Jump to content


Your Stories Await Telling

Too late to care | 28th v.late @the Langdon Residence- Xmas 1677


Recommended Posts

#1 Langdon House

Located on the south corner of Picadilly, this large house seems almost out of place with the smaller town homes further up the block. Likely it is because it predates the development of Pall Mall and St. James Square.


Though the house shows signs of age from its Tudor origins, the walled grounds of two acres are well maintained, with a nice garden in back. There is an entry gate to the front, and a gate in the rear to the stables. A military man might appreciate the security of the perimeter.


The house has 3 levels plus an attic. The ground level hosts a small ballroom, parlor,dining room and study. The second floor hosts a masters BR, Missus BR, and a guest room. The third floor has three guest rooms, with the servants sleeping in the attic.




Bradley was sitting in lounge with pile of crumbs and empty glass. He dozed off a couple of times, before he finally heard the sound of Charles horse crunching on the pebbles up the drive.


It was late. Too late for his brother to get upset of it he hoped. Too late for his brother to come up with a creative punishment. Too late for any thing really. The lady hated him now, he was sure.


It would be a few minutes till Charles got in the door, by then Bradley had poured him a glass of milk and stood with plate with a few vanilla cookies there in the hall. "Err.. good night out?" he asked as Charles got in the door. "I thought you might like a snack before bed." His smile was limp, he'd not be doing this if his hand had not been forced.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Passable," came the reply as Charles removed his hat and cloak for the doorman. It was odd for Bradley to seek him out, especially late at night, and with cookies no less. He wants something.


Their last conversation had left Bradley unfulfilled, him spouting off about wanting money and such. Bradley seemed the type more likely to depend upon others than on himself. Perhaps the assessment was premature, but the older brother had been disappointed that Bradley had given up on his military career and then had argued that he was entitled to more things. Their father had died almost penniless and Charles had spent a couple of years and a disagreeable marriage in an attempt to build some sort of fortune. Notwithstanding that, Bradley seemed to think that Charles hand just been handed everything.


"Ah, biscuits," he replied with good humor. He wished to encourage his brother to build a bond with him. "How was your day?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bradley's lips pulled back into a brief smile, while he continued to stand their awkwardly. He wondered to ask Charles if they could talk. But, he did not really want to ask that. Like, perhaps this discussion could wait till tomorrow after all?


"Err, um, yes, quite a good day. It did not rain. Though I suppose if it rained it would be snow. And we did have some snow, while you were out. Err, yes, not a bad day really. All things said." he was hardly about to tell Charles while they were stood in the hall.


It was probably bad timing. Charles looked a bit pale, and tired. Yes definitely tired.


"Well I suppose, if that's all." Bradley had managed to change his mind of telling Charles, and with a bunch of cheek and a shrug, glanced at the stairs.


The light of a new day might be easier.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Charles was inclined to let Bradley go, especially if his brother was seeking money. Still, he needed to speak with Bradley about Frances, so he decided to invite him to speak further.


"Come Bradley," Charles invited. "You can have the milk and I will have the cookies," he smiled. "I need to speak with you about Frances anyway so it is good you are here." He beckoned his brother into the parlor to sit. Things were always more tidy there, though the maid would be none too pleased that they drop crumbs on the floor.


"We need to find Frances and bring her home. This foolishness must cease." Bradley and Frances were friends, so Charles knew that he could count on his brother. "Amy probably knows where she hides." Amy had been assigned to watch over her. "Can I rely on you to lead the efforts to bring her home, and soon? Not only am I worried about her safety in the dark corners of London, but a man appeared here yesterday claiming to be her uncle and wants to see her and his sister Abbie. Bloody rotten bad timing I'd say, but this makes things all the more urgent. I suspect the man is a charlatan, but I will have Elam check his credentials, and I may as well. Some opportunist might smell gold in such a claim. If you wished to investigate the man instead, you would be welcome."


In Charles' mind, these were the most important things to discuss. he hoped, perhaps naively, that his brother might like having something to do to keep him busy and feeling like he was contributing. On the other hand, it might embolden him to ask for money. Charles supposed that he would rather give Bradley something if he was making himself useful.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"I've already had some." he replied, with a sigh, sooner rather than later then. He followed Charles into the parlour, and slouched into a seat. Wondering how he was going to start.


'Amy? Oh, maybe she does." he shrugged, it seemed pretty unlikely to him. If Amy knew, then there would not be any problem. But Frances was took off, and no-one had yet found her. "She'll turn up when she is ready."


Bradley did not seem worried about her at all.


Charles was though, and worrying about someone else too.


Bradley was just worrying about himself.


"Me?" until Charles ended with an suggestion that he, Bradley, investigate. "Ah, err, what were you talking about again?" Yeah yeah, he should have been paying attention the first time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"One does not act leisurely when one's 12 year old ward goes missing," Charles replied looking at Bradley in a way to suggest strongly that there were things that needed to be taken seriously, even by a carefree person.


"I would even worry about you, brother, if you went missing. I would look for you even though I expect that you would give worse than you got if someone tried to take advantage of you. Frances does not have that luxury. Someone could take advantage of her easily and we would fail in our duty as guardians and gentlemen if that were to happen."


With a sigh Charles repeated himself. "Take this seriously Bradley. I was saying that I would like to put you in charge of finding Frances, and I shall put the household at your disposal to assist, and coin enough to head about London and loosen lips."


It seemed like something was bothering his brother, but he was not ready to iquire until he had assurances that Bradley was up for the job of finding Frances. She was sweet on Bradley and his brother must know that. Had he no feelings for her? That would seem odd.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bradley was not heartless, he'd just heard enough times from Frances how her street friends were a tight-knit family of sorts, she had told everyone about her adventures. She'd not seemed to be fibbing. He expected she was with those same friends now - and perfectly fine.


Yet anyhow, he realised from Charles reply that he was talking about finding his ward, a task he wished to delegate on to him. "She's not as naive as you think." his brother commented, it was a bit like Charles was talking about some other girl. "But sure, I shall look for her, the trick will be finding her friends and getting them to rat her out. That what I'd do anyhow." he gave a shrug.


It seemed such a minor problem in compare to his own - but such was the viewpoint of youth.


Maybe he'd tell Charles tomorrow instead.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Not naive?" Charles found that statement to be off. "She thinks I should not have lady visitors. She thinks she is unwanted here. She thinks that she is safe in the company of street urchins when the world is a dark place. It is clear to me that she has little grasp on the realities of the situation."


Begrudgingly, Bradley accepted the assignment of recovering Frances. "I shall put Elam and Amy at your disposal tomorrow, along with enough coin to bribe her friends. Let's see if we can have her back before nightfall. She may choose to ignore it, but I worry about her and care for her." Charles assumed his brother knew him well enough to know that he was sincere in that regard.


Now that the matter had been solved, at least to the satisfaction of the elder, Charles grew silent and provided an opportunity for Bradley to raise another issue. If something was truly bothering him, Charles expected to hear it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

He was surprised as Charles started talking about his lady friends, perhaps he'd thought his comment had been about then? It had not been. "I liked her." Bradly quickly replied about Catherine, "I think she should come to tea more often. She'd make a fine new Lady Langdon. Really friendly I thought."


"Oh, I did not mean that." he tried explain himself. "I don’t agree with Frances, I just don’t think we need to be as worried about her as all that. It might do her good to remember how hard it is out there. She might be a bit more appreciative of everything we've done for her if she has to live a bit rough for a while."


"Sure." he might have commented about Charles willingness to throw money around on this, and not for himself, but this was not really the time.


And then there was a silence. "Well then." Bradley was thinking to leave, "Oh, and you might get a visit from Lord Kingston, but don’t worry, it's all sorted out now." he skulked towards the door.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"I am glad you like Catherine," Charles replied sincerely to his brother. "When I marry again, it will be carefully done," he added, not exactly telling Bradley that he had no plans on marrying his mistress. He could do better politically. His first wife had been a former mistress to a great man and it had been a mistake. He could marry Susan Herbert and do well for himself. He might seek an heiress or Cavendish or such. And then there was the nagging issue about Davina. It was best not to think about it.


He had to admit "you may be right about teaching her a lesson about how good she has it, but what if she is sick or wounded, or worse?" The thought that he did not seek her out to prove a lesson seemed thin if it meant she might be kidnapped or worse. "Maybe we get the word out to her friends that I need to speak with her about her uncle? That might intrigue her to come back without having to forcibly reclaim her?" He paused to see if Bradley thought it a good idea. He was younger and might have a better affinity with the way Frances thought.


"Kingston? Sorted out? What is this? Why is he calling?" The last time he had come to the house he had been wanting to see his wife Jean.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Yes that last one was... well I did not understand her." Bradley confessed, pleased to hear that Charles was going to be more careful this time. "And Catherine's well connected, her fathers a royal favorite, and I bet we'd get into all his plays for free. And, well she's fighting fit." Bradley wouldnt mind a wrestle with her! "Hmm, though has she had any children... you will be wanting heirs soon wont you? If she's barren, then. Well." a shrug.


"What the deal with that guy, really?" Bradley asked. It had gone around the house that he said he was Abagail’s brother, but the fact that he'd not been welcomed by Charles suggested that was a lie. "A con man eh?"


But Charles had some good ideas, that Bradly was likely to apply if he managed to find her friends.


He gave a dramatic sigh as Charles went into interrogating mode. "Its nothing really. I just. Well it's not even my fault really, Alston taught me some German to impress Lady Dorothea. But, apparently I was not saying what I thought I was saying to her."


He looked to his brother for empathy, "I was the victim here. My hopes of taking up with her are ruined because of him. And I didn't even get to see if she liked the present."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Her father is connected," he admitted, though mostly because of his wit. "She has borne a child out of wedlock to the Duke of York, so she is not barren." He really did not feel like elaborating further.


As for Abigail's alleged brother, Charles shook his head in puzzlement. "He seemed sincere but then good actors can do so at the drop of a hat. It is mighty convenient that a man shows up without any introduction and claims to be the long lost brother of a wealthy widow who is too mentally impaired to recognize him or not. There are many dangers in the world Bradley and not all of them arise from weapons. We must protect our ladies from all sorts of dangers."


He went on "I plan to visit my solicitor and the place where seamen register, or send Elam. We must have a way of validating him or not. I invited him next Sunday after church to meet Abigail and I will see if she recognizes him. If she does, it will go a long way to validating his claim, but I suspect that she will be quiet as she always is, so we will be left with little. I doubt Frances ever met him either. I woud value your opinion too when he comes. Tell me after what you think of the man. He is rather uncouth in the way sailors can be."


Being a man that liked to play pranks on ladies, Charles recognized Alston's prank a moment after Bradley finished. He felt protective of his brother, as he would any family member. "That lout. We shall have to get even with him then," Charles offered as encouragement. "How can I help? Do you want me to explain to the German lady? I'm trying to think of a good reason to arrest Alston and let him spend a night in a cell. That would wipe a smirk off his face." It was a meaningless offer, but done to try and get Bradley to think that his brother was trying to help. "I think we point out to this Dorothea the gentleman that used such vulgar vocabulary so that her scorn can be directed at Alston instead. Perhaps she might even pity you, being on the wrong end of a prank. Girls are like that; very quick to forgive someone that seems innocent."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"The king prizes wit over most things." Bradley replied with a nod. Catherine was a prize catch as far as he could see, and his brother was just downplaying it, he supposed. After all, he would not invite just any lady to dine with the family, it had been a test, he thought to see how they all got along.


"Well, I am real pleased for you Charles." Bradley replied honestly. That last wife had been hard work for them all.


"Too convenient you reckon?" Bradley understood, "And you suspicions have always served you well in the past. You could just lock him up, until you find some evidence against him. That's what I'd do."


"I didn't like the look of him. Sitting on the porch for house, as though he didn’t have anywhere else to go. What a con eh?" Bradley was sure of it, the more they talked. "You know... I could save us some time, and get some lads together. Show him the way out of London."


As far as the problem with Dorothea went, Bradley discovered his brother to be supportive. "I'd love nothing more than to get one over Alson. Would you lock him up really? Perhaps next to the con man huh? He deserves it the rotter. I was really humiliated."


"I tried to say sorry. But, well Lord Kingston was there, and she seemed to like him much more than me. Anyhow he was nice actually, he explained it all to her, and... well, but he said I had to tell you. And he'd come to talk to you about it."


He sighed.


"I don’t think she's going to forgive me. I would not dare to send her an gift of an apology either now." he was mumbling then, "Bloody Alston."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The less said about Catherine, the better. As such, he did not dispute anything his brother offered.


As for George Abercrombie, Charles found himself smiling at his brother's suggestion. "A man after my own heart. Arrest someone first and then prove your case." He chuckled at the thought. "Sadly, I have been told that I should not do such a thing in the absence of some proof. It reflects poorly on the Guard and the King." He sounded disappointed to think so soberly. "I need to gather some evidence first. Still, there is a slim chance that he really is Abigail's brother, so let's not plan anything we might regret if she recognizes him." Wouldn't his friend Joseph Williamson be impressed with how cautious he was becoming? He still lamented the imprisonment of the former Northern Secretary. He had hoped that the King would release his friend for Christmas.


As for the German girl, Charles was frustrated that an arrest was not possible either. "I will give you money to buy her a present," he pledged. "Get her some rabbit fur gloves perhaps. You cannot give her jewelry because it will be seen as too forward. When Kingston comes, I could suggest that you and he take her on some sleigh ride or something fun around London. If she has another chaperone, she will give you another chance. Just you wait and see," Charles offered as encouragement. "Did he seem interested in her for himself?" he thought to ask. If Kingston wished to woo her himself then it would be an awkward date best avoided.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Meanwhile Bradley found the topic of Catherine to be agreeable, and assumed that his brother was just a little bashful of it. But how bashful could he be, she'd been welcomed into the family diner. "I was thinking about going to visit her, just to... well make sure she realised how much we all liked her. It must have been daunting to meet us all enmasse like that. But she did not act daunted did she. I like her puck."


"Aw, who told you that? I thought you were Lord over Law in London, I'd thought you say was enough to put any crim away. What about getting some of your London guards to do it then. I know they have been arresting people left and right. If she recognises him, and we both know that wont happen, then you can just say that your men were over zealous." Yes, Bradley had it all sewn up. In fact, he was starting to think he might have missed his calling. Perhaps he should be his brothers second in charge of London.


He liked the idea, maybe he'd talk to Catherine about it when he visited her.


"Gloves are a gift of a lover." Bradley pointed out. (Surprised really, that his brother did not know that.) "Err, but I'll let you talk to Lord Kingstone about it, and see what you think then." Bradley had been there, he did not think giving a gift was on the cards. "No, I don’t think he was like that about her, he acted like her brother."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bradley visiting Catherine was not likely to happy outcomes, especially if he made her think that his brother planned to marry him. Notwithstanding his limited understanding of women, Charles was virtually certain that a lady led to believe that she was to become a wife rather than a mistress would not be happy to learn that the lord she loved intended to play with her instead of wed her.


"I am not marrying anyone," Charles insisted to his brother. One would need to see how long that pledge remained true. "She is my mistress. We are friends and lovers. Wives are different." It was hard to explain because Bradley could marry anyone he wanted for any reason. An earl's duty was different. He was the standard bear.er of the family. It was he who engineered alliances through marriage. "Be nice to her but do not encourage any talk of marriage. If you mention marriage to a lady, they get all emotional and then they think of nothing else and you rue the day you mentioned it. Just remember that when some girl you like wants to speak of such things. Once you do, there is no turning back," he advised. Hopefully Bradley would understand.


As for arresting people, Charles found it ironic to urge restraint. "Even the King cannot arrest people randomly, I am sad to say. When the last King attempted to arrest some MPs, it caused a civil war. Still, it is easier with scruffy sailors like this Abercrombie fellow. I only need just a bit of evidence to threaten him. With an MP, I would need a wagon full of evidence in comparison." Bradley was likely correct that Abigail would not recognize him. "Once she does not recognize him, I can command him to leave. If he refuses, then I have a basis to have him arrested." That seemed a simple enough tactic.


"I thought gloves safe, like a stole or cloak or such. I'll ask Kingston about it." If that failed, he could ask Catherine. Better yet, Davina would know. "Do you still want to get to know the German girl better? She is likely gone in a few weeks unless she is a maid of honor to the Queen. Or shall we find you new game?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bradley had not been expecting that, and did a double take at his brothers frank reply. "Ah... er... oh I see." he frowned, and rubbed his chin. "Pity that Frances didn't know that." he gave a sigh, it was no secret to anyone in the house that she was in love with Lord Langdon. That she ran away the night after Catherine's visit, had not really surprised most of the folk in the household. She'd run away before over far less.


"Err..." still thinking about Catherine, Bradley pinked and blurted, "Then I could marry her, you think?" She was right nice, and Bradley thought her to be a fine candidate for a young man wanting to fall under His Majesties attention. The Sedleys. Yes, if Charles did not want her, Bradley did.


Also Catherine was English, there was not the chance for any mix-up like there had been with Dorothea.


"Gloves are given by people promised." Bradley explained. Though Charles would be talking to Kingston, and that might settle much. For now he simply shook his head, "No, I don’t know her language or her culture, I'd like to stick to English girls now. I'd like to... well, court Catherine maybe. Do you think she'd be game? I dont mind if you want to keep, well, being friendly with her, till the wedding anyhow. After that, I think dibs should be mine."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Do you think Frances ran away because she thought I was going to marry Catherine?" Charles asked his brother. "She has said that she wants to marry me," he laughed, "but I thought she liked you better after you arrived. I have considered her at times but I worry that I should marry some daughter of an earl or important family, though I am quite fond of Frances. Who knows how she will turn out in three or four years? It is better for you and William if I married some high ranking lady."


Then the cannon ball came crashing down. Bradley was sweet on Catherine! "She made quite the impression on you I see. Well, she is a witty gal, full of energy and a playful nature. She would be hard to handle at times." He was explaining Catherine's qualities to purchase time for him to think. "Her father has lots of money and she is the only child." He left out the part about her mother going mad. "You could purchase your own estate and be lord of the manor," he laughed. "But convincing Catherine would be no easy matter. She's likely rather marry me for the title." He did not want to tell his brother that she was crazy about him. He needed to paint her as ambitious. "She is ambitious, having won the eye of the Duke of York and became a mother to his child. I do not know whether she has abandoned that quest to attract a royal eye," he admitted. "Would she be content with the likes of us?" Charles knew the answer but pretended to search for it.


"Bradley, you are my brother. You know I would help you in any marriage you sought, though you are still rather young. You should think it through carefully first. Sleep on it tonight and if you still wish to pursue her, you have my leave to try and convince her. If I do not offer to marry her, then why should I prevent her from marrying my brother. We would be one big happy family certainly. But there will be talk that she is York's whore and then mine. It will be a heavy toll upon you unless you can shrug it off with a laugh or a witty rejoinder. You would need to overcome your jealousy of me and I would need to overcome my jealousy of you," he added with a laugh.


"It is a crazy idea surely," he warned; "but then, the Whitehurst brothers could look after her and woe be to any man who looks at her or you cross-eyed, aye? Still it might be better if you found an English girl with a more modest demeanor and a sterling reputation. They say to sample the spicy ones but marry the bland ones."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Frances was only interested in me when you were there to see it, she was trying to make you jealous. But didn’t you see the looks she was giving Catherine at dinner?" Bradley said to confirm his point. "You must be too close to see it, she was pretty upset about it."


Bradley had thought that Charles was going to make an announcement at the dinner, he figured that Frances had thought that a second marriage was as good as done also. "You did not exactly warn any of us last time," he pointed out. "But anyhow, if this man ends up being her uncle really, then perhaps the entire question of Frances is out of our hands. I shall put my best efforts into finding her tomorrow." he promised.


Bradley gave a shrug to the theoretical benefit to himself if Charles married an Earls daughter. "I think you should think of your own benefit, frankly. If I can get to marry Catherine, then I'll be but a suggestion away from meeting the Duke of York and the King. It wont make much difference to me then who you are married to. But it will make a very big difference to you. So, you ought to find someone that catches your fancy and your sense of ambition both." which was precisely what Catherine was doing for the younger Langdon.


"Hard to handle?" Bradley grinned, his eyes glinting at thoughts of her being excitable in bed. He was not bothered of the thought that Catherine wanted to be the Kings mistress, she'd been a Dukes, then a Earls, the path of decent made brother of an Earl a viable enough next step. "She'd be a lucky woman." he grinned.


But Charles was growing sensible in his old age, and suggested a nights sleep on the idea. "Shall do." Bradley was smiling, a relaxed and comfortable smile. It had been a good talk.


"I'm not worried of where she's been, any of that sort of ribbing wont bother me, but between the two of us she'll be popping out baby Whitehurst's willy nilly. Hmm, Charles, I've just had a thought, how about I have an honorary title?" He was not certain if it worked for Brothers, but Fathers gave sons use of 'spare' titles all the time. "It might satisfy Catherine’s ego a touch." he suggested.


His mind was slipping though (in his defence, it had been Charles that had started it off) "What’s she like in bed?" his eyebrows waggled, eager to know what he could look forward to.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What had been preposterous ten minutes before was starting to make some sense. Just as Charles had come around to believe somewhat that he and Susan were the agents for the Lion and Swan why not believe in other avenues of potential folly?


Shaking his head, Charles accepted his brother's revelation about Frances. "I think I understand now. I was just wanting to introduce my mistress to my family. It seemed only natural to me. I was not embarrassed with either." Looking at it from Frances' vantage point he could understand how she might perceive it differently. Would he choose to marry Frances, or would he choose to disappoint her again with a different wife? At this point, he did not know.


"Yes, well my last marriage was sudden because I was drunk and did not think it through. It sounded attractive when full of holiday cheer and wine, and full of pity for a dying woman and a desire to please the Duchess of Savoy. That is not going to happen again. That is why I want you to think carefully of your own future."


"Getting you a title won't be easy unless you kill me and William before we have children," he began sarcastically. "But, we ought to be able to get you knighted somehow. You would have to distinguish yourself in the field of science, military, the law, or some profession." William was likely to be the lawyer in the family and earn an esquire after his name. Bradley was a more difficult one. He did not seem to like the military or books overmuch. "Maybe we have you become a right reverend and we purchase you a bishopric so that the Whitehurst brothers have all the professions covered." Bradley did not seem to be the pious one. The desire to marry a whore was inconsistent with the piety one might expect from a theologian. "You could then forgive Catherine of her sins ... every day," he laughed in making an allusion to sex. "Your good works would be to work with fallen women and baptize them ... in your own way!" Charles was beginning to hoot with laughter, now envious of such a path for himself.


"Catherine is a spirited mare Bradley," he replied to his brother's query about her bedroom skill. "Each day is a battle of whether the mount or the rider will be more fatigued," he continued to laugh. "You will enjoy the ride and her money would help you in your endeavors to save other souls." Perhaps it was because it was late at night but the two brothers began to act like snickering youngsters again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"You have forgot that Frances is of humble beginnings, her values are different to ours. I doubt that her father ever brought this mistress to introduce to his family at supper." Bradley gave a laugh at that, "Hell Charles I've not heard of anyone else of any rank ever doing that!" Perhaps he was taking his newfound familiarity too far? "What made you think that a normal thing to do?"


Seriously, Bradley had never heard of it being a practise.


"Well I am stone cold sober." Bradley vowed. (if he recalled, Charles had come in on him drinking milk). "And I think I'll be set up for grand things if I can make this match with Catherine."


"No, I mean your Tintagel title. Can't I use it in the honorary fashion, like Finches sons use his, or countless other sons use their fathers titles for kudos. Until you have your own heir, then the honorary use of the title would fall upon him." He tried to explain his rationale.


"Failing that, what else can I do to 'sweeten the deal' for Catherine?"


Charles started to throw out ridiculous ideas then, which spoiled Bradleys mood. It was a joke to his brother. He was a joke.


"Nah, don’t worry about it then." perhaps his youth was showing to be upset that Charles joked about him like that. Tossing around ideas that would take a decade to achieve, rather than a days or weeks. Distinguishing himself in law, science or anything really, would take decades, and bishops were usually men in their 50's. Charles was showing him what he thought of the idea. Laughable.


Picking up his book he murmured, "I was serious you know." his lower lip jutted, "Don’t you dare joke with Catherine about it. It's embarrassing enough that you laugh at me, without her mocking me too."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When questioned about the motives for bringing Catherine to dinner, Charles became defensive, as one might expect. "You are not supposed to bring home mistresses when you are married because it would embarrass your wife; but, since I am not married, what is the harm? If everyone knows she is my mistress and she is seen with me around court, why can she not be seen with me at home?" He was not about to take some 18 year old's perception over his own. "Besides, you might not have had the opportunity to get to know her better had I not brought her home." Surely Bradley could see the wisdom in that; and, now that Frances was gone, who was to object if he brought her home again? It was almost a challenge to him to do so again.


"Here's the thing," Charles explained about his secondary title. "If the title was awarded to father, it would pass to his sons. I would have gotten Langdon and Tintagel could have gone to the next in line, I suppose, and that would be William. But the King gave it to me so that I might give it to my son as a courtesy title while I was still alive and the Earl." That was his understanding titles at any rate. "So I could not transfer the title to a sibling I do not think, unless you were heir. And then there is William, even if I could. He'd not likely speak to either of us ever again and might challenge it in the House of Lords. No, I think we need another idea." That idea had been to get Bradley knighted. "I suppose we might be able to try and get you some courtesy title. Catherine's dowry might be able to accomplish that, though it takes serious coin to purchase. Maybe we could inquire of the Royal Chancellor. He would know what could be done."


As for the jesting, Bradley took it the wrong way. The younger brother sulked. "I know you were serious Brad. I was not laughing at you. I was laughing at the idea of you being a priest and what you might be able to do for fun. Lud, I would not mind being such a preacher like that. I am all but certain that some clergyman has already experimented with the idea." As for Catherine laughing, Charles adopted a more serious look. "I'll ask her to take you seriously Brad. I don't want her to make fun of you either." Adopting a lighter mood he added "only a brother can make fun of a brother. I think it is written down somewhere. You have license to laugh at me and I you, but woe to others that do so."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bradley accepted his older brothers explanation, it made sense that there were different standards for men single than those married. He was prudent to drop the subject after that though, for Charles was defensive of it. "I understand." said he.


The news on titles was bad. "Then I can thank my father again for a whole load of nothing." he expressed bitterly. Not only had the family been left destitute, but the only title locked in to Charles. Bradley understood that William should get a title before he did, but that was besides the point really, for they both lucked out.


"I dont think Catherine’s going to wait decades for me to become a bishop or becomes some notable academic." He realised Charles had been laughing at him in a good natured way, but that still did not resolve his problem of being without any prospects.


"No, please don’t say anything to her. It was a stupid idea." he gave a shrug.


Charles had been destitute too, until he'd come to manage the Fortune that belonged to his wards.


"I should marry Frances, get Bagshot park and boarding house then, along with whatever other money they have left." he grumbled still, though it was probably the best idea he'd had. Abagail was unable to manage her money, once frances was married her husband would take up that role. Still, Frances would not open doors to highfaluting connections and rubbing shoulders with royalty. She was just a stupid little girl that ran away at the drop of a hat.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bradley seemed bitter at his situation and that bitterness was then directed at their father. "Father was a great man," Charles defended. "He rode with Price Rupert against the rebels, earned the regard of the King, and was a master horseman. He left us something more valuable than money Brad." Knowing such words were likely lost on his younger brother he added "yes, it would have been nice if he had left us some money too. It would have saved me from being matched for an ill-suited marriage." He remembered Wilhemenia Boyle. Was she resting in peace? "I got into my own ill-suited marriage I suppose," he had to admit. Mina was no whore, like the one he married. History might judge him more harshly in comparison. But, that was a reason why he did not wish to marry another man's whore, even York's.


Bradley seemed to think that he would be unsuccessful with Catherine without a title. "Look Brad, you don't need a title or fancy office to convince her father. You are from a good family and I would vouch for you. Her father has no title and Catherine is not known as a proper lady. So, her father should have no objection to a match with you. I do not think any lord will be asking to court her anytime soon, if you know what I mean." He paused to see if his brother continued to be disappointed.


"If you wanted to marry the likes of Frances Cavendish or Susan Herbert, then you would need a title and more. They are much sought after daughters of dukes and the like. Catherine is not. If she liked you you, that might be all that is necessary to win her hand," he encouraged. "If you were open to the idea of her recapturing the eye of York, then even moreso." How could Catherine object if her husband let her continue to play with Charles and the Duke of York? She would never get a better offer.


I will help you no matter what you decide Brad." He punched his brother in the shoulder lightly, a sign of affection and kinship between them over the years. "You would have my blessing to marry Frances too. Much of those assets belong to her mother Abigail, but a good portion would be due as a dowry for Frances, with the remainder when Abigail dies. But then, this Abercrombie fellow might try and seize it all for himself."


"Tell me what you want me to tell Catherine. I could convince her to consider your suit I think. But, what this has convinced me is that we need to find you a bride with some money. That will give you your own money and property so that you can decide what you want to do with your future with less pressure upon you."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Are you saying that I can approach the Duke of Cumberland and ask for his assistance?" He knew that was not what Charles was saying. His Father’s past heroics translated into nothing for Bradley. "All I have is being able to say I am your brother, and a few pounds a month to survive upon." he did not even know how Charles managed to give him that, for the debts that their father had left them with had been large.


Charles claimed that Catherine would settle for a nobody. He was trying to cheer Bradley up, and Brad knew. "Catherine is daughter a kings favorite, and has lofty achievements and connections, and sights on the King himself. I have nothing to offer her. " His bitterness eased after talking of it, and he shifted into resign. It had been a fine idea for a moment there, but the reality was now set in.


"I'd come manage her families money if I married Frances." Widows fell under families protection, though he was not yet 21, so it was complex. Perhaps Charles would be arch-guardian over them all still, and he'd be no better of at all.


He fell silent a little while.


"You know, I think being at court is bad for me. I'm not that sort anyhow. It's made me want to be able to dress fine and show off money, and gain power. But those thing are all out fo my reach. And, those things aren’t who I am any how. I think I'll go back to university next year, perhaps Cambridge.


"Money is not going to make me happy Charles, anyhow. I could be loaded if I married Frances, but the thought of that is rather... well, to be honest, distasteful. Having to come home to her each night would be a real downer. I'd rather be broke and feel good about my life.


"I think I should take that route you suggested earlier, of working hard at studies, and perhaps one day gaining some honours through it. I could feel good about that. And, most of my peers at uni are broke also, so it don’t feel like the sore thumb. Not like at court." Everyone seemed wealthy at court, Catherine did too, though Charles hinted now that she was not from a rich family after all.


He drew a deep breath and then looked back to his brother. Gave a smile. "Well that's me settled. Now for you?"


"Where are you sights aimed Charles, seems like you are just adrift at the moment. Like, this thing with Catherine, why are you doing that? It wont make much of an impression on the other Houses if you have no intent to marry her. I think you need to start thinking strategy. Unless... have you already a strategy going?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"You could ask a favor of Rupert perhaps once," Charles acknowledged. "He is a busy man and it is best to wait until it is important. He might for example recommend you to Oxford or Cambridge if that were needed."


For every peg down Charles tried to move Catherine, Bradley lifted her up. He spun her as if she were valuable in the marriage market. Charles thought otherwise. "You underestimate yourself," he told his brother, though the younger was probably right.


Then Bradley surprised his brother with a rather sober view of his situation and position. It impressed Charles, who had feared that Bradley was little more than a dreamer.


"Money is not everything and court is not for everyone," he admitted quietly. "The same is true for any profession. You need to find what truly appeals to you. Cambridge would be a good start. You would fit in well and perhaps become a leader," he offered hopefully. "Truth be told Bradley, I perfer the simple life too ... where I am not criticized for wearing my uniform every day. I can eat bread and potatoes and not have to ask what sort of concoction is awaiting me on a silver plate at a party. I have a simple soldier's palate in a palace of exotic foods and drinks more likely to make me sick than satisfied." He smiled at the comfort he took from the confession.


"I will never be a court dandy. That is not me; but I think I have a place here as a soldier and lord trying to support the King against danger and sedition. It is a noble calling and I enjoy it. I also enjoy the company of pretty ladies in their silk gowns," he added with a wider smile.


Bradley turned the tables on him by asking his own strategy. "One day at a time brother." He made it sound a jest but it was mostly true. "It depends whether there be war or peace I suppose." Yet, that was not as important as he made it sound.


"Catherine was fond of me and I was fond of her. York dumped her unceremoniously in favor of another. We are friends and lovers, but there is no prospect for more. I think we know that it shall end in time but shall enjoy it while it lasts," he admitted. "I do enjoy the company of ladies, so I enjoy playing that dangerous game. One day a trap shall be sprung on me and I shall find myself obliged I supose. I know it does not sound like much of a plan," he offered with a laugh at himself.


"I suppose I should just go woo the most eligible lady at court. It would make sense and add to our family's honor, but I'm not ready to foresake the company of other ladies." He was being surprisingly candid with Bradley. "The answer is to have a mistress or two on the side but that seems a bit unfair on a new wife. So, I tell myself to keep unattached until I am several years older and then maybe some of the appeal of multiple ladies will begin to diminish." He was not sure if that would ever happen.


"My career is good with the regiment and being Lord Lieutenant of London. Being the second in command of the King's Guard brings me favorable notoriety too. The King seems appreciative of my efforts on his behalf, so I have it good Brad. No complaints there. I really don't aspire to more offices and titles. I have plenty enough." Perhaps that would not sound so rudderless.


"How's that for a strategy?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites



"I'd prefer Cambridge." Bradley replied, having attended the Gresham talks, met a number of the professors, and considering that Cambridge was more the place for him. "With just one shot possible with Cumberland, I'll wait till it's something important." It occurred to Bradley that with every passing year their father became a more distant memory to someone like the Duke, that really it was time sensitive, but he did not want to spend a favour getting advice he did not want.


As his brother revealed he'd prefer a simple life, he was surprised. "Really?" and Charles went into detail, of simple foods and pleasures, home comforts that were not costly. Though he admitted to another side too, the ladies man that he was, enabled by his rank.


"By trap laid, you mean you'll get someone pregnant and have to marry then?" Bradley asked for him to explain. As far as plans went, that was not much of one, but he bit his tongue from saying so. "Best not to dally with anyone you wouldnt mind getting trapped with, is what I'd be thinking if I were you."


"Hah, and william told me you wanted him to marry already." he pointed out then. "Which really was why I thought I should think about it, to... like, make you think well of me." it was hard to admit that last. He gave an embarrassed laugh and shrugged, "So perhaps we Whitehurst boys shll just be Batchelors a good while, all three. Enjoy our home comforts, you with your military, William with his... well whatever he's up to at the moment, and me, with academics. Perhaps the 80's will be when we make something of ourselves. Though you are doing pretty good for a man without ambition Charles." he huffed a dry laugh. "I mean me and William really."


"Glad we had a talk Charles, was over due I'd say."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"That would be wise," Charles acknowledged as Bradley recognized that he would have but one favor from Cumberland. "Cambridge it is then." He was proud of Bradley in that moment but began to wonder as to the cost. "I will help you with the tuition," he offered, knowing that Bradley had nowhere else to go for financial support.


It was ironic that the younger brother gave more sage advice about women than the elder. One was always blind to one's own foolishness. "You could be right. I have tried to be careful." Mostly his plan had been to love other men's wives and mistresses thinking himself free of marital obligation. Of course, such situations presented different kinds of risks. Davina had been the exception and he was feeling some guilt over the situation. Susan Herbert was an interesting choice, but he told himself, without much conviction, that he should not play with her feelings. I should content myself with shagging Catherine and maybe an occasional risk with someone like Fiona," he told himself.


"I guess I was thinking that if you two got married it would give me more freedom thereby because you two would pop out a pack of Whitehurst heirs, even if I did not," he laughed. "More importantly, the right choice in a lady could give either of you the financial freedom to be beholden to no one. There is a certain freedom in that.." Charles liked how it sounded -- the Whitehurst brothers would come into their own in the 80s. He smiled and nodded.


In a moment of seriousness, rarely shared between brothers, Charles admitted "I think this conversation was overdue too Brad. I want to thank you again for escorting Jeanne back to Langdon for me last year. I appreciated the assistance, even though her bloody intoxication got her drowned." He felt too guilty to admit that he was relieved with his French wife's passing. She was an embarrassment to him. "If there is something I can do for you, let me know." That serious moment started to pass as he took on a more jovial note. "In the meantime, go find Frances and bring her home. Tell her you plan to marry Catherine instead of me and see what she says," he jested. "By the way, do I have your leave to tell Catherine that you were quite taken with her? Women love hearing such things and it is sure to make her think well of you."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bradley and not even thought about the cost of study, until Charles mentioned it. He said he'd help, what did that actually mean? That he'd pay a portion of the cost. Yes that must be what he meant, or he'd have said he'd look after it, and that Brad did not need worry.


Bradley became more reserved, realising that he had no way to pay the balance.


"Err, any help you can give would be appreciated." It was dawning on him that he'd need to find work before he could hope to study. Starting at Cambridge next year was a blithe claim that a rich lords son might make, not the forgotten son of deceased bankrupt.


He drew a slow breath, and as slowly exhaled. This would requir serious thought.


"Hm." he made cursory acknowledgement of how he could have fit conveniently into Charles libertine plans. It was not at all flattering to himself. But reality rarely was, was it.


"It was nothing." Still it was nice to get some acknowledgement from his brother.


Charles forced up a more cheerful tone as the conversation ended, with an encouraging cheer for Bradleys plan to hunt for Frances tomorrow. "Catherine is entirely aware." Bradly had no hidden his admiring looks, his laugher at her jokes, even his efforts to be the one to pass her the salt and pepper. And Catherine was not new to the game. She knew indeed.


"Good night then Charles."




Bradley did not fall asleep immediately, as he wondered how he was going to come upon enough money to attend Cambridge. Perhaps he'd talk about it with Frances, she was a silly little girl, but she had managed to get by in London for nearly a year all by herself. She might have some ideas to help him. Or contacts. Or both.



OOC: & fin!

Feel free to set up another thread whever Charles is wants to catch up with Bradley to hear how the ongoing hunt for Frances is going.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Create New...