Death and Damnation
Chapter 1: The Ante-room
Caution: This Historical Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Consensual, Heterosexual, Historical, Tear Jerker, Oral Sex, Violent,
Desc: Historical Sex Story: Chapter 1: The Ante-room - This book follows on from Duel and Duality, and how Jack survived the duel is revealed. His life then becomes a series of surprising encounters and episodes. He meets some old friends and makes new ones, including females. He rubs shoulders with writers and meets a military genius. He revisits Waterloo, learns of the aphrodisiacal properties of cheese, and ploughs furrows- and madges. He avoids being fatally seduced, kills several more men, goes on a voyage, and he falls in love, again.
The chair was hard and uncomfortable. It well may have been one of Mr Chippendale's finest designs, heavily brocaded and tasselled, but after being sat in the damned thing for over two hours my buttocks were numb, and I longed to get up to stretch and stride about. Unfortunately such behaviour would be frowned upon in this place, the ante-room to the office of the Commander in Chief of His Britannic Majesty's Army.
However, the enforced idleness had given me the opportunity to review the events which had led me here.
Seven days had passed since the duel with Braxton-Clark, and the shock of seeing the pistol ball, which should have been loaded into his pistol, nestled in Caroline Vanner's palm, was still a palpable feeling.
As I had stood there, gazing in astonishment at the ball in Caroline's hand, she leaned further from out of the coach window and kissed me firmly and warmly on my lips."I must leave immediately, sweetheart. Krish will explain everything to you!"
With those puzzling words she withdrew back into the coach; a postilion came to stow the steps away, and I stood and watched as the coach set off at a trot towards the Great West Road.
I was still standing there, bemused and bewildered, when Billy Bassett rode up, leading my horse.
"Come now Jack, I'm famished, and there will be a good breakfast awaiting us back in the Mess."
"Damn it man! Can you think of nothing but your belly?" I snapped irritably, and was immediately contrite.
"Forgive me Billy; I've had something of a shock. Where is Surgeon Armityge?"
Billy laughed. "No offence taken, Jack. It's not every day a man faces death, and you have every right to be shocked—-and I do think too much of my belly. As for Armityge, I saw him following the cart bearing the body of the late, unlamented, Braxton-Clark. I expect the surgeon has certificates to complete regarding the death. No doubt we will see him at breakfast."
Billy was silent on the ride back to the barracks, and I turned over in my head the various pieces of the information I had just learned. Caroline Vanner was in reality Caroline Braxton–Clark. It seemed that her 'rich protector' was Jarvis Braxton-Clark, and as she had referred to Armityge as 'Krish' it was a fair assumption on my part to think him her lover.
I had been used as a dupe, to rid Caroline Braxton-Clark of her husband, so that she and her lover could ride off together.
But she had called me 'sweetheart' before leaving, and the kiss she had given me had been warm and tender.
I knew that Caroline had been an actress, but if the feelings she displayed last night were feigned then she must be the finest actress alive. I couldn't really believe that Krish would do such an underhand thing as to make me the murderer of his lover's husband; nor that the woman, who had made love with me and to me last night, could have been acting.
There was also my lack of skill as a marksman to consider. If Krish and Caroline had meant to have Braxton-Clark killed in the duel then my inexperience with a pistol would make me the most unlikely of assassins.
All these thoughts swirled around in my head on that ride. One moment I cursed them, and myself, for being duped into their murderous plot. The next moment I believed it was some jape that Krish had devised at my expense, by passing the pistol ball to Caroline; and that Jarvis Braxton-Clark had really missed his target, and that Caroline really did love me.
Then the doubts would come flooding back. She called him 'Krish', a name reserved for his closest and dearest friend, and why would anyone pretend to have taken the ball from a pistol that was to be used in a duel?
I was still wrestling with these questions when we arrived back at barracks. As Billy and I dismounted a cornet from the Eighth Dragoons approached us.
"By your leave, gentlemen. I am ordered to conduct Captain Greenaway to Colonel Merrygan's office."
"Hold hard, young Nixon! Neither Captain Greenaway nor I have had breakfast yet."
"I'm sorry Captain Bassett, but my orders were to escort Captain Greenaway to Colonel Merrygan's office immediately the Captain returned to barracks."
I could see that the young cornet, barely out of Eton, was embarrassed at having to insist that I accompany him right away.
"That's alright Billy. I'm sure your Colonel will not keep me long from my breakfast."
"I'll come with you," growled Billy, and we stepped into Colonel Merrygan's office together.
I was surprised to see Major Bywaters, seated in a chair at the side of a desk, from behind which Colonel Merrygan glowered at me.
"It's none of my business what officers of other regiments indulge in, but a death means the senior officer of the barracks must take control, regardless of the regiments involved. I've asked Major Bywaters to sit in on my deliberations as a matter of courtesy. As for you, Captain Bassett, I did not ask that you attend me."
"Colonel, I assume this meeting is concerned with the duel just concluded. I was acting as second to Captain Greenaway, and I am therefore a witness to all of the circumstances. I think that allows me to remain, Sir!"
Merrygan nodded wearily."You'd make a damn good lawyer Billy, and yes, you are a witness. I have a statement from Captain Maddox, and one from Surgeon Armityge, who has since been ordered to London."
"When did he leave, sir?" I blurted out. "Did he leave any message for me?"
Merrygan looked at me sourly."I have no idea, on either of your questions. Meantime I ask that you, and Captain Bassett, each write a statement of events. Once I have all the relevant statements I will forward them to Horse Guards with my recommendations. As you know I am a firm believer that duels should not be fought by serving officers. The Duke of Wellington is of like mind, and his orders have been disobeyed in this instance."
Before he could go on Black Fred Bywaters interposed.
"Actually, Colonel, the noble Duke's orders were applicable only to the army he commanded, in the Peninsula and at Waterloo. Here in England the army is commanded by the Commander in Chief (C in C), who, as we all know, has a more relaxed outlook on duelling."
"Damn it all!" Colonel Merrygan exploded, "are there any more blasted lawyers in the room?"
I could have informed him that my brother was a lawyer, but I wisely kept silent.
Colonel Merrygan continued more calmly, his angry spate over.
"Well, I shall send the statements to the C in C and await his decision. In the meantime I have to place you, Greenaway, under open arrest." He stared at me. "Do I have your word of honour that you will not absent yourself from barracks?"
I nodded. "Yes, Colonel."
"Captain Bassett will accompany you at all times when you leave your room. You are suspended from all duties, until the C in C has made a decision on your future."
Black Fred nodded in agreement, and Billy and I were then free to break our fast.
"Captain Greenaway!" The insistent voice of a young aide de camp (ADC) brought me swiftly from the past to the present. "The Commander in Chief will see you now. Please follow me."
I followed the ensign, not much older than Cornet Nixon of the Eighth Dragoons, and had probably been a classmate of his at Eton, across the room. The eyes of those unfortunates still seated, on equally uncomfortable chairs as mine, followed my progress, and I heard querulous mutterings, from senior officers still waiting to be seen by the C in C.
The ADC led me through a smaller room off the anteroom, which had a dozen or more scribes busy at desks, but not one looked up as we passed through. The next door was closed and the ensign rapped smartly on the highly polished door panel.
A voice bid us enter, and the ensign opened the door and announced me. I came face to face with His Royal Highness Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany, and Commander in Chief of the British Army.
All the sons of King George III bear similar facial characteristics. A full, fleshy countenance, with heavy jowls, a small mouth, with permanently pouting lips, and pale blue, protuberant, eyes. At least Frederick had a glimmer of intelligence in his, which is more than can be said for his brother, Prince George, the Prince Regent, who is the heir to the throne of Britain——God help us!
The Duke of York had commanded armies on the battlefield, during the revolutionary war with France, obtaining infrequent success. Fortunately he had soon realised his limitations, and had left the planning of strategy and tactics, and the execution, of battles to others, while he took over the administration of the British army. Here he made great number of necessary changes, and I don't think I exaggerate when I say it was mainly due to his work that the British army became the fine organization that it is today.
His Royal Highness fixed me with his protuberant eyes.
"Why did you not delope, when your opponent had fired at you and missed?"
I was dreading this question, for I knew he had fought a duel, and when his opponent had fired and missed the noble Duke had refused to return fire.
"We fired practically simultaneously, Your Royal Highness. I had no time to delope."
I took a deep breath. "Besides which my opponent had insulted a lady, not me. I would have fired at him even if I had been given the time to delope, as it was not my honour I defended but hers."
He gazed at me for a moment, and then smiled.
"Well said, sir, well said! All the statements, bar one, confirm that you fired at the same time as your opponent, but you are correct to say that even given time to delope you would still have fired. At my duel it was I who had been insulted, so I took the decision to delope—if my opponent had defamed a lady I would have put a ball in the fellow's heart."
He paused. "May we know the name of the lady who was insulted?"
This put me something of a dilemma. I could hardly refuse a Royal Duke, but I didn't want to bring further attention on to Amy—I knew the engagement had been announced, but if it became generally known, via gossip from the Royal court, who the insulted party was, then the dowager countess might well think it a reason to annul the engagement.
The Duke waited patiently for my answer."Would it help, Captain, if the identity of the lady did not leave this room? I think my word is good enough?"
That left me no choice.
"The lady in question is the future Countess of Monmouth, sir."
He smiled, knowingly.
"Ah! I see. You need explain no further. Many of our finest families have taken young, intelligent, worldly wise actresses into their midst. I understand that the new Viscount Monmouth is a callow youth—an intelligent, and experienced, wife will be an advantage to him, although his mother might think otherwise."
I gave a sigh of relief. Pretty young actresses, who later made good marriages, were not unknown to the Duke of York.
"I would have done the same in your place Captain. The blackguard deserved to die. He chose pistols?"
"More fool him, if you were the better shot."
The Duke scribbled something on the bottom of the document he had been looking at.
"Well, Captain, that's the end of the matter, a case of much ado about nothing. Colonel Timothy Merrygan has always been a stickler for the rules, and, like all nit-pickers, has much knowledge but little wisdom. Actually you have come to our notice several times over the last few years. General Picton, a man for whom I held a great respect, sent in a glowing report regarding your action along the Kennet and Avon canal—he recommended that you be promoted. Then there is a letter from Lord Brownlow, coupled with lavish praise from General Halkett, concerning your action at Quatre Bras. All that, taken together with reports of your cuirassier killing exploits at Waterloo, and your axe wielding behaviour at Ciudad Rodrigo, makes me glad that you are on our side!"
He drew a sheet of parchment from a drawer in the desk, picked up a quill from the pen stand and dipped it into a pot of ink, then, with a flourish, signed his name on the bottom of the document. He dried the ink with sand, blew the excess onto the floor, and then applied the Great Seal of State to the parchment, before handing it to me.
"I have great pleasure in awarding you a commission of major, in His Britannic Majesty's Sixty-Ninth Regiment of Foot."
To say that I was amazed would be inadequate. I had come to this meeting fearing a court-martial at worst and a reprimand at best. Instead I had been rewarded with a major's commission. I babbled my thanks, and the Duke languidly waved his hand.
"Think nothing of it, my dear fellow. By all accounts that Braxton-Clark was a blackguard and a scallywag—his family had the effrontery to put pressure on Lord Liverpool, to enable their son to escape censure for his dereliction of duty. It is not a good idea to antagonise Lord Liverpool. If you had not shot Braxton-Clark I'm sure the noble Lord would have found someone else to do the deed. You saved him the trouble, and he will now be in your debt."
The Duke leaned back in his chair.
"Now that the war with France has finally ended the army will be reduced in strength. There are already two majors with the Sixty-Ninth, and on January the first of next year the Second Battalion of your Regiment will be disbanded. However a position has been found for you here at Horse Guards."
He rang a bell on the desk, and immediately the young ADC appeared at the door.
"Jefferson, please take Major Greenaway along to Brigadier Stanhope's office."
I saluted, and followed the ADC through another door, into a long corridor. After taking several turns, which left me completely disoriented as to where I was, we eventually arrived at a nondescript door to another office. The ADC knocked, and on hearing 'Enter!" he ushered me in.
The office held one desk, and seated behind it was Gurney Slade.