Jump to content

JOIN OUR GAME!

Your Stories Await Telling

Charles Blount

Knaves and Queens: The Queen's Apartments, April 11, Late into the Evening

Recommended Posts

He was in agreement with Kingston’s views on the need for male gallantry as well as his view on fashion accessories “I echo the Duke’s sentiment’s on walking sticks for a gentleman should have several from which to choose as the fancy takes him.” As the habit of the nobility to wear swords as a symbol of distinction was declining and the habit of carrying a walking stick increasing likely to preserve the class distinction. “As for your earring it more suits a courtier of Elizabeth but I have been told that gold earrings are popular amongst sailors so if they perish in battle, they have the funds to be buried properly. Is that so? As a seafaring man I suppose fashion allows you your eccentricity.”

 

He smiled at Kingston’s repost and his reply was indeed gentle for although he appreciated cutting banter and sarcastic wit, he viewed the blatant lobbing of insults at one another a tad vulgar for his tastes and best left to the halls of Parliament. “I concede the field to your Lordship in this matter for I cannot gainsay your position.”

 

It appeared that his elocution on the deeper nuances of love was not appreciated by the Duchess who appeared to prefer more simple banter. It was true that Charles spent most of his time around the more erudite and loquacious members of Court and had difficulty with his interactions with the more libertine faction. “I was attempting to be frivolous Duchess. It was but an expression of appreciation for a pleasant visage whether that be masculine or feminine.”  He was able to successfully banter with Kingston but the interaction between him and the Duchess was not going as smooth.

 

“I prey my dear Duchess, please keep your ruby. If I am fortunate enough to win the pistols the King has provided that will be my keepsake and if not then the memory of this evening will suffice. I would also wish to preserve my skin from being perforated except for the preservation of my honor or in service to the Crown… and besides the Margravina might take it amiss if I return with a finer piece of jewelry than she has.”

 

He drew two cards and bid a tick of diamonds.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Francis raised an eyebrow as Lord Mountjoy suggested that the rumor was that the earring was to ensure a proper burial as a sailor. He smiled and shook his head in the negative, perusing his cards for just a moment. He wondered if such stories were but the tamer ones, for it had seemed most courtiers predisposed to see sailors as an uncouth and vicious lot. 

 

"There are many reasons for an earring, my lord, but none that I have ever heard only or specifically to ensure a proper burial. Sailors are a superstitious and, generally, religious lot; burial of a crew member is a serious affair and it oft happens that such occurs at sea. Most sailors I have met do not fancy their body being pickled in a barrel and transported home...and some find a dead body on ship bad luck." He did not hesitate in this description, though he would not usually around lady, because he knew that the duchess could surely handle it. She had, he knew, been the one to whom his father's mutilated body had been floated down the Thames to for burial. The Thames was not an ocean, though, and did not require any particular measures other than covering the body, but it was gruesome none-the-less. "They are superstitious enough that some believe you cannot drown with an earring, many sailors cannot even swim, or that it cures seasickness."

 

"And you are correct that earrings can be used as currency, but it is more oft that a man thinks of being shipwrecked alive and needing to book passage home than of his dead body needing buried from some noble foreign stranger. It can also be something of value to be sent home to his family or bequeath to a friend on the ship. Coin rolls, falls, and can get washed away in a shoal, but an earring is lock fast to you."

 

As to their game of insults, it was clear the game was not equally enjoyed by all of their party.

 

"The wit involved in trading barbs is perhaps more barbaric than witty or entertaining when in your company, Lord Mountjoy, and there is certainly no glory in taking such a field. If I might lighten the mood with a story of the earrings of sailors instead? We Villiers can insult each other happily at another time, and the duchess can trounce me whether it is in insults, poetics, propriety, or politics, I would wager," he added, with an boyish laugh and a smile to the lady. He was, like his father before him, quite inclined to being the peacemaker; a gentlemen who wished everyone to feel amicable.

 

The card game, however, continued. Francis paused to play his cards, knowing that he had a fair few hands to make up if he was going to beat Lord Mountjoy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Pah, you spoil my mischeif Lord Mountjoy," Mall halted from removing an earring to that aim, "For it was precisely complex conversation with your lady wife I thought to throw you in!" she laughed and winked towards Francis. 

How would the Marquis have explained coming home with an earring that belonged to the Dutchess! 

Lord Mountjoy won the next hand, which fitted in well with his confidance he'd win the pistols.

There was much truth in Kingstons insightful comment, and Mall was content to take the cue and abandon her play. But she'd draw the line at listening to tales of sailors earrings, "I suspect Lord Mountjoy would concur with me in a polite decline of your conversation topic Lord Kingston. Mmm... I would wonder instead at what is the intersection of our three diverse interests might be, there is the obvious of Her Majesty's protection of course...

"... In serious conversation I wonder what the future shall bring us, can we expect for instance, to meet here again tomorrow night I wonder?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

“Well I would certainly not gainsay your knowledge for you know sailors and their customs much better than I.” He said when Kirke disputed his claim.  “The story was told to me by an old salt when I was sailing as part of the embassy to Portugal a few years back. He was quite a character. As for being a superstitious lot I can certainly agree for that very same sailor showed me an image of a pig tattooed on the soles of his feet which would, he claimed, save him from drowning for, he said, God made pigs so they cannot swim so if he ever fell overboard God would see the pig in distress and take pity on the poor creature and intervene to see it safely to land.* He also sold me a mirror that once belonged to a mermaid that he came upon when sailing near the Canaries. Other than that one trip my seafaring has been limited to sailing to and from the continent and in and about the Greek islands.” What Kingston said about using earrings as currency made more sense and was likely closer to the truth but he thought his interpretation made for a better anecdote at dinner parties. 

 

The Francis’s’, both the Duchess and the Baron, perceived that the verbal jousting was not to his liking and with good manners abated their sport. He offered a clarification to show that there was no offence. “My Uncle Mountjoy… his Christian name was Mountjoy but he was the Earl of Newport…” He clarified to avoid confusion. “…married a Villiers and from what I recall of her, for I only knew her when I was young, was of a kindly and sociable disposition. Like the best of a well-bread and established family, she did not need to put on airs to make herself important and could banter without malice or affront. My Uncle on my mother’s side was not so illustrious or self-assured and in such banter he would express pettiness and spite therefore I have developed a reluctance to such a practice unless it is under certain circumstances.” He made a gesture that his statement was what it was and they need not comment. Then so as not to belabor the point he changed the subject.

 

He did genuinely smile as the Duchess admitted that she sought to make mischief between he and the Margravina. “I make no claims of understanding women but I have received some hard-earned lessons about a particular woman. I am sure that if she objected to my bejeweled lobe nothing would be said for she is always gracious and supportive but she has the ability in silence to make her opinion more resolutely unambiguous than a fishwife yelling expletives across the street.”

 

It was very likely that aside from Ursula and Heneage Finch no one at Court had ever seen Mountjoy inarticulate but he did stop in embarrassment. “Um… that is to say that I am in no way comparing the Margravina… that is to say Lady Mountjoy, to a Fishwife of any description or disposition and wish to have my last statement stricken from the record.” The last bit was added unconsciously.             

 

The Duchess did Mountjoy a service by changing the subject to more official topics. “I would venture to say that there are quite a few areas of common interest between us that would only require time to uncover.” Replied Blount thinking that although they seemed to have differing temperaments they were still products of the same class and society. “If perchance you are enamored with peacocks I daresay that we would be able to have hours of stimulating conversation on that subject alone not to mention the subjects of literature, music, horses, fashion or politics. Of course, the recent happenings could make discussion of the later unpredictable.”

 

He though for a moment on the uncertainties of the future. “Ah… that is a deep and nuanced question that is not so nonchalantly answered when there is a King with no legitimate issue and a current heir disagreeable to the populace. We are tasked with another vigil for the morrow eve but the King gave no further commands. I trust after that, even though this specific service may no longer be required we will of our own volition continue to serve their Majesties and do whatever we can to protect them from harm. And then if the Lord is so kind to bestow the King with an heir our vigil will only have begun for the next King will need to grow up wise and strong.”      

 

 

 

 

*A true sailor’s superstition.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"It was going to be quite an amusing story, actually, but now you will both be spared it," he replied with good nature. 

 

"Indeed, I foresee the future includes me napping in a chair somewhere nearby enough to hear any commotion after Lord Feversham relieves us. And a repeat of this evening tomorrow evening. Lord Mountjoy and I will earn a reputation for cards, I think," he added with a snicker of amusement.

 

"His Majesty has in the general given me this self-same task since Windsor," Francis replied, as both knew, for Francis had already told that to Lord Mountjoy and the duchess had been at Windsor when the King had gathered those of trust to convey what was going on and that there were traitors to uncover, so there was no need to tell her. "I can imagine it is a different set of keeping eye on things once our prince is born, though I am no expert on babes." Which was to say that he very well might be released from his household go-between duties. 

 

"As to the future, I simply hope for some peace and prosperity," Francis added. A Protestant  heir would likely lessen the foreign influence of any inflammatory Papists whilst simultaneously making the French less of a threat to their own sovereignty. That much he understood. And it would give the Dutch less reason to meddle as well. The King and the country could use coin and no catastrophes like fires or disease or war for a few decades!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Tattoo or earring, there is naught that can save a sailor from drowning in the drink, which I dare say is where most these superstitions were invented."

Mountjoy will certainly fond of allocution, but while it was not the snappy sort of repartee she was most partial to, Mall began to appreciate the rhythm and understated humour there. Charles addition of his early experience with the former provided greater insight to his preference. She gave a nod, then was please none the less at his response on getting him into trouble with the Margavina. 

"Then I suppose I shall also," on the next topic, which pulled the duchess is eyes to look towards door to the Queen's inner apartments.  She was just as aware as anyone else of the importance of a child, an Heir. But the suggestions that playing a bodyguard into time definite was not met so stokicly by her.

"If history has taught us anything, it is the King's life that protects his children. But even our own Carolus Regis, who knows that better than anyone,  does not shy from enjoying the fullness of life. Perhaps I shall be proven wrong, but I do not see your future to be sentries gentleman." 

Meanwhile Francis comment on babies brought her eyes to fall on him silently. Hed unintentionally opened himself up for a tease, but that particular barb was simply not funny to her closest family members. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

“Well… as it is the practice to endow the Royal Heir with his own household, I would assume that shortly after the birth the child will be moved to a nearby palace where his needs, and his security, can be better looked after than they could if he stayed at Court so there would be no need for us to burden ourselves with that matter. My forefather the 4th Baron was the childhood Tutor to King Henry VII’s sons Arthur and Henry but he was a pupil of Erasmus and an uncommonly learned man… even for a Blount but I have no aspirations of following in his footsteps. Serving the current King, and Queen provides me occupation and honors enough. Also I, like Lord Kingston has confessed, also lack experience with babes. I have a daughter of but two years old but like the Royals have chosen to have her raised in the more salubrious climate of the country. No, I get my fill of childish behavior by observing Parliament.”

 

To the King’s protection of his family and the protection of his own amusements Blount added. “Indeed, you are correct that it is the King himself that secures his own and his family’s position and protection. His Majesty has a great lust for life and is a bon vivant par excellence but he does exhibit a certain reluctance when dealing with mundane or disagreeable issues. That is where people like us come in. To handle in his interest the matters that are beneath him thus freeing him for more lofty pursuits. That is at least how I view my service to the Crown for I have found that His Majesty is approached by so many who bring him problems and he is pleased when one is able to bring him solutions.” As Solicitor General it was his task to represent the King’s interests in the Law by executing his wishes and shielding his prerogatives from degradation and Blount tried to do the same whether it be politics or intrigue.

 

“The two of you know more than most the ramifications of strife and exile. The country as well I believe has had its fill of turmoil but they still may be stirred to imprudence. Let us hope that the Papists, the French and even the Dutch develop an aversion to water and leave our fair island to the peace and prosperity that it so richly deserves.” He nodded at Kingston in acknowledgement as the originator of that sentiment. He barked with gallows humor “HA! At least fire and disease are good old English catastrophes and we know how to deal with them without foreign entanglements!”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Are you calling me a drunk, my lady duchess?" the blond asked, in cheeky fashion, putting  a hand to his chest in offense as he blinked in dramatic innocence at his (secret) aunt. "And here I thought I might have risen to be your favoured sailor!"

 

Francis had some understanding of the household of such a prince, but he also had a rudimentary understanding of their royal master; whilst the King had many duties to attend to, and many pleasures as well, he bore a concern about his family too. 

 

Perhaps even a bit of an uncommon concern. 

 

The King had of yet to experience a legitimate heir, and if the populace and court at large felt the importance internally, the King felt such a dozen-fold. 

 

Whilst Francis was usually very quiet about his own thoughts, he did venture, "I do think His Majesty will have an uncommon concern over a legitimate child, and he is a rather doting royal relation in general, if I may say. I very much doubt we shall see such a child be further than a short day's ride from the King."  Indeed, Francis thought the King very likely to show uncommon involvement, and Francis had seen firsthand the King's concern for all his offspring, acknowledged and more secret, if one was to believe the clandestine gossip about more than simply Ashburnham or Herbert (or Stanley and many others). 

 

"And I pray no such vigils will  ever be necessary for our impending prince." He chuckled and added, "But as Lord Mountjoy alludes over my master the King's desire to avoid the displeasurable aspects of most things, I doubt it shall be he who persuades the prince to take his physic when needed!" As with any other displeasurable thing, the King would send an intermediary to deal with the difficult matters. Francis was well-enough aware that a good number of his younger gentlemen would be making that trip exceedingly often to give His Majesty peace of mind and as much involvement as was possible.

 

"I confess that I have missed most of the trials of our fair country aside from exile and the Republican experiment, for I was abroad during both recent English catastrophes." 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"I was not meaning you, and you know it!" Mall laughed to Francis' quip. 

Their serious conversation was interdispursed with touches of humour, all three punctuated a smile here and there belieing the gravity of the topic. But perhaps that was the Hallmark of the Merry Court, even of England herself. 

"Well Gentlemen," she stood as they came to a manner of consensus of the looming protective pride, closeness and care CR would raise his child with, "I ought now return to the ladies coterie. If you don't think me too premature, I shall congratulate Lord Mountjoy on his new arms." 

Charles was continuing his winning streak, though by the look the Duchess delivered Francis as she spoke indicated her challenge for him to prove her wrong. 

 

Ooc: after decorum Mall departs, feel free to wrap the thread at your leisure. :)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×