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Peace with Spain was signed in February 1720. In late April its news arrived to the West Indies, so all the Navies got allied against the common foe – pirates, making their trade more difficult to survive. Which side are you on?

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Port de Paix dwellers



The inhabitants of Port de Paix, a French colony, are now busy with celebrating Saint Jean d'Ete and a wedding among the highest nobility. Time for everyone who happens to be in Port de Paix to know them better… and to add your personal flavour to the holiday!

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 Double Celebration, upperclass only
Raoul Duval
 Posted: Jun 30 2016, 02:58 PM
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Rear-Admiral of the West Indies
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Date: 23-th of June 1720
Place: Port de Paix, Saint Domingue, Hispaniola



All his life, Raoul had found the matrimonial union between a man and a woman for a lifetime nothing else than a necessary evil in order to have a legitimate heir. Now, it had simply been the proper time for him to do this step, even if he had believed he would have more time until getting to do it.

One had two choices in life: remaining single and be miserable, confronting public rumours and gossips of all kind, or getting married and spending a lifetime getting bored by the side of the same woman, spending enough time together, doing infuriatingly tedious things instead of playfully flirting. But he was determined to try not to allow his matrimonial life to be tedious. And if he wasn’t anymore an eligible bachelor, this might be a relief at certain social functions. He was sick of seeing enough magistrates and wealthy plantation owners attempting to push their daughters towards him during all past occasions possible.

The ceremony was over. The congratulations hadn’t ended yet when the bishop called the best man and the maid of honour to sign the marriage certificate. It was already prepared and ready to be signed, without needing further delay.

Raoul felt his youth was over. He was a married man. He had ceased fighting mentally this situation he had got himself recklessly into. Some time around half the ceremony, right before saying the wedding vows, he had declared himself defeated. His mind had ceased fighting the idea of marriage and he had started getting accustomed to it. Maybe this should have had happened some days before, not during a mute quarrel with Sainte Marie de la Paix, the same statue who had scolded him in another circumstance, almost one year ago, in the same Cathedral. Now she was saying the same things about one man who knew surely he wouldn’t get to forsaking all others as he said in the wedding vows. He could never be the man of only one woman, but he was determined to make this day memorable for the bride and for all guests – so why not for himself equally? Nothing could change anyway.

The others’ congratulations at getting out of the Cathedral, followed by a few warrant officers' traditional wedding songs, were what convinced him that everything had been real, and kissing his bride under the pallium held by Phillippe, his new brother-in-law, and by lieutenant Henri d’Estrees, meant that he was already a family man. Holding his bride's hand, he was ready to head to his father-in-law's residence, where the party was waiting for them and for the other special guest, Her Most Serene Highness Mademoiselle de Charolais, whose birthday happened to be today as well.

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Christine de Sorel
 Posted: Jul 1 2016, 02:25 AM
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French Governor's daughter
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The shock of the quick wedding was still stirring in Christine. She had shared a kiss with Admiral Duval on his ship but that had just been a spur of the moment thing, hadn’t it? Despite their differences, had he really wanted to marry her all this time? Christine was still confused. She had spent several nights before the wedding, wondering what was going on around her. But no matter how many times she had gotten into bed to fall asleep and then wake up, Christine was still engaged to be married. The ceremony in church had been lovely and she had actually enjoyed it. How couldn’t she when she was all dressed up and having a big event held in her and Duval, well Raoul’s, honour.

She had done her utmost to not show any hesitation or reluctance during the ceremony. She was, after all, a noblewoman and she had always know that she would be married off to some nobleman eventually. At least she knew the man she had been married off to. He wasn’t a total stranger. This made it all somewhat more approachable.

Christine walked beside her new husband, her hand delicately in his as they approached her father’s feast. She walked in silence for a while quite happy that it was also the birthday of a princess. At least that would make this day less about the fact that she had just gotten married and had to get used to a new life and a new name. ‘I will have to get used to being called Lady Duval now,’ she finally said thoughtfully as they walked. ‘And you have to get used to being addressed as Count’.

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 Posted: Jul 3 2016, 11:45 AM
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LEON DE SOREL, Governor of Saint Domingue & HELENE DE SOREL


The parents of the bride were an interesting sight too, all elegant, solemn and ceremonious.

Helene de Sorel was happy for her daughter, wishing her all the best – and more happiness than she ever had. It was everything she could do, besides having supervised the bride's dressing up before the wedding, having given her the blessing and a few whispered pieces of advice, all blushing, because when it had been her turn, nobody had given her any advice and she had been entirely surprised by what married life meant.

In the church, she had been praying for Christine's happiness. She considered the new couple looked well together, that her new son-in-law was attentive and polite, and that the reception which she had made all the efforts to arrange here, in these remote Colonies, without the helpers they had in Paris, would be as elegant as it was worth for the newlyweds and for the blood princess who was among the attendants.

During the ceremony, in church, conscious that many eyes were on him, the Governor of Saint Domingue had been his usual self, haughty, majestic and silent, looking down on everyone. Indeed, the wedding was the lavish affair people were expecting it to be, and everyone was happy. Everyone, except him… or well, somehow he was happy too. Happy that finally his daughter was married to a man who promised to have a shining path in life, no matter that not in the Army. Anyway, even from the Navy there were different opportunities for the future, from promoting to Admiral to being one of the future Governors of any colony. The young king would grow up and hopefully his son-in-law would succeed to remain in his favours, with the right connections. And both Raoul Duval himself and Leon de Sorel had the right connections to achieve it…

Together with his wife, he had congratulated the newlyweds while still in church, then they went to their carriage, remembering to take the Bishop with them. The highest administrative power in the Colony and the highest religious one went well together, for the public's appearance, even if the bishop's company bored him to death. Come on, a few minutes in a carriage he wouldn't die of boredom. And after blessing the feast, the bishop had other duties to attend, to the commoners gathered on the shore for Saint John's festival.

Upon arrival to the residence, where the reception was to be held, first, the newlyweds were invited in the balcony, together with him and his wife. The best men and the maids of honour remained somehow behind, except the blood princess, whom the crowd wanted to see too. It wasn't every day that they had the opportunity to witness in person the wedding of the Governor's daughter with the Rear-Admiral, neither the visit of a blood princess in the Colonies.

It was the moment to start his well prepared speech, introducing the newlyweds to the adoring crowd – because yes, the street was crowded. Not only that it was a religious feast day, but the pretty daughter of the governor was loved and admired, and who wouldn’t want to see a beautiful bride? However, if they were expecting from him the same long speeches his predecessor used to make, they were going to be disappointed. His Excellency Leon de Sorel, Governor of Saint Domingue, was a straightforward man of military education.

He started, having the newlyweds next to him, and his wife and Mademoiselle de Charolais on the other side:

"Thank you very much for coming all to share with us the joyful occasion and wish together with us good luck to the new family! I have been waiting for this moment for almost twenty years now. Like any father in the world, I knew that this day would come, to give away my daughter Christine to a good husband. I raised her well, I gave her anything she needed in order to become an accomplished lady of the society, a good wife and future mother."

He took a glass of champagne from a tray, available for such a festive opportunity, and he raised it to the crowd, continuing:

"Today, we stand at another new beginning as Christine and Raoul Duval start a brand new family. Like me many years ago, they are probably filled with a feeling of being a little overwhelmed at it all, but those feelings will melt away in large part as they anticipate their new life together and as they build a relationship that will stand the test of time. I am sure she will be an extraordinary mother and bring her compassion and care into the life of her new family. May God bless their union and bring them the greatest of joy today and always!"

He finished quickly - not that he believed more than half of what he had just said, but these were things usually said by fathers upon their daughters' weddings. He was glad that there will not be many more duties for him tonight. Dancing with his daughter, one more toast in the hall, and this would be everything. He hated parties, but he was aware that he had to raise to the situation now and endure it.

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 Posted: Jul 7 2016, 02:43 PM
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PHILLIPE de SOREL, ship captain


The bride’s brother was overhelmed by the honour of being one of the attendants at his sister’s wedding. His arms, overstretched during more than half of the wedding mass, had now a thousand needles of pain in them, after holding the poele over the new couple’s heads, the same traditional pallium which, some day, some unmarried attendants would hold over his head. If he wasn’t aware of this little detail, he would have protested, most likely not loudly though. A wedding was a set of traditions, and this was nothing to do about.

At least he was vaguely acquainted with the young man who was holding the other part of the embroidered holy fabric, and both of them were happy when the church ceremony ended. Now, holding behind the newlyweds, the best men and maids of honour, both of them looked at the reception hall, lavishly adorned with flowers and crowns of wheat. He knew that his mother had been the one ordering the maids around for the decorations and she was the one to whom the success of the reception to be attributed to.

The nobility of Saint Domingue, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Kingston was here to enjoy the party. He hoped everything would go well, and he was looking around, searching for a dancing partner. He knew well that he shouldn’t grant special attention to only one lady, unless he was ready to ask for her hand in a few days. These receptions had their specific rules, like everything in the upperclass world.

As the others crowded into the narrow balcony, he took a glass of champagne, waiting for the newlyweds' return among the guests.

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Raoul Duval
 Posted: Jul 7 2016, 03:56 PM
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Rear-Admiral of the West Indies
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Raoul, with Christine next to him, followed his father-in-law to the balcony. The ovations were, less than one year ago, for another couple, and he was the best man remained a couple of steps behind. Now Giles was far away, and he was the one who had just received the wedding blessing.

He listened to Christine’s words, expressing somehow his own feelings as well.

”Indeed, it might take a little adjusting for both of us. But it will be a good time we are sharing, Madame Duval,” he whispered in her ear as a reply meant only between them.

He smiled at the idea to be a Count, a title brought by Christine through marriage, as there were still regions in France where a woman could inherit the title and lands of a relative deceased without male heirs. Ultimately, this was how his father acquired the domain of Laconnay too, which he had proudly passed to Guillaume afterwards.

The crowd’s ovations satisfied his vanity. It felt well being in the middle of everybody’s admiration. His father in law’s discourse took him by surprise, though. He knew that Governor de Sorel hated speaking to the population… if it wasn’t an announcement he made in his official position. But his words were diplomatic and nice to both of them, even if, as it was normal, more dedicated to his daughter he was parting with officially.

Indeed, he was overwhelmed. Probably not the only one in such situation, as the Governor had said. And yes, he didn’t doubt Christine’s accomplishments were making her the ideal wife. His problem was just that he was not quite the ideal husband… however, he was willing to try, and wishing for a relationship that would stand the test of time without ripping each other’s eyes off, how he had heard about other matrimonies.

He knew he had to make a speech too. And unlike other times, he hadn't been able to prepare it at all. Neither could he trust Adrien, who was farther from marriage than Raoul... if not getting into a kind of a shotgun wedding. So he started, with his charismatic smile directed to everybody around, in an inspiration of moment which he could attribute only to the saint patron of this holiday:

“Ladies and Gentlemen, family and friends, on behalf of my bride and myself, welcome to you all.Thank you all for being by our side as we received the nuptial blessing. We would like to thank both our families, hers hereby present and mine away in France, as we wouldn’t be where we are today if it wasn’t for them."

The discourse was more for those here - he had his personal annoyances with those who were far away in France... But in a joyful occasion, this had to be forgotten... He looked at Christine with a tender smile, then he tried to meet some gazes from the first rows gathered under the balcony, continuing:

"We would like to thank them all for their support over the years, and also to express our gratitude to all of you here who have helped in organising this wedding, with all the details which are making it the vibrant event it is. Given the special wedding day we have chosen, we pray to Saint John to protect our new family, as well as the families we come from and the friends and acquaintances surrounding us. May Saint John bless you all!”

He raised a glass of champagne that a maid had left on a tray for those involved in the balcony scene, clinking it against his bride's, then against his in-laws'.

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Wesley Stewart
 Posted: Jul 10 2016, 10:10 PM
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Captain of HMS "Sovereign"
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When the newlyweds were taken to the first floor, to the balcony, Wesley was perfectly conscious that it was not his moment, so he remained at the ground floor, in the main party hall, trying his best to entertain the maid of honour he had been paired with. Being a best man was the highest honour to receive from a friend, but had its inconveniences as well…

He didn't mind speaking French, but somehow he would have been happy to be paired with an English bridesmaid… if she wasn't a debutante, less than half his age, and he wouldn't have been in the position of playing babysitter to her the whole trip from Kingston too. And furthermore, besides finding common subjects of interest with difficulty, she was hardly speaking ever, and only in a whisper. Shyness was adorable at certain young ladies, however she exaggerated.

Something wasn't right... and he had the impression it would be the longest wedding reception ever. The only point of interest was that the reception was in the honour of one of the princesses as well. She was the one he was looking forward to being acquainted to…

For now, he took a glass too, approaching Captain de Sorel, to whom he had been introduced already a couple of days before. They could exchange a few pleasantries before greeting the newlyweds.

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Henri d'Estrees
 Posted: Jul 10 2016, 10:35 PM
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second lieutenant on "Le Phenix"
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Henri's arms ached a little less than his companion's on the other side of the pallium, merely because he was a bit taller. He would have time to recover, though, now that the nuptial mass had ended.

He got dressed into his most elegant suit of a brocade the colour of champagne, with gold embroideries and shining buttons. The shoes of fine leather were ready to try the dance floor that night, and he had powdered his hair. This was enough for the heat and humidity of Saint Domingue. The coat was not so heavy and fitted closer to the figure, highlighting it nicely. The frill of lace and the cravat added to it so as he was satisfied of the result.

He could be presentable when he had to... just that he preferred a different kind of party than the stiff, upper class ones. But even these were nice once in a while... Like now, for example. Life in the colonies wasn't always dull!

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Christine de Sorel
 Posted: Jul 12 2016, 12:31 AM
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French Governor's daughter
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It was somewhat comforting to know that Christine wasn’t alone in thinking that it was something to get used to in having a new name and a new life to get adjusted to. The whisper in her ear was another thing to get used to. They had shared a kiss on the deck of a warship but Christine was hardly used to such proximity from a man. She had met the admiral a couple of times lately and while he was pleasant company, Christine would have never thought she would marry him. Of course this was not her decision either and whatever deal her father and the admiral had struck, she had felt very much like a bargaining piece in a larger game that she did not understand. The sheer difference in their personalities concerned Christine and the knowledge that she was his until death. She would bear his children and she would be complimented on his behalf for his military exploits. Christine didn’t know how to respond and merely listened as her husband now stepped forwards and spoke to the people of Port-de-Paix. They were fine words but Christine had a sneaking suspicion that they were empty. Words that had to be said and gratitude that was expected by those in the crowd. When he finished speaking and looked at her, she figured that he too was not fully accustomed to being a married person yet. She looked at him, not smiling but with a fairly neutral gaze in her eyes. ‘If I am honest, this whole thing frightens me a bit,’ she admitted in a low voice just meant for him. ‘I never worried before but now that I am in the middle of it, I can’t comprehend what it will mean for my life… For our life’.

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Victoria Forrester
 Posted: Jul 12 2016, 12:33 AM
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Noblewoman
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The feelings of her escort didn’t bother Victoria the slightest. She had sensed his annoyance at times with the task that he had of watching over her. She knew that he probably would have preferred another lady, someone he could flirt with or someone he could ask for a dance with the hope that they could share the closest thing an unmarried pair of nobles could share without having been married. She knew that most people thought of her as a child and that the chore of being her escort was unappealing to most. But she had a powerful father. One few people wanted to say no to. Not only that, Victoria knew that despite the fact that she was considered a child at a feast for grown-ups, she was in the right place to hear gossip and whispers that she could use in her daily scheming.

Her days were spent, reading books, learning to sew and to sing. She was taught the traits and virtues of a noblewoman but in the generous time she had on her hands, Victoria spent much time in her own thoughts. She had barely spoken during the trip. She might had seemed shy but fact of the matter was that she wasn’t at all interested in talking with the Navy Captain. Victoria let her unlatching eyes look over the crowd. The part she could see at least for she was a short little lady and the people around her were tall. When the Captain moved to greet others from the wedding party, she followed by his side as was to be expected, but her light step and voiceless demeanour made her seem almost like his shadow.

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Raoul Duval
 Posted: Jul 18 2016, 03:39 PM
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Rear-Admiral of the West Indies
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The crowd ovationed, again, as expected. They had a fondness for the lives of the higher up, and this was an opportunity of joy. Raoul, knowing what was expected of him, threw them some silver coins, which increased ovations and, at the same time, started fights among the people disputing one coin or another.

The best music band they could find in Saint Domingue, comprising both the traditional tambourinaires and more modern instruments, started singing a traditional wedding song, while the newlyweds were invited to pass under an arch of flowers towards the banquet hall. For the newlyweds and their attendants, it marked the start of the party.

Raoul’s heart got louder beats at hearing the song now. He had heard it before, for several times, but then it wasn’t for him and his bride:

”Have you heard what the priest said?
To tell the truth, and how you should be,
Faithful to your husband,
And loving him like yourself.”


He looked at Christine tenderly, but in his mind there was a nagging guilt, that supposedly he had to behave the same, and he knew he wouldn’t be able to.

As the newlyweds entered the main hall where the guests were waiting for them, rice rained on them from both sides, together with wishes of happiness. Christine gave him a not so happy gaze, confessing that she was frightened by everything happening. He was too, but he wouldn’t confess this.

”Don’t fear anything, ma cherie, I am here to protect you from anything that might scare you, and we are going to take slowly our entrance into married life. Today it’s just the beginning of a lifetime together, with its happiness and worries, with respect and understanding, and love,” he replied in the same whisper.

And he was mostly sincere. He would try his best to make this marriage work, and to make Christine as happy as he could. Definitely he had no intentions to claim his marital rights like conquering a fortress, how he had heard about some new husbands. He had seduced enough women; wouldn’t he be able to seduce his own wife? Raoul took it as a challenge. Love? This might come too, in time.

Lavender, wheat, rosemary, thyme, marigold, sage and basil had been braided into garlands and bouquets, together with all the season's flowers. It looked as if a corner of Versailles got alive here in the colonies, but a Versailles exactly under Saint Jean’s festivities, the decorations keeping this theme. There were flower bouquets and garlands everywhere, and, unlike at Giles’ wedding, nobody hindered their passage with a ribbon, expecting to be paid for the honour of taking their lady. Unlike a flag captain, a rear-admiral was established in town, therefore one of this place, not a stranger.

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Julien Bauldry
 Posted: Jul 18 2016, 05:39 PM
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First lieutenant on "Le Phenix"
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The lieutenant had been honoured by the invitation to this wedding feast. Surely as an upper class officer his invitation to parties like this had always been fairly certain, already because he knew the Admiral well. Indeed all officers of “Le Phenix” could have taken invitation for granted anyway. In addition, the upper class of these colonies was small compared to the mainland and it needed all of its building blocks to show its magnificence. But, in any case Julien was feeling honoured and joyful.

He would have wanted to have a new letter from his family, but it had not arrived. He had no updated idea of what his brother was doing with the family’s property or about anything happening back home. Nevertheless, he was feeling calm. The worry of the family would not hinder him during this party and the St. John’s festival.

Julien’s view of the admiral had always been mixed. He trusted blindly in the other man’s, his superior’s, skills in naval affairs but he had always heard nasty rumours of Admiral Duval’s adventures in civil life. A tiny moralist in him that categorized people had never liked that part of Admiral Duval. But, wedding at least was a sign that the man had ended his adventures. It seemed that Admiral Duval had more honour than Julien had imagined.

Julien smiled politely and genuinely. He had not sensed any slight negative tone in the governor's speech or any feeling of doubt in the married couple. He nearly trusted that this marriage was like in a fairy tale with intense love going over any practical concerns.

He stood in the hall and observed the other guests. But he did not have time to change much pleasantries with the others when the married couple arrived. He waited impatiently for the correct moment when he could congratulate them personally and propose a toast for the couple. He still needed some more confidence with the etiquette to be sure.

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 Posted: Jul 21 2016, 09:06 AM
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Monseigneur GUILLAUME du RUISSEAU, bishop of Saint Domingue


According to the tradition, the Bishop was expected to bless first the food and the wine on the table He smiled indulgently, sketching a blessing gesture over them all, including the baskets full of little treats the slaves were getting to the crowd of spectators. Instead of the traditional short-bread cake being thrown outside by the mother of the bride, slaves were sharing little pieces in the crowd gathered outside, for good fortune.

”Given the holiday eve you have chosen to unite your destinies, you have also Saint John’s blessing,” the bishop said. ”Honour him and take him as an inspiration for a Christian life!”

He had no illusions that a man with the Rear-Admiral’s reputation would mind this advice more than by being respectful and reserved.

The slaves, both the ones from the Governor’s residence in Port de Paix and some brought from the plantation, as well as a couple of the Rear Admiral’s, were filling the glasses of champagne and serving the guests.

On a table, there was a bowl of soup and a hard boiled egg, which the bishop had also blessed, knowing that, according to the tradition, they were meant for the newlyweds, to show everybody that, through the Holy Mystery of the Wedding, they became one.

Now the guests were ready for the first toast, and the crowd gathered in front of the residence started leaving. Monseigneur Guillaume du Ruisseau, bishop of Saint Domingue, would attend just the beginning of the wedding feast, leaving afterwards to the fair ground, where the fires of Saint John awaited to be lighted and a brief mass to be hold.

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Wesley Stewart
 Posted: Jul 21 2016, 01:15 PM
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The British Navy captain didn’t know exactly how to feel. He had talked briefly with the bride’s brother, introducing to him Lady Victoria Forrester, the maid of honour. She was pleasant to the eye, nothing to say, and she had been, in the Cathedral, a nice distraction for the boring parts of the religious ceremony. Now she was following him like a shadow, and he needing to introduce her to the French people he was already familiar with from attending various past social functions in Port de Paix. He saw then the two lieutenants of the French flagship he knew already, and he greeted them too.

”Good afternoon, gentlemen. May I introduce you Lady Victoria Forrester, the maid of honour, daughter of the Lord William Forrester from Kingston. She is for the first time in Port de Paix, so I am sure you can tell her about the beauty of the town,” he said, thinking that maybe a younger man would be more suitable to keep her company for a while.

He would remain polite all through the ceremony and party, he would dance with her twice, but not in a row, as it was proper to do, but he’d have the eyes around for all the beauties of the French high society.

Wesley was looking at the newlyweds, who were just returning to the main party hall, with a smirk, wondering if in a few months’ time Raoul would not regret having lost his freedom, and if the idea of being married and secure, having ended the courting and chasing moments, would get old and boring after a while.

”Congratulations, again! How are you feeling now?” Wesley asked him, directly, with honest curiousity in his voice.

Raoul seemed to him a little changed, and the older man wondered how receiving the nuptial blessing made people feel. Wesley should have been the first to get married – at almost 35, he wasn’t getting any younger – but no woman in this world succeeded yet to persuade him to make this step. Well, the bride was pretty, the kind worth getting hitched to, no wonder that Raoul got ensnared into Holy Matrimony… Wesley felt only half of the joy of the celebration, half of it being a kind of pity for his French friend, who was going to lose his freedom.

Then it dawned on him that here, in the reception hall, he would have to hold the first toast, and he hadn't thought about this. Most men used to prepare themselves carefully... but he didn't. He looked around, took a glass, smiled, breathed deeply and started simply, in French:

”To the bride and groom - live life to the fullest, together, in happiness and prosperity. To the honourable parents of the bride, who brought forth such a well accomplished young lady and organized an exquisite wedding party, and to all of us here, rejoicing for your most special day. Let us raise a glass in high hopes of happiness for many years to come!”

Already exhausted from the effort of the simple speech, he clinked his glass against the others' in the wedding party (first being the bride and the groom), then he took a long, refreshing sip.

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Henri d'Estrees
 Posted: Jul 21 2016, 01:58 PM
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second lieutenant on "Le Phenix"
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Before being approached by the captain of the ”Sovereign”, Henri had spent a little while charming one of the singers from the musicians’ band, a lovely blonde with an obvious Breton accent. He had learnt from her that the musicians had already planned the first suite of dances meant for the newlyweds and attendants: first a gavotte, for the newlyweds and the bride’s parents, then a ronde, to be led by the happy couple and their attendants, followed by an English dance ,given that they had also British attendants, meant again for the newlyweds and their best men and maids of honour.

Now, that a young lady was introduced to them, Henri bowed politely, replying in English, with almost no foreign accent:

”Glad to meet you, milady! Indeed, Port de Paix can be rather exotic and nice to its first time visitors. It has nice buildings, beautiful flowers and spices… It depends what interests you most,” he said.

Of course, the parts of Port de Paix he knew the best weren’t of the kind to be shown to polite company… A debutante, though, wouldn’t know even they existed, so he felt like an older brother preserving a younger sister’s innocence.

"May I ask you for the honour of a dance with me later? Which dance is your favourite?" he asked her.

The captain’s toast made him smile. He was brief and to the point. At his turn, he raised the glass to everybody’s happiness.

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Christine de Sorel
 Posted: Jul 24 2016, 08:44 PM
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French Governor's daughter
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The reassurances from her new husband calmed Christine’s nerves a bit. She knew that it was probably just an irrational anxiousness anyway. A silly concern for what this would all come to mean for her life. She hadn’t often thought of marriage before. Her endless strolls through the gardens of her family home both here and the one in France had kept her mind on other things. Also, whenever her friends had giggled and swooned at the sight of handsome men in uniform, Christine had often merely shook her head in distain that anyone could gain respect by acts of murder. To her, no King had the right to authorise the death of others and no one deserved to die regardless of their crimes. Of course such statement was easy for a woman who had always lived a life, shielded from the real life beyond her gates and whose knowledge came from books. But now she was a married woman. Countess Christine Duval. Married to a navy man. She would have never expected that.

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