Be interesting to know a little about the trials and stresses the move to Greenwich put Will Hewer and Tom Hayter and the other clerks to. Presumably at least some of them came out with Pepys. I wonder if any stayed on in London...Considering that Sam seems fairly comfortable with Bess and the maids alone at Seething Lane, one would think so. I doubt he'd feel so confident if only they and the door porter were on hand.
On the other hand...It does give me an opportunity...
"So, Mrs. Pepys, we have been asked by Sir George..."
Cough by companion...Hissed "John"...
"...Sir John Robinson to check on all these fine homes hereabouts, so sadly emptied by the terrible plague. Tell me, ma'am...It is just you and the other ladies here in the house?"
"My maids, yes...And our boy, Thomas. But we have old Gibbon at the gate."
"Yes." beaming smile. "I'm sure all will be well. And you can rest assured, Mrs. Pepys that Jeremy here and I will do all we can to see that the King's officers' homes are properly protected in these uncertain times."
Solemn, dutiful nod from Jeremy beside him...
"That is so kind of Sir John. I confess I was a little nervous about coming back alone but it's good to know we have extra protection at hand."
"Certainly ma'am. Well, I think we've completed our survey of your fine home and its valuables, we'll be on to check the others."
"Good day, gentlemen. Please thank Sir John and give my best to my Lady Robinson. Mercer, show the gentlemen from Sir John out."
"You got everything, Jeremy?"
"The place is loaded, Styme...Loaded...Silver plates, flagons, fancy wall hangings, a pearl necklace in the lady's chamber."
"What does a lady need a closet of her own for?" Styme shakes head.
"And I'm sure there was something big in those chests in the cellar."
"That's the best of the lot. Well, we'll make our move tonight. Hit them all in one night and be off by morning."
"High time two seamen got a little of their own back from these blokes. But what about the lieutenant of the Tower, Robinson? She might send to him?"
"Not a chance. He's out with the Court. There's nobody but that old guard at the gate and he'd be gone if he could walk. The Naval complex houses are empty, except for the Pepys'. And best of all, excepting the maids..."
"...She's home alone?"
"Heh, heh..." "Hah, hah, ha..."
“Look at that…”
“What? Jeremy, what are you doin’ there?”
“There’s pits in the moon, Styme…Look here through the hole here.”
“The telescope here, look…”
“You bloody moron! We’ve no time for this! Just wrap it up and grab the other things.”
“Look at all these books, Styme…The man’s an educated sort, no question.”
“Just pack up the ones that look valuable…And quietly! We’ve got to finish and move on to the other houses.”
“Say, this looks like shorthand…”
“Shorthand, fast writin’…I used to do it for me master on the Argus before. To help him keep the accounts secret-like. Whoa.”
“This fellow gets around…My God, he’s doin’ it with three women in one day if he be telling true…”
“Three? That bug-eyed little fellow?”
“That’s what it says…Though a lot here seems to be in French-like.”
“But ‘e’s married. To that pretty wench…?”
“Tis a sordid world, Styme…”
“Well, put it away and grab the stuff…We’ve got to be off.”
“I hear something…”
“It’s from Mr. P’s closet, ma’am.”
“Mrs. Pepys!” frightened chorus as two maids and Tom run in…
“There’s someone in the house!” “I heard something!!”
“Can’t believe the man would do that with such a pretty lass to wife?”
“Court types…Scum of the earth in fancy clothes, Jeremy. Come on, look sharp! The ladies might’ve heard us.”
“Someone in the house? Tom, lets have us a look.”
“Mrs. Pepys? They might have guns and swords…” Mercer cautions.
“Right…Well…Tom, give me that chamber pot…”
"And fetch me Mr. Pepys' older periwig..."
“Ok, just this bag downstairs and then we’ll check out those chests…”
Crash…Down the stairs…
“Who threw that?!”
"Ugh...Styme! It's a pot!" Arghh...Slips...Further down the stairs...
“Hold there!” stern voice…Figure in periwig and waistcoat at the head of the stairs…
“There’s a man with them, run!”
“Hold or we fire!!”
“Leave the bags! Go, go…!!!”
“Mrs. Pepys? That was amazing.”
“Oh, I imitate Sam’l all the time at parties…” Bess in periwig and waistcoat, grinning…
Ruben • Link
it's good we have Robert to fill the void...
"So it's simple...Until Mr. Pepys can return, I'll just dress up like him every night..."
Every night? Be still my aching heart...Mercer, Tom...
"...It frightened them off last night, it will again."
"So you say..." Styme frowns at ole one-eyed Cooper... "There's no chance of getting more tickets as Mr. Pepys is not in London."
"Aye, Greenwich for the duration..." Cooper nods, spurt of tobacco juice.
Wasn't that eyepatch on the other side last time I saw him? Jeremy eyes patch.
"The plague and all...Business of the office..." Styme nods solemnly.
"Plague mayhaps, but not business keeping him there..." Cooper, another squirt to left.
"Sorry, mate...Best to keep to me right."
Now I know it was on the other side, he got me on the left last time, Jeremy fumes.
"But he has a pretty little wife here in town. Maybe he comes in to see her a night or two."
"Maybe...But he's other ports of call to tide him over if ye get me drift."
"A wench or two, eh?"
"Or three?" Jeremy, knowing look...
"And to think I lectured the fellow in multiplication..." Cooper sighs. "I do feels some responsibility..."
Styme eyeing Jeremy, Jeremy, Styme.
"I used breeding rabbits as an example..." Cooper shakes head. "If only I'd thought on the temptations of this wicked court."
"A wicked world, brother Cooper. Well, if there be no chance of getting tickets here, we'll be off to Greenwich, eh Jeremy?"
"We will?...Oh, right, yes, we will."
"So..." Styme watches the vanishing Cooper... "No Mr. Pepys in town."
"But someone be there, Styme."
"Aye. Perhaps the lass has a gentleman seeing her anights. We might do well by ourselves to keep watch tonight, Jeremy. Mr. Pepys might pay well to know what goes on in his home when he's away."
"That don't seem right, Styme. Why, that book of his says he be about it with other ladies left and right."
"Ours not to question the current societal structure, Jeremy. Just to profit by it. Unless of course we can take the man unaware when he leaves...In that case we revert to plan A."
"We rob the blooming house, you idiot. After we get the man out of the way."
"Oh...I still say, it's not right..."
"Shut up, Jeremy."
"Balty. I appreciate your offering to stay but..." Bess eyes waving sword in Balty's unsteady hand.
"Sister...A gentleman of honor and one under obligation to your husband can do no less. Let these rogues come and allow me to show that the heir to the Sieur de St. Michel has no less..."
"Balty, please be careful. You know how Sam'l is about his things. What?"
"You look ridiculous in that wig, sister. Though Samuel's waistcoat does suit you."
"I see two men..." Jeremy hisses to Styme, peering through a small telescope purloined from Penn's empty house.
"Two?" Styme frowns.
"I think...One might be...I think they're fighting, Styme. One does look...I think it might be Mr. Pepys fighting the other."
"Ah...Rooster home to keep the hen honest...Right." Styme sighs.
"Balty, put down that sword!"
"Sister...You'd think I was never a soldier. Lay on you rogues, come forth!" Swish...
"Styme, one's got a sword. I think he's killing Mr. Pepys."
"Just put it down, Balty." Bess strokes lightly cut arm. "And pray you didn't cut Sam'l coat.
"Mr. Pepys is falling back, I think he's kilt, Styme!"
"Lord...The wicked ways of the gentry." Styme shakes head. "Let me see."
"It came from out there."
"Perhaps...Caution is our best guide." Balty notes. "As a soldier, I learned..."
"Oh, come on, Balty. I know you only went over to Holland at Sam'l's bidding to look over their fleet."
"Though it was very brave of you to take on such a mission..." to crestfallen face.
"Danger is nothing to a gentleman. Ah!!!" jump from sound of Styme leaping over the low gate.
"I arrest you...In the King's name." ole Gibbons calls from his perch at the gate. Not moving.
"They're gone I think, Gibbons." Bess calls. "Alls well now, but we'll have a look round."
"Sister...Keep behind me."
I should charge Sam'l wages for this...
“Sos I guess we take our haul and haul off, Styme?”
“No...” Styme, grimly...His pride touched now, given their learning of the truth of the past two nights through taunting word of the idiot, if still unknown, thieves by the Pepys maids at the few shops still open. “I’m not going without a look at those chests. The girl I spoke to...Who knows a barber’s assistant...Who knows a barber’s assistant...Who used to trim that Pepys...Says there’s a horde of gold and silver in them. And after all I been through these past two...I’m getting me hands on that treasure.” And greed a bit tickled...
Jeremy, more philosophical, notes the blessing of Providence is fickle...They have a good cache of loot from the other homes...Might be best to let be and get out while one can.
“I’m not going without those chests. We can still get them. There’s only her and the flighty maids, now the idiot brother’s gone off home. Those Navy Office types pressed us, kept us in the ships during the worst plague time...No food, no beer, no money, just them damned tickets! Now we get our own back! Enough to keep us and ours in style for life!”
“Jane would appreciate it...” Jeremy nods... His Jane being a girl of some tastes...A reader too...
Though what with her having worked for the Pepys a while ago, he’d felt it wise not to tell her what he and Styme were up to, asking so many questions about the Naval Office complex...
If she were to find out...Hmmn...
Still...A fortune...Not to be sneezed at...Even though what they had already was ample for most...
“I’m not sure, Styme...”
“You forgettin’ what the fellow did to your Jane’s brother...?”
Hmmn...Right, poor Wayneman...Janey still cries over ‘im...
“Are we...Truest of true sons of Britannia...The heirs of Drake and Raleigh, to falter on our way? Put down by a woman and her maids.”
“All right, one more try, Styme...To keep me Janey in style...”
“So we let ‘em think we’re gone...And hit ‘em tonight...This time, no wigs or idiot brothers waving swords’ll stop us.”
“Styme. We don’t frighten the ladies too much. Janey’d be upset if she heard tell the ladies was frighted...And mad if she heard I was the one to do it.”
“We’ll do the velvet touch...Just enough bark to put the fear of God in them. They owe us that much.”
“Just not too much, Styme. And no...You know...”
“I’m an honorable seaman forced by cruel necessity to a low act, Jeremy...Not some twit pervert courtier...”
“Speakin’ of low acts...Here he comes.” Jeremy notes, nudging...
“Ah, young Bagwell...Welcome back to London...” Styme, brimming with bonhomie...
“All right, what’s the job?” Bagwell, furgitive glance round...
”Here...This be the Naval Office...You gonna take the Naval Office? Me place of employ? Where I’s got...Connections?”
Connections all right...Jeremy, remembering the last passage of the Pepys fellow’s journal he’d read the other night.
“You’s a sharp one, Will...Always a pleasure to do business wid ye...” Styme nods. “Yes, right here...”
“Are you bloody out of your mind? I could lose me job if they found out...And they could hang me as well...Though that’d be a mercy if I got tossed out.”
“No one’s about Will...It’s a simple job.” Styme grins.
“Then what you needing me for...You never been the kind to do a three-some, Styme.”
“Just needing a little extra help to cart all the goods away, Will...Some one who’s been in the place and knows the lay...A little life and carry and a fair share in your pocket. Might be nice to have a bit of something for the Missus, eh? Eh? A bird, eh? Or a viol to play on...She always fancied music, your lass, that I recall.”
“She don’t want nothing...She ain’t very happy these days. And my hanging or getting the sack ain’t likely to perk her up.”
“Future support, Will...Think on old age, man...You’ll need a bit of something to keep by for those times, Will...”
“Which house you hitting?”
“Uh...Well...” Rather proud look from Styme... “We got most of them already...But...” nod to Bagwell’s admiring look... “The best pigeon is still waiting in the bush...’
“Pigeon?” Jeremy, puzzled.
“Metaphor you dolt...”
“Which house?” Bagwell, rather suddenly curious.
“Why, Mr. Pepys. I believe you know the man, Will.” Styme, coolly.
“Indeed she do...I mean you do...” Jeremy, leering.
Bagwell, cold stare...
“Here...What you mean by that?”
“Word about is this man Pepys don’t deliver on his promises...” Styme, smiling.
“Don’t deliver.” Jeremy nods, knowing leer.
Crash...Howl from Jeremy as Bagwell jumps him...
Hmmn...Was that something about “she’s a good girl, she is...”? Styme wondered as he attempted to pull Bagwell off his battered and bloodied partner.
Guess the gossip round abouts...Not to mention what young Jeremy read in that Pepys book... is true, then, he reflected.
Wicked, wicked world...
Rose • Link
Got to love some Pepys fanfic.