“Encouragement”, Ch. 13 (PG):  Seeking Betrothal Approval, October 29, 2016 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #991)

aEncouragement-aRegencyLovestorycover_Aug3116byGratianaLovelace_180x282(An original Regency romance  copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace; all rights reserved)  [(1) story cover, left]

[From time to time, I will illustrate my story characters with:  Richard Armitage as Lord Christian Blount Earl of Sussex, Kate Winslet or Emma Lady Hamilton as Lady Madeline Lucretia 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, Rupert Penry Jones as Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay, Corin Redgrave as Squire Sutton Sinclair, and Amanda Root as Mrs. Russell,  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: While Lord Christian and Lady Madeline seemed to be quite out of sync with realizing their mutual feelings for each other, they eventually came to an understanding.  And Lord Christian proposed and Lady Madeline accepted.  But they must follow the usual form—in spirit, if not in letter—and seek her father’s approval of their betrothal.


“Encouragement, A Regency Tale of Love and Romance”, Ch. 13:  Seeking Betrothal Approval

Of all of the vagaries in my thirty years of life, my having to ask a man for his daughter’s hand in marriage is a circumstance that has eluded me–up until now.  The three hour carriage ride to the countryside where Lady Madeline’s family lives in bucolic simplicity is uneventful.  And her animated and annotated directions as to how to reach her family home were prosaic, if nothing else.   I gaze down at her note again.

Lady Madeline’s note:  “Dearest Christian, You cannot miss our Sinclair family manor and small estate called Watford Hill.  We live to the West of Wattleton Downs, which is an odd name because it is situated upon an elevation–essentially, it is up, not down. Ha ha ha!  So, you take the West road out of town, and then take the left fork, making certain that you pass by the mill on your right–that is that the mill is on your right.  Then a forested area greets you as you drive into the expanse of nature’s foliage for five minutes.  If you become lost–and I will chide you when I next see you if you do–just follow one of the squirrels out of the forest, for they know their way to our back garden’s prodigiously nut bearing trees.  When you come out the other side of the forest lane, you will see our home at the center of a small valley of rolling fields of wheat and large grazing paddocks for our horses and cattle. A two story red brick residence that Papa says favors the Georgian style of architecture, has been my happy home for most of my almost eighteen years.  My Papa, Squire Sutton Sinclair will be found there most days in the large formal garden that he designed and likes to tend himself from time to time. You will find Papa most amenable to your entreaties while he is amongst his roses.”

She had looked up at me with such expectation and hope as she gave me her note—after also reading her directions out to me–that I smiled and kissed the tip of her nose.  And now, my betrothed’s directions do seem to bear fruit—or nuts, according to her directions’ assertions–as a large manor comes into view.  And my own misgivings begin to churn my stomach.  My being not altogether certain that I will not toss my stomach’s contents upon the ground—whenever this carriage stops its bouncing.  Though my carriage is well sprung, the roads are rather lumpy from a recent thaw that caused wheel ruts to be made in the newly warmed and wet softened ground.

My lingering betrothal reservations are three fold.   First, I am so much older than she–by twelve years!  And our acquaintance is barely three weeks old–though we have spent nearly every day in each others’ company.  But then, there is also the matter of her dowry and my needing it to shore up my Sussex Earldom finances—and to provide an ample dowry for my little sister Lady Lizzie.   This last is not a negative per se.  Most families are cognizant of their daughters’ dowries being a favorable component of any match.  But my unease concerns whether Lady Madeline’s father will deem my suit to be an advantageous one for his daughter.

So as my driver brings my enclosed Sussex carriage to a halt, I must brace myself for the inevitable meeting with my future father-in-law, Squire Sutton Sinclair.  And just then a man whom I presume is Lady Madeline’s father–by virtue of his fine clothes and his prosperous girth–seems to be approaching an already waiting carriage.  I am fortunate not to have missed him before he paid an afternoon call.  Though I will find that our meeting is more fortuitous than I could have imagined–especially since he does not expect me as I traveled directly to Wattleton Downs without the preamble of sending him an express letter appealing to attend upon him this day.

Seeing my carriage pull up, Squire Sutton Sinclair walks around his ready to depart carriage to find out who is arriving.  Lord Christian ponders that he would have thought that Squire Sinclair might leave such an office to a footman, or at most, his butler to do the inquiries.  And no one could mistake Squire Sinclair for anything but that—a squire, a country gentleman—as conveyed by his well worn but finely tailored breeches and moss green wool jacket, dusty but once of good quality leather boots, his slight paunch covered by a wool vest and a jacket more suitable for hunting than for greeting guests.

Squire Sinclair:  “Ho there in the carriage.  Have you lost your way, Sir?  We are not the inn. That is five miles back at Wattleton Downs.  You had best turn around and head back before the sun sets.  You have approximately one hour until darkness descends.”

The squire is of tolerable height, a full head of hair and bushy lamb chop sideburns, and squiresinclair-iscorinredgrave-asjolyonforstye-in2002forsytesaga_apr3016viaenchangedserenityperiodfilms_grati-sized-crop-clrgood skin color denoting some health.  And his entirely open manner and friendliness are quite pleasing.  Though the man’s countenance [(2) right] reflects a hidden sadness, perhaps due to him missing his daughter Lady Madeline’s presence.

Lord Christian:  Alighting from my carriage, I quickly greet the man.  “Greetings, Sir.  I am Lord Christian Blount, the 7the Earl of Sussex.  Might I have the pleasure of addressing Squire Sutton Sinclair?”  I ask sincerely, but the curl to my mouth betrays my mirth.  Asking for Lady Madeline’s hand in marriage should be an easy undertaking with this country gentleman, thinks I.  Though I will find out soon enough that I will be completely and utterly wrong.  Nothing about my Madeline is uncomplicated nor easy.

Squire Sinclair: “Indeed, you are, Sir.  Though I am at a loss as to why your lordship wishes to speak with me.”

Lord Christian:  “Ah!  Well you see, I come to you upon a matter of both delicacy and urgency.”

Squire Sinclair: “Oh Lord!”  I ejaculate in alarm to the young, but fiercesome looking Earl standing quite tall before me.

Lord Christian: “Squire?  Are you quite well.”  I ask in concern.  This is not going at all as I supposed.

Squire Sinclair:  “If my son has sullied your daughter, you have my apologies.  But he has left to join his regiment at the peninsula already.  And there is no way to call him back.”  I assess the young Earl before me with heightening apprehension.  In a fair fight—or any other—he would undoubtedly best me.

Lord Christian:  “Oh no, Squire, I have no daughter to be sullied.”  I wonder how old he thinks I am?  “Nor would I ever allow that to happen to any future daughters of mine.” I exclaim smugly.

Squire Sinclair:  “Ah me!  Well, daughters–and sons–have minds of their own.  And they have caused many a grey hair upon my head. Ha ha  ha!”  What does this young men know about raising a family? Then I notice that though he wears a signet ring, he wears no other.  Hmmm.   “What may I help you with, My Lord?”

Speaking with a bit of dread–given his future father-in-law’s recent topic of conversation–Lord Christian makes his direct appeal.

Lord Christian:  “Squire Sinclair, after a considerable acquaintance—and the previous connection of our two families–I have come to ask for the hand in marriage of your daughter, Lady Madeline Lucretia Sinclair.”

In an unexpected rush of silence, Squire Sinclair furrows his brow and assesses the man before him. Were not Lord Christian possessed of a healthy self confidence, he might be squirming right now.  Though Lord Christian does feel an unwelcome chill.

Squire Sinclair: “Our Maddie?”  Lord Christian nods once. “You wish to marry her?”  Lord Christian nods once again.   “Are you certain that you have the correct Lady Madeline Sinclair?  About this tall?”  His hand parallel with the ground only reaches his mid chest since Squire Sinclair is also a man of considerable height—though, not as tall as Lord Christian.    “Copper headed curls?  And a chin that juts out in petulance more often than not?”

Lord Christian:   Lord Christian nods a third time. “Pardon me Squire, but what is so astonishing about my offering for Lady Madeline?  She is perfectly agreeable–that is, when she wants to be.  And we get on well with each other–or at least, when I am not vexing her.”

Squire Sinclair: “Just so. You can only be referring to our Madeline.”  The Squire sighs knowingly as he nods his head.  “But you are an Earl.  Surely, not a lady as green as our Madeline in her first season has truly caught your eye?”

Lord Christian:  “Indeed, she has–for the aforementioned reasons.”  I nod curtly.

Squire Sinclair: “And does she know of your interest in her, My Lord?”

Ah, the crucial question.  Lord Christian wonders if Lady Madeline’s father will feel insulted by not being consulted before he proposed to her.”

Lord Christian:  “She does.  And if I might preempt your next question?” Squire Sinclair nods.  Our grandmothers were childhood friends.  So they contrived to acquaint us with one another.”

Squire Sinclair: “Is that so?”  It would figure that my mother-in-law Lady Lucretia Knott would have her hand in this, I muse with great annoyance.  I am not enamored of my mother-in-law in the slightest—the meddlesome old witch.  But I smile pleasantly at the young Earl standing expectantly before me.  He cannot help whom his Grandmother associates with.

Lord Christian: “It is indeed. Though, in truth, I first met Lady Madeline three weeks ago when I inadvertently ran into her at a ball, causing her to spill one of the ices cups she was carrying back to her Grandmama.  I am afraid that my supposed clumsiness did not recommend me to Lady Madeline at our first meeting—memorable though it was.  And then our grandmothers’ matrimonial contrivances began—which vexed us both.  But once we put our grandmothers’ match making attempts behind us, we became friends—allied in seeking our own matrimonial paths, though not necessarily with each other. And yet, our being thrown together almost daily has confirmed to both Lady Madeline and myself that we do make a good match.”  Seeing no interruption from Squire Sinclair, Lord Christian continues.  “And Lady Madeline also befriended my younger sister Lady Elizabeth Blount—to my shy sibling’s great benefit.  I had despaired that we would even convince my sister Lizzie to have a first season.  But Lady Madeline’s friendship has given Lizzie greater confidence in herself.  It is as if my sister has blossomed before my eyes.”  The focused eyes of Lady Madeline’s father seem to bore into Lord Christian.  But I ignore the Squire’s fatherly intimidation tactics and press onward.  “Lady Madeline is a lively little thing who punctures my ego without rancor nor malice.  And I have to admit, that I do not mind her set downs.  She is quite the little spitfire.  Ha ha ha!”  I chuckle good humoredly.   “And her poise and grace lead me to believe that she will make me an excellent Countess.”

Squire Sinclair: “A very pretty speech.”  I look at him with a sidelong glance.  Lord Christians seems to be a bit of a windbag.  But perhaps he is loquacious now in the absence of my daughter—for Maddie always seems to want to dominate conversations.

Lord Christian: I nod at his frankness—and I can see where Lady Madeline inherited her candor from.  “I practiced it during my three hour carriage ride here.”  I admit sheepishly.

Squire Sinclair:  “Well then Lord Sussex, you had best come inside and plan to stay for the night whilst I consider your request for my daughter’s hand.  My groom here will show your driver where to settle your carriage and horses for the night.”  I gesture to my groom who gets down from my carriage—no visit to the village for me today.

I turn and walk back into my manor.  I do not look back, but I assume that the young Earl is following me into my home.  If Lord Christian Blount wants my daughter’s hand in marriage, then he will have to earn it.  I want to make certain that I will only give my Maddie to a man who will love and care for her for all of her days—as I did for her dear late Mama, My Corinne, Lady Corrinne Madeline Knott Sinclair.


After settling into the surprisingly comfortable guest quarters under Lady Madeline’s father’s roof at the Watford Hill estate—with sheets that actually look clean and fresh, rather than merely well aired, as sheets usually are at posting inns–I look forward to dining with Squire Sutton Sinclair and getting to know him better as my hoped for future father-in-law.

I had brought my second best black evening coat with the silver grey satin lordchristian-isrichardarmitage-in-ns-epi4-179_oct2816ranet_grati-crop-sized-clrcravat and waistcoat embroidered with winding vines in subtle silver/grey thread and ivory breeches to wear for dinner tonight.  My jacket is two years old—the lapels not being quite in fashion—but I believe that it will do for country society.  Why, I wear them at my own country estate in Sussex, though stone is more prevalent in our castle [(3) right].

And it turns out, that I had guessed correctly about country evening attire being less formal when the local Vicar Pelton and his wife, and Squire Sinclair’s widowed sister and Lady Madeline’s Aunt  Mrs. Russell [(4) right], are all in attendance.   Lady Madeline’s Aunt Mrs. Russell seems agreeable—with her deep purple gown suitable for a lady of her age being somewhat less than her brothers and her welcoming demeanor—if she is only a little too willing to smile, before there is something to smile about.

I find that these individuals are dressed finely—well, that is to say, neatly. But their clothes are a little worn and not of the first stare of fashion—this season, nor any season within the last five years were I to guess.  They are wearing what I would guess to be their Sunday best, rather than proper evening attire that one would wear in London.  But then again, we are not in London—but in a rural hamlet called Wattleton Downs.  So, I am dressed more elegantly than they, but these country peoples’ possess a certain veneer of gentility and respectability in their manner that transcends their country formal attire.  And they treat me cordially, as one of their own.  So I will admit to feeling comfortable in their presence.

And with my presence making our numbers odd since the squire’s eldest son is away on an undisclosed trip at present—while the younger son is posted to the army on the Peninsula—I am missing the lively conversation of My Dear Lady Madeline.  When I referred to her as a spitfire to her father, I was most possibly understating my opinion of her.  I would view Lady Madeline as audacious, if a woman can be said to be audacious.  But she is audacious in a very good way.  I never could stand the simpering unmarried women that tend to dominate our set in London from season to season.  Perhaps they fear to be anything else, lest they not receive an offer of marriage.  But in my view, for ladies—or gentleman—to conceal their true natures and interests before a marriage contract is signed is tantamount to fraud.  And it would not be the best basis for a very happy marriage.  No, Lady Madeline’s and my marriage will be one of honesty, forthrightness, shared interests, and fond affection, if not of love.  But I hope love will grow between us.

The dinner meal created by Squire Sinclair’s cook was a delicious roast of beef with vegetables, breads, fruit—and a chocolate torte for dessert.  Though I am accustomed to many more meat courses during a dinner meal, I find that the heartiness of the fair this evening—with wine in abundance—more than makes up for the lack of variety of courses.  The dinner table shines brightly with china, silver, crystal, and blazing beeswax candles—which were no doubt expensed for my benefit.

And Squire Sinclair ate and drank heartily.  So much so that I am caused to remark upon it after the ladies remove to the drawing room to allow we men our port and cigars.

Lord Christian: “I am so glad to see you in good health, Squire Sinclair.”  I wonder at his drinking any wine given his gout that Lady Knott and Lady Madeline had apprised me of.

Squire Sinclair:  “Thank you.  I am of a strong constitution and rarely out of health.”    I wonder if the young Lord Christian thinks me old and feeble?  At fifty seven years, I am neither!

I see that Lady Madeline’s father takes another sip of port and puffs upon his cigar.  And he seems to have no ill effect—at least not an  immediate ill effect.  Nor does he seem to represent a picture of compromised health.

Vicar Pelton:  “Indeed, Squire!  You are the picture of a robust country gentleman.”

Lord Christian:  “Oh?”  I inquire quizzically.

Squire Sinclair:  “Lord Sussex, you sound disappointed?  You can not want to have me to fall over dead yet—before I have granted you my daughter’s hand in marriage.”

I see the vicar’s eyebrows rise at that revelation.  And I wonder if my betrothal to Lady Madeline is merely interesting to the vicar, or that it begets some other more disagreeable response is one that I cannot discern at this juncture?

Lord Christian: “No, of course not, Sir.  It is just that I was given to understand that you were of failing health—with regard to the gout.”  I wince and unconsciously nod my head at the glass of port in his hand.

Squire Sinclair: “The gout?”  I blink my eyes several times in astonishment.  “Who would say such a preposterous thing about me?  I would dearly like to know.”

Lord Christian: “I fear that it was Lady Lucretia Knott’s suggestion—as an explanation for why you did not accompany Lady Madeline to London for her first season.”

Squire Sinclair: “The old bat!”  I shake my head in annoyance with my dragon lady mother-in-law.

Lord Christian:  “Kkkhhh!”  I cough to cover my startled amusement at Squire Sinclair’s outburst.

Squire Sinclair:  “I wasn’t invited!  Lady Madeline’s grandmother wanted her all to herself.  She had pampered Lady Madeline’s dear departed mother—only the Lord knows how I succeeded in spiriting away my late wife to marry me thirty years ago.  And now my mother-in-law pampers her granddaughter, My Maddie.  I hope that she hasn’t turned Maddie’s head with all the talk of Lords and Ladies and gowns and fripperies and such.”

Lord Christian:   “Not at all.”  I shake my head sagely.  “Though Lady Madeline has an appreciative eye for fine clothes and the architectural details of the ballrooms we have been in, she seems immune to being impressed by rank.  Why, she even caught the eye of my friend who is heir to a Dukedom.  But there again, Lady Madeline surprised me by recognizing that my sister has a tendre for Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay—and Lady Madeline refused to dally with Lord Lindsay to spare my sister Lady Lizzie’s feelings.”  I smile thinking again of my betrothed Lady Madeline’s kindness.

Squire Sinclair:  “Good!”  I nod my head in satisfaction upon hearing Lord Christian’s tale.  “A Duke might have too many restrictions placed upon himself and his wife, for my Maddie to enjoy the prospect of being only slightly lower in rank than the royal family.”

Lord Christian: I furrow my brow at my hoped for future father-in-law’s dismissal of rank.  “But, Sir, you must concede that elevated rank has many privileges.” Since I am a higher rank than my would be father-in-law.

Squire Sinclair: “Such as?”  I lean forward toward my potential son-in-law with a mischievous gleam in my eye.

Lord Christian: “Well, I …”  Does the man truly not believe that rank is important?  Afterall, he titles himself Squire Sinclair.  If rank is deemed unnecessary by him, then why does he employ it for himself, I ask you?  My hoped for father-in-law seems quite the conundrum.

Vicar Pelton: “With your permission Lord Sussex?”  Lord Sussex nods at me.  “I should imagine that the moral example that those of elevated rank provide, establishes their right to lead and govern this nation.”

Lord Christian:  “Kkkhhh!”  I cough on a sip of wine.  “Um.  Yes.”  I realize that vicars are different than other men—probably not having appetites beyond the dinner table.  But this vicar can surely not be so naïve as to be ignorant of some lords who take mistresses.  Though I have foresworn to have any—now that I am betrothed.  And I had previously given up Lady Brenda.

Squire Sinclair: “Are you quite well, Lord Sussex?”  He has coughed twice in a spare few minutes. And he thinks me of ill health?

Lord Christian:  Dabbing my linen napkin to my mouth—pleased that I am, that the wilds of the country side have such niceties as linen napkins—I reply most discreetly.  “Indeed.  I merely hiccupped when I took a sip of your excellent wine.”

Though the wine is rather fruity for my tastes, I will praise it to the skies if I may secure myself in Squire Sinclair’s good graces.  Perhaps when Lady Madeline and I are wed, I will send my father-in-law a case of an aged vintage wine from one of my cellars as a present.  That is, after I am in possession of Lady Madeline’s dowry to expense the shipping of it.

Squire Sinclair: “Very well.  I should hate to think that your cough was due to a violent reaction to the vicar supposing that men of elevated rank should set a moral example.”  I cock my head to one side as I study the young Earl.

Lord Christian: “Certainly not!”  My back straightens in indignation.  “Though my much praised father preceded his father in death—and thus I succeeded my Grandfather to the Earldom several months ago, I assure you that my Grandfather was also a most excellent man as the Earl!”  Perhaps I may seem a bit strident.  But when a mere Squire has the audacity to presume to sneer at an Earl, what is the world coming to?

Squire Sinclair:  “I am glad to hear it!  Come gentlemen, let us rejoin the ladies.”


Since my introduction to the Squire’s entirety of his dinner party guests  had not included the mention of my marriage proposal to Squire Sinclair’s daughter Lady Madeline—only the vicar now has an inkling of my attentions here due to the Squire’s own admission–I am anxious to solicit the Squire’s opinion as to his favorability toward my and Lady Madeline’s  match.  However, Squire Sinclair’s widowed sister takes it upon herself to quiz me about my presence amongst their small gathering.

Mrs. Russell: “Lord Sussex, I must admit that as delighted as we are to become acquainted with you, Mrs. Pelton and I are at a loss to speculate why you came to visit us this day?”

I look over at Squire Sinclair.  He neither waves me off nor encourages me to divulge the reason for my visit.  So I try to find a happy medium.

Christian, Lord Sussex:  “I am acquainted with the Sinclairs through my Grandmother the Dowager Countess of Sussex, Lady Catherine Blount, who is childhood friends with your brother’s mother-in-law, Lady Lucretia Beckham Knott.”

Mrs. Russell:  “Oh, that is delightful!  I daresay that Lady Knott is everything refined and graceful as a lady should be–and that she is having an improving influence upon my niece Lady Maddie while the girl has her first London season under the auspices of her Grandmama.”

I smile carefully at Mrs. Russell, not knowing what direction Squire Sinclair wishes me to choose in revealing my particular association with his family—due to my marriage proposal to his daughter, Lady Madeline.

Squire Sinclair:  “As I was earlier telling Lord Sussex, My Madeline is a girl who isn’t swayed by elevated rank.”

Christian, Lord Sussex: “No indeed.”

Mrs. Russell:  “So you have met our sweet Lady Madeline?”  Though Maddie is feisty, if I could direct an Earl’s attention to her finer qualities, all the better.

She further probes.  I daresay the woman would make a good constable.  But then women are endlessly curious creatures–which is often their folly, I think.  Though my prejudice is not formed by example, it is merely a maxim that males share.  And I now wonder to its verity—because I truly cannot think of any examples of such folly among the women of my acquaintance.  Hmmm.  My betrothed Lady Madeline is certainly an engaging conversant, but I do not feel that she probes unnecessarily.

Christian, Lord Sussex: “I have had that honor, Mrs. Russell.”  I smile, but say no more.

Mrs. Pelton:  “Our son Edward is studying to be a vicar—like his father.”  I gesture and smile toward my Vicar  husband—who smiles agreeably, but not overtly.  “And dear Edward always thinks so highly of Lady Madeline.”

The pinched looking woman preens.  And I wonder if she presumes to affiance her son to my betrothed Lady Madeline.  I cannot prevent the downturn of my lips.  My having a competitor for Lady Madeline’s hand in marriage had never entered my mind before now.  Though I have the upper hand in that Lady Madeline has already accepted me.

Christian, Lord Sussex: “Is that so?” I try to say benignly.   The lady nods.  “Well, my having become acquainted with Lady Madeline, I can easily consider why anyone would think highly of her.”  I can be gracious, though I am out of practice.  So I plaster a smile on my face.  Of course, I do think highly of Lady Madeline.  I just do not want anyone else to view it as a challenge to become her suitor—in opposition to me.

Squire Sinclair:  Drumming my fingers upon the arm of my chair, I look up at Lord Christian through hooded eyes, masking my thoughts.  “Lord Sussex?  What would you say is my daughter Lady Madeline’s finest quality?”

Now I feel put on the spot about my betrothed.  I perceive that I must answer correctly or my marital hopes will be dashed. So I turn to my hoped for father-in-law with a smile and as much sincerity as I can muster.

Christian, Lord Sussex: “While Lady Madeline has a pleasing countenance–and natural beauty with her flaming copper colored hair and creamy complexion–I believe that it is her spirit that draws people in.  That and her unfailing forthrightness and honesty.”

Squire Sinclair: “Praise indeed.”  I purse my lips and assess this young Earl who has the presumption to apply for my daughter’s hand in marriage, without any warning.  To be sure, he is well spoken, and well mannered.  But I must find out more about him before I commit my daughter’s future happiness into his care.

Mrs. Russell: “Just so.  It is hoped that Lady Madeline will make a brilliant match during her London Season.”

Squire Sinclair: “Brilliant or not, I merely wish for My Madeline’s happiness.” I pause portentously.   “So to that end, I will be traveling back to London with Lord Sussex upon the morrow to find out for myself how Madeline fares.”  I see the young Earl’s eyes widen. “I trust that you do not object that I share your coach with you back to London, My Lord?”

Christian, Lord Sussex: “Not in the least, Squire. It will be my honor to convey you to London and to your daughter.   In fact, I welcome the journey for us to get to know each other better.”  I smile warmly.  But I do wonder what the Squire and I will find to talk about during the three hour journey.

I notice  Mrs. Russell eyeing her brother the Squire with something akin to a quizzical expression.  She is clearly suspicious about her brother’s sudden wish to circulate in London.  Perhaps suspicion and curiosity are twin facets of the female mind.  There I go again, making a generalization with little evidence except for my selective experience with some women.  Were Lady Madeline made privy to my thoughts, I am certain that she would give me a set down—in her own charmingly minxish way.  I cannot help smiling as I think of her.

Well at any rate, I have met my hoped for future father-in-law, broken bread with him, will sleep under his roof this night, and then I will travel back to London with him upon the morrow.  I hope all goes well.  And it will, if I can keep my brother Lord Harold away from Squire Sinclair.  If not, I fear that my proposal for Lady Madeline’s hand will be doomed.  Younger brothers can be so annoying.  Lord help me!

To be continued with Chapter 14


“Encouragement”, Ch. 13  References by Gratiana Lovelace, October 29, 2016 (Post #991)

1) The “Encouragement” story cover is an image representing our young heroine Lady Madeline Sinclair, 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) Image for Squire Sutton Sinclair is that of Corin Redgrave as old Jolyon in the Forsyted Saga found at  http://enchantedserenityperiodfilms.blogspot.com/2008/08/redgrave-family.html

3) Lord Christian image is of Richard Armitage portraying John Thornton in the BBC’s 2004 mini series North & South, Epi4 pix 179 Fanny’s Wedding scene,  found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode4/slides/ns4-179.html

4) Image of Mrs. Russell, Lady Madeline Sinclair’s aunt (her father’s sister) is actress Amanda Root as Mrs. Davilow in Daniel Deronda; image https://joesmoviestuff.blogspot.com/2016/01/daniel-deronda-2002.html


Previous  Blog Ch. 12 Story link with embedded illustrations:




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
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3 Responses to “Encouragement”, Ch. 13 (PG):  Seeking Betrothal Approval, October 29, 2016 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #991)

  1. October 29, 2016
    Dear Readers, With Ch. 13 of my original historical fiction Regency romance “Encouragement”, I introduce a newish character or two–Lady Madeline Sinclair’s father and her aunt. Both of whom make Lord Christian “run the gauntlet. I hope that you enjoy it! Here is its link:


    P.S. And please vote and comment! Your feedback is so helpful! Thanks and Cheers! Grati ;->


  2. October 29, 2016–Thanks for liking/starring this Ch. 13 story post for my original Regency romance “Encouragement”! I’m glad that you enjoyed it! Cheers! Grati ;->



  3. Pingback: “Encouragement”, Ch. 14 (PG):  Returning to Her in London, November 02, 2016 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #994)  | Something About Love (A)

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