Joseph Shepherd Chs. 48-51

Part II  – 20 Years Later, 1646

Chapter 48

Much had transpired over the years as my family grew. Anna was now over 19 years old and her older step-brother, Jacob, was now a fine young man of 25. He learned to love the sea, and he was sailing under the tutelage of his “uncle” Edwin. Edwin, now just over 60 years old, was still venerated as a sailing man. He had captained numerous trips between England and America, and was the most trusted captain on those routes.

Captain Braden had died over 15 years ago when another bout of smallpox swept into our area, now known as Boston. Albert Adams was still living with Henry Adams and his family, having actually shown some progress in his seizure problems. Shepherd was keeping us apprised of medical advances on the Continent, and I suspected that these advances were actually his own ideas which he attributed to the “growing medical and scientific community” in Europe at the time.  Shepherd had instructed Albert to get plenty of rest, and to take the powdered Bacopa Leaf which he had sent to us many years ago. Albert showed enough improvement that he was able to help take care of some of the children in the community while parents worked in the fields, fished, hunted, etc. In fact, it was in the care of Albert Adams that his nephew John met my little Anna. Lifelong childhood friends, they married in 1645, and made Margaret and me grandparents in 1646 with a son named John.

Chepi and Kelley had no more children, having lost 2 in childbirth. Chepi nearly succumbed with the last child she lost, but survived by clearly the grace of God. Kimi ran off with a French trapper when she was just over 15 years old. Kelley, worried for her safety, tracked them down over a period of almost 6 months, almost losing his health over the ordeal. When he caught up with the trader, he saw that Kimi had been abused by him, and had miscarried a child herself. Beside himself with rage, Kelley engaged the much younger man in a fight. The details of this encounter have changed somewhat over the years, with the account of Kimi and Kelley differing just a little as to how the fight played out. There was no disagreement over the final result, which ended with the trader, Lehane they called him, bleeding badly and with a bone protruding from his forearm, running as best he could into the woods. He was found some weeks later by some Algonquin warriors who finished the encounter that Kelley had started. Chepi had kept her contacts in the Algonquin community, and justice seemed to happen somehow when Chepi was in need.

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  Shepherd was a faithful writer, and we exchanged letters very regularly. His writings in fact were voluminous and detailed- the reason that I am able to convey his adventures. His journeys and his work always seemed to involve the leaders in Europe’s scientific and political communities.

Upon his return in 1626, Shepherd had taken up Harvey’s offer to live with him and also to assist him in his position as physician to the King, now Charles I. There Shepherd was in a position to mix with men like the Irishman Robert Boyle, whom Shepherd tutored for a while when Boyle and his father visited London. Shepherd discussed with Boyle the ideas about expansion properties of gasses and how temperature and pressure affected the process. Shepherd wrote about our experiment with smallpox vaccination and it was included in a publication of the Royal Society in 1639, although it was met with much criticism, it was a topic which stayed in the discussion of the scientific community.

As part of the arrangement that Harvey had proposed, Shepherd helped Harvey write De Motu Cordis which fully explained Harvey’s theory of the circulation of blood in the human body.

Shepherd visited Galileo in Italy when Galileo was under house arrest for his controversial theories about the earth’s orbit of the sun. Shepherd, while on the Continent, visited Blaise Pascal, with whom he had kept a lively conversation about religious as well as scientific matters.  Pascal, a devout Jansenist, was insistent on the strictest definition of God’s wrath toward those who do not follow the rigid, albeit confusing paths outlined by a God who was not easily pleased. Indeed, Pascal took to wearing an iron girdle with small spikes under his cloak so that he could, on occasion, press the girdle and produce pain which reminded him of his sinful nature which needed to be suppressed and punished. Shepherd had explained that Jesus had taken care of such punishment, but Pascal was unmoved, preferring not to trust entirely in such provision, but trusting only that his own nature was almost beyond redemption.

Pascal believed that the Jesuits were almost heretical in their beliefs that man had great freedom in pursuing scientific knowledge, even if it may refute traditional church teachings. He saw Jesuits as libertine and pope pleasers, having lost the rigid discipline he admired. Shepherd felt compassion toward Pascal, the tortured genius who had come up with mathematical theories which seemed to open a new door for predicting certain outcomes. Ironically, his work on producing a true vacuum was a puzzle and an enigma for traditional thinking, which held that vacuum states were antithetical to God’s design. Shepherd merely took this as part of God’s grand design which man could work at, but never completely explain. This was part of Shepherd’s genius. He felt comfortable in ambiguity which led to more research on truth. He did not believe that God was so easily displaced by science, and he saw no inherent problems in both scientific knowledge, and God’s grand design. As long as one remembered who they were relative to God, one could pursue a life of exploration and questioning, which, of course, was no threat to almighty God.

He arrived in England just before his friend Francis Bacon died, and Shepherd told me that he was at his bedside as he passed into the next world.

He re-established a hospital in London which served the poor, and he was able to engage William Harvey in this occasionally. Imagine having the best medical minds of the times (in my opinion) serving the poorest, most hopeless people in the realm. Shepherd had reminded me that such a thing should be the norm in a world which does not judge the worth of a person by their personal fortune.

As physician to King Charles with Harvey, Shepherd had access to great power. Yet Shepherd always believed that power only defined character. “What does one do with power?” he said. “A man of character will help to give power to others, not save it for one’s personal benefit”. Thus began a period of tension, and finally alienation from King Charles. Charles’ belief that his position was directly given from God did not seem to bother Shepherd. As long as that power was used to benefit those he governed, Shepherd was satisfied and supportive. But Charles, arrogant, entitled and lazy, seemed to only impose hardships on people and his motive was to maintain his power as King. He failed to convene Parliament and took his own counsel. Shepherd had taken the brazen step to confront the king, in private to be sure, but in direct terms. Charles, taken aback by Shepherd, was indignant, but he also did not take the step Shepherd expected- to remove him from the court.

The growing rift between Shepherd and King Charles led Harvey to advise Shepherd that his behavior toward the king was disrespectful and dangerous. Harvey, ever the political genius, knew how to curry favor as well as how to avoid trouble. It seemed that Shepherd had the disconcerting tendency to speak the truth, no matter who it was directed toward.

“You are such a masterful physician” said Harvey, “must you waste that gift by alienating others?” “Have I alienated you?” asked Shepherd. “No my dear Shepherd you have not. We have done great work together, and I am most appreciative of your contributions to my research and writing. But I fear for your well-being! Please be more discreet in your dealings with King Charles, especially in this perilous time. Men you are consorting with would bring down the crown, then how could we have the stability and peace we need to continue our work?”

Shepherd was silent, then looked at Harvey. “My friend”, he said, “we have done good things together, and I do not want to hurt you. However, I am bound by my conscience to speak out against tyranny and injustice. Such behavior often causes discomfort to people, and while I have no argument or disagreement with you, I fear that you too have been hurt by my actions. I ask your forgiveness for that. However, I find that I cannot much longer serve this king who has caused so much pain for so many in England.”

“Just consider what I have said Joseph”, said Harvey, seeing that he would not convince Shepherd of anything that might go against his convictions. “Do not make any decisions in haste”. “William”, said Shepherd, “I would like you to consider joining me in trying to move the heart of this king. We have influence as royal physicians, I am certain of that, especially you. Are you willing to consider that?” asked Shepherd. Harvey, silent himself now said, “Perhaps”. 

 The adventure that caused Shepherd to end his tenure in London began when he befriended Thomas Rainsborough. Rainsborough and Oliver Cromwell had seen in Shepherd a man who was strong in character, and who saw that people were suffering under the reign of King Charles. Along with Rainsborough, Shepherd helped start a group called the Levellers. Shepherd believed that through the use of pamphlets and petitions to reach the minds of people, they would be able to secure some share of power over their own lives. Indeed, Shepherd had seen the misery of poverty in London for many years. His hospital met the needs of people in the midst of poverty, but if he could help to prevent poverty wouldn’t that be a higher calling?

The Levellers met at the Garter Inn, wearing their distinctive symbol of a sprig of rosemary in their hats and a sea-green ribbon. The aims of this group appealed to Shepherd. They valued religious tolerance, popular sovereignty, and equality before the law. Shepherd saw in this how they valued the dignity of a man, and trust that he was capable of reasonable rule, not needing the dominance of a king who claimed his only accountability was to God. Indeed, Shepherd believed that rulers were under the authority of God, and were placed in that position for the good of people. If this were to be abused, he believed that people had the right to remove an unjust ruler. He did not go as far as some who believed that the king should be tried and possibly executed. That viewpoint was growing dangerously prevalent he felt.

After one of their meetings at the Garter Inn, Shepherd was walking home in the dark London evening. There was a bit of chill in the evening and he bundled his coat around him as he walked the few blocks toward home that he knew well. He was suddenly accosted from a dark alley by three men carrying torches. “Dr. Shepherd?” one asked gruffly. “Yes, who asks?” replied Shepherd. “You don’t need to know who asks!” replied the stranger. “Looks like a sprig of rosemary in his hat” said another. “The physician to the King has a sprig of rosemary in his hat! Can you imagine that!?” “That is high treason said the third, let’s take him!”   

Chapter 49

Shepherd was whisked away down the alley from where the men had appeared. The men ducked into a stairwell that ran into a cellar. The cellar was connected to a tunnel which led into a maze under several buildings. The torches burned with soot that became choking in the confined spaces of the tunnel. The men had blindfolded Shepherd and he was led gruffly by a rope which also bound his hands. The three men were moving quickly through the confusing tunnel, guided by the instinct developed over years of use, and perfected through repetition, often in flight for their lives.

They finally reached a shabby door and they pushed through it into a room lit just barely better than the tunnel. Shepherd, still blindfolded was struck by the smell which offended his nose- burning flesh. Shepherd could hear muffled screams coming from the other side of the room, apparently from someone who was being tortured, but whose screams were almost silenced by a gag.

The men removed Shepherd’s blindfold, ensuring that Shepherd could see what was happening to the poor devil in the corner of the room. “That’s what’ll happen to you if you don’t do what we tell you, and answer our questions!” one of them threatened.

“This is what you brigands do to people?” asked Shepherd.  Immediately a hand came across Shepherd’s face, knocking him off balance. “Yes, we do this if we need to”, said another. “You are one of the King’s physicians and you take care of that filthy robber. Yet you call us brigands! Don’t you know that he is the biggest robber in the land? He treats us like we have no rights or no power. He will soon find out!”

“And why are you telling this to me?” asked Shepherd. “We want you to tell us who in the royal court is still professing loyalty to Charles Stuart, but might really be of a mind with us. We know that many in the court fear Charles and his soldiers, but have loyalty only through fear. We need to know who they are!” said the third member of the team.

“I do not know who that might be”, said Shepherd, “but even if I did, I would certainly never tell you” he answered. Another hand came across Shepherd’s face, this time drawing blood from his nose. “What about Harvey?’ asked the third member. Is he loyal to the King?”

“I can tell you this” said Shepherd, “If William Harvey professes loyalty to someone, he remains loyal”. “So he is on the Stuart side” said the third member. “Well of course” said Shepherd, “he is the King’s physician”.

“You are a King’s physician said the questioner, are you loyal to him?” “Yes, I am” said Shepherd, “Even when I disagree with him”. “So you disagree with him?” asked the questioner, now surprised.  “Yes, I do disagree with him, often in fact.”

“But you remain loyal to him”, countered the interrogator. “Yes”, replied Shepherd. “Does he remain loyal to you?”  “I suppose he does”, said Shepherd, “I have never asked him” he smiled.

“Well, I wonder if he would pay a ransom for you?” mused the third member. “I would think not”, said Shepherd. “Kings do not bend to such rogue antics”. Once again the hand came across Shepherd’s face, cutting his cheek.

“Be easy on this fellow, he may be worth some money” said a man from across the room. “He just said the King will not pay for his ransom you fool!” barked the rough handed second member of the group. “The king may not pay, but his friend Harvey might”, said the third member, now warming to the idea of getting some money for his prize sitting before him.

Once they decided to keep Shepherd as a ransom prize, they agreed that they should try to keep him reasonably healthy and unharmed. “Wash his wounds, take off his blindfold and give him some rum”, said the third member whom they called “Whiteman”.

With the blindfold off, Shepherd could see the wretched man being tortured far across the dimly lit room. His screams were still muffled by the gag, but he was weakening by now, and seemed to have little strength left. As the torturer was ready to apply the red hot poker to the man’s already seared arm, Shepherd screamed out, “If you continue to harm that man, you will never see a half-pence of ransom for me!” Whiteman stopped the torture, incredulous at Shepherd’s insolence. He then laughed, “Now how can you have any say in that?” Shepherd quickly responded, “If you hope to get any money for me, the payer will need to know that I am alive and cared for reasonably. If you harm that man any further, I will surely tell the payer, whether it be Harvey, or anyone else to not pay you a thing!”

“So, you would sign your own death warrant for that miserable wretch that you do not even know?” asked Whiteman. “I suspect that you do not know him either, yet you torture him. People have dignity, and you have no reason nor right to torture him or anyone else” said Shepherd.

“We need information from him and he is unwilling to give it to us. So, we torture him until he does. Some men just have more tolerance than others, but he will eventually give in”, Whiteman said smugly. “Why do you care about him?”

“I see that I am talking with a fool” said Shepherd, “and what I say you could not understand no matter if I talked all night. Simply understand that if he is tortured, you will never even get a farthing for my release”. One of the men came over to slap Shepherd again but Whiteman stopped him. “Let him be” said Whiteman. “Let Craft go for a bit. Maybe he will be more talkative if we take his gag off” laughed Whiteman, trying to ease the humiliation of giving in to Shepherd’s request. Others laughed uneasily also, wondering what was happening. Somehow this new prisoner seemed to be in charge, and it was quite confusing and disturbing.

The torture victim was Oliver Craft. He had a sordid history, and had not been heard from for many years, until he was caught helping a Royalist group in Scotland. He had been essentially running since the days of the Mission fire. King Charles had been gathering support in Ireland, Scotland, and even in Holland as his support in Parliament eroded. He was getting increasingly desperate in trying to find arms, men and money. To do this, he reached out to traditional foes and other royalist sympathizers wherever he could. Oliver Craft, having no particular allegiance, simply followed schemes where he could get paid. Aging now, he was a pathetic sight. His arm was terribly inflamed and oozing blood and serum. He had lost his hair and his teeth over years of neglect and hard living. He wore rags and was gaunt from hunger. Truth be known, the band of brigands who were torturing him may have done better to simply offer him rum or gin for information. He likely had no real information for them anyway, but he was a convenient target of their bloodlust and revenge.

Shepherd heard the name Craft, and it brought back memories of twenty some years ago. Was this Oliver Craft? Craft was a known thug at that time, and Shepherd had heard of Edwin Carr’s discussion of “Red” Locker and his suspicion about Craft having some involvement in the Mission fire.

While Shepherd was thinking of that distant past, Craft called over to Shepherd. “Why did you do that?” he asked. “No one should be treated as you were” said Shepherd simply. “Are you Oliver Craft?” asked Shepherd. “Aye, that’s me”, said Craft.”You know me?” he asked. “Yes, from many years ago when I was first in London”, said Shepherd. “Then you know about me and my past” Craft said. “I know stories of you, but I do not know you” said Shepherd. “Well, them stories are probly true. I done some bad things in my life. That’s why I wonder why you done that to save me”, he said.

“As I said, no one deserves such treatment”, said Shepherd. “You are Joseph Shepherd ain’t you?” “Yes, you know me?” asked Shepherd. “You and William Harvey are the king’s physicians, royalists I reckon. I don’t care myself, but there are a lot of people who hate you and I know that Charles Stuart is in trouble. How I get paid is by working for people who want trouble. That’s what I done all my life”, Craft said.

“Some people says that you and William Harvey are geniuses, but some says you two are insane”, he laughed. Which are ya Shepherd?” “What do you say I am?” asked Shepherd. “I say I don’t care which, I just know you saved my sorry arse, and that’s all I know!” Craft laughed at this despite the obvious suffering he was undergoing from his burn pains.

Whiteman walked over to Craft and kicked him in the leg. “I can’t get you to talk even when I burn you, and now you won’t stop talking. You got something to say about who is paying you?”

“If I tell you who is paying me, I get killed by them. If I don’t tell you, you probly kill me. I reckon I lose either way”, said Craft. “Well, you might be right about that” said Whiteman. “Truth is, I got you here, and I can kill you right now. If you tell me who pays you, that man may not catch you- at least not right away. You got a better chance telling me now, because I am losing my patience with you, no matter what Shepherd says”, finished Whiteman.

“Look” said Craft, “my life is about done anyhow. Give me a good meal, a bottle of gin, and I will tell you who is paying me”. “Why didn’t you do this two hours ago?” asked Whiteman. “Like you says to Shepherd here, you get what you want sooner or later from a man. I give up. All I want is what I said- food and gin and a way out of here.”

Whiteman smiled. “Raymond, get this man some food and a bottle as soon as he tells us what we want to know.” “Now, Craft, who is the man paying you?”

“Who says it’s a man?” he winked, “could be a woman!” “Well, is it a woman?” asked Whiteman, now getting irritated. “Yes, it is a woman. Anne Kensington’s her name. Meanest witch in London. Probly kill me, but I reckon that’s my problem not yours.”

“Where is she now?” asked Whiteman. “I don’t know. I meet a man at the “Boar’s Head” and he pays me. He tells me what I need to do and I do it. I can’t do it no more anyhow. I’m too old and too sick now. I’m half dead already, I just want to get away now and live out what I got left in peace”.

Whiteman left and went over to talk with Raymond in private, leaving Shepherd and Craft alone. Shepherd leaned over to Craft and said, “Do you mean it that you want to live the rest of your life in peace?” “Yes”, said Craft, “I just want to be left in peace now with what time I got left” Craft said. “If you want peace, speak the truth” said Shepherd. “Tell me if you had anything to do with the Mission fire twenty years ago”, said Shepherd. Craft lowered his head, “I did” he said. “Me and Jim Bidwell done that. We didn’t mean for it to happen like it did, but we did it. Worst thing I ever done, and I done some bad things. Probly ruined a life that was already bad. I think about that all the time. Preachers tell me I’m going to Hell for that. I reckon if there is a Hell, I’ll find it even without that fire. But that fire haunts me. That is one thing I am really sorry for. Too late for that I reckon…” Craft trailed off.

“It is never too late Craft. God can forgive you for that”, said Shepherd confidently. “Who put you up to that?” asked Shepherd. “Red” Locker was who paid us, but I’m sure that it was Andrew Kensington. Locker was just Kensington’s man- least till he got killed. I don’t know who killed him, but I got some ideas.”

“I’m glad you think God can forgive me Shepherd, but even if God does, other people don’t”, Craft said. “Some do not, you’re right, but I forgive you.”, said Shepherd. Craft was taken aback by this quick response. “You know what I done. It was the place you built up, and your friend Jacob Carr died in that fire. You lost so much in that fire. How can you forgive me?” asked Craft. “I have been thinking about that fire for years also”, said Shepherd. “I have had time to be angry and hurt, but I need to forgive to be free myself. I forgave the people who started that fire a long time ago. I just now had the chance to tell you.”

Craft looked away from Shepherd as he heard his name called. Raymond had fetched a plate for Craft and he carried with him a bottle of gin. “We are going to follow you to the Boar’s Head tomorrow, but it will be at a distance. You meet with the person who pays you, and then walk away from the tavern. That’s all you need to do, and we are done with you. Now, if you want to tell us about other people who pay you, we can give you a bottle of gin every week, maybe food too. If we find that you are not dealing right with us, we’ll just kill you. Do you understand?”    

“I understand” said Craft, “but after I lead you to the Boar’s Head, I am done with you and with all of this.” “You are never done in the work you do Craft, too many people want to kill you”, laughed Whiteman.

“Shepherd, as for you, we want to contact William Harvey about some money to let you go. We are reasonable men so £500 should be a good start,” Whiteman said. “No, you are most certainly not reasonable men”, said Shepherd, “but that notwithstanding, Harvey will be unable to pay such a ransom.” “You are the king’s physician. Charles Stuart should pay the money if he wants to keep his royal physician”, said Whiteman. “Sir”, said Shepherd, “I am of no value to you if no one will pay for my ransom, and I refuse to ask my friends and colleagues or even the King of England for money for my release. If you plan to kill me, then do it and be done, but you will not profit from my capture”, Shepherd concluded. “Perhaps I will do just that Shepherd”, said Whiteman.

Shepherd was held for several days, unwilling to contact Harvey or anyone else about ransom. Whiteman took it upon himself to send a message to William Harvey that he held Shepherd and expected £500 for his release.

Raymond had followed Craft to the Boar’s Head and the meeting seemed to go as planned. Craft met his contact while Raymond and his men waited outside in an alley. Craft lingered for just a while with the contact, then left the tavern. When the contact, a man named Crouch, left the tavern, he was confronted by Raymond and a small band of rebels. As they moved to grab Crouch, a mob of a dozen armed men converged upon Raymond and his group and overwhelmed them. One was shot in the face and perished immediately. Two others were clubbed down, and Raymond was thrown to the ground and bound. Oliver Craft appeared from the shadows and promptly kicked the downed Raymond square in his back, eliciting a scream from the stricken victim.

“You’re a fool to trust a crook like me!” laughed Craft. “Now lead us back to your lair or I will kill you where you lie!” he screamed, the pent up rage of his torture now exploding from him. Raymond stood, shaking. He led them through the maze of buildings to the tunnel, and finally the rebel base.

Crouch took over with several of his vicious band ready for a fight. Raymond led them to the door and Crouch quickly kicked it in as his band overwhelmed those inside. Whiteman grabbed for his pistol, but he was clubbed to the ground before he could aim it. Shepherd watched in amazement as Craft came over to him. “I figured that I owe this to you” he smiled as he got ready to slip out the door, glad to be away from the mess he had been in.

Shepherd still had on his sprig of rosemary which identified him as a Leveller. Crouch looked at Shepherd and said nothing. Then he said to Craft, “Take him with you. I am not going to travel with a Leveller. Just get him away from here like we talked about.”

Chapter 50

Shepherd headed back to the King’s court and found Harvey. He related his experiences and told Harvey that he had no interest in further royal intrigues, and it was time to do what he really wanted- he felt called to rebuild the Mission. This is something that Harvey had alluded to in his letter to Shepherd that had been an enticement for Shepherd’s return. The idea that the king may help to re-establish the Mission was really more Harvey’s hope than likely reality. Charles Stuart was more concerned with finding money for his own ventures than spending for the good of his people.

Shepherd was determined to establish a place for the wretched poor that he increasingly encountered. While he had made a great many friends in the scientific and philosophy communities, he was unable to persuade them to support his efforts among the poor. Robert Boyle, the young man whom Shepherd had mentored, showed interest in the effort, and he was able to persuade his father, Richard Boyle, Earl of Cork, to contribute funds toward the building of a new Mission. Shepherd also prevailed upon the Levellers to help in the cause since it fit their belief in the dignity of the individual. However, the notion that poor people were simply living out the consequences of their sin and depravity was a strongly held belief. After all, people reasoned, Jesus himself had said that the “poor will always be with us”. They were to be tolerated at best as one of those unfortunate inconveniences of life.

Shepherd found some friendly support from Amos Wesley who shared the belief that one’s faith should be displayed by how well we care for the needs of others. He shared Shepherd’s belief that one could best love God by loving other people.

The Mission began in a converted stable which had been involved in a fire over twenty years prior- one started by Jacob Carr. Shepherd thought this to be great redemption of Jacob Carr’s name, and, in fact, named the Mission the Jacob Carr Memorial Mission. With some work, the stable turned out to be suitable for the need. Thomas Browne was a willing partner of Shepherd who shared the belief that humanitarian interests were interests of God himself.

Once again, the genius of Shepherd was applied to medical science. He was curious and innovative in his approach, and consequently, he was willing to try out methods and medicines which the general public would not tolerate. His patients, poor and desperate, accepted anything he tried. He began his practice of smallpox inoculations on a larger scale. He did surgeries with the use of diethyl ether, a distilled byproduct of ethanol and oil of vitriol. This put patients to sleep during the surgery- a major boon for both patient and surgeon. He used opium as a pain relief, harkening back to the days on the Intrepid when we medicated Mr. North after his injuries. He used his tourniquet to reduce the terrible bleeding which accompanied surgeries. He was fastidious about cleanliness and he required that the area of surgery be cleaned after each surgery, a practice unheard of and ridiculed by others. He required that each patient be treated with care and dignity, believing that such treatment in itself was curative. He incorporated many of the herbs we had seen in America into treatment, relying on the shipments that I would regularly send to him.

People began to talk about the rate at which people were recovering in the Jacob Carr Memorial Mission. The established physicians of the time were quick to criticize the Mission, stating that such claims were outrageous, and that Shepherd was boasting of things he did not know. Yet, as casualties of the sporadic skirmishes of a civil war began to be treated at the Jacob Carr Mission, there was clearly a high rate of success, despite the fact that now, only the most serious cases were being sent there.

Oliver Cromwell decided to visit the Carr Mission to see for himself whether this place was a real place of healing, or a hokum of some kind. Cromwell had a very clear and narrow view of how God could work. Anything that fell outside his Old Testament viewpoint was likely to be condemned.

Cromwell asked to speak with Shepherd about the methods he used. As he was speaking, a young man and his father came in. They stated that they had come from Rome a few years ago. The father appeared to be in his late fifties, and he was weeping from time to time, speaking in a broken accent. They had been in England several years, but both struggled with the language. The young man was suffering from seizures, and they were crippling to him to the point that he could not work. His father, a cobbler, was desperate for a cure for his son. No other physicians could give any relief or even hope.  

The young man’s father looked at Shepherd with a long gaze. He squinted through his wrinkled eyes at Shepherd, trying to place where he might have seen this man before. As Shepherd examined the young man he asked if the man, Mario, had ever had a head injury. The father, Julius, said no, not that he had recalled. Mario was unsure, but allowed that everyone has hit their head at some time. Shepherd laughed, “Indeed they have” he stated.

Shepherd began to busy himself preparing a mug of water which he produced from a barrel of water brought in from nearby Epsom. The mineralized water seemed to have beneficial effects on seizures and some other maladies. Indeed, many people simply soaked in the natural springs found in Epsom, and claimed benefits to their health.

Then Julius cried out “Joseph Shepherd!” “I am Julius Rosello. I met you in Rome many years ago”. Shepherd did not recall ever meeting the man. “Yes!” said Julius, “you talked with me and my friend Marco. We were poor beggars in rags, sick and destitute. You told us that we needed not money, but healing for our souls, and you directed us to go to the priest after you prayed with us. The sores on my feet eventually went away, and later we were taken in by the priests. They taught me the trade of being a cobbler and I was able to work. I married, had a son, and my wife died in childbirth with my second child, who also died. Mario and I came to England several years ago and I found work as a cobbler. We are poor, but we survive. I thank God for you and how you healed me!”

 “I am so pleased that you were healed Julius”, Shepherd said, “but it was not I that healed you. God does his work in you. I cannot heal, but I can help to connect you with the One who can!”

Cromwell watched this exchange and seemed taken aback. Cromwell already had deep suspicions about Shepherd, knowing that he had been physician to King Charles. Now he wondered if Shepherd might be using the powers of the Devil to heal. So many people had claimed that Shepherd spent much time alone and that his methods were, at best, unorthodox. Cromwell was suspicious as well as frightened a bit by Shepherd.

“I understand that your methods of treatment are somewhat unusual Dr. Shepherd”, said Cromwell. “Perhaps by the standards of our current understanding”, said Shepherd, but I believe that in future years, the things I do will be common practice”.

“What arrogance!” said Cromwell. “You put yourself above the great minds of the age, and you say that years from now people will look upon you as the great mind and innovator?” said Cromwell. “I certainly did not say that sir”, said Shepherd. “I simply stated that these things will be commonplace, not that I am the innovator. Whatever I have, God has given me. My ideas are only because they are inspired by God, my Father and Lord.”

“So”, Cromwell proceeded, “you say that God has inspired you, given you special knowledge?”   “I don’t know that it is special knowledge for me. I believe that God has given this to me to share with the world”, replied Shepherd.

“You seem to speak about God in a very intimate way, like you have some special relationship with the Almighty”, said Cromwell. “It is the one we can all have with God, what he desires of us”, said Shepherd.

“Are you with the Parliament, with the Royalists, the Levellers- to whom do you swear allegiance?” asked Cromwell. “I have no particular allegiance to any of those groups, seeing both flaws and virtues in all of them”, replied Shepherd. “The day will come, and soon, when you must take a stand Dr. Shepherd. You have influence, perhaps more than you realize, and you will need to lend that influence to a cause. I pray that you choose wisely”, ended Cromwell. He bid Shepherd good day and left the Mission.

Shepherd pondered this uncomfortable conversation with Cromwell. People may expect him to choose sides, and he was not inclined to do so.  

Chapter 51

Anne Kensington had continued to age well. She still had an air- a veneer- of grace and beauty. Her actions however, belied such grace. She had been responsible for numerous rebel deaths as she clung to her royal backing. She had long been separated from Andrew Kensington, yet she maintained a business relationship with him after some years in London making friends the way she knew how.

Anne had been remarkably successful after finding herself alone in London some twenty years prior. She did what she did best- entertaining people of wealth and influence. She connected people to the trade in America, and soon persuaded Andrew that while they were no longer lovers, she could be of value to him in London securing contacts and trade partners. She counted as friends Cardinal Richlieu of France, and his protégé, Cardinal Mazarin. Mazarin, in fact, had a brief but torrid romance with Anne some years earlier, and Mazarin never completely let go of his passion for Anne. Mazarin was useful to Anne, and he gave her access to French trade companies, and exclusive rights to the fur trade which brought in unimagined wealth to the crown. The French people would never see the benefit of these profits, but the Kensingtons were deft in arranging alliances with French traders in America. Andrew had known that governmental allegiances were far overshadowed by economic ones.

Anne’s mix of coquetry, charm and lust for power and money allowed her to charm men, manipulate them, and often simply cheat them for her own means. Andrew had grown extremely wealthy in the slave and tobacco trade, and he made periodic trips back to London to ensure his royalist connections. Anne had become a business partner, while no longer a lover of his. Kensington’s health was now quite compromised, and many people believed that he was nearing his death. Speculation grew as to where his wealth may end up. Anne believed that she could still find a way to make much of it accrue to her. Since they had never been divorced, she had a claim to his estate. While Andrew had likely changed his will and excluded her, Anne was up for the fight in court. Indeed, her access to attorneys and the court system were now every bit as good as Andrew’s, if not better. She was generally more feared than respected, and the fact that she was a woman with power made her even more of a target for her enemies.

Anne decided that she would meet with Andrew when he came to London. His latest trip back to Europe included a visit to France where Anne had arranged for him to meet with Cardinal Mazarin to discuss an arms trade. The French, winding down their involvement in the war which had consumed the Continent for nearly 30 years, were in need of weapons of quality. English gunsmiths were proficient in making musketry, but the French had trouble procuring these arms due to the distrust that existed between the governments. Anne Kensington was able to persuade Mazarin that she could arrange for shipments of muskets to the French through Gibraltar. Andrew Kensington had arranged to purchase 1000 fine flintlock muskets from Gibson & Sons Firearms. These newer weapons were shorter, lighter, and faster to load than previous models, and they were much sought after. Indeed, the English Crown forbade their export due to the superior design, and the fear of the potential that they would be used against England. The Kensingtons were not saddled with such concerns, and they found ready buyers in France. Upon Andrew’s return from Versailles, and his finalizing the arms trade, Anne planned to meet with him to discuss his estate.

Andrew met Anne at her lavish home just outside of London. “My, I have put you up in fine style all these years have I not?” greeted Andrew as he saw Anne rise to meet him.” Anne managed a gracious smile even as she nearly bit her tongue through. Andrew’s “support” paled in comparison to her own business earnings which allowed this estate. She had supported herself quite handsomely without Andrew’s help. However, she had never declined the money he sent to her over the years either.

“Andrew, how wonderful to see you after all this time”, she gushed. “Has it been two years since I have seen you?” she said. “I don’t know” he said gruffly. Andrew had seen Anne lay on the charm, and she was at it now with him. He knew her too well.

Anne was struggling to maintain her charm. This was partly due to how shocked she was to see the ghostly Andrew. He looked old, thin and frail. His gray hair had mostly given way to baldness, and he had not bothered to wear his wig. He apparently did not care anymore how he appeared. His teeth were rotting, and he was difficult to look at now. Anne, only 11 years his junior, now looked young enough to be his granddaughter.

“Let’s get to the business at hand” said Andrew. “You wanted to talk with me about the gun deal with Cardinal Mazarin. I suppose you want to know how much money you will make”, he said matter-of-factly. Anne, now no longer able or willing to keep up her façade answered him directly. “Yes Andrew, I want to know how much money I will get on this deal. I also want to know the contents of your will. I expect that you have tried to cut me out of your inheritance.”

Andrew smiled. He saw that he had gotten to her and that she gave up trying to charm him. The conversation would now be brutally direct. “That is better” he said. “I have no intention of leaving you a farthing in my will, but I suspected, as you now tell me, that you already knew that,” he said.

Anne did not blink. She knew that he would respond this way. “Well then Andrew, I see that we have a bit of a problem. Do you really want people to know of your involvement in burning down the Franciscan Mission? Or about how you arranged the murder of Red Locker?”

“I did not have Red Locker murdered and you know that!” he screamed. “In fact, I understand that your old lover, Edwin Carr did that deed, without any help from me!” 

“Very well”, said Anne, “I suppose the murder of Jacob Carr and the destruction of a mission to help the poor will suffice to bring down enough public scorn on you”, she said.

Andrew peered at Anne with disdain. “And if I get blamed for these things, do you think that you will come away unharmed?” he asked. “You lose the money from the deal with Mazarin, and some of our other ventures. You would also be implicated in these things as my wife”, he said.

“Andrew”, said Anne in an innocent air, “women are delicate and do not get involved in such tawdry things. People will no more see me as part of your heinous crimes than they can see me as a woman capable of success. You yourself said that I live this way because of your largesse. Indeed, I have let it be known that you are the successful business man who keeps me as his younger London toy. People have no idea of how I do things or even what I do. I am just the Lady Kensington, kept woman of Lord Kensington, who treats his wife like a mistress. I am so mistreated!” she smiled coyly.

Lord Kensington replied, “You are clever, everyone knows that. However, there are people like Oliver Craft who know better, and they will be quick to tell their stories about you!” he sniffed. Anne laughed. “Yes Andrew, Oliver Craft can tell stories about both of us, and who believes such a fool? Those who can tell stories on us are not believable, but people will believe me. I have been making friends in high places for many years while you were in America making your fortune. Who are your friends here in London?” she asked.

Andrew answered, “Your ‘friends’ do not care for you, they fear you”, he said. “So be it”, said Anne. “In fact, so much the better. They should fear me, but because they do, they will protect me if I need it”, she said.

Andrew pondered for a moment. Anne was not really serious he reasoned. She was just negotiating. He almost kicked himself for getting caught up again in her games. “So, Lady Kensington, kept woman and helpless princess”, Andrew mocked, what is your offer?”

Anne smiled at this. “Just like old times for a little while” she said. “We play the games and spar with one another. When we were a lot younger it was exciting to do this and we often ended up in bed after the battle. Those days are long gone, but it can still be fun matching wits with you!” she said lightly. Then the smile vanished, and she said, “My offer is this- one-half of the estate, and I be named as a director in the London & Western Company”.

Kensington was a canny negotiator himself and he did not make any reply or reaction to this offer at first. “Too much”, he said. “If you want to be named as a Director in London and Western, you must become a financial partner, risking some capital in the venture”, he said. “No one plays for free”, he said calmly.

Anne raised her eyebrow at this. “I know very well that no one can benefit without risk”, she said. “But as your wife, I will have your estate when you die and you know that. Changing your will does not stop me from taking it to the court”, she replied. “Yes, you do that Anne, you do that. By the time the barristers take their cut of your fortune, you will have nothing left,” replied Kensington.

At this point, Anne became weary of the argument which had at first been invigorating. “Very well”, she said. “We can discuss this tomorrow.” “If you want to keep discussing this tomorrow, I will do that”, said Kensington, but the answer will be the same. Try to blackmail me or steal my fortune in the courts when I die, I do not care. Your insolence and badgering have made up my mind. You will get none of my inheritance. We may negotiate your share of the arms deal, but that is money you have earned. So, do what you will, but I will not change my will back, nor will I give you a settlement.” With that, he left the room and returned to his carriage outside. He instructed the driver to take him back to his lodgings.

Anne was furious at the imperious old Kensington.  Perhaps there was another way to deal with this old crook…

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