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Robert Saint-Leger

An Apt Meeting | Rupert's 7th AM

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Prince Rupert resided, while in London, in a collection of well appointed rooms that carried a theme of Rhenish design, which created a rather interesting contrast to the bold Gothic architecture, for this was one of the older parts of the palace. The Duke held only modest accommodations at Whitehall, his main residence being at Windsor Castle. His common law wife Peg Hughes also resided here during the season.

 

Upon entrance the visitor would note the rose wood and the many roses about the room. The rest of the interior basked in masculinity, military shields, banners and rifles, collections of weapons simply everywhere. The visitor would await the Duke's pleasure in the receiving room, where the deeper part of the apartment revealed a study, a drawing room for ladies and two bedrooms as well as rooms for servants.

(OOC - This is a meeting for Bevs & CB so isn't waiting for a mod ;) )

 

The Duke of Cumberland had left earlier in the morning for some form of engagement or meeting not requiring him, so Beverley had been on his own in his master's study finishing up with correspondence. There was comfort in the familiar routine. He had thought to visit with Master Pepys later in the day to go over a few things Rupert had spoken to him about before Lords had met. Their idea of selling the extra commissions for ships that were not yet entirely repaired was one such. 

 

He had also heard that His Majesty was to officially rename a ship of Kingston's, and that there was now something of a plan to use that event to gain funds for the Navy as well*. Since none could dictate a date to His Majesty, it would remain to be seen how much time the King would leave them to make any sort of plan. Beverley, having a strategic mind, preferred to have battle plans before commencing, but that was not always possible. With all the other preparations being made, the number of things to keep track of was growing astronomical. 

 

Pressing a seal for what seemed like the millionth time (it was probably only the fifteenth), he watched the excess wax squish outward and then harden. 

 

(OOC - I am assuming Beverley knows about this to-be-dated little event of the King's, because Hope had Mall telling Rupert already ;) )

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Early Morning April 7th

Although he was not a military man Charles was in the habit of rising early so he could go out for a vigorous horseback ride or stroll in the park before the hustle and bustle of the city became too distracting. Thus it was scarcely seven o’clock and Mountjoy was returning from a pleasant 2 hour ride when he elected to stop by the lodgings of Prince Rupert on his way home as he knew the Prince, as an actual military man, to be an early riser. As was his fashion even in leisure he was well tailored in a dark green wool riding coat with carmine stitching along the buttonholes and brass buttons embossed with hunting horns, a dark red waistcoat of brushed deer suede with two rows of closely spaced buttons and form fitting yet flexible breeches of tan chamois skin à la Polonaise tucked into oxblood riding boots. He wore a shirt of simple linen with plain ruffles instead of lace and a brown cotton scarf tied in a steinkirk knot. A black beaver hat had originally adorned his head but a gust of wind had blown it off as he was galloping through St James’s park. His daybreak excursion was testified by his boots showing a patina of dust and his parfum smelling more of horse sweat than flowers. Continuing the bucolic impression, in lieu of a walking stick he carried a riding crop and a worn leather satchel of the type couriers were want to use. The more astute might safely surmise that he had recently been out for a horseback ride.

Despite his attire, being a Royal official and a known associate of the Prince he was spared having to wait in the reception room and waiving off the servants he made his way to the study. Relaxed from his exertions he sauntered into the room with an almost French like loucheness hardly like the conservative English gentleman that he was. Seeing a man sitting at a desk engaged in some sort of administrative work, heaven knows he was familiar with that sort of task, he at first did not recognize the gentleman but recollection came to him quickly.

“Ah… Major, Lord Beverly…” said the recent equestrian giving the gentleman his rank and courtesy title, “I almost did not recognize you without your uniform.” Thinking military uniforms quit gallant and fashionable if commissioned he would, like Major Langdon, hardly ever take his uniform coat off. Why he would not be surprised to find out that Major Langdon managed to find a way to bathe with his uniform on but he himself would not go that far. “I see that you are hard at your duties even though the sun has barely crept over the horizon. I do beg your forgiveness for barging in unannounced but I was passing by and though it an opportune moment. I promise shan’t keep you long from your wax but I do have a few items for his Grace the Prince so I trust you will not begrudge this impromptu imposition.”

 

[OOC: I dated this for morning of the 7th]

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Beverley did not immediately pay attention to the sound of the footsteps, for they were not Cumberland's (the man being very tall and with a singular gait), so he assumed they were of a clerk or a servant. 

 

It was not until he was addressed that he looked up, at first with some disinterest, and then his eyes widened and his mouth turned into a little O for a long moment. That was not a servant. He did recover from his surprise and stand up. 

 

"Oh, erm, Lord Mountjoy, I was not expecting you," he sputtered for a moment. Thankfully, he had not yet turned over the next letter, so there was little worry that the gentleman might see something he was not supposed to see. "Forgive me, good morning. And welcome back from your travels."

 

As to the reason for Mountjoy's visit, Beverley nodded and smiled, "Well, it is surely not my right to feel imposed upon here, erm, but I s-surely do not feel so. However, I am not sure when his Grace shall return. Is there aught I might help you with?"

 

He would be far more imposed upon if he did such work in their offices, but the Prince was not a man who held any liking for such public, busy places, so most all of their work occurred out of a quiet (and rather unassuming for a Prince) corner of the palace when his master resided with Mrs. Hughes. It was thankful for Beverley, for he was about as fond of the bustle of offices and clerks and all those people as his master was. 

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He smiled at the younger Lord’s hesitation. As someone who had come of age in the gregariousness of University, the loquacious of the law and the machinations of the Court easy conversation came to him effortlessly and he found Beverly’s mild uneasiness refreshingly endearing for many at Court being interrupted so would immediately begin to calculate the motives for such a visit and what it might entail for them but here appeared simple curiosity without guile. Mountjoy pondered whether such a quality was naive or masterful but it was much too early in the day to be so cynical and he wished to enjoy a simple conversation.

“Good morning to you as well.” He replied to the greeting. “As I have no pressing matters with His Grace, other than the pure joy of his company, his absence, although regrettable, will not prevent the fulfillment of my purpose so your offer of assistance is most appreciated.” He reached for his satchel and looked about before looking at Beverly in a subtle yet understandable application that if he were to be offered a seat he would take it. “In case you were not aware I have been touring the German Stated these past several months and in the course of my travels had occasion to interact with several individuals that claimed an acquaintance with His Grace the Prince and petitioned me to carry some letters to be delivered to His Grace.” He said fishing in his satchel and producing a packet of letters tied with a blue silk ribbon. Charles had packed away the letters a few months ago and had not had an occasion to view them again until now so held them for a moment as he realized the ribbon used was a scrap of the ribbon used to make the rhinestone keepsake that he had given his wife Ursula. He turned the packet over in his hands and un-enthusiastically offered the bundle to Beverly. “They are not official in any way and I have accepted them as personal correspondence and present them as such in an unofficial capacity.” He clarified wishing to make it clear that he was acting in a private capacity. “In addition I will be sending a man by later this morning with a case of Rhine wine as a personal gift to his Grace with my compliments and would be much obliged if you would see that it is properly presented to His Grace.”

The business of his visit concluded and with Prince Rupert away he had no reason to prolong his visit other than the pleasure of Saint Leger’s company which on the few occasions of interaction he had found enjoyable so he inquired further. “I trust Lord Brook is in fine health and that you yourself are thriving under the patronage of the Prince. My Grandfather always spoke of his Grace in the most complimentary of terms for they served together in the late King’s service. Now with a proper war to be won I assume there are many more demands on your time.” Mountjoy was enough of a Royalist to refrain from dignifying the rebellion as an actual war.

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"Please do sit, if you wish, my lord," Beverley offered. 

 

"I admit a respite from reading pretty much the same thing over and over again, and thus writing the same thing back over and over again, would be most welcome."

 

Beverley waited for Mountjoy to produce the letters and settle himself in the offered seat before also sitting back down himself, only examining the pretty ribbon for a short moment before placing the letters on the top of the smallest stack to Beverley's side. The location was the prominent position of the Prince's immediate personal correspondence, which Beverley did not read (at least not unless he had been told to previously), but he still organized it according to his master's tastes into several stacks of varying importance. Six years had given Beverley a very strong idea of which personages, personal or public, Rupert cared to attend to quickly...or even at all. He sympathized. Princes received an extravagant amount of letters and gifts. And Beverley ended up taking a lot of dictation and writing a lot of replies, because Rupert was quite private of others knowing much of his affairs, unlike those who enjoyed intrigues and machinations.

 

"Oh, well, that shall be most welcomed, I am sure. One always holds a special place for familiar comforts. Rhenish wine surely one such thing. I will ensure its proper presentation," he assured. Talk of wine briefly reminded Beverley of the Prince sharing a very special toast with him after he had found out his wife was with child. It put a boyish smile on his face every time he thought about it. "Speaking of, would you care for something to drink?"

 

On Mountjoy's entrance, one of the Prince's servants had lingered just inside the door, in case anything was required.

 

"My lord father is very well," Beverley confirmed. "And in very good spirits, for my lady wife is with child, which gives much relief to the very tense situation of me being the last male." As in not the last of their branch, as in the last who could inherit the titles at all if he did not produce an heir. They were the only extant male line. Lord Mountjoy may, or may not have known because of his young age, that Lord Brooke had lost a large quantity of sons in their childhood, and Beverley had not always been the most robust in his youth himself and was born when his parent were rather old. As evidenced by his next comment since Beverley's father was more of an age with Mountjoy's grandfather.

 

"Yes, my lord father as well, and his Highness is very loyal to his old comrades and friends," Beverley replied. Rupert kept very close ties, almost exclusively, with those who had fought and served with him, right on down to their children or grandchildren. He was quite the traditionalist in that princely sense; he felt long service did not just award one individual but their family as well, so long as it was merited. Longer alliances were assured that way. 

 

That responsibility went both directions, as well; he was quite well-aware that as Rupert had no legitimate children, Beverley would (one day hopefully far in the future) hold some responsibility for both the Prince's natural children. And Mrs. Hughes. 

 

"War does indeed make more demands on my time and everyone's, and unlike the last war when I just came into the Prince's service and was little more than someone to hold things, relay orders, and carry updates back to court,  I am now considerably more involved." He had been barely seventeen then. Six years later and he was now in the situation where he took on more and more each year, because his master had no desire to deal with someone who did not know his proclivities and was of an age to be entirely a curmudgeon about it. 

 

Beverley, whose father was of a similar age and temperament, was particularly well-equipped to deal with it. And if he were to be entirely honest of it, he was very fond of Cumberland, and would do just about anything for him. Like a secondary father-figure rather than a necessary duty.

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Mountjoy took the proffered seat and made himself comfortable and gave a nod of appreciation for the assurance of a proper presentation for his gift. Politely declining the offer of refreshment he said “Thank you no, I shall be returning directly to Saxony House where my cook has undoubtedly prepared a far too large breakfast for me so I an content to wait to slack my thirst till then.” He had asked about Beverly’s family as an expected social nicety for, though he knew of Lord Brook, he did not actually know Lord Brook. However he was pleasantly surprised to hear the news of Brooks impending grandchild and thus the child of the man in front of him. 

 

“Why congratulations on your good fortune and may I offer my felicitations to your dear Ladywife.” He said with genuine cheerfulness. “Being the only son of an only son to the only surviving son I can readily sympathize with the burden that comes from the necessity of continuing the family line and do heartily wish upon you the blessing of a healthy son to ensure that the like of Brooks continue to flow.” He smiled at his turn of phrase. “The Margravina and I were daughtered with our first child… a lively Lass currently being raised in the more wholesome air of Epping. If such is the case with you, as you are young and hale a son would surely follow in due time so you may revel in the child no matter which sex for an heir is certain to come with time. I do say that it is a great feeling to become a father… it will change your outlook on life and change your priorities. I truly wish you joy in your wife’s condition.”

 

In speaking of the Prince their thoughts were very much alike. Charles himself was a byproduct of Rupert’s loyalty to his old friends. Being steadfast Royalists the civil war and the ensuing Commonwealth was devastating to the Blount family, the loss of sons, lands and titles leaving them much reduced. The restoration reversed many of their losses and Prince Rupert had been one of their staunchest supporters. Charles understood, appreciated and reciprocated such loyalty. “Yes His Grace has always been supportive of his old friends and comrades and I honor myself in claiming to be a grandson of such a comrade and thus am willing to repay the loyalty given to my family.” Rupert having ascended to a position of elder statesman was above the minor squabbling of petty politics, his gravitas being able to sway both parties, he was hardly in need of such influence Mountjoy could provide but he was always willing, if called upon, to be as supportive as possible. “I hold Prince Rupert in the greatest esteem. Although I am not blind to his foibles, for he has them as any man does, I justly believe that any man would do well by emulating such a noble gentleman as the Prince.”

 

He shifted in his seat. Recalling that Beverly was not enamored with hunting (a pity really) buy was enthusiastic about riding he decided to converse about his recent ride rather than a story of his hunting exploits. “I was just returning from my morning ride and although I have been traveling these past several months trundling about inside a carriage can get quite monotonous and considering the state of many German roads also quite bumpy. It was quite refreshing to ride simply for the pleasure of it and I find the quiet of the early mornings more salubrious than the more crowded afternoon.” He chuckled remembering a small detail. “I do have to say the Roland… Roland is my Andalusian riding horse, a pura raza espanõla, Carthusian sired from Esclavo…” He was about to go off on the tale of how he obtained the horse and the Spanish monks the breed was names after but recalled that his breakfast was probably waiting and Beverly had work to do. “…But I digress. Anyway, I had not ridden poor Roland in almost a year and you know how temperamental horses can be so he let me know he was not happy with my neglect and took every opportunity to throw off my gait. He eventually settled down and we had a pleasant ride and I was able to gallop down the Mall with only a few carters to impede my progress.”  He paused wondering in an analogy could be made to another aspect of his life. “I do hope your duties allow you the time to take part in recreation on occasion.”

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"Ah, well then you know exactly the feeling," Beverley replied. "For any child so quickly must be a good omen for the union, in either of our cases." 

 

At the very least it meant that both wives were capable, and that was truly a large portion of concern in such a situation. Beverley had chosen his wife party because her lady mother had numerous children and boys, and her elder sister had also had a child right away; it had been the deciding factor between the Marquess of Worcester's daughter and the Duke of Newcastle's daughter. 

 

"And thank you, it is very exciting." Especially for Beverley, whose father tended to put quite a bit of pressure on him. Brooke could hardly complain about him in such a situation. Beverley had effectively found the best card in the game against his father. 

 

Beverley smiled at Mountjoy's assessment, and said, "His Highness would not be the least bit bothered to think others have observed that he dislikes the politicking part of politics. In fact, he, erm, depends upon that perception to lessen the constraints on his time." Beverley chuckled at this last part.

 

Cumberland was of the opinion that everyone should just be an unquestioning royalist and do as they were supposed to do, so to him any degradation into the political realm was as if to say any of them needed it. That had always been Beverley's perception of the matter. There was not enough loyalty in the maneuvering for most men and that irked an old traditionalist like Rupert.

 

"A fine breed," Beverley commented, being enamored of anything to do with horses. 

 

He chuckled as Mountjoy described his first ride after returning. "I can imagine it was quite the battle of wills. And spring is a time when most horses are feeling very fresh and temperamental." 

 

Mountjoy's comment made him look down at his piles of correspondence. "Of course I am left with plenty of time for amusements. Our arrangements are more of unspoken mutual personal preference than actual obligation. It is little difficulty for me, for I would have to read all of it regardless. And the less persons who read any military correspondence or write the replies, the better, especially in such times." That and his master was of an age where he needed help remembering all the details of everything. Not that Beverley would ever betray such a thing. And given his position of the last six years, he had a very good memory. 

 

"I was riding earlier in the week and crossed paths with Sir George Legge, who has also just purchased a new horse in anticipation of some equine events His Majesty has commissioned for sometime after Easter. Are you acquainted? He is also one such who has benefit of his father being close friends to my master." Beverley added, "He has several positions and military appointments, but he is the Duke of York's Master of Horse so frequently in his company." 

 

If they were acquainted, or perhaps even if they were not, Beverley would suggest they all go for a ride. 

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The small talk involving Prince Rupert could go on for some time as they both appeared to be in agreement about his qualities and positions. Such feelings would be expected from an aid and a family friend of the man. Mountjoy thought it sensible for a young man to become a protégée of such a man for indeed Rupert had been a kind of mentor to him. Perhaps the old prince was becoming a bit too set in his ways but his ideas of honor and loyalty were traits worthy of emulation in any age. 

He also was in complete understanding regarding the administrative tasks that needed to be done. Gentlemen such as they were only under such obligation as they chose to impose upon themselves but it was the mark of a worthy gentleman that they chose to obligate themselves for there was honor in a task done well and it was such gentlemen who truly made the government function. He did find amusement in Beverly’s analysis that the fewer people who read a correspondence the better. He chuckled.

“Is that so? We in the legal profession have an opposite view on that matter. We want what we write to be read and circulated amongst as many persons as possible. That is perhaps why we use so many words in our briefs… which are anything but. We need to be precise and eliminate any uncertainty in our words so we generally say the same thing several different ways. And for reading…to keep abreast of things we must read prodigious amounts.” He leaned back and cast his gaze over the study. “if I may offer you a bit of advice so as not to wear out your eyes, if you can choose a spot near a good window to do your reading. The light will keep you from having to squint.”

Mountjoy was not that much older than Beverly but sometimes he felt like he was much older. His drive and ambition allowed him to become one of the youngest Solicitors General there have ever been and likely he would be a young Attorney General but that success did come at a price for he did have to leave his youthful proclivities behind.

His eyes lit up at the mention of riding not just because of the subject but because of the companion. ‘Is it Admiral Legge you speak of? I know him socially but can not claim to be intimate. I do say that I know more of his father Colonel Legge for he and my Grandfather served in the same command. In fact his grandfather and my great-great Grandfather were kinsmen and served together in Ireland under Queen Elizabeth.” He did not go into further detail of the relationship as his great great grandfather was not married to his great great Grandmother at the time. “You should ask the Prince about Colonel Legge as my Grandfather told me several stories about the good Colonel’s penchant for being captured.”

“I suppose it is only natural that being a Navy man and with the preparations being made against the French that Sir George is spending more time with the Prince.” He got to thinking and although he had his duties as Solicitor General and The Queen’s master of Horse to occupy him he could not but offer his services to King and Country. “You know I come from old seafaring stock. My ancestor was Admiral of William the Bastard’s fleet when he set foot ashore at Hastings and I myself am no stranger to action on the high seas. Several years ago when I was sailing to Spain on a diplomatic mission for His Majesty our ship was attacked by pirates and I was instrumental in fighting them off. In fact the Captain was so impressed by my abilities he entrusted to me the very important task of going below to ensure that the powder magazine did not spring a leak.”

“I trust that His Highness knows that if he is ever in need in regards to service to the Navy or The Crown he has but to ask and I am at his service.” It was perhaps inevitable that poor Beverly could not get through a single meeting without some kind of petition but at least Mountjoy was not pushy or indeed a serious contender but as he had always fancied himself a natural sailor he felt is was the gentlemanly thing to offer in case they were in need of an Admiral or two. Thankfully Charles did not belabor the point and was quite content to continue speaking about horses.

“Being but newly returned I have yet to partake in any social engagements other than brief calls to announce my return but I am please to learn that there are to be some equestrian events on the horizon. Dear old Roland would love to stretch his legs and I have always found such events agreeable. Is Lord Langdon still active? When it come to mounted sport he was always the man to beat.”

Mountjoy appeared to be sufficiently acquainted and agreeable in giving every indication that he would find an invitation to go riding acceptable. The only danger would be that if a pleasant time was had they ran the risk of being invited to go hinting for to Mountjoy the only thing better than riding was riding and chasing some woodland creature.     

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Windows were at quite a premium at Whitehall, but Beverley smiled at the advice nonetheless. 

 

"I cannot say my own apartment here has one," he replied, rather honestly. It would be somewhat silly to hide it if Mountjoy ever sought him out there. Not to mention considering his father was yet alive and part of the Privy Council, it was not likely Beverley would be getting any windows anytime soon, it was rather remarkable he had his own rooms at all. 

 

"Yes, the same, he was given a baronetcy last year, I believe," Beverley said. "He has quite a numerous list of positions, many not naval, but a number applicable to the war, yes." He had command of the Ordnance regiment and was Governor of Portsmouth, one of their largest ports, beyond his Naval positions. "Ah, yes, I have heard some, but I never thought the gentleman would make a very good lady!" he chuckled. "So I am not sure how such a disguise fooled anyone of intelligence!" The late Colonel was a thick man and such a rotund physique was not likely to develop out of a man who was ever lean. He would have made quite an ugly woman. 

 

"Now, Sir George could have pulled off such a feat," Beverley added. He was a cousin of Buckingham and had that pretty-featured and youthful look that could have made a half-decent woman. "But I beg you not to tell him that I said so." 

 

The story of the attack by pirates was quite the tale, and Beverley's eyes widened with the excitement of it. He had barely traveled, for drownings weren't necessarily uncommon and his constitution in his youth had been rather questionable - it had never seemed worth the risk. That and Beverley's incident at Oxford insured his lord father was not sending him anywhere more fantastic that a very remote area of Ireland alone. 

 

"I confess, I have never seen any action of any kind and nor am like to, but I am more than ready should the opportunity present, last son or not." He smiled, "But we all have our uses and duties, Lord Mountjoy, and my master requires me as much as their Majesties require you in our particular services, so here we are."  He gave a facial shrug with his cheek. 

 

"Ahh, but of course he is, though I regret to inform you Lord Newcastle and I beat him last at Brighton, erm, so he is likely chomping at the bit to blast the competition," Beverley said, with a pleased little grin. He was a modest sort and generally not the man most people noticed, so whenever something did happen in his favor, it was noteworthy thing to him. "I have not seen him lately, but he is oft in the company of ladies." 

 

"I am sure Sir George and I will head out again soon if you wish to join us? I can also invite Lord Langdon, to be sure. If he can drag himself away from his, erm, admirers."

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He smiled when Beverly admitted his room did not have a window, most did not. “Yet lodgings in the palace, sans window or not, is quite an achievement and nothing to be scoffed at. Although my position as Solicitor General necessitates an office in the palace in order to conduct the Kings business it is not of such significance as to bestow personal lodgings in such an august building. Thus I am reduced to utter penury by having to trek all the way to the wilds of St. James Square when I wish to lay my head upon my pillow. It does not have the prestige of the Palace but it gives me windows aplenty and… apart from an infestation of peacocks, relative quiet. I am confidant that in time you will have risen to such importance that appropriate fenestration will be your due. ” 

 

To be precise Mountjoy also had chambers in the Palace near the Queen but he did not mention them as they were due to his wife’s position and he did not wish to seem pretentious and as his wife was so often in attendance to the Queen he did not tend to use them much. He wondered briefly if he would be using them at all this season. But he was inordinately proud of his office and the fine window within. Of all his accomplishments at court he viewed the acquisition a coveted window on par with achieving his marquisate.

 

“That is the sprit!” he said when the young aid expressed his willingness to serve and see action. Rapping his knuckles on the table for emphasis “Spoken like a true Englishmen. His Majesty has reigned over a rather peaceful and prosperous realm so one can hardly be blamed for not having the opportunity to storm a French redoubt.”

 

Mountjoy had not seen any real action himself apart from the aforementioned naval skirmish which, if unembellished, consisted of the privateer turning tail and running as soon as they let off a cannon shot and the time he and the local bailiffs quelled a near riot when a village cricket match got out of hand (as they often are wont to do). “Your willingness does you credit but as you mentioned service and laurels do not always come from the battlefield. A sharp and steady mind in administration is as needed as glory on the battlefield… perhaps more so. You do the Prince a great service and I wish you joy in it for a Fleet runs on paper as much as canvas sails and ink can be as valuable as gunpowder.” He looked at the stack on Beverly’s desk; it was perhaps as tall as the one on his. War or no lawyers were always kept busy.

 

Shifting in his seat he crossed his legs. To the proper Mountjoy it was a sign that he was comfortable and enjoying his company. His eyes flickered with amusement as they reminisced about the adventures of the Legge clan and the run at Brighton. He waited for Beverly to launch into a story about the sport at Brighton, for it was a perfect opportunity to do so, but the young officer chose not to and gave but a brief explanation of his exploits. A bark of laughter was emitted when he was told that Langdon was bested. He bore no animosity toward the Major merely considering it good competition. “Did you now? Good show, you must be quite the accomplished horseman to win such a victory! I look forward to seeing you at the next Rout.  Not that I would give you any serious competition for my bent tends to the hunting but the chase does require some measure of proficiency on horseback so I would at least give you a run for your money.” For a denizen of Whitehall Lord Beverly was refreshingly modest and unassuming.

 

“Major Langdon has always been rather generous with his associations, which is not all that surprising as he does cut quite a dashing figure in his uniform. It is a wonder, since you yourself also have the right to wear a dashing uniform, that you do not take the opportunity to wear it whenever you can. It would be sure to make an impression on the ladies. But, I suppose Lady Beverly might have an opinion about that.” He added offering a slight jest for he was in no position to offer serious opinions on marital relationships.

 

“I would be happy to join you and Sir George for a ride.” He said to the offer to join the pair for a ride. “I feel it is beneficial to get out in the fresh air at least once a day and find a little gallop to be more invigorating than a stroll down Pall Mall. St. James Park is pleasant enough but it is difficult to find a place to really stretch one’s horses’ legs so near to London. I have been improving my park in Epping with a deer chase and trails throughout the woods. There are also water meadows if one is inclined to fowling. I keep a pack of dogs but no hawks. Perhaps I should remedy that.” He mused thinking of yet another project for his retreat. The King, partly in recognition for services rendered and to raise money sold his the rights to the forest of Epping and he was determined to make it into one of the best hunting parks in the land. “It is but 10 miles from London so one could leave in the afternoon, spend the day hunting and riding, have a quiet nights rest and be back in the City the next morning. I would like to go sometime after Easter if I am able. I do not know if the Queen can spare the Margravina but if not a lads trip can be made. I doubt the Major would be interested due to the lack of the fairer sex but perhaps you and the Admiral would be so inclined.” He had not had the opportunity to use his retreat much so was always generous with his offers when he had the chance.

    

“As for our next riding session perhaps to entice Major Langdon we can convince Sir George to take up a disguise to see if his figure is still svelte enough to make a comely woman?” He chuckled at his joke thinking the thought of the Admiral in feminine attire humorous.

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Beverley grinned and replied, "I think it has much to do with the fact that my master, the Prince, does not ask for much, has rather modest lodgings himself, and finds he needs me more accessible than my lord father's on Pall Mall especially because of the talk of war." Then he tilted his head to the side and added, "And because Lord Brooke has no interest in taking up any space in the palace." 

 

His father preferred his quiet and privacy, and felt his prowess and riches were perfectly showcased without it. Old Cavaliers had that benefit. There were not  many of them left alive, and pretty much everyone knew who they were. 

 

The viscount nodded along with Mountjoy's feelings on the war. He was quite the congenial fellow. 

 

"I suppose I should be extremely happy I do not seem to be very expendable!" Beverley replied. "But a good strategist, even from afar, can have its own honours and recognition without needing to sacrifice life and limb, as you say. There is a certain element of the short game, erm, over the long game, and the Saint-Legers are known for the long game. Winning a glorious battle gains...well...quick recognition, but I have the benefit of knowing every single action that anyone takes and why, not to mention how it all came about from His Majesty on down. There is no man more experienced in all manners of warfare from here and all over the continent to learn from than the Prince. Anyone can lead a battle, any young man of any decent rank or name, but not anyone can direct things on any large scheme." 

 

Very few people might know him now, but in the grand way of things, that made very little difference. His time would come. He was only twenty-three.

 

"Lord Newcastle won, but I was close on him, and Lord Langdon came through after us," Beverley said. "Many horses do not like water or the sound of waves." Then he added, "And sand is not a, erm, great substrate for running either. I practiced much beforehand, and my horse is used to water and had just been on the beach when I had to go to Dover with the Prince."

 

Mountjoy might find a conversation with Beverley far more difficult if he strayed away from topics to do with war and activities done from horseback, for he was not actually the best conversationalist. It just so happened that Lord Mountjoy touched on his two most favoured and practiced topics of conversation.

 

"A lads trip would not put me off in the very least. It is likely doubtful we can take away too many of Her Majesty's ladies as it is, my lord. That would be, erm, cruel. For my lady wife has also joined her household, when we broke after Christmastide." And the married ones who had children and ones that also were with child were something of a premium too, from his understanding. 

 

"I think it might be possible to convince Sir George of the amusement of such a lark," Beverley joked. "Though the ride might be made more difficult for him thereby." 

 

When he stopped chuckling he added, "Lord Langdon has to get tired of ladies at some point, erm, one would think. They can be quite...well...demanding and confusing."

 

 

 

 

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“Most men of Cumberland’s accomplishments have earned the right of a quiet and comfortable existence in their later years but Cumberland is not most men.” He recalled that Lord Brook was much older than his son, more of an age of Mountjoy’s grandfather even though Beverly was a good ten years Charles’ junior. “And Pall Mall is not so very far away if one wishes to bestir themselves from their fire and venture to court if one feels the need so your father has the best of both worlds.” Like Lord Brook, after the restoration his Grandfather felt his work was done and retired to private life to live out his remaining years.

To Mountjoy there were basically two types of ambitious courtiers, those that wanted to aggrandize the Realm and those that wanted to aggrandize themselves. Riches and recognition were due to both but he had always felt that it was nobler to serve the State and take what was left than to first take and leave the remains to the State. Such men as the former might not always be the wealthiest or most powerful men in the land but in the long run they were the backbone and strength of the realm. From the views expressed he assumed Beverly was one that would give more than they took and he felt that perhaps they might be able to work together in the future. The young man already had a powerful patron and apparent ability so it was only a matter of time before he made his own way.

Charles did not perceive any deficiency in Robert’s conversation for war and horses were apt topics for most gentlemen. True he had discovered that Beverly was not overly fond of hunting, a deficiency to be sure but one he was all to willing to remedy in the young gentleman if given a chance, but broader subjects would come with time and he had already mastered the art, conscious or not, of name dropping. But for now horses and the race were sufficient to provide pleasant discourse. He nodded along as Beverly described the challenges of a difficult course.

“Chalk downs such as there are in Epsom or Newmarket make for a fast track and a good show for spectators but I have always found more uneven ground such as heaths or woodlands to be more challenging for the rider. I suppose sand and beaches provide the same type of challenge.” He replied to Beverly’s exposition and naturally provided one of his own. “When I was a younger boy in my teens I had a Dales pony that I called Gringolet because of his ears. He was barely 14 hands tall and was not very fast but was sturdy, loved soggy ground and could trot through riverbeds and soggy moors for hours without tiring. I would often go fowling with him to bring back ducks for the pot and he had such a gentle and steady gate that I could reliably fire from ponyback at birds in the wing. He was a gentle creature but would always give a little buck when I shot from the saddle.” He smiled at the memory of his carefree childhood. “He is 26 now and still spry although he is not ridden. When I go back home he is content to follow me around like a dog when I go for walks.” He bent forward and conspiratorially added as if revealing a great secret. “I once, during a farce thunderstorm, brought him up into my bedroom so he would not be scared. The Housekeeper could not fathom what caused the scuffmarks on her polished floors!” He concluded laughing.

As they discussed the possibility of a short little get away to the forest, something that Beverly seemed to be in favor of, an unexpected kernel of knowledge was introduced. Mountjoy’s eyebrows shot up as he was informed that Lady Beverly had been appointed a Lady in Waiting to her Majesty. Why did he not know that? As the Queen, before she became the Queen, had resided with the Mountjoy’s in Saxony House and he had been one of the staunchest supporters of her candidacy to become Queen, he had an almost paternal concern in her wellbeing and interests. True he was away and the Margravina was perfectly capable of organizing the Queen’s affairs he still felt overlooked.

“I was not aware Lady Beverly was placed in the service of Her Majesty. Additional congratulations are due My Lord. That is yet another commonality between us. Once Her Majesty has safely delivered and recovered enough to become more active I hope to be of greater service to her. Perhaps I could persuade the King to add some sturdy but gentle ponies into the Royal Mews in anticipation of the Princelings that are sure to come? Ha, but the King is a generous man and a proud father so I doubt he would need any prodding from me.”

As their conversation progressed an idea began to form in his mind. It perhaps was premature for he could not be certain of the outcome but Lord Brook came from a respectable and established family with a history of supporting the Monarchy. His son seemed to have a good head on his shoulders and to be trustworthy as evidenced by the trust shown him by Prince Rupert. The Prince might have been a capricious youth once upon a time but had left that behind and was not known for suffering incompetents or fools in his service. He became more serious.

“You have a practical way of putting things my good sir. You have an air of competence and maturity that is worthy of someone who has graduated from Oxford.” That might not sound overmuch like praise but for Mountjoy, a proud alumni, it was quite the compliment. “Have you ever thought of becoming more political? I do hope and prey that Lord Brook is with us for some time yet and you are not obliged to prematurely succeed to your birthright and your father’s seat in the Lords but there is always the Commons… if you can stand the company…” He smiled at the aside of a good natured jibe at the opposite house. He then paused for a moment as he thought before deciding it would be a good risk. “There is also an option, if Lord Brook would be amenable, of petitioning for a writ of acceleration that would allow you a seat in the Lords In dextera tua as the Viscount Beverly.” He cocked his head and added “I could perhaps assist with that if you are interested.”

He looked at Lord Beverly to see what effect his statement had on the gentleman.

The idea was not unheard of and indeed not all that uncommon. He was young true but he already held a position of responsibility and his family had influence and patronage. Rupert’s support would be crucial but that would likely not be an issue as it would almost guarantee the Court Party another vote. The deciding issue would be if Beverly himself wanted such. 

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In some ways Beverley rather wished his father would retire. It was his lack of retirement and Beverley's subsequent lack of independence that brought about their most frequent clashes. His father simply had no desire to live at the palace. 

 

Beverley laughed at the story of Lord Mountjoy's mount of younger years. Beverley was still riding the mount he trained in his teen years, but he did not feel the need to point out his much younger age. "Had I done anything so brazen as to bring Fleet inside in a storm, I would not have been able to ride for some days afterward." Whether that was from being forbidden to ride or from a sore backside was left for Lord Mountjoy to guess. 

 

"It is a great honour, thank you, though my lady wife had, erm, piqued the interest of Her Majesty much on her own, for when she spent time between seasons at Windsor, I was there with the Prince and my lady wife accompanied me." They were of a similar age as he understood it. 

 

When Mountjoy put forth his next observations, Beverley's eyebrow rose. More political? 

 

And then the words that he had thought often enough himself. "I do appreciate the sentiment, my lord."

 

He pursed his lips, and then he sighed. 

 

"There is little hope my lord father would put that forth on my suggestion alone, nor give his permission for it either." Beverley had given it an extreme amount of thought. "I have oft thought that the only way for such a thing to happen would be for Cumberland to suggest it to him or directly to His Majesty. That has, thus far, been the only successful methodology in manipulating my lord father's will in the very least. It may yet come to be so, for as things stand I run about to secure our votes but cannot give one anywhere myself. It does make little sense." The question was more how to bring up such a thing to his master...there was a reason he had not done so yet. He did not yet have a good answer. "If it were done by other means, erm, I fear it would place much strain between my lord father and I, and I...don't wish to be the engineer of much unpleasantness."

 

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Their stories of horses and things were engaging enough and provided pleasant banter and Beverly’s explanation of how his wife came to be in the Queen’s service was enlightening but he was glad to see that his suggestion, his political suggestion, received due consideration from the younger man. Unfortunately that consideration resulted in a declination of his suggestion. He nodded as Beverly explained that his father would not likely be in favor of such a proposition thus reducing any chance at success significantly.

“I see.” Replied Mountjoy. “Well… I would not wish to be the cause of any familial unpleasantness and it would not be prudent to proceed with such a plan without your Father’s approval so I suppose we shall all have to wait to see what the future holds.”

Charles could always broach the subject to Cumberland or apply some discrete pressure on Lord Brook. He pocked that bit of information for possible action in the future.

He slapped his hands upon his thighs to punctuate that the subject had been settled and proceeded to say his goodbyes as he stood to take his leave.

“I thank you for providing a pleasant interlude to the mundane task of delivering some letters and will look forward to our ride but for now my breakfast is undoubtedly getting cold at Saxony House and my cook is undoubtedly getting hot at my delay so it is well time I allow you to return to your work and bid you a good morning and pleasant day.”

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