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Anne-Elisabeth Devereux

The Marvels Of Science | 6th April, afternoon (Open)

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Sundial

Charles II was a well-known supporter of the sciences. Such was his fascination with astronomy and natural science that he commissioned Francis Hall (alias Line) to build this complicated device complete with crystals and turning elements. Often called the Pyramidical Sundial, it was made of stone, iron, brass, wood and glass with about 270 individual component dials, including a number of spherical glass dials and painted plane glass dials.

The crystals contained pictures of the royal family including Catherine of Braganza, the Duke of York, the Duchess of Portsmouth, Nell Gwyn, and all 14 children that the King had lovingly recognized even though they were bastards. The only conspicuously absent face was the Lady Castlemain, Duchess of Cleveland. The device was a sundial that only operated on sunny days, but when it did the whole mechanism started moving and was surprisingly accurate in not only telling the time but the exact date.

At all times one of the King’s Life Guard stood watch near the priceless object, which was located in a courtyard of the Privy Garden that connected the palace to St. James's Park. The King passed it everyday with a smile on his face.

During the September Season, the sundial was the source a particular scandal in which the Earl of Rochester urinated on the prized artifact. This ultimately led to his banishment from Court during the Christmas Season.

 

 

Anne-Elisabeth had heard about the sundial in the palace gardens last season and had planned to visit it when the weather became warmer. Despite the wind … was it always so windy in England? … it was a beautiful day and she hoped she would see it in action.

 

Dressed in a saffron gown trimmed with white braid and pearls under an amber cloak embroidered in gold, she strolled through the gardens toward the area where the sundial was displayed. When she reached it, she saw the soldier guarding it and stepped as close as she was allowed, interested more in the intricate way it worked than in the pictures adorning the crystals.

 

As she studied it, she thought about how far science had evolved in the last century or so. This beautiful object might have been considered an evil thing of magic in the not-no-distant past, as would her own telescope. It amused her that people once believed that the world was flat, as well as other silly notions that had long since been proved false.

 

How would science advance in the future, in her own lifetime and beyond? New things were constantly being invented and discovered.  One day far from now, her descendants might look back on the present century and think how primitive and quaint they were. Anne-Elisabeth could not even imagine what scientific wonders would exist then.

 

The present was exciting enough as it was, including the marvelous device she was studying now.

 

Edited by Anne-Elisabeth Devereux

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(OOC:  The time has been changed so that this can take place at any time in the afternoon)

 

Lost in thought, Anne-Elisabeth didn't realize that her cloak was billowing behind her in the wind and her skirt was swirling swirling around her legs.  One of the pearl combs holding her coiffure in place fell to the ground at her feet, releasing a few dark curls to tumble down her back.

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Beverley had arrived at the palace early to perform his usual duties of organizing and reading correspondence, and he finally decided to get some fresh air. He was intent to see what the sentiment was about Tuesday's session of Lords. He was wearing a naval-inspired blue and gold ensemble, with a tan colored cavalier hat. He had thought to walk through the gardens to see if anyone was congregating and talking in the fresh air as opposed to the galleries or Presence Chamber. 

 

The viscount was rather lost in his own thoughts, but he did notice the lady with swirling skirts. It was alluring enough that he stared for a moment, long enough to see part of her hair fall down and her clip to fall to the ground. 

 

"Allow me to, erm, get that for you," he said, pausing by her, and bending to retrieve the item.

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Anne-Elisabeth didn't notice that her gown had risen high enough to briefly reveal her stocking-clad calves. A modest lady might have been aware of it, but the Countess was by no means a modest lady. Therefore she made no move to smooth down her skirt. Only a moment later, the wind did it for her.

 

Not even a long raven curl fluttering into her face interrupted her contemplation. She simply pushed it away and continued to study the sundial. When a male voice spoke beside her, she blinked and took a step back, startled. What does he want to get for me?  Another curl drifted over her shoulder. Oh. One of my combs must have fallen out.

 

“Thank you, my lord.” She smiled at him warmly. “I don't know why, but the wind seems to enjoy messing with my hair. Only two days ago, it blew a hat off my head, and now it has whipped off a comb. I don't remember it being so windy last winter. Is it always like this in the spring?”

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Beverley was not known for being the best conversationalist, but he was exceedingly well-bred. He held the comb out to her politely, head cocking to the side a bit as she spoke about the weather. It was one of his better topics.

 

"London tends to be a fair bit windy and wet, yes. Erm, especially in the Spring." It was not a country known for spectacular weather!

 

"Have you not been here many Springs?" he asked, awkward in the phrasing, because it would have been easier to simply ask if she was new to the court or country. Beverley rarely spoke eloquently in the face of a pretty, young lady. 

 

"I do  oft find a need to keep hold of my, erm, hat."

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