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A Day of Awkward Attendance | Audience Room | Afternoon Saturday

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The Queen's state apartments in many ways mirrored that of the King, opening up to the side of St. George's Hall through the main entrance of the palace. There was a guard room a presence room, an audience room, a drawing room, all before ever reaching the truly private apartment of the Queen.

Verrio delivered another masterwork upon the ceilings. Britannia was presented with tribute of the four continents, while on the next Lady Britannia was seated under a canopy while Envy and Sedition were chased away with the sword of justice. In the audience room Britannia in a chariot drawn by a swan being pulled towards the temple of virtue.


His Majesty had made a habit of spending some time in the afternoon with his Queen, and that habit had continued on with even more regularity after the birth of the royal heir.


Whilst the King spent his private time with his lady wife on the interior of her apartments, Francis was left to entertain himself in the Audience Room just on the other side of the Presence Chamber. At least he was not a spectacle for any courtiers milling about hoping to see the Queen; the Audience Room was a bit more private.


Such a thing never would have made him feel awkward in the past but after the slanders against him, he felt like he stuck out in the domain of the Queen's Ladies and Maids of Honor. He held some apprehension that like Lord Arlington, Lady Mountjoy was going to have some choice words for him in protection of her flock of ladies. He was also nervous of seeing or talking to Dorothea, because he did not know how he was going to cope with his plethora of awkward feelings, both because of what was being said about him and because he realized he had some form of an affection for her that went beyond his usual. 


He was equally worried of crossing paths of Lord Mountjoy while waiting for His Majesty, because despite their time with swords sparring the day prior, Francis concerned that Mountjoy would take the opportunity of the location to talk about his slanders. 


It was just exceedingly awkward, so instead of looking around for someone to talk to, he pretended to look out the window, folding his hands behind his back and standing as prettily as he could.

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As he did in Whitehall he had, relying upon the Queen’s indulgence, taken the liberty of having a small desk set up in a corner of the Queen’s Audience Chamber. This allowed him to perform some of his other duties and still be in attendance to Her Majesty. More importantly, and this was probably the Queen’s intent, it allowed him to be in closer proximity to Ursula. Her Majesty was a stickler of protocol but she did not seem to object if her Mistress of the Robes and Master of Horse went off and spent a little time together every now and again.

Mountjoy entered the chamber followed by a short non-descript mousy looking man with dark hair and glasses carrying a sheaf of papers and holding out examples for his master’s opinion. “That goes to the Assizes in Banbury. These can be submitted to The Kings Bench. These audits will not do, return them to the Chancellor of the Duchy of Cornwall stating in no uncertain terms that they are unacceptable.” He replied as each sheaf was shown to him. “And this My Lord?” the man, who was obviously a secretary or clark, inquired of the last file. “What is it?” Mountjoy said. “It is…” came the reluctant reply, “… the Warrant of Sequestration for the Danby properties.”

This caused Mountjoy to stop and pay more attention as he reached out and scanned the documents. He flipped thru several pages and frowned. “Has the family submitted petitions?” He said gruffly. “Yes, My Lord.’ Was the meek reply. Sighing Blount shoved the papers back to his secretary concluding “I shall have to speak with His Majesty before we can proceed.” He was not relishing bringing up such inconvenient topics to His Majesty much preferring to offer him solutions rather than problems.

Charles then noticed Francis staring out a window and moved next to him to gaze out as well. “My, my Lord Kingston, I do not believe I have ever seen a gentleman stare so prettily out a window before.” Oliver, who had followed his master breathlessly squeaked “You are correct My Lord. I have never seen such a magnificent sight before.” And stood there looking up at the new Lord with a silly smile on his face and colour rushing into his cheeks. Turning towards the unexpected and uncharacteristic expression he looked slightly annoyed and said dryly “Thank you, Oliver, that will be all for now. You may start on the correspondence.”  Oliver bowed and disengaged turning back once to gaze prettily upon Kingston.

“I apologize My Lord. I fear I have been working Oliver a bit too hard and he is not himself. Please excuse his impertinence. I also extend my apology if I am intruding upon your solitude but as you are here it can only be assumed that His Majesty is within calling upon Her Majesty.”   

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Francis had not been paying much mind to what business was going on around him, knowing that it did not concern him, so he was a bit surprised when Lord Mountjoy came up next to him. He chuckled and dipped his head in greeting.


Then the man's clerk, or whatever, made the oddest comment of his magnificence. Francis blinked. Even being a humble sort of gentleman and a new peer, he was unused to such addressed. He frowned a bit. 


"Quite odd to say such a thing," was Francis' reply, but he nodded in acceptance of the apology. "And no, you aren't intruding, my lord. His Majesty is indeed within."

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Mountjoy noticed the slight frown and his eyes darted over to Oliver. He was an indulgent master to those that served him well but what just happened was unacceptable. His own reputation was affected by the actions of his servants and the fact that Kingston was perturbed was a blemish on his own courtesy.

“It will not happen again.” He said simply in solemn formality and bowed his head to the Earl.  When Francis accepted his apology, the formality drained and he again spoke in the banter expected of courtiers but Francis could readily tell that someone would receive a talking to.

“I have not been informed of anything that would necessitate us having a rematch of our card game, not that I found the time unpleasant, quite the opposite, but I would not wish a repetition of the underlying motivation. But I have tried to spend more of my time in the company of the Queen, strictly as a matter of caution you understand. I must confess that when the Queen was in confinement, I found such duty a tad tedious but now that Her Majesty is delivered, I am looking forward to more activity. I suppose with the King being such an active man, your stints of service are more varied.”

Mountjoy appeared to be in the same sprits he usually was and, aside from the incident with his servant, seemed to address him as he always had. “I enjoyed our little battle yesterday and have even thought of ordering some buttons for my court swords so I may practice with the weapons I may actually need to use. You have impressed upon me the need for technical finesse as well as tactical prowess so I have vowed to practice with more than hunting swords and spears. Now all I need is to find an Italian on the run from a jealous husband or a German with a scar to train with. I have my majordomo Herr Lurch who was a sergeant in the Prussian Guards but he outdoes you in both height and reach so is not a fair representation of the men one is likely to face.”

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Francis allowed the awkwardness to pass. Lord Mountjoy was so proper in his deportment, he could hardly hold a bizarre moment with a servant against him. There was no reason for it to influence their acquaintance.


"Why, Lord Mountjoy, are you asking me if I would like to play cards again without the necessity of Her Majesty's life being in danger?" he asked, with a sly grin. He was not sure how welcome his presence would be here even though His Majesty took no heed or issue of the broadsheets and slanders. He rather hoped it had not ruined the Queen's good opinion of him.


"His Majesty does indeed partake of a great many activities and audiences, so there are few moments of quiet," he replied. "But there are reliably always his morning walks for which my long legs make me a favoured accompaniment." A tenor chuckle escaped him through barely-parted lips.


"Well, I am happy to have inspired your desire for improving your swordsmanship. I am sure Lady Mountjoy would enjoy watching you in your exertions. Ladies do seem to relish in their men at sport. Perhaps the next time we should make it a point to do so on the ground where we might better be observed?"

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“I would not mind at all another game of cards. I am fond of a companionable parlor game yet I find many of our class unable to find enthusiasm unless vast sums are wagered. I have done well in improving my lot and can readily afford to risk such sums but for me that tends to lessen the enjoyment of what should be a pleasant amusement. Perhaps it stems from the time before the return of the King when I or my family did not have such resources. Or, it could be that, to me, the interest in the game stems from the people involved not the sums wagered. I have gotten the impression that your own views may be similar.

He joined Francis in a chuckle about the Kings walks. “I used to regularly join His Majesty on his morning walks. It must have been before your time.” He mused. “I had just received Bran, my Irish wolfhound. As a puppy he was smaller than His Majesty’s spaniels and they would roll around and scamper after each other. When I returned from abroad and joined the King Bran was fully grown and towered over his former playmates. I was genuinely concerned that Bran might harm one of the King’s dogs, and that would not be something that His majesty would find easy to forgive, but they got along well. Wolfhounds are amazingly fierce in the hunt or when protecting their loved ones but are otherwise very gentle and forgiving.”

He cocked his head to the side when Kingston mentioned inviting his Ladywife to one of their sparing bouts. “If such were the case, I would insist that, upon your honor, you bring an ample supply of pocket-handkerchiefs and flannels so that you would have no necessity to use your shirt to wipe your brow. The observance alone of two rather athletic gentlemen, lightly clad and perhaps in a sweat, runs the risk of unbalancing a woman’s ladylike humors and sending her into fits of… well… I can scarcely contemplate the nature of such paroxysms to which they might succumb.”  He then thought it prudent to add. “I of course do not intimate any such propensity upon the Margravina.” Kingston might be free with the Ladies, and boys and Ottoman eunuchs if the broadsheets were to be believed, but Blount would thank him very much if he were to keep his bare abdomen away from his wife.  

He looked at Francis who had chuckled in courtly fashion but still did not seem to be as buoyant as he normally was. “Is there something on your mind? You appear to have been abnormally engaged by the view from this window. Are you doubting your fencing prowess as I gave you such a run for your money the other day?” He asked hoping it was not women problems. He was not good at women problems

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"I am happy to not get carried away by wagers, my lord," Francis replied. "I spent many hours and days on ships where simple wagers are the order of the hour or playing for tokens and other such things, for such men do not have the luxury of effusive coin. I find enjoyment in the game and players."


Francis chuckled at the image. "I myself have a very large poodle* named Scotty and was recently gifted one of the offspring of His Majesty's favourite bitch, but I rather think the King picked it because it's so happy to see it's master and visitors that it pees all over. It drives His Grace my cousin absolutely out of his mind. His Majesty named it..." he could not help but titter..."Giorgio!" He tried to hold his laughter in but sputtered some. "Scotty and Giorgio play, but Scotty is on my yacht here most of the time, Windsor is too small."


Fully controlled from his amusement, he took a breath and let it out slowly.


WHen Mountjoy spoke of the conditions for their sparring in public where the ladies could see, Francis was unsure if he was making a joke or utterly serious. He put a hand to his heart and said, "I shall only use a kerchief, a linen, or my sleeve, my lord, if your lady wife is present, I promise. Though Lady Mountjoy could not have eyes for any but you. There is an enviable match between you. I do not know if I could ever deserve a lady of any similarity, but I have nothing but respect for you both." 


He was, however, not above a proper flashing of his stomach or chest at his exertions when other ladies were watching. It was not a strange thing for a man to be shirtless around ladies if doing sporting activities which required it. That was simply acceptable flirting. Like a lady giving an ever so brief flash of the ankle. 


Mention was made of his reverie out the window. His smile became more sedate. He had, in the enjoyment of conversation, forgotten the predicament for a moment. "Many things, my lord, but chief among them that I now feel...uncomfortable...here after the gossip and broadsheets. I do not wish to cause any young lady harm to her reputation by seeming friendly with me, but I have grown to enjoy my time here whilst His Majesty is with the Queen and I am attending him, or when he wishes me here for other matters, those of safety without frightening the ladies." 


(OOC - in our era poodles were hunting and war dogs. Prince Rupert's poodle "Boy" was hailed as the first British war dog)

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They were very much of a same mind when it came to games and wagering. It would appear that they would be well suited to playing together without the expectation of gambling heavily.

“I believe I have made Giorgio’s acquaintance.” He admitted. “I had occasion to call upon His Grace at the very time he was inopportuned by some piss upon his carpet. His Grace was scolding a comely seraph of a young man, no doubt a relation of yours, holding a dog regarding the stain. I assumed the culprit was the dog and not the young man.”

He was a bit disheartened when Francis made the self-disparaging comment about not being deserving of a good woman for he saw more in the comment than the expected genteel exaggeration used at court. He moved closed to Francis and lowered his voice as if imparting a secret. “You may not realize it old Boy but you are a handsome fellow. Why even I have commented upon the shapeliness of your calves with approbation. You are respectful of your station and are as erudite and educated as well as is reasonable for any man from Cambridge. It is not inconceivable for a man such as yourself to achieve any match to which he may aspire.” He looked at Francis less seriously and added. “I believe you would also have the practical wisdom to limit those aspirations to unmarried women.”

Ah, now there was the rub. It was the obvious reason really. “I see.” He said with some reflection. “I have not been in your situation so there is no advice that I may provide without sounding like a preacher or sanctimonious but I will do so nevertheless.” He smiled. “You have risen far and fast. Much of that success has been the result of your own efforts but you must also accept that some of it was due to your relationship to Buckingham. You are now paying for that success by being the lever that foes wish to use to attack Buckingham. It may not be fair but it is the way it is and there is no use railing against it just as there is no use railing against the wind.” He thought to use a sailing example.

“In sailing a ship there are two things that they heave when the wind and the waves become too formidable.” He paused to verify that Francis understood he was trying to explain heaving to. “You are that ship and now is the time to stand firm. Ride out the storm and then cut your jib and continue on.” He wasn’t exactly what cutting a jib was but it sounded good. “If the acquisitions are false act like they are false. If the acquisitions are true, pound the table and act like they are false. The masses are easily riled but just as easily lose interest.”

He hoped his vast knowledge of the sea was enough to sway a mariner like Kingston but now he could offer more personal advise. “In regards to dealing with a woman that you have serious regard for and they reciprocate those feeling just as seriously, I can say from personal experience that trying to shield one that you love from all harm often proves more harmful to that person that if they knew. It is better to confide and discuss all your troubles and face them together. I have heard many of the rumors hurled against you and I say that any woman, or man that would credit such accusations are not worthy of your love… or such other emotions that are fit between men.” He hastily added considering the scope of the allegations.

He waited for a few moments to allow Francis to digest his words and hopefully glean a little comfort or insight from them. He then could not help himself from adding in a hopeful tone.

“But tell me, just between the two of us… the one about being a Janissary to the Ottoman Porte is true, isn’t it? It would be fascinating to know what the inside of a harem looks like.”

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Francis snickered. "Yes, Tom is house trained, but it was hard to accomplish after he spent his life on a ship with me from his tenth birthday onward," he joked. "He is my cousin on my grandfather's side, but His Grace is gracious enough to tolerate him just for the opportunity to toy with a wide-eyed ginger."


To say he was not wholly prepared for Lord Mountjoy to move closer to him and whisper encouragement upon his future marriage prospects was an understatement.


He blinked. Handsome fellow? Blink. He did not feel he was particularly handsome in a traditional sense. He was well-aware he had a youthful, nearly feminine visage, but he was not...manly. He had dancer's legs, but he was not a skilled dancer.


"I suppose we shall see, one day, if that is true or not, my lord. A lady would be made foolish to marry me in the current climate, and I'm certain no father or brother would consider such a match."  He smiled and said, "I do know much of everything I experience is due to my cousin, the Duke, but I do not think it is the masses that have any interest in me. The masses only care because of what a likely small group puts out to threaten His Grace." He added, "But I shall stay the course."


Francis listened carefully to Mountjoy's further advise and then tried to hold onto a sigh, but it slipped out in a low whisper.


"I...I don't know what to say, Lord Mountjoy...It isn't my place to involve anyone, and nor would it be right to stir such feelings of attachment for me given the circumstances. Whether any hold such for me...well...I could not say. There isn't a together..."


He took a breath, thoughts swirling behind a mostly calm countenance. "I do not think any who know me or are close to me believe such things, though, no." Unfortunately, that did not truly matter. It was public opinion that mattered, that created danger and scandal. Which speaking of public thought, he said, "I do not favor the, erm, Greco-Roman style of love-making."


His hand flew to cover his mouth as he snickered indelicately. "I nearly wish that it was, for it would be a compliment, my naysayers too silly to realize it. I am thinking of going to the masque dressed as one." He chuckled, wondering how that would make those brazen has beens Arlington and Oxford feel. "I do trade with the Ottomans, well, with just one. They do not generally trade with Christians, but I helped a Shahzade whose ship was in trouble, so it is true that he owes me a debt, but it is not the reverse. They enjoy our tobacco."

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“Oh come now, what kind of Villiers are you?” He asked as Francis yet again belittled his prospects. “Unless you are out to deceive a Lady and take advantage of her for your own aggrandizement, which you obviously are not, would you not think enough of a woman you would wish to marry to decide herself whether she would be made foolish? Pardon me if I am inappropriately brusque but you seem bent on belittling the preferment you have received. I grant that you have benefitted from the patronage of the Duke of Buckingham but was it not your own actions that earned you your knighthood and was it not the King who saw fit to raise you to the peerage? Do you suggest that the King is in the habit of raising up unworthy gentlemen? You say given the circumstances it is not your place to involve anyone or stir attachments. I say to you if not your place, then whose is it? If you do not take your place then the Mob will, and that, I suspect, is why you have been targeted.”

He huffed for Francis was clearly troubled by the accusations and their consequences. “Forgive me if I appear as an old man dispensing unwanted advice. I dislike those who pander to the Mob to gain political advantage rather than honestly confronting their opponents and besting them with debate and superior opinions. I assure you the advice was honestly and kindly given with no intention of making light of your predicament.”

He could not help but smile at Francis’s attempt to clarify his dispositions. Almost chuckling he said. “There is much I admire much about the Greeks and Romans who came before us but not the particular custom you allude to and mention was not in any way an attempt at attribution… even given your alma mater.” He stopped and held up his hand in a gesture connotating that he was aware that what he said was a cheap shot. “Given the slanders against you that comment was unwarranted but really can I be blamed for taking advantage of such an obvious opportunity.” He went on. “Be that as it may. I endeavored to emphasize Philia and not simply Eros. I trust the difference was taught at Cambridge? You see, I can not help myself.”  He laughed and threw up his hands.

“You have more allies than the Duke you know.”

 He then shook his head in profound disappointment. “Tis a pity.” He lamented. “The tales you could tell of a Janissary pirate would have enlivened many an otherwise dull evening, I am sure. I have read that the Janissaries are compelled to convert to Islam which requires the acolyte to be circumcised. If you wish to repudiate the allegation once and for all you could introduce a exhibition, as a private member, in the Lords.”   

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Francis startled at the rather vehement speech, his brow furrowing just a bit. 


His position was a difficult and awkward one. His feelings and duties complicated, at odds in matters of...personal relationships.


"But that is precisely what much of the court will think if I take any action which will help confirm the rumours of my being an upstart unless I marry in a fashion most all who might call themselves my benefactor would find beneath me. It matters not what sort of conceit I have of myself, nor what my friends and supporters believe, Lord Mountjoy. I assure you that I have a fine conceit of myself and position, my fortune, and the King's favor. It is not such a simple matter as all that."


His peachy lips pursed for a moment. "My word of honor has been engaged to the reverse action, my lord, by one who has every right to command me. I cannot stir a further attachment because I have sworn not to do so. Though I've not been called to make the equivalent in regard to my marriage, I have been encouraged by every quarter to wait until this passes, for the same reasons I have given: I will do better in a match without the negative cloud hanging over me."


It was difficult to find amusement after that, though he smiled along. 


He only answered when he was reminded that he had more allies than Buckingham.


"Yes, I know, my lord, and I do appreciate your sentiments and support. Do not feel that I am offended. I am simply in a position where I cannot take the actions you advise." Whether he agreed with them or not was immaterial, for he couldn't take them regardless. 


There was a snort of amusement as Mountjoy suggested he show his cock at Lords. "I wonder if that would be the first time a peer has dropped his breeches in defense of himself!" He chuckled. "I may tell Janissary pirate stories whether they are true or not."

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To all appearances it seemed that for some reason or another Blount had assumed a stronger interest in Kingston’s heritage and position than one would normally expect. The two were on friendly terms yet the forcefulness of the way the Marquess expressed his opinions was unexpected from a man so fastidiously polite and proper. He listened to Kingston’s reply with almost a challenging look until Francis explained that what kept him from the recommended actions was a matter of honor. At this revelation Blount’s demeanor changed and visibly softened.

“I see and now understand the nature of your predicament.” Charles readily understood the obligations of honor. “That puts a different spin on the matter entirely as refraining because of a commitment is vastly different than refraining because of other sentiments. If your word of honor was given than that shall be the end of it.”

He smiled ruefully. “I suppose advice, when it comes to affairs of the heart, is easier given than taken.”

“There are some obvious legal steps that can be taken in regards to libelous statements but I would assume that any one opting to undertake such attacks against Buckingham are savvy and well connected enough to minimize such risks. It also has the risk of elongating the public’s interest but I daresay you can rely on the Duke’s experience with Court intrigue to guide you without my unsolicited advice.”

Kingston replied his joke with good humor indicating that he did not take Blount’s suggestions amiss. “With Her Majesty out of confinement and resuming her accustomed activities I wonder if you will continue your attentions to the Queen’s Ladies. My asking of this is in no way influenced or resulting from your present difficulties or of any qualms regarding your reputation you understand. It is only from a desire to ensure a harmony between the Ladies, the Margravina and the Queen and I believe your previous attentions was facilitating to such a state and would be beneficial to the Household if it were to continue.”  Last season he and Kingston agreed that they would work together to facilitate relations between the king’s and Queen’s household and he was eager for the arrangement to continue.

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Francis, feeling Mountjoy's sentiment was honest, said, "I do not think I realized it was a predicament until I saw the situation with eyes unveiled, through a lens of reputation which could harm any lady I care for whether as a friend or otherwise, and until I had given my word with that understanding and desire to protect someone entirely innocent and undeserving of any negative associations."

He sighed, still looking out the window. "I do not take honor and expectations lightly, whether I've given my word or not, and I have enough experience putting my needs behind many things to do so without qualms. I can do that while also recognizing my own place and value. Perhaps in some minuscule ways I could be deserving, but it is not lack of regard for myself or my fortunes which gives me pause, my lord, regardless of my word, but of regard for the lady. You might disagree, and your particular circumstances might give credence to your view, but it is the man, if he is a gentleman, who is entrusted with not engaging a lady's heart for his own benefit. That is what others would see. Actions for my benefit alone, and they would be, even if the lady might choose the reverse because a lady's heart is given to such. That is why it is for a gentleman to know his place and why I was reminded of such and my word to it engaged. I won't add true fuel to the fire of the upstart business, because that is not me. Perhaps it is not very Villiers of me, that is true, but my grandfather raised me and he refused an earldom when all would have seen him very much deserving. I would honor all of what I am, not just that which is Villiers."


Maybe, as he had spoke about with Nicci, that was all out of fashion. Reaching was the order of the hour. Going as far as one might, no matter the method. For Francis, that would never be it. He had done well enough not being like that and had garnered the regard of the only personages he truly cared about impressing, and that was enough. He had seen enough with his mother that gallantry toward a lady and concern over them was a cornerstone of his being. If that meant not taking advantage of his fortune with the King, he was not unhappy with it. If the winds blew differently and those above him dictated otherwise, then he would worry about that then.


"His Majesty has given me no command differently, my lord, so my presence as - for lack of better term - go-between yet exists. I do not know if it is so much attention to the Queen's ladies, for I more facilitated them in doing things which would please the Queen who was unable to do much, so that they might have things to tell her and show her and gifts. Not to mention the pickles and food rarities that pregnant ladies, even royal ones, seem to demand." He rubbed his lips together, chewed the corner, looked down, and then back at Mountjoy. "I do not know if that is what Her Majesty yet wishes. The King, as is his prerogative, does not care about the rumors, but it is not so much his responsibility to protect the Queen's ladies from talk as it is Her Majesty's, and I would not wish to be a cause of discord between the pair or of talk that Her Majesty...does not...keep her flock secure from the foxes. Perception of courtiers is different from what you and I may know to be true."


He sighed, "Which is to say...does the Queen yet believe that to be true? That my presence is...beneficial to the harmony of the household?"

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He mimicked Francis’ stare out the window as he digested the reasonings of the troubled man. The clarification allowed him to better understand Kirks reasoning which, from his outward point of reference, seemed to result from what might be described as a lack of self-esteem or undue self-flagellation which he now knew was not the case. “I understand more clearly the restraints your honor places upon you and I cannot say that being guided by such morals is necessarily a bad thing.”  When Francis expressed that his action were ‘not very Villiers’ of him it elicited a chuckle from Charles. “Now That is a very un-Villiers thing to say for that gens is not known for their modesty or lack of self assurance.” He said humorously. “I could not see you uncle ever saying such a thing… beg pardon…I mean your cousin the Duke. You may have come across something. The melding of the Villiers bravado and the Legge integrity” He did not acknowledge and Kirke influence.

Francis indicated that he would be willing to continue their arrangement concerning interactions with the Queen’s Household but yet again he put his own interests behind those of the Queen, which to Mountjoy’s mind made his worthy of protecting the Queen’s interests. Yet he did have a point for Her Majesty had strong views concerning the propriety of her Ladies. “I would say that if His Majesty deems your character sufficient to see to his person, one could not in good conscience object themselves but I do concede that there are many who do not have a good conscience.” He thought.

“The Queen has the surety of mind not to be influenced by the nattering of the jealous and disaffected but I cannot speak to what she believes is true for I have seen no reason to bother her with such balderdash. But if you have no objections, I will speak to her Majesty upon this subject to determine if she has any objections to your continued presence in her chambers.”     

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Francis turned to look at Mountjoy when he misspoke in calling Buckingham his uncle, a slight furrow between his brows, but the mistake was quickly corrected, so he said nothing of it. The duke was of an age to easily seen such a way rather than the more equal designation of cousin. Francis did not take it to mean anything.


"Bravado and integrity does rather seem to suit me well," he said instead, chuckling at the notion.


"Oh I have little doubt that Her Majesty can judge with her own ability and has intelligence in spades, and while none would likely contradict her to her face, that does not stop talk which can be inconvenient to the reputation of those in her care and thus herself. I do not bring any harmony if I instigate such inconveniences without her approval at the least. If she feels of similar mind to His Majesty, however, then I cannot have any qualms either. As it is, I had simply planned to, as today, be here when I must, when I am attending the King." And he felt awkward at that, because he did not wish to draw anyone in to the speculation, gossip, and rumors about him.


"Of course," he replied, to Mountjoy's desire to speak to the Queen about it directly. "Either way, I will exercise caution not to appear to have any closeness to those of the maiden female persuasion. A lady's reputation once harmed is more irretrievable than a gentleman's."

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  • 2 weeks later...

Kingston’s look and his less than customarily lofty eyebrows did not go unnoticed as did the lack of comment. Mountjoy did not smile or frown at the subtle reaction contenting himself with an internal ‘ah’ as he brushed away some offending lint from his coat sleeve. He did smile as Francis accepted his characterization with good intent. Bravado and integrity were desirable traits here at Court. “As for inconveniences inflicted upon or by Her Majesty’s Ladies I am sure that is something the Margravina will not allow. You need not worry yourself about becoming a distraction. If you indeed are she will not hesitate to inform you for my dear wife is not shy when it comes to looking after the Queen’s person.”

“For myself I do not find the requirements of service to Her Majesty unduly onerous. Overseeing the accounts of the stables can be tedious as it rarely allows me to be among the actual horses. But if there was one thing that being called to the silk has taught me is to manage paperwork… and there are always mounds of paperwork to be done. I daresay that if you found the writing to be done at university, even a questionable one like Cambridge, taxing I prey Sir that you never seek a place in Government.”    


(OOC. My bad. I wrote this a few days ago but forgot to post it.)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Francis smiled, "Of that I am certain." Lady Mountjoy was very good at her duties. "But I have ne'er given her cause for such a thing, and I do not intend to start. I prefer to give your lady wife reasons to smile, for she is also very amiable and of good conversation." While Francis clearly had no interest in his...well he thought of Mountjoy as a friend...so his friend's wife, he saw no reason not to pay a candid compliment of the lady in question.


He rolled his eyes liberally and dramatically at the dig against Cambridge.


"Well, my lord, I confess that I prefer the position that I have and do not have further specific aspirations. I let His Majesty and His Grace tell me what my aspirations are in regard to that," he added, with a snort of amusement. Thus far, it had not steered him wrong. "Besides, one need have a greater understanding of court politics than I have gleaned thus far for such positions. Even Buckingham cannot cure my lack of experience in court life with that sort of speed. It was quite the drilling to get the proper manners and bearing to his standards." He chortled, recalling the sheer amount of bowing he had done before the duke. 


"He still quite enjoys reminding me 'prettily and not like a sack of potatoes' about every movement, and I've become very certain His Grace has never seen an actual sack of potatoes."

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  • 3 months later...

At the complement to his wife Mountjoy gave an accepting smile. Compliments were thrown about with reckless abandon at Court but it still pleased him to have his wife spoken of kindly.

The reaction to his less than complimentary gibe at Cambridge also gave him satisfaction but he chose to keep it to himself. Really if one did not wish to be teased one should not have gone to Cambridge.

“Your position as a Gentleman of the King is an enviable one and one that provides a direct and measurable benefit to his Majesty.”

He scoffed.

“Why sir, I declare that likening you to a sack of potatoes is a most unjust comparison. If anything, I should compare you to a basket of peaches. Soft and fuzzy yet with a hard stone. They also ripen quickly as you have done here at Court. I would say My Lord that if His Grace chooses to make such a comparison, he should become more familiar with his vegetables. You have done well and I do believe, as I think does His grace, that you will continue to do well. He may just be more reticent in admission.”

He slapped his thighs. “And now for some reason I find myself a bit peckish so shall bid you adieu.”

He always likes speaking to Francis. Charles had from a very early age been raised in the expectation that he would take his family’s accustomed place at Court and like many from prominent families believed that position and privilege was theirs by right. It was refreshing to find one that recognized that service came with those rights.

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