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    Mark Arbour
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Northern Exposure - 44. Chapter 44

February 16, 1801

Stroganov Palace

St. Petersburg, Russia

 

“My lord, Count von Stedingk is here to see you,” the butler said to Granger. Granger had just poured himself a glass, so he directed the butler to usher the Swede into the antechamber he’d commandeered as his receiving room while he poured another glass for von Stedingk. “His Excellency Count von Stedingk, His Swedish Majesty’s ambassador to the Court of St. Petersburg,” the butler announced in his loud, deep voice.

“Your Excellency, what a joy to see you this morning,” Granger said as he stood up and bowed to von Stedingk. It was such a pleasure to be able to speak English instead of French.

“My lord, your warm greeting quickly removes the frost from my bones,” he said affably, returning Granger’s gesture.

“I think this fire will do more to facilitate that,” Granger said. He gestured to the Swede to have a seat and handed him the glass of wine he’d poured.

“A drink is most welcome,” he said. “Thank you.”

“Count von Stroganov has been most generous to make his wine cellar available to me, and I have thoroughly enjoyed it,” Granger said. “This particular wine is from Italy.”

“The French claim their wine is the best, but I am partial to Italian or Iberian wines,” von Stedingk said. “And how are you finding Russia?”

“I have been well-received, all things considered, and I am enjoying myself,” Granger said pleasantly. “I am told we are to go to the opera tonight, so that is something to look forward to.”

“I am going as well,” he said, “although I look forward to the ballets more than the operas.”

“I am told I will have an opportunity to attend one of those tomorrow,” Granger said. “I am making good use of my stay here to become more cultured.”

“I am not sure if that is possible,” von Stedingk said, a clear compliment.

“Your Excellency is too kind,” Granger responded. They chatted about various things that were of no consequence. Granger sensed that von Stedingk was trying to size him up, but he knew that in diplomacy, showing a lack of patience was a sign of weakness. Granger bided his time. After a lot of small talk, von Stedingk finally started to get down to business.

“I have communicated with Stockholm, and they have suggested that it may be possible to pass on correspondence to you from England through my diplomatic packet,” he suggested. Granger forced his face to show no expression, even though he was elated at having a way to communicate with Caroline and the government.

“That would be most welcome,” Granger said.

“Such a method of transit would provide an advantage in that I can give you my word that such correspondence would be kept confidential,” von Stedingk stated firmly. Such a grand gesture shocked Granger out of his stoic complacency.

“I cannot thank you enough for such a link to my government, friends, and family,” Granger said. Von Stedingk nodded thoughtfully but said nothing. “I am wondering what I can do for you, in exchange for such a favor.”

A sly smile crept across the Swedish Ambassador’s face. “You must think all diplomats are like Monsieur de Talleyrand.” Granger laughed at that, at how Talleyrand’s reputation for extorting money from those who wanted favors was clearly legendary.

“Monsieur de Talleyrand is a friend of mine, despite finding ourselves on opposite sides of this war,” Granger said. “I must say that while he can be most rapacious, at least one knows what the price is when one is dealing with him.”

“Perhaps,” the Swede said. “I would think that for every batch of letters that makes it to us, a remuneration of 1000 roubles would not be unreasonable.” That was 50 pounds, and a lot of money for serving as nothing more than a postmaster, but Granger wasn’t in a position to argue.

“I think that is quite reasonable,” Granger agreed, getting a smile from von Stedingk.

“It is important that there be no way to trace the correspondence back to me, thus implicating Sweden,” he said cautiously.

“I would have thought such arrangements to be well within the bounds of diplomacy, and honorable behavior,” Granger responded, somewhat shocked.

“In other countries, perhaps that is so, but with this Tsar, it is possibly not the case,” he replied.

Granger nodded. “I will of course keep any link to you secret.”

“I am thinking once I have a packet, I will dispatch someone to surreptitiously deliver it to you or one of your servants,” he said.

“That is excellent,” Granger said calmly. “I will know that it came from you, and then I will pay you the next time I see you at Court, albeit in a subtle way.”

“My lord, I know that you will not forget any debts you owe me, so it is not an urgent matter,” he said.

“I am glad my credit is so trustworthy,” Granger joked.

“I fear I am probably your only link to the outside world,” he said, as if to emphasize how dependent Granger would be on him for information. “The Austrians may have been willing to help you, but they are in the throes of suing for peace.”

“That quickly?” Granger asked, stunned at the speed with which the Austrian military effort against France had collapsed. It was truly disheartening that the Austrians would no sooner rise up against Napoleon than he would smash them back down again.

“Indeed,” he responded. “Marengo put them on their heels, and then the Battle of Hohenlinden in December sealed their fate. They are little more than supplicants to Napoleon at this point.”

“That is unfortunate,” Granger said sadly, marveling at the ineffectiveness of the Austrian Army. For generations it had often been vaunted as an entity to be feared, and it seemed that all it could do now was lose battles.

“As the treaty is shaping up, it appears that France will gain all territory of the Holy Roman Empire on the left bank of the Rhine,” he said. “Austria will lose the Austrian Netherlands, Savoy, and most of her possessions in Italy.”

“That is a devastating defeat,” Granger said, stunned at the terms being meted out to the Austrians.

“That does not include reparations, which will be substantial. Austria will be a shell of what she once was and will be all but bankrupt from the money she must send to France,” he augmented.

“That does not bode well for maintaining a balance of power,” Granger noted sadly.

“It does not. It also means the entire reorganization of the Holy Roman Empire, and that has been the subject of much argument between France and Russia.”

“What divides them?” Granger asked curiously.

“France wants to create larger countries out of the patchwork of little states in Germany, while Russia wants them to remain small. Russians fear that Napoleon will find larger countries to be useful allies in future conflicts, while smaller states will be significantly less valuable in that regard,” von Stedingk said.

“I am concerned that my stay in Russia will grow more unpleasant as Russia and France reach a rapprochement,” Granger proffered, just to see what the Swedish Ambassador thought.

“I think your concerns are justified, especially under this Tsar, who is most mercurial,” von Stedingk said. “My advice to you is to maintain a low profile.”

“As long as that does not preclude me from attending operas, concerts, balls, and ballets, I will attempt to do so,” Granger said, sounding a bit like a dilettante.

“As His Imperial Majesty is not overly fond of such functions, you are probably safe with those activities,” he said. Von Stedingk took his leave of Granger, while Granger went upstairs to fill Daventry in on this latest news.

 

February 25, 1801

The Alexander Palace

Tsarskoye Selo, Russia

 

The dining room glittered brightly from the candlelight glimmering through the crystal chandeliers and reflected off the crystal stemware and sterling silver place settings and serving dishes, all of which were polished to a wondrous shine. This was just as one should expect the table of the heir to the Tsar of all the Russias to look. Granger had come out here on Monday with Pavel at the express invitation of the Tsarevich, and since Daventry wasn’t invited, Granger left him to continue with his schemes, as well as his copulation with the mother of the man who was hosting this dinner. He wasn’t quite clear why he had been invited, but the Tsarevich had been quite pleasant to him, and the company here was animated and fun, unlike the more staid Imperial Court.

Granger studied Tsarevich Alexander, who had skin that was so white it seemed almost porcelain, yet somehow, he made that feminine characteristic seem quite masculine. He was handsome, standing some 5’ 10” tall, so that with his taller heels, he and Granger conversed at eye level. His blond hair was receding, but that did not diminish his appearance, rather it gave him a more mature bearing. In a crowd such as this, where he was comfortable, he was quite charming and engaging. He was known as the “Sphinx” for the way he shielded his inner thoughts. Pavel had told Granger that the man would probably seem completely untrustworthy to someone who was able to see his many different facets. Taken from his father when he was but a baby and raised by his grandmother, Catherine the Great, he ended up leading a dual life. At her court, he learned of human rights and civil liberties and enjoyed the arts and philosophy, while when he was with his father, he endured strict military discipline and endless drills. It was thus quite easy for him to change his views and behavior to fit the circumstances. Granger decided that being a diplomat tasked to deal with this man would be an immense challenge.

The wife of the Tsarevich was not here, but his mistress was. Granger glanced sideways at this stunningly beautiful woman who was seated on his left. Maria Naryshkina was a Polish noblewoman, with flowing dark brown hair and an innate charm. She was one of those people who could draw one in, much like a spider who spins a web and captures her prey. It was easy to see why the Tsarevich would choose her as his romantic partner.

“Lord Granger, if I am not mistaken, you are the only person at this table who has circumnavigated the world,” Alexander said to him. “You must tell us of this fantastic voyage.”

“As one might imagine, Your Imperial Highness, it was quite wet,” Granger joked, getting a laugh from the table. Once the laughter had died down, Granger recalled his voyage from a few years back, taking time to describe in detail the places he had encountered, most notably Rio de Janeiro. He then went on to detail his passage of Cape Horn, his encounter with the idiotic governor of Valdivia, his capture of the French privateers who had preyed on the whaling fleets, and his capture and destruction of the San Augustin.

“You say that with two frigates you were able, albeit barely, to capture this Spanish battleship, yet with one frigate only you managed to destroy one Russian battleship and put two others out of action permanently,” The Tsarevich observed with a detached air. “Are Russian ships worse even than Spaniards?”

Granger smiled gently, understanding one of the reasons that he was here. His defeat of those battleships off Kronstadt had made the Russian Navy look like fools, and he was being given a chance to save them from such ignominy. “The Spanish ships are superior, begging your pardon sir, but the crews and officers are not.”

“Indeed?” he asked.

“The Russian warships I have encountered are poorly constructed and poorly maintained, Your Imperial Highness,” Granger said, prompting a gasp from the table and an amused look from Maria Naryshkina. “It is my understanding that strategy serves Russia quite well.”

“To have leaky ships that fall apart is a good thing for Russia, my lord?” Maria asked.

“Indeed, ma’am,” Granger answered, shooting her his most highly charged grin. “British and Spanish ships must be built for longevity and durability in order to survive their long voyages overseas and their constant hours at sea. This type of construction is most expensive, especially if one is to believe His Britannic Majesty’s penurious ministers.” That got a laugh, as was expected.

“But Russian ships do not need to be built so tough?” the Tsarevich asked.

“As I see it, Your Imperial Highness, Russia only needs enough ships to hold off the Swedes until more can be built and that country’s navy can be overpowered,” Granger answered succinctly.

“As the Empire expands in the south, it may require a different type of strategy,” Pavel mused. “Would not a fleet that accesses the Mediterranean through the Dardanelles require more durability?”

“Quite possibly so,” Granger said, managing to avoid sounding nervous at this, one of the nightmares that plagued British foreign policy. A strong Russian fleet under a mad Russian Tsar asserting itself in the Mediterranean was a whole different kind of threat. It was unlikely the ramshackle Ottoman Empire would be able to do much to deter such an incursion.

“So it was our poorly built ships that made your victory possible?” the Tsarevich asked.

“I think, Your Imperial Highness, that there were two other factors involved,” Granger said. “One was that the frigate I commanded here is much different than the ship I commanded in the Pacific. The other is the officers who I faced as opponents.”

“Explain,” he commanded.

“Of course, Your Imperial Highness,” Granger said. Valiant, the ship that I commanded here, was once a ship of the line. She had her upper deck removed to make her handle more like a frigate, but she retained the thick boards and guns of a ship of the line. That enabled her to survive punishment from the bigger Russian ships and hit them back with shots that would have a better chance of penetrating their own sides.”

“And your command in the Pacific was not a ship such as this?” he asked.

“No, Your Imperial Highness,” Granger answered. Bacchante, my ship in the Pacific, was a standard frigate not built to stand in battle against ships of the line.”

“And what of our officers?” he asked. Granger noted that the people at the table got a bit more tense at that, since most of them would have connections to the navy.

Granger scrambled to come up with an analogy these people would understand. “I hope you will humor me, for a moment, Your Imperial Highness, and allow me to ask all of you to ponder an engagement between a squadron of Cuirassiers and a squadron of Hussars.”

“The Cuirassiers would surely win,” a general at the table opined.

“That would seem to be evident, but perhaps it is not so,” Granger responded. “Cuirassiers are huge men on huge horses and they wear body armor to give them the ability to charge into an enemy’s line and wreak havoc with less fear of being killed. Hussars are light cavalry designed to raid or harass.”

“I am not following your analogy, Lord Granger,” the Tsarevich said.

“I apologize, Your Imperial Highness,” Granger said. “The men commanding the Russian battleships were like Colonels of our Cuirassiers in question. They are trained to slug it out and to not maneuver, and that is what they did. I was like a Colonel of Hussars, where the only way to beat a much larger foe was to outmaneuver, outrun, or deceive them.”

“Such cunning is not required, nor desired, when commanding a regiment of Cuirassiers,” Alexander concluded.

“Yes, Your Imperial Highness,” Granger said with a smile. “That is perhaps why I have been left in command of frigates, much to my relief.”

“You do not fancy a promotion to a larger ship?” Maria asked, seemingly stunned by his lack of ambition.

“I think, ma’am, I would find myself hidebound in a restrictive environment that would hamper my more free-wheeling ideas,” Granger said.

“Undoubtedly,” Pavel said. Granger regaled them with the rest of his story, including an account of the Battle of the Nile and his captivity in Paris. After that, the women withdrew, and the men assembled in Alexander’s drawing room. Granger spent most of his time there expounding on details of his voyage as requested by the gentlemen present. They ultimately rejoined the ladies in the gaming room, where tables were set up for gambling.

Granger was about to venture into a game of whist when a chamberlain approached him. “His Imperial Highness bids you to join him in his chambers, my lord.”

“Of course,” Granger said. He exited the room without trying to bring attention to himself, which was impossible since everyone had seen the chamberlain approach him. Since the Tsarevich was absent, it was easy enough for them to guess at the purpose of his departure.

The chamberlain led Granger up to a door, scratched at it, then without waiting for a response opened the door and gestured for Granger to enter. As he did, he heard the chamberlain shut the door behind him, leaving Granger alone in this room with the Tsarevich and his mistress. Granger bowed deeply to Alexander and gave a more courtly bow to Maria. “I am sorry to take you away from the games, Lord Granger,” Alexander said.

“I am at Your Imperial Highness’s disposal, and I am truly honored to be granted a private audience with Your Imperial Highness,” Granger replied.

“It is hardly private if I am here,” Maria said in a coquettish way.

“That is true, ma’am, since you bring such élan and life to any room,” Granger replied, getting a laugh from her.

“The rumors of your charming tongue have not been over-exaggerated,” Maria replied. Granger wondered if she was referring to his skills with words or his skill as an oral lover, and found himself blushing, which made her laugh riotously.

“Come Maria,” Alexander chided. “Do not embarrass the poor man. Here Granger, have a seat and a glass.” His manner was informal, which was even more of an honor. Granger managed to pull himself together.

“Both would be welcome, sir,” he said, adopting an easier form of address. A smile from Alexander told him he’d gotten that right.

“To new friends,” Maria said, proposing a toast. They all raised their glasses, mirrored her words, and drank.

“Granger, you were clearly sent into Our waters for a purpose,” Alexander said. Granger found his use of the Imperial “our” comical in such a casual setting. “My own conclusion is that was done as a warning of what may happen if full hostilities between our countries commence.”

“I must commend your deductive abilities, sir,” Granger said with a smile. “While my orders were to convey Lord Whitworth to Denmark and Lord Daventry to St. Petersburg, your summarization of my purpose would seem to underscore this mission.”

“And what will your government do when the ice melts?” he asked, his tone becoming much more direct.

“I would first point out that I am not sure what our government will even look like when spring arrives, sir,” Granger said. “It is quite likely there will be a new group in power, if that has not already happened.”

“Ah yes,” he said. “Your problem with Catholic Emancipation. Is that something you are for or against?”

Granger smiled. “I support Catholic Emancipation, sir. I think it was part of the deal when Ireland formed the union with Great Britain, and I think that without such a thing the troubles in Ireland will continue to plague both countries.”

“A most pragmatic approach,” he said. “No wonder my father is trying to convert you to Orthodoxy and save your soul.”

Granger laughed. “I have always thought, sir, that matters of faith are best left between an individual and God.”

“You would thus suggest I permit my serfs to become Lutherans?” he asked with a raised eyebrow.

“I beg your pardon, sir,” Granger said. “I was referring more to the educated classes, but in any event, I am not convinced such a thing would be harmful, at least in my country.”

“You would have found yourself quite at home in my grandmother’s Court,” he said. “You will find those ideas are not welcome in my father’s.”

“Which is why, sir, I usually keep my opinions to myself,” Granger said, getting a laugh from Alexander and Maria.

“A wise approach,” he said. “But back to my question, regardless of which government is in power in Britain, what will it do in the Spring?”

Granger paused before answering that question, because he knew exactly what his country would do. He did not want to give away secrets, but he ultimately concluded that his opinion would mostly be derided and discarded anyway, and it seemed only the sporting thing to do to share his candid thoughts with the heir to the Russian throne. “I do not think it would come as a surprise to you, sir, to know that the British Admiralty views a united Danish, Swedish, and Russian fleet in the Baltic to be a mortal threat to Britain’s survival.”

“It does not, but I would suspect there are some who would question whether three such nations who are more likely to be warring with each other would be able to effectively unite,” he said.

“There are, sir, but most seasoned diplomats think that Denmark will do as Russia asks because of the longstanding bonds of alliance between your two nations, and Sweden will do as Russia asks because she has no other practical choice,” Granger said. Alexander chuckled briefly at that.

“The Swedes are in an entirely different situation than they were 100 years ago,” Alexander mused. It was impossible not to see the delight sparkling in his eyes.

“Indeed, sir, and their current sovereign does not inspire confidence. I think it is unlikely that he will make Sweden into a more formidable enemy to you or anyone else, for that matter,” Granger said.

“I see you are quite a good judge of character,” Alexander said. “I’m wondering if they say the same thing about my father.”

“I was not privy to those reflections, sir,” Granger said, which was almost a lie unless one used herculean rationalization.

“I’m sure you weren’t,” he said dubiously, knowing that such rumors were the talk of all Europe. He stared hard at Granger, demanding that Granger answer his original question.

Granger gathered his words carefully, then spoke. “Sir, I think that as soon as the ice melts in the Sound, Britain will neutralize Denmark’s navy.”

“You think you can do that?” he asked with a chuckle, as if the task was much too great for the Royal Navy.

“Yes, sir,” Granger replied confidently.

“Copenhagen is quite well fortified,” he asserted.

“Is it, sir?” Granger challenged. “I have seen the vaunted Tre-Kroner fort, and it is nothing more than a death trap for those manning its guns. A few well-placed shots from a bomb vessel would end it as a threat. There are multiple ways to position such vessels to attack Copenhagen and it’s other more imposing forts once the channel has been swept clear, and the Danes do not have a force that can stop the Royal Navy from accomplishing that.”

“But it is unlikely Denmark will be in this conflict alone,” he countered.

“That is why the attack will happen as soon as the ice melts in the Sound, sir. Reval and Kronstadt will both still be ice-bound, so His Imperial Majesty’s ships will be of no use,” Granger said.

“You forget about the Swedish navy,” Alexander said.

Granger chuckled. “I can hardly see the Swedes rushing to get their fleet ready for sea so they can hurry and save their Danish brothers, sir. I would think they’d take their time, all the while staring lustfully at Norway.”

“I see that you clearly understand the dynamics of our Nordic friends. Working in unison is not something Denmark and Sweden are known for,” he said, making them all laugh. “Nonetheless, it is possible.”

“Sir, you must remember that as an officer in His Britannic Majesty’s navy I am biased, but I honestly do not think a combined Danish-Swedish fleet would be able to win a naval victory against us,” Granger said.

“Why?”

“Because, sir, we will arrive with overwhelming force, and will have large well-constructed ships with us, including three-decked ships of the line, all manned by crews who have been well trained and honed into a fighting machine. Against that will be a fleet of hastily scraped together recruits crammed into ships haphazardly made ready for sea, ships which at their largest are probably equivalent to England’s smallest battleship.”

“Perhaps when this battle is over the fresh Russian fleet will arrive and snatch victory from defeat,” he said, probably revealing more of his own hand than he intended. Granger thought that was typical of these duplicitous Northern Powers. It would be just like the Russians to let the Swedes and Danes destroy their fleets to weaken the British, only for the Russians to attack and carry off a major naval victory. If such a scheme worked, Russia would have nothing to fear from anyone in the Baltic and could demand Britain make peace on terms similar to what the Austrians were now negotiating with France.

“Perhaps, but that is unlikely, begging your pardon, sir,” Granger said.

“And why is that?” he demanded, annoyed at having his grand strategy foiled.

“I was privileged to be Lord Nelson’s Captain of the Fleet at the Battle of the Nile,” Granger said. “I visited every ship on the day after the battle. Even those that were badly knocked about would have been able to turn around and acquit themselves admirably in battle again. It would be the same thing here, sir.”

“Replacing men and material is not that easy,” he objected.

“Sir, if Britain vanquishes Denmark, we will have access to her naval stores to refit the fleet. I mentioned before the strength of our ships, and this is a situation where it would hold us in good stead. After the Battle of the Nile, not one British ship was put out of action. It is unlikely the Swedes and Danes could inflict more damage than that, and it is even more unlikely that your fleet would arrive between the time when the battle had happened and enough repairs had been effected to make our fleet a fully functioning fighting entity again,” Granger said.

“It would seem that timing is the key,” Alexander mused.

“I would submit, sir, that it is more of a question of luck than timing,” Granger opined.

“Why is that?”

“Moving a fleet from Reval to Copenhagen is not the same as riding a horse there, sir,” Granger said. “Foul or favorable winds would have much to do with when ships arrived. I have found the Baltic Sea to be mercurial with its winds, and I have also found that it enjoys tossing in a lot of fog as well.”

“This much is true,” he agreed grimly.

“So if, sir, your fleet left Reval and planned for a one week passage, a lack of winds could easily double that time,” Granger said. “It is not quite the same as a military expedition.”

“No, it is not,” Alexander agreed. “I must thank you for reminding me of that. It is sometimes easy to think ships are as men, where you order them to march to a point and arrive there at a set time, and such a thing is possible.”

“I suspect many a French admiral would find your acknowledgment of that dilemma refreshing since his own leaders do not, sir,” Granger replied. Napoleon seemed to think that moving a fleet from one point to another was easy and predictable, when it was nothing of the sort.

“I suspect they would,” he agreed. “You have put Russia in a tough situation in that we feel compelled to defend the rights of our Danish allies.”

“Sir, allow me to speak candidly,” Granger said, and waited for a nod from the Tsarevitch. “The Danes are playing a dangerous game and they got caught. They know that Britain must deny France access to naval stores lest France be able to regenerate her fleets and become a mortal threat to my country. The Danes hide behind neutrality to trade with France, then when they are caught with contraband, they cry foul, as if an unwelcome suitor had savaged them and taken their virginity away.”

“Is it not reasonable to accept their word that they are not carrying contraband?” Alexander countered. “The Danish people are notoriously honest.”

“Even Danish merchants, sir?” Granger challenged, getting a smile from the Tsarevich as they shared a moment of disdain for that class of men concerned only for money. “Britain is not provoking a fight with Denmark or other nations because she wants to; she is doing it because she has to.”

“Britain must also play by the rules of the world, even if it is to her detriment,” he replied.

“Begging your pardon, sir, but just as Russia can interpret and enforce such rules on land because of the awesome might of her power, so Britain can interpret and enforce such rules on the sea,” Granger said.

“That is true, but there are consequences for such high-handed behavior, and I think that is what the Baltic nations are trying to explain,” he said. With that, they left the politics of the world behind them, chatted for a bit, then Granger was able to escape back to the tables and play a round of whist.

Copyright © 2017 Mark Arbour; All Rights Reserved.
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Great chapter Mark. I am so glad that time is passing fast now. Nine days passed from the meeting of Granger with Count von Stedingk and the dinner invitation with Tsarevich Alexander. Hopefully the sooner that the Tsar is out of the picture that Granger can be on his way home and out to sea again. I like the excitement of him leading in sea battles and searching for bounties in more favorable climates than being a diplomat in the frozen north. 

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Listening to the internal reasoning and debates between Granger and the Swedish Ambassador and the Tsarevich is fascinating. Granger is wise to be skeptical but to not discount fully what truths and possible rumors are told to him. I would be skeptical that his mail will not be read by others.  I did not realize how at risk Britain was and how important the mission of Daventry and Granger is turning out to be. You have made both of them potentially powerful, unheralded so far, key historical figures for George III and England's  future.

George and Daventry are not safe from the present Tsar as of now but larger issues , including his impending assassination, should change his position for the better in Russia. I hope the Tsarevich learns from Granger and doesn't pursue his father's plans in the Baltic.

George is a formidable, uncommonly successful captain in the Royal Navy at sea and at court This story line enables him to put his charm, skills and sexual charisma in service of his county as a naval diplomat and skilled court player and seemingly effecting great powers decisions at the highest levels. I would suggest that Granger is showing himself fit for higher command and promotion where he would have to show an ability to think in broader terms for more units. He won't like it but in a while he will no longer be a frigate captain, assuming he leaves Russia safely.

I bet he will shine. I wonder what the reaction to his service be when he returns to London. Will part of it need to be kept secret?

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Granger was perhaps more honest in sharing his opinions than he planned, but it was perhaps for the best, especially if it made the future tsar a bit more cautious with his fleet.

Somehow I'm wondering if we will get a bit more from the perspective from Daventry. 

More please!

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George Granger is in my opinion one of the greatest literary creations of all time.  Everything about him, his behavior, and even his idiosyncrasies is so finely attunded and written that it makes him almost irresistible.  

Just when I think this story can't get any better, it does...

As David said I agree whole heartily. 

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George is a formidable, uncommonly successful captain in the Royal Navy at sea and at court This story line enables him to put his charm, skills and sexual charisma in service of his county as a naval diplomat and skilled court player and seemingly effecting great powers decisions at the highest levels. I would suggest that Granger is showing himself fit for higher command and promotion where he would have to show an ability to think in broader terms for more units. He won't like it but in a while he will no longer be a frigate captain, assuming he leaves Russia safely.

I bet he will shine. I wonder what the reaction to his service be when he returns to London. Will part of it need to be kept secret?

As Scrubber said This s both who George is snd maybe more important why we love him so much. He lives for us too!!!

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4 hours ago, scrubber6620 said:

I would suggest that Granger is showing himself fit for higher command and promotion where he would have to show an ability to think in broader terms for more units. He won't like it but in a while he will no longer be a frigate captain, assuming he leaves Russia safely.

I bet he will shine. I wonder what the reaction to his service be when he returns to London. Will part of it need to be kept secret?

I have been wondering about it as well. He is already Viscount Granger, Baron of Ryde, Knight of the Most Honorable Order of the Bath, Governor and Constable of Windsor Castle, Colonel of His Britannic Majesty's Marines. While his services are undoubtfully relevant, they are probably not enough to earn an advancement  in peerage, even if Caroline works for it, at least without disclosing some of what they are doing and planning in Russia to the general public. He most likely cannot get another Order, since Garter is very exclusive and have limited number of members (my guess is that he would only get it if his father died), he is not Scottish and has no connection with Scotland - so Thistle is out, and classes for advancements in the Order of the Bath were only created in 1815. And George was already captain to one of their biggest frigates, so although he loathes the idea of being bound to a fleet in a ship-of-the-line, that might be a possibility. 

One can only hope that instead they give him command of a frigate squadron, and let him play havoc in the Mediterranean or the Caribbean. He is young so all the captains need to made Post after him. We can only imagine what he would do if they give him Calvert, Roberts, and maybe others like Brookstone or Lord Barnfield (I think Lennox is a flag captain in a ship-of-the-line, right?). They know him so well that it would probably be the frigate version of Nelson's "mind-reading" captains that fought on the Nile.

PS: what happened to HMS Belvidera? It needed a profound refit, but that was several years ago, so it should be functional and it was a good and fast ship. George never encounter it again. Maybe some of his people will get it.

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Sweetlion

Posted (edited)

Yes, I can see him advancing in peerage, just not yet with this assignment. He actually needs it (although I don't know if he would be that bothered by it) to avoid his second son having precedence over him in formal state occasions after he inherits his maternal grandfather title since precedence comes with the age of the title (which probably happened by now, if the in-law was that sick).

 

PS: I'm rooting for Weston to get it Belvidera😜

Edited by Sweetlion
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10 hours ago, Sweetlion said:

Yes, I can see him advancing in peerage, just not yet with this assignment. He actually needs it (although I don't know if he would be that bothered by it) to avoid his second son having precedence over him in formal state occasions after he inherits his maternal grandfather title since precedence comes with the age of the title (which probably happened by now, if the in-law was that sick).

 

PS: I'm rooting for Weston to get it Belvidera😜

Ah, but Granger was granted preferential precedence when his father was elevated to his dukedom.  

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What a supreme joy, an exciting story told with knowledge and intelligence. Thank you

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7 hours ago, degsy47 said:

What a supreme joy, an exciting story told with knowledge and intelligence. Thank you

 

i couldn't agree with you more

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