King George V
Part Three, Chapter Thirty: Otherwise Engaged
When news of King George V’s engagement to Princess Agnes of Anhalt-Dessau was finally confirmed, the intricate network of European royalty responded as one might expect. Those closest to the couple were (mostly) delighted and waited patiently for their invitation to the wedding whilst those on the outskirts of the family acknowledged the development but were not overly hopeful for their chances of claiming a seat at Westminster Abbey. But of course, a simple note of congratulation was not enough for most and from February 1845 onwards, a generous stream of gifts arrived from across the globe as tokens of affection for the couple which it fell to Princess Agnes to catalogue, arrange and acknowledge in hundreds of hand written thankyou notes. These gifts ranged from the sublime to the slightly ridiculous – though naturally everyone who sent something did so with the very best of intentions. From Siam, King Nangklao (Rama III) sent a highly prized white elephant from the Royal Elephant Stables in Bangkok. She was named Junta (meaning star
) and was shipped to England whereupon she found a home at London Zoo. The proximity of the Zoo to Lisson Park gave the children of the Royal Family ample opportunity to visit “Papa’s Elephant” which they did for the next 28 years until Junta died in 1873.
From the King of Greece (Otho) there were traditional Greek costumes, though these were never worn and were instead displayed at the Greek Embassy in Upper Brook Street, Mayfair. From the Dutch King (Willem II, who was far more generous than his daughter-in-law Victoria who was still estranged from her cousin George after sending a rather nasty missive doubting Agnes’ suitability as a bride) came a gift of silver loving cup whilst the King of Denmark (Christian VIII, who for reasons which remain unclear today) sent a canoe. The Emperor of Austria (Ferdinand I) did not send a gift but his nephew, the Archduke Franz Joseph, dispatched a clock. The King and Queen of France (Louis Philippe and Maria Amalia) sent a portrait of themselves, the King of Prussia (Frederick William IV) sent two Meissen vases whilst the Queen of Portugal (Maria II) sent 24 orange saplings. The most generous gift came from the Tsar of Russia (Nicholas I), a gift which George V himself noted was “far too extravagant and really quite gauche”. In 1839, the House of Bolin had become Jewellers to the Imperial Court in St Petersburg and were now providing the Empress and Grand Duchesses of Russia with magnificent jewels which are still widely regarded today as the very best example of their type. The Tsar tasked Bolin with creating a beautiful tiara for the future Queen consort of the United Kingdom, known to history as the Bolin Diadem.
The Bolin Diadem.
The Bolin Diadem was personally designed by Carl Bolin who produced three sketches for the Tsar to choose from. These sketches provide the only surviving image of the Bolin Diadem which was to be fashioned from silver and gold and set with diamond brilliants. But the piece was extraordinary given that it could be worn in four ways. The diadem itself could be “dismantled” by the turn of a silver key in the base which allowed the top half to be removed leaving a smaller tiara (which could also be worn as a necklace) behind. This had a thinner band of silver and diamonds with a diamond flower above. But the flower itself could also be removed and could be worn as a pendant on a brooch formed from the top of the diadem. Additionally, the diadem was accompanied by a floral aigrette which could be worn at the back of the hair. We know that Queen Agnes only wore the diadem in its original setting once – it was far too heavy and caused her an excruciating headache – but she adored the Bolin in the “junior” setting with its small tiara and aigrette. This possibly explains why diadem was very rarely seen in it’s “senior” setting yet it survived in tact until at least the late 1860s when it made it’s way to Denmark. From there, it simply disappeared. The accepted account of the diadem’s fate is that it was stolen in 1912 but others believe it was broken up and the stones used to create a new piece as the original design was so impractical.
Nonetheless, Queen Agnes was deeply appreciative of the Tsar’s kindness and her first thankyou note was therefore to him, thanking him for his “most generous gift which really is so very beautiful that I confess I wept tears upon opening the box!”. But another gift would not be quite so well received and Agnes’ naïve response to it caused a distinctly unpleasant atmosphere at Buckingham Palace. Since his marriage in 1842, the mere mention of Prince George of Cambridge (now Hanover) had been verboten at the English court and as such, Princess Mary failed to inform her protégé that Agnes should not raise the subject of their debauchee son and heir with the Cambridges – or with the King. Agnes undoubtedly knew who the Earl of Tipperary was but perhaps this extended only to how he was related to her future husband. So when George Hanover sent a rather lovely Japanese lacquer box to his cousin as an engagement gift (surely a very well-intentioned peace offering), Agnes proudly sent it to Buckingham Palace with instructions that it should be placed on the King’s desk in his study as a cigarette box. The King returned from a luncheon at the Draper’s Hall to find this new addition and naturally asked where it had come from. When the source was revealed, George flew into a terrible tantrum and ordered it to be sent back to Germany. He dispatched a hasty note to Marlborough House to inform his fiancée that she had “acted in very poor judgement which does not please me” and the poor girl had to sheepishly ask Princess Mary what she had done that was so awful it warranted two days of royal sulking.
Fortunately this squabble was not prolonged but it appeared another, far more serious quarrel, was now brewing, one which would erupt on the 4th of March 1845. On the previous day, the King had agreed to accompany Princess Agnes to the theatre at the invitation of the Maynards to see a revival of The Lady of Lyons
but then His Majesty changed his plans when Baroness Wiedl wrote to him announcing that she would soon be back in England and hoped he might join her in Bloomsbury Square for a private supper on the same evening he was due to take his fiancé to the Lyceum. The King accepted and asked Phipps to see that the Cambridges accompanied Princess Agnes to the theatre instead, sending his apologies to the Maynards. But he failed to explain his decision to Princess Agnes. Instead, Phipps was sent to Marlborough House to inform Agnes of the new arrangements. She took it well, evening chuckling when Phipps awkwardly announced that the King was “otherwise engaged” and could not spend the evening with Agnes as intended. Agnes laughed and replied, “Oh really Mr Phipps, I thought His Majesty was engaged to me!”
Phipps did not reveal that the King was to spend the evening with Baroness Wiedl and on the 3rd of March, as scheduled, Princess Agnes joined the Maynards and the Cambridges at the theatre whilst George V headed off to Bloomsbury to be reunited with his friend. The following day, Princess Mary arrived at Marlborough House to bid Agnes farewell – she was heading to Weymouth for a rest – before Baroness Wiedl began her duties as an Extra Lady of the Bedchamber (though at this time she did not have this title or appointment formally as the Queen’s Household had not yet been officially constituted). It was Princess Mary who accidentally put the cat among the pigeons. When she explained that Rosalinde would be arriving in a few day's time to begin her duties, Agnes looked downcast. She did not relish the prospect, her mother having dripped poison in her ear that there was something improper about the relationship between the King and his friend, the Baroness. Agnes had been unable to overcome this and was now deeply suspicious, no doubt made worse by the fact that she could not discuss the matter openly with any of her new attendants. Instead of raising the matter with Princess Mary, Agnes tried another tactic. When Mary told Agnes that Rosalinde would soon arrive at Marlborough House, Agnes replied, “Oh? But she has not yet returned from France, I believe?”.
“Oh really child”, Princess Mary said haughtily, “You must learn to keep track of these things! Rosa returned to us last evening”.
“Have you a cold my dear?”, Mary queried, accusingly, “Because that would never do. I shall ask Knollys to fetch a medicament. Now when Rosa comes, I want you to be on your best behaviour, your very best, Georgie tells me she is quite exhausted after a dreadful crossing and-“
“Georgie said that? How did he know?”
Without hesitation, Mary proudly declared, “Because he dined with her yesterday my dear. Now when Rosa comes-“
“But I thought-“, Agnes interrupted. Mary sighed in frustration.
“My dear, I have few years left to me”, she chided, “But in the time God yet grants to me, I hope to be able to be heard
. Now…when Rosa comes…
But Agnes did not hear a word Princess Mary said. Her stomach felt heavy and her heartbeat pounded in her ears. Why had Georgie lied to her? And why did he go to see that woman
when he had promised to accompany Agnes to the theatre? Oh God. This was exactly what Mama had meant…her anxiety gripped her and it must have been noticeable.
“Oh my dear”, Mary cooed, “You really do look quite pale. You are ill. I shall ring for Knollys; you really should be put to bed at once”.
Agnes dutifully allowed herself to be taken to her room. She said nothing until the ladies had left her. Then she burst into sobs.
Meanwhile, the King had been invited to a luncheon at the Royal Military Academy in Woolwich, South East London, where a guard of honour from 130 cadets formed to welcome His Majesty. Woolwich had been in use as a military training college since 1806 and whilst enrolled, cadets were instructed in mathematics, mapping, land-surveillance, fortification and engineering as well as in the use of muskets, sword-exercises and fieldpieces. George arrived in military uniform, passing up and down the ranks of cadets before being led to the dining room where the top brass of the Academy raised a toast to His Majesty before a sumptuous six course meal was served. But the King was not impressed. Throughout the luncheon, he remained surly and quiet, gently seething until he left with a few perfunctory handshakes which left the recipients somewhat puzzled. It was only when he returned to Buckingham Palace that the reason for his ire became clear.
“If these cadets are the future of the British Army then we might all sleep with a musket under our bed for never have I seen such lack-lustre young men, poorly attired, weak in discipline and without care for their studies”, the King wrote, “I was appalled Sir, and most aggrieved, by the entire atmosphere of the Academy which reminds me of all the worst traits of the English public school, indeed I would go further, that Woolwich has become little more than Eton with drill, a most dissatisfactory establishment which I consider to be of detriment both to the British Army as the greatest fighting force in the world today and to those young men who have placed their trust in the institution to make of them the very same. That such men should give their lives so bravely for their country is a sacrifice made poorer by the outrageous inefficiency and wastefulness of the Academy which must be reviewed and corrected without delay or hesitation”. This angry assessment of the Woolwich Academy was hand delivered within the hour to Henry Grey (soon to be the 3rd Earl Grey upon the death of his father, the former Prime Minister, Charles Grey), then Secretary of State for War and the Colonies. 
These observations would not have been out of place in 1845, indeed, the Academy was described by Edward Mogg in 1844 as “having the ethos of a public school”, the result of changes which saw cadets removed from the muster roll and their parents’ charged fees for their attendance. This restricted the student body to the children of the wealthy or well-established military families who might then purchase a commission for their offspring once they graduated. Social precedence had been allowed to dominate the decisions regarding promotion at Woolwich and this meant that cadets there often had a totally different preparation and training experience than their counterparts at Sandhurst or Great Marlow. For someone with a keen interest in the military, George V was shocked by his visit to Woolwich and it seemed to spark in him not only a desire but a strong determination to force his government to undertake a serious review of the state of the British Army and to reform that which, in his view, was detrimental to it overall. Lord Grey agreed with the King’s assessment of Woolwich and promised to look into the matter, visiting the Academy personally to experience what the King had noted first hand.
The Royal Military Academy, Woolwich
Whilst George V still exhibited signs of a hot temper, by now this mellowed enough to prompt him to action rather than rage. In this case, he blew off steam and listed his objections to Lord Grey but then he set about finding a way he could contribute personally to seeking some kind of correction. In later years, George often said, “Where one finds a problem, one must also find a resolution” and certainly in 1845 he was driven to do just that, spending every spare moment he had studying anything he thought might be of use among the pages of his extensive library. Quite correctly, George V expressed his concerns in a private and confidential letter to Lord Grey at the War Office and asked if he had any objection to the King submitting proposals for reforms to him in the future. In this, we see how George had learned from past experience. Rather than demand a role to play in what was ostensibly a matter outside of the purview of the Crown (as he had perhaps been guilty of when he tried his hand at diplomacy), this time the King did his utmost to avoid any clash with his ministers. But as proper as his conduct was, he did put pressure on Lord Grey to act swiftly – possibly because he, like so many others at that time, had concerns that the Whigs may not last much longer in government.
The King attended the State Opening of Parliament in the second week of February 1845, the ceremony familiar but the composition of those in the Commons a relatively unusual body. Everyone present knew that the Whig government could be brought down at any moment and most predicted that the Melbury ministry wouldn’t last the month. Ahead of the King’s speech, Melbury finally committed himself to endorsing Lord Russell’s proposed reforms for the House of Lords but this was referenced in the address the King gave as “Efforts shall be made to introduce further constitutional reforms”. In a private agreement, Melbury and Lord Russell compromised that the so-called Lords Act would not be brought forward immediately and that the detail of the reform should be kept within Cabinet for the time being. But at their post-address clash in the Commons, Lord Russell responded furiously to claims by Sir James Graham that the Whigs were “making ham-fisted efforts to tear up the constitution to suit their own purposes”. Russell snapped back that if one wanted to see an example of such behaviour, they need look no further than “the mass production of peers we saw by the previous government at the Right Honourable Gentleman’s behest”. This proved electric in the Commons debate as Graham assured all those present that Russell’s words were “a clear indication that the government intends to assault the constitutional role played by those in the Other Place”.
Lord Melbury was furious that Russell had allowed his pride to get the better of him but calmed in his attitude when there were positive signs from other opposition parties (such as the Repeal Association, Chartists and Radicals) that they welcomed Lords Reform and expected the bill to be brought forward far sooner than was being suggested. After days of debate, senior Whigs paced the division lobbies nervously. The government had a majority of 24, diminished to 22 because one of their number was unwell and another had failed to surface from his country estate after the weekend. The Tories and the Unionists were bound to vote together to defeat the bill – but the other opposition parties may go either way. If the government lost the division, it would be taken as a vote of no confidence in the Whigs. At the very last, the result was declared; the Whigs had won the day by 49 votes, a clear win for the day but the Prime Minister urged caution. This might not be repeated when individual bills were brought forward. Melbury returned to Downing Street, still a little sore at Russell’s behaviour, but otherwise relieved.
As Melbury hovered in corridors waiting to hear his fate that evening, an almighty row was taking place in the King’s Private Apartments at Buckingham Palace. Princess Agnes, consumed with jealousy and suspicion, did the unthinkable. She got out of her sick bed at Marlborough House, dressed herself, took herself the short distance to the Palace on foot and made her way to the King’s Drawing Room where he was fully engrossed in his military studies.
“What the devil…”, he said in surprise as Agnes appeared before him, without being announced by an astonished Phipps in the ante-room.
“Georgie, I must speak with you”, Agnes said, her voice a little tremulous with emotion.
“Nessa!”, the King cried, standing to his feet and walking over to comfort his intended, “Aunt Mary told me you had a cold, my darling you look absolutely frightful, come here by the fire and get warm, I…I hope you didn’t come here on foot…”
“I did and I had to”, Agnes said sourly, “Because I am not happy Georgie, I am not happy at all”.
The King chuckled.
“Well we can’t have that, can we? Now you sit there and you tell me all about it…”
Agnes drew a deep breath.
“We were supposed to go to the theatre together Georgie, you and I, with the Maynards”.
“Yes I know, that was a bother wasn’t it? But Aunt Augusta told me you enjoyed the play, she said you…”
“She shouldn’t have had to tell you Georgie because you
should have been there to enjoy it with me. And instead…”, she faltered but then regained her courage, “Instead you were dining with another woman”
“Another woman?”, George guffawed, “What on earth do you mean by that? Oh! My supper with Rosa? Oh darling, that really is very silly, Rosa has been away for a very long time and I-“
“You were dishonest Georgie”, Agnes continued, “You were dishonest and unkind and now I am left wretched and you…you do not even care!”
George was no longer smiling. He dropped Agnes’ hands and walked over to the window for a moment, the room filled with a dangerous silence. Then he rounded.
“Now you listen to me Nessa and you listen very carefully for I do not intend to have this conversation with you ever again”, he hissed, “Rosa is one of my oldest and dearest friends, she has been a loyal and much loved companion in this house before you
were a thought in my mind. If I wish to dine with her, I shall do so, without reproach, from you or from anybody else, do I make myself clear?”
“No!”, Agnes shouted, throwing herself up from the chair and launching toward the King, “No you do not because where she is concerned, things are far from clear. Do you know what they say about you and that woman? Because I do. Mama told me. They say you are in love with her”.
The King walked over to his desk and pushed the button that rang a bell in the outer room. Phipps appeared nervously at the door.
“Charlie, escort the Princess back to Marlborough House”, George said coldly, “She is unwell”.
“You do not have the right to order me about!”, Agnes screamed.
“I have every right, I am the King!”
, George bellowed.
“I shan’t go until I have learned the truth of this!”, Agnes hollered.
“The truth is there but you are too silly to see it!”, George raged back.
Agnes began to sob.
“Now…you will go with Charlie and you will ask your ladies to give you whatever remedy it takes to bring you out of this childish, petty nonsense. And until such a time as you are cured of this ridiculous behaviour, you shall remain at Marlborough House until I call for you. Phipps…take the Princess home”. 
Phipps entered the room and gently led Agnes away. He had been correct to predict that the return of Baroness Wiedl may ruffle feathers but he could never have foreseen the clash he had just witnessed. An ominous silence pervaded for two days, neither side willing to give grounds. But then came an olive branch. Word was sent to Marlborough House that the King wished Princess Agnes to be present at a dinner party and now somewhat calmer, though nowhere near reassured, the Princess dressed in her best and was taken by carriage to the Palace where she was seated between Viscount Maynard and the Foreign Secretary, Lord Morpeth. The King welcomed Agnes home with a kiss and no mention was made of their previous disagreement but those present were quickly acquainted with the awkwardness of this reunion. As the guests tucked into the game course (a partridge roasted in the centre of a Savoy cabbage), the conversation turned to news from the Bay of Islands in New Zealand which had just appeared in the evening newspapers.
The British Ensign is removed by Hōne Heke.
Since the adoption of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, there had been growing unrest among the Māori tribes over the exact meaning of the document signed. The British were insistent that the treaty ceded sovereignty to the Crown allowing for the foundation of the Colony of New Zealand in 1841. But the Māori upheld that they had not understood the treaty when it was put before them and they had no intention whatsoever of giving the British Crown authority over their territory. In July 1844, a flagstaff erected on Maiki Hill at the north end of Kororāreka by the first British resident, James Busby, was cut down by the Pakaraka chief Te Haratua. The result was a conference called by the Governor of New South Wales, Robert Fitzroy, which eased the rising tensions and the flagstaff was replaced. But in January 1845, the flagstaff was once again cut down. The British responded by replacing it with an iron flagstaff but this was again felled. However, by this time Governor FitzRoy had far more to concern himself with. Kororāreka was to provide a backdrop for an uprising with warriors from various tribes led by Chiefs Hōne Heke, Te Ruki Kawiti and Pūkuma sent to plunder the British settlement there. FitzRoy called for reinforcements and all was set for bloody and brutal clash between forces of the Crown and the Māori. 
“All this fuss over a flagpole”, Lord Maynard commented, “Can you credit it?”
“Ah it is more than that”, Lord Morpeth replied, “It is a test of the colony, of the authority of the Governor over the native peoples and of the validity of the treaty, I’m afraid it shall escalate until those points are proven militarily to the Māori”.
“I feel sad for them”, Agnes mused, pushing her food about her plate with her fork.
“For whom Ma’am?”, Morpeth replied curiously.
“The Māori”, Agnes said sadly, “It must all be so strange for them. To lose their land and not to understand why”.
“But they are savages Ma’am”, Maynard declared arrogantly, “Tribal people. It is our duty to Christianise them, to show them a more civilised way of living, as we have done in all our colonies”. 
“I do see that Lord Maynard”, Lady Wigmore opined, trying to change the subject away from politics as she knew must, “And on that very thing, did you read in the supplement last evening that there are to be Anglican nuns in a house in St Pancras?”
“I did see that Lady Wigmore, indeed”, Maynard nodded approvingly.
“I do hope they will not find the gardens a chore”, Lady Wigmore continued, “Our roses are looking quite poor this year, it really is so unfortunate”
“Well I still think it’s sad”, Agnes repeated, refusing to be moved, “I shall pray for them”
Lady Wigmore looked down nervously at her plate.
“What’s that?”, the King asked from the other end of the table, “What is being said now?”
Lord Morpeth exercised his diplomatic skills.
“We were discussing the issue of the flagstaff in New Zealand, Your Majesty”, Morpeth replied, “The Princess was just telling us how sorry she was about the incident”
“Is that so?”, George replied gruffly, “I didn’t know you knew anything about it Agnes”.
“I read a great deal about it”, Agnes said haughtily, “And I think it’s very unfortunate for the poor Māori, I’m sure they’re very decent people after all”
“Very clearly you have not understood a word you have read”, George snapped, “Now let us talk no more of this tonight. Lady Maynard, will you be joining us at Windsor for Easter next week?”
“Oh yes Sir”, Lady Maynard began, “We are very much looking forward to-“
“What do you say, Bishop?”, Agnes interjected, casting a grin toward the Bishop of London, who almost choked into his glass of wine, “Do you believe the Māori are a savage people?”
The King stood up, his red flushed red. He threw his napkin onto his plate with a loud crash of the cutlery beneath. Silence reigned.
“I’m afraid I have quite lost my appetite”, he said tersely, “Perhaps the ladies might wish to leave us now”
Mid-course, the women at table rose as one, the gentlemen quickly following suit. Agnes shot a prideful grin toward the King and then sauntered out of the room, Lady Wigmore, Lady Maynard et al trundling out after her. The King poured a glass of port and tried to relax but it was no use. He could no longer enjoy himself. With apologies to his remaining guests, he excused himself and retreated to his study.
When we consider Agnes’ behaviour at this dinner party, it is natural that we might compare her to her predecessor, Louise. The thought that the late Queen might ever behave in the way Agnes did that evening is difficult to imagine. Yet it must be remembered that whilst Louise was not that much older than her husband, she was very mature for her years. As such, she seemed to accept her role as Queen consort with ease and though their marriage did have it’s problems, there was rarely the back and forth that was now evident between George and Agnes. Simply put, Agnes was 20 years old, in a foreign country, among strangers. But she was also unhappy at this time and just as she knew what was expected of her – she had Princess Mary to thank for that – she knew exactly how to behave contrary to expectation to cause a stir. Whilst her comments would go no further than the royal dinner table, the King was incensed that she should make them regardless. But rather than speak to her privately and offer a calm, reasoned correction, he did not. Instead, the King wrote a note for Phipps to take to the Princess the next morning. It read:
I do not expect the behaviour of last evening to be repeated ever again at my table and I trust you are suitably ashamed. It is to be regretted that you thought to behave in this way for now I do not wish to see you today.
When Phipps delivered it, Agnes read it and handed it back.
“Return it”, she said with a little smile, “The King is not my husband yet, I shall not be addressed in this way. I shall see His Majesty at tea, as we agreed”.
“With respect Ma’am”, Phipps began, “His Majesty has made his position clear. And…and he shall not be at home for tea”.
Agnes stopped smiling immediately.
“Where then shall he be?”, she asked, her voice a little shaky.
“He…the….His Majesty is taking tea at Bloomsbury Square, Ma’am”, Phipps replied bluntly. He refused to tell a lie.
Agnes shook her head in disbelief.
, she said softly, her voice breaking with emotion, “He will be with her”
Phipps waited to be dismissed and then left the room. As he closed the door behind him, he heard the Princess weeping. Something would have to be done. And quickly at that.
 I know there was some interest in how the British Army might be reformed during this period, having removed some of the key players. This is by no means my area of expertise so if there are errors, please do point them out as I’d like to do the best I can and my research may not be as detailed as the knowledge some of my readers already have.
 Not a happy read for our romantics but I did say that George’s relationship with Agnes wouldn’t be the garden of roses he enjoyed with poor Louise. The personality clash here was inevitable with the characters I’ve given them and who really can blame Agnes for being suspicious?
 As in the OTL.
 I wanted to stress here (as I have when we have covered similar views of the period such as antisemitism) that I absolutely abhor the attitude displayed here by Lord Maynard - particularly the use of the word savages.
I know the use of this word led to a ban recently - though it wasn't part of a timeline - so I have flagged it up before I've published. But my reason for including it here is to show the arrogance of the average British colonialist at the time. The notion that indigenous people needed to be "civilised" is horrific to us today but back then? Agnes would have been in the minority for thinking of the Maori as people, fellow human beings with the same rights, thoughts and feelings as she has.
Please be aware I don't intend to abuse this sort of language in future posts and it appears here only to highlight the prevailing attitude of the day but also to show us a little of Agnes' personality drawn from her character in the OTL. The real life Agnes of Anhalt-Dessau had a keen interest from a young age in trying to fight prejudices - most notably against Jewish people in her country. I felt the flagstaff war would give a good opportunity for us to see that but also to see how her immaturity can lead to her "showing off" - as I believe she probably would in this situation. She's talking politics when she knows she shouldn't. And she's challenging the established view of the day.
All this being said, if a Mod would like me to remove these lines and replace them with something else, I'm only too happy to do so.
Also to add, Chapter Thirty-One is written and ready to publish but before when I've put two chapters up at the same time, I've had feedback that people often overlook the first because "last post" takes you to the second. And I also don't want to confront people with a wall of text to sift through which might make people a little bored of TTL. To that end, I'll put up the next chapter tomorrow morning and as ever, thankyou for reading!