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    Mark Arbour
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Odyssey - 66. Chapter 66

September 12, 1798

Marseille, France

 

Granger watched the city of Marseille grow in size as they neared it. He was standing by the railing, watching with interest, while listening to the conversation between the captain and the pilot. Bastide had turned out to be a rather charming person, and despite his initial reluctance to host them, he was quite pleasant once they were aboard. He was probably relieved that Granger, Donegal, and Beauvilliers largely stuck to themselves. It was only at mealtimes that Bastide would be burdened with their presence, but even then, he was a good host. Granger was surprised at how well he ate, and how well-stocked his table was. Luxuries that he served were quite expensive, and Granger suspected that the fact that a mere brig’s captain could afford such largesse spoke volumes about his smuggling activities.

“We will arrive at the dock shortly,” Beauvilliers said as he joined them. “I have told Donegal, and he is currently packing up our things.”

“Thank you,” Granger said, and smiled. Beauvilliers returned his smile, nodded, and returned to discuss their disembarkation with the captain. He had enjoyed Beauvilliers, but he contrasted him to men who had been his lovers in the past, and found him lacking. He was certainly not substandard when it came to his equipment, or his zeal. Rather, there was a general callousness about him that made having sex with him seem somewhat unsatisfying. At first, it had been exciting, primarily because both young men had simply needed to sate their hormonal urges. But as they had sailed to Marseille, they had both become less enthusiastic.

For Granger, the primary reason for that was that he was just a fuck to Beauvilliers. He was nothing more than a convenient receptacle for Beauvilliers’ big cock. Granger chided himself for being unfair, as Beauvilliers certainly approached their encounters with passion, and he was certainly rewarded with similar enthusiasm from Granger, but in the end, that was all there was. Granger was perhaps spoiled, having spent so much time travelling with Jardines, or perhaps he had been hoping that his relationship with this Frenchman would be a little deeper and more meaningful. In any case, it was not, and there was nothing to be done about it.

Beauvilliers returned to his side. “We are to disembark soon, and then we will find lodgings in town for the night. Tomorrow, we will recover from our journey, and you will be given a brief tour of the city by the mayor. The day after tomorrow, we will leave for Paris.”

“I feel as if I am on a holiday, and not a prisoner,” Granger said.

Beauvilliers gave him a dour look, unusual for him, and then returned his trademark smile to hide behind, as if it were a mask. “You are aware that your capture is good news, especially important after the battle you and your Admiral Nelson won. The mayor will want to parade you around to show the locals what you look like.”

“So it is more like I am an animal in a zoo?” Granger asked. Beauvilliers got positively annoyed with that, so Granger laughed. “Monsieur, I understand what is expected of me. Please allow me to joke about it to ease the situation.”

Beauvilliers smiled back. “I understand. I just feel bad that you must go through this.”

“It will not be so bad,” Granger lied. “How will we travel to Paris?”

“By road,” Beauvilliers said, being a bit sarcastic, but he was merely teasing. “I assume we will travel by carriage.”

“I can ride, quite well actually, if that will speed our journey,” Granger offered. He remembered the stuffy carriage he’d ridden in from Gibraltar on his way to the Alhambra, and how confining that would be. He knew that he had to endure a period of captivity, but he reasoned that the sooner he got to Paris, the sooner it would end, and he was desperate to get back home.

“I am not sure the government will be amenable to the idea of you on horseback, loose in France,” Beauvilliers said.

“Where would I go?”

“You could try to escape,” Beauvilliers said. And then Granger understood his mood, and why he had become so cranky. It had started yesterday, and gotten progressively worse.

“Allow me to ask you a question, for which I expect a candid answer,” Granger said firmly. “Is there any reason for me to suspect or believe that once I am displayed here, and probably at Lyon, and then at Paris, and of course every town and commune in between, to demonstrate that the government is achieving great things; is there any reason for me to believe that I will not be sent home on parole?”

“There is not,” he said firmly. “Then again, we have not yet arrived in Paris,” he joked.

“As I see it, as long as I do my part and smile and wave at the populace, and France does its part by getting me home as soon as reasonable, I have no reason to risk escape,” Granger said.

“So you are promising not to escape?” Beauvilliers asked, amazed. “You are giving your word?”

“Provided that Donegal and I are not mistreated, I am,” Granger said. There was no reason to burden Beauvilliers and others with acting as his guard when it would serve no purpose. “You will be able to rely on me to explain when I am feeling that way, and when I wish to withdraw my pledge.”

Beauvilliers smiled broadly. “Then I think you will enjoy your trip through France.”

“That is reassuring,” Granger said pleasantly. “I will need to get some copper coins when we land, and I will also need to contact a banker when we arrive in Paris.”

“What for?” Beauvilliers asked.

“I will need some coins to toss to the people on the streets,” Granger said. He knew that to do nothing would be base, even for a prisoner. After all, he had his reputation and position to maintain. “And I doubt that the government will provide amply for me while I am in Paris.”

“It will be interesting to see in whose care you ultimately end up,” he said.

“Whom should I hope for?” Granger asked. He knew little of the intricacies of French politics.

“Monsieur Barras is probably the most powerful, but the Directors are all so busy squabbling with each other, wielding that power is difficult. I would expect they would put you in the hands of either the Minister of Marine or the Foreign Minister.”

“I believe that I met Monsieur Barras briefly, in Toulon,” Granger mused. He had not been impressed. “Who are these other men?”

“The Minister of Marine is Admiral Bruix,” Beauvilliers explained. “I think you would find his naval conversations of interest, but I doubt you would enjoy other topics he would care to discuss.”

“He is not renowned for his table and his dazzling conversation?” Granger joked.

“I fear that he is lacking in both of those attributes,” he said.

“He does not sound like my best option,” Granger mused. He chided himself for thinking he had a choice in the first place. It was easy to forget he was a prisoner.

“If a good table and witty conversations appeal to you, then you would fare much better with the foreign minister.”

“Who is he?” Granger asked.

“The foreign minister is Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand,” Beauvilliers said, with a strange combination of a sneer laced with admiration.

“I think I met him once,” Granger said as he tried to remember why he sounded familiar. “He is a nobleman?”

“He is,” Beauvilliers. “From the House of Perigord. Prior to the Revolution, he was a bishop, the Bishop of Autun.”

“Ah yes,” Granger said. “He was an émigré in London for a period of time, and that is when I met him. He was most charming.” Granger remembered Talleyrand, who had scandalized society with his loose morals that were certainly inconsistent with his bishopric.

Beauvilliers gave him a patronizing look. “He is indeed charming, and he is polished, and he is one of the most engaging conversationalists in France. He is also as trustworthy as a snake, and spins webs that put spiders to shame.”

“So you are suggesting that I not trust him?” Granger joked.

“I am saying it a bit stronger than that,” Beauvilliers said. “You must remember that no one loves Monsieur Talleyrand more than Talleyrand. He will do whatever he must to maintain himself in an opulent lifestyle, and to amass the power he craves. To the degree that you help him do that, he will be your friend. When you are of no more use to him, you are easily discardable.”

“I am trying to discern how he is different from most politicians?” Granger asked, getting a laugh from Beauvilliers.

“He is not, but that is why I am telling you this. He is different in that he comes from a noble background, and has spent time at court. He is polished, and suave, and you will feel as if you are in your own element when you are around him.”

“Thank you,” Granger said, acknowledging those backhanded compliments. “So you are saying that I should not let my affinity for his good manners and breeding overwhelm my common sense.”

“That is a good way to summarize it,” Beauvilliers said.

“I must thank you for your guidance. I feel that with you to help me, I may just be able to navigate the morass of Parisian politics.”

Beauvilliers nodded. “I will be able to watch out for you on our trip to Paris, and perhaps for a bit while we are there to help you settle in, but then I suspect I will be off.”

“Where are you going?” Granger asked.

“Revolution or not, my family is not without influence,” he said. That did not surprise Granger at all. He pondered that the old families in England were so established that even after a revolution, God forbid, they would probably wield much influence. “I will be sent to Brest or Rochefort and given my own ship, or a more senior posting.”

“My felicitations,” Granger said.

“Thank you,” he said. “If that does not happen, I will go anyway, and find employment on a privateer.”

“That will not make you popular with the merchant community in London,” Granger joked.

He nodded. “Perhaps in a year or two, our roles will be reversed.”

“In that case, I hope that I will be as courteous and helpful to you as you have been to me.”

“I think that is inevitable,” he said. While they’d been talking, the Papillion had slowly worked her way into the harbor and toward the dock. Lines flew from her bow and stern, to be caught by men on the big stone structure, and from there they physically pulled the ship alongside and tied her up securely.

“My lord, we have arrived at Marseille,” Captain Bastide said, as if that was news to Granger.

“I am disappointed to hear that, Captain, so much have I enjoyed my voyage aboard your vessel,” Granger said gallantly.

“You are too kind, my lord. The pleasure of your company has been compensation enough for your passage,” he said, which was his way of telling Granger he expected to be paid for his hospitality.

“In these turbulent times, pleasant company is not usually sufficient to offset costs of a passenger,” Granger said. He pulled some coins out of his purse and handed them to Bastide. “To help you restock your pantry.”

Bastide had been hoping for maybe a fourth of what Granger had given him, so his smile was genuine. “Thank you, my lord. I appreciate your generosity.”

“As I have appreciated yours,” Granger said. Two men came up, lugging his trunk.

“We must wait for a conveyance,” Beauvilliers said. Granger nodded, as if he had any choice in the matter.

While they were waiting on deck, a man rode up on horseback, and after boarding descended below with Bastide. The man was well-dressed, but looked disreputable. “Captain Bastide certainly lives well for a wool merchant,” Granger observed.

Beauvilliers laughed. “I suspect that he makes very little on wool, but makes much more on his other cargo.”

“His other cargo?” Granger asked.

Beauvilliers looked at him as if wondering whether he should share this big secret with Granger, and then seemed to realize that Granger had no reason to care. “While I am not sure, it is rumored that he imports opium from the Turks.”

Granger wondered how widespread trade in this dangerous substance was. “Such trade is not unknown in His Majesty’s realms.”

“Of that, I am sure,” Beauvilliers said.

Beauvilliers went below, while Granger remained on deck, staring off at the city. He heard loud voices rumbling from Bastide’s cabin, although he could not discern what they were saying. Some minutes later, the disreputable looking stranger emerged from below looking irate, and exited the ship. Bastide came up a few minutes later, looking even angrier than the stranger. He was followed by Beauvilliers, who seemed quite satisfied with himself.

A commotion at the entrance to the dock distracted Granger, and the reason for the commotion was revealed shortly, as a large open carriage arrived, with a company of soldiers marching in front of it, and another behind it. “I am guessing that is my conveyance,” Granger said.

Beauvilliers chuckled. “I would think it is,” he said. An officer boarded the brig, and once he was aboard, Granger was able to identify him as a major.

“I am Major Petain, and I am here to take control of the prisoner,” he said.

“I am Lieutenant Beauvilliers, and the prisoner is in my care, and will remain in my care until I deliver him in Paris,” Beauvilliers said firmly.

“By whose authority?” Petain demanded.

“By the authority of Captain Lejoille, the man who captured him in the first place,” Beauvilliers replied acidly.

“Major, I am The Right Honorable Viscount Granger, Knight of the Bath, Collar of the Order of Charles III of Spain, and most recently Captain of the His Majesty's Fleet commanded by Rear Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson.” Granger said this politely, and was not surprised to find that it did not affect Petain at all.

“A pleasure to meet you,” he said crisply. He paused. “Why does the prisoner have his sword?”

“The prisoner has his sword, Major, because Captain Lejoille allowed him to keep it,” Beauvilliers said. “And Lord Granger has agreed to refrain from escaping, provided he and his man are not mistreated. I fear that if I were His Lordship, I would think that your poor manners were sufficient reason to withdraw that pledge.”

“Then he will remain in prison,” Petain said with a sneer.

“He will not,” Beauvilliers said. “Let us go.” He preceded the major off the ship, and sat in the back of the carriage, and indicated that Granger should sit next to him, forcing Petain to sit with his back to the horses. Their progress through the city was slow, designed to let the people see him. Beauvilliers gave Granger a supply of copper coins, which he tossed to the people along the route, much to the annoyance of Major Petain.

 

October 5, 1798

Choisy-le-Roi, France

 

“Tomorrow, you will make your entry into Paris,” Beauvilliers said. “Tonight, we will stay here.” Granger looked around at the Chateau de Choisy, which must have been magnificent in its time, but was now run down and dilapidated.

“This was once a great palace,” Granger observed, knowing it would annoy Beauvilliers, but not really caring one way or the other. Their journey through France had taxed Granger’s patience, both with himself and with his captors. Now that he was on land, Granger felt the bonds of captivity much more strongly. While he was not guarded or chained, he did what he was told to do, and even if those orders were framed politely, as they usually were, the lack of freedom gripped Granger like a noose around his neck, slowly strangulating him. And on those occasions when he was treated rudely, the shackles of captivity were that much more difficult to bear.

“We must use all of our resources to fight the enemies who attack us,” Beauvilliers responded acidly, implying that France was but an innocent victim in this war that had been provoked entirely by Britain. Granger had found him extremely attractive when they’d first met aboard Généreux, and less attractive with each passing day. He had not been intimate with Beauvilliers since they docked, and their physical distance was emblematic of the coldness toward each other.

“That is probably wise,” Granger observed, implying in turn that France would indeed need all of its resources to battle with England. “Is there any word on where I am to be taken?”

Beauvilliers looked at him sharply, trying to decide whether to keep him in the dark about his ultimate destination, but relented. “You are to be taken to see Monsieur Talleyrand. I will leave you in his capable hands, and it will be up to him to decide your fate after that.”

“And if I remember correctly, that was my preferred course of action, unless I wanted dull conversation and dull food,” Granger said, smiling as he did. There was no need to make an enemy of Beauvilliers, so Granger opted to stop annoying the man.

“That is correct,” Beauvilliers said.

“I hope Paris likes me better than Lyon,” Granger said. There, he’d been pelted with rotten fruit and vegetables, although unfortunately for Beauvilliers, more of the decaying foodstuffs had landed on him.

“If they do not, I suspect I will pay the price for it,” Beauvilliers said, but in a jocular way.

“I do want to thank you for that, for watching out for me on this trip,” Granger said to him. He looked at Granger, as if to determine if he was being sarcastic or not. “I am sincere in that statement. You have shielded me from the worst that could have befallen me, and I am grateful.”

“You are welcome,” Beauvilliers said. “This cannot be easy for you.”

“It is not, but it is the price I must pay. There are consequences to being a prisoner, and the lack of freedom is the primary expense,” Granger said, opening up a bit.

“So what will you do while you are in Paris?” Beauvilliers asked with a grin.

“I am going to find a good tailor, and I am going to get a new wardrobe,” Granger announced. “What clothes I have left are barely more than rags, although they have served me well, considering that it is well over a year since I left home.”

“I think we can accommodate you, and you can see why so many of your countrymen get their clothes here when our countries are at peace,” he said.

“That is most certainly true, although I fear that with uniforms, there is little room for creative license,” Granger noted.

“Perhaps a little,” Beauvilliers said, making Granger chuckle as he visualized various errant feathers and plumes put in by expressive French tailors, which would certainly not be in His Majesty’s guidelines for the uniforms of Royal Navy officers.

Beauvilliers left Granger to wander around the chateau. There were remnants of what must have been spectacular gardens, but they were now subdivided into plots for peasants, and all but destroyed. The interior of the chateau was much the same, with every valuable item or accessory stripped away, leaving it as a bare shell. Last night, they’d stayed at Fontainebleau, which Granger had enjoyed. It was a truly beautiful palace, but he had found it to be similarly stripped of its accouterments, and left to decay for lack of attention and funds. He supposed that was the revolutionary zeal, determined to destroy any vestiges of the Ancien Regime, but he felt that these creations, these buildings, were part of the French national history, and it was a shame to see them become so derelict. There was much beauty in the French countryside, but there was much ugliness in the people. They seemed a downtrodden lot, oppressed by an ineffective government, with a sullen and apathetic attitude that Granger found unsettling. They had been accompanied on their entire trip by a substantial guard, which at first Granger had thought was to prevent him from escaping, but he had later learned that it was rather to dissuade the highwaymen, who were rampant in the countryside. The whole thing was rather depressing, and just added to his general malaise. Donegal managed to find them mattresses, and they had a pleasant supper, then Granger slept, a fitful sleep, dreading his entry into Paris the next day.

Donegal awakened him early, and helped Granger put on his uniform, the one with the coins, not because Granger was worried about his money, but because it was the one most serviceable. His clothing had gotten to the point of being embarrassing, and Granger was worried that he would have to appear in polite society before he could rectify that.

He found Beauvilliers waiting for him, and the man smiled to try and ease Granger’s discomfort, a gesture which privately irritated Granger, but which he publicly acknowledged by returning that smile. It felt at times as if they were all managing him as some sort of temperamental child, when he thought he had been remarkably calm and flexible throughout this journey.

He led Granger out to the open carriage, and Granger pulled out some copper coins, and both men climbed in to do the same thing they’d done for the past three weeks. Their military guard was with them, an oversized squad in front and behind their carriage, as they wound their way through the streets of Paris. Granger was not impressed with the city, as it seemed dirtier and smellier than London. Still, the closer to the heart of Paris they got, the more the city developed a vibrancy, and a true beauty of its own. The people were largely apathetic, just as Granger expected, but were quite happy to grasp for the copper coins Granger tossed out. They did not arrive at Talleyrand’s residence in the Rue de Bac until afternoon.

“This is the Hotel de Galliffet,” Beauvilliers said. “It was built by the de Galliffet family but never used by them, and has since been acquired by Monsieur Talleyrand.”

“It is a lovely residence,” Granger observed. The building was quite substantial, and unlike the former royal palaces, seemed to be in remarkably good repair. The carriage passed through some gates and pulled up to a portico, where Beauvilliers and Granger alit. Beauvilliers led Granger into an ornate entry with a large staircase, where they were met by the equivalent of a butler.

“It is a pleasure to meet you, Lord Granger,” the butler said. “I am Servienne. Monsieur Talleyrand has asked that we direct you to your rooms, and requests that you join him for dinner at 2:00.”

“The pleasure is mine,” Granger said, bowing cordially.

“This is where I must take my leave of you,” Beauvilliers said.

Granger had been expecting this, and even though he was not very fond of Beauvilliers, he had appreciated the man’s guidance and his efforts to keep Granger safe from the sometimes rowdy crowds. “Thank you again for your assistance.”

“I wish you well,” Beauvilliers said, then he turned on his heel and left Granger standing in the foyer, feeling somewhat abandoned. Granger quickly pulled himself together, and he and Donegal followed Servienne to a very nice set of rooms, complete with a bedroom and a reception area.

“Nicer than any of the places we’ve stayed at so far, my lord,” Donegal noted.

“It is,” Granger agreed. “I think that you can safely remove the gold coins from this coat and see if we can make it more serviceable.”

“They’re not likely to strip you of your purse here in the capital, my lord,” Donegal agreed. He vanished while Granger sat at the writing desk in his room, feeling in an even greater flux than he’d been in before. He sat down and began to pen a letter to Caroline, even though he was unclear as to how he would get it to her, when Donegal returned.

“I beg your pardon, my lord,” Donegal said. “They say Monsieur Talleyrand is quite the dandy, so I thought we’d better freshen you up as best we can.”

“I appreciate your research,” Granger said, and let Donegal help him change into his other dress coat, even as he frowned at the threadbare elbows and the frayed lapels. The gold lace had been bent and straightened, but it never quite looked the same, even after it had been repaired. And worst of all, the epaulets looked positively frumpy. But it was the best he could do, so George Granger put on his dress coat and descended the stairs to meet his new host. It was the first time he could remember where he felt truly self-conscious about his appearance.

He arrived in the dining room to find it empty, but for a servant. “Monsieur Talleyrand should arrive shortly, monsieur,” he said. Granger noted that the table was set for only two people, but that the china and crystal were of top quality. Granger wandered about the room, noting the decorative items, gazing out the window, and otherwise occupying himself, for over half an hour, before a slight movement attracted his attention.

“Welcome,” he said. “I am Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, Foreign Minister of France.” He moved with the grace of a courtier, an acquired art, where one glided rather than walked, drawing as little notice as possible to oneself. That he managed to do so while having a foot that was evidently crippled was an exceptional achievement. When he bowed, he did so fluidly, with a style Granger appreciated. The room filled with the scent of his perfume, which was copious, but not overly so. His clothing was elegant, with more flourishes and a bit flashier than one would find in the best salons in London. Granger thought that Beau Brummel would appreciate his sense of style.

Granger instinctively mimicked his gestures, feeling as if he’d been transported back to Carlton House. “It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Your Excellency. I am The Right Honorable Viscount Granger, Knight of the Bath, Collar of the Order of Charles III of Spain, and most recently Captain of the His Majesty's Fleet commanded by Rear Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson.” Granger rattled off his titles much as he had done ever since he’d been captured.

“The famous Lord Granger,” Talleyrand mused. “What an honor to be able to host you to dinner.” He gestured toward the table, where they both took their seats. “Your capture was most opportune for a number of reasons, not the least of which is my ability to experience, once again, your charming company.”

“I am flattered that you remember meeting me in London,” Granger said.

“It was not under the best of circumstances,” Talleyrand noted.

“One would never have known that based on the way you conducted yourself,” Granger said. Talleyrand smiled at him, and his flattery.

“Yet you find yourself in Paris as a guest of the Directory, and I find that you are conducting yourself in such a way as to make me regret my own poor manners when I was in your capital.”

“You have never been accused of having poor manners,” Granger said. Food was brought out to them, and they began to dine, in what Granger would come to understand was Talleyrand’s style of eating. The food was superb, but the meals were long.

“I would be rude if I did not discuss your current situation, so as not to keep you in suspense,” Talleyrand said after they had spent much time discussing his trip through France.

“I would be grateful for your enlightenment,” Granger responded.

“Your arrival here enables us to emphasize the positive capture of Leander, even though it was positive for us and not you,” he said. Granger smiled to acknowledge his humor. “And it also allows us to use that to offset the news that your admiral has all but destroyed our Mediterranean Fleet.”

“I can well understand how that may be the case,” Granger said. He was sensitive to the politics of things, although he suspected that he would recoil if he could look into Talleyrand’s Byzantine mind.

“You will be kept here in Paris for a period of time, to remind the people of the great achievements of the government, and then you will be paroled to return to England,” he said.

“I assume that the period of time is still undecided?” Granger asked.

Talleyrand smiled. “It is. But I can promise you that, despite your charming company, and the fact that you will be quite popular at the Salons, I will do what I can to expedite your release.”

“I would be most appreciative of your efforts on my behalf,” Granger said. “I must admit to being rather homesick, as I have not seen my wife and family for over a year.”

“For some men, that would be a positive,” he said, making Granger laugh.

“Alas, I know of such men, but fortunately I am not one of them.”

“Your wife is known to be a formidable woman in her own right,” he said, watching Granger carefully to see how he reacted.

Granger smiled. “I have been lucky to have a wife who is indeed a practical woman with good sense, and an astute political mind.”

“That is a rarity, in my opinion,” Talleyrand sniffed. “We must discuss your arrangements while you are here in Paris.”

“Of course,” Granger said, somewhat surprised.

“It would give me the greatest pleasure to host you here in my home, and to make the quarters you currently occupy your residence while you are in Paris. Unfortunately, the government does not provide for the housing of captured officers in such pleasant surroundings.”

Granger smiled again, understanding this new game they were playing. Talleyrand was renowned for extracting money from those he dealt with. “It would be unforgivable to enjoy such surroundings without offering to defray the cost of such luxuries.”

“I am sorry to bring up such a crass topic as money,” he said hastily. “In better times, perhaps such exigencies will not be necessary, but those of us who serve the state are left in virtual penury.”

Granger managed to not laugh out loud at him, as the Hotel de Galliffet was anything but austere. “That cannot be easy,” he said sympathetically. “As I am new to Paris, I am not familiar with what would be required for my own support.”

“I would think that you should expect to spend 500 of your pounds every month,” he said. That was a lot of money, considering Granger’s pay as captain of Bacchante had been 16 pounds per month, but his fare was being calculated as a peer of Great Britain, not as a post-captain.

Granger pondered that, and nodded. “I have a proposal to make.”

“You have my full attention,” he said, as if expecting Granger to barter with him.

“In my proposal, I would transfer 5,000 pounds to you, perhaps to an account you have in London or Germany, and in exchange, you would allow me to reside as your guest for the duration of my visit in Paris,” Granger said.

That got a grin from the wily diplomat. “And if you are only here for two weeks?”

“Then I would submit we both got a good deal in the arrangement. Conversely, if I am still with you a year from now, we both have lost.”

“I accept your proposal,” Talleyrand said. “I will provide you with information on how to transfer the funds to my account in London. I will trust you to accomplish that when you return.”

“Excellent,” Granger said. “I am also wondering if you could refer me to a good tailor. I have not been in a place to acquire uniforms for some time, and I fear my coat will not bear close inspection.”

“Nothing could be easier,” Talleyrand said.

Copyright © 2014 Mark Arbour; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

Well, I am glad we are back with Granger although I did enjoy our time with Winkler. I thought the way Granger's relationship with Beauvillers deteriorated the closer they got to France and then Paris was very intersting and telling.

 

I am less enamoured with his reintroduction to Talleyrand. While I will admit that Talleyrand was a first rate diplomate; I think he was a truly despicable human being. The fact that he took a church position in an attempt to gain wealth and power, then debased it to the point that Pope Pius the something actually defrocked him; add his direct links to the death of the Duke of Enghien makes him just beyond forgiveness to me. I am sure that Granger will have no trouble bribing him, he became quite wealthy taking bribes over the years.

 

Great chapter and can't wait to see Granger move into society in Paris...

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Great job Mark, I felt I needed a shower after reading the reintroduction to Talleyrand. The most Granger can hope for is that the slime from Talleyrand doesn't ruin his new uniforms.

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Very interesting approach by Granger to his "room and board". It makes it important to Talleyrand that George gets paroled to England as quick as possible.

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On 09/28/2013 01:27 AM, macmouse212 said:
I enjoyed the introduction of Talleyrand into the mix.
I'm glad you did. He's an intriguing character.
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On 09/28/2013 02:15 AM, centexhairysub said:
Well, I am glad we are back with Granger although I did enjoy our time with Winkler. I thought the way Granger's relationship with Beauvillers deteriorated the closer they got to France and then Paris was very intersting and telling.

 

I am less enamoured with his reintroduction to Talleyrand. While I will admit that Talleyrand was a first rate diplomate; I think he was a truly despicable human being. The fact that he took a church position in an attempt to gain wealth and power, then debased it to the point that Pope Pius the something actually defrocked him; add his direct links to the death of the Duke of Enghien makes him just beyond forgiveness to me. I am sure that Granger will have no trouble bribing him, he became quite wealthy taking bribes over the years.

 

Great chapter and can't wait to see Granger move into society in Paris...

I have a much more favorable view of Talleyrand than you do. I do not hold his church positions/appointments against him because I look at them through the lenses of the time. A career in the church was not Talleyrand's choice, but the choice of his parents, and was a common venue for scions of the nobility. Piety was not a requirement. The murder of the Duc D'Enghien is even cloudier. There are many fingers pointed at Talleyrand (especially by Napoleon, who must ultimately bear the blame), but I am suspicious of those. Whether he said it or not, the following quote was often attributed to him: "It was worse than a crime; it was a blunder." A blunder like that would be rare for Talleyrand.
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On 09/28/2013 02:29 AM, JimCarter said:
Great job Mark, I felt I needed a shower after reading the reintroduction to Talleyrand. The most Granger can hope for is that the slime from Talleyrand doesn't ruin his new uniforms.
I think you are being a bit hard on Talleyrand. See below. In any event, Talleyrand provides him with an entre into the best salons of Paris, not that Granger would need it.
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On 09/28/2013 02:34 AM, Kookie said:
Very interesting approach by Granger to his "room and board". It makes it important to Talleyrand that George gets paroled to England as quick as possible.
Align your goals with those who can make them happen.
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So near yet so far. Paris to London I have no questions that Lord Granger will have a short but pleasant stay. Money goes a long way. Even though George's trip was difficult I have a feeling with his hosts help his stay in Paris will be better. It has been a long time without our hero. as much as I like Calvert and Winkler, I have missed George a lot. Every since he first went to sea, his has shown the combination of bravery, kindness, humility, and he is cute to boot. How could you not love him? I wish good luck to him and a big thank you to Mark for bringing him safely this far.

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My conundrum this morning was work or George, work or George. George won out once I realized I wasting valuable reading time even debating the issue. I am enjoying your view of history far more than when tasked in school and for that I owe you my gratitude.

Simply stupendous story :thankyou: !

 

PS...I couldn't resist the alliteration :P

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On 09/28/2013 03:23 AM, rjo said:
So near yet so far. Paris to London I have no questions that Lord Granger will have a short but pleasant stay. Money goes a long way. Even though George's trip was difficult I have a feeling with his hosts help his stay in Paris will be better. It has been a long time without our hero. as much as I like Calvert and Winkler, I have missed George a lot. Every since he first went to sea, his has shown the combination of bravery, kindness, humility, and he is cute to boot. How could you not love him? I wish good luck to him and a big thank you to Mark for bringing him safely this far.
Thanks for the review. I think that he'll be stuck in Paris for a bit, which will actually serve his French hosts well, and also make Nelson (and Berry) happy, since they can avoid competing with him for good press. :-)
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On 09/28/2013 03:33 AM, Miles Long said:
My conundrum this morning was work or George, work or George. George won out once I realized I wasting valuable reading time even debating the issue. I am enjoying your view of history far more than when tasked in school and for that I owe you my gratitude.

Simply stupendous story :thankyou: !

 

PS...I couldn't resist the alliteration :P

I hope I have not damaged your employment status/prospects, but I'm very glad you liked the chapter. Thanks so much for the review!
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Even taking into account the preposterous claim for 500 pounds per month, the payment of 5000 pounds to M. T's London account is a huge bribe. And of course it worked. George's sojourn in Paris will indeed be expensive and I wonder how soon before M. T asks for more.....

BTW: More please!

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Fortunately my boss is out of town today so I could read this chapter at work. :P

Talleyrand is one of the more colorful characters you have incorporated into this saga. Had to go back to Wikipedia for the quick story of Talleyrand. Money and prestige serves Granger quite well.

 

Hope our hero gets back to London soon.

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As allways with the stories about Granger this chapter is colourfully and imaginatively written. There is a slight anachronism in this chapter when Granger compares his tour through Marseilles as being shown around like an animal in a zoo. As far as I know the first zoo in the modern sense with the name of a zoo were the gardens of the zoological society in London, opened in 1828. Before the London zoo there were only princely or royal menageries normally not open to the public.

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A gilded cage, is still a cage. I wonder if he will be allowed to send a letter (vetted of course) to Caroline. I wonder now that Talleyrand has extracted his pound of flesh (5,000 lbs) from George, if he will not try to expedite his return trip home ASAP. Not I hope, before he is able to meet up with his lost duckling (Lt Eastwyck) whom he doesn't even know was captured, let alone somewhere here in France. You do have a way of doing that Mark (yes you do). A great chapter, thank you.

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On 09/28/2013 05:19 AM, Daddydavek said:
Even taking into account the preposterous claim for 500 pounds per month, the payment of 5000 pounds to M. T's London account is a huge bribe. And of course it worked. George's sojourn in Paris will indeed be expensive and I wonder how soon before M. T asks for more.....

BTW: More please!

I suspect he will find an excuse to ask for more money. Granger is probably too classy to argue about it too much.
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On 09/28/2013 05:56 AM, davewri said:
Fortunately my boss is out of town today so I could read this chapter at work. :P

Talleyrand is one of the more colorful characters you have incorporated into this saga. Had to go back to Wikipedia for the quick story of Talleyrand. Money and prestige serves Granger quite well.

 

Hope our hero gets back to London soon.

Lucky you! I think Talleyrand will make Paris interesting.
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On 09/28/2013 06:20 AM, Michael Huebner said:
As allways with the stories about Granger this chapter is colourfully and imaginatively written. There is a slight anachronism in this chapter when Granger compares his tour through Marseilles as being shown around like an animal in a zoo. As far as I know the first zoo in the modern sense with the name of a zoo were the gardens of the zoological society in London, opened in 1828. Before the London zoo there were only princely or royal menageries normally not open to the public.
Thanks for the review, and sorry for the anachronism. We try hard to weed those out, but it looks like we missed one.
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On 09/28/2013 07:54 AM, sandrewn said:
A gilded cage, is still a cage. I wonder if he will be allowed to send a letter (vetted of course) to Caroline. I wonder now that Talleyrand has extracted his pound of flesh (5,000 lbs) from George, if he will not try to expedite his return trip home ASAP. Not I hope, before he is able to meet up with his lost duckling (Lt Eastwyck) whom he doesn't even know was captured, let alone somewhere here in France. You do have a way of doing that Mark (yes you do). A great chapter, thank you.
So true about a gilded cage. George will be miserable until he gets home. I think.
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Has Talleyrand met his match? I'm excited that you've included him in your story.

He isn't really a challenge for Granger, but Talleyrand was a remarkable survivor

for his day. The fact that even today he is spoken of at all, tells us he was unique.

This could be fun...

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On 09/29/2013 03:32 AM, Stephen said:
Has Talleyrand met his match? I'm excited that you've included him in your story.

He isn't really a challenge for Granger, but Talleyrand was a remarkable survivor

for his day. The fact that even today he is spoken of at all, tells us he was unique.

This could be fun...

It would not have been easy to survive in those times as an aristocrat, and a member of the government.
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Now George meets another great man of history, Talleyrand.  Having negotiated a price for his imprisonment, George will get to closely observe Talleyrand.  I am sure that his information will assist the English King George III in future developments between France and England.  It would be nice if Lt. Eastwyck were to join George in Paris.  

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