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Louis Killington

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About Louis Killington

  • Rank
    Lord Basildon

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  • Circles
    Libertine
    Political
    Trade
  • Title
    Earl

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  1. Louis Killington

    A Ducal Visit April 7 Afternoon

    A few more tidbits were offered but it seemed to Louis that Buckingham seemed to enjoy riddles more than revelations. Still, several pieces of the puzzle were added. It was not enough to reveal the overall picture, but it was getting there. It appeared that the Duke was saying that the United Provinces did not necessarily hold the answers to the Danby disappearance or the plot against the King. Perhaps Danby was still in the Three Kingdoms somewhere; or, perhaps he was really in Denmark. Chevreuse was here to communicate something to the King. Basildon was sure of it. It would be talk of peace, or perhaps an exchange of information about plots and Danby. The French Duke would get a visit soon enough. Would he have surmised that Nicolette was becoming a royal favorite yet? Basildon was certain that the Duke would receive him. Louis was known as a friend to the French party. The other piece of information was the fact that Irish relatives were rising in royal influence. Louis could pretend to like the Irish, Scots or Welsh, but he looked down on them. Of course, the King's cousins were Irish in title name only. No doubt Danby had tried to wreck their influence in the Williamson debacle. "They are both trying just as hard as the other?" There would be money involved. "We will see how long that lasts." As for his Dutch waif, "she could well be a spy. It is why I'd like to marry her off quickly, he chuckled. "Perhaps William was jealous of other people's spies in my household." He was fairly sure that the King, if not Buckingham, and probably the French, had ingratiated themselves with some of his staff. He was paranoid after all and could not trust his staff with anything useful. "If you would like to pass along something false, I am happy to do so." Not wanting to overstay a welcome from such an illustrious mentor, it was time to make an exit. "Is there something I might do for you until we next meet Your Grace?"
  2. Louis Killington

    A Ducal Visit April 7 Afternoon

    Buckingham almost made a visit to the Tower sound like an honor. Still, Basildon preferred to avoid a stay. Buckingham also confirmed that the King was less interested in Danby than his accomplices. "It is in my interest to sort things out," Basildon replied. "I have no desire to be viewed as colluding with the traitor." "I spoke with Lindsey over the recess," the Earl revealed. The Earl was Danby's brother-in-law and Lord Great Chamberlain. "He claims the Berties had nothing to do with Osbourne and knows nothing of his antics. I tend to believe him because he seemed ignorant of the fact that there is enmity between myself and his sister's husband. Certain other family members seem ignorant too." Buckingham surely knew that Louis escorted Bridget Osbourne to a libertine party. "As for the Dutch, perhaps my lady wife needs to return to investigate matters. She brought home a Dutch beauty with Orange royal blood." Unfortunately, Margetha was born on the wrong side of the bed of a mother on the wrong side of the bed. "My wife wants to find her an English husband. She has a habit of adopting strays," he laughed. "If you have a candidate to suggest, please do so. This girl might also be of use in exploring the workings of the Prince of Orange, though she has no head for politics." "As for Trevor, I would have Spencer use his spies to learn which spies, either French or Dutch, are trying the hardest to locate him. The other will likely be the culprit." The same could be true for Danby as well.
  3. Louis Killington

    A Ducal Visit April 7 Afternoon

    It seemed that finally some pieces of information were forthcoming. Sir John was an ambassador fir the wedding. That task being accomplished, he should have returned home. Louis wondered silently whether Lisa had met the man while with Princess Mary. He would need to ask her. Michael Hill had been named a traitor by Danby, most likely. Williamson likely had Danby to blame as well. Danby's intolerance for Catholicism had him on a witch hunt in Ireland, likely with the full support of the Country Party. This had displeased the King surely. The silly Monmouth matter had been perhaps the last straw. Buckingham reinforced what Basildon already knew of the caste system. Danby was reviled, in part, for being a commoner raised to nobility. The older houses were always suspicious of new entrants, in part, because the coarse motives of the common class -- wealth and self advancement. It would take a neutral person to find the irony in that view. The very traits deplored in the commoners was well-rooted in the aristocracy, though disguised by talk of honor by those who were content with their own place in the hierarchy. Basildon was not such a person. He bore the stigma of coming from an inferior house with common origins. His father had been a Puritan and a Cromwell lackey as well. It was a heavy cross to bear for an ambitious man. It was his marriage to Lisa that had changed everything. Prior to that he had been speaking to the King and Cleveland about marrying their bastard child Anne, who had since been matched with Essex. In that moment, Basildon had been reminded how quickly one could fall if one had common blood in recent generations and few allies. He needed to cultivate a wide array of allies, with a focus on those most important. "Yes, that all makes sense," he began after ruminating on what he had been told. He wanted to focus on Danby first, since that was a riddle to be solved. "Sir John is yet to return," he mused aloud, "though I suppose there could be multiple reasons for it. Based on what you have told me, Danby may fear something Sir John knew, which would suggest his flight to the United Provinces would have risks that I did not know before. Danby could not go to France and, if he feared William might learn something bad, he could not go to Amsterdam. I suppose that leaves Denmark and, in a perverse way, Spain. The latter is Catholic but their hatred of the French might just make him welcome ... for a time. That leaves Denmark, for Sweden is too friendly with France. Where would you go if you were he?"
  4. Louis Killington

    A Ducal Visit April 7 Afternoon

    It was easy to nod with everything the Duke proclaimed. not only out of deference, but the words rang true. "There is fear surely." Since Buckingham was playing along, Basildon decided to reveal further supposition. "Two events have caused fear on the Continent. The first is the Treaty of Dover," the Earl began. "It shows a collaboration between our King and Le Roi. That could cause Protestant forces to fear. It also involves Danby, for he was taking the fall for it in Parliament. Danby was in an awkward position because he was an enemy of France but now painted as a conspirator with France," Louis began. "He might expect support from the King, but then there was the poor choice with Monmouth. If that cost him His Majesty's protection, he was in a difficult position. He needed to find something to use against our King or that would be worth something to a foreign prince that might offer sanctuary." "I have but few tiles of the mosaic but I suspect you have many." It was an attempt to urge the older lord to impart some pieces. "I do not know what the Hill boys' grandfather was doing with William. If I knew that, I could solve this puzzle far more easily. It was something important … so important that Danby would do something so desperate as to burn bridges in London by kidnapping the boys. He needed the grandfather to stop doing his duty or to get the grandfather to do something for Danby." He paused hoping for more than a crumb. "The second fear is our King did not marry a French princess or a tributary princess of France. This could cause Le Roi to panic that the game board was going to change for the worse. Though our monarch is friendly with his cousin., a Protestant prince could easily become the tool of Parliament and undo the balance of power on the Continent for French goals. York would become no longer viable. That might drive a foreign king to desperation, or one acting in his interest. One move was to discredit Danby surely. That would remove an anti-French piece from the game board and give greater hope perhaps that a Protestant heir might fall under the sway of an English lord of friendlier persuasion. Assassination seems too extreme for Le Roi, but not for a militant party or Catholic fanatical party aligned with France." "One fear for William and one for Le Roi. So it is no wonder that they are here in droves. Our King must move very carefully and he needs the counsel of the man he trusts the most … and that would be you," Louis offered with a smile as he placed the empty cup on a nearby table.
  5. Louis Killington

    A Ducal Visit April 7 Afternoon

    "I have not met the Prince of Orange but once or twice." Louis remembered a party in England that was interrupted by assassins. "He managed to outwit de Witt," he laughed at his pun. "De Witt was assassinated by Orangists, so I have always thought him to be capable of intrigue, but I defer to your experience." "If he is as dull as you observe, perhaps there is another acting on his behalf ... a spymaster like our own Sunderland," he observed aloud after another sip of coffee. "I would be interested in your view as to Sunderland's capabilities, as compared to Williamson." Basildon had little experience with Bristol's son-in-law. Sunderland's wife was a beauty but the Earl seemed as boring as Buckingham described William. "Le Roi is an expert at intrigue, of course. One is wise not to underestimate him. If he has Danby, it is best for England and his Majesty surely," he opined. "As for who was responsible for the attack on our King, I am open to, as you say, plausible theories. To me, something is plausible if it coincides with self-interest. Who would gain the most from the King's death. Some might say Louis, because he might favor a Catholic King on the throne; but, France would pay a heavy price for such perfidy. William would not want his father-in-law on the throne, for obvious religious reasons, though it might shore up his own claim to the throne in case good King Charles was set to have an heir through a second wife. Likewise, the stakes would be catastrophic if Dutch complicity was proven, as England is William's most important ally against France. The Woolsack abounds with plausible theories. My own view is that a prince would need to be desperate to be involved in such a plan. Were either Le Roi or William sufficiently desperate? If not, then it suggests that other forces could have been at work that did not involve the assent of either monarch. That is entirely plausible," he concluded. "What say you?" Louis recalled Gwendolyn. She had been another beauty at court, with little prospects, not unlike Nicolette. Yet, Buckingham seemed besotted with her for some reason. "I should like that arranged," he replied about Chevreuse. "I can certainly call upon him next week. He knows me well enough."
  6. Louis Killington

    A Ducal Visit April 7 Afternoon

    If the King knew where Danby was, and was content with the knowledge, it would suggest the French had him. Louis was of the view that the French would be less motivated to reveal things embarrassing to the King than William of Orange. The latter would be only too happy to enflame Parliament with stories of French plots revealed. The Sun King would dare not kill Danby, but he would hide him away. Was that what Buckingham was hinting. The Earl did not believe that the Duke had no idea. Part of this visit had been to find more pieces of the puzzle. The coffee was accepted gratefully. "It is a game at the Woolsack really. Who is the more clever and nefarious ruler ... William or Louis. Now there is talk of revisiting the attempt on His Majesty. Was it a French plot, funded and manipulated by the Dutch to make the French look bad in case it failed? Was it a Catholic plot to make it look like a Protestant plot to make it look like a Catholic plot that was disguised as a Spanish plot to draw in the Danes to indict the French, when all along William had secretly arranged the whole thing with the Emperor who was looking to distract the French to the West." He laughed to reveal the satire. "Of course, the whole thing could have been a misunderstanding of fanatics and spurned French maids without the hand of a prince at all," he ventured. "A more simple ale to drink for the English people. As for me, I think it quite rare that some prince was not involved in any ... incident." He sipped his coffee. "Entertaining, but I suppose we might never know for sure." "Still, Chevreuse is a decent enough fellow. I enjoyed my last encounter with him when Orleans visited. I might like an opportunity to see him again while he is in London." Perhaps Buckingham might say something. Perhaps Basildon might inquire of the French ambassador. Chevreuse might tell him something interesting.
  7. Louis Killington

    A Ducal Visit April 7 Afternoon

    The Earl had not been fishing for an invitation to Buckingham's gathering. There he would be a mere spectator. Louis preferred gatherings where he was the center of attention or part of the inner circle. As for the sugared almonds, it was an old trick he used to catch the eye of an matron he hoped to win over, pretending to visit just to refill her candy supply. It did not take long for her to become one of his most devoted admirers and her appetite for sweets only grew with age. That had been years ago, but the trick had stayed with him. Buckingham was a different game all together. He needed to establish a regular visitation without it seeming too regular. The candy would provide a humorous excuse. A servant could bring the candy after all. "They are addictive." When offered coffee he agreed. "Have you tried sugar in coffee? It cuts the bitterness. A bit of cherry brandy works miracles as well." "I believe William has kept the whole affair away from the princess. In fact, the silence might be said to be deafening." He was watching carefully for hints from Buckingham's facial features. "The lords at the Woolsack seem to think the King already knows where our truant is. As such, there seems to be little interest in Danby and more about other Dutch rumors."
  8. Louis Killington

    EASTER 1678 | Saturday Services (9th all day)

    The Basildons Following Behind Nicci It was not uncommon for the Basildons and the Somersets to arrive together for church. Nicolette, as was her want, rushed ahead, always eager to engage in banter. She located Beverley. They would be seeing him and his wife later at supper. Usually Nicci was not far from Caroline, but they were in different groups. He noted Anne Elizabeth, another friend of his cousin. Toledo's wife was here. It must be uncomfortable for her not to celebrate Easter with her husband in the Catholic chapel. There were many familiar faces but he didn't see Buckingham, Norfolk, Worcester, Ibracken or his other political contacts. He expected to see Ernle surely. There was ample time to visit and exchange pleasantries with all as his group moved deeper into the church to take their seats.
  9. Louis Killington

    EASTER 1678 | Good Friday Service (8th all day)

    Lisa and Margaretha rejoining Louis Given that he would be spending Easter supper with Worcesters, it was necessary for Louis to pay particular attention to the Somersets. Having had an intimate conversation with his sister, the focus this day was on her husband Francis. The man needed to be cultivated to the maximum extent possible. He was a Duke after all, though not a particularly noteworthy one. Francis did not seem to have the ambition of those in his ducal class. That allowed Louis to help shape the man and gently nudge him into a higher profile. The more regard Somerset gained, the more the Basildon clan benefited indirectly. As such, Louis was solicitous of what Somerset was reading, what hobbies he enjoyed, and other topics of interest. Louis was not a man of books, though he liked newspapers. He preferred to use words to manipulate others rather than enrich himself. Basildon's hobbies were business, politics as well as sword and pistol. Who had the time for reading? That did not mean that he would not ask Francis to provide summaries of the books he had been reading, feigning interest and expressing regret that he did not have more time to read. When Lisa returned, He offered a welcoming smile and nodded. It was time to return home. Nicci would find her own way. She was in the company of Buckingham anyway. With that, he led the ladies to their coach.
  10. Louis Killington

    EASTER 1678 | Good Friday Service (8th all day)

    Louis laughed at Nicci's quip and flashed a look of feigned shock. "Moi?" Extra penance indeed. As for his wife's quip, Louis thought to disagree amiably. "What, and miss the feel that every sin is like the first?" He laughed at the nonsense of it. The Dutch girl seemed especially pious, which was something of a pity. Pious witnesses were the worst witnesses to have about his business. They were far better witness to the doings of his enemies. It was also a pity to waste beauty on the pious and the chaste. Beauty was to be used as a tool, not as a simple adornment. His lady loves departed. That left Louis free to exchange pleasantries with his sister and her husband Francis. There was no intent behind it other than putting family harmony on display to the court. In addition, siblings, like plants in a garden needed episodic attention and water, lest they wither away from their usefulness. This was not a day for political adroitness. It was better to watch who spoke with whom and let the posture of the bodies and facial expressions reveal the true feelings between those who conversed.
  11. Louis Killington

    EASTER 1678 | Good Friday Service (8th all day)

    No one would be surprised that Louis sat in the front of the church . He was a man that sought the limelight unless it was in his interest to do the contrary. With Nicci on his left and Lisa on his right he sat between the two ladies he loved the most. Between those two charming ladies sat the man he loved the most. Then, there was his sister and her husband. He loved his sibling, but in a different way. She was still a child coming into her own, but her blood marked her as important. Family could provide the greatest support or the greatest ache. He preferred the former. She would need to be nurtured, as would Francis, her ducal husband. Not as verbose as usual prior to the ceremony, he nodded at everyone important. Royalty and near royalty, like Buckingham, received the most obvious acknowledgements, but he was not so foolish as to ignore other lords and families that were prominent. All who attended the royal chapel were prominent in their own way. The service seemed rather rushed. Thank God for small favors. "I feel my sins washed away," Louis whispered to the two ladies beside him. "Now we have a clean slate to start anew." He smirked as he stood and offered his hand to his wife and then Nicolette. Those gowns were so cumbersome that it was hard to sit and stand.
  12. Louis Killington

    A Ducal Visit April 7 Afternoon

    "It was when I left my coach Your Grace," he quipped about it being afternoon. He offered a smile. "The Villiers family must be vast," he commented as he surveyed the impressive provisions. "The Killington clan is quite small, though my lady wife has an impressive gallery of kin. It was for this reason that I accepted Worcester's invitation to join their celebration. I shall pray that you manage to endure the coming Easter with good humor and little tedium." He could only imagine that a large gathering would be trial to the Duke; but, perhaps he enjoyed them. "I have been reluctant to call upon you as I believe that one should intrude rarely unless one bears momentous news. I bear no momentous news, but I was returning from Company offices nearby and thought to deliver a small token of something sinful to carry you through a holy holiday." He pulled forth the silver box with Buckingham's crest. "I have become addicted to sugared almonds these days and I keep a box near the bedside and in my library. They are far more enjoyable than snuff or tobacco, at least for me. Now that I have a ready supply of sugar, it Is interesting to explore what else it can embellish. Do take this box as a secret stash and I shall be happen to return and bring you more at any time. They go so well with the right brandy." "As for the former Treasurer, I have spent some time seeking leads to his whereabouts. My money is on the Dutch. I think William is hiding him. I cannot prove it, but it makes the most sense given what I know. I had thought to see whether you had any intelligence to corroborate this or not." He was speaking with a lower voice now as he closed the distance with Buckingham, expecting not to be overheard.
  13. "It sounds an excellent idea," Louis praised when Lucy offered to have Francis invite his most handsome and highest ranking friend to share Easter supper. "That is how we need to think when we plot favors for our friends." Lucy asked whether the Dutch girl was family now. "She is not family but she is a guest and one that was entrusted to Lisa with care, so we should treat her as if she were our ward," he explained. That was close enough to family. Leading her back to the palace, Louis could not help but feel as if he had succeeded in yet another tricky situation. And to think Lisa had been worried ... . Her smile was returned as Lucy was delivered inside. It was then time to take his leave, so he bid her au revoir and went on his way. ~ finis
  14. Louis Killington

    A Ducal Visit April 7 Afternoon

    At the end of the Pall Mall street, wedged between St. James Park and St. James Square, stood a large mansion that in centuries to come would evolve to become far bigger with addition after addition until it was to be called Buckingham Palace. Such a lofty name however was far in the future. The Buckingham mansion as it was now known was drawn up of fine white marble and sandstone, with clear Baroque geometry. Inside cherubs in a blue sky was fitted over the white plaster. Each room held a different color and nothing was short of lavish. The mansion was square, but inside the servants still had the habit to refer to the left as the west and right as the east wing; the west wing dedicated to the Duke's chambers, and the east wing deserted for he had send his wife to her father in the country, long since grown bored with her behavior which was an impediment on his fun. Paintings by Rubens, Rembrandt and Lely were displayed in the large hallway, created to impress the visitor, an enormous marble staircase drawing in the eye. The front garden was filled with various flowers, although it was mostly greenery now. In the back there is a long walk designed by a garden architect, so that the duke could walk and find intimacy with his private guests at every turn. A large fountain in the middle sprouted moist into the air. The Earl of Basildon's coach pulled into Buckingham's driveway. He had not written ahead and decided to chance and see if the Duke might be available for a brief visit. After visiting with his sister the day before, Louis had sent Thomas to the silversmith to see to the silver box, a present he planned to give Buckingham for Easter. It would have the embossed coat of arms of course, and inside he had ordered sugared almonds. That had freed him to practice with rapier and pistol the rest of the day, allowing his mind to relax. Thursday morning had been spent at Treasury, visiting the staff as he infrequently did. If nothing else, it allowed him to wish the staff a Happy Easter. One needed to build loyalty in one's staff, as tedious as that was. He would go through the motions of reviewing ledgers, looking for unusual entries that might suggest fraud. Louis had no appetite to have his name ruined by a greedy underling. Then, it was on to the offices of the West Indies Company in Pall Mall to do some company work and have his private lunch with his exotic slave who attended to his needs there. That left him but a stone's throw from Buckingham's mansion. His coachman dutifully approached the door and inquired whether the master might receive the Earl of Basildon. If not, the servant would leave the small gift and personal note from Louis. If the Duke was available, Louis intended to deliver the gift in person.
  15. The conversation was coming to a satisfactory conclusion. Both Lisa and Nicci would be pleased with him. "A good idea Lucy. Why don't you invite her to sup with you when we are at the Worcesters? Let's find some English husband for her. She was born on the wrong side of the sheets so it need not be a duke," he laughed. 'Maybe Francis knows an English lord that would like a Dutch beauty for a bride?" Margetha would prefer to stay in England too, to get away from the scandal he knew. "Come, let us get you back inside before you catch a chill," he offered as he held out his hand so that he could assist her standing. "Next Easter we will have a special remembrance of this conversation and celebrate our further rise." He offered his arm so that he could escort her back inside.
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