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Taking the City's Pulse | Late Afternoon 25/12 (open)- Xmas 1677

Charles Audley

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Kemp's Coffee House


Patronized by the cream of society, by actors and playwrights, Kemp's is one of the most modish meeting places in London.


The main room of the house is hazy with tobacco smoke and rich with the scent of coffee and chocolate. Small windows allow little daylight to enter - most illumination is provided by candle sconces fixed to the walls. Comfortable chairs of well padded leather accompany a dozen or so small tables. Several booths along the walls provide comfort and a greater degree of privacy.


At the rear of the room stands, an elaborately carved table of some antiquity. Rumour has it that this table once belonged to King Hal and came from his palace of Nonsuch. Be that as it may, it is now the coffee house's serving counter, presided over by the buxom blonde Mistress Kemp. The comely widow is assisted in running the house by her pretty teenaged daughters Rose and Valerie.


A door beside the counter leads to the kitchen.


At Kemp's you can partake of coffee, tea, chocolate or milk punch. Light refreshments such as cakes and Welsh rabbit are also available. Several copies of the latest London Gazette are always available at Kemp's.


After finally returning to his rooms, breaking his fast and (most importantly) changing his clothes, Charles had decided to venture forth into London and get the lie of the land. 'Know your ground' was perhaps the third most important rule, after all.


He had opted to wear his uniform. It was fortunate, he reflected, that the uniform of the First Foot Guards was most becoming on him- red coat faced with light blue and decorated with gold lace, blue breeches and stockings, white waist sash fringed with blue, white cravat, calf-high black leather boots and a low-crowned black hat. (He was still going to change for the ball, of course. What sort of cretin wore his uniform to a ball?) He bore a heavy broadsword at his left hip in lieu of his usual small sword. As a nod to military discipline, he had queued his hair back in a single tail at the nape of his neck with a length of red ribbon. It gave the already sharp lines of his face a harsh, almost cruel aspect.


A flurry of snow had driven Charles to seek shelter in Kemps, where a minor expenditure and some harmless flirting with one of Mistress Kemp's daughters (who had a most fetching blush) had obtained a pot of coffee and a copy of the Gazette. He seated himself near a window and idly leafed through the paper, listening with half an ear to the buzz of conversation permeating through the thronged coffee shop. One never knew when one might hear something interesting or useful.


It was in the main either humdrum gossip or the sort of thing Charles could guess at with a moment's thought- Buckingham taking advantage of Danby's fall, the Country Party seeking to have York sent from court, rumour and counter-rumour of the Queen's potential pregnancy. Nothing earth-shattering.


Charles glanced at his pocket watch and then looked outside at the sky, wondering if he could risk venturing forth again.


"Will there be more snow, d'you think?"


He did not initially realise that he had spoken aloud.

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There is a sort of communal flinch, when a man of uniform enters a room, and any number of faces turned away as though guilty, potentially guilty. Hands that slapped bottoms of waitresses withdrew, eyes that took note of the coffeehouses cash box looked away, and one fellow felt compelled to do up his jacket buttons, while another checked his pistol was in place.


But as the officer strolled in with little fuss, the room relaxed again; cups clinking and chatter lifting to the air, mingling with the tobacco smoke and vapors from the kitchen into the particular warm blend of male camaraderie that Kemps was reknown for. Chatham immersed (as much as a new face to town could that is.)


"Not enough to set your watch by." a dandily dressed chap nearby commented with a wry smile, Charles idle question co-inciting with looking at his watch seemed amusing to him, Icicles though, we've them aplenty, set my barometer to them just yesterday in fact." Willoughby tittered.

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Charles looked up, a frown momentarily creasing his brow before he realised that his internal monologue had, in fact, briefly ceased to be internal.


I really need to watch that.

He gave the other man a thin smile as he ran his eye appreciatively over him, or more accurately over his attire.


Ask him for the name of his tailor!


No. There are proprieties to observe. To ask a gentleman about his tailor on first meeting would be like asking a lady to lift her skirts! One must first make conversation.

Fortunately, there was a topic to hand. Unfortunately, that topic was the weather, but one had to work with what one had available.


"That is to the good then. Snow leaves one both cold and wet, which is frankly intolerable. The cold alone is bearable- it merely reminds a man that he's alive." Charles clucked his tongue as he realised his faux pas. He favoured his conversational partner with a nod.


"But where are my manners? Charles Audley, earl of Chatham, at your service."

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It was only as Chatham turned his head that Willoughby saw his impediment; a beastly patch over one eye. He was challenged not to stare at it, fortunately a play of wit between them helped hide the surprise. "... but the wet." Jonathon picked up where the other left off, "is unforgivable for it's ruin of satins!" Satin was that queer fabric that when wet took on a tone of blackishness.


While the well dressed fellow jested of fabric issues, he quite obviously took costume quite seriously. Jonathon was currently dressed in an ensemble of mauve and violet stripes, with elaborate piping about sleeve cuffs and lapels, gales of lace at his throat, while a further violet ribbon held back his sandy toned hair in a cue. No doubt a hat and cloak were somewhere about.


"Enchantee, Lord Chatham," he made leg to the ranked fellow. While his greeting was one few gentlemen could pull off, it sat just right for this particular dandy. "And I am Lord Willoughby: Jonathan. Not to be confused with my step-sibling the Earl of. Brat of a fellow. You've had the fortune to meet the better of us." his manicured eyebrow rose as he contemplated Chatham's response.

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"Ugh." Charles felt his face twist with distaste at the other man's mention of water's effect on satins. "Doesn't bear thinking about, does it? A happier topic of conversation, I pray you."


The fellow gave his name. To Charles's complete lack of surprise, it was not one he recognised. This Willoughby had irksome siblings as well, it seemed. Charles could sympathise. He gave the man a more open smile.


"I've always been fortunate in my acquaintances. Now-" Charles leaned forward "-you strike me as a man in the know. Will you take pity on a newcomer to court and condescend to share with him the best gossip? He would be greatly obliged."


After servants and the (previously) virgin daughters of powerful men, dandified fops were the best source of potentially useful information, or so experience had taught Charles.

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Willoughby assessed the man to have potential, Chatham presented a genial friendless, while tempered with a reserve that might loosen in time (if time availed itself). But for now he made for a fine fellow to idle away with. "Aha, Kemps lorded topic. News and Reviews are what the house is all about. And I, a most ardent follower, and at times relay-er also." he gave a pleased smile.


"But first, something a little stronger hm?" He lifted his arm and snapped for a wait staff, while lodging his request via a question to new companion, "would you prefer rum or brandy to warm your coffee?" turning to the servant, he completed, "bring a bottle of my friends choice." The times of being stricken for a penny was long behind Willoughby, that being the single benefit of having married the Tressider bitch.


"So, newly arrived - from where do you hail?" claiming a chair he settled.


There was a great deal of clamor and activity all around them, the chairs and tables in the room had been moved closer together, to squeeze extra covers in during the busy winter season. The backs of nearby patrons practically pressed upon the backs of their neighbors. Sat directly behind Chatham was a middle-aged man in camel jacket.

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Charles beamed in thanks as Willoughby beckoned over a servant.


"Dashed decent of you. Brandy, then."


Charles took a sip of his newly fortified drink and sighed in pleasure while waiting for his new companion to settle himself.


"On a day like this, one could almost believe coffee and brandy proof that God exists and loves us." Charles chuckled, never afraid of minor blasphemy in the cause of conversation, before answering Willoughby's question.


"My family's estate in Kent and before that the Continent, most recently France. And you? Where do you reside when 'tis not court season and there are no newcomers for you to bless with the light of your wisdom?"

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Preening a little as he settled, Jonathan was no less attentive. He tittered to Chatham's irreverence, all the worse for the sanctity of the season. Still, he was not the one to morally correct anyone, a certain appreciation for graying down religious standards suited this lover of men. "Then a triple shot might affirm the holy trinity?" he recklessly said, with a generous topping up of his own cup with the brandy.


"Aha, so not so far from home yet." Kent was enviably 'handy', "Just new to your title?" odds were.


"Myself, my marriage sees me settled in Cornwall, I've an vested interest in the Tressider estate, though not much else. No, I prefer to invest my time in London, her people, her intrigues suit me better than country life."


"Aha, and so what manner of news are you most interested in? You've heard, no doubt, of the royal pregnancy. Soon enough we might have wailing babies and nursery rhymes disturbing Whitehall's peace. It shall make a great change from wailing merry men and bawdy ballads. We are upon the brink of change my new friend, eat drink and be merry while we can, and pray legitimate paternity does not awaken the 'responsible' in our magnificent King."

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Charles laughed heartily at Willoughby's rejoinder. In his opinion, there was nothing finer than irreverence in a conversational partner. He nodded as Willoughby continued.


"Yes, I have but freshly inherited."


Willoughby's comments on country life provoked fervent agreement in Charles.


"Oh, yes. These last few weeks in Chatham have come within an ace of killing me, I tell you. So many banalities to deal with and not a scrap of amusement to be had, vicious or otherwise. No, I'm a man for cities, I think."


Charles leaned forward and grinned.


"Now, as to what sort of news I'm after, the scandalous sort of course. Which fathers should be locking up their daughter, which mothers should despair over what has become of their sons?"


His tone was light and jovial.

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"Yes I can see the ravages of grief stuck to your hair." Jonathan snickered. Was there ever a new title gained without joy? It was these fathers fault of course, holding the prize over sons head for decades or more, it was hardly any surprise that same fathers were not grieved long, if at all. "Another tot or two shall rinse it off." and raising his spiked cut the dandies scalawag toasted, "to Chatham finest era, may it be glorious with bells on!"


"So to the city, to entertain or be entertained, or what have you." the men concurred of that. In fact they seemed to be upon a generally consensual discourse... pity about the eyepatch. Jonathan caught himself wondering if a pleasantly silkified and jeweled one might do much.


It was the wicked, and less political (though could one truly separate the two at court?) that interested Chatham, who a lit at the prospect of such reports, nearly snickering his enthuse. "Well my salacious tongue is not one to gossip..." Jonathan's eyes glittered, "but ah, where to start? Word is that Fitzjames is back, shall he cocold York as he cocolded the King, and come to the service of Lady O'Roarke? The recent marriage of Lord Beverly seems to be little success, the pair barely talk in public, can we expect them to look for satisfaction elsewhere? There is the new Ambasador-ess Lady Toldeo, who is showing none of the stuffiness of Spains usual sorts - indeed advertising herself to all of court - now hers is one husband who might invest in better locks..."


He took a pause for breath.

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Charles gave a careless, one-armed shrug in response to Willoughby's quip on grief.


"It was an ease to all concerned, or so I'm told."


He was more animated when the other man proposed a toast, clinking their cups together and adding his own.


"And to Willoughby, may he continue to cut an impeccably dressed swathe through the coffee houses of London!"


Charles settled back and listened attentively as Willoughby rattled off a respectable number of prospective scandals. It never ceased to amaze Charles how little need such people had of air when gossiping.


How do they manage it, I wonder?

Still, as Willoughby ran out of steam, Charles felt that perhaps a contribution of his own was due.


"Who is this Fitzjames character? A bold fellow, by your reports. Still, I have it on good authority that the relationship between his highness and the Countess is very strong. And I have it on even better authority that York is not subject to jealousy, in any case."


The unhappy marriage of this 'Beverley' and Toledo's attempts to position his wife as a Spanish Portsmouth would keep. This seemed the most likely to be useful (and also the most salacious).

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"A member of His Majesties lifeguards." he replied with a flip of stray hair strand, "loved by the ladies and abhorred by men. Well, most of them." Willoughby for one could be converted, "a fellow with devastatingly blue eyes."


"Good authority?" he repeated, his interest tell tale in his tone. "York not jealous, and the sky is not ... cloudy... too I suppose. Come now, who's reports have you?" Like a bloodhound on a trail, Jonathon followed his nose, fairly certain there was a tale to be heard here.


Gossip did not end at that though, and presently the dandy continued, "... we are of course bereft this season of any number of courtiers, who are attending upon Princess Mary's journey to Orange. Notably absent is Lady Basildon. Now there is someone to watch, intrigue practically drips from her pores, she and her husband Lord Basildon were all the talk of Court a few years back. A whirlwind romance, they said, a marriage swiftly made, and now the gentleman is sitting pretty indeed but for the want of legitimate heir. My senses intuit a development soon, though what, I cannot say."


Pursing his lips, he swept through mental inventory of who-is-whos, intent to select a few more morsels for the new comer to court to cut his teeth on. "There is the usual flurry of course, of debutantes and new arrivals to The Lords - scant few become men or women of import. In fact, even you may not remain..." he looked at Chatham more directly then, though his eyes glinted and lips quirked in playful challenge. "It seems that some take to societies little dance better than others.


The man sat directly behind Charles, the one in brown camel coat, pushed back his chair as he got up from it and unwittingly pushed against his back - his words as he arose. "Excuse me." he made polite apology to Charles.

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Sounds like me, if I were to show such flightiness and lack of sense as to become a cavalryman.


"A Life Guard who cuckolds the king? I look forward to making his acquaintance."


Willoughby's interest in the matter of York was palpable, and Charles played into it, sipping his coffee before replying.


"A man such as yourself knows the importance of keeping one's sources a secret, so let us merely say that I have a... friend, whose duties keep her in the orbit of the York household. Apparently, the Duke and the Countess might fight and even occasionally stray, but they always reconcile. The phrase used was 'a strange power over one another,' I believe." Charles shrugged carelessly. "I wouldn't have paid any heed but my friend is a fount of good sense and, well, I saw evidence of it myself, at the opera. I was in York's box, you see, and thus heard the Countess confess to the Duke that two men had duelled for her that morning. He didn't bat an eyelid."


Charles was rather pleased with that little piece of work. It contained some omissions, a few evasions and the tiniest bit of extrapolation from what he'd heard but, aside from changing John's gender, no outright lies. He'd even worked in a subtle hint to Willoughby to keep Charles out of it if he repeated the tale. The part about the opera was a nice touch as well. It lent veracity and implied Charles to be a man of some consequence.


The conversation continued and Charles took note of the name Basildon. It was good to know one's fellow men on the up, in case their trajectory needed changing. Willoughby's next quip and stare were answered with Charles's own, lips drawn into a thin, sharp grin.


"Challenge accepted."


It was an excellent tableau and Charles was actually quite irked when the oaf behind him disturbed it with his clumsy oafishness. Irritation flashed across his face but manners were the soul of a gentleman and his voice was even as he answered the fool's apology.


"No harm done. Cramped quarters these, hmm?"


Charles turned to face him.

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Yorks household was an extensive one, it was easy enough to believe the newly arrived Earl had an established contact within it. Male or female? By the nature of the gossip, even something about the style of the telling of it, suggested female. He has a lover in one of the ladies, a wife of someone perhaps. Any number of men kept their wifes there also, Mulgraves ditsy wife Mary popped into Willougyby's mind.


"M-hmm. And so true, one would not want to dry up the source..." he agreed not to press any further for her identity, although now the image of Mulgraves wife was there it was difficult to shake. She'd been a Churchill, perhaps Chatham had known her through one of the Churchill brothers?


The tale told was risque, in part for the retrained glee in it's revelation. Willoughby was an intuitive man and looked at Chatham sharply for a moment. His eyes then relaxed and slid along, "...hmm, mice nipping about a pantry does not guarantee the cooks had a tolerance for rats." he gave a small smile, warning gently given, "but a delicious strory certainly, you must promise me further morsels from your cooking pot." the kitchen analogy was muddled, but attempted none the less.


The pair were getting along famously, though Chatham was no Laurence Tremaine (Jonathan's boyhood friend, irrefutably het, but best of company none the less, they'd been inseparable till his death in '75.) Chatham claimed Willoughby's suggestion as a challenge, and the dandy's delighted titter lifted to the air in unison with a bump from nearby, then apologies.


The man in camel nodded to that. "Management should not jam in the tables like this." he was a man in his fifties, with wrinkles lacking in quantity that made up for in their depth, tufted eyebrows flecked with a white strands of white, perfectly trimmed sideburns that were connected by a narrow line of hair running along the jawline, like a helmet strap harnessed to his chin. "Good day to you sir, sirs." he gave a nod to one, then to both men, before he turned to continue his exit with his gentleman companion.

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Charles met the oaf's gaze squarely with his single eye. His vexation compelled him to contradict the man, even though he agreed that the clumsy bugger had a point.


"Can't say I blame her really. Her volume of custom would seem to demand such."


Something about the man's appearance niggled at Charles, stoking the embers of his irritation. He dismissed the feeling. Likely the oaf merely bore a passing resemblance to a corpse from Charles's past. It would not be the first time such had happened.


Charles turned back to Willoughby and forced a laugh, aware that he was being irrationally annoyed by a minor bump.


"I suppose that's one thing to say for Chatham- it tends not to be so abominably crowded. Or crowded at all, for that matter."


Charles had not bothered to mind his voice and it was possible that the man in camel might have heard.

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The joys, aka stresses, of Christmas season brought out the best and the worst. Point in example, the Lord Chatham seemed to have lost his own tolerance. The fellow in camel coat gave Charles a withering look before he turned and headed away. Was that a double step he took as the word Chaham lifted through the air - he paid his bill at the counter, and murmured to Mrs Kemp with further looks their way.


"But then that's why you've abandoned her." Willouby cheerily replied, though his eyes bright and attentive noticed the behavior of the exiting guest. "Don't look now, dear fellow, but I think you are being inquired about."

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Despite himself, Charles had to smile at Willoughby's rejoinder. He nodded in acknowledgment of the point.


"True enough, I suppose."


His smile slipped slightly as his companion continued. He could determine no reason for it but could not help but feel that the metaphorical wind had shifted. Again he was assailed by a sense of familiarity, of recognition.

Like being on a hunt and hearing a crackle in the undergrowth. Could be nothing. Could be your quarry. Could be another hunter. Or it could be a boar about to gut you.


Charles shook his head to clear it and replied.


"Am I, by God? Only polite to return the favour then. Don't suppose you know him, do you?"

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But when Charles looked, the man in Camel coat looked away, making an affirmative gesture to Mrs Kemp. Mrs Kemp seemed to be less than certain however, as she then looked (blatantly) Chatham's way, her eyebrows frowning an unspoken question.


"Can't say I recognize him, London's a large place old man. But with a beard like that, it shouldn't be too hard to find out who he is. I can ask around if you like?" Willoughby's attention had shifted in that imperceptible wind, noting the edge to Charles tone, and the suspicious (or was that defensive) tone.


There had been a time not so long ago that our young Jonathon had been in a 'situation' (quite likely the same situation that his new friend seemed to be in, he supposed). Debt was a distressing cloud, and debtors the deluge that could easily drown.


"I think there is a back door." the dandy, cheeks pinking upon flush of adrenaline, suggested as he stood, chair clattering backwards.


Mrs Kemp moved to approach - and the moment she left the desk the man in Camel Coat stepped outside.

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"Ah, no matter. Just idle curiosity on my part." Charles smiled thinly. "And a touch of ill temper, I'll admit. No, don't go to any trouble on my account. If my nose still itches I'll just ask Mistress Kemp when I leave."


Charles gave a genuine smile as Willoughby came to his feet and suggested they exit through the back. A sporting fellow, this. Charles was glad to have made his acquaintance.


"Oh, do sit down. I've no trouble of that sort. Even if I did, this coffee is far too good to simply abandon. No, I just have a niggling feeling I know the oik, or should know him at least. Can't bloody place him, though."


Charles shook his head as if to physically clear the mental cobwebs.


"No old boy, let's move on to a better class of conversational topic. I gather we are to have to a ball this evening, which means I shall finally have a chance to debut my carmine and sable ensemble. Hopefully it has travelled well..."


He did not notice the approach of Mistress Kemp.

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And so the adventure was on hold, or at least Willougby supposed so. Bending he collected his chair, "Ah well, next time perhaps." he was almost disappointed not to have the fun of quick flight. (It was fun when it was someone else's bacon in the fry pan, it has not been so much fun when it had been his own troubled toosh!)


"A refill then, eh what?" he was trying to remember what they'd been talking about. While also wondering who the man in Camel actually was. "Well his tailor has a good eye for shaping, though morbid sense of colour, who'd ever want to dress in the hue of poo."


The dandy was tittering, even as Mrs Kemp approached.


"Excuse me, you are Lord Chatham. I just wanted to confirm that you are paying table three's bill?"

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It is well cut, yes.


Charles brought his cup to his lips and spoke, his delivery utterly deadpan.


"Why, one who seeks to provide advance warning of his nature."


Such a shame his sense of courtesy extends no further than that.


Charles was distracted from his snarking by the arrival of Mistress Kemp. He gave her an appreciative look, disguising his appraisal with an inquisitively arched eyebrow.


A fine buxom piece.


Such thoughts were banished by her question. Charles's gaze sharpened, though he kept his voice even and polite.


"I do not recall making any such arrangement." He looked past her to find the man in camel vanished. His lips twisted into a thin, bloodless smirk that Wodehouse or John would have recognised as a sign of danger. For a brief moment the light of murder shone in his eye. His voice, by contrast, become lighter and more jovial as he set about soothing Mistress Kemp.


"It seems the cad seeks to make mugs of us both, Mistress. Well, I cannot bear to let a woman of your grace and beauty suffer. What is the extent of the bill?" Charles rose. "I don't suppose he left a name?"


Barely waiting for an answer, Charles strode to the door and looked out into the street, seeking sign of the fleeing montebank.

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Whether she condoned or even encouraged his appraisal remained a question unanswered, as she became perturbed over the news given. "I knew something was amiss," her instincts had run true, "His name is Arthur Cardican, and he assured me that you would see to his pleasure for reasons you alone know of." turning, she was dismayed to see the man had gotten away!


"Four shillings tuppence." she uttered to the last as spun on heel with intents to fetch kitchen staff to lay chase! "I'll have my payment from him, dont you fear, sorry to have bothered you milord."


Meanwhile Willoughby was watching with amused interest -never a dull moment at Kemps.

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Arthur Cardican?






It came together in an instant, that nagging sense of recognition at once explained. There was no time now for self-recrimination as Charles quickened his stride towards the door, lips peeling back to expose sharp, carnivore's teeth, single eye all but glowing with murderous fury. His rage was a mechanical, frozen thing, and it stripped away the layers of genial courtesy and languid elegance Charles habitually presented to the world, leaving his hard, merciless core exposed. It was easy to see why some thought him mad.


He reached the door and threw it open, nostrils flaring as though to track his prey by scent. His head darted first one way, then the other, casting about for any trace of that hateful figure.


Oh, poor, poor Arthur. Such a misfortune to run into me like this. I'm going to cut you into strips.

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Abandoning talk, Chatham rushed - a wall of cold met the man's face as he looked out the door. There were few persons who chose to walk in the middle of winter, a wagon with a load of cabbages groaned past, but it was no fresh goods this man was looking for...


There were two city carriages tottling carefully down the icy street, #72 headed east, and #8 moving west.


Behind him, the din that had lulled with natural interest to the patrons rush to get outside then returned to full volume. Likely enough his exuberant exit was the new topic.

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No obvious trace of Cadogan. Just two carriages, heading in opposite directions. Charles glanced at the ground to see if his quarry had left any tracks in the snow before shouting towards the cabbage wagon, blessing the impulse that had led him to don his uniform.


"You there! Did you see which way the man in camel went?"

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The man of cabbages halted as someone called. Turning, a pair of eyes dark as coal peered out under wide brimmed felt hat. "Good afternoon sir. So. You interested in some cabbage then?" Information in London was rarely given for free, and this old timer heard the desperate tone in Chatham's voice.


Meanwhile each city carriage drew further away...

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Fortune save me from avaricious fools.


Manfully, Charles resisted the impulse to liven the driver up with some light maiming. Imprisonment would be counterproductive, however satisfying it might be to work out his aggression. He jingled his purse with his right hand, his left coincidentally falling onto the hilt of his broadsword. His smile resembled a shark more than anything human and his single eye glared out balefully. His voice remained psychotically cheerful.


"I really do not have time for this. Tell me which way he went and receive my gratitude and friendship." The driver could surely read the correct meaning in that, couldn't he? "Or don't. The choice is yours." And into that, surely.

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"My my." While nobles were not beyond murder, indeed not long ago there was a gang of Dukes that had habit of evening carousing, and in their path a few bodies had been left - this was broad daylight, and Chatham's uniform suggested law and order was his code. The elderly cabbage king decided to call the young mans bluff.


"Gratitude and Friendship wont warm my family on a cold night. Seems you will be needing two cabbages." he turned his back on the noble and took two cabbages from his load, "One pound each. A bargain."


It was not often one came across a customer as eager as this.

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This is what I get for expecting a commoner to understand subtlety.


Under almost any other circumstances, Charles would have killed the driver but his temper had not yet entirely overwhelmed his reason. At this point it was unlikely that he could catch Cadogan in any case and Charles rebelled at the thought of rewarding this grasping fool. He decided to gamble. A sneer painted itself on his features.


"You over value your wares. Good day."


The Earl turned and moved after the carriage heading east. That way lay the docks and was where he would stay in Cadogan's place.


Now, old man, is your nerve better than mine? I doubt it.

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He'd braced. It was a dangerous game, but the potential reward had encouraged. He'd braced, but a blow did not come, at least not a plow of physical sort. The blow was possibly more painful in fact - he'd played the game and lost out.


"Sir, sir, how about tuppence then?" holding up a cabbage he shouted out after the departing officer.


Past butchers, bakers, perhaps candlestick makers, our stormy headed hero stalked. In these conditions a walkers pace was not so very different to a carriage. Chatham's spirits might have risen as the carriage stopped and let someone off, before it set off again at it's leisurely pace.


Number 72 turned left up ahead.

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