|The Flesh and the Spirit
Author: Sir Thopas PM
This is madness! England is my home. I believe in the future of our Empire. I believe in the sanctity of the crown. I have done everything that is required of a good and proper Englishman. How could I be exiled to France? - A historical Cogsworth. Fifth in the "Letters to a Loved One" series.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Cogsworth - Chapters: 7 - Words: 5,246 - Reviews: 17 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 6 - Updated: 04-07-13 - Published: 10-04-12 - id: 8581985
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Author's Note – Next in the "Letters to a Loved One" series! Here, Cogsworth writes a series of letters to his friend John Howard. As with all the stories in this series, everyone mentioned in these letters was a real historical person, with the exception of John Howard, Camilla Fielding, Mary Greville, and Charles Drummond (and, of course, the Beauty and the Beast characters themselves). For some background information: the 1600s was a period in which Catholic-Protestant tensions finally exploded. In 1685 the Catholic James II became King of Protestant England. This was tolerated by the Protestants because his wife, Anne Hyde, was Protestant and he raised his two children, the future Queens Mary II and Anne, Protestant as well. They could deal with James II so long as the next ruler was Protestant. However, when Anne Hyde died James II married Catholic Mary of Modena and had a son, the would-be James III. This meant the line of succession had moved to a Catholic heir, which incited rebellion. James II was deposed and he, Mary of Modena, and his son James were sent into exile in France. His Protestant daughter, Mary II, replaced him as the ruler of England.
The Flesh and the Spirit
April 10, 1708
How long do you intend to stay away from school? Oxford isn't the same without you. It is not too late to return. I know the Dean will accept you back; most of the professors and students here are Royalists. Everyone was deeply disappointed when James III's invasion failed last month. I heard he lost many French ships and sailors that he brought with him to Dunkirk; I do hope he has managed to escape back to France. I'm not sure exactly where my loyalties lie – with James or Mary – but I do know I would be deeply upset if he were captured and executed. I know where the line of succession lays and you know me, I have always been a traditionalist. But unlike you I am Anglican, and I cannot help but feel that England would be better served with a Protestant monarch.
I know you did not like to hide your Catholicism. You always said that it was a part of you and that you shouldn't have to keep it secret like it was something to be ashamed of. But they're not asking you to give it up completely, only to attend Anglican services as well. Oxford cannot allow you to study here if you are recusant. It is just a service. It does not have to mean anything. This stand you are taking is jeopardizing your education. Abandoning your studies will not bring you closer to God or return the Queen's brother to the throne. I do not know if my words will do anything to sway you but I hope you will listen. In the meantime I am stuck here without you. I have been very lonely since you left. You know I do not have many friends here. Our classes now seem dull without you. Although you never cared for them to begin with, did you?
Our Latin and Greek classes are no longer as much fun. For a Catholic you never were very good at Latin. How did you manage through one of your Masses then? No matter. Our dear professor is quite beside himself now that you are gone. There is no one to aggravate him with terrible pronunciation, no one for him to unleash his sadistic punishments on. How very selfish of you. Look at what your running off has done.
History is still a favorite of mine. You always found it to be a great bore, I remember. You preferred the sciences. I must confess that without your help I am falling behind in chemistry and geometry. Rocks and stardust, that's all they will ever be to me. It might as well be witchcraft, for all I know. Luckily I am good at mathematics, or I do believe old Professor Bainbridge would have tossed me out on my ear a long time ago.
Rhetoric shall always be the bane of my existence. How do people manage to make speeches in public without humiliating themselves? It is the strangest thing. When I am with a group of people I can talk like any normal person. I can even be witty with luck. But the moment I am placed on platform in front of a crowd I lose all ability to make coherent sentences. I stumble and stutter and forget what I was about to say only to remember it later on and then I have to go back and suddenly I am rambling and babbling and I have no idea what I am talking about anymore. I made a great fool of myself the other day in front of everyone. My inability in this one subject has made me something of a laughingstock of the entire school. It is not that there is no one else who has a difficult time with rhetoric and discourse, it is that I just happen to have less talent than they. There is always someone worse, as they say, and that person is me. The professor enjoys ridiculing me; the more public my humiliation is the more he enjoys it. If you were here at least I would have that small comfort, but you are not.
I visited the Ashmolean Museum yesterday. We had promised together, but I do not know when you will return to Oxford. If ever. It is filled with so many curiosities. I saw Guy Fawkes's lamp and a sword owned by King Henry VIII. It was incredible. I wish you had been there.
Please come back soon.