“God damn it, Seton!” Lord Grenville’s voice could be heard clearly throughout the very exclusive establishment of White’s Gentlemen’s Club. Quite likely, it was heard outside on the street as well, but Robert Seton had no way to verify that. He was standing not only within the establishment, but immediately in front of Lord Grenville himself. Robert resisted the urge to lift a hand to his ears, which were now ringing from his lordship’s explosion.
Well, they certainly now had the attention of every member present, Robert thought dryly. He had no need to turn around to see if that was the case. If anyone so much as dropped a pin, it would be heard clearly through the silent club, which just moments ago had been rumbling as it normally did with the chatter of so many men.
Thank goodness his father, Viscount Seton, was currently at home, or Robert would certainly have never heard the end of this. His father hated undue attention of any sort. On the other hand, it was entirely likely that his parent would be hearing of this soon enough, thanks to the number of witnesses present. It was a shame he never visited his estate in Scotland anymore.
“You just don’t give up, do you, sir?” asked Lord Grenville, the esteemed Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, hardly tempering his volume.
“No, my lord. I’m afraid it is a personality flaw.”
“How does your father stand it?” the man asked, finally lowering his voice somewhat. He eyed him with suspicion from beneath his thick dark eyebrows,.
“I believe he is even more stubborn than I am, my lord,” Robert admitted. He dared to give his lordship a little smile and a shrug.
Lord Grenville burst out laughing. “Oh, is he, now?”
“Yes, my lord. If he wasn’t, I would have long ago attained the commission in the army I had originally wanted,” Robert admitted.
“Ha! But he said no, did he?” Lord Grenville asked.
“Indeed, my lord. And despite the fact that I have been pestering him for it for the past three years, he has yet to give in.”
Lord Grenville nodded. “And so instead, you latched on to me for a diplomatic position, is that it?”
“Yes, my lord.” Robert wasn’t proud of his tactics but, generally, through his life they had worked. He noticed that the sound level within the club had returned to normal as the men, realizing that there would not be any further fireworks, returned to their amusements reading or chatting with their friends.
Lord Grenville sighed loudly. “Very well. I can see that I am not going to be left alone until I actually do something with you.” He looked to his right where his cousin Mr. Pitt, the Prime Minister, stood waiting to get back to the conversation Robert had interrupted.
“There is Basel,” he suggested to the Prime Minister.
Mr. Pitt nodded. “There is that. We could use a man there.”
Lord Grenville nodded, clearly making up his mind. “We could.”
He turned back to Robert. “All right, Seton. Hie yourself to Switzerland and find out all you can about the treaty negotiations going on there. We’ve received the news that France signed a treaty with Prussia, but so far, there has been no word on what is happening with Spain and Austria. I want a full report within…” He paused to consider. A smile lit up his face, but it wasn’t a particularly pleasant one. “…one month. And then I want you to stay there until the negotiations have been completed. Understood?”
A bloom of excitement unfurled in Robert’s chest. “Yes, my lord! You shall have your report within the month.” He executed a grand leg for the Secretary and Prime Minister and then spun around on his heel and walked out of the club.
He could hear the men laughing at him as he strode away, but he didn’t care. He had an assignment.
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