Jump to content


Your Stories Await Telling

Down with Danby (Evening 12/30)- Xmas 1677

Recommended Posts

Kensington, the inn on Church Lane


As arranged, Thomas Bromhill had returned with information about ships departing on the morrow for France and Holland. Two men had been hired to watch and follow. These men had been sent into the inn with enough coin to purchase a few rounds in advance of Basildon's arrival.


As he sat in the darkness of his coach one block away, Louis fingered the letters in his pocket, all to be used as props for what what he hoped would be fine theater this evening. It was not trepidation that he felt at this meeting; rather, it was exhilaration. This would be fun if all went well. It could be entertaining even if it did not.


As the footman opened the door, the tall, lean form of the Earl of Basildon, draped in a raven colored cloak and broad non-descript hat, pulled down on his brow. Leaving his sword with the footman, Louis took his pistol instead, not wanting to announce he was a noble. He wore no jewelry save his signet ring, wishing to blend in somewhat. Yet, a man like Louis Killington never believed that he could truly blend in with a crowd of commoners, for men of quality stood out like priests among parishoners.


Into the warmth of the inn Basildon went, without his normal swagger. His eyes did not seek out the men that were hired. He doubted that he would recognize their faces anyway. No doubt one of Buckingham's spies would be present as well. Instead, his eyes sought out Danby or one of Danby's men in the common room. It was unlikely that the Earl would be there, but he might be in a corner dressed more commonly. Failing that, Louis knew many of Danby's men. If not, he would need to learn what room the Lord Treasurer occupied. A bit of coin with a inn wench might do the trick.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 79
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

There were eyes on Louis, surely. This corner on the outskirts of the city saw the sort of activity that oft took place in such locations. Danby was not in the common room, and although one of two faces might seem familiar, there was none that particularly jumped out. Three sat by a hearth where a few chickens were roasting on a spit. There were two singles and a group of two.


Nothing barred the earl from heading down the passages to the rooms. A boy passed by him with purpose. It might have been a stable boy by the looks. He was not carrying drinks or a broom so that likely ruled out an inside position.


Meanwhile, outside on the diagonal corner from the entrance, a man smiled and took a drink out of a flask, as if preparing for what might be quite a show.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nothing seemed obvious in the common room; but then, it was not unexpected. As the boy walked towards him as Basildon pondered going down the corridor, a shiny shilling was produced. "Boy," he addressed the servant quietly. "I've a message to deliver to an older gentleman staying here. He will be wearing a ring like this one," he showed his signet ring, "is in the 50s and is acting quietly so as to not draw attention. Would you know which number room would be his?"


Basildon had considered ignoring the lad completely in favor of a tavern wench or owner, who was likely to know more. yet, one never let opportunity pass by. It was possible that the boy was empty-handed because he had just delivered the meal to Danby's room.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

They boy stopped, but with a rather white-eyed look.


As Basildon spoke, he blinked once, eyes growing even wider.


He looked behind him and then in front of him. Was he looking to bolt or was he looking to see who would overhear?


"A ring like that one?" the boy asked, with a shaky voice. "And...if I do know such a one?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"All is well," Basildon assured the boy quietly. The fact that he asked what might happen if he knew gave Louis hope that the boy had useful information.


"I just need to deliver a message. i was told he is staying here. If you point me to the right room, there is a shilling in it for you. He is not going to want to be kept waiting. He will want to receive my message as soon as possible."


The hope was to make the lad think that he was a welcome visitor so that he might not think to protect Danby. A shilling was not a great deal of money, except to a child. The Earl did not want to offer more because it might look suspicious.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The boy looked at Louis a bit more. He could not have been more than twelve, perhaps a bit younger.


The shilling did not seem to tempt him very much, although it was probably clear that the boy knew something.


"A person with such a ring does not just deliver messages, my lord," the boy replied. "I know nothing which puts me in danger..."


More than a shilling would be required and Basildon might find himself with a very eager accomplice. Clearly the boy was a bit too well-spoken to be a street urchin.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This was no stablehand. The boy spoke as if educated.


"A person with such a ring delivers messages in person," Basildon corrected. "There is no danger. I am a friend."


"Did I say a shilling? I meant a pound," Louis corrected. The lad seemed to need further encouragement. He reached into a pocket and pulled forth the promised coin. "Now then, which room would I be seeking?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"If such a patron wished no acknowledgment at all that he existed, my lord, friend or foe, then there is surely danger."


He motioned his head toward the corridor in the back that led to the rooms.


Once out of sight, he said in a whisper, "Your protection if the gentleman proves angry of your visit."


Those were his terms.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Oh yes, there is danger," Louis admitted, "just not from me." The Earl continued to paint a calm scene for the lad.


"Protection surely," he agreed readily, "but I would know the name and station of the young man I have just pledged to protect." Might he be a distant family member of the Treasurer? Danby seemed to favor employing young cousins and nephews. Unlikely.


With that business out of the way, Louis looked to the lad to make good on his promise, shiny pound at the ready. "Now where am I headed?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The boy was no relation to Danby in the very least, but there was more than one way to end up beholden to someone. And Basildon's reply answered his lingering question. If he was a friend, he would not have to worry of who he was expected to protect, and it suited Trevor if the stranger truly was a foe. So long as he was a titled foe with a signet ring.


"Trevor Hill," he replied. It likely would not mean anything to Basildon unless he was quite aware of the doings of Wales or Ireland, but Trevor rather thought it should, apparently. "And my brother, Arthur," he added.


"Might I then know the name of my protector. Only fair," he added, proving that yes he was still a boy, just not an uneducated one. "I do not wish your coin, my lord." He knew Danby worth more than that, and if he was away from Danby, he would not need anyone's pound.


As to showing the way, he inclined his head and led the way passed all of the guest rooms. It would seem Danby had somehow commandeered the rooms of the man that owned the inn. Said man was now sleeping in one of the guest rooms.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"You and your brother, Master Hill, have the protection of the Earl of Basildon," he whispered in response to the query. Would the lad have heard of him? Would he know him to be an ally of Danby? To the world other than Buckingham, he was.


Along the corridor they walked, to the door in question. It was no surprise that Danby had appropriated the owner's quarters.


Louis knocked softly and politely on the door. It was possible it would be opened without further identification. No need to speak unless required.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Trevor knew that Basildon had not met with Danby at the appointed time and that the other lord was very angry about it. He also knew that Basildon held a household office of the King. Beyond that, he knew very little of Lord Basildon other than Lord Basildon would serve as a fine protector against most things.


After Basildon knocked, Trevor decided just to turn the knob and walk in. He could play stupid if need be; his age was always a convenient excuse.


Danby was standing by the hearth sans periwig whilst two servants bustled around packing a saddlebag. It would seem the former Lord Treasurer had been planning another move or had been simply going somewhere. All were rather dressed in common clothes.


"Did you tell them to ready my horse?" Clearly Danby felt safe enough, for he had no immediately looked at the door.


As soon as Danby saw Basildon, his eyes darted around for his sword, which was across the room.


There were, for the moment, no words as Danby stared.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Basildon had considered trying the door knob but felt such a move would have been more threatening to Danby, which was not the attitude he wished to project. The lad was helpful in opening the door for him. Louis closed the door behind as he entered, amused to find Danby in the process of pulling up stakes again.


When the Lord Treasurer cast a gaze upon his uninvited visitor, his first instinct was to look for his sword across the room. Basildon tutted aloud in response. "My lord, you set eyes upon me and your first instinct is to reach for a sword?" His tone was one of amusement as opposed to alarm. "You know better than to cross swords with me. I am here at your invitation after all. You are wise to be planning a further departure, but let two old friends converse privately before you do." With that, he looked at the servants and Trevor, expecting Dandy to ask them to depart. "If I was here to harm you, that would have already occurred."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Danby snorted, "My invitation was not for here and now. One might wonder how you found me and why do so after setting another meeting before my actual invitation."


The earl was not so sure that the fact he was not yet harmed meant Basildon was not there to do harm. Either way there was little to be done for it. At least at the very moment. Basildon did not need to know any better.


"Go make sure I am not disturbed," Danby said to Trevor. "Definitively, this time."


Trevor looked at his brother and said, "Come, Arthur."


"Oh no, just you, boy. Your brother stays here," Danby said.


The scathing look that came from the boy spoke volumes as he bit his lip, turned, and left.


"Put the bags on my horse and get wine from the innkeep," he told the servants.


Once just Arthur remained, relegated to the bedroom whilst they sat in the small parlour, Danby looked at Basildon expectantly.


Meanwhile, out in the Inn, Trevor did not do what he knew Danby wished him to do. He instead sat at a table and kept a watch on the hallway, hoping nothing happened to Lord Basildon. He was putting their lives into this one bet.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"You expected me to drop everything and go to a place of your choosing after you had been in hiding for months? Would you have come to me with no questions asked if the invitation had been in reverse? I offered a public place to meet and you did not show enough interest to bother. Unlike the boys here, I am no servant to be ordered about," Basildon explained quietly as he crossed his legs while adjusting into his seat.


"I had made an attempt to reach out to you so it was enough. I was happy to ignore you until I heard something interesting at court about you, so I decided to give you a last chance to redeem yourself." His eyes were on those of Osborne.


"So, I shall ask you now, what is it that you wanted of me when you sent the note and, perhaps more importantly, why is it that you skulk around London as if no one knows where you are? It seems mad and is quite beneath your dignity." The last bit was an attempt to play on the man's vanity and the calm demeanor was an attempt to make the Lord Treasurer relax somewhat.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"You know as well as I that in my position I cannot swan about and concern myself over your time schedule, so your offense in it is either feigned or ridiculous," Danby replied, no stupid man either. Basildon was not naive enough to be ignorant of how vigilant one had to be when hiding for perhaps their very head.


"Oh, and what was it that you heard that so changed your demeanor?" Danby asked, relaxing some, but still very sour. His circumstances had to try anyone's mood, but Danby had never been accused of joviality.


"The note was a test, to see if you were still my friend and ally. Whatever other matters were of import ceased to be once you did not show. In fact, you went elsewhere in the city." Perhaps Danby was fishing. Perhaps he knew about Buckingham. Though he would probably be even angrier if he knew about Buckingham. "When there is treason on the line for a friend, there are no other matters which take precedence."


That had told Danby enough.


"Why? Because I thought something might yet be done, and the alternative is a defeat I do not want to accept."


Danby was clearly deluded if he thought something might yet be done, or perhaps he was lying about why he was still in London. The alternative of the alternative could be death, and that seemed not quite worth the risk.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"It is ironic, my lord, that I wondered the same as you ... whether you are friend or ally any more. You have hardly acted as either of late, so I suppose that each of us has reason to doubt," Basildon noted in a calm voice. "Each of us has assumed the negative, so perhaps we should just go our separate ways." He suspected that Danby needed him more than he needed the fugitive, and Osbourne was wise enough to know it.


The hook had been baited with the fabricated information. As expected, the Lord Treasurer was quick to take the bite.


"I am about to reveal bits of a scene or three that might have occurred at court. I must state officially that nothing like this happened and that if you are to claim I revealed it, I would deny it. Do you understand what I am saying?" It was uttered in a conspiratorial fashion so that Danby would think that Basildon had been sworn to secrecy on something. In fact, Louis fabricated a story to serve his purposes.


"Your enemies demand a trial and a public impeachment. They would have you arrested and placed in the Tower while you await the pleasure of Parliament. You know this. You likely also know that the French Party has more serious plans for you. They consider me your friend so they will not reveal what they plan, though they would welcome my betrayal of your location." Louis paused a moment to see how much attention he was garnering.


"So, imagine a situation where the King is vexed at you and would have you arrested, but has pretended to not know where you are. Though he professes imprisonment, he prefers that you do what Jemmy has done." By that he meant leave England. "Imagine his surprise that you have not left England but have chosen instead to skulk around the realm. Imagine the difficult position in which you have placed him."


"Imagine a scenario in which others have located you and have revealed your location to the King. Of course, his spies already know where you are at each move, but he can no longer pretend ignorance. So, in such a scenario, his hand would be forced and he is annoyed that you are placing him thusly. Assume that his patience has expired and there might be more to gain through arrest."


"At this point, there could be talk of the Clarendon solution for you. The French King would be eager for you to choose France for exile. Yet, perhaps there might be another solution in this imaginary drama. Perhaps there is a lord known to yourself, one that was once embraced as a friend and ally. Perhaps he can be coaxed to visit you, and told of your current location. Perhaps he could deliver a message." There was a pause for dramatic effect.


"I must say that I would deny that I am an emissary for anyone other than myself and I must disclaim the truth of anything I have uttered." It seemed fair to warn a man that everything he had heard was fiction based on plausible fact; but, would the Lord Treasurer misconstrue the warning? He better.


"I must say I felt conflicted about coming here. By being here I could prove helpful to you but why should I help you? I have warned you in part already. Yet, why should I trust you? You have done nothing but place me under the King's suspicion. I know what I can do for you, but I wonder what it is that you can do for me?"


The best lies were the plausible ones. The best way to earn trust, Louis believed, was to declare no trust. By painting himself in a mercenary way, looking for redress, Basildon hoped to make his tale more believable. Danby was no fool. Of anyone, he knew that no one did anything for benevolent reasons. They needed flattery, bribery, or incentives, if not all three. This was Basildon's chance to let Danby speak. If Thomas remained closed as a clam, the meeting would be short.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Danby listened to Louis' tale and it seemed to enter through every open orifice and not just his ears. The more Basildon spoke, the deeper it went. He could see the tale unfolding before his eyes, knowing that those words could very easily be reality. In fact, he had already wondered how long this could last.


How it irked him, though. Buckingham had laid low for months avoiding an arrest before presenting himself and surrendering himself once he had the bloody evidence of his innocence. He, Danby, should be able to do the very same thing (even though he was far from innocent). There was a hot metallic tinge to his spit like his mouth craved blood.


He had already been planning leaving the city, but now he considered that it might not be best to test how long he could also make it. Triumph did not seem so very certain and the stakes very high.


They will blame the Dover Treaty on me as well, and the King will not be able to say a word of it. It was a death sentence without the king's protection.


I wonder if Clarendon did feel this way, for he was even an in-law.


None of his thoughts showed on his face as he stared at Louis.


"I have...encumbrances that make leaving England difficult." The game he was playing with the Hill boys. Therein contained another secret he could not allow getting out. "And I surely cannot go to France."


Danby huffed and chuckled, "What can I do for you for doing something for HIs Majesty, hypothetically, that he is likely already rewarding you for?" He licked his lips, "What is it that you want?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"You will only gain further encumbrances in England if you stay -- namely chains in the Tower. His Majesty, should he reward me for helping you would likely only remove me from suspicion, the very same suspicion you visited upon me. So, yes, I should want something from it," Basildon confirmed. The role of Arthur and Trevor were not apparent. He certainly hoped that the Lord Treasurer had not become a pedophile in his absence.


"I have money enough and I doubt you have any worthy offices to sell me other than your primary one." He paused to see if the Earl offered any offices that might be transferable. "I was thinking about what I might want as I pondered this meeting," he toyed quietly, as if he was still considering the matter.


"The Court party is crumbling in your absence. The Country Party grows strong and there is talk of a third party of royalists that break away from the Court Party to distance themselves from you. A strong Country Party means the impeachment of you, Lauderdale, and perhaps others. We do not have the votes to stop it and our losses in Commons are astounding. People are starting to assume you will never return, and perhaps rightly so. Thus, all the money, time and effort you have spent to build support in Commons, and even Lords, is falling away with each passing day.," Basildon conveyed.


"Although it may be too late to salvage, I plan to try. To do this, you will need to appoint me as the temporary head of the party while you are in self-imposed exile. You will give me the proper letter of introduction and instructions to show to those you have bought and wooed." He had such a letter in his pocket already. "I will need your list of reliable members that I can remind of the debt they owe you and the Party so that I can hold their votes against your impeachment and against any other action against the King. You will need to tell me everything I need to know."


No doubt Dandy would be suspicious of this, as he would of everything. "You go into self-imposed exile before the King or Parliament orders it. There is a place for you that I can help secure for you with a letter. You will return to England in the retinue of William and Mary next year in a period of Protestant celebration and a possible war with France. At that point, you might be pardoned for services abroad and your assistance in holding the Court Party together. If you do not like what I have done with the Party when you return, you can revoke your proxy to me. I gain notoriety, which I value, the King gains some stability from his Parliamentary allies, and you escape and gain a chance at redemption."


Danby knew that Basildon's wife was Princess Mary's closest advisor. He was also one of the few that knew that Louis owned newspapers around southern England. As such, he was well positioned to help Danby in the United Provinces and to create a wave of stories that might redeem the fallen Treasurer in the eyes of the public. Danby could decide to take Louis' suggestion on his own and flee to William, but surely understood that, without Basildon's support, the task would be far more difficult.


"The remaining sand in the hourglass is almost spent. You need to shed your encumbrances and be on the morning tide. It is not just the King's men you should fear at this point." With that, he leaned back in his chair and awaited what he expected to be an acceptance of some or all of his plan. It was brilliant, at least in his own mind.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Danby snorted and shook his head, "I cannot appoint anybody to head anything, Basildon. There are and always have been far too many factions, and you know there is rarely anything united and certainly not in these circumstances. As you say, they are already seeking the next best bet."


Truth be told, Danby intended to play Basildon just as much as Basildon thought to play him. Basildon acted as if he was some victim, but it was not untrue that Basildon had suggested the mischief with Monmouth.


Danby knew that if he helped Basildon climb to the top, he would never be coming back.


"His Majesty chooses those who he holds in most confidence. It had never been one person since Clarendon though I have had it more than many others. And the king tells everyone something different to best suit his needs." It was not untrue. The king had fickle loyalties to ministers. Only his playmates seemed to inspire more lasting bonds. "Any rise you hope for will be hotly contested by others using the opportunity."


As to those he had bribed, he said, "When he who bribed you can no longer leverage against you, there is no reason to be loyal to the bribe when it means others must then pay to re-bribe. And through all this you assume I shall return. Has that hypothetically been promised?"


The Lord Treasurer doubted it seriously. Even if it was promised, the king could be held to nothing, so it mattered very little. Once he was gone, the odds of him being able to return were slim.


"What office is it that you wish to buy from me? I doubt you would have come without something in mind."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Louis sighed slowly as Danby professed to hold no power. Did the Lord Treasurer think he was a fool? It was true that he held fragments of what he once held, but the man was still to be reckoned with.


"Yes, yes, I know the King can presumably do as he wishes," Basildon began somewhat impatiently. "But you have crippled him. I will not insult you by pretending you do not know that the Court Party is under attack. The people can attack the ministers but not the King. You have transformed the Court Party into the party of yourself and the ministers. If the King admits he can appoint the head of the Party, then he takes responsibility for the actions of the Party. You better than anyone know that there are things that he has done for which the ministers must take the blame. He must appear above the fray. So, the Party must select its own. If you have no more influence, then you will have no problem signing the document I brought with me. You would be giving the sleeves from your waistcoat." By this he meant that Danby would surrender nothing.


"If you wish a return, you must play your part. You must leave until things cool and you must not further cripple the Party. A fragmented party cannot hope to defeat the Country Party. You can either help me attempt to hold it together, or someone else will rise ... someone higher in rank, older in years, and greater in the King's graces than myself. Upon that day you will be forgotten. You will not have done your part and another favorite shall rise. It will not be me, but I will help that person. It is quite likely that the next person will be a rival of yours. You know who the King is likely to turn to. None of these choices will be your friend." That was a safe statement because Danby had many enemies and no real friends.


"So, the question is whether you will do your part? If not, I am not certain how I can help you, other than perhaps help keep you safe and relevant with the Dutch so that you might be useful to me in the future. As for offices, other than the Treasurership, I do not know which others you might hold that you could sell me." It was time to see what Danby would hold forth. If he wanted assistance but offered little in return, it would clear Basildon's conscience, not that his conscience was very strong.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If Basildon was thinking Danby was foolish, Danby was thinking the same thing on top of Basildon showing his young age. Asking for all of these things made Danby suspicious. The King was not have asked for these things, so at least that part was of Basildon's own design.


"Pfft, the person who rises to power, whom the others then generally follow, is who the king turns to most or who can curry the most votes of use. There is nobody chosen. It is not an election to Parliament with the Privy Council and households being the voters," the earl replied. "If you wish to do me any good service, that is a fact you should understand. Everyone will be vying to be that person, my signature on anything will be nothing to anybody but perhaps an admission of some guilt."


Why else would he sign such things away.


It was one reason why he had not fully fled yet.


"I have far from crippled the King, Basildon. Do you not see, he will gain in strength for having an easy scapegoat for the Dover Treaty. He will renew his efforts for pushing Toleration next year, and as soon as some gold is in his coffers, he will become friends with France again."


In fact, Danby knew that it was in the king's best interest not to save him or anyone associated with him; the sly coward simply did not wish blood on his hands to do it but to rid himself of threats to the crown, he would wish another to pursue it.




"What I give to you is this: the king will never trust you. Do not think that he will no matter what words he puts to you. He has only ever saved fools and friends, but never ministers."


As to offices, he replied, "The Lord Lieutenancy of the North Ridings of Yorkshire?"


He had both the North & West Ridings and other small offices, but as much as he was loathed to admit, he was fairly certain where the West would end up. That all was if the king would allow his sale of anything, which was doubtful.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Yes, that is all well and good," Basildon replied in a fatigued voice. "I am not a person that the King shall entrust with the Court Party, or anything at the moment, in no small part thanks to you. He has promised me nothing, and I can trust him to deliver on that," he added with wry humor that addressed Danby's caution about the King's untrustworthiness.


"You have crippled the King," Basildon insisted. "Yes, you are a scapegoat, but your presence in England complicates moving forward with the King's agenda. If you were known to be beyond his reach, it would free him to take no action against you. The issue of your impeachment and punishment might be allowed to dim. While you are on the run still in England, it empowers your enemies and keeps your treason fresh in everyone's mind. If the wrong person seizes you, you might wish for the comforts of the Tower instead."


"As for the party, I am taking a gamble that I can succeed if you were to provide me a letter saying that I had your support and that your friends should follow my lead in voting. It might not work, as you say. Worse, I could be viewed as complicit with you since I am known to be one of your supporters. This alone could cause a long stay in the Tower for me. My safest course is to distance myself from you like everyone else. The farther the better. I am prepared to do that," Louis disclosed.


"It is against my better judgment, and likely inconsistent with the King's wishes, that I would try and hold the Party together through your efforts. It is the party of Ministers and you were the Chief Minister. You are no longer, but you were the last one. As such, your sealed letter might make a difference. If I use it, I will be tied to you because I will be attempting to use your power derivatively. If you think further on it, you will perhaps see the possibilities." He paused hoping that the other earl would think about it more seriously.


"If you cannot see how it keeps your waning power alive, then think no more of it. I do not need it. I will support the King's advisor instead. It may well be Buckingham believe it or not. In his time of need, His Majesty often turns to old friends." Louis pulled the letter from his pocket. "Either sign it or reject it, you do not have time to dawdle."


"If we are not going to work together for the party then, I shall take your offer of North Ridings. In return, I shall give you a sealed letter to give to my wife when you arrive in Amsterdam. She shall look after you and you will have a chance to strengthen your relationship with William and Mary." He pulled out a sealed letter from his pocket. It was a short letter expressing his love and explaining that Danby was going to a self-imposed exile, and to look after him. She would know what to do, which was watch him carefully.


Louis gave him the name of the boat set to sail for the United Provinces on the morning. "You can take that ship or arrange your own, but you need to be gone before the new year."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There was always a dance of trust. Who to trust. Whether to trust. If you should feign trust. He was uncertain whether he trusted Basildon or not, but that did not mean that there was no useful information to be gleaned without knowing if the man was trustworthy.


As to the letter, he thought of his answer deeply. Signing it would mean very little. In fact, it might get Basildon scoffed at. He was not sure whether he cared or not. It would remain to be seen what was done for him in the future, and it would remain to be seen whether or not that letter would be something useful. He would rather not put anything to paper which could seem an admission of wrongdoing.


Then Basildon mentioned Danby's nemesis.


Danby's rise to power had been ironically jettisoned by the king's love for Buckingham; a fact he had always enjoyed. Now to think the duke might get the last laugh for that very same reason irked him mightily.


Death, though, was worse than all of that, as was a lifetime in the Tower.


"I shall need more than well-wishes for an office. Once I leave, you know I will lose all of my income." Each man was always to be trusted to seek the best deal for himself.


(OOC - don't forget that if Basildon wants to keep his word, he's gonna have to figure out a way to get those boys away from Danby too )

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The letter was laid out for Danby's signature and seal. Basildon awaited Danby's pleasure.


Friends of the Court Party,


While away from England, I have asked the bearer to act in my stead. In any votes in Parliament,

you should vote as he instructs, in support of the King, as if the instructions came from myself directly. When I return to England I shall hold accountable those who have failed to heed these instructions.




"As you can see," the young Earl explained "the proxy is temporary, shows support for the King, and promises a return to England. What better message to send to preserve your relevance?" he asked in the tone of an advocate. "Would you rather slip away and leave those to wonder whether you plot against the King or have resigned completely? I think not. If it were me, I would want to tell my court allies that I shall return, and hint that it shall be a grand return. I am not the sort of person that likes to be dismissed." If Danby could not see the advanatge in it, then there would be little more Louis could say.


"As for the office, you are not giving it away," Basildon chided. "I am buying it from you. What is the income? Not more than 50 pounds per annum I suspect, so I will give you the customary treble. My wife will give you 150 pounds upon my instruction. that will also give you a modest sum to assist you abroad." He pulled out a blank sheet and looked for quill and ink.


"Let us just write a short note that states something like I Thomas Osborne contract to sell my office of The Lord Lieutenancy of the North Ridings of Yorkshire to Louis Killington for the sum of 150 pounds. Then the both of us sign and seal and I take it to the Lord Chancellor to record, assuming it does not require the approval by the King." He paused for Danby's agreement and urged "there is no time to waste."


"You will not lose all your income. You can have your steward continue to collect your income and forward it to you in Amsterdam. That is simple enough." He gave Thomas a look that suggested the older man was thinking him a fool.


OOC~ No worries.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Basildon revealed that he assumed Danby had no other ways of communicating what he wished communicated to people, and he vastly overestimated that a man transferred loyalty with a signature. Basildon was not so foolish, so it left Danby wondering about the angle.


"You said if I did not sign your letter that you would wish the office, and now you wish me to sign this letter again?" He shook his head with some disappointment. "I cannot sign such a thing, for your sake as much as my own. No man gives a carte blanche with his signature and seal attached. You would be complicit in any fabrication ever further than you already are. If the king sends me away and yet there is proof that I am wielding power whilst away from his reach, none of this shall end well."


The king had a forgiving nature but there were not enough friends to protect him even if they were inclined to if he got involved in such a scenario. What others would bend it to could even result in him being expelled from the Dutch.


There were only so many places Lord Danby could call home after many of his political actions. He had not been very popular even if he was efficient.


"150 pounds!" Danby laughed loudly. "The gifts alone in one year outdo that, Basildon. Being the king's representative in the northern counties is far more lucrative than you apparently have imagination to appreciate." That or the man thought him desperate or was trying to steal it as cheaply as possible.


"150 pounds is an offer beneath a man of your station largesse. If you wish to rise further at court, my friend, you shall have to act more like you were born to it. Your wife's penchant for shoes should not be the measure of Basildon's grandeur." There was only so much rings and brocade costumes at balls could do to impress. "Paying less for something is an occupation of the mercantile, and you would do well not to remind them of it." Which was as much to say that Louis titles were new, just as Danby's were, and clearly Danby had not made it far by keeping coin to his breast like a man that worked for it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Danby's point about the dangers of handling such a letter was not lost on Basildon. He nodded as if understanding the caution better. In truth, Louis had not intended to wield it himself. Rather, he intended to deliver the missive into the hands of the King so that he might use it for his own purposes. If the King declined to use it, the Earl expected that he would still give credit to Louis for being cunning enough to elicit the letter from the Treasurer, while demonstrating a desire to serve the King.


"I suppose you are right," Killington appeared to concede. There was little else to do because it was clear that Danby was not going to sign it. The attempt had been worth it.


Speaking of worth, Danby seemed to think that a random lieutenancy was worth a great deal more than Basildon did. "My Lord," Louis chuckled in return, entering into a negotiation through exchanges of feigned surprise, "those gifts come to you because you are Lord Treasurer and were Chief Minister to the King. They might be disguised as gifts to you as Lord Lieutenant, but that was only done to bribe you at a discount." Louis laughed as if Danby had been duped. "Furthermore, you neglect to acknowledge that the Lord Lieutenant has to outfit the militia at his own expense like some feudal lord of old. The cost of such enterprise far exceeds any salary one might make. Yet, you know that offices sell at a multiple of salary customarily." He paused to give Danby an opportunity to dispute. "What is the annual salary?"


"We can agree that my wife spends too much on shoes," Killington offered for purposes of levity. "Paying less for something is an occupation of the mercantile except when that discount is a favor.

You need recall that I am doing you a favor rather than the other way around. You are used to petitioners seeking your favor and pricing things accordingly. Do you remember what you thought when courtiers offered you something as a favor but wanted full price in return, plus the favor?" Louis shook his head slowly. "Surely you have retained your dignity when it comes to services performed. Perhaps you are so short of coin these days that you need to haggle." Louis hoped to turn the tables on the master.


"In the interest of time, my lord, it is you that must value the service I offer you. Your next offer shall tell me much. Think carefully of what you wish in return for this office, or perhaps another."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Danby gave a bland look in reply. Then he said, "Your offer is less than one gift one might expect whether Lord Treasurer or not." As surely Basildon knew.


Danby carefully considered as Basildon made his soliloquy. In his situation there was not much that Basildon doing this "favor" offered him, so the favor was not entirely valuable. He knew the dangers of remaining already.


Perhaps that selfish streak was the reason why Danby had so very few true friends.


"500 pounds would be quite the discount to you." It was three or four times less than he might sell it to someone else. York had a lot of old money.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

With the price given, Louis judged that Danby did not especially value the favor he was providing. In the younger man's view, the Treasurer was shortsighted. He was in need of support, having fallen from a mighty throne.


"Very well; haggling tires me." The sheet of parchment was placed on a hard surface while quill and ink was fetched by the boy. The letter was drawn quickly, signed and a candle was made to drip wax suitable for both men to affix their seals. If Danby wished an original of his own, then Louis was prepared to tarry another few minutes to accomplish it.


"Here is my letter to my wife that you should deliver in person. A letter will follow on the morrow with instructions that she is to disburse 500 pounds to you. Be sure to write me and acknowledge receipt when you get it," Basildon instructed, even though it was not needed. The sealed letter was given to Danby.


"Is there aught else to discuss?" Louis wanted to make sure that the business was done before he made the move on the boys.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Danby signed the letter and then paused, not yet handing it over.


"If you wish me to sign the office over now, why not write such a letter now. Who is to say where I might be in the morning."


Danby may or may not see Basildon as a friend, but he was not a stupid or foolish man. He was quite astute and detailed, not missing things others might.


It was one ting that had always served him well with His Majesty.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


  • Create New...