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Baron Kendishall at your service! | afternoon of the 4th


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He'd been at his solicitors again that morning, questioning from numerous angles until he was quite certain.

 

His next stop was quite naturally the young Baroness Kendishall, the steamy little lady that he'd had pleasure to enjoy more an one rom with.  This surprisingly turn of events now needed to be shared with her.  He was slightly pissed that it might mean she'd not have him again his bed! But then again, they were both grownups, free to make their own choices egads! 

(Optimistic on that regard he brought a bunch of flowers and also box of chocolates.) 

With a stout rap on the door, Rowland announced himself to the footman as us usual "Rowland Alston, here to see Lady Kendishall if you please." 

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Foot man maybe, most of his adult life he had been rather a foot soldier in service on the continent for more than one army too. But now this was his retirement of sorts, bodyguard and jack of all trades to Baroness Kendishall. He'd seen the man before but nevertheless eyed him up and down for a moment before letting him enter.

"I will go let her know, yer lordship," he called almost anyone that who was higher in station than him.

Soon enough it was none other than Caroline, Baroness of Kendishall, who appeared (properly attired on this particular occasion). Of course she knew the fellow.

"Well, well, if it isn't Rowland Alston. What brings you to my door? If we made some sort of arrangement to meet, I honestly have forgotten that. I might have been under the influence then," she greeted him with a smile.

 

 

 

 

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Lordship indeed, and the footman didn’t even know the truth of it!

 

Rowland moved into the reception room, and moved about it looking at the paintings to kill time till the Caroline arrived.  Fortunately for him, she was not like most of her sex, and did not deliberately make him wait far longer than was necessary.  Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed here she was. Rowland flashed a smile, "The one and only!" 

"My visit is impromptu." he explained easily enough, "ah, and look, bearing gifts and wot not." 

It was a fine bunch of flowers he held, though he would not be able to name the varieties, they made a pretty splash of colour in orange and yellows.  The box of chocolates was that kind that came with a ribbon wrapped cross crossed and tied with a bow. Broaching teh distqnce between he moved to hand them to the pretty lady.

"Looks like I am trying to impress, dont you think,' he gave a wry smile, while wondering if a kiss was out of the question "...is it working yet?"  

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The man was certainly in quite the jolly mood, his smile was damn near a smirk. Was he going to ask her out? A dinner or party? Plus, as he just mentioned, he was 'bearing gifts'.

"I believe so did the Greeks bring gifts to the Trojans? One in particular the Trojans had cause to regret.....those that survived," Caroline replied.

She did accept both the flowers and chocolates though, "Why thank you. How sweet of you...especially regarding the chocolates I suppose."

"Impress me? I will admit you are off to a fine start certainly. So, what comes next then?" she honestly was curious.

Edited by Caroline Despanay
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Caroline was in fine spirits also, though it couldn't be for the same reason.  They did like each other though,  Rowland had charmed the knickers off her in the past, and he held fine hopes of continuing to do so!

Laughing at her jokes, he waggled eyebrows as he replied "Well, I could sweep you off feet and into bed, then later tell you my good, perhaps our good news. Or...." he moved in with intent to give her a kiss. "Vice versa. The choice is yours!" He grinned charmingly. 

 

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"Ohhh, so one box of chocolates and some cultured weeds and you think I will immediately jump into bed with you?" she raised one eyebrow as she then looked around for the maid.

"Here, put these in a vase. As for the box, I shall keep it for now."

Then it was back to Rowland, "Wait, wait....put rein on that ardor of yours for a bit. News? Tell me of some sort of news? I must confess I am curious about what sort of news would put you in such a good mood?"

One never knew with men. Though she did not think him a military man, had he secured a colonelcy for the upcoming war? Or more likely a lucrative contract for supplying the English army, navy, or both?

"Well, I'm waiting, let's hear it," she insisted pulling her cheek away from his attempted kiss. It was going to be up to her if this good news was cause for a romp in bed.

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Rowland had known full well he was optimistic to think they might jump into the sack so quick - so he was laughing along with Caroline as she told him she was a bit harder to get than that.  "I knew I should have brought toffees to, that might have made the different I bet." he wink a tease in recovery from his failed attempt at a kiss.  

More likely brandy, was what he actually thought.

"Aha, you want to hear my news hm, so I’m to put out so easily am I?!" he chuckled, though his laugh was slightly pitched at that point.  It was after all rather significant news, that she might possibly take poorly. Though he was not a forecasting-doom sort, far more the glass half full sort.

Cheerily Rowland continued.  "Well I got a curious letter back in January, practically a summons really, to see a solicitor. I'd no idea what that could have been about, so I was not even in any great rush to follow it up.  I'd expected it was probably some father trying to make trouble for me. Anyhow, I finally got to his office last Friday. And stone the crows, you could have knocked me over with a feather when he told me the news." 

He looked at Caroline with a very open expression at that moment; though he'd not actually told the punchline of his news yet, it was like he was reading her reaction in anticipation!

Apparently his office was charged with finding the next of kin to your Baron Kendishall; before the title reverted to the crown, and the hunt turn up at me - talk about a surprise inheritance!"  he gave another pitched laugh, then belatedly pulled a chair for Caroline, in a more serious (considerate) tone uttered “here you might want to sit.”

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"You want me to put out then kindly put out for me. What exactly is this news you came to tell me?" Caroline was not the most patient young lady.

He started on then about a solicitor and............was he angling for her to provide him with money or a loan at least? Oh, he better NOT! But no, that was not it. He now talked about the deceased Baron Kendishall (may he rot in hell) and the inheritance and ...............wait. What?

"I am con......" she started but he then suggested she sit.

"No, I do not wish to sit....what exactly are you trying to tell me? Spit it out," she glared. It almost sounded like her position was in jeopardy? Her title, her money?

 

 

Edited by Caroline Despanay
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He was not meaning to beat about the bush, but to set the setting for his surprising position. 

"Well I am the new Baron!"  Caroline had wished for directness, and there is was. 

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"If this is your idea of a joke, I am utterly unamused!" snapped Caroline.  This couldn't be true. She would have been officially informed or kept abreast of such a vital piece of information, would she have not?

Yet would the fellow have come all the way there to visit her just to deliver a bad joke? She was beginning to feel very unsettled about all this.

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"I did not believe it myself at first either." Rowland protested, his brow crumpling. 

"Still, it would not be the worst news would it?  You'd rather it was I than some other fellow surely."  

Sighing he slouched down into a chair, "I knew you'd hate it. I knew you'd think it some sort of joke. Bloody hell, nobody can take anything good happening to me seriously. You should have heard Miles laugh when I told him, he bloody near wet his pants." 

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"If they found no-one it would revert to the crown." he replied plainly.

It was not at all flattering that she'd prefer nobody to him. 

"Nobody is stripping your honorific, you shall remain Baroness Kendishall unless you remarry, then you'd take your new husbands rank.  Meanwhile, if I marry you'll become dowager Baroness.  And as far as property goes, women own their jewellery, you must know that. You have your widows bed, this house here was brought with some of that I expect. While your home remains Kendishall, though ownership of that becomes mine from your late Husband.  Then whatever allowance from Kendishall will remain in place, why would I meddle with that, if you know me at all you'd know I am not an arse."

The usually upbeat fellow was glum about the entire turn of events.  When he'd finally been convinced he was not the butt of somebody's joke, he'd crowed! But what should have been something to celebrate did seem to please anyone.

"Well I'll leave you to digest. I'm off to the pub, I need a drink." He turned to the door.  

 

 

 

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Well, Rowland certainly had the answers to her inquiries and most of them sounded.....reasonable enough. She was not about to join those little urchins on the streets then, that much was a relief. He also added his protestation that he certainly was not an arse, she should know that too he expected.  Bit touchy in her opinion.

Caroline had her circle of friends and he certainly was not one of them. But, that said, he was not all that bad a fellow it was true. He had always seemed to take a shine to her also. Of course mayhaps that was because he knew about all this stuff way before but was merely waiting for the proof to then spring it upon her. So did she trust him? Goodness no!  Did she hate him? No, far from it.

Well, it seemed he was now about to sulk off after having glibly came to her place to suddenly rock her very foundations. She held her breath for a moment then called out.

"Wait....wait a moment. Don't be silly. You hardly need to go all the way to some decrepit pub for a drink when you are already standing in my home. You should know me better, I am never out of spirits. Stay and have a drink with me......................Baron Kendishall."

God, those last two words stuck in her craw. But she forced a smile.

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Like any other, Rowland Alston world revolved around him.  Could anyone really blame him for being in a state of shock at this entirely unexpected turn of events, a turn of events that had shocked everyone really.  He'd gone from being a carefree guy fooling around with nary a care, to being dumped with a big old pile of responsibility. 

But rather than stew and worry over those things while drinking into a stupor at some bar, Caroline did the noble thing, and asked him to stay there for a drink. Even called him Baron Kendishall.  "Enough with that." he protested bunching his lips, then nodding his head. "That would be nice, You know, I have a pile of questions too, that perhaps you can answer...

"Like, I’m guessing Kendishal has staff? How many are there, and, how do we pay them? Are we growing stock maybe, and then sell it to a butchers. Is that how it works. Shit, if I'd got to manage this sort of thing we might be all screwed, the whole damn lot of us."

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"Follow me............to the bar," Caroline motioned with her head not hands then led him down a narrow hall to a side room. Sure enough there was a large cabinet against one wall. Rows of bottles presented themselves like ranked soldiers. Speaking of soldiers on the opposite wall was a magnificent painting of two armies clashing in some grand affair of the past. Caroline went for two glasses and handed one over to Rowland.

"Take your pick. I am going to have something strong, to calm my nerves....Irish whiskey," he told him.

He had questions, a lot of questions! She smiled as she poured.

"I should make you learn how to manage all of this yourself since you are the baron, you should have the responsibility," she smirked.

But immediately after she softened, "It's Glandon House by the way, the name of the estate. As residences go, it's passable but hardly can hold up against the grand lords' manors of course. I believe the staff numbers about........ten, twelve. I don't spend much time there you see."

"As to the financials and economics, you are in luck. We have ...oh I suppose I should say...you have a steward who manages all of that. He handles the day to day mundane details including hiring and firing of staff. I have thus far found no reason for me to complain, he seems quite diligent at his job. And quite sharp too when it comes to money. On the other hand he is very religious and he does not drink ....at all. I am not sure about such people but ...well as I said I believe him perfectly satisfactory otherwise. So I keep him," she smiled.

Edited by Caroline Despanay
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Follow her he did – and was impressed, in different circumstances he’d have sampled one of the more exotic bottles.  But today was a practical one. “Thanks, I’ll have the same.” He knocked back a first shot just like that.  It would not be enough.  “Lets bring the bottle. I”ll replace it, I promise.”

He moved to the seating, and with the backdrop of two armies in battle, helped her to settle, then splashed another nip into each of their glasses then.

"Well ours isn’t usual circumstances, so why should we hold to the usual protocols.  Look at you, a slip of a thing widowed at your age. And me, with not serious bone in my body, now master and commander of a flipping household!  ‘Usual’ would have an heir primed their entire life to take care of things.”

“Thankyou, Caroline.”  Sighing, the whisky warmed, or was it the comfortable habit of drinking that worked quickest, and then her empathy helped too. She started to answer his many questions.

“Glandon House.” He repeated the name, trying it out. It was familiar, he must have heard her mention it, or had he heard it many years ago in his youth? The words sounded different now, now that he discovered himself tied to it.  

Frowning, he then asked, “And so tell me.   I know men are not meant to discuss money with women, but go on and tell me, are we up to our eyeballs in debt? I know there are loads of noble families that are.”

Then there was some good news. “I like the sound of this Steward, what is his name?  But, you don’t mean he is Catholic do you…”  Rowlands own (who was best of friends, lived with for the most part, the de Courtenay’s) religious affinity was easy enough to guess.  

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"Take the bottle, you need not promise to replace it. It seems whether you or I purchase a replacement it will be coming out of the same source of income, our estate," Caroline pointed out with a smile then sipped her glass.

They sat down then for further conversation as he refreshed both their drinks.

"Believe me, with my husband....had he not met his tragic end in that fire, there still would have never been an heir," she huffed.

"So then, perhaps you will marry now and your wife will produce one....or more. Probably best to have a brood as we both know how many children die in their infancy it seems," she added.

"No, Alston, we are definitely not in debt. I am not a spendthrift. You can check the books yourself when you meet with the steward and see I am not lying. You have inherited a going concern, now kindly do not ruin it with outlandish consumption," she assured the man.

"As for the steward, I do not know what his religious beliefs are. I never asked because I do not care. Long as he does his job, that should be all that matters. Least that is how I look at it," she was blunt.

"Do you hate Catholics?" she now a question for him.

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He absorbed what she said, chipping in with his own comments now and then.  "Well I have my annuity,  when my father passed I put the largest part of my inheritance into that. It was what people were all doing at the time." he meant back in '75, and it was solely that income that he'd been living off till now.  He would have her know that he could afford to replace the bottle of Whiskey (though possibly with a lesser vintage) and would. 

"Wife?!" he rolled eyes, "Steady on, you know how I feel about that!"  Hadn't he told her about the witty book he was writing on how to avoid getting hitched? If not Caroline, perhaps he'd told Alexandra. 

"Well that is a relief."

About money, he was pleased, while his eyebrows pitched at her next question. "Not at all.  My best friends are all Catholics.  I suppose we've not really talked about these sorts of things before. It's all a tad serious for my conversational tastes, to be honest. But till now, and really I see no need to change anything, I stay with Avon when in London -  and he's as Catholic as they get. Well, by that I mean he's not one of these ones that claim to be converted these days." he refilled his glass for a third time, and checked if she needed a refill. 

He was at last starting to feel comfortable.

"So... where is Glandon House actually? Is it close enough that we could do a day trip there, you and I, or will anything like that need to wait till the recess?" 

 

 

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Caroline chuckled, "I have tried marriage and it did not appeal to me in the slightest. I am quite happy to remain a widow. At least for now. Who knows, someday I might find a man who appeals to me. My father choose my first husband. I haven't quite forgiven him still."

She was immediately relieved to hear his views on Catholics and decided to take a chance.

"Well, good to know. However I myself am one of those who claim to be converted. Truth is I have not yet abandoned my own Catholic roots. But if you spread this to others I shall deny it and proceed to come up with something slanderous about you.....fair warning," she now solemnly declared.

"No Glandon House is a long journey and the last day of it on simply awful roads that are only roads in name," she waved her hand in dismissal, "I only go there when court is not in session."

 

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"So your parents are still alive?" He guessed, "how did they feel about how your marriage turned out?" From what she'd said before, the late Kendishall had been a poofta.

"While we are on the topic let me assure you I'd litter the hills with babies with half a chance, its just, marriage, the dread thought of a fish wife, terrifies me."

Yes, he was fully relaxing now, and speaking freely. "Behorra! You dont say!  Ah, but why would I darken the Kendishal name with controversy. You and I are in on this together as I see it. Even if I didn't like you, and I do, I'd not have any word said against you!"

Easing back into his chair he lounged, "though dont make me fight a duel for you. Apart from it being illegal, I'm a lover not a fighter."

"Next recess then. I'll go to Glandon with you."

 

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"My father is. My mother drowned in a pond after a long night of drinking, I found her in the morning," Caroline informed him, she had loved her mother dearly but she could talk about it after all this time.

"And my father and my husband's father arranged the marriage. Rather quickly too, I had no say in the matter and I believe my husband was not enthralled about it either. The less said about that disaster the better," she waved her hand in dismissal.

"A fish wife, huh? Well, I hope for your sake when you do marry, you find the right person then. I believe that to be rather rare though," she shrugged.

"A duel? Well, mayhaps I would fight my own duel. I would be willing to give it a tree. My father could give me lessons in swordplay or shooting a pistol as he was a professional soldier. He told me about how he was in a duel once with a young Danish officer. He killed him too."

He wanted to accompany her to Glandon next time.

"We shall see, we shall see. But I am not against the idea I suppose."

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"Oh, I am sorry.” He expressed his sympathies of her mothers death, though it was a long time ago and she seemed accepting of it.  She was rather less accepting of her fathers role in her marriage however.

“Do you think he knew what he was getting you into?” the question had to be asked. Surely no father would do that to his only daughter, surely he’d thought it was for her best, and that a tide of grandchildren would then flow.

A realist, Caroline knew good marriages were few. "Which is my point, and why I’d not enter it lightly.” He laughed humourlessly.

"Don’t be nuts, women cant duel.” He actually laughed then.   

His opinion on her father was then quite locked in as she told him that the chap had taught her to shoot and swing a sword. “Well it’s just as well he’s not here anymore then, what good could come of a woman fighting with weapons. And look at the size of you, tiny, you are no figgin amazon who might go undercover joining the army. Which I hae heard of some mannish women doing mind you. But you, you are the opposite of mannish. You are bloody gorgeous.” Yes the liquor was kicking in nicely now, and Roland Alston was utterly relaxed lounging in his seat.   Chuckling to himself he uttered, "daft barstard."  

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"My father agreed to the marriage because part of the deal involved the agreement there would need be no dowry. It saved him money...money he does not have being a washed up unwanted soldier. He was a good soldier though at one time or so he tells me," Caroline shrugged.

Alston was determined not to marry it seemed.

"Pity, I would think many women would love to have a handsome devil such as yourself as their spouse. I ought to know being a woman myself of course," Caroline offered her opinion on the matter.

Though she had not been truly serious about dueling Caroline did not much care for how he made it sound all so impossible and his utter contempt for how she might handle herself was annoying too.

"I may be petite but you have never seen me in action, how can you be so sure I would fail in such an endeavor? Why mayhaps I would best you in a fight, do not be so sure of yourself," she frowned.

"Bloody gorgeous huh? I think you are buttering me up now. Still wanting to bed me are you not?" she smiled, "Mayhaps I am saving myself for my next husband?"

 

 

 

Edited by Caroline Despanay
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"What?” No dowry, and she a noblewoman, it was practically unheard of, and Rowland shook head tutting tongue.  Or was she noble by birth?  Possibly not, as she went on to tell him that her father was but a humble soldier.  

He took another drink.

“Which is my point!” he expressed. He’d had plenty of women trying to trap him into a marriage, “and why I am writing my book on marriage evasion! It is going to be a best seller of course.”

"Heh, I’d let you win if you want to wrestle with me.” She was still on about being a warrior, so he humoured her.  And she knew why, calling him out. 

“Well yes, and especially now that we are thrust so close.  Ack, don’t give me any of that ‘saving yourself’ stuff, you are a ripe little peach Caroline, here, why don’t you come a bit closer and take a comfy seat on my lap...” he rose an eyebrow with his invite, his fingers moving ready to unbutton his breeches at her slightest encouragement.

“Lets celebrate.”

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On his quip about a book about avoiding marriage, she had a quick retort for him, "What? You can write? I had no idea."

"Let me win? Do not be too confident I could not actually win. I am stronger ....and more combative than I look," she warned him but with a grin. In actuality she had fought fiercely that time with her husband and wielded that axe handle quite deftly as she smashed his skull in.  Not that she wanted to harm this man like that.

"So are you calling me a liar about my professed loyalty to my next husband?" she huffed, more show than real of course.

"I see....you think me a liar yet I am good enough for a quick thrust or two, huh? Most impudent of you," she made no move to sit where he hoped.

"I am not about to do anything of the kind with you...........here," she announced with a frown.

Pausing to let him digest her refusal she then continued.

"I do own a bed you know, a mighty fine one too. Quite bouncy it is....like it's owner," she suddenly grinned.

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"I’ve no doubt of that.  I doubt anyone who knows you would be very surprised really... it would be more remarkable if you turned out to be a wilting and over delicate thing. You are no Frances Cavendish! In fact... have you ever met Avon’s little sister Alice? The pair of you might get along like a house on fire. Though, don’t tell Avon I put you up to it. He's beside himself trying to manage her!" he laughed.  

"Everyone lies. The person who says he - or she! - never lies, it lying!" he laughed again, amused at himself. Yes the liquor was working real nicely, all the pent up agitation at this months jaw dropping news was eased.  Relaxed into his seat like this, he was the opposite of a man energetic.  If he was even capable of shagging at that moment, it would need be the lady to be the proactive one. (Indicated by his lazy offer that she come sit herself on him)

"You forget I’ve seen your bedroom." he winked and, discovering his glass empty reached to refill. 

 

 

 

OOC: super close to  my going on leave for a month - how shall we handle this to perhaps do a semi-wrap up with a set up to continue with a next day thread that is forwards a bit more on the time line? (perhaps the morning of the 5th?)  Or she can pack his drunk asre out the door of course! lol See what you come up with, I (and Rowland) are happy for Caroline to take the lead/call the shots ;) 

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"No I have not met her. I barely known of Cavendish. But good to hear another lady has some fire in her," Caroline smiled.

***

It turned out despite all the suggestive talk and flirting that there was no roll in her bed or even any lapsitting. The man was a bit too inebriated and after the shocking revelations the mood not quite right for it. Still, it could have gone much worse. They could have departed enemies but Caroline had already come to the conclusion if there had to be a Baron Kendishall, Rowland was as good an option as any.  They could get along, she was confident of it. At least for the time being, God alone knew what the future would bring.

With some help from Caroline's Irishman Rowland managed to get poured into his coach and off he went. But not before they had agreed to see each again, on the 5th. Both agreed it might be useful for future planning to do so even if Caroline did not have any specifics in mind at the time. This would give her a bit more time to assess the whole new turn in her life.

 

OOC: Enjoy your break! Yes, I agree, let's advance the time a bit for the both of them and do a new thread on the 5th then when you return. I think this thread went well enough :)

 

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