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George Hardwick III

The Plot Thickens | Lady Kendishall Hse. midday 7th

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#43 The Townhouse of Lady Kendishall

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

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

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

 

Following his visit to Lady Cambray, George walked the few doors down Piccadilly street intent to see Lady Caroline Despanay, Baroness Kendishall if you please. 

The dapper gentleman had read his fair share of trashy romance novels (though he'd never admit that to any of his male friends), titles such as ‘The Pistoleer’s Plight', 'Heros in Hosiery' and 'That is not Mayonnaise Countess’. If those novels had taught him anything, it was that allies in grand ventures were more valuable than gold...

*Rat a tat tat*

George stepped back from the door after rapping it's knocker, and placing both hands criss cross over the head of his walking stick awaited it's opening.

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Posted (edited)

It turned out the door was opened by an older man with unkempt tangles of hair and a weather beaten face, definitely not your typical servant looking sort. Upon being told by the gentleman he wished to talk with the lady of the house, the fellow nodded and allowed him entrance. He instructed the fellow to wait there and he would let  'his ladyship' know she had a guest. All said in a definite heavy Irish brogue. George would no doubt notice the man was wearing a sword sheathed in a battered leather sheath. A proper servant probably would have inquired the man's name but this was plainly not one of that sort.

Fortunately it was not a long wait before the woman George wished to see appeared in the hallway, pausing only to see who this mysterious guest of hers was. It only took one glance and she recognized the fellow,  George Hardwick. She certainly had not expected company because she was clad only in a robe and slippers.

"Lord Chichester? What a surprise. What brings you to my humble home?"

 

Edited by Caroline Despanay

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George schooled his eyebrows to not show surprise at the butler’s particular style. He was an ex military man, that much was plain, but not one of those sorts that are given to idle chatter around the campfire.   “Thank you.” George repaid the fellows brevity with the same.

While he waited in the hallway like an errand boy awaiting payment, he wondered if he should say anything to the lady of the house.  She was only young after all, perhaps she did not realise the insult to his station that had been given.  Ack, but such instruction might foil the very purpose of his visit here today. Thus George decided to let it slide… and turned to busy himself with a look around the hallway for it’s artworks.

Much could be divined of a person by the style of art they keep close to them, what did he here learn about Caroline?

“Ah, Baroness… oh dear I have caught you inconvenient.” His smile hearing her approach faltered as he saw she was not ready for a guest.  Sweeping into a bow, “Please accept my apology.” None the less he did not suggest he leave.  That might mean another day lost, and time (nay - life itself!) was of the essence. “But I have a pressing concern, and discover myself much in need of feminine advice.”

Besides, if everything worked out, he’d need to get used to seeing ladies in their bed things!

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Her art, well certainly nothing she had produced herself but rather purchased or possibly even kept when she moved in, was in the main focusing on nature though one painting showed a quite classical glimpse of ancient Romans frolicking in a garden of sorts. For an art connoisseur it would be mundane at best. Not that she cared, he put her stock in impressing people other ways.

The sight of her, her lack of proper wardrobe caused her visitor to apologize. With a wave of her hand, she dismissed it as unnecessary.

"Do not worry. I slept in late is all. If you feel uncomfortable with my present appearance, I can go change and, in the meantime, you can wait in the study with a glass of port to keep you company? Otherwise, I assure you, there are several noted men in court who have seen me in less," she smiled, brazen as ever.

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The art included the to-be-expected landscapes, but with not so cliché piece. It was a Baccanale, George deduced, those romans knew how to frolic.  By accounts Lady Kendishall was something of a free spirit herself, puritans might wonder if exposure to such an artwork had assisted her on that path… but George was not one to judge. Except perhaps to say that displaying one’s inclinations for all to see showed bravery and a touch of recklessness.

While he kept his own (illegal!) inclines a secret, which was not cowardice as he looked at, it but simply good sense.   

These deductions were thus in his mind as he greeted the pretty doe eyed lady. “Please remain in your comfort, it is early yet for courtiers hours, I am perhaps overeager to have called without giving due notice.  Sight of you in your dishevelle is a treat I’d not anticipated.”  That was probably how heterosexual men spoke. “With such a precedent now made, I may take not prewarning my other lady friends of visits either.”

Which might seem a rather playful comment, even if spoken by the outwardly prim and proper Earl.   

“Oh my, you goad me to ask who those gentlemen rogues might be?!” George replied, though yes a little surprised that the conversation was taking such a turn.

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Fortunately he was not going to make her go change, had he she would have thought the less of him for it - afterall it was he who entered her abode. In fact he called it a 'treat' which, while she was unconvinced of his sincerity, it was still a compliment and she loved compliments. As to what other lady friends of his might think of his tactic, well that was up to them.

"Thank you," she returned a short nod and charming smile, "Try it on them and see. Live life to the fullest I say. After all we could any of us die at any time, like my poor dearly departed husband."

  May he rot in hell!

He seemed curious about her statement. She paused to assess him. Oh she knew some things about the debonnair handsome devil alright. She had been told of his callously leaving a fainted Sophia on the ground after some verbal tiff. Now she readily would admit Sophia could be a bit annoying and their friendship had on occasion been a bit rocky but the fact remained Sophia was a friend and she would NEVER do such a thing to anyone who meant anything to her. But.....back to the present.

"Oh I do not tattle tale or gossip," she declared, "much."

"Let me just say - and if you do not believe me, I do not much care - that His Most Royal Majesty once wanted me at a wild party but that I did not give in because of my affection for another friend of mine who I knew had her eyes and desires on him."

She then chuckled, "So despite what you may have heard from some wagging tongues, I can be a good person on occasion."

 

Edited by Caroline Despanay

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Hers was a charming smile, one that increased his own.  George did like seeing ladies happy, and had a growing list of fairer-beings that might testify he did just that. (Lady Habersham, Lady Cambray, not to mention Lady Frances herself)

“Bold words Lady Kendishall!” the ladies seemed intent on calling his bluff today, “to be honest I am less likely to do so. Rather, this shall be my lesson to forewarn gentle friends of any pending arrival of my person.” Said he, “though the advice to seize the moment is certainly one to live by I agree.”

As they were still stood in the hallway, not yet invited to a receiving room to sit, George sensed himself in the passion of interviewee.  Would he pass her inspection and be admitted into her rooms?  So far it was going well, so he thought.

“Truly milady.” While not one to gossip Caroline still knew how to spin a tale, and this one was most interesting. “Your restraint is testament to your fine ethics on friendship, most others would toss ‘friends’ aside when presented with such a temptation.” Who was the friend she was talking about? George was not enough in royal loop to know the answer already.

“Good or Bad is such a relative viewpoint.  Some prudes might label you the later perhaps, I am not unaware of your libertine repute, but the morality of principles exists far above fleshly pursuits, thus I would place you firmly in the former category.” Which was the last thing this man would usually speak about at first blush, but he was hoping to win the friendship of this young woman. So somehow he discovered himself speaking on an entirely un-superficial level!

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Actually Caroline warmed to his remark and nodded, "I have oft reveled in being bold. No one remembers the shy ones or the ones who avoid the shining light. I like to live."

He also complimented her on her loyalty to her friend. Now that much was right on the mark, once she befriended someone she could not imagine abandoning or betraying those people. And Nicci was her dearest friend of all. Now Caroline believe Nicci was overreaching in her quest to gain the King's favor but that did not change her affection for the girl and to be anything other than supportive was unimaginable.

"I am not like most others then," she still refused to name who she was talking about though.

He went on then to give a little of his personal philosophy on good and bad. At least he seemed practical enough, not one of those stuffy traditionals or religious fanatics.

"Come, let us be seated in my parlor and you can tell just why you choose to visit me, of all people. If you would like a drink, I can offer you some fine French porte," she offered and led him into that room, pointing out a sofa they could share. But if he wanted to be more formal he could simply find another chair too.

"Speaking of friendship, I assume you know I am also a friend of Sophia, Lady Toledo," her smile was still there but there was a bit of a sharp glint in her eye.

See how he handles that?

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