“Expectations” (Book 2, “Encouragement” sequel)–Prologue, November 23, 2018 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1191)
(an original Regency romance copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace, 2018 – 2019; all rights reserved); [(1) story cover art, left]
[As is my custom, from time to time I will illustrate my story with my ideal cast consisting of (in order of appearance/mention): Richard Armitage as Lord Christian Blount Earl of Sussex, Kate Winslet as Lady Madeline Sinclair Blount Countess of Sussex, Dame Maggie Smith as Lady Lucretia Beckham Knott her grandmother, Jessica Brown Findlay as Lady Elizabeth Blount as sister to Lord Christian, Crispin Bonham-Carter as Lord Harold Blount as brother to Lord Christian, Dame Judi Dench as Lady Catherine Blount the Dowager Countess of Sussex their gradnmother, Corin Redgrave as Lady Madeline’s father the Squire Sutton Sinclair, Amanda Root as Mrs. Russell her aunt, Rupert Penry Jones as Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay and the second son of the Duke of York, David Oakes as the late Lord Alfred the Marquess of Malton and the first born son and former heir to the Duke of York, Emma Thompson as Lady Gwendolyn “Gwennie” Lindsay of York their sister; and Lady Constance Knightsbridge daughter to the Duke and Duchess of Lancashire and betrothed of the late Lord Alfred, Hugh Grant as her brother Lord Robert Knightsbridge the Marquess of Endscombe and the heir to the Duke of Lancashire, and others as noted.]
Author’s story content and serializing scheduling notes: For the most part, my ratings for the chapters will be PG-13—for romantic interludes and dramatic moments. If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with these ratings, then please do not read that chapter. This is my disclaimer. And I always put the previous chapter’s recap at the top of the next chapter. Also, I hope to post Chapter 1 on Sunday, and thereafter post weekly on Sundays.
“Expectations” (Book 2, “Encouragement sequel)—story Description
A young lady of the peerage in Regency England has but three wishes in life: to please her aristocratic parents, to honor her aristocratic family, and to promote society’s and her country’s best interests by following the first two wishes in marrying well to solidify family alliances. But where do a young lady’s hopes, dreams, and wishes abide? And with the expectations pressed upon her by her family and society, how might a young lady fulfill her own desires and expectations for a happy life?
Lady Elizabeth Blount, Lady Gwendolyn Lindsay, and Lady Constance Knightsbridge are three ladies who desire their hearts’ expectations of romance and love be fulfilled—as were Lady Madeline Sinclair Blount the Countess of Sussex’s expectations fulfilled in meeting and marrying her husband Lord Christian Blount the Earl of Sussex, after a little encouragement. And it will be up to the newly married Lady Madeline and her husband Lord Christian as the Countess and Earl of Sussex to somehow help these other two ladies fulfill their expectations.
“Expectations”, Prologue: Early Spring, two months after Lady Elizabeth’s February 1816 Presentation Ball
The first garden party of the London Season is stubbornly taking place in a still rather chilly late March 1816 at Lady Towbridge’s large London estate. The flower buds have not yet fully opened, they are waiting until the truly Spring warmth comes in the next few days.
And if the weather were more agreeable, Lady Elizabeth Blount–younger sister to her brother the Earl of Sussex Lord Christian Blount and his newlywed bride and her best friend Lady Madeline Sinclair Blount—would be wearing her new pink chiffon frock. But alas as it is still chilly, she and all the guests stoically walk through the not quite fully blooming English garden of Lady Towbridge.
Standing several yards away from the other guests by design, Lady Elizabeth admires a nascently budding primrose clutch [(2) primrose, right] while wearing her sensible and warm carriage gown of a light blue colored wool trimmed in velvet. The velvet trim being recently applied to add a bit of panache to her warm garment, since walking dresses would be altogether too light weight against the chilly weather. And Lady Elizabeth does not want to have her blossoming womanly figure hidden from view under a cloak—should a certain much admired gentleman join her today as surreptitiously planned.
A few moments later—after scanning the garden for her–a tall blond gentleman with broad shoulders and a commanding stride walks up behind Lady Elizabeth as she admires a primrose bud and he gently covers her eyes with his gloved hands.
Duncan, Viscount Lindsay: “You are so like that rosey bud, Lady Elizabeth.” He purrs in his velvety baritone.
Lady Elizabeth: “Duncan!” Lady Elizabeth squeals in an excited whisper. “You came! I had almost despaired of your appearance today.” She would pout to show her displeasure, were she not so pleased to see him again after his two day absence, necessitated by a quick trip to his estate to oversee the beginnings of castle roof repairs from the Winter water leak damage.
Duncan, Viscount Lindsay: He smiles knowingly, with clear admiration in his eyes for the youthful beauty before him. “Are you not going to ask me why I liken you to a ripe, yet to bloom rosebud?”
Lady Elizabeth: Quirking her eyes at a mischievous glance to his own appreciative gaze, she laughs in a careful whisper, so as not to be overheard by the other guests. “La, Lord Duncan! You just told me that you think me ripe and yet to bloom.” Her own appreciative eyes take in his elegantly clad muscled figure encased in buff pantaloons over riding boots, with a dark blue heavy wool vest and jacket. His dear face a benign mask for his loving emotions toward her, that only she can discern.
Duncan, Viscount Lindsay: “Did I? How unpardonable of me to deny you the pleasure of deducing the answer.” His words have more than double meanings for the object of his affection, Lady Elizabeth Blount.
Lady Elizabeth: “My Lord, you will put me to the blush.” I flutter my eyelashes at him in my best coy response. I so enjoy his lightly teasing ways.
Duncan, Viscount Lindsay: “What makes you blush so charmingly, My Lady? Or should I now deduce the answer?”
Lady Elizabeth: Eschewing her flirty pose—for artifice is not her forte—Lady Elizabeth regally inclines her head to him with a smile. “Oh Duncan, There is not much for you to deduce. You stole my heart long ago.” She sighs and closes her eyes, remembering their fateful meeting half her life ago when she was but nine years old, when she met him as her older brother Lord Christian’s Eton school friend.
Duncan, Viscount Lindsay: Taking her closed eyes as invitation, but knowing that he cannot kiss her in public without compromising her virtue, Lord Duncan reigns in his body’s libidinous response to Lady Elizabeth, and he takes a measured step back from her. “And God forgive me, but you have mine.” He laments, his face is now a thinly veiled mask of disappointment. For theirs is a thwarted love match.
Lady Elizabeth: Knowing the difficulty of their love and hope to wed, Lady Elizabeth exhibits a maturity behind her tender years of being just turned eighteen. “Love is not a sorrow, Duncan. It is a gift to be cherished. Can we not cherish our love … even though …” Her voice cracks with the strain of knowing that they can never be wed nor have a life together creating a loving home for their hoped for future children.
Duncan, Viscount Lindsay: “I am sorry that I have saddened your mood, Lady Elizabeth.” Then he risks an indiscretion by angling his body closer toward her, though they are not touching. “Were not my family’s expectations that I would wed my late older brother Lord Alfred’s betrothed Lady Constance Knightsbridge so entrenched, I would gladly plight my troth to you, my love.” He whispers purringly.
Lady Elizabeth: “And I, you. Can we not think of something inventive to impel your parents to agree to our marriage? I know that my older brother Christy would agree and consent as my guardian.” She asks pleadingly as she gazes up at him with love in her heart.
Duncan, Viscount Lindsay: Worrying about Lady Elizabeth’s reputation were they to proceed upon a scandalous course of elopement–or worse, were he to truly compromise her such that marriage would be their only option–he sadly shakes his head. “No Elizabeth. I will not see you harmed irrevocably, by my intractable situation.”
Lady Elizabeth: She bestows upon him a small smile, tinged with nascent longing and regret. “Then let us not think upon what can not be, and rather, enjoy the day and our being in one another’s presence. If all we have together is friendship, let us take comfort in that. For I would never disavow my love and admiration for you, Duncan My Love, no matter the calumny nor inducement at hand.”
Duncan, Viscount Lindsay: “Nor would I disavow you, My Darling.” He smoulders, and they each tremble with the power of their mutual love.
Though an innocent and virtuous lady, Lady Elizabeth is not so innocent as to misunderstand Lord Duncan’s gaze as anything but love and smouldering desire. She had been warned by her brother to be circumspect during her first London Season, should any gentleman disrespect her with his lustful behavior.
Yet, Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay and putative heir to the Duke of York is not just any gentleman to Lady Elizabeth Blount. And she has Lord Duncan’s unwavering respect and devotion, as he keeps in check his unbridled desire for her in his bed and as his wife. They have not even kissed each other—nor held each other’s ungloved hand–though Lord Duncan and Lady Elizabeth dearly want to.
Can these two would be lovers thwart the expectations of their noble families and their aristocratic society by forging a way together as husband and wife? They dearly hope so.
To be continued with Chapter 1
“Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement): Prologue images for November 23, 2018 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1191)
- “Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement”) story cover art is an image representing Lady Elizabeth Blount, sister to the Earl of Sussex in black evening gown–is that of actress Jessica Brown Findlay as Lady Sybil in Downton Abby found at http://www.internet-d.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/38/2012/02/JESSICA-BROWN-FINDLAY-as-Lady-Sybil-Crawley.jpg ; the text font is Vivaldi
- Primrose vulgaris image found at http://www.english-country-garden.com/flowers/primrose.htm
- 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
- General reference: A Marquess is higher in rank than an Earl, for example; more information about English ranks and titles may be found at https://www.debretts.com/expertise/essential-guide-to-the-peerage/ranks-and-privileges-of-the-peerage/
“Expectations” Prologue for Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad story URL for November 23, 2018: