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a deal in principle. Sinclair is much more clued up on the Parliamentary Enquiry than Sir George thought he was. On all accounts, the Government has already decided to rescind the franchise and the enquiry was merely for show. When the franchise is removed Watkin intends to make a bid for the company at a knock down price. Sinclair, who has a hidden interest in Watkin’s takeover company, will be appointed overall Governor. The two men have realised that the hidden assets of the HBC are the land holdings, which can be used to build a Trans-Canadian telegraph system followed by a railroad. Watkin tells Sinclair that he will be in London in the New Year to finalise funding and prepare the bid to coincide the British Government announcement withdrawing the franchise.

11:London. March 1857

Within months of taking his seat at Westminster, Finbar has become disillusioned about the prospects of home rule for Ireland, let alone full independence. Isaac Butt has the support of some Irish MPs but the others were fragmented, with differing agendas. The new Prime Minister, Viscount Palmerston, presided over a delicate balance of power, which meant that much lip service was being paid to Irish ambition in order to secure their support for domestic issues. What frustrated Finbar was that an opportunity did actually exist, if only the home rule supporters could be rallied and the Government given good reason to take the cause of Irish home rule seriously. Living in London together has given Finbar, Liam and Elizabeth the opportunity of enjoying time together. Elizabeth grew up with Finbar and although he has great affection for her cousin she warns Liam to stay well clear of his mad schemes. At the same time Finbar has got to know more about his old friend. Liam actually harboured much deeper feelings in respect of an independent Ireland than Finbar had realised, and was also becoming increasingly bored with the prospect of spending a life in the family bank.

12:London. April 1857

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