Our new season is now open: Spring 1677 !
|Full Name:|| Catriona Gillian MacGregor |
|Title:||Countess of Alyth|
|Age:||18 (birthday-November 2nd)|
|Eye Colour:||Sapphire blue|
|Hair Colour:||Chestnut with auburn highlights|
Reputation: «... a determined lady, renowned for her kind and charitable actions and her doting on her daughter. Yet, grief over the loss of her husband has obviously caused great distress, pushing the lady to eccentricities in her desire to reaffirm her life. Some consider her improper eagerness to take on increasingly masculine aspects of life a display of boldness, others the early signs of in-setting madness...»
The first thing one notices when Catriona enters the room is her height. She stands taller than most ladies, at an impressive 5'8" without heels. This makes it easy for her to look men in the eye when she speaks with them. Unfortunately, it is not often that their eyes meet hers. Instead, they are drawn to a most bountiful sight provided by the low cut gowns and tight corsets of the day’s fashion. A pity, really, since it is her eyes that she feels are her best feature. The deep sapphire blue of her eyes, surrounded by thick lashes, darkens when angered and lightens when amused, readily giving away her mood. Her hair is a rich chestnut, in which hides startling auburn highlights, giving away her Scottish heritage almost as easily as the brogue that sometimes slips into her voice when she loses control of her speech pattern. Her nose is straight, almost knifelike, much like the dark, thin brows that perch upon her brow. Her skin is her biggest physical flaw, as it carries a kiss of the sun upon it, quite unlike the pale complexions favored by other ladies of the court.
Initial Impression of Personality
Cat, as she is known by her friends and family, is a beautiful girl of many moods and looks. At times she is a joy to be around; amusing friends and strangers alike with a quick wit and a way with poetry. At those times she is like a living ray of heavenly light. Other times, she can be found cutting a bloody verbal swath through idiots who think her nothing more than a pretty bauble to be seduced away. Those times, she appears a dark she-devil, sent by Lucifer himself to drag the poor sinner into the deepest, darkest pits of Hell.
The Scottish Catriona Gillian MacGregor, Countess of Alyth and Royal Mistress to His Majesty Charles II, is an acknowledged court beauty. The lady is temperamental, a touch overbearing even, yet considered to be among the leading charitable matrons, kind and friendly to all so that often her dramatics are forgiven. Her influence at court is said to be considerable. Some say so is her greed.
General Knowledge/things whispered about
- Recently popped out yet another Royal brat
- Has a work in progress known either as the Money Pit or Lady Alyth's Fine teas
- Will take over your life if you give just the smidge of a signal that it needs help
- Two husbands died under mysterious circumstances...wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more, say no more.
Cat is the widow of Adam MacGregor,the Earl of Alyth, and is the mistress of Charles II, having given birth to his natural daughter, Nessia Maire MacGregor. Cat's illegitimate older brother is Douglas FitzJames. He is currently assigned as her guard, partially in punishment for childhood issues. Cat is trying to fix their relationship. She has recently opened her own tea shop on the Strand.
Lady Catriona Parham, Viscountess of Patterson, arrived in London with only one thought on her mind. Her sisters. She wanted to make certain they were safe and taken care of. It seems, though, that because of this one thought, several things have happened to her and caused her to rethink strategy.
Her beauty and lack of fear brought her to the attention of John Maitland, Duke of Lauderdale, the night of the May Day Ball. When the king called for a Scottish lady to step forth and dance with the bold Scot (Adam) who dared approach him with a dancer partner, she volunteered herself. Her beauty, along with her heritage, made the Duke decide that she was the perfect candidate to be his mistress. A threat and a promise had her agreeing to his terms of companionship. The threat and promise circled around her sisters, who currently live with her, but only while she pleases Lauderdale.
That night also brought Adam into her life. After a couple of Gaelic lessons, she decided he would make the perfect candidate to take her virginity before going to Lauderdale. Unfortunately, she fell in love with him, though he claims to love her as well. She has spent several nights with him as well as is currently being taught sword skills by him. She is also carrying his child.
This pregnancy has made her think about how to best get out from under Lauderdale's rule and has decided the King, the only man higher than the Duke, is her best way. George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, as agreed to take her under his wing to teach her how to ensnare the King and become a constant mistress.
With the King moving court to Newmarket, Cat sent her solicitor to secure them lodging in town. It was smaller than the townhouse, but it would suffice, for the interim. Fiona spent most of her time pouting, Shona leaning out the window of the carriage and pointing, and Aileen silently petting Leanne. The travel was slow going, as Cat found herself frequently having to stop, either to relieve her bowels or her stomach. Unfortunately, one of the downfalls of such stops is that it left them vulnerable. At one unscheduled stop, three highwaymen attacked their carriage. Cat was in no shape to fight, being seriously ill. But she fought like a lioness seeing her sister under duress.
Cat did not get away unscathed though. The second highwayman managed to kick her in the stomach, sending her down. This gave her driver enough time to capture the man, wrestling him down to the ground while the third man made off with their money. Once guards could be found, the man was sent back to London to await his trial. Back in the carriage, another trial was under way. Cat spend the remainder of her trip comforting her sisters.
Once there, they began to have some of their belongings brought when when pain struck. Cat fainted and remained unconscious as the girls moved her to her room. Then, they spotted the blood on her petticoats. Memories of their mother came flooding back and a doctor was sent for. The doctor was able to stop the bleeding and Cat kept the baby, but now her sisters watched her every move, worried that something might now happen to her.
Eventually, once released by the doctor, Cat soon began attending the races, though did not race herself, due to pregnancy. The fragile friendship she had started with Nell over the discussion of a hospital continued, especially finding that they would be neighbours upon their return to London. King Charles also called on her, having been informed that the Scot was with child. Charles had his suspicions as to the child's parentage.
Before leaving for Newmarket, Cat had taken some time to inspect the house that Charles had secured for her and her sisters on Pall Mall and found while fundamentally sound, there were some renovations required. The back garden wall between her yard and Nell's was crumbling, the staircase had a rotten stair, the paint was chipping in the room that would be the nursery, the master bedroom had a leak near the windows and all the chimneys needed to be thoroughly cleaned. She hired a steward to oversee all this as well as set about ordering furniture and the like for her new home, so that all would be in order upon their return.
The return to London and the start of the new Season began with a bang for the young Viscountess. It started at the Opening Ball, where the King pulled her aside to inform her that he knew she was pregnant and that the child wasn't his. Cat didn't deny this. He offered to marry her off to the baby's father, but Cat refused. So it was that her affair with the King continued. Things were going so well that she even decided to throw a party at her new house, inviting the entire court, including those new to London, but refusing entrance to others who had made an enemy of the Scot. The King was supposed to attend, but that was the night that the Queen began her miscarriage.
Abdul, in his 'protection' of Cat, had managed to get himself caught and thrown in prison. Cat went to him and asked him to apologize. He refused. She admitted to him that she loved another, meaning Adam, but he thought she meant the King. Things deteriorated from there.
Cat continued with her charities, starting with a fundraiser, co-sponsored by Nell, for the hospital. A fight broke out over one of the ladies, who both earned black marks in Cat's book. Other than that, it went fine. Money was raised and fun was had by most. The production of Merry Wives of Windsor continued to be worked on as well.
The 'friendship' between Cat and Adam continued, though they both had to be careful. It was after one of their sword practices, while Cat and her sisters were sitting for a portrait, that she began to have severe pain and bleeding. A doctor and midwife were quickly called for, but to no avail. Adam's child was lost. This devastated them both. The Viscountess was sad and angry and took it out on the King when he came to visit, but he quickly pulled her out of misery with the reminder that she had to be strong. So she hid her pain away, in the deep dark closet where she hid away her fears.
It was a very sad start to the off season for the youngest mistress of Charles II. The loss of Adam's child hit her hard, seemingly killing a small part of her, deep in her heart. But Charles' words still rang in her head, so she put on a strong front for those under her care. As soon as the midwife gave her clearance, Cat was out of bed, setting the household on its ear. A decorator was brought in to redo the bedroom while she took the girls off to the races at Newmarket.
She would often saddle up Scathach while in Newmarket and run her, though not in any of the races. She was trying to forget her pain, or at least block it. Sometimes she would ride alone and sometimes with Charles, his presence a balm to her, though they still had their arguments. There were times when she wondered if she didn't argue with him just to make up. She seemed to feel less dead inside during those times.
While at Newmarket, Cat had hoped to meet Heather's husband, but it was not to be. Liam stayed in London, so the Scot didn't get a chance to meet the Irishman now bound to her friend. She did, however, spend time with the good doctor's wife, teaching her how to use a dagger, though being very careful not to tire the pregnant woman. Correspondence was kept up with those who did not attend Newmarket, such as Isobel.
Finally, the snow began to fall and it was time to head to Windsor for the Christmas season.
Upon arriving early at Windsor, at the King's request, Cat found herself not entertaining an assignation but a wedding. It seemed the King had decided to give her the gift of Adam. He made the Scot an Earl and announced their wedding. The King also acted as Father of the Bride, Best Man and Witness. Though surprised by their sudden luck(?), the pair quickly did was newlyweds throughout time have done and celebrated. Loudly and often. But soon they were surrounded not just by her sisters, but his two sisters as well.
It soon reached Cat's ears that the Moor was dead. A duel held outside the gates between himself and Lord Blackheath ended with him being killed...while clutching a minature of her portrait. This information did not reach her. Cat both was happy and sad for his passing, going so far as to having a dream (or was it a hallucination) about him and his insistance that she needed to live.
Though a newlywed, and to the man she loved, Cat decided to remain as Charles' mistress. Perhaps it was fear that something might happen to her family if she didn't continue having the King's support. Perhaps it was because she felt it wrong to try and pass of the child within her womb as Adam's. Perhaps she simply was a selfish woman who didn't want to give up the power her position afforded her. Even she couldn't answer the question.
Towards the end of the Season, Cat and Adam, along with several other members of court, attended a party being held by the Dutch delegation. Some anarchists broke in, attempting to take the nobles hostage. Working with Adam, Heather and others, the miscreants were quickly put down.
Cat went into seclusion after a few health scares in her pregnancy. She was given over housing at Hampton Court, where she helped supervise the rework of gardens. Very few visitors came.
After not having seen anyone but family and her servants for the past two months, Cat was delighted to have Darlene visit the first week after Recess. Certainly, before their correspondence, they were not the closest of companions, but letters and motherhood seemed to bring the pair together. They spent the week discussing pregnancy and motherhood, Cat passing along all the things she had learned during her pregnancy to Darlene, as well as Cat's mid-wife. But, before long, Darlene had to leave to attend to her own life and Cat once more returned to her almost solitude.
June progressed and Cat became more and more uncomfortable. Not just physically, though there were days when she wanted to push the baby out of her. No, there was a sense of wrongness in the air. She hadn't heard from Adam in quite some time, though his last letter had mentioned planning on sailing to Ireland for some sheep he had heard of that would be well suited for the Alyth climate and landscape. The evening of June 22nd, Cat found she couldn't sleep. A relentless restlessness gripped her, as well as lower back pain. She had to keep getting up and walking. Later, that afternoon, after a very intense stomach cramp, the post arrived. Upon reading the top letter, Cat let out a scream of both physical and emotional pain. Labor had started.
After what both the midwife and the doctor present called a relatively easy labor, on June 23rd, little Nessia Mairi MacGregor made her presence in the world known with a lusty cry. Cat held her daughter as tears slid down her cheeks, of both joy and sadness. Fiona, and the rest of the girls, soon came in and kissed their niece and hugged Cat and whispered words of encouragement. This set off more tears. For Fiona, ever the nosy one, had found the dropped letter that her sister had been reading when she went into labor. The ship Adam had been sailing on to Ireland had never reached land. Adam was lost at sea, believed dead.
Cat took her month of 'cleansing' and made certain the girls were packed. When Darlene arrived, Cat notified her of the loss of Adam and the need to see her sisters home. The MacGregor girls were escorted home by Adam's faithful servant, whom he had left at home to see after his wife. Ulrich and the girls departed a few days before Cat, Darlene and the rest of the MacBain girls, Nessia going with them. It was slow travel, but soon they reached Alyth, where a funeral for the lord was held with an empty coffin. Cat was unusually quiet, doting on Nessia constantly. Darlene's words of encouragement struck her deep in her heart, where she continued to refuse that he was gone.
More slow travel up to Inverness, where Fiona was installed along with the younger MacBain girls, supposedly so that Fiona could learn to control her own household. But Cat wanted to distance the girls from her own reputation and perhaps work on adjusting it when she returned to England so that she could find them good matches when their time came.
Once certain the younger girls were settled, the party set out, short several girls and servants, but still, plenty continued on. Including a wet nurse for Nessia. Cat had thought to breastfeed herself, but due to the mess that made of her dresses and the fact that it was severely frowned upon by all others, she turned that particular duty over to the young Scottish miss she had found at Alyth who was in need of a position and had recently lost both her husband and baby. The slow party eventually made it back down to Edinburgh.
While in Edinburgh, Cat met briefly with the King, who acknowledge Nessia as his natural daughter and gifted Cat with a sapphire necklace. He also declared Adam officially dead and placed the Alyth title on Nessia. So the dowager Countess and Darlene spent some more time in Edinburgh, meeting up with Charles Buchanan. The trio (and a half, since Cat didn't like to leave Nessia for long periods of time) enjoyed some touring and a picnic. Then, it was time to travel on.
Slowly, since both Nessia and Darlene needed frequent stops, they finally returned to England, going to Oakham, where Darlene was afforded a surprise of a returned husband. Cat kept mostly to the background, not participating in the Opera (she had a fine voice, but felt it was too early to participate in such an event), until it was time to go to Windsor.
Cat's Work/Charity Schedule (times subject to change without notice)
|Day of Week||Location||Time Frame|
|Mondays||The Farm||9 am to 11 am|
|Tuesdays and Thursdays||Chelsea Hospital||8 am to 11 am|
|Wednesdays and Fridays||Tea Shop||9 am to 2pm|
|Saturday and Sunday||Home||Most Time, unless otherwise scheduled|