“Sir Guy’s Dilemma”, Ch. 7: A Peasant Woman Healer Becomes Seth’s only Hope as one other takes ill, 11/30/12 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #315)
[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: Sir Guy discovers that his brother , Lord Archer, has secreted the bulk of the Nottingham treasure–comprised of the dead Vasey’s wealth and Prince John’s tribute monies–by burying chest of coins in his stables. Sir Guy is seriously displeased. And Lord Archer has paid a bit too much attend to Lady Saline Talkington. But before Sir Guy can send Lord Archer packing, Sir Guy’s little 4 year old son Seth takes ill with Measles–that Lord Archer reveals had ravaged through Nottingham. So now the only way Lord Archer can redeem himself in his brother’s and his sister-in-law’s Lady Roseanna’s eyes is to bring a healer woman–the very one who had healed Sir Guy from his sword injuries last year–to the Middleton Estates in Leicester to heal Seth. And there will be one other who needs healing as well.
“Sir Guy’s Dilemma”, Ch. 7: A Peasant Woman Healer Becomes Seth’s only Hope as one other takes ill
Archer wastes no time Monday Morning in speeding to Nottingham from Sir Guy’s home near Leicester in order to retrieve the healer woman–and after only a few hours rest at Locksley Manor before traveling back to the Middleton Estates at Leicester–it is mid day the next day on Tuesday when they arrive back at Middleton Manor.
The healer woman, Althea [(2) right], is bringing her two remaining children with her–Sally and Tommy–because she could not bear to part with them. At first, she did not want to come at all–still grieving for her little boy Martin and having a few other older patients to tend to in Nottingham. But when Lord Archer reminds Althea of who Seth is–the little boy she met last year when tending to Sir Guy–she relents, and thinks of how Seth and Martin played so nicely together.
As soon as Lord Archer’s carriage and riders are spotted by Sir Guy’s groom serving as lookout, he speeds back to the manor on Wildfire to inform Sir Guy. It is then but another half of an hour or so–time keeping with sun dials not being that accurate [(3)]–that it takes the carriage to reach Middleton Manor itself. Sir Guy alerts Lady Roseanna and Lady Saline that the healer woman will soon be here as Lady Saline continues to soothe and comfort little Seth while–by necessity–Lady Roseanna must look on from his bed chamber doorway. It is wrenching for Lady Roseanna not to be the one to tend to their son–especially since their bond as mother and child is such a new one, with Seth being Sir Guy’s son from a previous relationship.
Sir Guy: Opening the carriage door, rather than waiting for a footman to do it, Sir Guy [(4) right] admonishes. “Archer! We had hoped you would arrive sooner.”
Lord Archer: “We came as fast as we could, Brother.” Lord Archer is weary, having made the 16 hour round trip journey not 18 hours after he left them.
Lord Archer steps out of the carriage. Sir Guy looks into the dark carriage anxiously. Then the healer woman steps out.
Sir Guy: He raises his hand to help her alight from the carriage saying gratefully. “Thank you for coming, Mistress …” He stops, realizing that he can’t remember her name–despite the long time she took care of him.
Lord Archer: “Althea.” He whispers into his brother Sir Guy’s ear with his back turned to the woman.
Sir Guy: “Althea.” He winces sheepishly. But Sir Guy is tense and he wants to spirit the healer woman directly to his son. But there are protocols to be adhered to–even with peasants.
Althea: Having stepped onto the ground–and seeing Sir Guy in the vertical position standing quite tall compared to his prone injury position, she regards him questioningly. “Have you grown, Sir Guy? Or were you always this tall?”
Sally: “Mama, he is even taller when he is on a horsie!” Sally [(5) right] smiles angelically at Sir Guy and waves at him flirtingly–for all of her six years, she knows pretty when she sees it. And Sir Guy looks very pretty to Sally–even with the worry that furrows his forehead.
Sir Guy: “Oh! You brought your children with you.” He smiles at the children to put them at ease.
Althea: “All but one, My Lord.” She looks up at Sir Guy with a deeply etched sadness in her eyes.
Sir Guy: His countenance saddens, too. “I am very sorry for your loss. Martin was a charming lad. And he and Seth enjoyed playing together.” He says sincerely.
Althea: “That is why I have come–for Martin’s friend.” She states the obvious, but also to emphasize that Sir Guy’s wealth and position has nothing to do with her presence here.
Sir Guy: “My Lady Roseanna and I are so very grateful. May I take you to Seth at once so you may assess his condition?”
Althea: “First, may I see that my children settled first with food and rest? They are still recovering from the measles themselves.”
Sir Guy: “Of course.” Sir Guy raises his hand and a house servant maid walks forward. “Please tend to the children, give them food and a place to nap in the healer woman’s room.” The servant nods and gathers the children into the Manor. Sir Guy had previously arranged with the servants to make ready a room for the healer woman when she comes. And now she is here with her children.
Althea: “Thank you. Now take me to your son, Sir Guy.” She says as she lifts her healer’s bag of medicines. It is rather large and heavy for a woman as petite as she.
Lord Archer: Seeing her struggling with it, he asks as he reaches for her bag. “May I carry your bag for you?”
Althea: “No!” She wrenches it away from him. “It contains my medicines, and I will carry it.” She says stoutly.
The healer woman hesitates. She has entered many a home, even fine homes through the front door to tend to the sick. But never in a grand place such as this, Middleton Manor [(7) right]. In such homes as these, she is accustomed to entering through the servants’ entrance in the back.
Lord Archer: “Come! We have no time to stand on protocol.” And he nearly shoves the woman through the massive wooden door.
Meanwhile, up in little Seth’s bed chamber, he is running a fever again and coughing. Seth [(8) right] has a forlorn look upon his face–not the least of which is because his Mama Lady Roseanna won’t come near him.
Seth: Whispering to Lady Saline so his Mama can’t hear he asks despondently. “Why doesn’t Mama love me any more?”
Lady Roseanna: “Hhhhh! She gasps–having heard his question.
Lady Saline: “Your Mama loves you very much. But you are sick now and we don’t want your sickness to spread to your sister, baby Helen.” It is logical for an adult, but not a little boy.
Seth: “Mama loves baby Helen more than me cause I’m not her real son.” He starts to cry.
Lady Roseanna: “No! Seth, that’s not true. You are my real son. I love you just as much as baby Helen.” Her tears fall upon her cheeks in love for this little boy.
Seth: “Then why won’t you give me hugs and kisses anymore?” He holds out his little arms pleadingly.
Lady Saline: “Stay back Rose, you cannot risk infection.” Then turning to Seth, Lady Saline says by way of explanation to him. “Actually Seth, I am the one who has forbidden your Mama to come to you–against her very great pleadings. You will only get well if we do what we must for you. And as your Godmother, I am the person best suited for that.” She smiles tenderly at him as she wipes some perspiration from her own forehead. During one of Seth’s cold periods this morning, they had stoked the fire in his bed chamber and Lady Saline is wishing she had lighter weight clothes to wear since the room is so hot. “You do believe me, Seth?” She caresses his face.
Seth: “Is that true, Mama? You want to come to me, but Lady Saline won’t let you?”
Lady Roseanna: “Yes Seth! But I send you my kisses and hugs through Lady Saline.” Then Lady Roseanna nods at Lady Saline–who embraces Seth and kisses his cheek.
Lady Saline: “These are from your Mama.”
Seth: “Thank you, Mama!” He sighs. “I thought you didn’t want me anymore now that you have baby Helen.
Lady Roseanna: “Never think that, my darling Seth. I love you with my whole heart. You are our first child, and you will always have a special place in our hearts. So you must not make baby Helen jealous about that when she is older.” She smiles warmly at him.
Seth: “Yes, Mama. I’ll try.” He says happy to know that his Mama does love him. “I love you, Mama.” He kisses Lady Saline’s cheek. “Will you kiss Mama for me?”
Lady Saline: Mindful of not wanting to expose Lady Roseanna to Seth’s measles disease, she offers. “Better yet, why don’t you blow her a kiss yourself? Like this?” Lady Saline touches her palm to her mouth, kisses it, and blows out as she extends her hand and arm.
Seth: Seth mimics Lady Saline and blows Lady Roseanna a kiss. “Kisses Mama.”
Lady Roseanna: She pretends to catch his kiss. Then Lady Roseanna blows a kiss back to Seth. “Kisses my son.”
At that moment, several people converge on Seth’s bed chamber–Bessie from the nursery and Sir Guy and Lord Archer with the healer woman Althea from downstairs.
Sir Guy: Striding briskly down the family wing hallway, he calls out to his wife. “My Lady Rose! The healer woman Althea is here!”
Lady Roseanna: “The saints be praised!” She and her husband embrace. Then she looks over at her brother-in-law with a less then eager eye and a still icy tone–since he brought this plague of measles upon them. “Archer.”
Lord Archer: “My Lady.” He bows his head deferentially.
Lady Roseanna: “Althea, I am so glad that you are here. Please make Seth well.” She pleads, forgetting about the healer woman’s own loss.
Althea: “I will try, My Lady.” Althea nods soberly as she steps past Lady Roseanna and enters Seth’s bed chamber.
Bessie: “My Lady, baby Helen cries out for nourishment.”
Lady Roseanna: “Oh dear!” Lady Roseanna wrings her hands, wanting to stay to find out about Seth’s condition.
Althea: “My Lady you must go to feed your baby. I will send Sir Guy with news for you when I have it.” She says taking control of the sick room. Lady Roseanna nods and follows Bessie back to the nursery. “And who are you?” The healer woman asks of the beautiful Lady Saline [(9) right].
Lady Saline: Smiling politely at this peasant woman who is to heal Seth, Lady Saline introduces herself. “I am Lady Saline Talkington, Seth’s Godmother.
Althea: Looking at the pretty young woman more closely, she touches her cheek and finds it warm. “Well I can see that you have made yourself ill by tending him. Go to your bed chamber and I will see you next.”
Lord Archer looks fearfully at Sir Guy, who also looks worried.
Lady Saline: “I am not sick. I had this disease when I was a child. It is merely warm in here.”
Althea: “No, the room is rather chilly. You must get to your bed and rest before I see you.” Then having given Lady Saline her command–expecting it to be followed–the healer woman asks of Sir Guy. “My Lord, please put one of your servants at my disposal so that I might have fresh water and cloths to bathe Seth in.”
Sir Guy: “Of course. You shall have anything that you require.” He motions to a servant hovering in the hallway to do as she asks and bring water and such to Seth’s bed chamber. “Lady Saline, you must rest. You have been at Seth’s side all night and day. My Lady Rose would be upset were she to learn that we have made you ill.”
Lord Archer: “It is all my fault.” He shakes his head ruefully, looking first at his brother, Sir Guy, and then at the sweet Lady Saline.
Sir Guy: “There will be blame enough to go around later. Now is not the time.”
Althea: “Then we are in agreement. My concern right now is Seth. You three must leave to let me get to work.”
Sir Guy: “I will not leave my son! Even if I may only stand at his door, I will stay.”
Althea: “Then stay. But do not interfere with me.” Sir Guy nods. Then she turns to Seth. “Don’t worry little one. I will make you better.”
Seth: A memory sparks in his mind. “Are you the lady that healed Papa Sir Guy? Martin’s Mama?”
Althea: “I am.” She says stoically as she checks his symptoms.
Seth: “Did you bring Martin with you? We can play when I am well. Kkhhh. Kkhhh.” He coughs trying to clear his lungs.
Sir Guy’s heart stops. He does not know if they should tell Seth about Martin’s death.
Althea: “No, Seth. My Martin is an angel now. He has no time to play.
Seth: “Oh.” He says, not truly understanding her meaning.
Althea: “Sir Guy, tell me about Seth’s illness.”
In the next five minutes, Sir Guy relates the progression of Seth’s illness in the past 48 hours. Then Althea does, indeed, make Seth a poltice of stinky herbs that she plasters on his chest with a cloth. Seth protests that it smells like the pee pot. She tells him that it will help him breathe easier–and that she will give him a treat at his evening meal if he leaves it in place all afternoon. Sir Guy can smell the concoction from his place standing at Seth’s bed chamber door. And he remembers the healer woman’s penchant for foul smelling and worse tasting medicines as he wrinkles his nose–wondering if returning to health is ever accomplished with pleasing scents.
After directing another house servant to sit with Seth and help him sip some more broth, the healer woman turns her attention to her other patient, Lady Saline. Sir Guy guides the healer woman to Lady Saline’s bed chamber door. Lord Archer trails behind.
Althea: Turning to look at Lord Archer, she asks. “You do not presume to enter a lady’s bed chamber, do you Lord Locksley?”
Lord Archer: Flustered, he asks. “Well, no. But I would like to be useful. Is there not anything I might do for her?”
Sir Guy: “You should have thought of that before you brought this pestilence upon us!” He spits sharply accusingly.
Lord Archer: His voice rising in rebuttal, he counters. “Brother, I could not have known that I would bring the disease here. It had ended two weeks ago.”
Althea: She turns around and slaps them both on their faces. “Cease your bickering!” Lord Archer and Sir Guy look at the healer woman with astonishment. “Take your disagreement elsewhere. I have Lady Saline to tend to. She needs calm and restfulness. Now go!” And with that, the healer woman enters Lady Saline’s bed chamber and firmly shuts it door behind her.
Sir Guy: “I don’t remember the healer woman being quite so …” He searches for the proper phrasing. “… above her station.” Sir Guy’s eyes narrow.
Lord Archer: “She saved most of Nottingham’s people who were ill, so she has the right to be commanding.”
Sir Guy: “But for her son, Martin.” Sir Guy prompts his brother sadly–also worrying for his son Seth.
Lord Archer: “As I said brother, Martin was already ill and he could not fight two illnesses. Seth will be well, depend upon it.”
Sir Guy: “I hope so. Though Seth was not born of a noble woman he still carries my blood in his veins. And my Lady Roseanna has taken him to her heart as if he were her own son. When you have a family, Archer. You will understand what it means.”
Lord Archer: “I think I have an inkling now, brother.” He shoots him a wincing glance.
Sir Guy: “Go take a ride, Archer–that will soon lift your spirits. Better yet, walk Seth’s dog, Prince. We need him tired out before we will let him back into see Seth. I must attend to My Lady Roseanna and our baby–apprising her of the healer woman’s treatments.”
Lord Archer: “But the Lady Saline …”
Sir Guy: “With her illness coming on so suddenly, I think it best to absent yourself from her parents’ presence–if you ever hope to win her hand in marriage.” Sir Guy smiles a little.
Lord Archer: “Brother! So you would help me?”
Sir Guy: “I won’t go that far. Let’s just say that I will not hinder you.
To be continued with Chapter 8
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) Althea image is “Portrait of a Woman” by Robert Campin (circa 1420) and was found at http://www.csupomona.edu/~plin/ls201/images/medwoman_big.jpg; for more information about medieval women, visit http://www.csupomona.edu/~plin/ls201/medieval3.html
3) A history of timekeeping methods is found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_timekeeping_devices]
4) Sir Guy Image (cropped) is of Richard Armitage who portrayed him in Robin Hood, series 3 pix 92 and was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/RobinHood/album/seasonthree/Episodesix/slides/ep6_0092.JPG
5) Image of Shirley Temple representing a young Village child was found at http://www.childstarlets.com/lobby/bios/portraits/shirley_temple12.jpg
6) Image representing Tommy was found at http://www.christies.com/LotFinder/lot_details.aspx?intObjectID=881932
7) Ireland Birr Castle (cropped) image is courtesy of Teresa Armitage, who has a great eye for castles; the image is also found with more information at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birr_Castle
8) Image (flipped) 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
9) The image (cropped to head) for Lady Saline is of a pre-Raphaelite style painting of a woman by John William Waterhouse (1849-1917) was found at http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/01421/Waterhouse-2_1421196c.jpg ; for more about the painter, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_William_Waterhouse