Saturday, December 28, 2013

I do hope everyone had the most wonderful Christmas tidings and was thoroughly spoilt, guzzling on delicious eats and drinking to excess, for how else is Christmas to be spent?

My family and I celebrated accordingly and we were graced with the presence of the charmingly handsome Duke of Albany, who followed me from the mountains of Bohemia to the humble hills of the Shire. He has been most gracious and has enraptured my ladies of the Shire as well as my parents. The grin that adorns my lips has barely been absent as the Duke becomes an easy piece to fit into the jigsaw of my life. 

Plans are being made for the future... Travel is still at the forefront of my mind, but I am doing my utmost to convince the Duke that he wants to go on a Grande Tour with me. I know I am asking a lot, to leave his home in Bohemia for a few weeks over Christmas is nothing in comparison to an invitation for a year of journeying the world, but there is no one I'd rather go anywhere with.

I look forward to our return to Bohemia and gazing upon the painting in all its glory. The Duke and I have decided to throw a party in honour of the artist, though no doubt she will be less than grateful. But before we journey home in a week, we have to travel to the Northern counties and welcome in the new year with Belle and the Lady of Corcaigh. Only a few days separate me from my most beloved friends and I cannot wait to drink champagne and celebrate.

D. S.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

I'm home. The Shire beckoned and I cannot ignore the familiar sound of my name as I am called to partake in the Christmas festivities. However, this time I do not return alone. 

The Duke of Albany has kept his word and spent the last two days journeying with me back to the land that I call my home. We squabbled like children over the most trivial decisions and I do think it's because we are both slightly nervous about how he will be received. He is a legend in his own right as the grandchild of Bohemia, but in the Shire we care less about your position and more about your heart and soul.

We left Bohemia in the most traditional of manners, following ancient protocol, only after we'd delivered the painting the Duke had commissioned of myself to his private chambers. He claims the likeness is uncanny, and I have to admit the artist is far better than her reputation give her credit, though her attitude is still somewhat to be desired. 

Aphrodite incarnate. It is a play on the Duke's carnal appetite towards me and though I blush at my state of undress in the painting, I cannot help but be a little proud of the work of art.

The Duke and I have been holed up for long enough, and today we shall arrive as is proper, receiving a welcome fit for the Dukes and Duchesses we are. Of course my mother shall be there, and I am interested to know how she shall react to the Duke... He can be charming but I do hope he doesn't antagonise her! 

I shall let you know how the whole event fares, but wish me luck, a foreign Duke is making his home in the Shire.

D. S.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

What a weekend. Already three days have past and I am no closer to that elusive recovery, and I have a very particular lady to blame for that matter. However, because she provided me with more entertainment than usual, she shall be forgiven. Also, we were celebrating her birthday and it's only fair to be a little exuberant when the occasion calls for it.

I look forward to continuing these raucous celebrations well into the new year.

Despite my nonchalant response to the weekend's behaviour, I managed to get chastised for over exerting myself by none other than the artist! (No doubt some of you assumed the Duke would have been the one to scold me, but he allows me the freedom to act as I please, which is greatly appreciated). This artist, on the other hand, and I have been at odds since our first meeting and she reprimanded me for wasting her time as I was 'looking less than perfect' because of the previous evening's intoxication. This apparently meant she couldn't paint me. At least not that day.

So I was left to my own devices, in a state rather worse for wear, to wait on a lowly artist! I penned a rather scathing letter to the Duke of Albany, but thankfully saw the good sense not to send it straight away. It actually helped just to write down how I felt.

The artist and I have had two more sittings since then, where I have met her ridiculously high standards and I have to admit I am pleased with how the Aphrodite is looking. It doesn't feel like me, but rather as if I am seeing the birth of a goddess.

We only have two days left to finish the painting before the Duke and I journey to the Shire for the Christmas festivities. Winter has well and truly set into Bohemia's roots as everywhere I see people bundled up in their furs, but letters from home dictate a much warmer clime, even for this time of year. 

I have to admit I am rather anxious about the Duke meeting my entire family. Not since the farce of the blonde Esquire has a suitor met my parents, especially someone that they hadn't already chosen for me! The Duke is his usual reproachable self, and I wonder if I should worry more, but deep down I know he will delight them and have to fend himself against my Mother's hints of marriage!

Oh how I long for the Shire, and to celebrate new beginnings with Belle, the Irish Lady of Corcaigh and the Duke of Albany. Truly I couldn't imagine seeing in the new year without them at my side.

D. S.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

To accept the offer of having a painting commissioned of myself for another is no small thing. I know it will be of much talk once it is revealed, especially as it has been decided that we shall honour the gods of the Ancient realms, and I only pray that I can do justice to the beauty of Aphrodite. The artist must have a talent greater than the looks I have been blessed with so as not to anger nor misrepresent in any way.

The Duke has left me in the artist's capable hands, but I have to admit I was more than surprised when I first laid eyes on the creative candidate. The Duke of Albany failed to mention that the artist is no man, but rather a woman of great beauty in her own right ~ no wonder she pays such care and consideration to the female form. I am glad that I saw some of her work before it was revealed that she was a woman. I have heard of no respectable lady having the fortune to be blessed with the talent of more than a hand for drawing, but the Duke assured me that we do not swim in the same circles. What he meant by that, I cannot even begin to fathom.

The artist was dressed most modestly and I felt like a peacock on display as I waited for her arrival in all my finery. She paid no heed to the jewels that adorned my throat, and she meticulously pulled the rings off my fingers, the precious gems glinting in the winter sunlight, but even they could not catch her attention. It wasn't until I stood there in front of her in nothing but the body that God has blessed me with that she began to show any interest in me at all.

She walked around me, feeling the contours of my body, and I shivered beneath her touch, grateful for the roaring fire to keep me warm. She made a few notes and a few pencil sketches while I waited for her to finish her appraisal. Never have I felt so naked before another human being, not even after the scandal in Iberia, and I know that sounds silly, but the artist scrutinized me with an eye for detail that I could not ignore. 

Not many words were shared between the two of us and it is not often that I find myself speechless. I wonder what the relationship is between the Duke of Albany and this artist, how did they meet, where did she come from, what is her story? I shall have to interrogate him when I next lay eyes on him. 

I now have a weekend in the City of a Hundred Spires to look forward to before the artist and I meet again for our first sitting. We have a busy week ahead of us as the Duke and I continue to make arrangements for the Christmas tidings. Belle has invited us to her abode in the Northern Counties to see in the New Year, and I heard the wondrous news that the Irish lady of Corcaigh shall also be joining us. 

How much can change in a year. As always I get a little pensive over the winter months, but truly I am content. Even though this artist is a little disconcerting...

D. S.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Aphrodite. I taste the name on my lips. The Greek goddess of love and beauty. I know I should be more than flattered at the insinuations the Duke of Albany is making, and I am the first to thank him for his kind gesture

But the thought of having a painting of myself in the flesh, in the nothing but the flesh, makes the colour in my cheeks rise and I worry about the effect it will have on my reputation. If the Duke of Albany, this grandchild of Bohemia, heard about me across the Continent, what would be said if I were to accept his offer and drop my clothes to be painted in all my naked glory?

He is bold with his movements and has not let the matter rest since he arrived not two days ago. I adore his firm touch; tilting my head and arching my back as he whispers my name in my ear, but he presses me for an answer when I have not yet decided. 


Decisions are not my forte and that is hardly the first time I have said that. I have not been coerced to make my choice before I was ready, but rather the Duke showed me some of the artist's work. He is truly talented, and he shows great love for the female form. The Duke and I have discussed what is appropriate attire for a woman of my stature, and he assures me that I may wear as many or as few garments as I please. 

The commissioning of the painting will only begin once the artist and I have met and considered at length what my stance shall be, what backdrop I want behind me and what I want to represent in this painting. I have to admit that now I have accepted the Duke's offer I am rather excited at the prospect. Of course I shall have a few of my handmaids with me for propriety's sake, but should the Duke care to observe one of the sittings, it cannot be faulted to have just the one other presence, can it?

I have thanked the Duke in the only way I know how, and though he was due to leave this evening, it seems he longs to appreciate my gratitude for a while longer. This is not a decision I believe I'll regret. 

D. S.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

I suppose I should be flattered, but the Duke of Albany's latest ruse has somewhat perplexed me, and I do find it rather bothersome to be perplexed by a man. It is nothing so sordid as others have asked, indeed it is something entirely different and because of this I am unsure as to what is the appropriate response. 

The Duke and I are so wonderful at sending letters to each other when we are not in the company of one another. Reams of poignant thought, speckled with caring words that are often plunged into the depths of a heart that is as twisted and confused as my own, litter pages while we wait for our next rendez vous. It was one such letter that gave voice to an idea of the Duke's; he wants to commission a painting of myself.

According to his letter, it would give him the utmost pleasure and delight to have a deity painted in my likeness to grace his walls. He knows just the painter, an artist of magnificent talent who would be more than willing to paint me, if I would be so kind as to sit for a few hours a day and become immortalised as a great work of art.

I cannot deny the blush that spread to my cheeks as I reread the Duke's letter. I don't know of a single painting of any deities that are even remotely clothed. I do not have to answer his question via letter as he longs to feel my touch and gaze upon my greatness for himself, so he shall arrive post haste. But he implores me not to disregard his wish, and promises that it shall be in the utmost taste. 

Flattered I am, but dubious too... It is far too convenient for this to be a passing fancy of the Duke's and I'd like to know more about this artist (I'd hate to become a laughing stock in Bohemia). I do not know what I shall say yet, but when I have the chance to look the Duke of Albany in his searching blue eyes, I know I shall find my answer.

D. S.