Marian Ros awakes on Friday morning barely rested.
Last night at the feast, Sir Vincent Le Roux asked her father for her hand. They negotiated it all then and there, over spice-stuffed pastries, plover pie, and what seemed like gallons of Black Friar. Marian has not had time to think about it, and does not now: in the great chamber, her ladyship has another piece of news.
To commemorate the wedding of Lord Snordwich’s heir, I made a little family tree. Full size here.
Sitting at his own wedding feast, Roger is still surprised to find himself a married man. This is not how things were meant to go. His wife Matilda was chosen for him by his father, a noble bride to carry on the Cecil line. Last week Lord Snordwich came to watch his lessons, and at the end of his visit made it clear that during the celebrations he did not expect his son to try to dance or shoot, or do any other thing so poorly as to bring shame upon the family.
Roger, though, gave up trying to please his father a long time ago. Defiantly, he plotted to dishonour him by publicly refusing to accept his choice of bride. Yet when he saw her, shining bright in Howard green and gold, his courage failed him and he spoke his vows.
Matilda and he will not live together as man and wife until she is old enough to bear his children safely. Perhaps that is for the best, Roger reflects, since he can’t even get up the nerve to talk to her. Last night they walked quietly together in the gardens with her brother Sir Jacquemon, but Roger’s mouth was all dry and he almost tripped over his own feet.
Getting nervous all over again, he turns his attention to the dishes before them. He thinks he will like the herring best—boiled in something red, probably nectar—but his mother sends word from the other side of the table for him not to neglect the meat. She is still trying to make a man of him, he thinks with irritation, and has Alberic Roussel heap still more of the fish onto his plate. He can follow through on this small act of rebellion at least.
He looks out over his father’s hall, packed full of guests.
Ralf never imagined the spring penitence could be such a busy time. Though the food coming out of the kitchen is suitably humble—mostly fish, greens, and spring buns—there are more mouths to feed than there have been at any of the great feasts.
In addition to the newly arrived party of knights and squires, since Sunday there has been a constant stream of lesser visitors: messengers from far off lords; merchants with rare spices to sell; minstrels on the lookout for new patronage; even beggars from neighbouring villages, who know how generous the alms at noble weddings are.
He is glad to have Peter to help; the boy certainly seems to pick everything up fast.
The baroness is sitting in the nursery with her handmaid Marian, watching her three youngest play together.
Aldiytha is full of energy, but little Linyeve seems to prefer sitting quietly with her brother as he gravely explains the order of precedence among her dolls—one a duke’s daughter, another a marchioness.
The snow falls again that night. By the first morning of spring, it is still lying thick on the ground.
Francis Brewer stays warm by giving the house a good clean.
Midwinter is not a hectic time for the farmers of Plumville. After the feasts of the Nativity and New Year’s are over, all there is to do is plant the summer crops. Thanks to a frostless winter, this year Robert Fowler’s are already in the ground. Instead, he takes a boat out onto the river with John and his son Hugh.
Elvina uses her spare time to work on a chair she has been trying to finish for weeks.