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 Xartis Psyxis - Chapter 3, The Last Confession (part 2)

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nordmann
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PostXartis Psyxis - Chapter 3, The Last Confession (part 2)

They say now Abby that those were dark times. They colour their memories so with a gloomy palette of their subjective choosing. On the contrary, those were bright days to start with - gay and carefree, when all seemed possible. Anything could be achieved by anyone who dared. London was like a beautiful woman just recovered from long tribulation only recently resolved. For years she had been stifled by Puritan excess and then, no sooner was she rid of that curse than she fell to pestilence and had her heart torn out by the Great Fire. Now she was making up for lost time and with a vengeance. They were heady days indeed Abby, driven by the lusts and passions of our merry monarch himself.

Yes, they were bright times Abby, blindingly bright. So bright that we became blinded to the reality, almost until it was too late. The men, who had hacked our monarch’s father’s head from his shoulders, the great London crosses from their plinths, and the intellect from the body politic, were waiting their chance. They had not gone away when Charles returned; they had honed their skills in secret. While London played, they sat in dark rooms and plotted their return to supremacy.

Yet some with keener eyes saw the way of things. Uncertainty lay not too far in the future, an uncertainty occasioned by a monarch who had failed to produce a legitimate heir, and a kingdom therefore that would soon be handed by default to his brother, a Catholic. They deemed it wiser not to wait for providence to decide their fate, but chose instead to influence it. If such is a crime or underhand, then it is a crime shared by all politicians from the time of the ancient assemblies of Greece and Rome, and as underhand as the parent who seeks to influence the circumstances in which the child will be free to prosper.

My father, your grandfather, was the proprietor of some emporia on St Botolph’s Wharf. As a young man I chose to follow in his footsteps, and it was this proximity to the comings and goings of foreigners and their tidings of the world abroad that encouraged these men’s interest in recruiting me. They enrolled me in their efforts, at first as a man asked only to watch and report from within my own small world by the Thames. Then, as time passed, my field of observation was gradually widened and my focus narrowed so that I became a productive and effusive conduit of information for those who wished to know. And it is never to be underestimated, the power of knowledge, Abby. It is incredible how much of the affairs of state are decided on uninformed whim, sheer ignorance and guesswork, even still. Pure knowledge, you would think, is such a valuable and rare commodity that its gleaners should be exalted for their efforts. But yet vigilance such as we endeavoured is derided as mere spying, and in the world of spying we watchers, such as I, were the lowest of the low. We watched for many things however and learnt to spot with ease that which might pass another by unnoticed but would be considered salient by those we served. We watched especially for any trait, trick, trend or truth that might serve our cause or, worse, hamper it. We watched at home and we watched abroad. And yes, we oft employed deception as a tool to help us get close enough to report. In time we employed worse than that Abby, I confess, and all to get to a truth that we could report. And we reported all.
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