The Sterley's of Oakland Park

Chapter 13
A promotion for Sir Thomas

It was one of those rainy evenings toward the middle of the year of 1815 the Sterley’s and there assembled guests were gathered in the library it been the warmest room in the house. Upon a side table, lay the post a number of dispatches lay open upon the table. The Parkers senior and junior had come to dinner and had been detained by the unusual downpour of rain. Thus, they would be staying the night, been unable to return to there respective homes due to the condition of the roads as it had been raining for more then three days. There venturing to Oakland’s had it not been previously arranged would have been forgone. However, as the needs of polite society demanded there presents they had made the journey to the house during a brief respite in the rain.

Sophia’s joy at finding  a person of like intelligence in the company of James Aubrey was only surpass at the joy that was about to great the house with news that Sir Thomas was about to impart.

“You will be pleased to know my dear” he said to Lady Ann, “that I have some most remarkable news to give you,” “Pray continue husband do not keep us all in suspense” she replied as she stitched a particularly difficult flower upon the cloth.

“You will be delighted to hear that I am promoted to the rank of vice admiral of the blue in recognition of past services to the crown,” he said. “Congratulation Sir I am most pleased to hear this,” said Captain Aubrey as he crossed the room to shake the hand of Sir Thomas.

“That is most fortuities news husband, advancement is always welcome,” said Lady Ann. “That is not all for Lord Hood has written me on a matter of urgency in regard to this promotion and has requested that I once more take up my seat in the house to deal with matter of urgency. It seems my dear you are to have your wish for I have conceded to the request thus shortly I will be leaving for London,” said Sir Thomas to the expressions of joy this news was greeted with by the assembled company. “I am very glad for your promotion brother in law, a most singular honor upon your part,” said William Parker. “I thank you William it is most welcome, Ann I am sure will be the most content with this news ,” said Sir Thomas “indeed husband I am very happy with the outcome of the situation, it is the most welcome news that we have had in a long time here at Oakland,” the lady in question said.

“As soon as the rain stops I will be going to London to speak with Lord Hood, it is fortunate that the house in London has been made ready for us on the occasion of Mary’s coming out,” said Sir Thomas. “Indeed we will be able to combine matter of business with pleasure,” said Lady Ann who was exceedingly happy as she bounced her grandson upon her knee.

“I see that Lord Bromley the son of the Earl of Waterford has been mentioned in the latest dispatches he has been promoted a colonel  in the kings own regiment,” said Sir Thomas as he scrutinized the documents in his hand. “What an insufferable man the Earl is I wonder sir that his son is not of the same type of man as his father,” said Lady Ann

Have a care Madam the officer who you so maliciously speak is a relative of our guest Captain Aubrey” said Sir Thomas “I beg to inform you sir that I am not in the least offended Lady Ann has chosen to make her sentiments clear for this I cannot blame her,” said Captain Aubrey. “Never the less I have found Lord Peter to be a good friend of old we had occasion to spend a summer together. I think it was 03 in Paris, but I fear that my cousin and I have not been close since then the war has kept us busy. Of my uncle of Waterford I cannot ay much for we have never been close,” remarked Captain Aubrey

“I will say that it was not my intent to return to government but as I have been pressed by both the navy and my good wife I have no option,” said Sir Thomas. “I have always considered it my duty and a matter of honor to serve England in any capacity that comes to hand,” remarked Aubrey.

“Sir when I left the house it was a matter of honor I find that at the time I was some what foolish for I had previously had occasion to cross the prince regent fearing that I would fall by the wayside in his efforts to extract a vengeance. I withdrew from the house. However I now have it on a good authority that this was not the case and I have no concerns now returning to the house,” even if it is not in the same capacity as my former occupation” said Sir Thomas.

“Thus we will be adjourning to London I trust captain Aubrey you will join us at our house in London,” said Lady Ann. “It will be my pleasure to spend time with your family in London” replied the captain

Two days later the Sterley’s left Oakland’s in three coaches the roads having dried over the previous day. The family enjoying a lit meal of jellied ells and fresh bread at a roadside inn as they journeyed London ward. The company that arrive din London was one which was filled with expectant hopes and desires for Sophia it was of great comfort to know that she would not so soon be parted from James Aubrey. Lady Ann’s happiness at going to London was a mixed one for it allowed her to renew social connections, which she had of late been unable to maintain. This pleasure was also combined with the upcoming coming out of her youngest daughter Mary who was now turning fifteen.


The house was filled to capacity it seemed that every member was present and each had some thing to say the voices of the gathered assembly filled the place with argument and counter augment. When it came time for Sir Thomas to speak there came upon the house s subjugation of voices as he began to speak.

“Lords gentlemen and subjects of the realm t has fallen upon me to give you this day the state of the navy,” he said

“Ill warrant the accounting is of an old nature,” said a gentleman loudly who stood a little to the left of Captain Aubrey in the open gallery. “It is with great pleasure that I tell you that there has been a reduction in the size of the fleet, resulting my Lords in a reduction of five and twenty thousand pounds,” said Sir Thomas. This news was greeted with a display of applause for it seemed that the cause of the navy was indeed good. Sir Thomas continued in this manner for some time. To captain Aubrey who stood in the public gallery there seemed a number of nobles there assembled who did not take the presence of Sir Thomas as a personal affront. For it became apparent to members that the Earl of Watford and a few others had not much confidence nor trust in Sir Thomas’s words thou, he spoke with great wit and conviction. The number did not in any way acknowledge the words with applause or rapping upon the floor with there feet as others did.

Sir Thomas spoke for a full three-quarters of an hour upon completion he said “My Lords Peers of the realm, assembly men I thank you,” before taking his seat.  Taking his seat the house resounding with the clapping of hands for he had indeed presented to the house a sound and concise speech on the condition of the navy for the year 15.

The earl of Waterford rose and begun to speak “I thank previous speaker for his words upon the subject of which he is no doubt made himself master. However there is a matter of duty and loyalty to the crown upon which I would like Sir Thomas to address,” he said the formerly quieted gentlemen who had retained there silence now began to shout, “Hear, hear,”  “order, order in the house,” said the speaker of the house.

“My Lords gentleman when in former times during the late wars Sir Thomas saw it fit to regain his seat. Ostensibly on the excuse of family matters, now I tell you my Lords I doubt it not that it was family matter. The question is which family for I have it upon good authority that he resigned for he would not serve under any government over which the most sovereign Prince George was head,” he said. “Now it comes as a great surprise to me that today I find Sir Thomas come among us, yet the his highness the prince regent is still our head? I can only but wonder at what other promises Sir Thomas has made which he will find that he will break,” he continued. The house erupted in a roar of voices those defending Sir Thomas and those agreeing with the Earl. “Order, order in the house shouted the speaker rapping with his gravel. Largely ignored by the gathered parliamentarians as they continued to shout insults at each other. “It seems my Lord the Earl of Waterford is indeed hit upon a truth,” said the officer who now stood near Captain Aubrey. I believe my lord the earl to be correct in his assumption that Sir Thomas is cowardly,” he said to a lady who seemed vaguely familiar to Captain Aubrey. “Sir you presume too much, Sir Thomas is an honorable man who has returned to the benches at the request of the admiralty, and threw no wish of his own other then to serve his country,” said Aubrey. “He is a coward,” replied the man taking his glove from his hand captain Aubrey slapped the man in the face with it and said. “my card my seconds will await you at your convenience,” The officer took the card and bowed at your service sir as he extended his hand with his card, my seconds will call upon you” he said.

“James, James Aubrey” said the young woman “do you not remember me Virginia Bromley we spent a summer together at Great Witham do you not recall it?” She asked.

“Indeed I do madam I am however surprised to find you in the company of this gentleman who finds it an amusement to insult my friend Sir Thomas,” said Aubrey

“You may be surprised to know that the gentleman that you have just challenged is Sir Benjamin Witling my fiancé the best swordsman in England” she remarked sharply. “Then I have been singularly misfortunate as to have to defend my friend against my uncle of Waterford and this gentleman at the same instant” said the captain as he bowed before turning his back and leaving the assembly.

The captain retired to the house Oxford Street where he found the woman of the Sterley family reading themselves for an evening of light entertainment at the theater. He had scares been in doors half an hour before Sir Thomas returned.

“Sir I fear I have put you under an obligation of honor much to my discontent,” said Sir Thomas “I am happy to oblige that young popinjay needs to be taken down a peg or to,” said the captain.

“Pray inform us gentlemen what has transpired that you are in such a lather?” asked Lady Ann. “It seems that the Earl of Waterford has taken an exception in the house to the speech and character of your good husband,” said the young officer.

“It is indeed a matter of honor upon which we now have to proceed I fear,” said Sir Thomas to his wife. “Oh no Tom not another duel wont you ever come to your senses,” she asked.

“It was not I who demanded it my love,” said the old navy officer now it is a matter of two duels in as many days I fear for young Aubrey has challenged Sir Benjamin Witling who is reputed to be the best swords man in England,” said Sir Thomas.

“I have an engagement of honor to which will take place the day after tomorrow if you will do me the service of been my second Captain Aubrey I would be most pleased,” said Sir Thomas

“Sir I would consider it an honor, should I survive the field of honor tomorrow morning I will of a certainty act as your second,” said the officer. “It is singularly unfortunate that I have now put you in to disrepute with your family,” said Sir Thomas.

“Sir I consider it an honor and a pleasure to be associated with you and your family, indeed if this matter had not come into our quarter I was going to ask you and Lady Ann for the hand of your fair Sophia, in marriage” said Aubrey.

“Captain Aubrey for my part you have my blessing if you want lady Ann’s blessing you have but to ask,” said the old man “What say you Ann shall we give our daughter in marriage to this fine young officer?” he enquired of his wife.

“Captain Aubrey you catch me at a moment that I would be glad to say yes but I fear that until such time as you give up dueling I am compelled to say no,” said Lady Ann. “Then I shall give it up two days hence once I have given my services to your husband,” said the captain.

“Capital well spoken lad,” said Sir Thomas shall we sample a snifter of brandy?” he asked the young officer.


Notify me when...

"This extract remains the exclusive property of the author who retains all copyright and other intellectual property rights in the work. It may not be stored, displayed, published, reproduced or used by any person or entity for any purpose without the author's express permission and authority."

Please rate and comment on this work
The writer appreciates your feedback.

Book overall rating (No. of ratings: 
Would you consider buying this book?
Yes | No
Your rating:
Post a comment Share with a friend
Your first name:
Your email:
Recipient's first name:
Recipient's email:

Worthy of Publishing is against spam. All information submitted here will remain secure, and will not be sold to spammers.

No advertising or promotional content permitted.