The Royal Nursery had stood dark and vacant for well over a year once the Duchess of Cleveland and her brood of royal bastards had quit it, and Queen Catherine had failed to produce a live child. In recent months, however, the Tudor mansion had undergone a transformation as it was prepared for new residents. The red brick façade had been cleared of creeping vines and the spacious grounds & gardens reclaimed from the weeds and brambles that had invaded from the nearby forest. The windows and chimneys were cleaned, and the furniture uncovered, repaired, and replaced as necessary. With fresh paint and new fixtures, it was ready to receive its new residents. Lady Alyth, Lady Portsmouth, and Mistress Gwynn, all mistresses of the King, would share the home with their offspring.
The ground floor was given over the public rooms that would be shared by all. There is a formal salon, stylishly appointed in crimson and gold, the walls hung with portraits of the King and each of the ladies in residence, as well as a sitting area with a large settee, two upholstered armchairs, and an inlaid coffee table. There is also a more informal receiving room, decorated in shades of pale blue, which is often used for reading or sewing, as it boasts several large windows that look upon the gardens. Small sofas and cozy armchairs are scattered throughout, and there is also a pianoforte in one corner. There is also a modest Library, with two chairs situated beside a small fireplace. Finally, there is the dining room, lavishly decorated with oak-paneled walls and a trompe-l'œil ceiling featuring playful cherubs, and a long table with seating for twelve.
Before heading off to the archery exhibition, Cat had started Collette in arranging the informal sitting room on the ground floor for the informal wake she was holding for Adam with Heather and Darlene (and now it seemed, Thomas). A word was dropped in her maid's ear to to drop in Nell's maid's ear that if her mistress wished to join them, she could. One would think living in such close proximity that the mistresses would run into each other all the time, but it seemed they easily missed each other. The basket Heather sent over was on prominent display, with glasses set nearby to toast the man who had touched each of their lives. Also on hand were delicacies from Scotland, including black bun, that were normally only served around New Years, but Cat felt they would be enjoyed.
Cat had returned from the archery display and gotten a few of Adam's things that he hadn't taken with him, including some of his handkerchiefs, which she kept on her. Along with those was the sword he had given her for Christmas. It was laid across the table on a tartan of the MacGregor clan. At the moment, she was straightening the tartan, looking to make certain there were enough finger foods and glasses and cushions and chairs and oh God, she missed Adam. She sank down into a chair, holding the tartan up to her cheek, trying hard to control her tears.