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A moment to themselves | Beverley & Mary after Sunday dinner

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The St Leger family followed a multi-coursed shedule; potato and leek soup to start, then the fish course was steamed perch on wilted spinach. Mary stifled a yawn - it had been a big day. The main course was hashed chickens with turnips and quinces.  Tasty fare, to be sure, but Mary was feeling quite sleepy of it indeed.  Queen pudding was planned for desert, but even as the plates from the main cleared away, Lady Brooke made a motion to her husband and then spoke to her son. 

"Dear Mary needs her rest more than cake and berries, perhaps assist her to her rooms. I shall send a note to the Worchester’s, I am sure they shall understand, and you might plan to dine with them exclusively next Sunday perhaps, hmm?"

Mary felt a tad embarrassed to have her wariness noted and brought to everyone at the tables attention, but was thankful of the care.  "Why thank you my Lady Mother, I would agree the very prospect of a carriage ride for a second dinner is exacerbating my tiredness. A quiet night would be much appreciated."  

When Mary had first met Beverly's mother, she'd thought the woman seemed quite self-focused. But recently she'd learnt that was not the case at all.

Turning in her chair, Mary held her hand ready for Bev's assistance, a small smile for the man.      

Relief of getting off of a long night of socialising and food, she felt a little revived even (though Mary was careful not to look brightened up in front of the in-laws.)  

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Beverley was not the largest eater himself, although he ate far more at home than he did elsewhere. He was not perceptive enough of a man, or a husband, to notice his wife's tiring of the long day. He did not, however, miss the exchange between his parents. 

 

Up went his eyebrow when his lady mother suggested that he retreat with Mary and end the evening early. It meant that he could not just escape a trip to Lord Worcester for drinks and an overnight stay, but also any lengthy nighttime prayers from staying at home. His surprise was almost so much that he nearly verbalized a confirmation that he was, indeed, free of evening prayer on Easter Sunday, but then he thought better of even asking. Instead, he eagerly took a swallow of his drink, stood, and held a hand out to his lady wife.

 

"Of course, I am sure next Sunday will be just as pleasing to the Worcesters." Then he said to his wife, "Then a quiet night here you shall have."

 

His soft brown eyes turned to his father for his leave, offering a smile and, "I shall come back down later for your blessing, Papa." Hopefully, he could escape prayers and find his father in his study where he usually was later in the evening. 

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It was yet another indication of how great was the excitement of babe growing within belly - Beverley had likely noticed many other small concessions towards Mary.  The looming birth would be the most important day to this family since his own birthdate (some near 3 decades ago).

Lord Brooke, who also had not noticed Mary's tiredness, then frowned at her as he properly inspected.  She looked a little pink of cheeks, not near so worn out as his wife asserted, but women were better at assessing these things.  "Good night and god bless." he farewelled them, with a nod to his sons mindfulness. 

The Earls goodnight wish was echoed by Margret and Anne and two of her three sons (the two eldest now old enough to be present at the grownups table, while the youngest had tantrumed at being excluded, had then been rewarded by being sent to bed early)

 

Mary's hand was soft on his as they moved out of the dining room and into the foyer, "I am sorry to separate you from the family." said Mary.  Ahead of them there was the sound of small feet running up the stairs.

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Beverley snorted, "I have spent a lifetime with them! I assure you it is no great trouble, my dear." He gave her a reassuring smile and squeezed her hand.

 

"You and the baby are the most important, after all." He could grow used to such preferential treatment. Perhaps he should have insisted on a wife far earlier in his life!

 

He was about to say something else when he heard feet scurrying up the many stairs ahead of them. "I think someone was spying," he said conspiratorially to his wife. "Rory, I heard you already..." he then added, loud enough for the culprit to hear him.

 

(OOC - I'll have to hunt down the other two names for the older ones. The youngest I remember bc we've used him more. The eldest boy is a wee baron....Doneraile I think. I'll have to check.)

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Mary muted a pleased smile.  Her husband was not one of those men who faked a compliment at every turn, almost the opposite in fact, she'd seen him take pains to speak truth - which made a statement such as what he said right now all the more rewarding.  

"I am so grateful of the family's consideration, but most of all for your own, Beverley." she spoke his name softly.  While theirs had not been a love match, first fondness was maturing into something far stronger.  There had not been a moment that she'd second thoughts of their pairing (though the months they had been holed up in cramped quarters at the palace had been a challenge!) 

Footsteps

She grinned, eyes sparkling towards Beverley as she added, "you are not reporting to the French I hope?" 

Young Rory was fortunate it was his Uncle, though his little heart was racing still as he’d turned to look and give a tentative/apologetic smile at the tease. But his New Aunt thought it was serious (even at his young age Rory knew such needed to be refuted quick smart) his his eyes flared and he called back, "I am not a spy actually!"   The youngster stood in night clothes frowned at Mary seriously. 

 

 

OOC: ah yes I remember it's Doneralie :) 

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Beverley might have puffed out his chest some. He truly did wish his lady wife to feel welcomed by his family's care. There was not much time to react to that, for instead he had to tend to potential spies.

 

How apropos it all was in actuality. Spies. Spies. Everywhere. 

 

At least this little plotter was not so very nefarious.

 

"No? Not a French spy or not a spy?" Beverley asked, with a chuckle. "For what do you call sneaking about the house when you are supposed to be abed? I daresay you were not sitting on the steps but listening at the door." He raised a brow, joking, mostly, "And if you are to be a spy, I should hope you are smart enough to be my spy."

 

And what would the boy say to that? Somewhere in the back of his mind he wondered what his father would say to that!

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Rory stepped forwards  "Do you have spies Uncle?" the lad's eyes flared as his view of Beverley shifted, Beverley of formerly bouncing knee and bedtime stories, to now some rather more exiting (& possibly swashbuckling) variant! 

A look to aunt had the boy confirming "but I am neither sort of spy actually, or at least not yet." his attention quickly returning to Beverley, "would you like me to be your spy Uncle?  I'd probably be very good at it, I don’t think anyone heard me listening outside the dining hall, and I heard everything everybody said - even the bit where they said there was Queen Pudding for desert.  And I got none of that." 

"You won’t tell Mama will you Lady Beverley?" the boy looked back to his new Aunt.  Being raised almost exclusively by his Mother, Rory tended to default to women as the law keepers - while his Uncle was just fun. 

“Well I do not know Rory; but now that you are entering the world of court intrigue, it would make a poor start if you were impeached before you even begun.” Mary chuckled…

Little Rory blinked and looked to Uncle, not really knowing what that had meant. If he was off the hook or not?  

 

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"It is best to assume all courtiers have some form of spy. Do you not think so?" he asked the boy. "I serve a prince. We have all sorts of spies." He allowed his brows to rise at this grandiose play-acting. Although, it was very true. 

 

And, ironically enough, he did have boy-spies of his own! Which now that he thought of that, this entire conversation seemed far too serious to be having with his nephew! At least at that age. 

 

"I do not wish you to spy on your lord grandfather," Beverley replied, swiftly. "Queen Puddings or not. Disobeying Grandpapa is likely to earn you nothing other than a birching." And Beverley would know. Brooke had learned from Beverley what happened when you were too indulgent! 

 

He laughed at his wife's joke. "It means nothing shall be said on the first offense, in this house..." Then he added, "...but real spies lose their lives for being caught" He made a slicing movement with his finger across his neck. 

 

"And if you were listening, you would know that we left prior to the pudding, so perhaps you will yet find yourself with some when it is served. You would have found yourself with none and a sore backside if Grandpapa caught you out of your room. You are lucky Lady Beverley is so kind and that you're my favorite nephew."

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Like a sponge Rory drank in every word Beverly said, though you’d be pressed to find a sponge that was as expressive as his little face was.  “Well that would explain how Mama always knows when we’ve been sneaking cookies from the kitchen.” 

The telling off also met with a sincere response. Dropping his head the lad murmured, “I am sorry my Lord Uncle, I know I owe Grandpapa everything I am and have,” did that phrase sound rather familiar to Beverly’s own youth?   

Poor Rory turned a shade paler at the throat cutting gesture!   ”… if I must, I will confess everything to him. But please, can it wait till the morning, till I find out if they saved me any queen pudding for me?”

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Beverley could not help but give a soft snicker of amusement about Annie knowing when they were sneaking treats from the kitchen. He had to bite the inside of his lip for the next bit, for it rather sounded like a trip through his own memories. He cast a look at Mary and squeezed her hand. How cute Rory suddenly seemed. He was the well-behaved one. 

 

"Yes, you must behave for you would not wish Grandpapa to have stingy feelings over your future, for he could make many opportunities for you." As could Beverley, which made him feel rather puffed up in that moment. 

 

"It can wait until morning," Beverley replied. "But I shall make certain that you have told him, so you had best not forget."

 

Then he added in a quiet voice, "I do hope they saved you some."

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Mary had fallen silent as their exchange continued, her hand upon her belly as she mused it might one day be their own son that Beverly soft but firmly kept in check. That thought made her feel even warmer than she usually did these days (incubating a child seemed to have raised her temperature!), and she gave her husbands hand a soft squeeze of support... a squeeze that slid into a closer hold of his arm.  

As the relieved (albeit temporarily, for he'd have fits of nerves come tomorrow morning and his report to grandpa!) Rory, gushed a thanks with a bow before being excused - Mary called a 'sweet dreams and god bless!" after the boy. 

It was in a heartfelt tone that she then murmured to Beverly. "You shall make a very fine Father, My Lord Husband.  Would it be strange for me to admit that I feel ever so proud of you. How you handled our little spy so very well?" 

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Beverley blinked and looked at his pretty lady wife as she complimented him. 

 

"Do you truly think so?" he pretty much blurted out, without his usual formal conversation skills. "Erm, and no, I do not think it strange for a wife to be proud of her husband, or the reverse." He then smiled at the use of 'little spy.'

 

"Our little spy is much easier to handle for still loving things like riding up with his uncle on a horse. Things that can be easily taken away," Beverley said. "His eldest brother, on the other hand..." The wee baron that was Rory's brother had once had the audacity to say he was a proper lord and Beverley was not because he was still *just* an heir. The boy was not even ten! Needless to say, the elder one saw far more birchings than the younger two. He was an abject shit. With a mouth. Not even Beverley at his worst had been that brazen at that age! "The elder one is far too impressed with himself."

 

"But I am proud of you too, as well," he said. "Not just as my wife, either, but with Her Majesty too, which is more important."

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"I definitely do." earnest-faced, Mary replied. "Did you notice how Rory both confided and repented to  you. While certainly that has something to do with being well raised, it also has much to do with you, My Lord Husband." her voice softened further and she added, "In you, we might place our complete trust."  

Beverly mused it was not strange, nor for the reverse - which was a clue to her that he felt something similar perhaps. Or at least she hoped so.

"... is very trying." with a chuckle she completed his hanging sentence (rather more politely than Beverly would have said it!)  "He is one to continually test his mother, I wonder if the passing of his father at such a young age explains that at all.  Perhaps his acting too big for his breeches is an effort to fill his fathers shoes. Please pardon the mixed metaphors." Mary gave a nervous laugh, for really it was not her place to even comment on his family. She, so newly a part of it. 

The dim of the hallway concealed her happy blush at his praise, though her hand squeezed warmly upon his.  "While I might argue that with you, in private, for I consider my role as your wife is extremely important.  Oh but now that you mention, you must have wondered what had happened to myself and Agnes after the bible evening. I had wanted to return to you swiftly." 

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"If only my own father thought that were true," Beverley replied. "You are, of course, right," he added, with a bit of a silly grin, "And I am happy that you feel it is so. This life shall be what we make of it, after all, important fathers aside." 

 

They could both claim a very old lineage that had meandered through many sovereigns who had ended other illustrious houses, and they were not the first time a Somerset and a Saint-Leger had married either. All that did not truly matter, for families were what they were, but it was they two that would make something of it and they two who had to make a life together. Thus far it seemed they both had a good esteem of the other!

 

Beverley took no notice of her commenting on his eldest nephew, for she was part of their family now too. She could comment as she wished in their privacy. Instead, he nodded along with everything she said.

 

"I am not sure there is any selflessness in it or need to be more of a man of the house, but rather a firm desire to play his own tune and be important for the sake of being important." Beverley chuckled, "Because he's a lord, woo-wee." He gave an appropriate hand gesture to this, of course. "Of some insignificant barony."

 

Beverley was quite snobby of his breeding (and Mary's). Everyone had country cousins, even rich ones, to whom it was sometimes advantageous to marry daughters, and Beverley had always resented his father's choice of his sister's marriage. 

 

"Well, one can say many a thing in private one should not say elsewhere," Beverley whispered with a playful smile at his drama.

 

"Oh, yes, I did wish to hear of that! And never fear keeping me waiting in such instances, that is the advantage of having a room here if we do not wish to make the trip down Pall Mall. It is not as if I was forced to stand about anyway." 

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She nodded at his comment on his own father, and added, "I am still a little scared of him, I would hate to ever displease him.”

“ ‘Our lives shall be what we make of it’-  that is a fine way to think.  I for one enjoy it when we get to have some time together like this, I would hope our futures have many quiet moments.” They arrived to her door, she opened and moved though it, fingertips slipping lightly from his – with a content knowledge he would follow.  Taking a relaxing breath she visibly lightened in the privacy of her own room. 

“Ouch.” She grinned at the ‘insignificant  barony’ that Beverly verbally grumbled over (she knew he’d never say it in presence of the child in question).  “You must touch wood now Beverly, for fear that our own child might have the nature of the upstart more than the innocent. We ought not tempt fate!”  

Lowering voice she whispered “It seems like a sound spanking might do him a world of good. It would be a tragedy if he grew up with a poor attitude.”

“And we must.” Mary agreed with Beverly’s saying they might speak freely when in private. “everyone needs someone to confide in.” 

That said this pair were in the early stages of such a relationship, Mary still (subconsciously) testing out how much of the bared-her Beverly had time for.  “it was far too dramatic I thought, Lady Mountjoy made too much fuss, it felt like she drew everyone’s attention to it by drawing us aside later on.”

It was in fact common for the younger ladies in the Queens household to secretly complain Ursula’s iron rule!

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"As do I. It is all well and good to deal with military minded gentlemen all day and wily conversation at court by night, but it is very exhausting and not very authentic."

 

Beverley was not one who had many he would count as friends, who he could speak to in such a personal way, without any fears of what they wanted from him. He had his go of being raucous at university and had been soundly taken advantage of for his coin too. Well, he understood that afterward at least. It had colored his candor ever since, and as he was not the most skilled socializer at court, he had not made many friends. 

 

"Yes, that was quite vicious of me, but...erm...it is a bit cathartic...to let those feelings out, as silly as they are. He is sometimes a little beast, and saying so to you keeps me from letting anything beastly out at him." Beverley would rather scold than be mean to a small boy, and his father had never modeled being mean or nasty. To many, Brooke likely had the patience of a saint.

 

"I knew what it was about, but, erm, it might be a bit prophetic to think everyone else did as well. I find many fail to notice things, and they were not the sharpest bunch in some ways." Clearly some had attended to be on the good side of the Queen.  He then grinned boyishly and said, "I am quite curious to know what she said privately to the poor lady, dramatic or not!" He laughed a bit. "Dramatic might be preferable, because it's likely funnier. Only given that it was not directed at you." 

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"Yes the minding of p's and q's, for fear of accidentally offending someone - even if that someone deserves some come uppance." Mary grinned, it might have been the perfect time for a wink, but winks were something she'd yet to master. "Lady Somerset for instance."

"Lucy and I used to be fine friends until she got married. I thought that perhaps when I was wed too we'd be fast friends again, but she still is so la-di-da of being a Duchess. But look at the sickly fellow she has as a husband, I rather doubt he is even capable of vigor in the bedroom!" while between she and her husband there was certainly no such problem.  "There that is my catharsis."

To the bible evening, or rather what happened at it's ending.

"She did not even try to be subtle, I think the act of withdrawing was part of poor Agnes punishment." Mary empathised with a her newer companion, young Lady St John was a recent addition to the household. 

"It was a long scolding of how she was in barbaric Scotland any more, and that there was none in attendance that thought her choice of quotation witty..." Mary drew a sigh to add an admission, "I am sorry but some of the rebuke fell upon my shoulders for I had been charged to mind after Agnes as she settles.  I had not thought to check on her bible verse though."

This had happened some two nights ago now, Mary had been burdened knowing she needed to tell her husband of it. 

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Beverley snorted at his wife saying Lady Somerset was la ti da over being a duchess.

 

In a conspiratorial whisper, meant for those evil things he might think but knew he should not say, her husband said, "Well, if you were of new blood and only of recent consequence, you might behave in such a way as a duchess as well." He scoffed, "She is a silly girl, who has let her illusion of illustriousness go to her head, my dear. You have the blood of Kings. It is she who is losing by not cultivating your relationship." Beverley was, if nothing else, extraordinarily snooty, like only those of the old noble bloodlines could be. When you had a name like Saint-Leger, and came over in the conquest hundreds of years prior, every family was an upstart!

 

"I think only some of the rebuke is quite a success with Lady Mountjoy these days, no? I am sure she is quite on edge over Her Majesty. I would take it as a compliment that you were asked to see to such a duty in the first place; who would think to check a bible verse, and in comparison to many of those tonight, hers was far from the worst." It had taken many months, but he was doing a far better job of finding his words around his wife. He could be far more eloquent when he was not nervous. 

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"You are right my dear Beverly," Mary loosed a sigh that housed more tension than she realised she'd been holding, "really it is beneath me to care what she thinks. Well, other than out of Christian goodness of course. It is just... well disappointing when others fail to educate themselves on the lineage of others  - why it ought be a crime for instance, not to know all of the names of the Knights of the Garter."   

Mary's father had gained that honour just 6 years ago now, Mary having been old enough to remember the family pride and fanfare about it.  It stood out to her young mind as one of the highest recommendations of her family. 

"Well I did not think of it." she agreed softly thankful for his perspective that was generous on her part. "You are correct that she is on edge what with the birth, not to mention the silly trinket that is lost. Lady Mountjoy has always like to have things just so, but recently it seems something more than that." Lowering her voice to a quieter hush she continued, "Do you know what the talk is, that she is going through the change. And she, having gifted her husband with no male babe. I feel quite terrible for her."  

Mary meanwhile sat with hand on her rounded belly - which might be a boy, or might be a girl, either would be a blessing and they had much time in their young lives to produce the necessary heir.

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"There is a saying about those that are the greatest not needing to advertise it, that others will speak of their greatness for them. Something like that. You surely should not feel obscured by any other families," he said, having a very grand conceit of himself within the scheme of things at court.

 

Were he a more flowery speaker or better writer, they pair could have published an intriguing and scathing chronical of  court stories, drawn from real life. Though, his inner superior monologue was more eloquent than he allowed, as evidence by his - relative - ease speaking to his wife.

 

"What is the change?" Beverley dared ask, with rapt attention, having absolutely no idea what door he was opening in that very moment. 

 

(Hahahahaha, oh Beverley)

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"You are such a Good man to remind me of this." Mary met her husbands eyes with sincerity, "for though I certainly would not brag of myself - there has been a niggle in my heart that might provoke me to be petty. And we are certainly above that sort of thing, aren’t we." 

"Oh Beverly, I am so blessed that we can speak so freely." Capturing his hand she drew him to the bed that they might lounge there in it's fluffed up downy comfort. "Is there anyone who has bothered you too?  Do tell me, that perhaps I can sooth your heart as you sooth mine?"

"Oh but, The change." Mary accentuated the words differently, as though that might explain it better. 

But Beverly seemed still in the dark.  His bride was surprised, and also pleased, to find this small thing in which she might educate her husband! "Well, it is the clock you might have heard of, the one that we ladies have, and people talk of ticking.  There are only so many moons in a woman's life you see, within which she might receive..." her cheeks pinked a little "her husbands seed to begat a new life within her.  When those fertile moons have passed, it is then 'The Change'.  The Change is oft accompanied with flushes, tempers and upset." she explained, which some thought explained Lady Mountjoy lately.   It was with a sudden thought of care towards Beverly's enlightenment on the subject that she quickly added, "But I am a long way from that time, so you need not worry." 

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