Our new season is now open: Spring 1677 !
|Full Name:||Charles Clarence Whitehurst|
|Title:|| Earl of Langdon, Baron of Tintagel|
Major in the Kings Lifeguards 2nd Troop
|Age:||22 (Born 21st May, 1655)|
|Eye Colour:||Dark Brown|
|Circles:||Politcal, Libertine, Military|
Reputation: «...a dashing man, well recognised amongst the ladies for his endearing and friendly attitude. Acknowledged for his dedication as a servant of the crown, he is experienced in his work, if a bit zealous and heavy-handed...»
Tall and dark, Charles is a good looking lad with an innocent air about him.
Initial Impression of Personality
One sees a good looking lad with a youthful face, though trying hard to appear older and more mature than he is. As such, he can often be overserious around those he is seeking to impress. His clothing is not particularly fashionable and he prefers to wear military uniforms to showy clothing.
Son of a famed huntsman and King's Life Guard Officer, a man with royal connections.
As June 1675 appeared, Charles, like the rest of Court moved to Newmarket for the races. He followed the Duke and Duchess of Monmouth to the races, keeping company with the Duchess (Anne Scott) while the Duke fed his poor spirits with continual drunkenness and chasing every skirt available or not.
When not on duty, he practiced racing and spent more time with the Earl of Granville (who followed the King everywhere). Colonel Trentmont and a company of Life Guard also accompanied the King. Charles played cards with Trentmont, Granville, and even occasionally Monmouth and the King. Charles, not being very good at poker, promptly lost 100 pounds. As Noni had come to Newmarket to watch the races, Charles took her out for frequent walks and courted her innocently.
To the good, Charles won second place at the race, and won a purse of 100 pounds, which he used to settle his debts. Still, Charles basked in the notoriety of being a champion racer. That headiness dissipated when the Duke of Monmouth, deflowering the daughter of a local Baron, was caught, by his wife. They had separate rooms at the inn, but she had walked in to find a lost article. This set off a row that sent her packing back to London. Charles, being too sympathetic to his wife, was ordered to escort her back to London. The Duke did not wish her to turn around and come back to vex him more.
As July arrived, Noni received word that her uncle had died and she was to return to Savoy at once. Charles offered to escort her, even though traveling with an unmarried lady was unseemly, Charles knew that his potential wife was not well-suited for complicated travel arrangements and was so naïve (even more than he) that she might be cheated. So, they purchased passage on a frigate bound for Tangiers and Genoa. From there, it was overland to Turin. Along the way, Noni taught Charles French and he taught her better English.
Arriving too late for the funeral, Charles left Noni to spend time with her family. He was happy for all the introductions she made, but Charles noticed that his rank and position was impressing no one. He took this as a bad sign. Charles finally obtained a private audience with the Duchess, who grilled him about his background. She also chided him for traveling with Noni, though he assured her that he had been the perfect gentleman.
At length, the Duchess told Charles that he would have to convert to Roman Catholicism if he wanted to marry her niece. Charles explained that he could not, in good conscience, do that. He also explained that to be a Catholic lord in England meant that he could hold no offices in government and would be shunned in Lords. Recognizing that this could hurt his status (which was already lower than acceptable to her), she declared that Noni must be free to remain a Catholic, and must not convert to Anglicanism. Charles agreed to this. The Duchess went on to explain that Noni would receive a comfortable yet not overly excessive dowry. Charles knew this to mean that they were offering a smaller dowry to him. He was disappointed, but not surprised. The Duchess also professed a dislike for the Genoese. Genoa and Savoy had recently fought a war. The English were too friendly with Genoa and she indicated that if Charles could convince Parliament to impose trade sanctions or tariffs on Genoese goods, that Charles would prove himself worthy of her niece. It was clear that a condition had been placed on him, and Charles was saddened, for he knew that legislation took months and years to accomplish. That seemed too long to wait, but he agreed to try.
Charles traveled back at once to London alone. Noni was instructed to wait.
Arriving in Langdon in mid-August, Charles spent a week with his brothers. Heather also came for a visit at the same time, with her stepmother.
Arriving back in London towards the end of August, Charles reported for duty with the Duke of Monmouth. His papers had gone through and he was no longer in the Royal Dragoons, but was an Adjutant to General Monmouth. He received a correspondence from Sabrina regarding a new title that might be owing her family and he replied that he would help her.
Speaking of Silas Moorehead, the man had gone on vacation for the latter half of August. Charles was able to ingratiate himself with Moorehead’s clerk. This gained him access to Moorehead’s secret ledger. Charles found entries that proved that thousands of pounds had been looted from his own estate and others. He showed the book to Monmouth, who was uninterested. He showed the book to the Earl of Granville, who was quite interested but suggested that Charles forget about it, as the King did not like his appointees to be scandalized. Charles refused to give up, feeling that this was wrong (how he cheated each ward). Granville advised that the King would take care of things privately.
During this intervening time, Charles used the credit Moorehead had given him (for his share of Evelyn Granville’s payment) to purchase new clothing. He was certain the man would cancel those credit slips when he returned.
When Moorehead returned from vacation, he found his ledger missing and learned that Charles had it. A few nights later, Charles’ room was broken into while he was out. The ledger was taken, as well as all Charles’ money he kept in there. This left Charles virtually penniless, as well as very upset. Moorehead dismissed his clerk, who was forced to flee, but he sent a note to Charles stating that Moorehead learned that Charles had his ledger and had hired a burglar named Percy “the Monkey” to break into Charles’ room. He had used the man in the past. Percy was arrested shortly later breaking into an office in the palace and was being held in a prison cell at Whitehall by the Life Guard. This was lucky because Charles knew that when Trentmont returned with the King, he would be able to question the man.
Moorehead requested a private meeting with Charles. At the meeting, Moorehead told Charles that he held all of the cards but respected Charles’ ambition for trying to blackmail him. He offered Charles back the inheritance he stole from his father’s estate (a sum over 1000 pounds), and Heaven’s Bolt (the famous race horse) if he would sign and seal a letter stating that Moorehead was innocent of any wrongdoing (including his actions with the Hathertons and others). When Charles asked what would happen if he refused, Moorehead told him that he had been shielding Charles from the vengence of the Boyles and would do so no longer ( a threat to be sure). He also revealed that unless Charles signed the letter, he would marry Sabrina to a drunken old merchant who wanted a young wife to take care of him.
So, Charles is left with a dilemma about whether to sign the letter or not. He also needs to introduce legislation against Genoa to win Noni’s hand.
Aide to Monmouth
It was an exciting season for Charles, full of adventure, discovery and politics. Arriving at the house of his Commander, the Duke of Monmouth, the new aide was ready for new assignments and opportunities. Instead, he found that the Duke had nothing in mind other than his personal escort of his wife, Anne Scott.
It was an awkward relationship at first. There was one night after the races at Newmarket that the couple had shared more than drinks. Charles remembered none of it, for he had fallen prey to liquor, but had awakened in her bed in a state of undress. She had been lonely as her husband ignored her in favor of his other conquests. Charles escorted her to the Charity Auction, where he saw Margery explode at the Earl of Trefor. He likewise escorted her to the Scavenger Hunt, where she gave him a bottle to destroy -- which he did dutifully. Finally, he escorted her on a Sunday picnic towards the end of the season, during which she really enjoyed herself for the first time, until Charles was almost killed by a rampaging bull. When he gained a promotion at the end of the season, and informed her of the end of his escort duties with her, she became upset.
The Courtship of Mignonette
The summer before had been spent in pursuit of the hand of Mignonette. Her aunt had laid strident conditions on his candidacy and Charles hoped to gain the support of the King in his bid. Unfortunately for Charles, a new suitor appeared on the scene, in the form of the King's bastard son, Charles Fitzcharles, also known as Don Carlos. The man proved a smooth talker and the two became rivals quickly. Don Carlos was able to spend more time with Noni, given her proximity to the Queen and the royal family.
Noni had come to leave a letter for Charles, presumably to say goodbye, when Charles asked if he could escort her back to the palace. Along the way, she confessed that she was being wooed by Don Carlos and that she liked him. Charles asked Noni if she still wished to marry him, or not. Noni replied that she was not sure. In this moment, Charles knew that he was defeated in his bid for her hand. He had not the connections of the King's son and would lose the King's support thereby.
During their walk, the couple were shadowed by an unsavory person. Charles dashed after the man, given Noni's story that she had almost been abducted by kidnappers. With luck, Charles captured the man and turned him over to the Life Guard.
Don Carlos invited Charles to clean his muddy clothing in his own suite at the palace just before the King arrived to determine the safety of Noni. The King congratulated Charles and assigned him to investigate and capture Noni's assailants.
Charles bluffed torture of the prisoner to loosen his lips. He found that the ringleader was known as Captain Payne, a gentleman highwayman staying at an inn in Chelsea. Working undercover with men of the Life Guard, Charles went to the inn and confronted the brigand. With soldiers surrounding the establishment, Captain Payne mad a daring dash through the window of the tavern, but did not elude the pursuit of Charles. Handing the man over to Trentmont, Charles was told to meet with the King.
The King congratulated Charles and told him of his promotion to Major. The news was tempered by what Charles had been expecting all along. The King told him that Noni was of his blood and could only be married for political reasons. Charles understood what the King meant. His support would go to his son, and not Charles. He told Charles to give up the suit and focus on his other duties. Being the loyal soldier, Charles agreed. The King was pleased and gave Charles a townhouse in Piccadilly Street for his loyal service.
When he went to tell Noni the news, she was upset and fled the room crying. Charles was surprised that she was surprised, leaving her in peace. They encountered each other once more in the garden, but were not alone. It was not a good encounter and Charles determined to avoid Noni in the future. It was better that way.
A Confrontation with Moorehead
Having received useful information about Steward Moorehead's embezzlement, Charles threatened to reveal all if the man would not restore monies to him stolen by the Court of Wards. After hiring his own lawyer and confronting the man one Saturday morning, Charles was able to secure more money than he could have hoped, the return of the racehorse Heaven's Bolt, and he acquired the guardianship of Sabrina Rowle. He had done this to save her from the tyranny of Moorehead's administration.
Upon receipt of the wardship, he was given her dowry of 2000 pounds and her estate's income. Having a ward unrelated by blood and near his age presented something of a challenge. In an effort to save money, he moved her into his townhouse, where he could better keep an eye on her.
Apart from the awkwardness of the Duchess Monmouth and Noni, Charles had proven himself to be a ladies man, in his own way. He maintained contact with the ever moody Evelyn Granville and the dreamy Maureen Lloyd, as well as their new friend, Meg, who was the cousin of Margery. Meg proved flirtatious, which caused the Duchess to become jealous.
Under the pretense of helping her move trunks, Charles paid a visit to Sabrina Richmond, who thought to bind Charles to her purposes by seducing him. Instead, it merely scared him and sent him all but running.
After a night of cards at the home of the Earl of Chesterford, Charles found himself compelled to accompany the Duke of Ablemarle and the Earl of Trefor on their visit to a high class bordello. There he met two courtesans who took him under their wings (and between their legs) to teach him much of what a man needed to know about the female anatomy.
During the Regatta, and later at home, Charles found himself confronted by a scantily-clad Sabrina Rowle. It tested all of his self-control, for she was a beauty and would have weakened the self-control of the most pious of men. In fact, her drenched nakedness at the Regatta attracted the interest of the Duke of Monmouth.
Convincing the Duke of Monmouth to let him join his crew for the Regatta, Charles shared in the celebration of helping win the race.
In the House of Lords, Charles spoke up at last, making a plea to support the Navy Bill and to punish the French for murdering Edmund Rowe, Earl of Brigg. This won him support of the Whigs, but the critical eye of the French party at court.
Charles, near the end of the season, visited the Chancellor of England to see about the authenticity of a letter sent by King Charles I to Sabrina Rowle's grandfather, promising him an elevation in title. The results are expected to be learned next season.
Charles spent the majority of October following the King to Newcastle and commanding the bodyguard. Unable to resist racing, Charles entered and found himself finishing tied for third. While that would normally be great cause for celebration, given the talented competition, it demonstrated to Charles that he had grown lax in his racing skill. Perhaps the trevails of court politics and soldiering was taking a toll on his racing ability. His horse, Heaven's Bolt, was the finest horse there, in his opinion, so it reflected poorly on him. Still, he showed good sportsmanship and congratulated all the other riders, and the other winners. There would be other races to win.
Last recess, he had gambled away his purse. This season, he avoided gambling, as he avoided strong drink. He was now responsible for the King's life, and that of the royal family. As such, he needed to remain sober and dutiful. Making sure that the guards were likewise sober and alert with their charges, Charles shadowed the King whenever he was permitted. He would stand far enough away to allow the King to have private conversations, but near enough to render aid. He always kept two of his best veterans near him as well.
The opportunity to spend so much time with the King was a joyous opportunity for the young man. He was able to discern quickly who were the intimates of the King. He noted how Hortense had captured the royal eye, and could recite (if required) which nights the King spent with whom. He needed to know the habits of the King and every other member of the royal family. Likewise, his scrutiny was upon every stranger that might try and get close to his monarch.
He could not be with the King at all times, so this duty was shared with Captain Stanton and one or more Lieutenants. It became clear in time that Captain Stanton was upset that he had not been selected for promotion. Charles caught wind of things that the Captain was doing to undermine him with the men, behind his back.
Upon return to London, Charles confronted the Captain and told him that he would be dismissed if he continued to be destructive. The Captain insulted him and the two began fist-fighting until Colonel Trentmont arrived to break up the fight. The Captain was reprimanded and Charles was criticized for not showing more restraint. Things did not get much better afterward as the Colonel kept Stanton mostly with him so that Charles and Stanton would interact less.
During November, the Colonel took over primary responsibility with the King, so this allowed Charles to spend more time with practicing weapons, learning the secrets of the palace and spending time with friends. He finished furnishing the townhouse and spent some time with his ward.
In late December, Colonel Trentmont caught a serious illness and Charles was instructed to accompany the King to Windsor, with two companies of the Life Guard. Unfortunately, Captain Stanton was sent as well, promising Trentmont that he would behave.
Once at Windsor, Charles familiarized himself with the defenses and corridors of the castle. He saw to it personally to note the placement of each soldier in the palace, with a double detail on the royal quarters and a regular patrol of the most private corridors. Not only was security enhanced by placement of soldiers, but Charles expected every soldier to collect intelligence on every palace servant and guest, so that suspicious persons could be identified. People often forgot that guards were always watching and listening to things occurring around them. It was Charles' plan to use this intelligence to better protect the castle and its occupants. Everyone admitted to the castle needed to be checked thoroughly for weapons. Lords were allowed their weapons, and ladies passed unmolested.
Summary of the Windsor Court
The Life of a Life Guard
The Christmas Season was the most busy one to date for Charles. He arrived early to familiarize himself with the defenses of the castle and found himself in command of the Life Guard, given the illness of Colonel Trentmont.
At the Christmas Day banquet, an assassin, armed with a knife, tried to kill the Duke of York. An interrogation of the assassin revealed a plot against Catholics at the castle. It was to be a season of plots and security challenges.
Stumbling across the plot to kill the Queen too late, Charles was at hand to try and save the Queen from poisoning. Doctor Hyde was summoned too late. Yet, the culprits were quickly apprehended and Charles' interrogations of the woman and man were successful in gaining confessions of guilt. It seemed that the woman's father, a reverend, was behind the anti-Catholic plot. He ordered the man arrested.
It was not to end there. The next security challenge was the stolen Shroud of Turin. Fortunately, it turned up on its own later. Then, there was the murder of the Duke of Marlborough. All indications pointed to the Count Ravenna, but he claimed an alibi in being with Agnes Kyteler at the time. Winning the trust of the Duke's surviving daughter, Charles has promised to prove that the Count was behind it.
Then, there was the attack of brigands at the Dutch Reception. Charles found himself locked in the drawing room for most of it, while the guests overcame the attackers. The story behind the attack is a confused one. It seems that the Earls of Bath and Littleanne are somewhat behind it, but the leader of the terrorists was killed and the trail has gone cold. A renewal of investigation is due in March.
Being the commander of the Life Guard is a no win proposition. Yet, it was made all the more difficult by the undermining of Captain Stanton and Captain Nigel Harrington. The latter goaded and insulted Charles to earn his hatred.
Women in Charles' Life at Windsor
Perhaps even more complicated that the many plots afoot for a soldier were the plots involving females -- always a weakness for the young Major. The season began promisingly with some kisses at the Christmas Eve ball, but began to get more complicated when Noni told him she was returning home, and seemed to accuse him of giving up on her.
Love was in the air between Darlene and Thomas, with Charles being the planned best man at their wedding. Though they had a rather sedate bachelor's party, the happy couple decided to elope at the last minute.
Another lady already married, the Duchess of Monmouth, developed more than a crush on her former bodyguard. Doing her best to seduce him, Charles sought the aid of Heather in helping himself and her at the same time. When he explained that he could not have relations with another man's wife, Anne ceased attempting to ensnare him.
An secret admirer, however, felt no such trepidation in trying to ensnare him. Catherine Sedley, unhappy with being ignored by Captain Churchill, turned her sights on Charles. The two met secretly at the top of the tower at New Years and she invited him to be her lover, even though he tried to keep his distance. It would not be much later that she threatened to kill herself if he did not marry her. She was talked out of doing so by Charles, in the company of her father and John Churchill.
Charles was not immune to the ladies of the Court. In fact, he became rather enamored with a saucy young widow from Scotland. Proper with unmarried and married women, Charles was liberated from his need for properness by a widow. So, finding pretense to visit Marion in her room, the two became lovers. Sadly, she warned Charles that she had caught the eye of the Duke of Lauderdale, who expected to own her. After she met with the Duke, she became ill and Charles was only able to visit her once thereafter.
There were a wealth of other ladies with whom Charles made an acquaintance. He gained kisses from Cat, Heather, and Anna, for example. He played a prank on Frances and Agnes at Herne's Oak, that went reasonably well in scaring them. In a subsequent meeting with Noni, the two came to an understanding.
Vexed with what to do, Charles sought the advice of the King on the subject. The King advised Charles to sow his wild oats while he was young and that no one would hold it against him. This seemed to be a perfect solution to the young soldier.
There were many other events during the season, but two draw a particular note. First, in a meeting in Saint George's Hall, a tense political meeting called by the Duke of York almost led to blows. Since the King was incapacitated, Charles favored obeying the royal heir. York wanted him to arrest his nephew Monmouth, but that crisis was averted after Nigel and Robert moved to protect Monmouth and cooler heads prevailed. The King later told Charles to obey York if another situation like that happened. Monmouth, on the other hand, knowing Charles to be a former aide, continued to trust the loyalty of Charles.
On a lighter note. As a result of a burning inn and heeding the request of a woman to "save her baby," Charles found himself the new owner of a colorful parrot named Baby George. The parrot was given to the King as a gift.
Charles accompanied the King back to London, where he set about dealing with family needs. Rather than traveling home to Cornwall, Charles was able to get William enrolled at Oxford. William was the smartest one in the family and showed no interest in the military. So, Charles paid his tuition for the upcoming Spring semester and sent a letter for William to travel to him. He planned to bring William to London for a visit and wrote to Catriona about the possibility of introducing his brother to her sister Fiona. The letter was left at Cat's house in London, awaiting her return.
His younger brother Bradley was to join the army, Charles arranging a position as bugler in his old dragoon regiment. Bradley had a knack for music that neither brother enjoyed. He was also too young to fight and for him to secure a commission. So, this was intended to see if he enjoyed the military life.
Ever since winning the race at Windsor, Charles was smitten with the idea of becoming the greatest racer and hunter in England. His father had been known to have such a talent before his untimely death after all. In the ensuing two months, Charles entered every horse race in the greater London area, and often challenging other nobles and soldiers to race for wagers.
Charles received what he wanted -- fame and fortune, in measure. Always arranging races to be in view of admiring ladies, like a knight of old, he asked pretty women in the audience to have a scarf or handkerchief to carry with him to victory. It worked like a charm. He was blessed with great luck and developed a following and favorable notice in a series of newspapers, with even the nickname "Lightning Langdon." Along the way, he won many purses, totaling almost 1000 pounds.
It was amid a winning streak that he was approached by gamblers and offered 500 pounds to throw a race. Incensed, he refused. In his next race, Heaven's Bolt seemed more sluggish and he lost 100 pounds. Fearing that someone nefarious had gotten to his horse, he had a servant sleep with the horse before each race.
Onto the scene arrived an Irishman by the name of Horace McBride. He was skinny as a rail, a near midget, and not much to look at; but, he was a gifted racer. The Catholic Irishman arrived with the finest horse that money could buy and had his own section of cheering spectators. It was claimed that he had won every race he had entered and was well-known in Ireland. He had come to London to challenge the success of Major Whitehurst. The newspapers called for a race between the two. Charles agreed to a race on the 22th of March, the first day of Spring. A story was planted shortly later that Langdon had sent someone to McBride offering money to throw the race, drawing into doubt the Major's doubt. Though, Charles gave interviews to all who would listen that the charge was nonsense, it was a dark cloud.
Some of the mystery surrounding the arrival of McBride was cleared up when he went to watch the Irishman practice outside London. In the crowd of enthusiastic fans was none other than Wilhemena Boyle. Either she was just there out of coincidence, or she had financed the whole thing in an attempt to best the pompous Major with what an Irish Catholic could do. Charles began to suspect the latter.
Other dark clouds formed over the Major. Whispers in military circles claimed that he had done poorly at Windsor in protecting the Queen and the Prince of Orange. Though the Major had his supporters, including Colonel Trentmont (now fully recovered and back in command of the Life Guard), there was growing concern that he was too young and too naive to be a good commander of the Guard. Charles suspected Captain Stanton as being behind these slanders, but could not prove it. Still, he took comfort from the fact that the King and the Duke of York knew that he had urged them to increase security, against resistance.
Speaking of the Duke of York, while on duty in the palace one day, Charles caught sight of Catherine Sedley slipping out of the Duke of York's chambers late at night. When she saw him, she gave him a smug and haughty look and went on her way. Charles pondered whether he should reveal what he had seen to Captain Churchill, or her father.
Meanwhile, Charles' love interest, Marion, was far away in Scotland. After writing her a love letter, little did he realize that the Duke of Lauderdale had placed a servant spy in her household to read her mail. From then on, Charles' letters to Marion were intercepted before they could be delivered, leaving the beautiful Scot to wonder whether her lover had forgotten her. The Duke expected her anger to end the budding relationship, and it marked Charles as someone to watch.
So, as March 14th arrived, there was a cloud over Charles' military reputation, his racing reputation, and old enemies (Captain Stanton and Boyle), and a powerful new one (the Duke of Lauderdale), had been mobilized to bring about his downfall, which would please Charles' jealous rivals at court as well. Against this dark backdrop, Charles had dozens of ladies scarves and handkerchiefs as tokens of a growing circle of admirers and sports notoriety. One of his growing base of fans was Tessa, daughter of the late Duke. Now a ward of the Court, Silas Moorehead was observant and offered to sell her wardship to Charles, putting him in a situation like he was with Sabrina. Yet, Moorehead's motives were not just greed. He could put Charles in a delicate position thereby -- one in which he would need the goodwill of the Steward to rectify perhaps. Charles declined, but Moorehead continued to plot.
Frustrated that he could not solve the Marlborough murder in the weeks of recess and thereby impress both his critics and the Lady Tessa, Charles was surprised to find an anonymous letter on his desk on the Ides of March. Signed by Brutus, it claimed to have evidence to convict the murderer of the Duke of Marlborough, if the Major would but bring 100 pounds to a certain closed coffeehouse at midnight on the 17th.
When Anne Scott gave birth to what could have been their son, Charles had sent a gift of a soft stuffed horse for the boy and a small silver statue of a mounted officer doffing his cap, obviously to a lady, as a token of his undying admiration for her.
Keeping up correspondence with those writing him, Charles spent much of his free time practicing his rapier with those in his regiment and spending time with Colonel Trentmont, the King, and the rest of the royal family he was sworn to protect.
Mini recess 3-6th May 1676
The four days went by in a blur. With the King away, Charles decided to enjoy his more private side. There were a few obligatory matters needed with the Guard, so some of his daylight hours were spent in his office overseeing duty rosters and the like. There were hours visiting Gillis, determining the final structure of Langdon's London Brigade. It was a way to marry his desire to raise a unit with his business plan to provide security services to those needing it on a temporary basis.
When his duties were done for the day, including his rides in the park and his weapons practice, the Major gave in to the whims of his more private side. The Duke of York had gone away, leaving Catherine Sedley alone for the week. This allowed her to claim to be away visiting relatives when, instead, she was situated in his secret cottage on the south bank. They played at husband and wife each evening, indulging their unbridled passion for physical intimacy.
There were other adventures as well. There was the saucy actress that had given him the come hither look. He had barely resisted, though only after a promise to call on her later. The Countess Hawthorne caught him out one afternoon in her carriage, and had insisted she needed him to supply a missing part inside her carriage. He had time only to enter and learn what she really meant. There had been time only for her to demonstrate how she might please him if he would deign to call upon her at home. It had been an educational thing to watch. There was also the encounter with Maureen Walker who wondered aloud why he had not sought out more kisses from her and her friends. He promised that he would if she would but name a place and time, though cautioned against bringing the Stanton sisters, given the fact that their father was an officer serving under him.
On the day of the sixth of May, Charles spent the day with Frances and Amy on an outing. They went to find the music tutor that Mirtel had recommended and Charles engaged him to give Frances singing lessons. It was also a day that Charles interviewed a candidate to be governess for Frances. She seemed too dour and too old. He thought someone young and nice would be better. Unfortunately, by advertising for widows, he was finding an older set, more hardened by experience. It was then that he decided it would be nice to hire some soldier's widow that was left destitute by her husband's death. It would play well with the idea he had given Catherine about a charity. Now, he just needed to find the right young woman -- one that was smart and pretty, of course.
So it was that Charles awoke in the arms of Catherine on the 7th, eager to return to the palace to greet the arrival of the King. It was to be the day that he would announce which princess he had chosen.
Mini recess May 15-19th 1676
It was a merry band of seven soldiers that set forth southward at dawn from the Palace. In command was Major Whitehurst and Sergeant Gillis. Four handpicked men (those most loyal and discreet from the Second Troop) accompanied them. Of course, the lucky seventh was Charles Stuart traveling as Corporal Stewart. He was incognito, just as he was so many years before when escaping England. It was too far to Royal Oak. They would do that another time. Rather, they would replay the final escape from England at Brighton by staying at the same inn.
The weather cooperated and the men covered the 18 miles in a day of steady riding. Rooms were rented at the George Inn for the night, with private rooms for the King, Charles and Gillis. The other troopers shared, with one on duty at all times. The first night was nothing more than tall stories before the fire and plenty of ale. Charles had hinted to the King during the ride that Gillis had been raised a Puritan so as to explain why she might not whore around and become too drunk. The King, of course, insisted on telling the entire taproom of the King's escape from England, thereby giving clues to his identity. Gillis and a trooper were then to be on duty at night while Charles would rise early to relieve Gillis.
The 16th had been spent trying to negotiate a small boat to take the company to Le Havre, but they found none able to take their horses as well. So, Charles contented himself by arranging a small coal boat to take him, the King and two men (other than Gillis) out into the harbor at midnight to pretend to sneak away from England ... only to return a few hours later. There were conversations under the stars about the dreams of a young King; and, in contrast the dreams of a young Major. There was a good deal of talk about women -- a subject of great interest to all the men in the boat. There were more tall tales and the comparison of which ladies at court were the most beautiful, who would be the best lovers, and which would be the most likely to be frigid. Of course, royal mistresses were off limits from inclusion. When put on the spot, Charles had hazarded that Darlene was the most beautiful lady at court. Isabeau was no friend of his, so he did her no favors. Cat was one he thought particularly beautiful as well, but she was off limits. Most of the rest of the other court beauties were not well-known to Charles. He could only remark that they would be ones he'd like to know better.
The 17th saw the squad ride along the beaches to Shoreham. Charles paused the company to practice marksmanship, testing their mettle against the King. It was hoped that Gillis would prove herself well in contests of arms and riding. It was also designed to build camaraderie with the King. Gillis would continue her disguise, allowing Charles to later reveal her gender to the King so as to win his wager (the King having seen what a fine soldier she was).
By the night of the 17th, whispers were circulating that the King was staying at the George Inn and the place became more crowded, including a good selection of pretty country maids hoping to catch a royal eye. There was more ale than tall tales that evening. There were displays of country singing and dancing, including some on tabletops and liberal flashes of ankles beneath swirling dresses. Corporal Stewart picked a couple of the prettiest and retired to his room. A trooper was stationed outside the room. Some of the other men did likewise. Charles felt a bit self-conscious doing so in front of Gillis, who was giving him looks during the celebration, so he did little more than kiss a number of the gals in the crowd.
The whole squad slept in late on the morning of the 18th. A local fair had sprung up as merchants tried to take advantage of the whispers of a visiting king. The day was spent trying local food, more riding, and accepting a dinner invitation from a member of the local gentry. The night at the inn was more subdued as all went to bed rather early, though the King had found a new bed mate.
With some small fanfare, the squad of Life Guard took their leave from the inn. It was a more leisurely ride back to the palace, the squad arriving in good order.
Once back at the barracks , Charles checked his correspondence before heading back home. He awaited a report from Elam about the progress of the race.
St. George's Day Awards 1676
Major Langdon was raised to the Earl of Langdon, Baron of Tintagel, Cornwell, and made Lord Lieutenant of London. He was also give the contract of Lord Lieutenancy and title to Tintagel. Frances was granted title to Bagshot Park which Whitehurst was able to accept the pennon in her stead.
Received a Medal of Bravery for his selfless acts in the face of danger, and retrieval of Lady Rebecca Halifax, the famous co-heiress.
Recess IV, June - 7th October 1676
Ready to enjoy some liberty, Charles Whitehurst made the most of the King's trip to Newmarket. Racing by day and wenching by night made the days blur together. He might have been more careful in his indiscriminate kissing of country girls; but, it was great fun.
Rather than accompany the King to Scotland, Charles opted to attend the wedding of Sergeant William Hale and Rebecca. Hale was to become a Baron as a result. The King could use another friendly voice in the House of Lords.
Back in London, life returned to work on his new regiment. A sample officer's uniform was fashioned after the one provided by Sybilla Parker. A more simple wool uniform was designed for enlisted men. During the course of the summer, a suitable leader of the regiment was found, having a background as a soldier and a deputy sheriff. By the time of the royal wedding, one company was ready for deployment upon the streets of London.
Though military life was of appeal to Charles, it was less so with his youngest brother Bradley. Having just turned 16 and completing two years in the army, Bradley showed up on Charles' doorstep. The already crowded house became even more crowded.
Frances was introduced to 12 year old Lillabet Howard in hopes of developing a friendship. Instead, there was a rivalry kindled between them for the attentions of Bradley, who seemed to have an uncanny ability to charm 12 year old girls.
Though relations ceased with Catherine Sedley upon her return to the Duke of York, relations continued with Maureen Walker, including a weeklong trip to Bagshot with Joseph Williamson and his wife Evelyn. Maureen's husband Martin spent but a short time in London before heading to the Continent, leaving Maureen to come to Windsor to observe the splendor.
Correspondence was sent to Darlene, Sybilla, Davina, Catriona, Heather, Anne Scott, the Duchess of Savoy and others. He received an invitation to visit the Duchess in the winter months. Of concern, William, Charles' other brother, wrote to reveal himself quite taken with some girl who was the daughter of one of his professors. In an attempt to stall his brother, Charles requests that the two come visit him in London some time early in the next year so that he might meet her.
Charles left early for Windsor, escorting Karoline's father and mother. There was no love loss between the Elector and his brother Prince Rupert, or even the King. The escort went without incident, and afforded Charles extra time to refamiliarize himself with the castle and surrounding area. His diligence was rewarded in finding a series of secret passages leading to a secret room that seemed unused and unnoticed. He was also able to rent a woodsman cottage not far from the castle for the month of October.
His diligent practice with a saber over the several seasons was starting to make the Major/Colonel more comfortable and confidant with a sword.
When in London, Charles resides in Piccadilly Street.