Friday, October 19, 2012

Anne in a Dress

Instead of a Jack in the Box, an Anne in a Dress!
Just a bit of fiction I came up with around midnight of last night. It's very reminiscent of a few...erm...complications I discovered that come with wearing a farthingale. I hope you find this humorous.

“Anne Elizabeth Hawkyns!” Anne cringed at the sound of her father’s voice above her. She dropped her skirts and turned demurely on the stairs, looking at her father. Captain Sir John Hawkyns was leaning against the railing of the stair landing, a slightly bemused expression on his face.
“Aye, father?” Anne blinked innocently. Anyone else wouldn't have been able to tell that she had been climbing the stairs with her skirts hiked up nearly to her knees. Hawkyns’ was not to be fooled by his daughter’s charade. Anne was having a bit of a hard time adjusting to her new life as a privileged daughter of a knight. The cumbersome weight of her skirts made her feel both beautiful and restricted. Only a few days ago Anne had tried moving over a bench (something she would have easily jumped over in her lad’s clothing) and had to get help when her farthingale trapped her in place. Even the clothing she had worn growing up was much simpler than the finery Hawkyns had procured for her. The clothing was sometimes the least of Anne’s troubles.
“Ladies don’t bring their skirts up so high when ascending the stairs.” Hawkyns admonished with a grin. Anne knew that he was being lenient. “Where is Elizabeth?” She couldn’t go anywhere without an escort now, where as a lad she had been able to come and go as she pleased. Anne looked down the stairs and failed to see the other red haired girl that had been behind her only moments before. Elizabeth Cecil, the daughter of Lord Burghley, had befriended Anne within minutes of being introduced. Elizabeth, while studious and much better bred than Anne, had her own streak of mischief and fire in her.
“She was just behind me.” Anne replied loudly, hoping that her friend was within earshot.
“I’m here!” Elizabeth’s voice came through the door as she pushed the heavy oak. “They didn’t catch us! I had to see if one of my father’s spies was…” She looked up and spotted Hawkyns, and Anne’s warning facial expression. “Good day Captain.” Elizabeth smoothly floated up the stairs, hardly raising her skirt. Anne let out a long sigh. Why did Elizabeth have to be so good at all of these feminine things?
“I thought my daughter had lost you, Lady Elizabeth.” Hawkyns observed after reverencing. “What sort of mischief are you two young ladies getting in to?”  
“All sorts.” Elizabeth laughed. “But aren’t you a pair of my father’s eyes and ears as well?” Anne bit her lip to conceal her laughter. Even laughing was painful in these corsets and bodices. Of course Hawkyns was a spy, he’d been a double agent as well.
“I had thought you to be a positive influence on my daughter.” Hawkyns chuckled. Anne felt light headed and leaned against the rail of the stair, frowning. “Are you all right, Anne?”
“It’s this damn dress.” Anne muttered, earning a stern look from her father. “You never said anything about my language when I was the ship’s boy!” Anne pressed her side as the lightheadedness passed.
“I’ll take her to sit down for a while.” Elizabeth led Anne up the stairs towards Elizabeth’s rooms in Lord Burghley’s estate.
Almost out of earshot of Hawkyns, Anne turned to Elizabeth and with complete seriousness uttered, “I want my trousers back.” Hawkyn’s laughter at Anne’s words could be heard throughout the house. 



Monday, October 8, 2012

Stronghold, Friday.

Wow, it's been quite a while since I posted on this blog. I'm back with a tale of how I became a Maid of Honor for one weekend at the Stronghold Olde English Faire.

Friday evening I got to Stronghold around 8pm-ish (emphasis on the ish part because I can’t really recall). I couldn't really see what the scenery surrounding the castle looked like (other than lots of trees, which made me really happy because I love woods and forests and such).
I knew Stronghold was a castle, but I didn’t expect to be so enthralled by the castle itself. I must have had bug eyes when I first entered. After dropping off my bags in the great hall and saying hello to a few people I must have spent half an hour running around exploring with some of the other kids. There’s just something about castles that makes me really happy inside. I love old houses, and this place was MASSIVE! It had a tower, a fairy tale room with the story of Rumplestiltskin painted on the wall, an amazing Great Hall, just so many things that I loved. I was told that I had little sparkles of fairy dust following me around. I probably did I was so excited. It didn’t take me too long to figure out my way around, but the floor plan was pretty straight forward. There was a secret passageway from the library to a chapel, it was really easy to find (maybe I just think too much about how to hide secret passages).
Apart from seeing the castle, I was just so happy to see all of my Ren Friends again. Everything about these people puts me at ease and makes me feel at home. I was a little nervous just because I had no idea how to be  “nobility” but I knew that there would be plenty of people to teach me. Thank goodness, because otherwise I would have felt very ill at ease. As it was, most of my decorum was tossed out the window when I learned of the expectation of the Maids of Honor was to get into as much trouble as possible without being over the top.
Only a few days before Stronghold I found out that I’d be portraying Lady Elizabeth Cecil, Lord Burghley’s daughter. I wasn’t able to find to much information about her in the little time I had, but I was able to glean more information from the people at Stronghold. One little change we made was making me a Maid of Honor for the weekend, even though Elizabeth Cecil was never a MOH.

Ever since I’ve been going to the Ren Faire, I’ve loved watching the nobles. Part of it is the history, but I also look for new the dresses each year. I felt bad for staring but those dresses are so beautiful! AND I GOT TO WEAR ONE!!! One of my childhood dreams was fulfilled. I got to wear a court dress.
It was beautiful. Green and orange and rust/brown with trimming and beading and amazingness. Getting dressed itself was an adventure and the whole time I was praying that the dress would fit me. It actually fit very well for not being made to my exact measurements, but I had no idea what I looked like until I stepped out and got a look at myself in the hallway mirror.
I didn’t know what to do for a few minutes. I couldn’t look at myself, I felt so pretty. The other girl who was going to be a maid of honor with me was equally excited/impressed/taken aback by her own dress. We had a little “procession” into the great hall to show everyone and the reaction just completely befuddled me. I said “I’ve never felt so pretty in my life, and my prom dress was beautiful.”
Then I learned a little bit of a court dance, and I learned how to walk. Or rather, I was told how to walk and just picked up how to hover right off the bat. I also learned that when a lady is sitting on the ground she waits for a gentleman to help her up before she stands. I think Anne might need to pick up that habit simply because it would be funny.
Most of Friday night I just spent talking to people and having some fun being back around everyone. Even though I didn’t really know most of the people because I am not apart of St. George, everyone was nice and down-to-earth.
Falling asleep Friday night was sort of difficult because of the smoke in the Great hall. Apparently the chimney isn’t that great, so there was a fair amount of smokiness. It usually only takes me a couple of minutes to drop off to sleep. Friday night it almost took me an hour and a half, and I woke up every few hours. However, Saturday was going to prove to be quite the adventure. I’ll write about that tomorrow.