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An evening of Stargazing etc | climbing the tower, Weds 21st evening


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You are respectfully invited to the battlements of the Round Tower

at Sundown on Wednesday the 21st of September

for an evening of Stargazing, mirth, and warming beverages.

 

 

George took a break in his climb up the tower, pausing to look out one of the narrow windows in the stone. Even in the dark, there was a view to be admired; beyond the torchlit castle walls and windows, Windsor township sparkled.  It was an earthly view.  But tonight, according to Henry, there were sights in store even more impressive.  Rather than outward, they'd looking upward!

Thinking he heard another pair of footsteps on the climb, he lingered a moment longer, with a smile for his approaching company, "Good evening." 

 

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The last time she had climbed up a tower, Anne-Elisabeth had almost been killed by her escort. It had been accidental, but that didn’t make the memories of nearly falling to her death any less horrifying. She was alone this time, which strangely enough, made her feel safer.

 

She had not brought along her own telescope, worried that it might be damaged if a clumsy courtier tried to look through it. The Barbadian Countess planned to ask Lord Grey if she could set it up tomorrow after the demonstration was over. Or perhaps he had a better idea.

 

Climbing wasn’t easy while wearing voluminous skirts and a heavy cloak. Anne-Elisabeth was ready for a short break when she came upon Lord Chichester apparently doing the same. “Good evening to you too, my lord.” Her smile was bright and cheerful. He was a very welcome sight. “Your lovely wife isn't accompanying you tonight?”

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"Countess."  George gave a version of a bow that involved his arm and the incline of his neck, with a sparkle of eye smile upon seeing who approached.  "You did not opt for your breeches today then?" 

"Oh dear." he blinked as she pointed out what should have been a very obvious thing. "You are right, I should have asked her to come with me. I hope she is not put out that I forgot.  It shall take me a while, apparently, to consider myself part of a twosome." he grimaced and asked, "Am I in huge trouble?"  

 

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Anne-Elisabeth laughed. “I thought about it, but I don’t want to shock poor Lord Grey. He doesn’t strike me as the kind of gentleman who would approve and working with both of you on a map of the sky is more important to me than comfort. My breeches would certainly have made this climb easier, though.”

 

So Lord Chichester had not even thought to ask his wife to come along with him? “You might be,” she said, unable to resist teasing him a bit. If he was her husband, she would have forgiven him anything and she was certain that his wife would too. “I would suggest that you buy her an expensive gift, but the shops are closed now. Perhaps when you get back to your room, you should design a beautiful piece of jewelry for her and present it to her in the morning if she feels neglected.”

 

The slender Countess shrugged.  "Or maybe she isn't interested in astronomy and is glad you didn't invite her.  The two of you don't have to do everything together.  I think it is important that married couples have their own interests."

 

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She laughed at his tease, which made him feel good.

"Yes he is a bit serious..." George agreed, not mentioning that his likeness to gray in that was behind why they got along so well, "But he is not entirely stuffy.  We free thinkers can appreciate sensible dress as well as they next man, now if he'd invited you to a ball and you wore breeches, then I'd understand if he was disappointed.  But as it is, I am certain he shall be delighted to see you whatever raiment you are within." 

This pause on the stairs was a fine chance for the little lady to catch her breath, George did not rush to resume the upward trek.

"Oh dear." he mumbled while listening to Anne Elizabeth's qualified opinion on that.  She was a woman and had been married before, so he would know. 

"Hmm, well perhaps that is it. My Lady Chichester is not academically inclined, I doubt she knows any Latin, and she's not even very interested in Church. She would probably have found tonight's heavenly focus tedious upon multiple counts.  But still, I should have asked, I suppose I need to consider any invitation I recieve personally to include my lady wife in the future.  At the very least I need to bring this up to discuss at out next... ah, discussion." 

Her statement on the benefits of having separate interests prompted the Earl to then ask, "You have not spoken much on your late husband's interests, may I assume then that they were much different to your own?" 

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Cordelia 

She had known that climbing up a tower would require some skills and she had prepared for it. Two less petticoats beneath her dark grey skirts and a lighter cloak would make the climb easier.

Halfway to the top she stopped and breathed in and out her gaze looking out one of the narrow arrow slit windows and she could not help but wonder how it must've been in times past. Not all that much she thinks and then continued on up. She wondered if others had already gathered. She had missed Lord Grey in all honesty and hoped that this evening would provide him with the much needed attention and if the King himself took an interest even better! A Royal Patron was just the thing that he needed and then his fellow peers would not think of him as insignificant or not worthy of attentions. 

At last the circular path was ending and she muttered out loud into the darkness

I laced in too tightly and I should have know better ..... Why my breath is fair caught ..... I shall have to adjust  ..... thankfully tis dark  ....

Her words might well have preceded her arrival out onto the roof top itself.

She at last came out into the cold and saw at once that two others had arrived.

"Ah! The Groom himself! My felicitations Lord Chichester."

She called out as she walked closer her gaze taking note that the woman was NOT his bride. 

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Anne-Elisabeth didn’t know Lord Grey well enough to predict how he would react to a lady in breeches. Her first conversation with Lord Chichester had confirmed that he was a progressive thinker who didn’t expect women to do nothing but embroider and raise children, which was why she had showed him her male attire.

 

“It’s always better to be safe than sorry, and I’m not as well-acquainted with him as you are. We have not yet started working together, but I hope to speak to him about that tonight, as well as setting up the new telescope he sent me during recess. It’s taking up most of the space in my tiny little room.”

 

The elegant Earl thought that his wife would not have wanted to join him. Anne-Elisabeth did not believe that one had to understand Latin or be pious to be academically-inclined. She knew only a few words of Latin and had no interest in religion.  The latter she saw as just one more way for men to control women.  And she understood academic pursuits such as science, mathematics, and politics as well as ... if not better than ... most gentleman

 

Few women and even fewer noblewomen were interested in astronomy, though, so Lord Chichester was probably correct in that his wife would have turned down the invitation. She repressed as chuckle when he hesitated before saying the word ‘discussion.’ They had only been married for a day and she was quite certain that their discussions had very little to do with discussing. There were far more intriguing ways to occupy one's mouth.

 

“It never hurts to ask. Make sure that you tell her that you won’t be angry if she declines.” Some ladies were so eager to please their husbands that they pretended to be interested in something that bored them to tears.

 

Anne-Elisabeth’s smile faded when Lord Chichester asked whether she and her late husband had different interests. “I hardly know,” she admitted. “It was an arranged marriage and we had been wed for only a couple of months when he died in the shipwreck. We both liked riding, hunting, and adventure. He was not at all witty and didn’t understand my propensity for poetry. Nor did he care for astronomy. But he did believe that a woman should be able to study science if she wished to. Most of our attraction was … well … physical.”

 

She might have told him about her fear that Arthur was addicted to gambling if a well-dressed older lady had not joined them on the landing they had stopped on. The young Countess had seen her before but could not remember her name. She obviously knew Lord Chichester for she congratulated him on his marriage as she approached. Was that disapproval Anne-Elisabeth saw in her eyes when she looked at her? She returned her gaze steadily.

 

It was probably best to let Lord Chichester introduce them.

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  • 1 month later...

It was at that point that a loud expletive was heard from the battlements above. Fortunately, only those with knowledge of a rather obscure and ancient form of Greek would understand the reference to gods, goats, and acts against nature.

"You almost dropped the lens, you fool! You do that again, and I will ask Lord Beverley to have you flogged!" The tone was beyond aggravated. Henry would not do such a thing, but the servant did not know that, and went death-pale. "P... pl... please forgive me, m... my... my lord. The floor is uneven, and my shoe c... c... caught on a stone..." the tone was pleading, almost to the point of tears. Somewhat mollified, Lord Grey muttered a few other ancient Greek curses under his breath, but said nothing more. The servant slowly and very, very carefully placed the telescope he was carrying on the nearest table. His wife would never forgive him if he was expelled from the castle's small army of servants. He would probably be kicked out of his house too if he was kicked out of the castle.

Henry approached the telescope, adjusting its position, and checking that the optics had not lost their alignment. Satisfied that everything was in order, he looked through the eyepiece intently, seeking a familiar star through a break in the fog above.

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Francis had been walking along the battlements before Lord Grey was due to have his event and was still a ways away off in the darkness. The scolding of the servant sounded like a distant whisper.

 

He had an inkling that His Majesty might attend after the King had run into Lord Grey early that one morning, but Francis had not been attending that day, so he did not know if that would actually happen. It would be a grand thing for Lord Grey if it did, but His Majesty enjoyed science things, so there was at least a possibility.

 

For the time being, he contented himself in the small sense of freedom present in being up there by himself.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Approaching from the opposite side of the tower to Kingston, Charles cocked his head, his progress along the battlements momentarily halted as the sound of Greek imprecations reached his ears. It was a different dialect to the Attic he was familiar with, but the tone conveyed the meaning well enough.

Something blasphemous and anatomically improbable concerning... sheep, perhaps? Charles decided after a little pondering. Placing the voice was easier, at least, even if he had never heard Lord Grey in a swearing mood before. It was decent swearing, too, and a most respectable upbraiding, and Charles spoke as an experienced soldier. He could give lectures on swearing and upbraiding.

Shaking his head, Charles picked up the pace, moving briskly towards the source of the noise.

"Good evening Lord Grey," he greeted cheerily once he was close enough.

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