[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: The days following Lady Elizabeth’s presentation ball, she is flattered and flirted with—wooed, bot be more precise. And it is high time that she received her due. Though at seventeen years old, she is just debuting into London Society. And among her admirers are two Dukes, one Viscount, and an Earl—fitting for the granddaughter and sister of an Earl. However she returns her affections for only one of the suitors, Lord Duncan, the Viscount Lindsay. Yet, she does not know that he is not technically free to pay his addresses to her since he has an obligation betrothal to fulfill—to his late brother’s fiancé, Lady Constance Knightsbridge. So the situation is delicate—and not likely to improve.
“Encouragement, A Regency Tale of Love and Romance”,
Ch. 19: Angry words imperil a betrothal
However, that same Tuesday afternoon of February 20, 1816 when Christian Lord Sussex, returns home to Sussex House from his tailor for his wedding suit and then from his club where he had congratulations heaped upon him for his upcoming nuptials—with much ribald ribbing about his stamina with so young a bride that he tried his best to ignore–he learns from his grandmother the Lady Catherine the Dowager Countess of Sussex that his younger sister Lady Elizabeth has been taken on a riding outing in Hyde Park by Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay. Lord Christian as brother and head of the family as the Earl of Sussex is livid.
Christian Lord Sussex: “Hyde Park!?! Oh Grandmother! You let Lizzie go with Lord Duncan to parade around the park for all to see, as if he were a suitor of hers? As if he were courting her?”
Dow. Countess: “Calm Down, Christy!” She bristles for his chiding tone. Despite the fact that Lord Christian is now the head of the family as Earl, he is still her grandson. “It is Winter and very few brave the cold. So they might not be seen by anyone. And Lord Duncan is respectable—he is a Viscount and heir to a Dukedom. You have known him almost all of your life. What objection do you have of him?”
Christian Lord Sussex: “None! Except that he is already pledged to another!” He blurts out without preamble.
Dow. Countess: “No!” She covers her mouth in shock. “Why have I not heard of this sooner?” She shakes her head with her hand at her temple. “What folly!”
Lord Christian: “Well, the circumstances are peculiar. Since Lord Duncan is to succeed his late brother Lord Alfred as the Ducal heir when his father dies, he also acquired his late brother’s betrothed from ten years ago.”
Dow. Countess: “But I have heard nothing of this!”
Christian Lord Sussex: “That is because neither Lord Duncan nor Lady Constance Knightsbridge, the Duke of Lancashire’s daughter, will acquiesce to the scheme. So the two sets of parents are waiting to announce it—hoping to change their minds to accepting the arrangement. But no manner of enticement nor coercion had proved with party pliant.”
Dow. Countess: “Well then.” She shrugs her shoulders. “Lord Duncan is not betrothed. So he is free to pay his attentions to Lizzie. And were he to ask to court her with a mind to marrying her, then she would one day become a Duchess!” She gushes. “Just think, our little Lizzie a Duchess!” She sighs.
Seeing her joy and not wanting to quash so rare a thing since her husband his grandfather died but a few months ago, Lord Christian softens as he goes to kneel beside her and he takes her hand in his.
Christian Lord Sussex: “Grandmother, that would be wonderful for Lizzie, but it will not happen with Lord Duncan. The betrothal pact is unbreakable from what my sources tell me.” The Dowager Countess nods sadly. Then the hall clock chimes four o’clock in the afternoon. “Where is Lizzie? Should she not have returned by now?”
Dow. Countess: “I suppose the snow might have delayed them.” She speculates wincingly. She is not concerned that Lord Duncan might take advantage of Lady Elizabeth’s relative naivete and innocence—especially since her granddaughter Lizzie took her ladies maid Hildy with her. It is too bad, really, she thinks like a match making Grandmother. Because if it could be insinuated that Lord Duncan had compromised Lady Elizabeth—just technically by being alone with her, not by actually ruining her—then a betrothal and quick marriage would have to occur, to the delight of both parties the elder lady surmises.
And Lord Christian and his grandmother are conversing in the small drawing room at the back of the Sussex House that is used exclusively by the family and close friends. So they do not realize—nor have they been informed–that Lady Elizabeth has already returned home and is upstairs this very moment having a bath to prepare her for this evening’s dinner that they are hosting for their two families—the Knott’s and Sinclair’s and close friends to celebrate the upcoming nuptials, such as Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay.
As Lord Christian and his grandmother Lady Catherine the Dowager Countess Lady Sussex greet their guests—her sitting and him standing—Christian Lord Sussex could not look more impeccable and elegant as the youngish thirty year old recently coroneted Earl of Sussex. His black velvet frock coat is contrasted with an embroidered silver waistcoat over ivory superfine breeches, with silk hose stockings and shiny black patent leather slipper shoes. He is especially trying to wear in his new slipper shoes tonight, because he will also wear them for his wedding on Saturday when there will be a lot of standing about. And he does not want to be in discomfort of any kind. Usually he had shoes and boots custom made for his large frame—and his large feet. But owing to the short time frame of his impending nuptials, Christian Lord Sussex is making do with a pair that were not expressly made for his size.
The first arrivals are his betrothed Lady Madeline Sinclair, her widowed father Squire Sutton Sinclair, her aunt Mrs. Russell who has arrived for the wedding, along with her brother Edward Sinclair, and her Grandmama Lady Lucretia Beckam Knott. And Christian Lord Sussex notices that Lady Madeline seems … out of sorts? But not with him, surely, he thinks. He will find out that he thinks wrongly.
Christian Lord Sussex: “My grandmother and I are delighted to welcome you for our family betrothal dinner!”
Squire Sinclair: “Thank you, Lord Sussex. And may I introduce my eldest son whom you have not met yet, Edward Sinclair …”
The two young men bow. Lady Madeline watches the social niceties play out with increasing annoyance.
Edward: “My Lord Sussex.”
Christian Lord Sussex: “Mr. Sinclair.”
Edward: “Please, My Lord. As we are to be family, I am just Edward.”
Christian Lord Sussex: “Very well, then you must address me as Christian when we are en famille.”
Edward: “I am honored.” He bows again.
Squire Sinclair: “And my widowed sister, Mrs. Russell, whom you met when you visited to ask for my daughter’s hand in marriage.” That lady steps forward and curtsies to Lord Sussex.
Mrs. Russell: “My Lord.”
Christian Lord Sussex: “Delighted that we meet again, My Lady.” He bows.
Then Christian Lord Sussex turns to his betrothed Lady Madeline Sinclair wearing her presentation ball gown and he smiles.
Christian Lord Sussex: “You look enchanting, My Lady.” He sighs slightly. He cannot seem to help himself. As this whole betrothal, courting, and marrying scheme has progressed, he finds himself more and more accepting of it—apart from the benefit that her dowry will provide to the Sussex finances.
Lady Madeline: “My Lord Sussex.” She smiles wincingly. “Pray tell me. Is Lady Elizabeth about?” She scans the large foyer and sees no evidence of her friend.
Dowager Lady Sussex: “She is still upstairs getting dressed. You may go up and see her if you wish. Benton my Ladies Maid will escort you.” Lady Sussex crooks her finger and Miss Benton appears from out of nowhere to do her bidding.
Lady Madeline: “Thank you Lady Sussex. But I know my way.” Lady Madeline swishes her hand and darts for the stairs in as fast a walk that decorum permits.
Squire Sinclair: “Is everything alright? Lady Madeline seems out of sorts with you?”
Christian Lord Sussex: “We have not spoken yet today, so I do not know to what you refer?” He bristles. Yet a tiny nagging worry begins to form in his mind—and in his heart. Has Lady Madeline had time to think and now she regrets their betrothal and swift marriage? She is so frightfully young at not quite eighteen years of age, he ruminates.
And while they await the annoyingly for the ten minutes late Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay, everyone repairs to the Drawing room to wait in comfortable warmth by the fire.
That is it for Lady Madeline. Having reached the top of the stairs and looking over her shoulder to see the others repairing to the Drawing Room, Lady Madeline lifts up her skirt and bolts for Lady Elizabeth’s bed chamber that his half way down the family bed chambers wing.
Lady Madeline: Knocking urgently upon her friend’s door, she whispers loudly. “Lizzie! It is Maddie. May I come in?”
Lady Elizabeth nods to her ladies maid Hildy, who walks to and opens the bed chamber door—with Lady Madeline rushing inside.
Hildy: “My Lady.” She curtsies to Lady Madeline.
Lady Madeline: “Oh thank you.” She acknowledges. Then she looks at her friend and instantly notices her tears. “Lizzie! What is wrong, dearest?” Lady Madeline flings herself across the room and sits next to Lady Elizabeth sitting on her bed—embracing her caringly.
Lady Elizabeth is fully dressed with her hair coiffed. But her tears have streaked the light powder that she had Hildy apply to her face to try and smooth out her freckles. Abominable things freckles, thinks Lady Elizabeth!
Lady Elizabeth: She looks up in abject misery at her friend. “Maddie, I am bereft! I will never be happy again! I may as well become a nun! Except, I do not like their scratchy robes, nor kneeling upon hard stone floors in endless prayers, nor no hope of treats like hot chocolate.” She wails.
Lady Madeline: “Lizzie! Tell me! What brought on your despair? You have been so excited since your ball and your note said you have had suitors calling both days this week so far.” As if the notion of suitors, plural, was an instantly cheering notion. It is, they are–but not so, seemingly, in this circumstance. Then she pauses, nibbling at her lower lip, hoping that she can help her friend.
Lady Elizabeth: “Lord Duncan told me during our carriage ride outing this afternoon, he is betrothed to another—though not by his consent.”
Lady Madeline: “He is betrothed? But not by his consent? You speak in riddles.”
Then Lady Elizabeth proceeds to tell Lady Madeline about the two Ducal Fathers’ scheme to forever unite their families with the Duke of Lancashire’s daughter Lady Constance Knightsbridge, to marry the heir of the Duke of York. Though Lady Constance wanted to marry Lord Duncan’s elder deceased brother Lord Alfred. And it seems that with Lord Duncan becoming the Ducal heir, he also inherited his brother’s fiancé.
Lady Elizabeth: “It is a mess!” She wails again. “And my brother Christy forbids me from seeing Lord Duncan ever again.”
Lady Madeline: “He did, did he?” She glowers at her betrothed’s high handed ness. “Well, messes may be cleaned up. And as well intentioned that your brother Lord Christian may be, he does not know everything. And if Lord Duncan were betrothed, then he and Lady Constance should have married ten years ago. But that has not happened. So maybe Lady Constance will remain firm in her devotion to Lord Alfred’s memory and enter a convent herself—thereby removing that necessity from your burden.” She smiles encouragingly at her friend.
Lady Elizabeth: “Do you think so?” She asks hopefully as Lade Madeline nods caringly.
Lady Madeline: “I do. Now let us wash your face and calm those puffy eyes.” Then she turns to the ladies maid. “Hildy? Do you have cold water that we can apply to Lady Elizabeth’s eyes with a cloth, to bring down the swelling and redness?”
Hildy: Curtsying, she smiles dutifully. “Aye, I do My Lady.”
So between Lady Madeline’s encouraging words and ladies maid Hildy’s expert application of cold compresses to Lady Elizabeth’s face, the crying damage is lessened and Lady Elizabeth consents to accompany Lady Madeline down stairs for the family betrothal dinner. And if Lady Madeline has her way, she will steal away with Lord Christian—to speak her mind to him about his being overbearing and brutish to his dear sister Lady Elizabeth.
Yet when the two young ladies join their two families in the Sussex House Drawing Room, Lady Madeline and Lady Elizabeth find a room under siege.
Dowager Lady Sussex: “I said leave it, Christy. And Harold you should refrain from speaking if you have nothing to contribute to the situation.” The steel in the elderly lady’s voice belies the frailty of her body. But when her grandsons knock heads together—and in company—she will not have it!
Then all eyes turn to Lady Madeline and Lady Elizabeth. Both look a bit pale—Lady Madeline’s paleness is partially due to the powder she wears and partially to do with her feeling out of sorts all day. And Lady Elizabeth eschewed powder, but she truly has a creamy complexion. And upon seeing her lost love Lord Duncan in a shouting match with her brother Lord Christian, Lady Elizabeth is about to faint from shock and from embarrassment.
Instantly solicitous of her well being, Lord Duncan rushes to Lady Elizabeth’s side.
Lord Duncan: “My Lady, you are unwell. Please let me assist you to the sette.” He does that, but not without being criticized for it.
Christian Lord Sussex: “Unhand my sister or I will relish testing the power of my fist upon your face.” He growls.
The two elderly grandmothers—Lady Knott and Lady Sussex look at each other in dismay and each shakes their heads in mortification.
Squire Sinclair: Leaning over to his son, Squire Sinclair remarks in a loud whisper. “And these London toffs think we are the provincial ones. Those two are going to brawl right before us. I would bet two guineas on it.”
Edward Sinclair: “Father, we know not the difficulties and burdens these great lords have upon their shoulders.”
Mrs. Russell: “I agree. Though their behavior is quite out of the ordinary. I am inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt.”
Though another quarter is not willing to display such largesse.
Lady Madeline: “Christian! How could you make such a scene at our family betrothal dinner? Lord Duncan is our guest. And he has been completely above board about his situation with Lady Elizabeth. I count that as a mark of honor. Do you not see that?”
Christian Lord Sussex: “No! I do not! While he lingers around my sister …” Christian Lord Sussex points forcefully in the direction of Lord Duncan, “…—chasing off eligible suitors—am I supposed to stand back and watch my beloved sister’s prospects for a happy future with a husband and a family of her own, vanish?”
Lord Harold: “No, of course not! But be reasonable, Christy!” Lady Elizabeth’s other brother intones. She appreciates it. But her wishes are not holding sway at the moment.
Christian Lord Sussex: “Harold, be a good boy and keep quiet/” He sneers. “You do not have an opinion here.”
Lady Madeline: “Papa, I … I … I wish to leave. Now!” Lady Madeline struggles to remove the long glove from her left hand and arm. Once accomplished, she removes her betrothal ring [(2) right] from Lord Christian and carefully places it on a nearby occasional table. The candle light bounces glowingly off of the Sussex family heirloom, at once sparkling with its portent of joy, as well as, glinting at the harsh reality of its office being no longer required.
The room stills for Lady Madeline’s quiet, yet dramatic response to Lord Christian’s outbursts. And Christian Lord Sussex looks in horror upon the gesture.
Christian Lord Sussex: “No! You cannot mean it. We are to be wed in three days on Friday!” He states almost pleadingly.
With a composure beyond her years, Lady Madeline does not shrink from her decision—though tears are threatening to burst forth from her eyes.
Lady Madeline: With a strong yet trembling voice, she replies. “Lord Sussex, I cannot marry you if you seek to rule by edict and decree. That is not the life that I want for myself. I wish not to be dictated to. I let myself be swept away with romantic notions of the noble and handsome Earl of Sussex wanting a country maiden like myself for his bride. I was flattered. And you charmed me completely. So much so, I fear that my common sense has taken flight.”
Christian Lord Sussex looks around the room at the stunned faces—none more so than his own. His humiliation at so public a refusal is eclipsed only by the realization that he has done it to himself—in disregarding the feelings of others.
Lord Duncan: “Lady Madeline, please do not do this on my account. For I am not blameless in stoking Lord Sussex’s ire.”
Lady Madeline: Turning to Lord Duncan, she states coolly. “No, you are not blameless.” She glowers at him and he bows in acquiescence. “You should have been honest with Lady Elizabeth from the start, rather than leading her to believe that you are free to court her, free to marry her.”
Lord Duncan: “But I …”
Lady Madeline: “It is not the situation. But I do not plan to insert myself into it. That is for you and Lady Elizabeth—and yes, Lord Christian—to decide, calmly and rationally.” She darts a glance at her former betrothed Lord Christian and he nods to her, bows, then hangs his head in resignation for his lost betrothal.
Christian Lord Sussex should be scrambling to regain her favor, so desperate is his family for her dowry to erase the deceased Earl Grandfather’s debts. But he cannot. For his betrothal and courting of Lady Madeline has long since ceased to become a means to an end for him. And an unknown ache pulses just below his rib on his left side for the loss of Lady Madeline’s love—and the loss of her good opinion.
Lord Harold: “Grandmother? Might we all go in to dinner and leave Christy and Madeline to discuss, what they need to discuss?” Harold winces hopefully at his grandmother. Then turning to his brother, he notices Lord Christian’s nod of thanks to him—and he returns the nod.
And Lady Madeline is still standing in the Drawing room, with her back ram rod straight, and her hands—one gloved, one not gloved—clasped tightly in front of her. She has made public her resolution to dissolve her betrothal to Lord Christian. And she does not know how to take it back.
Then everyone but Lady Madeline and Lord Christian file out of the Drawing Room. There is silence, but for the crackling logs in the fireplace. After a few moments, Lord Christian gently begins.
Christian Lord Sussex: “My Lady, I respect your decision to dissolve our betrothal. But there are various aspects to be addressed–so as to minimize the impact to your reputation.” For he knows as well as she that a lady breaking a betrothal—and being but three days from the wedding—will be forever shunned in society, unless a mitigating circumstance can be put forth to absolve her of her fickleness. Gesturing to the sette, he asks. “Will you please sit, My Lady?”
Lady Madeline’s eyes glance over to his eyes, nods slightly and takes a seat at the opposite end of the sette from him. Then Lord Christian sits. Lady Madeline maintains her silence, her eyes looking forward at the fire—her not daring to look at Lord Christian for fear that she will burst into tears. She gets so emotional every month. But this is the worst it has been—in terms of her landing herself in a folly of her own making. She will lose Lord Christian, be disgraced, and retire from society, becoming a spinster—since no man will ever want to marry her now. Nor would she want to marry any man—if he isn’t Lord Christian.
The Sussex House cat Athena saunters into their end of the Drawing room—her having witnessed it all, though not with great understanding. Athena belongs to Lady Elizabeth—or perhaps the other way around. And Athena and Lord Christian have tolerated each other—for Lady Elizabeth’s sake. Until now. And Athena hops onto the sette next to Lady Madeline, who begins to pet the cat as Athena purrs contentedly.
Lady Madeline: “I will miss you, Athena.” She states in a small voice. “Please take good care of Lady Elizabeth for me.”
Christian Lord Sussex: “Hhhh! I would not like to think that I was the cause for my sister Lizzie losing her only friend. I should be the one to go.”
Lady Madeline: “No no. After our break becomes known, I will not be received by anyone. So I will retire to our country home and live a quiet life.”
Christian Lord Sussex: “But will the quiet suit you?” He asks in earnest, concerned for her welfare.
Lady Madeline: “I have survived in the country for nearly eighteen years. I daresay that I will for another eighteen years and more.” She states stoically.
Christian Lord Sussex: “No, you must not suffer. I will take the blame. I will let it be known that your father discovered that I was only marrying you for your money and that he refused to allow the betrothal and wedding to continue. I will go abroad—seeking an ambassadorship far away so as to lend credence to the story that I was cast out. You will be viewed as the young heroine saved from the clutches of a fortune hunter. You will be pitied at first. But then the matrons of London society with marriageable sons will take you under their wing. And next season it will have all blown over. It will be as if we never met. And you will start again, and make an even more brilliant match than myself.”
Lady Madeline: “You say that all so glibly.” I look at him with confusion and pain. Then I ask in a hushed voice. “Were you a fortune hunter, wanting only my dowry?” Lord Christian does not answer at first. And Lady Madeline gasps in surprised shock. “Hhhh!”
Christian Lord Sussex: “I was.” Lord Christian replies forlornly. Honest to a fault—honorable man that he is–and knowingly burying all hope he has of reclaiming her affections.
Lady Madeline cannot contain her muffled weeping through her hand covering her mouth as she allows the tension of the last quarter hour to seep out in copious tears on her part.
Lady Madeline: “You made me love you.” She looks at him in painful abandonment.
Chistian Lord Sussex: “As did you of me.” He gazes at her with steadfast devotion—perhaps for the last time.
Lady Madeline: “Why do you tell me such things now? It is as if you are trying to destroy my good opinion of you.”
Christian Lord Sussex: “I thought that was already the case—with my overbearing and meddlesome behavior.” He looks at her uncertainly. “Besides, you will go forward with your life, find a good man, and be happy. So you must have no regrets if you are to meet your future.” He declares stoically, but his annoying rib ache is becoming more pronounced.
Lady Madeline: “But I do have regrets.” Lady Madeline states plaintively.
Christian Lord Sussex: “And for that I am sorry. For your sake, I wish that we had never met. I wish no regrets for you. You are blameless. I took advantage of your innocence and exploited your naivete.” He smarts inside, because that is exactly what he did. But he feels so different now about her, but he must make a clean break—for her sake.
Lady Madeline: “Very well. We will do as you say.” They both stand up from the sette. The cat Athena looking back and forth between them.
Christian Lord Sussex: “As you wish, My Lady.” His voice as deep as the ocean, his face as bleak as the desert.
Lady Madeline: “But I would ask one thing of you, if you would but grant me my wish.”
Christian Lord Sussex: “Of course, My Lady. Your wish is my command.” He bows with all of the deferential poise that he can muster. He gazes at her, waiting for her request. He cannot guess what she wishes—though he knows what he wishes.
Taking two steps to stand before Lord Christian, Lady Madeline gazes up at him with tear stained mournful eyes.
Lady Madeline: “I wish … I wish you to …” He looks at her with such tenderness. “I will never love another. I wish you to kiss me—if only in good bye.” Her voice a hushed whisper, her lips trembling at her bold request.
Christian Lord Sussex: “I … Thank you, My Lady. I would like to kiss you in farewell.”
Then Lord Christian clasps his hands behind his back—because he cannot trust himself not to want to claim her has his own, forever and for always—and he leans down and gently brushes his lips against her lips. At first, it is just a gentle kiss, petal soft—neither of them feeling the kiss worthy of a substantial farewell. So with Lady Madeline’s face still tilted upward and her eyes closed, Lord Christian presses his lips firmly upon her lips.
Then by design or by desire, Lady Madeline brings her arms up to twine around Lord Christian’s neck as they continue to kiss—now more tenderly, as their mouths open and close to each other in circular suckling motions. And Lord Christian now brings his arms from behind his back and embraces Lady Madeline. She clings to him and he lifts her up and brings her to sit upon his lap as he sits back down upon the setter—their lips never losing their touching upon each other.
Lady Madeline feels emboldened to expend her last ounce of decorum by whole heartedly embracing their kissing as she runs her fingers through his hair and he plunders her mouth as they share heated breaths and new loving sensations. Though Lord Christian comes to his senses before he lies down and brings her to lie on top of him.
Christian Lord Sussex: “We must cease, Madeline! Hhhh! Hhhh!” He pants in his growing ardor.
Lady Madeline: “Why must we, Christian? I do not want to end our betrothal anymore. Please do not send me away.” She pleads even has she kisses his mouth, begging him to kiss her tenderly again.
Christian Lord Sussex: Astonished, and elatedly pleased, Lord Christian caresses her face as he gazes into her eyes. “Madeline? Truly? You forgive me for all of my brutish behavior? And of my dishonesty?” Lord Christian kisses her passionately, not allowing her to speak.
Lady Madeline: “I do. But only if you forgive my dramatics. I am afraid that ill health and ill humors overwhelm me each month. And I am not fit to be around.” She pouts as she snuggles into his neck.
Christian Lord Sussex: “No, no. I deserved to have a scolding from you. You were right. Lord Duncan had been honest with Lizzie. I just do not know how to save her from the heartache of her not being able to marrying him.” He worries.
Lady Madeline: “We do not know our limits, until we try them.” She states firmly. “But one thing I know that I cannot do without, and that is you, Christian.” She gazes soulfully into his eyes. And he gazes back at her before they share a sweet soft and tender kiss to seal their new beginning.
Christian Lord Sussex: “Then I suppose, we should let our families know that we are still to wed on Friday.” He says lazily. “But I find that I am enjoying our kissing way too much.”
Lady Madeline: “Oh? Is there such a thing as too much kissing?”
Christian Lord Sussex: “No, no indeed.” He smiles and caresses her dear face with his finger, before they share a sweetly tender kiss. Then Christian Lord Sussex snatches up Lady Madeline’s betrothal ring from the nearby table and he holds it out to her. She raises her left hand and he places the ring upon her finger again. Then more kissing ensues.
Eventually, Christian Lord Sussex helps Lady Madeline to stand up from his lap. Then he smooths out some of her gown skirt and his pantaloons wrinkles. And they each help the other straighten their hair. Then Lord Christian offers his arm to Lady Madeline and they walk out of the Drawing room and to their waiting families in the Dining Room—to tell them that they have reconciled, and that they will be married on Friday. Assuming, that is, that nothing else happens.
To be continued with Chapter 20
“Encouragement”, Ch. 19 References by Gratiana Lovelace, November 29, 2016 (Post #1007)
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) The image of Lady Madeline’s beautiful one carat gold filigree heirloom betrothal ring from Lord Christian was found at http://www.bloomingbeautyring.com/wp-content/uploads/bfi_thumb/antique-vintage-style-filigree-rings-llmoix98iv78beu8cfju92foex3z7nl4sksl8fp3d0.jpg
Previous Blog Ch. 18 Story link with embedded illustrations: