“Sir Guy’s Dilemma”, Ch. 15–Good Intentions Amid Differently Directed Desires 1/25/13Gratiana Lovelace (Post #350)
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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.]
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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 informs Lord George about the estates management to date under Sir Guy’s leadership, then gives him a tour of the estate. Lord George is less than enthusiastic about being a land owner versus being a soldier and characteristically insults Sir Guy by not conveying his appreciation and thanks. Sir Guy steels himself for the inevitable and decides to absent himself for a while and travels with his brother Lord Archer to Nottingham to oversee it’s rebuilding. Lady Saline is peeved that Lord Archer didn’t even say good bye to her–though she can not reveal that is the focus of her distress. And Lady Roseanna let her brother Lord George know her displeasure with his arrogance in not appreciating her husband after Sir Guy had left. Sir Guy’s first thought upon arriving at Nottingham is to seek Brother Tuck’s guidance on how to make amends to the people individually–and as a whole secretly, by rebuilding the church with his own funds. Not at Nottingham 24 hours and Sir Guy is attacked in his sleep by outlaw Kate–whose brother Matthew Sir Guy had killed capriciously–by her trying to cut his throat. But Sir Guy was saved from Kate’s deadly blade by Lord Archer, after Brother Tuck’s pleadings distracted her from her purpose.
“Sir Guy’s Dilemma”, Ch. 15–Good Intentions Amid Differently Directed Desires
The first week of Sir Guy’s and Lord Archer’s absence from Middleton Manor, Lord George tries mightily to court Lady Saline–failing at every turn and ultimately being consoled by Lady Mary. It is Wednesday just after the midday meal on the terrace–Lady Roseanna has returned to her bedchamber to nurse baby Lady Helen and to lay Seth down for his nap while Lord and Lady Havorford also go inside–and tensions between Lady Saline and Lord George have not improved.
Lord George: Acting on his fellow Lords’ wooing suggestions of the other day, Lord George tries once more to court his betrothed. “My Lady Saline, it is quite fine out today. Would you do me the honor of taking a turn about the flower gardens with me?” He asks pleasantly, but dreading her usual declining response. And he is not disappointed–that is, he guesses correctly.
Lady Saline: “Thank you, but no.” George can be so trying, she thinks disdainfully of his lame request. Lady Saline [(2) right] does not offer him further explanation for her refusal–which perturbs Lord George.
Lord George: “As you wish, Milady.” He bows politely but stiffly. Lord George has grown weary of Lady Saline’s rebuffing him. The joy that he is supposed to feel with his betrothed diminishes each day. Then he turns brusquely and strides off in the direction of the flower garden.
Lord Talkington: “Hhhh! Saline, Lord George only wished to spend some time with you now that he is back from the Holy Land. Would you not grant him even that small favor?”
Lady Saline: ”I’m sorry, Father. But I have just eaten and I would prefer to rest.” She fibs–a little bit, for she really is tired of spirit.
Eliza, Lady T: “Very well, my dear. Let me walk you to your bed chamber so you may do just that.” Lady Saline looks crestfallen. Rest is really the last thing on her mind. She just wants to get away from her intended, Lord George. “And I would speak to you about something.”
Lady Talkington nods knowingly at her husband as she walks Lady Saline into the Manor.
Lady Saline: As she and her mother approach her bed chamber door, she admits. “Mama, I am not really that tired–I am just tired of George.”
Eliza, Lady T: “I suspected as much.” She rolls her eyes as they walk into Lady Saline’s bed chamber for greater privacy as they continue their mother-daughter chat. “But my dear, Lord George has only just returned from the Holy Land after several years–knowing deprivation and hardship–and wounded in the service of our King. Does not his prior absence and his present injured state cause you to think benevolently toward him?” She asks trying to assess her daughter’s feelings toward Lord George.
Lady Saline: “Mama, I am sorry George was hurt. But it was his own doing–however it happened.” Her mother looks at her with alarm. “You must own that it was his own decision to run off to be a soldier. He is now bearing the consequences for his rashness.”
Eliza, Lady T: “Loyalty to one’s sovereign is not rash, My Dear. It is required of nobles. And it is required of you, too.” She raises her eyebrows knowingly at her daughter. “You and Lord George are betrothed–a hoped for union by our two families and our king these past ten years.
Lady Saline: Lady Saline darts a perturbed look at her Mama. “Mama, our king only sees myself and other noble women as breeding stock for the aristocracy.”
Eliza, Lady T: “Saline! That is uncalled for!” Then she softens. “Our fervent hope–your father’s and mine–is that since you and Lord George have shared your childhood with each other that our families’ closeness will be a loving bond and that your marriage with him will be a happy one.”
Lady Saline: “Really? I thought that you merely thought it an advantageous match since our estates share borders.” She counters.
Eliza, Lady T: “That it will also be. But we know all too well the difficulties of arranged marriages.” Lady Saline’s eyebrows raise. Lady Eliza continues haltingly. “You know that your dear Papa and I were thus betrothed for many years. I did not meet him until the month of our wedding when he came to stay with our family. I was young and shy–not unlike Lady Mary–and fearful about … my responsibilities as a wife.” She lowers her eyes and blushes.
Lady Saline: “See, Mama. That is why I do not want to wed without my own choosing.”
Eliza, Lady T: “You misunderstand me, Saline. Our story has a happy ending. In that month before our wedding, your Papa endeavored to get to know me and I to know him. He courted me earnestly, tenderly, gently. Had I not given him that chance to prove himself to me, we would not enjoy the happy marriage and family that we have now.” She smiles warmly at her daughter. At 36 years old, Lady Eliza Talkington is still a lovely woman who is cherished and deeply loved by her 45 year old husband Lord Marcus Talkington for all of their nearly 20 year marriage.
Lady Saline: “Prove himself? George does not need to prove anything to me. I already know everything I need to about him.” She says a bit haughtily.
Eliza, Lady T: “Perhaps that is the problem, dear daughter. You have an opinion of Lord George that was formed several years ago–when you were a child, and perhaps when he was a bit more reckless than he appears to be now. I daresay that the experiences he has had have changed him–as life and maturity has changed you. You should get to know the man he is now. Saline, I want you to be happy, but you must make an effort–as I did with your Papa–and give George a chance.
Lady Saline: “I suppose so.” She says grudgingly–more to placate her mother. “I will look for George in a little while–after I have worked on my embroidery.” She will do things in her own timeframe.
Eliza, Lady T: Kissing her daughter’s forehead, she smiles. “That is a good compromise, my dear. I will leave you to take my own rest.” Lady Eliza has felt more tired of late. And she departs, while Lady Saline sits at her standing hoop with the most exquisite embroidery detailing for a new dress she will wear. And, she embroiders more detail into the design–and just to be minxish, they are not letter “M’s”, but letter “H’s”.
Meanwhile, having slipped the bonds of the watchful eye of her parents who she supposes are now napping, Lady Mary Havorford wanders wistfully through the flower gardens–enjoying their beauty. Her purpose is not entirely aimless. She had seen Lord George walk in the direction of the gardens just after their midday meal. But that was an hour ago and he does not seem to be here. Then she hears a wood cracking on wood noise in the direction of the croquet field. She finds that she quite likes the game of croquet and she goes to see if little Seth has awakened from his nap and wants a playmate. Well, Lady Mary is still young–not quite sixteen years old–and she enjoys a good game as much as anyone. As Lady Mary emerges from the flower gardens, she sees the lone and lonely Lord George striking his croquet ball around the hoops set up on the croquet field. Then, he hits a ball in her direction without realizing her presence and she has to jump out of the way.
Lady Mary: “Oh!” She exclaims as she hops to one side as the croquet ball whizzes past her.
Lord George: Looking up at the sound of her voice, he winces at his carelessness. “My Lady Mary! My utmost apologies! I did not realize you were there. Please do not think that I intentionally aimed the ball at you.” He is mortified. And what if his lack of aim had still proven true and hit her? Lord George shudders at the thought of causing harm to such a dear lady as Lady Mary is.
Lady Mary: “I am alright. Please do not trouble yourself.” She smiles amiably at him. “I thought little Seth might be playing croquet and I could join him in a game. Perhaps later.” She shrugs her shoulders and starts to turn toward the Manor. It would not be seemly for her to be with Lord George unchaperoned.
Lord George: “Why later? Am I not fit company for any lady at present?” He pouts.
Lady Mary: She turns back to face him. “I am sorry. I did not mean to offend you, Lord George.”
Lord George: “But you have …” She looks hurt. “ … by addressing me formally again, when I thought that we were becoming friends.”
Lady Mary: “I am sorry again, then, … George.” She lowers her eyes demurely.
Lord George: “No, I am the one who should be sorry. You seem to have nothing but people telling you what to do–or seeking to correct an error that does not exist–and that must be tiresome. So I endeavor not to be one of those people.” Lord George [(3) right] smiles pleasantly, contritely.
Lady Mary: She looks up at him with wide eyes. “But my Mama and Papa are only trying to be helpful.” She defends her parents to him with her little chin jutting forward ever so slightly.
Lord George: “Of course they are. I would not suggest otherwise. I am sure that they have your best interests at heart. Please excuse my impertinence. But My Lady, you are on the verge of being wed. Do you not think that your soon to be altered state gives you a level of autonomy that you might not have been afforded before?” He asks interestedly.
Lady Mary: She looks puzzled, then reveals why. “I can not say.” She purses her lips–cutely thinks Lord George. “I am ashamed to have to ask. But what does autonomy mean?” She says the word autonomy slowly–as if doing so might help her puzzle out its meaning.
Lord George: “Never be ashamed to admit what is unknown to you, My Lady Mary. None of us knows the meaning of a word until someone explains it to us.” But is Lord George referring only to words–or to something else?
Lord George: “It means, self direction–to guide one’s own life through decisions that are one’s own.”
Lady Mary: “Oh! Well, I do not expect that we ladies have much acquaintance with the concept of personal decisions about the direction of our lives. Decisions–good or mostly bad–seem to be a man’s prerogative.” She widens her eyes impishly.
Lord George: “Ha ha ha ha ha! Nay, My Lady. You have but to command us and we men will dutifully follow your lead.”
Lady Mary: Deciding to test that theory, she girlishly asks. “Really? Were I to suggest you to do something? You would do it?” She gazes at him challengingly. A different kind of game from croquet is afoot.
Lord George: Rising to meet this amusing turn of events, he stands his ground and opens his good arm wide–his injured arm hangs limply in a sling around his neck. “Lady Mary, I am yours to command. Bid me what you will. And if it is in my power, I will do my all in your service.” He states with a bemused flourish and a sweeping bow.
Lady Mary: “Ha ha ha ha ha!” She giggles girlishly. Not wanting to squander what might be her only moment of having a gentleman do her bidding, she puts her index finger to her smiling lips pondering her next course of action.
Lord George: “Fair maiden, your silence intrigues me.” He flirts cheerfully. “Will you not tell me of that which you wish me to do?” Then he leans toward her a bit conspiratorially and asks in a deeper voice. “Or must I guess?”
Lady Mary: Liking the playfulness of Lord George’s demeanor, she claps her hand together gleefully. “Guess! But I will only give you three tries.” She shakes her head teasingly.
Lord George: Lord George walks around Lady Mary as he speaks. And she turns and watches him intriguingly. “Then I will endeavor to discern your wishes quickly. Hmmmm. My first guess is I noticed that you were tentative in your croquet play. Would you like me to teach you how to hit the ball properly?” She smiles, but says nothing. “No hints? Alright. Second guess. You indicated that your embroidery was poor, but I can only imagine that it is delightful–far better than my own skills were I to attempt it.” He jests.
Lady Mary: “Ha ha ha!” She giggles and gifts him with a shy smile.
Lord George: “Might you allow me to give you my assessment of your needlework?” She lowers her eyes demurely, but smiles again. “Third guess. Would you like to tour the countryside of my estate with me on horseback?”
This latter question is quite brazen–apart from the lack of a chaperone issue–because Lord George would really like to spend more time with Lady Mary, who is the intended of the absent Lord Archer. While, Lord George is betrothed to the truculent Lady Saline. However, Lady Mary is a sweetly uncomplicated young lady who does not ignore nor rebuff Lord George as his betrothed Lady Saline does.
Lady Mary: She instantly raises her head, her gleaming eyes to his eyes. “I would like all three please–but the last one especially. Papa has not let me ride since we arrived at Middleton Manor. He says riding is not ladylike and I might injure myself.”
Lord George: “As to whether riding is ladylike or not, I daresay that a horse is indifferent to most of its riders, but would appreciate so light a burden as yourself. And god’s teeth! Women are only poor riders for lack of experience.”
Lady Mary: “Ha ha ha ha ha!” She titters at his swearing.
Lord George: “My apologies, Lady Mary. I should not have taken such liberties of language in your presence.”
Lady Mary: “Tis alright. I heard Papa say it once. But Mama admonished him not to utter oaths around us.”
Lord George: “And your Mama was quite right about proper language. So, when might you like to take our riding tour of the countryside?”
Lady Mary: She bites her lower lip, then smiles up at him hopefully. “May we go now?”
Lord George: “With pleasure.” He smiles broadly.
So Lord George and Lady Mary walk over to the stables, mount two horses–with Lady Mary sitting side saddle [(5)]. Then they take their horses on a leisurely path along the stream. They chat about all manner of thing–flora, fauna, and fiancés. They have an easy way of conversing with each other that Lady Mary appreciates and that Lord George finds most enchanting.
Earlier in the day–after their midday meal–Lord Talkington decides to go for a ride and heads toward the stables. There he unexpectedly meets Lord Havorford who is also hoping for a similar diversion–having extricated himself from his wife and daughter. The two men take a leisurely ride together, enjoying the scenery and trading confidences about their daughters’ upcoming marriages
Lord Havorford: “I so wish that Lord Archer would not have elected to leave so quickly and for so long a period.”
Lord Talkington: Thinking just the opposite, he still hides his true feelings. “Yes.”
Lord Havorford: “I do so want our Lady Mary to get to know her intended Lord Archer a little before they are wed.” He has a fatherly concern for her happiness that is not always present with marital alliances among the aristocracy. Noble marriages are often about consolidating wealth and power, and very little to do with love or liking. “Our dear daughter seems so young, but her Mama was younger still by one year when we wed seventeen years ago. So we cannot keep our daughter a child much longer.”
Lord Talkington: “I sometimes think that too much prior knowledge of one’s betrothed is a dangerous thing–at least where Lady Saline and Lord George are concerned. In our Lady Saline’s case, it seems that what is familiar does not appeal. But the marriage has been arranged for ten years and must proceed.” He winces. “So she will have to reconcile her thoughts to it on her own–because I daresay that I do not know how to bring her to heel. Ha ha ha!”
Lord Havorford: “Your daughter is high spirited, a worthy match for any man. Lord George will be most fortunate.” He says graciously.
Lord Talkington: “Well, I fear we will continue to have an impasse–unless we can get them to spend five minutes together in the same room in peaceable conversation.”
Lord Havorford: “And without food being involved? Ha ha ha!”
Lord Talkington: “Precisesly! Ha ha ha!”
Lord Havorford: “At least your daughter’s bridegroom is nearby. Lord Archer has removed himself to Nottingham for two weeks. Hhhh! But as the Roman poet Sextus Propertius [(6)] said “’Always toward absent lovers, love’s tide stronger flows.’”
Lord Talkington: “Indeed!” He nods his head distractedly while thinking about having witnessed the romantic kiss of Lord Archer and his daughter Lady Saline. He thinks that these bridegrooms must simply turn their attentions in the proper direction–and then bring their brides to heel.
These two men–two fathers–enjoy sharing their fatherly concerns about their daughters as they turn back toward the manor upon reaching the crest of the hill overlooking Middleton Manor.
Lady Mary and Lord George–having engorged their eyes upon enough babbling stream for now–they walk their horses out of the woods and into the main grazing pasture areas of Middleton Manor with short hip high wooden fencing separating large pasture paddocks containing grazing flocks of sheep, cattle, or horses. They let their horses roam at will while they walk and talk. Then they spy two riders in the distance on the hill–it is the brides’ fathers.
Lady Mary: Recognizing her Papa as one of the riders on the hill, she cheerfully waves her arm high in greeting to him. “Papa!” She yells, though it is too great a distance for him to hear her. But her father cannot mistake his daughter’s long flowing red locks for anyone else and he waves back to her.
Lord George: “Ah! And your father is riding with my future father-in-law. Typical.” He rolls his eyes as the men wave back to them. Lord George gives a lopsided half hearted wave to the men.
Lady Mary: “Why typical?” She quizzically asks Lord George.
Lord George: “My luck, my Lady. First my arm will not heal, then my betrothed does not want me, and now I am caught with another man’s betrothed as my future father-in-law approaches. Let us only hope that Lord Archer does not wish to duel with me for having offended him by my attentions to you. I fear that my dueling days are over.” He smiles wincingly at her as he touches his injured arm in its sling.
Lady Mary: She hastens to reassure him. “Oh no! George, I would ask Lord Archer not to duel with you. I would explain that you and I are merely …” She stops, reflecting on how much she enjoys Lord George’s company.
Lord George: “Yes, My lady? We are …?” He teases flirtingly.
Lady Mary: “We are friends and soon to be in-laws by marriage.” She states the obvious. But she knows that she likes George so very much more than she does Lord Archer–and that troubles her. So much so that it shows on her face.
Lord George: “I see that I have vexed you. Ha ha ha!”
Lady Mary: Looking up at him sincerely, she smiles wanly. “No, you could never do that.”
Up on the hill, neither father likes seeing Lord George and Lady Mary in familiar, friendly and unchaperoned intercourse. Though they would feign to admit that to each other.
Lord Havorford: “What say we join our children’s conversation?” He suggests urgently.
Lord Talkington: “I bet my horse will best yours were we to race there?” As a contemporary of Sir Guy–and as an athletically fit 45 year old–Lord Talkington is not as stuffy as one might presume.
Lord Havorford: “I will take that wager.” Though he should have learned his lesson after little Seth bested him at croquet. The 50 year old and paunchy Lord Havorford is in no shape to stress his horse to a gallop. But that does not deter him. “Ready.”
Lord Talkington: “Set.”
Lord Havorford: “Go!”
The two men race their horses pell mell down the hill through the various paddocks–careening around livestock and boulders. However, the last paddock does not have an open gate–it being a wheat field yet to be harvested. Lord Talkington’s horse easily jumps the 3 foot wooden fence. However, the larger framed Lord Havorford is not so lucky as his horse refuses to jump abruptly–which sends Lord Havorford flying over the top of his horse and landing flat on his back, with the soft wheat stalks somewhat cushioning his fall. Yet, he has the wind knocked out of him and he does not move nor open in eyes initially.
Having seen the fathers race and then her father being thrown from his horse, Lady Mary is beside herself with fear as she races the 20 yards across the field to her father’s side–with Lord George quickly following behind her.
Lady Mary: Dropping to her knees by her father’s still form, she cries out to him. “Papa! Papa!” He does not move.
Lord Talkington: Staring down in horror, he gasps. “My god!”
Lady Mary: “Papa, do not die! Please, I need you! Mama needs you!”
Quickly coming to Lord Havorford’s other side, Lord George takes command of the situation as he drops to his knees beside him.
Lord George: “I have seen this in battle. The fall has temporarily shocked his body into the appearance of death. But we must act quickly to assure that doesn’t happen.”
Lady Mary: “Please help him, George! He is my Papa.”
Lord George: “I will. Lord Talkington, we have to be careful that he has not broken any bones, but we must get him breathing again. I want you to push on his diaphragm with all of your might.” Lord Talkington does this, but they get no response from Lord Havorford. “Lady Mary, is your father ticklish?”
Lady Mary: “Yes! At his sides.”
Lord George: “You tickle him while I massage his chest over his heart.” She does as she is told. Lord George leans over Lord Havorford and presses on his chest as he speaks to him–his breath flowing into Lord Havorford’s mouth. “Come on man. Your daughter intends to give you grandchildren some day. You must be around to meet them. Lord Havorford. Lord Havorford.” He implores.
Then, Lord Havorford coughs and begins to return to consciousness. Lord George leans back.
Lord Havorford: “Hhhhh!”
Lady Mary: Lady Mary throws herself over her Papa’s chest and weeps with joy. “Papa! You came back to us! I was so scared!”
Lord George: Lord George, gently pulls Lady Mary away from her “Lady Mary, we must not jostle him. We have yet to ascertain if he has broken any bones.” Lord George looks up at Lord Talkington and they communicate silently, knowingly. If Lord Havorford has a break along his spine or neck, he could still succumb.
Lord Talkington: “I will return to the manor for a wagon and litter to bring Lord Havorford to the Manor.” He then remounts his horse and gallops toward the manor.
Lord Havorford: “I am alright.” He says groggily, and starts to move his limbs.
Lady Mary: “Oh Papa!” She smiles.
Lord George: Holding Lord Havorford down, he says solemnly. “Lord Havorford, please do not move. Though I am glad to see that you can move your arms and legs, you could have unseen injuries that we must be careful of.” Lord Havorford acquiesces and Lord George shifts from looking with concern at Lord Havorford to giving a small smile of encouragement to his daughter, Lady Mary.
Lady Mary: Lady Mary mouths the words “Thank you.” to Lord George, who bows his head to her.
Lord George: “My lady.”
Then she tenderly holds her father’s hand while they wait for him to be removed to the manor.
In addition to the wagon and litter, Althea the healer woman also came to Lord Havorford’s aid and over saw his removal to the manor. In the end, they felt that the wagon would be too bumpy over the uneven ground to carry Lord Havorford without risking further injury. So several sturdy stable grooms take turns–six at a time–with carrying Lord Havorford on the litter back to the manor, keeping it as level as they could. It was a slow and tedious process, but an important one–since it turned out that Lord Havorford had dislocated his shoulder and was in quite a bit of pain even after Althea popped his shoulder back into joint before his transport. Lady Mary holds her father’s hand the whole way back to the manor as she walks along side the litter. Lord George walks next to her–with two grooms bringing the horses back with them.
By the time they reach the manor, everyone is in attendance and ready to help Lord Havorford in whatever manner they can. The ladies Roseanna and Eliza Talkington are soothing Lady Havorford with calming words of encouragement about his condition and tender hugs. They will be family, after all. And family’s help each other through crises. Lady Havorford, tears streaming down her cheeks, stoically and gracefully walks to her husband’s side as he is brought into the great hall.
Lady Havorford: “Edward my love, is there anything I can do to make you well?” She gently kisses his forehead.
Lord Havorford: “My apologies Isabella. I fear I overtaxed the horse and this is the result.”
Althea: “Yes, yes. My Lady, we must get him in bed where I can examine him further. Let us follow him up now.” She says soothingly.
Lady Saline watches the commotion from the upstairs balcony. She feels guilty for giving thanks that it was not her father hurt. Theirs is such a small family, with just her parents and she, that the loss of any one of them would be grievous. But of course, Lord Havorford’s death would be grievous to his family.
Lady Roseanna: Turning to her brother, she praises him. “Well done George! Lord Talkington says that you saved Lord Havorford’s life.”
Lord George: Demurring modestly, he bows. “We all helped.”
Turning back from following her father’s litter up the stairs, Lady Mary runs into Lord George’s arms and clings to him.
Lady Mary: “George, thank you for saving my Papa! You were wonderful!” She kisses his cheek, then she nestles back into embracing him again–even as his good arm tentatively embraces her back. She gives him is a grateful embrace, a tender embrace, a loving embrace. And she realizes, in his arms is where I am meant to be.
Lord George at first startled by Lady Mary’s embrace, then feels how soothing and wonderful having her in his arms feels. Lady Mary’s sweet countenance is as near to an angel as Lord George would ever hope to see as they gaze deeply into each others’ eyes.
But knowing well that he and Lady Mary are in full view of all of their family–save Lord Havorford who is flat on his back being carried up the stairs on a litter–Lord George summons all of his gentlemanly willpower, and he pats Lady Mary’s shoulder with his good hand and then he gently pulls her back from embracing him. She looks up at him with such gratefulness and love that even Lord George is speechless for a moment.
Lord George: His hand slides down Lady Mary’s arm to her hand. Then he brings her hand to his lips and kisses it tenderly. “My Lady Mary, I am honored to be of service to you and your father. But I should let you go so you may be of comfort to him.” He smiles warmly at her, then he steps back and bows deeply to her.
Lady Mary: Regaining her composure, and also realizing that there are others watching them, she curtsies deeply to Lord George. “I am forever in your debt, My Lord.”
To Lord George’s eyes, Lady Mary has somehow traversed from being a shy young girl to being a poised and graceful young lady whom he very much admires.
Then Lady Mary gracefully rises and follows her mother up the stairs–with Lord George following Lady Mary’s every move. When they reach the top of the stairs, Lord George’s eyes drift to the left and he sees his betrothed, Lady Saline, watching him intently from the balcony. Lord George musters a pleasant smile for her and bows his head. Lady Saline nods her head at Lord George in return–then she backs away out of sight and returns to her room to reflect upon the revelation that her betrothed is no more pleased with their match than she is.
Lord and Lady Talkington embrace in relief that all has ended well for Lord Havorford–or at least, as well as can be expected for now. Then they also walk up the stairs to head to their bed chamber to change for dinner.
Lady Roseanna: Placing her hand on her brother’s good arm, she asks with concern. “Are you alright, George?”
Lord George: He turns to face his sister. “Rosie, I hardly know how to answer you.” He shakes his head ruefully even as he uses his childhood pet name for her. “I think that I will sit a while in Guy’s study, if I may. I wish to collect my thoughts.
Lady Roseanna: “Of course. I will feed baby Lady Helen and then dress for dinner in an hour.”
Lord George: “I will see you later, then.” He nods.
Lady Roseanna heads upstairs to her bedchamber and to her baby–and for a little nap. It has been a busy afternoon.
Lord George heads to Sir Guy’s study. Sitting in a large leather wing chair next to the fireplace, Lord George stares unseeingly into the cold fireplace as he ponders what his head and his heart are telling him. And Lord George realizes, I am in love with the wrong woman–but she is the only right woman for my heart and for my life. I am in love with Lady Mary. But Lord George knows the futility of his love for Lady Mary, since they are betrothed to others–the noble alliances to be created by these arranged marriages of state are sanctioned by their parents and their sovereign. Lord George’s marriage to Lady Saline is a foregone conclusion. Lady Mary is a sweet dream of an incandescent love that Lord George believes can never be for him. Life is not always fair–and we do not always have our most fervent wish fulfilled. Lord George lowers his head into his hand, and he weeps.
To be continued with Chapter 16
(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) Lady Saline Image (cropped) is a John Williams Waterhouse painting called Windflowers found at animekida.com at http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-fnQvuaDvJlM/T5MIiOVRi5I/AAAAAAAAEfo/-ARHkNHxwvc/s640/john+william+waterhouse+phi+stars+painting++windflowers.jpg
3) Image (cropped) of Lord George is that f James McAvoy porgraying Tom LeFroy in “Becoming Jane” and was found at http://mi9.com/wallpaper/james-mcavoy-is-tom-lefroy-in-becoming-jane_20810/
4) Image (cropped) of Lady Mary is that of Arthur Hughes’ “Ophelia” circa mid 1800’s found at http://preraphaelitesisterhood.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/hughes-again.jpg
6) The phrase “Absence Makes the Heart grow fonder” has its roots in ancient times: [http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/absence-makes-the-heart-grow-fonder.html
Previous chapter installment, Ch 14: