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EASTER 1678 | Easter Sunday (10th all day)

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The Royal Chapel

Close by to the Banqueting House exists the Royal Chapel.

Seven broad stone steps lead up to the old building; grand arched double doors are wide open. Within, great vaulted wooden ceilings capture a great volume of air above the congregation - high above heavenly depictions look lovingly upon the mahogany pews. Candles flicker in sconces, the building itself is not overly well lit - behind the altar stained glass windows filter the light in a brilliance of colours.

 

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Another day, another day of sitting in the chapel 

As George arrived he looked about for his almost fiancée? Was Caroline here yet... 

Today he did sport the exuberantly lacy handkerchief - though rued the thought that others might think he now did so in homage to Mountjoy. But hey, there were worse people in this world to mimic!  And besides, was it not part of his master plan this season, to somehow move his way into the Queens household. 

 

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It was Sunday, at last it was a day when it was normal to go to church... afterwards there would be family dinners for some, and for others quiet occupations to absorb in.  Darlene had plenty of the latter. She had a number of needleworks on the go. She had a pile of books she was reading. She had at least 3 letters she needed to reply to. And an engagement party still to plan (so she would be all ready after Charles actually proposed).

Arriving in gales of pink linen and tulle, with red rosettes peppered over her bodice (than matched her court slippers though who even could see those), her hair piled up high on her head and sporting any number of red roses tucked into that do, with single dark ringlet falling down over one shoulder.  Her eyes looked busily about.  Where is Charles?! 

He did not know it yet, but she was planning to arrive for the family dinner.  It would be the first of many they would share! 

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The Royals Arrive

 

There was then the arrivals of many lords and ladies including the Duke Ormonde who was speaking to Lord Denbigh, the new Lord Fosbury and his family in the company of his step-son the Duke of Somerset, who was talking about sea-captaining with Captain Sir John Ernle, his acquired sibling. The accompanying ladies were in whispering conference. The Earl of Pembroke and Montgomery made a pretty entrance with his wife, his mother, and his sister in a wave of blond hair, blue eyes, and creamy cherub-like skin. Prince Rupert and his common law wife arrived with his friend Lord Gerard and Gerard's sons, along with fellow German Von Bruhl. Peg looked bored out of her mind, which suggested the topic of conversation amongst the military men. 

 

Finally, there was a quiet before the King and Queen made their appearance. His Majesty arrived looking quite bright and jovial with the Queen by his side, greeting this person and that between all the required obeisances (which really just made everything take all the longer!). Their amble down to the front was very slow, considering the Queen's size! They were followed by their varied entourages; a few of the King's accompaniment were quite bleary-eyed especially near the youthful and comparably well-rested ladies of the Queen. A close look behind the wrinkles of a wide smile and thus creased eyes might reveal that the King had a few bags under his eyes as well. 

 

Lord Ranelagh had a generous appearance of stubble as he ambled as prettily as he could in the company of Buckingham and Kingston. The Duke's eyes had looked to have gotten little sleep for days, if one paid attention the last few mornings, but it did not seem to impact his buoyancy in the company of the King. 

 

Captain Herbert followed them with John Ashburnham, walking rather slowly for being in the company of John's great-uncle the Major-General, whose old body did not do justice to the active mind. Master May was with them, speaking of some financial matter to the ancient Cofferer of the Household. 

 

Once all were seated, the service for Easter began. Part of the day's sermon was conducted by His Majesty's personal chaplain Dr. Sprat, whose oration was (predictably considering the King's temperament) far more poetic and entertaining than many others in the service of God. 

 

Finally the ceremony was over, leaving time for some mingling before many would return home to family dinners and devotions. There was yet time for those without close family ties at court to attempt to cajole an invitation from a close friend or distant relation, or to guilt one out of a patron, or to arrange one's own little dinner with friends. 

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Francis arrives with the King*

 

Lord Kingston did not seem particularly tired, but his eyes looked far more tired than they usually did. The last few days, for him, had been something of a constant blur of activity and revelations. There was a burden on him to then reveal said revelations to others, and it was an extremely awkward position for many reasons. He had spoken to his lady mother the day before, and today he would need to find time to speak of it with the Duke, if not also the King. It was not particularly a subject he enjoyed to begin with; like many Villiers, he avoided difficult emotions until they came out in a great whirlwind. 

 

Speaking of his birth the first time had been the most difficult and uncomfortable encounter of his life, and he had been through many ordeals that would have made people shit and piss themselves. Now, he was stuck in the position of needing to bring the subject back up, as both His Majesty and His Grace had given their blessing upon acting on the proper evidence if found**. This letter from his father to his mother changed things; even he understood that with his limited knowledge of such thing both spiritually and legally. Ultimately, what happened now was not particularly up to him but many others. The truth of it was that he would likely have to speak of such a sensitive issue to more than just people who had already accepted it as true and right, at this point, like the King and the Duke. Or even York, who had professed that they take care of their own**, which was quite a sentiment from the dour prince.

 

He took up a seat with Buckingham on one side and the King in front of them and proceeded to imagine what he might say and what they might say, then what certain others might say that he might need to confide in too.

 

(OOC - *Saturday into Sunday is Francis' usual rotation. **that's all pretty much word for word from what Fluff modded way back ;) )

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The Mountjoys arrive on the heels of the Royal party.

 

The life of a successful courtier required subtlety and an ability to mold a situation as adventitiously as possible to ones own ambitions. Mountjoy was able enough to play the social and political game and thus timed their arrival to be distinct from the Royal party, thus underpinning the notion of a unified couple yet also to emphasize their closeness to the font of privilege.

 

For the service Charles had chosen to wear a frock coat of of bistre velvet brocade with bronze metallic lace along the seams, cuffs and pocket flaps and round gold buttons in a nebuly pattern (taken from the Blount coat of arms), a fawn waistcoat of devoré velvet in a floral pattern with more bronze embroidery and silk breeches, also in fawn, were worn with white silk stockings and brown cordovan leather court shoes with gold buckles and dark red heels. Accompanying the outfit was a cravat of ecru lace that was tied elaborately and held in place by a gold pin set with a large topaz. Modestly so as not to outshine his wife he eschewed the magnificence of a pocket kerchief relying instead on a handkerchief stuffed into his left sleeve in the old style. A full periwig, intricately curled in cascading ringlets of golden blond and a brown beaver felt tricorn cocked with silk ribbons in burnt umber crowned the outfit. He grasped fawn skin gloves and a bamboo walking stick furled with a celestial dragon in gold in his left hand, his right was occupied in escorting his ladywife. Hanging by a chain from his waistcoat buttonhole was a gold and enamel pomander from which wafted the scent of bergamot and cloves. Behind them, dressed in Blount livery of black and yellow were two identical twin midgets carrying the Mountjoy’s prayer books.

 

Outwardly serene as befitting the occasion Charles was nonetheless strained as the tension between the two had still not had the opportunity to dissipate. Normally he would have enjoyed this time with Ursula to share any intimate or amusing details of the latest happenings in convivial conversation with his wife but with the unabridged chasm between the two he confined himself with snippets and platitudes about the weather instead of the more significant subject of pocketkerchiefs. A normally calm person who prided himself on being fastidiously polite he had lately found himself beset by flaring emotions and had several times peevishly snapped at his servants. He could also tell that the situation was also wearing upon Ursula and that he had not been able to relieve her anxiety which was an even harder burden to carry. As they slowly walked down the aisle he nodded here and there at acquaintances exuding the very picture of a devoted husband which although strained was not false.

 

Lord Chichester, as fashionable and well turned out as ever, received a nod in greeting Charles noting that he was sporting a dandy kerchief and that he was alone and wondering if he would be presently joined by Caroline. Darlene Hamilton was also noted and with the nod was also offered an appreciable smile for the advice she had given him, advice that let him see that regardless of any temporary or perceived difficulties between him and Ursula their love and devotion to each other could conquer all. He was so thankful of her selfless advice that at the end of this entire affair he might be so bold as to buy her a clock.

 

As they took their place behind the Queen, whose place was beside the King, it put them alongside the Duke of Buckingham whose place was behind the King and thus beside Lord Kingston whose place was, somewhat inexplicably, beside the Duke. Since his return Mountjoy had had an interesting relationship feeling a wary attraction for the young Lord as a result of his obvious affability and his seeming impromptu encroachment into the Queen’s sphere. Mountjoy had never been very close to Buckingham, eschewing his libertine ways, even though they shared a family connection, His great great grandmother being the great aunt of the current Duke. A brief acknowledgement was offered by Charles although the setting prevented more than a few whispered words of greeting.

 

Having taken their seats and possession of their prayer book from their diminutive carriers an unexpected complication arose, that of what to do with the little people now that their task was completed. As they could not stay and incommode the other worshipers Mountjoy indicated that they should retire to the vestibule during the service and re enter to carry the prayer books back out. Mountjoy was perfectly willing to carry Ursula’s prayer book but it never occurred to him that he had an option to carry his own as well.   

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The Mountjoys

Ursula was a wreck of nerves, the ribbon still had not turned up - and by this stage she knew it had been stolen. If she ever found the culprit, they would be flayed, and she did not care one whit if that practise was no longer in fashion! 

Worser still, Charles had given her 'that look' any number of times - on the way here, then during, and now after service. Lesser informed persons might think it an admiring fascination with her person, but she knew he wondered why she was not wearing his gift.  Guilt and sorrow completely spoiled her pleasure of attending Church with him. There were times when she even rued not taking the suggestion of getting a counterfeit made - who's idea had that been again? But Charles would have seen through it, he was no fool. 

It was a very serious Ursula who sat next to Charles, in her mind she rehearsed how to break the news to him, all while fearing that she would ignite his temper once more. She never wished to see that side of her Lord Husband again!

The end of service came all too quickly.

She extended her hand for his gentlemanly assistance to arise, while considering claiming a Queen related excuse to depart his company.  

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More of the Mountjoys

 

Bolstered by his conversation with the Queen the previous day and the advice given him by Lady Oakham Charles had been confident in his plan to whisk Ursula away after the Easter service to discuss everything in a calm and collected manner and put all their problems behind them. But Charles was no fool. Every time he looked at Ursula she looked away uncomfortable and guilt ridden. Had his company become so odious to her that she could not look him in the eye? His resolve began to crumble with every rebuff and doubt began to grow.

He hardly paid any attention to the sermon he was so preoccupied trying to fathom his wife’s motives and work out a way to prevent her from ridding herself of this company. The intonements ‘Died for our sins…Rose in everlasting glory… go forth and sin no more’ wafted into his tortured thoughts and with a murmur of amen’s the service was over and the congregation began to move about and mingle. Coming back into the present he had found that he had taken Ursula’s hand to help her rise. Times previous just the touch of her hand would be enough to summon bliss and now he had found he had taken her hand in a rote gentlemanly manner devoid of pleasure or feeling. It was this realization that loosing his nerve and delaying the confrontation of their rift would only make matters worse. For good or ill they must come to sort of terms that would alleviate these stresses.

Relieving her of her prayer book he was determined to cross the Rubicon as it were if he could mix up the Roman Emperors. “Ahem… Her Majesty has generously made arrangements with some of her other Ladies to attend to her for the rest of the day so that we may enjoy Easter dinner together at Saxony House.” He said in as inviting manner as he could manage. Having committed he wished to brook no delay and, although he did not force Ursula, he did retain possession of her hand and guiding her out to where their carriage waited politely acknowledging those that warranted consideration but not stopping to mingle or converse.

The ride to Saxony House was not a long one especially as the streets were devoid of their usual traffic but it seemed to take an age as the journey was filled with awkward pauses and stilted replies until they came into St James Square.*

 

(*OOC: I have received permission from Hope to assume Ursula will accompany Charles and the dialogue will resume in a continuation thread.)

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The Gowrans showing solidarity 
“I don’t remember the streets being this bumpy,” Diana mumbled to Gowran.  She’d been out late the night prior and was still suffering the after effects of having had too many drinks.  Resting her head against his shoulder with her eyes closed, it was her equivalent to begging for five more minutes of sleep.  Her husband might not have cared on wit for politics but that hardly meant that she didn’t and showing up and being seen was part of playing the political game. 

As the coach rolled to a stop, she was forced to sit and pinch a bit of color into her cheeks before she stole a glance over at her husband in the moments before the livery opened the door and allowed them to exit.  Her gaze was already scanning over the growing crowd, taking her husband’s arm.    Blinking at the sight of the twin midgets in the vestibule as they entered, she leaned her head in to discreetly ask John, “There are two midgets over there, correct?  I’m not seeing double, am I?”  The countess lifting her grey eyes up suspiciously to her husband.  That would never be a question she’d have to ask if this had been mass.  
 

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The Gowrans 

The Earl was not in much better state – having been out at a drinking chums house the evening prior, catching up on developments ie demolishing a bottle of ‘uisce beatha’*.  He toughed it out however, and did not admit the jolts of carriage hurt his already sore head. 

Thankfully they could look forward resting their eyes a few hours, even if needing to keep sitting upright, a pretences of being attentive.  It had been Dianna’s idea to attend the Easter Service, ‘to see and be seen’ - while he’d thought to protest, but sometimes it was easier to just go along with these whims of hers. She owed him one by it.

And besides, it made him smile a little to see her girlish excitement.  “He wanted a matched set I suppose.” Gowran had seen Blounts face before, but couldn’t put a name to it, but plainly enough the man was one of those showy and ostentatious sorts.  “And before you ask, no, you cant have a pair also.” Thankfully he fell into a pew…

Some hours later

When the final hym was sung, and final amen uttered, it was a brighter eyed Earl who got to his feet. “There, that was not so bad.” He hush-voiced to Diana, “shall we get out of here, hm?”

He’d have been perfectly happy to leave without nary a how to you do to anyone, even his own family! 

 

 

* trans. Water of Life – aka Irish Whiskey

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Davina - Meeting Family

Another obligatory attendance. Another round of Sermons and Homilies. Sitting looking oh so pious but lost in private thoughts she came back to the present to find that things had finished! With quiet smiles and nods to those about she made ready to leave,. Her brother was here somewhere - no doubt with Norfolk if they attended and he needed to make a presence anyway with his own wedding to be settled soon. Honestly she did not dislike Catherine but there was not much in common either. Baintree had said with every confidence that he was sure in time they would be a close as true sisters. She had held back the laugh and simply agreed for it was easier and she was over tired of their arguments. Peace and Harmony for a while and she had actually Prayed for that!

Leaving the pew she ambled towards the doors and from the corner of one eye she spied a face not a seen in a Season. Walking quielty she came upon them saying softly

"I had not thought to see you here cousin - you are well then? The wilds of Ireland were kind?"

She smiled and gave a nice curtsey to them both for they were an Earl and a Countess. As her gaze assessed the couple. 

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The Chathams

Charles had reached the point where even melodramatic complaining did not suffice to lighten his mood. He was thoroughly done with this seemingly endless parade of Easter services. The indulgences of the night before, enjoyable though they had undeniably been, now seemed something of a tactical error, for lack of sleep worsened his temper and the contrast with his current predicament made the situation seem all the more bleak.

At least Sprat can orate.

Charles gave a huff. That was true. He was not quite sure what he would do if he had to sit through much more of Compton's sermons but it was likely to he drastic.

But we are in the home straight now, and then we can make up for lost time.

"Done at last," he murmured to Mary as they rose to leave. "Home now, I think."

Spitefully, he resolved to wring as much sinful enjoyment out of his Easter dinner as humanly possible.

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Davina and the Gowrans

Diana’s lips curled in amusement at her husband’s comment, a spark of puckishness flaring momentarily as she glanced up at him.  Disguising a laugh by coughing softly into her gloved hand, she looked away from him, “Of course, darling.”  It’d serve her husband right, if she found out if she could rent the pair for a couple of hours.  Just long enough to give her dear, Irish husband a few grey hairs.  She didn’t actually want them, but it was a bit like he’d dropped the gauntlet by telling her ‘no’.  

Smiling to herself, the countess settled into the pew next to her husband and pretended to be studying her prayer book. She might have nodded off if it hadn’t been for the incessant sound of the sermon. John, however, seemed to have no problem dozing right off but then when he was tired he never did.  Occasionally, she’d jostle her husband in the rib lightly to keep him from drifting into too deep of a slumber but otherwise let him be.  

A dozen yawns and several hours later…

Hymns were sung and Amens said, she nudged her husband awake. He looked almost bright-eyed and bushy tailed after his nap.  How was it possible for him to rest through that entire service and look as if he’d just climbed out of bed after sleeping half the day? It was mildly annoying.  Sliding him an unamused look as he uttered that it wasn’t so bad.  Of course, it wasn’t he’d slept through the entire thing.  

“Oh!  But darling, you said it wasn’t so bad… I’m so glad you think so because we aren’t quite finished yet,” She murmured back in the same tone as she interlaced her arm with his prepared to make the rounds even if he dug his heels in.  If she was going to owe him for dragging him along, she was going to make the most out of it.  Lifting her eyebrows up at him, it was a clear message of, ‘Really? You thought this was going to be that simple?’

Looking back in front of her, she caught herself just in time to keep from bumping into her cousin, Davina Wellsley.  

“Look who it is!”  She prodded a reaction from her husband, smirking as she wondered if he remembered her from their wedding or not, considering he’d been a bit ‘foxed’ for the whole ordeal.  Giving him a moment to answer or squirm, or by some miracle recall.  She pulled her cousin in for an air kiss on the cheek, “I just sent a note around this morning to tell you we were back.”  A soft chuckle bubbled out and her eyebrows came up as she looked upwards in mocking distaste.  “The wilds of Ireland were as kind as they ever are… it’s the natives… The natives you have to watch.”  She slid a teasing smile to her native husband, and nudged him gently, “I jest.  Ireland is beautiful if a bit remote, but the hunting is excellent when the weather holds.”

“How is Her Majesty?  And you, too?” Diana inquired first after the queen and then her cousin out of polite precedence.  It wasn’t the right time to bring up the miffed Duchess from Isabel’s letters, so she stayed on track.  “Your position seems to agree with you,” she smiled pleasantly at Davina.  

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Davina and The Gowrans

She returned the greeting smiling.

"And I have replied as well! What timing we have!"

"You are far stronger than I cousin - I can not imagine how it must be for you there." Aware of the Earl Davina was quick to add "Yet with such Company I am sure many difficulties are over-come."

She offered him a smile hoping that he would take her remarks as teasing. He had the look on a man experiencing the night before so if he was a bit irratible in his remarks she would forgive it.

"The Queen? Most excellently well so we are daily informed. Her confinement is a few months yet and as for me, I am well but quite at lose ends."

"There is hardly anything on our side naturally and the few times we have gone to the other side is countable on one hand. Not many Ambassadors are arriving so the Maaids are not needed."

"But I shall save the rest for when we meet. Are you in Whitehall or your residence?"

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Davina and the Gowrans

The Earl loosed a sigh, deep down he'd known it would not be that easy - but a chap had to try, luck of the irish and all that.   His bright eyed and bushy tailed wife was meanwhile all exuberant, and very quick to find a companion. One of her cousins, she had many. "Oh yay." he could not keep the wry out of his voice... and then Davina was upon them. 

He smiled, gave a nod of greeting, and then they launched into their girl talk...

John's eyes glazed and he imagined a perfect world where women liked to talk about hunting, distilleries, or darts.   

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Davina and the Gowrans

“Timing, indeed!”  Diana chuckled despite the throbbing in her own head, “I’d hoped I’d run into you today,  I am dying to hear about what has been going on around here from you.”  In truth, she wanted to know all about the miffed Duchess’ matchmaking.  

With a dramatic roll of her eyes, she smiled at her cousin, “Please, don’t inflate his ego any more than necessary…”  Slanting a sideways look at her husband.  He was a pretty little bauble, wasn’t he?  He’d been a stroke of good fortune for her.  He might notice a small spark in her gaze before she looked back at her cousin and sighed, “I am glad to be returned to England though… It was missed much.”

The conversation drifted to the Queen and Diana nodded her head as she listened to words about confinement and hesitantly slid a glance at her husband.  Children hadn’t been something the two of them had discussed… He needed them, she knew that, But… She caught herself from drifting down that path of thought and turned her smile back to her cousin.

“Of course,” She murmured politely, nodding her head again to Davina.  At the question as to where they were staying she smiled, “No, no.  We are in our residence on Piccadilly.  I’ve grown rather fond of the house.”  Although, I might like the estate more if my John’s mother would leave my furniture alone and stop having the servants move it where she thought it’d be best.  She sighed and gave John a discreet squeeze of her hand on his arm to awake him from wherever his mind had drifted to say his farewells to Davina, “But I won’t hold you up any longer, we must get together very soon…”
 

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Davina and the Gowrans

"Well I think you look splendid and so there must be something there that agreed with you!"

She chuckled back her eyes appraising the Earl a bit closer then added

"I think he will have no trouble holding his own and you are by his side after all."

"Well I am glad for this encounter and yes I too must fly - I am not sure if I have a Duty or not. Send me a reply when you read my note!"

She offered them a curtsey and with a smile and a wave continued on her way.

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Davina departs the Gowrans

Ok, there was another topic he enjoyed, one to add to that list: Himself. 

The ladies hit on that topic drawing his attention back to him, and Davina received a cheeky smile.  "No do please go on." he countered his wife’s admonishment. 

It was a bit of amusement really, a conversational aside - while (thankfully) Diana did not beg a full accounting of the gossip offered by Davina, but took a rain check as it were. Hmm?  His eyebrow rose as his Lady Wife clipped the exchange with her cousin surprisingly short. What was that about I wonder?   

"Good speed Mistress Wellesley." he bade the brunette farewell with a smile, and then glanced around.  His seconds-earlier, briefly held question, having completely vanished from his mind.  He did however notice a new face, a chap with an eyepatch was not common at the merry court, and with him an attractive blonde.

 

The Chathams

“You shouldn’t have yawned quite so much Charles.” Mary Chatham, Countess,  belatedly scolded her step-son, who’d barely seemed to even tried to look pious during service.

They made a pretty pair, she believed, she was decked out in a range of shades of yellow (from marigold to daffodil) a sunny contrast to his preferred dark attire.  She was out to attract looks of course, like any widow at court. And it was then that she sensed a 'look', the tiny hairs on her neck tingled, and turning she flashed a perfect smile.

It was another couple, the gent also dark and lady also fair.  “Ooh Charles, who are they?” said in a tone of a woman considering begging an introduction.  “Lets meet them, unless, you are reserving me entirely for yourself?” teasingly said.   

 

Chathams & Gowrans, perchance to meet?

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OOC: note - to avoid a knot, lets carry on Gowrans and Chathams seperately, they can always meet at some other time

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The Gowrans

There was a slight rolling of her eyes as her husband preened like some sort of peacock under Davina's comments.  She allowed it of it, he was the most handsome of his family and even by court standards quite a delicious catch.  

She watched Davina walk away and turned to glance at John, only to find him admiring a... pretty blonde. She probably shouldn't have been half as amused as she was; besides she couldn't resist poking the bear just a little.  With an arch of her eyebrows, she baited him quietly, "Already admiring the scenery, are we?"  

Edited by Diana Butler

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Sophia approaching Ellen Doolittle

 

Finally, the service was over! Sophia placed her sketching supplies back in her bag, stood up, and stretched. She had paid no attention at all to the sermon, concentrating on her drawing and trying to think of all the things she needed to speak to Esteban about after dinner. Her stomach felt a bit queasy, but that was probably more due to the uncertainty of how her husband would react to spending a fair amount of money to produce his play rather than the morning sickness that still occasionally plagued her.

 

As she walked toward the door, she saw Ellen Doolittle and approached her with a genuine smile. “Mistress Doolittle, how is your father doing? I have been praying for his swift recovery.”

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The Chathams 

Charles grinned, entirely unapologetic, as Mary chided him.

"I have not slept particularly well these past few days," he offered, the wicked twinkle in his eye entirely belying the faux-contrition in his voice.

It was a struggle to keep that eye disciplined, as it had been all service, and he felt a wave of resentment for the strictures of society that kept him from paying her the entirely natural admiration that was her due. Perhaps it was that which prompted his response to her teasing.

"And what if I do desire to reserve you all for myself, for today at least?" Charles asked in a soft whisper. "The idea is very tempting."

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Ellen with Sophia Joining

By rights she had no business attending if one went by Social Norms - her father was but a Baronet and not a Peer - but this was Gods House after all and she doubted HE would mind.

She had spent much of the past few months within her own Company. Her father had been struck down and all thought he was done but them he had recovered, which she was glad for, then Life tilted and she was taken to task. Honestly when it was apparent to all that her father would perish she had thoght many things and as there was no son being the eldest the running of the Business should fall to her. She knew it and had the confidence as well. She was no stranger to the Docks and the varried multitudes that called it home.

But she had been too naive in her thinking. Others were eager and some without guilt to speak openly of being the new owner and had eyed her with undisguised lust. She had turned to a Gentleman she had thought would be receptive but he had turned traitor and betrayed her ideas back to the now recovered parent. Thus she was regulated back to that of possession - for that she was. Bound to her father until she wed then to a husband.

She had come here on purpose. Dressed much as all the other women were. Fabrics and trims and other such things were not a problem for she had a wharehouse in which to brouse and nothing had ever been denied her. And she had always taken care of her person and was not unacctractive despite what rumor would say otherwise. She was not really paying much attention to those around her as leave takeing was underway and so when a vocie called her out she looked up in surprise then stood to offer a small curtsey.

"Lady Toledo."

"He is much recovered. A Miracle so it is said."

She had never expected to encounter this Lady HERE! Married to the Spanish Ambassador had she not converted and so must attend in some private Chapel of her husbands now?

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Sophia and Ellen

 

Sophia was secretly pleased that Ellen curtsied to her. She no longer bore any ill will towards her, but she had not forgotten how they had clashed when she had lived with the Doolittle family and felt that deference was her due. In only one year, she had risen from the daughter of an Earl to a Baroness and now to a Countess. Maybe if she gave Juan a son, Esteban would be promoted to Duke.

 

Her smile broadened. “I am so glad to hear that he’s well again. I know that I wasn’t a model ward when I lived with you, but I do appreciate him taking me in at my lord father’s request and putting up with my mischief. He could have thrown me out and it would not have been appropriate for me to live with Lord Kingston.

 

“Please tell him that I’m thankful that he has made a full recovery.”

 

Sophia took a step closer. “And how have you been, Mistress Doolittle?  I love that gown. You must have a fabulous dressmaker.”

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Sophia and Ellen

"I shall indeed pass along your good wishes." She did not reply to the others' admission of not being the best ward. Why bother. "He will be pleased at your thoughtfulness." 

Ellen held her ground and did not take a step back defeating the intent of Lady Toledo - if that was what it was - to intimidate. Water under the bridge was all well and good and she herself had let all that nonesense go yet there still lurked the feeling of distrust. It was unfounded but it remained.

"I? Well enough."

She smiled a little then quietly continued on.

"I am fortunate in that my Father has the resources and yes I am indeed blessed with a dressmaker who is skilled and can create from the designs I draw."

"It seems this Season brighter colors are in Favor so no doubt soon flowers will spring up everywhere."

"And how are you Lady Toledo? I hope your Recess went well."

"You look very healthy."

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The Chathams

He’d not slept well - and what was that he meant by the look?  “You should have told me, I have just the tonic for you; a shot of whiskey scalded with a red hot poker will usually do the trick.”  Mary's lips pursed in a smile.  

When she was interested in some new arrivals, Charles acted more interested in her.  Well that was an interesting reply.  “But I think I might like to have them to lunch, why look at him, he looks particularly famished. There is something admirable about a man with a strong apetite.” An eyebrow rose as she tested Charles response.

Charles, her stepson, was a marvellous plaything, and she continued to tell herself she was not at all serious about him (and he was not jealous over her surely). 

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The Gowrans

“What? Ah yes… do you think an eye patch would suit me?” John was quick to recover from being briefly caught out (claiming he’d been checking out the Gent rather than the Lady!) 

Dipping his head he murmured into his wife’s ear, “I know you like a little danger my dear, a growl here and there can make you purr so sweetly.”

Which was not an apt topic for this location.  But fortunately the long services were over, and hed not be averse to a hand job on the way home in the carriage, to tide him over. 

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Posted (edited)

The Gowrans

Sliding an amused glance at her husband, Diana was a lot of things but insecure was not one of them. Did she look like she was born yesterday?  Her gaze shifted back to the couple (Chathams)  for a few seconds and then back to John, it was highly unlikely her husband was considering an eyepatch.  Although… She reconsidered for a moment.  On second thought…  She recalled a certain incident with him missing an eyebrow so it was after all entirely possible he was considering what fun things could be done with an eyepatch.

“You don’t think it’d make you look like a pirate?”  She replied simply as he dipped his head and murmured in her ear.  The corner of her lips quirked just a tiny bit.  She did like danger, there was something utterly erotic about being told to ‘Stand and Deliver’ as she clutched at her pearls around her neck.  Maybe she’d indulge John and tell him about her fantasy one night.

Cocking her head, she looked up at him a roguish sparkle in her eyes as she quietly murmured back just for his ears, “Personally, life’s too short to be wasted on men who need a map to find buried treasure.”
 

Edited by Diana Butler

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The Gowrans

"Mistaking me?  Have you ever heard of an Irish Pirate!" was his (quietly) laughed reply, his accent alone made it sound impossible.  Still the talk of it was fun, most especially after such a dull day – so that as they waited their turn to exit the doors the Earl was amused enough drop his hand to dare try pinch his wife’s rump.

Confound the many layers of fabric that thwarted the attempt.

“I agree with you on that.” He was muttering now, Diana did have a knack for winding him up. And what was keeping these damn people still! Craning his head he saw some old biddy chatting leisurely to the priest at the door.

They were in a church jam. 

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The Chathams

"I shall try it," Charles murmured, smiling back at Mary, eye still shining, "you have helped me to restful nights before, and I am fond of whiskey."

That was a little on the nose, perhaps, but he was feeling mischievous.

That same sense of mischief had him laugh softly in the face of Mary's raised eyebrow. He was not by nature a jealous creature, but he did not mind playing at it.

Not when she makes it so much fun.

"This admiration for a man's appetite is new, given how often you have chided me for mine," he said, pointedly not looking at the man. "What has changed, I wonder? In any case, it would be deeply unkind of us to surprise the cook with two new guests at such short notice. No, it shall have to be just you and I today."

He grinned widely, the image of gleefully unrepentant wickedness.

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