[From time to time, I will illustrate my story characters with: Emma Hamilton as Lady Madeline Sinclair, Richard Armitage as Lord Christian Blount Earl of Sussex, Emma Lady Hamilton as Lady Madeline Sinclair, Dame Maggie Smith as Lady Lucretia Beckham Knott, Polly Mabrey as Lady Elizabeth Blount, Crispin Bonham-Carter as Lord Harold Blount, Dame Judi Dench as Lady Catherine Blount the Dowager Countess of Sussex, and others as noted.]
Authors Content Note: “Encouragement” is a frothy love story with sometimes humorous and sometimes dramatic themes of love and relationships. It will mostly be at the PG and PG-13 movie levels. Specific chapters or passages may have a further rating of: D for dramatic emotions, and LS for love scenes that are tenderly sensuous and not explicit. And I will rate the chapters accordingly. If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with the ratings that I provide for a chapter, then please do not read that chapter. This is my disclaimer. And as is my habit, I will summarize the previous chapter’s events at the beginning of each chapter.
Author’s recap from the previous chapter: Lady Madeline’s and Lord Christian’s early Saturday mornings began separately. But their paths will soon converge as he seeks to apologize for his appalling behavior toward her at her ball and then woo her to be his bride—for her dowry to have funds to dower his own sister, Lady Lizzie. Yet, that is not his only motivation, were he to examine his heart more closely. And Lady Madeline not thinking to aspire to a match that would make her a countess, instead focuses upon what her heart wants—the ends, of which, are one and the same.
“Encouragement”, Ch. 7: Waltzing Apologia
Almost as soon as Lady Madeline and her Grandmama Lady Lucretia Beckham Knott arrive at Sussex House at Lord Christian’s invitation, Lady Lizzie Blount quickly spirits Lady Madeline up the stairs to her bed chamber for a private chat. As they walk into Lady Lizzie’s bed chamber—a suite of rooms really, with a sitting room, bed chamber, dressing room and bath—Lady Madeline notes the beautiful grand style of the room, while also noticing its fading grandeur in worn rugs and faded bed hangings.
Lady Madeline: Smiling diplomatically, Lady Madeline compliments her hostess. “Oh, Lizzie! This room is gorgeous! And so large! Do you ever get lost? Ha ha ha ha ha!”
Lady Lizzie: “Ha ha ha ha ha!” Lady Lizzie giggles with pride at the compliment. “It was my Grandmother’s bed chamber while Grandfather Earl lived. But when he died, she removed herself to the Dowager Countess quarters, while she insisted that I take this larger room to enjoy until Christy marries. So I have not changed a thing, in her honor.”
Lady Madeline: “Of course. How sweet.” Lady Madeline smiles. Then a thought freezes Lady Madeline’s countenance as her eyes dart glances around the sitting room.
Lady Lizzie: “Are you feeling unwell, Maddie? You look a bit flushed.” She touches her friends arm in concern.
Lady Madeline: “I, well, I … These are the Countess’ apartments?” Lady Lizzie nods. “So that means ….” Lady Madeline can hardly speak for wondering which door leads to the Earl’s apartments—to Lord Christian’s sanctum sanctorum. Though she realizes that her youthful musings are running away with her. And her glancing gaze betrays her thoughts.
Lady Lizzie: “Yes. Christy’s bed chamber suite connects with this one. Would you like to see it?” She asks sweetly, not realizing the trembling emotions it is creating for Lady Madeline.
Lady Madeline: “Him? I mean, it?” She quickly corrects herself.
Then Lady Lizzie begins to lead her through her bed chamber and then to her dressing room that connects to her brother Lord Christian’s dressing room and then to his bed chamber. Lady Madeline looks around Lord Christian’s bed chamber in awe and wonder—her noting the very large and elaborately designed bed, the masculine deep burgundy colors and dark woods of the room [(2) right]. And then, an indentation upon a burgundy velvet covered bed pillow catches Lady Madeline’s eyes–it having not been fluffed up indicates to her that the head that had lain there making the indentation has only recently left it—the pillow, that is.
Lady Lizzie: “Yes. Christy has not changed anything in his apartments either from when our Grandfather Earl inhabited it. Christy says that when he marries, he will let his wife have free reign on the redecorating.”
Lady Madeline: “The room is very grand. But we should not trespass upon Lord Christian’s privacy—or at least, I should not.”
Lady Madeline adds when Lady Lizzie begins to protest their leaving her brother’s bed chamber. Though Lady Lizzie is his sister, Lady Madeline most certainly is not. Lady Madeline has never been in a man’s bed chamber—except her parents’ bed chamber, or trying to rouse one of her brothers from their slumbers on Christmas morning so that she could get at her presents. Yet somehow, her standing in Lord Christian’s bed chamber feels very different to her—not bad different per se, but perhaps a little bit wicked different. And Lady Madeline wonders how she can face Lord Christian today—now that she has seen his … bed linens. And she fears that she might swoon on the spot.
The two young ladies had barely missed seeing Lord Christian leave his bed chamber. For after a tepid bath and a shave–due to the short timeframe he was under this late Saturday morning of February 3, 1816–a now very handsomely dressed in a broad shouldered black jacket and black trousers—a novel concession owing to the February chill—a refreshed Lord Christian Blount Earl of Sussex manfully strides toward the large formal Drawing Room at the front of the house at his family’s London estate, Sussex House.
In doing so, Lord Christian passes by portraits of ancestors and those still living, such as the charming portrait of his younger sister Lady Lizzie when she was a little girl [(3) right], not so long ago at 6 years of age in the painting—her shy reticence evident in the painter’s insightful rendering of her. And it is for her, his sister Lizzie, that Lord Christian will move heaven and Earth to insure her continued and her future happiness.
Nothing is small in Sussex House—and that is true of its tall and muscular Earl of Sussex,
Lord Christian Blount [(4) below]. He is long and lean but also a powerfully built man–the breeding of centuries of noble knight warriors courses through his veins. In another era, he would don armour and chain mail to defend the crown–and perhaps, be awarded lands, treasure, and a suitable bride of noble birth to build his legacy with sons and daughters–such as his early ancestors were as they began the Blount family and Earl of Sussex legacies—the earldom being a mere three hundred years old. Their family’s service to the crown is but a distant memory now–and their dwindling land holdings are not providing as much rent for income. So Lord Christian Blount must make his own way, by marrying money.
As he opens the door to their Sussex House formal Drawing Room that bespeaks history, wealth, and elegance, Lord Christian spies his Grandmother deep in discussion with her Grandmama as they await he and their two granddaughters. And he winces as he wonders what ill advised matrimonial schemes that these two old women are plotting now. But he is a gentleman and courteously greets both of the elderly ladies.
Lord Christian: “Grandmother. I am pleased to see that you are looking well again.” Lord Christian leans in and kisses his grandmother’s lavender scented and powered cheek.
The Dowager Countess of Sussex [(5 right] is indeed expertly coiffed and groomed–and wearing a richly deep purple taffeta gown, as well as a large statement necklace of intricately and beautifully set alternating stones of amethyst and onyx. The necklace was a wedding gift to her late husband’s mother from that lady’s new husband, when her father-in-law and mother-in-law were young newlyweds and serving as ambassadors to the country of France many years ago—before the French Revolution. Of course, one not necessarily need to preface the word revolution by its modifier of French—for is there any other but the French Revolution? Well perhaps there is another, but one. She thinks distractedly. But she had never visited there—it being so far away and across an ocean–and she had visited France as a little girl.
Lady Catherine: “Thank you, Christy, Dear.” She smiles at his praise. Then she gazes upon her grandson and heir with a grandmotherly eye and shrewdly assesses. “I wish that I could say the same for you. You look …. tired.”
Lady Catherine winces in a slight censure of her supposition about his activities the previous evening—if her other grandson Lord Harold is anything to by. And were Lord Christian to become aware that his grandmother judges his character in relation any way to his younger brother, Lord Christian would be exceedingly put out. Yet he guesses her implication and seeks to dismiss her unspoken charge as he whispers into her ear.
Lord Christian: “My fatigue is not due to dissipation, Grandmother, but to lack of sleep.” She nods. Then I stand again and turn to convey a cordial smile to Lady Madeline’s Grandmama. “Lady Knott! My felicitations upon last evening’s presentation ball for Lady Madeline. It was a triumph! You must be pleased at her growing number of suitors.” He says with great gentlemanliness, harboring a small hope that Lady Knott will not think ill of him for his drunken behavior last evening.
Lady Lucretia: “I am. Though the number of the suitors is immaterial. There is only one suitor needed to secure a grandmama’s hopes and dreams for her granddaughter.” I smile knowingly.
Lord Christian: Feeling discomfitted by both grandmothers’ gazes, he responds. “Yes, well. Despite the general interest of others in that direction, I fear that the lady in question is rather too young for me—or rather, I am too old for her.”
Now why he diminishes his prospects out loud to the old women is beyond him. Well, not entirely. But Lord Christian does wish to remove Lady Knott’s smug facial expression. The hoped for match between himself and her granddaughter Lady Madeline Sinclair is not a foregone conclusion–by anyone’s estimation, least of all, by his. So he is a little on edge, wondering if Lady Madeline will accept his apology and forgive him, or not? And then, will he have the audacity to seek to court her as his potential bride and countess? His ethical scruples are at war with his family’s financial need that Lady Madeline’s dowry will immediately allay.
And just when Lord Christian is becoming impatient for luncheon–because they are waiting for the two debutantes in his sister Lady Lizzie and their guest Lady Madeline arrive from wherever in the house they have secreted themselves–in walks the two young ladies in question. On the left is Lady Elizabeth Blount, sister to Lord Christian Blount, Earl of Sussex. She is a petite dark haired girl with baby fat still evident in her pleasingly plump and rosy cheeks–matched in color by her pink gown. She smiles warmly at her brother Lord Christian, then Lady Lizzie tilts her head at Lady Maddie.
Outshining Lady Lizzie Blount by virtue of her shimmering copper locks cascading down her back in long spiral curls and her beguiling manner, Lady Madeline Sinclair [(6a) right] glides into the room wearing a pale apricot muslin gown draped over an ivory colored underdress that modestly presents her compact but nicely rounded bodice in the mode a la Grecque style [(6b)]. But her gown employs delicate lace trimmed half sleeving for modesty, so as not to show the full expanse of her creamy skin. Lord Christian cannot decide if Lady Madeline looks like a maturing young lady or an ethereal classical goddess in training. Now where did that gushing description come from, he wonders?
Lady Madeline traverses the length of the Drawing Room to Lord Christian–as if she were a delicate apricot cloud wafting his way–and she gracefully extends her hand to him. Lord Christian gently touches her fingertips with his and effects a slight bow, in the manner which ladies prefer. He is determined to be inscrutably polite, courteous, and gentlemanly to her this day in the hope of making up for his deplorable, appalling, and unforgivable behavior toward her at her presentation ball last evening. Yet, she greets him with far more amity than he feels that he deserves.
Lady Madeline: “Lord Christian, it is a pleasure to see you again today–and that you are looking in such fine spirits.” She does not say compared to last evening, nor does she intend to recall Lord Christian’s less than gentlemanly behavior to him. She is genuinely happy to see him looking so well.
Lord Christian: “Thank you, Lady Madeline. You are graciousness itself. And I believe your company has improved my spirits.” I smile sincerely at her as I gallantly lift her ungloved hand to my lips. Though I briefly wonder where her gloves have gotten to, their lack affords me a glimpse of the most delicate fingers and hand that I have ever beheld. They are exquisite! And I perhaps linger too long in my slight touch upon her silken skin, her small hand nearly engulfed by my own large hand[(7) below]. And I increasingly feel a kindred connection with this young lady whom I would wish to have for my wife.
However, my sister Lady Lizzie watches our exchange with a bit of sisterly jealousy for my brotherly attention not being wholly focused upon her.
Lady Lizzie: In slight annoyance, I utter. “Lord, Christy! Do not paw at her. Lady Maddie is my friend, not one of your amours.” His little sister chides him and his countenance darkens at the mention of his amours.
Lady Madeline: “You have amours, Lord Christian?” I ask him petulantly as my lips purse together into a pout. It is one thing to guess that a gentleman has amours—and it is quite another thing to have them confirmed.
But to Lord Christian, Lady Madeline’s lips look like an invitation for a kiss. Yet, this place and the individuals in it do not allow for such a private intimacy as kissing. Then turning to his little sister with frustration, Lord Christian cannot help but break from my gentlemanly demeanor and shift into whiny elder brother mode.
Lord Christian: “Hang it, Lizzie! Young ladies such as you should not speak of such things. Wherever did you get the notion that I have amours?”
Lady Lizzie: “From Harold.” Lady Lizzie tosses out the name of her elder brother younger than Lord Christian–who is the eldest of them all.
Lady Madeline: Straightening up, Lady Madeline peers at Lord Christian with a critical eye. “Is Lizzie correct? You have amours?”
Lord Christian: Jutting his nose disdainfully in the air, he answers her with certainty—if not a bit of obfuscation. “No, I do not.” But which he means that he does not currently have an amour. And what Lord Christian had hoped would be a day of reconciliation between he and Lady Madeline is not beginning well.
Lady Lizzie: “But Harold said …” But she is interrupted.
Lord Christian: Cutting his sister off, Lord Christian intones. “Lizzie, My Dear. When you are older and wiser, you will understand that no sentence beginning with ‘But Harold said…’ could in any way be counted upon for accuracy.”
Lady Madeline tilts her head and gives a sidelong glance at Lord Christian. He is a fine specimen of manly virtues. And she can easily suspect that he is an ardent lover—whatever that entails, she thinks innocently. For her tender years, a man—or Lord Christian—being a lover would include wooing a lady with posies and poems, gazing soulfully into his lady’s eyes, pressing her hand to his heart for her to feel it beating only for her, and perhaps scandalously employing an obliging fern or bush to discreetly shield he and his lady’s stolen kisses and embraces. Sighhhh! Lady Madeline merely has to decide if his having been a lover to other ladies in the distant, or even the recent, past has any bearing upon her present–as well as, their potential future together.
Lady Catherine: Calling over to her grandchildren and their guest, Lady Catherine asks. “What are you children discussing so interestedly? You look quite vexed with each other.” Her eyes narrow. “Please remember that Lady Knott and her granddaughter Lady Madeline are our guests and behave accordingly.” She chides in a sweet grandmotherly way.
Lady Lizzie and Lord Christian: In unintentional unison. “Yes Grandmother.” “Yes, Grandmother.”
Lady Madeline: “I fear that this room is so vast that it carries an echo in it.” She whispers for only her companions to hear.
Lady Lucretia: “Are you well, my child?” She directs to her granddaughter, Lady Madeline.
Lady Madeline: “Quite well, Grandmama. It is just that Lord Christian has yet to fulfill his promise to me.” She blurts out.
Lord Christian: “Oh? And what promise was that?” I teasingly smile—my remembering fully what that promise entails.
Lady Madeline: Primly looking up at him, Lady Madeline demures in hushed tones under her fluttering lashes. “Our waltz, My Lord.”
Lady Lucretia: “Christy, you must fulfill your promise to my Maddie.” She wags an arthritic finger at her friend’s grandson. And her friend and Lord Christian’s grandmother nods smilingly.
Lord Christian: “Of course, Madam.” He exchanges nods with Lady Knott. Then Lord Christian bows deeply to Lady Madeline. “It will be my honor. Shall we reconnoiter to the ballroom for our waltz after luncheon, My Lady?” He asks solicitously of her.
Lady Madeline: Curtsying deeply to him, Lady Maddie rises and gazes straight into Lord Christian’s eyes with a smile. “Thank you, My Lord. I will be delighted.”
And as promised after luncheon, Lord Christian and Lady Madeline take their positions in the center of the Sussex House of London’s ballroom on the second floor–with Lady Lizzie playing for their waltz and the two grandmothers sitting chatting amiably to the side. Seeing their grandchildren so engaged in polite socializing is just what these two elderly ladies wished for. It seems that their matrimonial strategizing has not been dampened by Lord Christian’s stated wish to them that it would be. Never say that a mature lady might be deterred in her purposes—especially when she feels it is for someone else’s good.
As Lady Lizzie begins to play the grand piano, Lord Christian slowly waltzes Lady Madeline around the room. There is some awkwardness at first, with Lord Christian holding the petite Lady Madeline so close–as the waltz requires. And after a few moments of silent dancing, Lady Madeline looks up and decides to chat with him while they dance.
Lady Madeline: “Lord Christian, this is a magnificent ballroom! Lady Lizzie’s come out will be spectacular!” She cordially smiles up at him.
Lord Christian: “Yes. Grandmother is eager to return Sussex House to its proper place in the social whirl of the London Season. And Lizzie’s ball in two weeks will, hopefully, launch her successfully.” Lord Christian gives a polite smile, but there is some sadness there, too.
Lady Madeline “What makes you look so sad, Lord Christian?”
Lord Christian: “Lizzie is very dear to me. Hhhhh! And I do not wish her to be hurt by the cutthroat nature of the marriage mart.”
Lady Madeline: “Your brotherly sentiments are admirable and do you credit, Lord Christian.” He nods in recognition of her praise. “But Lady Lizzie is so sweet, and cheerful, and lady like that she is certain to attract a man who will admire those qualities in her.” Now it is Lady Maddie who frowns.
Lord Christian: “And what makes you look so sad, Lady Madeline?”
Lady Madeline: “Hhhh! I am envious of Lady Lizzie having her brother’s protection. My elder brother is focused upon agriculture and helping Papa turn around the prospects of our country estate. While my middle brother has been packed off to the military with a commission that nearly beggared my poor father in procuring it for him.”
Lord Christian: “Ah! But for your grandmother’s intervention?”
Lady Madeline: “Precisely so. And my grandmama is so consumed with me making a good match, that I do not want to disappoint her. She has been so kind and generous to me, you see.” Since Lady Madeline’s mother died four years ago, Lady Lucretia Knott has inserted herself into her granddaughter’s life—whether her son-in-law Squire Sutton Sinclair liked it, or not.
Lord Christian: “Naturally.” He stiffens, wondering if Lady Madeline refers to their grandmothers’ attempts to throw them together.
Lady Madeline: Knowingly, I pat Lord Christian’s considerably muscled arm under his coat where my hand rests. “Be at ease, Lord Christian. I am not speaking of you and I making a match, but of the Duke of York’s eldest son and heir, the Viscount Lord Duncan Lindsay. My grandmother has turned her focus to him for my matrimonial fate. Do you know of him?” I implore beseechingly. If I cannot have the very good man Lord Christian Blount as my husband, perhaps my heart will be content with one whom he also deems a good man.
Lord Christian: “I do. Lord Duncan and I were at Eton together as boys. And we hosted each other for different holidays over the years as we grew up. But I have not seen him since a chance meeting at a park eight years ago.” Lord Christian does not say more. That meeting was when he was taking his then nine year old sister Lady Lizzie for a carriage ride in the park. And Lizzie was instantly smitten with the young viscount.
Lady Madeline: “Oh yes. Now I remember Lady Lizzie mentioning that she had met him once. She said that he is quite the most handsome man she has ever met. Is he a good man, too?” I wanted to add, like you, but I thought better of it.
Lord Christian: “Lord Duncan is a very good man.” Lord Christian stiffens, then he continues with a glowing recommendation. “He will make anyone a fine husband–he will make you a fine husband, Lady Madeline.” He amends. Then he adds. “As you will make him a fine wife.”
Lady Madeline: “Do you think so?” I look shyly up at him. I worry that Lord Christian is glad that my grandmother is now trying to steer my matrimonial thoughts away from him? Yet I still entertain diminishing hope that Lord Christian and I might still reach an understanding and sympathy with each other.
I am not certain to which statement Lady Madeline’s question tends, but I answer resolutely.
Lord Christian: “I do.” Then I feel that I cannot delay my needed apologia any longer. “And I must apologize for my boorish behavior last night. I had two glasses of champagne. But that is no excuse. I am appalled that I treated so sweet a lady as you so abominably. And you are now my sister’s dearest friend, as well. I am at your service if I may recompense you in any way for my failing you at your ball.” I smile at her cordially but wanly, still mortified by my discourtesy to her at her ball.
Lady Madeline: I gaze up at Lord Christian with a shy smile and speak in a small but stoic voice. “You are all gentlemanly politeness, Lord Christian. You have no need to pay a debt to me, Sir. Especially when I know that my outspoken ways are as much the cause for your censure as was the drink. It was my fault as much as yours. Pray do not let it trouble you further. I will forgive you, if you will forgive me.”
Lord Christian: “You are very gracious, My Lady. I will escort my sister Lady Lizzie to this week’s Kimball’s Ball so that she will have an experience of what they are like before she is thrust upon her own presentation ball the following week. Might we have the pleasure of your company at the Kimball Ball?”
Lady Madeline: “You will. I promised Lizzie that I would support her since she is still rather rattled about the whole thing. And … my grandmother hopes to introduce me to the Viscount Lord Duncan Lindsay.” I say forlornly, because I do not know him.
Lord Christian: “Of course.” I respond slowly, in recognition that I have likely lost her to Duncan or some other more worthy man than I. But I have come this far in behaving true to my ethics and principles, and I cannot stop now, merely because I am disappointed in my matrimonial hopes. “Then I entreat that you will allow me to facilitate your introduction to the Viscount Lindsay since he is such an old friend of mine.”
I smile cordially at Lady Madeline. What else can I do? The situation has been taken out of my hands. If only I had not been so quick to dismiss her before I had taken the time to get to know her. Afterall, she is a taking little thing, full of compassion and generosity from what my sister Lizzie tells me of her donations to the poor–especially children’s charities. That is a most commendable attitude in a lady of quality, in my view. And she is a little spitfire—quick to champion her opinions and beliefs—yet also a kind and gracious lady. And I sense that she has a passionate nature, if she were to be properly nurtured into her womanhood by a tender and loving husband.
Lady Madeline: “Thank you, Lord Christian. You are most kind.” I bob my head in deference to him.
Then we realize that the music has stopped and we stop waltzing and look over at a frazzled Lady Lizzie who gushes out her fatigue.
Lady Lizzie: “I have played the waltz three times. I think that is enough! Hhhh!” I slump in a disgruntled huff.
Lady Madeline: “It is, and you played so beautifully that we were quite enraptured by the music. Pray, Lizzie, let me now play so that you may dance with your brother.”
Lady Lizzie: “I couldn’t!” I look at them with fear threatening to overwhelm me.
Lady Madeline: “Lizzie, yes you can dance. And you must practice for your ball in two weeks–and for the Kimball Ball this week. Remember that we are to go together?” I say with a kindly smile. Lizzie bites her lower lip in nervousness.
Lord Christian: “Yes, come Lizzie. Let us dance.”
Lord Christian holds out his arms with a brotherly smile upon his face. And Lady Lizzie slowly walks toward her elder brother on trembling legs. Then I switch places with her and begin to play a waltz at the piano as brother and sister turn about the room as they waltz together.
Lady Lizzie: “Lady Maddie is very nice. Do you not think so, Christy?” I shyly look up into my elder brother’s eyes. But as usual, he guards his feelings. That is what makes him an ever so good partner at whist—he has no twitches to give himself away.
Lord Christian: “Lady Madeline is a fine lady.” I nod as I twirl my little sister about our ballroom.
Lady Lizzie: “Do you not think that she will make someone a very good wife?” I seek to further understand my brother’s thoughts.
Lord Christian: “In time, I am certain that she will develop a level of maturity and polish that will make her the desire of many a man seeking marriage.”
Lady Lizzie: “Oh!” I pout. “But she is as old as I. Do you not think I am mature?” I purse my lips waiting for his response. My brother is twelve years my senior, but he does not trample over me as so many older brothers might do in other families. He is very kind—almost to the point of indulgent. Though I have no need of being indulged. At least, not like a little girl might need.
Lord Christian: “Yes Lizzie. I am very pleased with your lady like deportment. You are leaving the school room and lessons behind you as you begin to consider your future life.” I try to say this encouragingly to her. My baby sister lacks confidence about herself, though she is as fine as any lady I have met. I daresay not having a sister or a mother’s loving guidance these past ten years has been a detriment to her. Grandmother is caring and loving, but too old to truly assume the mantel that a mother does.
Lady Lizzie: “Do you think that Lord Duncan, Viscount Lindsay might like me?” I bat my eyes bashfully.
Lord Christian: “I cannot say. Each man has to choose a wife for himself. But you are certainly a lady for whom gentlemen will aspire.” I state grandly, for her benefit. And she smiles cheerfully at me. Yet without my dear sister Lizzie having a decent dowry—let alone, any dowry at all–I ponder the noble man without wealth who could take her for his wife. Our society is so very mercenary in that regard. But titles must have money to bolster them—such as my lot in needing to seek a wife with a substantial dowry.
Lady Lizzie: “You are frowning, Christy. Did I step wrongly?” I worry.
Lord Christian: “Am I? Perhaps I am the one counting my steps to match so fair and graceful a lady as you dancing with me.” I smile and she blushes. Oh Lizzie, please become more confident, I think. Confidence will help her make herself stand above the other young ladies of lesser consequence, but greater dowries.
Soon my sister Lizzie will find a good man to marry, and I hope one who will love her as dearly as her family does. Seeing Lizzie happily settled is my primary focus. And I must not be distracted it from it with my own matrimonial leanings—however integral my marrying well to a lady of means is to insuring Lizzie’s success. I only hope that Lizzie will expand her acquaintances such that if Lord Duncan offers for Lady Madeline rather than for Lizzie, that Lizzie will not feel bereft. If that eventuality happens, I must do everything to bolster my little sister’s heart and feelings. But if I let Lady Madeline slip through my fingers, who will bolster my feelings?
Lost in my own thoughts, I play a waltz for Lord Christian and Lady Lizzie several times. I have come to so look forward to my society with Lord Christian. He is quite manly, wise, kind, gentlemanly, and titled. He is everything my Grandmama Lucy says that I should want in a husband. And in truth, I believe it, too. For who would not wish to marry Lord Christian? And I do not doubt that there are other, prettier, more accomplished, and more connected ladies than myself who might appeal to him. My dowry is substantial, and my legacy that I will inherit from my Grandmama is quite vast. But I do not want a man who merely wants me for my money. Nor, I would think would Lord Christian seem to want a lady who might only want him for his title. To be sure, being Lord Christian’s Countess of Sussex would be grand. But being wife to Lord Christian would be even grander still, I think sighingly.
Forgetting my probably losing any chance with Lady Madeline, I smile lovingly at my little sister Lizzie as we waltz. And she smiles sweetly up at me. Then I gaily twirl her round and round in our waltzing to her delighted shrieks and giggles and my own laughter.
Lady Lizzie: “Eeek! Ha ha ha!”
Lord Christian: “Ha ha ha ha ha!”
Sitting at the piano, I cannot help being wishful that Lord Christian had playfully spun me around when we waltzed. I adore that fun mischievous side of him. But he was all politeness to me—a consequence of him being the Earl, Lord Sussex, I suppose. Then I look over at Lord Christian and smile at his tender care of his younger sister, Lady Lizzie. Lord Christian has his sister laughing and smiling. My friend Lady Lizzie will get through this London Season yet. But will I get through this season, when I am to be introduced to Viscount Lord Duncan Lindsay—the future Duke of York–at this week’s Kimball Ball?
And yet in the intervening days until then, my Grandmama Lady Lucretia anticipates that I should expect some eager suitors to come calling after meeting me at my presentation ball last night. But, I seem to only hope that Lord Christian will pay me a call. And I wonder if I make an offhand comment to Lady Lizzie, if she might make it come to pass—by bringing him along as chaperone for an outing that Lizzie and I want to do. If so, all of my hopes for Lord Christian and I marrying might not be lost. Lord Christian might be a wicked rake—a quality in him which I am scandalously curious to explore—but my orchestration of an outing with him borders along the devious. I can live with that, I grin.
To be continued with Chapter 8
“Encouragement”, Ch. 7 References by Gratiana Lovelace, September 28, 2016 (Post #975)
1) The “Encouragement” story cover is an image representing our young heroine Lady Madeline Sinclair. The image is the young Emma Hart in a straw hat at 17 years old in painted by George Romney in 1782; she was later to marry Sir William Hamilton in 1791 and become Emma Lady Hamilton, was found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emma,_Lady_Hamilton#/media/File:George_Romney_-_Emma_Hart_in_a_Straw_Hat.jpg ; For more about Emma Lady Hamilton, nee Emma Hart/Amy Lyon please visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emma,_Lady_Hamilton
2) Lord Christian’s elaborately carved and burgundy colored bedding Georgian bed chamber was found at Pinterest at https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/6f/47/f1/6f47f163635b16f6578c846172fc5531.jpg
3) Lady Lizzie Blount image as a young girl is “Portrait of Miss Juliana Willoughby” (1781-1788) painted by George Romney – The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei. DVD-ROM, 2002. ISBN 3936122202. Distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=158443
4) Lord Christian Blount’s London home Sussex House hallway image is a manip of two images:
a) Lord Christian image is of Richard Armitage portraying John Thornton in the BBC’s 2004 mini series North & South, promo shot found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/NandSPromo/album/slides/NandSPromo-16.html;
b) and that of the royal residence Clarence House found at Pinterest at https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/59/4f/ce/594fce39ed8ec3c370ba02fba58dedf1.jpg
5) Lady Catherine Blount, the Dowager Countess of Essex (in deep purple taffeta gown) image is Judi Dench in 2005’s Pride & Prejudice found at https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/bc/f3/d4/bcf3d4d31ab59fdbcf6e6e5df90adc37.jpg
6a) The painting image representing Lady Madeline Sinclair is that of Emma Lady Hamilton as painted by George Romney and found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Romney_(painter)#/media/File:George_Romney_-_Lady_Hamilton_(as_a_Bacchante)_3.jpg; For more on the painter George Romney, please visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Romney_(painter) ; For more about Lady Emma Hamilton (Emma Hart nee Amy Lyons), mistress of Lord Nelson, please visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emma,_Lady_Hamilton
6b) Mode a la Grecque refers to a classical era style of dress that is loose and softly flowing; for more information, please visit https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mode_%C3%A0_la_Grecque
7) Image representing Lady Madeline’s and Lord Christian’s hands parting after greeting is that of John Thornton and Margaret Hale—portrayed by Richard Armitage and Daniela Denby-Ashe in the BBC’s 2004 North & South mini series, episode 2 the Masters Dinner found at http://richardarmitagecentral.co.uk/main.php?g2_itemId=76679&
Previous Blog Ch. 6 Story link with embedded illustrations: