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The Ladies are Jonesing | 2pm 7th Golden Pestle


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Lady Worcester was  the first to arrive in her coach, escorted by her young sons on horseback, Herbert and Arthur, the first who had some academic business of his own to attend to before the Gresham meeting. He was letting the younger brother come along after they made sure their mother arrived unmolested. 


She had yet to be in the shop before, so she was not quite sure what she would see upon arriving and stepping inside. However, she was dressed quite practically under her pretty green cloak, for it was not her first time with such things either (even if it was the first time in a shop)!  Such interests had been one of the things she and Nicci had bonded over upon first meeting. 

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  • 1 month later...


The Golden Pestle

The buildings stone edifice is homely and almost cottage-like in appearance, with bottle glass windows blurring what lays within.  Entering the brightly painted blue door, a tinkling bell announces the arrival of the next customer...

Within one enters a small display room, on the left shelves and counter is filled with jars and bottles of all manner of things, on the right is a stairwell, and directly ahead is a door leading to the Kitchen where Mr Paul Fallon (the fully fledged apothecarist) is busy at work.

The kitchens beyond is larger and the seat of much industry - essentially a room lined with tables laden with treatments in various stages of prepare, it's rafters strung with various racks with herbs of all sorts. In the center the main workbench - and at the furtherest end a large fireplace with built in oven. There is another door next to it that exits to the back alley.  

Upstairs is a office that overlooks Friday street, excessively decorated in French styles, and also a private room kept locked.


Nicci was there to greet her guests, and had a bright smile for the first arrival.  How good of Mary to be sure to be here first.   "Good morning my dear friend!" she crooned...

Mlle Vauquelin was dressed in a sensible wool day dress in dark cream, trimmed with cotton lacework of pale blue, with an apron fastened neatly about her trim waist. In contrast to her sensibility however was her coiffure; her gleaming brunette locks were wound up high with artfully crafted curls tumbling here and there and trimmed with plump pale blue satin satin ribbons. A fox fur cloak hung on coat peg nearby. You might take the girl out of court, but you couldn't take court out of the girl.

"...goodness but do you know this is the first time I have 'entertained' for simply ages. I am all a bundle of nerves and excitement!" she chattered cheerily, and giving a laugh added, "I wonder if I should mix up some tonic to treat that?! Although, do you know, I am rather enjoying this feeling." 

Drawing the Marchioness in to the show room, Nicci was alert to her inspection, ready to add any explanations or details to the unspoken questions that might be expressed via a second look at this or a questioning brow at that.



* I very belatedly pulled together a loc post for The GP  >.<  also added it to the guidebook! 

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The Marchioness followed her young friend's lead, allowing her soft eyes to travel over this and that, taking in her surroundings. 


"Oh this is all very well put together," she complimented. "Your hair looks simply delightful too!"


Once a lady rose to a certain comfort at court, such decadence tended to follow everywhere, and while dressed more simply, Lady Worcester was yet made up prettily.


"And do not worry of entertaining. I am sure entertainment will come quite naturally. And if not, Lord Ranelagh shall be our entertainment. His lady mother would wholeheartedly approve." She giggled. 


Speak of the Devil, there was another little jingling of the door. Lord Ranelagh came in with his lady mother on his arm. He looked as if attired to be hiding out at the theater, in pretty navy velvet rather than his opulent brocade. His hair was perfectly coiffed, as was his jaunty mustache and triangle. His lady mother was dressed in a dark wine color. 


"I do not trust what you ladies are up to, you know," came his voice, but there was amusement in it that was easily heard. 


"As well you should not," she replied, cryptically.

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“I can hardly take credit for it.” Nicci replied on how well the place was laid out, “for the most part we have left things just as they were… it was not the practice that was broken, but a little hiccup with the RCP that cousin Louis saw swiftly sorted out. You know how efficient he is on such things.” She flashed a smile, “Oh but it is wonderful I do agree.”

She could not help but feel a little pride of the place!  

"Thank you my dearest.” Words warmly said, as her friend spoke encouragingly with a mind to allaying nerves. “It is the beginning of it that I am nervous of, it is an important first impression you see.”  No doubt Mary understood completely!

Barely were those words out when the jingling of the bell announced the darling Richard Jones himself with his Lady Mother – and he swift enough to announce his own nerves. 

Nicolette laughed cheerily at Lady Ranelagh’s return, meeting her eyes briefly before dipping a curtsy of welcome to both, “Welcome then, to my den of wonder and mystery” she trusted that either the Marchioness or Earl would provide the proper instruction to the Countess.

Meanwhile the 3 ladies knew the answer to Ranelagh’s question, or at least Nicolette was certain she knew.  It was her application/her interview/her audition to Lady Ranelagh, with regard to her ultimate goal to one day be embraced into her own household as her only sons wife.

With a grin Nicolette supposed, “But ought we ladies placate your pretty bewilderment Milord? I could say that you will not be the focus of our experiments today, but I suspect Lady Ranelagh has honed your intuition far too cleverly to believe that.”

Heavens, but he looked more adorable every time she saw him, and here today especially. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

"Oh, but with such company, I learned long ago never to trust or underestimate a lady," Richard Jones sallied back. "May I present you to my fearsome lady mother, Mademoiselle Vauquelin," he added by way of introduction. 


"Or to disappoint one?" Lady Ranelagh added with a superior grin. "A pleasure, my dear."


"You see, Mademoiselle, my darling mother is far more likely to be disappointed by a man such as myself, than a woman." Then he amended, "Provided, of course, the woman has a mind."


"He speaks, of course, of an actual woman, not the shell of one that weak men are led to believe they need for their success," Lady Worcester said, which provoked an approving scoff of the ridiculousness of males from Lady Ranelagh. 


"Case in point, I am here to provide the evidence. I shall be the only party disappointing anyone today!" 

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Sprightly minds, and with it banter. It was remarkable really, hearing mother and son together - they did not have the typical relationship at all!  

"Society is much to blame."  While Nicci dipped differences in introduction, it seemed no time to state the cliché 'i am honoured & etc'   "I find most trying those creatures that incarcerate themselves.  Those ones whom, when one opens the gate to enlightenment to them, refuse to liberate themselves."  Nicolette knew more than one such woman, one who complained of being trapped, but who did nothing to free herself.  There was no real excuse for it. "There are libraries after all."

The topic, largely introduced by Richard, gave her many clues to what was valued in the Ranelagh home -  and Mary's comment (when interpreted through knowledge of her own husband/wife relationship) made it clearer still why they all got along so well.    

Meanwhile though, Nicci's darling Richard Jones *le sigh* was such a charmer that he was prepared to play the fool.  "But Lord Ranelagh," Nicci could not help but speak up, "I wonder if it is but a gift of humility she thus provides, for all of court, I at least, are more than aware you are remarkable."  Oh dear, that came out a bit too strong!  Even if she did think her point on the mark.  "But please, come through to the kitchens, my cousin prefers to call it the laboratory. La! His mother was not so successful at reigning in his ego." 

She led them through to the bigger room beyond, the room that had a huge oven at one end (with a pile of pots stacked next to it),  tables lined  the walls another large table ran up the centre.  There were racks with things drying, bunches of this and that hanging from rafters, tins of products, sacks of others, and even a mid sized still dripping away in one corner. The fragrances in the room were extreemly potent.   

On the centre table was a tray of recently cooled toffee apples - while the furtherest end a pretty cloth was laid out with a fancy china tea set (Lady Worchester might recognise it, as it was 'borrowed' from Lisa.)  "Doesn't it smell divine." Nicci claimed, turning to smile to her guests.  

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"I confess, Mademoiselle, you know enough of me to know that I am in constant need of it whether from my lady mother, her friends, my friends, or any combination thereof. I have a very good conceit of myself, and I did not inherit my brains from being a Jones, after all. My father was a worthless wastrel sack of things that I cannot speak of in the midst of ladies."


"Oh, in this case, you most assuredly can," Lady Ranelagh said. "I am merely thankful the title now more associated with you or I than him."


"I would raise my flask to that but you took it from me in the coach," Nicolette's Richard Jones replied with a considerably amount of dramatic cheek. "And Lord Basildon is surely a man of finance and a man who seems to also have a good conceit of himself, rightly so." He chuckled some at his joking tone. "I understand his lady wife must do far better at keeping him in check. He was far, far wilder before he was married and has changed considerably." Perhaps Nicci did not know. 

Ranelagh had been around the libertine crowd for a very long time. Pretty much since His Majesty's Restoration to the crown. 


"Those look divine," Lady Worcester said, being quite fond of sweet things.


"I do love the smell of toffee," Lady Ranelagh added. "Especially with everything else wafting in the background."


"Very buttery," her son commented, not wishing his own sense of smell discounted. 

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Nicolette laughed brightly at his reply, “You make me wonder now, if the aim of the tennis ball was then deliberate!”  well he had alleged that even his cousins were aboard the effort to keep his feet on the ground.

“Shoes you need step over rather than into?” Nicolette reiterated of the Father, her gaze sliding to the Mother then.  Lady Ranelagh was by no means foolish, the Late Earl cant always have been unappealing on one or another level - which let the Frenchwoman to wonder, “Yet surely there was some redeeming feature, at least at first.” She paused to add, “but forgive me, the question is too personal.”

Which was an out if Lady Ranelagh preferred not to say.

Cheeky Richard then lamented the absence of hip flask (his mother had confiscated it).  “I thank you of that.” grinned Nicolette, “if you trip over in her you are as likely to cause an explosion as stub a toe.” She made a (ruse) point by moving a tin further away from the gentleman in question.

“Truly?” that was news to Nicolette, though Louis was handsome enough it did not take much of mental leap to imagine him a rogue.  It would have been all too easy for a chap like him, with swagger and confidence ever at the ready. “I do not think he’d like to consider himself tamed though.”

But Nicci did not want to talk about her cousins. She knew what the secret of Lisa’s success had been, the pair of them were head over heels for each other. It was very unfashionable, and not what Nicci aspired for at all – though she was entirely happy to be smitten by Richard.  She had no intentions of reforming him. (Why that might even change who he was at the very core)

The toffee apples drew attention. 

“Yes I left them out, if you might like to take one home.” Nicci moved to the toffee apples, “I am dabbling with an idea you see, experimenting with adding medicinal properties into the toffee. A sweet that might be good for you. The trouble is that sugar’s melting point is so very high, destructive even, I’ve been tinkering with various oil extracts.” 

Louis had liked her idea when she’s told him of it, so she’s persisted in trying to solve that problem.

“But I wondered fi you might enjoy making a salve today, it will be an emulsification, such a satisfying thing to achieve.” She turned to see if it interested her little group or not.  “Or if you prefer, I could show you the still? Alcohol is very often used to carry the medicines most quickly into the blood, we have out still running most days of the week.”   

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"Exploding you might be tantamount to treason these days," Ranelagh said, with a wag of the eyebrows. "And Lord Basildon was quite the rogue before Lady Worcester's dear daughter reined him in-."


"They are quite fond of each other," Lady Worcester said. 


"He kept company with we libertines far more often before her steadying hand," Ranelagh added. "To us, that is quite tamed."


"All men are rogues on some level or another," his mother observed. 


The talk moved on to toffee and medicinal things which was likely a safer topic, at least for the only gentleman present. 


"Such a thing might be quite popular for getting children to take their physics," Lady Ranelagh observed.


"Children seem to have the largest intolerance for anything the least bitter. Men too."


"I observe that I am both the child and the man here," Ranelagh said, grinning at both. Then he added, "As such, everyone fully expects me to eat this now. As if it would ever make it home." He picked up one of the apples, content to let the ladies talk whilst he remained the amusing object of their conversation. 


(I'll swing back around to the still or emulsification ;) )

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“One that the mobs might cheer you on for!” Nicolette laughed self mocking of her french heritage. 

By and large she wondered what Richards angle was, he was too clever a fellow to not have some manner of intent. The obvious answer was he did not trust what scheme his mother might plot if he did not ‘supervise’ this meeting – but what about this gleeful/nervous fixation upon how Lisa had ‘tamed’ her cousin?  

“I wish I had known my Lord Cousin then, he sounds rather more fun.” Nicolette smiled, and offered  Richard the best toffee apple of the batch, “But by accounts Lisa was also quite daring.  I wonder if it is less that he is been tamed, than that the pair of them are unfashionably content.  I felt ill watching them at first, but at length came to accept it, and at times now I am even a little jealous.  It’s a terribly rare thing in any case.  Lord Ranelagh, you are undoubtedly safe from any such 'taming' yourself.”

She winked at him as she claimed that last, it was a silly wink, done as a laugh and not serious.

But imagine. Imagine if her infatuation became a love?  And imagine if he came to feel likewise?  Oh it was impossible of course, but still Nicci would fantasise a little on that as she went to sleep that night.  Imagine if she found love as well as living next door to Chelsea Physic.

Back to the toffee apples:

"So you think there would be a demand for it?”  Nicci considered after Lady Ranelagh’s comment (meanwhile Richard thought they were talking about him still, and perhaps they were.)

“I just don’t know if I can get enough medicine into the apples to be effective.” Nicci returned as a tease, and as the words were out she realised they held and answer. “But of course, I need to infuse the apples, not the toffee.” She beamed with having struck upon an answer! “That is what I shall work upon next.” No doubt there would be trial and error still, but at least she was past this current dead end with the development! 

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Ranelagh chuckled about the taming. He was quite sure he was not going to be tamed. He was quite sure for one reason alone: a woman was only half of what satisfied him. Though he was not overtly advertising, he was a sexual opportunist of sorts, appreciating and being attracted by more than just physical form. He could never wholly give up George, for example. Nor could he give up any of the pass times that went along with such raucousness, so he was solidly convinced no woman had the wiles to fully alter him. 


Not that one could not win him. It was simply never to be a taming. His lady mother well knew which was a good portion of her frustration. 


ANd what matter was it if the Jones name lived on?


"I seem to recall a story I heard of His Majesty once, from Old Lord Newcastle, who said Her Majesty the Queen Mother once had to threaten to come give it to him herself if he did not take it willingly!" Lady Worcester said.


Lady Ranelagh then said, "I bet he took the physic, for the Queen Mother was not one any would have wished a visit from..." 


Lady Worcester giggled.


Ranelagh chomped on his apple, looking appreciatively between them all, thankful they were done speaking about him being the child. And the man.


"Might you also infuse them with alcohol?" Ranelagh asked, blinking innocently and dramatically. 

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Lady Worcester's story was amusing, and set Nicci to giggling,  while Lady Ranelagh's comment more enlightening than she realised. (Nicci had once spoken with Buckingham wondering about the Kings propensity towards bold women.) 

"It would seem that The realm has had a good share of strong minded and terribly capable women." Nicolette mused, including present company (though she'd not be so twee as to state that fact.)   "If not the Queen Mother, I dare say Lord Buckingham’s sister an effective dispensary too - though I would not admit likening either to a toffee apple." 

Odds were that the darling Richard Jones had not dared to refuse taking his medicine either - and look at him now, taking a cheery bite of the apple. Nicci belatedly lamented that she's not spiked it with something or a rather. 

"The trouble with fruit and alcohol is that marvellous thing fermentation." Nicci returned, "for an end of season party once we injected spirits into a watermelon, which was to be a fine idea, except we forgot about it.  Some time later we returned to the house and it looked like a murder scene, red all over the walls and the ceiling. The watermelon had happily fermented way till it reached a critical pressure, and finally exploded." 

Which by her way of thinking was far less interesting than anecdotes about the King, but there you go. 

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"They say the King was quite enraptured with her in his youth. She likely would not have had to threaten, just bat an eyelash at him," Lady Ranelagh said. She felt far more comfortable speaking candidly of the King considering her niece was the King's child. "I do not think His Majesty much liked the heavy-handedness of the late Queen Mother. She was quite exasperating."


Lady Worcester said, "The Dowager Duchess is quite skilled with a sword even, that is amazingly brazen." 


Lord Ranelagh piped up between bites of apple, "No more brazen then hosting outlawed scientific investigation and discourse in one's house during the Republican experiment of Oliver Cromwell, God rot his soul." His mother was every bit as brazen as the Dowager Duchess, just not in quite so ostentatious a way or in the same circles. 


"Well none of the scientific gentlemen can attempt to oust me from their meetings, for I pretty much started them and fund a good number of those fellows too!" Lady Ranelagh said. She had swanned into Gresham numerous times without even an turn of the eye. To be honest any of them that were not already a friend or acquaintance of her were too frightened of her or of crossing her to even try to speak with her. Richard Jones was not a man who exaggerated his lady mother's prowess.


She was no lady. She was some form of powerful demi-goddess that a very imaginative creator dropped into the body of a viscountess. Every bit more formidable than a regular man. Common or noble.


Which would make him a demi-demi-god of an earl, and he was completely fine with that. 


"Ha! And now you must promise to blow up a watermelon for His Majesty. He would absolutely love it."


"He would," Lady Ranelagh agreed. His Majesty was most assuredly a fully grown man-child. It was why he enjoyed the company of her son. 

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Lady Ranelagh hardly seemed old enough to know much of the Late Queen Mother, though was surely in the same generation, perhaps a tad older, than the King. As such Nicci knew her comments based in experience (even if not on as personal level as so man of England ladies! -  Nicci did not think that Richard Jones was one of CR’s misspent seeds.)

“I mighty approve of the Duke’s sisters induction of breeches into ladies fashion. Have you tried riding in a pair yourself ladies, it is quite liberating.”  She chattered, and in this excluded the would be centre-of-the-world Irish Earl.

She was coming to appreciate the need to do so, starting to understand why his Lady Mother was hard on him.  He really did have a big ego.

“Oh I had heard something about an Invisible College that pre.. ah, pre existed the Royal Society?” Nicolette spoke up on this next and fascinating topic, “Do you mean to say that you set that stage. How marvellous.  I had not heard that was one of the things that Cromwell had banned though. Good grief, how did thinking minds even tolerate that?!”

Of exploding Water mellons, it was colourful enough to interest Richard. “Timing it would be the problem,” Nicolette mused, “there being so many variables: thickness of the melons skin, any weakness within it. It would be a timed blast with an unknown moment for explosion…” even so the thought made her smile. “How large is he royal fruit bowl?”

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"I have at home," Lady Worcester said. Nicci might have guessed that Lisa had not been the first to do so.


"There have been plenty of times in my realm of studies that have necessitated dressing as a man." 


Ranelagh nodded of his mother's statement, "You almost make a better one than uncle." He sniggered. The more 'famous' Boyle, the male scientist, was actually notoriously quiet and almost feminine. His mother wore the breeches in that partnership. 


"The ideas were the problem. Such free exchanges and gatherings were increasingly suspect the longer things went on," the lady said of the gatherings. 


As to watermelons...


"You could easily tell His Majesty there is a surprise of unknown timing that is quite scientific in nature. As one cannot see or measure inside the watermelon, one knows not what is happening but can only guess," Ranelagh said before finishing off his apple. 


"We can put it in the parlour," he added after swallowing.


"Men are truly just overlarge children," Lady Ranelagh said.


Lady Worcester nodded, "Husbands are not always much better." There was always some streak of boyhood in them in one way or another. 



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Breeches, bold ladies and minds that probed into the universes secrets.  While Lisa's mother was not who you'd expect to sport breeches, nor would Nicci have guessed Lady Ranelagh to have disguised a a man for sciences sake either. 

"What a daring age it must have been." Nicci had learned many secrets of the previous generation in recent months, at times she was positively jealous of it, how tame this restoration court seemed in compare!   "Lady Ranelagh, have you ever fancied hosting a reunion? I would die to attend, even if only to serve cheese and pickles to your illustrious guests." she added this last with a grin, while her eyes held an intensity that was not joking one bit.

It's all about timing: Watermellon 

"Then it shall be done." Richard being no stranger to a bit of fun, was quick to figure how to set the stage.  Meanwhile Ladies Worchester and Ranelagh uttered adages, but Nicci could tell they too rather fancied the lark.  With a smile she said to the ladies, "All of us are only as old as we feel."  This prank might have them all laughing with teenager-ish glee. 


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  • 3 weeks later...

Lady Ranelagh nodded at the daring of it. Focusing on sciences when the Puritans had control of the country was a different sort of daring than what was seen in Charles II's court. Doing so as a woman even moreso. 


Not to mention Puritans being in control had not made the streets safer for a lady. Dressing as a man was practicality for the London streets, not to conceal she was a woman from her brother's friends. 


"It was daring to think then," she said. "Thankfully, no more." His Majesty was quite daring about ideas and progress. It was a welcomed change. "His Majesty has freed us from those constraints." 


"It was daring to do anything stimulating then," her son added. "God gaves us minds and ability and passion, yet we should wait for advancements to happen miraculously...given to us through hallucinations and burning bushes." It was hefty blasphemy, even within the Anglican sect to think so, but Ranelagh was not bothered in present company.


"I do frequently have such personages over to discuss such things even now," the lady revealed. "The gatherings at Gresham prove too large for any true exchange. And, as you might expect, most such fellows can be rather introverted and more like to talk freely  in a small gathering. You can be my guest at the next."


Ranelagh raised his brows. That was quite an invitation.

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  • 2 weeks later...

It was no coincidence that she managed to loosen peoples tongues on topics some people might call 'yesterdays news' - she found such talk fascinating, adding to her growing patchwork of knowledge about her adoptive country. 

"His Majesty is a very progressive soul." Nicci agreed, while stowing Lady Ranelagh’s thoughts away for later rumination. "I have wondered some to the influence upon him that way by the Dutch during his exile, they too are... quite liberal thinkers, and I have heard grand things of their universities." 

Another comment she hoped my tease out further interesting knowledge from her present company - plainly (going by what the lady had previously said) his free thinking had not come from his Mother. .  

Richards comment though, was a surprise for it's frankness, though she saw it as anti Cromwell so entirely proper, well almost. "You sound like you might be jealous it was not your hands placing his head on a pike at the city walls!"  the English had don’t that, hadn’t they? "It must have been some celebration when the English King returned."  Nicci’s use of the term 'English King' was as warm, it was practically her pet name for CR. 

"That would be marvellous." It did not take a genius to appreciate the compliment with Lady Ranelagh’s invitation, though the pitch of Richard’s eyebrows served as an exclamation mark of punctuation.  Seldom lost for words, Nicci was now, and clasped her hands together in a repressed moment of sheer joy. "Thank you."   


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"His Majesty has always had a curious and inventive temperament," Lady Worcester said. "My lord husband's father is who got him started on clocks as a boy. He was a very eccentric noble, and a combative man in old age, but he was quite the inventor." Her husband had fallen out with his father over the years of war and exile. 


"He saw the benefit of people pursuing their passions and abilities very early," Lady Ranelagh agreed. 


As to Cromwell, Ranelagh said, "I am unfortunately too young to have participated with any of the number of plots on his life. Some orchestrated by your dear Buckingham, who was bold enough to feign a Rabbi, of all things, to Cromwell's daughter. You should ask him of it. Alas the man died before any of us had the pleasure of watching him disemboweled." 


"There were parties and feasting for days but also much unease in the background. Maneuvering. Trying to recuperate losses. Trying to take estates back from usurpers." It had been a very chaotic time. 


"His Majesty will tell you he was drunk for five solid years at least once he was firmly back on the throne," Ranelagh added, with amusement.


"We don't get quite that drunk at my parties," his mother added, with a wry smile of her own.

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"Isn't it remarkable how such things end up running through families..." Nicci replied, taking a pause for a moment to wonder what natural inclinations she might have gained through her own.  Offering a smile she then said, "I suppose it wont be any surprise to you all that my grandfather was a merchant." and here they were stood in her own hobby-shop.

Ladies Worchester and Ranelagh seemed very close indeed, which made Nicci just a little jealous on account of feeling quite attatched to Mary. Looking at them now, they seemed to share perspectives, and there was something more than that too. 

"I suspect that the way for studious women in England has been made smoother for all that you've both achieved." Nicci mused, "though the task is not done yet, and I would very much like to lend my hand to that work.  Lady Ranelagh, has Lady Worchester mentioned that she and I have a plan to propagate London with plantings upon every corner?  Well perhaps not every corner, yet as a catch phrase I would retain the phrase.  Anyhow, I am now wondering if the task might be embellished further to include education... or is my bias for herblore showing now?"  She hoped to open a discussion, for she would be very pleased to work on a project with both women. 

Shivering of displeasure, Nicci wrinkled her nose of Cromwell, but her mind was caught by his mention of her favourite Duke. "My Buckingham? But that sounds just as daring as I've come to respect of the Duke - really, it might make me wonder if the young men of our age need to be twice as rogue to try make an equal ripple!   Alas, the trouble of living in the shadows of such 'greats'."

"As long as they are not tea total." Nicci did like a tipple or two or three... 


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  • 2 weeks later...

Lady Worcester giggled a bit. "I assure you that I am no revolutionary, dear Nicci!"


If any were in the grouping, it was Ranelagh's mother, who had put both feet in a man's world and won, unequivocally. Even Lady Worcester thought her very daring. She had ditched her husband, ditched her father, and forged her own way with her son. Though she might tease Ranelagh, he was admittedly roguishly intelligent in a way commensurate with the age; let any man tell her that she needed him. 


"My Lady Mother holds that title," said Ranelagh supplied. 


The plans for flowers did set the focus back to Nicci and Lady Worcester. 


Lady Ranelagh leaned on her son's arm, and there seemed to be some feminine scheme in her eyes that Lady Worcester had mentioned at least a little.


"But what if you were to mix some knowledge with the flowers into a game of sorts?" Lady Ranelagh said.


"Or a phrase or riddle using what the flowers symbolize?" the son said.


"Oh egads, no. Nobody is invited who will drink tea!" 


Ranelagh seemed to know or sense that he was in trouble.

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  • 2 weeks later...

“One title that you cannot naturally inherit.” Nicci cheekily returned to Richard… then to the mother asked, “do you ever wish that you’d had girl?”

Words that were only said to get a reaction from the Irish Earl (she tried not to grin of it, but it seemed so very funny.)

But then their plots were afoot, and seemingly rather more plots than even Nicci was aware of.  By the look and tone of Lady Ranelagh, Nicci drew a number of conclusions. First was that this was not the first time she’d heard the subject, and second, that it somehow suited her own machinations.  This later point being the most thrilling.

“All of court loves a game, and surely so does all of London.” Nicci said, mentally she was open to any and all suggestions, especially when it came to her darling charming Ranelagh.

“Yet herbal teas are also beneficial.” She countered.

Edited by Nicolette Vauquelin
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  • 2 weeks later...

Lady Ranelagh looked at her son and then said with good humour, "That would have required entertaining another man as a husband, and one was quite enough."


"I am the better for all the attention," the man joked.


"As to all of London loving a game that is surely true," Lady Ranelagh said to Nicci. "You shall have to come up with the specifics of one."


"Oh yes," Lady Worcester agreed. "You are quite good with games."


"And as the gentleman of our party, what is left for me to do, hmm?" he asked. Then he chuckled and joked, "Pay for it?"


"Darling, you are so generous," Lady Ranelagh cooed in appreciation, even though she knew he had been joking. "Your man does have quite good connections to help facilitate your magnificent gardens, and perhaps you could send some blooms of your own for us to use?"


(O.O I thought I posted this eons ago but it was sitting in the post box)

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OOC: easily done! >.< no worries



"You are like a saturation certainly." Nicci laughed brightly of Ranelagh, briefly sliding in to chemistry terms, "though perhaps if heated up you might absorb a little more."

As much as she enjoyed the ladies company, it was hard to be around her Richard and not... well be quite as doting of him as she might want to be.  She did her best to tease him quite as mercilessly as his mother did, but when the sight of him just made her want to kiss him, or run her fingers through his hair -  well it was difficult.  

Fortunately there was a master _gardening_ plan to work on, to help Nicci focus.  "I wonder if riddles might serve our purpose, mmm, but shall we begin a scaled version as a court function perhaps, to the joy and amusement of peers and families.  We have all heard that there are to be some Equestrian events this season, perhaps we can set up our riddles with plants to match to, at the starting line.  People always want for something to occupy themselves while waiting for a competition to begin. Our game shall be perfect timing."

Meanwhile Ranelagh seemed a bit sulky that paying was all he'd need to do - his Lady Mother noticed this and gave a suggestion. 

"La! that would be wonderful." Nicci seconded, "but are your suppliers especially close guarded secrets... for I would like to meet them if I may."   well really she'd just like to spend more time with Richard if possible. 


Edited by Nicolette Vauquelin
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  • 2 weeks later...

"See, that is an excellent plan," Lady Worcester said.


Ranelagh was very good at being obvious in his own way when it suited his purposes. He could play his lady mother as well as she played him. He had learned his skills from her after all. There had been no man to learn them from in particular. 


"For you, I am sure that I can arrange it," the gentleman promised Nicci with a little smirk. "After Sunday such business will be far easier to pull to fruition. Perhaps Tuesday or Wednesday. I shall have my man bring you a note. Are you still residing with your cousin, Basildon?"

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It would take Nicolette more than a few hours, it might take months or even years (given opportunity) to learn and appreciate the dynamic that existed between mother and son. For her part she was naively delighted at the question he asked.  He knows where I live?!

"Yes I am still there." she grinned, "Until something better comes along."

She thought herself very funny to allude to his very own house over the fence from Chelsea Physic, and with the man himself entirely unaware. For she was 95% sure, no, 100% sure, that he had no idea at all that she had her sights set on marrying him.  Likely he'd just think her to mean an apartment at the palace, or some other marker in her road of many ambitions. 

"Yes, next week then." she smiled at that, drawing in a pleased breath of how well the visit had been going. "Oh and I have some little gift for you each to keep...

Prepared earlier, she had three little bags - inside was: a soothing balm, a fragrance blend and also a pomander.


OOC: thankyou for a lovely thread, seems an apt time to wrap up about now, with a future 'date' set ❤️ 

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