VILE GOSSIP

…a look at the British and spreading gossip 
about King George…

 

Well equipped with cash from the royal coffers this the son of King George arrived in Cape Town, the most southern end of the then known world. It is said that he planned to sail on to India or one of the Islands in the Indian Ocean. Yet he fell in love with the impressive beauty of the Cape Peninsula.
VILE GOSSIP
During the years in my kind of business, I have heard many tales and stories. I listen and don’t listen to what the guests have to say to each other. There are times when I too, get drawn into my customer’s conversations. Like this one night, all I have, all night, is one table, a ten-top outdoors near the fireplace.
These are five couples and their conversations and jokes focus at the British Royal family. I hear them talking about Prince Charles and his American lady friend. They gossip about Lady Di and an affair with a British officer who is no gentleman but has published a book about being Lady Di’s riding teacher. I hear laughter as to “Who was horsing around?” “No that was the other one Catherine the Great…”
One man says: “She was quite a lady, this Di, millions of people cried when this horrible thing happened to her…”

The mixed group of ten is still talking about infidelities and the British crown as they finish their main-courses. They want to wait half an hour till having their dessert. They ask me several times for my opinion about the Queen and the Royal burlesque.
I try to stay out of all conversations about politics, church and sports. These, my guests, do know history better than I do. I hear them talking about the actions of the different kings named George. A popular name carried by several Germans who where also England’s kings, all of which were from the down-line of the house of Hanover, a north German state. They mention George VI and his role in the Common Wealth. These, my guests talk about George V who cut off his family ties to Germany during World War I, to keep face in the eyes of the British population.
Then there are many gossipy bits and pieces of information and talk about George IV and his playboy status, while being married. He was the one known to prefer pleasures to duties. They talk about him as a collector of fine arts and a gentleman who loved wine and women more than to rule the British Empire. They get to George the third, the one who was the first Hanoverian king to be actually born and raised in Britain. George the second they say had spent little time with British affairs. He was more interested in the matters of the house of Hanover. My guests get to George I, a German from the house of Hanover who took the British crown in 1714. He ruled both, the house of Hanover and Britain. “How could he?” they ask “It is said he did not even speak any English!”
“How did he communicate with his people if he spoke only German and he didn’t bother to learn the English language?” “By George, by golly!” One woman asks me “Did you know all this about George?” I answer with a “No, not all of it, but yes, it was certainly entertaining.”
This goes against my principles of talking politics, on second thought, I give in and announce: “Now let me tell you a tale about George, something that you might not know yet.” And I start telling them a story I stumbled upon in South Africa. In the Cape Province, more specific in the area of George and Knysna, about a six-hour car-drive from Cape Town, along the Indian Ocean’s scenic Garden Route, there are many stories still alive. The most famous tales are the lost Krueger gold and the tale about King George’s son. The Krueger gold is about a lost treasure of gold bullion and every country seems to have a story like this. Nevertheless, what the natives say about King George is less common. It is a story about an illegitimate child which was fathered by King George and raised hidden away in England.
This child grew to be a fine looking young man. His likeness to the father was becoming too obvious. To avoid complications the King ordered this his son into exile. The young man had to swear a holly oath never to return to Britain but to make his home in one of the new worlds. Well equipped with cash from the royal coffers this the son of King George arrived in Cape Town, the most southern end of the then known world. It is said that he planned to sail on to India or one of the Islands in the Indian Ocean. Yet he fell in love with the impressive beauty of the Cape Peninsula.

I refill my guests’ glasses before I carry on with the tale. J

At the time the city of Cape Town was a busy port with true international flair and ships laden with goods from all over the world. The beauty of the locale impressed the king’s son, so much that he made plans to settle along the coast of South Africa. He, like his father, liked the women’s folks much and there was no shortage of women in the harbor of Cape Town. Back then it was the largest harbor between India and Europe and a must to visit for any ship going back to Europe loaded with saleable goods from India, China or the Islands. Cape Town was also a refilling station, providing provisions and water for the ships coming from Europe loaded with merchandise on their way to the East. Traders from many home ports stopped over, their ships loaded with valuable goods from the East. It was a safe harbor run by seaman for seafarers.

I have to take a breath.

Tired of the daily routine of good eating, drinking and womanizing the king’s son equipped a ship with plenty of provisions. Before setting sail he bought life stock to take along to guarantee fresh milk and meat. He himself shopped the market, comparing, examining and feeling all goods as to their freshness and firmness. He, who could afford the best, took his time too while he picked and selected according to his fancy from the available large selection of female slaves. He chose the exotic type of fresh arrived Malayan slave women. He rejected all but the prettiest ones as money was no object. Then they set sail.
After three days of cruising along the Indian Ocean’s coast his captain pointed out to him an area now known as the Knysna Heads. These are two big rock-formations on either side of the entrance to the Knysna lagoon. They look much like the heads of two weathered warriors standing guard. Curios about the waterway behind this opening in the land, the king’s son gave orders to sail into the Knysna lagoon.

I notice my group likes the story and I try not to disappoint their given attention.

This unlawfully begotten child of the King of England found his own little kingdom in a property which he bought upon arrival in Knysna. He soon added more acreage to it. The land was fertile. Drinking water was available from several springs. Seafood was plentiful. An abundance of oysters with a ten-inch diameter was to be found near the rocks. Plenty of fish and large meaty crabs were easy caught in the muddy area at the upper end of the lagoon. One had to watch out for their strong big claws however. The lagoon’s water was clear and warm. The meadows were lush and green an abundance of flowers sprinkled within. A thousand years old timbers covered the surrounding hills. Animals which had never seen a human before provided meat for the daily meal, to hunt them was easy. Knysna in its early days consisted of a sawmill, which was able to cut boards from the huge yellow-wood, blackwood and stink-wood trees, and a few houses. These houses belonged to other adventurers and political exiles like him, caught by the beauty of the paradisiacal setting.
Over the years, he whom they would have called a bastard in England, like all fatherless children, became at the southern tip of Africa a respected landowner. He had many children with his common law wives, Malayan slave women, and more children with his daughters. He however had no sons, only daughters. I was told that as he was not able to have a son who would carry his name, he decided to create a monument to the name. And I end the story with: “He therefor founded the City of George in memory of his father King George!”

One of the women at my table is questioning the truth of the story especially as she had never heard of such a son to the British crown. I tell her that I read the story in a South African Newspaper. Later when I lived in Knysna I had people telling me this story as a matter of fact. Many of the South African Kleurlinge, also called Cape Coloreds around George and Knysna, are said to be the grand-grand-children of the children of the King’s son’s many daughters. I had several Coloreds (of mixed origin, mainly Malayan and white) working for me who said they had monogrammed handkerchiefs or trinkets in their possession as proof of their royal heritage.
“So what about the apartheid laws?” One man asks.
“Obviously they did not have such way back then!” I say shrugging my shoulders.
One woman supports my story with her: “I have heard of similar instances and I can surely imagine such has happened.” They didn’t have abortions then and once the lad was full-grown to send him somewhere far away would have been an option beside killing him, before he could have caused trouble for the one on the throne.
The host asks me “So I gather you lived in South Africa?”
“How did you like it?” They ask me.
I can only answer “I loved it! I really loved it! But after this long story let me get your dessert orders for I’m sure you must be hungry again by now!”

by helmut schonwalder