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EASTER 1678 | Saturday Services (9th all day)

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Lady Kingston, her son & then James

All in good time. 

 

Bess knew something was on her sons mind, he was wrestling with some mind-monkey that was troubling him so.  Her first guess (not voiced aloud) was an unwanted pregnancy, but as far as she knew he was not entangled with anyone, that none might lodge that claim upon him - which was almost a tragedy in itself.  While her own love life had been followed by much grief with it, there had been love. She wished love for her boy also.  Or perhaps he needed money?  She'd heard of the trouble with his ships...   

 

But rather than worry of what might not be, she smiled as she entered the chapel, time together was something she always enjoyed.   Francis, ever the good son, then asked who she'd like to talk with... "I hardly mind, although, I've not caught up with the Fieldings in an age now, are they here?" asked she...

 

But any reply was interrupted as a young man was caught by a surprise (having been distracted) and reeled with his book swayed up through the air. 

 

"But yes I can see." the lady commented (being a woman with no small library herself, she easily read the Latin title on the volume he welded). Her eyebrow rose. "Psst, your studiousness is showing." she chuckled, and smiling back to her son she allowed Francis perform the honours (it being apparent that the two were known to each other. 

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Kingstons and James

 

"I do believe I have seen Lord Denbigh this season. He is oft in the company of Lord Ranelagh." 

 

He was looking for said cousins and thus missed the approach, or rather startle, of James.

 

Francis also took in the title of the book and smirked some at his mother's antics. Thinking of books and studiousness made a strange memory pop up into his head, but surely he could not voice that he used to tease Will by saying his epidermis was showing. He had thought an epidermis was something else entirely.

 

"And here I had thought it was perhaps a book of prayer," Francis joked. "Although, I would wager some have thought of exchanging covers..."

 

If one wished to be smote. 

 

"My lady mother, the Viscountess Kingston," Francis introduced. "Master O'Neill, a skilled wordsmith and son of Lord Iveagh. He had the honour of witnessing my first official attendance upon His Majesty. Let us hope he did not memorialize it."

 

He had, of course, told his lady mother after said incident that he realized he needed many more handkerchiefs. 

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Posted (edited)

Kingstons and James

 

“My...studiousness? Is showing?” Evergreen eyes darted like a cat after a particularly fitful mouse, from Francis to his mother to the floor, and finally, in a moment of belated clarity, to his book. “Tacitus,” he muttered, half-growling at the dawning realization. “Oh dear.”

Of all the places where he would reconnect with Francis! And, even more crucially, with all the people whom he possibly could be accompanied by! And here he was, already making a proper ass out of himself.

He really, truly needed to get more sleep. But ancient Celts warred with legionaries when his eyelids closed, his thoughts curled and confined into meter and verse...

“I...” James sighed, steadying himself. “I believe I actually forgot my prayer book,” he confessed, shooting the Viscountess a contrived look of suitable ruefulness. Francis may have been a libertine, and a relation of the most famous one of all England at that, but any half-clever man was once a boy who learned to win over their playmates' mothers. “Unless...hm.”

He casually flicked through the pages of the Agricola, shooting the pair of them a smirk. “No, I don't suppose that I attempted your ruse, Lord Kingston. A pity, truly.” He snapped the book shut with a flourish and tucked it under its arm to bow and take Lady Kingston's hand if offered. “Charmed, my lady. Your son's heroism might make a poorer rhyme than that of my Boudica, but he's nonetheless been crucial in my introduction to court.”

Thus laying on the charm, he glanced around the chapel once more, not aspiring to be a bother as he added, “A sleepy Irishman is truly an irritating intrusion on a holy day, it is, and for that I apologize.” Of course, if the fire in his eyes was to be believed, 'insomniac' may have been a better label – he felt too charged for sleepiness.

Edited by James O`Neill

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George and Caroline with Cadel and Charles

Charles appreciated George’s admiring glances at his ensemble. Being a fashionable man of taste he was sophisticated enough to understand the subtitle allegory of his outfit. The apricot coat and auburn wig was an homage to the pink and browns of the miracle of the loaves and fishes and the green breeches emulated the grass that obviously nourished the ass that carried our Lord Jesus to Jerusalem. The frankincense was a bit trite to be sure but he was all out of myrrh and to be honest the Tudor buttons had no religious allegory but they matched and were a gift to his great grandfather from Queen Elizabeth herself so they did point out the family’s long service to the Crown.  Lord Chichester was kind enough to mention the continental pocketchief having recognized it as the latest fashion from France but such avant-garde statements were apparently not favored by his tailor Mr. Maisonere who by all accounts was a superior craftsman if a bit understated which was not undesirable for an English gentleman.

Introductions soon followed and a flurry of bows and hand kisses were offered. “Enchanté Mademoiselle.”  And “An honor my Lord Athenry.” Was directed to both in turn. “The shortcomings of the French State notwithstanding France as a culture has much to be said for it and one can admire their sophistication and style without undue recriminations.” He opined indicating that although he supported the English position he was not one of those who saw need to demonize their current enemy for Mountjoy was as ardent an Englishman as one could be but did not believe that opposition led inexorably to distain

 Upon the news of the recent marriage he offered Cadel a complement “I give you joy for your recent nuptials Lord Athenry and hope your sojourn in France supplied you with many halcyon days to look back upon as you enjoy the future together with your bride.”

He also spared a smile for Caroline and George thinking that their demeanor may herald yet more halcyon days ahead

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Kingstons and James

The Lady's eyes glinted mirth at the doleful manner of the prayer-book-forgetter - and was won over well and truly (Yes it helped that her son’s friend was somewhat attractive, and articulate too).   

“Delighted, “ She extended her hand for James deference, prettily made, and then smiled back to Francis, “then I am glad it is not a book of ribald in his grasp.”

“But no, please stay.” By complimenting her son, James had gone into her good books, “Yours seems to be one of those cases of misjudgement in perception of oneself, for rather than sleepy you radiate an enlivening energy.” 

“Besides I would enjoy hearing the tale of my Lord Son’s heroic deeds.” She smiled between the young men. 

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George and Caroline with Cadell and Charles

Cadell continued to smile pleasantly as George completed the introductions, making several mental notes; first, he was pleased to have his suspicions about the earl and Caroline confirmed, happy that they both seemed favorable to their match. Secondly, he gave the widowed Baroness a nod and a slightly raised eyebrow when she replied to his courtesy with further French, murmuring a quiet, “Ah bon*?”

Perhaps it was cynical to focus more on observing, but it was a duty of his to be on the lookout for friends to his master abroad. George he already considered a friend and an ally, a man whose support for Toleration was laudable, and the fact that he appeared to be in a courtship with a woman of French descent (who would momentarily be described by Chichester as having an affection for the continent's greatest power) was an intriguing one.

As ever, he would remember the commands of the Second Epistle Peter, and remain vigilant and (at least during the holy season) sober. Of course, the viscount had once promised the same to the Jesuits. Who responded with a fleeing friend, an executed Frenchman, and, oh, a war between my lady wife's countryman and her royal lover.

Galling thoughts, all. But this was Easter, and Cadell was with a friend, whose other companions were not unpleasant. Though, he considered, Apparently I must needs seek the advice of the good earl before adopting the pockerchief.

Partiality to French culture had to make way for the indifferent elegance of the courtier, all the books advised, after all - and Versailles had confirmed said advice for the young viscount.

“You're very kind, Lord Mountjoy,” he replied, after the well-mets and courtesies were finally dispensed with. The marquis gave a well-measured response to French culture, perfectly patriotic, and seemed to be an equally well-placed friend of George's – worth getting to know, in sum, perhaps privately. Another observation went, “To myself, Her Grace, and to England's erstwhile enemy alike.” A light chuckle bubbled up from his throat as he joked, “Between the professed fondness and recent voyages, I fear the four of us may seem quite the conspiracy to any onlookers.”

 

*"Is that so?" Used in a rhetorical manner in French.

Edited by Cadell Mortimer

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Kingstons and James

 

Francis' blue eyes went back and forth between the two, but he said nothing, thus not helping at all. In honesty, O'Neill seemed to be doing well all on his own.

 

"Ah, well, see now you can be more covert, it is the way of many a courtier," Francis advised with a cheeky grin. "Feel free to thieve the idea."

 

At to the compliment, Francis chuckled, "I am very certain it was the least heroic of my life's deeds, but compliments do tend to be currency here."

 

Then, as he should have anticipated, his mother sniffed out the potential for a story. About him. Told by someone else. Of course, she was going to want to hear it.

 

"I am speechless and thus disarmed, for anything I would say is inappropriate to the venue," he said, with a little hint of dramatic groan.

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Kingstons and James

 

There was a somewhat reassuring element to Lady Kingston's seeming approval, and in James' mind -at least, when the temperament shifted as if the moon waxed in his favor- “somewhat” was as good enough of a response as he needed. There was gratification to his efforts, and with Tacitus brushed off for the moment, he breezed right along, glancing at the Villiers cub briefly but paying no heed to his silence.

After all, James O'Neill was a young man almost entirely concerned with gratification, until the humors had their way with him – as they could so reliably be counted on doing.

“The idea might merit thieving, my lord,” James conceded with a smirk of his own. “Although with my apparent luck, I'd end up thieving my way into bringing a primer on manners, or the Book of Common Prayer.” He was not yet at the level of the Merry Gang, who were known for a number of sacrilegious acts, some of which seemed shocking even to the young Irish heir when he'd first heard the rumors. But it hardly seemed appropriate (once again, even to him) to bring up such references around Francis' lady mother.

Even if, he supposed, there was a fifty/fifty chance that she shared blood with Buckingham himself. Had Francis once told him which side his famed cousin was on? The poet had no mind for the personal details of others; a rich internal life full of drama, fantasy, and dreams of fame to rival court's poet laureates was preoccupying enough on its own.

An exhale through his nose belied James' amusement at Kingston's response – truly, the events in question were beyond description! “What's the saying, my lady?” He queried of the man's mother with a mischievous glint in the green of his eyes. “A gentleman never tells?”

Glancing at Francis again, his smile grew momentarily apologetic, but the breeze blew on even as he added hurriedly, “Not like that, I should say. If I might proffer another flattering bribe...” The poet struggled not to grin and laugh at the ridiculousness of the story. “Your son assisted me greatly in providing His Majesty some amusement, and demonstrating my craft for those around him, including the Duke of Buckingham.” An important person to know, for an aspiring artist.

Left unsaid was that Kingston's assistance largely consisted of promoting a bizarre game that ended in an altercation with that boor, Langdon, and picking up the droppings of HRM's beloved spaniels, and that James' own demonstrations were impromptu, hasty, and intellectually demanding. “I endeavor to make good on such demonstration.” He hefted the Agricola once more, as if that explained everything, and asked of Lady Kingston with some sincerity, “Might you be at court permanently, then?”

A performer had to know their audience. Even more than a seeker of gratification on nearly every level, James considered himself a performer par excellence.

 

Edited by James O`Neill

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Kingstons and James

Quote

but compliments do tend to be currency here

When did you become so cynical my dear?  She had not noticed this about her son previously, perhaps it was the effect of hearing Francis in this away from home setting...  Bess found it unusual to hear, however true the comment was it showed Jade. 

She was less concerned with Francis' young friends views, and lightly laughed on cue as James said he'd never kiss and tell. "I did not think it was that sort of tale I was asking for." never the less, she clarified.  Francis groan around this same time reminded her why mothers wee not the preferred company for young men out making names for themselves.   

Still, she was very curious to what flattering Tale might come -- Thus equally disappointed when that tale was so plain.

There was mor to it, she was sure, but neither of them were keen for a full telling.  James even (belatedly) now to change the subject. 

"Permanently is such a dramatic word." Raising an eyebrow towards the poet, she replied vaguely while reading his question as a compliment, "but excuse me now, gentlemen."  With consideration for her son she thought to leave him to catch up more with his fiend without a mothers ears present.  "I think I see the Fieldings..." she added for Francis benefit, before with a nod she gracefully moved on through the throngs. 

She would find Francis again later, for they would sit together of course. 

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"The honor is mine, Lord Mountjoy," Caroline smiled back, quite the wardrobe on the gentleman, "Indeed, there is much about the French to admire."

Ah so it turned out that Lord Athenry here was already taken... well, as in married. Hardly surprising, as he was a handsome fellow. Not that Caroline was looking in that fashion. She was George's woman now.

 "Ah, let me add my congratulations, Lord Athenry," she declared in all sincerity.

After the man spoke for a moment she flashed him a look, "Conspiracy? Surely no one would think so. We are merely joined together on this holy day in simple conversation. Are you always so dramatic? Perhaps the stage might be a suitable calling?"

She liked to tease people but lest he take that too personal, she quickly added, "Pay me no mind, I simply like to joke a bit."

Yet still she could not resist, hopefully George would not be appalled by her boldness, if so he'd better get used to it, "Though in truth if you were on the stage, you have the looks for it, the ladies would heartily approve."

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John Palliser

He was alone for this second day of Worship and was glad for it. His sister had taken a chill and was inclined towards peevishness so he had left her with instructions for her maid to see to any wants.

He was again dressed in somber attire which was basically a change of coat and stockings but he doubted that it would really be counted. He had seen much the previous day and had spent a good part of the night at his desk having to rethink Everything. Back home there was emphasis placed on Religious services for Easter but here, well, it was more a Social outing then true Belief! Both of them had been taken back by the level of gossip and undercutting from clothes to conversations made worse by the fact that they knew next to nothing about any of it. Yet it was also a benefit as it allowed for him to do what was his nature - to observe.

And observe he had. The conversation he had shared with the two Gentleman had been an eye-opening one and further added to fact that he had a rough road ahead of him. But he was not discouraged. He had a Plan.

This week he would spend some time in researching out the Hasting connection - he had inquired of the two gentleman and was told that the current 7th Earl of Huntington was a man called Theophilus Hastings who was married and had a new son. Was Shaftsburys man he had been warned and had somewhat of a reputation for being inconsistant in his Political dealings. John took note but made hardly remarks to it. He would need the Earl to acknowledge the family connection distant that it was if he was to be accepted. He had to present himself at some point he had been told but was unsure as to what that might entail. So better to be as prepared as possible and that meant getting the information he needed and for it to be correct.

He sat now as he had the day before - not slouched or with arm across the pews back - yet with decidely more comfort. It was now familiar and so were those all about. His gaze traveled about resting on several women that caught his eye and he hid a smile. One thing was for certain the delights for his appraisal were bountiful and he was a man after all. He must learn to adapt and so while was uninterupted he allowed his mind to conjure up all manner of things  ....

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And into John’s lap falls ...

 

Susan Herbert sighed as she picked up a couple of flowers that somebody had plucked from an arrangement and left on the table. It wasn’t her job to put them back, but she had nothing better to do while she waited for her family to arrive. She would be sitting with them today.

 

As she was tucking one bloom into place, she looked up at the exact moment that Lord Chichester strode into the chapel. Everything looked a bit brighter, as if he had brought the sunshine in with him. It was fitting, as he had asked to be represented by the sun in the poem she had promised to write for his exhibition. She had received his invitation and was looking forward to revealing her true identity. Would he be pleased when he found out that she was his Swan?

 

Her heart plummeted to the pit of her stomach as she watched him walk up to a pretty young woman and present her with a corsage which he fastened around her wrist. Obviously, he had not been as impressed by her as she had been by him. In fact, he had most likely forgotten all about her and there would be no podium set next to the painting of her alter ego that he had promised to display at his art show. Maybe he had been so distracted by that young woman that he had never even painted it.

 

Why am I so disappointed? We only met once and I was incognito.  Oh, how silly I’ve been! Suddenly she felt the need for some fresh air. Still holding the flower, she turned around and immediately stumbled over her own two feet, landing in the lap of a man (John Palliser) that she had never seen before.

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Anne-Elisabeth wasn’t looking forward to yet another interminable day at church, but at least she could look nice while she was there. Not one to wear somber attire even during religious services, she had chosen a gown of red moire silk sprinkled with golden beads and trimmed with gold braid over a saffron yellow underskirt. Red fabric roses decorated the underskirt at various intervals. Her jewelry was made of rubies and topazes and real crimson roses adorned her hair. Their sweet fragrance wafted around her as she stepped into the chapel.

 

Her eyes scanned the room for the handsome figure of Captain Ernle.  After her conversation with Lord Beverley, she was eager to speak with him again.

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Dressed in a pretty pink iridescent brocade gown liberally embellished with ruffles of white Venetian lace, Sophia stepped into the chapel, her bag of sketching supplies swinging from one hand. She wore a necklace, bracelet, and pair of earrings made of pearls and opals, and those gems adored the combs holding her platinum curls in place.

 

She was hoping to speak to Davina before the service began. The petite Countess had seen her yesterday but had not had the opportunity to speak to her. Would she attend today as well, even though she was Catholic? Maybe the Queen would allow her to sit with Sophia today. It had been quite some time since she had spoken with her friend.

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Mountjoy, Cadell, Caroline & George

George blushed as Mountjoy said that, the wily courtier was teasing of his own particular French interest surely!  Meanwhile, pretty little Caroline was so bold as to agree.

Life had certainly changed now that George was courting! (And he rather liked it)

"Our links with France are so complex as to be practically inseparable." Relied George to Charles, "love, war, they are both passionate topics, and while politics may tug different ways depending upon the season, the relationship remains undeniable, nor would most of us even wish it differently."  It was apt timing for Cadell, married a Frenchwoman, to be present. George gave him a meaningful nod.  "I have been slower than some to get aboard that concept." he continued, tongue getting tangled up with itself as he navigated dual thoughts and words, "I shall certain acquire such a fine kerchief myself!"

Was that the sought after answer Cadell was hoping for?

While Caroline called out the drama of it all.  George smiled to her, warm and indulgent, "But I thought drama was the preferred spice to life at court my lady, particularly for the French?"  he chuckled. 

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And into John’s lap falls ...

The arrival was so unexpected yet followed his thoughts so closley that he could not help what he whispered aloud

"And the Lord moves in mysterious ways ...."  

As one arm held the bundle of feminine delight steady he felt his body respond to the pressure of her presence yet it was but a moment for he was on his feet and setting her with delicate hands back onto her own.

"I must confess that I have never had a prayer answered so quickly afore ...." He smiled down at her his eyes atwinkle. "You are not hurt?"

The question was clinical in its purpose and righlty asked. He kept his manner light for he did not wish for her to become more startled than she must already be. 

"Allow me to introduce myself - John Palliser recent arrival from the Colonies. And whom do I have the pleasure of meeting?"

He took a step or two back giving her space. His Salute was without fault and he would kiss her hand it she offered it.

It was an untruth that those from the Colonies were all Savages. 

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Francis, Mum, & James

 

Francis' eyes flared as James mentioned a gentleman never telling! What might his mother think...especially with their family history! The First Duke was rather defamed for even a rumoured affinity for men. Not that he thought his mother would be scandalized, but he was quite soundly fond of ladies. Exclusively.

 

Thankfully, O'Neill corrected that, causing Francis to exhale.

 

The second expansion definitely illuminated the scenario much more favourably. "You cannot help but do so, and I am sure His Grace and His Majesty will desire a repeat performance, although perhaps a little less impromptu and with their full focus." He chuckled. His mother could not fully appreciate.

 

Francis watched his mother graciously depart with a dip of his head. He then focused his attention back on the returned Irishman.

 

"I think she might find the tale quite amusing, really, but this is hardly the venue."

 

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Darlene & Frances C 

Frances' subtle turning-of-back upon her friends - was not even subtle.  Darlene reached and briefly squeezed the others hand, in gratitude for it.  (A gesture like that did not come along every day!)

“Discretion has never been my strongest suit.” the court beauty replied, accepting the points that Frances had made, “besides, it would probably have been a rather boring game, whoever had chosen Mary would have been bound to win.”

Meanwhile Francis seemed to advise that anything they spoke of would either be over hear, or reported.  This thought brought Darlene to a pause, and she stole a look behind them – to those party pooping people. 

Shoulders rose and fell with a sighed (though not enunciated) ‘oh well’.

"I miss my cousin most of all, we always had such fun adventures together.” So they fell to quiet conversation, Frances also knew the feeling of missing old friends.  “Oh but I heard you shall be married soon, then your life will be made new. I am hoping to be married again soon too, then maybe we shall become best of friends, and invite each other to morning teas.”

“Well my brother James, the Earl Chesterford, attends the Lord only by Proxy vote these days. He is very occupied at Oxford, and my sister is busy with her children. While another brother of mine is serving in the Navy, then the last is in the Church.  I do enjoy their letters very much though, it is a fine way to share the joys of their lives.  Not so often the sorrows though. People rarely tell others of the sad things in letters, don’t you agree.”

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Francis and James, while Mumsy departs

 

James was not such a bad friend as to mean it like that; the poet was (just barely) image-conscious enough to refrain from making jokes about the Italian vice around another man's mother. Which was a shame, really, the implication that Francis perceived would have been much more amusing.

And amusement had been in precious short supply these past few months. Dreary, bleary Ireland had its merits, but few of them were diverting enough when one's father kept them practically under lock and key.

Francis' mother soon took her leave, graciously. “A much better sport than my own mother, she is,” James observed, green eyes following the lady for a moment before snapping back to Kingston. Once again falling on the edge of conscientious, he added quickly, with an apologetic look downward, “I do hope I didn't scare her off.”

Moods like these brought on a confidence that leaned toward the side of bravado, but acceptance and recognition were among James' most powerful cravings. “I felt rather like a court musician among an imperial harem that day,” he recalled, voice dropping quietly as he made a look over his shoulder to the front of the church. Would the Lord strike him down for such remarks? It was passingly close to blasphemy to speak of such, but the vengeful God the priests spoke of had as of yet done little to him.

Or a lot, depending on perspective, a quiet voice on the back of his mind suggested. There was a cheery thought – one that led James to rush onwards to further distraction. “But yes, you're right, of course. Hardly the appropriate venue, or day.”

He bit his lip, brow furrowing somewhat. A free hand ran through his hair idly, the old nervous tic resurfacing. “A pity, truly. I'd hoped London would be more...festive, despite the timing. Hm.” He glanced back at Francis, suddenly smirking, though his voice remained low. “Fancy a wager, my lord?”

 

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Darlene & Frances C 

Appreciative that Lady Oakham had indeed noted her not so subtle pose she accepted the offered gesture with a small smile.

"I am glad then that you are so understanding. And yes you are probably right in that regard."

"Will it? Be made new I mean. I have no idea of how that is so easily assumed."

"My marriage is pure Politics. The Duke my father likes the idea of me being married to Dorset making me a double Countess and the connection it will bring. I barely figured into the equation."

"But that is common and so I must not let it rub."

"You are fortunate indeed Lady Oakham that if you are to remarry then it can be by your choice." She brightened up her tone. "And there must be a Gentleman or two in your thoughts!"

"And does Chesterfield not have a desire to be here in London? What does he do? Has he a wife? Or are you looking out for one?"

"Ah my older brother Lord Ogle is in the Horse Guards. I have three younger sister and soon Margaret will be following me as the Duchess is busy on the hunt to marry her off."

She paused struck by the thought that she was giving up so freely of herself. It must be the effect that Lady Oakham had on her   .....

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The French Cabal

George, Caroline, Cadell and Charles

 

With the introductions concluded Charles fitted each into a box in his organized mind. Of Caroline he knew of the Baroness but not the Baroness herself other that she was French by birth and had married into the English aristocracy and was known to be a bit opinionated. Charles could readily understand the appeal that could have on an prospective husband but at this moment he was not very appreciative at the consequences of an independent woman and wondered if George knew what he might be getting into.

Of the Viscount Athenry he recalled surprisingly little chagrined that he was unable to place his family, a talent he prided himself upon, other than the Viscounty was quite new and the arranged aspect of his marriage. Like himself he had spent time away from Court but in France rather than the Empire. The man did sit in the House of Lords so was of consequence enough to deserve consideration.

The Frenchness of the gathering was wittingly commented upon by Lady Despanay and Mountjoy chuckled along. “The tittle-tattles of Court are always on the lookout for scandal and conspiracies but I fear the drama our mundane foreign entanglements have little chance of sparking their interest. Surely war is afoot but that should not impact the fashion and etiquette of the quality. I myself still receive my regular consignment of shoes from Paris and indeed without some fine brandy or cognac to imbibe by the fire on an evening, is life really worth living?” he then added with a smile “But I must say Madame, that whether you joke or not it is entirely impossible to pay you no mind.”

He gave an understanding look to George but then he was compelled to seek out Ursula and note the company she was choosing to keep. He was about to add some frivolous comment upon the Margravina’s strong personality but then censored himself for a comment such as that could be interpreted as some sort of censure and he would not want to imply any such thing. Fortunately he was rescued by George, bless him, who mentioned the kerchief again.

“Oh I heartedly recommend that you do so My Lord Chirchester, it is just the thing to enhance an ensemble.” He then lowered his voice and leaned forward in mock conspiracy. “In fact I must confess I had a moment of weakness and almost left the kerchief in my carriage but then thought that such a festive and holy occasion as this would be just the occasion for such finery. I have no doubt that if you do appear with such a kerchief it will become the required accoutrement of all fashionable gentlemen.”

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Darlene & Frances C 

“Oh definitely.” Darlene replied, “take it from me, one who has undergone the transformation that marriage gives, that it is a wholly different life you then enter into.”

While Darlene had married for love, she had largely been left alone after as Thomas had gone on about his career – which was the common situation women then found themselves in whatever the relationship was with their respective husbands. 

“You shall keep many enough of the same hobbies, but people consider you quite differently once you are wed.” Darlene blinked at the term ‘double countesss’, what an odd phrase, it had a unpleasant tone to it.  But she forgave Frances for it, likely she’s heard her father rattle it off or some such. Odd though - you did not hear Anne Scott talking of how she was a Double Duchess.  It was a modesty,  that was yet to be learnt by this younger Frances. Perhaps her Mother would correct her before she made the social gauche (it was certainly not Darlene’s role).

The topic shifted now to Darlene’s favorite: herself.  With a bright smile she agreed, “For one so young you are insightful!  I have one gentleman who has his heart terribly set on me, though he is too shy yet to wish for any announcements to be made.  Which is not a new situation, of course, we ladies oft need to encourage gentlemen to their bold declarations!”

“My brother is married to Gracie St John, only child of the Earl of Bollingbroke - your own cousin.” She gently reminded.  Court was quite riddled with connecting marriages, that at times it even seemed that everyone was distantly related to each other.  Dropping her voice to a hush Darlene added, “the Cavandish politics is one of the things that appealed to my brother.

James and the current Duke had seen very much eye to eye – while Darlene was not so sure of any of that.   The late William Cavandish had feared a civil war was looming, and it had frightened Darlene when he’d talked like that.

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George did not seem either taken off guard nor displeased by the boldness of her remarks.  This was a good sign because Caroline doubted she had either the will nor the desire to tone down her opinions when the mood hit her. He mentioned the French court as if she had been there at some point, time to disabuse him of that assumption.

"Oh I would not know for I have never been to Paris let alone Versailles," she explained with a shrug, "I do not think my life has been the worse for it."

Mountjoy then spoke and it was more about fashion than politics, probably a wise thing. He concluded with a compliment of her, how delightful.

"Why thank you for that. It is most insightful of you, shows your intellect is as sharp as your fashion sense is impressive," she laid on a return compliment.

George mentioned the kerchief and Mountjoy threw in a recommendation that Chichester give it a try. Caroline nodded in the affirmative.

"Yes, I like the kerchiefs. I can see them becoming the rage in court. What color is your favorite, Lord Chichester? I may or may not take the opportunity to purchase one for you," she turned to George.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

The Chathams arriving

If he were to be quite honest, Charles would admit that he was heartily sick of Easter's impositions on him. He had struggled through entirely enough faux piety on Friday, thank you, and it seemed deeply cruel to expect him to sit through another of Bishop Compton's interminable sermons. (And he would have to endure a third on Sunday. Were he Catholic surely that would have been penance enough to expunge a year of his sins? Six months at least.) He was even more awake than he had been the previous day, which could only exacerbate matters.

Though doubtless his Grace will see to that for me, as soon as he opens his mouth...

And there is the promise of Juliana, as well.

Both those thoughts, at least, were worth a quick grin before Charles resumed the mask of amenable reserve that was as much a part of his outfit as his clothes. A velvet justacorps in rich lapis blue today, sleeves and cuffs heavy with gold braid, over an ivory waistcoat damasked in gold and breeches of cornflower blue, both of watered silk. A white jabot in Bruges lace, held in place by a plain gold pin, and lapis patch and stockings completed the ensemble.

"Is there anyone you would like to speak to before the service starts?" he asked Mary, playing the role of dutiful stepson. (The thought of how much more than that he was to her now was also worth a grin, but he swallowed the impulse. This was emphatically neither the time nor the place.)

Edited by Charles Audley

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Darlene & Frances C

Frances remained unconvinced.

"So if I am to understand you correctly - you were something else afore marriage then after you changed into how you are now? And how is it any different?"

"I am going from being under my Father's control to that of my husbands and a marriage does not alter that. If you mean that I am in charge of my own household, with servants and retainers then yes, that is indeed different."

"How am I to be viewed then. I do not understand .... Ah you mean because I am now a Countess and there will be those that seek my favor.  She gave a small shrug of one shoulder. "Well I have that now and tis only natural to think it would continue."

Frances wondered just how much Lady Oakham really knew about a married state.  

Glad of the topic change her interest was peeked by the mention of a possible suitor.

"Is he about Court then? Do I know him?"

She looked up and about their immediate area to see if any Gentleman might be watching them.

"Ah. How silly of me. Please forgive my lapse in memory. I have so many things on my mind ..."

She knew her cheeks must be pink and felt foolish at having to be reminded of a family connection.

"Well then that makes us 'cousins' as well Lady Oakham! So you must come to my wedding."

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Francis and James

 

"The ladies in the Villiers family do not tend to be wilting flowers," Francis replied with a chuckle. "Nor in the Legge family, actually, so it is that my lady mother has a double dose." Then he added, "Take caution of that about court, my friend, my female relations are like lionesses." He could not help his bubbles of laughter, "Beware the tall, blue-eyed, blonde-haired ones, O'Neill!"

 

Even the men for that matter. They were all some degree of fierce, mercurial, protective, and vain. His family was not littered with renown duelists like Buckingham and Pembroke for little reason, and he and George would have likely been on that list had they done any of it in England. 

 

"An apt approximation," he replied in appreciation for the comparison to a harem. "His Majesty seems to inspire such things, and my master does take great pleasure in the company of ladies," he said, quietly. Then added, "And not always just for pleasure. So...it is a good skill to have to be able to claim a role in that play."

 

As to festivities, Francis replied, "Well, it shall be in a few days. His Majesty doesn't suffer such periods well, and the days following are sure to be buzzing."

 

"Of course!"

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Darlene & Frances 

“How might I explain… perhaps to say that very little is expected from a maid, but following marriage that certainly changes.  I do not mean the duties of running a household either, I have no doubt that you have been raised prepared to run a home, or assist your future Mother in law if that is the case - as it was for me. No, it is the dictations from one’s husband.  My late husband for instance, gave me quite a list of things I might never do, even persons I was not allowed to befriend, and certainly who’s company I could no longer keep.

She would never forget that lecture Thomas had given her (and she'd railed against it almost non stop!)

“But perhaps your marriage shall be different? I shall pray for you, that it is.”

Of her own beau, the tone of the conversation had Darlene a little less eager.  But Charles would not be like Thomas was, would he?  (She’d not known Thomas would be like that until it was too late)

“Yes you probably do know him, but it would be wrong of me to say tell you his name, for he is set upon a guessing game.  He wants to test our friends, to see who is the first to guess of our love.”

Darlene valued Charles much too much to break the promise made.

“But I would love to come to your wedding!” she was delighted to have been invited, “just as certainly you shall be invited to mine.”    

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The Frencherchief Debate (Caroline, Cadell, George, Charles)

 

Caroline responded with a jest of her own, then Mountjoy with some polished flattery; even in reply, Cadell felt more of an observer. “As was I, my lady,” he explained with a self-deprecating smile. “Although I've made a valiant effort to understand the principles of theater, I confess my dramatics to be conceived entirely on accident.” She had a bold tongue, George's prospective wife, and the comment on his own attractiveness brought him to cast a look to George, as if to say I don't know.

Nonetheless, Mountjoy kept the conversation going, and Cadell nodded sharply at his assertion that Caroline was hard to ignore, remarking “I have of late stocked my cellar with the latest out of la maison Augier.” The marquis would have found himself on the receiving end of an approving look; over the past year, cognac had been a boon companion to the Welshman in Paris. “So it seems we're in mutual approval on a number of subjects, then, my lord.” Meaning, in turn, tastes in French culture and the courting couple before them.

“Although, I would contend that while political concerns should not impact sartorial sense, nor cultural tastes as a whole, it would perhaps make for a better world if the exchange of taste could impact politics.” Ever the student, even titled and at court, the viscount could not help but philosophize a bit, and bely his humanistic worldview at that. “Fostering a spirit of cooperation...”

“Mm.” His left (and therefore cane-free) hand gestured vaguely, his drifting set aside in the face of courtesy as he admitted, “A weighty subject for the venue, perhaps too much so. Certainly not as important as pockerchiefs.” Which he would certainly be wearing as soon as was humanly possible. “Particularly when it comes to our Chichester's estimations of them.”

 

 

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On 7/21/2020 at 7:24 PM, Nicolette Vauquelin said:

Nicolette & Beverly

Nicolette smiled more fully at his surprise - he was an adorable fellow for just how often life seemed to catch him off guard!  Though she was not so silly to mistake that for a foolishness: he was prodigee of Cumberland and had married terribly well. That sort of thing does not happen by a (surprising) accident.  "Well then looks are not deceiving," she crooned as they exchanged air kisses.  

 "Lord Ulcombe shall it be?" it was the first time she had heard that title, "a word sounds so like your English 'welcome', it cannot hardly be a coincidence I think!" 

"Tell me have your tried divine if it is girl or by, by the old wives tests I mean - like how a ring swings?" Nicolette quizzed, while she noticed a rather silly look on Beverley's face (indicating that was something else going on his mind than this).  Though even if he had asked that question, she'd have avoided any reply, not that she even guessed at it.  For by it all she discovered was her rather usual response when before him; that of an urge to kiss him quite properly!  

Showing exquisitely french flirtatiousness she instead said, "You shall be a fine father, of either, I would guess.  I cannot imagine a nicer spot to sit than on your knee." 

 

"Yes, erm, not very melodious is it? But such is tradition for the eldest son of the eldest son in my family. It is one of my lord father's baronies."

 

As to divining the sex, Beverley shook his head. "I think I do not wish to tempt fate by such things, but I would rather simply believe it will be a son. It is very important." By now most all close to him (and probably a good portion of court as his lord father was on the Privy Council), knew that Beverley was the last male of his lineage. If he did not produce a son, he would be the last Brooke. 

 

He beamed at the compliment. "I do hope to be, for there are few things more important than one's family and name." He blinked of her comment about his knee, but he did not wholly see the flirtatiousness of it. Instead, it merely seemed a strange compliment or a bizarre measure of good fatherhood. Ladies, though, rarely made sense to him entirely, and he was good enough at evading anything feminine that he was better not to ask about. Clarification oft did not help either! "And thank you."

 

"I heard that Lord Worcester is hosting Lord Basildon's family, yourself included, over Easter Sunday. My lady wife and I will likely be by later in the evening, but much depends upon how she feels."

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John and Susan

 

Susan was so startled and embarrassed that she didn’t hear what the gentleman whispered, as she was concentrating more on the way her body tingled with his arm around her. The pleasant sensation was familiar but she had not experienced it on this scale. I’ve never been on a man’s lap before. This is much different than having my hand kissed.

 

He quickly stood up and set her back on her feet.  She took an instinctive step back. He was quite tall and handsome in an understated and dignified way. His clothes were not the most fashionable she had ever seen, but who cared when he had such a fine athletic figure? He was the kind of gentleman who would look good even in rags. And his smile … the tingling increased, spreading throughout her small form. “You were praying for a lady to fall into your lap?” she asked, that infectious grin inspiring one of her own. The pragmatic young lady figured he was just teasing her but was curious as to what he would say. “I am fine, though I can’t say the same for my pride.”

 

As she had never seen him before, Susan was not surprised that he was new to court. And from the colonies? How intriguing. “I’m delighted to meet you, my lord.” she said, holding up her hand for him to kiss. She wanted to feel those little tingles again.  Though he had not said he had a title, she didn't want to insult him in case he did. “I’m Lady Susan Herbert.

 

“I’ve never met anyone from the colonies before. What is it is like there? I’ve never believed those rumors that the natives are all cannibals. I think somebody made that tale up to scare people.”

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