“Expectations” (Book 2)– Ch. 2: The Root Cause, December 02, 2018 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1193)
[As is my custom, from time to time I will illustrate my story with my ideal cast consisting of (in order of appearance/mention in this chapter): Rupert Penry Jones as Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay and the second son of the Duke of York, and Crispin Bonham Carter as Lord Harold Blount the younger brother of Lord Christian and older brother to Lady Elizabeth.]
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 weekly on Sundays.
“Expectations” (Book 2)– Ch. 2: The Root Cause
Just as young Lady Madeline the Countess of Sussex’ distressed unwellness each morning due to her nascent pregnancy has yet to be revealed to her husband and family, so too does the root cause for Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay’s outward change toward his suit of Lord Christian Blount the Earl of Sussex’ younger sister Lady Elizabeth Blount remains undisclosed.
Lord Duncan’s decision to cease his courting pursuit of Lady Elizabeth occurred last week in London. And his heart has yet to be reconciled with it.
After seeing that his groom handed over his own private patronage donation to the vicar of the impoverished St. Timothy’s to benefit their programs aiding the poor, then heading to his club Hearst’s, Lord Duncan’s usual benign good humored mien [(2) below] is replaced by a steady glare when he finds himself accosted by an unwelcome and somewhat inebriated acquaintance as Lord Duncan enters the establishment.
Lord Harold Blount [(3) below], the second son and brother to Lord Christian Blount the Earl of Sussex, barks a slurringly sneered an impolitely gruff and familiar greeting. A telling sign of which gentleman is more in control of his faculties than the other is that Lord Duncan’s flawlessly elegant waterfall tie folds in comparison to Lord Harold’s disheveled and haphazard cravat. And Lord Harold does not even display the courtesy of standing up for the higher ranked Lord Duncan.
Lord Harold: “Lindsay, old man! I would have a word with you.” Adding to the insult, Lord Harold flails his arm into the air, as if summoning a waiter from across the room.
Lord Duncan: “That was ten words, old man. So I would aver our conversation is concluded.” Lord Duncan drips sarcasm for the Blount Family disgrace sitting before him. Lord Duncan would have continued on his way to the other side of the room, but for the next invective issued forth from Lord Harold’s mouth.
Lord Harold: “For the man dallying with my sister, your disdain is uncalled for, Sir.”
Lord Duncan: “Pipe down, you imbecile!” Lord Duncan admonishes in a furious whisper as he hastily takes the seat across from Lord Harold. “Were you to care a jot for your sister’s well-being, you would not bandy about her reputation so brazenly. She is an innocent and virtuous lady!”
Lord Harold: Lord Harold lowers his volume. “And we, the family, wish to keep it thus. So you had best hie yourself off from paying your addresses to her. You are, afterall, a betrothed man.” Lord Harold’s steely gaze, becomes more so as the effects of his earlier inebriation have mostly subsided. He had been ejected from a gaming hell that morning, for calling out a cheater—who he belatedly realized worked for the house. An event which had at least a figurative sobering effect upon a man at the time, and a literal one now several hours later at midday.
Lord Duncan purses his lips and glares at Lord Blount. The silence between the two gentlemen crackles with pent up hostility.
Lord Duncan: “If, as you allude, the Sussex family wishes my absence, why have I not heard this from the Earl of Sussex? Especially since I and my family are to take up residence for the three Summer months at the Earl’s country home Sussex Hall in just over a sennight? [(4)]
Lord Harold: “My brother is too blinded by his longtime friendship with you to act as he should as our little sister’s guardian.” He stresses the word little in order to emphasize his sister’s youth of barely 18 years. “Or may hap, he is merely greedy for the lucre you promised in renting out our estate for the princely sum of $1,000 pounds per month from June through August.”
Lord Duncan: Shaking his head at the folly of the man before him, Lord Duncan speaks in measured even tones that cannot mask his fury. “You do not seem to care whom you disparage, Harold. I esteem your brother greatly, and I am gratified that he returns that honor to me. You would begin to understand the bonds of friendship between true gentlemen were you to ever behave and conduct yourself as one.”
Lord Harold: Not wishing to explain himself–nor his personal sorrows—he regroups. “Just do the decent thing and stay away from my sister—literally and figuratively. Give her the chance to find and court an eligible gentleman, of which you are not. Otherwise, you will break her heart.” He pleads as a caring brother.
And it is that sole argument of him breaking Lady Elizabeth’s heart that chips away at Lord Duncan’s selfish feelings of love for her. He takes a moment to respond, then does so with a breaking heart of his own.
Lord Duncan: “I never wished to bring the Lady Elizabeth any heartache, nor will I—for I esteem her above all others. And I know too much of heartache’s pain within my own family to be a party to creating it in another.” He speaks obliquely of his late older brother Lord Alfred, Marquess of Malton’s betrothed—and now his putative betrothed—Lady Constance Knightsbridge.
Lord Harold: Surprised at Lord Duncan’s rather quick capitulation, Lord Harold blusters. “Well. Good. Good. I shall expect that you let my little sister down gently, mind. But do so irrevocably. If she is to move on, then she must sever the future she had hoped for with you.”
Lord Duncan: “I understand. And though my family is still obligated to rent Sussex Hall for the Summer, I hope that my family’s presence will not be a burden to Lady Elizabeth. I will keep my visits to Sussex Hall at a minimum—mostly because I will be overseeing the renovations and roof repair of our own country estate in the North.” Though Lord Duncan will need to be at Sussex Hall early on when Lady Constance is invited to stay—if only to firmly establish for Lady Elizabeth that he is not eligible, even though neither he nor Lady Constance wishes to wed each other.
The two men having reached an agreement take their leave of each other. Lord Harold heads to Sussex House in London via a hired cab—due to his brother not allowing him the use of the Sussex carriages or horses, lest Lord Harold try to sell or wager them away. Though his brother Lord Christian does not know it yet, this morning’s ejection from yet another gaming hell has made him swear off wagering.
Lord Duncan heads back to his London family home on Blankford Place, to write a letter, the letter, to Lord Christian Blount the Earl of Sussex apprising him of his (Lord Duncan) being ineligible to court Lady Elizabeth due to betrothal pact his family made that Lord Duncan must now honor. Lord Duncan dismisses his cowardly act of not even writing to Lady Elizabeth directly by assuring himself that he is doing the proper thing for Lady Elizabeth—to let her move on and find a suitable husband. And Lord Duncan vows privately to honor his love for Lady Elizabeth by never taking a wife. If he cannot be bound in love with marriage to Lady Elizabeth, then he will not be bound in marriage to any lady—including to his supposed betrothed, Lady Constance.
And though Lord Harold’s conversation this day with Lord Duncan has inelegantly brokered a less scandalous future for his little sister Lady Elizabeth, it is perhaps Lord Harold’s first step toward becoming a better man and thinking more of others. For he, too, is lost to love as Lord Harold’s married lover’s husband has decided to move he and his wife permanently to the continent to take up a new ambassador post in Prague.
Lord Harold’s lost love the young and beautiful and kind Lady Penelope Lindquist who was only five years his senior—and she was wed to a man twenty years her senior who neglected her for his political career, which allowed Lord Harold to charm her—she was contemplating leaving her husband for Lord Harold. That is, she had planned to risk all for love, until her husband Lord Lindquist reminded her that she was his wife, and he would drag her name through the gossip rags and insure that Lord Harold and the whole Sussex family would bear the shame of the scandalous affair and be shunned from polite society.
But Lady Penelope did not tell Lord Harold this, because she knew that he would fight for her—to the ruin of them both, and of his family, and of the child of Lord Harold’s that Lady Penelope even now bears secretly in her womb. But rather, Lady Penelope thanked Lord Harold in a note for his giving her a sweet and unfettered love, that she will remember him fondly for, to the end of her days—wishing him a future love of his own, however much it pained her to think of Lord Harold in the arms of another.
As Lord Harold walks into his family’s London home Sussex House—by way of the mews and the back garden terrace– their longtime London cook Mrs. Crisp greets him warmly as he enters the kitchen, her domain.
Mrs. Crisp: A small round woman, she smiles warmly at Lord Harold. “Well now, there you are Lord Hal! Are you just getting in from last night, or had you snuck out without having breakfast that I made for you?” She eyes him suspiciously, as one who know the long history of her favorite scamp.
Lord Harold: “Et tu, Mrs. C?” Lord Harold graces her with his best charming smile.
Mrs. Crisp: Her plump features and rosey face reflect a kind woman of mature years—her knowing Lord Harold since he was a babe. “You cannot fool me, you young scalawag. But come down and eat one of my meat pies fresh out of the oven.”
Lord Harold: “No need to go to any trouble, Mrs. C.” He demures. “I ate at my club.” A boldfaced lie. Though the heavenly aroma of the meat pies belies his intent on refusing to eat one of them. “I must pack if I am to be away to our country estate on the morrow.”
Mrs. Crisp: “Not looking like you do, you will not, Master Hal.” She unerringly demotes him to his childhood address. “You need at least several days of good nourishing food in your belly, and rides on your horse in the park for the fresh air and sunshine, and such before I’ll send you out of town. Nor will I have Lady Elizabeth bear witness to your depths that you have sunk to.” Firmly stated to him as she had when he was a child—despite that then and now, Lord Harold out ranks her.
Lord Harold: “Do I have a choice? Or will you steal all my trousers again to keep me from traveling out of town?”
Mrs. Crisp: “Right you are then, My Lad. We need to make you well, so as for you to enjoy being at your country home more when you go there.”
Lord Harold: “But we do not really have our country home for the Summer. Christy has rented it out, and we are staying with Grandmother.” He states forlornly.
Mrs. Crisp: Waving her wooden stirring spoon at him for a beef stew she is making for tonight’s dinner for the household—including Lord Harold—she makes her point. “Exactly! And I would no more send you to your Grandmother in your current state, than I would fail to put beef in tonight’s stew.”
Lord Harold: “Right then! I will eat your meat pies, Mrs. Crisp now, then have a lie down before dinner.”
Mrs. Crisp: Wrinkling her nose up, she makes and additional suggestion. “And you had best be washing up in the tub before you nap in your nice clean bed. You smell.”
Lord Harold: “Why thank you, Mrs. C.” He makes a point of sniffing himself, and agrees with her assessment. “I have obviously lacked attention to my person, and I will rectify that momentarily.” He smiles and leans in, kissing her cheek. “Now about that meat pie …”
Mrs. Crisp has her work cut out for her if she is to get Lord Harold in shape to return to his family in the country. So while still in London, Lord Harold begins a ten days regimen of three solid meals a day, riding his horse once a day, visiting his tailor and bootmaker for replacing his now worn country attire, taking tea with his sister-in-law Lady Madeline’s Grandmama the Lady Lucretia Beckham Knott (as a penance), and purchasing new arrivals at his favorite book shop to help him pass the time on his day long journey home to the country by carriage.
Lord Harold also eschews all of his previous forms of questionable entertainments, refuses spirits when offered them, and indulges his sweet tooth by way of compensation. And with the skeleton staff on hand at Sussex House in London all focused on Lord Harold, he finds that he quite enjoys and appreciates their attentions and aid—none more so than that of the kindly Cook’s Mrs. Crisp’s strict but loving admonishments. He has missed having his late parents—who had kept his behavior in check, as much as any parent can. But he acknowledges that he is an adult now, and must endeavor to rein in his own bad habits.
So with Lord Harold Blount attempting to start life afresh and improving his behavior as a gentleman, the true test will be when he journeys to rejoin his family at their Sussex Hall country estate and the dower house, where they are all staying with their Grandmother Dowager Countess Lady Catherine. Will they see the change in him? Or rather, will they not trust that this change will last? Lord Harold has an uphill battle there. And he will find a most unlikely ally in his quest to reform himself.
To be continued with Chapter 3
“Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement): Chapter 2 images for December 02, 2018 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1193)
- “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.
- Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay wearing a Waterfall cravat image is of Rupert Penry Jones as Captain Frederick Wentworth in “Persuasion” found at Pinterest at https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/44/3d/db/443ddbb85a3217c76611f6db0f891839.jpg
- Lord Harold Blount image is that of Crispin Bonham-Carter in the 1995 mini series “Pride and Prejudice” and was found at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112130/mediaviewer/rm1864548864
- A sennight is an old fashioned way of saying seven nights, or one week, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sennight
“Expectations” (Book 2) Ch. 2 URL for Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad story Post for December 02, 2018:
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