“Love is a Choice”, Ch. 14: Heartfelt Farewells, April 12, 2013 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #395)
[From time to time, I will illustrate my story with my dream cast of: Richard Armitage as Lord Rafe Wingate, Carla Gugino as Lady Katharine Wingate, Lesley Nicol as Mrs. Plunkett, Emilie Francois as Anna, Mark Strong as Sir Collin MacGregor, Alan Bates as Lord Charles Wingate, and Christian Bale as Stuart MacGregor, and others, etc.] [Story Logo 1abcd]
Author’s Mature Content Note: “Love is a Choice” is a story of love and romance set in the early to mid 1800’s. I like Regency sensibilities with regard to comedy of manners, but Romantic period modes of dress. Ha! As such there will be some passages in this story involving heartfelt love scenes (perhaps some 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: The Wingate family picnic yesterday celebrating Anna joining their family was a great success. Lady Katharine is developing a good rapport with both her mother-in-law Lady Wingate and her husband Lord Rafe’s child, Anna. And Anna is finding the Wingate family dynamics of loving, caring, and fun, to be very comforting as she begins her transition to a new life with her grandparents while still mourning her Mama’s death. Lord Rafe’s fourteen year old godson, Stuart MacGregor, has developed a shy interest in eleven year old Anna. But at fourteen years and eleven years, respectively, Stuart and Anna are far too young to court. But for now, Lord Rafe has told Stuart that he may send any messages he has for Anna through him, and Lord Rafe will convey Anna’s replies to Stuart in a letter of reply. Today, Thursday, the MacGregor’s return home and Lord Rafe and Lady Katharine leave to visit her parents in London. So, there will be several farewells occurring.
“Love is a Choice”, Ch. 14: Heartfelt Farewells
Stuart MacGregor has a private breakfast with his family in his parents’ guest bed chamber this early Thursday morning before they travel home to Oxford in Oxfordshire. It will take them half a day’s carriage ride from Dearing Manor near Warwick in Warwickshire. They will spend some of their Summer time in London for the season and to exchange visits with their relatives–with Sir Collin commuting back and forth due to his magistrate responsibilities in Oxford. Then, back home to Oxford in August for a brief idyll before the September term begins at Eton.
But today, Stuart’s leave taking from Dearing Manor will be particularly wrenching for him–to leave his new friend Miss Anna Wingate. The MacGregor Family is set to depart for home around nine o’clock. Their hosts Lord and Lady Wingate, and best friend Lord Rafe and his new wife Lady Katharine will see them off–even as Lord Rafe and Lady Katharine depart to undertake the all day journey to London. But Stuart does not know if he will see Miss Anna again before they leave or not. With the three families assembled in the courtyard–including Sir John Throckmorton alone, since his wife Lady Louisa and their children are sleeping in–but still no Anna, Stuart’s hopes seem unhopeful.
Lord Rafe: With his arm around his wife’s waist, Lord Rafe [(2) right] says his grateful thanks and warm farewells. “Mama, Papa, on behalf of Kate and I we want to thank you again for hosting us and our wedding.” Lady Katharine nods and smiles her thanks.
Lord Wingate: Clasping his son’s hand and clapping him on the shoulder, he smiles broadly. “I have waited many a long year to see you happily wed, Rafe.” Lord Rafe smiles impishly. “And Katharine, we are delighted to welcome you into our family.”
Lady Katharine: “Thank you. I am honored to join such a lovely family.” Lady Katharine [(3) right] beams even as she squeezes her husband’s arm she is holding. And Lord Rafe thinks that his wife looks especially charming with her hair youthfully laying about her shoulders in soft curls.
Sir John: “My Louisa sends her regrets. She is feeling a bit unwell this morning.” He says with an unusually mischievous smile. “And the children are best kept away from the horses and carriages for their safety. But Louisa sends you her love and wishes for a pleasant journey.”
Lord Rafe: “Thank you, Old Man.” They shake hands amiably–as well liked brothers-in-law.
Lady Katharine smiles knowingly and nods at Sir John, who smiles back at her. Lady Louisa had taken Lady Katharine into her confidence last night after dinner. So Lady Katharine knows the source of Lady Louisa’s complaint–and that its remedy will occur in seven months time, after the new year. But since it has not been announced, she maintains her discretion on the matter.
Lady Katharine: Then Lady Katharine looks around at those in attendance–not seeing who she is looking for, she turns to Lady Wingate. “Mama? Are we not to see Anna this morning before we depart?” She asks for her husband’s benefit, but also for another young man’s interest.
Lady Wingate: “Anna was playing with Lottie and Henry in the nursery after breakfast, perhaps she lost track of the time.” She says amiably.
Stuart nods his head and smiles, but he is disappointed. He twirls between his fingers the pink rose that he plucked from the garden–without permission. Seeing Stuart’s long face, Lady Wingate imperceptibly tilts her head at one of the footman in their presence, who then turns to walk back into the manor.
Sir Collin: Sir Collin unclasps his wife’s arm and walks over to his oldest friend. “Rafe, I couldn’t be happier to see you joyously wed than if it were my own wedding to my dear Lady Frances almost fifteen years ago.” Sir Collin and Lord Rafe clasp hands and then embrace–as brothers in spirit do.
Lord Rafe: “Collin, old man. I am very blessed.” He sighs thinking about his charming spitfire of a wife, Lady Katharine.
Lady Wingate: “We are always delighted to have you with us. May we hope to see you the week before Christmas as usual? The holidays are so much more enjoyable with children and close friends to share it with.” Lady Wingate [(4) right] smiles graciously.
Lady Frances: “I quite agree with you. We will be pleased to join you again. Our two families sharing the holidays together is something we look forward to every year.” Lady Wingate quietly beams with such praise from their longtime family friend. Then Lady Frances turns to Lady Katharine. “And perhaps, dear Katharine, you might have some blessed news to share by then.” They kiss cheeks.
Lady Katharine: Blushing a charming pink, as noticed by her husband Lord Rafe, she says. “We will see what blessings come our way.” Then she raises a saucy eyebrow at the smiling gentleman and reveals minxishly. “Our husbands seemed to be eagerly anticipating that happy event yesterday–even to the point of wagering on it.”
Lady Wingate, Lady Katharine, and Lady Frances look at their respective husbands–and Sir John–in prim amusement, gently chiding them for their cheekiness. The men look dutifully sheepish.
Meanwhile the footman dispatched by Lady Wingate finds the butler Holmes, who finds the housekeeper, who finds Lady Louisa’s ladies maid, who informs Lady Louisa that Miss Anna’s presence is requested in the courtyard. Still in her dressing gown after lying quietly in her bed chamber to settle her queasy stomach, Lady Louisa [(5) right] walks to the nursery where she hears loud playful noises coming from within. As she enters the nursery, she finds Anna still playing with Charlotte and Henry–and much squealing is in evidence.
As the Irish Setter dog Kelly spies Lady Louisa at the door, she saunters toward her mistress with her tail swishing. Unfortunately, Kelly’s tail wipes out Little Charlotte’s tower of blocks she and Anna have been building.
Charlotte: “Eeek!” Lottie [(6) right] jumps up in alarm as her tower of wooden blocks come crashing down.
Henry: “Ha ha ha ha ha!” He laughs in amusement.
Charlotte: Lottie turns to her brother and pouts. “Not faah, Henny! Mah pincess towwah flell.” R sounds are not little Lottie’s forte at just three years old. In general, Lottie adjusts word sounds to suit her untutored tongue.
Henry: “You did not have a wide enough base to support the tower’s height, Lottie.” Henry [(7) right] intones knowingly with his hands on his hips, like the future engineer or architect he wants to be–that is, next to being a battle commander like his Grandpapa Wingate. “Nor did you have protection from wandering dogs. Ha ha ha ha ha!”
Anna: “Come on, Lottie. Let us try and build your princess tower again. I will help you.” Anna squeezes her little cousin’s hand and smiles at her warmly. Anna has never had a sibling before. And though cousins are not siblings, Lottie and Henry are as near to a brother or sister that she has–for now.
Lady Louisa: “Anna dear.” Lady Louisa smiles from the door way as she pets Kelly leaning against her. “I was informed that your Papa and Lady Katharine, as well as the MacGregors, are leaving shortly. Did you wish to see them off? Or have you said your goodbyes already?”
Anna: Anna jumps up instantly. “Oh Aunt Louisa, I must catch them before they leave!” Anna looks distressed.
Lady Louisa: Walking across the nursery to the window–with her daughter Lottie toddling after her–Lady Louisa looks down to see everyone shaking hands in leave taking in the courtyard, Lady Louisa advises. “Well, you had best hurry. They look like they are leaving now.”
Anna: “Thank you, Aunt Louisa!” She races for the door. “I will be back soon, children.” Then Anna runs into the hallway.
Henry: “What children?” He asks his Mama disdainfully. “There is only one child here. And it is Lottie.” His five year old self pompously points to his sister.
Three year old Lottie sticks her tongue out at her brother.
Lady Louisa: “Lottie! Little ladies do not stick their tongues out.” She gently admonishes her daughter with a smile and a gentle caress. “Nor do their brothers purposefully provoke their sisters into doing so.” She admonishes her son Henry with a wry smile. He shrugs his shoulders sheepishly. Then Lady Louisa watches out the window again to see if Anna will reach everyone before they leave.
Lord Rafe: Lord Rafe walks over to Stuart and shakes his hand. “We will not see you for some time, young man. But I imagine that you will be a faithful correspondent.” He grins knowingly.
Stuart: “Yes, Uncle Rafe.” He nods his head. Then Stuart purses his lips in hesitation before he slowly raises the rose. “Uncle? Might I ask Lady Wingate to give Miss Anna this flower from me? I would give it to her myself. But she is not here.” Stuart looks longingly in the direction of the mansion, Dearing Manor, and then back to Lord Rafe.
Lord Rafe: Lord Rafe narrows his eyes to a mock steely gaze at Stuart, then his mouth curls up at the corners. “Yes, you may.” He nods.
Stuart: “Thank you!” Stuart smiles and turns toward Lady Wingate–his back to the manor.
Lady Katharine: “Stuart, look! Here comes Miss Anna now.” Everyone’s eyes turn toward the manor.
Stuart whirls around seeing Anna Wingate running toward them like a rabbit escaping a fox. Anna races pell mell down the stone steps and across the courtyard to the two carriages and those assembled around it. She stops in front of Lady Katharine, wheezing, trying to catch her breath. Lady Wingate walks over toward Anna.
Lady Wingate: “That is alright, Sweetheart–this one time. But in future, please remember that a lady always gives herself enough time to get where she is going–without needing to run.” Lady Wingate gently chides her as she strokes Anna’s wind blown curls [(8) right].
Anna bites her lower lip wincingly. Lady Katharine thinks of Lady Wingate’s story about her being a Lady in Waiting to the Queen–running through the palace with the Queen’s broach, but she thinks better of reminding her mother-in-law of that now.
Lady Wingate: “Well, you made it in time to wish your Papa farewell. That is what is important. Hmmm?” Lady Wingate gently strokes her granddaughter’s back soothingly, to aid in her calming her breathing. “And I had sent the footman for you. So never fear, we would have waited for you.”
Anna: “I am sorry for my unladylike display, Grandmama.” Anna says politely.
Lord Rafe: “But, it is very pleasing to me that you are so eager to wish us farewell.” He caresses his daughter’s cheek and kisses her forehead. “I will miss you while we are in London, Anna.”
Anna: “And I will miss you.” She replies in kind, as expected of her. But Anna realizes that she wants to get to know this man who is her Papa.
Lady Katharine: “And I will miss you, too, Anna.” Lady Katharine hugs Anna warmly. “But when your Papa and I return, you and I can begin our little project.” Lady Katharine says vaguely, referring to her drawing a picture of Anna’s Mama from Anna’s description–for Anna to remember her Mama by.
Anna: “Thank you Katharine! I will start on my part while you are away.” She thinks, writing down her memories of her Mama.
Lord Rafe: Lord Rafe looks back and forth between his wife and daughter. “And will you ladies, clue me in to this secret project?” He asks in jest.
Lady Katharine: “Perhaps when we are done.” Lady Katharine responds with a warm smile. Anna nods.
After Sir Collin and Lady Frances say their final goodbyes to Lord and Lady Wingate, they enter their carriage. But Stuart hangs back before entering their carriage.
Lord Rafe: Seeing Stuart’s reticence, Lord Rafe motions for him to come forward, and he does. “Anna Dear, Stuart wishes to say good bye to you.”
Anna: “Oh?” She looks up at her Papa Rafe. Then she turns and looks up at Stuart.
Stuart: “I have enjoyed meeting you, Miss Anna.” He smiles broadly while twirling the rose in his fingers.
Anna: “And I have enjoyed meeting you, too, Stuart.” She smiles pleasantly. For once, she thinks, she has met a boy who is not annoying. “Have a safe journey.” Anna curtsies politely.
Stuart: “Thank you.” He bows.
Sir Collin: Sir Collin leans out the carriage window. “Stuart, our carriage is ready to leave. Please conclude your remarks and join us.”
Lady Frances: Elbowing her husband while seated next to him in the enclosed carriage she says. “Oh, leave the poor boy alone.” Sir Collin smiles.
Stuart: “Yes, Papa.” He winces. Then he looks back at Anna. “I fear that I must leave now.”
Anna: Having watched him twirl the rose in his fingers for several minutes, she wonders if it is for his Mama. “Farewell.” She smiles pleasantly.
Stuart: “Farewell.” He nods his head and turns to leave.
Lord Rafe: “Oh Stuart?” Lord Rafe calls out to him with wry amusement.
Stuart: He turns back to him. “Yes, Uncle Rafe?”
Lady Katharine: “Are you not forgetting something, Stuart?” She hints and points to the flower.
Stuart: “Oh! I almost forgot!” Then he quickly thrusts the rose out to Anna. “This is for you, Anna.” The adults can’t help but titter at Stuart’s charming awkwardness.
Anna: “For me?” Stuart nods. “Thank you, Stuart!” She brings the bloom to her nose and sniffs its light fragrance.
Stuart beams. If were not a sunny day already, Stuart’s brilliant smile at Miss Anna’s acceptance of the rose from him would make it so. Of course, Stuart would also like to kiss Miss Anna’s hand–or even to just shake it. But touching is not allowed.
Lord Rafe: “Anything else you would like to tell Miss Anna?” He prompts him.
Stuart: “Yes! Thank you, Uncle Rafe!” Then he looks at Anna earnestly. “Miss Anna, I will not see you again until we visit the week before Christmas.”
Anna: “Oh?” She queries him sadly. She had hoped that she might see him again soon.
Stuart: “We have family obligations the rest of the Summer and then I will be at Eton for the Fall term.”
Anna: “But Christmas is such a long time away from now.” Anna says forlornly–having just met Stuart as a new friend, she is to lose him. And Anna’s young life has had more than enough loss in it lately. The adults sigh and look upon Anna with tender affection.
Stuart: “I know, I will miss you.” He conveys to her in softly spoken sincerity. Then Stuart [(9) right] brightens. “But your Papa has said that I may include a message for you when I write him monthly.”
Anna looks up at him wanly. Though receiving a note is nice, it is not the same as being with a person.
Anna: “That will be nice, Stuart. I thank you for thinking of me.” She says politely as she presumes is expected of her.
Lady Wingate: Putting her arms around Anna’s shoulders, she says. “Stuart has given you a lovely rose, my dear. We shall press it for you to preserve it.” She smiles, thinking of her own pressed flowers from her husband courting her before they were married.
Stuart: “Miss Anna, might I be so bold as to request that you write back to me?” He waits fretfully–on tinter hooks. He has overstepped his bounds–and he knows it. No one should put a lady on the spot as he has just done.
Anna: Anna stares at Stuart quizzically. Her youthfulness at being just eleven years old precludes her from thinking that Stuart likes her in a particular way–let alone, that she likes him in a particular way. “I suppose it depends.” Stuart looks at her questioningly. “If a reply is needed, then I shall ask Papa to send you a note from me.”
Stuart: “Oh!” Her response is logical, just not the one he had hoped for. But then, Miss Anna is so very young. “Well, I guess I will have to pose questions to you that require a response.” He grins.
Lord Rafe: “Very well, Stuart. We look forward to your first letter in late July.” Lord Rafe suggests pointedly, while trying to close the conversation. And hoping that the young swain will wait a decent interval before writing, at least until his and Lady Katharine’s wedding trip is completed–and to give Lord Rafe and his daughter time to get to know each other.
Stuart: “Thank you, Uncle Rafe! I will do that.” He nods at him.
Then Stuart bows at Anna again. Anna curtsies. Stuart turns and strides purposefully toward his family’s carriage and enters it. He had so wanted to turn back and wave at Anna. But he feels that only children wave–and he is a young man. However, once seated in the enclosed carriage, Stuart looks out the window opening and sees Anna waving goodbye to him. So Stuart sheepishly waves back at her and their carriage departs.
Anna: Anna turns to Lady Katharine. “When will you and Papa Rafe return, Katharine?” Anna posing this question to Lady Katharine conveys the growing closeness between them.
Lady Katharine: Giving her a warm and lingering embrace, Lady Katharine smiles. “In one week, perhaps two. It depends if your Papa wants to see my–now our–seaside cottage estate in Essex.”
Lord Rafe: He snaps his fingers. “I forgot about that. We should definitely visit it after London.” Then he turns to Anna. “And if you like Anna, we could return there later in the Summer for a short family vacation, just the three of us.” He proposes hopefully.
Lady Katharine: “That will be fun, Rafe!” Squeezing Anna’s shoulders, she asks. “Would you like that Anna, dear? To visit the seaside and go sea bathing?”
Anna: “Sea bathing?” Anna does not know what they mean. She has only seen lakes, ponds, and rivers in her young life–not seas.
Lady Katharine: “Sea bathing salt water is very good for one’s health.” [(10)] Lady Katharine nods knowingly. “But it requires a bathing costume for modesty’s sake.”
Lord Rafe smirks with restraint in his wife’s direction–thinking of the lovely picture that Lady Katharine will present in a wet bathing costume. Well, Lord Rafe is a bridegroom, so he can be forgiven for his bridegroom like musings.
Lady Wingate: “I am having a new wardrobe made for Anna over the coming weeks. So we will be certain to include a sea bathing costume.”
Anna: “More clothes? Thank you Grandmama. But I have so many clothes already.” In Anna’s previous life with her Mama, she had her school uniform, her two daytime play dresses that she wears most often, and then her nicer dress for church on Sundays.
Lady Wingate: “Yes, Anna. What you have are a school uniform and some day dresses. But you will have several parties to attend now. So you will need party dresses for these engagements.”
Anna: “Oh!” She nods in understanding that her life now with Grandmama will be very different from what she had known before.
Lady Katharine: Leaning down she embraces Anna. “You take care, Anna. We will see you in a week or two, and then we will spend some time together getting to know each other better.”
Anna: She looks up at Lady Katharine and whispers. “Promise, Kathy?”
Lady Katharine: She smiles at Anna. “I promise.” Then Lady Katharine kisses Anna’s cheek and releases Anna from her embrace and looks at her husband.
Lord Rafe: Though Lord Rafe is looking forward to the rest of their wedding trip with his wife, he is still just a father about to leave his daughter behind. Taking Anna’s hand in his, he looks at her soulfully. “We will see you soon, Anna dear.” Then he has a cheerful thought. “And we will bring you back a gift. Now what would you like me to bring you?” He asks, because he always likes to give presents that are wanted. And he does not yet know his daughter, Anna’s, preferences.
Anna: Unaccustomed to receiving gifts not on her birthday–except from her Grandmama–Anna looks at her Papa Rafe shyly. “Just come back to me. That is all I need, Papa Rafe.” She says tearing up thinking of her Mama who will never come back to her again.
Lord Rafe: “Oh Anna.” Lord Rafe drops to his knees and takes Anna into his arms and slowly rocks her back and forth as he soothingly strokes her back. Lady Katharine and Rafe’s parents are tearing up at this tender scene. “You are my precious little girl, Anna. If we could take you with us, we would. But you and your Grandmama have things planned that you are going to do–and Katharine and I must visit her family.” And Lord Rafe knows that telling Lady Katharine’s family about Anna will be a delicate business. Then he pulls back from their embrace and gazes into his daughter’s eyes, with tears in his own eyes as he caresses her face. “Now give me a smile to take with me.” Anna tries to smile. Then he leans in and kisses her cheek. “We will return to you as soon as possible, Anna. I promise.” Lord Rafe stands up.
Anna: “Have a pleasant journey.” She says politely and curtsies to her Papa.
Lord Rafe: “Thank you.” Lord Rafe smiles and bows to his daughter.
Lady Wingate walks over and puts her arms around Anna’s shoulders–then she leads her back to where her Grandpapa and her Uncle John are standing. Lady Katharine and Lord Rafe enter their carriage and wave goodbye as it drives off. Anna and her grandparents wave goodbye at Lord Rafe and Lady Katharine. Then Anna and her grandparents walk back into their home, Dearing Manor. And Anna returns to the nursery–to help Lottie rebuild her princess tower.
To be continued with Chapter 15
1) “Love is a Choice” story logo is a composite image comprised of:
a) Gold wedding gown (cropped to fabric of skirt) found at http://0.tqn.com/d/honeymoons/1/0/C/w/belle2.jpg
b) Oval picture frames were found at http://www.inlineovals.com/product_images/q/675/602agp__91104_zoom.jpg
c) Image (cropped, masked, brightened, color) representing Lord Rafe Wingate is that of Richard Armitage as John Thornton in North & South (2004) episode 2, picture 66 was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode2/ns2-066.jpg
d) Image (cropped, masked, brightened, color) representing Lady Katharine Wingate is that of Carla Gugino as Nan St. George in “The Buccaneers” (1995), Episode 1 vlcsnap-ooh09m21s203 Mar1313 Gratiana Lovelace screencap (cap)
2) Lord Rafe image (cropped, color, sharp, hi-res) is Richard Armitage as John Thornton in the BBC’s 2004 North & South as found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode2/ns2-040.jpg
3) Lady Katharine Image is Carla Gugino as Nan St. George in The Buccaneers 1995 vlcsnap10m52s195 Mar1313 Gratiana Lovelace Cap crop flip
4) Image for Lady Leonora Wingate, Mama to Lord Rafe is a painting titled “Lady Violet Henderson” by John William Waterhouse found at
5) Image representing Lady Louisa is Portrait of a Young Woman” by Franz Seraph Stirnbrand and was found at http://fineartamerica.com/featured/portrait-of-a-young-woman-franz-seraph-stirnbrand.html
.6) Charlotte/Lottie image (cropped, hi-res, sharpened) is represented by the William Adolphe Bouguereau painting “Little girl holding apples in her hands” found at http://www.paintingall.com/william-adolphe-bouguereau-little-girl-holding-apples-in-her-hands.html
2) Henry image (hi-res, crop, sharp) is of “The Three Brothers, the Sons of Thomas Dallas” thought to be painted by George Watson and found at http://www.persephonebooks.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/boys.jpg
8) Anna Image is Emilie Francois as Margaret Dashwood in1995 Sense&Sensibility vlcsnap-19h23m13s39 Mar1613GratianaLovelace screencap CrpBrtShrp
9) Stuart MacGregor image (crop, clr, shrp, hi-res) is Christian Bale as Theodore Laurence smiling in 1994’s Little Women was found at
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