My dear Catherine,
I shall not be so cruel as to keep you in more suspense than can be considered tolerable by deferring my account to enquire after your health, but instead will continue my recounting whither I last left you.
We were seized once more like unruly and inebriated ruffians, being cast from an inn and forced towards the carriage. But Woodville was now as decided as I that he would not allow himself to be taken. He too stood fast.
“Plainly Quaid, you have no better nature to which we might appeal, so we shall appeal to your vanity and pride.” Said my husband. “My wife and I are friends with the Prince.” Quaid was all incredulity and disbelief, so Woodville continued.
“T’is a well known fact among anyone of any consequence in London that we have, on above one occasion saved both his life and reputation from the company of the very rapscallions you are permitting to escape at present. We are welcomed at court very regular indeed. Thus, how do you think it will be when he and his father the king hear that Lady Woodville and I have been hanged by your own hand? That you disbelieved us and led us to the noose without even extending to us the courtesy of politeness? Ten to one the King’s governor, your governor, would hear of it, would learn of the manner in which you treated Lord and Lady Woodville, two people who have risked all to ensure the survival of the crown. How long then do you suppose you would keep your commission? I would wager upon it being less than a day. Then you shall sink lower than you have ever been. In fact, Quaid, If I found myself in your place I would be afeared that I too would soon be facing the noose, for treason. For pray attend to this, if you do not take us to the governor this moment, if you continue to refuse to believe or assist us, then you are failing to do your duty as a man of the militia. You are placing the king and all of England in great peril.”
I could see that Quaid had yet to be persuaded, the dubiety and incertitude was evident upon his unhappy features, for Woodville’s tale did indeed sound too fantastical to be considered wholly truthful. Would you not agree, dearest Catherine, that it would, perhaps, be more suited to one of Mrs Radcliffe’s novels, as indeed they are quite fictitious.
As we know not whether the churls intended to harm the monarchy, or if the weapon could throw England into the shadow of threat, and we certainly could not ensure that lieutenant Quaid would receive so weighty a punishment were were not desirous that Quaid would dwell upon the veracity of Woodville’s speech. Woodville, therefore, swiftly, continued to appeal to Quaid’s prideful vanity.
“However Lieutenant, if you take us from hither, directly to the governor, who, by the by, hap’t to be an acquaintance of the late Lord Woodville , and do all that is within your power to assist us, when we succeed in capturing these deuced fiends I am sure the Prince shall see that you receive a fine new commission. For would not “Captain Quaid” sound well sir?”
It became instantaneously plain that he thought Captain Quaid sounded exceedingly well, and at length he conceded.
The journey to the governor’s lodging’s was not a long one, despite Lieutenant Quaids refusal to command the horses into the gallop. it was soon after, therefore, that we were shown into a parlour that was everything patriotic and elegant, and anticipating the arrival of Governor Matelot.
We were not, I am glad to inform you Catherine, forced to wait an improper length of time. In fact I believe that I may confidently assert that it was a wait, which was in duration, the very essence of civility and propriety. Thus when the parlour door opened we were in a tolerable humour once more.
The Governor (do not fret Catherine, I shall describe him presently) addressed Quaid directly he saw him.
“Lieutenant Quaid, I was informed that you had arrived hither in a most irregular fashion and furthermore took the liberty of bringing with you a pair of miscreants who are culpable of the release of the pirates.” Said he in considerable agitation. “Quaid, those pirates were to provide the town with so happy a diversion, it would have been as though Michaelmas had come thrice in one year. You know how fond the peasants are of a public hanging. I demand you speak quite candid and explicate the matter at once.”
It was not Quaid who replied, but Woodville.
“Governor Matelot, Pray, forgive so impolite an address but you must allow me to present myself. I am Lord Woodville and this is my wife, Lady Woodville.”
I bowed in a manner I believed was exactly calculated to to show my innocence to its best advantage. Woodville’s attempt to offer his account of the explication was however, interrupted by the governor.
“Woodville? Woodville, why I was acquainted with your father, very well acquainted, and now his son in my parlour, I must ring for some tea.”
This he did and such a delight only helped to improve our humour only. Catherine, as I am quite sure you can imagine, I was monstrous glad to be in receipt of such a beverage, for that warm elixir did much to restore my spirits which had suffered greatly at the hand of Quaid. They were further aided by the arrival of some dainty cakes which proved to be a most amiable diversion from the governor’s animated conversing. He seemed to possess a certain zeal for hasty discourse and seemed also quite intent upon assuring Woodville above four times that he had been so well acquainted with Henry’s father that he had counted the late Lord Woodville among his closest friends (though I do not believe that Woodville ever knew of such a bond).
Catherine, while the governor’s conduct could not, in truth, be faulted, for he was everything that could be desired in a host (The offering of dainty cakes was thrice refreshed), I must tell you that his apparel proved unashamedly remarkable. His garments were made of an abundance of fine stuff, all so elaborately ornamented in brocade and embroidery silk that one could easily be led to believe that the poor fellow had become gravely entangled upon his last visit to the drapers and had yet to full free himself of the binds. Though Woodville remarked to me later that he believed the governor bore an excellent likeness to a chaise that has acquired the ability to walk. My dear sister his style both of confabulating and dress led me soon to suspect that Governor Matelot has, like as not, relations in Cheapside. Only men in possession of such connexions are so very determined to remind one of their better ones.
After the courses were all but consumed Woodville and I deferred our explication of all that had come to pass by not even a moment. My dear Catherine, as we related it all we deemed it prudent to include a brief recounting of both prior plots against their highnesses and how we had succeeded in preventing the occurrence of so violent an overturning of the Monarchy.
I swiftly grew to believe that Governor Matelot, for all his brocade, was not as well acquainted with the King as he professed nor as he would have liked to be. As, while he claimed to have been acutely aware of the menace that had faced our rulers, his eyebrows danced a cotillion upon his visage which revealed that he was astonished at hearing it (confess I find it more than a little extraordinary that word of the destruction of so large a portion of Windsor Castle in so magnificent a fashion, had not reached these tropical climbs nor the governor’s ears, for both are under the rule of the crown of Empire).
It was perhaps fortunate for us that he was all desirous of keeping to his pretence that he had been entrusted with this knowledge by His Majesty himself, for it made him all willing cordiality to oblige us. It meant also that there was no necessity for the repetition of our account above thrice. You know only too well sister, how I find such repetition to be wholly infuriating.
Happily, Matelot readily acquiesced to summon the militia and the carriage, that we might be conveyed immediately to the place from whence we came and capture, at last, the churls. You shall be comforted to hear, Catherine, that neither the Barouche, nor the regiment were long in their arrival.
Despite his plain eagerness to do so, Governor Matelot did not accompany us instantaneously. For his indefatigable desire to impress his guests had extended as far as endeavouring to shew Woodville his accomplishments with a sword, and during a peculiarly exuberant parry, succeeded in striking the back of his own head, severing a good many tresses and nigh on rendering himself senseless.
The apothecary was summoned and his footmen conveyed him to his bed chamber in a manner that was strongly reminiscent of a young lady who has over exerted herself in the singing of duets with her preferred beau. All the while Matelot stirred sufficiently enough to deliver declarations of “Cease and desist!”, “Seize those churls!” “Well simply because one is the King’s governor one need not neglect one’s swordsmanship.” and “Oh nay, me? A master of the blade? You are too kind Sir, too kind.”
No sooner had the governor’s vociferations disappeared behind the closed door of his bed chamber, than the carriages arrived and the return journey commenced sans the amiable, if capricious society of Governor Matelot, though we were forced to endure that of Lieutenant Quaid.
Hither I shall leave you you for I find myself to be in ill humour and peculiarly disinclined to transcribe the particulars of that journey, where the objectionable quality of the roads added only to the vexation caused by our infuriating companion.
Yours in a state of grievously disagreeable discomfort and agitation,
your affectionate sister,