[From time to time, I will illustrate my story characters with: Richard Armitage as Lord Christian Blount Earl of Sussex, Kate Winslet and Emma Lady Hamilton as Lady Madeline Lucretia Sinclair, Dame Maggie Smith as Lady Lucretia Beckham Knott, Jessica Brown Findlay 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, 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: At Lady Elizabeth Blount’s presentation ball, her brother Lord Christian Blount the Earl of Sussex and his betrothed Lady Madeline had a heart to heart talk, confirming their wishes to marry each other—on affectionate terms. And the love of Lady Elizabeth’s heart– Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay, heir to the Duke of York—is attentive and kind to her, with dances and escorting her to supper where they chat most amiably. Yet, Lord Duncan is honor bound to wed another—and Lady Elizabeth does not know it yet.
“Encouragement, A Regency Tale of Love and Romance”,
Ch. 18 (PG): Lady Elizabeth’s turn to be wooed
In the following days after her presentation ball, Lady Elizabeth Blount receives cards, nosegays, and callers—in addition to the posies sent by her considerate elder brothers Lord Christian and Lord Harold. This pleases her enormously. She had been so nervous about the prospect of meeting men–other than her brothers or elderly family friends—that she had forgotten that great attention would come her way as a debutante from a distinguished family, with what many presume will be an equally distinguished dowry.
But her dear friend Lady Madeline Sinclair is busy with wedding planning to Lady Elizabeth’s brother Lord Christian Blount the Earl of Sussex–with her trousseau, her gown fittings and final flower selections for her bridal bouquet, and such at her Grandmama Lady Knott’s London townhouse. Lady Elizabeth understands that with the wedding three days away, all is bedlam over at Lady Knott’s London townhouse where her granddaughter Lady Madeline resides with her. So Lady Elizabeth Blount does not have her friend by her side—as she was with her for Lady Madeline’s first week of suitors. But if Lady Elizabeth gets her wish [(2) right] , Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay will be among her suitors.
Of Lady Elizabeth’s second day of visitors to her family’s London mansion Sussex House on Tuesday, February 20, 1816 are Sebastian Dunne His Grace the Duke of Lincoln–among other admirers who have turned their attentions to Lady Elizabeth now that her dowry is assured, such as Lord Richard Tottenham and Lord Bernard Quincy. These three gentlemen had also paid their attentions to Lady Madeline Sinclair before her betrothal to Lord Christian Blount. One might wonder if these three wander from debutante to debutante as each weekend brings a fresh new face to society?
And not to be left out, Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay and heir to the Duke of York also visits daily—though he knows that he is honor bound elsewhere, he cannot refrain from visiting Lady Elizabeth. He feels a pull that he cannot explain—for he had always thought of Lady Lizzie as a little sister. Yet she is a little sister no longer, but a young lady upon the cusp of her womanhood. And Lord Duncan is quickly becoming mesmerized with her—however inappropriate it is for him to do so.
Lady Elizabeth is still quite shy, but Lord Duncan jovially helps her steer the conversations of her morning callers—much to the consternation of Lord Richard, Lord Bernard, and His Grace Duke Sebastian. And for proprieties sake, Lady Lizzie’s ladies maid Hildy—Lady Elizabeth’s pet name for her youngish ladies maid named Hildegarde–sits in her unneeded up until this week chaperonage corner of the large formal Drawing Room at Sussex House. What can her parents have been thinking with such a lofty old world Christian name as Hildegard for her spritely ladies maid, Lady Elizabeth wonders? Though the reverse seems to be the case with Lady Elizabeth, since as a child she was affectionately known as Lady Lizzie–but now that she has had her come out, she only wishes to be known as Lady Elizabeth. That is, if she can get her brothers Lord Christian and Lord Harold to comply.
Thus pondering Hildy’s name is a small bit of distraction on Lady Lizzie’s part whilst the gentlemen discuss horses and hounds—and their latest cravat stylings. Lady Elizabeth would perceive her presence unnecessary for such conversations—since the gentlemen talk gamely amongst themselves—but for Lord Duncan’s bringing her into the conversation at regular intervals, now and again.
Lady Elizabeth: On the issue of horses, Lady Elizabeth expresses her view that. “Beyond their employment for conveyance, I would wish they would be allow to run and roam free to enjoy life.” Duke Sebastian smiles.
Duke Sebastian: “Then My Lady, you should visit our estate Red Roses Hall in Yorkshire. Our inestimable stables of thirty and more horses have abundant paddocks upon which to graze and run and roam, as you suggest. And of course, we ride our horses across our expansive estate nearly daily for their exercise and for our own. So I would not think theirs is a life of boredom, rather to the contrary.”
Lady Elizabeth: “Oh! I am certain your estate is most pleasing–to the horses, I mean.” Lady Lizzie smiles sweetly.
Lord Richard: “Ah! But My Lady, my own horses are the fastest in England—my pride and joy! You must come to the races with me one day and see them run.” He extends an invitation.
Lady Elizabeth: Lady Lizzie looks at him curiously. “Thank you, Lord Richard. But though horse racing sounds exciting, ….” But she is interrupted.
Lord Richard: “It is the sport of kings!’ He exclaims excitedly.
Lady Elizabeth: “ Yes, in addition to war, I suppose.” She narrows her eyes for his lack of courtesy. “But as I was trying to say when you interrupted me, apart from my being worried about the poor horses possibly losing a shoe or straining a tendon during the race, I do not believe that my Grandmother nor my brother Lord Christian will allow it. I have never heard of such a thing as horse racing as being suitable in society. Are any ladies present for such races?” Lady Elizabeth asks dubiously as she looks at him askance for the propriety of his suggestion, and his hopes are dashed. Then she continues her hold on the conversation and directs her attention to her third guest, Lord Bernard Quincy. “And what of you, Lord Quincy?”
Lord Bernard: “I? Well, I?
Lord Richard: “Do speak up, Lord Quincy.” He sneers.
Lord Duncan: “Now now gentlemen, I have heard that Lord Quincy’s interests tend more toward his hounds—for hunting.” He tries to broker a peace.
Lord Bernard: “Yes, yes!” He utters gratefully. “That is so. Do you hunt, Lady Elizabeth?”
Lady Elizabeth: “No. Our estate woodlands are either too thick, hilly, or the land given over to farming. There is very little unorganized grazing land for a hunt, I am afraid. My brother is attempting to maximize the estate, as he says.”
Lord Duncan: “Most commendable. Perhaps he and I can converse and consult with regard to our family’s estate in Yorkshire.”
Lady Elizabeth: “And what of your estate, Lord Lindsay? Does it have delights to offer as well?”
Lord Duncan: “Home is always delightful, Lady Elizabeth.” He addresses her formally while in company here, but it also reminds him that they are not likely to become intimates.
Lady Elizabeth: “Yet, you do not boast about it?”
Lord Duncan: “No.” He smiles. “Our estate is multifaceted with farming and animals—much as your own is, with woodlands, a lake, rivers, gardens, and hills in abundant splendor. And our estate is a major employer for the area. And the quaint little village of Yorkton advantageously and prosperously lies but five miles to the East on the post road—but only because it is the only respite for twenty miles before heading on to the county seat of York.”
Lady Lizzie: “You make the estate sound so lovely. I should dearly like to see it one day.” She states rather boldly.
Lord Duncan: “Of course, My Lady. I have been thinking of asking Lord Christian and his bride for a visit after they marry—after some renovations to the hall are made in the Spring and Summer. The roof needs replacing, I am afraid—due to a Winter rain storm that devastated the top floors of one wing.”
Lady Elizabeth: “Oh dear! That must be such an expense!” She looks at him wondering if lack of funds is what is delaying the repairs.
Lord Duncan: “Indeed. Just as soon as the Winter weather breaks, repairs will begin. We shall be a house under siege by carpenters and day laborers and such.” He smiles sheepishly. Then he leans in and whispers. “After you have dispensed with the lot of us before luncheon today, might I beg to return and take you for a ride in the park in my chaise and four?” He knows that he does wrong in encouraging Lady Elizabeth to think that he is one of her suitors, when he is pledged elsewhere. But he tells himself that he cannot help it. And perhaps he will be able to make his own choice of bride someday. Lady Elizabeth nods slightly with a small smile forming—indicating her delight. “Excellent!” He continues in a whisper. “Then I will collect you at two o’clock, Lady Elizabeth.”
And fuming quietly in the corner, the other three gentlemen watch with perturbation how the ease and friendliness of Lord Duncan has served to unlock Lady Elizabeth’s shyness in conversation. She has blossomed before their eyes—and not due to any of them.
Since Lord Christian is out at appointments this day, he is not aware of Lord Duncan’s scheme to escort his younger sister Lady Lizzie on a carriage ride in the park—or he would have declined it, due to Lord Duncan being already betrothed. Lord Christian does not want his sister lead down the garden path, as it were—literally or figuratively.
So with the Dowager Countess of Sussex’s blessing—the Dowager not knowing that Lord Duncan is already technically betrothed to another–Lord Duncan collects Lady Elizabeth and her Ladies Maid Hildy for their ride in Hyde Park. An outing in the biting cold of February is, perhaps, an odd choice. But then, the ample rugs and several hot bricks at their feet serve to keep them warmish, if not warm.
And on this carriage ride in the park outing—with several thick rugs and hot bricks to keep them warm in their enclosed carriage–Lord Duncan further regales Lady Lizzie with tales of his family estate in York. And she speaks about their family’s rural estate retreat as well. Lord Duncan had visited there many years ago, when he and her brother Lord Christian were on a school break. Though Lady Lizzie was but a child in leading strings then and does not remember it. She quite blushes at being told that she toddled after them one day and landed in a heap of hay with questionable freshness—only to be hauled home for cleanup by her Nanny. But to her protestations, he merely touches his gloved finger to her lips.
Duncan Viscount Lindsay: “Hush! You were adorable and you will not make me think otherwise.”
Lady Elizabeth: “You are kind to say so. But you must have thought me tiresome at times.”
Duncan Viscount Lindsay: “Not at all. You remember that I have a younger sister, Lady Gwendolyn. So I am well aware of the antics of sisters.”
Lady Elizabeth: “Antics?” She pouts. “You make me sound like an urchin with no sense but to run and play.” She flails her hand in frustration.
Duncan Viscount Lindsay: “Perhaps then, I did.” He raises a mischievous eyebrow.
Lady Elizabeth: “Then?” She smiles. “And now?”
Duncan Viscount Lindsay: Choosing his words carefully, Lord Duncan compliments her. “You are charming!” He sighs.
Lady Elizabeth: “Are you in earnest, Lord Lindsay?” She asks pleadingly. With his messy blond hair and clear blue eyes, now she is the one mesmerized by him.
Now Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay must decide what to do—with regard to his dealings with and his feelings for Lady Elizabeth Blount. But what he wants to do and what he should do, are two different things. But do they have to be? So before he takes Lady Elizabeth back home, he answers her questions.
And it remains to be seen how her family will react to his and Lady Elizabeth’s conversation—especially her brother Lord Christian.
To be continued with Chapter 19
“Encouragement”, Ch. 18 References by Gratiana Lovelace, November 23, 2016 (Post #1004)
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) Lady Elizabeth Blount in purple day dress is that of Jessica Brown Findlay as Lady Sybil in Downton Abby found at http://media.tumblr.com/d0a41882cb1002e0e9604665f32b77ee/tumblr_inline_mono4y4CRK1qz4rgp.jpg
3) Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay smiling is an image of Rupert Penry Jones in Persuasion (2007) found at University in words blogspot at http://s3.media.squarespace.com/production/1268594/14933071/.a/6a010534fda1c2970b0120a8e9e6a8970b-800wi
Previous Blog Ch. 17 Story link with embedded illustrations: