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Officers@Leisure | 27th evening- Xmas 1677

Ambrose Turnbull

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Thanks to his familiarity with the Palaces layout, it did not take Turner too long to find Robert Saint-Leger's apartment.


He's doing very well for himself The Lieutenant thought as he raised his hand to rap upon the door, though with roots like those, great feats of service that dated right back to the battle of Hastings, it was hardly any surprise.


Ambrose adjusted his cravat, though not in uniform of course, instead he was in his court suit. He was really mixing with the high achievers now, and felt a bit ill with the nerves of it all.


He was doing best to turn over a new leaf, trying to tidy up his act, not resort to his nervous swearing and jocose that was achieving the opposite of what he actually wanted. Most of all, he was hoping to make a friend tonight.

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Beverley did not wish to be very conspicuous and he also did not have the largest wardrobe at the moment, so he was wearing a navy blue ensemble that he found at the Battersea house from several seasons before. It had been pillaged of the better embellishments, and so it was a smarter dress for going into London.


As he waited for the arrival of the other officer, he sipped on a warm cup of wine mulled with exotic spices and the addition of rosemary. It was a concoction he had been drinking during the colder months since he was very little at the prescription of a physician. It had helped with his proneness to illness, and they were heading outside. It did not hurt to be safe.


That was the status of affairs when Turnbull arrived. Dudley answered the door. The poor man probably wished his young master would make amends with his father; this was far below the finery of Brooke House or Maidstone Castle!


"Good evening, Lieutenant," Beverley greeted. Dudley had already aided him with his fur-lined traveling cloak before he had answered the door. "My lady wife is busy with the unpacking," he explained, hoping that also explained the lack of decor. They had just moved in.

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With a nod to Dudley Ambrose stepped through the entrance, where he discovered Beverly in prepare with a drink. "Good evening Major." he mimicked Beverly's chosen term of address, click of heels nod of head, albeit rather formal (though then Saint Leger had struck him as a very formal sort.)


"Well she is making grand progress if your costume may be reference, that you could pull together a matching costume on the first day is a credit to her organisation." he complimented the wife, though she was at this moment no where to be seen. Possibly upon account of Ambrose inappropriate jocose when they had first. Frankly, it was surprising that Beverly had not chosen to forget the invitation, he had the perfect excuse with all the fuss of a move.


"Congratulations by the way. To be drawn in to such close proximity to Cumberlands suite."

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Beverley was not used to being called by his military rank since it was not his highest address, but he supposed the more provincial types did not have the fiercest court manners. Then again, Beverley was not composed all of what he was able to portray in social situations, so he was willing to be understanding.


"Indeed, Lady Beverley is much appreciated for her dedication, but it was Dudley who packed," the viscount said before taking a sip out of his cup.


The viscount cast his hazel eyes around for a moment. "To be in Whitehall at all. i certainly would not have thought it. Not the largesse of my lord father's house, but it has its own sort of prestige." Even though it was quite small. He might have rather been at his father's house. He missed his bed.


"Shall we head out?"

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Ambrose was trying too hard perhaps, perhaps he'd be able to relax as the night moved on.


"Well I hope Dudley is just as efficient in the unpacking then." the Lieutenant said meeting the officers eyes with a nod of acceptance. He understood from Beverly's reply that Dudley was the one who did all the work, and that saying his wife was busy unpacking was a polite excuse to shelter his wife from meeting the Lieutenant. It was to be expected he supposed, still, it stung. Perhaps it was too late for his reputation, though perhaps this was Beverly's giving him a second chance.


It could have been modesty, though it sounded more like Beverly was very impressed with his lodgings. "I am sure you shall improve upon them in time." Ambrose could only guess that it had been a mighty step backwards from Beverly's usual standard of living. "The Duke must have dire need of your proximity, perhaps will elevate you to better accommodation when he's moved some other one out. I hardly know how these thing might work, being just new here." His eyes slid around the room, and tried to keep the jealousy from his heart.


"Yes lets us be upon our way." He clasped hands behind his back as he waited for Beverly to be finished with his drink, before he turned to open the door.


"So you have been in Cumberland's service many years?" Ambrose asked as they struck out along the hall.

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"Unpacking? But my lady wife and her maid are doing so, and Dudley is accompanying us." He thought he had said that.


Beverley had little idea how his words were taken. It was likely why most soldierly types did not like him very much; they were generally far removed from his type of finery and traditionalist values. While he had said that his wife was seeing to the unpacking, mostly of where to put things, he had said that Dudley had packed, and as Dudley was currently with them, he clearly was not unpacking anything. So Beverley continued on unaware that the Lieutenant thought it was a purposeful keeping of his lady wife away from an introduction.


"Improve upon it?" Beverley asked, in confusion. "I very much doubt it!" He smiled and chuckled. Having any spot in Whitehall was prestigious, and he certainly did not feel he insinuated otherwise. Far grander personages than him did not have quarters there, so he surely was not one to hope for better. "His Highness does not make decisions about lodgings. Lord Arlington does on behalf of the King." Beverley had a kind demeanor, he had some experience with sailors adjusting to court from his position, but it was still very odd for him to think of what Turnbull must not know.


"Over five, almost a quarter of my life," Beverley replied. "When I was first introduced to him, I do not think the top of my head reached even his shoulders." Not that Beverley had gotten much taller. He was chin height now. Cumberland, like the King, was just a very big man, while Beverley hit average height with heeled, court shoes on.

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Ambrose was awkward it was plain. He'd out stepped his rank to have invited StLeger out with him, and was now nervous about it. The Lt. had managed to upset the thick-skinned Merry Gang, and was shit scared now of upsetting the plainly more sensitive Beverly. The Merry gang was not going to report anything to his idol Rupert, but Beverly the Dukes aid, might.


So it had been modesty, for Beverly then explained that he could not hope for anything better. "Congratulations again then sir." Ambrose reiterated uncomfortably. Ambrose, feeling on the outside from the onset, managed to disturb the Duke's aide from the start.


So he might be 21. "The most eventful quarter I am sure. You aspire to become an admiral yourself one day, you could not have a better teacher of strategy." the weight of full hip-flask bumped gently against his chest as he walked.

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Beverley was not socially aware enough to notice if anything was going amiss. Instead he simply thought that things were going awkwardly as usual for him.


"Indeed, it has been quite the education. My master is a most knowledgeable gentleman in a plethora of areas I can, erm, never hope to fully understand." His eyes kept aware as they walked through the hallways.


"Perhaps, though I have little practical experience in directing ships in war or the like. I do not think much on such matters. I am content in my service, and I will inherit my father's position one day, so here is that." He did not have the social awareness to realize he might seem very stuffy; in comparison to the lot of younger sons, which accounted for most of their officers, Beverley did not have to figure out how he was going to make his way. Or at least he had not until his fight with his father.


"You seem to have a strong appreciation for the Lord High Admiral," Beverley added. Their last meeting the man had said he had served on the duke's ship but had said little more than that.

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"Such a broad experiance of life, teamed with a superior natural ability." Ambrose concurred, "the finest mentor as is possible."


There boots clattered in an oddly reassuring manner, as though business was being attended to rather than it being simply two men idle. "Ah, of course, your family seat." he appreciated the gravity of that ambition as being quite enough for the young man. Still, he supposed that having such tutelage there would be any number of otehr opportunities arise for Beverly meanwhile. He was only young himself, his father likely had decades in him yet.


"What is not to admire of His Grace." Ambrose replied simply enough, though his cheeks pinked.


"Yet I would not want you to think that my interest tonight is self serving, although I must admit I am awed of your station in His service. Ack. What I mean, is that I am hopeful of a friendship with you yourself." Shit, what am I saying? Ambrose was aware how lame he sounded at that time. "Ah, forgive me, if I have one singularly well refined skill, it is getting off to a terrible start." he gave a limp smile.

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"Indeed, it is a grand responsibility, as he always reminds me," Beverley replied, of his father, but then realized he'd mentioned his father. He went silent for a long pause with a furrow on his brow. "Brooke is a very old earldom, and I will have Ireland to trouble over. Sheep and animals everywhere." He made a sweeping gesture with his hand as he said it, clearly not particularly fond of Ireland. Their family was far from Irish as the frenchy-sounding surname might suggest. They were old Anglo-Normans.


Beverley listened and then tried not to smile and then tried not to chuckle. He had met someone who was worse than him at speaking to others in social situations! What came out was something of a muffled garble of amusement, his eyes almost conspiratorially amused as if it was some sort of mischief to be almost pleased at this turn.


"There is good reason why I do better with strategy than socializing myself," he replied, grinning. "Mindless court banter is one thing, but more plain conversation I am.. ehhh." He made a slight face to illustrate.


A slight smile graced his face again, "To be honest, I have been too long in my master's service not to be wary of any who speak to me, so have no fear, I would vet that thought already." There was no apology in it. Such was court reality when one served in a royal household.

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"But your Father has been managing it well?" the question spilled from Ambrose lips as Robert spoke more of the complexities of the estate he stood to inherit. "Ireland, I've never been there myself. Nice hills so I have heard, but apart from that... yes some politics." he frowned a bit upon that. He'd heard something some time back about unrest, though it had seemed so removed from his own life that he'd not paid the conversation much attention.


The Lieutenant had half expected the Earl-Major to roll his eyes at that next point, as he stumbled and faltered over reassurance dressed in apology, and pinned with embarrassment. But the man took it with something more like wry-appreciation? "It's a far easier thing to plot a course upon sea charts than to try navigate the peril filled waters of Whitehall." Ambrose agreed.


And perhaps to illustrate that very point, his better then made a statement that was both distancing and accepting. Ambrose gave a nod, his vision falling down to his feet. Highly polished boots striding out down the hall, though progress in fact might be far lesser than.


"These things take months and years, not hours and days." he conceded. Still, it was a better position than he'd managed elsewhere, Lord Beverly was not insulted, was talking to him, indeed still intent upon this evening out.


"Horses or carriage?" Ambrose asked, of the evenings transportation.

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Beverley nodded. "My lord father is a very capable man to be sure." The viscount had been around enough to know it was a vast amount to keep track of to avoid servants robbing you blind. There was good reason their family had survived so long and so well; sometimes that was daunting to Beverley.


"Anyone who is attached to anyone of importance at court has to be aware of their, erm, friends and acquaintances. Do not consider it a slight, merely a fact of life here. Not only do I serve my master, but my father is a privy councilor and is part responsible for the ruling of one of His Majesty's domains. That, erm, leads to a good deal of not having friends on my part." That and his father disapproved of most of the habits of young people at court and forbade him from a good chunk of it. He was not about to advertise that, though.


"It was snowing earlier, so I should think a carriage preferable. The weather is extraordinarily bad this year." The viscount was, after all, still the spoiled heir of an extremely wealthy earl instead of the rough-housing sort of second sons one usually found within their military circles. Weather was a valid complaint to him.


"Do you hunt?" he asked, rather abruptly, as they finished their traverse of the maze of Whitehall.

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"That must ease your prospects then. Pity the chap who inherits a house in disorder." He paused for a moment on that thought, thinking of his on families situation. Ambrose' Father had managed the family lands well, but managing an estate was not all there was to it. "You seem to have the right attitude for it also." he considered out aloud.


Young St-Leger went on to explain his meaning more, while the Lieutenant slowly nodded his understanding. "There is a pity to that, why, when I as your age I was surrounded by companions. While certainly, as shipmates we hardly had a choice, it was a fine sense of men sharing a purpose together. I had supposed thought if I were on land at that age, I'd have caught along with land-friends with perhaps some other... ah, unifying factor. Grog I suppose." young men were renown for drinking and gambling.


"So, perhaps, really, you are not missing out on so much." Ambrose had a frown on his brow though as he said that. It did seem as though Beverly was pressed into an early maturity. Perhaps it had happened so long ago now, that he did not even miss it, or know what he'd missed. Ambrose missed it, though he'd eventually become removed from the center of social havoc as he'd slowly risen through the ranks. Staying at the barracks now, had him think of a return to it. Nerves of trying to make new friends had him over do it.


"In the end we each become our own man. It is my hope that high regard for men I deem worthy of it, might imprint some quality upon myself." he settled in a vague sort of way, and gave a close lipped sort of smile across to Beverly. If association with Rupert had any of the Duke's traits rub off on Beverly, then that only recommended him more to Ambrose.


"The Carriages then." and so they turned that way rather than the other, "Our horses shall be pleased to keep the warmth of the stables." He clicked his tongue of that.


"I love to hunt." Ambrose replied, pleasantly surprised at the question, looking towards Beverly curious to what direction the question would be taken.

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"Camaraderie is something missing from a courtier's education," Beverley attempted to joke. "Even alliances are expendable unlike a ship where you live and die together. That is not ever, erm, equaled on land unfortunately."


His lack of diverting friends had more to do with his lack of coin, he thought. Unfortunately the issues with his father did little to nothing to solve that problem. He would try not to let it bother him, though.


"Many share that view. Court is much in appearances and acquaintances. How you act and who you are able to surround yourself with is how many reputations start." Beverley was not so much mature as he was schooled in how to appear a proper nobleman; there was a certain aloofness and manners that were easily mistaken for maturity. The viscount might contest that, but it made it no less true. "Or perhaps it is that if you are lucky, you are around those that bring out your best. My lord father knew the Lord High Admiral before asking him to take me, and I do suppose that was quite calculated on his part, though I am not sure I realized it at first."


The snow and wind was something of a damper on hunting, but such weather did not usually keep long in England. Beverley was longing to spend good time in the saddle.


"If the weather breaks long enough, I hope that there is one. Last winter one was organized around a hunting lodge by Windsor."

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The tone, the expression on Saint Leger's face; these things suggested the thought was a joke. Rather than laugh, Ambrose was saddened by it. "A life without camaraderie..." he sighed, "then it is well that we are heading into town this evening. Had me more than a few hours to spare and better season for it, I would suggest a trip to the Barbary Coast aboard one of His Majesties finest ships." the thought in his mind was that his fellow ought experiance what he'd aboard ship, for there was something utterly fine about it.


Though perhaps it was a world removed from the viscounts life, and...


Ambrose gave a shrug and gave attention to his foot placement as they trotted down the palace steps.


"I am starting to appreciate this fact. And the need to find company that one can understand. Ah, empathise with I suppose, so as one can appreciate the impact ones words may have upon the other." Ambrose considered, thinking of how things had ended poorly with the merry gang, which really, was probably for the better.


"You did not realise it at first?" he found Beverly's comment interesting, dark eyebrows rose inquiringly.


Then to talk of a Hunt. "A Royal Hunt perhaps? Ah now that would be a incredible thing to take a part in!" He grinned openly at the thought. "Are there gamed forests nearby London for the Kings sport?" a picture formed in his mind of how it might be, riding out alongside English Peers, ranks temporarily leveled out in the quest to spear a boar, or perhaps shoot a deer. Though really, ranks were never leveled out, Ambrose knew to defer a clear shot to the higher ranked gentleman. Still, the thought of it.


"Then the Duke likes the hunt?" he supposed that Beverly had taken part in Rupert's party.

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Beverley chuckled some at the question. In retrospect, he was probably somewhat idiotic not to realize it, but he had been just a boy.


"I had done something to anger him whilst at Oxford, so I thought he simply wished rid of me to be honest and that he picked the largest, scariest royal to give me to as punishment," the viscount replied. "My master and I are well-suited though. We share an enjoyment of military history and strategy. Arms of course. Outdoor sport." Which was, of course, a perfect segue into hunting as they got into a carriage.


"Indeed, Lord Mountjoy was to hold a hunt during a London season previously but was called away on family business. There are many parks nearby enough to court. Hart are more sporting and there are plenty for His Majesty's pursuits. Boar are more bumbling here than in France generally. We must hope for the weather to break some."


He might have said that he would hunt out of Maidstone, but being at odds with his father made that impossible. "Shall we make for Madame Hortense's establishment? We can drink and, erm, have the attentions of the ladies at the same time."

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"As far as punishments go, it wasn't half bad." Ambrose clicked his tongue with a grin, "and so now in hindsight, perhaps this thing you did that 'angered' him, actually revealed to him some natural ability that inspired the match?"


"While for me, my father and I both always knew I was destined for service. Perhaps it was simply learnt into me from an early age, but I was ripe for it by the time I was packed off." His mind harked back, remembering how grand that had been at the time. The farewell super, that he'd attended in his gentleman volunteer uniform. His father so proud. The memory caught at his heart a moment, before he gave a shake of his head back to the moment.


Door and clasp rattled, carriage rocked and swayed as the men hitched themselves into it. "Hope for a break in the weather, we can go a step better than that, study the sky." The Lieutenant ruminated, mariners were used to predicting the weather by the signs given in the clouds. Of course, we need daylight to do that effectively." he gave a wry laugh.


"Yes, Madame Hortense's. I've yet to visit her house yet, but have heard that she carries the highest quality, ah, libations."

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Beverley's awkward smile might have given away that being sent off with Rupert was not the only punishment he had endured. Most every boy and youth knew what a good beating was like whether it was by the birch or other.


"Oh, no, it was truly desperation to inspire diligence and responsibility," he did respond, with a curl of one half of his mouth in amusement. "I did truly anger him, and I doubt my gambling could have inspired him to match me with His Highness on some merit of the activity." He chuckled at that. "Apparently, though, my lord father knew enough of me to find the appropriate motivation to remedy it all."


He knew that there was still now and again a whisper that went around about how he had gambled away a few thousands in his barely two years at Cambridge, so it was hardly a secret.


"You got on well with your father then?" Beverley could not help but ask, not sensing anything amiss as he climbed into the carriage.


"Libations indeed, and I shall leave you to reading the sky, for I surely have no such ability," he added.

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"And did it work?" Ambrose was not going to say it, but Beverly seemed the archetype of 'diligence and responsibility'. His fathers recipe seemed to have worked, though perhaps the young man was still a rebel on some hidden level?


"Gambling eh, well there is a slippery slope to be sure." he nodded, understanding the allure, the maths of these games of chance and the gamble of odds. "Fortuna Dubia has had her way with many a boy, and strangely enough, even when you barely escaped her clasp with your own hair, she holds a sparkle of allure when next you see her."


Yes Ambrose enjoyed a gamble as much as the next man, although he'd never gotten to the level of full blown addiction requiring an intervention. It did give him far more perspective of Beverly however, jealousy easing into understanding instead.


"Well enough as much as I saw him." How much time did any son spend with father really? "I went to sea at 15, and fell under the ships command then, Father replaced by Captain. A stern task master if you are wayward, but I learnt quickly enough how to fit in." it was a small community, and as he'd said, he'd enjoyed it, even if he'd proved to be an unremarkable officer. He was a dependable enough, just not the sort that was given the sort of jobs that catapulted notable careers. Slowly slowly, he'd risen to be 1st Lieutenant. Ambrose liked to think he'd make that next step one day, and get command of his own ship, though realistically that might never have happened.


He chuckled of their planned activity, he could sure do with getting a load off. Drinking wise, he planned to be moderated, still regrouping himself after an earlier excess. "It's not so hard, I can show you some time. The clouds are essentially the signal flags of the sky, warning of winds and prevailing weather. It's a science really, yet utterly practical. You might find it comes in handy." It felt nice to offer to share something he knew, made him feel like he had some worth.

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"To perhaps all but my lord father I have," Beverley replied. "He does not think I can manage my own, erm, affairs despite the fact that my master is very satisfied in how I manage his affairs."


Beverley laughed some as Turnbull said he had traded father for captain at fifteen. That was about when he had left for Oxford and had his first taste of liberty. That nearly two years had been his most free of his life. Very short-lived.


"I only ever added His Highness to the mix and never freed myself of my father." Not that he particularly wished to free himself of his father, for he did not; he simply wished his father treated him like a man.


"Then I should be happy to know how you do it," the viscount replied in response to the offer to gain some tutelage in weather prediction. It would be useful inasmuch as he tried to covertly discourage any long trips during bad weather; as much as Cumberland did not wish reminders of it or to be coddled, he did have achy joints.


They pulled up outside the rather nondescript exterior. One might not have known it if one did not know it.


Beverley was well-known there and not because he was constantly there, but because (unbeknownst to him) Madame Hortense had long been his father's mistress and the serious Lord Brooke had fronted money for the establishment*.


As always, there was someone at the door making sure it was gentlemen and not riff-raff coming into the establishment.


(OOC - I still LOL about Fluff's brilliant and ironic storytelling about Brooke...that one came entirely from her " title="Applause" /> and once we're inside, we should give Aria a poke, because she mods Hortense these days.)

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"Ahh..." Ambrose nodded, appreciate of his own position. Well, what his position had been previously. "Well I hope that he come to see you as grown before he is departs, it is a different relationship, one with maturity I suppose. Hmm, I suppose a part of it too is seeing your father as the man also. Which is not so much easier either. There is more to it than mere separation." he reflected upon his own situation in compare. "I suppose, said liek that, I was still my fathers boy too, although, I think he respected that I had seen things that he had not. That, my experiences had their own value, and I too therefore."


He shrugged of it then, "But our tales are very different." and he smiled, "and shall continue to be."


And so he promised to teach the art of reading the clouds to Beverly, not possible to commence immediately, upon the dual reasons of darkness and arrival to their destination.


It was a innocuous house that did not stand out at all, unless one considered the man standing at the door deterring the type that did not have sufficient coin. With a certain measure of entitlement Ambrose's boots clattered up the steps, and he gave a brief nod to doorman as he entered the door and paused to look around.



OOC: I'll message her now then

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In the salon with its crimson walls and upholstery, everyone appeared to be having a jolly good time. Gentlemen sat at tables or on couches, most of them with drinks in their hands and all of them surrounded by buxom young ladies in colorful gowns, who teased them with words and smiles, shapely backsides and flashes of slender ankles. Mistletoe hung above every table and seating arrangement as well as in corners and at various other places about the room. Barmaids and whores alike wore sprigs of holly nestled in their cleavage and fastened in their hair as a tribute to the Christmas season.


Hortense was in the process of negotiating a contract for a gentleman who had brought his son to the brothel for the first time. She smirked as she watched the boy stumble on one of the steps as the girl he had chosen led him by the hand up the staircase. He looked back and smiled nervously at his father when he reached the landing. When he came down later, he would probably be swaggering with confidence. A boy's first sexual encounter had that effect.


The beautiful middle-aged madame remembered well initiating young men into the joys of carnal pleasure. Now those men were bringing their sons to be 'educated' by her girls. The father of the nervous boy was a case in point. She had been his first lover long ago and had serviced his two brothers as well. Now she owned her own establishment.


The door opened, and as always, Hortense glanced toward it, smiling as she recognized Lord Beverley, the son of the gentleman who had made her dream possible. He was with another young man, a new client who would hopefully be so satisfied when he left that he would return again and again. Although she was still occupied making arrangements with the boy's father, she sent one of the barmaids over to them.


“Good evening, my lords,” the pretty brunette said with a curtsy that gave them an eyeful of cleavage and holly. She was new and while she had heard of Lord Beverley, she had never seen him before. “Madame told me to let you know that your first drinks are on the house. What can I get for you?"


There were several unoccupied tables where they could sit if they wanted to. A few of the girls were already looking in their direction, smiling invitingly.

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There was something to be said for being at ease. With someone less experienced than he with court and lower ranked, Beverley found he could relax. He did not need to agonize over his every move or word.


"Far finer on the inside than the outside, eh?" Beverley commented, looking up at his companion.


The viscount had more confidence with women than the year prior, owing both to having a mistress and to visiting every Friday with his lord father before they had fallen out. However, he was still quiet and somewhat awkward with women.


His eyes traveled around surreptitiously, hoping his father stuck to his Friday ritual and had not deviated. Being a creature of habit, Beverley doubted that had changed.


"That is most generous. A double measure of brandy for me," Beverley ordered, his eyes catching on the woman and her cleavage.


Seeing one of the open tables in a corner, he headed toward it and sat. "You shan't find any place more suited in London or anywhere near." It was surely far better than the brothels one found in most ports! Those catered to a different sort.

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"I'll say." Ambrose agreed, an appreciative eye upon a pretty sauntering by.


An older woman near the stair looked towards them, the madam he supposed, unless this establishment catered to chaps who liked women rather older. It took all sorts. Ambrose gave a nod, and tucked tricorn under his arm as he moved after Beverly. Beverly, who was surprisingly at ease in the situation. Not so surprising really, since he was a seasoned Londoner, but still Beverly's awkwardness seemed eased by the location.


The theory was that you did not need to put on airs when at a brothel, it was a time to relax and allow the belt buckle to ease some on protocols and pretenses. It was perhaps curious then, that Ambrose still felt nervous. These were fancy whores of gentry, not the sort that hung around docks and flashed their tits at sailors.


"Have you egg nog, or a mulled wine?" was Ambrose request. The pretty sent to take their drinks order was easy on the eyes, she'd be fine as a first shag, was no doubt accommodating. But Ambrose was trying to turn over a new leaf. Already had perhaps. For lewd comments and ribald jests did not even enter his mind.


"Keeps a warm house that is a certain, I'd hate to see the heating bill. Though I dare say it's neccessary for service, couldn't have the girls all wrapped up in blankets trying to keep warm now, could we."

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Hortense nodded back at the gentleman with Lord Beverley, idly wondering if he had said anything about her. As soon as she was done with the contract, she would go over and say hello. It wasn't odd to see her going from table to table, conversing with old and new customers alike and making certain they had everything they needed … and desired. She had a natural charm that put them so much at ease that they often revealed their fantasies. Some of her girls specialized in techniques that catered to various appetites. It also wasn't uncommon for her to recommend girls whom she thought they might like.


The barmaid smiled at Lord Beverley, committing his order to memory, and then turned to Ambrose, that lovely smile becoming a bit playful. “We have both, my lord. Which do you prefer? You will find that we have almost anything here you can wish for.” The pretty brunette, whose name was Edith, did not service the customers but only provided them drinks. She was still trying to decide whether she wanted to become a whore. The pay was better and she loved sex, but her pious parents had taught her that the oldest profession was a sin. She was still wrestling with moral issues, but was warming to the idea the longer she worked in the brothel.


After a few minutes had passed, Edith came back with a tray and set each gentleman's drink on the table in front of them, leaning close to them so that they could smell her perfume and look down her dress. Although still indecisive about her future, she did like to tease. “Is there anything else I can get for you?” she asked.

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Beverley might be more at ease than usual, and less of a complete bumbling fool, but he still was not very forward with women. Not even whores. If there was one thing Beverley liked about whores, it was that they would do the work and it did not matter how quiet or shy you were about it. In fact, the less he had to actually speak of it with a woman, the better.


He did not give quite the flirtation as the lieutenant and seemed comfortable as the maid played with his companion.


His hazel eyes traveled around and he commented, "In all ways." Almost funny in response to the girl's comment that they had almost anything.


As to her saucy tease about what else they needed, he rather knew that a gent need not wait very long for some pretty company. That and a drink, and Beverley would be set for the moment.


"This is my friend's first time here. He is, erm, new to London." The breasts were distracting.

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The Lieutenants eyes widened with some surprise at Beverly's comment to her question. These quiet ones were dark horses. But smiling again he replied "Why don't you surprise me." with a waggle of his eyebrows, "with a drink that is."


He relaxed some as the girl behaved normally enough. It was lost on him that she was not one of the Houses girls, but merely wait staff, just as she seemed to forget as she flirted with the men. A brief yet comfortable silence fell between the men as they were left by themselves, eyes looking outward at the bright sights; flash of ankles, glimpse of breasts.


And then their maid was returned. "Ah... now that is just what the doctor ordered." Ambrose relieved her of his drink and took a healthy gulp.


To her question Beverly supplied details about Ambrose. The Lieutenant gave a smile smile, "Yes I am upon an evening with my wizened friend here." he teased his lordship a little, Beverly was practically asking for it; such an unusual mix of familiarity and nerves. "I dare say that nothing you provide could surprise him." his eyes slid back to the barmaid with tits that captivated his friend. A dare within his look. Would she dare flash Beverly? Ah but of course not. Ambrose did not really expect it.

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Edith blushed when Beverley stared at her breasts, and she smiled at Ambrose. “Your first time? Then you are in for a treat.” She knew that the young Viscount had been here before because the girls had often talked about him.


“Oh, everyone can be surprised,” a low sultry voice chimed in. Dressed in a green and gold low-cut gown, Hortense appeared from behind the two gentlemen, smiling enigmatically. Edith scurried away to take the orders of a couple of new arrivals.


Hortense knew that her long-time lover's son was shy and didn't want to make him uncomfortable by addressing him by name, which would imply that he frequented the brothel quite often. That might not be the impression he wanted to make on his friend. As always, the Madame was conscientious of her customers' comfort and privacy.


"if it's surprises you're looking for, then you came to the right place."



{OOC: Sorry it took me so long to reply. I didn't notice that it was my turn until yesterday. Sometimes I miss posts, so if it happens again in any thread I'm involved in, just poke me and I'll jump right back in.}

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Beverley smiled a bit at the teasing, hoping it was, indeed, teasing. He remembered such a thing well enough from university, but he had not been party to it in some time.


The voice was familiar to him, although perhaps not to his friend.


"Good evening, madam," he said, always polite, even to brothel proprietors. After all, his father had always been very cordial to Hortense (even if Beverley had idiotically not put together the basics of why), so he had always felt the need to emulate his father after he had begun visiting with Brooke.


"Lieutenant, this is our lovely, erm, proprietress."


As to the surprises, Beverley nodded to the pleasurable level of services and said, "I have certainly never been, erm, displeased, or even underwhelmed." He paused and then added, "And thank you for the round."

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And no, there was no flash given, but the Madame arrived and as if upon a cue the little barmaid made her way on to the next clients needing refills.


Ambrose was tentatively figuring out how it worked here, was not quite sure yet. His smile swung to the older woman, his gaze slightly questioning.


"Pleased to meet you marm." he was glad that he had Beverly here, figured that he'd have put his foot in his mouth by now if not.


"Er ah... yes if surprises are what you want. There is much to be said for the simple pleasures."

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