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Lucas Easter Dinner

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Spring was definately on display inside the residence at #2 Picadilly.

Lady Lucas had a good eye and a gentle touch and so far her son had not isued a complaint - not that men as a whole often took notice. She favored pastel colors in her flowers so small arrangements of daffodils and while lilacs were set in the downstairs main rooms with pink and white roses to mingle with the pale green of ivy to add contrast. The wide front windows in the main Salon let in light and help to soften the wood of the furniture. She had brought near to all the pieces from the house in the country for it had beern made to last and she could see no reason to 'buy new' and had added some smaller things bought second hand but still of quality. Being the widow of a Baronet brought little and she had only her widows share yet time and a good head had allowed her to accumulate both possessions and clothing that fooled the eye and created an impression that this widow was doing well.

Even now dressed in a gown of pale lavender with its abundance of cream lace she looked fashionable and well put together. Not that there were any to see it. 

Easter dinner had come again and was so different from the last - St Marks to her own home - and friends as well. She had made the table ready in the small dinning room with its pretty fireplace and mantle. It was set for two. There might have been more .... Lord Mauldon but he was gone from Court and so was Lord Grey she assumed for his face had not been seen and she found herself missing him. Her son John was out and about so much that she hardly saw him yet she had still set a place. The table looked nice with its dark walnut covered by a while linen cloth and the pewter serving dishes and plate set ready for the food.

She would sit presently but for now she wandered a crystal galss filled with wine in one hand until she stood looking out over the garden lost in thought. Had she she wondered expected an invitation from Newcastle was that why she was rather melancholic?

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Alas, John did not appear to dine, not in this house at least.  It was a pity perhaps that she'd not joined him during the Easter services she might have confirmed the families plans - but instead he'd had to keep the company of new friends. Had they spoken (had she spoken to anyone else in the family in fact) she'd have known about the Cavandish Family dinner. 

Later that Night

.... it was many hours later, nearing ten of the Clock, that John barrelled on into the house and threw his cloak on the hook. "Mother, mother?" he called, then asked of a servant, "Has she retired, is she ill? We all missed her at supper." 


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Taken by surprise the poor maid gave a screech and then dropped her candle the clang of the pewter as it hit the wood floors echoing. Some seconds went by until she understood it was no ghost by the son of her Mistress. A shake of a capped head and a finger that pointed up the stars followed by a whispered

"She's in her rooms Sir. Quite well last I saw." And a hastily remembered bob then silence as she stared with eyes round as saucers.


Cordelia paused in her writing at the sound of a raised voice that for a moment sounded like her sons (which she dismissed as he was not prone to shouting his arrivals) and then what sounded much like something being thrown down.

Her eyes went to the enamel clock on her mantle and noted the hour. She doubted it warrented her investigation and if it did someone would come to fetch her. Her attention was quick to return to the spread of parchment that lay in small groups covering the desk top. A few rolled up ones half way to the fire a clear sign that the thrower was not very accurate. Two days until her meeting with Lady Basildon was hardly time enough to fully equip herself with as much information about that Family but she would do her best. Looking thru past correspondences for any tidbit had occupied since her solitary supper - which she had taken in her rooms as the idea of dining in a room set to entertain had lost its appeal.

Sitting back in her chair she sipped the glass of mulled wine thoughtfully. There was nothing really helpful to be found. She didn't want to make open inquiries as that would require explination and until Lady Basildon herself had introduced her ward Cordelia could do nothing. 

"Perhaps I should instead look to my own lists of candidates ..." She mused aloud. "But now there is an over-lap between Newcastle and Basildon yet clearly the former is of more import. Third daughters of an English Duke take precedence over a foreign girl ...."

She ferreted about the papers then took up several sheets and began to read. The fire popped and hissed and from the small iron cauldron that hung neatby the smell of spice and fruit would be the clue for her beverage.

She read aloud as she was want to do giving each name a pause then comment or shake of her head ......

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That was good news. 

"You need take something for your nerves!" John laughed at the maid, and then wandered through to the kitchens.  Having dined on best behavour, he was actually still quite hungry! 

Some while later, with some mutton wedged in a bun in one hand, and candle stick in the other, he retired upstairs to his room, and stopping by his Mothers door (light shining out from under) he called, "we missed you at Dinner mother!" 

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Cordelia had given up and tossed her lists back amongst the pile with the intent to regroup the following day.

Seated now closer to the fire she'd stirred the pot and refilled her glass times three so she was indeed of a mellow nature when he son called out.

"Don't talk thru a closed door John - come inside I won't bite."

She smiled and then wondered at what he had just said.

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The latch turned and door swung inwards; revealing a very smartly dressed John - though cravat now discarded (left absently in the kitchen) - "You should have heard him Mother..." plainly much was on Johns mind after his fine night out, "he's got such vision for the family. And here I thought the Cavandish Clan were already at the top of their game!" 

He moved easily into the room, rose eyebrows as a way of asking permission, before he'd take the spare seat. 


OOC: I am going to liase a little with Henry snr's writer to get the lowdown on the mens goss that John might share with her.  

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Her eyes appraised him from his clothing to his state of manner. But then her attention was caught by the utterance of a single name.

"Cavendish?" she sat up a bit straighter as he took the other chair. "So THAT is where you have been? How did that come about?"

"There was no conversation at Church as far as I know. I did not see you or any - Countess Basildon caught my attention and we exchanged talk then arranged a meeting for Wednesday."

What was gong on? Why had she been left out with such obviousness. 

She took a long sip of her drink then asked him what he meant by what the Duke had said keeping her inner thoughts nicely concealed.

"A vision you say? Do tell."

Edited by Cordelia Lucas
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  • 2 months later...

Claiming a seat John cheerfully replied, "Women stuff no doubt." as in he was hardly interested in what his mother had to talk about with Lady Basildon. 

But he was entirely interested in sharing his own conversations, especially that with the new Duke. "Well he's very much interested in honouring his father, of course. What large shoes to fill is all I can say.  But guess what my idea was, and he's entirely in favour of too, of getting someone to write an article in the London Gazette about the Late Duke.  A tribute really. Or perhaps even a book."

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  • 1 month later...

She knew he would have no interest in whatever she and Lady Basildon had spoke so she brushed that aside. Instead she had to stop herself from reacting to quickly as he spoke of his 'idea' to the Duke.

"Is he? Well tis a sons' Duty to honor his father in all ways so I applaud that. His Grace is well able to fill those shoes - he is a proven Politician after all and a Privy Councillor. You say he was quite taken with your idea?"

"How did that come to you?"

She took another drink keeping her face and tone filled wiuth just the right amount of curiosity. She wanted to get all the information before she acted. 

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"But of course." he agreed the new Duke was capable, "but the Late Duke is a man of legends, while perhaps timing has some to do with that - I mean a civil war is a fine chance to shine, but it was rather more than that I would say. And our New Duke would say that too."

John was very very pleased to have found this as a point of agreement with the Henry.  Cosying up to a Duke was simple good sense for a chap with ambition like he possessed. The Cavandish family was, although distant, still their family too, and kinship like that was something one might leverage. John wished to leave a mark on the world where he lived. 

"It was my own idea Mother." yet again he discovered need to defend himself (though sometimes he wondered if her tone with him was only imagined).

"The Duke raised a toast to his late father, and conversation at the table rolled on from there. There were tales shared that I'd not heard before - and I said 'If there was a book of his life, I'd be first in line to read it."  That was when the Duke said it was a fine idea, that he would sponsor such a cause.  So naturally I said I would make inquiries in Fleet Street to see if I can find a suitable author..."

His tale told, John dropped his voice and asked in a tone more enquiring, "I had half wondered about attempting the task myself. What do you think Mother?" 

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so he wants to toady up to Cavendish and in the process make something for himself. What I wonder happened to that 'other' man he had such hopes to do business with

"I am sorry to have missed such remembrances. Yes the late Duke was indeed a person much admired and to have his Story laid out is, well, a thing worth doing."

"Yet I would caution you John to restrain your enthusiasm. By that I mean you should met with His Grace again in a few days to see if what he wants is really what he wants."

"Things said while drinking are not always .... remembered ... so I would hate to see all your effort go to waste." 

She was careful to stroke his Ego.

"Do not misunderstand me. This will be no easy task and since you asked I shall answer. Best to leave it to someone else."

"What if, in the end, the Duke finds disfavor with it?"

"Would he not then look to put blame on the writer? Not that this would happen mind you but you must be careful."

"I would find it difficult to watch you suffer John."

"I am sure that you must know many so amongst them all is there someone that you think might well be the best to undertake this?" 

She knew it was pointless to say outright that this was a silly idea. He might still lash out if he thought she was patronizing him and so her manner was indeed that of a concerned Mother.

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"That is a fair thought." John replied cheerily, "there was a great deal of liquor flowing, do you know they had a different bottle paired with each course?! Which surely the Duke doesn’t do for every dinner.  Unless, do you think he does?" 

The fantastic show of hospitality had impressed the young man a great deal.  His own upbring had been rather more frugal, though if memory served him, Mother Lucas was partial to a drop of sherry by way of desert.

"But yes, with so much high spirit at the table, it best I check if he was quite serious.  Perhaps by a letter is best. I would not risk being seen as an upstart by expecting a personal audience with him. Yes I can ask via a letter, and his reply might serve like a contract and help with securing a professional writer."

Though he still fancied moving into authorship himself. 

"But one of the benefits might be the opportunity then to interview the various members of the family. To capture their recollections.  Hmm.... well perhaps in fact, two books are needed. I might hire a biograph-ist to write the formal account, while taking on the recording of families memories of the man for myself."

"How could the Duke be affronted by a tale as retold by this or that close family member."  He was upon a cheerful high and full of great ideas. “Mother, if you wish, you might like to help. I would be pleased to note you as co-recorder – and truly I think it would be the finest thing to have such a good excuse to spend time with this and that one of the Ducal family.” 

Yet as Cordelia knew, he'd abandon his hopes if she insisted. She'd told him not to join the military for instance, though he'd gotten very angry about her stance at the time, he was not now wearing a red uniform. 

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She nooded at his understanding.

"That is very smart of you. Yes a letter will be fine. And you should be patient in return - His Grace I am sure is a busy man so a reply might take time."

"As to the other idea .... to be honest I am not sure if that would be favorable by all. I mean what if some have no wish to contribute? There are things unknown between all members in a Family after all."

"As example - a mother might be kind to all her children but one thinks the opposite and so is unfeeling back. But the other siblings have no idea. The same could be said for the late Duke and his children too."

"And the Duke might not like anyone - even kin - to put forth such a tabloid of tales."

"And would that be too much work for you? Even I were to help you would still be doing most everything."

"Can you not begin with this idea for a 'trubute' first - after all the present Duke takes center in that. Then if he finds favor in it you could suggest the second idea."

She had no intention of helping in this but she also wanted peace in her house so if it meant a soft stroke or two she'd do it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

"Well personal anecdotes would not be compulsory." John replied with a relaxed smile (conversing with Mother was far easier when he was half cut, her comments seemed more bemusing than critical!)  "as for time I have quite nothing at all to do with my days mother, I'd have thought you would prefer an enterprise such as, than my spending most days with drinking buddies." 

"But yes, first things first," gesturing the sherry bottle he offered to refill her glass? "- I shall write this letter and see if he was serious."


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She indicated her empty glass waiting till it was full then reaching for it. Sherry mixed with the mulled wine would soon have her growing sleepy!

"Good. I am glad that you are being sensible John. This is a great undertaking and I shall be very Proud to see you win praise from the Duke."

"But you must not over-tire yourself either. Perhaps you might emply an assistant? I am sure there must be someone who is willing to work for some small salary ..... you must not ask for it without payment in return."

"You are a Gentleman after all."

"And time away from those 'friends' might benefit. You must think of your Future - and if you remain in the Duke's good graces who is to say what wonderous things might come of it."

She was in that speaking a truth. She wanted her son to toughen up and begin to take his responsibilities seriously. A Baronet was nothing to laugh at and if one had connections than perhaps a Barony was reachable.

She stiffled a small yawn.

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  • 2 months later...

Had something changed between them, or was it the softening effect of liquor that smoothed things.  John smiled broadly at his mothers praise, "You might not know it, in fact I am pretty sure you don’t, but there is hardly anything I want more than to make you proud of me." said he.

Cordelia suggest he hire a helper.  "Perhaps I could find someone down on Fleet Street - that is where the printer shops are,  dare say there will be clerks for hire, or maybe a board where such men ply their trade, or I could just ask one of the printers if they know of someone." he mused out loud.

"Hmm, but I don’t understand what you mean about paying them - like, who would even offer to do it for free?"  He asked, though he could see she was growing sleepy. 

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"Well that would make the most sense would it not?" This said in response to his suggestion of Fleet Street.

"Well there are those that will work for no coin with the intent of gaining, thru flattery, a closer relationship thus making them ask for money later and even more after that."

"I do not want you to be seen as a mark so you best be wise about whatever you do."

"Do nothing that will dimisnish you in the Duke's eyes. If this is managed well than I can see no reason for you to not be taken up by His Grace in some manner."

"And possibly even a wife might come out of it. Of not in the direct line naturally but there are several very good branches much like ours."

"And John - I shall always be Proud of You. Do not doubt that."

Here another stiffled yawn. She shook her head a bit blinking several times.

"I am suddenly sleepy. I think I must to my bed. We shall talk more on this."

"And you will tell me what you decide to do - do not surprise me please."

She wondered rather muddledly if he would kiss her cheek as he left   ......

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  • 2 months later...

Nor did he want to be taken for a fool with his money. "Perhaps I dress down for a visit to the printers then..." John supposed upon hearing his mother’s advice.

"Discretion." he nodded further, though while saying as much his hopes soared at this opportunity.  He'd lacked for a meaningful task, and this might be just it!   Still he reined in his grin, upon his mother’s account, she was a moderate woman who advised moderate methods - any reckless enthuse needed to be of her sight!

Cordelia stifled a yawn, and murmured words of affection he so much needed to hear.  "Thank you Mother." and then nodding, John bent to place a kiss upon her cheek. "Sweet dreams." about her lingered her favourite perfume a scent that reminded him of his childhood; her ever watchful eye there with a correction and help, oft when he not known he needed it. John was very thankful for Cordelia, even if he had difficulty showing it.

After leaving her to her bedtime routine, John took a bottle to the library and begun combing their shelves for anything Cavandish related... though he too fell asleep not so long after that.  


~ Fin :)


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