(...) So Christmas, unappalled at Lord Culter's absence, came cantily to Stirling.
It was a French Christmas, a debonair Christmas full of frolic and folly; a spry Gallic unctuous Christmas.
Henry of France, at last roused to boldness and the cunning exercise of spite, had sent a small fleet to Scotland, and in it money for the Queen Dowager, and French military experts for her guidance and the better security of her fortresses. The military experts, tricked out in scent and white satin, danced like well-mannered clouds and talked in the Council Chamber of chests of money and major landings of troops waiting to come with better weather. The Government blew a sigh of relief, eyed the cut of the white satin and, flinging its armour out of the window, bawled for its valet.
The Court danced. The Court played rough games and watched masques. Cardboard cumuli, joggling cautiously from ceiling to floor emitted Spirits of Love, giggling with siren voices half a tone sharp with nerves. Forty-two different kind of main dishes were offered at one sitting, and even the puddings burst asunder and became sweating cherubs from cardboard confinement and prone to emergency and fits of tears. (...)
from Dorothy Dunnett: Game of Kings