“Sir Guy’s Dilemma”, Ch. 6: Lord Archer Reveals his Nottingham Difficulties; Seth Takes Ill, 11/23/12 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #311)
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[From time to time, I will illustrate my story with my dream cast of: Richard Armitage as Sir Guy, Clive Standen as Lord Archer, Emma Watson as Lady Rose, etc.] [Story Logo 1ab]
Author’s Mature Content Note: “Sir Guy’s Dilemma” is a story of romance and intrigue set amidst Medieval times. As such there will be some passages in this story involving heartfelt love scenes (R rated) and some passages involving highly dramatic moments. I will label the maturity rating of those chapters accordingly. Otherwise, the general rating for this story is PG or PG-13 due to some mature situations and topics. If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with the ratings that I provide, then please do not read the chapters with those labels. This is my disclaimer.
Author’s Recap from the previous installment: Seth and Lady Helen Gisborne are baptized with the Talkington family joining in the Gisborne family celebration. But Lord Archer pays too close attention to the young and beautiful Lady Saline–betrothed of Lord George Middleton–for her parents Lord and Lady Talkington’s liking, and Sir Guy tries to waive him off. Archer throws a fit of pique and reminds Sir Guy that he will be supplanted by Lord George when he returns. Sir Guy frets about his seemingly being cast aside and without a domain to call his own, but for Lady Roseanna’s small parcel of 500 acres of land that they call home at Middleton Manor. But Sir Guy intends to send Lord Archer back to Nottingham bright and early Monday morning to avoid any difficulties with their guests, the Talkingtons. But plans are made to be broken.
“Sir Guy’s Dilemma”, Ch. 6: Lord Archer Reveals his Nottingham Difficulties; Seth Takes Ill
After breakfast the following day on Monday–when Lord Archer is to leave to return to Nottingham this morning–the brothers Gisborne take a turn about the grounds to talk.
Sir Guy: “Archer, I want to caution you again to leave the Lady Saline alone.”
Sir Guy: “You will promise that you will have no contact with her. You must not write to her, let alone attempt to see her.” Sir Guy [(2) right] commands resolutely.
Lord Archer: “Guy, you almost sound like Saline’s older brother trying to warn me off.”
Sir Guy: “I will be her brother-in-law when she and Lord George wed.” He reminds Archer pointedly.
Lord Archer: “Yes, yes, the arranged marriage–how unsuitable.” He sighs.
Sir Guy: “It is not deemed unsuitable by the Middleton and Talkington families, so we must accept it. Archer this is not like you, treading where you clearly are not wanted. What is the matter?” Then Sir Guy remembers. “You have not told me yet of Nottingham. How does the rebuilding fare.”
Lord Archer: Lord Archer’s eyes narrow. “It is a complicated matter.” Lord Archer [(3) right] says cryptically.
Sir Guy: Sitting on a nearby wooden bench to rest, Guy gestures for Archer to also sit. “Brother, you will tell me eventually. So please save time and have out with it.” Guy is weary of Archer’s dissembling.
Lord Archer: “The nobles are restless and not helping with Nottingham’s rebuilding as I had hoped–nor are they paying Prince John his tribute monies.”
Sir Guy: “But I thought you bargained with Prince John to have the tribute monies waived while you rebuilt?
Lord Archer: “Welllll, not quite.” He winces.
Sir Guy: “Out with it man! What are you not telling me?”
Lord Archer: “Alright, alright. Prince John agreed to Nottingham’s peasantry tribute monies not being collected during the rebuild–but he still wants the nobles’ funds.
Sir Guy: “I don’t see the problem. Collect their monies or they face Prince John’s wrath.”
Lord Archer: “Here is where the difficulty comes in. It seems that one or more of them was hoping to be made sheriff–but with no intention of rebuilding the Nottingham Castle fortifications.”
Sir Guy: “The nobles were always a mercurial lot. I had to threaten them on several occasions with stripping them of their lands and titles by throwing them in the dungeon so they would comply.”
Lord Archer: Looking at his brother half warily and half appreciatively, he asks incredulously. “You could do that?”
Sir Guy: “Well, not really. But the show of force of the castle garrison was a sufficient deterrent to keep them in line.”
Lord Archer: “But that is my problem. Prince John conscripted Nottingham’s remaining garrison that wasn’t killed in the explosion. I have next to no way to enforce the laws–nor impel the nobles’ tribute payments to the crown.”
Sir Guy: “Hmmm. That is quite a predicament.” He nods his head solemnly. “And did Prince John have any thoughts on the matter?”
Lord Archer: “Not one I was willing to entertain.”
Sir Guy: “Why? Would it have cost you the remaining monies that I left with you to rebuild Nottingham?” Guy bristles at Archer not seeming to be grateful for his patronage of him.
Lord Archer: “Wellll. Not exactly–regarding your money.” Archer squirms.
Sir Guy: “What other money could there be?” He asks questioningly. Then Sir Guy hits the side of his head with the palm of his hand. “I’ll be damned! You’ve found it!” He exclaims incredulously.
Lord Archer: “Ah Brother. Nothing gets past you.” He rolls his eyes bemusedly.
Sir Guy: “How much of Nottingham’s missing crown tribute monies did you find?” He asks interestedly.
Lord Archer: “All 50,000 pounds–and Sheriff Vasey’s wealth of 100,000 pounds.” He says astounding himself.
Sir Guy: “Good god! And where was it? Robin and I couldn’t find it–presuming that Isabella had moved it from the treasury to steal it for herself.”
Lord Archer: “That’s the thing. Our dear demented–and late lamented–sister Isabella had some clarity of thought after all.” Lord Archer raises his eyebrow and tilts his head in salute to her ingenuity. “She sunk it!”
Sir Guy: “Sunk it?” He asks quizzically.
Lord Archer: “Yes, in the moat. The village workers and I found it when we drained the moat to inspect the castle’s foundations. There were six chests with coins worth 25,000 pounds each in them.”
Sir Guy: “And you haven’t told Prince John yet?” Sir Guy’s eyes widen.
Lord Archer: “Noooooo! Of course not! I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction. But the problem is, we can’t start spending these monies too quickly to rebuild Nottingham or Prince John will know that we have the money.”
Sir Guy: “So where is the money now?”
Lord Archer: “Oh, here, there, and everywhere.” He says cryptically. Guy stares him down. “Very well, there is one chest hidden at Locksley Manor. Fr. Bale has one chest secreted in the cathedral in Leicester for me–that I dropped off on my way here. And, …”
Sir Guy: “And?” Then realization comes to Sir Guy. “Good god man! You don’t mean to tell me that the remainder of the coin chests are here?” There is thunder in Sir Guy’s voice and in his looks. He is seriously displeased with this turn of events.
Lord Archer: “Yes, buried in your stables. The carriage I road in visiting you this time allowed me to bring the four remaining chests–as well as bring Seth his new puppy.”
Sir Guy: “Archer, I do not want to put my family at risk by hiding something that Prince John wants–his tribute monies.”
Archer: “None of the guards or workers know the whole story–only you, Fr. Bale and the Locksley Steward Thornton know.”
Sir Guy: “But this is madness. There are already three people too many who know about the treasure. And I have the welfare of three children to think about now–in addition to My Lady Rose.”
Archer: “Brother? Have you held out on us? Is Rose with child again? So soon?” He smiles.
Sir Guy: “Yes, and though we are pleased, the soon part of that statement troubles My Lady Rose–since women of her station typically have their children several years apart.”
Archer: “But brother, women of her station do not normally marry for love as you have.” He says clapping Sir Guy on his back. “Felicitations! You have a dynasty in the making!”
Sir Guy: “Thank you. We are pleased.” Guy smiles begrudgingly at Archer–despite Archer’s attempt at changing the subject, the treasure. “But what of Prince John? What was his solution for reigning in the nobles–given that you know that you obviously don’t need to bleed them of their monies since you already have the earlier tribute monies?”
Aricher: “Prince John is back into the marriage brokering business. He commands me to wed–or at least engage myself to one of Lord Haverford’s three daughters post haste or he will make Lord Haverford Sheriff of Nottingham in my place. It seems that Lord Havorford is eager to shed himself of at least one of his daughters and is using the proposal that he purchase the Nottingham commission from Prince John as a bargaining chip. Of course, Prince John wants half of one of the Havorford girl’s dowery money–which is a higher payment to him than the Sheriff commission would be.”
Sir Guy: “Well with your inappropriate pursuit of Lady Saline, I suggest that you do need a wife to keep you occupied.” Sir Guy crosses arms, tilts his head at his brother Lord Archer and furrows his eyebrows in consternation.
Lord Archer: “But the Havorford daughters are all little girls–not even 16 years of age at 15, 14, and 13.” It seems that Lady Saline and Lord Archer have similar notions about maturity. “The betrothal could last years before we wed–and I cannot wait that long.” He says huskily and pouts thinking of years of forced celibacy until he is wed–because Lord Havorford would have spies watching Lord Archer to make sure that he would do nothing that would spoil the match.
Sir Guy: “They are young, brother. But it is not unheard of to take a wife of 15 years old–which, for you, would not be that great a difference in your ages. Are you growing scruples, brother? Or are none of the ladies to your liking?” He smirks.
Lord Archer: “Too hard to tell. The girls are all pretty things–in an unformed sort of way. The girls giggled so when their parents twice invited me to dine with them.” Archer rolls his eyes. “I felt that they might prefer me to play a game with them rather than marry one of them. Child brides!” Archer rolls his eyes. “God’s teeth! Save me from marrying a babe just out of the nursery!”
Sir Guy: “Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Rocking back his head in laughter, Sir Guy is mightily amused at his brother Lord Archer’s consternation.
Lord Archer: “And that’s not the whole of it, Guy. These girls looked me up and down as if I were a piece of meat, that I quite feel put off the notion of marrying any of them.” Archer looks despairingly at Guy.
Sir Guy: “Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!” Sir Guy howls with laughter, holding his injured side while he laughs because he feels some pain. “So Archer, how does it feel to be the prey? You must be considered the most eligible man in the kingdom with your connection to the royal family through my wife, your having the Prince’s favor, your post as Sheriff of Nottingham, and your own estates at Locksley.” At this last mention, Sir Guy suddenly frowns.
Lord Archer: Sensing the reason for his brother’s frown, Archer apologizes. “Guy, I’m sorry for what I said last night about Lord George taking over the estate when he returns. He will surely value your management of the whole estate and want to reward you.” Though reward Guy with what, Archer can’t fathom.
Sir Guy: Dismissing the issue because he does not want to discuss it, Sir Guy waves his hand. “Do not be distressed. Lord George is the Lord of these estates–plain and simple. I will content myself with focusing on Middleton Manor and its surrounding lands that Lady Roseanna brought to me with our marriage. Besides, if our family continues to grow apace that will leave me little time to have other business matters to attend to.” He regains his humor a bit and smirks.
Lord Archer: “Speaking of family, where are Lady Rose and Seth? They missed breakfast. Are they not going to see me off?”
Sir Guy: “My Lady Rose asked me to give you her regrets. But Seth was taken ill in the night and she wants him to stay in his bed.”
Lord Archer: “Is it serious?” He winces.
Sir Guy: “I think not. Probably a tummy ache from making too much merry with his puppy Prince too soon after dessert last night.”
Lord Archer: With worry in his eyes, he says urgently. “But Seth did not partake of dessert last night–nor eat much at all–he was too tired and went to bed. Please brother, let me see him once more before I leave.”
Sir Guy: “Very well.” He sighs. Sir Guy feels that his brother is merely stalling–hoping to see Lady Saline once more. Lord Archer will see Lady Saline, but not in the manner that Sir Guy worries about.
Lord Archer: To his guards. “Stand down for the moment whilst I say farewell to my ailing nephew.” They nod their obeisance.
With a growing dread in Lord Archer’s heart, Sir Guy and Lord Archer return inside the manor house and bound up the great central staircase to see little Seth. Unfortunately, it is just as Archer fears. Archer finds a listless and feverish Seth, wheezing and coughing, and covered in a dappled red rash [(4) right] with his mother Lady Roseanna and Lady Saline giving him cold compresses and trying to soothe him.
Lady Roseanna [(5) right] and Lady Saline are startled at Lord Archer’s exclamation and turn to look at Lord Archer and Sir Guy as they walk into Seth’s bed chamber.
Lady Roseanna: “Archer? You have not left yet.” She smiles pleasantly.
Lord Archer: “My Lady Sister, we have no time for pleasantries. You and Sir Guy must remove yourself from this room and thoroughly wash yourselves before you attend to Lady Helen.”
Sir Guy: “But why?” His eyes narrow suspiciously.
Lord Archer: “Seth has the measles–and I fear that I have brought this plague upon him.” [(4) measles] Archer says rather melodramatically.
But Lady Roseanna recoils physically at the word plague–her parents had died from a plague not three years ago.
Lady Saline: “But how?”
Lord Archer: “The measles illness swept through Nottingham and its surrounding villages last month. I did not take ill–having had it as a child. But I fear now that I may have brought the sickness to you.”
Sir Guy: Angered by his brother’s omission, Sir Guy Thunders. “And you did not see fit to warn us of the danger you posed in coming here?”
Lord Archer: “I am so sorry. I did not think about it–that I might bring you harm, especially with Rose being with child again. And you must heed me and not risk Lady Helen’s health–as a babe she is so vulnerable. And we had some deaths.” He says this last phrase under his breath to Sir Guy so that little Seth and his mama Lady Roseanna do not hear.
Lady Saline: “You go Rose, I will tend to Seth for you as if he were my own child.” She says sympathetically.
Sir Guy: “Come away beloved.” Sir Guy says tenderly pulling Lady Roseanna reluctantly to her feet and away from Seth’s bed as he shoots a seriously displeased look at his brother Lord Archer.
Seth: Losing his clasp of his Mama’s hand he cries out. “Mama! Don’t go! I feel so hot. Help me get cool!” He holds up his arms pleadingly to her.
Lady Roseanna: “I’m sorry, Seth. I must go.” She says despondently. Though Lady Roseanna knows the sense of not carrying Seth’s disease to baby Helen, she still crumples and cries against Sir Guy’s chest.
Seth: Little Seth [(6) right] whimpers as his Mama and Papa leave him. “Mama. Papa.”
Lady Saline: “There there, Seth, I will tend to you.” She says soothingly as she places cool cloths to his fevered brow.
Lord Archer follows Sir Guy and Lady Roseanna into the hallway.
Lord Archer: “I am so sorry.” He says again.
Lady Roseanna: Taking out her fear and worry on her brother-in-law, she spits. “That will not help my children. Seth is so ill now and baby Helen might become so. She is but a babe. She could not endure what Seth is bearing now. How could you expose us to this disease? Have you never a thought for anyone but yourself?” Rose asks her brother-in-law accusingly.
Lord Archer: “Rose, you do not mean that.” He says taken aback at her harshness.
Sir Guy: “She does, and so do I.” Sir Guy stands with his arms around Lady Roseanna, comforting her and glaring at his brother, Lord Archer.
Lord Archer: “You are right, brother.” He says resignedly. “Rose is right. I did not give a thought that I might be placing your family in danger with the disease by coming here–let alone of the ramifications of my dealings with Prince John.”
Lady Roseanna: “What does my weasel of a cousin have to do with it?” She snaps.
Sir Guy: “I will explain all later my love. Now we must concentrate on Seth.” Sir Guy soothes. Then he asks commandingly. “Archer, were there any treatments found to help Nottingham’s ill villagers recover from the measles?”
Lord Archer: “Nay brother. Some who were very strong before were under the disease’s wrath and succumbed, while others thought to be weak survived.” He shakes his head ruefully.
Sir Guy: “How many were lost?” He asks gravely.
Lord Archer: “Only five–the very old and the very young, including the healer woman’s middle child Martin.”
Sir Guy: “No!” Sir Guy covers his mouth with his hand in shock. Then Sir Guy’s eyes saddens, remembering the young boy who regularly greeted him during his early recovery from his wounds. “He was not even six years old.”
Lord Archer: “But she nursed her other children back to health and many others in Locksley.”
Sir Guy: “Archer, you must bring the healer woman here to us to help Seth!” He says with great urgency.
Lady Roseanna: “But Guy, what if she brings more contagion to our house. I do not want to risk baby Helen, too.” She says clinging to her husband with tears in her eyes.
Lord Archer: “Nay Milady Rose. The healer woman’s children were the earliest took sick and the earliest made well–except for Martin.” He adds sadly. “However Martin had been ill before the measles disease swept through the village. So he was already weak and he could not overcome having two illnesses at the same time. But Seth is a very strong boy.” Archer tries to reassure them–to give them some way to rationalize why little Martin died, but that Seth might live.
Sir Guy: “My Rose, this healer woman may be our only chance. I might have died from infection from my sword and knife wounds last year were it not for her care. Maybe she can help Seth get well, too.” He asks pleadingly for his first born son.
Lady Roseanna: “Alright. Fetch this healer woman to us this day, Archer.” She relents forlornly.
Lord Archer: “I will! But I will only take a few guards with me to be swift and to make safe our journey. So I fear that the balance of my guards will be under your roof for yet a little while, brother.”
Sir Guy: Sir Guy nods. “Given what supplies you brought to us, Archer,” Sir Guy says cryptically for Rose about the Nottingham treasure. “…extra men are not unwelcome at this time.”
Lord Archer departs immediately after glancing once more into Seth’s bed chamber and locking eyes with the worried Lady Saline.
All through Monday day and night, Lady Saline tends caringly to little Seth. She bathes him in cool damp compresses when he is hot and she covers him with more blankets when he is cold. Lady Saline is so attentive that she will let no other see to Seth’s needs. Lady Saline knows that Sir Guy and Lady Roseanna are anxious for Seth’s recovery–as their nearly hourly visits to his bed chamber door to look upon him from afar are testament to.
After several hours, the strain of feeding and caring for her four month old baby daughter Lady Helen and worrying about their son Seth, takes its toll on Lady Roseanna, and Sir Guy insists that she rest in their bed chamber Monday evening. He reasons with her that she must keep her strength up for baby Helen–and, he reasons optimistically, for when Seth is on the mend. Sir Guy will check on little Seth regularly and give Lady Rose reports. So she relents and as he does check back and forth on Seth throughout the night.
Bessie is also quite helpful in sitting with Seth the few times that Sir Guy convinces Lady Saline to come away to take some nourishment in her room. Saline knows what a wrench it is for Rose not to be able to tend to her child–and she wants to be there in her stead for her. Because even though Seth was not born of Lady Roseanna’s body, Saline knows that Rose has taken the little boy to her heart. But it is a long and tiring night tending to Seth and Lady Saline fights her need for sleep almost until the dawn hours when she finally succumbs to slumber while sitting in a chair next to Seth’s bed and holding his hand as Bessie keeps watch. Seth has finally quietened down a bit from his fidgeting due to his discomfort and congested breathing, and he fell asleep in early morning hours after taking some broth.
At dawn Tuesday morning when Sir Guy arises from his bed with Lady Roseanna–having stayed to comfort her or she never would have slept herself–he first checks on his son, and Bessie assures him that he is sleeping comfortably. Then Sir Guy heads to the stables to have a groom sent to stand watch on Nottingham road for Lord Archer and the healer woman. They will be slower coming back to Middleton Manor since they will need to ride in a carriage to convey the healer woman to them. But every minute they must wait for Lord Archer to return with the healer woman for Seth is agonizing. And the delay in the healer woman’s arrival will prove to be costly to more than just Seth.
To be continued with Chapter 7
1) “Guy’s Dilemma” logo is a composite of three images:
a) Sir Guy (portrayed by Richard Armitage) in the BBC’s Robin Hood, Series 3, episode 13 (pix 64).and is found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/RobinHood/album/seasonthree/Episodethirteen/slides/13_064.html;
b) Image of Lord Archer (portrayed by Clive Standen) http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/RobinHood/album/seasonthree/episodetwelve/slides/12_093.html;
c) a sword hilt from MS Office Clip Art was found at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/results.aspx?qu=sword&ex=1#ai:MP900432917|
2) Sir Guy of Gisborne (portrayed by Richard Armitage) in the BBC’s Robin Hood, Series 3, episode 13 (pix 64).and is found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/RobinHood/album/seasonthree/Episodethirteen/slides/13_064.html;
3) Image of Lord Archer of Locksley (portrayed by Clive Standen) in the BBC’s Robin Hood, Series 3, is a composite image of Mr. Standen’s head (cropped) found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/RobinHood/album/seasonthree/episodetwelve/slides/12_093.jpg ; and a Medieval type man’s formal attire found at http://www.medievalcollectables.com/images/Category/medium/158.png
4) General measles disease information is found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Measles “Symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes and a generalized, maculopapular, erythematous rash.” Sample image of rash also came from Wiki at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Morbillivirus_measles_infection.jpg
5) Image representing Lady Roseanna Oxbridge Middleton is that of British actress Emma Watson and was found at
6) Image representing Seth Gisborne is a “Portrait of a Young Boy” by Jean-Leon Gerome (1924 – 1904) and was found at http://www.paintingall.com/Jean-Leon-Gerome-Portrait-of-a-Young-Boy-Oil-Painting.html
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