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Thread: The Appalling Strangeness of the Mercy of God [M - Hannelorian x DuchessLivilla]

  1. #501
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    It was at times' like this where Arabella was grateful that her Alexandra was her own woman, and less like Arabella herself. Alex did not push, she always knew when to let something go. It was far too painful for Arabella herself to contemplate further, so she did what she did best, ignore her own feelings for the time being.

    "Salvagings?" Arabella asked somewhat inquisitively. "Oh Good Lord, no. None of that." The Queen smirked and shook her head, almost laughing a bit in relief. "I've convinced the council otherwise. If His Majesty is spending the week or so restoring his spirit, so should we as a country, and turn our heads in prayer and charity. Salvagings are suspended until His Majesty returns."

    Arabella took comfort in the idea that Alex would likely be greatly relieved by this fact. "We will be attending a hospital opening, a soup kitchen or two. Prayer in some of the community churches. All under guard, of course." The idea of being out amongst the people did not scare Arabella, no, the common people only wanted her love and approval, they wanted to be seen as they truly were by their royal family and Arabella would be the first to indulge. "Not to mention, we need to review uniform patterns for what they are calling Queen Arabella's Royal Army Nursing Corps." The Queen was all smiles for just a few moments.

    "Public health and the sanctity of prayer are amongst my first endeavors really." Christian's previous wife, the late Queen did very little to engage the public, or really much charity. She was not to be blamed of course, she had after all, married Christian. A mistake not many would be sure to recover from. "With God's strength, we will help these people, our people Alex. We have no greater calling, aside from our... your children."
    Thanks to Hayabusa/Ryoku for the set.

  2. #502
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    "Praise be," Alex said softly, heartily meaning it for once! She would rather do anything but attend such 'shows' and would rather, if possible, spare Alice them too at such a time. Who needed more horrible images in their mind, when it should be filled with hope and happiness for the future.

    She smiled and patted her sister's hand. "I am so pleased for you, really, Bella. For all the unpleasantness, you are in a place where you can do good and use your talents for such things. And the public love you, as much as the nobility. Plus, I confess, I am interested to see how they live and learn of their lives. You must admit, from birth onwards, ladies are kept in a very small sphere."

    Alex glanced at Alice and blushed, almost embarrassed, "Oh Alice, you must think me...blind and foolish, to complain of our sphere. A cage yes, but a comfortable one. I have no right to talk of it as if I have complaints. I do not."
    "Ye mustn't be afraid to ask for help. Pride is a good thing, my girl, but it will kill you in time." - Granny Weatherwax

  3. #503
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    "A prison can look like many things, it all depends on who is held captive." Alice commented in response to Alex's justifications. She smiled calmly, softly, the corners of her mouth in the barest of upturns. "I believe the central point being that, we, as woman are all kept within our prisons, no matter what our station. Some are simply more cruel than others."

    "She's right, you know." Arabella added, the smile from her face fading quickly into nothing. "I suppose you were always this astute, but now you are empowered to say what it is that is on your mind." Alexandra's influence was now laid manifest before all three women as they sat in seclusion, a rare moment of privacy. "Even if you had a complaint, it would do little good to hold such things in secret, at least here amongst friends." The strides Arabella had made too were becoming clearer in her words and deeds.

    "We must hold the love of the people, Alexandra." Arabella's tone turned grave, for just a moment, the look which she cast in her sister's direction could not be more serious. "I fear something wicked is coming... but so long as the people love us, we can avoid disaster." It was a feeling, more than anything else. The King would either be diffused by his pilgrimage, or his zealotry would be bolstered, and if it were the latter there is no telling what level this family dispute would rise to. There was a permeable uneasy feeling in the air.

    Arabella rose to her feet and nodded quickly. "Anyway, happier topics...I hear that our darling Lady Denington has received an invitation to dine with a certain Duke."

    Now it was the time for Alice to blush and quickly look away. "Yes, your Majesty." she spoke hesitantly. Arabella could only laugh in response. "When we return this evening, you must peruse my collection, surely you'll find something we can adjust... but now, we must away."
    Thanks to Hayabusa/Ryoku for the set.

  4. #504
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    Alexandra wished to say more, on the serious topic, but held her tongue. It was not that she wished to keep it from Alice, far from it, or that she felt such was not for one such as her, but rather she wished to be kind to the young woman. Bella was right, something was coming, and it would be terrible, she was sure of that, so why bring it to the forefront when Alice could be kept in the dark a little longer with happy topics.

    Plus, she wished to see Alice settled, married and away from her - as much as it would pain her- in order to save her. If the King lashed out, it would be at those around her, those she favoured; if Alice was married, and under a Duke's protection, that was better than the Princess's...in a way. Especially if said man liked to travel. She would see to it, if she could, that Alice and Thomas were far from England when whatever it was...this something descended upon them all.

    The Princess stood and smiled. "Yes, I hoped, in the coming week, that we might find some time to have Madam Bertin* come here, and have a few gowns ordered for Alice, on my account. I want her to have a trousseau worthy of her, and given what I owe her," she looked back at Alice and smiled again, "It would please me greatly to provide it for her, at my expense."

    She held up a hand to stop Alice's protesting, again, "We can, if you wish Alice, call it a charitable gift, but you will accept it, I shall hear no refusal." She winked, "Your Mistress commands it."

    Alex smoothed her skirts and looked to her sister, "Now, sister, where do we go first?" She couldn't help but smile. "Oh, it is so good to see you and have a chance to spend time with you," she added, unable to stop herself. How she had longed for this. A good, true relationship, with her sister.

    It was brief, of course, as soon His Majesty would slither back like some great worm, and ruin all, but she would damn well enjoy it while he was gone.
    "Ye mustn't be afraid to ask for help. Pride is a good thing, my girl, but it will kill you in time." - Granny Weatherwax

  5. #505
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    Arabella was never one to mince words, to hide blatant truths. There was little she wished to conceal, and being a person in so desperate want for companionship, perhaps she allowed too much to slide above the veil. "Of course, nothing but the best for our Alice." A momentary smile before it faded into nothingness which at first glance might seem like the Queen was lost in thought, and perhaps she was, but it could have been so much more than that.

    "Right, first we're off to the hospital. Let's not dawdle shall we?" There was a subtle sing-songy lilt to Arabella's voice as she looked toward the doors. "My tether shan't be far behind." The two guards who kept an eye over her every action, she wondered if they listened at the door ever, or if they were simply content in their own ignorance.

    Alice, for the most part was dumbstruck once again at the monumental kindness of her mistress and the Queen. However the notion of going a hospital seemed to catch her somewhat off guard. Alice had never been to such a place before, who could imagine what she might see? Though perhaps because it had been many years since a great war it would not be as gruesome as the stories had made it out.
    Thanks to Hayabusa/Ryoku for the set.

  6. #506
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    Alexandra smiled and linked arms with Alice -even as sister's, she would not presume to do such with the Queen, in public without Bella instigating it- patting her gloved hand as she did so, "Do not worry Alice, this is a planned visit to the place; they, the directors, shall have us tour a few wards they have chosen, with 'acceptable' patients and illnesses, I assure you." She sighed and shook her head, glancing at her sister, "Ladies like us are never shown anything we might find 'distasteful' or heaven forbid, a patient who might have something to say. Consider it all a show or a play."

    They started to walk to the doors, "Still, we owe those we do see our attention and affections."

    At the Queen's knock, the two guards outwith opened the doors and stood to attention as the three ladies exited. Alexandra smiled and nodded in thanks, a habit she could not shake and one seen by many as a weakness; thanking a servant for doing their job, what a concept!

    As the ladies walked along the grand, gilded corridors, flanked on each side by paintings in gold frames, a footman hurried up and bowed low to Bella, then, perhaps having heard on the servant's grapevine, as it were, about her dressing down the court ladies for lack of respect for etiquette, he bowed to Alexandra too, and gave a gracious nod to Alice.

    "Your Majesty, apologies for interrupting," he said, "But His Lordship wished me to catch you before you left and ask that, if it pleases you, you make time today on your tour to visit the Foundling Hospital as well. The director wished to extend an invitation to you, in person, to become a benefactor to them...as most Queen's have been before."
    "Ye mustn't be afraid to ask for help. Pride is a good thing, my girl, but it will kill you in time." - Granny Weatherwax

  7. #507
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    The Queen glided effortlessly down each corridor, moving in great strides past each painting, paying the eyes that followed her no mind at all. In fact, the eyes of the portraits rather brought her comfort as the ones that lined the walls of Buckingham had largely been chosen by Arabella herself. Better the devil you know, or something of that sort was what the Queen thought at the time. In particular on the path of the three women (and several guards) was a rather tremendous portrait of Charles I.

    To Christian, Charles I was a fantastic and gallant hero, in fact, so much was he beloved by the current monarch, that early in his reign, Christian had the beheaded King made a saint of the Church. Good Saint Charles stood firm in his belief that he reigned as God's anointed and was above question or reproach. Parliament had sinned grievously in his trial and execution. Of course, for Arabella, the portrait was selected for just that purpose, a sort of wish put into the universe, a prayer that her husband too would meet a similar fate. Arabella absolutely loved her own little jokes, and as the women passed the great portrait, a small chuckle would escape her lips as the corners of her mouth upturned once more into the faintest of smiles.

    One thing Arabella had become used to as Queen was interruption. They were constant, and typically not worth the moments they stole from her day. When the footman appeared, almost as though he came out of thin air, Arabella stopped in her tracks and simply nodded her head in acknowledgment. "His Lords..." Arabella stopped in the midst of her own speech, "Ah." Hasting. It most assuredly had been Lord Hasting who sought to add to her agenda. The Queen could not refuse. "Please tell His Lordship, that I would be most honored to visit this afternoon. Please, have him send word of our arrival. We would hate to surprise them, I would also request a monetary gift, for the children, be taken into consideration. If His Majesty and I are to welcome our own child into this world, surely we must look after those who are less fortunate."

    One more bow of her head, and a wave of the hand, Arabella dismissed the footman. "Thank you, George." She spoke as he left, undoubtedly leaving him somewhat in a state of shock, the Queen had actually known his name, and bothered to utter a kind word of thanks, this was something he had never received from the King. Arabella, it appeared to all, was something different than what was expected.

    As the group of women made their way through the labyrinthine structure of the palace, they would ultimately come to the entrance hall, where outside waited a series of carriages and horses, most filled and mounted by the Royal guard, each wearing a red armband with Arabella's cypher emblazoned in white. The carriage waiting with door ajar directly before the party was shockingly simple. It was black, with a few gold elements, namely trim, and again Arabella's cypher upon the doors. Arabella herself had been dressed quite modestly, with one a few pieces of jewelry exposed. This was all by design, Arabella did not wish to convey the same gaudy and ornate, bold and extravagant show of wealth that was typically paraded by the King (and his father and grandfather) before the people. She wished to show something far more simple, something of the people. Every piece of her clothing had been locally sourced, supporting small business that were at the heart of the region.

    As the caravan left the gates of Buckingham, the square outside found itself filled with people, all hoping to get a glimpse of the Queen and the Princess of Wales, the two sisters who once seemed so opposed, now sitting side by side, each with gloved hands raised and waving, smiles plastered upon their faces, but as it would turn out the smiles were genuine. Arabella, in words exchanged with her sister, would find herself laughing, visible to the members of the public would find the perceived (correctly so) affection between the two endearing. It was a look at the Royal family that had never been seen before, a look at two sisters who for all intents and purposes lucked out and married into the most powerful family in the country, if not in all of Europe.

    Alice sat across from them, laughing as well at jokes, smiling and nodding her head along. She watched the crowds and people they passed with amazement. She was actually seated across from these incredible women, the two women who Alice knew would undoubtedly for one reason or another define an entire generation to come. The two women who would be written about in history books, perhaps each one even more important than the men they married, either forced by fate, or compelled by truest love. It was breathtaking. Alice could only breathe in, and watch, hoping one day to understand what exactly she was really seeing.

    Their first stop brought them to the Royal Hospital, a London staple, the Queen and company would visit the maternity ward, and be photographed holding children, and comforting new mothers, presenting stuffed creatures of all sorts, the newly introduced concept of baby formula. Alice would be credited in the papers when images ran as Lady Denington which would send the nobles scurrying to their books to try and identify the family, and would be left scratching their heads when no such name turned up.

    Following that, they viewed the latest facilities in the emergency operating theatre, though no such procedure was taking place. The Queen shook hands and embraced nurses, and was seen chatting with patients across the facilities from all levels of society from the rich to the poorest. The Princess of Wales naturally followed in suit, and made the most of her uncanny talent for human compassion and understanding. Of course there was prayer, much prayer. The beginning of the trip was an unquestionable success, and that afternoon would bring them next to the Foundling Hospital.
    Thanks to Hayabusa/Ryoku for the set.

  8. #508
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    As they walked around, doing their duty, as it were, Alexandra made sure to never be seen nor photographed in front of her sister, she kept behind her, allow Bella to shine and take the words and gifts, as it should be. She had, of course, no desire to be in front anyway! But she knew the King was not so far away that he would not have newspapers tomorrow...She did not want him to come hurtling back early demanding revenge for some imagined slight if she was shown in front of Bella.

    Both Royal ladies were also careful to express no personal viewpoint on anything they saw; it was kept all very sanitary and flowery, much to Alex's irritation in parts. She had, on several occasions during the visit, had a concern or question that she held back. It would do no good and only be mentioned in the press, and ensure she was labelled as a woman with 'ideas'.

    Heaven forbid.

    Aside from that, the Princess enjoyed her visits. It was so refreshing, even in this flowery environment of 'thank yous' and 'how lovely' to see real people and, for a few seconds, hear about their lives, even if it was just talk of why they were in the hospital in the first place. They heard many an interesting tale of accidents and misadventure, including a charming working man, who had fallen from his ladder when cleaning a chimney. Naturally, he was here under a charitable cause, as he could likely not have afforded care himself.

    Given Alex's condition, she was most taken with the maternity ward; it was small, as most women, high and low, had their infants at home, but special cases were seen here. Maternity ward, too, was a bit of a grand name...it was merely a normal ward with no actually specialities, but still. Naturally both ladies agreed, with smiles, that they would be thrilled to be seen here, if needed, when their times came, much to the pride of the doctors.

    Of course, neither would ever given birth here, but it added to the flowery take on it all.

    Queen and Princess were photographed holding and kissing babies, and two little girls, born that day, were named in their honour; one Arabella, and one Alexandra, much to everyone's smiles and nods of approval. Of course, permission was sought for this beforehand, not that either would have taken offense.

    It was later reported, quite correctly too, that the Queen and the Princess of Wales, had both set up a trust to provide for their little namesakes in terms of education and dowries.

    Alexandra, as they moved about, made sure, as well as avoiding upstaging her sister, to check on Alice regularly, with smiles and a kind word, asking if she was alright. After all, it was rather a baptism of fire to suddenly find oneself thrown into the spotlight, when all one's life had been spent being, essentially, invisible.

    Luckily, perhaps given for the health of Alex, or because hopes that the Queen may be pregnant too, they were afforded a few little breaks where they could, briefly, be alone and take a seat, mainly in various chapels and little rooms set aside for prayer. Just to have some silence was a great pleasure, Alex found. The sheer noise of the place was insane, and hardly restful she felt! Of course, it was not always so busy, but even so...

    It was rather a relief to leave, after some hours!

    The three then enjoyed another small interlude for lunch, taken at Lambeth Palace, home of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who had extended the offer to the Queen prior to the day. He had laid on a fine array of high-tea options in a stunning glass-fronted garden room that overlooked the most beautiful lawns and rose-gardens, and left the ladies alone to lunch in peace, as he had his own business to attend to, though he did promise to host Mass for them before they departed.

    As they sat down, each relieved to take a break as they feet were aching from the miles and miles of walking in hospital corridors, Alexandra said softly, with a smile, "I wonder how many little Arabella's shall be named in the next few weeks after this visit, sister! In a few years time, you could have your own army of Arabella's!"
    "Ye mustn't be afraid to ask for help. Pride is a good thing, my girl, but it will kill you in time." - Granny Weatherwax

  9. #509
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    The London Dealer
    9th September 18XX


    What Everyone's Asking

    Her Majesty the Queen is turning heads and dazzling the public with her latest visit to London. The Queen makes history acting as Regent on behalf of His Majesty who is currently embarking upon his annual pilgrimage through the countryside. The public has taken note of her tasteful fashion and appearance as she communes with the every-day citizenry. One can hardly remember a more fantastical sight.

    Of course it must be noted that Her Majesty is accompanied by her sister, Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales. Could it be at long last the Princess is joining the fold and embracing her family? Either way the public is clearly rejoicing and celebrating the Royal visit.

    However, there is one question that remains forefront of everyone's mind, just behind these two great ladies. Just who is Lady Alice Denington? The young Lady has been seen just behind Her Majesty and Her Royal Highness throughout their visits across London. While this young woman is certainly pleasant to look at, and appears well mannered, no one seems to be able to identify her beyond a name. Buckingham Palace has yet to respond to any requests for comment on the matter. Whoever she is, she is undoubtedly the luckiest lady in the realm to carry favor with our two greatest ladies. Well done mystery Lady!


    While the papers would begin to write and ultimately print the stories they chose, the three women had retired, if ever so briefly, to Lambeth Palace, the London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury who had been content to leave the small group to their own devices.

    "An Army of Arabellas?" The Queen asked almost laughing at the question itself. "The country is not ready for that just yet. I think myself and the little one" in reference to the child born earlier that day who now bore her name, "are enough for the time being." Indeed there was something of a popular trend when a new Monarch and Consort came to the throne, either together or at different times, the name was suddenly the fashion, at least while popularity remained high, ever a question. "Though, it would bring the country so much needed modesty." Arabella laughed, joking entirely, of course, but for once it was simply nice to relax in company.

    "I don't know, if we had an Army of Arabella's thing what we could do. We could burn all the crinoline in the country! Or extol the virtues of listening endlessly to the ladies of court complain about how dull their lives are. Paint the town red they could!" Alice raised a hand to cover her mouth as she chuckled, rather amusingly at her own expense.

    "We do all know how I adore a splash of colour." Arabella even had joined in on the fun, for once truly able to poke fun at her self in the safety of this group.

    "But that does remind me. Do you remember how Richard was always making allusions to the Archbishop and his 'issues.' I always thought it was well... women of the night.. as it turns out I was wrong!" Arabella admitted, hushing her voice ever so softly, knowing that still no one was around to listen. "Gambling." Arabella nodded, a small smirk on her face. Even the holiest of the holy had their secrets, it was becoming more and more clear to the Queen that very few amongst the blessed would practice what they preached. "Up to his eyes in debt to the Crown."
    Thanks to Hayabusa/Ryoku for the set.

  10. #510
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    "No doubt there will, at the least, be one or two Arabella's in every schoolroom in the country in five or so years," Alex quipped, smiling before she reached over to pour the tea for them. Normally a task for servants, but she was happy to do it; save them having another set of ears listening in.

    At the revelation about Canterbury she shook her head, lips parted, "My word. I would never have guessed, nor would any others I imagine, given his sermons on the sin of such thing!" She set down the teapot and let out a frustrated sigh. The hypocrisy was staggering. "And His Majesty allows it?" She shook her head again. Another man, even a noble, would be a risk of losing all his wealth if such a debt was called in; a man of the cloth was allowed to roam at large, preaching his falsehoods.

    "Ah..." she looked at her sister and nodded. "I see. That's why he allows it. The King has money enough to wink at this sin, especially as, by doing such, he has the man in his debt for more than coin. The Archbishop represents Rome in England, and he owes all to the King and must now, given his sin, do whatever he is commanded. It is concerning to know how deep the rot goes."

    The Princess filed away this titbit though, in her mind; Arthur might have use of such knowledge in the future. In their position, anything must be grabbed and used.

    -

    The gossip columns being what they were and distributed by numerous young couriers, it was mere hours after the ladies had first appeared at the hospital that the sheets were being delivered to worthy homes, and read out aloud for the poorer citizens in many a square.

    Being written mainly for women, in a way that newspapers were written for men, it was into the eager hands of Duchesses, Countesses and Ladies that the sheets were pressed...And into the drawing rooms and parlours of many a great house that they were dissected carefully.

    "Oh, no mention is given to what her Majesty wore!" One young lady complained, reading her copy again. "Not even a little hint! I hope they provide sketches in the next one. The Queen has such taste."

    Her mother, a court lady, clutched her own copy and scanned it, mouth tight. "Who on earth is this 'Lady Denington'?" she muttered to herself before snapping her fingers at her lady's maid. "Johnson, speak to the maids, see if anyone has worked for any family by this name. I want to know everything and anything! If we have missed such a Lady, and one so close to Her Majesty, we may have ruined our chances already! We must make overtures to the Lady as soon as we can..."

    She scanned the sheet again. "It doesn't say with whom she is lodged...We shall send flowers to both the palace and Marlborough house, with a note of introduction to the new lady."

    "Yes, ma'am," the maid bowed and departed on her task.

    The Lady's daughter looked up and frowned. "Mother...What will that achieve?"

    "Ugh, foolish girl," she snapped. "We must, at all times, curry favour with Her Majesty! This Lady has been seen, in public with her, and so must be close to her, Her Majesty will expect us to welcome her!"
    Last edited by DuchessLivilla; 03-09-2023 at 02:09 PM.
    "Ye mustn't be afraid to ask for help. Pride is a good thing, my girl, but it will kill you in time." - Granny Weatherwax

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