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We were once boys too


Defiance
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There was sometimes a necessity for things which the King would rather not deal with but propriety expected him to endure for the increasing illusion of kingship. Not wanting to bear this alone and thinking it prudent, Rupert was also there, for it was his demonstration that had been interrupted.

 

Poor Lord Herbert had sat in his anteroom every single day since the demonstration, waiting to be received. No doubt that hurt, because no doubt Lord Worcester gave the boy a good beating. From all reports the marquess had not been happy.

 

The King could not be angry for the fireworks. Nobody had been harmed. Plus, he had blown his eyebrows off a time or two in his experimentations. He had been a boy once too and a youth. That did not mean that he had not recently been around such things either. He held a multitude of fascinations with science and the engineering of a thing.

 

At the same time, he could not have little lordlings running about his court being recklessly foolish to impress the young ladies. Of course His Majesty could think of no other reason for such things than a lady.

 

It must be done, the boy needed his little lesson, he would laugh about it later. Johnny and George would have some grand time pointing out the irony and doing mimicry if he told them of it. The thought almost made it all worth it.

 

And in came the very shame-faced Lord Herbert, barely more than a boy.

 

The King sat there stately, with Ru looming by his side as the young made his obeisances. He had no idea why he seemed to inspire such fright. My but the boy was so stiff! Or maybe his backside hurt a little too much. He wanted to laugh only because it was no dastardly deed but a boy probably blinded by lust who clumsily had an accident. Charles had been a bit of an awkward boy too.

 

"Come, Lord Herbert, what have you to say to us?"

 

"I came to ask Your Majesty's forgiveness, f-for having the foolishness to endanger Your Majesty's person and court at Brighton with m-my, fireworks."

 

The King licked his lips. "You have not acted as befits a man of your standing. Our court is not yours to play in." Charles was working quite hard to hide his amusement, maintaining his aloof, formal presence for this little ritual Lord Herbert had to find out about too early. The begging of forgiveness. Many courtiers experienced it. Many more than once. "But your lord father is a loyal friend, and we shall trust he has addressed the issue. Come, you are forgiven your youthful indiscretion, my lord." He held out his hand for the requisite contrite kiss, which the boy came forward and knelt to do.

 

"Perhaps one day if you learn to deport yourself with restraint in such things, your King will have you to his closet or to see His Highness' forge," he said quietly to the boy, with a wink.

 

Rupert's lips pressed together, but he said nothing.

 

As soon as Lord Herbert had left, the King shook his head and chuckled.

 

"You are volunteering to send a clumsy lordling into the forge with molten metals?" Rupert grunted. It was hard to tell if he was amused in the least or not.

 

"Do not pretend as if you have no sympathy, Ru. Do not forgot you used to gleefully recount your boyhood adventures when I was a boy, egging me on." He gave his cousin a pat as he stood and chuckled, not letting the German's demeanor get to him. Now poor Lord Herbert's vigil in his anteroom could be at a happy end.

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