The Gentleman's Code/C4 Chapter Three
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The Gentleman's Code/C4 Chapter Three
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C4 Chapter Three

He was instructed to use the servants' entrance, which was to the side. An old man in an impeccable black suit with the traditional white shirt and a white bow tie greeted him.

He was most likely the manager of the Household Servants.

"Pleased to meet you, Sir. I'm Oliver Abram- Lord Tennyson's new valet." He outstretched his hand, but the man didn't return the greeting.

Oliver took his hand back and the other man seized him up and down.

"You must have a very good recommendation to be hired for work in the household, especially dressed like that. "

Oliver knew that even though he was wearing his best clothes, they were of much lower quality than the ones even the cleaning staff wore.

The butler didn't wait for Oliver's response and said

"This way, and try not to ask too many questions. Lord Tennyson hates them and he never wants to talk to valets personally. I will assume you're only going to get briefly acquainted with your duties. My name is Thomas and you will be reporting to me mainly."

The man was giving his instructions as they were walking up the big stairs.

Oliver tried not to stare too much.

The walls were covered in portraits- previous lords and nobility from the family, he guessed. Crystal polileums were hanging from the high ceilings and the heavily decorated oak tables in the lounge were covered with souvenirs, golden statues, and small figures made of ebony and ivory with gold.

Oliver could sell a single piece of those and feed an entire family for a whole year.

"Do not gossip, do not touch the other maids." Thomas was still speaking as they approached a big, heavily ornamented door.

Oliver's feet were sinking in the soft, richly decorated carpet and he was starting to forget what he was here for.

"Don't answer unless you're asked, and don't do anything inappropriate. This is probably the first and last time you'll speak to the Lord directly, so don't embarrass yourself. And me, respectively. As I said - I'm your direct superior. " Thomas stopped and turned abruptly towards Oliver. The younger man almost flinched.

"Are we clear, boy?"

"Yes, Sir. Clear. "

"Good." The butler checked his silver pocket watch " 10 seconds to ten. Ideal."

The older man was clearly more controlling than Olived had first thought.

Thomas opened the door and announced

"Oliver Abram, Lord Tennyson. He's here for the position of the new valet. "

Thomas urged him in and Oliver saw a man of the age of around fifty, staring out the big French window.

His hands were clasped behind his back and he was wearing a dark suit with a black cravat. The garments were beautifully decorated and he was wearing rich jacquard in deep red- the only bold stroke to the overall dark attire.

He was impeccable, even dressed for his home.

The man turned slowly and smiled. He was tall, but not as tall as Oliver; although - not many men were as tall as he was, he remembered.

"Very well, Thomas. Thank you and close the door on your way out. " The butler looked between the two of them and only nodded.

"Yes, Sir. Please, ring the bell for me if you need anything."

Lord Tennyson wasn't in the habit of meeting servants, Oliver remembered.

Thomas must've been shocked by all that and probably thought Oliver might steal or do something inappropriate was Oliver left alone with the lord.

Once Thomas had left the room, Lord Tennyson pulled out a cigarette from a tabaquera with the family crest made of gold on it.

Oliver had noticed the symbol on the front gate and on a few more places - red, gold, and black with the name of the family on it.

Fernsby- one of the oldest royal families connected by blood to the Queen.

"Cigarette?" The lord's voice travelled in the big study.

"No, thank you, Your Lordship. "

The cigarettes were most likely imported from the U.S, the kind only the rich could afford. He almost regretted not accepting one.

The lord smiled briefly. "Sit down, young man. We both know why you are here."


"Lord Charles is a very, I must assure you - a very good friend of mine, and I can honestly say this is the only reason why I agreed to have you here."

"Yes, Sir."

Oliver was offered to sit in the big armchair in front of the heavy mahogany desk. He refused it, besides the older lord didn't take a step towards his seat either.

Tennyson was walking around the room, with his air of indifference to Oliver and cigarette in his hand.

And despite that, the man was the epitome of power and influence. It was like the furniture was making space for him.

He was more than intimidating, Oliver thought, but couldn't find a better word to describe him.

The Lord's deep voice traveled the room.

"My dear friend vouched for you and said you'd worked for his household. "

"Indeed, Lord Tennyson."

Thomas had said Oliver shouldn't provide for information he wasn't asked for, so he was trying to stick to what he was told.

"I suspect he cannot pick up his entire household when traveling to China. Although I'm a very good employer and insist on the goodwill of the people working for me, I'm about to entrust you with a task. Keep in mind it won't be an easy one." He paused, then added, "I presume you follow the papers?"

"I do, Sir. "

"Then you must know my political position."

"Yes, I am well aware."

The Fernsby’s had always been part of the Parliament.

Lord Tennyson's party had won the elections earlier this year in July and as a minister, Tennyson was now trying to establish a more serious presence in the decision making about trade.

The party was also supporting the old tax system.

Yet, the more money one had, the more they wanted, Oliver thought and those changes were aiming at profits for the rich.

It meant even more power and influence, which was rapidly spreading not only on the Island but over the trade with East and the trade routes. Besides, the Crown seemed to be trying for a different establishment in the distribution of seats.

"Then you must also know I have a son who..." The Lord gestured vaguely and made another pause. Oliver feigned failing to understand, although he knew perfectly well who the man was talking about.

"I'm afraid I don't, Sir. Forgive me."

"I know you're trying not to be offensive; you don't have to. Not on my account, especially considering the circumstances and what I'm about to ask of you. "

He exhaled and Oliver decided to remain quiet.

"My youngest son has developed the habit of not attending events where he is supposed to be. Regardless of what he might be doing in his spare time, it provides for...God, I hate this word, only women should use it. " He rubbed his temples. "It provides for gossip. I'm afraid no decent lady would consider him for a match, despite what family he comes from. Especially if he continues with his... let's say adventures.

"I understand well, yes."

Oliver had the vague feeling he sounded like a parrot, just standing there, repeating assurances and confirmations.

The family could probably afford one of those birds, though.

"I don't know what he does in detail, or why. " The lord was saying. "I don't have any interest in digging deeper, but I need you to report to me. " Where he goes, the people he meets. Everything. “

Tennyson stubbed his cigarette in a magnificently beautiful porcelain ashtray - Oliver had seen almost the same one in Charles' manor.

"I can't appoint the task to someone else from the household," his employer continued, " because my son knows who my trusted people are. It also can't be anyone from outside the manor, because the person will quickly become a suspect and my son can easily avoid him. Or worse- that person will start spreading rumors, too."

"Yes, Sir."

Tennyson turned directly to him then.

"I'll be clear in my instruction- win his trust. I don't give a bloody damn how you'd do it. " Lord Tennyson's blue eyes had a threatening glimmer and held Olivers' warm hazel ones for a second. For the first time since he'd come here, Oliver had the need to run away and never come back; that this whole thing was one grand mistake.

Tennyson's voice quickly pulled him back to reality "And I expect you to be successful. I don't forgive failure. Even from my closest entrusted men. Have I made myself clear?"

Oliver acknowledged his words with a curt nod.

"I'm glad we are both on the same page. I very much respect discretion. Of course, you'll be very well awarded for your services. "

"Thank you."

"And Mister Abram?"

"Yes, My Lord?"

"Don't let my son fool you, he can be very charming, and he knows it."

Libre Baskerville
Gentium Book Basic
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