“Love is a Choice”, Ch. 21 (PG-13): The Wingates with Anna in London Part 2, May 19, 2013 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #409)

“Love is a Choice”, Ch. 21 (PG-13): The Wingates with Anna in London Part 2,   May 19, 2013 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #409)

aaaLove_is_a_Choice_story_logo_Mar1313GratianaLovelace200x249(An original story by Gratiana Lovelace; All Rights Reserved)

[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 Southwick Wingate, Lesley Nicol as Mrs. Plunkett, Emilie Francois as Anna Wingate, Mark Strong as Sir Collin MacGregor, Alan Bates as Lord Charles Wingate, Christian Bale as Stuart MacGregor, Daniel Day-Lewis as Sir Antony Southwick, Michelle Pfeiffer as Lady Charmaine Southwick, Catherine Deneuve as Lady Esmѐ Sinclair, Julian Sands as Sir Percival Southwick, Samantha Morton as Lady Lucinda Southwick, Raymond Coulthard as David Harriott, 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:  Lord and Lady Wingate travel to London with Anna to be of assistance to Lord Rafe and Lady Katharine regarding Lady Charmaine Southwick’s illness.  The two families meet for tea at the Southwick home and Anna meets Lady Katharine’s parents–including the still recovering ethereal beauty, Lady Southwick.  Lady Charmaine is struck by how much the blondeleven year old Anna resembles her brunette daughter Katharine–who in her memory is still ten years old.  Lady Charmaine’s continuing memory loss is both a blessing and a curse for her family–hoping her good humor persists, but dreading her return to being bitter and judgemental of everyone.  But on a hopeful note, Lady Katharine’s brother Sir Percival and his wife Lady Lucinda Harriott Southwich invite Lord Rafe and Lady Katharine to bring Anna to lunch this week so they may meet her.   Anna’s welcome reception by Lady Katharine’s family is more than Lord Rafe could have hoped for.  And Anna’s cousins five year old Henry and three year old Charlotte–children of Anna’s father Lord Rafe’s sister Lady Louisa Throckmorton’s family–had also returned to London.  And in a brief joyous family meeting at the Wingate’s London home, the Throckmorton’s invited Anna to tea at the Park Pavillion the next day.

“Love is a Choice”, Ch. 21 (PG-13): The Wingates with Anna in London, Part 2

After Anna endured a two hours long and slightly tedious Tuesday morning being poked and prodded, measured, draped with beautiful fabrics and ribbons as selections were made, and generally clucked over by the great London coutourier Madame Messier herself–as her Grandmama Lady Wingate looked on approvingly–it was arranged that Anna will have a whole new wardrobe befitting her elevated station.  There will be five day frocks, two traveling suits, one riding outfit, four evening dresses for dinner and one sea bathing costume–and all the necessary undergarments, shoes, boots, and related accessories.  It will cost the princely sum of nearly 100 pounds to outfit her completely.  Anna is uncertain that she will have the occasion to wear all of these different clothes–when she was accustomed to one day dress, one play dress, one school dress, and one dressy dress.  Though her Grandmama would have spoiled Anna with more clothes growing up, Anna’s Mama Fanny did not want her daughter spoiled–Fanny not wanting Anna to become accustomed to a way of life that might never be hers.  However, now having free reign to indulge her benevolence toward her granddaughter Anna, Lady Wingate has quite worn herself out with the morning’s dressmaking appointment  as they return to their London home.

Walking into the foyer, Lady Wingate removes her hat, coat, and gloves as the servants wordlessly take them from her.  Anna’s coat, bonnet, and gloves are also taken from her.  It is now about 11:00am Tuesday morning.

Lady Wingate:  Addressing their butler, she requests some sustenance.  “Tea and sandwiches, will revive us.  Is Lord Wingate in the parlor or his study?”

Butler:  “His study, Madame.”  He bows deferentially to her.

Lady Wingate:   “Then we will have our refreshments in Lord Wingate’s study.  Come Anna Dear.  Let us see what your Grandpapa has done with his morning.”

Anna:  “Yes, Grandmama.”

Lady Wingate motions and Anna moves forward. They walk the length of the hall toward the back of the house and enter a room to their left that Anna hasn’t explored yet–her Grandpapa’s study.  Unlike Dearing Manor in Warwickshire–that study is quite barren of weaponry by design–most of Lord Charles Wingate’s military memorabilia is artfully arranged around his London home’s study.  First with their own children and now with young grandchildren, Lady Leonora Wingate thought it safer to keep the swords away from the main family home of Dearing Manor.  The London study has so many hanging swords of every type and nationality in it that Anna thinks the room almost looks like a military Lord&LadyWingatePortrait-is-of-two-Joshua-Reynolds-portraitsMay1913bluesurfart_and_wiki_800x1005weapons room.

Anna also sees the dark paneled room is full of comfortably overstuffed and slightly worn leather furniture, walls of bookshelves, and a portrait [(2)  right] hanging above the hearth of a young soldier and his young lady–depicting them in a shy romantic pose standing in close proximity to each other.

Anna:  “Oooh!   Grandmama!    The soldier looks so dashing, and the lady is so beautiful!  Are the people in the painting ancestors of yours?”

Lady Wingate:   Lady Wingate smiles wryly.  “Not exactly, my Dear.”

Lord Wingate: Peering from around his newspaper as he sits off to the side in his favorite leather chair, he smiles in mock consternation.  “Are you daft, Anna girl?  Ancestors?”  He blusters convincingly.  “Why that portrait is your Grandmama and I not long after we were married thirty years ago.”

Anna: “Oh!”  Anna startles.  “I am sorry Grandpapa!  I did not see you sitting there.”  She pouts, wondering if she has offended him.

Lady Wingate:  “Charles, do behave.  You will make our granddaughter think that you lack a sense of humor.”  She rolls her eyes and shakes her head bemusedly.

Lord Wingate:  He stands up and walks over to his wife and kisses her cheek as he also embraces her.  “Yes Leonora, my love.”  Then he leans down and kisses Anna’s cheek.  “Anna, please just refrain from asking me if I drove chariots when I was young.  Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!”

Anna:  “Of course, Grandpapa.”  Anna blanches when her Grandpapa looks back at her Grandmama–because that had been a question on her mind which she had not got around to asking.  Then Anna looks around the room.   “You have a lot of swords, Grandpapa.”

Lady Wingate: “Here it comes.”  Lady Wingate sighs to herself.  She has heard her husband wax poetic about his swords many a time.

Lord Wingate: “Yes I do!”  He smiles broadly.  “Each campaign and country I fought in or served in is represented by these swords.”  He takes Anna’s hand and starts to walk her around the room.  “The shinier pretty swords are ceremonial and never used in battle–they were usually presented by fellow officers or dignataries in that foreign country. The swords that have nicks on them were actually used in battle–some by me, and some by an officer in the opposing army.”

Anna: “Oh?  When the war was over, did you exchange swords as a measure of the peace treaty, Grandpapa?”

Lady Wingate raises her eyebrow, hoping that her husband will relate the age appropriate version of his war stories to Anna.  And he notices his wife’s facial gesture.

Lord Wingate:  “Not exactly, Anna Dear.” He looks at her wincingly.  “Sometimes, the other side’s officer gave up his sword only after … he no longer had need of it.”  Lord Wingate shoots a glance at his wife, and she nods her acceptance of his phrasing.

Anna:  “Uh huh.”  She responds absentmindedly.  Touching the intricate hilt of a battle scarred sword hanging below the fireplace mantle and with a dirty blue, white, and red striped ribbon on it, she asks.  “Grandpapa, what about this sword?  What is its story.”

Lord  Wingate:  He stiffens.  “That sword is from my last French campaign, twenty-one years ago–at the Battle of Trefalgar in October 1805” [(3)] . Anna looks up at him transfixed.  “It was a pitched naval battle.  Our ship rammed and boarded their lead vessel.  We won the day, but not without a dear cost.”  He looks somber as he rubs his beard that covers a nasty scar from a gash he took, while thinking of a fellow officer friend who died in the skirmish.  “I claimed this sword to mark our victory when the young Duc de Avignon surrendered.”

Lady Wingate:  Tearing up, she requests.  “Charles, I cannot bear to hear it all again.  I was a young wife with small children–and we almost lost you. ”  Anna watches as her always poised Grandmama buries her face in her hands and weeps.

Lord Wingate:  Gathering his wife into his arms, he rubs her back soothingly as he gently rocks her back and forth.  “I am sorry my dear.  But even an old soldier has his memories.  I could no more disavow my past than to disown my family.”  He puts his finger under her chin and raises it up for her to look at him.  “My Dear, I willingly decommissioned myself after that–I had seen enough of the cost of war in the lost lives of many of my friends.  The supposed glory of war–even for king and country–did not compare with living out my days in peace and contentment with my family, with my Leonora.”  Then he leans in and kisses each of his wife’s closed teary eyes and then he kisses her lingeringly on her lips. For a brief moment, he forgets that they have an audience as he continues his tender attentions to his wife as he soothes her. “Oh my darling.”

Anna: Anna looks with fascination upon this loving tableaux of her grandparents.  She had seen many a long married village couple be affectionate, but she had not supposed that her aristocratic grandparents would also enjoy such a love.    “Kkkhh!”  She coughs to remind her grandparents that she is in the room.

Lady Wingate:  Extricating herself from her husband’s lips, she whispers to him as she caresses his cheek.  “Thank you, Charles.  I am calm now.”

Lord Wingate:  He smiles lovingly at his wife.  Then he kisses the tip of her nose.  “I am glad, my dearest one.”  Then he turns to look at their granddaughter, Anna, and changes the subject.  “So young lady, I gather that you and your Grandmama went to the dressmaker’s this morning.”

Lady Wingate:  “We had an appointment with Madame Messier.”  She states with a flourish and a supremely pleased smile.  Appointments with Madame Messier are not easy to obtain since she is such a sought after coutourier.

Anna:  Anna nods with a smile.  “Grandmama is kind to have some new dresses made for me.”

Lord Wingate:  “Just dresses?  My Leonora’s zeal and organization will have you so well outfitted that you will not want for a day, party, or evening frock because you already own them.

Lady Wingate:  “Well, Charles.  Anna has several engagements already this week–tea with Louisa and the children at the Park Pavillion later today and also luncheon at the Harriott home of Katharine’s brother’s wife’s family on Friday. Her father Rafe and Katharine will be with her at luncheon.  But none of her new frocks will be ready in time, so she will have to wear the blue silk dress again that had been Louisa’s.”

Anna nods with an uncertain smile.

Lord Wingate: “My my, Anna!  You are making the society rounds of London as if you were born to it.”  He states agreeably, but Lady Wingate still winces as his choice of words–referring to Anna’s birth.

Anna:  Anna nods again.  “People are very kind to include me.”  She winces.  “But …”

Lady Wingate:  Putting her arm around Anna’s shoulder, she smiles down at her and asks caringly.  “What is it child?”

Anna:  “It is just that Mama died not so long ago.  And I feel strange about doing things and meeting new people–when she can never do things nor meet new people ever again.  I miss her so much!”  Then Anna bursts into tears and weeps into her Grandmama’s embrace.

Lady Wingate:  Rocking her granddaughter in her loving arms, she tries to soothe her.  “Oh my sweet Anna.  Of course you miss your Mama.  Fanny was a lovely Mama to you.  But grieving for someone who has died does not mean that you have to shut yourself away from people–especially not from your family.  And everyone you are meeting is family.  We all want to be of aid to you, to comfort you,  my sweetheart.”

Anna:  She nods as her crying lessens.  “Thank you, Grandmama.”

Lord Wingate strokes Anna head as she continues being comforted in her Grandmama’s embrace.  He is an old soldier–with a heart of gold.

Slowly, it occurs to Lady Leonora that actions speak louder than words.  And the Wingate family has not gone into mourning dress for Fanny as they would have done for any other family member who had died.  And for Anna’s sake, Lady Wingate wishes to show solidarity with her in honoring Anna’s mother’s passing.  So Lady Wingate takes Anna upstairs to sort out their black clothes–even finding a black dress from Lady Louisa’s childhood that is suitable for Anna to wear.  Then while Anna takes a much needed nap this early afternoon, Lady Leonora writes notes to her daughter Lady Louisa and her son Lord Rafe explaining her and Anna’s change in attire to mourning dress to honor Fanny.  Lady Wingate does not order, nor even request that her family also go into mourning dress.  But she knows that she has taught them well and that they will dress in mourning anyway.

***

Not only are Anna’s Throckmorton cousins in black mourning dress when they collect her to take her for their tea at the Park Pavillion, they have also received admonishments from their Mama Lady Louisa to be especially considerate of Anna.  Little Charlotte is a sweetly agreeable child anyway.  But we will see how far Henry is able to follow that guideline.

Anna marvels at the beautiful simplicity of the tea room in the open Park Pavillion–its stark aaaLove_is_a_Choice_story_logo_Mar1313GratianaLovelace368x458white marble floors and columns are accentuated by whimsical animal edging surrounding their archways held up by exquisitely carved Corinthian capitals [(4) right] atop those columns–open to the garden on all sides while crystal candelabra’s sparkle their brilliance upon each table–despite the still lovely afternoon glow from the sun.  There are also large frond potted palms placed strategically between tables to allow for some privacy.  Such that the effect created is one of nature inhabiting architecture–which in turn is nestled charmingly within nature.  The room is like something out of a fairytale to Anna.

Lady Louisa: Noticing Anna’s appreciative glances at their luxurious surroundings, she asks.  “Does the Tea Room meet with your expectations, Anna?”

Anna:  “Oh yes, Aunt Louisa.  It is a beautiful room, in a beautiful building.” Anna smiles as she looks around.William-Adolphe-Bouguereau-Little-girl-holding-apples-in-her-hands-Oil-PaintingApr0413PaintingAllHi-resShrpDrsDrkndResized

Charlotte:   “It needs more collah.”  Charlotte [(5) right] offers between bites of a scone as she sits in her dark blue dress–the closest her Mama could find to black for her little three year old on short notice.

Indeed, the only real color in the room is provided by the other patrons’ clothing.

Henry:  “Nonsense, Lottie!  I like a single color much better than flower patterns, or even stripes.”

Lady Louisa:  “Is that so, Henry?  So you are declaring war against stripes?  What about plaids or checks?” She smiles amusingly.

Henry:  “I will have to think about it.”  He intones solemnly. For a five year old kid, Henry is going on 55 in his stodginess and intransigence .  The apple does not fall too far from his Grandpapa Wingate’s tree.  Yet Lord Wingate has learned to bend over the years.  Henry needs that lesson yet.

Charlotte: “Anna, Henny is so bowing.”  (Henry is so boring.) Charlotte rolls her eyes in a three year old sneer.

Anna smiles knowingly at her little cousin, Charlotte.

Lady Louisa:  Trying to draw Anna out, she asks.  “Anna, have you heard that Park organizers recently formed the Zoological Society of London?  They hope to build a wild animal zoo in the next couple of years.” [(6)]  Though one might presume that zoos have animals in them–unless, of course, it is an insect or a butterfly zoo–the term zoo is so new to the general populace that Lady Louisa felt it necessary to clarify herself by calling it an animal zoo.

Anna: “I had not heard that, Aunt Louisa.  I should like to see wild animals.”  She nods eagerly.

Charlotte:  “Will the zoo have kittens?”  Lottie perks up and smiles winningly while waiting for her answer.

Henry: “No Lottie. The zoo will have big cats–tigers, bears, and lions.”  He sneers and rolls his eyes.  Then he gets a notion into his head.  “But if I were you, I wouldn’t go when they do have a zoo–because the animals might want to eat you for dinner.” Henry  raises his hands up like claws and snarls–delighting in upsetting his baby sister and vexing his Mama.

Charlotte:  “I don’t want to be eaten.  Waa Waa Waa! Mama!  Henny says the animals will eat me.”  Lottie wails and cries, sliding out of her chair and rushing over to her Mama for comfort.

Of course this commotion causes the other tea partakers to glance their way knowingly about the vagaries of emotions in little ones.  Lady Louisa Winces back at them.

Lady Louisa:  “Henry, really!   Do not scare your sister so!  There there Lottie.  We would never let any animals eat you.”  Of course the verity of that statement is matched by its amusing absurdity.  But she continues to soothe her little one.  “You are our precious little girl, Lottie.  We will keep you safe.”

Anna:  Anna stands up from her chair across from her Aunt and walk over to her. Then she pats little Charlotte’s head and adds.  “Yes, Lottie.  No harm will come to you.”

Lady Louisa:  Then Lady Louisa shoots a warning look at Henry you was about to say something.  “Not a word, Henry.  Just sip your tea and eat your scones.  Your Papa will deal with you when we get home.  I am astonished how we could have failed as parents for you to behave so abominably to your little sister.”

Henry:  “But Mama …”  He whines.  “You always take Lottie’s side.”

Lady Louisa:  “Well then, you had better learn to be on Lottie’s side and treat her nicely if you want to be in my good graces, young man.  She is a  helpless little girl.  As her older brother, it is your duty to protect Lottie.  My brother Rafe was always the soul of kindness and love to me.”

Henry:   Not only has his Mama excoriated him for his bad behavior, but she has done so in public.  The five year old Henry is mortified.  Chastened, Henry hangs his head and sniffles, but he holds back his tears.  He is a little soldier at five years old and he feels that his Grandpapa would not want him to cry.  “Yes, Mama.”  He says meekly.

While the reprimand was conducted, little Charlotte’s crying had lessened then ceased.  In fact, she is quite smiling at this point.  It is not often that her older bossy brother gets caught being mean to her, as he was just now.

Charlotte:  “I stopit kying nowa, Mama.” (I stopped crying now, Mama.) Charlotte looks over at her brother.  “Henny sowwy?” (Henry sorry?)

Henry hesitates.

Lady Louisa:  “Go on Henry, tell Lottie that you are sorry.  Then give her a hug and make up with her.”  She encourages gently.

Henry:  Walking over to Charlotte, he gives his little sister a perfunctory hug.  “I am sorry, Lottie.”

Charlotte:  Charlotte hugs him back tightly and kisses Henry’s cheek.  “I love you, Henny!”  She smiles brightly.

Again, Henry hesitates.

Lady Louisa:  “Well?” She stares her son down.

Henry:  “I love you, too, Lottie.”  He leans down again and kisses her cheek.

Anna:  “That is nice.”  Anna smiles.

Charlotte:  Charlotte turns to her Mama.  “Mama, may I have my kitten to make me feel all bettah?”  The little minx chose her moment well.

Henry looks crestfallen–he wants a dog–but he feels that he will not get his wish as a punishment for his behavior today.

Lady Louisa:  “I will discuss it with your Papa.”  Charlotte claps her hands together with glee.  Then seeing Henry still looking dejected, Lady Louisa adds.  “We will discuss the issue of pets in general.”  She smiles at her son and caresses his cheek.

Henry:  Smiling hopefully up at her.  “Thank you, Mama.”

Charlotte and Henry and Anna return to their seats, their tea, and their scones.

Anna:  Trying to transition the focus of the conversation away from Henry’s earlier error in behavior, she asks.  “Aunt Louisa, what was my Papa Rafe like as a young boy?”

Lady Louisa:  Lady Louisa’s countenance becomes wistful in fond remembrance.  “Fun!  Your Papa Rafe is four years older than I, so he had already left for Eaton by the time I was Lottie’s age.  So when we were together at home, we always made up for lost time.  Rafe would take me on discovery walks around our home at Dearing Manor in the Summers, pointing out plant names and insects that he had learned in school.   Then when my little legs tired of walking, he used to carry me on his back for our walk back to the manor.  And he would read to me stories that he studied in his classes and he helped me learn to read and write.  I did not have a governess until I turned six, but she was not very enthusiastic about learning.  So Rafe’s excitement at teaching me new things made learning fun.  I was always sorry when his school break ended and Rafe had to leave us.”  She tilts her head at Anna.

Anna: Smiling back at her Aunt, Anna remarks.  “Papa Rafe seems very nice.  His wife Kathy likes him.”  And the kind Kathy’s endorsement of her father has currency for Anna.

Lady Louisa: She smiles, noticing Anna’s growing bond with her family.  “Anna, I am glad that you are settling in with the family.  We are so glad that you have joined us.”  Lady Louisa reaches across the table and squeezes Anna’s hand.

Anaa:  “Thank you, Aunt Louisa.  I am very happy to get to know everyone.”  Then she remembers her Mama, Fanny.  “Though I wish my Mama were not….”  She begins to tear up.

Lady Louisa:  “I know, my dear.  Your Mama’s death is very sad.”  She opens her arms wide.  “Come here, Anna Sweetheart.”  Anna stands and rushes around the table and into her sitting Aunt Louisa’s arms and weeps.    “There there, Anna.”  Lady Louisa kisses Anna’s temple as she rocks her back and forth comfortingly

Charlotte:  “Aww!”  Charlotte looks perplexed, but pats Anna’s back soothingly.  “Hugs make it bettah.”  At three years old, little Charlotte is too young to understand death.

Henry:  Looking contrite at behaving so selfishly earlier when his cousin Anna is in mourning, he says quietly.  “I am sorry, Anna.”

Again, the display of emotion at their table has drawn the attention of the other patrons, but Lady Louisa pays it no mind.  Her focus is on her children and niece and their welfare, not society’s possible censure for their supposedly ill mannered behavior.  Lady Louisa reasons that how are children like Charlotte and Henry to learn proper behavior and decorum if they do not get a chance to practice it?  After a few more moments, Anna dries her eyes and returns to her seat.

Lady Louisa:  Wanting to brighten everyone’s spirits, she suggests.  “Now!  I say we finish our tea and return to your Papa.  Then we can talk about whether we will get a kitten … or a dog.”  She looks first at Charlotte who nods her head excitedly up and down several times, then at Henry, who smiles.  “What about you, Anna?  Would you like a kitten or a dog?

Anna:  “I thank you for thinking of me, Aunt Louisa.  But I feel that I should ask Grandmama first–and maybe Papa Rafe and Kathy.  And I do not want Kelly to think that I am slighting her by getting a kitten.”  Anna unknowingly states her preference–that is also the same as little Charlotte’s preference–for a kitten.  And Charlotte smiles conspiratorially at her cousin Anna.

Lady Louisa:  “Very well.”  She smiles at having eased her children and niece over their distress.  Now she just has to figure out how to talk with her husband Sir John about their family getting a kitten and maybe a dog.  Lady Louisa smiles and shakes her head whilst sipping her tea as the children nosh happily on their scones.

Inevitably later that evening, Sir John wins Lady Louisa over to the idea of buying a kitten for Charlotte and a puppy for Henry.  Sir John’s reasoning being that it will help teach the children responsibility in caring for their pets’ daily needs of food, exercise, play, and love–as well as, teaching each child, but especially Henry, that when an animal or even a person is dependent upon them, that obligation should be met with cheerfulness, compassion, and humility.  So a kitten and a puppy are in Charlotte’s and Henry’s near futures.

***

As the week wears on, Lady Katharine’s Mama Lady Charmaine Southwick’s recovery continues–however, her memory does not return, to her regret and Lady Katharine’s sorrow.  Sir Antony helps Lady Charmaine with her pushing exercises to hopefully regain the strength in her left leg and arm.  And they continue to interact in loving accord with each other.  Lady Esmè Sinclair, Lady Charmaine’s Mama is still in residence at the Southwicks and sits with her daughter to keep her company when others are not about.  But Lady Esmè is increasingly worried to think that her behavior–in promoting to Lady Charmaine the rumors they now know to be false about Sir Antony having an affair and fathering a child–may have contributed to her daughter’s illness. Anna also visited again briefly on Wednesday–which cheered Lady Charmaine up to have a little girl with her again.  Though, Lady Katharine understands why her Mama is so taken with Anna–apart from Anna being a charming girl–it still hurts Lady Katharine for her Mama not to remember her.

But this Thursday afternoon tea in Lady Charmaine’s bed chamber, she and Lady Katharine have a heart to heart talk while her Grandmere Lady Esmè sits dozing in a corner chair behind them.LadyKatharine-image-is-of-CarlaGugino-as-NanStGeorge-in-TheBuccaneers1995May1913blogspotMask

Lady Katharine: “You look well.   How are you feeling today, Mama.”  Lady Katharine [(7) right] asks caringly as she kisses her Mama’s cheek, then sits next to her on the sette.

Lady Charmaine:  “Thank you, my dear.  I feel better each day.   The doctor says I am doing nicely.  And you, your father, and Mama have been so kind to me in my recovery.”  She says tearing up.  “I fear that I do not deserve it.”

Lady Katharine:  Squeezing her Mama’s hand, she says encouragingly.  “Mama, we areLadyCharmaine-image-is-Michelle-Pfeiffer-in-cheri-107629May1913movieplayer-itCrop glad to have you back to being the Mama who loves us.”  She states honestly.

Lady Charmaine:  “Even with my memory loss?”  Lady Charmaine [(8) right] asks hesitantly.

Lady Katharine:  “Even so.”  She stoically remarks–for it is Lady Katharine’s young adulthood that Lady Charmaine does not remember.  “And we will have the years ahead to make new memories.”  She suggests compassionately with poise and grace.

Lady Charmaine:   “I hope so, Kathy.”  She smiles wanly.  Lady Charmaine knows that her health is still fragile, and were she to have more strokes, they might finish her. So the time Lady Charmaine has with her daughter is very precious to her. “But I hope that you will share something of your wedding with me.  I am certain that you were a beautiful bride, my dear.”

Lady Katharine:  “Thank you, Mama. People complimented me on my dress and flowers and the wedding arrangements–all really due to your wonderful guidance and planning.  My dress was gold with restrained gold detailing–very elegant.  I thank you for it, Mama. I felt like a princess!”

Lady Charmaine:  “I am certain that your husband approved of you in your wedding gown.” She smiles knowingly.  “I see the way that Rafe looks at you–and the way you look at him.  My dear, I am so very glad that you two are a love match.”

Lady Katharine:   Deciding to smooth over the fact that she did not know her husband before they wed–and thus her initial trepidation at finding herself in the married state–Lady Katharine concurs.  “Yes Mama.”  Then she whispers impishly.  “And he very much liked the silk undergarments that Grandmere had given me.”

Lady Charmaine:  “Kathy!  Ha ha ha!” Lady Charmaine giggles quietly so as  not to awaken her Mama.  “Husbands are such simple creatures–putting a brave and indifferent face to the world, while secretly being tender and loving with us, their wives.”

Lady Katharine:  “Oh Mama!  I am so glad that  you and Papa have reconciled!”

Lady Charmaine:  “We are happy as well.”  She pinkens in bemused embarrassment.  “But what of you and your husband?  Have you developed an understanding between each other regarding …  well, regarding his husbandly rights?”  Lady Charmaine does not remember if she had a marital relations talk with her daughter before her marriage, nor what it consisted of.

Lady Katharine:  Blushing profusely, she lowers her eyes demurely.  “Yes, Mama.  Rafe is very tender and loving with me.”  Lady Katharine cannot quite find the words to express how much she enjoys the love that she and her husband share in their marriage bed. One does not generally speak of such things.

Lady Charmaine:  “It is just that I want you to know that your loving your husband back is right and proper.  And hopefully, in time, you will be blessed with children–my grandchildren.”  She smiles.

Lady Katharine:  Lady Katharine smiles. “Thank you, Mama.”  Then a question occurs to her.  “But Mama, does that mean once Rafe and I have our children, that we …  well, that we no longer … sleep in the same bed?”  Lady Katharine bites her lower lip as she winces.

Lady Charmaine:  Her eyes widen with a dawning realization.  “No of course not, Kathy!”

Lady Katharine: “But you and Papa have your own bedchambers–as do the Wingates.”   Lady Katharine uncharacteristically reveals.

Lady Charmaine:  “My dear, most husbands and wives of our station have their own bed chambers–out of convenience for being dressed by our attendants and such.  And though I cannot speak for the Wingates, your Papa and I have always shared a bed at night.”

Lady Katharine:  “Except during your eight years of estrangement.” Lady Katharine says hesitantly.

Lady Charmaine:  “Kathy, I must have been an idiot to believe the false rumors about your Papa.  I do not know how your Papa could remain so faithful to me for so long when he tells me that I repeatedly rejected him.  But he did remain true to our marriage vows.  And he forgives me–as I hope you do.”

Lady Katharine: “Of course, Mama.  We are all happy to have you back as the kind and loving person I remember from my childhood.”

Lady Charmaine:  “And I am happy to be back.  Ha ha ha!”  She and her daughter embrace.  “To be honest, Kathy, your dear Papa and I enjoy a loving conjugal marriage to this day–only an unsettled meal, illness, or my final month of pregnancies and first month of motherhood with you and Percival–has kept us apart from making love with each other.”   Lady Charmaine smiles impishly.  She would not normally be so forthcoming, but the stroke she suffered continues to lessen her self censorship.

Lady Katharine:  “Mama!”  Lady Katharine claps her hands over her mouth–in astonishment, and in glee.

Lady Charmaine: “Remember, dear Kathy, I am half French.  And the French know how to love.”   Lady Charmaine tilts her head in the direction of her sleeping Mama, Lady Esmè.

Lady Katharine:  “Grandmere, too?” Lady Katharine asks in stunned amazement–for her Grandmere is fully French.  Lady Katharine had not thought of her Grandmere being married–in every sense of that concept–since her Grandpere died when she was very little and she never saw her Grandmere with a romantic partner.

Lady Charmaine: “Yes.  Mama and Papa were a very loving couple.”  She smiles.  “My dear, do you have any questions?”

Lady Katharine:  “Questions, Mama?”  She asks quizzically.

Lady Charmaine:  “Well, about the different ways to make love that your husband might suggest to you.”  She pinkens in embarrassment, but she feels that she must counsel her daughter as part of her motherly responsibility.

Lady Katharine: “Mama!” She exclaims out loud, unknowingly awakening her Grandmere.  Then Lady Katharine sheepishly asks her Mama.  “Are there more than two?”

Lady Charmaine smiles knowingly.

Lady Esmè:  Groggy but awakening to join the conversation, she asks imperiously.  “More than two what?

Lady Katharine blanches.  It is hard enough to have such a private conversation about marital intimacies with her Mama, but Lady Katharine cannot fathom broaching the subject with her Grandmere–no matter how many silk undergarments and nightgowns her Grandmere gives her.

Lady Charmaine:  Lady Charmaine looks over her shoulder to her Mama, Lady Esmè. “More than two choices of treats for our tea.  If you would like, please join us, Mama.” Then while her Mama slowly rises and walks toward them, Lady Charmaine whispers to her daughter Lady Katharine.  “In all things loving, your husband will guide you, sweetheart.  And may you both feel joy.”  Then she adds.  “However, it is also your choice whether or not you wish to follow his guidance.  However much our husbands might plead, we must only do what feels comfortable to us.”  She says vaguely.

Lady Katharine:  “Yes, Mama.”  She nods, but with a questioning expression on her face.LadyEsmeSinclair-is-Catherine_deneuve2-220pixApr1513info-starscom

Lady Esmè:  Seeing her granddaughter’s look of confusion, Lady Esmè [(9) right] remarks smilingly to her granddaughter as she sits down in a chair adjacent to the sette.  “Mon cher, we may be French, but not in every way.”

Lady Charmaine:  “Mama!”  Lady Charmaine gasps, then giggles.  “Ha ha ha ha ha!”

Though Lady Charmaine and Lady Esmè seem to know what they are talking about, Lady Katharine does not.  But she feels that her mama’s general words of wisdom regarding marriage are helpful and comforting.

***

Anna has a few more dress fittings on Friday morning with the first few day frocks of her new wardrobe promised to be ready on Monday. But this day, Lord Rafe and Lady Katharine collect her from her Wingate Grandparents–since Lord Rafe and Lady Katharine are still guests of the Southwicks–as they head to the Harriott’s home for Friday evening dinner at 7:00pm.  Lady Katharine had received a formal written invitation from her sister-in-law Lady Lucinda Harriott Southwick by messenger on Wednesday–and the noted stated that the invitation was changed to an evening dinner since her brother David and father Lord Harriot would be dining with them but would be characteristically out at lunch time since there is a rather strict separation of the sexes at the midday meal  [(10a)]–while also reiterating that the invitation includes Anna.  Lady Katharine replied in a note with their grateful acceptance, and indicated that they would be in mourning dress for Anna’s Mama.  In sympathy, the Southwick’s and Harriott women, daughter and mother, also adopt half morning dress of dark gray evening clothes.

After they enter the slightly smaller Harriott London home and its parlor–which somehow feels larger due to its lack of overpowering plants and smaller scaled furniture than in the Southwick home–the introductions are made in the parlor before they go into the dining room for the evening meal [(10b)].LadyKatharineinPurpleGownManipCarlaGuginoHeadMar2313GratianaLovelaceRev3BlkDrs

Lady Lucinda:  Kissing first Lady Katharine’s cheeks, then Anna’s, she warmly welcomes them.  “Kathy, Anna, I am so glad that you are here.”

Lady Katharine: “As are we, Lucy.”  Lady Katharine smiles [(11) right] and places her arm about Anna’s shoulder squeezing it.AnnaImageisEmilieFrancoisasMargaretinSense&Sensibility1995vlcsnap35m50s209Mar1613GratianaLovelaceCapMaskBigCropBlkDrs

Anna: “Thank you for inviting us, Lady Lucy.”  Anna curtsies demurely in her black mourning dress [(12) right]. “Eliza is not with you?”  She asks interestedly.

Lady Lucinda:  “No dear, Eliza is napping at present–having had her dinner earlier.  Perhaps we can sneak upstairs later to see her.” She smiles warmly at Anna.

Sir Percival:  “Kathy!  Anna!”  He says effusively while kissing their cheeks.  Then he shakes Lord Rafe’s hand.  “Rafe.”

Lord Rafe:  “Percival!”  Then he turns to his sister-in-law and kisses Lady Lucinda’s hand.  “My Lady.”

Sir Percival:  Then Sir Percival Southwick begins the new introductions.  “Lord and Lady Harriott, and David, may I introduce my sister, Lady Katharine, her new husband, Lord Rafe Wingate, and his daughter, Miss Anna Wingate.  Rafe, Kathy, and Anna, these are my mother and father-in-law, Lord and Lady Harriott, and my brother-in-law, David HaDavid-Harriott-image-is-of-RaymondCoulthard-as-Frank-Churchill-in-Emma1996May1913austenitisblogspotrriott who is at university at Oxford.”

Everyone smiles and bows or curtsies.  Anna has her eyes demurely lowered.  But when she looks up, she finds that the handsome 18 year old David Harriott [(13) right] is smiling warmly at her–and she smiles back at him.

Then as they move into the dining room, gestures are made as to seating–Lord Harriott at the end of the table, followed by Lady Katharine to his left, then his son David, then Anna. Then Lady Harriott at the other end of the table, followed by Lord Rafe to her left, Lady Lucinda to his left, and Sir Percival to her left and next to his father-in-law.

The dining table is set with two large multi-tiered candelabra’s bestowing light to the hungry people around the table.  In between them and of no more than a foot in height are lovely flower arrangements of pink and white roses, with purple violet accents.  The bone china and silver service are lovely, as are the crystal goblets for wine and water.  Then, in front of each dinner plate is a hand written menu detailing each of the three courses.

Then conversation begins around the table with each person talking to the person to their left, or right as the case may be.  This means that David and Anna begin a conversation. Though at first the conversation is mostly one sided because Anna is quite bowled over with how handsome David is.

David:  “Miss Anna, are you enjoying your stay in London?”  He asks pleasantly.  David has been tasked by his parents with seeing to their young guest this evening.  And he is pleased to note that the young Miss Anna seems charming and graceful–albeit, quite young.

Anna:  “Yes, thank you.”  She sips her water and samples her fruit cup.  Though she accepted the fish when the footman placed her plate on her charger, she is not sure that she wants to try it.  Most of the food she eats does not resemble the animal it came from as does a cooked lobster with part of its shell still on it.

David:  However, David likes lobster and takes a big bite of it, before noticing that Anna has not touched hers.  “Are you not fond of lobster, Miss Anna?”   He asks courteously.

Anna:  “Well.    I have not tasted it before.”  Her Grandmama’s meals have thus far been simple affairs–owing to the informality they adopt in their country home when they are just enfamille.

David:  “If I may suggest, lobster is usually improved by a bit of lemon and dousing it in butter–like this.”  He demonstrates with his food.  “Now you try.”  He smiles encouragingly.

Lord Rafe watches his daughter from across the table from and he smiles his encouragement to her.

Anna:  “Alright.”  Anna  squeezes the lemon wedge over her lobster. Then she haltingly succeeds in freeing a piece of lobster from its shell and douses it in the small melted butter dish at her place.  She lifts the lobster morsel out of the butter and holds it over her plate as the excess butter drips off from it.

David:  “Now put it in your mouth.”  He encourages.

Anna:  “I am waiting for it to stop dripping butter.  I do not want to soil my nice dress that Grandmama gave me.”

David:  “Ah!  I see that you are quite practical.  Here, do as I do.”  Then he takes his napkin from his lap and tucks it into the top of his vest.  None of the other diners are doing so, but they smile at him in amusement.

Anna:   She hesitates–not seeing her Papa Rafe nor Lady Katharine using this method of clothing protection. “I do not know if that is proper.”

Lord Rafe:  “Brilliant!   Ha ha ha!”  Lord Rafe smiles, then also tucks his napkin into the top of his vest and continues enjoying his lobster.

Anna’s eyes widen at her father’s actions.

Lady Katharine:  “Quite right, much better to enjoy this lovely meal without fear of soiling our pretty clothes.”  Then she tucks her napkin into her dress bodice.

Finally, everyone else in their extended family around the table does the same–and Anna follows suit.

Anna:  She closes her eyes and takes a bite of her lemon buttery lobster.   “ Hmmmm.   This is very good!”  Her eyes fly open and she smiles at David Harriott.

David:  “See!  Now you might not like every course of tonight’s dinner.”  Then he adds sotto voce. “I often do not like the fowl.  But try each food to find out if you like it.”

Anna:  “Thank you, I shall, David.”  She shyly tries out his name.  A small silence follows while everyone eats.  Anna looks appreciatively at David’s curly blond hair falling onto his jacket collar and his strong jaw.  Then she hesitantly asks.  “Have you been at university long?”

David:  “Just two years.  I am eighteen.”  He smiles warmly at her.  “And you, do you have a governess?”  He  surmises.

Anna: “Grandmama wants me to start tutoring with a governess when we return home to Dearing Manor.”  She nods her head.  “I had been going to a convent day school for the past five years.  But …” She stops, her eyes brimming with unshed tears for her dead Mama.  But Anna composes herself.

David:  “I am sorry about your loss, Miss Anna.  Lucy told us, it is very sad.”  He pats her shoulders as he would any child needing comfort.

Anna: She nods her head.  “Thank you, David.   I am just a bit overwhelmed with so many new things and new people the past two weeks.  I hope I am doing everything as I should.”  She reveals a bit of her insecurity in her new surroundings.

David:  “I am certain that you are.  But perhaps when you leave the hustle and bustle of London behind you after the Summer, you will have some time for quiet reflection.”  He smiles warmly at her.

Anna:  She looks up into David’s kind blue eyes.  “I hope so.  I do not know how long we will be in London.  With Lady Southwick’s illness, Lady Katharine wishes to stay close to her Mama as she recovers.”

David:  “Naturally.  But Percival tells us that Lady Katharine has a seaside resort in Essex that sounds pleasing and tranquil that you might enjoy after London.”

Anna:   “Yes, Papa Rafe and Kathy will go there when they leave London–while I return to Warwickshire with Grandmama.  Then Papa Rafe and Kathy promised to take me to her seaside estate in August.”  She smiles and continues eating.

And Lord Rafe has an idea that begins to form in his thoughts–regarding his and Lady Katharine’s upcoming sojourn to her seaside estate in Essex.

The rest of the meal is pleasant and not as messy–so the napkins are returned to everyone’s laps.

***

Then after dinner, the ladies go to the parlor, while the men–Lord Harriott and his son David, Sir Percival and Lord Rafe enjoy brandy and cigars.  Lady Lucinda uses the respite to sneak Anna into the nursery where Eliza sleeps–or so they think.

Lady Lucinda:  Whispering so as not awaken baby Eliza, Lady Lucinda walks over to her crib.

Nurse: The nurse stands and curtsies to her. “I just made Lady Eliza fresh, Milady.  So Lady Eliza has not fallen back to sleep yet.”

Eliza:  Lying on her back with her legs and arms in the air, moving them about, baby Eliza is clearly not asleep–nor like to be so any time soon.  “Buh buh buh.”

Lady Lucinda:  “Thank you.”  Then she turns to Anna with a gleeful grin.  “I think we will take Eliza down to the Parlor so that Kathy may also see her neice again.”

So Lady Lucinda picks up baby Eliza and carries her wrapped in a blanket down stairs.  Anna trails behind with some assorted baby toys that Lady Lucinda directs her to bring with her to help keep baby Eliza happy.

Lady Lucinda:  As they walk downstairs, Lady Lucinda asks Anna.  “Anna, what did you think of my brother, David?”

Anna:  “Oh!   He is very nice!  And he was very kind at dinner to me–about the lobster.”  Anna gushes.

Lady Lucinda:  “Well, he is a bit too full of himself if you ask me.  He had all the girls fawning over him at their coming out balls this Summer.”

Anna: “Oh?  Does that mean he likes them?” She pouts a little.

Lady Lucinda:  “I daresay he might.  But he likes the adulation more.  Then he tires of flirting with a young  lady as soon as he is secure in her interest and he moves on to the next conquest.  Men!”  She shakes her head.

Anna:  “Oh!”  Is all she says as she ponders what Lady Lucinda has just told her.

***

Meanwhile, Lady Katharine and Lady Harriott are having a polite conversation by themselves in the parlor.

Lady Harriott:  “I was sorry to learn of your Mama’s illness. How does she fare?”

Lady Katharine:   “Thank you for asking.  She is recovering slowly, but the doctor is hopeful.”

There is a brief silence while each woman searches for a topic to share.  They do not know  each other.  But, of course, they know of each other–apart from their family connection–caused by the scandal that rocked both families due to the false rumors circulated by Lady Montgrieve eight years ago.

Lady Harriott:  “I believe that you are newly married.  You are most generous to assume the care of little Anna.”  She knows of Anna’s birth–all London does by now.  But these things are glossed over with family and extended family.

Lady Katharine: “Thank you for your kind words.  But Anna is a sweetheart, and we get on well with each other.   I believe that Perce said you have recently returned from the continent?”

Lady Harriott:  “Yes.   With David’s schooling at university now, we want to be around to help him socialize with proper young ladies he might become acquainted with.   He attended several coming out balls this season–including yours–and he has several young ladies whom he likes.”

Lady Katharine:  “Oh?  Are you encouraging him to marry so young?”

Whilst it is not unusual for aristocratic women to marry between the ages of 16 and 20–tending to be closer to 20–young men usually wait until their mid to late twenties to marry–after they are finished with military service or established in a profession. [(14)]

Lady Harriott:  “Not at all.  But David would do well to become acquainted with families and their daughters now.  These connections will be invaluable in several years time when he does want to think about getting married.  Perhaps there will be a younger daughter who is fully grown by then.”

Lady Katharine:  “Uh huh.”  Having noticed Anna’s partiality for David at dinner–and his easy way of conversing with her, like she was a younger sibling–Lady Katharine is a bit concerned for Anna’s fragile emotions at the moment were David Harriott to treat her casually.

Lady Harriott:  Intuitively interpreting Lady Katharine’s pensive countenance, she offers.  “I love my son, Lady Katharine.  But I also know that he is a bit flighty at the moment when it comes to young ladies.  We just would not want any young lady to pin her hopes on him and then be disappointed.”  She says compassionately.

Lady Katharine:  “I thank you for your candor.”  She nods appreciatively.

***

Still sitting in the dining room with their brandy and cigars–a new experience for the recently 18 year old David Harriott–the men converse on a myriad of topics about politics and world events.  But then characteristically, their thoughts involve topics closer to home–family.

Lord Harriott:  “Lord Rafe, my son-in-law Percival tells me that your marriage to Lady Katharine was rather a sudden affair.”  He looks first at Sir Percival and then at Lord RafeLordRafe-image-is-RichardArmitageasJohnThornton-in-N&SEpi2-100-Mar1313ranetcropShrpBrtClr.

Lord Rafe:  “Yes!   I married Lady Katharine within two weeks of her coming out ball.  She is a jewel beyond compare and I knew my heart could love no other.”  Lord Rafe [(15) right] gushes with love written all over his face.

David:  “I danced with Lady Katharine at her ball.  She seemed  … seems very nice.”

Sir Percival:  “Kathy is nice–a darling younger sister.   We are five years apart in age.  I always doted on her.  And she adored me.”  He grins.

Lord Harriott:  “Lord Rafe, my son has attended several coming out balls early in the season.  He was a much sought after dance partner.”  Then he smiles at his son.  “You see, David.  Your dancing lessons were put to good use after all.  Ha ha ha ha ha!”

Lord Rafe:  “And David, I thank you for your kind solicitude to my daughter Anna this evening.   She is still very young.”

David:  “Yes, she seems young–but she is quite charming.” Lord Rafe nods his thanks for the compliment for his daughter.  “How old is Miss Anna?”  He asks with feigned disinterest.

Lord Rafe:  “She is eleven years.”

David:  “Ah, poor thing.  So young to lose her Mama.”  He shakes his head compassionately.  And David realizes that though his parents might want him to wait seven years to get married, he is already a virile young man with an appetite for love.   So he does not want to wait that long–as long as it would take for Anna to reach her 18th year.  “I fear that I will be an old married man by the time Miss Anna has her coming out ball.  Ha ha ha ha ha!”  He jests, but it seems to fall flat amongst the other men who look at him benignly.

What David fails to grasp is that with the circumstances of Anna’s birth, she is not likely to have a coming out ball, nor be presented at court–thus lessening her chances of making a good match, let alone among the nobility.

Lord Rafe:  “Rather.  Shall we join the ladies?”  He asks hoping to change the subject.  Lord Rafe perceives a quality in young David Harriott that reminds him so much of himself.  And he does not want that kind of man for his daughter.  Lord Rafe would rather Anna marry a reformed rake, rather than a rake in training.

Lord Harriott:  Shooting a perturbed look at his son, David, he agrees. “Yes.  After you, Lord Rafe.”

Then the men file out of the dining room and walk toward the parlor.

***

Lady Lucinda and Anna are just walking down the stairs when they see the men walking toward the parlor to join the ladies as they are doing.

Lady Lucinda:  “Perce!”   She calls out to him and he whips his head around to smile at his wife and child.

Sir Percival:  Striding toward the base of the stairs, he kisses his wife as she steps off the last stair.“Lucy!  I see our little creature has awakened.  Come to Papa, Eliza.”  He holds out his hands and his wife deposits baby Eliza in them.

Eliza:  “Buh buh buh.”  She holds out her little arms to her Papa.

Sir Percival:  “See!  I told you!”  He says excitedly to the men as he proudly shows off his daughter.  “She said  Papa!  Her first word was Papa!”

Lady Lucinda:  “Oh Perce.  Ha!   Unless you want to be Buh-buh to her all her life, we should teach her to say it properly.”

Lord Harriott and the other men smile bemusedly at Sir Percival.  But Sir Percival is so engrossed in his daughter that he does not notice.

They all walk into the parlor, with Anna trailing behind.

David: “Keep up, little one.  You do not want to get left behind. Ha ha ha!”  He jokes.

Anna:  Though Anna views David’s remark as being a tad condescending.   She is eleven after all, a young lady and no longer a girl.  Remembering what Lady Lucinda said about her brother being full of himself, she quips.   “Now, now, David. I am right behind them.”  Then she strides past an astonished David Harriott, who then scrambles to catch up to her.

Lady Harriott and Lady Katharine stand and smile as the rest of their part joins them.

Lady Katharine: “Ooh!  Baby Eliza is with you.  May I hold her, Lucy?”

Sir Percival: “I am the one holding her at the moment.  Why not ask me?”

Lady Lucinda:  She rolls her eyes and shakes her head at her husband. Mothers have dominion over children and over their husbands. “Yes, of course, Kathy.”  Then Lady Lucinda transfers baby Eliza to Lady Katherine.

Lady Katherine sits on the sette with Anna to one side of her and Lord Rafe on the other side of her.  Everyone smiles at the family tableaux.

Lord Rafe:  Whispering to his wife.  “You look so lovely holding baby Eliza.”

Lady Katharine:  “I adore babies.”  She sighs as she looks up to him.  Then she kisses baby Eliza’s forehead.    Eliza swings her arms around and catches one of Lady Katharine’s brunette ringlets in her grasps and pulls.  “Ouch!  Ha ha ha!  You little minx!   You are a graspy thing.”

Sir Percival:  “Well, just watch out that she does not grab your jewelry.  She latched onto Grandmere’s pearl necklace so tightly that she gave it to her–asking Lucy to wear it until Eliza is old enough.”  He smiles at his wife who self-consciously touches the pearl necklace around her neck.

Anna:  “Little ones …”  She uses the phrase purposely in front of David. “… can be precious.  I think my 3 year old cousin Lottie will have her wished for kitten before much longer.”

Lord Rafe: “Oh?  I thought my sister was adamant against pets?”

Lord and Lady Harriott look on in amusement.

David:  “Go on, Anna.  Tell us why you think your cousin will get her kitten.”

Anna: “Lottie’s five year old brother scared her at tea in the Park Pavillion the other day by saying that when the zoo is built the zoo animals would eat her.”

Lord Rafe: “My word!  Henry is such a little demon sometimes.  Ha ha ha ha ha!”

Anna: “I suppose.”  She smiles sweetly.  Then she looks straight at David Harriott and says.  “Boys will be boys.” Then she rolls her eyes.  The implication being that she thinks of David as a boy.

David: “Miss Anna, I hope that you do not think all boys or young men are alike.”  He stands up tall and proud.

Anna: “Oh no, David.” She bats her eyes at him.  “I know that some boys are nice young men.”

David:  “Thank you!”  He puffs up pridefully.

Anna: “I was not speaking about you, David.”  She looks at him in feigned perplexity.  His parents try not to smile at their son’s punctured pride.  “Though you seem nice, I have only met you this evening.  I was speaking of Stuart.”  She ends with a flourish.

Lady Katharine:  “Ah!  Stuart is a nice young man.”  She smiles at Anna, then at David, and then at Lady Harriott.

Lady Harriott is trying to contain her amusement at her son not being the center of at least one young lady’s attention, Miss Anna Wingate.

Sir Percival:  “May we ask who this Stuart is?” He wonders if it is a village boy that Anna knew.

Lord Rafe:  “Stuart is the son of my oldest friend and best man at my wedding, Sir Collin MacGregor–Squire and Magistrate of Oxford in Oxfordshire county.  I daresay that Sir Collin will stand for Parliament one day.  And no doubt young Stuart will follow in his foot steps.”

David: “Oh.  So Sir Collin is an attorney?” David asks, hoping that the title of Sir is an honorary one.    David would not admit it, but he is a trifle jealous that Miss Anna prefers someone other than him.  In David Harriott’s experience, he has always been the one preferred by young ladies.

Lord Rafe:  Lord Rafe stands and walks over to David.  “No.  Though Sir Collin has studied the law, his wealth allows him to choose how he wishes to spend his life.  My friend did the crown a service and was awarded his title for life.”

Anna:  “That is nice. That Stuart’s Papa did something for others and was recognized for it.”

Lady Lucinda:  Seeing the pout on her brother’s face, she tries to smile benignly–though she is greatly amused at the adroit way young Anna has manipulated her brother, rather than the other way around. “Anna, would you like to hold Eliza?”

Anna:  “Yes please!”  She nods cheerfully.  Baby Eliza is tiring and getting very sleepy again as Anna gently rocks her in her arms.  “You are so precious, Eliza. I hope that I will get to see you often.  And you must meet Lottie.  She will love you.”

Lady Harriott:  Raising her eyebrow at their butler, then looking at her grandchild, he nods then whispers to a footman who leaves the room. Then Lady Harriot sits next to Anna on the sette–with Lady Katharine on the other side of her.   “Miss Anna, dear.  May I hold my grandchild before she is put to bed?”

Anna:  “Of course, Lady Harriott.”  Anna smiles as Lady Harriott takes her  now sleeping grandchild from her.

Lady Harriot:  “Sleeping babies are such a blessing.  Mine were always too excitable to take their rest except due to exhaustion from play or some unknown distress.  Ha!”

Lady Lucinda:  “Now Mama, surely I was not that bad.”  She looks askance at her Mama.

Lord Harriott:  “Perhaps not you, Lucy dear.  But David ?  Hhhhh!”  He shakes his head  and says rather saucily.   “I had more sleep the night we conceived David than in the first six months of his life.”

David:  “Papa!”  He exclaims in horror for his Papa admitting to their assembled guests that he was conceived.

Everyone laughs:  “Ha ha ha ha ha!”  They are extended family, after all.

But Anna looks on quizzically, wondering what conceived means.  However, she senses that it would not be polite for her to ask while in mixed company–family and friends–so she keeps silent, for now, and merely smiles.

Eventually, the nurse comes to take Eliza up to her bed and then everyone else files out as well with thanks and well wishes.

**

Anna and her Papa Rafe and Kathy had a lovely evening with Lady Katharine’s brother Sir Percival and his wife’s family the Harriott’s.  But it was another long day and Anna falls asleep on the carriage ride back to her grand parents’ London home.  This gives Lord Rafe and Lady Katharine some private time to speak in whispers.

Lady Katharine:  “Poor Anna, we have completely tired her out.”  She kisses Anna’s sleeping brow.

Lord Rafe: “I know.”  He smiles and runs his finger over the back of Anna’s hand tucked into his hand. “But I have to say,  Anna gave young David Harriott a neat little run tonight worthy of any young lady. Ha ha ha!”

Lady Katharine: “Yes she did.   I remember dancing with David at my ball.  He was quite full of himself–looking around at everyone else, rather than at me.”  She pouts.

Lord Rafe:  “I trust that my undivided attention for you when we danced pleased you.”

Lady Katharine: “It unsettled me.  I had never been around men who were not in my family until that point.”

Lord Rafe: “So your mother kept you locked up like a nun?”  He asks amusingly.

Lady Katharine:  “Quite so.” She nods her head.

Lord Rafe:  “And do you like being married, my Angel?”  He grins mischievously, desirously.

Lady Katharine:  Blushing with warmth, she admits.  “I do.”

Lord Rafe:  He looks down at his sleeping daughter’s peaceful face.  “A thought occurred to me as Anna and David were talking tonight–when he comforted her as she told him how overwhelming the past two weeks have been for her.”

Lady Katharine: “Oh?”

Lord Rafe: “I think Anna needs a quiet place without social engagements to just rest and reflect as she mourns her Mama.”  He looks longingly at his wife.

Lady Katharine:  She perks up her eyebrow.  “My seaside estate is Essex is peaceful.  We could take her with us when we go there, rather than wait until August.”

Lord Rafe: “Thank you, Katharine.  That is just what I hoped. And it will allow the three of us to get to know each other better as a family.”

Lady Katharine: “I agree.  If Mama continues to improve, we might consider going sometime this week.”

Lord Rafe: “That will be lovely.”

Lord Rafe and Lady Katharine lean toward each other and kiss [(16) right] over a sleeping LordRafe&LadyKatekissingisofRichardArmitageasJTandDanielaDenbyAsheasMHfromNandSepi4-340Mar2512ranetcropMedBrtShrpAnna’s head.   It will be a loving night ahead of them, but first they must get Anna tucked in her bed at Lord Rafe’s parents home and then head to the Southwick home to their bed.  But soon, Lord Rafe and Lady Katharine’s family will be under one roof–when they and Anna head to the seaside in Essex.

To be continued with Chapter 22

References

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) Portrait of Lord & Lady Wingate as a newly married couple is a composite of the Sir Joshua Reynolds portrait of George Townsend found at http://www.bluesurfart.com/images/rep_reynolds/reynolds152.jpg and a Sir Joshua Reynolds portrait of the early 1800’s actress Mrs. Frances Abington. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Joshua_Reynolds_-_Mrs_Abington.jpg   and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frances_Abington

3)  A description of the Napoleanic wars was found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napoleonic_Wars ; the Duc de Avignon name is not historical for the Battle of Trefalgar, I made it up.

4) Corinthian capital column description and history was found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corinthian_order ;  and the image of a Corinthian capital at the Getty Villa was found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Getty_column.jpg )

5) Charlotte/Lottie image (cropped, hi-res, sharpened and dress darkened) 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

6) The London Zoo was chartered in1826 by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and built by 1828;  information was found at http://www.zsl.org/about-us/history/

7) Lady Katharine image is of Carla Gugino as Nan St. George from a production still of the 1995 Masterpice miniseries, The Buccanneers and was found at http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-8Ng2WJ_qx9E/TwyKu8P3zsI/AAAAAAAABig/XP8TDkVYbt4/s400/the+buccaneers+still+1.jpg

8) Lady Charmaine image is Michelle Pfeiffer in Cheri-107629 May1913movieplayer-it  and was found at http://images.movieplayer.it/2009/03/07/un-primo-piano-della-belle-michelle-pfeiffer-in-cheri-107629.jpg

9) Lady Esmѐ Sinclair  image is  of Catherine Deneuve  at Cannes in 2000 at age 64 and was found at http://www.info-stars.com/stars/cache/220px-Catherine_deneuve2.jpg

10)    History of Lunch versus Dinner was found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunch  and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dinner

11) Lady Katharine in black gown is a composite Image of:
a) Carla Gugino as Nan in The Buccaneers 1995epi2 28mpix218 Mar2313GratianaLovelaceCapMaskHi-ResHairRev; and
b) the purple gown I changed to black found at http://www.freewebs.com/behindthetapestry/1820eveningdress.htm

12)  Anna Image (dress color changed to black from blue) is Emilie Francois as Margaret Dashwood in “Sense & Sensibility” (1995) vlcsnap35m50s209 Mar1613 Gratiana Lovelace Cap MaskClrBrtShrp

13) David Harriott image is of Raymond Coulthard as Frank Churchill in Emma 1996 May1913austenitisblogspot was found at

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-Lg9Rbl861Vg/TmpeGwNTR1I/AAAAAAAAARw/6uSrVrre5e8/s1600/meet+frank+churchill+9+%25282%2529.jpg

14)  Marriageable age history  information was found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marriageable_age

15) Lord Rafe Wingate image (cropped, brightened, flipped) is Richard Armitage as John Thornton in North & South 2004 http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode2/ns2-100.jpg

16) ) Image (cropped, brt, shrp)  representing Lord Rafe and Lady Katharine kissing is of John Thornton (as portrayed by Richard Armitage) and Margaret Hale (as portrayed by Daniela Denby Ashe) in the BBC’s 2004 production of North & South, episode 4 (Pix 340) and was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode4/slides/ns4-340.html

“Love is a Choice”, Previous Story Link to Ch. 20 is:

https://gratianads90.wordpress.com/2013/05/12/love-is-a-choice-ch-20-pg-the-wingates-bring-anna-to-london-during-lady-southwicks-initial-recovery-part-1-may-12-2013-gratiana-lovelace-post-408/

About Gratiana Lovelace

Gratiana Lovelace is my nom de plume for my creative writing and blogging. I write romantic stories in different sub genres. The stories just tumble out of me. My resurgence in creative writing occurred when I viewed the BBC miniseries of Elizabeth Gaskell's novel North & South in February 2010. The exquisitely talented British actor portraying the male lead John Thornton in North & South--Richard Crispin Armitage--became my unofficial muse. I have written over 50 script stories about love--some are fan fiction, but most are original stories--that I am just beginning to share with others on private writer sites, and here on my blog. And as you know, my blog here is also relatively new--since August 2011. But, I'm having fun and I hope you enjoy reading my blog essays and my stories. Cheers! Grati ;-> upd 12/18/11
This entry was posted in "Love is a Choice" story, Creative Writing, Drama, Family, Fan Fiction, Love and Relationships, Period Drama, Richard Armitage, Romance and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to “Love is a Choice”, Ch. 21 (PG-13): The Wingates with Anna in London Part 2, May 19, 2013 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #409)

  1. Tereza says:

    Hi,Gratiana!| Glad you are back again. I hope your eyes are better.I miss you! Have a great weekend!
    Hugs!

    Like

    • Hi Tereza,
      Thanks for your nice note! I miss you and everyone, too! Have a great week!.

      My eyes are slow to heal–though at this point, we’re just trying to lessen the vision deterioration and pain. Resting them from computers is one thing that lessens my eye strain and pain–hence my being offline last week, and probably this coming week.

      But I do check email every other day, so I see notifications that I can either respond to then or next weekend when I’m online again.

      Love & Hugs! Grati ;->

      Like

  2. aj daisy says:

    I really love this story. It’s something to look forward to on Sunday teatime. Thank You

    Like

    • Hi AJ Daisy,
      Thank you for your kind note! I’m so glad that you enjoy this story. We have several more Sundays of Chapters until the end–unless I extend it. Ha!
      Have a great week! Cheers! Grati ;->

      Like

  3. May 19, 2013–Here is my Wattpad link for Ch. 21 of “Love is a Choice” for those who prefer to read it there:

    http://www.wattpad.com/17285902-love-is-a-choice-by-gratiana-lovelace-3-15-13-ch#!p=1

    Like

  4. Pingback: “Love is a Choice”, Ch. 22 (R rated): A Visit to the Seaside at Essex Brings Soothing Calm and Reflection Part 1, May 26, 2013 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #411) | Something About Love (A)

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