He was handsome, in his early twenties. He did not need a periwig, instead his own dark curls framed his face that yet lacked a moustache. A face that was otherwise like a mirror image of his father but thirty years earlier. His father was nearing fifty, with creases in his skin and that slightly bloated look that comes with age and being well to do. No the son, who was blooming, a sample of good healthy, with the muscled physique of a true soldier.
The father regarded the son with fondness. He was a fine specimen and reminded him of his own youth, causing a vague sense of pride. Oh, if he loved anybody, he loved Jemmy, his first born that he had held close for so many years. Life was so full of promise for Jemmy. He was both filled with hope and with dread for that boy's future. That he lacked wisdom he previously had dismissed as a lack of age and nothing more. Lately though this was something that he had been forced to re-examine. Though he had nobody to share his odd humour with, he had come to the conclusion that it was because if Jemmy resembled anybody in his family it was above all, not his father but his namesake, his uncle. The same stubbornness, the same righteousness. The same utter conviction one was right. Dare he also say the dumbwittedness? No, that was cruel, though Rochester had never hesitated to call it that way. The King heaved a sigh.
"But father," Monmouth whined. How Charles hated that whining tone, in any of his children but in Jemmy especially. Had he not always done what was best for his children? "No buts Jemmy," Charles said firmly 'You know how I dislike you taking that tone with me." With his children or immediate family the King never spoke in the royal we, at least not in private. That didn't mean that he didn't expect to be obeyed immediately and treated with respect as the pater familias. Privilege would only go so far.
"I know you want to take the Life Guard under control but it just cannot be born," Charles lectured his son "It will lead to all kinds of suggestions that I will not tolerate. You cannot think to be above the law, Jemmy."
"The accusations against Chris are unfair," Jemmy flared up, his temper always at the ready, another trait he shared with his uncle "If a gentleman takes a commission then he should expect his underlings to behave. This is FitzJames we are talking about." Briefly the King's dark eyes flared a bit. He did not have great liking to the officer, but he felt stuck between a rock and a hard place. How to please his son and his brother both?
"Careful, Jemmy," the King murmured, allowing the sting to ride out. "Do not play me. I will not allow you to take over the Life Guard again. That time is done. Instead advise your childhood friend on the actions he might take. That would be the most natural." Charles was reminded again what a handful young men were, pushing him to his limits. To think I have several more coming. God how you punish me.
"Jemmy, it would please me if you, for a time, would go and support Mary. She shall be engaged soon to William and you and she have always been close. I want you to escort her to Holland when the time comes."That would get Monmouth out of his hair for now.