Chapter 3 The Coachman Brotherhood

Chapter 3
Squeaks

 

Rebecca Dorset called Squeaks by Lord Stokes, and his staff was excited as today was the first day she would take the coach and reins though her father would be beside her.  Born into service, Rebecca had always been the apple of His Lordship’s eye. As a baby, she did more chirping than crying, and Lord Stokes began calling her Squeaks. The household adopted the term, and the name seemed hers for life. As she grew, she accompanied her father most days and learned his trade. As the years passed, she pleaded with Lord Stokes to allow her to take the reins when her father could not. Finally, worn down by her giggles and smiles, he acquiesced, never thinking she would want to do the same when she grew into a young woman, but he was mistaken. She took his promise as a gold-crested agreement and undertook her future career with sincerity and vigor.

Squeaks took to horse and carriage as no other woman known. She was unique and had grown into a beautiful, spirited, and intelligent woman. His Lordship allowed all the children born into his service to have a limited education. Squeaks was twenty years of age, neat, trim, and 5’1” with raven-black hair and light blue eyes, tinged in black. Her head was typically covered in a woman’s riding top hat. It, too, was the same royal blue matching her uniform; a dyed beaver hat with a large black bow to hold it on her head. She also had a silk hat for specific outings when rain was sure to stay away. The beaver hat could weather anything. Her hair was long, but she kept it braided. If it weren’t for the wide ribbon, tied into a bow at her neck, she was thought to be a small male until one looked closely.

As her father and Lord Stokes aged, she became more useful to their needs: fetching things and reading to them quite often, keeping them company when they asked. Squeaks knew she would draw attention, not all of it favorable, in her chosen profession, but she did not care. It was her first love, even with all His Lordship’s and her father’s admonishments. She was thankful for what the household had done for both over the years. They raised her. She was rarely treated as staff, running and playing inside the castle until regrettably she was urged to realize her place in life. The house became quiet, as she kept in the kitchen or stables, at the age of eleven. His Lordship missed her smiling face but knew it was time to prepare her for a more realistic life. And she still wanted to drive for him. To help her through the crisis of leaving His Lordship’s private quarters, he had a livery made for her.

 

#

 

Kip sat in the shade of a large oak tree watching his hand flow across the paper, sketching the scenery around him. He liked it when he was asked to drive to one of the parks. Being an independent coach driver in London rarely permitted him a customer who wanted to be driven out of the crowded and congested streets to more open landscapes. Trevor had settled in a profession that kept him among the inner circles of society, a place to which he belonged, but he would forgo for some time. Not yet, at any rate, although his self-imposed feeling of culpability for his sister’s death was begrudgingly dissipating.

Kip was lost in thought as he blended the shadowed trees on his paper. He began thinking of his life of wealth and privilege, nearly a year ago. His murdered sister was always with him, but seeing her through his dream states, kept her alive and eased his soul. Many times, he wondered if he was suffering some form of madness, after all. However, his brethren drivers lived a full and interesting life, which he slowly learned to incorporate unto himself.

Fully engulfed in his past, Kip snapped his charcoal pencil in half, unaware of the stress he had put on its point. “Damn,” he whispered loudly, seeing the mess he had made of his sketch. Brushing the small bits of charcoal off the page, Kip looked toward the carriage to see if he had been overheard. Apparently, his client and guest were not interrupted.  As Kip returned to his drawing, he smiled to himself. Today he was a coachman. Who knew it had been the right choice for him when he left home? He had lost himself in Kip, the driver, but wasn’t so sure he had done much about finding Trevor, the heir.

Out of the corner of his eye, Kip continued his drawing but could see his coach swaying. The couple seemed to be mutually engaged in one another. This happened often, but he always kept his ear attuned to any calls of distress from the woman. If it were two men, he had to walk further away, as the images conjured rankled his male pride.

He looked on as his two horses nibbled at the grass. Today he wore his tailored livery and drove his daily carriage, which had particularly elegant lines and structure, but it didn’t hold a candle to his “Queen Mary,” as he called it. Kip’s entire driving wardrobe was designed by himself and tailor-fitted. His high-valued clients who wanted the best in a driving experience received the full complement. Having the funds, Kip made the most of his new world, and it comforted him. He needed to feel proud of something – to be a success throughout his life, even as a coachman. And he was achieving that. Kip knew he was still an enigma to his fellow drivers, but they soon acclimated to his way of doing things and accepted him as a qualified brother coachman.

Kip heard a whistle from his client and assumed that their matinee was completed. He folded his sketching pad and returned to the coach.

“Where to, milord?”

“The lady’s home, if you will, Kip.”

“Yes, milord.”

As Kip climbed to his bench, he felt the man must be known to his father, Lord Caldwell. He wondered what his father would think if he knew this Lord was not keeping true faith with his wife.

Kip prepared for the harshness of the city. He navigated the most scenic and clean routes he could find, arriving at the lady’s home with an easy ride. Jumping to the ground, he waited for a signal to open the door. Often there were last kisses or soft words to be finished between the couple. Usually, the gentleman would knock at the side door when Kip was to appear and open it.

Opening the door, he folded down the step. If the lady exited first, he would extend his hand, and she would take it if she wanted. More often, the gentlemen exited first and took the honors. Quite often during the earlier part of the day, a lady would wish to visit some function or shop, and she would be alone. He would hand her in and out of the coach and offer to attend her and her packages if she desired. All these courtesies came from his own remembrance of the Caldwell coachmen. Whether it was the Caldwell’s’ expected courtesies or not, the practice had held him in good stead. He added his own standards for highborn people, and all his customers received it, reduced circumstances or not.

His client exited the coach, escorted his lady to her door, and returned.

“Kip, take me to my club,” the client instructed, as he came back.

“Yes, milord,” Kip replied. Even though there were several men’s clubs in London, it was his job to know his clients’ preferences. One or two drives for someone made him or her a patron; more than three, and he or she became a client. Rarely did they switch to another driver once driven by him. His elegant livery was better than most peerage in-service drivers. Kip was projecting an air of sophistication and style, which brought him higher fares and the most influential of people. For special occasions, he offered a second driver or the back-footman service so the client could feel envy. Changing from daily fares to evening balls was never a problem. He had clothes and coaches for both.

 

As Kip traveled back into central London looking for his daily hails, he passed driver Clyde Dorset, in-service driver to Lord Stokes. They nodded to each other as a greeting. His daughter was beside him on the bench. Everyone had heard a rumor that she wanted to be a coach woman and succeed her father. All the elite independents and the in-service teams, who waited at Parliament for their Lords, had been watching her ride with her father. Along with Kip, not one of them thought the day would come that Lord Stokes would allow her to take the reins of a team. It took great strength to turn a team of two, and Miss Dorset looked too young and small to handle the job. She was thought most likely to greet and open the door for His Lordship.

Today she was holding the reins aside her father. She sat proudly, almost bursting those cherub dimples with pride. Kip was earnestly amazed but assumed the coach was empty, on its way to fetch Lord Stokes where her father would then assume the reins.

 

“I’ll have a beef sandwich and a pint,” said Kip wandering over to sit with Marc, who had arrived at the pub before the others. I see Driver Dorset’s daughter is holding the reins today,” remarked Kip, restraining a smile. “She looks quite young.”

“Is she now?” Responded Marc with a laugh. “I’d suppose the coach to be empty if she were heading towards the House of Lords at this time of day. I know His Lordship is worried about her, but she’s determined.”

“I think she looks quite charming sitting up there with her father in her livery.

“You and every other bloke driving. We’ve all been watching her.”

“So, what can you tell me about this bewitching young lady. She’s small; it appears.”

“She was the age of 11 when Lord Stokes had a livery made to match her father. I’ve been told this because she’s about 20 years old now. I haven’t been around that long. The word is that Dorset lost his wife early in his daughter’s life. Lord and Lady Stokes looked kindly on their driver’s plight of raising her. They had no daughter of their own. I hear that her father, His Lordship and the staff have been raising her. She used to have run of the Castle, Dorset has told us.”

“I had a good chuckle over her small matching beaver top hat being held on her head with a large black bow. It endears her further to onlookers if that is possible. Being an independent, it is unlikely our paths will converge. I rarely have a call to Parliament. Seeing her today, holding those reins, beaming like the morning sun on a spring day, encourages me to be introduced to her. Is that possible?” It was a year since his heart felt a stirring of activity. “I’ve had my share of invitations from Lady customers, to which I decline, but a female driver is different. Her interest in horses and coaching is exciting my fancy.” A long-lost feeling of lust engulfed him. It was a raw and primitive urging, which never in his life had he felt to this extreme.

Lucas and Jon arrived at the table after ordering.

“Kip, here, would like to be introduced to Miss Dorset. Can either of you arrange that for him?” Marc howled. The other two joined in.

Kip felt embarrassed. “Apparently, I have asked for the impossible?”

“Well, yes, I say. It may be possible, but we hardly stand on having someone known to both of us to introduce one to the other. Only nobles are that principled.” More laughter from the table and Kip joined in the fun of being mocked.

Using polite society protocols had snagged him several times. Occasionally, he had to sand off the veneer of nobility to blend with the Brotherhood. All-in-all, his politeness carried a lot of reputation which was starting to reach far and wide. “I guess I’ll just have to outwit you blokes and accidentally meet her at the House of Lords.”

“You know Kip; your fares have been picking up considerably of late. Don’t think we haven’t noticed. We’ve passed you on a few of these night affairs and see you in your tailored tails and velvet top hat. Are you playing God to us, Apostles? You’re certainly doing something we don’t know about. I think it’s time for you to train us. You owe us that much.” Lucas cajoled.

Kip was rocking in his seat with laughter. “Lads, go another step with your uniforms, and you can raise your fees. We all know the gentry need pampering, and that’s all that I am doing.”

“I guess those green eyes, brown hair, pulled into a horse’s tail with a ribbon have nothing to do with it,” Lucas chided.

“Look!” Kip pulled out a couple of introduction cards. “See here. It has my name, Trevor Kipling, lists my services and address. I have been getting requests for my unique service, well in advance of events. It may work for you, too.”

“What are your special services?”

“Naturally, it’s my best bib and tucker, best coach and flowers for the coach vases. My coach is always cleaned, and polished. My boots are like mirrors. I can hire Ioan, you know Ioan, to ride second driver or footman. We can make an unusually rich look for being independent.”

“Damn, Kip. That’s brilliant.”

“Now will you introduce me to Miss Dorset?” Everyone clinked their beer mugs, roaring to the rafters.

 

It was nearing six in the evening, and Kip headed home to clean and wash the coach, and himself for the Lady Blevins fare tonight.

To accommodate his stable and quarters, Kip selected a residence with a large stable near the edge of outer London. His reputation was growing, causing him to check his in-town post often for reservations being asked for in advance. The name “Kip” seemed to be on the lips of many people wanting his premiere appearance, and he was being recommended among the gentry of society.

A quick look inside the Queen Mary revealed only bits of boot sand to sweep out. He dressed in his handsome, understated but elegant livery with tails. It was unlikely that any driver could match his coach, and they certainly never would match his horses, costing a driver five year’s salary for one of them. Kip at no time meant to laud his superior team and coach, over the others, but he wanted the best for himself. They had become the only spark in his life until he anticipated a way to meet Miss Dorset.

The Noble Coachman 2.99 Amazon

1917 2019 (Dec 25)

This looks exceptional to me.

Directed by Sam Mendes – who made the last two James Bond adventures, Skyfall and Spectre – the film is set during the First World War.

The official synopsis reads: “At the height of the First World War, two young British soldiers, Schofield (George MacKay) and Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) are given a seemingly impossible mission.

“In a race against time, they must cross enemy territory and deliver a message that will stop a deadly attack on hundreds of soldiers—Blake’s own brother among them.”

The all-star cast of 1917 includes Colin Firth (Pride & Prejudice), Richard Madden (Bodyguard), Mark Strong (Shazam!), Daniel Mays (Line of Duty), Adrian Scarborough (Christopher Robin), Nabhaan Rizwan (Informer), Dean-Charles Chapman (Game of Thrones), Jamie Parker (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child).

It’ll also reunite Sherlock stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Andrew Scott!

Watch the new trailer:

Director Sam Mendes recently announced that the whole movie will be told in one continuous shot.

Explaining the challenging creative decision, he revealed: “I wanted people to understand how difficult it was for these men.”

1917 is set for release in the US on 25th December and in the UK on 10th January.

 

The Woman in 1997

Based upon Wilkie Collins’ Victorian mystery, the gothic tale tells of a pair of half sisters whose lives end up caught in a grand conspiracy revolving around a mentally ill woman dressed in white. As the story unfolds, murder, love, marriage, and greed stand between the two women and happy lives. Their only hope is the secret the woman in white waits to tell them.

—Max Vaughn

Horror / Thriller

 

( see also “The Woman in White” 2018)

Judy & Punch 2019 (Nov 21)

Judy & Punch / Australia (Director and screenwriter: Mirrah Foulkes, Producers: Michele Bennett, Nash Edgerton, Danny Gabai) — In the anarchic town of Seaside, nowhere near the sea, puppeteers Judy and Punch are trying to resurrect their marionette show. The show is a hit due to Judy’s superior puppeteering but Punch’s driving ambition and penchant for whiskey lead to an inevitable tragedy that Judy must avenge. Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Damon Herriman, Tom Budge, Benedict Hardie, Lucy Velik, Terry Norris. World Premiere

 

 

The Noble Coachman Chapter 2

The Noble Coachman 2.99 Amazon

 

Chapter 2
The Coachman Brotherhood

 

 

Before leaving the estate, Trevor walked into Mary’s room, absorbing the last essence of her. It was chilled as no fire had been lit for the dark and damp nights. He strolled the room, drawing one final scent of her before it was gone. Spotting on her dressing table, a favorite cameo ring that she loved, he slipped it into his vest pocket. Father had two cameos carved, in Mary’s likeness, when she was younger. One was a ring for her finger, and the other much larger piece was a brooch for his wife. Tears traveled down his chiseled patrician face.

Returning to his own room, he opened the wardrobe where his finery, top hats, and boots lay in wait for some grand event. He pulled a small satchel from a cabinet, packing his razor, a few pairs of hose, undergarments and one set of riding clothes. Walking the room, things once meant much to him, held little interest now. He did take the watch that Mary had given him for his birthday. Trevor ran his finger along his bookshelves looking for anything that he might want to take. There was nothing. His heart seemed dead. On an easel in the corner was the beginnings of a portrait that he was trying to paint. Mary wouldn’t sit still long enough for him to continue. The canvas had sat there for several years, with Mary promising to return until it was finished. It was always, soon. Packed light, he said good-bye to his family, valet, and horse before having Brigg’s carry him to the train depot.

 

Dressed in riding clothes, carrying his small satchel, he boarded the next train. He was heading to where people wouldn’t know him. Laying back on the cushioned seat he drifted off. Dreams of Mary and his mother came and went. Both females, fragile, flooded his mind, Mary, especially. Why did God make them so helpless? “Kipling! Kipling, that’s it,” brought him out of his sleep. He would become Trevor Kipling, naming himself after his mother’s people. Having no one knowing his face, and a name such as Trevor Kipling would hardly draw any particular interest. He fell back to sleep.

LONDON! Next Stop LONDON!

Suddenly the dark stormy clouds that Kip had been sketching in his mind blew away. He sat up, surveying others that had entered his coach while he slept. It embarrassed him as there was no one in the coach when he left the depot. Kip, heard the coach Porter calling “LONDON” again and set off to find him.

“Can you tell me which stop is closest to the Metropolitan Police Station?” Having his answer, he returned to his seat and collected his satchel. Eventually, the train slowed down to his destination surprising him with the mass of humanity waiting to board while his coach mates were standing ready to leave. What a spectacle he was witnessing. He exited last from his coach and began his pilgrimage through the crush of top hats, bonnets, and umbrellas. He saw people kissing and crying, men shaking hands, businessmen with portfolios under their arms alongside parents with wailing children. He breathed a sigh of thanks for not having to go through hours listening to the din of voices every day. As Trevor emerged, a beautiful sight met him. Gleaming horses with polished brass fittings and coachmen wearing fine clothes waiting to carry some wealthy person to a destination. He saw two livery-clothed coaches, each with two drivers waiting on their noble masters. Only one had a crested coat of arms on the door.

What I wouldn’t give to be the driver?” The thought surprised him. Why can’t I become a driver.” I’ve always had a great fondness for horses and riding.” His mind began swirling as he approached a smart-looking driver with a polished look.

“May I ride atop with you, driver? I have some questions.” Trevor literally felt his spirits rise from the bottom of wherever they were dwelling. He may have found his new life which he had not forced on himself.

The driver looked him over before replying. “Sir, we do not permit …” The driver noticed the coins in the gents’ extended hand and readily acquiesced. “Yes, sir. Where can I take you?”

“Please, if you will, just drive and allow me to question you about the service you perform.”

The driver stowed Trevor’s satchel and invited him to the top.

“Drive where you will, but I am hiring you for the rest of the day. You may pick up fares while I remain to watch.” Trevor couldn’t remember the last time he had come to London. The architecture fascinated him. There were buildings he would like to sketch one day, but he was taken aback by the sheer volume of people, coaches, and horses. His driver was regularly hailed, as they thought Trevor was the second coachman. A smile broke through his defenses, and it felt good. It was so unexpected that the moment stood out to remember.

By nightfall, he hired the coachman, Marc, for the next two days, paying him exceedingly well. He was taken to a pub, which catered to coachmen, offering food and a room until he changed dwellings. Loving his own stable of horses at home, the novelty of experiencing this career drew him to its bosom.

After a full belly, hot bath and a real bed, Trevor fell into a deep sleep. Mary’s activity in his dream was most assertive tonight. This was new for him. He would often see her in his dreams, but these images flashed during the night, causing his tossing and turning.

Is she warning me or encouraging me?

Trevor always invited her into his nightly fantasies, never running away in his thoughts or waking due to fright. Tonight, Mary was in his coach. The horses had their heads, even though he held the reins.

“Where is she taking me?”

Coming down to breakfast the next morning, Marc was sitting at a bench table with a few other lads. Trevor was welcomed over and introduced. He met Jon, Matthew, and Lucas. He was introduced as Trevor Kipling, but in short fashion, they started calling him Kip.

Smiling as he shook hands, he responded, “You chaps are having one over on me, are you not?”

The young men were startled at his words. “Sir, are you offering offense? Marc has told us of your interest. We wish to help you learn our trade, but you laugh at us? Not a pleasant beginning.”

“Has no one called you ‘The Apostles?”

Although it didn’t sound like an insult, they chose to remain affronted.

Kip laughed. “You’ve heard of the four Apostles, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, have you not?”

Finally, the fog lifted and a rousing laugh ensued. He was invited to sit down with them, and the education began with … “We are a Brotherhood of Gentlemen Coachmen.”

 

Friesian

Over the next two months, Kip learned their ways, which he would improve on, but most importantly; he learned London. He came to know every restaurant, prominent person’s address, gentlemen’s club, theater, train stop, hotel, business, and every brothel that London could offer. He was told of confidences, which he would swear to take to his grave. During that time, Kip purchased two matching Friesians, one magnificent coach and one significant coach for every day. He wanted the very best he could have, no matter the jealousy of the other drivers. He was happy. The drivers talked behind his back about the expense of his horses and coaches, and others remarked about his polished accent. He pacified them by saying that his father had been a prosperous merchant, recently dead. As he was not disposed to follow in the business, he divested himself of it and sought this career for the love of horses.

Each of the Apostles took an added week with Kip, showing him shortcuts, explaining the rumors of many of his prospective customers. He realized quickly that this brotherhood which policed itself was the elite of London coachmen. There were more than a hundred of them, which did not include the in-service drivers. Often, he was told of the nobility that he would carry and protect. Many tricks of the trade were mastered in short order. He knew well, his home’s liveried staff and how he was treated as a noble. He would build on that and develop his own style. The horses and coach had come first, but he could see sizable tipping if he improved his clothing and conduct. He wanted to knock London on its ear. Kip knew he was ready, but the Apostles insisted on spending a week with him as he received his customers and drew them to their stops. Their honor was at risk, and Kip knew he must pass muster before they turned him loose. Otherwise, he would be forced further down the financial and respected chain of customers.

He finally understood why they called themselves a Brotherhood of Coachmen.

 The months rolled by, and he began building his reputation as a high-class ride. He was noticing a particular in-service driver, always heading to Parliament, but he chaperoned a female who sat beside him. She was in livery and possibly 12 or 13 years old. The Apostles would know the story as he was finding that in-service and independents often waited together at balls and private parties. Matthew would surely know this driving combination.

Just a video to show you why I love Friesian Horses and selected them for my book

These horses carried knights into battle, drove noble coaches and today know dressage.  They are naturally high-steppers (not trained) which means they don’t leave clods of grass or dirt to be repaired.

 

 

 

The Irishman 2019 Nov 27, Netflix

‘The Irishman’ First Reactions Praise Martin Scorsese’s ‘Instant Classic’ and ‘Masterpiece’
Scorsese’s long-in-the-works gangster epic finally was unveiled at the New York Film Festival.

Zack Sharf

@zsharf

“The Irishman”
Netflix

Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” finally made its debut at the 2019 New York Film Festival at a press and industry screening ahead of tonight’s official world premiere screening. The first reactions to the long-in-the-works gangster epic are pouring in from film critics and journalists and, for the most part, they are spectacular. While the de-aging VFX Scorsese used to make cast members Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci is proving hit or miss, the overall movie is being showered in strong praise.

“‘The Irishman’ is like a greatest hits album from a master of the medium. Yes, that’s a positive,” IndieWire chief critic Eric Kohn wrote on Twitter. “The artifice of de-aging is more feature than bug. It’s not ‘slow.’ It often moves like lightening and elsewhere it’s downright Bressonian.”

/Film critic Chris Evangelista adds, “‘The Irishman’ is a masterwork. Funny, epic, and most of all, melancholy. It’s Scorsese confronting aging, legacies, and mortality. I may or may not have teared up at the end.”

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“The Irishman” stars De Niro as Frank Sheeran, a World War II veteran who became a mob hitman and allegedly played a role in Jimmy Hoffa’s death. Scorsese’s “Gangs of New York” co-writer Steven Zaillian wrote the script based on Charles Brandt’s book “I Heard You Paint Houses.” Pacino stars as Hoffa, while Pesci, who won an Oscar for starring in Scorsese’s “Goodfellas,” plays mob member Russell Bufalino. The supporting cast also includes Bobby Cannavale, Harvey Keitel, Ray Romano, and Anna Paquin.

“The Irishman” will open in select theaters beginning November 1. Netflix is giving the film an exclusive theatrical release for just over three weeks. The drama debuts on streaming starting November 27. Check out the first wave of reactions below.

 

World on Fire 2019 BBC

 

World on Fire is a heart-stopping, multi-stranded drama telling the story of World War Two through the lives of ordinary people from all sides of this global conflict. The first series of seven episodes tells the story of the first year of the war, starting with the German invasion of Poland in September 1939 and ending with the Battle of Britain.

7 Nov 10, 2019
6 Nov 3, 2019
5 Oct 27, 2019
4 Oct 20, 2019
3 Oct 13, 2019
2 Oct 6, 2019
1 Sep 29, 2019

 

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