In honor of the Royal Wedding I have decided to write a special three part Royal Wedding themed 23 Hours, for the bank holiday weekend.
My dearest Catherine,
Pray forgive my delay in writing to you, I know you regard any letter composed on the thirtieth of the month to display a wanton neglect on the part of the author. However once you have read the content of this correspondence I am certain that you shall understand why postponing the indulgence of writing to you was rendered entirely essential.
Catherine I feel I ought warn you that the content of this letter seems better suited to the pen of a writer of sensational stories than to me, Lady Maria Woodville, however I shall attempt to relate it to you as though I were the former and not the latter.
I was happily engaged in eating my breakfast, for Thursday’s breakfast is always a meal to be relished when my dearest husband Henry entered the room at a gait that, with every alternate step, displayed a deeply troubled state of agitation.
“Maria, pray, cease what you are doing! I have this moment received an urgent communication from an old comrade of mine, it is news of such a very shocking nature that if you are eating whence I convey it you will almost certainly choke upon the morsel!”
I was so taken aback that I did indeed stop eating that instant, and was all eager distress as I enquired,
“Woodville, you have not suspected that I might choke since you informed me you had to sail to the continent. Surely nothing could give me such alarm as your imminent departure from my side.”
“I am afraid,” Replied my husband with such an expression of noble sincerity that he was rendered in my opinion doubly handsome, “that the matter is altogether more severe than that. Maria, Captain Faye informs me that he has uncovered a plot against the monarchy and all of parliament!”
“Pray, Henry of what is it that you speak?” Asked I in horrified distress.
“It would seem that there is a scheme afoot to dispatch them all! Captain Faye has prevailed upon us to aid him as he fears members within his own regiment could be involved. He is at a loss as to whom to trust, and he feels our connection at court could prove beneficial. What is more, they mean to carry out their deuced scheme tomorrow, at the Prince’s Wedding!” Said he.
Upon his words I was overcome by that one weakness to which I have an overzealous tendency to indulge in, hysteria.
“Henry, Pray, if what you tell me is true then we have only have four and twenty hours to discover these fiends and cause them to cease and desist.”
“Nay, we have only three and twenty. it would seem the messenger’s horse cast a shoe and this note was delayed by an hour!” Woodville spoke gravely “The first thing we must do is accept our invitation to His Majesty’s Wedding.”
“Nay sir, that is an impossibility.” Said I “I refused our future sovereigns invitation some time ago, to accept it now would lead everyone to believe that we have no more sense of propriety than the lowest rustic. It would expose us to ridicule!” Said I with feeling.
“We must be there if we are to able to uncover these son’s of churls, for we cannot very well save all of parliament and the monarchy from the comfort of our country estate, can we?” Henry spoke in a tone that belied his calm countenance, but I was not inclined to concede.
“London shall be full of peasants; Henry you hate such things, I declined for the sake of your health …”
“Maria, you declined because you believed the bride had her gown made up in the same fashion as yours.” My husband spoke with such decided accuracy that I was quite enraged.
“She did!” I cried now entirely vexed.
“Maria, you will graciously acquiesce to their request this instant, then join me in the gun room, I am going to summon the footmen” And with that Lord Woodville left, however before his coat tails had entirely disappeared through the lacquered folding panels (sister, you were correct, they do indeed lend a certain elegance to the parlour) he called “And pray, send for Elizabeth, we shall in all certainty require her accomplishments!”
I was so enraged that had I been of a bilious constitution I would in all likelihood have succumbed to an attack. As it was however, I dispatched a note to the Palace, sent for my husband’s sister, who I am certain has not her equal for accomplishment; and hastened to my bedchamber to dress in my green sprigged muslin, a gown I felt was altogether better suited to saving a monarchy in peril.
Upon joining Woodville in the gun room I was met with a scene reminiscent of a regiment of the militia. Every footman was engaged in loading weapons into the waiting carriages, save one, a young fellow with hair so fair he was entirely without masculine charm, who was attending to the powdered wigs of his superiors.
“I have settled that we should take our leave instantaneously, Captain Faye is expecting us by and by and we do not have the luxury of an abundance of time.” Said my husband as he handed me my own rifle, an elegant weapon with my name engraved on one side and an intricate little design that included the flowers from my own bridal posy on t’other. My resentful vexation toward my husband subsided further as he was all chivalrous attention as he handed me into the carriage, ensuring we travelled in the barouche so I should not fall prey to the seasonal draughts.
Henry lent from the carriage window and called,
“Coachman, to London and make all hast, the King is in Peril!”