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Back at the Castle Monday (evening)

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It was a curious, yet fascinating, topic to be sure.  "Yes, there must be more than beauty.  They must have been great wits at the time," he imagined aloud, knowing the King's need for regular entertainment.  Had the husbands encouraged or endured the affairs?  What favors might they have received, if any?  "Interestingly, it seems as though the affair was but for one child and then things resumed as they were.  There can be little doubt that Susan Herbert's father was the Earl," he stated cautiously while looking to Beverley for agreement.

"A most curious situation, and one most delicate," Charles observed softly.  "Captain Herbert has said that he would only marry for love.  I wonder if it is because he is aware of his ...unique ... situation, or whether he is just a rare romantic in that regard."  The man would be quite the catch and match for most ladies at court.  "I guess I shall learn more.  Are there other similar romantics at court?  I suppose second and third sons can have that freedom."

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"She does not resemble His Majesty," Beverley observed. "I feel royal blood must come through if it is present, in one way or another." The King's children tended not to be fair and most seemed to have dark hair. 


"It seems foolish to me, to marry for love," Beverley replied. "Unless one's love happens to coincide with a good match, I suppose. I would think a gentleman to be more in command of his own affairs to seek out what would further his line and influence, but - as you say - it is something for a second or third son."


Beverley had not chosen Mary for love, though he felt he rather loved her now, but had chosen her because of the family alliance and blood, number of brothers, as well as her personality attributes. They had suited each other and interests in common. She was also quite pretty. He had been lucky in that way.

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Langdon found himself nodding at the analysis of royal blood.  Susan was not the King's child.  Her blond ringlets proclaimed her otherwise.  "That makes sense to me."

So too was the wisdom about marrying for love.  "I agree.  I do not know your lady well at all, but I hear nothing but fine things about how well she is liked.  I should think that a future carriage ride might be enjoyable if you brought your lady wife and I would escort Lady Susan.  They, of course, know each other well, and might carry on."  He smiled at the thought.  Perhaps they would need to wait until he was betrothed to Susan.  "The question is whether one would marry a shrew if she was wealthy enough."  He laughed and was quick to say "not us of course."

Charles found Robert to be a good and wise gentleman.  Langdon did not quite fit the mold of a classic courtier.  He had too much soldier and too little formal education and refinement.   "I owe you a drink my lord for your wise counsel and insights.  This is my fourth year at court and I have been too busy soldiering and such, and not enough watching and listening to courtiers.  I suppose I should do that more.  If there were something I could do to help you, I hope you will not hesitate to ask."

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"That would be very enjoyable, indeed. If we wish to accomplish such a thing before it gets unbearably cold, we would have to do so soon. This season or right after," Beverley volunteered. "Though, I do not know if my lady wife would be considered chaperone enough for an unmarried lady whilst at her own young age," he added, with a sly smile. 


Beverley would have married anyone his father had insisted, though he might have protested; however, he would not say such a thing now when he was with another gentleman of his own age. It was the time when one's sense of bravado prevailed. 


"It is nothing and hardly wise." Beverley had been in a safe life. A life of observation. A life from an old family where his father was entrenched at court. It was a different learning. Lord Langdon had been in battle. The most of "battle" Beverley had seen was in delivering Cumberland's messages back and holding his spy glass from the deck of a ship from behind the line. "Listening to courtiers is a rather boring activity, as necessary as it is. There were other things I would have far rather been doing, but, erm, I suppose that is as it is; one always thinks another's experiences far more interesting and desirable. My father did not let me do such things."



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"You are wise to mention chaperone," the Earl admitted.  "I cannot be seen with Lady Susan outside the company of her mother or brother."  He hastened to add with his new information "or half brother."  He gave a knowing smile. 

"Lady Pembroke seems less enthused about following her daughter around while she prattles with a man courting her.  I suppose I do not blame her," he added with a wry smile.  "Imagine the tedium to Captain Herbert to sit in a coach and listen to me prattle romantic things to his sister.  Thank God I have no sister and an obligation to do the same.  I think I would just arrest the gentleman in question to end the torture," he laughed, making fun of his reputation for making arrests.  "You have a sister, but she is older as I recall, so you never had to serve that God awful duty I imagine."  He was still chuckling.  "I cannot ask Captain Herbert to accompany us unless we three gentlemen speak of manly things and pay less attention to our ladies.  That would only set us back with the ladies."  The whole idea of having her brother as a chaperone seemed inconceivable.  Mothers were built for such inane duties.

"You make listening to courtiers sound the same," he offered.  "Maybe the two of us could practice musket fire together, or have a good race through the woods.  There is nothing like a competition among friends to remove the ill humors."  He was taking a chance by calling Beverley a friend, but he wanted to signal the man that he found Cumberland's aide to be a worthy companion. 

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"That would be very awkward, yes," Beverley replied. "My lady wife and I either had her lady mother or Lord Worcester or both around when we were first met. Or observed by both our entire families. It was...not conducive to learning much about the other. Thankfully, her lady mother was quite fond of riding too, so we were allowed to ride a bit ahead which afforded some conversation without being overheard on a few occasions."


His courtship, if one could call the early stages of an arranged marriage that, had been a very ritualized affair. 


"Yes, let us do that. Even better to be free of ladies," he said, then quickly added, "Though of course, I do wish to do the carriage ride, just without anyone's lady mother." He was too afraid of Pembroke to suggest anything untoward lest he get blamed into the entire thing.


"Perhaps on Saturday we could do some shooting? Friday are the yacht races, and I will be quite busy with that, as I am sure shall you with needing to arrange the Life Guard. Maybe some of the other gentlemen will join us. Perhaps even Cumberland would enjoy some shooting."

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"Right, anything to do with ladies is awkward," he complained in the way en often did about women.  "I mean, the chaperone can stand 30 yards away and see us.  I am not going to attack her daughter in plain view, any more than you would attack your lady."  He found himself laughing at the silliness of it.  "We are not going to seduce our future wives.  That would be crazy.  There are other women for that.  Nor do we want to put them in a position that would raise eyebrows.  Plain view should be enough.  If they listen too, then you can only prattle about nonsense."  He was shaking his head, but in good humor because he had found a sympathetic friend.  "Maybe I should just write Susan a letter and say that maybe we should just meet at church and social functions, and not arrange outings with her mother."  That seemed a fine idea.

"Yes the race."  Now there was a topic of great interest to men.  "I am thinking of a Life Guard contingent on any ship carrying a royal, though it might slow down the ship," he observed aloud. "Perhaps the King could be guarded by his gentlemen."

"I was thinking of a mounted unit on each shore to track the ship movements and sweep for snipers and assassins.  Can you tell me the stretch of the river that will be used?  I will want squads up and down river.  We will want to watch any onlookers for a bow or rifle."  It was he year before that French assassins had struck.  "Is Prince Rupert taking any special security precautions I should know about?"  It would do well to coordinate.

As for shooting, "Saturday late morning would be fine.  I find target practice soothing. The masque is that night, which should be fun.  I am hoping to recognize Lady Susan when I see her, and not because there is a mother hovering nearby," he laughed.

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"I doubt you will have much success with that suggestion. If I recall correctly, erm, none of them in the Flotilla wanted an ostentatious guard." 


It was not going to be a long race as there would need to be a few runs and time between to set up. Not to mention it would not be exciting if the finish was not somewhere near the crowd.


"Yes, along the banks, surely. That is a smart idea. Perhaps patrols from the evening before so that nobody can find an advantageous place to hide. His Highness is stationing yeomen on both banks on both ends to discourage people from trying to enter into the area, but Life Guard patrols would be well-placed too. There might be some onlookers on the Windsor town side of the bank, so perhaps we have an area specifically for townsfolk to watch from, the better to keep an eye on them."


"It will start half a league up the river and then finish down by where the crowd will gather along the banks."


Beverley nodded to the timing of the shooting. He was not as excited for the masque as others. Mostly because he was not as good in such large social gatherings. Perhaps being anonymous would make it easier. It did make him nervous for his wife to be there; he did not wish others flirting with her.

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He figured as much, about the lack of desire of stationing Life Guards on the yachts.  He accepted it gracefully.  It was to be a short race and any dangers would come from the shores rather than onboard.

"If His Highness is stationing yeomen on the shores, then it seems that a mounted show of force would be advisable," he acknowledged.  "Yes, starting from the night before would be prudent.  We need to flush out any who might think to squat overnight in tall grass or trees."  He would give the necessary orders.  Just the sight of mounted patrols might dissuade anyone planning chaos during the race. 

"I should think the small piers and harbor area in the town might be a place for the townsfolk to cheer on the race."  That would be an area hard to clear of commoners anyway.  "Perhaps some yeomen or Life Guard sharpshooters should be on some rooftops," he suggested aloud.  "I am thinking where I should stand.  I supposeI could help guard the Queen," he offered aloud, thinking he or Sam should be with the Queen. 

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