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Of Proper Requests for Spending the Nights | Friday the 16th – After Lunch

Henry Grey

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A small room for Lord Beverley, Steward of the Rooms, in which he kept stacks and stacks of papers, keeping careful logs of who came and parted, what rooms required cleaning, how much damage was done and thus repairs that needed to be made.


After having a light lunch while he worked on his correspondence, Henry returned to the Castle, this time by carriage. There was one person he needed to speak to, a Lord Beverley still unknown to him, the man who either could grant him permission to use the roof of the towers to setup his telescopes or, if he could not grant him the boon, definitely knew who could.

Lord Athenry had offered an introduction, but if it took too long, the moon would start to fill the night skies with light, and it would be more difficult to see the stars. So, hoping that the Welsh Lord would not take exception to Lord Grey using his name, he decided to expedite matters by introducing himself.

On an unrelated matter, Lord Grey had originally thought about sending Prince Ruppert a letter requesting a meeting to ask for use of the furnace, but since Baron Dundarg had said that it would go through Lord Beverley anyway, he decided to deliver it himself, along two bottles of Henry’s favourite apple brandy from Normandy, one for the German Prince, and one for Lord Beverley. Hopefully that would show proper respect to both, and they would agree to his requests.

So it was that Lord Grey found himself knocking at the door of the office of the Steward of Rooms. Knock. Knock-knock!

Edited by Henry Grey
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Beverley had hardly started at his work again before there was yet another courtier at his door. At least he supposed that was what the knock was, for his servants would just come in.


Perhaps it should not be publicized where to find him! At this rate, he'd be here into the evening.


Lord Grey was greeted by a clerk and asked for his name before he was allowed inside and announced to the young viscount seated behind the desk. "Lord Grey, my lord."


It was fortuitous that Beverley had read his own mail first, for he had received Athenry's note even if he had not had a chance yet to pen a reply. A written introduction was just as good as a formal, physical one to Beverley. He appreciated expediency considering his master valued that military sort of precision and German bluntness.


"Good afternoon, Lord Grey," he said pleasantly. If Athenry spoke well of him, and with such an old name, Beverley would treat with him well. "You would be the same Lord Grey of whom my friend Lord Athenry wrote me about?" 

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“Good afternoon, Lord Beverley”, Henry said as he bowed formally. The Baron was not as flowery in his manners as some other courtiers, but there was that reserved elegance of the old families in him. He then offloaded his cargo on the servant. “This bottle of apple brandy from Normandy is for Lord Beverley, and this other one, plus the letter are for His Grace Cumberland”. There was no need to give them to Beverley if there was a servant at hand. That was the reason for having servants, they took care of the minor details one was too busy for.

“I am that Lord Grey indeed, my lord. The 14th Baron Grey of Codnor, at your service. And your friend is a gentle soul I pray the mob does not ever make bitter”. If Beverley was a friend of Cadell’s it was a given that he knew the other man was Catholic. “We spent time talking about his desire to open a Salon at the English court. We also spent quite the while talking about the need for Toleration”. The Viscount might remember that Lady Jane Grey had been beheaded for her religion, and thus the Greys had also suffered due to the lack of Toleration. “I am thankful that Lord Athenry wrote to you. Did he tell you what it is I wanted to speak to you about?”

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Beverley nodded at the older gentleman. 


"Mm, yes, Toleration is His Majesty's wish, so any good royalist should find there to be a great need for it," the viscount replied. He might be Catholic, but his family was not open about it. They took the Test Act oaths and made appearances at Protestant services at court. 


"Would you care for something to drink?" he asked. Then he answered the baron's question, "Yes, he did. He said something about wishing to set up a telescope up on the battlements? I am certain such a thing could be arranged, but you would need to provide someone to guard your equipment or if you don't have a retainer that could do so, we could supply that for a sum."

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Henry agreed with a nod. Any true royalist would put his personal opinions aside and seek to do his King’s will, notwithstanding if they were Church of England, Catholic, or other flavour of Recusant. Kings, after all, knew better. Or at least are supposed to.

At the offer of a drink, Henry’s face brightened. It was a cold day, and the Castle helped but little to keep the chill out of the bones. “Warm cider or a brandy would do wonders, although anything you have would do with this weather”, he accepted the offer. “As for the request, yes, but it is not one telescope, but three. It is my intention to allow courtiers to used them, with supervision, of course…” he did not voice his fear of a lordling dropping one of his instruments from the battlements just to experiment. “I was thinking about the roof of the Octagonal Tower. There is enough space there to use the telescopes without much danger to anyone. But if you think another place is best, I will boy to your knowledge of Windsor Castle”.

An idea came to Henry at that moment. “You could even make it a Windsor Castle event if you wish. I am not in it for the recognition. I just think England needs more nobility and gentry to get interested in the sciences. If that can be achieved, I will be very happy”. For Henry, service to King and Country was more important than personal gain. “If you were to assign one of your underlings to organize it..." it was beneath Beverley to do so, of course, "... I could provide food and drink, and everything else that is needed. It can be procured in town or brought from London”. Hopefully he will agree to that. He gets the glory. But so does Natural Philosophy.

“As for guarding the equipment, could we do both? I have one person that knows how to move the equipment safely, but my servants do not know who is who, nor do they have any authority delegated to them. Perhaps one or two additional people who can tell him when to obey someone besides you would be best. I will gladly cover all costs, of course”.

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Beverley was very much a cider drinker because it kept him from getting too drunk. He was not a heavy drinker, and his father heftily frowned on drunken behavior unless one was in a tavern or a whorehouse. Even then, it was not for common practice. 


He gave a nod to the clerk serving him who set about providing Grey with a drink.


"Three?" he asked rhetorically, thinking that a lot of expensive equipment to put in a potentially dangerous location. His brows went up when Grey said he wished anyone to use them any time. Having taken his brother-in-laws to Gresham and seeing - easily - what could go wrong in such a scenario even with those gifted at such endeavors, he said, "Are you, erm, familiar with how careless and uneducated courtiers can be, Lord Grey?" His mind, too, imagined them being dropped over the side or knocked!


Having been at court since he was a youth, Beverley was very experienced in the lack of care most courtiers exhibited, and he could not remember having seen Lord Grey at court before, so he only sought to be helpful.


He did not wish this to turn into a fiasco and him to be at the center of it. "Might I suggest that you allow others to use them when you are present? I can have them guarded other times. Such rare and expensive things which are easily broken should not be trusted to many courtiers under the supervision of servants or guards. Or, as you say, have dedicated time during which you might have an, erm, evening of availability as an event? It could be arranged easily simply by speaking of such a thing around gossipy ladies and sending out a few key invitations." 

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The clerk was on the receiving end of a grateful nod. The cider was a welcome warmth. The temperature was perfect, and the spiced that had been added improved on an already good base product.

Carelessuneducated perhaps Lord Beverley is correct. Perhaps I am assuming everyone will respect my instruments as much as I do. “I am sad to say I am not”, he replied. “I am used to the academic environment, where the youngest student will get quite the birching if something happens to one of the instruments they are using… or abusing, while those with a bit more training would not dream of mistreating an instrument”. A birching was not possible at court, of course. “Hmm…”

“You are correct. Unsupervised use might prove dangerous.. ” even fatal. “Guards will still be necessary, though”. Precisely because someone could carelessly, or even willingly, push the instrument over the battlements. “I am also thinking that the telescopes are better taken inside after use, so rain and wind do not affect them”. The viscount seemed agreeable to an event, though. “A dedicated time, as you say, might be best”. Gossip was bound to attract idle courtiers, though Henry cringed inwardly at the type of courtier that gossip could attract. Invitations, on the other hand, would draw those that could profit from the experience.

“Besides His Grace Cumberland and yourself, who else do you think would appreciate an invitation, Lord Beverly?” Also, a question he needed to ask. “Would it be above my station to send an invitation to His Majesty the King?” He hoped not, but he truly did not know.

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Beverley nodded to the baron's thoughts on how to manage his equipment. Guards and all could be arranged, anything could for a price, and there were a large amount of unnecessary Life Guard and yeomen of the guard at Windsor, which already had it's own guardsmen to boot. 


As to invitations, Beverley said, "I do know a few who are interested in such things from attending a Gresham even or two. My young brother-in-laws are very interested in all manner of study and instruments; Lord Herbert is the youngest member of the Royal Society and his brother Lord Arthur is just as precocious. If you would invite them and their parents, Lord and Lady Worcester, it would not be remiss. Lady Ranelagh, they say, is the lady of sciences and partner in experimentation of her brother who I'm sure you know, Boyle."


At the mention of His Majesty, Beverley nodded, "His Majesty oft receives invitations. It is appropriate, of course; it would not be appropriate to, erm, stage an event at court and not invite the King and Queen, in fact. However, if you, erm, wish them more likely to attend, it is best to garner the interest of someone close to them. One of His Majesty's Gentlemen or one of Her Majesty's ladies. My lady wife would mention it to see if Her Majesty would be interested. Lord Ranelagh, the other lady's son, is a Gentleman of the King, and there is Lord Kingston, who is Chancellor of Cambridge, but I know neither very well."


It was always good form for a servant of either royal household to know all of the goings-on and to-dos of the court and mention ones which might be of interest, so he felt it appropriate to mention it to his own wife. Her Majesty was a lady of great mind. It was likely why his lady wife got on with her very well, for Lord and Lady Worcester clearly did not breed empty-headed children, and his wife might be young but was smart and capable. He was hoping to spend time that afternoon with her.

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Lord and Lady Worcester, and their sons Lord Herbert and Lord Arthur. That was an old and prestigious family. If Lord Beverley was related to them by marriage, the man in front of Henry was important indeed. That Beverley’s brother-in-law was the youngest member of the Royal Society made the Baron’s brow rise with interest. Lady Ranelagh was famous for holding meetings of scientific minds, of course. Henry had not been aware that she was also a partner of the famous Boyle. The noble woman would be someone worth meeting, that was certain. All those names were added to the mental list that included, among others,  His Grace Buckingham, Lord Chichester, and Lord Kingston.

“Thank you for the names, Lord Beverley. Would you like me to invite your parents too? Do you think they would be interested?” Henry did not know if they still lived but asking if they were would not be quite proper, so his question was formulated as if they were alive. His interlocutor would correct him if they were not.

So, their Majesties may be invited to events, good to know. But to increase the chances of them attending, the King’s Gentlemen and the Queen’s Ladies should be approached. “I would be much obliged if Lady Beverley would mention it to Her Majesty. I have met Lord Kingston and will make sure he receives an invitation too, so the King is made aware”. Lord Grey was receiving an education on how court worked even without having asked for it, and for that he was very, very grateful.

“Another question, my lord. When should the event be scheduled so as not to clash with other events? I do not want to hinder anything or anyone”. Rupert’s Aide was bound to know a lot about what was already planned.

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"Oh, yes my lord father is here, the Earl of Brooke. My lady mother does not fancy the close quarters of Windsor so very much as has gained leave to stay at Maidstone with my newborn son. She watches the wet-nurse like a hawk," he replied. 


He and his lady wife would have so very much to talk about when next they saw each other, and he was quite pleased of it. He felt as if they were very good together and that, as a partner and wife, she made their joint positions stronger. "Yes, I will speak to her about it when next we are together. She enjoys events, especially if Her Majesty wishes to go as well."


Beverley did not know how she felt about stars, planets, and telescopes, but it was an intriguing enough topic on the surface that he thought  many would likely have interest, his lady wife included.


"Wednesday evening, perhaps? There is an, erm, wedding scheduled for Tuesday and while not a court event it may impact your attendance otherwise."

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Brooke? Brooke! So, Lord Beverley is the brother of Lady Doneraille. Coincidence or Providence? Perhaps a measure of both? If Lord Brooke attended the event, he and Henry would get to know each other in an informal setting, which would be just perfect. The Earl would see Henry in his element. Then, if and when the Cavendishes rejected him, he could write to Lady Doneraille’s father directly and ask him for a meeting. Henry allowed himself the briefest of smiles.

“Congratulations on your son, my lord. If he your first?” He probably was, with the grandmother hawking over the nurse. Perhaps I should send a small something for the boy. It would be good form.

“Thank you very much, Lord Beverley”, Henry said as the other nobleman agreed to let his wife know. Then, the suggestion of when, and the reason. “Tuesday would not do, agreed. Lord Chichester, who I consider a friend, gets married that day. I would not want to miss his wedding”. It was true. “Wednesday it is, then. I am much obliged for your help in all this”.

A pause, before proceeding to the other reason for his visit.

“There is an additional matter I would like to bring up”, Lord Grey said. “I also brought a letter for His Grace Cumberland. In it I request a meeting at his convenience”. If Beverly were to open the letter, to which Henry would not object, he would see a short note written in purple-black oak gall ink, on cotton rag white card:



Your Grace Cumberland,

Both Baron Dundarg and Lord Kingston pointed out to me that some of my research might prove both interesting and useful to you. I attach a simple sketch of what I would like to discuss.

If you have the time and the inclination, please send word to the house I rented in town.

Your humble and obedient servant,


Henry, Baron Grey of Codnor


On a separate piece of thinner paper there was a quick sketch of a spyglass, with a zoomed in section showing a composite lens of two elements on the eye end, and an annotation stating that perhaps as Newton had demonstrated that colours could be split with one prism, they could be reconstituted into white with two lenses, thus getting rid of the rainbow effect.

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"He is, Lord Grey. My little Lord Ulcombe," Beverley said, proudly. "I have only been married a short time, so it was a very happy event. My parents only have my lady sister and I left, so it was much needed to ensure the existence of the family line. I have much catching up to do, for she has three boys and married her late husband very young." 


Beverley was so proud of having fathered a son himself that he could talk about it extensively without thinking that he was being uninteresting. Most peers concerned and fawned over sons, so he figured Lord Grey would be the same.


"Do you have children, Lord Grey?" he asked.


"So you know Lord Chichester? He is a friend of mine as well. Quite the fashionable gentleman," he added. 


As to the letter, he said, "Ah, I see. My master is a prince very interested in scientific endeavors." He would not open the letter in front of the gentleman, even if sorting such correspondence was a part of his duties. The only missives he did not see, generally, were the ones from his master's friends and those close to him. He did not need to know the contents to know they were important and his master would wish to see them first. "Did you wish me to preface it with, erm, something before I give it to him? It may aid in getting you an audience."

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The proud father that Lord Beverley was oozed through the man’s pores. And mouth. Henry felt just a touch of envy, but he was well bred enough to not show it. “Alas, Lord Beverley, even though half of court would consider me an old man, I have never been married, and I have no children”. Although most if not all young nobles had sown their oats, no one had ever claimed that Henry was the father of any children. Besides, he had not been even the heir of the Codnor Greys when young, so he would not have had any money to give anyways, and people knew it. “I find myself in a bind in that sense. Needing an heir to fulfill my duties to my family, and thus a wife”. A moment to form his thoughts. “So, this season I have set myself to find a suitable bride”.

And your sister, having had given birth to three boys, would a very promising bride make. Unvoiced, but oh so very true!

“Lord Chichester is not only fashionable, but also a great artist. We have discussed a collaboration where I provide a map of the heavens, and he provides the art to make it beautiful”. Lord Grey did not mention Anne-Elizabeth just to be safe. He would, after the work was finished and presented to the public. “Useful does not need to mean ugly”, he added as a way of explanation.

It was Henry's plan to seek Lady Ranellagh's advise once the project was more advanced. She was bound to know how to better present Anne-Elizabeth's contributions.

Then on to the letter. “The topic of discussion would be my research on how to get rid of the rainbow effect on spyglasses”. As Rupert’s aide, Beverley was most probably very familiar with the instruments and the defect Lord Grey was talking about. “I briefly explain my ideas in a sketch attached to the letter. That way His Grace can ascertain if meeting with me is worth his time or not. You can take a look if you wish”, Henry said referring to the letter.

The Prince was a busy man. Not only was he Lord Admiral of England, but also a natural philosopher of stature, plus a well-known investor in trading endeavours. Henry, who was always strapped for time, tried not to waste other people’s.

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The gentleman was older than him, but Beverley did not truly consider him an old man. Many of that age did not have an heir or found themselves heirless after losing children. It was commonplace. And many gentleman of such an age needed a wife or a new wife after losing one. Such was the way of the world. God did not promise long life to anyone, and Beverley was intimately aware of it.


The Greys were an old family, and so Beverley did not feel hesitant in saying, "Since my lady mother was not planning on coming, I do believe my sister was planning to make the trip to Windsor. She stays with her boys in Battersea just down the river from Whitehall most of the year." 


He refrained from saying more than that out of fear of seeming to wish to sell his sister off with immediacy. His motive was different than most. Beverley would rather Annie find a husband she could like or love in her second match, and that needed to happen before his father sought to arrange another one which was solely advantageous to Brooke. His sister had done her duty once and been stuck in dreary Ireland for years, and Beverley did not wish to lose her again. She was a young widow now and should get some choice herself!


"Sounds fascinating. I shall look forward to seeing it." Beverley appreciated art but was no connoisseur. "And very true. At least at court, things that are, erm, more beautiful would be seen as even more useful."


Maps of anything could be quite ornate.


"I am sure he would be interested in anything which might make spyglasses more effective." It seemed like a safe thing to say. Whilst Beverley was aware of the limitations of spyglasses, he was not aware it had a particular name. "He would understand it far better than I, Lord Grey. I was not the most diligent of students at Oxford and was there only a short time before my lord father felt I was better suited to actionable sort of duties and arranged for my position with His Highness. I am more strategist than academic, I fear." 


He was well-read in warfare and keen on weaponry and militaria. He appreciated his master's keen mind for all sorts of things, but it was not something they particularly shared in regard to the sciences. Beverley, one day, would be more likely to fund such endeavors than undertake understanding them on his own. 

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Oh… his sister is coming to Windsor! Henry’s heart skipped a beat. The opportunity to not only meet Lord Brooke, but also Lady Doneraile, was something that had been unexpected, yet was much welcome. “If you think any of your nephews could benefit from looking at the stars through a telescope, they would be very much welcome too”.

Young children and delicate and expensive instruments were rarely a good match. But a young inquisitive mind exposed early to the marvels of natural philosophy could give a life purpose. Henry would let Lord Beverley decide if any of his nephews would be safe upon the battlements, at night, with telescopes.

“I will make it a point that your sister gets an invitation to the event too”, Lord Grey said. He thought that was enough. Proper forms needed to be followed, especially by Greys and Saint-Legers.

I wish I could thank you, my lord. Perhaps one day I will be able to.

The topic then changed to Prince Rupert. “If and when he has the time to spare, I would gladly show him what I have been researching. Perhaps it would be best if he were to go to the house I rented in town. I have set up a working laboratory there. Yet, I am at his disposal, both in time and place”. Henry would ask about furnace access then. “If you are present, you might also find it interesting”. Even though Beverley had made the grave mistake of going to Oxford instead of Cambridge, and though it seemed like the Viscount was not a man of science, spyglasses were very much a military topic and, as Lord Kingston had stated, they could provide a number of naval advantages. “There are several possible military applications to my research, once it meets with success”.

Henry took his pocket watch out and looked at the time. “Lord Beverley, I have already taken more of your time than I should have”. The Baron got up, with the intention of bowing to Beverley, biding his farewells, and leaving, unless his host stopped him.


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When Grey offered his nephews to look through the expensive telescopes, he could not help but huff a laugh and shake his head, "Oh no, my lord, even the eldest is spirited. He thinks because he has his own title that he is a very impressive eight-year-old or however old he is. The little lordling. Perhaps away from court one day when there is no so tempting of a spectacular drop."


Although if little Lord Doneraile did such a thing, his own lord father was likely to make sure the boy didn't sit for a good long time and would spend his childhood and youth paying back the instrument. It would be hilarious in its own right, but Beverley was now above such amusements. He could enjoy the image in his head, though.


"My master is a great admirer of laboratories, so I am certain he would enjoy it and the opportunity to escape the castle for a short time, as would I," Beverley replied. He knew his master quite well, and he also was eager for any excuse to venture beyond the castle in Cumberland's company. It was far better than the courtier-soaked Windsor Castle.


"It is no bother, Lord Grey," he assured the man as he readied to take his leave. "Do enjoy your afternoon. I will see to the arrangements we spoke of."                               

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As he moved towards the door, Henry replied. “The perhaps another time. I am a firm believer in exposing young boys to natural philosophy. You never know when it will spark the beginnings of a new Newton or Boyle”. Both men of science were particular heroes of his. “But you are correct. The setting may not be the best. Still the offer stands”. It was a way to show Beverley that his nephews would be welcome company if they became interested in science.

“Then you are both welcome to come to the house I rented whenever you and your master have the time and inclination”. Henry was likely to be found working on his instruments most of the time there were no court functions, and the other two noblemen were far busier than he. “Send word if you can, drop by if you cannot. If you do send word, I can have food and drink sent from the Toes of the White”. One had to be the best host possible after all.

“Once again, thank you for your time”.

OOC: Fin?

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