“Encouragement”, Ch. 7 (PG):   Waltzing Apologia, September 28, 2016 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #975) 

aEncouragement-aRegencyLovestorycover_Aug3116byGratianaLovelace_180x282(An original Regency romance  copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace; all rights reserved)  [(1) story cover, left]

[From time to time, I will illustrate my story characters with:  Emma Hamilton as Lady Madeline Sinclair, Richard Armitage as Lord Christian Blount Earl of Sussex, Maggie Smith as Lady Lucretia Beckham Knott, Crispin Bonham-Carter as Lord Harold Blount, and others as noted.]

Authors Content Note: “Encouragement” is a frothy love story with sometimes humorous and sometimes dramatic themes of love and relationships.  It will mostly be at the PG and PG-13 movie levels. Specific chapters or passages may have a further rating of:  D for dramatic emotions, and LS for love scenes that are tenderly sensuous and not explicit.  And I will rate the chapters accordingly. If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with the ratings that I provide for a chapter, then please do not read that chapter. This is my disclaimer.  And as is my habit, I will summarize the previous chapter’s events at the beginning of each chapter.

Author’s recap from the previous chapter: Lady Madeline’s and Lord Christian’s early Saturday mornings began separately.  But their paths will soon converge as he seeks to apologize for his appalling behavior toward her at her ball and then woo her to be his bride—for her dowry to have funds to dower his own sister, Lady Lizzie.  Yet, that is not his only motivation, were he to examine his heart more closely.  And Lady Madeline not thinking to aspire to a match that would make her a countess, instead focuses upon what her heart wants—the ends, of which, are one and the same.

 

“Encouragement”, Ch. 7:  Waltzing Apologia

Almost as soon as Lady Madeline and her Grandmama Lady Lucretia Beckham Knott arrive at Sussex House at Lord Christian’s invitation, Lady Lizzie Blount quickly spirits Lady Madeline up the stair to her bed chamber for a private chat.  As they walk into Lady Lizzie’s bed chamber—a suite of rooms really, with a sitting room, bed chamber, dressing room and bath—Lady Madeline notes the beautiful grand style of the room, while also noticing its fading grandeur in worn rugs and faded bed hangings.

Lady Madeline: Smiling diplomatically, Lady Madeline compliments her hostess.  “Oh, Lizzie!  This room is gorgeous!  And so large!  Do you ever get lost?   Ha ha ha ha ha!”

Lady Lizzie:  “Ha ha ha ha ha!”  Lady Lizzie giggles with pride at the compliment.  “It was my Grandmother’s  bed chamber while Grandfather Earl lived.  But when he died, she removed herself to the Dowager Countess quarters, while she insisted that I take this larger room to enjoy until Christy marries.  So I have not changed a thing, in her honor.”

Lady Madeline: “Of course.  How sweet.”  Lady Madeline smiles.  Then a thought freezes Lady Madeline’s countenance as her eyes dart glances around the sitting room.

Lady Lizzie:  “Are you feeling unwell, Maddie?  You look a bit flushed.”  She touches her friends arm in concern.
Lady Madeline: “I, well, I … These are the Countess’ apartments?”  Lady Lizzie nods.  “So that means ….”  Lady Madeline can hardly speak for wondering which door leads to the Earl’s apartments—to Lord Christian’s sanctum sanctorum.  Though she realizes that her youthful musings are running away with her.  And her glancing gaze betrays her thoughts.

Lady Lizzie:  “Yes.  Would you like to see it?”  She asks sweetly.

Lady Madeline: “Him?  I mean, it?”  She quickly corrects herself.

Then Lady Lizzie begins to lead her through her bed chamber and then to her dressing room that connects to her brother Lord Christian’s dressing room and then to his bed lordchristian-elaborate-bedchamber-wburgundy-bed-linens_sep2716viapinterestchamber.  Lady Madeline looks around Lord Christian’s bed chamber in awe and wonder—her noting the very large and elaborately designed bed, the masculine deep burgundy colors and dark woods of the room [(2) right].  And then, an indentation upon a bed pillow catches her eyes–it having not been fluffed up indicates to her that the head that had lain there making the indentation has only recently left it—the pillow, that is.

Lady Lizzie: “Yes.  Christy hasn’t changed anything in his apartments either from when our Grandfather Earl inhabited it.  Christy says that when he marries, he will let his wife have free reign on the redecorating.”

Lady Madeline: “The room is very grand.  But we should not trespass upon Lord Christian’s privacy—or at least, I should not.”

Lady Madeline adds when Lady Lizzie begins to protest their leaving her brother’s bed chamber.  Though Lady Lizzie is his sister, Lady Madeline most certainly is not.  Lady Madeline has never been in a man’s bed chamber—except her parents’ bed chamber, or trying to rouse one of her brothers from their slumbers on Christmas morning so that she could get at her presents.  Yet somehow, her standing in Lord Christian’s bed chamber feels very different to her—not bad different per se, but perhaps a little bit wicked different.  And Lady Madeline wonders how she can face Lord Christian today—now that she has seen his … bed linens.  And she fears that she might swoon on the spot.

***

The two young ladies had barely missed seeing Lord Christian leave his bed chamber.  For after a tepid bath and a shave–due to the short timeframe he was under this late Saturday morning of February 3, 1816–a now very handsomely dressed in a broad shouldered black jacket and black trousers—a novel concession owing to the February chill—a refreshed Lord Christian Blount Earl of Sussex manfully strides toward the large formal Drawing Room at the front of the house at his family’s London estate, Sussex House.

In doing so, Lord Christian passes by portraits of ancestors and those still living, such as ladylizzie-as-a-young-girl-w-pink-ribbons-isportrait-ofmissjulianawillougby-bygeorge_romney_002_the charming portrait of his younger sister Lady Lizzie when she was a little girl [(3) right], not so long ago at 6 years of age—her shy reticence evident in the painter’s insightful rendering of her.  And it is for her, his sister Lizzie, that Lord Christian will move heaven and Earth to insure her continued happiness.

Nothing is small in Sussex House—and that is true of its tall and muscular Earl of Sussex,
Lord Christian Blount [(4) below].  He is long and lean but also a powerfully built man–the breeding of centuries of noble knight warriors courses through his veins.  In another era, he would don armour and chain mail to defend the crown–and perhaps, be awarded lands, treasure, and a suitable bride of noble birth to build his legacy with sons and daughters–such as his early ancestors were as they began the Blount family and Earl of Sussex legacies—the earldom being a mere three hundred years old.  Their family’s service to the crown is but a distant memory now–and their dwindling land holdings are not providing as much rent for income. So Lord Christian Blount must make his own way, by marrying money.

lordchristian-image-insussexhouse-hallway-isofrichardarmitage-asjohnthornton-manip-toclarencehouse_sep2716viagratianalmanip

As he opens the door to their Sussex House formal Drawing Room that bespeaks history, wealth, and elegance, Lord Christian spies his Grandmother deep in discussion with her Grandmama as they await he and their two granddaughters.  And he winces as he wonders what ill advised matrimonial schemes that these two old women are plotting now.  But he is a gentleman and courteously greets both of the elderly ladies.

Lord Christian: “Grandmother.  I am pleased to see that you are looking well again.”   Lord Christian leans in and kisses his grandmother’s lavender scented and powered cheek.

The Dowager Countess of Sussex [(5 right]  is indeed expertly coiffed and groomed–and ladycatherine-isjudidench-in2005pp-purplegown_sep2416viapinterestwearing a richly deep purple taffeta gown, as well as a large statement necklace of intricately and beautifully set alternating stones of amethyst and onyx.  The necklace was a wedding gift to her late husband’s mother  from that lady’s new husband, when her father-in-law and mother-in-law were young newlyweds and serving as ambassadors to the country of France many years ago—before the French Revolution.  Of course, one not necessarily need to preface the word revolution by its modifier of French—for is there any other but the French Revolution?  Well perhaps there is another, but one.  She thinks distractedly.  But she had never visited there—it being so far away and across an ocean–and she had visited France as a little girl.

Lady Catherine: “Thank you, Christy, Dear.”  She smiles at his praise. Then she gazes upon her grandson and heir with a grandmotherly eye and shrewdly assesses.  “I wish that I could say the same for you.  You look …. tired.”

Lady Catherine winces in a slight censure of her supposition about his activities the previous evening—if her other grandson Lord Harold is anything to by.   And were Lord Christian to become aware that his grandmother judges his character in relation any way to his younger brother, Lord Christian would be exceedingly put out.  Yet he guesses her implication and seeks to dismiss her unspoken charge as he whispers into her ear.

Lord Christian:  “My fatigue is not due to dissipation, Grandmother, but to lack of sleep.”  She nods.  Then I stand again and turn to convey a cordial smile to Lady Madeline’s Grandmama.  “Lady Knott!  My felicitations upon last evening’s presentation ball for Lady Madeline.  It was a triumph!  You must be pleased at her growing number of suitors.”  He says with great gentlemanliness, harboring a small hope that Lady Knott will not think ill of him for his drunken behavior last evening.

Lady Lucretia: “I am. Though the number of the suitors is immaterial.  There is only one suitor needed to secure a grandmama’s hopes and dreams for her granddaughter.”  I smile knowingly.

Lord Christian:  Feeling discomfitted by both grandmothers’ gazes, he responds.  “Yes, well. Despite the general interest of others in that direction, I fear that the lady in question is rather too young for me—or rather, I am too old for her.”

Now why he diminishes his prospects out loud to the old women is beyond him.  Well, not entirely. But Lord Christian does wish to remove Lady Knott’s smug facial expression. The hoped for match between himself and her granddaughter Lady Madeline Sinclair is not a foregone conclusion–by anyone’s estimation, least of all, by his.  So he is a little on edge, wondering if Lady Madeline will accept his apology and forgive him, or not?  And then, will he have the audacity to seek to court her as his potential bride and countess?  His ethical scruples are at war with his family’s financial need that Lady Madeline’s dowry will immediately allay.

And just when Lord Christian is becoming impatient for luncheon–because they are waiting for the two debutantes in his sister Lady Lizzie and Lady Madeline to arrive from wherever in the house they have secreted themselves–in walks the two young ladies in question.  On the left is Lady Elizabeth Blount, sister to Lord Christian Blount, Earl of Sussex.  She is a petite dark haired girl with baby fat still evident in her pleasingly plump and rosy cheeks–matched in color by her pink gown. She smiles warmly at her brother Lord Christian, then Lady Lizzie tilts her head at Lady Maddie.

Outshining Lady Lizzie Blount by virtue of her shimmering copper locks cascading down ladymadeline-is-ladyemmahamilton-asbacchante-by-george_romney-1785_mar1316wiki_grati-blurher back in long spiral curls and her beguiling manner, Lady Madeline Sinclair [(6a) right] glides into the room wearing a pale apricot muslin gown draped over an ivory colored underdress that modestly presents her compact but nicely rounded bodice in the mode a la Grecque style [(6b)].   But her gown employs delicate lace trimmed half sleeving for modesty, so as not to show the full expanse of her creamy skin.  Lord Christian cannot decide if Lady Madeline looks like a maturing young lady or an ethereal classical goddess in training.  Now where did that gushing description come from, he wonders?

Lady Madeline traverses the length of the Drawing Room to Lord Christian–as if she were a delicate apricot cloud wafting his way–and she gracefully extends her hand to him.  Lord Christian gently touches her fingertips with his and effects a slight bow, in the manner which ladies prefer.  He has determined to be inscrutably polite, courteous, and gentlemanly to her this day in the hope of making up for his deplorable, appalling, and unforgivable behavior toward her at her presentation ball last evening.   Yet, she greets him with far more amity than he deserves.

Lady Madeline:  “Lord Christian, it is a pleasure to see you again today–and that you are looking in such fine spirits.”  She does not say compared to last evening, nor does she mean to recall Lord Christian’s less than gentlemanly behavior to him. She is genuinely happy to see him looking so well.

Lord Christian: “Thank you, Lady Madeline. You are graciousness itself.  And I believe your company has improved my spirits.”  I smile sincerely at her as I gallantly lift her ungloved hand to my lips.  Though I briefly wonder where her gloves have gotten to, their lack affords me a glimpse of the most delicate fingers and hand that I have ever beheld.  They are exquisite!  And I perhaps linger too long in my slight touch upon her silken skin, her small hand nearly engulfed by my own large hand[(7) below].  And I increasingly feel a kindred connection with this young lady whom I would wish to have for my wife.

ladymadeline-andlordchristian-hands-parting-after-greeting-isfrom-ns2004-vlcsnap-00500_sep2716rac_grati-sized-brt-clr

However, my sister Lady Lizzie watches our exchange with a bit of sisterly jealousy for my brotherly attention not being wholly focused upon her.

Lady Lizzie:  In slight annoyance, I utter. “Lord, Christy!  Do not paw at her.  Lady Maddie is my friend, not one of your amours.”  His little sister chides him and his countenance darkens at the mention of his amours.

Lady Madeline: “You have amours, Lord Christian?” I ask him petulantly as my lips purse together into a pout.   It is one thing to guess that a gentleman has amours—and it is quite another thing to have them confirmed.

But to Lord Christian, Lady Madeline’s lips look like an invitation for a kiss.  Yet, this place and the individuals in it do not allow for such a private intimacy as kissing.  Then turning to his little sister with frustration, Lord Christian cannot help but break from my gentlemanly demeanor and shift into whiny elder brother mode.

Lord Christian:   “Hang it, Lizzie!  Young ladies such as you should not speak of such things. Wherever did you get the notion that I have amours?”

Lady Lizzie:  “From Harold.”  Lady Lizzie tosses out the name of her elder brother younger than Lord Christian–who is the eldest of them all.

Lady Madeline:  Straightening up, Lady Madeline peers at Lord Christian with a critical eye.  “Is Lizzie correct?  You have amours?”

Lord Christian:  Jutting his nose disdainfully in the air, he answers her with certainty—if not a bit of obfuscation. “No, I do not.”  But which he means that he does not currently have an amour.  And what Lord Christian had hoped would be a day of reconciliation between he and Lady Madeline is not beginning well.

Lady Lizzie:  “But Harold said …” But she is interrupted.

Lord Christian: Cutting his sister off, Lord Christian intones. “Lizzie, My Dear. When you are older and wiser, you will understand that no sentence beginning with ‘But Harold said…’ could in any way be counted upon for accuracy.”

Lady Madeline tilts her head and gives a sidelong glance at Lord Christian.  He is a fine specimen of manly virtues.  And she can easily suspect that he is an ardent lover—whatever that entails, she thinks innocently.  For her tender years, a man—or Lord Christian—being a lover would include wooing a lady with posies and poems, gazing soulfully in his lady’s eyes, pressing her hand to his heart to feel it beating only for her, and perhaps scandalously employing an obliging fern or bush to discreetly shield he and his lady’s stolen kisses and embraces.  Sighhhh!  Lady Madeline merely has to decide if his having been a lover to other ladies in the distant, or even the recent, past has any bearing upon her present–as well as, their potential future together.

Lady Catherine:   Calling over to her grandchildren and their guest, Lady Catherine asks.  “What are you children discussing so interestedly?  You look quite vexed with each other.” Her eyes narrow. “Please remember that Lady Knott and her granddaughter Lady Madeline are our guests and behave accordingly.”  She chides in a sweet grandmotherly way.

Lady Lizzie and Lord Christian:  In unintentional unison. “Yes Grandmother.”  “Yes, Grandmother.”

Lady Madeline: “I fear that this room is so vast that it carries an echo in it.”  She whispers for only her companions to hear.

Lady Lucretia: “Are you well, my child?”  She directs to her granddaughter, Lady Madeline.

Lady Madeline: “Quite well, Grandmama.  It is just that Lord Christian has yet to fulfill his promise to me.” She blurts out.

Lord Christian: “Oh? And what promise was that?” I ask teasingly—my remembering fully what that promise entails.

Lady Madeline: Primly looking up at him, Lady Madeline demures in hushed tones under her fluttering lashes.  “Our waltz, My Lord.”

Lady Lucretia: “Christy, you must fulfill your promise to my Maddie.”  She wags an arthritic finger at her friend’s grandson.  And her friend and Lord Christian’s grandmother nods smilingly.

Lord Christian: “Of course, Madam.” He exchanges nods with Lady Knott.  Then Lord Christian bows deeply to Lady Madeline.  “It will be my honor.  Shall we reconnoiter to the ballroom for our waltz after luncheon, My Lady?”  He asks solicitously of her.

Lady Madeline:  Curtsying deeply to him, Lady Maddie rises and gazes straight into Lord Christian’s eyes with a smile. “Thank you, My Lord.  I will be delighted.”

***

And as promised after luncheon, Lord Christian and Lady Madeline take their positions in the center of the Sussex House of London’s ballroom on the second floor–with Lady Lizzie playing for their waltz and the two grandmothers sitting chatting amiably to the side.  Seeing their grandchildren so engaged in polite socializing is just what these two elderly ladies wished for.  It seems that their matrimonial strategizing has not been dampened by Lord Christian’s stated wish to them that it would be.  Never say that a mature lady might be deterred in her purposes—especially when she feels it is for someone else’s good.

As Lady Lizzie begins to play the grand piano, Lord Christian slowly waltzes Lady Madeline around the room. There is some awkwardness at first, with Lord Christian holding the petite Lady Madeline so close–as the waltz requires. And after a few moments of silent dancing, Lady Madeline looks up and decides to chat with him while they dance.

Lady Madeline:  “Lord Christian, this is a magnificent ballroom!  Lady Lizzie’s come out will be spectacular!”  She cordially smiles up at him.

Lord Christian: “Yes.  Grandmother is eager to return Sussex House to its proper place in the social whirl of the London Season.  And Lizzie’s ball in two weeks will, hopefully, launch her successfully.”  Lord Christian gives a polite smile, but there is some sadness there, too.

Lady Madeline  “What makes you look so sad, Lord Christian?”

Lord Christian:  “Lizzie is very dear to me.   Hhhhh!   And I do not wish her to be hurt by the cutthroat nature of the marriage mart.”

Lady Madeline:   “Your brotherly sentiments are admirable and do you justice, Lord Christian.”  He nods in recognition of her praise.    “But Lady Lizzie is so sweet, and cheerful, and lady like that she is certain to attract a man who will admire those qualities in her.”  Now it is Lady Maddie who frowns.

Lord Christian:  “And what makes you look so sad, Lady Madeline?”

Lady Madeline:  “Hhhh!  I am envious of Lady Lizzie having her brother’s protection. My elder brother is focused upon agriculture and helping Papa turn around the prospects of our country estate.  While my middle brother has been packed off to the military with a commission that nearly beggared my poor father in procuring it for him.”

Lord Christian: “Ah!  But for your grandmother’s intervention?”

Lady Madeline:  “Precisely so.  And my grandmama is so consumed with me making a good match, that I do not want to disappoint her.  She has been so kind and generous to me, you see.”  Since Lady Madeline’s mother died four years ago, Lady Lucretia Knott has inserted herself into her granddaughter’s life—whether her son-in-law Squire Sutton Sinclair liked it, or not.

Lord Christian: “Naturally.”  He stiffens, wondering if Lady Madeline refers to their grandmothers’ attempts to throw them together.

Lady Madeline: Knowingly, I pat Lord Christian’s considerably muscled arm under his coat where my hand rests.  “Be at ease, Lord Christian. I am not speaking of you and I making a match, but of the Duke of York’s eldest son and heir, the Viscount Lord Duncan Lindsay.  My grandmother has turned her focus to him for my matrimonial fate.  Do you know of him?”  I implore beseechingly.  If I cannot have the very good man Lord Christian Blount as my husband, perhaps my heart will be content with one whom he also deems a good man.

Lord Christian: “I do. Lord Duncan and I were at Eton together as boys. And we hosted each other for different holidays over the years as we grew up.   But I have not seen him since a chance meeting at a park eight years ago.”  Lord Christian does not say more.  That meeting was when he was taking his then nine year old sister Lady Lizzie for a carriage ride in the park. And Lizzie was instantly smitten with the young viscount.

Lady Madeline:  “Oh yes. Now I remember Lady Lizzie mentioning that she had met him once. She said that he is quite the most handsome man she has ever met.  Is he a good man, too?”  I wanted to add, like you, but I thought better of it.

Lord Christian:  “Lord Duncan is a very good man.”  Lord Christian stiffens, then he continues with a glowing recommendation.  “He will make anyone a fine husband–he will make you a fine husband, Lady Madeline.”  He amends. Then he adds.  “As you will make him a fine wife.”

Lady Madeline: “Do you think so?”  I look shyly up at him.  I worry that Lord Christian is glad that my grandmother is now trying to steer my matrimonial thoughts away from him?  Yet I still entertain diminishing hope that Lord Christian and I might still reach an understanding and sympathy with each other.

I am not certain to which statement Lady Madeline’s question tends, but I answer resolutely.

Lord Christian: “I do.”  Then I feel that I cannot delay my needed apologia any longer.  “And I must apologize for my boorish behavior last night.  I had two glasses of champagne. But that is no excuse. I am appalled that I treated so sweet a lady as you so abominably.  And you are now my sister’s dearest friend, as well.  I am at your service if I may recompense you in any way for my failing you at your ball.”  I smile at her cordially but wanly, still mortified by my discourtesy to her at her ball.

Lady Madeline: I gaze up at Lord Christian with a shy smile and speak in a small but stoic voice.  “You are all gentlemanly politeness, Lord Christian.  You have no need to pay a debt to me, Sir.  Especially when I know that my outspoken ways are as much the cause for your censure as was the drink.  It was my fault as much as yours.  Pray do not let it trouble you further.  I will forgive you, if you will forgive me.”

Lord Christian: “You are very gracious, My Lady.  I will escort my sister Lady Lizzie to this week’s Kimball’s Ball so that she will have an experience of what they are like before she is thrust upon her own presentation ball the following week. Might we have the pleasure of your company at the Kimball Ball?”

Lady Madeline: “You will. I promised Lizzie that I would support her since she is still rather rattled about the whole thing.  And … my grandmother hopes to introduce me to the Viscount Lord Duncan Lindsay.”  I say forlornly, because I do not know him.

Lord Christian: “Of course.” I respond slowly, in recognition that I have likely lost her to Duncan or some other more worthy man than I.  But I have come this far in behaving true to my ethics and principles, and I cannot stop now, merely because I am disappointed in my matrimonial hopes. “Then I entreat that you will allow me to facilitate your introduction to the Viscount Lindsay since he is such an old friend of mine.”

I smile cordially at Lady Madeline.  What else can I do?  The situation has been taken out of my hands.  If only I had not been so quick to dismiss her before I had taken the time to get to know her.    Afterall, she is a taking little thing, full of compassion and generosity from what my sister Lizzie tells me of her donations to the poor–especially children’s charities. That is a most commendable attitude in a lady of quality, in my view.  And she is a little spitfire—quick to champion her opinions and beliefs—yet also a kind and gracious lady.  And I sense that she has a passionate nature, if she were to be properly nurtured into her womanhood by a tender and loving husband.

Lady Madeline:  “Thank you, Lord Christian.  You are most kind.”  I bob my head in deference to him.

Then we realize that the music has stopped and we stop waltzing and look over at a frazzled Lady Lizzie who gushes out her fatigue.

Lady Lizzie: “I have played the waltz three times. I think that is enough!  Hhhh!” I slump in a disgruntled huff.

Lady Madeline:  “It is, and you played so beautifully that we were quite enraptured by the music.  Pray, Lizzie, let me now play so that you may dance with your brother.”

Lady Lizzie:  “I couldn’t!”  I look at them with fear threatening to overwhelm me.

Lady Madeline: “Lizzie, yes you can dance. And you must practice for your ball in two weeks–and for the Kimball Ball this week. Remember that we are to go together?” I say with a kindly smile. Lizzie bites her lower lip in nervousness.

Lord Christian:   “Yes, come Lizzie.  Let us dance.”

Lord Christian holds out his arms with a brotherly smile upon his face.  And Lady Lizzie slowly walks toward her elder brother on trembling legs.  Then I switch places with her and begin to play a waltz at the piano as brother and sister turn about the room as they waltz together.

***

Lady Lizzie: “Lady Maddie is very nice.  Do you not think so, Christy?”  I look shyly up into my elder brother’s eyes.  But as usual, he guards his feelings.  That is what makes him an ever so good partner at whist—he has no twitches to give himself away.

Lord Christian:  “Lady Madeline is a fine lady.”  I nod as I twirl my little sister about our ballroom.

Lady Lizzie:  “Do you not think that she will make someone a very good wife?” I seek to further understand my brother’s thoughts.

Lord Christian:  “In time, I am certain that she will develop a level of maturity and polish that will make her the desire of many a man seeking marriage.”

Lady Lizzie:  “Oh!”  I pout.  “But she is as old as I.  Do you not think I am mature?”  I purse my lips waiting up his response.  My brother is twelve years my senior, but he does not trample over me as so many older brothers might do in other families.  He is very kind—almost to the point of indulgent.  Though I have no need of being indulged.  At least, not like a little girl might need.

Lord Christian: “Yes Lizzie.  I am very pleased with your lady like deportment.  You are leaving the school room and lessons behind you as you begin to consider your future life.”  I try to say this encouragingly to her.  My baby sister lacks confidence about herself, though she is as fine as any lady I have met.  I daresay not having a sister or a mother’s loving guidance these past ten years has been a detriment to her.  Grandmother is caring and loving, but too old to truly assume the mantel that a mother does.

Lady Lizzie: “Do you think that Lord Duncan, Viscount Lindsay might like me?” I bat my eyes bashfully.

Lord Christian: “I cannot say.  Each man has to choose a wife for himself.  But you are certainly a lady for whom gentlemen will aspire.”  I state grandly, for her benefit.  And she smiles cheerfully at me.  Yet without my dear sister Lizzie having a decent dowry—let alone, any dowry at all–I ponder the noble man without wealth who could take her for his wife.  Our society is so very mercenary in that regard.  But titles must have money to bolster them—such as my lot in needing to seek a wife with a substantial dowry.

Lady Lizzie:  “You are frowning, Christy.  Did I step wrongly?”  I worry.

Lord Christian: “Am I?  Perhaps I am the one counting my steps to match so fair and graceful a lady as you dancing with me.” I smile and she blushes.  Oh Lizzie, please become more confident, I think.  Confidence will help her make herself stand above the other young ladies of lesser consequence, but greater dowries.

Soon my sister Lizzie will find a good man to marry, and I hope one who will love her as dearly as her family does.  Seeing Lizzie happily settled is my primary focus.  And I must not be distracted it from it with my own matrimonial leanings—however integral my marrying well to a lady of means is to insuring Lizzie’s success.  I only hope that Lizzie will expand her acquaintances such that if Lord Duncan offers for Lady Madeline rather than for Lizzie, that Lizzie will not feel bereft.  If that eventuality happens, I must do everything to bolster my little sister’s heart and feelings.  But if I let Lady Madeline slip through my fingers, who will bolster my feelings?

Lost in my own thoughts, I play a waltz for Lord Christian and Lady Lizzie several times.  I have come to so look forward to my society with Lord Christian.  He is quite manly, wise, kind, gentlemanly, and titled.  He is everything my Grandmama Lucy says that I should want in a husband.   And in truth, I believe it, too.    For who would not wish to marry Lord Christian?  And I do not doubt that there are other, prettier, more accomplished, and more connected ladies than myself who might appeal to him.  My dowry is substantial, and my legacy that I will inherit from my Grandmama is quite vast.  But I do not want a man who merely wants me for my money.  Nor, I would think would Lord Christian seem to want a lady who might only want him for his title.  To be sure, being Lord Christian’s Countess of Sussex would be grand.  But being wife to Lord Christian would be even grander still, I think sighingly.

Forgetting my probably losing any chance with Lady Madeline, I smile lovingly at my little sister Lizzie as we waltz.  And she smiles sweetly up at me.   Then I gaily twirl her round and round in our waltzing to her delighted shrieks and giggles and my own laughter.

Lady Lizzie: “Eeek!  Ha ha ha!”

Lord Christian: “Ha ha ha ha ha!”

Sitting at the piano, I cannot help being wishful that Lord Christian had playfully spun me around when we waltzed.  I adore that fun mischievous side of him.  But he was all politeness to me—a consequence of him being the Earl, Lord Sussex, I suppose.  Then I look over at Lord Christian and smile at his tender care of his younger sister, Lady Lizzie.  Lord Christian has his sister laughing and smiling.  My friend Lady Lizzie will get through this London Season yet.  But will I get through this season, when I am to be introduced to Viscount Lord Duncan Lindsay—the future Duke of York–at this week’s Kimball Ball?

And yet in the intervening days until then, my Grandmama Lady Lucretia anticipates that I should expect some eager suitors to come calling after meeting me at my presentation ball last night.  But, I seem to only hope that Lord Christian will pay me a call.  And I wonder if I make an offhand comment to Lady Lizzie, if she might make it come to pass—by bringing him along as chaperone for an outing that Lizzie and I want to do.  If so, all of my hopes for Lord Christian and I marrying might not be lost.  Lord Christian might be a wicked rake—a quality in him which I am scandalously curious to explore—but my orchestration of an outing with him borders along the devious.  I can live with that, I grin.

To be continued with Chapter 8

 

“Encouragement”, Ch. 7 References by Gratiana Lovelace, September 28, 2016 (Post #975)

1) The “Encouragement” story cover is an image representing our young heroine Lady Madeline Sinclair. The  image is the young Emma Hart in a straw hat at 17 years old in painted by George Romney  in 1782; she was later to marry Sir William Hamilton in 1791 and become Emma Lady Hamilton, was found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emma,_Lady_Hamilton#/media/File:George_Romney_-_Emma_Hart_in_a_Straw_Hat.jpg ;  For more about Emma Lady Hamilton, nee Emma Hart/Amy Lyon please visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emma,_Lady_Hamilton

2) Lord Christian’s elaborately carved and burgundy colored bedding Georgian bed chamber was found at Pinterest at https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/6f/47/f1/6f47f163635b16f6578c846172fc5531.jpg

3) Lady Lizzie Blount image as a young  girl is “Portrait of Miss Juliana Willoughby” (1781-1788) painted by George Romney – The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei. DVD-ROM, 2002. ISBN 3936122202. Distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=158443

4) Lord Christian Blount’s London home Sussex House hallway image is a manip of two images:
a) Lord Christian image is of Richard Armitage portraying John Thornton in the BBC’s 2004 mini series North & South, promo shot found at  http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/NandSPromo/album/slides/NandSPromo-16.html;
b) and that of the royal residence Clarence House found at Pinterest at https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/59/4f/ce/594fce39ed8ec3c370ba02fba58dedf1.jpg

5) Lady Catherine Blount, the Dowager Countess of Essex (in deep purple taffeta gown) image  is Judi Dench in 2005’s Pride & Prejudice found at https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/bc/f3/d4/bcf3d4d31ab59fdbcf6e6e5df90adc37.jpg

6a) The painting image representing Lady Madeline Sinclair is that of Emma Lady Hamilton as painted by George Romney and found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Romney_(painter)#/media/File:George_Romney_-_Lady_Hamilton_(as_a_Bacchante)_3.jpg;  For more on the painter George Romney, please visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Romney_(painter) ; For more about Lady Emma Hamilton (Emma Hart nee Amy Lyons), mistress of Lord Nelson, please visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emma,_Lady_Hamilton

6b)  Mode a la Grecque refers to a classical  era style of dress that is loose and softly flowing; for more information, please visit https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mode_%C3%A0_la_Grecque

7) Image representing Lady Madeline’s and Lord Christian’s hands parting after greeting is that of John Thornton and Margaret Hale—portrayed by Richard Armitage and Daniela Denby-Ashe in the BBC’s 2004 North & South mini series, episode 2 the Masters Dinner found at http://richardarmitagecentral.co.uk/main.php?g2_itemId=76679&

 

Previous  Blog Ch. 6 Story link with embedded illustrations:

https://gratianads90.wordpress.com/2016/09/24/encouragement-ch-6-pg-morning-brings-clarity-september-24-2016-gratiana-lovelace-post-973/

 

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Spy Mole Monday! Will Richard Armitage as Daniel Miller in Berlin Station get a “keeper” love interest? September 26, 2016  Gratiana Lovelace (Post #974)

I watched Berlin Station episode 2—Lights don’t run on loyalty — again Sunday afternoon
—courtesy of the www.EPIX.com  free trial period Thanks!    And I saw who CIA spy Daniel Miller (portrayed by Richard Armitage) was smiling at (below, cap by Yennefer Ice, Thanks!; sizing and brightening edit by Grati) in the bar.berlinstation-2016-danielmiller-inbar-smilng-atestherkrug-in-epi2-isrichardarmitage-andminatander_sep2416yenneferice_grati-sized-brt

It was German Intelligence officer Esther Krug (portrayed by Mina Tander,  below).
minatander-at-press-screening-of-buddy-inberlin_sep2516viaimdb_grati-crop-sizedBelow is a cap (Thanks to Book of Esther blogger!; which I brightened) from a clip of Esther leaving the bar (below) after their  little testy tete a tete between she and Daniel.  Their exchange was the introduction of her character in Berlin Station, episode 2.  She disdained him, he patronized her– the stuff of the beginnings of a fitful if not a beautiful relationship.
berlinstation-2016-epi2-daniel-esther-in-bar-she-leaves_sep2516viabookestherfileswp_grati-crop-sized-brt2
Might Esther end up being a love interest for Daniel? Sleeping with the enemy, so to speak. Certainly, she might end up being a sparring partner for him—with them being spies on opposing sides, but who have to work together.

Though a snippet of a video trailer montage scene showing a naked Esther with a naked man with a jawline very much like Daniel’s, seems to indicate at least both spy and romantic possibilities will be in play. (Grati’s caps below)
berlinstation-2016-esther-w-daniel-maybe_sep2516cap1clr2-bygrati

berlinstation-2016-esther-w-daniel-maybe_sep2516cap2-bygrati

And I now notice that at the EPIX LA promos in July 2016 with the Berlin Station cast line up (RArmitageSL cap below, Thanks!), Mina Tander is positioned next to Richard Armitage. Hmmm, again. Although, it is a rather hap hazard arrangement of the cast composition wise, in my view.
berlinstation-2016-lapromos-cast-group-shot_jul3116viararmitagesl
Technically as the star, Richard Armitage should be in the center of the actors—as in this Berlin Station teaser trailer cap (by TeresaA, Thanks!) below.  Though the image only shows the CIA  lead characters group.
berlinstation-2016-cast-indarkness-from-trailer_sep1216viateresaa_grati-sized-brt
(actors l to r: Tamlyn Tomita, Rhys Ifans, Richard Armitage, Michelle Forbes, Richard Jenkins, and Leland Orser)

And yet, Mina Tander is also seated next to Richard Armitage in the EPIX July 2016 LA promos Q & A (below via Getty, Thanks!)—the only non CIA character cast member present.  Hmmmm.  Could this actor placement be a foreshadowing of their characters’ involvement—and how deeply their fates might be entwined on the show?
berlinstation-2016-lapromos-panel-ofcast_jul3016viagetty

Well, we’ll just have to wait and see when the Berlin Station series starts airing officially on October 16 how Esther and Daniel and the rest of the characters play out. With 2 episodes shared early so far, Berlin Station looks to be quite a thrilling spy thriller ride!

P.S.  And speaking of ride,  fellow Richard Armitage blogger crystalchandlyre saw this cool Berlin Station promo on a billboard (below) while driving on a highway near Pasadena (Thanks for sharing!):
berlinstation-billboard-promo-img_20160925_173425_sep2516viacrystalchandlyre_grati-crop

Posted in Berlin Station mini series, Daniel Miller/Meyer in Berlin Station, EPIX Berlin Station, Fiction, intrigue, Love and Relationships, Richard Armitage, Romance, Something About Love, Spy thriller, Thriller | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

“Encouragement”, Ch. 6 (PG-L):    Morning Brings Clarity, September 24, 2016 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #973)

aEncouragement-aRegencyLovestorycover_Aug3116byGratianaLovelace_180x282(An original Regency romance  copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace; all rights reserved)  [(1) story cover, left]

[From time to time, I will illustrate my story characters with:  Emma Hamilton as Lady Madeline Sinclair, Richard Armitage as Lord Christian Blount Earl of Sussex, Maggie Smith as Lady Lucretia Beckham Knott, Crispin Bonham-Carter as Lord Harold Blount, and others as noted.]

Authors Content Note: “Encouragement” is a frothy love story with sometimes humorous and sometimes dramatic themes of love and relationships.  It will mostly be at the PG and PG-13 movie levels. Specific chapters or passages may have a further rating of:  D for dramatic emotions, and LS for love scenes that are tenderly sensuous and not explicit.  And I will rate the chapters accordingly. If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with the ratings that I provide for a chapter, then please do not read that chapter. This is my disclaimer.  And as is my habit, I will summarize the previous chapter’s events at the beginning of each chapter.

Author’s recap from the previous chapter: Lady Madeline’s second dance with Lord Christian at her presentation ball was to be a waltz.  But it did not happen because Lord Christian had two drinks of champagne that made him drunk—since he is unused to drinking alcohol—and he said and did some things to Lady Madeline that were indelicate, boorish, and rude.  Lord Christian’s silent excuse for over imbibing—though others would not have been so affected by only two drinks—was that he was annoyed at his younger brother Lord Harold for offering for Lady Madeline’s hand in marriage—making it clear that her sizable dowry could help renovate his country manor.  Lord Christian worries that his brother has tarnished Lady Madeline’s good opinion of himself and their family with his avarice on display.  Although weaving drunk and treating Lady Madeline like a little girl—as he called her—did not endear Lord Christian to her either.   Yet, somehow, Lady Madeline managed to convince Lord Christian to go home and rest, and that she would seek her waltz in a visit the following day, a Saturday.

 

“Encouragement”, Ch. 6 (PG-L):  Morning Brings Clarity

With getting to bed so late Friday evening into Saturday—or early at 4 o’clock in the morning, Lady Madeline might be excused for sleeping in until 9 o’clock this Saturday morning February 3, 1816 after her ball.  But her Grandmama Lady Lucretia Beckham Knott will not allow her granddaughter to lie abed any longer.  They must eat breakfast, refuse morning callers, and then set out for Sussex House so Lord Christian may honor his promised waltz to Lady Madeline—and for him to hopefully apologize, thinks Lady Knott.

But first, the young lady in question still tries to let sleep claim her as her ladies maid enters her bed chamber and throws back the drapes to let in the morning sun.  Lady Madeline responds by burrowing deeper under her covers.  Her ladies maid knows that getting Lady Madeline in a fit state to take breakfast with her grandmama down stairs will be no less than a miracle—for the poor girl is exhausted from her previous evening’s presentation ball.

Yet the ever resourceful ladies maid, places a silver tray with the cards upon it and several pretty posey nosegay’s on Lady Madeline’s seated dressing vanity in her eyeline, whilst a trio of other maids bring in a tub and fill Lady Madeline’s bath with rose scented waters.  The final enticement is a steaming cup of hot chocolate-to warm Lady Madeline this cold wintry morning in early February.

Lady Madeline pushes down her soft satin comforter and sits up upon her pillows in her heavy and warm night gown—holding out her handd for her mug of hot chocolate like a little girl seeking a treat.. Her ladies maid Anne Trask—transferred with her baby sister to London with Lady Madeline for the season–dutifully complies and the morning toilette begins.

A quick but soothing warm bath begins Lady Madeline’s day—but not washing her hair because it would take hours to dry and they are due at Sussex House at 11:00am.  Besides, her voluminous auburn tresses had a thorough washing yesterday morning prior to last evening’s presentation ball.  So instead, Lady Madeline’s hair receives a thorough brushing that brings its tousled waves to a gleaming luster.  So Lady Madeline elects to leave most of her hair down—but for a decorative ribbon.

And she decides to wear a rather Grecian or early Roman inspired loose dress of a deep ladymadeline-is-ladyemmahamilton-asbacchante-by-george_romney-1785_mar1316wiki_grati-blur-crop2zoompeach or apricot overlying an almost sheer ivory colored under dress as reflected in her exposed sleeves seemingly falling off of her shoulders [(2) right].  Lady Madeline had worn the dress once at their country home, but not here in London as of yet.  The dress is just Lady Madeline’s  style—simple, elegant, a touch of the classical, and everything that is sweet and girlish.  And she hopes that a certain gentleman might find her pleasing in it.

Such artful disarray is not without precise intent to beguile a certain tall and handsome youngish Earl who behaved quite rudely to her at her presentation ball last evening.  She will show Lord Christian Blount, Earl of Sussex who is the little girl–or young lady–upon the cusp of her womanhood.  Lady Madeline rifles through the cards and nosegays, her noting who sent them –all of her marriage proposal suitors are represented, but none from Lord Christian.  Her disappointment is palpable.  But then, she reasons, he was so drunk last evening that perhaps he does not remember insulting her.  Hmmm.  Well she resolves not to let him forget it.  And just for minxishness, Lady Madeline plucks one of the pale pink roses from Lord Harold Blount’s nosegay, and slides it into her dress’ waistband.

However, Lady Madeline’s Grandmama Lady Lucretia Beckham Knott has decided to have a guiding chat with Lady Madeline over their breakfast.   And after Lady Madeline begins to eat, her Grandmama has the perfect opportunity to bring up the matter of Lady Madeline beginning to be courted.

Lady Lucretia:  “Maddie Dear, I see that you received several pretty posies from your admirers of last evening.”

For Lady Madeline has brought them all down to the morning breakfast room with her—artfully arranging them around her table place setting in a half moon shape.  When she was a little girl, she would arrange her birthday treats thusly.  It is just that now, Lady Madeline’s young lady gifts are less edible—but by no means less delighted in.

Lady Madeline:  “Yes Grandmama.  I especially like the violets.”  She picks up that one, admiring its purple velvety hues, and brings it to her nose to drink in its heavenly scent.

Lady Lucretia: “And who sent you that one?”

Lady Madeline: “Lord Tottenham, I believe.  No!  I am mistaken!  It was Lord Quincy.”

Lady Madeline smiles quite pleased with herself.  If she had known that being presented lead to such fun, she would have insisted that her Papa bring her to London sooner.

Lady Lucretia: “Hmmm.  “I do not believe I know of him.”  An implicit tsk tsk dares to break free.  Lady Knott will allow only the most dignified and gentlemanly gentleman to court and wed her granddaughter.  So Lord Christian Blount is not in her good graces at the moment for his rude behavior last evening at Lady Madeline’s Presentation Ball.  “And do you know of his circumstances, My Dear?”

Lady Madeline: “Oh, yes.”  Lady Madeline smiles brightly between nibbling on a scone and drinking her tea.   He said that he has been rusticating in the country and just inherited from his uncle.  So now he seeks a wife to … well to … “  Lady Madeline pinkens up in a charming blush. “Well, to provide him with heirs.”

Lady Lucretia: “Yes Dear.  Whomever you marry will require heirs.”  She rolls her eyes.  And though she bore her husband no son, they had a very nice daughter in Lady Madeline’s late Mama.

Breaking into her Grandmama’s reverie, Lady Madeline gently touches her hand and looks at her soulfully.

Lady Madeline: “Grandmama?  Cards and nosegays are nice—quite thrilling, actually.  But how do I know who is the one man whom I can entrust with my heart?”

Lady Lucretia: “Ah me.  Your father has kept you too long in the country after… well, too long.”  She thinks of the sad passing of her daughter.  “You should have been meeting other young people of your own age and going to parties, such that someone might have caught your eye.”  She smiles at her granddaughter.

Lady Madeline: “Is that how it was with you and Grandpapa?  Were you a love match?”

Lady Lucretia: “We were!  Ha ha ha ha ha!”  Her trilling laughter echoes in the smallish breakfast room. And Lady Madeline smiles and giggles joining in.

Lady Madeline: “Ha ha ha ha ha!”

Lady Lucretia: “I led your grandfather on a merry chase.  No man wants an easy conquest.  Much like the hunt, if the prey is too easily caught, where is the sport in that?”

Lady Madeline: “I do not know if I like being considered someone’s prey, Grandmama.”  Lady Madeline looks at her Grandmama a little wide eyed and uncertain.  “I want to love and to be loved in return—like Mama and Papa did.”

Lady Lucretia: “Yes.  Your Mama married for love.”  Lady Knott acknowledges.  “She could have married anyone of her choosing—even a Duke.”  She shakes her head.

Lady Madeline: “But she chose Papa, a simple country squire—but a very good man.  They were very happy together—we all were.”  Lady Madeline lowers her head, thinking of her lovely childhood with her dear late Mama.

Lady Lucretia smiles indulgently at her granddaughter. She feels that it is best to keep her own counsel on that subject—her son-in-law, Lady Madeline’s father.

Lady Lucretia: “So is there anyone you are interested in considering as a suitor, and perhaps even as a husband?”

Lady Madeline: “Well …”  Lady Knott leans in closer to her granddaughter, the better not to have the servants hear her answer.  “Everyone is amiable.”

Lady Lucretia: “But?”  She raises her querying eyebrow.

Lady Madeline: “I should not aim too high,  only to be disappointed in my silly girlish musings.”

Lady Lucretia: “Perhaps not so silly, Lord Christian is a fine man.”

Lady Madeline looks stricken.

Lady Madeline: “How did you know?”

Lady Lucretia: “I merely guessed, until your response just now confirmed your feelings upon the matter.  But why do you feel that your preferring Christy is aiming too high?  I think he would make you a good husband.”

Lady Madeline: “Oh, I am certain that he would.  But I am not as worldly nor as accomplished as other young ladies this season.  And I fear that Lord Christian’s focus will soon be upon them.”

Lady Lucretia: “And yet, our two families are connected by long association by his grandmother and yours.”  She smiles smugly.  “And he has been paying you particular attention, my dear.”

Lady Madeline: “Only because his grandmother asked him to.  He is very devoted to family.”  She nods.

Lady Lucretia: “Perhaps.  And perhaps, he finds you charming and refreshing—as do I.”

Lady Madeline: “But what can I do to make him like me more than any other young lady?”

Lady Lucretia: Lady Knott shrewdly narrows her eyes.  “Do not let him perceive that you have a marked preference for him beyond pleasantness.  Make him work to seek your favor.  Let him woo you.”

Lady Madeline: “Woo me?  But what would make him want to woo me?”

Lady Lucretia:  Gently caressing her granddaughters up turned face, Lady Knot replies.  “You have great appeal my dear.  Your mother was a beauty, and so are you.”  She sees her granddaughter’s disbelief, and she scoffs.  “Oh!  You are not some beautiful ice queen with exquisite taste in clothes, no hair out of place, and the rest.  And though men might find those brittle beauties appealing from a distance, they do not make warm bed companions.”

Lady Madeline’s eyes widen and she blushes in embarrassment at her Grandmama’s frankness.

Lady Madeline: “Grandmama!”  And Lady Madeline cups her mouth with her hands to try to stifle her astonishment.

Lady Lucretia: “My Dear, you just be yourself—coyly teasing, generously friendly, and firm about what you want out of life.  Encourage him a little by letting him see that you like him generally.  And if Christy is up to snuff, then he will see the gem that you are and press his suit immediately.  And a little competition from other suitors always works to the lady’s advantage.  No man is more adamant about wanting something when he fears that it might be denied to him.”

Lady Madeline: “And if he does not want me after all?”  Lady Madeline looks forlornly at her Grandmama—keenly remembering the derision in Lord Christian’s voice when he revealed their grandmother’s marriage scheme for the two of them.

Lady Lucretia: “Then you will find another good man to love and be loved by him.  And it will be Christy’s loss.”  In more ways than one, she thinks about the Blount’s precarious financial situation.

Lady Madeline nods stoically and they continue their breakfasts before setting out for Sussex House to see Lord Christian—and his sister Lady Lizzie, of course.

***

Across town about two hours earlier, Lord Christian Blount the Earl of Sussex, lies sleeping upon his bed in full evening attire from the previous night’s Lady Madeline Sinclair Presentation Ball–complete with shoes, tails, waistcoat, shirt, cravat and neck scarf, and with his top hat resting on the other pillow.

Drifting in a state of half sleep half awake, Lord Christian ruminates.  All is pleasant and comfortable—except for his collar points jutting into his cheek since he has moved around in his sleep, causing his clothes to become slightly disarrayed.  And he half bemusedly  wonders why the deuce his valet did not see fit to remove them.  He is forgetting that in his drunken haze, he dismissed his valet to his own bed before realizing that he had yet to undress himself.  And then he found himself too tired to undress.  Hence the state of him being still dressed in last night’s evening attire.

Dreaming of last night provides Lord Christian with only glimpses of images, and no definable details.  There was a dance, with a sweet young lady—the luxuriantly copper tressed Lady Madeline.  Oh how he would love to run his fingers through her hair.  Yet she is such a paradox to him.  At one point, he feels at odds with her speaking her mind.  And the next, he finds this behavior in her utterly charming and beguiling—despite her youth.  And her caring nature is pleasing–as when she asked after his grandmother in true concern.  And though Lady Madeline is small to his tall self, she is a petite package of perfection.  And were she situated next to him in bed, on the next pillow, he would reach for her and tenderly convey his sincere regard to her.

However, such romantically dreamy musings by me, soon give way to utter fatigue in restful sleep again.  Eventually when I finally begin to wake up the next morning after that Sinclair chit’s presentation ball–or rather, a few hours later–I have a blinding head ache from the two glasses of champagne that I consumed last night.  I search my memory for when I left the ball, under what circumstances, and how I contrived to arrive home. But no coherent thoughts present themselves for my inspection. And I have no idea of the time now.  That is until my younger brother Harold bursts into my bed chamber.

Lord Harold: “Rise and shine, brother! You must greet the day!” I smile cheerfully.

Lord Christian:  “Must I?  It cannot be so very late in the morning, for I do not feel at all well rested.”

Lord Harold: “The drink will do that to you. It is nearly midday!”

Lord Christian: “If that is so, then why are you in evening attire?”  I wonder if he is just coming in, or going out?

Lord Harold: “Why are you?”

Lord Christian:  I sit up upon my elbows and look down at my person and I see that he is correct. “I asked you first.” I grumble and frown in my younger brother’s direction.

Lord Harold:  “Well, I am just getting in from a glorious night of love.”  I wistfully look up at the ceiling in remembrance.

Lord Christian: I bolt from my bed and lunge at my brother. “You did not compromise her, did you!?!”

Lord Harold: I side step my brother’s lunge and take a position behind his wing chair. “By her, I presume that you refer to the Sinclair chit?”

Lord Christian:  “I do, you bastard!” Christy spits out, ready to pounce on his brother and pummel him.

Lord Harold:  Putting his hands up in defense, Harold forswears.   “Of course not!  Little Lady Madeline is about as appealing to me as a scullery maid.”

Lord Christian: Relieved, but still fuming he concedes. “But she will be a very rich scullery maid—a description which I wholeheartedly object to.  And her wealth, I presume, is why you offered for her.”  I glare at him with clenched fists.

Lord Harold: “I did, but she turned me down–the chit!” I grimace.  My brother perks up an inquisitive eyebrow.  “No, my night of love was not with that child.  I had a late supper with an opera singer–Mademoiselle Elise Trefoile.”  I raise my eyebrows up and down gleefully.

I roll my eyes and move to my dressing area as I begin to remove my evening attire.  Then Harold walks around my wing chair and sits down in it—my menace toward him having deflated with his admission that he is not interested in Lady Madeline.

Lord Christian:  “Your romancing will cost you one day, brother.”

Lord Harold: “But not now.  So what of you and the Sinclair chit? Did you offer for her, brother?”  I inquire pointedly.

Lord Christian: “Please do not call her a chit!” I hiss as I rip my cravat from my neck—and I inadvertently thwap my cheek with it in the process, causing me to wince with the sting of it as I rub my cheek.

Lord Harold: “You do.”   I look at him questioningly.lordchristian-isrichardarmitage-asjohnthornton-inns-epi2-213_sep2316ranet_grati-sized-shrp-crop-brt2-clr

Lord Christian: “Not any more.  Lady Madeline Sinclair will be my future Countess, if she will have me. So you will show her the proper respect.”  As will I, I think resignedly—my crumpled shirt points not withstanding [(3) right].  My fate is sealed.  However, she is a pretty and engaging fate.

Lord Harold: “Lord, Christy!  Do you want to marry her?  Are you in love with her?”

Lord Christian: “No.” I admit resignedly—I wish that I could say the opposite.  “But I need a Countess.  And with her spirit, I feel that we will suit.   And Lady Madeline is well bred, well situated financially, and young enough to be molded into her maturity.”

Lord Harold:  “Family finances cannot be as dire as to require you to marry that Sinclair … child.”  He checks himself then amends his intended word choice about his potentially future sister-in-law.

Lord Christian: “They are.  And if our sister Lizzie is to have any hope of making a good marriage, I must provide a decent dowry for her–which at the moment, is impossible.”

Lord Harold:  “So you plan to set up Lizzie with Lady Maddie’s money.”  I state bluntly.

Lord Christian: “Yes.”  I nod. “Arranged marriages for financial gain and status are the norm amongst aristocrats.  My marriage will be no different.”  I grouse.  An arranged marriage is my fate–as I always knew it would be.

Lord Harold: “So you will shackle yourself in marriage to one child, in order to marry off another child.  And little Lady Madeline gets to be a Countess.”  I smile and shake my head at the absurdity of the notion.

Lord Christian:  I shrug. “It is the way of marriage contracts among our peers.”  I state with punning aplomb.

Lord Harold: “And what of love?  Will you have a mistress on the side as many men do?  Or if not, will not Lady Brenda take offense at being cast aside?”

Lord Christian:   “Love is a childish romantic notion.  And no I will not take a mistress.  I will be faithful to my marriage vows.  And as to Lady Brenda, she had already moved on to another sponsor months ago–when she discovered that my pockets were not quite as deep as she had hoped.”  Lord Christian is sanguine about the end of that relationship—it was inevitable from the beginning, she and he both knew it.   And though they had taken pleasure in each other, his heart was not engaged.  In fact, Lord Christian has never given his heart over to another person—except in his complete brotherly devotion to his younger sister, Lady Lizzie.

Lord Harold: “You are far nobler than I, brother.”  I say waving to my brother as I depart.  Then I turn around.  “I almost forgot! Grandmother has invited that ch … Lady Madeline and her grandmother for luncheon. Your presence is required in the family dining room in a half hour.”

Lord Christian had forgotten about his promise to Lady Madeline—about their waltz.  As his brother leaves his bed chamber, Lord Christian raises his eyes to the ceiling, seeking aid there.  But all he finds are a pair of errant cherubs upon the painted ceiling.  He had never noticed them before—nor that his ceiling has a nauseating pastoral scene represented upon it.  Well courting Lady Madeline—or not—Lord Christian resolves to control one aspect of his life to his own satisfaction, and have his bedchamber ceiling repainted in a non distracting shade of ivory.  He will show those cherubs who is in charge.  And then, perhaps, he will convince one very minxish young lady, that he is her destiny.

To be continued with Chapter 7

 

The References for Ch. 6 by Gratiana Lovelace, September 24, 2016 (Post #973)

1) The “Encouragement” story cover is an image representing our young heroine Lady Madeline Sinclair. The  image is the young Emma Hart in a straw hat at 17 years old in painted by George Romney  in 1782; she was later to marry Sir William Hamilton in 1791 and become Emma Lady Hamilton, was found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emma,_Lady_Hamilton#/media/File:George_Romney_-_Emma_Hart_in_a_Straw_Hat.jpg ;  For more about Emma Lady Hamilton, nee Emma Hart/Amy Lyon please visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emma,_Lady_Hamilton

2)  Lady Madeline Sinclair image (cropped) is the young Emma Lady Hamilton painted by George Romney  in 1785 at age 20 years, posing as Bacchante; was found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emma,_Lady_Hamilton#/media/File:George_Romney_-_Lady_Hamilton_(as_a_Bacchante)_3.jpg

3)  Lord Christian Blount, Earl of Sussex looking resigned is Richard Armitage as John Thornton in 2004’s North & South found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode2/slides/ns2-213.html

 

Previous  Blog Ch. 5 Story link with embedded illustrations:

https://gratianads90.wordpress.com/2016/09/20/encouragement-ch-5-pg-lord-christian-is-out-of-sorts-september-20-2016-gratiana-lovelace-post-971

Posted in "Encouragement" a Regency Lovestory, Fiction, Gratiana Lovelace, Love and Relationships, Period Drama, Richard Armitage, Romance, Society, Something About Love | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Thespian Thursday:  Richard Armitage Starring in Love Love Love Play in NYC Begins Previews Tonight!  Break a leg!  September 22, 2016 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #972)

Though I won’t be able to see the exquisitely talented British actor Richard Armitage’s
(below, with costar Amy Ryan, via Theatre Mania) latest play Love Love Love produced by the Roundabout Theatre Company in NYC, written by Mike Bartlett and directed by Michael Mayer in NYC, I wish them all the best for tonight’s beginning of Previews!  Break a leg!

lovelovelove-amy-ryan-and-richard-armitage-head-the-cast-of-roundabout-117-meetpress_aug2216viatheatremania-grati-crop

The show runs through December 18, 2016.  Below is the Love Love Love play synopsis from the Roundabout Theatre’s Love Love Love website:

“London, 1967. Beatlemania is in full effect, the “Me” generation is in its prime and Kenneth and Sandra have the world at their fingertips. It’s the summer of love, and that’s all they need. But what will happen when the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll fade away and these boomers have babies of their own?”

Or as I coined it in my first post about Richard Armitage’s announcement of his participation in the playHipsters become Oldsters with Youngsters.  Ha!

And one way to show my support for Richard Armitage and his Love Love Love theatre colleagues, was to create a little poster (below) touting Love Love Love—the play will be presented on the stage of the Laura Pels Theatre—using one of the  Roundabout Theatre’s Love3 graphics for the background image.

lovelovelove-posterbanner-forpreviewsstart_sep2116bygratianalovelace-828x330

And if you are lucky enough to see the play, I hope that you have a fabulous time!  And be sure to share your thoughts and experiences with your fellow Richard Armitage fans.  Cheers!

 

Posted in "Love Love Love" play in NYC, Creativity, Drama, History, Humor, Love and Relationships, Richard Armitage, Roundabout Theatre Company, Society, Something About Love, Theatre, Thespian Thursday | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

“Encouragement”, Ch. 5 (PG):    Lord Christian is Out of Sorts, September 20, 2016 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #971) 

aEncouragement-aRegencyLovestorycover_Aug3116byGratianaLovelace_180x282(An original Regency romance  copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace; all rights reserved)  [(1) story cover, left]

[From time to time, I will illustrate my story characters with:  Emma Hamilton as Lady Madeline Sinclair, Richard Armitage as Lord Christian Blount Earl of Sussex, Maggie Smith as Lady Lucretia Knott, Crispin Bonham-Carter as Lord Harold Blount, and others as noted.]

Authors Content Note: “Encouragement” is a frothy love story with sometimes humorous and sometimes dramatic themes of love and relationships.  It will mostly be at the PG and PG-13 movie levels. Specific chapters or passages may have a further rating of:  D for dramatic emotions, and LS for love scenes that are tenderly sensuous and not explicit.  And I will rate the chapters accordingly. If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with the ratings that I provide for a chapter, then please do not read that chapter. This is my disclaimer.  And as is my habit, I will summarize the previous chapter’s events at the beginning of each chapter.

 

Author’s recap from the previous chapter: The second Blount brother, Lord Harold—junior to his elder brother Chrisitian Lord Sussex—made of himself a nuisance to Lady Madeline Sinclair’s Presentation Ball by pouncing on immediately—figuratively speaking—by offering for her.  Yet his offer to give Lady Madeline her freedom after she provided him with his heirs—with the understanding that he will be free to dally as well–does not sit well with Lady Madeline.  And of course, Lord Harold, is not the paragon that Lord Christian is in Lady Madeline’s eyes.  Similarly, Lady Madeline’s Grandmama Lady Lucretia Beckham Knott ruminates about the thorny issue of suitors for her granddaughter’s hand.  And the night is still young.  I wonder what additional suitors might arise this evening for my granddaughter Maddie.  However, I will come to be most surprised and disappointed in the yet to be revealed unbecoming conduct of one gentleman of our acquaintance.

 

“Encouragement”, Ch. 5:  Lord Christian is Out of Sorts

After my brother Lord Harold seeks me out in the refreshments dining room at Lady Madeline’s presentation ball and gloats to me that he offered for the Sinclair chit Lady Madeline Sinclair while he danced with her this night–and that she refused him–I am not certain whom I am more out of charity with, Lady Madeline, or my brother.  It is appalling and degrading to me for Harold to debase himself so in offering her marriage after only just being introduced to her—one dance not withstanding.  He is not interested in the lady, only in her dowry money.

I rub my hand through my hair as I sip my glass of champagne and wonder what must Lady Madeline think of us and our family?  What must she think of me?  Harold has tarnished her opinion of us to be sure.  And my sweet sister Lady Lizzie will lose her new friend in Lady Madeline, in whom I had such hopes for her helping me to guide Lizzie out of her shyness and to become more comfortable being in society.  Before our family’s impending financial ruin is widely known, Lizzie must make a good match–so that at least she is safe.  That is my overriding focus, and I will do anything to help Lizzie—no matter the cost to myself and my future happiness.

As I prop myself up by leaning on a chair back [(2) right], I admit silently to myself that I lordchristian-isrichardarmitage-asjohnthornton-inbbcs2004northsouth-bts-mastersdinnerscene_sep1016viapinterest-sized
should eat something from the enticing dinner buffet.  I am not one to drink much alcohol.  At university, I was much more inclined to raise a pint or two with the lads.  That is, until their drinking excesses—and the consequences that stemmed from them being gambled away or bamboozled of their pin money, or worse involving women of questionable pursuits—put me off drink almost entirely.  And though I am a tall and large man–a granite mountain is how Lady Madeline teasingly referred to me, I think bemusedly–I still feel light headed this evening.

Yet, I go on to indulge in an unwise second glass of champagne tonight at Lady Madeline’s presentation ball. Why I am being so reckless with the champagne is beyond my comprehension at the moment—the bubbles having clouded my mind.  No, that is not true.  I do know why.  I am miffed because though I can offer a lady a title, and an old and distinguished family, and connections, the lady in question has a large marriage dowry that would serve to release my family’s debts and shore up our finances to the point that I would be able to provide a significant dowry for my own sister Lady Lizzie.  I realize that though my intentions are honourable—toward my sister—I am just as much a fortune hunter as my young brother Lord Harold.  And that causes me to feel a sense of self loathing–to my core.

Then I hear others saying that another waltz is up next, and I remember that I had promised it to Lady Madeline.  So I must fulfill my obligation and I seek her out–however dreadfully tired I feel because of the two glasses of champagne that I have consumed tonight.

Across the ballroom from Lord Christian, after her sixth dance set Lady Maddie sits gratefully at rest with her Grandmother Lady Lucretia.  As I sit chatting with my Grandmama while the orchestra gets ready to play another waltz, I had forgotten that I am promised to Lord Christian again, for a waltz.  That is, until I see that Lord Christian walks toward me to claim me for the dance. Well, not walking, per se–more like meandering.  Then I realize that he is drunk, and I clap my hand over my mouth in shock.

Lady Madeline: “Good Lord!  Grandmama, Lord Christian is in his cups.”  I hiss in a whisper to my Grandmama.

Lady Lucretia: “What did you say, Maddie Dear.” I ask sweetly, the fatigue of the evening is wearing on me.

Lady Madeline:  “Lord Christian is drunk.  And he is walking toward me to claim our waltz. What am I to do, Grandmama?”  I ask her in a panic.  “Lord Christian is much bigger than I am, and there is no way I can hold him up if he starts to fall down.”

Lady Lucretia: “Oh dear!”  This is a quandary that I had not anticipated.  I now realize that I should have kept the refreshment drinks to merely unspirited punch, but I pridefully wanted to be the best hostess.  I shake my head at my folly.

Lord Christian stops dead in front of Lady Lucretia and her granddaughter Lady Maddie.   Then he bobs an uncertain bow to each of them.  He is clearly drunk. Then he speaks slurringly to Lady Madeline, confirming his wretched state.

Lord Christian: “There you are, Maaadlin.” He prefaces her name with no title, even though courtesy demands that he should do so in public–despite their families’ familiarity.  “Care to stand up with me for our waltz?  Then I can go home to see how my Grandmother fares.”

Lady Lucretia: “Something is wrong with Lady Catherine?”  Her eyes go wide with concern.

Lady Madeline: “Yes, Grandmama, Lord Christian told me earlier that she felt unwell.  That is why Lady Lizzie is not here.  She stayed home to tend to her.”

Lord Christian:  “I want to get back to her swiftly.  But I promised Grandmother that I would also waltz with you.  So waltz with you I must.  Come along, little girl. Let us play out this charade.” I petulantly hold out my hand to her.

And petulant does not look good on a granite mountain, thinks Lady Madeline.

Lady Lucretia Beckham Knott’s eyes widen in concern for Lord Christian’s less than gentlemanly demeanor at the moment to her granddaughter Lady Madeline.

Lady Madeline:  I am instantly offended by Lord Christian’s insinuation that I am a little girl.  And I make my displeasure known to him. “Lord Christian, young though I may be, I am out in society now and entertaining marriageable offers.”  Then I continue in hushed tones. “Though I have declined them all so far.  A little girl would not be sought after for a wife.”

Lord Christian: “Offers, plural?  Really?”  I lean toward her attempting to verify the veracity of her claim.  Yet, there seems to be two of her in front of me as I look back and forth between the two of them—most confusing.  “Or are you merely double counting my brother Harold’s lame attempts at courtship.” I wince. I had determined not to further humiliate our family by mentioning his cheek.

Lady Madeline: “Kkkh!  Yes, Lord Harold was one of whom I spoke.  And yes, he was very … off putting in his approach to me.”  I am trying to be diplomatic in characterizing Lord Harold.  In reality, I think him to be a fortune hunter.

Lord Christian smiles at realizing that Lady Madeline does not entertain his brother’s suit of her in any way.

Lady Lucretia: “Were there other offers, Maddie Dear?  You did not tell me.”  My little granddaughter has done well for herself.

Lady Madeline: “Yes there were, Grandmama–three more offers.  But I declined them because the gentlemen–though worthy–were not interesting to me in that way.”

Lord Christian’s corner of his mouth smirks upward at the report that Lady Madeline has turned down four offers of marrage—including from his odious younger brother Lord Harold.

Lady Lucretia: “That way?”  Lady Lucretia asks quizzically.

Then the answer comes from a source other than her granddaughter.   Somehow despite the haze of the champagne he consumed, Lord Christian has a rare moment of clarity.

Lord Christian: “Lady Madeline wishes to marry for love, Lady Knott.  Is that not correct, Lady Madeline?”

Lady Madeline:  I squirm, hoping that others do not overhear Lord Christian’s comment about me.  He has such a deep and booming voice.  “Yes.”

Lord Christian: “Then let us dance this demmed waltz and end this farce right now.”  I command with displeasure.

Lady Madeline:   “Lord Christian, of what farce are you referring?” I bristle primly.

Lord Christian: “Oh do not play coy with me, Lady Madeline.  I am too well acquainted with ladies and their subterfuge.”  She looks up at me with those big innocent eyes of hers and I relent.  “Our grandmothers concocted a plan to throw us together in the hope that we might marry and solve everyone’s problems.”

Lady Lucretia Beckham Knott looks livid to be found out, and she embarrassedly turns her head away from them.

Lady Madeline:  I am mortified! I instantly turn an accusatory glare at one of the culprits.  “Is this true, Grandmama?  You and Lady Catherine want Lord Christian and I to marry?”

Lady Lucretia:   “It was only a passing thought.”  I blithely fib as I casually wave my closed fan.  “Christy is an eligible match with his fine lineage.  And you would be a countess–his countess.”

Lady Madeline “Grandmama, I do not care for titles.  I want to marry for love.  Besides …”  I stop.  I should not speculate about why Lord Christian would wish to marry me, when he does not.

Lord Christian: I pick up the gauntlet that Lady Madeline threw down earlier in the evening.  “Besides, I am insufferable, according to Lady Madeline.”

Lady Lucretia:  “Did you really tell Christy that he was insufferable, Maddie?  How could you?”  I chastise her for deterring a most excellent man.

Lady Madeline: “Grandmama, I wasn’t really calling him insufferable.  I was merely repeating what his sister Lady Lizzie said of him.”

By now some of our guests are standing off to the side of the room watching our conversation and whispering.  I just hope that they are not speculating about Lord Christian and myself.

Lord Christian: “Well my insufferable self owes you a waltz.  So let us hop to it.”  I state impatiently as I hold out my hand with mounting agitation.

Lady Madeline:  “Lord Christian, you are drunk.” I blurt out as a last gasp at my trying to make him see reason.

Lord Christian: “Yes I am. But what do you care?” I ask disdainfully.

Lady Madeline: “You are not acting like yourself, Lord Christian.  I beg that you will return home and rest. Then you may also ascertain how your grandmother fares.  As I said earlier this evening, family is more important than a ball.” He seems to be considering my reasoning.   “I will visit you and Lady Lizzie at your home in the later morning tomorrow–we may waltz then.”  I bargain with him.

Lord Christian: I ponder her fair offer. And I acknowledge that I am not feeling at my best. “I will accept your terms for your waltz, Lady Madeline.  And I will hold you to it.  My Grandmother must be appeased.”

Lady Madeline: “Of course.  But please go home and take your rest now.”  I pleadingly beg him as I indecorously clasp his large elegant hand in my smaller hands.

Lord Christian: “Alright.  I am too tired to waltz properly now anyway.  I will see you in the morning.  Good evening.”

Then I lean in and kiss Lady Madeline in the middle of her forehead—in full view of her presentation ball’s guests. I am not certain why, but the kiss seems appropriate.  I kiss my sister Lizzie good night that way–as our parents used to kiss us goodnight when we were little and they were alive.  And Lady Madeline is the same age as my sister—ergo, the kiss is appropriate.

However, Lady Madeline looks quite startled by my chaste kiss. I wonder why, since it was only her forehead that I kissed–and not those luscious pink rosebud lips of hers. I realize now that I must be drunk to consider so young a lady–still a girl, really–luscious, in any way.  I shake my head to clear the cobwebs as I head to my carriage.  I will send it back for my brother Harold.

After Lord Christian leaves the ballroom, Lady Lucretia apologizes to her granddaughter.
Lady Lucretia: “I am so sorry, Maddie Dear.  I thought that Christy would make you a good match.  But if he drinks to excess …”

Lady Maddie: “But Grandmama, I do not think that Lord Christian does drink excessively or much at all–hence his difficulties tonight.”

Lady Lucretia:  “And did you drink any champagne, My Dear?”

Lady Madeline:  I blush.  “Only a sip, Grandmama.”  Then I lean into her ear and whisper conspiratorially.  “I confess that I did not like it much.  It had a bitter taste.  I do not see the appeal.”  My grandmother merely smiles.

My ball continues on until four o’clock in the morning. I would have stayed dancing till dawn, but my grandmother was completely worn out and kept dozing off on the uncomfortable looking settee, where her comfortable bed is only upstairs.  Still. I feel pleased to have had so many dances and offers of marriage–even if I did not accept the offers.  A young lady with a dowry and inheritance must be selective and wary, lest she mistakenly entrust her future happiness to one who is unworthy.

As I climb into my bed for a few hours sleep after my presentation ball, I think about my five marriage proposals—one more was tendered to me later in the evening—twenty dances, and one perplexing kiss from the very handsome, but quite drunk at the time Lord Christian.   And, I have one more waltz to look forward to–with Lord Christian, upon the morrow. Well, actually, it is today.  But first, I must sleep.

To be continued with Chapter 6

 

The References for Ch. 5 by Gratiana Lovelace, September 20, 2016 (Post #971)

1)  The “Encouragement” story cover is an image representing our young heroine Lady Madeline Sinclair. The  image is the young Emma Hart in a straw hat at 17 years old in painted by George Romney  in 1782; she was later to marry Sir William Hamilton in 1791 and become Emma Lady Hamilton, was found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emma,_Lady_Hamilton#/media/File:George_Romney_-_Emma_Hart_in_a_Straw_Hat.jpg ;  For more about Emma Lady Hamilton, nee Emma Hart/Amy Lyon please visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emma,_Lady_Hamilton

2)  Lord Christian image is of Richard Armitage as John Thornton in a BTS shot of the Masters Dinner scene in North & South, BBC 2004 found at https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/dc/73/f0/dc73f07c96036d04af4193e316ee2ae5.jpg

 

Previous  Blog Ch. 4 Story link with embedded illustrations:

https://gratianads90.wordpress.com/2016/09/17/encouragement-ch-4-pg-different-intentions-september-17-2016-gratiana-lovelace-post-969

 

 

Posted in "Encouragement" a Regency Lovestory, Creative Writing, Historical Fiction, Love and Relationships, Richard Armitage, Romance, Storytelling | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Soothing Sunday!  A Collage of Richard Armitage Characters & Self Portraits, September 18, 2016  Gratiana Lovelace (Post #970)

These days, weekends are my respite from the hurly burly work week projects with due dates that overlap as a consequence of working at a university. So, I try not to schedule myself too much on weekends. I just go with the flow of lunch out with my hubby, reading, writing, and jewelry making–and household chores, of course. Ha!

And usually, the exquisitely talented British actor Richard Armitage and his theatrical projects are a part of my soothing serenity. I am sure that I am not alone in this. And I created a collage below of some of my favorite Richard and his character images (Thanks to RANet and various online friends!).

soothing-sunday-collage-of-richardarmitage-as-relaxation-technique_sep1816gratianalovelace-rev5titles-bkgrnd-pix-labels-smlr

So, which Richard Armitage image–as himself or as a character–is your favorite Soothing Sunday relaxation image? You may have more than one, and or, provide your own choices.

Hope you have a gReAt day! Hugs & Cheers! Grati ;->

P.S. And I will also Tumblr this. Ha!

Posted in Chop in Urban and the Shed Crew, Daniel Miller/Meyer in Berlin Station, Fangurling, Fun Day Sunday, Graphic, Harry Kennedy, John Porter, John Proctor, John Standring, John Thornton, Love Love Love, Lucas North, Multi-Character RA, Pilgrimage, Portraits, Positivity, Raymond de Merville, RelAxation, Richard Armitage, Sexy, Sir Guy of Gisborne, Something About Love, Sparkhouse, Spooks, Strike Back, Thorin, Vicar of Dibley | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

“Encouragement”, Ch. 4 (PG):   Different Intentions, September 17, 2016 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #969) 

aEncouragement-aRegencyLovestorycover_Aug3116byGratianaLovelace_180x282(An original Regency romance  copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace; all rights reserved)  [(1) story cover, left]

[From time to time, I will illustrate my story characters with:  Emma Hamilton as Lady Madeline Sinclair, Richard Armitage as Lord Christian Blount Earl of Sussex, Maggie Smith as Lady Lucretia Knott, Crispin Bonham-Carter as Lord Harold Blount, and others as noted.]

Authors Content Note: “Encouragement” is a frothy love story with sometimes humorous and sometimes dramatic themes of love and relationships.  It will mostly be at the PG and PG-13 movie levels. Specific chapters or passages may have a further rating of:  D for dramatic emotions, and LS for love scenes that are tenderly sensuous and not explicit.  And I will rate the chapters accordingly. If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with the ratings that I provide for a chapter, then please do not read that chapter. This is my disclaimer.  And as is my habit, I will summarize the previous chapter’s events at the beginning of each chapter.

Author’s recap from the previous chapter: The night of Lady Madeline Sinclair’s Presentation Ball hosted by her Grandmama Lady Lucretia Knott began well with Lord Christian Blount the Earl of Sussex standing up with her to lead her out to her first dance, since her Papa stayed home in the country due to his gout.  And Lord Chritian and Lady Madeline shared confidences about their hopes and dreams—and his family’s near financial ruin due to his late Grandfather Earl’s poor investment choices.

“Encouragement”, Ch. 4 (PG):  Different Intentions

As she scans her little used but currently very lively London townhouse ballroom during ladylucretiaknott-ismaggiesmith-asladyviolet-thedowagercounties-ofgrantham-ineveninggown-indowntonabbey_sep1116viaher granddaughter Lady Madeline Lucretia Sinclair’s Friday February 2, 1816 Presentation Ball,  Lady Lucretia Beckham Knott [(2) right] is quite pleased with the turn out this evening.  Everyone accepted her invitation.  Well, she did not invite everyone—only those whom she deemed worthy to aid in welcoming her granddaughter to society.

And Lady Madeline’s first dance with Lord Christian Blount, the Earl of Sussex seemed to go very well.  She bases this assessment upon her observing the pair’s delightful dancing and their intimate conversation as they strolled the perimeter of the ballroom after their dance.  Everything is going according to her and Lady Blount’s plan.  Well, almost everything. lordharold-iscrispinbonhamcarter-in1995pride-andprejudice_sep1116imdb_sized-crop-brt

The second dance of the evening of Lady Madeline’s presentation ball, is to be her first waltz with Lord Harold Blount—the younger brother of Lord Christian Blount, the Earl of Sussex–presenting himself for that office.  Lady Madeline perceives that Lord Harold [(3) right] seems excessively eager to dance with her. And she suspiciously wonders why?

His manner and deportment also seems so different from his more reserved and gentlemanly elder brother Lord Christian.  And she cannot quite seem to like Lord Harold’s artfully arranged forehead curl—the style of which is rather popular at the moment—though Lady Madeline cannot discern why.  To her, that curl represents youth … and folly—a clear signal to stay away from him.  And yet, she cannot.  They are to dance.  And Lady Madeline wonders if she could fake a swoon to get out of it?

However, Lady Madeline’s Grandmama Lady Knott performs the necessary introductions and she and Lord Harold walk to the center of the dance floor for their waltz. Lady Madeline is glad that she heeded her Grandmama’s advice to wear comfortable slippers this evening, since she is on her feet for so much dancing.

Lady Madeline and Lord Harold make small talk as they dance this slightly scandalous waltz [(4)]—her first waltz. The waltz being considered too intimate for polite society until just a few years ago, it is now all the rage.    But Lady Madeline is still not keen to be held so closely by someone whom she has just met–even if he is her new friends Lady Lizzie’s and Lord Christian’s  brother.

Lady Madeline: “Lord Harold!  Might you please loosen your tight grip upon my person?  I fear a bruise forming.”  I frown at him a bit perturbedly.

Lord Harold: Having visited the refreshment room first, Lord Harold is feeling precocious. “Oh right!  Sorry duchess!  I am out of practice and only had a quick refresher with my sister Lady Lizzie this afternoon.” He loosens his hold upon her, him thinking that she is quite the little minx to tease him about holding her too close.  He likes that about her.

Lady Madeline:  In remembering my nascent friendship with his sister Lady Lizzie, I soften in my regard for her brother Lord Harold. “How is Lady Lizzie?  I met her only a few days ago, but I feel a strong kinship with her already.”

Lord Harold: “Lizzie will be glad to hear that.  She spoke of you fondly as well. Lizzie had wanted to be here, but you know, Grandmother was feeling poorlyagain.”  He says with some annoyance while rolling his eyes.  Lord Harold is at quite a self-centered and selfish stage of life—and he has been for quite some time, since he was in leading strings—leaving his elder brother Lord Christian to shoulder all family responsibilities.

Lady Madeline:  “Your brother, Lord Christian, told me about your grandmother being ill.  I was very sorry to hear that Lady Blount feels unwell.   She and my Grandmama Lady Lucretia Beckam Knott were girlhood friends and only recently reconnected again with each other last week.”

Lord Harold: “Deuced convenient that they ran into each other.  Grandmama never goes out any more—the old girl is too infirm.  Poor Dear.”  He frowns.  He really does love his Grandmother—in a boyishly selfish way.

Lady Madeline:  “Yes, my Grandmama and I paid her a call last week at Lord Sussex’s kind invitation.  That is how I came to know Lady Lizzie.  Though I had dearly hoped that Lady Lizzie—and your Grandmother could have attended my ball this evening–I admire Lady Lizzie for giving up attending my ball to tend to her Grandmother.”  I say sincerely.  For what is a ball, when those whom you love are ill?  And I think of my own Mama’s illness and death almost four years ago and tears escapes the confines of my eyes—though I and resolved not to make a watering pot of myself this evening.

Lord Harold:  Not noticing Lady Madeline’s more somber tone—nor her tears–Lord Harold plows ahead with his cocky banter.  “Righto!  Christy says that Lizzie came bounding out of her shyness within five minutes of meeting you.  He called you a miracle worker.”  Lord Harold sincerely compliments Lady Madeline.

Lady Madeline: “He did?” I ask in astonishment.  “I did not think that Lord Christian was much impressed with me.  Lady Lizzie and I teased him quite mercilessly, like the elder brother he is–to her.”  I roll my eyes with a smile, thinking bemusedly how whiny Lord Christian became with our teasing.

Lord Harold: “Christy never likes to be teased.”  I shake my head knowingly.  “I attribute his aloofness and disdain to him being the eldest–wanting our respect, and all that rot.  But he has had a tough go since our grandfather Earl died and discovering that … well …  I should not mention that.”  He back tracks embarrassedly.

Lady Madeline: “That your Grandfather Earl lost most your family money on bad investments?  And that Lord Christian must now marry an heiress to secure a fortune to save your family?”  I ask innocently in a hushed voice so that no one will overhear.

Lord Harold looks startled and shaken—because his immediate future is also dependent upon his brother making a good match.  Then he replies in hushed tones.

Lord Harold:  “I did not know that our family’s … situation … was common knowledge.  We have tried to keep that quiet–for our sister Lizzie’s sake.”  He frowns.

Lady Madeline: “Oh!  I do not believe it is common knowledge.  I heard it from Lord Christian tonight when we talked about our wishes for marriage.”

Lord Harold:  “Well, well, well, Christy has already offered for you, as the little Knott heiress?  Ha ha ha!”  He chuckles in seeming good natured fun, but he is also annoyed.  His brother Christy’s handsome charm could look higher—while leaving the less exalted heiresses, like Lady Madeline, to him.

Lady Madeline: “Oh no!  You are quite mistaken, Lord Harold.   Lord Christian and I merely spoke in generalities.  There is no particular understanding between us–other than my friendship with your sister Lady Lizzie and our grandmothers’ friendship.

Lord Harold: “Excellent!  Well then, if Christy hasn’t offered for you, might I?  I have a lovely little estate and manor called Roxbury to the North that is in need of repair.  And with your dowry, we could do it up nicely.”

Lord Harold grins unabashedly at Lady Maddie.  He knows that they both know that aristocratic marriages are built on money and mortgages.  Yet what he does not know is that Lady Madeline wants more from her future marriage—and from her future husband.  She wants love.

Lady Maddie: “Lord Blount!”  She addresses him formally to distance herself from him–would that the blasted waltz they are dancing afforded them real physical distance from each other, she thinks.  “I thank you for your candor, but as I told your brother, I will only marry for love.”

Lord Harold: “Now do not be so hasty, Lady Maddie.”  He resorts to the informal as a ladymadeline-isemmaladyhamilton-bygeorgeromney_aug3116viablogspot_grati-sized-smlr-flip-cropmeans to imply an intimacy between them.  “I am an agreeable fellow.  Let us walk on the terrace and I might be able to convince you to let me court you so that we could fall in love.”  I wiggle my eyebrows up and down, hoping to entice her.  Lady Madeline is a fetching little thing—her looking especially pretty this evening [(5) right].  And I wager that were I to breech her defenses, she would be a tigress once properly schooled in the art of love.

And though thinking of Lady Madeline as a tigress in training, Lord Harold has forgotten a very salient point.  Tigresses have teeth and claws.  And apart from Lady Madeline having two brothers and a father—making attempting to compromise her to leave her no options but to marry him unwise, since her protectors might wish to duel him instead—her Grandmama Lady Lucretia Beckham Knott is no one that a coxcomb like Lord Harold wants to cross.

Now Lady Madeline is in a quandary.  She is not interested in Lord Harold in the slightest. Yes, he is handsome, but not in a way that appeals to her.  But he is the grandson of her Grandmama’s oldest and dearest friend, so she does not wish to offend him.  Yet honesty is always her best course of action.

Lady Madeline:  So she responds in the expected mode—of refusal.  “I thank you for the honor that you do me, Lord Harold.  But regretfully, I must decline.”

Lord Harold: “Oh, I understand.”  He nods knowingly.  “You are holding out for Christy.”  He tilts his head in perceived understanding.  “They all do.”  He sneers vaguely, and somewhat intentionally derisively.

Lady Madeline: “I assure you that I am not, Lord Harold.”  I counter him quickly.  “Lord Christian is the kind of superior gentleman with matrimonial prospects well beyond a young lady such as myself.  No doubt that our twelve year age gap is also a barrier–of my supposed immaturity for him.”

Lord Harold: “See?  I am six years Christy’s junior–another reason why I am more suitable for you.  And I will not keep you on a tight leash.  After we have our heir and a spare, you will be free to do as you please.”

Lady Madeline:  And I surmise that he will expect to do the same.  I put up my hand to him.  “I beg that you cease your proposals.  I must categorically refuse them.”

Blessedly, the dance ends and I skitter away from Lord Harold standing perplexed in the middle of the dance floor and I rush back to my Grandmama—without allowing him to escort me back to her.  I was being a tad rude—alright, very rude.  But then, he asked for it, I shake my head in astonishment.  Never was I more grateful for a lull between dances.  Because I need to compose myself before my next dance partner wants to offer for me.  This presentation ball business is more vexing than I could have imagined.

This is so not how I envisioned my presentation ball to be.  Yes, I expected some polite interest—and, perhaps, flattery and flirting with a request for some gentlemen to call on me—but not campaigns for my hand in marriage, as if they were acquiring a breeding mare for their stables.   I shiver at the thought.

***

I notice that my granddaughter Lady Madeline is having a rather tense discussion with young Lord Harold Blount as they dance. She does not look happy.  So when she returns to me—and the younger Blount swain has left to go to the refreshments room–I ask her.

Lady Lucretia: “Maddie, what is it? You look as if you are upset.”  I gaze at her penetratingly.

Lady Madeline: “That is because I am upset, Grandmama. I do not want to be beset by fortune hunters because of my dowry and due to the legacy that I will eventually inherit from you.”  Grandmama looks at me with concern. So I explain.  “Lord Blount kept proposing to me—telling me my dowry can help him renovate his country home.  The cheek of the man!”  I throw up my hands in consternation.

Lady Lucretia: Incredulous, I ponder aloud. “Christy had the audacity, nay the effrontery, to say such a thing to you?”

Lady Madeline: “Oh no, Grandmama.  Lord Christian was an absolute gentleman.”  I assure her in a most forthright manner.  “He and I are sympathetic about our views of and prospects for marriage. It was his younger brother Lord Harold whom I was dancing with just now who tried to bargain with me.”

Lady Lucretia: “Bargain?”  My eyes widen in incredulity.

Lady Madeline:  “Yes. He implied that after I produced his heirs, that he would look the other way as I dallied with other men.  I presume that he would expect the same consideration.” I sneer snidely.

Lady Lucretia: “Maddie! You cannot be serious!”  I fume at the impudence of the younger Lord Blount.

Lady Madeline:  “Oh but I am.  How can two brothers be so vastly different in their character and their intentions, Grandmama?  Lord Christian is a gentleman—and bespeaks everything of honor and dignity and goodness.  Granted, he probably has had amours as a man of thirty years.  But Lord Christian did not offer for me tonight just because his family needs funds and I have a sizeable dowry.”  I like that about him.

Lady Lucretia: “Yes, Dear.  I expect that Christy is too proud.  And his pride will probably doom his family’s future prospects–especially for his sister Lady Elizabeth.  Without a dowry of at least 5,000 pounds, she can hardly expect to make a fine match for her marriage.”

Lady Madeline: “Oh Grandmama.  How awful!  I wish that their late Grandfather Earl had been more careful with their money–for Lord Christian’s and for Lady Lizzie’s sakes.”

I always speak of him as his full name of Lord Christian, and not his family pet name of Christy.  It just seems more fitting and proper to me.  And in my girlish dreams, he is just Christian.  He is the very tall dark and handsome Earl of my dreams.  Though I think that I might think favorably upon Lord Christian were he not an Earl, the title does not detract from his virtues in my opinion.  Yes, some young lady will be very lucky indeed to have Lord Christian fall in love with her.

And I realize that I am not sophisticated enough nor polished enough to be that lady.  Only maturity and my Grandmama’s refinement lessons will make me interesting to someone.  I think sighingly.  And due to my lack of maturity, I have yet to discover that my sometimes brash country manners of speaking forthrightly might be seen as refreshing in some quarters.

Lady Lucretia: “Yes, Maddie Dear.  It is an unfortunate circumstance for the Blounts.”

And I think that Lady Cathy and I seriously misjudged both of our two grandchildren.  We were misguided in thinking that a marital alliance between my Maddie and her Christy might be formed–that would settle her with a good man of noble lineage and a titled husband, and provide for her husband’s family’s needs vis a vis her dowry.  Oh well. Wishful thinking on our parts.

And the night is still young.  I wonder what additional suitors might arise this evening for my granddaughter Maddie.  However, I will come to be most surprised and disappointed in the yet to be revealed unbecoming conduct of one gentleman of our acquaintance.

To be continued with Chapter 5

 

The References for Ch. 4 by Gratiana Lovelace, September 17, 2016 (Post #969)

1)  The “Encouragement” story cover is an image representing our young heroine Lady Madeline Sinclair. The  image is the young Emma Hart in a straw hat at 17 years old in painted by George Romney  in 1782; she was later to marry Sir William Hamilton in 1791 and become Emma Lady Hamilton, was found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emma,_Lady_Hamilton#/media/File:George_Romney_-_Emma_Hart_in_a_Straw_Hat.jpg ;  For more about Emma Lady Hamilton, nee Emma Hart/Amy Lyon please visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emma,_Lady_Hamilton

2)  The image of Lady Lucretia Beckham Knott in black evening gown and jewels is of Maggie Smith portraying Lady Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham on the ITV/PBS program Downton Abbey (2010 – 2015) and was found at https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/cc/03/b0/cc03b0cd3ae3a2a0e9f593c9f52ece3c.jpg

3)  Lord Harold Blount image is that of Crispin Bonham-Carter in the 1995 mini series Pride and Prejudice and was found at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112130/mediaviewer/rm1864548864

4)  For more about the scandalous waltz, first introduced in London in 1811, please visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regency_dance

5)  Lady Madeline Sinclair image (cropped) of her pomegranate silk taffeta presentation ball gown is the young Emma Hart at 17 years in 1782 painted by George Romney  in 1782 at 17 years; she was later to marry Sir William Hamilton in 1791 and who would become Emma Lady Hamilton, was found at http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-ynXHullbJl4/ToyOPQzGeOI/AAAAAAAAAzw/TqRDsGjMLrY/s1600/Romney%252C+Lady+Hamilton.jpg

 

Previous  Blog Ch. 3 Story link with embedded illustrations:

https://gratianads90.wordpress.com/2016/09/12/encouragement-ch-3-pg-d-lady-madelines-presentation-ball-september-12-2016-gratiana-lovelace-post-967

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