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How to Steal a wife | Cambray residence morning of the 7th

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“Hmm…?” George paused to consider the quote from Anne Elizabeth’s mother, “That is an interesting thought, though I am uncertain of it. How might we test out the truth of it?” it plainly interested him enough to want to further examine the idea.

She had as much knowledge as he to where Grey had gone - but perhaps that did not matter. “Yes well, he left me his charts already. I was to illustrate them, how might you contribute also to his plan?  Lord Grey wanted, once they are completed, to gift them to the Royal Society… I believe, and if they were accepted there would be a sharing in some ah, recognition there by.” he explained, very willing to involve the young lady somehow.

“Oh, and for that other, I would be happy to paint your portrait.” He added, “though not as a male! Rather, there was a Nymphs series I begun working on a few years back, that I might rekindle.”     


OOC: sorry I somhow missed the last paragraph (with her question) last time! 

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“Watch people,” Anne-Elisabeth suggested. “See how others react to them. Some courtiers probably believe those pompous arses are really as important as they think they are. We’re smart enough to see right through them, but not everyone is. That is the first step. The second step is to get people to react to us as we wish them to. We can both agree on how we wish them to see us and then we can sing each other’s praises to everyone we speak with and observe their reactions to us. We can make a game of it. What do you say?”


Lord Grey had given George his charts? How fortuitous!  He had already told her that he was going to illustrate them. And they were to be presented to the Royal Society? Had Lord Grey planned to include her in this when they had agreed to work together? It would be a splendid achievement for a woman to be recognized in that prestigious company of scientists.


Anne-Elisabeth grinned. “We had planned to combine our efforts. Lord Grey's interest is in the moon and mine in the stars. We didn’t have time to speak much of it. I invited him to dinner to discuss it further but he never showed up. I believe we were to fashion charts that showed them both together. Since you have his, we should be able to combine them.” She gestured at the table again. “Those were made in Barbados. I have just started mapping the English sky.”


She wished she could stop her scalp from itching underneath her wig. “On the next clear night, I’m going to set my telescope up in the garden and make some headway. Would you like to join me? If you don’t feel comfortable coming alone in the evening, feel free to bring a friend.”


So George had heard her request. And he was willing to paint her himself! “You honor me, my friend. I would be thrilled to pose as one of your nymphs. Will you be displaying the paintings at court after the series is complete?”

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  • 3 weeks later...

“Hmm..." George considered her method to test her mothers theory.  Turning it into a game seemed a bit, ah, unnecessary though. He avoided agreeing to that as he continued, "well to begin with one neds to define what you think of yourself.  That must be the examination made, setting the parameters, before one can then go about seeing if those same things are what other people think about you."

Which was a tad different to the spin she put upon the theory.  George was a man far more interested in fact than fiction.

Which was perhaps why he and Grey had gotten along so well, and why the other had entrusted George with his constellations charts.  "It seems to me you need to view these charts in person." Said he, which seemed to be her idea also. "I shall bring Gray’s Charts with me, when shall we plan this, and... at risk of being rude, might I suggest we dine as well."

It was indeed rude to invite himself to dinner, but George was tired of dining by himself, and boldness (recently at least) seemed to be working in his favour!

"Ha, I have not planned ahead that far." he replied to her very sensible question of who would see these paintings.  "No, I think not, these are more for private collections I think. It is very much in the early stages anyhow, I have completed but one. And it would be indiscreet of me to tell you that noblewomans name." 



OOC: shall we look at wraping up our thread once we get our next 'date' settled?

Edited by George Hardwick III
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George didn’t seem too keen on her idea of a game. Maybe he only preferred the kinds of games he could bet on. Anne-Elisabeth supposed she could make a wager, but she didn’t want to force him into agreeing to something he had no interest in.  “Then let us think on it,” she suggested, “and present our conclusions the next time we meet.” She was quite curious as to whether the way she saw him was the way he wished to be seen.


She did want to see Lord Grey’s charts. Maybe she and George could make some progress that they could show the astronomer upon his return. The raven-haired Countess smiled when he invited himself to dinner. In truth, she was tired of dining alone too.” She lay one hand upon his arm. “You are not being rude at all. My definition of rudeness differs from the usual court standards. I shall be honored to host you for dinner."


So there would be no public showing of her portrait unless she could convince him otherwise. That was, fortunately, not high on her list of priorities. She was perfectly fine with displaying it somewhere in her house where everyone could see it. Idly, she wondered if he would agree to paint her nude. Were not nymphs classically depicted free from the confines of clothing?


“I would never be so indiscreet as to ask,” she commented about the identity of the nymph portrait he had already painted. There was a good chance the name would mean nothing to her as she was still so new to court.


“Would you like to come for dinner on an evening before your exhibition or after?” she asked. “I’m sure the sky will be clear at least a few days next week.”


(OOC:  Fine with me.)

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"Indeed." George agreed in gentlemanly tones. 

Daring to invite himself to dinner, Elizabeth Anne declared herself delighted. "Grand! Beware my lady, I might make a habit out of it!" at that stage he did not have another lady in the wings who he might make him think anything otherwise.  "The day before the exhibition surely, what is that, the 13th?  I shall no doubt need a distraction by that time, may I warn you I am slightly disposed to nerves." 

"Very well then, I give up!" said the Earl, "It was Lady O’Rourke, I came across her swimming in Rosemond’s pond. I confess, I'd sketched her any number of times before she even realised I was also present."

George later painted a portrait of Heather, but he'd never given her the painting he'd made of her for his nymphs series.  That was a different thing again.  

Arising to his feet he said, "I ought not take up all of your day though, lets talk more of these plans at dinner on Wednesday. What time shall I arrive?" 



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  • 2 weeks later...

“I don’t mind if you do,” Anne-Elisabeth said sincerely. “Assuming you develop a taste for Caribbean food. My cook is Barbadian. If you prefer English food, she can prepare that too.” While interviewing possible cooks, she remembered the way the woman had beamed when asked if she was familiar with the food of Barbados. She had been working for English households for several year and was ecstatic to be able to cook her native dishes again. Anne-Elisabeth had never asked her what had brought her to England in the first place.


Though Anne-Elisabeth was uninterested in the name of the woman who had posed for his first nymph portrait, George told her anyway. As she had suspected, the name meant nothing to her. “I have yet to meet her,” she replied. “But if I do, I promise I will never tell.”


The tanned Countess did have other things to attend to that day, but she would have gladly canceled all of her plans to spend more time with the charming and delightful Lord Chichester. She stood up as well. “Come around six. We’ll have drinks before dinner and by the time we’re done with our meal, the sun will have set. If it is a clear night, I’ll have my telescope moved to the garden. The view of the sky is much better there.”

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“My palate is not so English – having spent so many years in Italy, I am quite fond of more flavoursome food.” Explained George, “I look forward to tasting the Barbadian flavours.   Barbados had originally been settled by the Portuguese before becoming an English colony, add to that the indigenous people’s flavours.

Georges inclinations to gossip were sated as he revealed the name, though the lady did not response in a way that was satisfying.  There was no ‘ooh really’, no flaring of the eyes and meaningful murmur.  These seeds of gossip fell upon proverbial infertile soil. 

But then she was quite new to court still, yet to learn the currency – in this perhaps George could help teach?

Moving on: “Perfect.” He smiled broadly, dipping into a bow and extending a lacy cuffed hand to take her own to place a farewell kiss. “I look forward to it.  Might the Lord speed the hours until we are next together. Farewell!”




OOC: thankyou for a fun and productive time! ❤️

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  • 2 weeks later...

“Splendid!” Anne-Elisabeth exclaimed. “A man after my own heart, at least when it comes to food. I think you will enjoy your first foray into Barbadian cuisine.”


Though she wasn’t aware of it, the dark-haired Countess probably did need to learn how to react properly to gossip. Her current method was filing the rumors away in her mind to take out later if needed. She had promised George she would never tell, but if this Lady O’Roarke tried to cause trouble for her, she might subtly allude to something similar so if the secret did come out, nobody would suspect her of being the source. And she could keep her promise to the adorable Lord Chichester.


With the plans for dinner made, George smiled widely, which she found quite fetching. He offered her an impeccable bow and extended his hand. Anne-Elisabeth lifted her own so that he could kiss it. How very elegant and charming he was! It is a good thing I don’t have a heart. It would be so easy for him to steal it.


“I shall count every minute until I see you again.” She walked him to the door and waved to him as his carriage departed.  Then she went back inside, snatched off her periwig, and threw it against the foyer wall.  Before she dressed as a man again, she needed to find a way to stop her head itching underneath it.


(OOC:  Same. ❤️)


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