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Dinner at the White, with Dessert - Evening, Saturday 17th

Douglas FitzJames

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RESIDENCES OF LADIES OF THE NIGHT, Additionally with Select Inn Rooms

Next to the Bath House and Ironically across the street from DeCourtenay House (and the more affluent of Eton Students) sat a beautiful Tudor-style home with short iron fencing with large windows and ample sills. Catering to those with purse-strings and having entered many young gentlemen into the realm of manhood, was this house known only as The White for the color of home between the dark crossbeams that were the hallmark of the Tudor style. While it officially functioned as an inn for those visiting Windsor castle and traveling on to London, it was home to a selection of high-end whores who plied their wares with sophistication in the common rooms and dining of the main floor.

With well-appointed rooms available to let for the guest, it was hard to distinguish which were rented for persons and which were designated for each buxom young lady to take their gentlemen. 

After sating their pleasures, gentlemen could receive a feast-worthy meal in the dining room complimented with hearty dark ales and heftily spiked ciders.

He'd booked the table for 7pm, as per James's nominated time, and for once Douglas wasn't wearing his uniform, but rather a grey-blue ensemble with embroidery in black, grey and striking cobalt blue that matched his eyes, in an interlacing pattern reminiscent of Celtic knotwork. He wouldn't wear his uniform to to White, however high class it might be, and this ensemble was quite new and he felt fancy in it. A cravat with heavy falls of Chelsea lace finished the outfit, pinned with piece of mother of pearl carved into the likeness of a leaping hound, set in silver. 

It had been an... interesting day. It had certainly started out oddly, with his chance involvement in the aftermath of Master Merriweather's death. That was a strange situation. Then it had vastly improved with his afternoon outing with Bridget Osborne, her sister and her cousin. And now he had a fine dinner with his new friend James O'Neill to look forward to. James seemed a friendly fellow who wasn't above talking to the bastard Scotsman, and further more they seemed to understand each other to a degree, which he enjoyed. Then, for afters, he planned to avail himself of the White's other offerings. He'd arranged it as insurance against any temptation in the direction of the three young ladies that afternoon. An interesting day, but hopefully with a very good ending. 

Edited by Douglas FitzJames
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  • Douglas FitzJames changed the title to Dinner at the White, with Dessert - Evening, Saturday 17th
  • 2 weeks later...

With the early fog having cleared up enough to make outdoor writing – a means unto itself of invigorating the muse – a doable endeavor, James had elected to head into town for a few hours after his duties to the Lord Steward were adequately handled rather than return to the castle. His quarters, after all, were cramped, and one could hardly expect a man on the make to remain on the third floor of a tower when court buzzed about castle and countryside alike.

And besides, he could feel in his bones and nerves alike a slow, rising sensation as words and phrases, concepts and couplets, began to pop up unbidden into his mind. To put them onto paper now would be to envision them – edits could be made later, for now the important was that they were there.

And also, that he was attempting to kill some time between now and the time he’d told Dundarg he’d meet.

He had changed from the previous day’s outfit only upon heading to Ormonde’s office, and now wore forest green velvet with a faint chequy pattern over a damask waistcoat, with contrast provided by ash-colored breeches and white stockings – never having cared overmuch for fashion, his sole adornment apart from a very ornamental court sword was a carnelian-studded cravat pin. The grin on the poet’s face as he swung into the White for the second time in as many nights may as well have been fixed, for the leather-bound book under his arm now carried two extra pages of notes and poetic scraps.

Glancing around for the tall Scotsman he had met only the day before, James made with characteristic haste to join him at the table. Dundarg had seemed a good sort, clever in multiple ways, and by no means uptight. Clapping the table as he sat down, his greeting was equally unceremonious. “Let us begin with the important question,” the poet declared warmly. “Ale or liquor?”

Edited by James O`Neill
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"O'Neill." Douglas greeted the other man warmly, rising from his seat and gesturing to the other one at the table that James might join him. He was glad the poet had agreed, he'd seeming like good company and certainly not the stuffy type like so many at court. He'd given up worrying about those who didn't care for him, preferring the company of those who enjoyed his. As he settled, James got straight to business with the important considerations. "Lets start wi' ale, unless ye'd prefer otherwise."* Douglas said, perhaps unexpectedly. The big man could hold his own, and they could always move on to liquor, but there was no point in getting so dastardly ratted that it would affect his later... performance. He planned to enjoy the White to the full. Right now though he was curious as to what James had been up to.

Douglas had been in the military since he was sixteen; the idea of being a lad of leisure with an allowance intrigued him in a foreign kind of way; he'd always been busy, never really had time to just... do his own thing. Until now, but even then he took his Life Guard duties seriously. What did James do with his time? "Hou hae ye been, the last twa daes?" He asked of James as the other man settled. He'd had to think about it; had it only been two days? Amazing how full days at court could feel. "Did ye happen tae see th'young Lairdy agin?"** He added in a quieter tone, not mentioning her name but having no doubt that James would know which particular young lady he referred to. 

A waitress came and took their order for drinks, a comely girl who probably had other duties at the White as well, returning before too long with their glasses and second fellow in tow who set pots of hashed partridge cooked with scallions and capers in front of them, and hot, fresh manchet rolls to eat it with. Douglas inhaled the smell of the dish, before raising his glass to James. "Slàinte Mhath!"***

* "O'Neill. Lets start with ale, unless you'd prefer otherwise."
** "How have you been, the last two days? Did you happen to see the young Lady again?"
*** "Good health!"

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“Ale would be grand,” a chipper James replied, grinning at his new friend. His vices may have been numerous, ranging from cards to swiving men and women alike, but when it came to alcohol, he was neither enthralled by it nor overtaken by prudence. The poet, after all, required very little to overcome his inhibitions. “Very grand indeed.”

Once seated, James leaned back in the chair, relaxing somewhat as he considered the past few days. “Busy, my friend,” he answered. “I am oft about the business of my master the Lord Steward, but when not…ah, well. Lord Rochester issued a challenge, calling upon myself and one other to lampoon a particularly repugnant figure, and while the going was at first slow…”

Imbas, holy inspiration, finally struck.” His grin grew wolfish, triumphant. “And now I have a half-dozen other ideas which I have had to put to paper, to revisit later…one of which may have something to do with an encounter I had with bold young lass with tresses like raven feathers,” the Irishman confided with a wink, lowering his voice for dramatic, not practical purposes.

When the waitress returned with their food and drink, James pulled her aside and told her, “Do not let this man pay for a drink tonight, I beseech you. Come to me first.” It was the least he could do for Dundarg, following his assistance with Lily, and he had coin enough stashed in quarters despite some dramatic losses over cards at the Hen’s Teeth. Besides, he was quite magnanimous when this particular temperament dominated his humors, not that he acknowledged it as such.

To James, he was simply treating a new friend, an easy-going fellow of surprising wit, whose unfortunate circumstances of birth only made him more sympathetic in the poet’s eyes. One would not know it from his usual demeanor, but he felt prisoner enough in his own mind that, on the inside, he remained an outsider.

Sláinte agatsa!*” He raised his glass, admiring the full-bodied dark ale for a moment, before clinking it against Douglas’s own and taking a gulp. “Now come, man, tell me of your own adventures so I may eat.” Laughing at his own jest (a very James O’Neill thing to do, as Dundarg would learn), he also added hastily: “Ah, and before I forget,did you also receive an invitation to this bonfire in the Upper Ward?”

*"To your health as well", traditional Irish response to that toast.

Edited by James O`Neill
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