David , Wallis and the Mercenary Chapter Forty-Eight

Previously: Mercenary Leon fails on his first mission because of David, better known as Edward the Prince of Wales. Also in the spy world is socialite Wallis Spencer, who dumps first husband Winfield, kills Uncle Sol, has an affair with German Joachim Von Ribbentrop and marries Ernest. MI6 orders David and Wallis to pick up crates of jewels from Haile Selassie in Corsica. Leon was supposed to kill them and steal the jewels, but he refused.
Old King George was dying. He had not been his usual irascible dominating self since he fell off his horse in the early 1920s. Then he suffered a stroke the year of the Tanganyika affair. Somehow he managed to look regal through his Silver Jubilee in June of 1936. By autumn his cognitive powers decreased significantly. David’s missions came to complete halt. He could not be called away in the middle of an assassination attempt to attend a funeral. That was not the way MI6 operated.
David continued his public seduction of Wallis Simpson because, according to the plan MI6 conceived ten years earlier, they were to be married by 1937. Immediately upon his return from the Mediterranean holiday David started telling intimate friends like Walter Monckton how he felt about Wallis.
“She’s the perfect woman,” he told his buddy while they had cocktails on the terrace at Fort Belvedere, enjoying the last summer breezes of early September. She insists I should be at my best and do my best at all times. Well,” he paused to take a puff on his cigarette, “she’s my inspiration.”
“Come, fellow, you’re letting your carnal amusements take over your good sense,” Monckton advised.
David raised an eyebrow. “Now listen here, there has never been physical relations between Mrs. Simpson and myself.” He tried not to smile. Of everything he was saying, his avowal of abstinence was the only true statement. “This is intellectual companionship, spiritual comradeship.” He stared off at the trees, thinking the brush beneath needed to be cleared. “I will never give her up.” Looking at Monckton, David leaned in. “My dear Walter, you are my dearest friend. I hope you will keep this discussion in strictest confidence.”
“Of course, David,” he replied, his eyelids fluttering. “Strictly confidential.”
As David anticipated, within a few days society circles in the Mayfair district of London was abuzz with the rumors of a budding romance and how it would shake the British monarchy to its very roots. The simple mention of the name Mrs. Simpson brought on titters at the thought of immoral seduction and the oncoming royal generation which would flaunt morality, bring down all that was sacred and perhaps introduce a new world in which the distinction between classes would disappear.
According to General Trotter’s instructions, Wallis lingered in Paris to do some serious shopping. She wrote her close friends in London that Mainbocher was having a half-price sale and it would be sinful not to take advantage of it. She arranged to fly her bargains home on David’s private airplane. David mailed her a new bejeweled cross for her bracelet.
“Get flower from VR.”
By this time, David had figured out Wallis’s references to white carnations from Von Ribbentrop to mean a sexual encounter. He knew the German was a valuable link to Hitler’s inner circle. David’s contacts to the Ribbentrop household—the old crotchety couple—passed along information that Hitler’s chief foreign affairs adviser would be in Paris in September. Ribbentrop was too good of an instrument not to be kept well-tuned.
When Wallis returned to London in October she set about having charming luncheons with girlfriends like Diana Cooper and Barbara Cartland. She related the conversations to David when she visited Fort Belvedere.
“We were having a bite to eat in Mayfair when Barbara cooed, ‘So, how is the little man?’ Barbara loves to refer to you as the little man. Well, I leaned back in my chair and laughed. ‘Oh, my dears, I think he’s getting ideas of marriage in his head. I would much rather have my cake and eat it too. David for laughs and luxury, and Ernest for marriage and stability. What’s wrong with that?’”
David cradled his chin in his palm and resisted the temptation to tell her what was wrong. He feared he was actually falling in love with her. But true romance could spell tragedy in espionage. He could tell his silence unsettled her.
“You won’t believe who Ernest is bringing back to London in October. Mary Raffray! And she’s staying at Bryanston Court with us! The darlings have no idea I’m on to them. Oh well, when I dump him next year at least he will have a soft lap to land in.”
Lighting a cigarette, David asked, “Do you think you and Ernest will be up to attending another royal wedding in November?”
Wallis’s eyes widened. “Royal wedding? Who?
“My brother Harry.”
“What? They finally found someone to marry huggy bear? I don’t believe it.”
“Lady Alice Montagu-Douglas-Scott.”
“Two hyphens? She must be important.”
“Now be nice.”
Wallis pulled his hand over to light her cigarette from his. “I thought you liked it when I wasn’t nice.”
“White carnation. Ribbentrop. Got it. Want to know the details?”
David crushed his cigarette out in ash tray. “Only what will interested MI6.”
“Well, for starters, he doesn’t suspect me of spilling the beans on the German air force,” she said, quite pleased with her powers of persuasion. “He was in Paris for talks with French Foreign Minister Louis Barthou. Ribbentrop encouraged him to meet Hitler to sign a non-aggression pact.”
David duly passed the information on to General Trotter and tried not to sound jealous when he mentioned Wallis and the German shared an intimate moment. He couldn’t linger on his emotions, however, because of the continuous communiques from Sandringham Palace where the King had recused himself during his extended illness. David visited often and noted his father’s failing health and his fading mental faculties. Often a comment would go without response from the old man until moments later.
George recovered as the royal wedding neared, and he made a good appearance to celebrate Prince Harry’s nuptials. David remembered the days when a harsh look from his father could make his brother faint headed. Now he hardly noticed his father as he beamed at his bride.
As Christmas approached, David asked Wallis to oversee the purchase and wrapping of presents for his staff of one hundred and sixty five. In previous years this had been Thelma Furnace’s job. Wallis fulfilled her duties with rapt efficiency.
He wrote a note to Wallis after the holiday stating it had been the worst Christmas ever. The old man went hunting on Christmas Eve, which was his custom, however because of his weakened condition he caught a chill. His declining health cast its own pall over the gift exchange the next morning. In case the letter fell into anyone else’s hands, he added an afterthought that he was the only brother there who did not have a wife. David felt General Trotter would have approved.
After the New Year, David, Wallis and the general met for a casual tea in the main parlor of Fort Belvedere discussing how they would proceed after the king died. Wallis clearly was not interested. A knock at the door interrupted the general’s oration. It was a footman from Sandringham who announced the king was expected to die within the next twenty hours.
When David arrived, his father did not immediately recognize him. His mother Queen Mary informed him a coffin had already been delivered, and she was making arrangements for the funeral. She added she was organizing a list of beneficiaries for her jewelry upon her death and made clear to David Wallis was to have none of it. At least she has her priorities in order, David thought.
It was close to midnight and the doctor Lord Dawson was fretting that if the king didn’t die soon, the announcement would not appear until the afternoon newspapers, which would have been a real tragedy. For the first time in many years, David felt indignation rising from his stomach for his father. His training restrained him. He turned his attention to the clock in the hallway. It was set half an hour ahead; he reset it himself. By the time David finished, Lord Dawson appeared from the king’s bedchamber, placing a syringe into his medical valise.
“The king has died.” He snapped the bag shut. “Notify the London Times.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *