about Court. He Paints so I have been told. I can see no harm in such a partnership and if we are successful in marrying You perhaps we should partner for Lord Chichester and marry him off as well!"

All said lightly and with a small laugh. Cordelia would not hesitate to use further successes to attain more and Chichester was an Earl so perhaps the rewards might be greater.

"Intelligence is oft times overated. Having a wife that is 'educated' is well enough but she must never overstep her husband or think that she can. Disaster will suruly follow."

Her gaze wander for a moment out the window as she took in the passing scenery as they continued towards The Strand.

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     “Any more information you need in this… experiment, Lady Lucas, you only need to ask. I will be as candid as possible. I have found out that when experiments are based in truth and precision, good results tend to follow”. His scientific mind had kicked back in.

     “I am indeed a distant relation of the Earl of Kent. I am also a distant relation of the Earl of Stamford, now that you mention it”. Both earls came from the cadet branches of the Grey family. Not only did Henry not know them personally, but also he did not know if they would even consider him family. Still, they were all Grey, so they just might. “I may have other relatives of importance, but I just do not know about them”.

     The baron assented at Cordelia’s words. He’d eventually discuss marriage prospects with His Grace Buckingham, but not yet. There were other things to focus on first, like the new Chancelor of Cambridge.

     “Lord Chichester would probably consider a successful match for me a good letter of introduction, yes…” There had not been any Lady Chichester introduced or hinted at, just a sister. Henry had no way to know how many times George had tried winning a young lady’s hand and failed miserably at it.

     “As for a lady’s intelligence, I must confess a fault there. A lady that does not challenge my intellect in some way I would most probably find rather boring. Still, as this is an experiment, I am willing to listen to reason, and try my best outside my comfort zone… under your able direction, of course”. Cordelia seemed to know what she was talking about, and Henry had already admitted he had no idea whatsoever.

     Lord Grey was about to continue, when the berline arrived at its destination. The liveried footman was waiting for them in front of a curious shop…


Lady Alyth's Fine Tea Shop

     Located on west end of the Strand, the shop had a large picture window overlooking the street, allowing in the light. The window was framed with lace curtains, pulled back with velvet pulls. Over the door was a wooden sign with the name of the shop, done in script, with a picture of a tea cup with a scone next to it. The door opened to a wide shop front, 6 tables set around, with varying chair combinations from two to six, though they could be pulled together for larger parties if needed. Another area was set aside to store packages for ladies who had been shopping. In the back was the kitchen, from where the smell of the various baked items wafted to tempt everyone. Two counters lined either side of the front of the shop, one with baked goods, the other with the various types of tea that could be combined for personal flavors. Also, the various medicinal items supplied by Dr. Winchester sat here.

     The walls were done in light cream on top and sapphire blue under the chair board, which was varnished in a deep chestnut. The tables were set with white linen table clothes, the chairs painted cream with sapphire blue cushions. Another room, set in the back, was kept separate. Lady Alyth had turned this into a private room for rent.

     Alighting from the carriage, the Baron helped Lady Lucas from the vehicle and into the shop. Once there, he escorted Cordelia to a table with two chairs and a good view, allowing her to pick her choice, and helping with the chair as she sat. Once seated, he called the attendant’s attention, but allowed his companion to choose both drink and fare, as she pleased.

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She nodded her head in agreement to his statement about being candid filing it away for future use.

"I see no issue with Lineage at all Lord Grey. Any Family would be fortunate indeed to become so allied. Well as to intelligence - you must understand that your mind as Gifted as it is  - far exceeds whoever your wife will be. You must not expect her to be able to convers on all things that you do. That being said I shall endevour to ensure that her education has been well-rounded. Part of your Duty will be to educate or rather ADD to her knowledge so that she is better able to please you. Do you understand?"

They had reached their destination and she was handed out by Lord Grey and stood looking at the Establishment with interest.

"Ah! I think I have heard of this - tis owned by a Countess I believe and I will guess it bears her name - I am most curious."

They went in and she was seated her gaze running over it all to be discussed later amongst her own set.

She was to pick first   ..... tea but a calming one was requested and would Lord Grey be agreeable to a slice of cake .....

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     Henry smiled. Not that he did not know the value of his lineage, but rather he had been unsure of how others would perceive it. It seemed his apprehension had been for naught. “There are alliances that one acquires by marriage, yes…” the baron looked into Cordelia’s eyes. “But there are also alliances that are formed through friendship…”

     It was Lord Grey’s intention to take the Lucas baronet under his wing, as a token of thanks to the young man's mother for her good offices.

     “Lady Lucas, to expect a lady to have already learned what many men struggle with in Cambridge, Oxford, or even St. Andrews or Trinity would be foolish. But I would find the opportunity to add to her knowledge, as you so aptly put it, a very endearing quality”. There was agreement, then. Henry would not expect a scholar for a wife, rather a lady that would be interested in learning at his side. If he were to be so fortunate as to find one, he would consider himself blessed indeed.

     Lady Alyth's Fine Tea Shop… yes, it seems so. The title does not ring a bell, though. Maybe Scottish, from the sound of it?” Henry noticed Cordelia’s roaming gaze but did not comment on it. It reminds me of the way I look at someone else’s research space… trying to find something noteworthy… or just plain wrong or out of place.

     As Lady Lucas requested a calming tea, Lord Grey asked the attendant, “would you happen to have any black bun?” That would hint at the nationality of the owner with some degree of certainty "or some scones with marmalade if you do not". There had been a scone painted in the store's sign, after all.

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"And oft times the ones forged in friendship are dearer." She smiled back.

"I am glad that you have seen the sense in my words. I shall hope that this Lady will appreactive the effors made by her husband."

"I think Scottish. What then is a 'black bun' if I might ask? Oh - in regards to the name. Well done Lord Grey! Are you by chance a coffee man and thus tea will not be sustaining enough?"

She hoped that if that was the case he might be able to have it but as this was a tea place he might well be out of luck.

"While we wait might we plan where to go next? We are near enough to The Strand and I have no objection to walking - far easier on two legs than four especially with it being more crowded here."

"And tis a good excuse to 'window shop'."

She teased him gently.

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     “And friendship has a resiliency that convenience does not”, the natural philosopher punctuated. "A resiliency that overcomes many trials".

     The conversation then turned to the black bun. “From past experience and what Scots I’ve known have told me, it is a fruit cake completely covered with pastry, originally eaten on Twelfth Night but now enjoyed at Hogmanay. I have tried it on occasion, and it is quite tasty, if a bit strong in flavour”.

     There was both black bun and scones, and Henry ended ordering a bit of both. There was no coffee, so the baron asked for a strong mix of black tea with bergamot orange buds. The order was served promptly in beautiful porcelain cups and plates, along sterling silver cutlery, marmalade, honey, and sugar.

     The baron had a bite of the black bun first, and his left eyebrow went up appreciatively. “This is better than what I have tasted before…” then a sip of the strong tea sweetened with cane sugar brought an expression of contentment to his face. “I must say I approve of the quality of their fare, Lady Lucas. Even if they do not have coffee, which I confess I partake of every morning to help my brain wake up before sundown which, to me, is the best time of the day to work, the tea has a very good flavour...”

     Lord Grey listened to his companion’s desires and found no objection. “Yes, let us stroll to The Strand, and window shop at leisure. Who knows? Perhaps we will find a good shop with books of science where we can spend an hour or two”, he teased back.

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