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A Day At The Carnival | Wednesday, 10 am

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Room of Anne-Elizabeth


It is a small, but comfortable room, a large walnut bed resting against the east wall. The bed is hung with teal velvet, the fabric trimmed with gold tassels. Across from the bed is a stone hearth whose crackling fire keeps the chill at bay. Small porcelain doves have been affixed to the edges of the mantel with silver bows and to the tie backs of the drapes and bed curtains. A window is set into the south wall, overlooking the Long Walk and Castle Hill. A small carved walnut table and chair set rests to the left of the window while a small door, hidden behind a teal curtain with thick tassels, beside the fireplace opens into a little closet. Candelabras rest on the table and mantel, casting long shadows over the polished wood of the floor.



Anne-Elisabeth decided to wear a simple gown to the carnival. She imagined that the performers would be wary of the nobility and more comfortable interacting with commoners like themselves. The Barbadian Countess wanted to experience everything the carnival had to offer, not dull entertainment that was designed to pacify the upper class without offending them. She also hoped to participate in some of the performances if they asked for volunteers.


To attract attention, she needed to stand out. The dress Bess had sewn for her was made of bright blue wool with a multicolored floral print. Beneath it, she wore thick stockings and sturdy leather boots. Her hair was arranged in a long braid that tumbled down her back, the end tied with a blue ribbon. She wore no jewelry or other accessories. A plum-colored woolen cloak was spread out on her bed, currently occupied by a sleeping Crystal.


She hoped that Lord Silverbridge had the same idea and wouldn’t be dressed too lavishly. If he was, she would send him back to his room to change. While she waited for him to pick her up, she looked out the window, looking forward to the adventures that they would have today.


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Fog and damp.Two combinations he was not fond of in the least. 

He'd hoped, as the morning progressed, it would have brightened but alas is had not happened and his attire was therefore much somber and weather suited. Black and forest green fine woolen with plain braided trim. Knee high leather boots and a cloak completed its attire. Hair pulled back in its usual style and neat he presented a picture that would well blend it. He knew well what kinds of miscreants followed Carnivals and pickpockets abounded. He had no intent to advertise the size of his purse. His worry was Anne-Elizabeth and her desire to stand out amongst the paler English ladies about Court and he knew she would not pass up the chance to show off. If she was too far gone he would see her re-dresses even if he had to do it himself.

He tucked a small dagger into his right boot and another into the waistband behind his back. 

Not anticipating troubles but he would not be caught off if they came.

He took up his hat and made for the door taking the steps two at a time to the next floor where she was lodged.

HIs rap on the door was sharp .....

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Crystal lifted her head and mewed about two seconds before Anne-Elisabeth heard the knock on the door. It was as if she had sensed that John was coming. By the time she reached the door, the white kitten was pawing at it and purring.


She immediately began to weave herself around his legs when the Countess opened the door. “I think Crystal missed you,” Anne-Elisabeth chuckled as she stepped back for him to enter. He’d been in her room before so he was already aware that her dismantled telescope took up much of the small space.


Lord Silverbridge looked quite handsome in black and green. He would definitely be able to blend in with a crowd of commoners, just as she would. “As ever, it’s a pleasure to see you again. I wish the weather was better but it’s normal for England and shouldn’t interfere with our enjoyment.”


Anne-Elisabeth winked cheekily. “And you did promise to keep me warm."

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With little effort he reached down and lifted the creature into his arms absently stocking it while his gaze took in the woman before him.

She had done as he predicted but it was acceptable. Even tho the idea of re-dressing her DID sound appealing but then the un-dressing might well be more worth it later on. The day was young yet and time enough for evening matters.

"Well naturally - twas I after all that saved her from a horrible fate - so she must understand where her bread will be buttered."

"I see you have not made more space  ..... can you not put it together rather than like it is? It hampers far too much of this room. I have not the patience for the clutter."

He smiled and looked her up and down as she made reference to his 'promise.'

"Of I assure you there will be no lacking in that department Madam. I am a man of my word."

"Are you ready then - shall we take our leave? Here ..."

He handed the cat back to her to place wherever she thought best and she would see he was a bit impatient to leave.

"I need good stretch of the legs. And as long as it does not rain I think we shall have no worries. Good. I approve of your choice of shoes."

"Now fetch a warm cloak ..... "

He gave orders with a quiet firmness that made it clear he was usually obeyed.

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Anne-Elisabeth had never thought much about cats until John had given her one, but she assumed that they had short memories. Maybe they didn’t and Crystal actually remembered that he had saved her life even several months later. “She knew you were here before you knocked and she also sensed you when you slipped your note underneath my door.”


She looked over at the telescope. “Lord Grey said I could set it up on the ramparts with his, which I might do tonight.” The raven-haired Countess was not strong enough to move it herself, but she could find a servant to do it for a few coins. “If that doesn't work out, perhaps you can help me move it over to the window so I can view the stars from there. I’d like for you to see them too.”


Anne-Elisabeth suspected she knew what John had in mind for after the carnival. Maybe that was why he wished her room was not so cluttered. He wanted to get creative. Maybe the telescope could be moved into the closet temporarily.


“Yes, I’m ready to go.” She took Crystal from him and set her on the floor. “I could use a nice brisk walk myself.” A chuckle escaped her full lips at his comment on her shoes. “The rumors are true about us running around barefoot in Barbados, but we do wear proper footwear when the occasion calls for it.” Certainly he had not expected her to wear fragile court shoes in a field!


The young Countess thought his authoritative tone was cute.  As long as his intentions matched hers, she would play along and pretend to obey him. Lifting her cloak from the bed, she held it up. “Does this meet with your approval too?”

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"Did he now ..."

Said in response to this Lord Grey fellow.

"Perhaps t'would be better to just use me rather than be bothersome to another."

"Unless you have 'offered' him a chance to view the stars as well?"

He was not the jealous type and he had no claim to her in body or friendships yet the idea of another man nesting where he had was not a pleasant thought.

"Good. Let us go  ..."

He took her hand and led her from the room without a backwards glance. Down the stairs and out into the open air at a quick pace. He tucked her arm inside his and they set off. The field was some distance away yet manageable without the need for a horse or cart if one was so inclined but he had, with a nod to the weather, procured a small pony cart that was big enough for just the two of them. Once she was settled he took up the reins and set off. He kept the pace leisurely so not to chill her too much yet he was glad to be out in the open again. All the time that these Courtiers seemed to spend inside was a thing he could not appreciate. He looked to make sure the animal fur blanket was enough to warm her and then he smiled at the picture she made.

"Well enough?" He asked her. "It is not far but comfort for comforts sake is always a good idea. I can not have you chilled or worse. After all I did make a promise."

Soon the field became visible and he drew to a stop so that they could take it all in. It was just a few days but it had been transformed into some magical place out of some old Troubadours Tale. It was like a bee hive in comparison with some many things all at once going on.

"Where shall we go first? Have you a preference?"

He would hand off the cart to a Castle servant he had hired for the outing if she wanted to simply wander.

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  • 2 weeks later...

John had apparently never met Lord Grey or he wouldn’t be so suspicious of him. Anne-Elisabeth laughed as she put on her cloak. “Lord Grey is an accomplished astronomer. He is more interested in the moon than the stars and the two of us are planning to map the heavens together. In fact, he sent me that telescope as a gift during recess. I would have left it in my London residence but I came straight to Windsor from Cornwall. Later this evening, he’s hosting an astronomy event. You can come with me if you'd like.”


She didn’t protest when he took her hand and led her outside. Perhaps he felt as stifled in small spaces as she did. Maybe those from the Colonies spent as much time outdoors as the inhabitants of Barbados. It was often cooler outside, especially by the ocean, than it was inside. Heat was something one didn’t have to worry about in England and on days like this, she missed it.


Anne-Elisabeth was surprised when she saw the pony cart. “I thought you wanted to walk,” she remarked. She was a bit restless herself but they would get plenty of exercise at the carnival. And she did adore being pampered. Snuggling against John as he set the cart into motion, she smiled. “I assure you I am quite warm indeed.”


She heard the carnival before she saw it. The noise was barely discernible at first, but soon she could make out music of different kinds mingled together. And then it appeared out of the fog like a magical fairy world, well lit and exciting. Her breath caught in her throat. Who knew what adventures awaited them here?


“Let’s walk around and see where inspiration takes us,” she suggested, "unless there's something you would like to start with."  The young Countess doubted that the cart would be allowed inside the gates anyway. There were guards standing on either side watching everyone who entered. “Have you ever been to a carnival before?” she asked while waiting for John to assist her out of the cart.  "Do they have them in the Colonies?"

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"Such an expensive 'gift' might well be construed to have a deeper meaning. "Map the Heavens" you say? Sounds just the sort of thing that a man plans if he has intentions."

He did not respond back to her invitation but continued onwards.

He was glad for the cart and said so. Agreeing with her that he would have time enough once arrived for walking.

"As you wish Madam!"

He alighted first offering her his hand to step down then said aside to the servant to keep watch over the pony and cart especially amongst so much population roaming about.

"Come then - let us away into the Field to see what awaits!. Here, give me your arm ...."

He tucked hers into his left side leaving the right side open if he needed to defend.

"Why we ARE civilized! Fetes and Faires abound. But this .... " He spread a hand out to encompass it all. "Is an unknown. We have not the selection of animal here firstly nor the types of peoples that follow them. But I am curious to see an elephant closer."

He said in a small whisper as they walked

"The other day I overheard part of a conversation between Lord Beverly and his wife, I presume, in which an interest was expressed in riding the beasts. But I expect nothing to come of it."

"Look ..... "He pointed in a direction. "There is a large tent shall we go there first? We can stop along the way at whatever catches our eye."

"I do hope this weather improves but it does lend a certain 'aire' to this place."

He gave a chuckle and drew her closer to his side.

Anyone observing would think them to be a couple. A thing that he fully intended to foster.

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Anne-Elisabeth laughed. “I assure you that the only intentions Lord Grey has are scientific. Besides, he’s far too old for me.” In truth, age was not important to her, but John didn’t need to know that. She seriously doubted that Lord Grey had designs on her … he was always polite and proper in her presence … but if he did proposition her, she was not certain whether she would agree or refuse. She doubted she would have to make that decision. He was probably looking for a wife.  She was not the kind of lady one took home to meet their parents, a dubious distinction that she was proud of.


When they reached the carnival, John helped her out of the cart and tucked her gloved hand in the crook of his elbow. The young Countess was a bit surprised that there were carnivals in the Colonies. “There are none in Barbados. I attended a fair in Cornwall but it was mainly comprised of merchant stalls. There wasn’t much entertainment.” She had been in mourning at the time and had had to sneak out of her mother-in-law’s house dressed like a servant.  It had been more trouble than it was worth.


~continued here.

Edited by Anne-Elisabeth Devereux
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