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    R. Eric
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His Royal Highness, Prince Vincent - 6. Washington

As I said, more on Wednesday. There will be more again Sunday Night. See the movie in your head as I do. That happens when I read a book. I still love to write and I still love Daniel. :heart:

Washington

 

The train station was bigger than most. There two trains here with a wide, covered walkway between them. Passengers were getting off the train as porters were taking the luggage off. Not ours. The private train car had luggage that would go to the hotel, but most of it would be taken off by the crew of the Dannebrog would come to take the remaining luggage after it was detached from the train. Vincent had rented it from New York and it would be returned to New York.

The sun had not risen yet, but the difference of Washington and Cheyenne were the clothes worn. Not one of the men or women were cowboys. It was cold here and like many cities near the ocean, it was a damp cold. There were many people moving about getting off the train we arrived on and getting on the other train. A man on a ladder was changing a large light bulb. Another man beside the ladder held the one he’d removed. Once the new one was in place it lit up brightly. The glass cover was white to cut the bright glare, but allowed you to see more. It was like the bright light of day…almost. Many modern cities had those now, but the infrastructure was there for gas lights and they still used that until they reconstructed a street or block. Cheyenne still had gas streetlights, but Governor Osbourne’s home had electricity and so did the capitol.

We all four unloaded the luggage we need for the two days. We did. Vincent waved to a porter to bring a cart and the porter loaded the luggage on the cart.

There was a big difference this time. Again, using the same method when we called the White House, Neal called and telegrammed for the hotel reservation. Neal was a paralegal and the Governor Osbourne’s Secretary. People just didn’t trust all this new technology. It was just happening so quickly and the problems didn’t give people much confidence. People wanted to be sure the message sent got through!

Washington was a city! London, Paris, Copenhagen and the others were, too. Washington was new. Even before the thirteen colonies were even begun those cities in England, Europe and Scandinavia were very old. There were still horses and wagons or buggies, but less of them as there was a transportation service for everyone. There were trolley cars on trails in the street. Dozens of people could ride and get off where they wanted to be. The speed was slow, so getting on and off was not difficult. Paved streets! Cheyenne still had a lot of dirt road, but the mayor was pushing for a paved street. They had sidewalks in Cheyenne.

The hotel here was well known and about seventy years old. The Willard. The White House was almost across the street. Presidents, Senators, Congressmen, Kings and Queens have stayed at the Willard. We hired a taxi carriage to take us to the hotel.

Pennsylvania Avenue. That was a very wide street and ran up almost to the White House’s front door!

The sun was making the horizon brighter, but Nakia saw… “What the Hell?” he blurted and pointed ahead on the street. “That carriage is moving without horses!”

Naturally, all four of us looked. It was what Nakia said, a carriage with no horse pulling or pulling it, but it was moving. A single man bundled up for the cold rode in the only seat that was wide enough for two. He was steering it with a stick from the floor of the carriage. The carriage wheels had metal spokes with thin…tires?

My eyes widened, “Oh, yeah. It’s a horseless carriage.” I marveled, “There have been some a while, but they were stream driven. I don’t see anything burning for the steam.”

“What’s making it go then?” Nakia asked. “Electricity?”

I chuckled looking at Nakia, “Since I wasn’t in on the design, I have no idea. At Cambridge I saw plans for several horseless carriages. Some had fuel burning engines that would make them go.”

Vincent grinned at them, “You can always jump out and ask him.” He chuckled, “But you need better English to be understood by him. And he might not appreciate stopping.”

“A machine can breakdown!” Bendt stated. “What’s wrong with a horse?”

“A horse can breakdown,” I smiled. “They can break a leg. A horseless carriage can be fixed. A horse with a broken leg has to be shot.”

That’s a permanent breakdown!” Vincent nodded.

“In the twentieth century,” I said as I smiled. “I know there will be even faster changes in technology.”

 

The Willard Hotel was more like the older hotels in England, Denmark and France. It was seven or eight stories tall. The polish and grand furnishings said what was here was comparable to what was over there. The lobby was large and the ceiling was two stories up. There was the elegant molding on the ceiling and chandelier lights dangled from them making the interior bright.

Again, the role reversal happened. The reservation wasn’t for Vincent Henrik, the Crown Prince of Denmark. It was for David Richards, the United States of American’s Ambassador to Denmark and Norway. That was ego building because it had always been Vincent that had things done by dropping his name. Not me. I squelched the feeling as the sort of thinking could be dangerous. I was taught by those people in Wyoming that I was just as good as anyone, not better than anyone. I was lucky to have a brain that worked and parents that had the means to help me along. Meeting kings and queens wasn’t luck, but because of Vincent! Contacts was why my father sent me to Wentworth in the first place.

The humor hit again when we were about to get in an elevator. The balding man about forty years old in the elevator was smiling and waiting patiently. It was too early for it to be busy. I hadn’t been in an elevator, but knew of them. Most buildings weren’t that tall. Yet. Nakia’s eyes widened and he stopped.

Vincent looked at Nakia and saw the look uncertainly on Nakia’s face. “We’re on the top floor! An elevator makes sense.”

“It can also fall!” Nakia said waving at elevator with a look that told us he didn’t understand why we didn’t see that.

I had to fight the smile from coming to my face, “Let’s look at this logically. This hotel is a business and has had a lot of guests in seventy years.” I shook my head, “No, it was renovated twenty years ago where four more floors were added. For twenty years this elevator has worked.” I looked at the attendant. “Has the elevator ever fallen?”

The man shook his head, but smiled even more now, “Not the six years I’m been doing it. It’s had mechanical issues, but there are safeties to keep it from falling.”

I looked at Nakia and waved back at the attendant, “See!? Thinking it’s going to fall because you are on it is kind of conceited.”

“Many people are nervous getting in the elevator,” the attendant said. “This will the first time for you.”

Vincent looked at us and nodded, “For all of us. The hotel we stayed in Paris was three floors. Our luggage took an elevator to get to the floor, but…”

The attendant shrugged, “Its just new to you. Once you’ve done it a few times you won’t even think about it anymore.”

Bendt went behind Nakia and pushed him gently into the elevator. “Lad os gå.” Let’s go.

Personally, I found it kind of exciting to do something new. Then attendant closed the brass gate, pulled a level and there was a mechanized whir and we began to rise. Nakia backed to the back wall and had his hands against the wall the whole way. Bendt had to take his hand and, not pull exactly, but lead him off the elevator.

The bellman let us in the suite. There was a living area with a couch in front of a fireplace, a dining area and two bedrooms. The first one had a large single bed and the second had two double beds. It was elegant. Tipping the bellman, he left.

“You know?” I began turning to them and grinned, “I don’t think any of you are Vikings at all.”

Vincent’s eyes widened, “I never said I was. You did!”

“Well, you’re half Viking. Your mother is British,” I smiled. “Your Dad is descended from them. You can tell as he is blond. You’re is black.” I pointed at Bendt and Nakia. “The same with you two. Vikings were tough and fearless! You have the fair skin, but no thick beards and hats with the horns.”

Vincent rolled his eyes and shook his head, “I’m bursting your bubble. The helmet with horns is just fiction! Just like Indians scalping people in those novels!”

“Some did during war, but not the Pohogwe!” I said simply still smiling.

“Some raiders did wear those horned helmets; before the Vikings,” Vincent growled as he smiled at me. “And talk about bad strategy. Vikings weren’t stupid. Why give an enemy something to grab and throw you down or break your neck?”

“I can be fearless!” Nakia defended.

Bendt smiled at Nakia, “You are…sometimes.”

 

I had a candlestick phone in my suite. It was different as it was white with gold edges at the top, on the earpiece and the rotary dial. I had the number form the President’s office. That didn’t mean the President would answer, but his secretary did. I left a message that I was now here. He could call the hotel when he wanted to. He could also leave a message at the desk if we were out.

 

Morality and immorality. What was that? I thought about what Vincent had done. I know, this wasn’t healthy for me to think about as it could drive me crazy if I always thought of it. The looks Vincent gave me when we were in private were warm and full of love. I would adjust. I would. The truth was that Vincent was the most moral man of royalty there was. He was! The marriage with Angelica was duty. He didn’t love her and said that to everyone in his family and Angelica. Hell, he even insisted the Lutheran minister not say the lines in the ceremony where he and Angelica promise to forsake all others and to obey be removed. He wasn’t going to lie to God! Or the people in Denmark. I’m sure the minister thought Vincent was just going to have affairs. Plenty of kings had children now born from other women. Many queens had children with others as Vincent’s mother did. One of the worst was France. Kings in the past had official mistresses. Those mistresses had titles and lived in the palace. Harems! My mother got upset and said, “Men could have sex when they wanted to, but you don’t hear much about a harem of men for any queen!!” Most royal marriages were political. The mistresses and concubines were usually for the ruler’s heart. That was what Vincent’s and Angelica’s marriage was. It was political!! Did that make me a concubine? Yep, it did. I would just get used to the idea. Vincent wasn’t cheating on me with Angelica. He was cheating on Angelica with me! Was it cheating if Angelica knew full well about me from the beginning? She was doing it with whomever in Norway.

Like I said, thinking about too much could make me crazy.

 

I did ask the front desk where all the Senators and Congressmen got the snazzy satchels in Washington. Most of them were lawyers and knew carrying around legal briefs had to be done. I was directed to a shop on Pennsylvania Avenue. Naturally.

We went to the shop and…well, if you wanted to make a statement with your satchel for the briefs you carried, this was where you went. Every kind leather from cowhide to crocodile from Egypt! The crocodile skin even had the look with the scales. It was a case, like a thin suitcase. I finally decided on a thin case that was black Italian leather. What really liked was it had a key lock! I was not going to be carrying any national secrets for the United States of America, Denmark or Norway. It paid to think ahead. My three shadows from Denmark were there, too.

Vincent was looking at the crocodile one as I purchased the one with the lock. “This is unusual.”

I nodded, “But I decided against it.” I shrugged. “I didn’t have the stomach.” I pointed at the sign.

He read the sign that said, “Genuine Crocodile Stomach Leather.” He rolled his eyes, “Oh, hardy har, har, har. How long did it take to think that up?”

I grinned, “Not long at all. Just now, in fact.”

Bendt and Nakia didn’t get it, so Vincent had to explain it. A joke isn’t funny if you have to explain the punchline.

I was going as a cattleman or cowboy again. A gentleman cowboy. I got my suit pressed by the hotel. They cleaned it, too. Vincent, Bendt and Nakia were wearing nice suits they had from Copenhagen. The black suit and boots for me was my signature now. Any color came from the vest. They had their suits cleaned and pressed also. You shouldn’t meet world leaders wrinkled. We even got shaves and haircuts at the hotel barbershop. None of us wanted any goop in our hair.

The White House was at the end of the street. We would be there in minutes just walking. My father told me it was important that if you make an appointment with someone, you show up on time. The President knew my background, but I carried the documents that said what I’d done and my identification documents. I didn’t know if he needed my identification to verify who I was. The President and his wife was guarded by US Military and Secret Service Men. A well-dressed cowboy with three well-dressed men was not expected by the security. Bendt and Nakia had documentation, too. Not necessarily because of who they were, but what they were. They both also showed badges to security. Bendt and Nakia were security, as well. Handing over their holsters and gun was also done. And still all four of us were patted all over to look for concealed weapons. Presidents and their family were often threatened.

We followed a man through the White House. As Bendt was about to put his badge back in his pocket, I reached over and took it, “You never showed me this!” I said looking at it closely. The words Særlige Politiet on the top of the shield shaped badge. Below was Danmark. “Special Police, Denmark!” I said impressed.

Bendt rolled his eyes and smirked, “You knew what we are since day one. We didn’t need to show you our badges.”

“Still,” I grinned touching the badge. It was a good and thick solid badge as I handed it back. “It’s impressive.”

The President in nice suit and the First Lady in long dress of blue turned as we came in and both of them were not ready with what they saw as the man that led us into a large room where they stood by a fireplace that was burning brightly. He was in his fifties, balding and a little heavy. There was again the moustache. White. His wife Frances was maybe thirty and pretty. They had a few children. There were no rules about who attracted whom. She had been just twenty-one years old when her husband became President the first year in 1885. He gathered himself and smiled, “You are David Richards? I know you were born and raised in Wyoming, but…” he hand waved at me but words just didn’t come.

I nodded, “I was Mr. President. My father sent me to London to go to school where I met my good friend,” I motioned to Vincent. “This Vincent Henrik, the Crown Prince of Denmark and future king...and the reason I was suggested for the job.”

Both the President’s and First Lady’s eyes widened again. The President bowed and the First Lady curtsied saying, “Your Highness.

“Please forgive his modesty, Mr. President,” Vincent smiled. “He’s more than qualified. We were roommates and friends for a decade.”

The President shook both our hands and I kissed the back the First Lady’s hand. Ladies everywhere loved that. Women in America were not accustomed to it, but they always smiled when it was done.

“And these are two guards that protect Prince Vincent,” I shrugged a nod, “and me when I’m with him. Great guys, but don’t speak English well enough to be understood.”

The greetings done we were offered the pre-dinner drink. Of course, Bendt and Nakia refused as they were working. Yes, we were in the White House in one of the best protected homes in America. A fool would attack anyone here. I respected that.

The White House had bourbon! Yea! I was becoming more and more like my father. Like him, I enjoyed it…I didn’t need to have it every day. England, Denmark, France and Italy had demonstrated how you can have wines at dinner and drank other liquors with moderation. In many cultures they would even give children wine at dinner. It was watered down, but the children were taught how to drink. I was told that water was often contaminated and the alcohol killed that threat. Yes, there were times when caution was thrown away, like Vincent and I did when drinking with my father’s memory…we got drunk. I doubt there are many who did drink that hadn’t drunk too much once or twice.

“We had no idea you were here, Your Highness,” the President said.

Vincent grinned, “It really wasn’t a visit for Denmark, but for me.” He shrugged a nod, “My dearest friend needed to come back to do for me what he’s done for years. He’s been my Advisor since that first day. He will need to when I take the throne. He is levelheaded and honest. He always tells me the truth.”

The President nodded as his smile grew, “I understand that. Getting good advice about what to do with a country is so important. It can prevent war…or start one. I listen to advice from everyone one, but there are two I really listen to. My Vice-President and my wife.” He smiled at the First Lady who smiled back at him.

I was grateful the President mentioned his Vice-President. The chances of the President and Vice-President being intimate were too remote, but you never know. “I never really tell you what to do, Vincent,” I said to him.

Vincent nodded, “That’s true, but you and I will discuss things so I hear what I’m saying. How I say is important, as well.” Vincent shook his head, “I’d be a fool not to come and get him and haul his ass back to Denmark.” He looked at the First Lady, “My apologies, Madam. It’s not proper for a gentleman to use that kind of language with a lady present.” He bowed slightly at her.

The First Lady suddenly laughed, “That’s quite fine. I’ve heard much worse.” She didn’t say who it was verbally, but her single pat on the President’s arm did. The President just smiled and wasn’t bothered at all. They were just Human now.

I was right before about a staff. There were going to be several staff from file clerk to secretary. There were also going to be United States Military there, both the Continental Army and Marines. The Navy could come, but the other two branches were going to guard me.

Conversation at the table flowed easily and I knew it was coming, but…the First Lady smiled. “I take it this mode of dress is your normal as Ambassador.”

I nodded and said, “That would be an accurate assumption. I was asked by everyone over there if I were a cowboy. My answer will be what I wear.” I smiled at her, “I have never been ashamed of being a cowboy or cattleman. I’m American. I’m proud of that. I was born in the Wyoming Territory. I’m proud of that, too.” I chuckled, “I have met many wonderful people that share this world. I am very comfortable in Great Britain, Scandinavia and Europe. I will always be a proud American Cowboy.”

The President smiled, “It will make you stand out.”

Dinner was delicious. It had to be. This was the White House! It was about midnight when we left them. I thanked them, went out the door and put my hat on and we went back to the Willard Hotel. I was feeling anxious, because we checked out tomorrow and boarded the Dannebrog. We were going back to Denmark.

The next morning, the few remaining pieces of luggage was sent to the dock where the Dannebrog was birthed. Vincent and I were…not arguing, but discussing the payment of the suite. He said, because he came here for personal reasons, he should pay for it just like the private train car. I said it was for me we stayed in Washington and I should pay for it. It was the man at the Front Desk who cleared his throat and then smiled, “Actually, you’re both wrong.” He pointed at me, “You are an American Ambassador. The suite, by Presidential Directive, was paid for by the government of the United States.”

“Oh,” I said simply, but a little surprised. There was an expense account? I knew there would be. The personnel working there were being paid by the United States. Even the cleaning crew who were citizens of Copenhagen were being paid by the United States. “Yeah, I knew that.” I was walking away.

Vincent was grinning as he followed me, “You did not!” He turned back to the man behind the front desk, “Great hotel!” He hurried to catch up with me.

“I forgot,” I shrugged and didn’t look at Vincent. “I need to get used to it.”

We took a carriage to the dock across the Potomac River. I looked at the ships and was puzzled. “Where’s the Dannebrog?”

Vincent smiled and waved at a ship, “Right there!”

That wasn’t the Dannebrog I’d been on before! This one was longer and bigger! And white! Two smoke stacks.

“That’s the Dannebrog,” I said pointing at the ship to be clear.

“Yes!” Vincent nodded. “The other one was good, but it really only got to about fifteen knots.” He grinned and pointed at the ship, “This one can get up to twenty. Maintains eighteen knots steadily. We’ll be back in Copenhagen so fast!”

The other Dannebrog would be tossed around on rough seas. I didn’t get seasick. I found the rocking enjoyable! I was a landlubber. I’d seen the Pacific Ocean twice as child. I saw the Atlantic Ocean as we crossed it to go to Wentworth. Dad did get seasick. The ships crew told Dad to stay below and close the curtain over our porthole. Our cabin moved! Your body felt it rock even if you didn’t see it. None of my Viking descended friends would get seasick, right? That was wrong. There were a few when the rocking became greater on rough seas who felt queasy.

The stateroom or cabin Vincent and I shared was like the palaces in Copenhagen. Aesthetics outshined function. The ship’s crew stayed below or did things necessary for the ship. We had two stewards, but they were commanded not to talk about anything the saw or heard. All the staff for the royal family kept their mouths shut. We knew better than to do anything just blatantly in front of anyone but Bendt and Nakia. I was told by Vincent his mother had been betrayed by a servant. One of her personal servants who helped Queen Maregete dress and do her hair. It was in the middle of his mother’s second pregnancy that wasn’t by her husband, but by the Russian Ambassador. The servant noticed that the queen, who was always thin and attractive, had a swollen abdomen. There was another sign like the swelling breasts. Thinking the queen was carrying a second heir to the royal family, the rumor of the queen’s condition swept through the palace…and Copenhagen. In the past, that sort of violation would result in that servant punished, put in the dungeon and even losing her head! The queen wasn’t that mean, except to anyone who threatened her or her family. (Like I did.) She told that servant the truth and that servant was mortified! Not that she told the queen’s secret, but she betrayed her friend, her queen! Using this same grapevine, the sad story of the queen’s miscarriage began. The queen was devastated and went away for her health, both physically and emotionally. People were cautioned not to bring it up this tragedy to anyone else. If people suspected that was a lie and the queen did have a baby, that was mentioned in whispers in private. But that too died.

There were plenty of others about King Fredrick. What was interesting was not one was about him and his love Christian. He was said to had affairs with other queens, princesses and noble women. I even mentioned to Vincent that could have been something King Fredrick cooked up or even Queen Maregete! A diversion of their attention from the truth to a juicier lie! Why not?

My heart skipped a beat when I felt the Dannebrog move. There were two tugboats pushing us into deeper water. The Dannebrog had to be maneuvered through the river because of traffic on the river. That would be a few miles. Once in Chesapeake Bay that’s when our journey started and engines were engaging the propellers. I was going to where I belonged.

Copyright © 2016 R. Eric; All Rights Reserved.
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Doesn‘t David receive any kind of briefing or introduction into his future tasks as ambassador before he embarks to Copenhagen? He is young and has never even held a political office. Some sort of preparation should be mandatory.

 

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13 hours ago, chybrain said:

Doesn‘t David receive any kind of briefing or introduction into his future tasks as ambassador before he embarks to Copenhagen? He is young and has never even held a political office. Some sort of preparation should be mandatory.

 

How he is to fulfill his job he knows. Having dinner with the President and First Lady his duties were explained. A lot of people don't know what an Ambassador does. There are the frequent reports and letters to the President. He will be expanding knowledge of America for Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland. He speaks two Scandinavian languages and Scandinavian is the root language for all of them. (I wasn't kidding when I said Icelandic was more difficult.) Treaties and trade will be included. David is a Cambridge University graduate. He knows how to write briefs and papers. A letter to the President would be simple. Much of the job will be learned while doing it. His staff at the American Consulate will help him know what he can and can't do. David will listen, but will often NOT do was he's asked. He never did. Learning politics he learned from his father, the Queen of England and the King and Queen of Denmark. He won't do it alone. :read:

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Running late today, but loving the story. Would love to have been a fly on the wall in the White House. Will have to wait and see if he finally finds out what it means to be Ambassador, it sounded as if he wasn't that sure. Training on the job, worked for me so I guess it will have to work for him. 😂

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