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Warm Woolens & Wishes | 28th 11ish- Xmas 1677


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Margaret was missing her son desperately.




It had not been easy to steal away. But here she was. Finally stood in the drafty hall at the door of these rooms he lived in under the keeping of Prince Rupert. Under any other circumstance it would be a family victory to have him drawn even tighter to Cumberlands breast. But she was not laughing. Nor was Brooke. IN fact laughter at their house was in very short supply these days.


Margret insisted upon holding the gift herself, its wrapping rather rumpled, having enjoyed a half dozen different hiding places in the past few days. Hidden from her Lord Husband, who might have lectured her at great length if he knew of the present, let alone that she was delivering it personally.


It really had to end. She couldn't bear to see the men in her life at such odds. And so the Countess waited, hoping that he would be home.

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After seeing to his duties that morning as he always did, Beverley had planned to spend the early afternoon in his small set of rooms, which was really a tiny parlour and a bedchamber and far from the sort of space he had at any of his father's residences or even at Windsor. A Lord Maldon was supposed to call on him, although he was unsure on what matter. Most such requests generally had to do more with the Lord High Admiral than him, and since he was something of the prince's favourite, he was the most obvious stepping stone. Then again it was his duty to vet out the important things from the unimportant for Cumberland, so he was used to it.


When there was a knock on the door, Beverley had no clock to look at, but he felt that it was yet rather early for such a call. He had asked Dudley to escort his lady wife to the Queen's Presence Chamber; he had encouraged her to continue to befriend other of the Queen's ladies at the suggestion of his master. It had been a happy coincidence that during the court recess, when his master and he invariably returned to Windsor as they always did, that the Queen had brought her household there for the early pregnancy whilst His Majesty made his own progressions. His wife had gotten good enough exposure that Cumberland had suggested he further cultivate it with his niece and her ladies, and the Queen's Presence chamber was an innocuous enough place for a lady of rank, even at Mary's young age.


Thus, when his mother arrived, Beverley had no servant to answer the door for him, so he answered it himself, wearing only his breeches, boots, and his shirt, with his justacorps thrown over it. He had never been one to button his own waistcoat so had not bothered trying to put that one before answering the door.


He had always had a rather expressive face, so his shock at seeing his lady mother at his rooms was quite obvious and for a long moment, he was quite speechless.


(OOC - this was the fight thread, in case you want to read it for background on what she might have heard of them screaming at each other LOL viewtopic.php?f=834&t=32190 )

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She was disobeying her husband to seek her son out like this, and the shock on Beverly's face showed he knew it.


"Heavens dear boy, just look at you." she took in his unfinished presentation with a single concerned glance. All undone and barely brushed, the vision caught a memory to her heart of awaking and finding a tot of a boy stood there next to her bedside, tousle haired and wide eyed. How he'd escaped the nursery she hardly knew, but her little cherub had toddled down the halls till held found her room, and then stood there waiting for her to awake. Lord, how she loved him, lord, how this disagreement between father and son broke her heart.


Emotion caught her voice. "Well invite me in, lest somebody see me." her ladies maid gave a small smile to Lord Beverly.




OOC: thanks for the link!

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Beverley's hazel eyes looked down at himself for a brief moment. He likely did not realize he had lost weight too.


When he looked up again he said, "Yes, erm, of course. Come in, my lady mother." He held the door open with a dip of his shoulders and waited for them to enter before poking his head out the door to see if anyone had been in the corridor.


He would not wish his father to be angry with her over her care for him.


The viscount gave her the choice of modest seating with a soft gesture of his hand. The most comfortable being a chaise. The other chair in the room was hardback with a fairly pretty cushion.


"You are...you are well, Mama?" he asked, uncomfortable enough to stumble over his words. They had probably expected him to come home (tail between his legs) once Rupert had returned from Windsor, as he usually would have when his duties did not have him elsewhere.


Perhaps he would have, but by this point, he was embarrassed and did not know what to say to either of his parents. It was not as if he enjoyed being at odds with his father. He loved both his parents very much. That did not mean that Beverley was willing to abandon his stance that Brooke was being unreasonable, but he also did not know how this could continue.

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There was a guard passing down the hall, but none other, thankfully


"I brought you a christmas present." her eyes that saw all the inadequacies, the cramped space that barely allowed room for a floral arrangement. Her brow crumpled with despair of it. It was all so very wrong. Yet for any of that she paused as she passed near him, tipping her cheek for the habitual kiss.


He'd never stinted of a kiss for his Mother, not like those other awful boys.


Before taking a seat she moved to peer through the only other door in the room. A modest bed chamber, that he and his lady wife had to share. "Oh my dear Beverly, it's even worse than I imagined." she looked back to him, reaching out her hand.


He offered her choice of seat, and she took it, greatful that for all of his roughing it he kept his high manners still. "I have been doing my best, the house is so quiet without you. Not that I..." setting herself on the chaise, she patted the place next to her, wishing him to take it. "Not that I don't understand your stance." It was such a difficult situation.

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His lady mother would know that his lack of finery and decor was not because they had just moved in on a moment's notice but because he had little money to purchase such things. Whatever he got from his position alone was not enough to sustain a viscount's living and charging a bunch of things to Brooke on credit, no matter the temptation to do so, was not going to gain him any ground with his lord father. He had learned more things in the last five years than his father gave him credit for learning.


Plus, he admitted to himself as he obligingly kissed his mother's cheek, he did not wish to risk the shame if he was refused credit because his father had disavowed responsibility for Beverley.


"A present?" A bit obtuse sometimes, he noticed the box in her hands.


He could not miss the look on her face at the spartan space. He looked down and sighed quietly. He would not be able to conceal hints of reality for very long if he let many people into his rooms; for while palace space was prestigious, anyone who had it decked whatever small space they had with as much riches as they could cram in to show off. The viscount, though, had none of that. It made him fidget with his fingers behind his back as he watched, somewhat helplessly.


She brazenly peered into the bedchamber. For the briefest of moments, he felt that space was private from his mother, just like he had when his mother had found his dirty book in his own bedchamber at home , in his own bed, had told Brooke of it, and had earned Beverley the belt for distressing his mother with filth. It was, in an odd way, a reminder of why he found himself and his wife in these two rooms. For his rights as a man. Sharing a bedchamber, of all the things!


Despite his agreeing distress, which he held in other than the forlorn look in his eyes and the decline of his physical state which he could not hide, he said, "It is not so bad, Mama, though I wish my lady wife had no need of staying with me but could stay in a nicer house whilst I toiled." He hastily added, "It is a very flattering favor to have rooms in the palace proper, after all."


He sat down next to her and swallowed as she said she did not like the quiet. Beverley might be a spoiled, indulged boy who was fairly attached to his parents, but he had not truly thought that his mother might be...lonely. He did now.


Unable to comment on that, he said, "How is Papa?" There was a pause. "Is he very angry with me?"

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"Yes for you." there was an odd moments awkwardness over the gift, no doubt he knew it's delivery was but an excuse, but she hoped he liked it none the less.


Within the box was a finely crafted cable knit jersey, the sort one wore under ones riding gear when out on a hunt, or perhaps around the house if it was cold. It was dove grey in colour, and aside from the pattern of the knitting was a simple garment unembellished.


She gave a small smile of his putting a brave face on his residence. In a quiet voice she agreed upon his lament for the sufferance of his wife, "She ought to be residing over Pauntley Court, and you with a London house to attend to your duties." Said so quietly, almost as if she feared that even here her husband might over hear.


It had become a silent rift between the wife and her husband; many tears in her bed at night for her impossible situation.


"My dear son." she squeezed his hand as he settled next to her. "Your Papa is a stubborn man, but I hardly need to tell you this. In your own way, you are like him too, so strong with your belief. It is that strength of belief, that you would selflessly suffer like this upon a principle, and he is suffering too, though he'd never admit it. He misses you. Not in word. But in deed, I see him look at your empty place at the dinner table, I hear his sigh of breath that is distraught of what has happened to us. Though he sets his brow firm, for he too thinks he has a principle to stand for."


"Dear Beverly, I am not here to lecture you. I want to treat you as the fine man that you have become, pay you the respect you deserve. I want to ask you, with the emotion of it aside, what resolution can you find for this?"

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Beverley held the present unopened on his lap as they spoke. He was not naturally avoidant of his parents, so he found he missed his mother enough that he was more interested in speaking to her than opening a gift.


"She should certainly have that ability. We should be able to stay in our own house if we wish. No matter who executes the estate," he added, with a sour pout. It was bittersweet that his mother seemed to take his side. In fact, she seemed to wish he had what he should have as a married man. "How shall she grow to trust and rely upon me as the head of our family if we are never alone? If I am never in charge of us?"


It was only a partial complaint, for they would be alone if she went to Windsor with him during court recesses, but it would be rather solitary for her there either way. There would not always be others there as there had been this last recess.


He squeezed her hand back, perhaps a bit buoyed that he did not stand alone. His lady mother had some sway, surely.


And if that lifted him, the news that his papa seemed to miss him gave him some hope. His heart rather yearned to not feel like he was strongly contemplating Hell by this division with his father. His father's secretary was, after all, also their secret priest, and Beverley had not made confession since he left. Not to mention he had not been feeling very well for fortnights now.


He smiled as his mother complimented him. What he would give to hear his father say such words! He raised her hand to his lips and gave it a kiss, "You warm me." He was not the most overly eloquent with words laden with emotion, but his face bore more meaning than the sentiment. "Do you forgive me?"


He took a breath.


"Do you think he wishes me to come home enough to....bend some, Mama?" he asked. If Pauntley Court had been given with an entail to the Earldom, there was nothing anyone could do to reverse it, but that did not prevent Brooke from letting his son act on the running of the estate or the staff or from giving him an income from the estate.


"I shan't come home and be treated as a child in so very many ways. That is no good for my lady wife to see or suspect, and she has braved with me thus far." Not that she had a choice in the matter, really. She belonged in her husband's care, and they needed an heir desperately, as the whole family knew. "This stress and worry cannot serve well for her in providing me a son."

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He did not open the gift immediately, after a moment of surprise she understood he saw herself as the actual present, and she smiled of it. They had alwasy been close. Sometimes she wondered if they were too close, such was his insistence lately that he be his own man, she'd begun to worry that he might think her part of the package he needed to distance himself from.


In the dark of a long night a Mother found time to worry about many things.


"Did your Father rule that possibility out?" Margaret asked, it being a hopeful idea in her mind. "Would you be able to bear that sweetheart?" Beverly had been petulant in the suggestion, but to her ears it seemed that he was trying to find a middle ground.


"But how is Mary?" she then asked, "It is a terrible start to be sure, I have hoped that she has not become bitter of us all for the disturbance, perhaps hate your father for his stubborn, and me, for being unable to help. I barely got to know her, I thought I had ample time ahead, but she is torn away from us and you also. Oh Beverly, what if reason is never found, I might be unknown to my own grandchildren when they arrive. What sort of girl is she in the settle of your marriage, does she support you in this trial, or... I worry about you both so."


Smaller things had spoiled marriages.


There was a shift to his shoulders; imperceptible to most, but she saw it, knew her mention of Brooke looking to his place at the table had given her son a little hope.


There was an impulse to say more, to elaborate, even fictionalise, but he needed truth not a fairly tale. He was no longer seven, he was a man.


"Yes." she replied simply to his request for forgiveness. He was thinking of the fourth* commandment (and the first that had a promise) one that her husband had impressed upon his son greatly. Perhaps too much, for the boy had burst. "But I am not the one who's forgiveness you need."


"Yes, I think so."


"What he did, was not out of lack of love for you. Since the day you were born, you have been the focus of his life. He's done all he can for you, maybe he's done too much? Like this, with your dowry. I think a part of him wants you to remain his little boy he has to look after. Though he'd never say that, I am sure. But you heard him that day, saying how he was protecting your interests. He really did think he was doing the right thing. He did it out of love Beverly, and I think he was shocked that you did not see it through his eyes."


"Perhaps this needed to happen. Perhaps he can see that you are capable of looking after yourself now, perhaps when... if you return, it can be different."




* I checked and according to Catholics it's the 4th!

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"I believe I shall have to bear something if I wish to be reconciled with my lord father, do you not think." It was more rhetorical. Obviously Beverley was well-aware he would not just win. A father could not allow his son such an ascendancy.


"Surely, erm, neither of you think I wished to be separated from my family?" he asked, with a pained, raised brow.


He was, after all, a boy who had sneaked into his father's study late at night or in his bedchamber just as often as he had sneaked into his mother's. Such a closeness would not breed the state of him wishing to not see them as an adult.


"No, Mama, she is too well-bred for such things and she has been most comforting. I am very happy for it. She has been most dutiful as my wife; she even danced with the Prince to save him from the French Ambassador." Mary was perhaps more resilient that he was; she was likely happy to be free from her parents and to have her own life to begin, no matter where.


"You shall know your grandchildren no matter what, never fear. Surely Papa would not turn them away if I sent them to visit." Beverley was not spiteful. He would not keep his children away to punish his father if these trials went that far.


He nodded as she forgave him but reminded him that he also needed his father's forgiveness, perhaps more so.


"How could he think usurping my dowry such that I was treated like a horse at stud would be met favourably?" Beverley asked. He could not comprehend. He heaved another sigh.

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His reply, rhetorical, was met with an understanding look. They both knew Brooks nature, knew that a full retraction just was not on the cards. But if Beverly shifted his stance some, then Brooke might also - it was it's own lesson in a way, negotiation.


But then he spoke into her private fear (even though she'd known deep down it was not likely at all). "Ooh Beverly!" she loosed a taut sigh, and lifted his hand to her face, "That is precisely what I have worried of. That your exodus was... well due to your dismay of having to stay with me longer. That. That you no longer have need of the love of your mother. I saw. I saw the way you looked at Mary, your smile at her smallest compliment was double any I'd seen from you for myself for... simply ages." she lamented.


"Of course your father thinks I am ridiculous to fear that. He said nothing, not even death could extinguish your affection for me. But. Well still... dear Beverly you must know you are my favorite. I have not even read any of my book, the book mark in it just where you left off last."


She was a tad emotional, the strain of it all showed.


Thankfully his wife was not a grumbler. "Saints be praised." she uttered of that, "You are going through the fire my love, we can only hope that your union shall be all the stronger for that, yet still it as as you say. It is hardly the ideal circumstance for... her efforts." towards bearing an heir that is.


"Come now, we must try to be positive." he spoke poorly of his father again, and she had sensations of being a traitor. It was a fine line she walked. She would not malign her husband, and knew that in his heart Beverly did not wish her to either.


"Perhaps your time with Prince Rupert can serve you well? I am always hearing people say how he is a great strategist. If this was a battle, then your rival made a claim, and you made an initial retreat. What is the way of finding peace and moving forward. Is there any methodology you can draw upon." She progressed to what she'd been wondering upon. Hopeful that some clear and simple answer might exist for their situation.


"I desire nothing so badly as to have my full family at the table again." It was grand having her daughter and her children able to visit, but without Beverly there too... it was like one of the walls of the family home was missing.

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Beverley smiled, "You are my mother, and you have heaved your love and compliments on me all of my life. Everything I am is from you and Papa. You know me more than my lady wife. She, erm, needs my smiles more to know I am...well...pleased with her. She is very young, and I do not, erm, wish her to be frightened of me or unsure."


His chest shook some as he tried to keep in his chuckling, "I am your only son, of course I am your favourite, and Papa is very right in my affection for you, both of you." His eyes flittered down for a moment, "I simply wish to be treated as a man. I wish privacy for my personal spaces. I wish to be able to gift my wife without asking my lord father for the coin. I wish servants who do not tell my Papa everything that I do."


There were many things he felt needed to change for him to come home, at least whilst in London, with a willingness to be a good and obedient son.


"And I surely will not submit to beatings like an errant boy of sixteen. I am married and will have children of my own, God willing; it is time for him to treat me like a man. Let him punch me or slap me or shun me, but I shan't submit to what he did to me last spring ever again."


No, his lady wife was absolutely not going to see him with welts on his backside. He would rather die and their name right along with it. Beyond that, he was willing to make many concessions.


"If you think Papa would consider my position on these things, then I would be willing to try to speak with him."

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His reply was absolutely perfect.


Tears came to her eyes, and she lurched forwards to embrace him. It was entirely unseemly, but there were no servants about, no witnesses. "My dear dear boy, you are the greatest joy of my life!" And he known exactly what she'd needed to hear.


Righting herself, hers was to seek the stowed handkerchief from within her frills then, to dab at her emotional eyes. "Yes you must smile and reassure her often of course, for Mary may be unaware of how perfectly blessed she is to have you as husband, she shall need every assurance." a pause, "I only hope that soon she shall count herself blessed for all of our family."


Yes he was her only son, it was more than that, but he could not realise. If pressed, she'd disobey her husband in support of her Son (more than a visit that is). Thankfully though, it had not come to that yet.


He'd been thinking of his life situation, of what he felt he needed, none of which was unreasonable. She nodded slowly, her eyes casting downwards in recognising her own guilt in one of those regards. Brooke must have done those others, some she knew of, others she did not.


"So... I would be messenger. I shall need tell him, in that instance, that I visited you against his wishes." she spoke quietly. She did not mean to be selfish about this, but, Beverly knew how his father could be irrationally triggered by the smallest of things. "You do no think that a letter might serve as well? After delivered, I might ask him about it, and speak in support of your points."


"Or perhaps I should simply admit that I came to see you. You are my own son. He should not judge me poorly for seeking you out. Perhaps the truth is best in this, to not tell him, is really the same as a lie." and she could not do that in good conscience before god. Margaret was talking herself around to Beverly's point of view.

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Beverley was not the least bit hesitant of an embrace. Within the private sphere, there was little wrong with it, and Beverley had always been coddled, so he put his arms around his mother without a hitch. They had always been a rather demonstrative family. They nearly crushed his unopened present between them.


He reached for his own handkerchief to hand it to his mother when she let him go.


"I am sure that she will so long as Papa is not miserly. She mustn't think she has entered a poorer circumstance than she had at home with her parents." And Brooke was as far from poor as a gentleman could get. They had an extremely old set of peerages and property that had accumulated over centuries, and Beverley saw little reason his wife should be deprived of all the accoutrements of the future Countess of Brooke.


"The Prince and Mrs. Hughes lent her jewels for the first ball. She can hardly attempt to become one of the Queen's ladies if we cannot have her dress the part. It is all very embarrassing." In fact, Beverley was exceedingly embarrassed. More so because there was no reason for it. At some point, the entire thing would make his father look bad.


"You do not need to be the messenger, Mama. I am man enough for this. I will go to see him. I simply wish to know what you think; if you think Papa will hear my concerns unprejudiced by actions from when I was but a boy. I have not been very well since I have been away. Surely he will wish to try to make amends if only because of that."


After all, if Beverley died before having an heir, that would be (entirely) that as they had no male-line relatives for the earldom or viscountcy. All Beverley knew was that his mama did have a way with his papa*. If he met with his father and it did not go well, he wished his mother to know what was important to him so that she might try to sway his father if necessary, afterward.


"I might speak to Lord Worcester first for any wisdom he might have. He had been estranged from his lord father too." Although Beverley did not know much of the entire affair, he rather thought the late Worcester had been paranoid in a crazy sort of way, so the situation was likely not wholly similar. His father-in-law might appreciate the gesture of asking advice, and marriages were supposed to bring families closer together.


(*In a thread his father did fill the house with flowers after his mother got upset, so she's not too overly helpless in manipulating him )

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With a further squeeze of his hand in thanks Margret took the offered handkerchief, her throat catching again as she noticed his wife's handiwork upon it; his initials. Her heart went out to the poor girl, remembering what it was like to be newly wed, when the addition of such flourishes meant so much more than they later did.


Dabbing at her eyes, a new conviction rose into her voice then. "If there is anything at my own liberty to give, it is items from my own jewelry box. This borrowing of jewels from the Prince shall not do, it is my shame to learn of it. She shall have the emeralds, they are my very favorite, and no less is good enough for the wife of my only son." she announced as though defying the room to say otherwise. But the room remained silent of it.


"And so this is her goal, to become a Lady in Waiting? Admirable, why that is something I can lend my full support to. And your father shall too, I am sure of it." She knew their family to be more than comfortable financially, though it was her husbands nature was to run a tight ship. When newly married she'd thought he'd personally invented the saying 'mind your pennies and the pounds will look after themselves'. But he was not a vault, he still appreciated lifes extras, and being the bestower of those seemed to give him a particular joy. "Advise Mary she may have use of my account at Norrington's, she shall have a new gown for the New Years Ball."


"Thank you darling." She appreciated that he'd be the one to address the concerns, and nodded with her sons explanation that he sought her opinion.


"He shall be concerned after your health indeed." she agreed, "though I advise you do not try use it as a lever. Better that he silently conclude it to be within his power to help, or perhaps he himself shall take it up as a rationale to ease his own agreement. It is like you said my dear, concessions shall be made. Sometimes, with your papa, it is a case of assisting him to find a graceful excuse to ease his stance."


"In my heart of hearts, I believe he rues the argument. But he is lost for a way to rescind the stand he made, and so, how might we make that possible? Your idea of being custodian of Pauntley Court, overseer of it's land and tenants is perfect. Perhaps ask your fathers assistance even, to teach you what he knows of good management? Appeal to his ego, appeal to his good sense, to let his son take his first steps in running an estate while he available to assist.


"All your suggestions, demands perhaps, but really they are no less than a married man should have. I would suggest just one retraction, that of mention of beatings - to speak of that might only shame your father for his overstepping the mark last year. Let that remain in the past my love, let it be a mark of your maturity that it is never mentioned again."


"As for Lord Worcester." she was saying an uncommon amount, it felt a little out of place to voice her opinions so much. She was prone o keeping most of these thoughts to her self as much as possible. Waiting, hoping, for the men to sort everything out. "You are not estranged, this is quite different. Well I can only guess that it is quite different, for Worchester was unable to make a repair with his own father. And your situation, shall not be like that."


"Though I concede, if your discussion with your Father does not bear fruit, then perhaps we shall be left with no other alternative? Oh, but I pray that shall not happen. The more others brought into this trouble, the greater the divide between you, and the greater the embarrassment to our family. We need prevent a public fiasco." What if it reached the papers?

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"It is not uncommon practice, Mama; you should not be ashamed of such an offer," he replied, patting her hand. He was more embarrassed admitting the problems with his father. There was an embarrassment in that his wife did not have vast jewels of her own or the family's, but either way Mrs Hughes sharing his master's royal jewels with his wife was not an embarrassing thing. It was more a perk of his position. "The circumstance is more embarrassing. The offer is more a mark of favor."


If anything, Beverley was finally realizing the extent of the Prince's fondness for him and also the importance of his diligence to Cumberland's work.


"I am sure Mary would like to show she is now a member of our family by wearing something of yours." Beverley smiled. "I would be grateful if you let her use your account. I feel...adrift." Surely one could be honest with one's mother if anyone.


He tried to hold back a swell of emotion that he had been holding mostly to himself since this entire debacle, but the dam began to fail with the first crumbling of rock, putting forth a little spout of what was held back inside.


"Will he?" Beverley choked on the question but tried to conceal it. "Do you know...I am tired of feeling I am the family embarrassment...tired of feeling that what I did in school will never go away." He sniffled once. "I did not ask to go. I did not wish to disappoint Papa there. It was lonely. I did much what the other noble boys did. I spent money to make friends. I was only fifteen." He sniffled again. "I'd never had proper friends before. Then father was so angry."


That day when he came home for holiday from Oxford, expecting the typical love and embraces, but got the opposite was not one he was ever likely to forget.


"More than five years is a long time to be punished for what amounts to one great disobedience that was never intended," Beverley whispered, a tear finally falling down his cheek. "Have I been so very bad as a son?" Sure he lied, mostly by omission, but what great sin could that be when so many committed it. University had not helped him become a man, but 5 years with Cumberland surely had done so. "I thought surely after I garnered my own promotion and was married, Papa would be happy with me."


At the moment, it seemed Cumberland was more pleased with him than his own father and that stung him fiercely.


He was trying to hard to keep himself from crying to truly think through and reply to the rest of what his mother said, but she knew him well enough to know it would come back around at some point. He had been listening.

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Beverly might see it that way, and perhaps many of court also. But under the current circumstances...


"It is just evidence to all that our house is upon a rift." she expressed, "Your first ball married, and she should have been -" pained, her comment ended there, no doubt the rest of her thought was known to him. Mary should have been escorted on her husband’s arm in the midst of a tide of St Legers family arrivals, with family jewels glittering, the picture success and happiness. People should have been whispering if she was with child yet. But instead. Margret continued, "'Yes, it is a kindness that the Duke allowed this, if you were still talking to your Father then I too would be pleased of the honour. But now - at this time. Well it is like..." it was like Beverly did not need his families support, it was like the Duke was better father to Beverly than her husband was.


She dabbed again at her eyes, unable to express those painful words.


"I wish to gift them to her, they are mine to give, and she is my daughter now." of the Emeralds she reaffirmed, "a lady needs her own jewellery box, no matter what favour is expressed around her neck at the ball."


She would send it, and be watching intently whether Mary chose to wear something of Rupert's at the next ball still. Perhaps she still would, as a silent display of support for her Husband's stand.


Use of her Norrington's account was agreed easily enough, though for some reason it tipped Beverly's composure. Adrift? His voice caught on the word, and she looked at him with concern. Then spilled from her son’s lips, the thoughts that underlay his happiness...


Naturally she embraced him again, feeling an urge to draw his head to her bosom like he was just a boy still, where he might sob uncontrollably, and she would coo soft words that everything was going to be alright. But he was a man now. So she only held him, let him get the words out, while her heart ached to hear tale of loneliness - of trying to fit in. "Were they proper friends even?" she whispered, thinking poorly of the boys that had egged her angel on then deserted him to punishment.


"I hardly know why he took it so very badly." she admitted then, "you know I can forgive you just anything. Why even if you did something abhorrent I think I would still love you with all my heart (though I know you'd never do something so bad anyhow.)"


"I dont know why he continues to think about it, years later. Why he doesn't realise you have learned your lesson, even years ago. Should I ask him Beverly? Would knowing help you to address him now? I had truly hoped that your marriage, the grand thing, might replace the importance in his mind." she sighed, the worst of it all was far worse. Her dear boy had rarely ever dared to take a friend since then. In her eyes her husband’s overreaction had spawned her sons overreaction too.


"The Duke, he's been your friend in this." she voiced slowly, with an adjusted appreciation now that her memory had been nudged. "A good friend too." No Cumberland was not trying to replace Beverly's Father, but was being a true friend in his hour of need.

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Beverley had already thought about how obvious it would become that something was amiss in their house when he was not seen with his father at court events or the Anglican mass, but he had also thought about not being announced and arriving with his parents and his sister at balls as well. Once was perhaps passable as a son asserting independence upon marriage, perhaps foolishly, but if he was not seen with his parents at the coming court events it was not likely to be hidden for much longer.


He bit his lip.


Regardless, it would be seen as his fault and shortcoming; he was the son. Pissing on tradition and respect for the hierarchy of noble social affairs would not reflect well upon him, even if he was right. His lord father probably knew he was smart enough about court and reputations to understand that; perhaps he thought it would force his son home.


It might not force him home, but it would force him to try to reason with his father after time had worked to make the wounds less raw between them.


"Do not cry, Mama. I do not deny my fault in the entire matter. At the very least, Papa must be prevailed upon to arrive together at the next state event. He need not reconcile with me fully to wish to avoid scandal. My best uniform is gilded enough to be patriotic to my position rather than pauperly, and you have set your wishes upon Mary, who is blameless." Though, truly, he would make a finer figure with new costuming as well. It was a concession he was willing to make. His father could hardly complain of how his mother spent her money, for she was a baroness in her own right, and his father was not the sort to object to tenderheartedness to a blameless female either.


Now that he had told her not to cry, he found himself incapable of holding his own tears. The embrace of his mother when he was distraught would never truly get old. He had been too coddled to not crave it.


"Not all of them, I do not think. Some, perhaps, but I shall never know as I have not had any contact with them since Papa removed me from Oxford and sent me with Cumberland. I am not foolish enough to not understand the dangers of what is bought with coin, nor that there are a plethora of dishonorable reasons for why others would wish to be close to me or befriend me, even now. It is hard, though, to make any true friends when I can do nothing without his permission when every coin that enters my hands must be explained. It is not feasible to run home before I accept an impromptu invitation without looking like a child when I am not even recently of age!"


As to his lady mother fighting all his battles, he did not feel it right just as he would not ask her to be his messenger. He was far too tender for that and not so very cowardly.


"Perhaps express that you do not feel it so and see what it is that he says in rebuttal. I do not wish you to question him. I would not seek to set the both of you upon an argument. That is not seemly behavior, surely not to one's own mother."


He put on a smile as she spoke of the prince. "He wishes me able to execute my duties, but it is as much friendship as I might claim that he would aid me to that end. It is not my master's responsibility to solve my problems."

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His teeth worried at lower lip. While she was frustrated, unable to remove this care from his shoulders, another part of her was proud that abandoning his care was not even an option in his mind.


They had raised a good boy - she just needed her husband to acknowledge that!


With a bravening breath she straightened her back. "Then we have a deadline at least. Though I would prefer reconcilement as soon as today, I shall confess. What day shall you visit, darling, shall you bring Mary with you? I would enjoy some time with her, we might take tea and talk, while you talk serious things with your Father."


Unconsciously she rocked a little as she hugged and soothed him, "My dear sweet boy, you cannot know how proud I am of you. You are making wise and good decisions, heaven knows I can see how you put your heart and soul into any matter, never stingy with your attention, so diligent, so earnest."


Though she knew he needed to hear a word or two of praise from his father, her own would need do for now. She wanted him to take heart, before he faced his father. Facing such a strong character as Brook was a little daunting to any man.


"You need to have freedom to choose your own friends, now that you are grown." she considered quietly, "It is difficult to let go of the care that could, well, has dominated. I found it hard to bear your absence. I dare say your Papa has found it difficult too. But then look. You have not fallen in with a bad crowd, nor into debt," a quick look to confirm, "but rather have secured a tighter position with a Prince. Your Father must surely concede that you do not need his every direction."


"If there is the right time for it, I shall tell your Papa that I visited tonight. I shall tell him how well you are doing, and he might start to understand, that you are a capable man."


He denied that Rupert was a friend. It was his modesty that blinded him, she believed. "I think it is more than that, though the Duke is so... officious I'd not be surprised if he denied that too. Still, good friends do not fix others lives, but help them to fix their own. I think he's allowed you that. When this is all settled, pray that shall be soon, and you go to speak to the Duke to advise him. Watch his face. See if there is a look of pleasure that he is not quick enough to hide. I am certain he is not indifferent to you Beverly."

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"I think it best to leave Mary out of it. I do not feel it would do to have her be there if it did not go well. I can send her to visit with you whenever you like separately. I doubt Papa would send her away if she came to the house. His quarrel is with me."


Beverley was not so cruel as to dictate his wife choose between him and the whole of the rest of his family. His lady mother and sister should be friends and allies to her regardless of what was between he and his father.


"I may be free to go tonight, but I think to be quite busy with my duties for my master. I have need to also see Mister Pepys tonight on an urgent matter." He heaved a sigh. "THere are many things which Papa's knowledge and aid would be helpful, and I am bereft of it because of all this. Perhaps I will come before dinner..."


His father, as both an elder statesman and with his own positions, could be invaluable for brainstorming possible ways of funding or revenue for their Rupertinoes. Instead, Beverley was left to fumble through information-gathering on his own. That was not how it was meant to be among families; their survival and success was better achieved together than separately.


As to pride, he said, "I am happy you feel so. I did not and do not waste Papa's lessons." If there was one good thing from being under his father's eye and influence, it was that he did learn much from his father over the years on many matters; unlike tutors, his father and their family affairs and estates were of far more interest.


"I do wish to be able to make friends and allies, and to be able to pay for things as is expected by my rank and position. I will make us look poor if he does not at least provide for that much in an allowance for me separate from asking his every permission. And, no, I have not be able to do anything he might not approve of, Mama. I have not even attempted to charge things to him despite that I could do so." All one needed with merchants was a signet ring to prove to which house one belonged, and as he needed that for letters, it was surely one piece of jewelry that he both had and could not gamble. "You see enough how I have been living and know enough, I am certain, that I stayed with Annie before this, to know I have not been using any credit. And, as I said, I have not been entirely well."


He knew his lord father would blow a gasket if he did so. A few pennies here and there was one thing, but any significant purchase he would not undertake alone after Oxford.


"I am sure you are right, Mama. I do think he is fond of me. He surely wishes no one else to see to his affairs or take my place. He trusts me to know him and his wishes well and to see to many things with little direction." Beverley realized he was a rather indispensable servant and to be indispensable to a man like Rupert, who was officious and particular, there was a strong element of favor and liking. He simply wished his father could leave him with a bit less direction; his lord father could not contest that his master was not a diligent and knowledgable man, and if he put trust in Beverley, there must be some worth. "I merely think men like Lord Gerard, with whom he has long history of friendship, is more worthy of the title of friend than I. Surely on more equal grounds than I can claim."


Though few of his master's old friends were still alive. Fondness for a young man did not quite fit friendship, but perhaps his mother sensed something else that did not have easy labels.

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Lady Brooke nodded, sadly seeing the sense in his choice. How did sons manage to do that, to become so suddenly wise? "I suppose it is only kindness to wait till a pleasant evening can be assured. Perhaps then we shall have a fine family dinner -- we shall go all stops out, dining in the great room with music after."


She was quieter of expression then, reflecting perhaps, as she nodded that tonight was not the best. "And I might use tonight to assist us, as best as I might." her eyes did not meet his then, though perhaps Beverly was grown enough to understand what she was thinking. She would seduce her husband this evening, she did still have allure to him, and then later when he lay sated and relaxed, she whisper though to his heart.


"Would this other thing with Master Pepys, be something apt you could request your father in laws advice upon? To form a close bond as you mentioned earlier. And upon a matter not quite so personal."


"And do not doubt that he shall know you've not used his accounts, your Papa is sure to have noticed that. My dear angel, you hardly need to feel apologetic for the requests you plan to make, for they are each only what you deserve. When you are properly installed, it shall be such a fine thing. I imagine my boys, my Lord Husband, and Lord Son, might stroll the grounds talking man to man, planning new structures together, expanding the family borders. It shall be such a wonderful time for us. And for the children too, when they come."


"Perhaps this break shall be for the best, for he might easier appreciate you as the man you have become. I can see it darling, your strength has grown, and your vision. Why even physically, your shoulders, they seem broader." she squeezed his hand.


"A man needs more than one friend. Though you are right, Duke Cumberland is not one of those gushy men with a score of companions." she gave a soft laugh of the thought. "Yet still, he must know that you would be there for him, with diligence that is more than honor or employment, a situation that seems to exist both ways." So a Mother believed.


A thought occurred, and she then asked, "What New Years gift do you plan to give?" Beverly had confirmed he had not been using the family credit, which might then mean he had no gift for the Duke to welcome in the new year. This would trouble her sensitive son. "I have heard gifts of poetry to be quite fashionable..." which was as discreet a suggestion as she was capable of being.

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The viscount did not dwell very much on his mother and father's bedroom habits, so he did not fully guess his mother's plans, nor did he need to.


"I like your imaginings, and I hope that it shall be so. I would very much like Papa to see me as my own man and worthy of his attention as my own man, not as a boy simply to be directed and managed." The older he got the latter sentiment hurt him in a way he had a difficult time expressing. His father thought it complaining. It was not complaining. It was pain he was trying to make evident. That was an entirely different thing in Beverley's eyes.


"I doubt my strength has grown for I have, quite surely, lost weight; though perhaps my eyes have been opened to greater visions of how things ought to be."


Beverley smiled and admitted, "I am fond of him more than simply duty and honour, yes, Mama. Quite so. He has taught me very much, and he and Mrs Hughes have always been very kind to me, beyond what is required or even hoped." Beverley was not gushy about such things in his words. The only times he had been away from his father was when Cumberland was in Windsor or elsewhere, so it stood to rationalize that he was something of a second or surrogate father-figure. In fact, it Brooke was the typical, more aloof father, it might have been identically the same sort of relationship. The two were even of the same age.


"Poetry? I am no poet, Mama," he said, with an amused huff. "I do not know. I had been hoping that perhaps Papa would come to his senses before then or at least realize that we, as a family, cannot expect to give nothing not only because I serve him but because he is Papa's friend too." His father's relationship with Rupert and their past service together in the late king's wars was likely the only reason he had been able to secure Beverley a position those many years ago. Surely, no matter how he felt for his son, Brooke would not slight Cumberland.

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He could count upon his Mother to empathise with his situation; he was perfect in her eyes.


"Not literally." A breath puffed from her lips as he mentioned, practically, that he'd lost weight so had not likely gained in strength. "Yes figuratively. See how you are Master of your own choices, deciding upon your own path. Trusting in your own ability that you would not find yourself upon the street. Even a year ago you were not ready to do this. It is maturity, confidance too that I mean."


She smiled as he admitted his own affection for the Prince. There now." she derived some personal pleasure in knowing this.


"Well you might ask Dryden to write something for you, but I don't know if Cumberland would go in for that sort of thing." And of course Dryden would exact a fee.


"Oh your Papa shant neglect a gift to the Duke. No, this is from yourself I am thinking... I am just fretful for if you are making a stand in not using the family accounts, then it is a quandary you face. Yes, yes perchance the rift is mended swiftly, then have you perhaps found something you would wish to give?"

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Beverley heaved a sigh whilst thinking about gifts. He had not looked, because he had no method by which to pay. He could not gift Cumberland with some silly, little thing. Nor did he wish to think about not having something, even if his master did know he and his father were not speaking at the time.


"I do not know, Mama. His tastes run to old militaria and the like. Weapons. Perhaps old books on warfare." He frowned some in thought. "I am positive he would appreciate if Papa would make a contribution toward the purchase of Rupertinoes; it is a matter most close to my master's thoughts right now." Whether or not things were resolved with Beverley, his father still would have to gift something. "And it might make others wish to do so as well, for nobles are jealous creatures with their largesse..." He was more thinking out loud than anything.


"If Papa and I cannot work matters out, perhaps I should offer to teach his daughter to ride...He spoke to me of her not wishing to learn at the beginning of the season. Mayhap Annie would let me bring one of the boys, Rory perhaps. They are of similar age. That is not very traditional, though. It is not a present, per se."

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Margret bit her lip, trying not to smile, as her dear boy made his exaggerated sigh. Perhaps she'd indulged him a little too much as a boy, but, goodness but he seemed rather adorable with drama. These intensities that comprised his conscientious life.


Ah, but he was speaking, so she payed heed...


"A rupertino?" when it came to military words and talk, it was all gibberish to her, her mind was unable to hold thoughts together on the subject. Jelly. Though Beverly's idea involved his Father, so for that it seemed a fine idea. "You shall have to talk about it with him. I don't know what else he'd had planned, but he'd surely be pleased with some mans thing."


What had she been thinking to suggest a poem?! Boys.


"Hmm, then you ought do that in any case. It might be fine practise for you when you have children of your own. Rory is similiar age do you think?" She paused as a penny dropped. "Oh, darling - now that would be a good match to make. I know Rupera is a bastard in fact, but is his only acknowledged child... she is his pride and joy wouldnt you say? It never too soon to start thinking bout these things, I am surprised I'd not thought of it sooner."

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"It is a cannon of a special design of my master's. It has far greater reach and is made of superior composition at his forge," Beverley said. Truth be told, he did not much know the entire science of it, but he knew that it was far superior to the typical cannon used by everyone else and thus was a great advantage. Only a very few of their ships had any.


"Are not all small children of a similar enough age?" Beverley asked, rhetorically more than anything. He was no expert on children; he was the youngest and had only one sibling. His nephews had not even been in England until the year before.


"Indeed, it would not be a bad match for the second son of an Irish peerage. Royal blood is royal blood. As we have seen legitimacy is not the greatest issue with royalty." As young as they were, any of the three boys could end up being the only one to survive childhood to inherit the barony. Not to mention the Spanish were now ruled by a bastard. "The Prince has an acknowledged son as well, Dudley, but he is off at Eton." Which was apt because it was only across the river from Windsor where his master was much of the time.


"He is very fond of her, yes. I daresay she is a bossy part of the household in many ways. If you think the idea has merit, I will suggest it, but I am apprehensive that it is more a service than a gift." Which was to say it would make him feel pauperly which was no fit state.

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Her son patiently explained what a Rupertinoe was, she pretended to understand. The worst part of this sort of thing was when he'd bring it up again some time later, and expect her to be alert to it, and excited of some new advancement. Hopefully that would not happen this time. Hopefully he'd be able to talk guns and war with his father!


The topic of children and possible matches though, were subjects she understood entirely. "I dare say he has great plans for the son. What is he sent to study?" the later question idly asked, before she focussed back upon Ruperta again, "but yes, gently gently, a word spoken too soon would be rash. Your lessons, and with a young companion though is certainly a fine way to begin. In the very least shall be good for Rory to learn from your example of behaviour. I dare say he would be very excited of it, you know how he idolises you."


"Come now, open your gift." With a warm smile she promoted of the forgotten present*.




* Within the box was a finely crafted cable knit jersey, the sort one wore under ones riding gear when out on a hunt, or perhaps around the house if it was cold. It was dove grey in colour, and aside from the pattern of the knitting was a simple garment unembellished.

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Beverley shrugged, "Is there anything particular taught at Eton?" It was more a rhetorical statement than anything. "Whatever classic foundations of education needed, I would expect, for a gentleman. I would anticipate my master intends military career for the boy, but I have never asked so would not know, Mama." Cumberland had, after all, been so inclined since he was barely more than a boy, so it would make sense that was the intention. He had no great love of politicians and their ilk. Considering his master would not make Mrs Hughes his actual wife, Beverley much doubted he would try to get a title for the boy; he seemed too traditional for that.


"Never fear, I was thinking of the lessons not being a proper present but offering never-the-less, not offering up Rory in marriage as a present," he added, with a light chuckle. It felt good to laugh.


"He is a good boy, unlike Baron Big Breeches," Beverley said, comparing the middle nephew to the elder one. The elder one who was not even a decade old but told Beverley he was an actual peer, not just the heir to one like his uncle. The irony was that Beverley had no issue giving a nephew a good whipping for being a brat, but had very little realization of when he, himself, was a brat.


"We will see how they get on and perhaps I shan't have to say anything about the potential. Mrs. Hughes is a very sharp woman and very fond of me." Not to mention Beverley was clearly the sort to take such connections in a traditional way; whilst he did not think about it, he knew his master was no young man. Someone would have to keep an eye on the welfare of his offspring once there was no fountain of royal influence to be had from such association. Bastards could become quite unfortunate if not seen to before that point, without a relation to keep them.


He had entirely forgotten about the present that he had moved from his lap to the end of the chaise next to them, so when his lady mother mentioned it again, his eyes went wide for a moment.


Pulling it back onto his lap, he opened it and then smiled as he ran his fingers over the softness of it. Truth be told, without access to his full wardrobe (which his Papa seemed to think he would gamble away and that he had left without), he was cold in this unusually snowy weather!


"It is lovely, Mama, and very soft. Thank you," he said, leaning forward to kiss her cheek. "It has been quite cold this season."

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"The grounding for a political career perhaps?" Margret considered of that, possibly the Prince would have his son well established in one or the other houses of parliament. "Although, Cumberland is less a man of social intrigue." He was a very different man than Buckingham for instance. After a pause she said, "Your Duke must actively avoid politics I suppose, for it would be the simplest thing to become embroiled in it, and yet I rarely hear of Cumberland tangled in court intrigues?"


She begun to laugh also as he make a joke of Rory being unfitting as a gift. It was good to hear Beverly laugh.


"Now now, you cant talk about my little Doneraile like that." she scolded, though understood what Beverly was saying. The youngster baron did think himself hot stuff. "Would you believe Anne caught him opening Rory's presents to be sure they were not better than his own. Still, I like to think of it as heightened desire for achievement. Which is hardly a bad thing really."


With a nod of head she agreed that letting things develop on a natural course would be best. "With perhaps an apt nudge at the right time."


Speaking of nudges, she reminded her son of the gift. By his expression it was plain that he'd forgotten all about it (which was flattering to her company really). Still, she did want him to have it, and he seemed pleased to find what it was. "Wool from the Spanish Merinos* It's lovely isnt it."


"Have you your winter tonic darling?" she went on to fuss, "and do say you get a hot breakfast, in this weather."





* Before the 18th century, the export of Merinos from Spain was a crime punishable by death. ie. Merino wool is highly prized and expensive.

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"Politics is all very good, but he has little patience for power-hungry intriguers and factions," Beverley said. "Erm, I think it may remind him to much of, well, before." Which was to say during the civil wars and the years leading up to them and following them. It was but a guess. He had never had a candid discussion about that before.


Beverley was too young to have experienced any of that. He was a very small boy when the King was restored. He remembered nothing of any exiles. He only knew theirs had not been as unfortunate as others.


"Oh, I would surely believe it," Beverley said, part under his breath. "There are several virtues that boy need learn." Funny that he should say so, for his father might say the same of him.


"You should be careful not to spoil him, Mama. It will not serve him well as a man." Again, an ironic thing to say.


As to the gift, his hand slipped over it and then took hold of it gently, allowing the fabric to bunch between his fingers. "Very lovely...expensive too." He cast puppy eyes of appreciation to his mother. At least she still felt his worth and spoiled him some. "It is very rare, it is not?"


She then went on with mothering him, making him smile more and hold in a chuckle, looking away for a second and then back to her. "You dote, my lady. I am well-taken care of, rest assured. Dudley sees that I am treated as much as possible as if I were home." That was true, but it was something of a white lie or lie by omission as well. Beverley was a habitual white-liar, something his Papa disliked, for he oft used it in deceptive ways that were not so, well, white. He did not have the funds of Brooke House to live in the same way, but he did not wish his mother to worry.

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