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A Question Of Faith | Saturday September 17th, early afternoon

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The Toledo Residence



Sophia was drinking a lot of tea today.


Maybe it was fortunate that Lady Alyth had not been able to lunch with her. That would have meant more tea and she didn’t want to spend the rest of the day in the privy. The baby liked to sit on her bladder, which made her trips to the loo more frequent even without drinking a lot of tea. She would only take small sips while Mistress Wellsley was here. Having just finished her last book, she would be heading to the bookstore later in the day and didn’t want to have a full bladder.


She was looking forward to Davina’s visit. They had planned to get together last season, but that meeting had been canceled. Sophia later heard that she had been thrown into the Tower. She promised herself not to mention that today, but she was curious as to what such a proper, honorable, and polite young lady could have done to deserve such a harsh punishment. She was also no longer one of the Queen’s maids of honor. Had she perhaps offended her former mistress? Sophia could not imagine Mistress Wellsley offending anyone.


Apparently, she had done something right to win Prince Rupert's favor. Sophia had hoped that he might take an interest in her as she was from his homeland, but except for a brief conversation at a ball last year, they’d had no contact at all. Maybe he was disappointed that she had married a Spaniard instead of one of the gentlemen he has suggested for her. Perhaps she should have listened to him.


She was still wearing the gown she had worn this morning when she’d had tea with Ellen Doolittle. It was so comfortable she never wanted to take it off and she was pleased that Ellen had given her three others. Maybe if she wore them to court events, they would start a new maternity fashion trend, though she had others that were made especially for those.


Entering the drawing room, she sat down in the richly upholstered chair that had been placed behind her embroidery stand and began to stitch as she waited for Davina to arrive.


Edited by Sophia de la Cerda
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It had been quite the day already and now here was another that might well be the same.

This was a meeting that she herself had called off from just after Easter and before her having to leave London - or so her story had and been at the time - but was by now made a lie as EVERYONE seemed to know about her imprisonment in The Tower. And she supposed that she would be asked about it today but perhaps Sophia would have the kindness not to.

Arriving at the Windsor Town residence of the Toledo's Davina was received and then waited to be announced. She had had no idea back then what Sophia had wanted to discuss and it was the same now. She could fill her mind she suppose with ideas but that was a useless occupation. She had changed from her earlier dress into a gown of soft grey silk accented with metallic trim and pale blue bows. She had braided her hair pinning up into a coil at the back of her neck. That she was so dressed might surprise many for she was well known to take a very active interest in Fashion. Perhaps it was her time spent in that awful cold and damp place where she had but a few choices in clothing that had made her less interested? She had brought a gift for Sophia - she had made several baby's caps in white linen and used white embroidery in a pattern that really had no design - since no one knew the sex of the child she did a simple pattern that would suit either. Poppy had wrapped them up carefully and placed them into the small box that she now carried.

As she waited she took note of her surroundings curious to see how others' were living  .....

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The butler’s voice started Sophia out of her thoughts and she turned toward the door, noting that Davina was not dressed as sumptuously as she usually was. Pushing back her stool, she rose, placing one hand on the edge of the embroidery stand for support. She wished she had brought a cloth to cover her handiwork. Her stitches were far from perfect and she didn’t want Mistress Wellsley to see how poorly she sewed. With any luck, she would not be curious about it.


“It is lovely to see you again, Mistress Wellsley,” she said as she walked forward to greet her friend, for that is how Sophia thought of her. They didn’t always see eye to eye, but despite their differences, she thought they got along quite well. “Come and sit with me by the window.”


Waddling back the way she had come, she took a seat in one of the chairs. “How have you been? You mentioned Prince Rupert in your note. You must have really impressed him for him to let you assist him with something.”  Though she already knew what it was, she didn’t want Davina to know that she and Darlene had discussed it yesterday.

Edited by Sophia de la Cerda
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  • 2 weeks later...

She dipped a curtsey then added her greeting.

"Countess. I think that would be a good idea - I am sorry for I can not think of anything else to say! Your condition warrants it."

She accepted the offer to sit and settled herself her gaze straying to the embroidery frame but she did not comment although she was curious about what was stretched out on the frame.

"I am well enough."

"And yes Prince Rupert has asked me to help with the re-design of the East Terrace Gardens. Apparently I have an 'eye for colors that blend well' or so it was said."

"Actually I have yet to meet His Highness in this regard. I have, of course, been in his Presence but not on a singular note."

"And you? You look well but I am sure you must be getting nervous as the time grows closer."

She just wished that the other would come to the reason as to why she wanted to see her. But pleasantries must be observed.

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After they were both seated, Davina confirmed that the German Prince wanted her to redesign the East Terrace Gardens. “Oh, that sounds like fun. I never thought I would like gardening, but I find it quite enjoyable now. I agree with Prince Rupert. You do have an eye for color. One can see it in the way you dress. Even the gown you are wearing today demonstrates it. Blue goes very well with gray. Most ladies seem to pair it with black or white.”


Sophia didn’t want to distress her guest and therefore did not ask why she had spent time in the Tower. Everybody probably wanted to know about it, and Davina was most likely as tired of that inquiry as she was about always being told she should sit down and rest. If she wanted to volunteer the information, then the blonde Countess would listen, but she didn’t think she would and it was really none of her concern. She was just an insatiably curious young lady.


“I am fine,” Sophia smiled. “My anxiety increases with every day that goes by. I have been told what to expect, but every woman’s experience is different. I do hope that having a baby will be easy for me. If I have a long and painful time of it, then my lord husband will just have to be content with only one child.” She hoped to give Juan many children, assuming he was able to father them. If this one was not his, then she doubted she would ever have another. Unless she became a widow and remarried.


“I’m facing a dilemma that I hope you can help me with. Lord Toledo insists that his children be raised as Catholics. I wonder if I should convert as well. He has been pressuring me to do it for some time. Since you are Catholic, I hope that you will be willing to give me your opinion on this matter so that I can make an informed decision. I am asking other friends of both faiths for advice as well.”


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It was a nice complement and she was glad that there was no further prodding. She knew quite well that Sophia wanted to know what had happened - like they ALL did - but she would be disappointed.

She couldn't help the small laugh that came out at the others words. But she had not meant to be offensive.

"I am sorry."

"But of all the things that you could have asked I did not expect that!"

"I can understand Lord Toledo's desires for his child. And you have not already done so? And yet you were able to marry?"

Now it was her turn to be surprised.

"How was that possible - no Priest would sanction it. You would have been made to undergo Instructions ......."

"Unless Lord Toledo was able to just bypass all of that (with a nice 'donation' to the Priest) or you would not consent?"

"Yes I can see this dilemma of yours. And now you are soon to deliver a child and are still not converted. He must fear for the soul of his unborn child greatly."

She grew quiet and then with a glance about the room edged herself a bit closer.

"Even if you are amongst those trusted you must have a care - you have no idea who wears a double face. And this topic, especially now, is not one to be so openly discussed."

"And you will tell me next that everyone here is vetted and that tis an impossibility to have a spy."

"Foolish. And a thing that could well endanger you."

"You have sought me out but have you forgot that 'I" am now converted as is my brother Baintree? We attend Anglican Service as all can see."

"Some have been allowed to continue to worship in private as long as they show an outward support."

"You are married to a Spaniard who hails from a Catholic Nation. You must adapt and learn and understand all the Customs and Traditions while leaving yours aside."

"It can not have been an easy thing and I can sympathize. But now you are in this position."

"And since you have asked me for it I shall speak plain."

"You have to chose." 

"There are only two choices as I see it    ......

"One if you do not convert then you will have no say in anything in the matters concerning the upbringing of your children. They will be brought up in Mother Church and taught its ways and beliefs."

"They will also be made to know that their Mother is not a "True Believer' and thus of no real importance."

"Two - you agree and convert. Is not the well-being of your children worth more than your own self? How can you NOT be a part of their lives?"

"And I can assure you that however easy going Lord Toledo has been up to now once that child is born HIS faith will over-ride anything you might say or do."

"And how can you seek the opinion of non Catholics in this matter? They know nothing of that Religion beyond the superstitious and political gossips."

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