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The Godiva Gang (May 11)


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"Christopher! You are not listening to me!" the exasperated Duchess of Ablemarle almost screamed at her husband.


"Nonsense," the Duke replied absently as he studied carefully a nude statue of Venus that he kept on his study desk. "It is a complicated issue," he grumbled.


"Complicated? Complicated!" She wanted to wring his neck. "Let me simplify it for you. You are a Duke of the Realm. You are the Commander of the King's Life Guard. As commander, you are responsible for upkeeping the law. These ... women ... and I use that word lightly, are out to destroy the Court, starting with us. They need to be arrested ... all of them."


"On what charge?" he asked in the same uninterested voice as he opened his right desk drawer, in which he kept a handpainted lady's fan that depicted a naked woman riding a horse. A quick glance was all he needed to enjoy the irony before looking back to his wife.


"Corruption of the morals of the court. Witchcraft. Destroying our house. Sometimes I wonder if you know anything at all."


"That is not something for the Life Guard Elizabeth. We're not even sure if it was the three Godivas. What did the Sheriff say?"


"You heard the coachman's description. There were three. They were naked. They vandalized our house because I identified the three when they were naked in the King's garden. The dead chicken was a warning about what they would do to me if I did not stop holding them accountible for their sin. Do you want me murdered Chris?"


"Of course not dear," he replied dutifully.


"The Sheriff is a loathesome man. Only a bribe would get him to investigate but he warned that he could do little against ladies of court without firm evidence. He suggested it would be better if you took care of it."


"Did he now?"


"Yes he did. So, take care of it. Arrest them all and lock them away til they confess their sins."


"And what are the identities of these women?"


"There's the redheaded whore -- the one that is naked everywhere she is seen and is hosting an orgy I am told. It is the O'Roarke woman. The other two I would recognize if I saw them again."


"An orgy? Are you sure?" the Duke asked with more interest as he closed the drawer of his desk. >Maybe you should speak with the Bishop of London about this."


"I intend to do so. Christopher, I intend to run that Jezebel out of London and I expect you to assist me. If you don't, I shall make you pay in ways that you don't like."


The young Duke winced. "This is really more a matter for ladies to handle than soldiers."


"That is because you are a coward. Our lawyers are already drafting a lawsuit against each one of those hussies."


"Do you think that is wise?" he asked, mulling over the advantages and disadvantages. The advantage was that he would not need to be involved. "Perhaps it was just a prank."


"Perhaps the Civil War was nothing more than a prank either Christopher. I do wish you would grow up." With that, Elizabeth Ablemarle stormed from the room. There would be a day of reckoning; but, as usual, her husband was worthless.

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