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Oddsfish! by Robert Hugh Benson

And to Scotland on the day before Parliament met

I kissed her hand and went out.

* * * * *

I did not go to the Duke, for I hold that, when a man has to sift carefully between what he must say and what he must not, it is best to do it on paper; but I went back to my lodgings and wrote to him that it was merely for her own advantage that the Duchess had behaved so, and because she thought that the Protestant succession was certain--her own advantage, that is to say, mingled with a little woman's vanity. I begged His Royal Highness therefore to go and see the Duchess, if he thought well, and, if possible, publicly, when she held her reception, before he went to Scotland--(for I was diplomat enough to know that the assuming he would go to Scotland would be the best persuasion to make him)--; and at the end I told him that I thought my arguments had prevailed a little with Her Grace, and that though she could not at once turn weathercock, he might take my word for it that she would not be so forward as she had been. But I did not tell him what argument I had chiefly used; for I hold that even to such a woman as that, a man should keep his word.

Everything I told the Duke in that letter fell true. The Duchess began to cool very much in the Protestant cause, though perhaps that was helped a little by Monmouth's having fallen under the King's displeasure: and the Duke of York went two or three times to the Duchess' receptions; and to Scotland on the day before Parliament met.


It was on Mr. Chiffinch's advice that I remained in London for the present, determining however to spend Christmas at Hare Street; and indeed I had plenty to do in making my reports to Rome on the situation.

There was a storm brewing. From all over the country came in _addresses_ to the King, as they were called, praying him to assemble Parliament, and that, not only for defence against Popery, but against despotism as well; and all these were nourished and inspired by my Lord Shaftesbury. His Majesty answered this by proclaiming through the magistrates that such addresses were contrary to the laws that left such things at the King's discretion; and the court-party against the country-party presently begun to send addresses beseeching His Majesty to defend that prerogative of his fearlessly. Names began to be flung about: the court-party called the other the party of _Whigs_, because of their whey faces that would turn all sour; and the country-party nicknamed the others _Tories_, which was the name of the banditti in the wilder parts of Ireland. So it appeared that whenever Parliament should meet, there would be, as the saying is, a pretty kettle of fish to fry.

Parliament met at last on the twenty-first of October, the Duke of York having set out to Scotland with a fine retinue on the day before; (which some thought too pointed); and the King himself opened it.

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