When Sir Martin went to the Colonial office he found to his pleasure that they were very interested in seeing him. He walked into an office and found that there were a few people waiting to listen to him. He was invited to a chair and sat down and then, at the invitation of Lord Sydney, introduced himself as the lieutenant governor of the Bahamas and previous to that a member of the governor’s council for East Florida. The news of his longtime loyal service was pleasing to the audience, which quickly took the measure of the man and saw him as a sturdy and loyal servant of the crown who had served decades in rather unglamorous but worthwhile ways.
After the introduction, Sir Martin was then asked to deliver his report on what was going on in the Bahamas right now and why the governor had been so lax in reporting on what was going on. The explanation was simple enough. The governor had been so inundated by the requests made by the new residents for all kinds of services and goods to be provided for them, for the need to address all kind of local issues overwhelmed the current leadership. After some inconclusive discussion, Lord Sydney spoke up.
“Do you think that the colony could benefit from some younger leadership, Sir Martin?”
“I’m sure someone who was young and energetic would be able to deal with the issues of the colony much easier. There are a lot of buildings that need to be built, a lot of infrastructure that requires construction.”
“I have a proposal for you, so if you do not mind.”
“I do not mind, come and say it.”
“I propose that you retire from your service and enjoy your remaining years with your wife in the countryside and putter about your garden. I will continue to pay your existing salary as long as you are alive as a pension, and I would like you to always be willing to have young colonial officials come by and learn what you can teach them from your own decades of experience.”
Sir Martin thought about this for a moment. The salary that he had would be enough to allow him to comfortably live in his estate with his lady, who would no longer complain about living in the Bahamas, and he could putter about in the garden to his hearts content, which was a great deal. The more he thought about this, the more it sounded like a good idea. He gave it his consent.
“Very well then. Most of the people here are those who want to go overseas and serve in our colonies, and they would like to know how it is that you were able to serve so faithfully for so long without any hint of corruption or tyranny.”
Sir Martin discussed his attitude and integrity and discussed the various motivations he was aware of that had encouraged him to be honorable. Most of the people there were more clever than Sir Martin, to be sure, but they appreciated his solid integrity and understood that in the long haul, honorable behavior paid off so long as honorable people were in charge of government. Although that could not always be assumed, it was certainly the case for now and the civil servants and would-be civil servants gathered there understood that they wished to be honorable people themselves.
After Sir Martin finished talking, he was invited to join the rest of them at White’s and have a talk over some beer. This was amenable to Sir Martin and for some time the people in the office ate and talked and shared their own family and personal histories and their own ambitions and goals. This was pleasant conversation, and the beer flowed while the people talked. In his office, Lord Sydney continued to work, hoping that everything was going well with the family as well.
At some point during the middle of the afternoon, after tea, both Lord Martin and Lord Sydney separately went home in the carriages that had brought them thither. When they both arrived home they found the party filling Lord Sydney’s sickbed where he sat, a little less painfully now as he was drinking plenty of water to flush out the painful crystals currently attacking his feet. Lord Martin told his lady about what had been proposed to and agreed and for the second time he made her the happiest of women, knowing that they would be well-provided for and that she would be able to live in England and keep watch in her old age over the grandchildren that she was hopefully to have before too long. This was an especially pleasant day. Lord Sydney smiled at a proposal that had worked out such happiness among his party, and he also promised to look into what sort of uniform that Lord Sydney could wear as a result of his liaison work with the navy and the marines. He could understand that his daughter would find her future husband even more dashing as someone who had engaged in military service, and had she known of his bravery and courage and intrepidity as a secret agent in deep undercover she would have found him to be even more attractive for that.
It soon became time for the group to ponder whether or not they all wished to stay for a family dinner. It was decided that the future Lord Sydney should himself be brought over so that it could be a proper family dinner where Lord Sydney could be presented as Sarah’s future husband. While this went on Lord Sydney and Lord Lipton worked on the wording of the engagement report that they would leak from “confidential sources” in a preferred London newspaper and also work on planning the location and arranging the special license that was desired for the wedding as well.
While Lord Lipton was still bed-ridden with his suffering feet and had to take his dinner in bed while continuing to flush enough uric acid to be able to at least use the crutches that had been obtained for him from the market today. He still lacked enough balance to be able to do so, but he felt greatly relieved that so much had been decided today for the best, which had already reduced his stress. If the pain in his feet could go down from intense stabbing to only a dull pain, he was sure he would be able to get at least a few hours of blessed sleep and that would be yet another major victory in a day of wonders.
The rest of the party sat at the table and missed the presence of the non-ambulatory Viscount. Still, there was much for all of them to be happy about as well. Clarissa looked forward to a kind sort of mother figure who would be very doting and affectionate with her. Miss Wood rejoiced in having more elegant feminine conversation with someone who would be able to understand her situation. The young Master Sydney was happy to know that his older sister was getting married, although he did not really know what that meant. Sir Martin and his lady were pleased to be able to enjoy a comfortable retirement in the country in the Dales of Yorkshire, after the winter season was over at least. They were glad to have a base to spend that season now and perhaps in the future that would not cost them anything as well, which was also a victory for them.
In short, everyone was happy, everyone had something to celebrate and the meal was a hearty and tasty stew with chicken and vegetables that was meant to be warm and hearty., and was. It may have been a cold day, and Lord Lipton may have been an invalid unable to act in his usual fashion, but all had turned out well, far better than anyone could have expected at the beginning of the day. Once the meal was done, the Sydney family went to pay their regards to Lord Lipton, providing another opportunity for a warm embrace between the two, and then they returned home and everyone else went to amuse themselves for a bit before going to bed. And after thinking some, that is what Lord Lipton decided to do as well, and wonder of all wonders was that his body let him sleep that night.