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Duncan Melville

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Character Information

  • Title
    Viscount
  • INTERESTS
    Adventure, intrigue, trade, politics, war... not necessarily in that order.
  • OCCUPATION
    Scottish gentleman trader and military man.
  • LOCATION
    Melville House, Chelsea.

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  1. Duncan Melville

    Board Downtime & Emergency Board Link!

    As I read the first post of this thread I wondered how on earth I could be on February 15th, while that post was written on February 17th. That is, until I noticed the year! Man, I felt old and... unintelligent.
  2. Duncan Melville, who speaks Spanish, addresses them in the proper Spanish form. That would not make much sense to those that do not speak Spanish. In that case, the English equivalent would do, I think, especially when you take into account that this is the English court, after all.
  3. Duncan Melville

    House of Lords 16/8 - 1:30-5?

    Cannon fire. It was unmistakably cannon fire. Duncan would recognize the sound even asleep. Well, time to act, it seems... Duncan turned to Caroline and Lucas, and said before getting up and moving towards the entrance: "stay here until it is safe to leave. Do not get out the door until you are given the all clear, understood?" He was already moving when the yells from outside started. Without running, the Scot quickened his pace. The Lowlander stepped out into a shouting match. On one hand, commoners yelling, obviously scared, but also angry. On the other hand, soldiers trying to convince them that it is only a ship blowing their guns before entering port and docking. After taking a few seconds to appraise the situation, the Viscount began to speak. It took the best part of half an hour to convince the civilians that blowing guns was the polite way of entering a foreign port. During that time Duncan had to convince no less than two dozen scared Londoners that London was not being raided by the French, that the sneaky Dutch were not attacking England by surprise, that the Papists were not invading England, and that the King, Lords and Commons were all safe. In the end, as fear passed, the mob started listening to reason, and slowly dissipated. As the last commoner left, the Scottish Major gathered the troops, congratulated them for a job well done, and offered to pay for two rounds of drinks at their favorite watering hole that night, on two conditions: that the first would be a toast to the King, and the second a toast to the regiment. No man objected, and a few even cheered. Things had been dicey for a bit, the officer knew. The men needed to take the edge off. Duncan then sent word that all was clear and everyone could leave. He stayed and watched until everyone left, before leaving himself. London! Why can't the Sassenach be civilized and settle things in singular mortal combat? No! They have to manipulate the mob, and ruin everyone else's day...
  4. Duncan Melville

    Scottish Nationals

    Duncan Melville Character Name: Duncan, Lord Melville. Title: Viscount de Melville, Lord Monymail. Estate Name: Melville Castle, in Lothian. Family Motto: "Pro rege et patria" - "For king and country". Nationality: Scoto-Norman Lowlander Religion: Presbyterian Age: 31 Gender: Male Eye Colour: Steel gray Hair Colour: Black Marital Status: Married Business: Partner in Horizon Ventures Residences: - Chelsea: Melville House - Edinburghshire: Melville Castle Reputation This Scot might come from a good family, but shows his wealth obtained from a merchant marriage in a way that borders on nouveau riche in the eyes of the old English families. Melville's friends find him steadfast & trustworthy, a good and generous companion, who is gaining ground as a courtier. His genteel nature is popular with ladies. Word is he is a good soldier and loyal to England's military interests, and also dabbling in business. Certain eyes are on him. Physical Attributes Standing tall, but not exceedingly so at 5'11", you see a suntanned man standing at ease with his feet set slightly apart. His shoulders are wide, and his frame muscled, although not overly so. His clothes are tight-fitting, yet they do not seem to impede his movements. When speaking to someone, he meets the gaze unwaveringly with penetrating eyes. His jaw is strong, his nose straight, and his eyes are clear, the gray color of steel, framed by long, black eyelashes. His welcoming face is crowned by a generous head of raven-black hair, which he likes to wear in a queue, using a silver clasp decorated with a celtic motive. The first impression The man is definitely not English. His gaze is too open, and his manner too frank. His slight accent does give him away as a Scott when he speaks, and he seems to be a direct, likeable person. His movements, words, and reactions betray him as a man with years of military experience, one accustomed to receive and obey orders... and give them and see them carried out. Background The Melville name originated from the barony of Malaville or Malleville in the Pays de Caux in Normandy. Guillame (William) de Malleville accompanied William the Conqueror to England and fought at the Battle of Hastings. Like many other major Scottish families, the de Mallevilles came to Scotland with King David I when he returned in 1124 after 30 years spent at the English court. They were granted lands in Midlothian, outside Edinburgh by King David. The first record of the name was as a witness to a charter granted by Malcolm IV, later in the 12th century. Galfrid de Maleville was a guardian of Edinburgh Castle in Malcolm's reign. A Richard Maluvell was one of those captured with King William at the Battle of Alnwick in 1174. Richard Maluvell's grand-daughter inherited the Barony of Melville which passed to the Ross family when she married Sir John Ross of Halkhead and the barony has remained in that family until now. Members of the Melville family spread across Scotland and there are a number of documents with their signatures during the 12th and 13th century. When King Edward I of England demanded that all Scottish landowners and clergy should render homage to him and sign the "Ragman Rolls" in 1296, there were signatures from no less than twelve "Maleuill" (and other variant spellings), from as far afield as Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Stirling, Fife, Roxburgh and Peebles. Sir Johannes Maleuill, who signed the Rolls, was one of the major barons of Scotland at that time. His descendant, Sir John Melville of Raith was a favourite of King James V in the 16th century and obtained lands at Murdocairnie in Fife. Despite the royal patronage, he was an early supporter of the religious Reformation. As a friend of some of those who conspired to kill Cardinal Beaton of St Andrews, he was subsequently executed in 1550 on the evidence of a forged letter. Sir Robert Melville of Murdocairnie was the keeper of the Palace of Linlithgow at the end of the reign of Mary Queen of Scots. Twenty years later, as an ambassador at the court of Queen Elizabeth, he was so outspoken about the sentence of death which had been pronounced on Mary by an English court, that he was threatened with imprisonment, despite his diplomatic status. Later, he became Vice-Chancellor of Scotland and took the title "Lord Murdocairnie". In 1616 he was created Baron Melville of Monymail. His son, also a judge, was given the title Lord Monymail in 1627 by King Charles I, and became Secretary of State for Scotland and the first Viscount de Melville. This last was Duncan's father. The family seat is Melville Castle in Lothian, the original family home, and the Melville clan's motto is "Pro rege et patria" - "For king and country". Duncan's childhood was a whirlwind. His father rose from a member of a respected family, but somewhat unknown country baron, to become Secretary of State for Scotland, and the first viscount of the name. So Duncan saw the family's fortunes rise as he grew up. His perennial company were his mother, Elaine, and his younger sister, Beatrice. He saw little of his father, and thus sought a father figure somewhere else, finding an old but very loyal sergeant-at-arms who had served his family since youth. His attraction for the military definitely sparked then. Duncan's father saw to it that his son was well-schooled to follow in his steps, hoping he would become the third judge of the family line but, to his chagrin, Duncan showed great promise with languages, but little with every other subject he was ordered to study. Disheartened, Duncan's father gave up and, surprisingly, allowed his son to pursue the career of his choice, which was the military. In this, he exceeded even his own expectations, showing great ability and an uncanny sense to anticipate his superiors' orders. When peace came after the last Anglo-Dutch war, Duncan spent a year to put his affairs in order before leaving for London in 1675. His king was now Charles II, king of England, Scotland and Wales, and he had never met him. It did not feel right. To his thinking, having a liege lord one has never met was not right. So he decided to spend a season in London to meet his king, and to get his bearings in this new post-Cromwell England. Of course, the possibility of acquiring preferment was also a deciding factor. Common Knowledge - Partner of Sir Cedric Doolittle in Horizon Ventures. - Previously a major in Dumbarton's Regiment. - Currently a major in Langdon's Regiment. - A man of demonstrated military ability in the fields of battle of the Continent. Family - Mother: Elaine Melville. - Sister: Beatrice Lindsay, Countess of Balcarres. - Wife: Ophelia Melville nee Doolittle. - Daughter: Ellen Melville.
  5. Duncan Melville

    House of Lords 16/8 - 1:30-5?

    Caroline, Lucas, and Duncan "There would be a veritable amount of dead on both sides, producing a large number of widows and orphans that I'd rather not see..." Duncan sighed. "Yet someone tried to kill our King. Whether it was Louis, or someone else, that is one thing I cannot forgive". The Lowlander was not English, but Charles was his king by the grace of God, and some Frenchman, or woman, had tried to take his Grace away from him. He could not forgive that. Damn the French! They had made such good allies! He scanned the assembled Lords. Most of them were unknown to him. Others, he'd seen from afar, known only by reputation. A very select few he had met personally, and of those, less than a handful were his friends. What would I do? What would I say? I would vote for war, most probably, but why? What would my reasons and intentions be? The next day's events brought him out of his moody reverie. "I am certain that Master Lucas and yourself will be something the angels would deserve to hear!" The Scotsman said. "I must confess, I am slightly jealous of you two. A gran maestro and a musical virtuousa? I feel overshadowed by your abilities". And, in a sense, Duncan did. Music he enjoyed. In fact, he enjoyed art in many forms. He just had no ability in any of them whatsoever. Yes, he wanted to learn how to play the flute, but he was certain that as much as he tried, he would only become a fair player. Real music took genius. God-given genius, he reminded himself. Something he utterly lacked. But that did not mean he could surround himself with those who did... nor did it mean that he could not dream... "Master Cole, please do not forget to send word of the flute tutor we talked about... I suddenly feel so... inadequate... to be enjoying your company".
  6. Duncan Melville

    House of Lords 16/8 - 1:30-5?

    The Scot decided to accept the shift of topic from politics to music. "Indeed, not being able to partake of French music and fashion would be a shame, I wholeheartedly agree. The French genius is not limited to military affairs. Besides, it is my humble and uninformed opinion, that all this is merely a circus. I would bet ten guineas to one that the matter has already been decided beforehand and this is all for show". At least that is what the Lowlander hoped, that his King and advisors already had a way out of the predicament they all found themselves in. Otherwise, the Commons would gain even more power over the King and the nobility, and that was something that the Viscount thought would not be good for anyone... except for the members of the Commons, of course. That path led to a republic, and that was not something Duncan wanted to see. "I do look forward to our outing with Lord Kingston. It will be far more agreeable than this, of that I am certain". Not only a lot nicer... also a lot less dangerous... The military man looked towards the entrance, just in case a man from Langdon's regiment entered to announce there was trouble outside. God, may they not decide to break into the place...
  7. Duncan Melville

    House of Lords 16/8 - 1:30-5?

    Caroline, Lucas, and Duncan Duncan kept his voice low, so that it only carried to his two companions. He did not want to distract others... nor did he want others to hear what they were saying. "I do not think that King Louis had any knowledge of it. In fact, he did send a delegation to London soon afterwards, so we can safely assume it was not him. But it was people in the highest circles of Versailles, that is for certain". The Scot had not been in London when all that had happened, but those were the things he had heard, at least. "As for the French military, they have my utmost admiration. A professional army that, when well fed, and well led, can do about anything, yes... I have seen it firsthand". Duncan had served under the French flag for years. "And no, you are not a silly girl. Your opinion has merit. Under a specific set of circumstances, I would agree with you. But as things stand..." Not that the Lowlander wanted France to win, nor that he thought the combined might of the Germans, the Dutch Republic and Charles' three kingdoms could not face France, but it would not be an easy undertaking... it had never been. "I pray for peace, my lady. But as any good soldier must do, I also prepare for war". Duncan looked at Lucas, wondering what the man thought of the whole thing. "What do you think we should do, Master Cole?"
  8. Duncan Melville

    House of Lords 16/8 - 1:30-5?

    Caroline, Lucas, and Duncan" "In a sense, a grand occasion. In another, a great circus", Duncan whispered to Lucas and Caroline. "I don't claim to understand all that is going on, but I get enough to know that this is one important meeting". It was. The mob was waiting to see what the Lords decided. The peace of London hanged by a thread, and the meeting could strengthen it... or sever it completely. It was as expected. Gerard and the military clique pushed for war, and so did Shaftesbury. And then, a tall blonde near Buckingham spoke... was that a word of caution against war? Interesting... And then, Basildon. Another voice for caution? Could it be that the Buckingham circle and Basildon had come to a political agreement? How interesting... Interesting because the Scot wanted to be in the good graces of both English noblemen. It was then that Caroline whispered something about the French wining the war. The Viscount smiled. They could, were they not so corrupt. King Louis's coffers sent much gold to the armies, gold that the soldiers not always received, not even food sometimes. An army marched on its belly, and an empty belly a poor soldier made. "I had the honour of fighting under Turenne, against both the Austrians and the Dutch, my lady. A brilliant man. Alas, with him dead, the French strategic genius is much diminished". To the Lowlander, it was true. "Also, you must take into consideration that French parties tried to kill King Charles. That in itself is cassus belli if there is one. And if you add to that the sentiment of the mob, I do not think this war can be avoided". To the Scottish soldier, it was a given that it would be war. Yet, Louis' idea about an ultimatum gave England enough prestige if it worked, that it might not be a bad one. Besides, there was no readying the regiments before winter. "On the other hand, your cousin's idea has great merit", Duncan said to Caroline. "To offer a brokered peace, while at the same time helping the Dutch in a defensive capacity in their cities, is brilliant. At sea, of course, it would be a very different matter. England and the Dutch Republic together would rule the seas..." The thought was an important one. The Royal Navy by itself might not be enough to contain the French. But allied with the Dutch, they would jointly reign supreme. And still, the debate continued...
  9. Duncan Melville

    House of Lords 16/8 - 1:30-5?

    Caroline, Lucas, and Duncan "I am certain that His Grace the Duke will speak, my lady. He is one of the most powerful politicians in the land, and he will make his opinions plainly known, I am sure. The question is not if he will speak, but rather when, and what he will have to say". Although Duncan was not as knowledgeable about politics as he would like to be, he at least knew who the key players were. He also, by mere chance, knew at least one piece of information that not many knew about, something that he had shared with His Grace the King when he became aware of it. "The Duke does strike an imposing figure, does he not?" Even in fashion was Buckingham a leader of men. Turning to Lucas, Duncan asked, "Master Cole, do you know if His Grace will speak for or against war? The Lords will vote as they will vote, but I am curious what a man such as he thinks about the whole situation". Indeed, Duncan was curious. Merchants would probably be reluctant to go to war, fearing lost profits. Military men would speak in favor of it, as that was their raison d'être. But Buckingham was far above both merchants and soldiers, so it intrigued the Scott what the Duke's thoughts were... and the motivations behind them.
  10. Duncan Melville

    House of Lords 16/8 - 1:30-5?

    Duncan let Caroline choose which side of Lucas to sit on, and he sad on the other side of her, as propriety dictated. "Music makes the soul come alive, Master Cole, and I am not immune to its effects. I am just not schooled in its intricacies, though, so will you accept as a substitute a tear of emotion when you and Lady Kendishall play? Alas, I cannot offer more..." The right music, usually in a church setting, did move Duncan's soul. His heart was not made of stone. It was just that his personal abilities were of a far different kind. The Scot then turned to Caroline. "I promise, my lady, not to spill my blood in your presence, as you seem to find it so disagreeable. I will make it a point to ask my foes to battle out of your sight!" He made a pause, "also, I do promise not to die before our riverine excursion... how to miss that? It would be inexcusable! And I promise to have a table set at the gazebo fit for a queen... like yourself". Duncan's mood did not go with the somber topics that were about to be discussed, but for a moment, he did not much care. There would be time enough to be somber when the session started. And then the doors were opened, to let the members of the House in. He saw Lord Kingston enter in full regalia, and smiled. Perhaps one day I will do likewise? The thought brought a twinkle to his eye. "The spectacle is about to begin, Lady Kendishall. Do pay attention. This will let you know who is who in the ladder of power, who sides with the king and, more importantly, who you should endeavor to meet..."
  11. Duncan Melville

    House of Lords 16/8 - 1:30-5?

    Lucas, Caroline, and Duncan Quite content with his current company, yet not forgetting that duty may call him at but a moment's notice, the Scot smiled as Lucas lead the way to the best seats he could find for the three of them. Although used to the battlefields, there was one aspect of court which the Lowlander did not mind, and rather enjoyed - new friendships. "August, me?" The military man chuckled. "I have been called many things in the past, most of them not apt to be repeated in front of a lady, but august? My thanks for the epithet, Master Cole, even if it is somewhat undeserved". It seemed that Caroline thought about herself along the same lines. Duncan then turned to Caroline, "Noblesse oblige, my lady. I pray that it will not come to that, but if it did, that would be the outcome. A paladin's fate is, alas, predetermined. It is only the time and place that are veiled, not the end that awaits him!" Although the words might have sounded somber in other contexts, the Viscount's smile and tone of voice were such that the opposite was true. "As for music, my lady, who am I to say no, when you insist? I will be your rather unknowledgeable but willing pupil. Just don't get frustrated when authors, airs, and academic terms bring a puzzled look to my face". The master of Melville castle fell silent for a moment, before continuing, "but if I want to learn to play an instrument, perhaps a more ample education should go along with it. Just do not expect an instantaneous miracle!" Indeed, if Duncan was to learn how to play the flute at a level beyond chirps and squeaks, he would have to devote considerable time not only to practice with the instrument, but also to delve into the world of music. A prodigy he would never be, but, perhaps with time he would be considered a passable flute player. At least I would not have to resort to playing the pipes, which not many have the ear for.
  12. Duncan Melville

    House of Lords 16/8 - 1:30-5?

    "A mix to fix any ailment?" Duncan arched an eyebrow, puzzled. "I would be interested in sampling it, definitely. My health has not been the best of late..." He then bowed to Francis as he departed, having no idea what the tall blonde was offering him. Duncan beamed at Caroline's compliment. "I will defend you from the mob, my lady, or die in the attempt", the Lowlander said with mock gravity. "You have found yourself a paladin to defend you!" The Scot offered his arm to the lady. "Even with the torture you are about to inflict on my poor soul, namely that of musical theory, on my honor I swear that I will not leave your side!" There was a side to Duncan, much less serious than he usually portrayed, that came out when in the right company. It so seemed that Lucas and Caroline were such. "Master Cole, will you lead the way, please? We have a mysterious princess from the Orient to escort to the gallery, and the proceedings are about to begin!"
  13. Duncan Melville

    House of Lords 16/8 - 1:30-5?

    Duncan leaving Charles, and joining his previous company Duncan bowed formally to his commander. "As you wish, my lord. And yes, perhaps I should find a good seat soon. But I will be ready should anything untoward happen". With that, he left Charles, and walked back towards Caroline, Lucas, and Francis. As he neared the trio, he heard Caroline and Lucas speaking about what they would do to pass the time during the session. The Scot winced inwardly. The matter was far too serious to do what they were considering, and Duncan intended to give the discussion in the chamber his full attention. But then, the lady and the Welshman were neither peers nor heirs, so they could be forgiven that other things were foremost in their minds. "Please forgive my momentary absence, but duty called. God willing, the mob will not try to interrupt the proceedings, and I will not be called away once more". He then turned to Francis, "lord Kingston, as for the question that I left unanswered yes, pipes can definitely play a part. I have lately come into the possession of this...", he removed a carved meerschaum pipe depicting a sailing ship upon a heavy sea from his left frock pocket. "The doctor prescribed smoking for its medicinal qualities, and I much prefer the pipe to the cigar". He paused, while remembering something. "I actually bought a set of two pipes with similar, although different, motifs. Would you accept this pipe's companion as a gift? It would be only fitting that a sea captain were its owner". Then, with a glint in his eye, the Lowlander said to all of them, "also, my lord, I do promise not to throw paper balls at you while you are in the chamber... as much as it is much fun to entertain the thought!" An impish grin appeared on his face.
  14. Duncan Melville

    House of Lords 16/8 - 1:30-5?

    Charles and Duncan "By your command, my lord. I will only move out of the building to lead the men if the situation warrants it. You can rest assured that the men will have someone to look up too if things get rough". Yes, that would free Charles to remain in the chamber and vote on the critical issues of the day. "I will be in the gallery, should you need me. Send a page with a note and I will comply. Just add something so I know it is you, and not someone else trying to divert my attention". Not that Duncan considered himself important, but he had a way of doing things as if the things he did were. When ordered to do something by a superior, Duncan had always given his appointed tasks everything he had. That had been the reason of his quick promotions. He would make sure that Charles was able to focus on the happenings inside the chamber, not outside. "Unless there is anything else I can help with, my lord, I will take your leave now". The Scot waited, though, as Charles could have more to say.
  15. Duncan Melville

    House of Lords 16/8 - 1:30-5?

    The Trio & The Lady... and the Scot retreats... hopefully temporarily "Music wakes emotion in the heart of man of a very different nature than war does. And I agree, my lady, that it is a far more enjoyable one". That he was far more comfortable in the field of battle than in a concert hall was left unsaid because well, the lady was a lady. There was no need to go into recounting assassination attempts and the like. The mob did fine by itself in that regard. But then Caroline mentioned hearing the pipes played. That put a smile in Duncan's face. "Aye, Lady Kendishall, the pipes are something to be experienced!" Preferably not in the middle of a foggy marsh, getting ready for battle when they start playing, you are not a Scot, and you have no idea where the sound is coming from. They are not called the wail of the banshee for nothing! Then Francis commented on the pipes as well. "I am not as good as I should, but there is a servant at my house that used to be a company piper in Dumbarton's. Perhaps you would care to listen to him play? I assure you, if you have never heard the pipes, it will be something you will not soon forget". The Scot then assented, agreeing to everything else Francis said to Caroline. Then Lucas excused himself from giving Duncan lessons. "A pity, master Cole, a true pity. Someone with your obvious musical talent would have been my choice. Perhaps you can suggest someone who would?" Duncan had been toying with the idea of learning to play something besides the pipes. For him, they were a military tool, more than anything else. But court expected gentlemen to be far more polished than the Lowlander was at that point, and he wanted to do something about it. Lucas' last comment, though, made the Viscount raise an eyebrow, hopefully without anybody but Lucas noticing. So Kingston is concerned with the pleasure of his female friends... I wonder what is the real meaning of that phrase... "A riverine voyage first, then, with Lady Kendishall and Master Cole swaying our emotions with their bows and strings, and then a merry finale with food and drink at Melville House. I can't think about a better way to spend an evening, and all thanks to the three of you", he bowed to Caroline, Lucas, and Francis. Suddenly, Charles entered the main hall. "Please, excuse me for a moment", Duncan said to the two men and the lady. "There is someone I need to talk to momentarily". Bowing to the trio, he then moved towards Lord Langdon. "My lord", the Scot said with a bow to the earl, "I saw the regiment's men deployed outside. Do you want me to step out and be with them until the session is over? Or would you prefer me not to be seen with them at this time? I can either be with them, or go to the gallery, at your command". That was not an easy decision to make. On the one hand, Duncan had the military expertise, and the men would probably feel better with him to lead them. On the other, if the mob knew he was not Anglican, it could stir even more trouble. Yet, the decision was not Duncan's, but Charles'. He was the Colonel of the regiment, and it was his responsibility.
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