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It's good to be the only son | 31/1 am- Xmas 1677

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Brooke House





The sandstone Brooke House on Pall Mall is the London residence of the Earl Brooke, Sir Robert Thomas St. Leger, and his family. Set on a few acres with a walled and tiered garden, the house sits on the rise of a small hill which slopes in the back to small fashioned pond. Climbing roses and berries grace walls and terraces interspersed with ivy with the occasional cluster of manicured fruit trees. It boasts a large royal oak just off the back corner of the mansion with two wide swings which used to be a familiar playsite of the younger Lord Beverley, Robert St. Leger and his sister Lady Doneraile. Now it is a frequent site of play for the lady's 3 little boys when they are visiting their grandfather although they most often stay in Battersea a few miles down the Thames. The garden wall and various garden half-walls are a familiar haunt for Lord Beverley to lay about and read or nap.



Brooke House itself is a large, thick rectangle. While wingless, the set of rooms on the second floor to the right rear, belong to Lord Beverley, the Earl Brooke's heir. The second floor to the left going down to part of the first floor are the rooms of Lord and Lady Brooke who traditionally keep separate bedchambers. Lord Brooke's rooms go down to his study and an anteroom on the first floor. Facing the garden between those apartments on the second floor is a garden room which is popular for a morning meal or tea. The rear of the first floor is dedicated to entertaining space with a large hall/dining room, library, and a gallery. Guest rooms are found on both floors but most specifically on the second floor facing the front of the property.


When arriving in front, there are always blue liveried servants with badges of the Earl's arms on their coats to greet you and attend to your needs.


Beverley had slept amazingly. He was pleased to have his large, comfortable bed and rooms all to himself once more. At his father's house, Mary had her own space. There were positives and negatives, but at the moment he was reaping positives.


He had risen early and was taking coffee in the room overlooking the garden, waiting for the rest of the house to officially wake for breakfast. There was still some snow covering everything despite the slushiness lingering on walkways from the day prior, and he was enjoying looking out over it.


Privacy. The palace made him appreciate even the privacy a house with his parents could provide. Two other people, was far less than hundreds.

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Beverly's quiet enjoyment of the morning was soon broken however. Here arrived his mother, cheeks aglow with a happiness that felt total and absolute!


She was wearing a loosely tied mantua in tones of copper and red peppered with gold, over that was slung a house robe in a deep vermilion trimmed with rabbit fur. In her hand her bible was clasped as she swept upon her son.


"Oh my darling Beverly." this was surely the bliss that they promised in heaven, and here Margaret was experiencing it upon earth! She moved in and touched his hair, those charming loose curls that tumbled so, and bent to kiss. "You shall not believe what I read this morning, my precious treasure, I was reading the story of Jesus birth..."


Theirs was a pious family, quite sincere in their Christian efforts, so it might not come as any surprise to Beverly that his Mother had a habit of reading a section of the bible when she arose.


"I had to come and find you, see my laces are not even drawn. Here listen." a tad excitable in her joy, she opened her bible and begun. "Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.*"


She looked at him, anticipating his instant understanding of what it had meant to her.




* from Luke 14;KJV

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"Good morning, Mama," he greeted her, with slightly lidded eyes. His curls were not quite so pristine, but he smiled lazily as she fussed over him, speaking about---? The Birth of Jesus?


Beverley was not sure if his mother had graduated from basely comparing with Mrs Brunton's (or whomever's) garden down the way, to comparing him to the Savior, Jesus Christ, or what she was trying to say.


Perhaps she means it is a Christmas Miracle that Papa and I are at peace? Goodwill toward men and all? He looked at her quizzically, raising an eyebrow.


It is too early for this... Maybe he should have stayed in his rooms...But, no, that would be against what he knew to be right. He had to be up for breakfast and morning prayers; those were his lord father's rules.


Finally, he decided upon saying, "I think I am still too sleepy to understand or guess, my lady mother." He paired it with his cutest blink of dark hazel eyes and a little smile.

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Pressing her fingers into those curls, she tussled his hair and crooned, "I forgot how much like your father you are in the mornings sleepy-head, you are not truly awake until you’ve had your breakfast."


Though it had not really been so long that she had literally forgotten this, it was more that she was happy to talk of his habits. He was right here again, under the family roof - Praise the Lord!


Moving to settle to the chair alongside her son she then explained her appreciation of the bible verses; "Our precious son, here in our own manger - with his family. And my heart swollen, lifted with joy like the angels themselves sing their chorus around us. Peace and Joy restored to the world once more. It is so very right that Christmas sees our family’s happiness restored." Hers was a simplistic view really, though she appreciated men saw it all with much more complexity.


"Did you sleep well my dearest boy?" she reached for his hand to hold.

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It was funny that it seemed she was comparing him to Christ! He was not sure whether to be amused or bother that he found himself quite lacking to the comparison. The symbolic bit of it he did understand, even half asleep.


"I feel quite blessed to be welcome at home," he agreed, with a smiling nod of indulgence to his mother.


Perhaps the symbolism would carry over to gifts to his manger. One could only hope.


"Very well, I find I am quite partial to an exceedingly good bed," the spoiled viscount replied. "And a large bed to myself. I felt I could not move at the palace."


He yawned, "And it shall be nice to sup at home as much as possible, for I feel the cooks know my constitution better." There were a number of foods that tended to bother Beverley's stomach. And there is whatever I wish...


He was used to a very grand household and found he missed such luxury immensely.


And the wine...and the cider... And whatever else he fancied.

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"The house is a home once more with you here." Margret herself enthused in her typically self absorbed while indulgent of him fashion. "I feel I can fully smile again for the first time in in months. You must promise me you'll not row again darling. It would be the death of me, my poor heart shan't be able to bear it."


"Is that a sniffle, are you feeling quite well, have you been wearing your woolens?" she fussed about her cleavage looking for a handkerchief deposited thereabouts somewhere.


"But now, wont you tell me the fullest story, do not spare me anything. Your Papa has of course assured me that everything is well, but he did not wish to trouble me with the details. But I... well, did your Papa agree to Pauntley Court?"


"Cover your mouth dear." she uttered instinctively as he yawned, while she discovered an unexpected feeling as he talked about how much he'd missed the kitchens here. Did he miss me?

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"Oh you are hardier than you seem," Beverley replied sweetly. "And I do not wish to fight with Papa."


He would not, however, promise. Hence, he evaded that piece of her statement. Besides, men could not promise such things. It was best to tell ladies some semblance of what they wished to hear. He had learned some of his behavior from his father, whether Brooke wished to acknowledge the similarity or not.


"A sniffle? No, probably my stomach, Mama, no use for a handkerchief for that." At least not unless he truly got sick. "Well, I have been wearing all that I have which is hardly a full wardrobe, but now that I am home, do not fret."


After his brief sojourn, he might not even ask for as many new costumes for court for next season. And he might do so without making comment. Or that might be wishful thinking to last. For the moment, he was happy with a full wardrobe even if it was not bursting with new things.


At the mention of Pauntley Court, Beverley licked his lips and then said, "After a fashion, I suppose. He shan't let me do it on my own, but he did agree to give me some of the income if I do as he asks in the practice of running it." He looked out the window. His father would not ever trust him.


"Cumberland still clearly thinks me more competent, but I do not wish to be at odds anymore."

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He claimed her hardy, while Margret preferred her fragile claim. "Well I feel I might faint dead away should something the like happen again." This was her story and she was sticking to it. Anything that might coax her men to be gentle when dealing with each other!


In her minds eye it went:

Brook: "Son I'd prefer you to do it my way, but your mother might pass out if I complain."

Beverly: "I feel I could disagree with you on that Father, but I don’t want Mother to get palpitations, so lets just carry on wot."


Her handkerchief not needed, she kept it in hand as she attended to his reply of Pauntley court.


It was not what she'd hoped. Drawing a breath she looked away...and they both stared out the window to nothing in particular. Her free hand that had found his gave a small squeeze.


It was very disappointing, and she did not trust herself to say anything at that moment. (She did her best not to speak against her husband, though it was hard some times.) Emotional of it all, she dabbed at her eyes.


"But we have still made some progress, haven’t we, my darling?" she felt rather foolish that more tears tumbled. Why was Brook so hard on him, she just did not know – and most especially she had no idea that she might err to the other extreme.

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  • 2 weeks later...

"He says if I do as he asks, he shall give me more based upon how well I do," Beverley commented, smiling faintly as she squeezed his hand.


"I am not sure how much different that is from before, though certainly escalating in generosity."


He sighed and then he turned and said to his mother, "But not being at odds with Papa is more important than such things. So long as I do not look foolish to all of court, I am content." For that moment, at least.


"He said he wishes you to come to the palace with him to help Mary and I figure what pieces we might need to decorate. Shall you help me to make such a small place to look as grand as befits our family?" he asked, for if his mother was on his side for that, he would have one less thing to fear. "I cannot have Papa not trust me with value, for I shall receive others there, and I do not just represent us but my master as well. And we cannot have Lord Worcester regretting the arrangement." He added that last bit for show and value more than reality, for Lord Worcester seemed to like Beverley very much.

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Was that any different to before? It was not what she had hoped for, that was certainly true, but Beverly took a longer perspective. He might not want to admit it to anyone let alone himself, but he'd matured since he'd left his Fathers house.


Margret nodded. "Well, we know your Papa is sincere with his best wishes for you, you are his pride and joy. Perhaps he shall look for excuses to reward you? Perhaps he wishes to give when you have not directly asked? But yes, you are right, that being aligned with family once more is most important thing." she was able to embrace his view.


"Ooh?" indeed, a note of optimism then issued forth, as Beverly spoke of a decorating project.


"Yes it need be fit for receiving the finest lords and ladies." she agreed immediately, discovering a way she could indulge her son. "Oh now, we must commission a portrait of you and Mary, perhaps by that popular artist, Peter Lely. That shall make quite the statement don't you agree." Beverly knew his mother well enough to see by her tone and glint in her eyes, that this was just the beginning of a veritable tirade of indulgences she’d conjure as necessity.


Take that a step further, and did not Brooke himself know how Margret would respond to the suggestion? Truth was this was a covert generousity given from his Papa!

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Beverley blinked. He had not thought about that as a possibility. Actually, he had not thought of it at all.


"That could be. It sounds like Papa. He would prefer I not expect it maybe."


His father was not ungenerous and sometimes his generosity was quite spontaneous.


If his father was so, his mother was quite good at taking things to another level.


"A painting?" His hazel eyes widened with desire. "That would be most grand. I had been hoping to have one soon after the wedding, but that was not possible." Such occasions should be commemorated. He was the heir! "That would be quite fashionable," he agreed.


"And perhaps some fine tapestry."

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  • 3 weeks later...

"It is like the joy of Christmas don’t you agree, the giving of gifts and seeing the response of the recipients."


Margret too basked in the joy that radiated from her son then. He loved the idea of a portrait! "You might sit for it in your wedding finery. that is an excellent idea." she agreed.


"Finnish do you think?" was her immediate question as he suggested tapestries. "With Prince Rupert being so well travelled, it might suit that your rooms are decorated with exotica from far and wide. Glassware from Venice, little black servants from Jamaca, silks from Portugal..."


After a pause in which her mind raced she said, "we must attend a bazaar Beverly. Is there a bazaar in London? If there is, we surely must attend it!"

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"Yes, some fine tapestries. Well-traveled or military scenes, perhaps? Those Ashburnhams have dealings with tapestry, I think."


Beverley was a man who did not go shopping. That notion was a bit odd to him. He would have the shopping come to him. Well, he would unless he was skulking behind his father's back, which he had not done in some long time.


"I do not know," he confessed with a grin, "Such is the realm of mothers and wives is it not? Ladies do love their shopping. I am not sure I even know what a bazaar is..." he mused.


"But, we must not upset Papa," a somewhat dutiful son replied. "I do not require a little black servant, although such an imp might be fit for the size of the space. And thus I do not think silks either, but you shall see when you see the space."

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"Quite true, and the young John Ashburnham is quite near to you in age... perhaps you should speak to him about it, get his advice." She'd never have come up with the idea by herself, but her Son was more politically minded than even he himself thought. Purchasing tapestries was an opportunity to approach and grease the wheels of a relationship that might further assist the Brooke family - John Ashburnham was an indulged favourite of the King, and poised to inheirt a considerable fortune.


"I have read of Bazzars in the tales of One thousand and one nights." Margret continued, "they are bright festive places, with curiosities and marvels for sale upon ramshackle stands. Nothing at all like the mess of Westminster’s hall." she paused, then added, "Perhaps we shall buy you and your Father turbans there, I saw the Lord Chancellor wore a turban in his portrait, and looked exceedingly well travelled and exotic thereby."


Yet Beverly’s better judgement declined the expense of slaves (although Rupert his master made a fortune by their importation, and might have provided him one or two at a discount, if not at cost!)


"Can you not secure the adjoining rooms for your use also?" his mother asked of his decor-limiting spatially-challenged apartment.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Most young men did not get excited over speaking about tapestry, but he was hardly going to tell his mother that. It did not mean that he would not seek out Ashburnham, who - like the Earl of Dorset - seemed to wander between the more proper and improper sects of court.


It paid to have friends who were in favour with the King, no matter their inclinations.


"Yes, and it is surely my duty to make friends amongst those who will be our next generation of most prominent courtiers. Papa surely cannot befriend gentlemen of my age," Beverley said, his smile betraying amusement. Was he thinking about his father trying to make friends with young courtiers? Probably.


His eyes widened with curiosity at this Bazaar thing. Although in his mind's eye, he was picturing it as a Bizarre.


"A turban!" He laughed merrily. "Nay, we needn't copy the Lord Chancellor. Fine man, but..." he shrugged. Being old blood, he was naturally quite snobby toward the idea of newer blood, titles or no. "Perhaps as Poseidon," he teased instead. Although his mother might not think it so.


"One day, Mama, I might be so fortunate, but right now I am quite grateful." He then looked a bit mischievous. "Perhaps someone with quarters adjacent shall fall from favor."

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"Quite so." Margret nodded with agreement that friendships should be generational things, it was a simplistic logic. "Why one day you may be sitting on a Board of Trade and arranging agreements with. Or even personally, orchestrating the marriage of daughters and some such." Although it was a bit soon to be considering which families Beverly would see his own children married into.


Her darling boy's voice was lifted to musical laughter, a sound that rung so purely to her heart that she too joined in. "Very well then, no Bazaars and Turbans - though I'd say Poseidon scant better. A portrait of yourselves as yourselves seems best, I shall order miniatures also for myself, and perhaps one for Mary's Mama." As a mother she knew such a thoughtful gift would be very appreciated.


It was on the topic of the tiny space that they had to work with, that Beverly then said the most confusing thing. "What do you mean?" Margret blinked, unable to fathom that her angel was even capable of a nefarious thought.




OOC: While Margret is baffled, I applaud the idea. If Beverly is serious, best we ask BG for detail of who his neighbours might be, to see if either hold plot potential.

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Beverley beamed at the thought of him doing all the grand things noblemen from families such as his were supposed to do. His mother's words made him think about what families might interest him for the little Ulcombe he did not yet have, but thinking about one's heir before one's heir was there was quite normal too.


"Oh yes, that surely shall make Lady Worcester happy."


The viscount was, of course, envisioning all sorts of grand portraits that could take place. Perhaps one day they could have one of their entire family like that one of the Herberts from the times of the martyred king. How grand would it be to have dozen of people painted as a family.


"If the adjacent apartments became vacant, then I could maneuver for larger...though it would take many favors I likely do not have the stature to enact..." Beverley said. His scheme was not quite as nefarious as engineering someone's downfall; well, unless it was deserved or necessary for his duties. "But Lord Arlington was quite nice to me in the first place. It made me wonder if there was something I was missing, some reason for it..."


In the quest for palace space, the Lord Chamberlain was good to have on one's side.


"Truly, I am quite happy."


(OOC - ROFL, it would be entertaining to know who else is near him either way.)

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  • 2 weeks later...

"Oh, oh I see..." Margret's confusion lapsed, and she tutted vacantly at the problem that no doubt would take a great deal of politicking to resolve. It was a problem far beyond her own realm of expertise.


"In the mean time, I would not think there is any rules against making your entranceway more appealing. Perhaps a pair of Grecian urns with potted shrubs on either side of your door, which, might be an apt place to hang the Brooke pennon by the by. When space is short, one must make use of all that one has."


She smiled. Then added, "Who is next door then? I've half a mind to go knock on the door right now and... ah, but breakfast shall be served soon. Come darling, walk with me to the dining room... and tell me about Arlington. Nice to you was he? Well that is rather queer, 'nice' is never the word people use to describe their interactions with him. Curt. Clipped, even boorish maybe. But Nice? Ha! I wonder what can be up?"

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  • 3 weeks later...

"I do not know in the least. I have yet to see anyone or enquire. It is not a busy area of the palace."


For all he knew, it could share a wall with Rupert. The thought of any of his bedchamber activities leaking through walls was suddenly a concern. Beverley raised a brow at the thought but said nothing.


"All I know is it is by Cumberland's own."


He took in a breath and heaved out a sigh.


"Yes, truly, I was rather surprised myself." Biting a corner of his lip, he postulated, "Perhaps he wishes something from my master or from Papa."


Beverley did not think he had merits of his own. He almost always assumed any politicking others sought was to do with Cumberland, Brooke, or Ireland.


(Shall we fade out on this one? I'm sure they'll see each other at the ball )

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  • 2 weeks later...

"Then you must charge your servants with finding out." Easier to charge a servant with a task like that, than to go about asking such questions yourself!


"Oh but I think I can hear your Father arriving to the next room, shall we go join him for breakfast." Affectionally she stroked his hair again, waiting to link her arm through his to move to the dining room. "Oh darling Beverley, it's so good having you at home..."



OOC: Yes that is timely.

May I echo Margret’s sentiment and say it's great to

see Beverly on good terms with his father again.

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