So, that would have been one of your ancestors then? teased Brassie.
We were sitting, not ‘sat’, in Costamuchamoulah must-seen cafe now
that half-term was over and we could have the place reasonably to
What do you mean? I parried.
Charles Edward Stuart. His lost portrait has been found. Didn’t you watch
It wasn’t that lost, Carrie chipped in. It was safely hung, if not displayed, in
a dingy corridor in Gosford House, but catalogued in the inventory there.
Yes, but it took a man in biking leathers with the name of a Derby winner
to have it authenticated, Brassie continued. He asked a woman whom I
supposed to be the Dowager Countess if he could take it away and, just
because he shares a name with the Duke of Westminster, she immediately
let him take it off the wall, without batting an eyelid.
Maybe it wasn’t because of his name, I speculated. Leather seems to be
persuasive. They’re all into it. Fiona Bruce has several leather jackets in a
wide spectrum of colours and she is all over works of art nowadays.
Brassie became enthusiastic: I know, but when Bendor got his leg over..
..his motorbike- I defused her instantly.
Who’s Bendor? asked Carrie.
Duh! We both looked at her incredulously.
Don’t let’s lower the tone. We were talking about Scottish Art
and Allan Ramsay, weren’t we? Or should we talk about Philip Mould?
He’s more age appropriate, but not so fetching in hide, I agree.
I can see Bendor in a blue sash and cockade, sighed Brassie.
Never mind ‘Charlie is my Darling’.
Yes, but as a Sassenach, he’s not strictly entitled to wear tartan, I
reminded her. And no one is going to put Mr Grosvenor on a packet
of Walker’s Petticoat Tails, are they?
I suppose not, more’s the pity. She looked disappointed. I‘d probably
buy some if they did. He’s better looking than Rabbie Burns.
Carrie tried to change the subject. Actually, they thought that there
might have been a portrait of Charlie’s mistress, Clementina Walkinshaw
too, but the one in Derby, or wherever, was discredited.
Now there was an interesting woman, I jumped in. Glaswegian, one of
ten, from Camlachie. I don’t believe that she nursed him through manflu,
though. No woman from Glasgow is that sympathetic. Eventually, fed up with
his drunken antics, she re-invented herself, as many a Glesca girl has done,
and styled herself Countess Alberstroff. She went off to Meaux-en-Brie.
Sounds cheesy, remarked Carrie.
Not as cheesy as what Charlie did next. He married a nineteen year old
Didn’t he have a daughter with Clementina? Wasn’t she The Duchess of
Albany? It was all coming back to Brassie.
Yes. Poor Charlotte died young after becoming the mistress of the Archbishop
of Bordeaux, I explained.
Did she have kids? Brassie couldn’t remember the details.
Yes, but they couldn’t be royal as Henry, Charlie’s brother-who was a Cardinal
by the way- made Clementina sign a document of renunciation of any rights.
There might be a lost portrait of Clementina as a nun in one of the French
convents she took shelter in, suggested Brassie.
Or one of Charlotte as the Virgin Mary at a Bishop’s Palace in Bordeaux or
Cambrai, I added.
Should be good for a motorcycle trip to Aquitaine through the French
vineyards, Carrie concluded.
Perhaps he will need an assistant, Brassie said wistfully.
I’d better buy myself a leather jacket. Fiona’s too tall to fit in a sidecar.