“Expectations” (Book 2)–Ch. 28: The Interviews,  July 14, 2019  by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1247)

“Expectations” (Book 2)–Ch. 28: The Interviews,  July 14, 2019  by Gratiana Lovelace  (Post #1247; & on Wattpad)

[an original Regency romance copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace, 2018 – 2019; all rights reserved);  [(1) story cover art, left]

[As is my custom, from time to time  I will illustrate my story with my ideal cast consisting of (in order of importance/mention in this chapter):   Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay of York (portrayed by Rupert Penry-Jones); his love Lady Elizabeth Blount (portrayed by Jessica Brown Findlay); her brother Lord Christian Blount the Earl of Sussex (portrayed by Richard Armitage); and his wife and Countess Lady Madeline Sinclair Blount the Lady Sussex (portrayed by Kate Winslet);  and Lord Robert Knightsbridge the Marquess of Wyre (portrayed by Hugh Grant); Lady Gwendolyn Lindsay of York (portrayed by Emma Thompson); and her father the Duke of York (portrayed by Sean Connery)]

 

Author’s story content and serializing scheduling notes:  For the most part, my ratings for the chapters will be PG-13—for romantic interludes and dramatic moments.  If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with these ratings, then please do not read that chapter.  This is my disclaimer.   And I always put the previous chapter’s brief recap at the top of the next chapter.  Also, I hope to post new chapters weekly on Sundays or Mondays.  I hope that you enjoy this chapter.

 

Ch. 28:  The Interviews

Though last evening’s spirited joint family dinner among the Blounts, Lindsays, and Knightsbridges celebrated Lord Alfred’s return and reuniting with his family of Lady Constance and their daughter Lady Tamsin, and Lord Harold’s return with his new wife Lady Penelope—it is ultimately the revelation of Lord Duncan and Lady Elizabeth seeking marriage approval that leads to today’s interview of Lord Duncan with Lord Christian to discuss the matter.  Unbeknownst to all but three of their extended family, there will also be another betrothal interview involving the Knightsbridge family.

But first, Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay of York has a post breakfast nine o’clock and sharp on the hour appointment with his love Lady Elizabeth’s elder brother and guardian Lord Christian Blount the Earl of Sussex.  Lord Christian was caught off guard last night with the lovebird’s not only wishing to have their betrothal formally recognized by him, but to also have his blessing to bring forward their wedding date from the Autumn to two weeks hence.  Lord Christian is still out of sorts this morning, even with a full belly after breakfast—or perhaps, because of it.

Lord Christian sifts through several papers upon his desk prior to his imminent interview with Lord Duncan at the Sussex Hall Dower House.  Though only four of the papers pertain to his younger sister Lady Elizabeth’s dowry and settlement negotiations, the other papers are there to convey the very great responsibilities that encompass the Earl of Sussex’ daily life.  It also helps that with him inhabiting the large Dower House Library Room for his personal study, Lord Christian has steeped himself in the trappings of his Earldom’s power.  And even with his jacket hanging over a nearby chair, Lord Christian’s exposed shirt sleeves  barely harnessing his muscled arms serve to illustrate his youthful power as an Earl and as a man in his prime at thirty years old [(2) below].

And as a second son again—displaced from his place these past ten years as heir to the Duke of York, when his brother returned to them a few days ago—Lord Duncan is relegated to a lesser status of rank.  But that is not to say that Lord Duncan is nor feels diminished.  He had never wanted to be the replacement ducal heir, because it meant that his elder brother Lord Alfred the Marquess of Malten was dead. Now that his brother Lord Alfred is found to be alive and back in the family fold, Lord Duncan feels that he can get on with his life—in marrying his love Lady Elizabeth Blount.

A noticeable but not stridently loud single knock sounds upon the closed Library Room double doors of the Sussex Hall Dower House.  Lord Christian prefers his servants to announce their presence to him in this way—rather than insipid scratching preferred by others, that wears down the paint finish on doors.

Lord Christian:  In a booming voice, he declares.  “Enter!”

Butler:  “Pardon me, Lord Sussex.  But the Viscount Lindsay has arrived for his appointment with you.”  Lord Duncan is standing five feet behind the Butler, him waiting to be announced and then admitted to the room.

Lord Christian glances at the mantel clock.  Well at least Lord Duncan is on time and does not keep him waiting, thinks Lord Christian.

Lord Christian:  Lord Christian speaks in an authoritative and commanding voice. “Show him in.”  He does not call for refreshments to be brought, that is a lady’s nicety.  And it is too early in the morning to offer his guest spirits that inhabit a nearby sideboard.

The Butler steps aside, motions Lord Duncan to enter, then closes the door after he does.  Lord Duncan stands at attention whilst looking at the top of the head of Lord Christian, who seems to be perusing a document upon his desk with great interest—ignoring him for a few minutes.  Lord Duncan knows that Lord Christian is displaying his power in this given moment.  But as Lord Duncan is the supplicant formally seeking permission for Lady Elizabeth’s hand in marriage—and a wedding in an accelerated two weeks time—he waits for Lord Christian to begin the interview.

Lord Christian:  Setting down his paper, Lord Christian slowly raises his head and sits back with a menacing scowl upon his face.  “Well.”  And despite Lord Christian liking this feeling of power over Lord Duncan, he also realizes that the marriage is inevitable for his younger sister’s happiness.  “Sit.”

Lord Duncan: “Thank you, Lord Sussex.”  He responds formally as he sits in the single chair in front of Lord Christian’s desk.  Then Lord Duncan notices that the chair’s discomfort does not seem to reflect the style or elegance of the room.  So he surmises that Lord Christian must have had the chair brought in especially for him—to put him off kilter.  Well, that is an elder brother’s  and guardian’s prerogative, thinks Lord Duncan.  “I wish to …”

Lord Christian:  Putting his hand in front of him to interrupt Lord Duncan, Lord Christian narrows his eyes in reviewing the gentleman before him.  “I know what you wish …”  He intones derisively. “What I want to know is why you want to marry my sister and how are you situated to take care of her?”

Lord Duncan: “Right.”  He nods in acknowledgement that he must prove his worthiness. “Firstly, I love Lady Elizabeth.  She is dearer to me than any other–in my family.”  He adds hastily, so as not to draw attention to his prior romantic history.  “Her poise, grace, beauty, wit, and cheerfulness are delightful.” Lord Duncan smiles besottedly in pronouncing some of Lady Elizabeth’s virtues.

Lord Christian:  “Are we talking about the same Lady?  I love my sister, too.  But she can be quite high strung if a situation or circumstance is not to her liking.  It has only been since her acquaintance with my now wife Lady Sussex that Lizzie has come out of her shyness.  And I fear that her girlish infatuation with you might fade.  What will you have then if the marriage of your dreams does not match my sister’s marriage of her dreams.”

Lord Duncan: “Lady Elizabeth and I have discussed this very thing—her liking me since she first met me when you took her for a stroll in the park when she was a child ten years ago.  Her not wavering from her faithfulness gives me hope for our future life together.”

Lord Christian: “And what about you wavering in the future?  I expect any man who marries my sister to respect his vow of fidelity.”

Lord Duncan:  “I heartily concur.  Marriage is sacred and should not be betrayed.  And I would hope that my refusing my parents wish to marry my then late brother Lord Alfred’s betrothed Lady Constance—whom I knew to be my brother’s wife/widow–should aid in convincing you of my steadfastness.  I also did not act randomly elsewhere, as a young man often does, due to our family being in deep mourning for my brother’s loss for several years.”

Lord Christian: “Are you saying …?”  He lets the question trail off.

Lord Duncan: “No!  No.  Before my brother joined the army, he saw to my … introduction to manhood … in the most discreet way.  You will understand that I view this as a private matter that I do not wish to discuss.”  Lord Duncan’s face blushes with his disclosure.

Lord Christian: Lord Christian lets the matter rest.  “Right!  And your financial circumstances are …?”

Lord Duncan:  “Of course, as the Viscount Lindsay of York I have various estates and properties valued around one hundred thousand pounds that were bequeathed to me by my late Grandfather Duke that provide me with ten thousand pounds per annum—of which I have only spent half of each year.  And I have not touched my brother Lord Alfred’s Marquess of Malten inheritance these past ten years as his replacement heir, but I managed it and kept it in trust for him—should he return, as he now blessedly has—and for his wife and child.”

Lord Christian: “That is very noble of you.”  He nods to Lord Duncan in acknowledgement.  “And your wealth and prospects seem adequate.”  Lord Christian admits grudgingly, for his own prospects when he married his Lady Madeline were not nearly as good.  In truth, Lord Christian had been in dun territory due to unrealized investments made by his grandfather—though happily, one investment turned out well and replenished their wealth.  “And as to Lady Elizabeth’s dowry and marriage settlements …”

Lord Duncan: Now putting out his hand, Lord Duncan interrupts Lord Christian.  “Whatever Lady Elizabeth’s dowry is should remain for her use alone, under her direction.  Her care is my utmost concern—especially were I to die young and she be responsible for any young children that we have.”

Lord Christian:  “Do you have a health concern that you have not mentioned?”  Lord Christian wonders in concern.

Lord Duncan:  “No!  I am the picture of health.  But witnessing the impact of my brother Lord Alfred’s seemingly being dead for ten years upon his widow Lady Constance and their child Lady Tamsin, I know first hand the difficulties that being left widowed can bring.  Lady Elizabeth will have a country house of her choosing that I will deed to her upon our marriage—and that we will use for our growing family.   The lands and estate properties I own will be equitably divided among our boy children—with my heir receiving the entailed Viscountancy properties and at least half of the unentailed properties; and our daughters receiving substantial dowries or livings should they be unmarried by the age of five and twenty.  Also upon my death, my widow will receive ten thousand pounds per annum for her care and living.” I hand a paper to Lord Christian, summarizing the details that I just shared with him.

Lord Christian: “Very well.  But your wish to marry my sister in two weeks time?  Is that really necessary?  Would not a September Autumn wedding be more agreeable?  We have only just arrived in the country.  With my Lady Wife’s delicate condition, I do not want to have her journey back to town so soon.  She was jostled enough upon our travel here.”

Lord Duncan: “Autumn is pleasant, but not ideal.”  He grimaces slightly.  “Like you with Lady Madeline, when I set my mind and heart upon marrying Lady Elizabeth, I did not and do not wish to delay our wedding.  She feels the same. And neither of us are especially enamored of a Town wedding during the little Season.  There are always so many hangers on that one has to invite, you know.  I fear that they would overrun the wedding breakfast.  And in two weeks time, I must leave for the week long trip to York Castle to assess the repairs.  I will probably be there a month or more, then traveling back here will take another week.  That would make, at minimum, seven weeks that Lady Elizabeth and I would be apart  from one another. And frankly, I could not bear it.  She is essential to my daily life, as I am proud to say that she has told me that I am to hers.  Therefore, may Lady Elizabeth and I marry in two weeks time in the Sussex Village church with only family and close friends?”  He asks with heartfelt emotion.

Lord Christian: “I suppose marrying in the country requires less pomp than marrying in Town.  But ladies like their wedding gowns to be extra beautiful, and such.”  He looks doubtfully at his future brother-in-law.

Lord Duncan: “I asked Lady Elizabeth about her ideal wedding gown, if there was time to have it made.  And I am pleased to say that she said that her choice of bridegroom was more important to her than her choice of wedding gown.  Ask her yourself.” Lord Duncan adds eagerly.

Lord Christian: “Oh, I will ask her.  I will also have my attorney draft the settlement agreements stating Lady Elizabeth’s  portion and  the information you have provided.” He waves the paper summary that Lord Duncan shared with him.

Lord Duncan: “So Lady Elizabeth and I may marry in two weeks time?”

Lord Christian:  “Provisionally.  You may approach the local vicar about saying the banns and setting the exact wedding date and time.”  A loud screech, or perhaps, a cheer is heard from the adjoining hallway.  “I suppose that we should call my sister in now.”  Lord Christian smirks at realizing that Lady Elizabeth has probably been listening at the keyhole the whole time.

The Library Room door bursts open and Lady Elizabeth dashes into her brother’s study—her making a beeline for Lord Christian.

Lady Elizabeth: “Thank you, Christy!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!”  She hugs him tightly.

Lord Christian:  “You’re welcome, Lizzie.  I suppose my asking you about your wedding gown is a moot point?”

Lady Elizabeth: “What care I for gowns, when Lord Duncan is the man I am to marry?”  Lady Elizabeth feels that her brother need not know that in anticipating her marriage to Lord Duncan that her sister-in-law Lady Madeline has taken her shopping for her trousseau and her wedding gown.  Then Lady Elizabeth detaches herself from her brother and regains her poise.  Then she gracefully walks over to her beloved Lord Duncan and extends her hand in greeting.

Lord Duncan: With a courtly bow, he smiles then kisses her ungloved hand. “My Lady Elizabeth.  You look enchanting.  And it is fortuitous that you arrive just as your brother Lord Sussex and I conclude our interview.  He approved our betrothal and we will be married in two weeks time.”

Lady Elizabeth: “Just like that?”  She asks a bit petulantly.  “Lady Madeline received a heartfelt proposal and a ring from Christy.”  She pouts.

Lord Duncan: Smiling, he gestures to the settee for Lady Elizabeth to sit upon.  She does with a growing smile as he takes her hand in his again. “My Lady Elizabeth.  I am honored to formally ask for your hand in marriage in front of your brother …”

Lady Madeline:  “And me!”  Wiggling her fingers in greeting, Lady Madeline walks into the Library/Study and goes to her husband Lord Christian, embracing him.  And he smiles and embraces her with his arm around her waist.

Lord Duncan: “I love your sweetness, poise, grace, wit, and beauty—among your many accomplishments and attributes–My Lady Elizabeth.  I wish to share my life with you as my wife and as my Viscountess.  Will you marry me?”  And with his other hand, he draws from his waistcoat pocket a dainty blue sapphire solitaire surrounded by sparling diamond baguettes on each side, and he slips the ring upon her ring finger, and he kisses her hand again.

Lady Elizabeth: “Oh Duncan!  Yes, I will marry you in two weeks!  And this ring is so beautiful!”

Lord Duncan: “It matches your blue eyes, My Darling.  The ring had belonged to my late Grandmother Duchess as her engagement ring.  And I should also tell you that her husband, my grandfather, enhanced it with commissioning a parure of jewels to accompany it with a tiara, necklace, earrings, brooch, bracelets, and such.  The parure will all be yours.”  He smiles gleefully at her.

Lady Elizabeth launches herself at her soon to be husband, knocking him over and she lands on top of him—kissing him repeatedly.

Lady Elizabeth: “Thank you!  I shall be ever so proud to wear them someday.”

Lord Christian:   Lord Christian coughs. “Lizzie?  Might you return to the settee, befitting a young lady, such as yourself?”

Lord Duncan:  Lord Duncan rises from the floor as well.  “Or perhaps even on your wedding day?  You see, I asked Mama to bring the parure  with us–in case you and I were able to bring forward our wedding date.”

Lord Christian: “You seem to have thought of everything.”  Harrumphs Lord Christian in chagrin.

Lady Madeline: “Now now, Christian Dear.  As long  as they are happy, that is what matters most.”  She lovingly smiles up at him.

***

And a similar scene of betrothal permission seeking will shortly occur up at Sussex Hall Manor—between Lord Robert Knightsbridge the Marquess of Wyre and the heir to the Duke of Lancashire and Lady Gwendolyn Lindsay of York’s father the Duke of York.

The Duke of York—father to Lord Alfred, Lady Gwendolyn, and Lord Duncan—sits quietly reading his morning London paper after breakfast in the even larger Library Room at Sussex Hall Manor.  He is a still handsome and distinguished man in his late fifties.  However he does not appreciate being disturbed during his morning reading of the news of the day.  So the Duke looks up gruffly [(3) below] upon hearing someone enter the Library Room—as the click of the entering man’s boots against the polished wooden floor then becomes muffled with the thickly carpeted rugs in the room.  The Duke smiles, for him having been alerted by the Duke of Lancashire who is also in residence that their children seemed to be showing a partiality for each other.

Lord Robert:   “Ah!  Your Grace!  How happy I am to find you here.”  Lord Robert walks forward to the Duke of York sitting in a comfortably looking wing chair by a sunny window.

Duke of York: “Yes?  How so?”  He decides to have a little fun with the young swain.

Lord Robert: “I wish to speak with you upon a most personal matter.”  He evasively pleads.

Duke of York: “Oh?  Would not your own Father Duke be a better person for you to let into your confidence?”  He teases.

Lord Robert: “Oh, I will.  But first, I must speak with you.”  He eagerly looks at the Duke of York, Lady Gwendolyn Lindsay of York’s father.

Duke of York:  Gesturing to a companion wing chair on the other side of an occasional table, the Duke invites him to join him.  “Sit.”  Then he folds his London Times newspaper and sets it down on the table between them.

Lord Robert: “Uh. Thank you, Your Grace.”  His nervousness causes him to wring his hands and to blow air out of his mouth, in a bid to move an errant bang curl out of his eyes. Then without ceremony, Lord Robert blurts out.  “Your daughter Lady Gwendolyn and I have become agreeably acquainted over the last week.  And we would like to marry.”

Duke of York: “Ah!  Oh?  You mean to marry each other?”  The Duke teases innocently.

Lord Robert: “Ah, yes, we do.”  Lord Robert nods in earnest—not surmising that his hoped for father-in-law is funning him.  Dukes do not jest, at least Lord Robert’s Father Duke of Lancashire does not have many humorous musings.  Perhaps, the apple does not fall to far from the tree, as the saying goes.

Duke of York: “Well, this is rather sudden, is it not?  You have only just met each other.  Perhaps you should court her first.”  He demures, then reaches for his paper again.  Lord Robert boldly reaches out his hand and stays that action.

Lord Robert: “Lady Gwendolyn and I have formed a sincere attachment for each other.  She is grace and beauty and compassion personified.”  He gushes.

Duke of York: “Yes, well, you could not praise my daughter too highly to me.  But we do not know you beyond you being a pleasant acquaintance.  And I will not entrust my daughter’s happiness to someone whom I do not know and whom I do not trust implicitly.”

Their respective Sussex guests families of York’s and Lancashire’s guest bed chambers are along completely separate wings of Sussex Hall Manor—and along with Lord Alfred being returned to Lady Constance Knightsbridge Lindsay and their reunion focusing  everyone’s attention–such that there has not been an opportunity for Lord Robert to interact with Lady Gwendolyn’s Father Duke.

Lord Robert:  “I am an open book, Your Grace.  I have my own Marquess estates and wealth, and as his heir I assist my Father Duke with the Lancashire Duchy holdings and management.  I take seriously my position in the House of Lords. I am six and thirty years of age and I wish to marry Lady Gwendolyn, to make her my Marchioness, and ultimately, my Duchess.”

Duke of York: “Yes, yes.  That is what everyone knows about you.  But in private, what kind of man are you?  Will my daughter’s care and future be well placed with you?  Her happiness is my only consideration.”  The Duke states firmly.

Lord Robert: “I assure, Your Grace, that I am a good and honorable man.  I am even tempered.  And though I am somewhat reserved in public, around family I am cordial, if not affable.  I also believe that it is our responsibility as aristocrats and large landowners to set the example for fair land management and dealings with our tenants, while also seeing to the betterment of our country.  As we thrive, so does England and its peoples thrive.”

Duke of York: “A pretty speech.  And yet you have not spoken of love with regard to my daughter.  She is not a prize to be acquired—a Duke’s accomplished daughter to become your Duchess.”

Lord Robert: “I do admire and greatly esteem Lady Gwendolyn.  And we have voiced similar sentiments of affection to each other.”

Duke of York: “Well, when you can feel comfortable enough to speak less formally about your feelings for my daughter Lady Gwendolyn, then you might be able to convince me that yours is a good match.  So you may court her for four weeks as we get to know you, and then we will revisit the matter.”

Lord Robert: “Your Grace, though you might think me impertinent, I question why you favor a two week betrothal before marrying for your own son, Lord Duncan to Lady Elizabeth Blount, yet you make your daughter Lady Gwendolyn and I wait a month before we may even become betrothed.”

Duke of York:  “You are correct.  You are being impertinent.   And a father’s feelings toward his daughter is a greater responsibility than to a son who inherits estates and such from him.  I am my daughter’s sole protector—until she marries.  And marriage is for life.  And It is the vagaries of everyday life that can either bind a couple together, or draw them apart.  So you and my daughter must be certain about whether you are truly well suited for each other before deciding to marry.”

Lord Robert:   Resigned to waiting, Lord Robert agrees.  “Very well, I agree to court Lady Gwendolyn for the next four weeks.  However, I should remind you that Lady Gwendolyn is a force of nature.  So her willingness to wait four weeks for us to court–let alone for us to wed—might be unacceptable to her.”  Unless, Lord Robert thinks, that Lady Gwendolyn had already expressed her wishes to her Father Duke about wanting to court him first, rather than them getting married right away.

Duke of York:  “We shall see.”  Is all the old Duke says.  Then the Duke picks up his London newspaper and he returns to reading it.  Lord Robert’s interview with Lady Gwendolyn’s father the Duke of York is over, for now.

But as Lord Robert predicted, Lady Gwendolyn will yet have her say in the matter of her courting and wedding Lord Robert.

To be continued with Chapter 29

 

Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement):  Chapter 28 images  for  July 14, 2019 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1247)

1) “Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement”) story cover art  image represents Lady Elizabeth Blount, sister  to the Earl of Sussex in black evening gown–is that of actress Jessica Brown Findlay as Lady Sybil in Downton Abby found at http://www.internet-d.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/38/2012/02/JESSICA-BROWN-FINDLAY-as-Lady-Sybil-Crawley.jpg ; the text font  is Vivaldi.

2) Lord Christian Blount Earl of Sussex  is Richard Armitage as John Thornton  in the 2004 BBC mini series North & South epi4 (22h46m08s1) Dec2813 Gratiana Lovelace Cap-crop-manip-sized-brt_Rev2-clr2-szd2

3) The Duke of York is portrayed by Sean Connery, in an image from the 1990 film The Hunt for Red October:  image link was found at https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099810/mediaindex

 

“Expectations” (Book 2)  Ch. 28  URL for Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad story Post  for , July 14, 2019 (Post #1247):
https://www.wattpad.com/758455610-expectations-book-2-by-gratiana-lovelace-2018


Previous “Expectations” (Book 2) Ch. 27  URL for Something About Love story, July 10, 2019 (Post #1245):
https://gratianads90.wordpress.com/2019/07/10/expectations-book-2-ch-27-lord-roberts-secret-july-10-2019-by-gratiana-lovelace-post-1245/

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Happy Richard Armitage as Sir Guy Day Friday! July 12, 2019 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1246)

Need I say more?  Sighhh!

Image thanks to RAFrance, Hugs!

Posted in Gratiana Lovelace, Portraits, Richard Armitage, Robin Hood, Sir Guy of Gisborne, Social Justice, social media, Society, Something About Love | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Expectations” (Book 2)–Ch. 27: Lord Robert’s secret,  July 10, 2019  by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1245)

“Expectations” (Book 2)–Ch. 27: Lord Robert’s secret,
July 10, 2019  by Gratiana Lovelace  (Post #1245)

[an original Regency romance copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace, 2018 – 2019; all rights reserved);  [(1) story cover art, left]

[As is my custom, from time to time  I will illustrate my story with my ideal cast consisting of (in order of importance/mention in this chapter):   Lord Robert Knightsbridge the Marquess of Wyre (portrayed by Hugh Grant); and Lady Gwendolyn Lindsay of York (portrayed by Emma Thompson)]

 

Author’s story content and serializing scheduling notes:  For the most part, my ratings for the chapters will be PG-13—for romantic interludes and dramatic moments.  If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with these ratings, then please do not read that chapter.  This is my disclaimer.   And I always put the previous chapter’s brief recap at the top of the next chapter.  Also, I hope to post new chapters weekly on Sundays or Mondays.  I hope that you enjoy this chapter.

 

Ch. 27:  Lord Robert’s Secret

At first, Lord Robert Knightsbridge Marquess of Wyre and Lady Gwendolyn Lindsay of York stroll arm in arm together in pleasant silence through the Sussex Hall Manor House formal gardens this post Faire-going afternoon, after tea. They have each changed into less formal clothing befitting their foray into nature’s idyll.  Cotton is easier to clean than silks and linens—was the ever practical Lady Gwendolyn’s reasoning to Lord Robert for their need to change their mode of dress.  So should they wish to sit upon the grass or a weather stained stone bench, they will not have to worry about their clothes getting soiled.

And the Sussex Hall Manor House gardens are enormous, stretching to the horizon—well before reaching the Sussex Hall Estates’ farm lands and tenanted farms—with each section of the formal gardens having a cohesive theme before entering upon a new section and a new theme.  It is almost as if the garden sections are arranged into rooms—each with their own design features, be they flowers, trimmed hedges, topiary, water elements etc. And with  the tall hedges bordering each new garden section—or their increasing distance in walking away from the Sussex Hall Manor House—their privacy is assured.  And Lady Gwendolyn has dispensed with being chaperoned by her Ladies Maid.  Scandalous!

After a few moments of silent companionship, Lady Gwendolyn opens their line of conversation.

Lady Gwendolyn:  “Harold?  You seem quite vexed with your Papa Duke.  Would you like to share with me the cause, or do you wish that I had not asked?”

Lord Robert:  Gently squeezing her hand upon his arm, Lord Robert speaks directly about the issue that has conflicted father and son.  “No, it is alright that you ask.  Well, you see, My Father Duke is getting up in years … and he would like to see me married and produce my heir—who will also be his heir one day.”

Lady Gwendolyn: “I see.”  She thinks about this oft thought of topic of her own parents—regarding her getting married.  “And does your father propose a candidate or a timeframe for you?”  Some families use draconian measure of limiting funds to their offspring until they marry.

Lord Robert: “Yes and no.”  She looks up at him quizzically.  Then he gestures to the nearby bridge over the lake for them to lean against—also giving them unparalled views [(2) below].  “You see my father suggested a Lady to me before tea, but he does not suggest a deadline for my marrying her.  Although, he did not like my initial suggestion of waiting to look for a wife during next year’s Spring season.”  He sheepishly shrugs his shoulders.

Lady Gwendolyn:  “Hmmm.”  She ponders his words.  “And do you have a lady in mind, so you object to your father’s candidate?”  She asks forthrightly.  She likes Lord Robert—better than most men she has met.  And she hopes that whomever he marries that he will be happy.

Lord Robert:  He smiles.  “Yes and no.”

Lady Gwendolyn:  “I sense that you are teasing me, My Lord.”  She glances coquettishly at him as they start to walk back toward Sussex Hall.  Lady Gwendolyn is not flirting with Lord Robert, per se.  They simply enjoy bantering with each other.

Lord Robert:  Lord Robert hesitates before speaking.  Then he gestures for her to join him on a bench tucked into a rose bower.  “There is a lady whom I have come to know and to like.  But our familiarity also causes me to wonder if either of us would be willing to compromise our personal wishes for happiness and fulfillment to marry anyone—let alone, each other.”

Lady Gwendolyn:  “Nay Robert.  You have already improved in my estimation of you  upon our short acquaintance.  Surely the Lady of your Heart would think kindly of you.”

Lord Robert:  “I hope that is the case.  But then there is also me, set in my ways.  I like my orderly life.  Excitement and passion have their appeal now and again.”  She looks at him with alarm.  “Now do not look at me as if I am a rogue, or even a rake.  But I am a man …”  He lets that thought trail off.

Lady Gwendolyn:  She nods her head in understanding.  “And men give into their base needs.”  She recites rotely what her Mama Duchess had spoken to her about in her first season, to put her on guard for preserving her honor.

Lord Robert:  “Your face reveals your disgust, Lady Gwendolyn.”  He sighs disappointedly.  “But I assure you that my … romantic adventures were of a limited nature.”

Lady Gwendolyn: “I beg that you desist from sharing the lurid details with me.  It is much more than friends should share.”  She squirms.  She realizes that though she is still untouched in her mid twenties, the over thirty Lord Robert should be expected to have past amours—plural.

Lord Robert:  “Would you think more kindly of me if I told you that I have only loved once before?”

Lady Gwendolyn: “Once?”  She does not know if he means one amour or one interlude of romantic passion.  She rather thinks that it is the former.

Lord Robert:  Despite her protestations against his disclosures, he presses on. “It was after I had finished university when I was one and twenty, and I was a new man about town.  I had met a young widowed lady who had recently moved to a small cottage at Richmond, just outside of London.  She had no children or near relatives, but her widow’s inheritance set her up nicely.”

Lady Gwendolyn: “Oh!  So you did not pay her for her … favors?”  She is relieved somehow that he did not prey upon an unfortunate who had to sell her body to survive..

Lord Robert: “No.  We did not even start out as lovers, but as friends.  You see, I was such a green youth back then—untutored in the ways of wooing a lady.”  He shakes his head in chagrin, but with a small smile. “We had met after an afternoon play performance that we were both attending.  She was trying to hail a hack, her not having her own.  But her cloak concealed her lady status illustrated by her hidden silk gown, so the cabbies would not stop for her.”

Lady Gwendolyn: “Oh how mean of the hack drivers!”

Lord Robert: “Yes.  And as a Lady without protection—she had no companion nor footman with her—she was vulnerable.”

Lady Gwendolyn: “And you helped her arrange a carriage home?”

Lord Robert: “I did. She looked a little lost.  So I offered to accompany her, then return to London.  Which I did, after she served me tea as a thank you.”

Lady Gwendolyn: “Was she a pretty widow?”  Lady Gwendolyn asks haltingly.  She does not know why her knowing if his amour was pretty or not matters to her, but it does.

Lord Robert:  “I would say that she was handsome.  But we began as friends—going to plays and readings and the like.  Then at some point, … we became more than friends.”  But he will not share with Lady Gwendolyn his shy awkwardness with their first couplings—wherein his Lady’s patience and gentle guidance had relaxed him enough to actually enjoy the experience of being one with her. Some things are too private to share.

Lady Gwendolyn: “You fell in love with her.”  She states, rather than questions.

Lord Robert: “I did.  She was fifteen years my senior, but she was lovely and charming.”  He remembers fondly.

Lady Gwendolyn:  “Yet you did not see fit to marry her?”  She accuses, wounding his sense of honor.”

Lord Robert: “After the first year of our romance, I was completely smitten—and I wanted to marry her.  But she kept declining—claiming that she was not certain that she could give me an heir.”

Lady Gwendolyn: “You told her who you were?”

Lord Robert: “I did, we were completely open and honest with each other.  Our only obstacle was her unwillingness to marry me.”  Then his face saddens.

Lady Gwendolyn: “You look sad, did she leave you in the end?”

Lord Robert: “Yes, but not in the way that you think.  We had been together as a couple for four wonderful years–and I was becoming more ardently wanting to marry her.  I felt that my success in securing her hand in marriage was near—and she seemed almost on the verge of accepting my proposal of marriage.  But then, something changed.  She missed meeting me in town for one of our outings. So I sought her out at her cottage.  She said that she was feeling a little unwell,  and apologized for not being able to send word to me about her cancelling joining me.  You see, she kept no live-in staff—which insured our privacy.  But maybe a full time housemaid might have been able to notice aspects about her health that I did not.” His eyes trail off into the distant past.

Lady Gwendolyn:  “Oh no!”  Lady Gwendolyn sighs in distress as one hand covers her mouth, and the other hand squeezes Lord Robert’s hand.

Lord Robert:  “She never really felt better after that.  I sent several doctors to see her over the course of three weeks–and none could explain her sickness.  And with each passing week, she slipped away from me more and more. Her last few months, I hired a fulltime nurse for her and stayed with her at the cottage.  It was only one more attempt on my part to seek a physician who might be able to heal her that the doctor relayed the devastating news to us.  She was dying from a wasting illness–likely from a tumor since her abdomen was sore to her, and she was so weak.  But thankfully, the doctor gave me some medicine to ease her pain in her last days.”  He pauses.

Lady Gwendolyn listens to Lord Robert without comment. She is spellbound to hear of Lord Robert’s former love.

Lord Robert: “And then one evening, I kissed her forehead in goodnight as I always did, before lying down on the cot to sleep near her in her bed chamber.  And her eyes looked up into mine pleadingly.  I could sense that she was in more pain, so I carefully gave her a bit more of the medicine as I held the spoon to her mouth.  And in a few moments, I could see her relief from pain–which seemed to calm her.  But she still looked at me with such caring and such longing.  And I could not leave her that night to sleep apart from her.”

Lord Robert sees the compassion in Lady Gwendolyn’s eyes as he pauses once more to collect himself.  She squeezes his hand in encouragement and support.  Then he continues.

Lord Robert:   “So I held her in my arms one last time that night as I laid down with her—telling her that I loved her, and that I knew that she loved me.  She was so weak that she could not speak at that point.  But we understood each other, she and I.   I kissed her gently and sweetly as I reminisced with her about our many happy times together, until she fell asleep.  I watched her breathing closely over the next two hours as it slowed into a peaceful rest.  Then after a while her breathing lessened–without her seeming to be in pain,  thankfully. And then in the middle of the night—with the moonlight bathing her face in an angelic glow–her breathing stopped completely.  I waited for her next breath for several tortuous minutes, thinking that it would come, that she was only in peaceful slumber.  I even exhorted her to breathe, to no avail.  Her next breath did not come, and my Love MaryAnn was gone.  She died in my arms. And I lovingly kissed her one last time, in farewell.”  Tears are streaming down Lord Robert’s face unabated.

Lady Gwendolyn: “Oh Robert!”  She sighs compassionately  in a hushed whisper as she embraces him as her own tears fall.

Lord Robert and Lady Gwendolyn stay embracing for some time as their tears flow—his in raw grief, hers in empathic compassion.

It is about one hour later–when a footman discreetly coughs around the hedge from them and announces that dinner will be served in a half hour—that Lord Robert and Lady Gwendolyn are roused from their comfortingly embracing seated position.  Then they gaze at each other in shared understanding and rise from their seated positions.  And they walk back through the formal gardens toward the house in a peaceful silence.

As the terrace steps loom, Lady Gwendolyn stops and turns toward Lord Robert, whose eyes are still moist from his crying.

Lady Gwendolyn:  Embracing Lord Robert once more, Lady Gwendolyn whispers to him.  “Thank you for sharing MaryAnn with me, Robert.   I’m glad that you and she had loved each other.  I know intuitively that your love was a very great blessing to her—as it was to you.  And though she is no longer upon this Earth, she lives on in your memories of her.  Her lessons of kindness, love, caring, hope, dignity, and so much more, are a testament to her being a wonderful and beautiful person.  I wish that I had known her.  And for your sake, I am glad that you did know her and love her—and that she knew and she loved you in return.”  Lady Gwendolyn leans back to gaze into her friend Lord Robert’s eyes, and then she caresses his face.

Lord Robert:  “Thank you for understanding, Gwendolyn.  I have not told another soul about MaryAnn.”  Though he suspects that his father knew—however, the Duke never interfered.  “MaryAnn’s short life, and our short time together was one reason ten years ago why I supported my sister Constance in her desire to wed your brother Lord Alfred before he went away to the Napoleonic wars.”

Lady Gwendolyn:  Moving her thumb to stroke his cheek, she smiles tearily.  “Another blessing from MaryAnn.  For if you had not given Lady Constance your support for her marriage to my brother, she would not have had their daughter Lady Tamsin to comfort and console her these past ten years.”

Lord Robert: He nods his head.  “At times, I think that having Tammy was the only thing that kept Connie tethered to her every day life.  She had to care for her baby Tammy, and then care for Tammy as she grew through her childhood.”  Then his voice becomes softer.  “I had even sometimes selfishly wished that Tammy was my and MaryAnn’s child.”  He reveals one of his deepest thoughts.

Lady Gwendolyn: “I can see why.  And you were not being selfish.  Tammy is a treasure to be cherished.”  She smiles up at him.  Then she tries to lighten the mood.  “However, we do need to keep our cakes safe from her wandering  eye.”

Lord Robert:  She is favored with his self-effacing smile. “Indeed.”  Now his hand caresses Lady Gwendolyn’s face.  “Gwendolyn, I …”

Lady Gwendolyn: “I understand, Robert.  Your heart is still full of MaryAnn.” She embraces him again, with her head nestled into his chest—in full view of the Manor.   Your love was so great that you mourn MaryAnn still.  But someday, you will be able to remember MaryAnn with only  joy and not with sadness.  I hope then that you meet a lady whose caring and compassion will help you find love anew.”

Lord Robert:  “And if I have found such a caring and compassionate lady to help me learn to love anew?”  He asks shyly as he leans back and guides her chin to look up at him—whilst he gazes tenderly into her eyes.

Lady Gwendolyn:  “Then your lady  is the most fortunate of women, Robert.”  Her eyes moisten, wishing that he would see that she loves him.

And then Lord Robert slowly leans toward Lady Gwendolyn, seeing her tears and gently wiping them away with his thumb.  Then she closes her eyes, and Lord Robert closes his eyes, and he kisses her softly upon her lips.  It is a petal soft first kiss given to a maiden fair—their lips softly brushing against each other, yet stirring their desires with their innocent kisses.

Lady Gwendolyn purses her lips together at first, since she is untutored in the ways of kissing. Her betrothal to her late fiancé Stephen did not progress beyond hand holding, because she was but a sixteen year old at the time ten years ago.  Then Lord Robert slowly makes circular sucking motions with his mouth opening and closing.  So Lady Gwendolyn tries to follow his lead by opening and closing her mouth with his.  And they pull back from each other in dawning wonder.

Lord Robert: “I love you, Gwendolyn.”

Lady Gwendolyn:  “And I love you, Robert.”  They cannot help but kiss each other some more.

Lord Robert: “I do not want to wait and waste any moment being apart from you, My Love.  Marry me?”

Lady Gwendolyn:  “Yes!  Oh Yes!”

Then he whisks her up into the air as he twirls her in his arms—before he brings her back down to the ground for more kissing.  However now is not the time for deepening their kisses.  Now, they delight in their wondrous shared love.

And the Duke of Lancashire walks to a second floor window overlooking the terrace, and he sees his son Lord Robert embracing and kissing Lady Gwendolyn.  And the old Duke smiles as he walks back further  into his room.

***

That evening, dinner for all of the Blount, Lindsay, and Knightsbridge families at the Sussex Hall Manor House is a lively event. They celebrate Lord Alfred’s return to his wife Lady Constance, and their daughter Lady Tamsin.  The flaming Christmas Pudding is an especially delicious and magical dessert.

And for the other loving married couples in attendance—including Lord Christian and Lady Madeline, and Lord Harold and Lady Penelope—there are toasts in tribute to them.   Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay and Lady Elizabeth Blount sneak loving glances at each other as almost betrotheds—pending his interview with her brother Lord Christian upon the morrow.

And Lord Robert belatedly realizes with some chagrin that he will also need to seek an interview with the Duke of York to ask for Lady Gwendolyn’s hand in marriage upon the morrow.  For now, Lord Robert and Lady Gwendolyn are seated next to one another because they make their couples numbers even, not because their newly affianced status is known.  And they are both of a maturity to be less obviously smitten with each other than the younger Lord Duncan and the very young Lady Elizabeth.  But yet their nearby proximity at table means that their legs sometimes brush alongside each other, despite her voluminous skirting—or their hands touch when reaching for their water or wine glasses.

And oh yes, at the evening’s end—before they must part to slumber in their separate guest bed chambers in separate guest hallways at Sussex Hall Manor House—Lord Robert and Lady Gwendolyn share a tender and heartfelt goodnight kiss and embrace in the now darkened foyer, with only the moonlight bearing silent witness to their love.

To be continued with Chapter 28

 

Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement):  Chapter 27  images  for  July 10, 2019 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1245)

1) “Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement”) story cover art  image represents Lady Elizabeth Blount, sister  to the Earl of Sussex in black evening gown–is that of actress Jessica Brown Findlay as Lady Sybil in Downton Abby found at http://www.internet-d.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/38/2012/02/JESSICA-BROWN-FINDLAY-as-Lady-Sybil-Crawley.jpg ; the text font  is Vivaldi.

2) Lord Robert Knightsbridge the Marquess of Wyre  and Lady  Gwendolyn  Lindsay of York having a heartfeldtchat is represented by Hugh Grant and Emma Thompson in “Sense & Sensibility”;  image was found at http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_TiDqzDJS4jw/TN7oOe4ce-I/AAAAAAAAATw/kSuUof7zmvw/s1600/sense-and-sensibility.jpg

 

“Expectations” (Book 2)  Ch. 27  URL for Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad story Post  for , July 10, 2019 (Post #1245):
https://www.wattpad.com/756304833-expectations-book-2-by-gratiana-lovelace-2018

 

Previous “Expectations” (Book 2) Ch. 26  URL for Something About Love story, July 07, 2019 (Post #1244):
https://gratianads90.wordpress.com/2019/07/07/expectations-book-2-ch-26-tea-up-at-sussex-hall-july-07-2019-by-gratiana-lovelace-post-1244/

Posted in "Expectations" (Book 2), Creative Writing, Gratiana Lovelace, Historical Fiction, Love and Relationships, Period Drama | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Expectations” (Book 2)–Ch. 26: Tea up at Sussex Hall,  July 07, 2019  by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1244)

“Expectations” (Book 2)–Ch. 26: Tea up at Sussex Hall,
July 07, 2019  by Gratiana Lovelace  (Post #1244)

[an original Regency romance copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace, 2018 – 2019; all rights reserved);  [(1) story cover art, left]

[As is my custom, from time to time  I will illustrate my story with my ideal cast consisting of (in order of importance/mention in this chapter):   Lord Robert Knightsbridge the Marquess of Wyre (portrayed by Hugh Grant); his father and mother the Duke and Duchess of Lancashire; Lady Gwendolyn Lindsay of York (portrayed by Emma Thompson); Lady Gwendolyn’s and Lord Alfred’s parents the Duke and Duchess of York;  Lord Alfred Lindsay the Marquess of Malten (portrayed by David Oakes); Lady Constance Knightsbridge Lindsay the Marchioness of Malten (portrayed by Margaret Clunie); and their young daughter Lady Tamsin Knightsbridge Lindsay (portrayed by Francesca Capaldi)]

Author’s story content and serializing scheduling notes:  For the most part, my ratings for the chapters will be PG-13—for romantic interludes and dramatic moments.  If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with these ratings, then please do not read that chapter.  This is my disclaimer.   And I always put the previous chapter’s brief recap at the top of the next chapter.  Also, I hope to post new chapters weekly on Sundays or Mondays.  I hope that you enjoy this chapter.  And I will have another chapter up around Wednesday of this coming week as well.

 

                                                                     Ch. 26: Tea up at Sussex Hall


Still reeling from his bobbing for apples at the Sussex Village Faire failure, Lord Robert Knightsbridge the Marquess of Wyre—and heir to the Duke of Lancashire—bounds up the steps of their guest home for the Summer of Sussex Hall Manor [(2) above], which actually looks more like a castle due to the many additions over the centuries.  His intention is to immediately dry off, freshen up, and attire himself in dry clothes.  He will be thwarted in that vain hope.

Butler:  The Butler bows Lord Robert into Sussex Hall.  “My Lord Wyre, your father the Duke of Lancashire wishes to speak with you before tea today.”  With two Dukes in residence at Sussex Hall—the other being the Duke of York—the Sussex Hall Butler naturally emphasizes which ducal father is the requestor.

Lord Robert: “Thank you for the information.  I will freshen up then see him directly.  Where is the Duke?”

Butler: “The Billiards Room, My Lord.  He said it was urgent and requests your presence immediately upon your arrival—his words.”

Lord Robert:  “Of course.”  Lord Robert nods resignedly and changes direction.  His Father Duke is nothing if not commanding, and with his expectations usually acceded to.

And Lord Robert wonders what his Father Duke wants now.  His sister Lady Constance Knightsbridge Lindsay has finally assumed her rightful place as the Marchioness of Malten with the return of her long lost husband Lord Alfred Lindsay the Marquess of Malten.  And he thinks that surely their family will enjoy this happy turn of events for some time.  Though the Duke of Lancashire is not one known to be content for long.  And there is the matter of the Lancashire succession to be resolved.

At the threshold of the Billiards Room, Lord Robert hears a distinct crack of a ball being hit.  There he finds his Father Duke alone.

Lord Robert:  He bows.  “Father Duke. You requested to see me when I arrived back from the Sussex Village Faire.”

Duke of Lancashire:  He looks upon the slightly disheveled appearance of his only son had heir.  “Boy! Did you fall into the river?  You should have cleaned up before attending me.”


Lord Robert:  Raising a knowing eyebrow, Lord Robert [(3) above] maintains the expected placid expression.  “The Butler conveyed to me that your request for my immediate presence superceded my desire to look presentable.”

Duke of Lancashire: “Hmmpf!”  Is all the Duke responds.  Then he continues to walk around the billiards table, lining up his next shot.

Lord Robert: “May I know why you have summoned me, Papa Duke?”  Lord Robert uses his childhood address for his father at times like these, in the hope of softening the Duke’s seemingly out of sorts demeanor.

Duke of Lancashire:  “With your sister now happily settled with the unexpected and welcome return of her long lost husband Lord Alfred the Marquess of Malten, you need to look to your own nursery, Boy.”  The Duke refers to his son as Boy less as an endearment and more for his son’s future being under his control.

Lord Robert:  “Indeed.”  Lord Robert nods politely.  Whenever his father becomes fixated upon this topic of the getting of an heir, Lord Robert finds it best to agree with him.  “When we are returned to London for next year’s Spring season, I will earnestly attend to the matter of selecting a bride for my future Marchioness.”  But promises of future actions do not hold sway with the Duke.

Duke of Lancashire:  “No need.”  The Duke makes his next shot, satisfyingly landing his ball in the pocket—as he planned it.  Yet, the Duke does not react with pleasure nor satisfaction.  Rather, he methodically moves around the billiards table to set up his next shot.  The Duke is always about preparation, strategy, and the next step.

Lord Robert:  “Well done, Papa Duke.”  Lord Robert smiles agreeably at his father—billiards is not Lord Robert’s game.  “And why is there no need?”  He asks with curiosity mixed with a slight trepidation.

Duke of Lancashire: “There is already a Lady of good breeding, poise, and attractiveness among your acquaintance  who will make you a fine Marchioness—and future Duchess.”  The Duke lets his lure dangle in the air crackling between father and son.

Lord Robert:  A look of confusion upon Lord Robert’s face reveals his stunned reaction.  “Who?  Lady Juliet Marlborough, the Marquess of Cumberland’s eldest daughter?  She is a beautiful.” Lord Robert thinks wistfully—but their interests do not align, she enjoys glittering London and he prefers the country.   His Father Duke does not respond, but continues his billiards game.  Realizing that his Father Duke is intriguing him, in his usual way, Lord Robert muses on his debutante choices.  Then he has a horror of a thought.  “Surely not Lady Elizabeth Blount?  She is too young for me.  And, she and Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay of York are informally promised to each other.  It is a love match.”  He hints, so his Father Duke refrains from trampling upon it.

Duke of Lancashire:  “No, Boy!  Are you so obtuse to think that I would seek to match you with a mere child?”

Lord Robert: “No.  Thank you, Papa Duke.  Your protestation against my taking a child bride greatly relieves me.”  For his Father Duke is fifteen years his Mother Duke’s senior—though they do seem to have been a love match.

Duke of Lancashire:   “But your guess is getting warmer.  Can you think of no other Lady of our acquaintance with poise, intelligence, charm, and attractiveness—if not great beauty?”

The two men look upon each other—father and son, locked in battle of wills and wits.  But they are interrupted by a little interloper bursting into the room with her red curls flying around her freshly changed into white eyelet lace girl length dress.

Lady Tamsin: “There you are Grandpapa Duke!  And Uncle Lord Robert!”  She dashes over to her Grandpapa and gives him a hug.  “I am sent by my Grandmama Duchesses and my Mama to bid you both  to join us for tea in the large Rose Drawing Room.”

Lord Robert muses that his sister and her reunited husband Lord Alfred Lindsay the Marquess of Malten have finally surfaced this day from the idyll of their renewed marriage bed.  But he schools his features.

Lord Robert: “Oh?  And what of Lady Gwendolyn?”  He asks nonchalantly.  Then he notices his Father Duke’s smirking expression.

Duke of Lancashire:  “Yes, what of Lady Gwendolyn?”  He asks bemusedly

Lady Tamsin: “Oh, she said that she required a full bath after our Faire going activities had gotten her all dusty.”  She remarks quizzically.  “As if our bobbing for apples had not already gotten us wet and our faces clean.  I just passed a washcloth over myself at the basin in my bed chamber before I put on fresh clothes.” Then she steps out of her Grandpapa Duke’s embrace and twirls around to show off her flouncy skirt.

Lord Robert: “Yes, well, perhaps I should do the same—bathe, that is.”

Duke of Lancashire: “Yes, you do need to make a good impression, Boy!”

Lord Robert blanches.  He has his marching orders from his Father Duke.  As he makes his way up the stairs toward his bed chamber, his thoughts turn to his bath—then to Lady Gwendolyn in her bath.  He admits that though Lady Gwendolyn is not a great beauty and just a friend, he feels certain that the vision of her in her bath—with bubbles, no doubt—would be appealing.  And then he proceeds to order a bath from his valet then seeks privacy while his thoughts ruminate about Lady Gwendolyn Lindsay of York.

***


Fresh from her own bath and a change into a pale lilac silk dress embroidered with delicate winding vines along the ruched bodice and the tantalizingly  scalloped gown hem, Lady Gwendolyn Lindsay of York [(4) above] greets her now expanded family including the Lancashires, but one.  Lord Robert has yet to join them.

The individuals in the large Sussex Hall Manor Rose Drawing Room are seated within conversation pairings—the Duchesses, Lady Constance, and Lady Tamsin, and then the Dukes, and Lord Alfred.  There are pale pink and cream decorating flourishes throughout the room.  Though with the flower accents kept to a minimum, the men do not feel overly averse to also inhabiting such a lovely and feminine room. Lady Gwendolyn goes to her brother instantly upon his arrival.

Lady Gwendolyn: “Alfred!  It is so good to see you looking well rested.”  She smiles caringly at him.  She has had her long lost brother Alfred back within their Lindsays of York family fold for not quite 24 hours.  It still seems a miracle.

Lord Alfred:  “Thank you, Gwennie!”  He smiles warmly at his sister.  For as of yet, Lord Alfred’s childhood memory of his sister Gwennie is the only one to come back to him after his long absence to his family due to his amnesia caused by his devastating Napoleonic war injuries.  And he cannot help but gaze at his blushing bride, his wife Lady Constance, his Marchioness.  He is still accustoming himself to his new status as the heir to the Duke of York—rather than him being a humble clergyman.  Yet he has already settled into being a family man with his beloved wife Lady Constance—with whom this day, he shared a passionate  idyll of love—and their delightful  nine year old daughter Lady Tamsin.

Lady Gwendolyn:  Glancing around the room, she asks.  “No Lord Robert yet?”

Duke of Lancashire: “My son wished to repair his appearance with a freshening bath.”  The Duke would not normally mention something as personal as his son taking a bath.  But he wants to gauge Lady Gwendolyn’s reaction to the mention of his son Lord Robert.  And he is not disappointed.

Lady Gwendolyn: “Oh!  Of course!  The Sussex Village Faire was delightful, but dusty.”  She smiles blushingly—about Duke Lancashire referring to his son Lord Robert taking a bath.  For she had previously seen Lord Robert in only his toweling robe after a bath a few days ago–and he looked magnificent.

Lord Alfred: “We are hearing much about this Sussex Village Faire from Tammy.  So My Lady Wife and I are determined to visit it upon the morrow.”  Then he smiles knowingly. “And I do not think that Tammy would let us forget that she wishes us to take her with us—and to indulge her with the Faire’s many delights.  Though we do hope that she feels done with the bobbing for apples booth.”  He remarks wryly.

Lady Gwendolyn: “She did have fun today!  It was good to see her acting so carefree and childlike.”  And not wise beyond her years, as she did when her Papa Lord Alfred was still lost to them.

Lord Alfred: “Yes.  But she said that you and Lord Robert refused her some activities?”  He queries.

Lady Gwendolyn: “Oh there was nothing wrong nor unladylike about the activities—except for the tug of war.  We—Lord Robert and I, that is—felt that we should leave Tammy to have some fun activities to share with you for tomorrow.”

Duke of Lancashire:  “Did you now?”  Lady Gwendolyn Lindsay of York nods at her brother’s father-in-law, the Duke of Lancashire.  “That is thoughtful.”  And he likes the way that Lady Gwendolyn casually refers to she and his son Lord Robert Knightsbridge the Marquess of Wyre as a we.

Lady Gwendolyn:  “Yes.  There is a lovely carousel [(5)], and ever so many booths with trinkets and games to amuse her all day.

Lord Alfred:  “And I trust, that will tire her out?  Ha ha ha ha ha!”  He jests, but only just.  Because Lord Alfred would like another uninterrupted span of time this evening and tomorrow evening for he and his beloved wife Lady Constance to be private again.

The servants bring in the tea, cakes, and small sandwiches for everyone to enjoy.  Lady Tamsin swiftly helps her Mama Lady Constance pass out the tea and treats—her being sure to keep a full plate of treats for herself as well.  Lady Tamsin has worked up her appetite attending today’s Sussex Village Faire.  And there is more to be had of the Faire upon the morrow, with her parents assurance that they will be delighted to accompany her to the Sussex Village Faire.

Just as Lady Tamsin longingly spies the last cake and sandwich treat on the serving plates, Uncle Lord Robert arrives for tea.  Oh bother, she thinks.  For her Uncle will certainly want food—since he did not catch an apple to eat at the Faire.  Lady Constance once more pours tea and solicits her daughter Lady Tamsin to give the tea and the last treat plate to Lord Robert.

Lady Tamsin:  Lady Tamsin mutters forlornly under her breath as she passes the tea and then his treats plate to her Uncle Lord Robert.  “One minute more and you would have not had any cakes left to eat.”  Her mouth waters and she licks her lips.  She has already had much to eat this day—bordering on giving her a stomach ache.  But children only think of their wants in the present, and not to said wants unintended consequences.

Lord Robert:  “Hmm?”  He smiles at his niece.  Then he notices Lady Gwendolyn and walks over to her sitting on the shorter pink and cream settee.  “May I join you?”  He asks politely.  Despite his Father Duke’s possible allusion to Lady Gwendolyn as his future bride, Lord Robert finds her pleasant company.  And he will not give her up out of pique at his father’s suggestion of her as his potential bride.  For what is a wife, when a friend is near?

Lady Gwendolyn: “Of course.”  She nods with a smile—pleasant, not forced, nor overly eager either.

There is no guile nor artifice about Lady Gwendolyn—and Lord Robert likes that about her.  Lord Robert sits down upon the sette—being sure to leave a seat cushion’s breadth between them—and he ignores the steely gaze that his Father Duke is sending their way.  Lord Robert noshes upon his meat paste and thinly sliced cucumber sandwich first.  Lady Gwendolyn has long finished her treats plate and eyes his frosted cake with longing, and a quick licking of her lips.

Then little Lady Tamsin sashays over to them with a purpose, eyeing her uncle’s treats plate.  Her parents, Lord Alfred and Lady Constance watch her carefully.  They have already told her once that she has eaten enough food at tea.  But Lady Tamsin is trying out her limits, with the excitement of her newly reunited family giving her some leeway.

Lord Robert is munching his sandwich and sipping his tea when he looks over at Lady Gwendolyn—and seeing her lick her lips as she gazes at … his plate of food.  He had not noticed before how full and luscious her lower lip seems to be.  Would that her interest be for him, rather than for his cake, he thinks.  But he knows that she has her set ways—not wishing to deviate from them.  He feels similarly toward his own well ordered life.

Then the two ladies speak unintentionally simultaneously—so focused upon the cake prize are they.

Lady Gwendolyn:  “May I have your cake if you are not going to eat it, Lord Robert?”  and

Lady Tamsin: “I would like to eat your cake, Uncle Lord Robert.”

Both are direct, as expected.  And they startle him with wanting his cake treat.

Lord Robert: “Well I …”  Then he looks back and forth between Lady Gwendolyn and his niece Lady Tamsin.

Lady Tamsin’s  parents overhearing their daughter’s request, they rise from their settee and walk over to Lady Tamsin.

Lady Constance: “Now Tammy, Sweetheart.  You have had so much to eat today, I fear that you will give yourself a stomach ache.”  She caresses Lady Tamsin’s bounce red curls, then pats her shoulders.

Lady Tamsin: She looks over at her father Lord Alfred.  “And what do you think, Papa?”

Lord Alfred:  “I think that your Mama just gave you excellent advice.  Afterall, you do not want to miss this evening’s dinner with a flaming dessert, now do you?”

Lady Tamsin:  Her eyes going wide, she asks incredulously.  “A dessert that is on fire?  How can that be accomplished?”

Lord Alfred: “Wait and see, My Dear.”  He smiles knowingly.

Lady Constance:  Leaning over to her husband, she whispers a question.  “Can this evening’s plum pudding dessert be set afire?”  [(6) below]

Lord Alfred: “With a bit of spirits dousing the treat, I think it can be accomplished.  It was a favorite with my men during our long Napoleonic campaigns.”  He startles at another long forgotten memory being revealed to him.

Lady Constance: “Alfred! You remembered something else!”  She exclaims excitedly as she touches his face and gazes at him hopefully.

Lord Alfred:  “Yes, it would seem so.” He tenderly smiles back at her.  He does not want her to hope that all of his memories will return.  But he cannot diminish her joy.   “And if my memory serves further, I believe flaming Christmas pudding is a specialty of our York Castle family Cook. Perhaps Mama Duchess might know the secret of making the dessert flame—and still be edible.”  He grins sheepishly.

However, Lady Tamsin is nothing if not a little spitfire.

Lady Tamsin: “I will enjoy seeing—and perhaps eating—this flaming dessert, later.  But I am hungry now.  The Faire was so tiring today that I need more food to sustain me.  You do not understand, because you and Mama slept the day away napping—so you cannot be tired at all.”

Of course, their daughter Lady Tamsin believes that her parents were actually napping, the whole time they were together.  Lady Constance blushes charmingly and Lord Alfred smiles knowingly, remembering their loving morning and early afternoon.  If he and his Lady Wife Constance have not already started the quest for their son and his heir, Lord Alfred will very much be surprised.

Lord Robert:  “Perhaps I can offer a solution to this cake problem.  Though Tammy has indicated that she is still hungry, she has already eaten more food than her parents think prudent.”  Lady Tamsin frowns, guessing her Uncle’s refusal of her request for his cake.  “And though I am feeling gentlemanly enough to give my cake to Lady Gwendolyn, I am partial to cake.”  He licks his lips.  “So I propose that Lady Gwendolyn and I share the cake—that is, if someone might bring us a knife so that we might cut it in two?”

Lady Gwendolyn:  “I accept.”  She responds readily.

Duke of Lancashire: “What do you accept, My Dear Lady Gwendolyn?”  He walks over and teases his son mercilessly.

Lord Robert: “Papa Duke, Please!”

Lady Gwendolyn:  Her not knowing the background for the father and son exchange, she responds to the Duke. “Your Grace, Lord Wyre has just gentlemanly proposed that he split his cake and give half to me to enjoy.”

Duke of Lancashire:  “Is that so?”  He further needles.

Lady Tamsin: “It is, Grandpapa Duke.  Uncle Lord Robert will not give me his cake!”  Then little Lady Tamsin bursts into tears—a sure sign that she is very tired from her long day at the Sussex Village Faire—and her Mama Lady Constance and her Papa Lord Alfred caringly guide her away and up to her bed chamber for her to take a much needed nap before their family dinner this evening.

Lord Robert: Seeing his Father Duke still standing before he and Lady Gwendolyn, Lord Robert tries to misdirect him.  “Oh Papa Duke, I see that Mama Duchess is beckoning you to return to her.”  He waves in his Mama Duchess’ general direction—and she waves back to him, just in time for her husband Duke to turn around and surmise that she is, indeed, beckoning to him.  Yet the Duke stands his ground and does not leave his son’s side.

Then sensing that there is some tension between father and son, Lady Gwendolyn takes her unused tea spoon and slices Lord Robert’s cake in half—removing her portion to her plate.  Then she pops the bite sized piece of cake into her mouth and sips her tea before standing up from the settee.

Duke of Lancashire: “Hmmm.  You had best watch out for this one, Boy!” The old Duke smiles warmly at her.

Lord Robert also pops his remaining half cake into his mouth and takes a sip of his tea as he stands up from the settee.  He perfunctorily nods to his Father Duke.

Lord Robert: “Papa Duke.”  Lord Robert bows to his Father Duke.  Then he turns his attention with a broad smile to Lady Gwendolyn.  “Lady Gwendolyn, might I interest you in a stroll about the gardens?”  He holds out his arm to her, whilst ignoring the gleam in his Father Duke’s eyes.

Lady Gwendolyn: “You may, Lord Wyre.”  She responds ever so politely, paired with her lovely smile.  Then they both leave the Rose Drawing Room and head for the Sussex Hall Gardens—arm in arm.

To be continued with Chapter 27

 

Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement):  Chapter 26  images  for  July 07, 2019 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1244)

1)  “Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement”) story cover art  image represents Lady Elizabeth Blount, sister  to the Earl of Sussex in black evening gown–is that of actress Jessica Brown Findlay as Lady Sybil in Downton Abby found at http://www.internet-d.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/38/2012/02/JESSICA-BROWN-FINDLAY-as-Lady-Sybil-Crawley.jpg ; the text font  is Vivaldi.

2) An aerial view of the Blount’s country seat of Sussex Hall Manor is represented by Arundel Castle; for more information, visit  https://arundelcastle.org/  ;    the image was found at https://arundelcastle.org/assets/components/phpthumbof/cache/22-01-2018-151665729215-12-2017-6363-2.arundel-castle.150e66919f25ed0392bb7d2375959d0d.jpg

3) Lord Robert Knightsbridge, Marquess of Wyre, in neckcloth, cls, is Hugh Grant as Edward Ferrars in “Sense & Sensibility” via Yet Another Period Drama blog; image link is http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_rvFfNUQOjpM/TVGkb1i7aoI/AAAAAAAAAb4/5bn3OIkBBBY/s1600/hugh+grant+edward+ferrars.jpg

4)  Lady Gwendolyn Lindsay of York’s pale light purple lavender silk organza evening gown (Grati background mask) is Emma Thompson as Elinor Dashwood in 1995’s Sense & Sensibility found at  https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/e4/a8/be/e4a8becc0d292a3c0f1412358cef9653.jpg

5) The origins of a Carousel date back hundreds of years; for more information, please visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carousel

6) The fine old tradition of having a flaming Christmas pudding dates back to pre-Victorian times—and one enjoyed by my family, but without the fire. Ha!  For more about this tradition, please visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_pudding

“Expectations” (Book 2)  Ch. 26  URL for Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad story Post  for ,  July 07, 2019 (Post#1244):
https://www.wattpad.com/755225913-expectations-book-2-by-gratiana-lovelace-2018

 

Previous “Expectations” (Book 2)  Ch. 25  URL for Something About Love story , July 01, 2019 (Post #1242):
https://gratianads90.wordpress.com/2019/07/01/expectations-ch25-tea-for-more-than-two-july01-2019-by-gratiana-lovelace-post1242/

Posted in "Expectations" (Book 2), Creative Writing, David Oakes, Emma Thompson, Gratiana Lovelace, Historical Fiction, Hugh Grant, Humor, Love and Relationships, Period Drama, Romance, Social Justice, social media, Society, Something About Love, Storytelling | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Happy 4th of July 2019! July 04, 2019 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1243)

The 4th of July for folks in the U.S. can mean different things to different people.

My childhood memories associate the 4th of July with little fireworks of “snakes”, pop caps, etc., on up to attending our city’s real fireworks displays at one of several parks.   And a few years, we would travel a little ways out of town to see a panoramic view of four or five fireworks going off throughout the town all at once!

And the Parks & Recreation fireworks designers typically synched their fireworks display marvels to the playing of the “1812 overture” as shared by the local radio stations.  And a flash mob of this piece would have been fantastic!:

 

Then there was the fun of getting together with friends to go “fishing” in the creek for crawdads–using bits of sausage links for bait–then we set the crawdads  free.  There would be cookouts with neighbors, outdoor games, and such.  And our town would have a parade, too.

And in recent years, my hubby and I would also visit a local nearby really small town during the day for its flea market sales in the central town parks on the 4th of July.

And everywhere–on people or in bunting decorations–the red, white, and blue colors of our U.S. flag were represented.

To me, having pride in our country on the 4th of July meant/means:
1. honoring our nation’s founders courage and wisdom in wresting the 13 states from tyranny and oppression to form a new nation;
2. recognizing the contributions of all peoples in the U.S., both indigenous peoples and    individuals/immigrants (including in our family) who came from other countries to build new lives for themselves and their loved ones, and in the process help to build this country;
3. acknowledging the struggles that our country and its diverse peoples have endured and still endure–prejudice, discrimination, violence, and poverty, etc.–and vowing to work to eradicate these evils;
4. hoping for a better tomorrow for everyone and not only for ourselves, for as more of us flourish and thrive, so does our society flourish and thrive;
5. so perhaps especially in these recent years, the U.S.  has a lot of homework to do live up to our founders’ legacy of striving to create freedom and justice for all.

And in closing, a particular annual 4th of July tv program favorite of many is “A Capitol 4th!”  The video below from several years ago contains a medley of marches music with a great backdrop of fireworks.  Enjoy!

 

Wishing you and yours a safe and happy 4th of July!  Hugs & Love!

Posted in 4th of July, Fireworks, Gratiana Lovelace, Legacy, Social Justice, social media, Society, Something About Love, Video | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Expectations” (Book 2)–Ch. 25: Tea for more than two, July 01, 2019  by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1242)

“Expectations” (Book 2)–Ch. 25: Tea for more than two,
July 01, 2019  by Gratiana Lovelace  (Post #1242)

an original Regency romance copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace, 2018 – 2019; all rights reserved);  [(1) story cover art, left]

[As is my custom, from time to time  I will illustrate my story with my ideal cast consisting of (in order of importance/mention in this chapter):   Lord Harold Blount (portrayed by Crispin Bonham-Carter); Lady Penelope Blount (portrayed by Lily Travers); Lady Lucretia Beckham Knott (portrayed by Maggie Smith); Lady Horatia Winston, Lady Penelope’s grandmother, and sister to Lady Knott; Lord Christian Blount the Earl of Sussex (portrayed by Richard Armitage) and his wife Lady Madeline Sinclair Blount the Countess of Sussex; Lady Elizabeth Blount (portrayed by Jessica Brown Findlay); and Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay of York (portrayed by Rupert Penry-Jones)]

Author’s story content and serializing scheduling notes:  For the most part, my ratings for the chapters will be PG-13—for romantic interludes and dramatic moments.  If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with these ratings, then please do not read that chapter.  This is my disclaimer.   And I always put the previous chapter’s brief recap at the top of the next chapter.  Also, I hope to post new chapters weekly on Sundays or Mondays.  I hope that you enjoy this chapter.

 

Ch. 25:  Tea for more than two

With Lady Penelope Winston Blount [(2) below]  finding her equilibrium returning after the solicitude of her husband Lord Harold Blount insures her comfort from her traveling during her morning sickness with a much needed respite in the soft downy mattress in their guest bed chamber’s large and comfortable bed at the Sussex Hall Dower House, and the ginger tea and toast that he had procured for her, she feels well enough to join her Grandmama Lady Winston, Great Aunt Lady Knott, and her husband’s Grandmother the Dowager Lady Sussex for a midday meal.  So Lord Harold helps her out of their bed and summons her ladies maid to assist  her with her toilette, even as he attends to his own ablutions before luncheon.

Despite her angelic countenance–of a creamy English rose complexion, blond silky hair and a charming ivory gown with pink ribbon rose embellishments–Lady Penelope is a little nervous at meeting Lord Harold’s Grandmama the Dowager Lady Sussex—let alone, the current holder of that office, her cousin and her new sister-in-law, Lady Madeline Blount, whom she only remembers as a child of eight.  Lady Penelope is a shy lady of twenty eight–due to the restrictive nature of her previous husband’s the Earl of Lindquist’s treatment of her.  But Lord Harold feels that once his dear wife Lady Penelope  is enveloped in the love and kindness of their families, that she  will blossom into her true self—as he had remembered her to be at her come out ten years ago.

And Lord Harold silently chastises him self for being too young then—him being only ten and five years at the time then, three years Lady Penelope’s junior—to have saved her from Lord Lindquist.  But now that he has found and rescued Lady Penelope  from that disastrous first marriage, Lord Harold resolves to love and cherish and encourage her the rest of his days as her loving and devoted husband.

Exiting his dressing room and into their bed chamber, Lord Harold collects his wife Lady Penelope for their luncheon with the old ladies, as he euphemistically refers to the grandmothers and great aunt.

Lord Harold:  “You look charming, My Dear.”  He sighs, bows, then lifts her hand to his lips for a tender kiss.

Lady Penelope  blushes at her newish husband’s effusive praise of her—her still trying to accustom herself to being free from her confinement and censure born of her first marriage.

Lady Penelope:  “Thank you, … Harold.”  She replies shyly.  Speaking so informally in her mode of address to her husband is also a new liberty.

Lord Harold:  “Say it again.”  He smiles tenderly at her.

Lady Penelope: “Thank you?”  She looks at him in slight confusion.

Lord Harold:  “No, my name.”  He voices with awe.  “I have never before heard my name spoken in so welcoming a way as you say it, Penelope, My Love.”  His voice is like a velvet rose brushing gently across her heart.

Lady Penelope:  “Harold … Harold … my love Harold.”  With each utterance, Lord Harold beckons her closer into his loving embrace. And she sweetly rejoices in the tender love that they share.

Lord Harold: “I have one favor that I might ask of you, My Love.”

Lady Penelope: “Anything!”  She sighs.

Lord Harold: He adopts a countenance of sheer fright—a performance worthy of any stage actor.  “Please protect me from your Great Aunt Lady Knott.”  He trembles excessively, then he smiles at his jest.

Lady Penelope: “Well, with our marriage, she is also now your Great Aunt.”  She also smiles in jest—feeling light hearted and hopeful for her happy future with her new husband.

And they laugh softly together in their shared amusement—them not wanting to attract attention from servants or others who might be listening in as they walk through the halls of the Sussex Hall Dower House to attend luncheon with the old ladies.  For Lady Lucretia Beckham Knott is formidable—she is a tigress, but with a loving heart, once you get on her good side, that is.

***

Later in the afternoon, the now weary Sussex Village Faire goers in the Blount, Lindsay, and Knightsbridge families return to the Sussex Hall Dower House for tea to give them sustenance until dinner at the unfashionable country hour of 7 o’clock—and to hopefully meet their new sister-in-law Lady Penelope Winston Blount, Lord Harold Blount’s new wife.

The first to arrive are Lord Christian and his wife and Countess Lady Madeline—followed closely by  Lord Duncan and Lady Elizabeth, by her brother Lord Christian’s express request.  Lord Robert and Lady Gwendolyn plan to return their niece Lady Tamsin to Sussex Hall Manor and her parents and have tea with their parents the Dukes and Duchesses of York and Lancashire.

Lady Madeline can hardly wait until her husband Lord Christian stops their curricle before she nearly springs from the carriage and race into the Dower House to greet her cousin  and now sister-in-law Lady Penelope.  Lord Christian tries to call out to his wife to be careful, but she is unheedful of his concern for her being with child.

Lord Christian: “Madeline, wait!  You must be careful of your delicate condition!”  But she has already raced into the Dower House.  So there is nothing for it but for Lord Christian to hand the reins of his curricle to a nearby waiting groom and to follow his wife into their home.

When Lady Madeline enters the Sussex Hall Dower House sitting room, Lord Harold and Lady Penelope stand to greet here—whilst the old ladies remain seated and nod their heads in the young Countess’ direction.

Lady Madeline:  “Penny!”  She launches at her older but shy cousin and embraces her caringly.  Lord Harold beams for his wife’s warm reception.

Lady Penelope: “Maddie!”  She responds as they embrace.  Then Lady Penelope remembers herself and steps back from her cousin Lady Madeline, and curtsies to her.  “My Lady Sussex.”  She dips her head with reverent respect.

Lady Madeline: “Oh pooh, Penny!  We are cousins and now sisters-in-law.  We will not stand on ceremony among family.”  Then Lady Madeline embraces her again.

Lady Penelope:  “You are very gracious.”  She smiles shyly at her cousin whom she hasn’t seen since her first marriage to Lord Lindquist ten years ago.

Lord Harold:  Gently squeezing his wife’s hand, he encourages her with whispers meant only for her ears. “Truly, Penelope, Madeline and my brother Christian and my younger sister Lady Elizabeth are family.  You have nothing to fear from them.”

Lord Christian walks into the sitting room and stands to the side of his wife, Lady Madeline.

Lady Madeline: “Oh, Penny!  And this is my handsome, wise, and kind husband Lord Christian Blount, the Earl of Sussex.”

Lord Christian steps forward to greet his brother’s new wife with a bow and then he lifts her hand to his lips.

Lord Christian: “Lady Penelope, welcome to our family.”  He states warmly to her.

Lady Penelope: She curtsies.  “Lord Sussex.  I am honored to be considered family.  I wish you and my cousin Madeline every happiness.”

Lord Christian:  “As we wish every happiness for you.”  Then Lord Christian looks over at his younger brother.  “Harold.”  Lord Christian raises his left eyebrow in some skepticism—that his brother has finally set aside his own selfish pursuits in order to secure the happiness of another, Lady Penelope.

Lord Harold: “Brother!”  He holds out his hand to his brother with a smile.  Lord Christian takes the offered olive branch and shakes his brother’s hand.  Then Lord Harold steps back to stand with his arm protectively and possessively around his wife Lady Penelope’s waist—which mirrors the usual close contact of Lord Christian and Lady Madeline when in company.

Then Lord Duncan and Lady Elizabeth join the ever increasing number of guests for tea this day.

Lord Harold: “My Love, please allow me to introduce my younger sister, Lady Elizabeth.  Lizzie, my wife Penelope Lady Blount.”  The two ladies curtsy to each other, then kiss cheeks.  As new acquaintances, their greeting is cordial but not as effusive as between the cousins Lady Madeline and Lady Penelope.

Lady Elizabeth:  “I am delighted to welcome you to our family, My Lady.  I am glad to meet the woman who finally tamed my brother Harold.”

Lord Harold: “Lizzie!”  He hisses.

Lady Elizabeth:  “Oh hush, Harold.  And Lady Penelope, may I introduce Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay, my betrothed?”

Lord Christian: “Hang it, Lizzie!  Nothing has been settled yet.”

Lady Elizabeth:  Jutting her chin up in defiance, Lady Elizabeth states calmly.  “But it could be, Christy– if you would only accede to our request to marry in two weeks, before Lord Duncan has to return to oversee York Castle renovations.  We want to have a short wedding trip week on our journey there.”

Lord Duncan blanches because he has not had time to broach this newly proposed wedding  timetable with Lord Christian—in the hope of gaining his approval of the scheme.

Lady Penelope quietly looks between Lord Christian and his younger sister Lady Elizabeth, and her intended.  Then Lord Harold enters the fray.

Lord Harold: “Shall we make it a double wedding, Lizzie?  My Lady and I are to wed in two weeks per the Archbishop of Canterbury—as a means of solemnizing our earlier marriage in France three months ago.”  It seems that the church of England does not recognize French weddings automatically.

Lord Christian begins to scowl for having his head of the family status usurped by his younger brother making arrangements without first seeking his approval.

Lady Madeline: “Christian Dearest, will you grant your blessing to your brother Lord Harold and his wife Lady Penelope, my cousin?”  She pauses, gazing deeply into her husband’s eyes.  He nods.  Then she treads carefully.  “And what of Lady Elizabeth and Lord Duncan?” She poses her question rather than making a  direct request– in deference to her husband’s pater familial role with his brother and sister.

Lord Duncan: Bowing to Lord Christian, he requests belatedly.  “Lord Christian, might you grant me an interview to discuss the potential for Lady Elizabeth and I to bring forward our wedding date—to accommodate the aforementioned renovations schedule?”  Of course, Lord Duncan is wildly eager to make Lady Elizabeth his bride and wife in every way that a husband claims his wife.  But it would be impolitic of him to mention his romantic yearnings to his love’s brother.  Elder brothers rarely want to consider that their little sisters are no longer little—but a woman in her own right.

Lady Elizabeth: “Oh please, Christian.  Might you also grant Lord Duncan and I your blessing for us to marry?”  She pleads with her brother.  With her being underage at just eighteen years, she can not enter into a legal marriage without her brother’s consent.  And of what she knows of her often high handed older brother’s ways, she does not have an inkling of an expectation of his response.

The room is silent waiting for Lord Christian to respond.

Lord Christian: “Duncan, see me after breakfast at 9 o’clock tomorrow.  You may make your case to marry my sister Lady Elizabeth then.”  He states rather imperiously.  But then, that is his due.

Lady Madeline: “Excellent!  Now that that is settled, let us enjoy our tea.”  She moves to a large sette and motions for the footman to bring in the tea trays with cups, tea, and small cakes.  Then she beckons for Lady Elizabeth and Lady Penelope to join her on the sette.  Lady Madeline will pour the tea into cups.  Lady Penelope with add sugar and cream to each individual’s liking.  Then

Lady Elizabeth will pass out the cups and saucers and cake plates.

Once everyone has their refreshments, they begin to sip and nibble  eagerly.  There is a small lull in the conversation.  Then ever one to abhor a vacuum, Lady Elizabeth begins the conversation.

Lady Elizabeth: “So Lady Penelope, how did you meet my brother Harold?  And what made you fall in love with him?”

At this point, Lady Penelope is sitting on an opposite sette with her husband Lord Harold.  And she freezes, her not expecting to be asked to reveal so soon something so personal as to how she fell in love with her husband.

Lord Harold: Sensing his wife’s shy unease, he steps in. “Shall I tell our story, My Love?”  Lady Penelope gazes up at him and gratefully nods her head.  “Well, from my perspective, I saw her from afar ten years ago when she made her come out.  She was a vision of poise, grace, and beauty.  And I instantly fell in love with her.  But then she married Lord Lindquist , who took her out of town, and then eventually to Europe.”  Lady Penelope’s face blushes crimson at her husband’s telling of their story.

Lady Elizabeth: “That is so romantic!  Love at first sight.  Please tell us Lady Penelope, what drew you to my brother Harold?  Have you loved each other all this time?”

Lady Penelope:  “I did not actually know of Lord Harold’s interest in me at my come out.  My parents had contracted my marriage to Lord Lindquist.”  She states with some discomfort.  Then a quarter not heard from yet speaks up—her grandmother.

Lady Winston:  “That Lindquist match was disastrous!  He wanted her only for her 30,000 pound dowry and then neglected her in every other way.”  She states vaguely.

Lord Harold:  “Yes, it wasn’t until four months ago when I went to Paris after my brother Christian had married Madeline, that I was so fortunate as to finally meet Lady Penelope.”  In truth, Lord Harold had run away, to escape what he felt was a torment of seeing his brother’s marriage happiness, when he knew that his own happiness could never happen—with him being hopelessly in love with the vision from his past, Lady Penelope.  Lord Harold’s amours had been attempts to distract him from his unrequited love—but they did not, they could not.

Lady Penelope: “Warming to their story, she adds.  “It was truly serendipitous.  I had been strolling along the river Seine with my Ladies Maid and a footman, when a strong wind gust ripped the veil I wore from my hat.  I was frantic at being so exposed and forlornly watched as the wind lifted my veil over toward the river and into the back of a gentleman’s head.”

Lady Elizabeth: “Why did you wear a veil, Penelope?” She asks curiously.  “Were you in mourning?”

Lady Penelope: “Why?  Well, … I…”  She falters.  “It was required by Lord Lindquist that my face be hidden when I was out in public.”

Lady Elizabeth: “Even when you went to balls and assemblies?”  She asks with incredulity.

Lady Penelope:  Feeling anxious, Lady Penelope shakes her head.  “I attended social  functions but rarely.  However,  my husband allowed me a daily constitutional walk, if I … if my identity was hidden behind a veil.”

Lady Elizabeth:  “But I do not understand.”  She presses for more information—information that Lady Penelope cannot bear to provide.

Lord Harold:  “Leave it, Lizzie.”  He asks in a hushed voice.  “It is enough to know that I was the gentleman that the wind carried her veil to.  And when I turned around, her footman had walked over to me to retrieve his lady’s veil.  She was turned away from me at that moment, and I did not know who she was.  I was intrigued.  So I declined the footman’s request, and I insisted upon giving the veil back to its rightful owner.”  He gazes upon his love’s upturned face, her vulnerability for being imprisoned in a repressive marriage for ten years still weighs heavily upon her soul.  He gently and reverently kisses her forehead.  “But when I presented the veil to her, she turned around…And their she was, the lady I had loved from afar for ten years…standing before me…in the flesh.”

Lady Elizabeth: “Awww!”  She sighs.

Lord Harold: “But she did not know me, we had never been introduced.  And I was a mere boy when she had made her come out, and now I was a man.  I doubt that she would have recognized me after ten years, even if we had met before.  And as a man now, I sensed that something was wrong, terribly wrong—with her life.  She would not give me her name—and I could not remember her married name of Lindquist.  So I was at an impasse as to what I could do to be properly introduced to her.  I tried to find her again the next day—hoping that she might take the same walk every day.  But she did not go out for several days after that—worried that her husband’s spies would see her with me, another man.  And it wasn’t until the Diplomatic Service Ball that the government hosted for foreign dignitaries and others such as myself who were just visiting, that I glimpsed her again, at her husband’s side.  But given how skittish she was when we met inadvertently near the Seine, I could not risk alarming her by boldly striding up to her—with her husband nearby, no less.  So I waited  and watched her from across the ball room.  Then the British Ambassador—whose son went to Eton with my brother Christian, noticed me and invited me over for a chat.  Serendipitously, My Lady’s first  husband Lord Lindquist also drifted over to the British  Ambassador and I—with his wife upon his arm.  But Lady Penelope only looked down at the floor or seemingly aloofly at one of the many floral arrangements adorning the buffet tables and columns around the ballroom.”

Lady Penelope: “And then the British Ambassador introduced Harold to … us… and I realized that he was the gentleman who had previously returned my veil to me.  I had thought about him and wondered what sort of man would first insist upon returning the veil directly to me, boldly ordering my footman about–and then he was also a man who would not call me out as having met him before.” For if her husband had known that his wife had even had a brief innocuous contact with another man, he would have derided her mercilessly.  And she winces at the thought.

Lord Harold: “Her beautiful countenance was wreathed in sadness and in pain.  So I could not rest until I had found a way to be of aide to her.  I had made discreet inquiries and listened to conversations about Lord Lindquist—finding out he was  a gambler and owed many a creditor all over Paris.  He was not held in any esteem nor regard.  And his wife seemingly being a recluse was a circumstance that felt unsettlingly odd.  The back of my neck prickled with awareness.  And I felt that if I could not wrest her from this life that she would become even more miserable than she already was—or worse.”

Lady Elizabeth: “But how did you marry her if she was already married?”

Lady Knott: “That was a stroke of genius on Lord Harold’s part.  He consulted a lawyer and learned of the French Lutheran grounds for divorce due to neglect and fraud.  And he made Lady Penelope aware of her options when next they happened to meet on one of her walks.”

Lord Harold: “I had to free her from her loveless marriage—even if she didn’t love me.  I wanted her to find some measure of happiness in life.  And so after two weeks, her divorce decree was finalized—unbeknownst to her husband Lord Lindquist.  And Lady Penelope was glad to be free, and I was glad that she was glad.  But my funds were not fluid enough to provide her safe passage back to England—what with our capital being tied up in the coal mine venture.  And she did not want to risk her husband’s wrath were he to find out that she had divorced him and she was trying to leave Paris and to leave him.  So we bided our time for a few weeks—meeting secretly, making plans.  And we fell in love.  So one afternoon three months ago, I spirited her out of Paris to a small village parish and we were married by a vicar recommended by the British Ambassador.  And then you know the rest.  I came home, hoping that Christian could loan me monies to bring My Lady home.  Yet in the interim, my enterprising Love Lady Penelope had had a note from her Grandmother Lady Winston with a story about  her ill health.  So miraculously, Lord Lindquist let Lady Penelope return to England for her Grandmother—since there was still a legacy to inherit from her.”

Lady Penelope:  “Though my husband had no funds to pay my passage.  So I sold my wedding rings—glad to be rid of them.  And I traveled dressed as a servant with my Ladies Maid and my Footman back to England.  And I wrote to Harold.”

Lord Harold: “And four days ago, I received her letter and raced to get to her at Dover, then I conveyed her to her Grandmother Winston with the help of my brother Christian’s carriage.  And the rest you know.”

Lady Madeline: “Oh my Dear Penny!  You have had such trials to face.  Yet you have overcome them and look forward to a bright and happy future with Harold.”

Lord Harold: “I am blessed to have Penelope as my wife.  And from this day forward, she will only know happiness and joy.”

Lord Christian: “What about her first husband, Lord Lindquist?  Will he not try to win her back?”

Lord Harold:  “We had been worried about that.  Not that he could legally take her back, but that he would attempt to ruin our reputations.”

Lady Penelope: “But then when my Grandmother Lady Winston and Great Aunt Lady Knott visited the Archbishop of Canterbury on our behalf about recognizing the French Lutheran divorce decree, they found out  that the point was moot.  One of Lord Lindquist’s many Paris creditors became impatient  about waiting for him to pay—and Lord Lindquist was found dead.”

Lady Knott: “So all that was needed is for Lord Harold and Lady Penelope to have an English wedding ceremony to solemnize their French wedding ceremony.”

Lady Penelope: “I do apologize for the upheaval that our marriage and flight to England has caused all of you, and we are greatly sorry for it.”  She intones contritely.

Lady Madeline: “It is not your fault, Penny Dear.”

Lord Elizabeth: “I should say not.”

Lord Duncan:  “And if you feel that your history is a complicated one, My Lady, just wait until you meet my long lost brother and his secret wife and daughter—who were only reunited yesterday.”  He smiles broadly at hopefully puncturing the dear lady’s worries.

And again, Lord Duncan hopes that of the many vagaries of recent marriage revelations—including his brother Lord Alfred and Lord Christian’s brother Lord Harold—that he Lord Duncan  and Lady Elizabeth are a  rather  tame betrothal pair by comparison, despite his yearning passion for her.  So his interview with Lord Christian on the morrow will be the most important one of his life.

To be continued with chapter 26

 

“Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement):  Chapter 25  images  for   July 01, 2019 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1242)

  1. “Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement”) story cover art image represents Lady Elizabeth Blount, sister  to the Earl of Sussex in black evening gown–is that of actress Jessica Brown Findlay as Lady Sybil in Downton Abby found at http://www.internet-d.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/38/2012/02/JESSICA-BROWN-FINDLAY-as-Lady-Sybil-Crawley.jpg ; the text font  is Vivaldi.

    2.  Lady Penelope Winston Blount is portrayed by Lily Travers—who appears on Victoria season 3 in 2019 as Duchess Sophie of Monmouth; the image was found at https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/specialfeatures/victoria-s3-new-cast-characters/

 

“Expectations” (Book 2)  Ch. 25  URL for Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad story Post  for ,  July 01, 2019 (Post#1242):
https://www.wattpad.com/752272690-expectations-book-2-by-gratiana-lovelace-2018

 

Previous “Expectations” (Book 2)  Ch. 24  URL for Something About Love story (Post #1241),  June 24,  2019:
https://gratianads90.wordpress.com/2019/06/24/expectations-book-2-ch-24-going-to-the-sussex-village-faire-june-24-2019-by-gratiana-lovelace-post-1241/

 

Posted in "Expectations" (Book 2), Creative Writing, Dignity, Empowerment, Family, Gratiana Lovelace, Hope, Love and Relationships, Richard Armitage, Romance, Rupert Penry-Jones, Social Justice, social media, Society, Something About Love, Storytelling | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Expectations” (Book 2)–Ch. 24:  Going to the Sussex Village Faire,  June 24, 2019  by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1241)

“Expectations” (Book 2)–Ch. 24:  Going to the Sussex Village Faire,
June 24, 2019  by Gratiana Lovelace  (Post #1241)

(an original Regency romance copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace, 2018 – 2019; all rights reserved);  [(1) story cover art, left]

 [As is my custom, from time to time  I will illustrate my story with my ideal cast consisting of (in order of importance/mention in this chapter):   Lord Christian Blount the Earl of Sussex (portrayed by Richard Armitage) and his wife Lady Madeline Sinclair Blount the Countess of Sussex; Lord Harold Blount (portrayed by Crispin Bonham-Carter); Lady Penelope Blount (portrayed by Lily Travers); Lady Lucretia Beckham Knott (portrayed by Maggie Smith); Lady Horatia Winston, Lady Penelope’s grandmother, and sister to Lady Knott; Lady Elizabeth Blount (portrayed by Jessica Brown Findlay); Lord Duncan Viscount Lindsay of York (portrayed by Rupert Penry-Jones); Lord Alfred Lindsay Marquess of Malten (portrayed by David Oakes), Lady Constance Knightsbridge Lindsay Marchioness of Malten  (portrayed by Margaret Clunie); Lord Robert Knightsbridge Marquess of Wyre (portrayed by Hugh Grant); Lady Gwendolyn Lindsay of York (Portrayed by Emma Thompson); and Lady Tamsin Knightsbridge Lindsay (portrayed by Francesca Capaldi)]

 

Author’s story content and serializing scheduling notes:  For the most part, my ratings for the chapters will be PG-13—for romantic interludes and dramatic moments.  If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with these ratings, then please do not read that chapter.  This is my disclaimer.   And I always put the previous chapter’s brief recap at the top of the next chapter.  Also, I hope to post new chapters weekly on Sundays or Mondays.  I hope that you enjoy this chapter.

 

Ch. 24:  Going to the Sussex Village Faire

Breakfast up at Sussex Hall Manor was quite an unnaturally  rushed affair due to their nine year old niece Lady Tamsin Knightsbridge Lindsay  urging her Uncle Lord Robert Knightsbridge the Marquess of Wyre and her Aunt Lady Gwendolyn Lindsay of York to hurry.  Lady Tamsin was promised a trip to the Sussex Village Faire  this day and she does not wish to delay her fun.

Unbeknownst to Lady Tamsin, her excursion to the Faire is a diversionary tactic to give her newly reunited Mama Lady Constance and Papa Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby time to be alone with each other this morning as husband and wife.

Of course, Lord Robert and Lady Gwendolyn are considerate siblings to his sister and her brother.  But  their finding themselves supervising their niece Lady Tamsin is not altogether vexing for them.  Apart from them liking spending time with their charming niece,  Lord Robert  and Lady Gwendolyn find that they are agreeable companions as well.

So  as the little girl gobbles down her eggs, toast with jam, sausages and glass of milk—with Lady Tamsin taking care not to spill any of it on her fine lace collar, thus slowing down her gobbling her food–her Uncle and Aunt chaperones for the morning are able to have some breakfast themselves.

Lord Robert: Surveying his own plate of eggs, sausage, and toast with a hot cup of steaming coffee, then Lady Gwendolyn’s less full breakfast plate, he makes an uncharacteristically personal observation.  “My Lady Gwendolyn, your sparing breakfast of one slice of toast and one  egg are quite small portions.  Do you not want more food?”  But of course, most ladies are taught to eat like birds in front of gentlemen.

Lady Gwendolyn: “Well Lord Robert.  I presume that there may be pastry delights to indulge in when we visit the Sussex Village Faire this morn.”  Her words are not intending to admonish her niece to temper her food intake this morn, for Lady Gwendolyn has not observed all of Lady Tamsin’s habits—since they have only recently become acquainted as niece and Aunt.

Lady Tamsin briefly lifts her head to look queryingly at her Aunt Lady Gwendolyn—as if to ponder the notion of food to be had at the Sussex Village Faire, and her possibly saving room in her stomach for her to partake of those delights–then she returns to eating her very full plate of food.  Being considered a child at nine years of age, Lady Tamsin thus far eschews the guideline of her eating small portions like a full grown lady.

Lord Robert tilts his head in acknowledgement then he observes Lady Gwendolyn’s delicate manner of eating with her graceful movements and small bites of food—him finding it pleasing.  For himself, he cuts and then spears a large one inch portion of his breakfast sausage and pops it into his mouth, chewing his food enjoyably.  Lord Robert is a tall and broad shouldered man with appetites to match.

And Lady Gwendolyn smiles secretly to herself to see Lord Robert savoring his morning meal.  And absentmindedly, she wonders how he might fare with consuming food on the fly at the Sussex Village Faire—using his fingers, rather than using  utensils.  For some reason, Lady Gwendolyn believes that she will enjoy witnessing Lord Robert’s masculine fastidiousness punctured.

***

Then the threesome are off in a not so smallish open gig that will easily fit the diminuative Lady Tamsin between her Aunt Lady Gwendolyn and her Uncle Lord Robert.

However as they pass an intersecting road from the Sussex Hall Manor House that leads to the Sussex Hall Dower House, Lady Tamsin spots three large traveling carriages and two wagons of belongings covered by a tarp lumbering toward the Sussex Hall Dower House.  Her curiosity is piqued and she naturally wants to detour to see what is happening at the Dower House.

But her Uncle Lord Robert prevails upon Lady Tamsin to have them continue on to the Sussex Village Faire.  He reasons with her that they can stop by the Sussex Hall Dower House on their way back.  Then Lady Gwendolyn sweetens the enticement by promising  that they may even take afternoon tea at the Dower House—after they visit the Sussex Village Faire.  Lady Tamsin will hold her Aunt Lady Gwendolyn to that promise later.

But for now, Lord Robert and Lady Gwendolyn are focused upon keeping their niece’s interests occupied in order to give her newly reunited parents some private time together.  He just hopes that his purse is large enough to pay for his niece’s entertainments and gifts—be they food, flower hair wreaths with ribbons, jewelry, fortune tellers, etc.

And Lady Gwendolyn had earlier also managed to catch her brother Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay of York about joining them at the Sussex Village Faire–before he made his way from his guest quarters in the Sussex Hall Manor House that they are renting from Lord Christian Blount the Earl of Sussex for the Summer, to the Dower House where Lord Duncan’s love Lady Elizabeth Blount resides.

And so Lord Duncan and Lady Elizabeth will also meet them at the Sussex Village Faire.  It is hoped that four adults–in Lord Robert, Lady Gwendolyn, Lord Duncan, and Lady Elizabeth—can supervise and distract little Lady Tamsin successfully.

***

But after Lord Duncan’s arrival at the Sussex Hall Dower House in his own two person curricle to collect his love Lady Elizabeth—with them enjoying breakfast together before the arrivals of the elderly sisters Lady Knott and Lady Winston—that the breakfast room becomes rather a crowded chamber, with her brother Lord Christian, his wife Lady Madeline, and her Grandmama Lady Knott also having joined them.  Lady Winston elected to enjoy her later morning breakfast in her bed chamber.  So for Lord Duncan, extracting he and Lady Elizabeth from her family–so that they might head to the Sussex Village Faire–proves to be non trivial.

And Lady Knott is the one who breaks the news of Lord Harold’s return—with his wife.

Lord Christian:  Exasperated, Lord Christian’s tone is more curt than it should be as he interrogates Lady Knott, his young wife Lady Madeline’s Grandmama.  “But are you for certain, My Lady Knott?  My brother, Lord Harold Blount, has not only found your niece Lady Penelope Lindquist (nee Winston), but he has revealed that she has long been his wife Lady Penelope Blount these past several months—and that she is to grace him with their first child near the Christmas tide season?”

Lord Christian is incredulous.  For he finds it fantastical that not only has his rogue of a brother found love, but that he has married her, and he is soon to be a father—all in the proper order.

Lady Knott: “Tis true, Christy.”  She nods to her grandson-in-law to emphasize the truth of her statements, even as she addresses him familiarly, in the hope of helping him regain his good humor.  “Lord Harold has done what many thought impossible!  He successfully untangled my niece Lady Penelope from her odious first husband—who only wanted and squandered her sizeable  dowry—and he obtained for her a French Lutheran  divorce decree.  Then he married her a few months ago in secret to protect her until he could rescue her from her disinterested first husband.  And now they are to welcome their first child together in seven  months time.”

Lady Madeline:  Lightly buttering her toast before slathering it with blackberry jam, Lady Madeline stays her husband’s ire. “Now Christian, Dear.  If your brother Harold has seen fit to mend his roguish ways and join his life together with my cousin Lady Penelope, then I say that we welcome them and her most heartily.  My cousin Penny has done what many thought  impossible–in her civilizing your brother Harold.”

Lady Knott:  Stomping her cane upon the wooden floor twice, Lady Knott  chimes in.  “Here, here!”

For her part, Lady Elizabeth Blount–as the younger sister to both her eldest brother Lord Christian Blount the Earl of Sussex and their middle brother, the scapegrace but now seemingly redeemed Lord Harold Blount—has been turning her head to and fro as each combatant in the breakfast room has stated their case.  She can only hope that her love and hoped for betrothed Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay will spirit her away soon to the Sussex Village Faire this morn.  Lord Duncan mere smiles knowingly at the unfolding Blount family drama before them.

Having finished his substantial plate of food, Lord Duncan rises from his seat at the dining table, across from Lady Elizabeth.

Lady Elizabeth:  Bolting up from her breakfast table chair, Lady Elizabeth Blount rushes around the end of the dining table to her love, Lord Duncan, who had been seated across from her.  “Duncan!  At last!  Shall we take our leave for the Sussex Village Faire?”  She asks hopefully—for she does not want him to be scared off of wedding her, what with all of her brother Lord Harold’s matrimonial machinations.

Looking bemused at the complicated relationships now befalling the Blounts with Lord Harold and his new bride–when his brother Lord Alfred’s return yesterday had previously captivated everyone’s attention–Lord Duncan bows to those assembled, in order of rank.

Lord Duncan:  First to his hosts.  “Lord Christian and My Lady Madeline, my felicitations upon the nuptials of your brother Lord Harold.  I wish he and his wife Lady Penelope every happiness.”  He bows again.  Lord Christian bows his head slightly as Lady Madeline smiles broadly at Lord Duncan.  With Lady Elizabeth at Lord Duncan’s side tugging upon his elbow.

Lady Knott:  “Well!  At least someone has recognized this happy turn of events—with my grand niece Lady Penelope and Lord Harold marrying.”  She bristles.

Lord Duncan:  As he attempts to guide Lady Elizabeth from the crowded breakfast room, Lord Duncan slowly moves away from the table—with Lady Elizabeth clinging to him.  “Ah!  My Lady Knott, I wish you good day.  It seems like only yesterday that you had left for London.”  He raises a mirthful eyebrow.

Lady Knott:  “That was barely three days ago.”  She speaks candidly.  “But I can tell you, they have been very busy days what with securing the Archbishop’s aide in recognizing my dear grand niece Lady Penelope’s French Lutheran divorce decree as of the date three months ago that it was issued—along with him agreeing to verify her and Lord Harold’s subsequent  French wedding date as well.”

Lord Duncan: “Most fortuitous, My Lady Knott!”  He nods not only in acknowledging Lord Harold’s married state to Lady Penelope, but also that Lady Knott used her formidable influence to gain the Church of England’s concessions for her grand niece Lady Penelope.  “Forgive us, but Lady Elizabeth and I are promised to join Lord Robert and my sister Lady Gwendolyn supervising Lady Tamsin attending the Sussex Village Faire.”  He inches them closer to the breakfast room door.

Lord Christian:  “The Sussex Village Faire, you say?”  He narrows his eyes suspiciously.

Lady Madeline: “That sounds like a fine idea!  May hap we can join you there later for luncheon at the Sussex Arms Inn?  Shall we say one o’clock?”

Lord Duncan: “It would be our honor, My Lady Madeline.”  He bows again.  Then Lady Elizabeth curtsies perfunctorily at her best friend and sister-in-law Lady Madeline, giving her a sheepish smile.  And Lady Madeline waves them off as they depart from the breakfasters.

So Lord Duncan finds that he and Lady Elizabeth are alone in the corridor on their way to the Sussex Hall Dower House entrance where his curricle should be waiting.  It will only hold two people, to insure that his niece is not able to join them upon their return later.

Lord Duncan:  And finally once Lord Duncan lifts Lady Elizabeth into his curricule and then hoists himself up as well, Lord Duncan  lifts his beloved’s ungloved hand to his lips.  “Enchante, My Lady Elizabeth.  Your charming countenance graces this morn with joy and beauty.”

Lady Elizabeth: “Hhhh!”  Sighing dreamily, Lady Elizabeth gazes tenderly at her beloved.  “My Lord Duncan, I am very glad to have an outing with you today.”  For Lady Elizabeth being  at the tender age of eighteen years, she does not have flowery words to convey her love for Lord Duncan.  She is straightforward and direct—two qualities which Lord Duncan appreciates about her.

Then Lord Duncan lightly flicks the reins and his horses begin their journey to the Sussex Village Faire.

***

Lady Madeline:  Returning to her gracious hostessing responsibilities, she smiles to her gathered extended family.  “Please everyone, let us continue our breakfast together.”  Of course since Lady Madeline’s with child conditions means that she is eating for two, she has continued to nibble whilst everyone has spoken.  “And Christian Dearest, might you please add some fresh warm eggs to my plate for me?  I find myself most hungry this morning.”  Lady Madeline gazes at her husband in a knowing way, for his loving and passionate attentions through the night have increased her appetite.

For a few moments, everyone’s attention is on their food—selecting it, and eating it—as well as the footmen warming up their cups of coffee or tea.  Then Lord Christian leans down and whispers into Lady Madeline’s ear about the Sussex Village Faire.

Lord Christian: “Will you still want to visit the Sussex Village Faire today?  Or do you hope to stay and greet Lord Harold and Lady Penelope when they arise?”

Lady Madeline:  “Since Lord Harold and Lady Penelope arrived so late this morning, let us leave them to their rest while we attend the Sussex Village Faire today.  We may all also  attend the Village Faire on the morrow.”

Lord Christian: “That is an excellent idea, My Love.”  He smiles warmly at his young wife, for her talent for compromise.

Lady Madeline: “That sounds splendid!  We will leave word for Lord Harold and Lady Penelope that they may join us for luncheon at the Inn if they wish, or that we will see them back here for tea at 4 o’clock.”

Lady Knott: “You children run along to your entertainments at the Sussex Village Faire.  My Sister Lady Winston and I will nap—we need our rest, as evidenced by her absence this morning from breakfast.”

Lady Madeline: “Not to worry, Grandmama.  Grandmother Lady Sussex was awaiting your return and hopes to join you for luncheon here.  Please extend that invitation to your sister, my Great Aunt Lady Winston.

And so they do.

***

By the time Lord Robert Knightsbridge the Marquess of Wyre and Lady Gwendolyn Lindsay of York, and their niece Lady Tamsin–and separately, Lord Duncan and Lady– Elizabeth reach the Sussex Village Faire [(2) below] around 11 o’clock in the morning this bright and sunny day, the Faire is well underway.  There seems to be more tented booths than there were villagers living in Sussex village—and that the whole county seems to have converged upon Sussex Village for its annual village  faire.

Coincidentally, each Blount and Lindsay gentleman instinctively procures a wreath of flowers to adorn their ladies’ and their niece’s heads, with trailing pink, blue, and yellow ribbons lilting in the breeze.  And the men show their skill at lifting weights, archery, and mock sword play with wooden swords that still sting when a touch is recorded as a point for the aggressor.

However, upon reaching the far side of the village, the Faire entertainments turn plebian with a men’s tug of war between the villagers, and a balancing game crossing over the narrow river on a makeshift log bridge from a recently felled tree–that ends with several men falling off the log and into the shallow waters and being drenched with the cold water, but good humoredly so.

It is at this juncture that Lady Tamsin and her Aunt Lady Gwendolyn and Uncle Lord Robert happen upon the rest of the family—them noticing a sheepishly wet Lord Duncan good naturedly swinging his head to dispel the river water from his strawberry blond strands, whilst pelting his love Lady Elizabeth and the others nearby with river water.

Lady Elizabeth: “Eeeek!  Duncan!  You are getting me wet!  Ha ha ha!”  She squeals in amusement”.  She is still a young woman of ten and eight who enjoys the innocuous misadventure of a dousing in the river now and again.

Lord Duncan: “When we wed, My Lady, we will promise to share all of life’s vicissitudes—including getting drenched  with river water.  Ha ha ha ha ha!”  His booming laughter warms her heart.

Lady Elizabeth:  “Ha ha ha ha ha!  Yes, My Lord.  But ladies garments  are so much more delicate.”  Though today, she is wearing a cool dress of lightweight cotton gown with lace, rather than her usual satin or taffeta silk gowns.

Lord Duncan: “I will take that under advisement.”  Then he leans in, purring in a whisper  for her ears alone.  “Once we are wed, My Love, I will make a study of your garments.  So as not to damage your satins and silks, unduly.”  His eyes gleam with unbridled desire for her.  And she fairly melts on the spot.

Happily, only Lady Gwendolyn overheard her brother Lord Duncan’s somewhat intimate remark to Lady Elizabeth—whilst Lord Robert and Lady Tamsin wer procuring a painted fan for her from a vendor’s booth across the road.  And she smiles, happy for her brother Lord Duncan to have also found love–despite the long expectation of him wedding his previously lost brother Lord Alfred’s wife.

Lord Duncan’s drying off is accelerated by him removing his own clothes in favor of purchasing casual yet dry ready made breeches and a blousy shirt at a vendor’s booth.  The fabric materials are not as fine as he is accustomed to, but he makes do with them.  And Lady Elizabeth finds him quite alluring in his relaxed attire—with his muscled broad shoulders straining the garment, and a thatch of chest hair peeking out of the open collared shirt.  And of course, Lord Duncan had a servant attending the Faire with them to take his wet clothes back to Sussex Hall Manor for proper cleaning by his valet.

And Lord Duncan is much teased for his casual attire by his niece Lady Tamsin when they all meet up for luncheon at the Inn–where Lord Christian and Lady Madeline also join them.

Lady Tamsin:  “What happened to you Uncle Lord Duncan?”  Her noticing his wet and seemingly unstyled hair as well as his unusual garments.

Lord Duncan:  “Ha!  I tried to cross the river on the downed tree log, but I lost my balance.”

Lady Tamsin:   “Oh!  Perhaps you should use the bridge next time.”  She suggests helpfully, which causes their extended family members to laugh.  Lady Tamsin is sometimes too serious a young girl.  And her family will endeavor to help her have a bit of gaity.

Lady Elizabeth: “Well, I believe that there is a booth where we can bob for apples.”  She says brightly.  Though a young woman of eighteen years, Lady Elizabeth still has a fun outlook from her youth, of not so long ago.

Lady Tamsin:  “Would we not risk getting our clothes wet?” She scrunches up her cute button nose in distaste.

Lady Gwendolyn:  “Yes, but when there are tasty local apples to bob for, a little water wetness is worth it.  Then to Lord Robert’s chagrin, Lady Gwendolyn entreats all of them to join in the festivities.  “We’ll all go.  What is a wet blouse or wet hair when there is such fun to be had?”

When Lady Gwendolyn smiles so radiantly, Lord Robert notices the dimples in her cheeks and finds them enchanting—so he acquiesces.  And by everyone’s later concurrence, watching Lord Robert ineptly bob for apples floating in a barrel of water was among the highlights of their day.  His amusingly scowling countenance continued to drip water long after he gave up trying to garner an apple.  Lady Tamsin, of course, loved successfully bobbing for her apple—her having ever so much fun with her aunts and uncles, cousins, and assorted family.

So the happily bedraggled–slightly wet to very wet–extended Blount, Lindsay,  and Knightsbridge family Sussex Village Faire goers enjoyed their outing today immensely as they head back to the Sussex Hall Dower House for afternoon tea.

To be continued with Chapter 25

 

Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement):  Chapter 24 images  for  June 24, 2019 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1241)

1) “Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement”) story cover art image represents Lady Elizabeth Blount, sister  to the Earl of Sussex in black evening gown–is that of actress Jessica Brown Findlay as Lady Sybil in Downton Abby found at http://www.internet-d.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/38/2012/02/JESSICA-BROWN-FINDLAY-as-Lady-Sybil-Crawley.jpg ; the text font  is Vivaldi.

2) Standing in for the fictional Sussex Village Faire is a Camberwell Faire illustration and its history from 1279 to 1855, which was found at http://www.camberwellfair.co.uk/rare-doings

 

“Expectations” (Book 2)  Ch. 24  URL for Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad story Post  for June  24, 2019 (Post #1241):
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Previous “Expectations” (Book 2)  Ch. 23  URL for Something About Love story (Post #1239),  June 03,  2019:
https://gratianads90.wordpress.com/2019/06/03/expectations-book-2-ch-23-an-unexpected-development-june-03-2019-by-gratiana-lovelace-post-1239/

Posted in "Expectations" (Book 2), Creative Writing, Family, Gratiana Lovelace, Historical Fiction, Love and Relationships, Period Drama, Richard Armitage, Romance, Rupert Penry-Jones | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment