[An Original Historical Fiction Fan adaptation of the characters from the BBC’s Robin Hood; & a Sequel to “Sir Guy’s Dilemma”(Book 2) by Gratiana Lovelace]
(All Rights Reserved; No copyright infringement intended)
[From time to time, I will illustrate my story with my dream cast of: Richard Armitage as Sir Guy of Gisborne, Clive Standen as Lord Archer of Locksley, Emma Watson as Lady Roseanna Gisborne, Tommy Bastow as the young Seth Gisborne, Lucy Griffiths as the spectre of Lady Marian, James McAvoy as Lord George Middleton, Toby Stephens as Prince/King John, Dakota Fanning as Lady Caroline Havorford, Chris Hemsworth as Sir Roderick Merton, Tamsin Egerton as Lady Rebecca Oxbridge Merton, Lee Ross as Sir Jasper, Sir Derek Jacobi as Fr. Bale, Judi Dench as Mother Superior, David Harewood as Brother Tuck, Kevin McKidd as Lord John Oxbridge Earl of Leicester, and Lucy Griffiths as Lady Anne/Marian, Sam Troughton as Much, and Gordon Kennedy as Little John, etc.]
Author’s Mature Content Note: “Sir Guy’s Atonement” is a story of romance and intrigue set amidst Medieval times. As such there will be some passages in this story involving heartfelt love scenes (S) and some passages involving highly dramatic moments (D). 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: Traveling by horse as they ride along the carriage and wagon caravan containing Lord Archer’s Locksley family joining them in returning to the Gisborne-Middleton Manor, Baron Guy and his son Seth have a frank talk about Baron Guy’s childhood and his past with Seth’s mother. It is a lot for the not quite eleven year old Seth to understand–it would be for an adult. Yet Baron Guy strives to be honest to a fault with his son in future to hopefully allay his son’s concerns. Meanwhile, Baron Guy’s wife Lady Roseanna has a houseful to tend to. And Lord John Oxbridge needs to become better acquainted with his children.
Sir Guy’s Atonement” (Book 3), Ch. 41 (PG-13) A Day Like Any Other
Earlier that Friday morning of July 11th, 1199 at Gisborne-Middleton Manor, it has begun like any other day. The Gisborne and Oxbridge children being roused from their beds by their nurses, bathed, dressed, and presented for the morning meal with their Mama Lady Roseanna Baroness Gisborne–after she has patially nursed her now almost weaned ten month old baby Lady Diana before giving her some mashed foods.
Lady Roseanna is still worried by their son Seth running away after learning Baron Guy had been the one to stab Lady Anne/Marian and nearly kill her–and with her husband Baron Guy having hurried to Nottingham in hopes of finding Seth there. Their guests Brother Tuck, Lady Anne/Marian, and their cousin Lord John Oxbridge Earl of Leicester also join them at table.
But it is Lady Roseanna’s brother, Lord George Middleton who gallops over from his nearby larger manor home known as Middleton Hall, and barges in on the family morning meal of eggs, toast, jam, and such. Sauntering into the airy conservatory room used for their morning meals because it is bright and faces the garden, Lord George [(2) right] invites himself to partake of their morning meal.
Lord George: “Morning, Rosie! Might you have room for one more at table?”
Lady Roseanna: “Of course, George.” She replies graciously–despite him using her family childhood nickname. Her brother had been enormously helpful when the estates search of Seth ensued yesterday.
So despite Lord George eating her out of manor and home with his frequenty popping in around mealtimes, Lady Roseanna will not tease him about it this morning. Though Lady Roseanna does wonder if she should loan one of her assistant cooks to his wife, her sister-in-law, Lady Mary for her household in hopes of helping Middleton Hall to provide more enticing meals.
Gisborne children: “Uncle!”
The Gisborne children–Lady Helen, Louis, and little Lady Sarah–greet their uncle enthusiastically and wave happily at their gregarious uncle, but they remain seated. Their decorum is improving in that regard, but they are still just children.
Lord George: “Children!” Lord George walks around the dining table and hugs the children or pats their heads.Then he dishes up a plate for himself from the buffet and he sits down to eat.
Lord John: “Cousin! Any news about Seth?” Lord John Oxbridge asks before biting into some deliciously fluffy scrambled eggs.
Lord John does not ask about Baron Guy, because he is still incensed to learn that it was Baron Guy who caused his love Lady Anne/Marian’s injuries. And it is a miracle that he was able to coax Lady Anne/Marian to join him at table this morn since they have been secluded since midday yesterday as Lady Anne absorbed the news about her past, that she vexingly still does not remember.
Lady Roseanna: “Well? What is the news?” Lady Roseanna is miffed because as she is Seth’s Mama, any note should have rightly come to her. And of course as Seth’s Mama, Lady Roseanna [(3) right] is eager to hear news that he is safe.
Lord George: “Archer has Seth in Nottingham. Archer says that he will await what he presumes will be Guy coming to fetch Seth. Then they will all travel here this day–to arrive some time later this afternoon.”
Lady Roseanna: “Archer and Saline and the children, too?” She asks interestedly. Lord George nods. Then Lady Rose ever so slightly turns to their butler who steps forward. “Please inform the housekeeper that the Earl of Huntington and his family will join us for a several days visit today. Ask her to please make certain that their usual bedchambers are made ready.”
Butler: “Yes, My Lady.” He bows and leaves to attend to his task.
Br. Tuck: “My Lady Roseanna, If I am needed to remove to the guest quarters in the stables, I am ready to do so.” He smiles helpfully. He is accustomed to less luxurious appointments than his guest bed chamber affords him.
Lady Roseanna: “Thank you, but no Tuck. We should be fine. Though if any other family turns up, they will be under your charge, brother.” She raises her eyebrow at Lord George. Gisborne-Middleton Manor is a large home with 8 family bedchambers and four guest bedchambers. But with five children already, and her current slate of guests, Lady Roseanna has a houseful.
Lord George: “Of course! Happy to oblige.” Lord George smiles. Because apart from the Talkingtons–Lord Archer’s wife Lady Saline’s parents and her younger brother Charles–and Lord George’s wife’s parents the Havorfords with a third sister in tow, there are no other family members nearby. Or so he thinks.
After their meal, the children are allowed to play some croquet out on the lawn, lead by their Uncle George–who is a prodigious croquet player. He fancies his prowess helped him win his wife Lady Mary. Actually, it was his own slightly shy ways, yet charming manner in bringing the shy Lady Mary into conversations that forever endeared him to her.
And then later, everyone decides to picnic on the lawn while they await Seth’s return–after inviting Lord George’s wife and children and her sister Lady Caroline to join them. Though, Br. Tuck elects to remain at Gisborne-Middleton Manor in quiet contemplation and prayer. So the Gisborne-Middleton Manor estate becomes quite a multi-family affair. The children are wearing their play clothes–a concept that Lady Roseanna introduced to her children and it was adopted by the rest of her family, partially due to her own love of less restrictive clothing when she was younger.
The children’s attire is of plain fabric and simple design to allow for ease movement and play–without the worry of getting one of their finer garments torn or dirty. They can run and play and be children without the burdens of their station as nobles inhibiting them. To anyone coming upon the Gisborne-Middleton-Oxbridge children in their plain attire, the children might appear to be like any of the village children–but for their pretty manners, which are still in evidence.
And Lord John Oxbridge decides to employ the occasion of the picnic to get to know his children better–and for Lady Anne/Marian to get to know his children. Being absent from their lives for three years weighs heavily on Lord John’s hear. He has missed so much of their young lives. And he silently vows to make it up to them. Lord John carries a basket of food in one hand and his three year old son’s Lord Graham’s hand in the other. Lady Marian carries a blanket for them all to sit upon to prevent grass stains on her simple postulant robe garment and she holds the hand of little two year old Lady Rachel.
Lord John is also a knight comfortable with organizing his soldiers. With his hand carrying the picnic basket, Lord John points to a tree about twenty feet away from where Lady Roseanna is sitting with her brood. Lord George and his family are under a tree even farther still.
Lady Anne/Marian: “That is a fine spot, Lord John. Come Lady Rachel.” Lady Anne/Marian [(4) right] smiles benignly down at the little girl holding her hand, who looks up at the pretty lady and smiles back.
Little Lady Rachel misses her Mama Lady Rebecca, but she looks forward to seeing her Mama soon–that is what cousin Lady Roseanna has told her in the hope that it will be true. And little Lady Rachel’s second year has not been as trying as Little Lord Graham’s two’s were. But then, Little Lord Graham’s brashness is definitely an inherited trait from his father Lord John Oxbridge, Earl of Leicester.
Still shy about this large man who he is told is his father, Little Lord Graham looks uncertainly at his cousin Lady Roseanna–whom he has been in company with often and therefore trusts her like he would his absent Mama Lady Rebecca.
Lady Roseanna: “It is alright, Graham. Go sit with your Papa and Lady Anne.” She says soothingly and smiles caringly at the little boy.
Lord Graham: “Very well, My Lady.” He bows as he has been taught. Lord Graham [(5) right] is his father’s heir, and the future Earl of Leicester. Then Little Lord Graham marches over to the tree to be ready to help with the blanket spreading. “May I assist you, Lady Anne?” He likes this part–of pulling out the blanket and fluffing it up. It is an important job to do, he reasons–else, they have no place on which to sit and eat their midday picnic meal.
Lord John smiles at his son’s courtesy and eagerness for the picnic. And he realizes that he is looking at a younger version of himself in his son’s form and in his son’s manner. Hoping to break the ice as he opens their picnic basket and lays out their picnic food, Lord John chats amiably.
Lady Rachel: “I like picnics!” Little Lady Rachel claps her hands together as she sits politely waiting for food to be given to her. Though she is hungry from their morning croquet play, it would not be good manners for her to lunge for the food. And she has found that if she waits patiently, people feed her.
Lady Anne/Marian: “I like picnics, too. And you, Lord Graham? Do you like picnics?” Lady Anne/Marian smiles at the young boy.
Lord Graham: “I do. What food did they give us?” He licks his lips. He is hungry. And afterall, he is only three years old.
Lord Oxbridge: “Well, let us see. Hmmm. We seem to have some chicken and some apples and some carrots.” Lord John sets each plate or bowl out upon the picnic blanket for the children to view. “And we have some milk and ale.” The flagons are set out as well. “But I do not see any bread.” Lord John pouts. He likes bread.
Lady Anne/Marian: “Look!” She points in the direction of the younger Gisborne children heading their way with a gift of bread.
The Gisborne children–six year old Lady Helen, four year old Louis, and two year old Lady Sarah–are polite and courteous, and scandalously unshod with their toes peeking between the blades of grass. Where their shoes have gotten to is anyone’s guess. Lady Roseanna is not so particular about shoes when they are in their play clothes. And Little Lady Sarah especially likes the feel of the grass between her toes.
Lady Helen: Smiling politely, Lady Helen explains. “Mama sends her apologies. We had your bread loaf in our picnic basket.” She curtsies, then hands Lord John his bread.
Lord John: “Thank you, Lady Helen, children.” He smiles and bows his head from his seated position. The Gisborne children curtsy, then return to their Mama and to their picnic lunch.
Little Lady Rachel tugs at Lady Anne/Marian’s postulant’s robe, then whispers to her as she points with her tiny index finger.
Lady Rachel: “Toes.”
Lady Anne/Marian: “Ah.” Her smile widening at the little girl’s implied request, Lady Anne/Marian turns to Lord John. “Lord John, shall we fashion ourselves as the Gisborne’s do and dispense with our shoes as well?” Lady Anne/Marian does not wait for a reply as she slips off Little Lady Rachel’s shoes, to the child’s infinite delight. Then Lady Anne/Marian removes her own shoes. She and the little girl then wiggle their toes at each other.
Lord John’s eyes widen as he blanches. He has not seen a ladies toes–nor anything else–for three years. And to see her toes, Lady Anne/Marian’s toes, unsettles him as his thoughts turn to considering Lady Anne/Marian’s bare ankles as well–and he blushes and breathes more quickly. Then Lord John tries to distract himself with the admonitions about bare feet he received when he was a child. He was taught that to be unshod at any time is highly improper–unless one is in one’s bath, or preparing to retire and sleep. And one should certainly not put their feet on display, he thinks. Besides, as a soldier, Lord John has had little opportunity to avail himself of good foot grooming habits–despite his six month convalescence, or perhaps, because of it.
Lord Graham nervously examines his Papa’s discomfiture. If his Papa does not remove his shoes, then Lord Graham will not remove his own shoes. But Lord Graham really wants to remove his shoes. His sister is only two years old and one might expect such toe baring behavior out of her. And if to prove her brazenness, Little Lady Rachel crawls over to her Papa to show him her toes.
Lady Rachel: “See my toes, Papa!” She pats her Papa’s face as Lord John smiles sheepishly at her.
Lady Anne/Marian: “Ha ha ha ha ha!” She laughs at her companion Lord John’s, slight but lessening discomfiture.” “Oh go on, John! Have some fun. Take off your shoes.”
Little Lady Rachel crawls back to Lady Anne/Marian’s lap.
Lady Rachel: “Toes, Papa!” She claps her hands together.
Little Lord Graham looks expectantly at his father. He would really like to go shoeless like the other children. And Lord John realizes that this is one of those moments when personal decorum be damned. Rolling his eyes as he bows to the pressure from the lady he loves and from his children, Lord John removes his shoes. Then Little Lord Graham eagerly removes his shoes.
Lord John: “Hhhhh! My apologies everyone. But my feet are a soldier’s feet. They have been in battles and waged wars.”
Little Lord Graham looks at his father’s very large feet–calloused, scarred, and hairy, like an ogre’s feet from bedtime stories. Then Lord Graham looks at his own small feet that are soft and pale and pinkish–with nary a hair anywhere.
Lord Graham: “Papa? Will my feet look like your feet one day?”
Lord John: “Possibly.” Lord John nods. Lord Graham bites his lower lip wincingly. “Is that a problem?” He asks in jest.
Lord Graham: “No. But I wonder if the cobbler will have enough leather to make us both shoes when I am older?”
Lord John snatches up his son into his arms and bellows out a hearty laugh.
Lord John: “Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!”
Lord Graham: Giggling. “Ha ha ha ha ha! Papa!”
Lord John: Gladdened to hear his son and heir call him Papa, Lord John hugs little Lord Graham close in his arms, looking down upon his cherubic face with love and pride. “Not to fear, little one. We will make certain there are shoes for your bigger feet when you are older.”
Lord Graham: “Thank you, Papa.” He smiles happily up into the eyes of the big man who is his Papa.
The picnicking and afternoon continues on in a similarly pleasant fashion as Lord John learns that his son Graham would like a puppy–but not as big as Seth’s dog Prince. Little Lord Graham has quite specific requirements for a dog as to color and snout and fur. And Lord John promises to work on the notion of his son wanting a puppy. And Lord John also learns that his daughter Rachel likes flowers as she gathers an armful of wildflowers from the nearby field and brings them back to their picnic blanket. Then Lady Anne/Marian shows the little girl how to weave the flowers together and they make wreaths of flowers for each of their heads. Little Lady Rachel is delighted with this girlish play and then she eventually falls asleep for her afternoon nap in Lady Anne/Marian’s arms. Lord Graham also dozes off contentedly, in his father’s arms.
Lord John and Lady Anne/Marian gaze upon each other meaningfully. They have not pledged themselves to each other because Lord John is not free–he is married. Though he was technically declared dead and his wife Lady Rebecca remarried Sir Roderick Merton, and Lady Rebecca is with child from her new husband. It is a tangled mess. But still, they each harbor a small hope of their being husband and wife one day–though Lady Anne/Marian, especially as a postulant nun, will not express it to him. And with her life having so much uncertainty and disappointment in it since her injuries, she feels it is, perhaps, unwise for her to aspire to having love and a husband–especially with this man, Lord John Oxbridge Earl of Leicester.
Yet, the pull of this lovely blissful day intrudes upon Lord John’s common sense as he leans over and he softly kisses a blushing Lady Anne/Marian upon her lips. She permits his kiss, because she knows that he will not do more that would compromise her, when he is not free. But they each think that the four of them would make a very nice little family. Eventually, Lord John and Lady Anne/Marian lie down beside the sleeping children and doze off themselves.
Lord John dreams of hearing a carriage approaching in the distance and then he finds that Lady Roseanna is waking him up by gently nudging his shoulder. Lady Anne/Marian and the children are still asleep.
Lady Roseanna: “I am sorry to awaken you, but they have arrived.” She states cryptically in a hushed voice.
Lord John: “Baron Guy and Seth have returned?”
Lady Roseanna: “No, not yet. We expect them shortly.” She looks stricken–wishing her husband Baron Guy were here to help with this most delicate situation. “John, it is your wife Lady Rebecca and her new husband Sir Roderick Merton who have returned from his estate in Staffordshire. They ask to speak to you privately before George will invite them to stay at his manor while everything is worked out between you.”
Lord John in stunned beyond belief. The time is upon him to confront his wife about her remarriage. And the words escape him as he looks hesitantly up into his cousin Lady Roseanna’s caring face.
To be continued with Chapter 42
“Sir Guy’s Atonement” (Book 3), Ch. 41 References, June 22, 2015 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #772)
1) My story cover for “Sir Guy’s Atonement” is a composite image of:
a) Sir Guy portrayed by Richard Armitage found at richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/RobinHood/album/seasonthree/Episodefive/slides/5_086.jpg (crop-hair-manip-hi-res); and
b) The spectre image of Lady Marian is that of Lucy Griffiths who portrayed Lady Marian in the BBC series Robin Hood from 2006-2009 and was found at Hamilton Hodell Talent Management at http://www.hamiltonhodell.co.uk/cv/client_lucy-griffiths_id_100044.htm; image found at
2) Image (cropped) of Lord George Middleton is that of James McAvoy portraying Tom LeFroy in “Becoming Jane” and was found at http://fc01.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2011/156/8/2/james_mcavoy_by_forgottenanime-d3i3b74.jpg
3) Lady Roseanna image (masked with different background) is that of British actress Emma Watson and was found at https://nyoobserver.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/emma.jpg
4) The image of Lady Anne/Marian is a composite image:
a) that of Lucy Griffiths who portrayed Lady Marian in the BBC series Robin Hood from2006-2009 and was found at Hamilton Hodell Talent Management at http://www.hamiltonhodell.co.uk/cv/client_lucy-griffiths_id_100044.htm;
b) and of the modified wimple was masked from http://www.aveleyman.com/ActorCredit.aspx?ActorID=4524; for more about wimples, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wimple;
c) and a Photoshop Elements teakwood or gold background
5) Little Lord Graham Oxbridge at 3 years old is represented by a painting titled Young Boy Writingby Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun that was found at http://www.1st-art-gallery.com/thumbnail/186363/1/Young-Boy-Writing.jpg ; for more information about this painting, please visit http://www.1st-art-gallery.com/Elisabeth-Vigee-Lebrun/Young-Boy-Writing.html
6) Lord John Oxbridge image is a composite of two Kevin McKidd images :
a) body and background found at http://www.kevinmckiddonline.com/uploads/2/0/2/4/202457/76376.jpg;
b) head found at http://i2.dailyrecord.co.uk/incoming/article925860.ece/BINARY/kevin-mckidd-image-6-748739633.jpg
“Sir Guy’s Atonement” (Book 3), Previous Ch. 40 Blog Link with embedded illustrations (Post #769)