Monday, January 7, 2013
Early Morning, Prior to the council meeting
Sir Edward Anders woke to hear quite a ruckus coming from the streets outside his town house, being concerned that perhaps they were in the process of being attacked he quickly began to dress, there was a knock on the door and his manservant the burly Tom McGregor stepped into the room.
“What the hell is going on Tom, are we being attacked?”
“Well no soirer, it’s not an attack we are having, it’s more like a bloody siege.”
Tom walked over to the window and drew back the heavy drapes, the morning was early and the day had barely started to lighten but looking out the window Edward could see what must be hundreds of people.
Remarkably they were not attacking, they were just standing and talking, occasionally there would be a chant of some sort but he couldn’t make out what it was.
“What the hell is going on Tom, why are they here?”
“Well soiree it seems that little speech you gave yesterday has stirred up a bees nest to be sure, these people are sick and tired of them high and mighty lords if you be excusing me m’lord, and whatever you said at that meeting soiree seems to have made you their hero, that an the fact they want to see their new king”
“Bloody hell, how the hell did they get to hear about a king?”
“Well soirer it seems some bugger went and wrote them pamphlets didn’t he, and in them there’s all sorts of ideas about a King that you have tucked away back home in our Lyndhurst soirer. If you don’t mind me askin’, do we have a King tucked away somewhere m’lord”.
“Bloody hell Tom, this could get out of hand, and very quickly. At the moment they seem peaceable but it would only take a rabble rouser to set amongst them and it could get kind of nasty.”
“”Well soiree it’s like this, you is their hero it seems, and they wants to see you; but soiree I am not having you wander out there for a chat an all. Some of them are kinda warm and fluffy towards you and there be no doubt about that, but some of them buggers will likely want to nobble you if you know what I mean soirer”.
Edward finished putting on his dress jacket, turned to look out the window once more.
“Indeed Tom, nobble me you say” replied Edward with a smile.
“Well Tom as its far too early to think about leaving for the meeting I think I would like some breakfast, I will take it in the dining room if you will, and have the papers arrived yet, I expect it’s a little early”
“Indeed it is early soirer, but we have some of these”.
Tom handed a small stack of pamphlets from the side table that must have been circulating throughout the city overnight.
Edward flicked through them and they were all alike, they reported how Sir Edward of Lyndhurst had condemned the Council of Nobles for its corruption, it even reported that he had called out Sir Steven over a matter of honour over the issue.
However the more serious issue was that a few pamphlets suggested that a young boy reputed to have proven links to Charles I had landed in England and was currently being protected from the Nobles in Lyndhurst.
“Good God, how the hell did they make the connection between James and Charles I, ” Edward murmured to himself.
Edward became aware that the noise outside was increasing, he walked across the dining room and pulled the drapes back, outside the window were the 20 men of his personal guard lined up just inside the fence, the remaining men from his guard were in Lord Castlemaines barracks on the outskirts of the city. Lords and knights were not permitted to have more than 20 men as escort in the city limits which was generally recognized as within the old city walls.
However the cause for the extra noise was a troop of Castlemaines dragoons were pushing the crowd back from the fence line, Edward saw a young officer dismount and make his way through the gate, he was momentarily stopped by one of Edwards own officers and then allowed to pass through.
Edward returned to the table just as Tom was bringing in a tray with his breakfast on it. As Tom leaned over to take the plates off the tray Edward noticed that Tom had a Pistol tucked into his belt and under his jacket on the other side he had a cudgel.
“Good god Tom get rid of those, if that crowd went berserk and got past our men there is little you can do with a pistol and cudgel, now just go and put them aside man.”
Tom grumbled and growled as he removed the weapons and but placed them handily on the desk by the dining room door.
There was a knock on the main entrance door so Tom went to answer it, moments later he returned.
“Sir there is a young gentleman here to see you; he says he is from my Lord Castlemaine's personal guard.”
“Indeed Tom, please show him in.
Tom left for a moment and then returned with the officer in tow, once the young gentleman was in the dining room Tom quietly closed the door behind him.
The officer bowed,
“Captain Christopher Fairfax at your service Sir Edward, I am here with my Lord’s compliments. I have been sent to escort you to the chambers when you are ready, meanwhile my men will keep that rabble away from your property sir. I must apologise for their behaviour but I suppose we cannot expect much more from the great unwashed.”
“Indeed Captain, well thank you for your kind services and I am grateful for the offer of an escort, but I can assure you I will be fine with my own men, and please thank my Lord Castlemaine for me.”
“Are you telling me you don’t want an escort Sir Edward, but surely sir the moment you step outside you and your men will simply be over run, that rabble will tear you to pieces; some of our other men have had troubles escorting Nobles to the chambers, I really urge you to reconsider sir, at least my men on horses can keep them away from you.”
“No captain I will be fine, and thank you for your concern but I am sure you must be busy so please pass on my regards to my Lord and assure him I will see him at the meeting in a few hours,”
Captain Fairfax seemed stunned, but he did as he was instructed, he bowed slightly and retreated from the room, a few minutes later the troop of dragoons departed much to the cheering and jeering of the crowd.
In the Foyer of the Council Chambers
The entire road outside the council chambers had been blocked off, Lord Castlemaine had called out his entire Army of 4 battalions of Infantry and 2 cavalry regiments, he even had two cannons pointing along the road way. Most of the infantry were surrounding the Council chambers and protecting vital buildings such as embassy’s and Government officers, the Cavalry had been busy all morning escorting the various nobles and knights in from their respective town houses or lodgings to the chambers.
Lord Bedford had arrived in a much dishevelled condition; his coach looked as if it had crashed through a storm of rotten vegetables, fruit and eggs. Instead of a vehicle that was ornate in design and colour it was now looked a wreck, and a smelly wreck at that.
Lord Bedford was not much better, he was visibly shaken and out of sorts, when he arrived he had ranted at Lord Castlemaine about allowing the riff raff to threaten him and attack his coach, even threatening to raise the matter in council; perhaps even having a vote of no confidence in Castlemaine and thus having him voted off the council.
Various members were already suggesting similar actions should be taken against Sir Anders, but when they got down to details they discovered there was little they could accuse him off.
Lord Bedford had just seen the Duke of Essex arrive and he too looked a little worse for wear, but at least he had a smile for his fellow council members.
“There you are Hackett, what the blazes do make of this bloody chaos?” demanded Lord Bedford.
Lord Hackett was still laughing having just seen M’lord Bedford’s coach,
“Good God Charles you and your coach look like you crashed your way through every market place in London.”
“Damn disgrace Hackett, that’s what it is a damn disgrace and I’m going to get some action. I can’t understand why Castlemaine doesn't let loose with the cannon dammit, blast the riff raff off the road I say, damn their hides.”
A lot calmer than Lord Bedford the Duke of Essex sighed deeply,
“Well Charles if anyone fires on that crowd we will have a revolution on our hands, and we would be its first victims, for the moment they are rowdy but generally good natured, once we have finished the council business and all go home, they will quieten down and things will return to normal.”
“Well what about these damn pamphlets, I'm sure you have seen them they are all over town, they are Castlemaines work without a doubt, the man is nothing bust a damn rabble rouser.”
“Indeed Charles I couldn’t agree more, no doubt Castlemaine is enjoying his moment of glory. Of course you know we haven’t endeared the man to us, he has been marginalised by us in the council because of his republican views. He is using Sir Anders and this King issue merely as fuel for his long awaited revolution, I don’t believe for a moment he cares about a King, he wants his much cherished republic and to get that he must have a revolution.”
“Well I am putting up a motion of no confidence in him, damn the man; and I expect your support Hackett.”
“Well Charles on that matter I will have to declare I will wait and see, I quite like the man, but I do agree that these pamphlets are damnably annoying”.
“Dammit all Hackett if I can’t rely on you in the council who the hell can I rely on, If I don’t get your support in a vote of no confidence in Castlemaine you can forget about your god-damn daughter marrying into my family.”
“Indeed Charles, now that is food for thought” replied Lord Hackett with a smug smile on his face.
They were then interrupted by gasps of the nobles who were gathered in the foyer, cries of
“Look at the bloody man, he looks like bloody Caesar,” and “The nerve of the man, who does he think he is?”
Both Lord Hackett and Bedford went to the windows to see what was causing the commotion.
In the distance and just visible through the throng of crowds Sir Edward Anders could be seen walking through the cordon of soldiers, his escort of 20 men was marching in file either side of him.
Lord Hackett made his way through the gathering nobles until he was outside on the steps, there he had a much better view of the spectacle; he was joined by Lord Bedford.
Sir Anders was covered in flowers, his men arms sloped were equally covered in rose petals and flowers of all sorts, the whole Lyndhurst escort was itself being escorted to the chambers by the “riff raff” of London.
The crowd were chanting “he is a jolly good fellow” and long live the King”
Lord Hackett smiled as Sir Edward approached the steps,
“Well Sir Edward a very royal progress I would say.”
Lord Bedford snarled, “Damn it all Anders what the hell do you mean by creating a spectacle like that, the situation is dangerous enough as it is without you showing off.”
Sir Edward smiled at Lord Hackett, he then turned just as his escort stopped at the bottom of the steps, the men snapped to attention, all with smiles, covered in rose petals and perhaps only a few unkissed. It was then that Sir Edward then noticed Lord Bedford’s coach to the side, covered in all manner of rotten food and such.
“Good god my lord, what happened, did you crash into a food market on the way here.”
Lord Hackett burst out laughing and returned to the foyer, the others following him, Lord Bedford beside himself with rage stormed in behind them.
About 30 minutes later once the last of the nobles had arrived the council was summoned to begin, the members all too aware that this meeting was most likely the most important of their lives thus far.