Title: Kate and Doyle — Soulmates
Series: The Adventures of Kate and Doyle
Characters: Kate Bennett and Doyle Thomas
Notes: Apparently, I’m in a fluff sort of mood, so I present one of the few times I’ve written fluff and it didn’t turn into something emotionally/mentally scarring. Um, Kate and Doyle are a pair of Victorian English characters I’ve been playing with for a while and haven’t really put their story in writing just yet. I have a bunch of vignettes and I’ve outlined a lot of their lives, I just have been lazy about sitting down and actually telling their story. But, that being said, you’re getting a little taste of it right here.
Additional Notes: The painting is the closest I found that matched the scene in my head. It’s Portrait of a Young Edwardian Lady Reading by Sarah Birch.
He hadn’t heard her come into the sitting-room. He was so focused on his current experiment, the world could end and he would take no notice of it. But when he heard the page of an old, heavy volume turn behind him, he looked over and saw her.
She was lounging idly on his chaise, an encyclopedia in her hands, wearing very little, far less than what was considered socially appropriate. But his wife was never one to ever concern herself with social appropriateness. She was in her undergarments with one of his shirts pulled over her pale blue drawers, and undoubtedly her favorite corset was hiding beneath the shirt as well. She had been out in the world dressed as a man once again, it seemed. She never did tire of that. And he could see why she enjoyed it; it was practical for their line of work at times.
But now, she was simply comfortable. Frock coat, waistcoat, trousers and boots and stockings removed, likely discarded in small heaps on their bedroom floor. Her hair still pinned close to her head, aiding in the appearance of a short cropped style; a few pins must have fallen out when she undressed, leaving a few brown locks to curl about her shoulders. Her small, silver reading glasses were perched on her nose, a small smile on her lips.
She knew he was examining her. He knew she didn’t mind.
That was just their way.
When they met, she was disguised as a man. She had even cut her hair short to aid in her ruse. But he knew what she was from the moment he first saw her in the laboratory at Oxford.
She was his equal.
She was using her father’s name to attend school and to earn herself an education unavailable to women. She didn’t want to go to the classes women were allowed. She wanted to be a scientist. And she was. She was cleverer than most of the men she worked with in the laboratory and she had no patience for them.
But when he worked with her…
Well, that was different, wasn’t it?
They worked perfectly in tandem with each other. They could anticipate the other’s requirements. They challenged each other.
And it was brilliant.
She was found out eventually, of course. They had done well to maintain her disguise. But when their affection for each other began to gain attention from their colleagues, suspicions arose. There were only two explanation for their relationship and, apparently, the other was far too embarrassing for the Dean to consider.
And so she was banished from Oxford with a fraud charge to her name. But he never allowed her to stray far from him. He married her a month later and brought her to London and he asked her to be his partner in his work. He was interested in developing a new form of criminal investigation, inspired heavily by Eugène François Vidocq, and she readily agreed.
Though they had worked many cases together, and though they had undergone spectacular arguments, and though their neighbors occasionally felt the need to summon the police because of the odd colored smoke pouring from their windows or the volume of their arguments gave cause for concern, he loved her.
He loved her with everything in his being. She was his match, his equal. She stimulated his thoughts. She challenged his conclusions. She never allowed him to settle for less than absolute perfection and correctness. “There are lives at stake, Doyle,” she would remind him when he sometimes lost his focus.
Her quick wit, her brilliance, her complete lack of fear, of him or any other brute she would face in the course of their work, everything about her made him love her all the more. He would rarely show it, would rarely express his affection for her. To the point that their friends and their families would question it. But he loved her, he adored her.
She took his breath away.
She stunned him.
She made him happy. Even when she was just sitting, in his shirt, on his chaise, reading his books. “Doyle, you’re staring,” she commented lightly, turning the page once again.
He smiled. “Forgive me, Kate,” he said softly. She looked over her shoulder and caught his smile, returning with one of her own.
He couldn’t help but stare and she knew it.
And she didn’t mind.
Because she loved him, too.
So I decided to hunt down just how ancient rome made their wine, so I could get a taste of the aggregio.
It’s good. It’s damn good.
The original text is here, and I found some people modernizing the thing, so here goes. This is supposed to serve four-ish people and makes more than one bottle’s worth, chop the recipe as needed.
1cup white wine*
1tsp ground pepper
pinch of saffron
1 crushed bayleaf
3.5L white wine*
-leave your raisins in a little bit of wine to soak.
-pour the honey and the cup of wine into a pan, and heat while stirring until the honey is very, very liquidy.
-drain and finely chop up your raisins. Dump the honey mixture, the raisins, the remaining ingredients, and the remaining wine into a larger pot, mix thoroughly.
-bring the pot up to a boil and set to simmer and cook for an hour or so. You’re looking to reduce this mixture by half. Stir the bottom up now and then to keep the honey from burning.
-strain if you don’t like little bits in your drink. Romans drank their version of this really watered down, for obvious reasons. If you want the genuine experience, when serving mix one part this concoction to two parts water. If you want the full wine experience**, just add a little water. I filled my glass to the amount in the photo and went with 1/3rdish cup, sorta eyeballed it. This is booze not rocket science. Personally, the hotter you serve this the better. Think hot cider in the winter warm, which it should be around anyway since you just finished cooking it. It is powerful spicy and I love it.
*- a note about the white wine. To replicate what they had, go for higher acidic wines. Chardonnay, chenin blanc, reisling, etc.
**- I’m sure this is how Tevinter drinks it because Thedas is hard and manly and how do you chop or burn each other to bits if not drunk 24/7
Well I guess Aggregio Pavali is closer to Mead than a deep red.
That really depends on a lot of thing; the above recipe for conditura (warm spiced wine) is just one of many ways in which wine was served. A rather good article about Roman culture and wines can be read here, and includes such fascinating tidbits of information as:
- Mulsum was wine sweetened with honey, mixed in just before drinking (and therefore not like mead) and served as an aperitif at the beginning of the meal. (Conditum had herbs and spices such as pepper added as well.)
- When soaked in water and allowed to ferment, the grape-skins and stalks left in the vat also produced lora, a thin, bitter brew allocated to slaves. Soldiers and the urban poor usually drank little better.
- Distillation was unknown in the ancient world (and would not be discovered until the early middle ages); wine, therefore, was the strongest drink of the Romans. Falernian was full-bodied (firmissima), with an alcohol content as much as fifteen or sixteen percent (at which point the yeast is killed by the alcohol it produces). A white wine, it was aged for ten to twenty years, until it was the color of amber (Pliny, XXXVII.12).
- It was cheaper to ship wine from one end of the Mediterranean to the other than to haul it seventy-five miles overland, which is one reason why most vineyards tended to be situated on the coast or near major rivers.
- Wine almost always was mixed with water for drinking; undiluted wine (merum) was considered the habit of provincials and barbarians. The Romans usually mixed one part wine to two parts water (sometimes hot or even salted with sea water to cut some of the sweetness). The Greeks tended to dilute their wine with three or four parts water, which they always mixed by adding the wine.