David, Wallis and the Mercenary Chapter Forty-Nine

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. Old King George finally dies.
By the next morning David had been hustled by courtiers to St. James Palace which was in the heart of London next to the Green Park for the meeting of the King’s Accession Council. After a few customary comments privy councilors broached the topic of Mrs. Simpson, which David fully expected. General Trotter, however, instructed him to act apprehensive and queasy. They finished and voted their approval of the proclamation of accession at noon. David went to his apartment in York House, a wing of St. James overlooking Friary Court where the proclamation would be read to the public amidst much pomp and circumstance.
General Trotter instructed David to call Wallis to join him in the window above the court to observe the ceremony. This would serve two purposes, he said. The world would be shocked to see him at ceremony. No British king had ever watched his own proclamation before. Proper society would shudder when his mistress sat by his side when he did.
Wallis, dressed in a subdued black outfit with a fur collar and modest hat, arrived by way of a side street through the Colour Court and made her way upstairs to the prince’s quarters. Just as four state trumpeters in gold-lace draped tunics marched onto the low balcony over the courtyard, Wallis stepped into the light of the window and sat in chair, followed by David who stood with his arm around her shoulders. Everyone gathered in Friary Court. The crowd flowed out onto Marlborough Road. The observers immediately turned their heads to the window and pointed. News photographers shot pictures at window. Newsreel cameras also focused on the couple instead of the balcony where the proclamation was taking place.
“Good, good, exactly what we wanted,” General Trotter muttered, standing apart from them in the shadows.
“Should we wave?” Wallis asked.
“Heavens no,” Trotter replied. “Just sit back and enjoy the show.”
Sergeants at arms hoisted their royal maces high. The trumpet blasted. Garter King Sir Gerald Wollaston, accompanied by equally garishly dressed attendants, appeared and pulled out the proclamation to read in a loud official voice.
“By the way, Wallis,” Trotter continued, ignoring the royal pageantry, “I must inform you that I am leaving my post as equerry out of protest of your close companionship with the king. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. I have nothing but the highest admiration for the way you conduct your espionage missions. But the new crush of attendants around David will make my private role more difficult. Out of the official inner circle, I can be more efficient in passing on MI6 orders.”
“That’s nice to know,” she said in a tone that conveyed she didn’t really care what was being said.
“And you, David, I don’t know if you will be able to stay on the throne,” Trotter informed him.
“God, I hope not,” the prince replied in derision, even though he kept smiling as the proclamation reading. “Bertie would be much better at this kinging business than I ever would.”
“He doesn’t think so, nor does his wife. But your mother and the prime minister would be pleased if he were king.”
“I suppose we couldn’t let him in on our little secret,” David offered.
“Of course not,” Trotter snapped. “You knew from the very beginning your family could never know.”
“So when can I stop being king?”
The long-winded King of the Garter Sir Wollaston finished the proclamation, and the regimental band in the courtyard blared “God Save the King.” Wallis couldn’t help herself and burbled a full throated laugh.
“Sorry,” she said, pulling a handkerchief from her purse to cover her mouth. “The timing of the anthem right after your question was quite ironic.”
Trotter raised an eyebrow then ignored Wallis. “Next summer when you take your holiday you’ll visit several countries by train and by yacht. The itinerary will be a bit of gobbledygook. You have to skip Italy because Mussolini invaded Ethiopia.”
“Well, we all knew that was coming,” David said. “Anyplace else we can’t go?”
“Cannes,” Trotter replied. “The election of a leftist government might provoke radicals to try to assassinate you.”
“Oh great,” Wallis said with great disgust. “Where can we go?”
“The Dalmatian Coast,” Trotter answered.
“How exciting,” she announced with a sarcastic wit. After a pause she asked, “May I have a cigarette now?”
“Not as long as there’s a crowd lingering in the courtyard,” the general said.
“Why don’t they leave?” David asked.
“Because you are still in the window,” Trotter explained. “This is one of the problems MI6 faces.”
Wallis stood. “Let’s move into another room so I can have my damn cigarette.”
Once they settled into an inner parlor, the general explained the test mission. “You will spend most of your time on the Dalmatian Coast in secluded coves sunbathing and in tiny towns letting the local peasants gawk at you. While all this is going on, someone in the crowd—one of our agents—will pass a note to you. It will say, “1, 2, 3, 4, 5.” If you are able to complete the mission without undue attention being drawn to you, we might continue with you as king; otherwise you will have to abdicate.”
“That sounds simple-minded. Who came up with that childish idea?” Wallis asked.
David smiled. “Remember the poem. Ours is not to reason why….”
“By the way,” Trotter added, “I have a couple who requested to see you today. I’m sure you remember them, David. They’ve been quite useful on a few of your missions. They’re retiring and wanted to say good-bye.”
Glancing at the door he saw the old couple who had passed on parts of messages throughout the years. The last time he had seen them they were working in the background at Ribbentrop’s apartment. They were holding hands which made David smile. He turned to Wallis.
“This couple has been invaluable to many operations passing on information. You may have noticed them at dinner parties with the Ribbentrops.”
Wallis stood, crossed to them and extended her hand. “Of course I remember you. Mrs. Ribbentrop raved about how she couldn’t host a party without you getting things done.”
They shook her hand and the woman curtsied.
“They’re responsible for securing the information on the Hitler conference in ’35 and Ribbentrop’s recent visit to Paris,” Trotter explained.
“My, you are valuable, aren’t you?” Wallis responded. “So why are you retiring?”
“Who wants to work for a king the likes of him?” The woman pointed at David.
“You’ll have to excuse me old lady,” the man said. “She has a Cockney sense of humor.”
“Excuse her? I want to hug her!” Wallis reached out and took the woman in her arms.
“You’re a bit of a bag of bones, but you’re a sweet one for sure,” the woman muttered, her voice cracking a bit.
“Oh, my dear, you don’t know the half of it.” Wallis winked.
“No sir,” the old man continued. “We decided it was time to call it quits. The German mission was the most important thing we ever did, so we’re leaving while we’re at the top of our game, so to speak. When you get old, you make mistakes, and we’ll have none of that.”
“So where are you going?” Wallis asked the woman.
“New York,” she replied. “Love the Coney Island hot dogs.”
Wallis patted her hand. “Trust me. Baltimore has better hot dogs.”
Everyone laughed, except David who pondered the man’s comment about age. He was forty-two now. How many years did he have left before making a fatal mistake?

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