TUDOR ENGLAND, STEWART
The courageous Dowager Queen of
Scotland works to preserve the throne for her daughter Mary against the machinations of Henry Tudor and greedy Scottish nobles.
Meg Douglas, twenty-eight and still
unmarried, prays that uncle Henry will finally relent and give permission for Mathew, Lord Lennox, to travel south and marry her before it is too late and her guilty secret is discovered.
Matho Spirston, newly appointed courier to Lord Wharton,
sets out on a mission north of the border believing it will give him the opportunity to bring south his beloved Phoebe. Unhappily for them all, disaster threatens when war breaks out between the two countries.
"The Dowager Queen of Scotland sat at a small card table set on the raised dais in Stirling’s Great Hall and tapped her toes in time to the music. For once her courtiers smiled at one another, and in the centre of it all, the blushing bridal couple seemed dazed with happiness.
In contrast, Arran perched on his stool like a black crow sitting out a rain shower and stared down at his cards.
“Be of good cheer, my lord Governor,” Marie urged him. “It is not every day one of my ladies celebrates her wedding.”
Arran grunted. “Aye, that’s true enough. The Treasury gives thanks for it.” His gaze hovered accusingly at the level of her chin. “Madam, we cannot go on spending on such frivolities.”
Marie smiled, stretched across the card table and patted his hand. “I cannot resist. They are such happy occasions. But you may take comfort in the thought that there will be no more weddings among my ladies in the coming months.”
She turned to observe the dancers. Candle and firelight glimmered on pearls and gems, slid across silks and brocades. Gold frozen into heavy chains gleamed against rich velvets of the gentlemen’s attire, adding colour and depth to the scene.
“Your servants constantly wish to marry, madam.”
He made it sound like a reproach. Could the man not enjoy the beautiful sight of couples executing the intricate steps of the dance without thinking of money? Rarely did Scotland remind her of the French court, but tonight there had been a hint of a similar grandeur and beauty in the great hall. Now Arran’s meanness threatened to spoil the evening."
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