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A Mother's Gift


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Baptist May was a busy man collecting and paying royal debts, as well as engaging in creative fundraising.  A calendar of minor meetings was pushed aside to accommodate the Duchess of Norfolk.  She was the Duke's second wife and former mistress. Though many showed her little respect, the Norfolk lineage was proud and powerful.

"Your Grace, please have a seat.  May I offer you mulled wine?  I am honored you wish to see me."

"No thank you Master May.  I am here on business rather than pleasure."

"I suspected as much." May admitted as he pretended to not know why she was here.

"I'll not bandy words sir.  I am here on behalf of the Howard family and my son George."  She smoothed her expensive skirts as she launched into her speech.  "George is the natural son of the Duke and me.  The Duke, my husband, is willing to give George one of our many estates and we would like him to gain a title with it.  I was thinking an earl but the Duke indicated that a barony would be a good first step."

May played well the ignorance card for a time.  "Have you spoken to Finch?  He is the Royal Chancellor and the one who could pass legal judgement on it."

"I have consulted the Chamberlain and the Church.  They have each expressed understanding and have vowed to not have it within their power to accomplish anything without the King's blessing.  That is why I am here sir.  April 23rd is rapidly approaching and I know well that the King has used St. George's Day or his own birthday in May to grant new titles.  Never has there been a son of England more deserving of a title from His Majesty.  I am no ninny sir.  I know there is a cost and we are prepared to pay it.  You sir are the man to see.  I have yet to negotiate the proper ... gratuity to the Privy Purse.  You have but to name it."

"I am flattered that you think me so important your Grace.  I am but a simple adviser to the King  and help him achieve his financial goals.  This will be very difficult and complicated you see.  There is little time and these things do take time.  It could take years, even if it were possible."

"Cut to the quick sir," she bade him.  "The price?"

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