Guest Posted August 18, 2016 Share Posted August 18, 2016 #17 House of William Cavendish, Third Earl of DevonshireA square, two-story, red-brick dwelling encompassed with a dark-green lawn, in turn surrounded with a waist-high, wrought iron fence. A small, white porch extended from the front doors and connected to the cobble-stone path which traveled from the porch to the front fence without the slightest turn. Four ash trees stood symmetrically around the path, partially obscuring the first floor of the building from the street and providing shade over the path to the front door. Two large windows stood on each side of the main door, revealing a music room on one side and a sitting room on the other. Three smaller windows provided views from the upstairs rooms over the trees and onto the city beyond. John was learning effort, cleverness, initiative, connections, and preparation had nothing to do with success at court. John, with sterling reputation, had met much of Ormonde's family, spent months living with one and was close family to the other, had Ormonde’s brother in law’s insults to make a good impression, had asked an introduction from one of them, and had inquired after his tastes and interests. He had had to wait for months for a few sentences while the duke pointedly ignored him to watch his daughters. And such an incident was hardly isolated. The worst was still probably his political debut, where Devonshire’s uncle had died and an outbreak of plague had sent everyone scattering. It was all but a sign from God of his cursedness. So John’s conclusion was quickly becoming: Some people were lucky. What they did mattered. When they spoke they were heard. When they took action they got response. When they set appointments or were promised follow ups, they happened. And if they were forgotten, they sent a reminder and it was honored. And John was concluding he was not one of those people. He had some friends who were and hopefully he might borrow their luck. John’s bitter experience of court was that he had none of his own. And while perhaps he was being overly pessimistic, things had gone poorly for the lord more often than not. John did not have a long career behind him where one bad season could be written off. It was his whole experience. As Devonshire had said, first impressions were hard to overcome. But, while it was an eminently usable answer, John did not like it. Sophia had tended to imply it was wrong, but Sophia seemed in so many ways one of those lucky people. Still, it would be nice if what she had said was true... but such things required more proof than words. Or perhaps words from someone he considered experienced who could give some more specific advice. So he wanted to ask Devonshire about it again. And now, when the sting had dulled and the day had put him in a better mood. Perhaps with Cavendish having seen firsthand an example of the sort of thing he tolerated they would be more apt to believe his view he was being mistreated. Or perhaps he wasn’t being mistreated and Devonshire could explain why Basildon, Buckingham, Ormonde, and so many others were not actually treating him poorly despite saying one thing, doing another, and outright failing to reply when John made polite inquiries on the matter. And while this was not how they treated everyone, including several people of much meaner rank and less powerful connections. Perhaps he had taken the wrong lesson. If Devonshire could show him the sense of it then he would accept it. John did not understand. He didn't understand much of what Devonshire had said. It had baffled him when Devonshire had said he shouldn’t expect things like respect or deference from his social inferiors just because he was an earl. It seemed as absurd as to suggest Nicolette shouldn’t expect people to want to flirt with her because she was beautiful. If his title didn’t give him respect and deference from his inferiors, what advantage was it at all? Nor did the fact that unrelated people were having an easier time accessing his connections than him sit well. John did not understand. John was sharp enough, just as he looked fairly normal despite his condition, but just as he believed himself to be ugly he believed himself to be stupid and immensely foolish. So he needed help. And at any rate John wanted to understand, and Devonshire had promised this season would be better. Surely that meant understanding. John knocked. One of the main selling points of his new home, though John hadn't said this to the seller, was that it was next to Devonshire's house. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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