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Defiance

Let Us Make War | House of Lords April 5th through the afternoon

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"The Germans would be formidable if unified," Finch replied easily as Mountjoy began.  "The Empire is too splintered over religion, as well as parochial interests as you note.  It would take an invasion by France to unite them."

"They still hunt bear?  A most dangerous quarry, even moreso than a boar.  You would not find me amongst such a party," he tutted as he shook his head.

"Hmm," the older man muttered as he heard Blount's plea.  "I should think you should be seen at the Woolsack, though Saxony House would be a friendlier confine.  If you wish to polish your credentials, you must act the part of a court insider.  Danby's fall has changed much.  There is greater suspicion amongst the Privy Council.  His Majesty keeps his own counsel more than before.  I think everyone wonders as to the affect upon themselves.  As for me, I am content to focus upon the courts, seeing that they are properly staffed with skilled judges.  It is easy to overlook our profession Charles, but we play the greatest role in the greatest moments.  With a proper judiciary in place, I can better serve the Crown.  There will come a time Charles ... ."  He did not complete the thought.

"Let us meet at the Woolsack later this week.  We shall share a drink with fellows and be seen and then we can retire to a private room to discuss things."  He offered a quick and short smile as he made the recommendation.  "It is best to keep it with just the two of us.  Heneage has been troubled while you have been gone Charles.  I fear I failed him as I find I spend far too little time with him.  He seems inclined to recklessness these days.  I need you to help him.  He will deny anything is wrong, but his trouble is easy for you to see.  He needs to focus on his duties to the Bar and his family.  He needs to be reminded of duty.  At times it is disagreeable but it is the price of privilege.  It is the compact that we peers enter with the Crown.  There is room in it to find joy.  Look at you.  He needs to find the right woman Charles -- someone that understands duty and willing to help him find peace, success and happiness."

Unfortunately, Finch's own marriage was an unhappy one, as was Daniel's.  The Finch men had poor history with wives.  The father could only hope his son would do better. 

There was mention of the King's finances.  "The cities have threatened legal action over the quo warranto, though they are not stupid enough to think they would win."  He paused as they passed others in the hallway.  "I am not the Treasurer of England but I think funding is still needed but His Majesty is in far better circumstance than he faced last year."

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“You are quite correct. Placed as it is between two strong catholic powers I do not think they could achieve much. If Germany were to attack France or Poland they would surely be quickly defeated. I do not think it in them to threaten the balance of power for they are at the core a peaceful people.”

 “Indeed they still do hunt bear but alas they are becoming uncommon and only present in any numbers deep in the wilds of Russia. They say that in the forests of Lappland there are even giant white bears! I would dearly love to see such a beast but Lappland is so very remote and I have been away for longer than I would have liked.” He chuckled as his senior made clear that such adventures were not his cup of tea. “I do not claim to be wise doing what I do but such sport provides me with pleasure and relaxation and, as most German noblemen hunt or shoot, it provided a shared interest to facilitate cordial relations.”

He then listened in silence as Finch opined about the political state of the Court and even the Courts as they both inhabited the similarly named but wildly different institutions. The Chancellor came from an old family but his rise to prominence was mainly due to his own ability and he was well respected by friends and enemies alike which was an even rarer thing to accomplish. If one was fortunate enough to receive advice from a man such as Finch it behooved one to listen carefully and heed the advice. “I have always sought to be someone the King could rely upon to lessen his problems rather than increase them. He has been generous for such services in the past and I hope he knows he can rely upon such service in the future. I am prepared to serve the King’s interests as needed but I echo your efforts in bolstering the Courts for I think it is time I spend more time representing His Majesty’s legal interests and bolstering the Crown’s influence and authority.” When Finch left off with the ominous warning of times to come Mountjoy wondered if he was referring to the succession, something that worried him greatly. He had serious misgivings concerning York’s capacity to rule effectively but he was a monarchist and believed that the Royal prerogatives were god given and the King was owed allegiance despite ones personal feelings. He put great store on the Queen’s ability to provide a son and heir which would, in his opinion, relieve the nation from great danger. But, as the Chancellor sought fit not to complete his thought Mountjoy did not deem to add to it and allowed the silence to settle and allowed the sound of their footsteps to provide punctuation the thought before continuing,

“Yes, it would be politically more advantageous to be seen at the Woolsack. A friendly tete-a-tete would be more pleasurable but one needs to be seen to be effective and men of our position and rank must forgo many personal pleasures to fulfill our social expectations.” How true was that phrase. Although he did not know the details, for he would never broach so personal a subject, of the difficulties between Lord and Lady Finch, he was beginning to understand how something like that could occur. Like Finch Blount was devoted to the Law but the Law demanded toil and effort to be just and effective. Unlike the position of Master of the Horse who’s duties were mostly ceremonial and what few actual tasks there were could easily be delegated to underlings the positions of Solicitor general and indeed Chancellor required constant attention and effort. Such demands could easily affect ones family relationships. “I shall look forward to seeing you at the Woolsack then. I do like their roast beef and it has been some time since I have had a good English joint. I might also run into Lord Basildon there for, unless he has changed his ways, had been a feature there and he has always been one with keen political instincts.”

Charles always listened to Finch and heeded to his words but when he mentioned the younger Heneage Charles paid particular attention becoming worried as the Chancellor voiced more fatherly concerns. “Reckless you say? I have never considered him so… trusting…naïve perhaps…” he challenged as he thought back to their time as children when they would get into all kinds of mischief. “Well… to be fair when we were young and Hen did anything reckless I must admit I was usually the one egging him on.” He frowned in concern for his old friend. “Of course I will do anything I can to help Hen, not only because of your request but for the fact that I care deeply for him and would not wish to see him hurt or unhappy.” Normally he would blame Daniel for anything that happened to Heneage and the chances were still good that his brother was a factor but now that he was an adult there could be many more reasons. “I will spend as much time with him as I am able. With the Margravina occupied with the Queen I can have him over for dinner regularly for if I am not out it is tedious to sup alone. It may or may not help but it would at least reduce your own household budget considerable.” The last was a feeble attempt at humor to dull the seriousness of the subject for Heneage Jr. was known to enjoy his food.

“Yes, look at me.” He stated non-committedly. Was such a statement true anymore? Although Charles was wrestling with his relationship with his wife he was not ready to burden his mentor with such details as he did not wish to add to the considerable burden born by the Chancellor, especially now that Heneage was one of those concerns. “There are fine women out there for Heneage to find… sometimes it is blind luck. It certainly was in my case.” He thought for a bit. “I have heard that Heneage is in private practice is that correct? His current waywardness notwithstanding, I believe Heneage possesses a legal mind rivaling your very own.” It was usually not a good idea to compare one man’s professional capabilities with another but when the men are father and son there was greater latitude to not cause offence. “Might there be a position in the Courts for Heneage? I have always thought he would make a fine Judge. It is in your power to appoint him a Master in Chancery. Normally I would caution against such as it could be construed as nepotism but there is no one who could deny that Heneage is superbly qualified and such a position might provide some structure and induce a sense of purpose and duty.”  Whatever the outcome Charles would do whatever he could to help his friend.

When they were back to discussing legal or political matters Charles could speak with more authority and competence. He gave a soft bark of laughter when Finch mentioned the possibility of the cities bringing suit. “I do not think it would be immodest of me to state that the cities have any legal basis for action as I did my best to be quite thorough.” He cocked his head. “That being said, it would not be wise to revisit that well anytime soon. I was careful not to overreach and the Guilds understand that there is a cost for doing business but any repetition would certainly lead to discontent and become counter productive. With Danby gone and with my former success in providing coin I was worried that His Majesty would expect me to continue in such a capacity and that is a service I would not relish continuing. I will of course wait upon the King and provide any service I am able for I am still desirous of advancement but for now I am content to consolidate what I have already achieved and perchance even have some time to hunt and spend with my family for little Hope has become much less little in the year I was gone and I have missed the Margravina’s company.”

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There was agreement about meeting at the Woolsack.  Finch nodded his approval.  "Shall we say Friday afternoon?"  I shall be able to catch up on my work Saturday."  As one might expect, the Chancellor was more devoted to his job than his person.  He stood in contrast to most other courtly figures who preferred to do as little as possible for their offices.

"Basildon might be there," he acknowledged.  "He is fond of the place."  He paused a moment before revealing more.  Basildon was married to his niece and they shared a great secret.  "You should speak to him about Hen.  It was he who warned me that Hen planned to marry some Irish chit who claimed to be carrying his child.  We conspired to prevent it but Hen disappeared from court."  his voice was soft and full of disappointment.  "He will not speak to me of it.  I can only hope that the marriage did not happen and he is greatly embarrassed by the affair."  It was the fatigued voice of a parent who felt helpless to save their offspring.  Children could be groomed for years and lose it all in one foolish minute.

"I agree it is too quick to appoint Hen to the bench; but, he needs to lose his cares into his job.  I was thinking a few years as a solicitor for the Crown in London or a nearby town.  Let him practice in front of a bench before he sits behind it.  You might help him in this regard.  I think he would prefer reading contracts and deeds."  that was as close to a jest as the elder attempted.  He preferred his son to be a lion of justice.

Seeing a number of people awaiting him in the hall, Finch requested "learn what you can and then let us speak of it Friday."

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“I shall look forward to Friday at the Woolsack then.” He replied to agreed engagement. “I shall have to spend more than Saturday to catch up on my own work.” He said with a mild smile. Although I am but the deputy for the Attorney General and have many clerks in my service is astounding how much business was left for my return which is in stark contrast to my duties as The Queen’s Master of Horse where my absence was barely noted. I can see why established peers prefer positions in the Household rather than the Government where one has to toil for ones accolades. But still I find government or specifically legal work more satisfying for although it may be more unsung it can often have a greater impact on the stability of the Realm.” Although Mountjoy was more political than Finch he viewed the law and ones obligations to the law, in much the same light as the older man.

As they were speaking politics the inclusion of Basildon was natural for he was a very political figure but the Chancellor’s recommendation for them to discuss Heneage came as a bit of a surprise as sometimes Mountjoy overlooked the fact that their families were related. Before he could comment Finch went on to explain the problems Heneage was dealing with which precipitated a pause and a concerned frown as he digested the information and then a quick glance as Finch went on to reveal his son’s affair. “Really?” He said in astonishment. “He has not mentioned any such involvement to me… but then again I was not at hand and that is not the sort of thing one puts in a letter.”

“Hmmm… what you tell me disturbs me greatly.” he intoned mirroring the concern of the father. “Of course I will do everything I can to help Hen. Normally I would not interlope into another families business but as I feel affection for Hen as I would my own brother I shall seek out Basildon and I promise to do whatever I can do.”

“Women, they do complicate matters.” He added under his breath although it could not be certain whether the comment was directed at his or Hen’s current predicament.

Their discussion had brought them to the end of the corridor where the accustomed entourage and petitioners of the Chancellor waited in anticipation to accost him at the earliest opportunity. “I see your duties await. Until Friday I extend to you my felicitations and respect.” He said as he bowed to the elder jurist. While he was always polite and deferential to Finch he was not always so formal but as Finch had recommended he needed ‘to be seen’  to re-establish himself at Court and such a display in front of other courtiers increased both their standing.

 

[OOC: Fin?]

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Charles understood the peril.  It was clear from his words.  That allowed Heneage to exhale.  Women could either complicate or simplify one's life.  Usually it was the former.  If only his son could find a good one.  "Thank you Charles," he whispered in a private moment before restoring the stern face he presented to others.  With a nod he was off to be surrounded by petitioners.

 

~fin

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