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Becalmed & How to win a Yacht Race | dawn Monday 19th


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A large, Spartan-looking grey stone quay ran parallel to the river bank, and was used mostly for unloading supplies for the castle. There were railings consisting of rope and wooden posts, with sturdy bollards at the riverside for mooring. It was from here that all courtiers travelling to the Castle from the river would arrive, being able to see Windsor in all its glory when disembarking. At one end, away from the hasty commotion of the trade vessels, are tied a half dozen small row boats. The owner of the vessels stands nearby, an old man with long grey hair, his leathery skin and the fine wrinkles around his eyes denoting a lifetime spent squinting at the glare on the water. For a nominal fee, you can rent one of the rowboats for the afternoon.

There was no wind. 

The morning fog was thickest along the Thames, dense enough that the light of rising sun barely revealed the boats along the quay.  These were indistinct lumbering dark figures, with unseen water lapping at their sides. 

John Frederick was arrived early, for no other reason than that he'd slept poorly.   He stood here now, draped in a woollen cloak with a servant nearby carrying a lamp on a pole. The lamp became less and less necessary as the light of day grew, but was kept burning still. A beacon of a sort, indicating where he was to be found. 

Some beacons purpose was to warn sailors away.


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  • Hope changed the title to Becalmed & How to win a Yacht Race | dawn Monday 19th

Francis was used to being awake extraordinarily early for many different reasons. He was sometimes required for the King's walks with his long legs even when it was not his rotation attending. He sparred with Tommy at sunrise before setting him about the education of his mind for the day. He had always risen to watch the sunrise at sea and get the overnight reports. It was, thus, his habit to be awake in the dark.


Understanding the importance of this meeting, both as the King's order and because it was Dorothea's princely brother, Francis had been exceedingly diligent. 


He had to make sure that everything was ready before the prince arrived, and he had to move the Enterprise down to the landing platform to be ready for Brandenburg-Ansbach's arrival. 


Through the dense fog, the German prince would see Francis' yacht coming toward the platform and hear the crew calling out their actions to dock. The King's yacht had yet to arrive, but he could show the German the particulars of the Thames on his own craft. It took many minutes for the crew to tie off and secure a plank so that their august visitor might come aboard. 


Francis awaited the prince on the deck hat in hand, dressed more simply than he had been the night of the dinner, with loose breeches and just his shirtsleeves and a velvet waistcoat to keep off the chill. Tom stood behind him similarly attired, ready to do the work of organizing the crew.


The beacons on the boat made it easy to see things aboard, and when John-Frederick ascended, Francis bowed deeply and prettily.


"Welcome aboard, Your Highness. His Majesty's craft has yet to arrive from London on such short notice, but mine will suffice to tour you of the eccentricities of the Thames and allow you to grow accustomed to the crew that will race for you." 


Francis would take the secondary crew he'd pieced together last minute for himself when they arrived with the King's other yacht, rather than those who usually crewed the Enterprise, for at the least he knew all his own men and they were all strong sailors who could crew any vessel under his direction. It only seemed sporting to give the princely visitor the superior group, who were used to working together on a yacht. 

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John Frederick walked up the boarding plank with ease, his attending servant taking more cautious steps which were ignored by his lordship. The servant then fussed about in the backgound putting out his lantern and looking for a place he could set it down...

"Good morning Lord Kingston." he greeted in return, while jointly laying his eyes around the space and listening to Francis words.  "So this is your own craft you mean, do all Engishman bar Mountjoy get about in yachts.  It seems such a Dutch affectation."

JF might not be the easiest man to like, but he did not deliberately set out to offend.  He was perhaps a little too free with his opinion, but then men at a certain level of society are want to do so.  "I note the rigging quite different to those of merchant and naval ships." 

He was intent to take a measure of the other man and a tour would be a good start.  

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The Enterprise is a mid-sized yacht that even an untrained eye can tell is not made in the typical Dutch design. Instead of a typical 3 or 4 sail Dutch design, the ships seems more like a cross between a cutter and a yacht, with 5 sails, a taller mast, and a wider boom. The profile of the ship would also seem lower and the lee-boards also shaped differently and longer, interestingly with a bit of carving like a wide feather. On the windward side, the lee-board is removable The craft is made from very straight-grained species of wood found in the colonies and the lower boards are quite light-colored whilst the boards up through the rails are a golden reddish color. It has a very good weight to strength ratio in the species of wood, enabling it to withstand the force of having more sails and a higher mast, making it quite deceptively fast.

When not sailing across the Channel but used for pleasure, the yacht is furnished on the deck with wide cushioned benches, loungers and chairs. Above that at the rear of the craft above the main deck is the poop deck which sits over the yacht's cabin. This is the highest vantage point from which the yacht is navigated. As the yacht was designed and built as a prototype meant to coax commissions for building more, much of the wood not related to the stability of the ship is carved ornately like corded braids culminating in the stag's head coming off the bow (whose teeth can hold a large lantern or torch). Above the sails on the mast flies the ships primary ensign, the red cross of St. George which is raised by all ships not underway with Royal Warrant. The rear-facing sail flies an ensign with the emblem of his company, a silver filigree plate in between a large-antlered golden stag on a blue background with K.L Argent Co. across the center of it. Of both rear sides of the poop deck fly Kingston's coat of arms, which Francis was allowed to design himself as a new creation when it was given to his lady mother. It featured a quartered shield with Kingston-upon-Thames' three (vicious looking open-mouthed) salmon on a blue field in two diagonal panels; the Villiers red templar cross with escallops, a symbol of St James the patron saint of pilgrimages and long voyages also associate with those of great naval command; the Legge stag on a blue field; the Villiers motto "Fidei coticula crux*" across the bottom of the flag.  It's also flying Charles Rex's white handkerchief in salute and in (mock) protection from the King's modest gift to him in his first season.

*The Cross is the Test of Truth     (ironically fitting LMFAO)

(OOC - this is the original description, minus a few things he's removed like canon and the Kirke coat of arms and motto)


"Yes, it is my own craft, Your Highness," Francis replied, blushed at the next words. "You have a keen eye for the differences. And yes, yachts are not common, Sir, you are correct. Most English courtiers favor extravagances that gain them more frequent notice by others than a yacht which is not oft used where many others can 'oh and ah.' Unless they have abundances of coin like my cousin, the Duke, and an enjoyment for naval craft." Buckingham was, after all, the son of a Lord High Admiral even if he had never had such a chance himself; he had always wanted it or a great military command.


To the reason which Francis had one, he explained. "No doubt Your Highness is aware that I am involved in commerce, or was..." An area considered beneath the nobility and, in most cases, even the gentry. Business was not considered a large virtue but relegated to merchant classes who were more seen as grubby...and upstarts. "I was raised by my grandfather, Colonel Legge, who was close with His Highness the Duke of Cumberland and served with him in military campaigns his whole life, so my future as a gentleman was likewise in military service."


"I served in our 2nd war against the Dutch as a volunteer under our cousin Admiral Spragge, from whom I earned a Lieutenancy as primary navigation officer. Following that I started my own company to trade at sea with a relation and grew it over the intervening years. The yacht was to be a prototype of my design in the hopes that others would wish to commission a purchase, yachts being cheaper than trading ships to buy and fashionable for affluent peers. That was shortly before the next Dutch war, and I volunteered all my ships with our Navy under a Letter of Marque. A yacht of this size is useful for chasing Dutchmen into their shallow waters where they would outrun the larger Naval ships. I lost half my company to that war, so needless to say rebuilding merchant-sized ships was the priority. I've not built anymore yachts in the hopes others would purchase them, but she was the first thing I designed myself in the boring hours at sea between ports."


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"I am pleased to hear that, I am less proficient at this manner of craft than I wished to reveal to Prince Rupert." Of the peers there the other night, it was the Rupert that was most important to the German. "It my wish to make a good show."

Francis then answered his next question, in a Blount-esque manner in fact (providing far more details than were necessary, but with exactingness to each that you could hardly complain nor interrupt.)  John Frederick had no real interest in Francis naval career perse, but ascertained that it was through his experience there that the attributes of yachts had been learnt and appreciated.  As far as any apologetic tone for the trade angle, a German was far less likely to judge than might be a Frenchman of that fact. 

"It surprises me little that your Colonel Legge, under Prince Ruperts guidance, advocates the commercial benefits possible of waterborne enterprise; the Rhine has been provedore for many a Von this or that.  At certain places - if you are ever blessed to travel those parts - you shall see castles peppering it's shores as testament to that success."  

Not that he encouraged, but that it was not a issue.   

Francis mention of loosing men in a battle was an apt segway to then ask, "How many men does it take to operate a craft like this?" a pause, and he also asked, "The letter of Marque you operated under for the, ah 3rd Dutch war, was in Legges or Spraggs name?"  He did not imagine it was under Francis name himself. 

He had intended at some point of the morning to interrogate and take a measure of Francis, but came to realise that Francis was revealing himself, quite freely in fact. Which surprised John Frederick, though he was yet to determine if this was due to cleverness in the Englishman, or stupidity. 

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Francis was somewhat surprised when the German prince confessed that he was less experienced with yachts than he had let on and did not wish Cumberland to know. It was that comment which made it poignant to Francis that Dorothea's brother was quite a bit younger then Francis himself. And perhaps that, like Francis with Buckingham, the younger German prince wished to impress the elder, renown Cumberland.


"I shall say nothing of it, Your Highness. And there will be necessity to take out His Majesty's yacht when it arrives, so there will be plenty of time. As it was my royal master's command, I am sure His Highness will think little of it having anything to do with your proficiency." He added, "The Duke of Cumberland is a man who inspires all to impress him."


Francis chuckled just slightly and nodded at the "von this and von that" comment. "One of my first trading contacts what with the Graf of Katzenburg, a friend of my grandfather's from the years of exile, who commissioned some things from Italy through me. After his passing, he placed his daughter Sophia in my care." Which was as much to say that he understood Germans far more practical.


"The French think commerce is a trait of Huguenots and thus a stain, that the English follow suit with viewing it so is amusing to me considering they are solidly Protestant and can hardly see their faith as lesser, but court life does not always make practical sense. It oft means the only way for an English peer to advance is through manipulation of social tides." 


Clearly Francis found that far less savory and honorable than service and commerce. He preferred to focus his own life as a courtier to serving the King, as in actually doing so, not using it as a means to self-aggrandizement and coin. It was why he had postulated the yacht race to Cumberland as a Naval enterprise in the first place.


"With the 5 sails rather than the usual 3, I err on the side of 6 sailors, Your Highness. On the King's second yacht, it could likely be done with 5, or even 4, but this crew here works well together and will serve you well. There are 6 with my cousin here." He gestured to his ginger ward, who was standing quietly to Francis' rear right side. 


"It is under my name and my company's, Sir, as I have more than one craft. My grandfather passed when I was just of age, and the war came some time after that. The admiral died in the war, so my cousin here lost his entire family in it, great-uncle, father, and elder brother, and his mother at home long before, so though he may be young he has been sailing since he was a small boy."

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So far John Frederick was not seeing the hormarks of a vulgar miscreant, a fact at which furrowed his brow.  He had anticipated revulsion by now. 

But instead Francis promised to say naught to Cumberland.  "We shall need some wind, though possibly less with five sails to catch a breeze."  He moved along the deck taking visual note of this and that, though more importantly he weighed the words that Francis placed before him. The mans chuckle at his dry joke made almost made JF smile.  But he kept it in check.  He took his duty to sister as more important you see.  

"Katzenberg placed his daughter into your care?" he repeated to be certain he'd understood that right. "Sophia that is now wife of the Ambassador of Spain?" 

Well that did not match in with the tone of the rumours heard.  

"It is interesting that you speak of the French views, and the English views, Huguenots ant Protestants, all in a manner that you are a spectator of them." he commented then, while he was loath to admit it, he could see how Francis observational perspective might appeal to his sister.    

"The German way is more practical, as you no doubt have witnessed in, ah, Cumberland." He preferred to think of the Duke as the Prince fo the Rhine. But when in Rome.  "who's fields of interest are as vast as they are successful."

"Your cousin?" he turned to look at the red haired youth, and then asked the boy directly, "What is your name, and what position abord ship do you most favour." 

Mewnwhile he made a mental note to make some discreet inquiries to verify all that Francis meanwhile told him, at face value it seemed that he was an upstanding English patriot, mentoring multiple orphans.  

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Francis was a perceptive man. Negotiations in business required it. Running crews of dozens of men required it. Serving the King also required it. So, he was beginning to notice the notes of surprise in the margrave's voice between the dinner and this meeting. The Bishop of London telling him that Dorothea felt she needed to apologize for having an overconcerned brother only furthered his estimation that the margrave had heard of and feared his broadsheet slanders.


"Yes, Your Highness, the same. He loved her very much and did not wish her to be with a stranger at so young an age. She had spent time in Italy to learn the Opera style of singing with Signora Grimani, who were also my patrons in my business endeavors." Which was to say that they were acquainted, though Francis had little interest in little girls. He left out the bit of her running off to Opera houses and getting discovered and sending Signora Grimani into a tit, along with the rest of the household.


"With our Queen-to-be being German, he thought it a safe arrangement for her future and happiness, but with me being yet unmarried she could not properly stay in my house. It was not optimal when she stayed with another business partner of his, who had daughters, daughters who were dwarfed by Sophia, and jealous. She should have stayed with my lady mother and grandmother, in retrospect. Merchants, even rich ones, do not understand realities of the nobility, and she needed a mother-figure not a middle-aged man exasperated with daughters and a twenty-seven-year-old who was more fit as a brother than father substitute." 


It would not be difficult to see that Francis had a brotherly fondness for Sophia to speak bluntly about the situation and his regrets in the shortcomings of the situation, even though she was now very well married to a grandee close to the King of Spain and no longer officially his concern. In further evidence of that, he added, "The Graf helped my family during exile, and I take matters of family loyalty and honor seriously, so she will have me for the rest of her life if she needs me."


Which was the same way he felt about his duty to Prince Rupert. There was a loyalty he owed for life. It was the old cavalier way of his grandfather and no matter how antiquated it was becoming, it was how he had been raised. "Very practical...and to the point...and very vast. I do not limit my services to the naval aspects, though those are most obvious," he said, gesturing to the ship. "I am Chancellor of Cambridge, so I keep my ear to the ground for those who may be of service to him in his scientific endeavors. His Majesty is similar in a love of science, mechanics, and invention." 


When the margrave spoke to Tom, Francis turned to open up the space between them. The youth looked up and blinked for a moment. Francis waved his come forward some. 


"Thomas Spragge, Your Highness," he said, fiddling nervously with his hat. Even living with grandiose Buckingham, Tom had yet to accustom to meeting princes. Francis cleared his throat surreptitiously and the youth stopped fiddling. "Whatever position would best serve, Your Highness. I am first of the crew, Sir."


(OOC - Sorry Francis is so verbose, but he's a transparent and sociable guy LOL )

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John Frederick nodded as Francis further explained his relationship with Sophia in honor of that with her father – and it was plain he was well versed in the lady’s comings and goings with also the late fathers intent.  Francis spoke freely enough that he also admitted an error of judgement in who he’d housed Sophia with.  Hindsight had him wish she’d existed under his mothers roof.

“Lady Kingston seems a level headed woman.” The Prince replied, “Perhaps under her guidance the Grafs daughter would have married an Ambassador to the Holy Roman Empire instead.”

Spoken with pan face, John Fredericks humour came out.

Francis then made mention that the roles he filled for Cumberland were also diverse, then with an add on that he was Chancellor of Cambridge.  “I am aware your appointment in Cambridge as new, tell me, is there a custom of hazing in country extreme?” he asked.

For Francis disclosures painted a very different picture than rumours would suggest. There were lies being told somewhere, and now having met Francis more fully, he suspected they did not come from his lips.

“Would you say that you have developed enemies?” he then asked direct.

Before attention swung to the youth.  “Well Cheif Officer* Spragge, have you learnt to read the clouds yet?  Knowing what they forecast of the wind may be what will win us the race.” JF noticed the way Francis directed the youth to stop fiddling with his hat, which was just as well, for he would have told the boy to keep still otherwise.



OOC: I looked up the ship ranks and believe that is the correct term aka First mate. Assuming that JF will technically be the Captain. 

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Francis smiled at the compliment to his mother and snorted at what he thought might be a joke. "I think the only great personages my mother has met from the Holy Roman Empire are Your Highness and His Highness the Duke of Cumberland. Alas, I believe you both are married." He snapped his fingers in a 'too bad' gesture.


"One has to be level-headed to raise three boys of similar age in the necessitated absence of a man, so I give my lady mother and grandmother much credit for the fortitude and ability. The Colonel was mostly gone during those years of exile. Boys left to run wild oft turn into men who understand neither their place nor their duties." Which explained his general mantra in regard to how he dealt with his cousin Tommy and while, though fidgety at first, he was well-behaved toward the Margrave.


"Oh, not as Chancellor, but there was plenty of torment as a new student in our house at Trinity when I was a youth, and I feel our Housemaster must have been a saint. The Upper students would do all sorts of things in our rooms, at prayers, at lectures, that they would blame us for during our first months. Fridays were not happy days."


Fridays were generally the universal "beating day" across most universities he had ever heard of, where recalcitrant students and those who couldn't pass their exams and recitations got their due...mostly in front of everyone in their house. 


Tom replied to the German prince's question politely, "My Lord Kingston is an excellent mentor in reading the weather, Your Highness. I learned my navigation, and everything, from him. And England rarely has gentle weather. The wind should pick up and begin to lift the fog, even a little wind is enough to move her to test the optimal spots in the water."


Needing to address the enemies question, and not particularly wishing to do so with Tom as an audience, he said to the boy, "Have them untie from the dock and ready the sails so that when we get breeze we can get underway."


Once the ginger bowed and left, he said, "I do not mean it as an impertinence to say that I understand the question is more than what it is on the surface, Sir, so I hope you do not take it as such." They had, after all, already discussed that Germans, even German princes like Rupert, were to-the-point. "I do not believe I have made many enemies myself, but a personages like the Duke of Buckingham is one that inspires deep jealousies and many enemies. He is a mercurial man, raised like a prince, and his fondness for me is the soft underbelly of a target for his enemies. One that might, in their view, cause him to make a mistake. He has not shown such favor for other relations. I am an easier target then His Grace and one that might inflame the duke more than the same old slanders he has always faced about his own person, so the slanders and broadsheets are about me instead."


"I also understand Your Highness' particular concerns about me, and His Majesty's placing of me around the Queen and her ladies...and Her Majesty's friends like the princess, your sister. I will answer any question or concern you have honestly, so invite you to ask them without reservation."

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Kingston spoke with pride in his mother, which spoke good things of the man, while of his father he said very little.    

To the hazing question, the reply removed possibility that the broadsheets was a university prank; “I understand.” John frowned his way through the other details upon English Universities that Francis then volunteered.   

“Fortune for that then, you are likely spared from Friday beatings.” He replied as Tom said he was well taught on reading the weather.  “But Young Spragge makes a good point,” he turned to Francis to add, “-that the tutor might take credit, and conversely blame for a failing student, thus might be the one to be punished.” 

The lad was then given task of tying off from the wharf, and the German sensed that it was a more delicate reply that Francis mustered. And it was, most particularly because it involved talk of his betters. 

“Thank you for the candour. While some enjoy dancing around topics that is not my idea of an interesting morning.”  The Margave was pleased to speak freely.  “You are correct that I am very concerned for my sisters repute. She takes joy in a focus upon what is morally right and good, and great interest in Gods Word; for her to continue to enjoy these her favored occupations she need not be touched by anything other.  Her example cannot be set up for others to follow, if her companions are questionable.  

“So it is I am, was, concerned when I heard the name that she had written with recommendation for in her letters then to come up in scandal sheets.

“I can accept most of what you have said, while I do not consider some of the rumours worth inquiry as they are unbelievable to any sane mind.  But one question remain still. Of your Father, Charles Kirke, and a legacy mentioned in the broadsheets, and that the apple does not fall far from the tree.”

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Francis listened carefully as the young man spoke his concerns over his sister, giving it the appropriate attention and gravitas himself. He wet his lips and wondered about what to say in reply for a moment. He wished the margrave to feel comfortable in his sister remaining in England for some time longer, if only for the Queen's benefit. It seemed cruel to part them when they were such close friends and Queens needed a childhood friend just as much as King's did, and no matter what other nobles said Francis believed his King and his uncle were a pair best not separated too. 


Such sentiments favored the bare honesty, and since the prince did not wish to dance topics and seemed austere enough to keep to himself, Francis put his full thoughts on the table, or the bow as it were.


"I do not wish for the princess to suffer any harm to her reputation, and I would safeguard it whilst these slanders are about by keeping my distance appropriately. His Highness the Duke of Cumberland asked what advice I thought he should give me regarding your sister, and I am certain he would tell you what I replied, which is that she is considerably above me and that I should remember my place precisely to avoid the same thing none of us wish to happen, any harm to her. And it is because she is so very good and moral that she would probably wish to be a friend by my side, but it is my duty to make sure she does not, for both our sakes but most especially hers."


It would not help him any if people started gossiping about the upstart chasing princesses, after all. 


The reality was that he hadn't chased at all. He had come by his...fondness...without wishing to do so and certainly without deceit or conceit. 


The mention of Charles Kirke and father in one sentence gave Francis a very unhappy face. In some circumstances he might be a blusher, but in times where those two antithetical things were mentioned in the same sentence, it gave fire to his blue eyes and no color to his cheeks. 


"I did not grow up with a father, Your Highness. I was raised by ladies and by my grandfather, who was the best of men. Charles Kirke was but a monster I saw a handful of times who hung me out a window once by my arm. I assure you, I learned nothing from him other than how not to be and how not to treat a lady." He swallowed his discontent at the thought of the man and added, "An apple might not fall far from a tree, but a seed can be carried away and planted very far from it. There are enough mighty oaks in my family and enough inheritance in my blood from them that you will find more resemblance there than with Charles Kirke."

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John Frederick rose an eyebrow as the method Cumberland had used to deliver advice to Francis.  Yet again he was impressed with how clever the Rhine Prince was.  “His was a method that provides insight to character of the petitioner, and from your own I would say you are not overly charitable to yourself, though I cannot bring myself to disagree with your sentiments – I am pleased that you came by them of your own volition. For otherwise it might be my part to advise you of them.”

The main fact stood out in mind that his sister was high above Francis, though until that moment he’d not considered that the man before him might have been considering marriage. That had come as a surprise.

Having blinked at that, he then mused, “It would have me now wonder what reply you think I should now make you?” JF perceived some amusement in his copy cat question, which perhaps offset his earlier surprise.

He then listened keenly to the reply upon Charles Kirke, while the picture Francis painted was not good, the bad apple. "Yes my own inquiries had found that others of the Kirke family are achieved persons, Your Grandfather George Kirke having been honored by your King, while  your uncle Percy is highly achieved. Aunt also has married highly.” 

He paused for Francis comment.

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With a soft chuckle, Francis said, "I hope that observation helps to overshadow the 'upstart' components of the slanders against me, for I don't think most who are self-concerned about over-reaching their advancement would be accused of not being charitable with themselves." He smiled and added, "I'm not someone who will put charitability to myself over a lady's welfare. With things as they currently are, any time your sister spends around me will do nothing but create talk she does not deserve. That I don't deserve it either is immaterial. I watched my mother suffer because of a man, I won't be the cause of that, even by less nefarious means."


Ladies had fragile reputations. If talk started that she was dallying with him, it would assuredly impact her future. He could trust his own future to the hands of the King and the Duke, and that his reputation would recover. He had, after all, started out life at court with the Charles Kirke rumors and had overcome them mostly on his own. This was greater, but his support was also greater. 


"And I would not blame you for advising me of them, for I would do the same thing in your position." 


Francis had not thought about marriage and still was not thinking about marriage, per se, because he was charitable enough to realize that he was not the best choice for her. Their current Queen was the prime example of that; there was little reason Dorothea could not have a similar thing. Regardless of fondness and suitability of their interactions, he had not truly internalized that one day - by some means or another - he was most likely going to be the Duke of Buckingham and would be more acceptable a match than a newly made earl.


The concern, and his concern, in her being so far above him was that spending time with him, especially in the current climate, would make more marriageable candidates for her think twice about her suitability. That was, after all, how most gentlemen finagled marriages above their status - make enough a public show that you became the only candidate because others had started questioning. Since his objective was not marriage, because he was not out to advance himself quite so brazenly, he had no clue the margrave was thinking about that.


"Your Highness makes a quick study of putting to use successful tactics," Francis complimented with a chuckle as the question was rounded on him once again. "You need make no reply, Sir. I have given my word of honor once. Twice is not necessary. I do not wish to be the cause of your parting your sister from my Queen. Though I hope once I am vindicated of these broadsheets that you'll not object to my presence around her altogether. I do miss our games of Latrones, though I am very bad at it."


As to the Kirke family, Francis answered honestly, "I speak only of my lady mother's side of the family which boasts far greater accomplishments than those. Since she left Kirke when I was a baby and fled back to her father, they have had naught to do with me or with her, so I do not know them. The Duke of Buckingham, my cousin, has been quite pleased to say I take after that part." 

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Francis reply on that, particularly upon safeguarding Dorothea, struck a true cord with John Frederick (whether or not there was grains of truth in the gossip).


I watched my mother suffer because of a man, I won't be the cause of that

He found himself warming to the man, who had a personally derived motivation along with a noble spirit. 

“Then I would not tell her that it was upon your account, though I think you can see that returning her home is the sensible course.  Dorothea, I believe, has been a great service to Karoline von der Pfalz as she has settled into her new home.  They have been close for may years, since long before any engagement, and as a traveller yourself you will appreciate that a companion can make a great deal of difference when in a new land. 

“But it is more than a year passed now, and Dorothea’s future is in Germany, further, I shall say that I have missed my sister.   I have yet to tell Dorothea or the Queen, but they likely already foresee a return.  The arrangement was never forever.”

“I would like to grant you permission to write my sister to continue the games of Latrones.  It is a game that can be played remotely, just as they do with Chess. And no doubt personal communication may be included, I dare say that in the least she shall be pleased to one day learn that the slander is past.

John Frederick relaxed visibly, his voice less taut as he nodded to Francis further revelations upon family.   The Duke is Francis cousin was he? The family trees had been blurry on that regard.  “And they say that you cant choose your family.  But then families are large things, people can surely choose what branch they will swing upon.”    

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Francis was not used to having to conceal every hint of his reactions in such instances. He'd never held...affections...of this sort before, so he could not fully hide that it made him sad to think about Dorothea going home. Spending most of his life at sea and understanding the risks of that, he had never had attachments beyond his family. When you were acutely aware you could easily die or never return, getting close to anyone was simply a difficulty he had not needed. Couple that with watching the results of his mother being in love and his father getting killed...well, it had not spoken well for attachments.


So, if his face fell a bit at the revelation, or if he exhaled a little heavier, there was little to do for it. Did he care if the German prince noticed? Not particularly. 


"Your highness is braver than I," he commented. "For there is nothing that wounds me so much as a lady's unhappiness or tears, I confess. Not having a sister, I cannot know for certain, but I know what it is for my lady mother to cry, and it used to be misery when I left for sea, her attempts to drown me on dry land. I cannot help but feel badly even if I have been one small part of the reason for wishing to take your sister home if tears are the result, for I do believe she has come to enjoy it here and grown into a fine lady-leader alongside my Queen. Her bible event exhausted all the seats in the Queen's presence chamber and many had to stand. She had shown some interest in being a patroness of those studying theology or philosophy at Cambridge so that she might have discussion with persons with a keen a mind as she." He took a weighty breath and added, "Even the artisan that makes the sugar pieces which look like glass at the palace was discovered by the princess."


Francis did smile as the German gave permission for them to write to each other. "I appreciate your confidence in my character," he replied. "And I understand you missing your sister." He paused and then asked, "Are you not married, then? I had thought you were?" 

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If John Frederick noticed, he said naught of it. 

His eyebrows did raise though with revelations that Francis made, then furrowed in reflection.  "I was not aware that she has been so active." 

How many brothers underestimated their little sister, and Dorothea was not loud spoken nor a pushy sort - which made these feats described all the more surprising.

"Persons had to stand at a bible event." He repeated, though knew he'd not misheard.

He needed a moment to think about this new information, so was happy to take up the simpler question asked.  "Yes I am married, with a two children and another on the way. My daughter is also named Dorothea." he smiled as a father might, "The bond of a sibling is a different sort, though I shall admit that the first months of her absence I was pleased. I missed early morning chapel for months - you must not tell her that."

Inhaling deeply, then exhaling again, he pondered seriously. "So you think she is making a real difference here in England."  He knew her well enough to know that fulfilment of missionary-esque desires might mean a great deal to Dorothea. 

"And what is this other, about Cambridge. It is a University, I believe, but is it of the calibre of Leiden?" 



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"When a bird leaves the familiar comforts of the nest, she is oft forced to spread her wings. When one has been taught well, it proves easier, though daunting," Francis replied. 


He nodded at the disbelief that there were persons standing at a Bible reading.


"By birth your sister might be due the limelight, but she does not crave it, that is true. That does not mean she does not belong in it when given her space to find what place she has been meant to occupy, no matter where she might live, Germany or here." He smiled softly, thinking about how very shy - and perhaps frightened - Dorothea had been when she arrived. "It speaks very well of your family that she overcame her hesitance in a new land. When we first met," he paused and added, "I don't know if she told you how we met, but she was not so very comfortable here."


Francis had an honest smile at the thought of a brother naming a daughter after his sister and held back a snicker as the young man confessed to skipping early masses.


"I have not had any of those blessings, and you are considerably younger than I, I believe, though I very much do not look my age, and we are both older than your sister," Francis observed. "I think that she does, for herself and for others, Your Highness." He paused and thought over his words for a moment. "Your wife is head of your house and that is an absolute. At a large court, with a Queen as a bosom friend, the princess your sister can occupy a grand place, as grand a place as she feels safe to explore. Only with your support, of course."


As to Cambridge, Francis said, "It is where my friend Sir Isaac Newton was educated, and you must surely have heard of his advancements?" As Francis had mentioned being its Chancellor earlier, the prince could hardly expect him not to laud the place!

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“It is true that you do not look the age in which you can speak, why, you might be hill top sage with words like these.”  Which was his dour style humour expressed.  Humour that offset a great deal of serious thought going on in his head. 

Dorothea was a bird spreading her wings beyond her nest, discovering lime light that she was not ambitious for but content within, not able to be mistress of her brothers house but finding a high place in her friends household.

Individually these thoughts were notable, together they were substantial.

“No, she did not tell me how you met…” Francis had offered the story, and JF requested it told, time to mull over thoughts of his sister. Who, seemed to have settled into the Stuarts court far more than he ever imagined.

“Ah yes Newton is the English rival of Leibniz”  He nodded, knowing of Newton from the other side of the stories.  “Some competition within academia is beneficial to the ongoing accumulation of collective knowledge of course, so I hardly hold Him against your Cambridge.”

Which he thought was another joke made, in fact he thought he was really on fire today.  Perhaps he was even enjoying Francis company!  (But do not ask John Frederic to say those words directly.)

But he was starting to think he needed to talk with his sister more about what she’d been doing here in England, which was far more than she’d happened to mention in her entirely modest letters. 

“So… how best am I to win this race?” he looked about them, pulling attention to less weighty matters. 


OOC: perhaps we fade out on a bit of river and boat type manoeuvres, and draw in to play again when e are coming back on into mooring.  I give you liberty to write some yachty stuff for us!  

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Francis chuckled. He had grown more used to the German style of humor around Dorothea and also the Queen. "Villiers blood doesn't make one look quite that much younger," he assured. "I shall be thirty years in January and have not lived a sheltered life, which brings much experience and wisdom."


Pushing blond hair away from his face when a light wind finally blew, Francis was all too happy to provide the story. His goal was merely to illuminate Dorothea's stay for her brother, that he might think twice about removing her, or at least more seriously ask her about her own wishes. 


"It was exceedingly early in the morning which is a quiet time at Whitehall. Our courtiers are not ones for attending early sermons, and I confess, nor was I doing so. I believe I was heading to His Majesty's to accompany him on his early morning walk, but it is of no matter, I am simply an early riser from days at sea. I heard a commotion in the corridor, rapid footsteps. Your sister came around the corner in a panic, though proper as ever, and I expected to find some blackguard chasing her. I put my hand on my sword at the ready. She hid behind me and instead some idiot boy rounded the corner, who thought to learn some German words from a friend to relay to her to impress her. Needless to say he did not say what he thought he was saying. He frightened her with the vulgarity when all he wished was to give her a gift, inappropriate though that notion also was. I calmed the situation and told the youth off for his forwardness, sent him on his way, with a promise that he'd best tell his elder brother and guardian before I did."


He shook his head with some amusement at the memory since it turned out to be rather harmless and the typical folly of youth. "I walked the princess back to the Queen's apartments so she would feel secure after such an ordeal. After that we would speak and play Latrones when His Majesty visited the Queen; I wished nothing more than your sister to feel safe and welcomed. When the Queen was announced as pregnant and court recessed for the winter, there were not many the King would trust to not to make a commotion around ladies but to be something of a surrogate protector in his absence, so he left me at Windsor during his progressions." He shrugged. "It is ironic then that the broadsheets slander me as some danger to ladies. That is the furthest from the truth."


Another light blow of wind brushed at Francis' blond curls. 


"It seems we might finally have some wind. Let us get some movement, and I'll show you the important bit of the river."


(OOC - I'll reserve zipping us forward with yacht stuff for my next post or this reply is going to be too big. That'll at least let him react to the story of Francis and Dorothea meeting LOL)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Surprised to learn Francis actual age John Frederick pressed lips together tight in silence to that fact. He did not consider himself trumped on that, though it added some more substance to the others previous dialogue. 

But then there was a tale to be told.  A tale with surprises.  “Who was that idiot?!” he interjected at the point at which Bradley uttered some profanity to his little sister. 

Thankfully Francis moved swifty on to a setting of penance and providing a proper escort to Dorothea.  “Well then I must thank you for being at the right place at the right time.” 

The tale, in it’s entirety including the reason behind Francis visits and games of Latrones, then with his additional duty after the Karoline became with child, made a far fuller picture than he’d previously had. One that made far more sense (For previously he’d questioned the reasoning of CR)

“Though I dare say you were not the only Gentleman serving in that capacity?  This other, or others, are surely able to provide testimony against the allegations in the broad sheets.  Ack, though rumour is not a reasonable accounting, and there is no sole judge to announce your innocence as a verdict.”

“The judges of rumour are those that rate you because of what they have heard.  And, well by your remaining in King Charles service, says at the least that he does not credit you with any of that.” Drawing a deep breath he looked out up the Thames, and then frowning some, turned back to Francis.  “Were not for those rumours though, I might not have crossed such a distance to meet you. And I am pleased that I have, for I am now comforted in my sisters good opinion of you.”

Which was not an apology per se, but as close as he would make.

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"It is what any gentleman would do," Francis replied. "I was happy the incident did not prove more embarrassing or inconvenient and did not frighten the lady any more than she clearly was."


Being a man of negotiation from his business endeavors, he sensed something of a shift or ease from the rather formal German prince. 


"There are, of course, many guards and those who are part of the Queen's household, but His Majesty was rather anxious over his first legitimate child. He is expected to do progressions over recess to show favor." And do other things too, but he hardly needed to say that aloud. "There are not many of his gentlemen for whom the Queen has much toleration he could leave in his place, nor many of who...well...have a softness with ladies that would be sure not to agitate." He chuckled. "And an ability to procure whatever the Queen might wish from my connections in port. I learned much about pickles and all sorts of cravings."


"Back in London there was also Lord Mountjoy, who felt I needed thorough scrutiny, but I think I have earned the favor of both Mountjoys. At the least, Lord Mountjoy feels I am a good liaison between the royal households and hopes I continue. He would hardly say such a thing if his lady wife disagreed."


Unfortunately for Francis, English courtiers were driven by juicy gossip and rumor, like many courtiers of other countries. Truth did not much factor in. Nor did anyone's vouching do much to budge the momentum of the scandalous. 


Francis blinked as Dorothea's brother said he was happy to have met him. "As good a recommendation as any man can expect to receive after spending time with another's sister, even innocently." He smiled. "I am pleased to have met the brother she speaks so highly of as well, but I shall stay silent that it was not solely for the Christening."


As the wind picked up, Francis pointed out which areas of the Thames held the deeper water with the best flow and cautioned the areas that were narrow or shallow. The deeper, the faster, and the more desirable to cut into first. It was later in the morning when they finally arrived back at the landing platform. 


"His Majesty's yacht, which shall be for your use, should arrive by Wednesday. We can take another morning jaunt if you like, allow you to accustom yourself to the craft, the crew, and the water?"

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  • 1 month later...

John Federick did not know a great deal about the various individuals that CR kept as close companions, though even abroard they were politely known as 'merry', aka a bunch of drunks.  But Francis revealed he was favoured as a companion for the Ladies in the Queens house hold, he was cut from a different cloth than drink dick dipping Sedley and that ilk, and by his manner today JF could see he was a softer spoken sort.  All these things were adding up into a combination of an impression that he felt comfortable of likewise, as company for his sister. Which he'd apparently proved at the very beginning of meeting her.

But this was enough said on the topic, which was becoming rather too 'feelings' based for the Prinz  (At this rate they'd be unfurling needleworks before sails!)    So the fellow threw his fullest focus upon the Yacht and it's handling - with relevant questions; such as benefit of less ballast etc.  All of which Francis was able to reply.  There were shouts and hollers at times, all which gave a satisfactory manly feel, and a pleasing sweat to brow as the dramatic turn was made and they headed back to the wharf.

"Yes I want to do that." he agreed plainly to the test run on the Kings Craft when it arrived.  "Has his yacht ever lost before, I shall not want to embarrass the vessel nor myself." 

.... and so they laid in plans for a second excursion. 



OOC: we probably are at a good place to wrap this up anyhow But so sorry for leaving this thread hanging like I did! 

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