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The Delicacies of a Lady

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“There are so many rules on how to behave it is a wonder we can keep them all straight but it is an obligation of our class so we do what we must.” Mountjoy was a great proponent of noblesse oblige and the adherence to class. “My father died when I was very young so much was expected of me at a young age so I had to apply myself for the sake of my family. Still it was an education when I joined the Court. I fortunately could rely on a few family friends who provided guidiance. I believe the Duke of Buckingham fulfills that role for you. His Grace was kind enough to me in his own measure when I made my entry into society even if our familial ties are very tenuous.”

Right before they reached the rooms devoted to the Queen they took a small side corridor and Mountjoy led him to a nondescript door which he opened. The door led to a central receiving room with a small dining alcove. “The Margravina’s chambers are through that door and mine are through these.” He explained as he led him to his chambers. The chambers were not grand but they were spacious and comfortable, something of a rarity at Court where space was always at a premium. “The Margravina and I owe this perk to the munificence of the Queen who finds it convenient to have her Mistress of the Robes close at hand. I do not tend to stay here very often as I enjoy Saxony House so I wish to take the opportunity to send a note to my man to attend me here and bring some accoutrements… most notably some of my swords and hunting knives which I, for obvious reasons, do not keep at the palace.”

He sat down at a desk and quickly drafted a letter to his servant. “If you wish you may deposit your package in that trunk yonder it should be safe enough and you will be able to send it out or have it tested in private. As these quarters are near by the Queen’s I suggest we make them our home port as you sailors say. If our task wears on we may be spending some odd hours and it would be convenient to have a private place nearby where we can rest yet still be close at hand. I will instruct the servants that you are to have full access but I do insist that the Margravina’s chambers remain sacrosanct.” He quickly finished his missive and stood. “Would you like to include an addendum to be carried to your man?” He naturally assumed that Kirke would have a man of his own.  

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Francis' reflections on Lord Mountjoy's words were deeper than what the words themselves should have inspired. And he could comment on none of it. He had not known his father at all, but he had risen to the task of seeing to his mother's future in his life before court and at sea, and she was surely well-cared for now considering Kingston was actually hers in her own right. It was still quite a victory.


He relied instead on the courtly skill of praising one's family patriarch with appropriate reverence. It was honestly felt though not what he had been thinking at all.


"Indeed, His Grace is a most generous benefactor, though I think he should have liked to start the process a bit earlier." He yet had no idea that Mountjoy thought him as young as he did. 


"Do not fret, my lord, I shall remember what door I am and am not to be using." He gave a nod at both doors and said this with a serious sort of nod, but he was also clearly teasing.


Francis did not look about too conspicuously as they entered, but it was very impressive to have such space in the palace. He did not have the entitlement to feel jealousy though many likely would have. His former place on Piccadilly could probably fit into his rooms at Buckingham's, and that was grand enough for him.


He deposited the little box in the chest for safe-keeping, until they could arrange for its safety to be tested. 


"Your foresight is commendable," he agreed. "A very necessary base of operations, and I have the utmost respect for a lady's privacy." And he was more frightened of Lady Mountjoy that he was of Lord Mountjoy. Perhaps that might have been different if he had ever seen Mountjoy on a hunting trip!


"A note was sent to the Duke's earlier that I would be on duty at the palace unexpectedly, so my man will know where to find me. His Grace was with His Majesty earlier this morning too, so anyone that needs to know in his household knows I shan't be returning until further notice. I am sure a flurry of pages were needed to cancel my appointments." Lord Mountjoy was a most detailed gentleman and clearly well-suited to his positions!

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Although Mountjoy had some niggling questions about Francis’s position, for he was a neat man who liked things tidy and took satisfaction in his knowledge of the lineage and precedence of the landed families and Kirke’s lineage and precedence did not fit into as neat and tidy a box as his sugary confection, his aim was not interrogation but simple conversation. Thus he did not press the matter when Francis did not elaborate upon his own family but that was not out of the ordinary for there could be many innocent reasons not to do so. But his following comment again was a bit incongruous to someone used to divine someone’s motives and uncover facts. That Buckingham would ‘have liked to start the process younger’ was not the normal modus operandi of a calculating man who was not known for his largesse unless it was in his own self interest. This was just another small thing that seemed to indicate that things were not as they appeared to be.


Charles inclination was to be trusting in the honor of those of his class but the recent events made him suspicious and as many surmised he was a most detailed gentleman so could not help but speculate that anyone capable of plotting to assassinate the Royal Family would be capable of playing a deep game and having an agent on the inside who is trusted would be a deep game indeed. His initial reaction to this theory was that it was fancifully conspiratorial but that there was something not as it seemed was becoming more and more observable for Charles liked to put everyone into tidy little boxes that explained their position. Lord Beverly was the heir to the Earl of Brook, a military man and of an administrative bent so it was logical that he was an aid to Prince Rupert. George Hardwick was a new man but very wealthy and money could open many doors, Henry Grey was from an illustrious family and that was enough for Blount, Whitehurst was an accomplished soldier with a knack for arresting people and Louis Killington an ambitious man who married well. The situation of all these prominent men could be easily justified but such was not quite the case with Kirke. To be sure he was of noble stock via his mother but something was amiss, not something large or something sinister but something nonetheless that Blount could not put his finger on and Blount was nothing if not an orderly through man who liked everything account for nice and tidy. But such suspicions were minor given their task so even though Kingston’s reference to his Mother brought up yet another mental question in Blount’s mind he shuffled such thoughts from the forefront and got back to the issue at hand. he was not out to entrap Kingston but those of a legal mind had a way of retaining and storing little facts to be mulled over and used later.

“Capitol” he said as Kirke explained he had already made arrangements to free himself for their assignment and smiled at his tact. “Yes the privacy and reputation of a Lady is something that should always be respected. And, we must not forget that our aim is to be as discrete as possible and a gentleman offering to share his chamber with a fellow gentleman after a long night of cards is less prone to notice than when a Lady is involved.” He chuckled himself. “Although I am sure you would as much discretion in the latter as you would the former.” Along with his supposition of Kingston’s youth was that he, with such looks, must also be a womanizer.

He looked around and seeing everything in order opened the door and called for a servant to deliver the message. “Shall we make our way to the Queen’s Presence Room?”



[OOC: Should we move this to a continuation thread?]  

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It was probably something of a miracle that nobody had questioned Francis directly about any number of possible suspicions, for Lord Mountjoy's observations were not wholly wrong. Francis was no doubt a gentleman and possessed that pretty sort of countenance and movement that blended him very well with those of noble birth, but Kirke was no great noble name. His mother was first cousin once removed to Buckingham on her mother's side. Her father had been close to both Kings and Prince Rupert, but that did not explain Francis' sudden rise. 


It was likely the King's favour and Buckingham's reputation for being a very bad enemy that kept the sleuths of court from speculating many different things.


After all, His Majesty did not oft give ladies titles in their own right other than those who had been a prominent mistress and given him children. Francis was sure some had suspected that he was the King's child...like many suspected of Herbert and Ashburnham...but Francis surely did not act as if that was the case. He might understand when he could be more frank or witty with his royal master, but he was also very reverential. And he was anything but dark-colored! He had Buckingham's blue eyes, height, and the same blond ringlets from his younger years. Francis bore far more Villiers looks, but so did his lady mother and his mother's younger brother, Sir George Legge. Few were old enough to remember what Buckingham's younger brother looked like, but Francis had his father's facial features and Buckingham's hair; his father had been dark-haired. At any rate, Francis had come to terms with the idea that quite a few people probably thought he was Buckingham's for his similar looks and the attention that he received. It did not much matter what people thought. 


It simply made it difficult to comment much on fathers.


"I value a lady's honour as much as her privacy, my lord. Discretion may not have a place on a ship but it does with ladies...come to think of it, that is why ladies are not considered good luck upon them." He smiled congenially. "And any enterprising and intelligent young gentleman should learn that it is better to leave maidens and married ladies be; such is not the battlefield on which I would hasten to leave my life." He then nodded and said, "I would rather save it for the battlefield where I impale a traitor with a boar spear. Then I would die happy."


He gave a slight bow of assent. "Yes, let us settle in for our long night and see what the situation is. Since Her Majesty left the service early not very long ago, perhaps she will be resting and we might have opportunity to speak to your lady wife."


(OOC - Fine by me!)

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“Interesting. I have heard that woman are considered unlucky aboard ships but always thought it strange considering so many ships have scantily clad women carved upon their bows.” He hoped he would impress Kirke with his display of nautical knowledge by knowing the proper naval term for the pointy end of the boat. “A most astute observation on the fair sex My Lord. I myself have learned to be quite circumspect in such situations for they are subtitle and quick to anger.”

Aside from the motivations of women, who could be baffling, alluring and frightening at the same time, he considered himself he considered himself an astute judge of character but he did suffer from the prejudices’ of his class and the blindness of moral correctness. Thus he was fully prepared to subscribe intrigues and machinations to Kirke but he had not thought for one minute (yet) to ascribe the much more common motive of bastardage. In fact if he did so he would reason that such would be a perfectly logical explanation for the incongruous rise of the seraphic Kingston. But, like many intelligent people, he could be exceedingly stupid at times.

He offered Kirke the precedence of a guest to proceed first as they made their way to the Queen’s Presence Chamber to begin their task in earnest.   



[Continued in "Knaves and Queens"]

Edited by Charles Blount

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