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Easter 1678 | Easter Monday (11th 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.

Easter Monday's service was the celebration of The Lords resurrection; so where the prior days had been sombre and serious - there was a decided uplift of mood to be anticipated.  Why even Mrs Burnet's flowers - which had begun to wilt by day three - had been refreshed with new and cheery blooms added overnight.

Dorothea was already sitting in her seat, and was just now revising her prior nights reading; namely in the end of the Book of Mark where Mary Magdalene discovers the empty tomb.  While everyone knew how the story ended, she found it uplifting to imagine it as if the tale was unfurling for the first time.

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At George's side Caroline was doing her best to look devout, however hypocritical that was in reality. It was all about appearances, right? And besides, George expected it and she would not wish to disappoint the man. Of course she fully realized there were people in the pews who well knew that she was an open and quite unrepentant libertine, she just hoped she would not drag down George's reputation. But - on the other hand - Caroline noticed certain faces in the crowd who she had partied with on more than one scandalous celebration. So be it then.

Besides God looking down from on high must be quite used to dealing with hypocrites, there being so many in the human race.

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"I am afraid it is not just Mrs Burnets flowers that are wilting."  Bishop Compton spoke to his younger companion. 

Adrian nodded his head.  "Four days is a long time for persons of His Majesties court, even for His Majesty himself." And Charles Rex was the head of the Church. Looking out into the sparsely populated pews he then commented, "Shall we give them a bit longer to gather"

"Yes. I think so." agreed Henry

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Louis and Lisa arrived with Margetha for the final church service of Easter.  He was wearing a white jacket with a forest green waistcoat.  That would stand out.  It was the celebration of the resurrection after all.

Things were set to become more interesting when court resumed.  He planned to visit a certain French Duke later in the day..  In the meantime he exchanged pleasantries with the assembled crowd that he passed.

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It was a choirboy who's duty was royal lookout, that hurried through the church doors to alert Compton of an imminent arrival...  his reward a nod of thanks, before being directed to take his place amongst his fellows.

It was to the strains of many voices raise in supplication to the Lord that His and Hers Majesties together (which was not always the case for each separately had considerable entourages) arrived and were seated.  Today those entourages were pared down - partly due to various ones having sent the night over after their respective family dinners. 

Attend they DID however, there was no convincing Charles Rex otherwise. 

 

mood music

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The Blounts were running a bit late which was unusual for both made it a practice to be punctual. Their carriage, driven with a little haste pulled up to the Church steps disgorging the tardy Marquess and Marchioness.

 

Charles had no option but to wear the outfit chosen for him by his man which was a coat of blood red broadcloth with bronze floral embroidery along the edges, cuffs and collar with large Scottish broach buttons in bronze set with spinels along the front and cuffs with knee breeches and waistcoat match the coat but with smaller buttons. A white linen steinkirk cravat (which was less formal but much quicker to tie), white fawn leather gloves, white silk stockings with low black leather shoes with silver buckles and red heels completed the outfit which was accessorized  with a small black felt tricorne with black silk tape and an ironwood walking stick with a silver handle in the shape of a seahorse. The Mountjoy’s ‘Church Dwarves’ followed to carry their bibles.

 

The Marquess appeared to be in good sprits happily whispering to the Margravina as they entered and appeared to have every intention of engaging in small talk with the assembled parishioners but the immediate entry of Their Majesties precluded any such socializing so Charles hurried himself and his Ladywife to the front and took seats behind the Queen all nods and smiles to the notables in attendance.

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George Churchill arrived, only too happy to be away from his father's table for Easter.  Hearing his sister complain about her lot in life was tedious and watching his father fawn all over his brother John was maddening. John was the one that always gained the attention and the notice in dispatches, not him.  John slept with Barbara Villiers, even when she was mistress to the King.  Nothing could stop his brother.  He had all of the luck, leaving little of what was left to the rest of the family.

Today he was in the company of John Burgoyne, who had just returned from Oxford and seemed up for distraction.  The two had shared their mutual sorrows over a few mugs of ale.  John's troubles were slight, as far as George could see.  Women trouble was the easiest to rectify.  The best place to do it was in chapel when all the young ladies were on parade wearing their finest and smiling to everyone.

George was wearing a scarlet coat with black cuffs.  John wore blue.  Now that he was the aide to the Earl of Oxford, blue became his adopted color, as well as the color of his melancholy.  "Let's sit in the back so we can rate the ladies from one to five," George urged in a whisper.  John nodded, knowing there would be only one five in his book.

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Darlene was in a quiet mood, after her conversation the day before with Frances Cavandish (but before shed confronted Charles about it.  Under the circumstances she might even have hoped that George would highly rate her, though she was completely unaware of their game.

The music was soothing; it reminded her how her Father had always advised her to hum a hymn when she was upset (which had always happened to this mercurial girl) 

So she softly hummed along with the music, with soft thoughts of her parents, as she realised she missed them just terribly.  

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Mountjoys

Thankfully the service had not actually begun.

Von Bruhl was sat in one of the foremost pews, Ursula spied him soon after she and Charles (breathless from their fast walk from the carriages) entered.  There was room to sit near her fellow German, and she knew Charles was interested to meet him. "That is the man you are to go riding with." she whispered to her husband, while there was a quick exchange and non verbal offer that they might join his pew with a little shuffle (if Charles was assenting).

 

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The Queens young ladies

Dorothea, Agnes and their less-likely friend Elizabeth Lawson, were in a pew together, though as the hymn music begun and the Bishop moved off one way, Reverend Adrian Hamilton moved and motioned that he might join them. 

The groups voices were too low to over hear anything but by appearances he was known to at least two of them  - who were now smiling and assenting.

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In support of Kendishall

Rowland usually sat with the De Courtenays, he had been their long term house guest and was treated for most parts like a brother by them.  He's even attended their family dinner last evening. But it felt different, now that he had an actual estate himself, and newly discovered extended family.  Oddly, now he was a Baron, he felt displaced. 

So it was that on Monday morning that he sought out Caroline - and without his usual jibes thought to sit with her.  "Good morning," He greeted her kindly, and gave a nod to her companion seated on the other side of her (The Earl Chichester). He knew of George, though had never spoken directly, while he imagined he was a mere causal contact of Caroline's. 

 

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The Mountjoys

 

“Ah, I see.” The man looked younger than he imagined and without a monocle or a scar he did not look particularly German. “He seems a nice enough fellow to ride with.” He responded. Charles was in an accommodating mood and readily acceded to the non verbal invitation. He retrieved his and Ursula’s prayer books from the bearers who being Dwarfs kept a low profile and retreated back to the lobby as they took their seats next to the Baron. He nodded in greeting and said “Thank you” but not having been formally introduced precluded him from saying anything more.

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Attired in somber dark green with silver buttons on both his waistcoat and coat the newly made Baron Silverbridge took to the last rows so far unoccupied all the better to sit and lean aganist the inside with one shoulder.

He eyed the long stretch of wood that was the pew with envy thinking how delightful it would be to accomadate himself thusly but that idea was soon gone as an elderly couple entered from the other side. Nods exchanged but thankfully nothing else.

Too much alcohol the night before mixed with little sleep had made him cantankerous and impatient so much so that his sister had refused outright to accompany him to this last of the Easter Services. Left blessedly alone he could not help but hear the conversations about him and if he listened for one voice in padticular well he might be forgiven. Hyms usually eased but he found it far too lound and intrusive but then he caught the words from the two Gentlemen regarding some sort of rating for the Ladies present but did not open his eyes to look. Perhpas if he was lucky he might just drift off .......

Being in the back did have advantages.

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Yet again she was sitting in a church. These constant services were getting on her nerves. But it wasn't like she could outwardly show her feelings and refusing to attend was something that just was not done, there were unwritten rules in court. At least she was in attendance with George which helped ease the boredom. If it made her future husband happy, then fine. She would need to get used to being the dutiful wife.

Suddenly she glanced to her right just in time to see none other than the newly recognized Baron Kendishall slide into the pew next to her. Alone too. He greeted her with a friendly "Good morning."

"Same to you, my lord," Caroline nodded acknowledgement. She immediately wondered if she needed to make introductions or if the two men were familiar enough with each other. She would soon find out.

Edited by Caroline Despanay

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Sophia approaching Darlene

 

After receiving her new puppy, Sophia took it home and introduced it to her cats and monkey. The pup wasn’t frightened, just curious. When Juliet hissed and spit at it, warning it away from her two-week-old kittens, it had jumped back and yelped. Aurora flicked her long orange tail in its face, and climbed up a bedpost to perch on the canopy.

 

Anna offered to mind it while her mistress was at church, which made the young Countess feel a lot better about leaving it at the house. Her maidservant was good with animals and would keep the cats from attacking the puppy and the puppy from attacking the cats. Aurora would most likely not be a problem. The golden lion tamarind would probably remain on the canopy observing the new arrival until she got home.

 

Unfortunately, her pretty yellow dress needed to be cleaned. Sophia took a bath and selected a lacy rose and lavender confection trimmed liberally with pearls. Her hair had to be redone because the puppy had chewed on her curls in the carriage. Most of it was held up with pearl combs while several long curls danged over her shoulder and down her back. She put on a pearl bracelet and earrings, and around he neck she wore a pearl necklace with the cameo pendant Juan had made for her last year. The ivory profile on the cameo was her own.

 

She was in an excellent mood when she entered the church. Almost immediately. She spotted her new friend Darlene sitting by herself and practically skipped over to her. “Good morning, Lady Oakham. Would you like some company during the service?”

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Anne-Elisabeth approaching John Burgoyne and George Churchill

 

Anne-Elisabeth was in dire need of a bath when she returned home after traipsing around in the mud and assisting in the murder investigation. She had not planned on going to church, but decided to attend anyway. After the horrrors she had just experienced, she didn’t really want to be alone. There was a possibility that the killer had been nearby and had seen her. What if he tried to kill her next? She was an expert at kneeing men in the gonads, but that might not stop a murderer.

 

Because she was in a morose mood, she chose a cheerful gown made of orange, turquoise, and bright pink brocade in a floral pattern outlined in golden thread. It was trimmed in gold braid around the low-cut neckline and above the turquoise ruffles at the sleeve and skirt hems. Her stomacher was made of bright pink silk criss-crossed  in a diamond pattern with gold braid.  In the center of each diamond was an turquoise beaded flower.

 

Varying lengths of sparkling multicolored beads were placed around her neck and wrists and beaded combs held her raven hair in a fashionable coiffure adorned with a bright orange fascinator decorated with matching beads and turquoise and pink feathers. Looking into her full-length mirror, she liked what she saw, but her colorful ensemble didn’t lighten her depression, which continued all the way to the chapel.

 

Taking a deep breath, Anne-Elisabeth walked in, spotting several people she knew. Perhaps annoying somebody will lessen my bleak mood. Lady Mountjoy looked like a promising victim. Flattering her intriguing husband should do the trick. Or maybe congratulating Lord Chichester and Lady Kendishall on their betrothal would make her feel less melancholy. She was truly happy for her two friends.

 

Then she spotted John Burgoyne sitting in the back with George Churchill.  Her despondency completely vanished ... as had the former gentleman last season. She had hoped to see him again but he had apparently gone into hiding after Nicci rejected him. Was he over her now? If not, perhaps the attention of another pretty lady would do him good. He had promised her a tour of the tower, and she fully intended to remind him of it.

 

Just not right away. For now, she would simply bring herself to his notice.  “Good morning, gentleman.” Flashing them both a playful smile, she sauntered past them and settled herself in the pew adjacent to theirs.

Edited by Anne-Elisabeth Devereux

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Oakham & Toledo

Darlene knew herself a pariah, her return to court was a hard lot, especially in comparison with the very social life she'd previously led.  This all-of-court set of easter services really brought that fact home; Frances C's friends had been awful, while the cousin herself not much better, and even her beau Charles had been avoiding her. So while it suited her so very little, she'd been sat by herself. 

Until the breath of fresh air Sophia blew in! 

"Oh Lady Toledo." Darlene smiled and whispered to the newly made friend, "I would love company, the day's already been so long and it's not even actually begun.  And look, can you see that lady over there, do you think it's Arabella Churchill? I've not seen her for the longest time, is she any nicer a person now than she used to be? I was wondering if I ought to dare to approach her after the service. Do tell me, are you friends?"  

The viscountess was simply ecstatic to have a companion to gossip with, and the service had not actually begun yet so God probably did not mind. 

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& Baron Kendishall too 

Someone joined them on Caroline’s other side with polite murmurs - leaning forwards George looked to who it was.  He gave a nod and a smile to Rowland, his eyes sliding to Caroline, dark eyebrow raising just a touch. Had she yet told Rowland about them, should  George do the honours now, but it was hardly the stuff to launch into without some sort of preamble, and for the moment he was not actually introduced. 

Leaning back into his seat he mentally tested out the line of conversation 'How do you do. I am Lord Chichester and pleased meet you Lord Kendishall.  Congratulations by the way upon the new title - and by the way I am planning to marry Lady Kendishall.'  But such words definitely did not fall into the realms of prose (that Caroline had said she enjoyed), so George frowned slightly and tried to mentally rearrange the words into some sort of grace before he begun. 

Streuth, the moment is passing!  

So it was slightly rushed as George leant forwards again and said, “Chichester; earl Of – with designs on Lady Caroline.”

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& Baron Kendishall too 

Rowlands eyes flared at that, "Oh." he said, expression surprised if slightly bemused as he looked to Caroline to deny or confirm. 

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Oakham and Toledo

 

Sophia slid into the pew next to Darlene. “The whole weekend has been long. At least this is the last church service we’ll have to attend to for awhile.”

 

Her gaze followed Darlene’s to a lady whom she didn’t recognize, though she knew who she was. If the petite blonde remembered right, she had once been the Duke of York’s mistress. How anyone could sleep with that high and mighty snob, she had no idea. Maybe that was why the lady had been away from court. She needed a break from his holier-than-thou attitude.

 

“I’ve never seen her before,” Sophia admitted, “though I've heard of her. Maybe the last time she attended court was before I arrived. If she 's rude, then she's nothing like her brother, John.  I did a favor for him last season and he was quite polite."

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Lady Lucas had arrived somewhat tardy which made her not her usual cheery self. She took a pew in the back although her first instinct had been to go to wherever the Cavendish Family were seated. No need to attract attention for her lateness.

A small sigh as she bent her head the picture of a devoted Soul.

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Well, apparently they had not yet met Caroline soon realized. George gave his title and then boldly stated his intention. To say the least Caroline was surprised but not displeased, not at all. Ever the bold one, Caroline liked boldness in most others and George was seemingly beginning to do that. Was it her bad influence on him? Well, she could only hope so. Rowland glanced and their eyes met.

"Yes, and even more than designs, my Lord Kendishall. He has proposed and I have accepted," she smiled like the Cheshire Cat.

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& Baron Kendishall too 

The ladies declaration brought a lopsided grin to George's face. If this was a cards game, Caroline had seen his bid and raised it.

"So you see I have snapped Kendishalls finest jewel out from under your nose," he said with a good natured grin, "Though I would ask your belated blessings upon the match, especially as we shall practically become brothers-in-laws.  Though are you actually a cousin - or second cousin perhaps?"

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Oakham and Toledo

Dropping her voice to a whisper Darlene counted off on her fingers, “Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, yes that is five days off from Church, Sweet Jesus be praised.” said with a flare of eyes and a grin.

It was not right to use such a term like that, most especially while sat in church, but so many hours of prayers in one weekend was driving adventuring ladies like Darlene a bit mad.

“Well That is rude in itself. You have been at court months, nearly a year now, and here she’s not even welcomed you yet.”  It was satisfying to see that Arabella as not a very good Anglican, it satisfied Darlene's competitive streak (for she’d welcomed Sophia simply ages ago now!)

Church services were about to begin.  Sitting with Sophia was already proving to be so much better than sitting with Frances. “Lady Toledo, do you want to play a game?” Darlene was about to suggest the very same game she’d scandalised Frances cousins by suggesting. “Choose a lady from the bible, and the winner is the one who gets named during the service the most.”

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Davina

It had been imperative that she change her attire after the encounter with so many puppies and thus her arrival might been seen as 'late' but the Service had not begun so she doubted many would notice.

Her gaze found the Mountjoys as well as "the German' in the same pew near to the front so that was out. Next into view was Chichester with that same Lady in tow sitting beside her with another Gentleman.

hmmm   .....

Curiosity got the better and she slipped into the pew behind them quietly sitting and opening her prayer book.

Ears attuned naturally.

did he just say he was asking for a belated Blessing? what - related? he means to MARRY her?

Up went her dark head and her blue eyes narrowed as she began her inspection of the 'Lady'.

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& Baron Kendishall too 

Rowland was at any time a jovial and carefree fellow, although this recent discovery of a title (and responsibility) and thrown him a six, he was slowly coming to terms. Terms where he realised that it did not necessarily need to change his life much.  He'd treat it like he'd originally thought the news was - a gag by his friends. Nope, he'd not become all serious about it at all, besides a Barony was not that big of a deal. This was not 1215 after all.

But these two he came to sit with were serious indeed.

"Hah, steady on chaps." Rowland huffed a laugh, "I've not even undone my button yet."  

Which he then did. (the button on his jacket, allowing him to relax properly into his seat. 

"Don’t ask me how it works." he answered the lesser question while he came to terms with Caroline’s news. "Second, third, perhaps fourth cousin for all I can understand it. So in any case barely do I discover the relation, than you are joining some other family!" a comment said to Caroline, whom he was guessing was now even less likely to fancy a tumble in the sack with him.  Everyone knew Chichester was a bit of a prig.  He hardly seemed her type (if anyone had thought to ask him). Perhaps she’d reformed.

"So when is the party?"  he asked with a grin, hardly believing that Caroline had changed her spots so quick. There would be a boozy party with shagging and profanity, and more shagging.  Surely!

The service was getting underway, so voices needed to be lowered to utter hush....

 

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The Sermon

Easter Monday was the end of Lent (though not so many of this particular congregation had partook in vigils of prayer and abstinence). Bishop Compton had naturally chosen a focus on the biblical account of The Lords first meal after arising from the dead -  with a reading from the Common Book of Prayer...

"... St. Luke 24.13-35

BEHOLD, two of his disciples went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that while they communed together, and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden, that they should not know him.

And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word, before God and all the people: and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to-day is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; and when they found not his body, they came, saying that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said; but him they saw not.

Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses, and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. And they drew nigh unto the village whither they went; and he made as though he would have gone further: but they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is towards evening, and the day is far spent.

And he went in to tarry with them. And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the Scriptures? And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread."

The Bishop then turned to his own sermon notes. "So here we are Noble families, having likewise broken bread and eaten meat with our cherished ones on Easter Sunday...."

 

MIDPOINT OF SERVICE

The service cannot have been more than an hour in when it was apparent that Her Majesty wished to leave.  There had been murmurs between Their Majesties, but now the King stood and extended his hand.  Naturally the Sermon halted as the queenly extraction took place, with just a few of their closest coterie included in that exit. It was as discreetly done as a royal exit was possible. Her Majesty smiled (reassuringly) to this one and that one as she went, while the King moved with a regally commanding air.

The service then recommenced... amidst a wave of whispers from the gathered bretheren.

 

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George then boasted how he had snatched a jewel in her, a bit of exaggeration in all honesty as Caroline was a realist about herself but she liked how proud and happy he was about this future. Rowland took it all well enough and why not - he had the title and estate, he should be content. He always had been a happy go lucky sort in her estimation - she liked that about him.

"I am not certain what cousin we are either....mayhaps kissing cousins?" she leaned in to whisper. Such words were hardly church like and that's where they were right now.

She hoped George would not take that wrong, he was no fool, he must certainly know of her reputation as a libertine. She could hardly take back now her past and the various men she had slept with. That did not mean she had any plans to jump in bed with Rowland in the future though. To her it was simple. If George turned out to be a good husband to her, she would be a loyal wife. If not, she would play around. She thought that eminently fair.

Rowland grinned and asked "So when is the party?"  Cheeky devil, she knew what kind of parties he meant.

"Party? If you mean the wedding, we have not yet settled on specific details such as that. Rest assured you will be invited," Caroline answered softly.

And then the sermon was about to begin, temporarily at least interrupting their conversation. Caroline settled back for what she dearly hoped would be a short sermon. Though she was not optimistic. After some time, the Queen had to leave. Caroline wondered if she might be under the weather as she, like everyone else, watched the exit. She turned to George and gave an almost imperceptible shrug.

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Oakham and Toledo

 

Sophia didn’t mind Darlene’s irreverent comment. She had never been very pious and considering that she daydreamed about sex through every service, she had no right to complain. Maybe this time, she and her new friend could whisper while the bishop droned on and on about whatever he droned on and on about. She had never really listened.

 

She grinned when Darlene suggested a game. “Why not? We need to do something while the bishop tells us to repent our sins.” The blonde Countess lowered her voice. “Personally, I prefer to sin first and then ask for forgiveness later.”

 

After a moment of thought, she grinned.  "Are you sure you don't want to do something more fun like rate all the gentlemen?"

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