“Expectations” (Book 2)– Ch. 3: Lady Madeline’s Diary Entries, December 09, 2018 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1194)
(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 in this chapter): Lady Madeline Blount Countess of Sussex portrayed by Kate Winslet, and her husband Lord Christian Blount Earl of Sussex portrayed by Richard Armitage.]
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 brief recap at the top of the next chapter. Also, I hope to post weekly on Sundays.
“Expectations” (Book 2)—Chapter 3: Lady Madeline’s Diary Entries
After another half of an hour of her sister-in-law Lady Elizabeth coaxing Lady Madeline to sip her ginger tea every few moments of the morning of their first full day at the Sussex Hall Dower House in late May 1816, Lady Madeline had started to feel slightly better—less nauseous. So Lady Elizabeth left her to attend to … whatever Lady Elizabeth attends to most mornings. Then Lady Madeline pulls the bell rope for Trask to arrange a bath for her—which always makes her feel better.
Then after luxuriating in her bath and dressing for the morning, Lady Madeline begins to feel more the thing. So she finally contemplates what she might ask Cook to send her to nibble on before their now usual late luncheon. Today, sautéed tomato slices sprinkled with brown sugar are her latest inspiration. And afterward, she feels almost ready to begin her day.
Resting comfortably now this much later morning—almost mid day–in what she can finally appreciate as her beautiful bed chamber sanctuary of pale green striped silk moire wall coverings [(2) below], and accented with pleasing decorations incorporating patterns of pale ivory, pale pink, pale green, and pale lavender purple flowers accenting the bedding, with the furniture in the Country French style.
Lady Madeline’s countenance is still a little pale as well. Of course, her being nearly three months pregnant with her dearest husband Lord Christian Arthur Owen Blount the Earl of Sussex’ baby is the cause of her morning sickness while carrying their first child. Yet, Lady Madeline has not, as of yet, informed her husband of their happy news. That he has not guessed is possibly due to his rank as an Earl, and that gentleman do not usually concern themselves with such things—that is, after the important bit.
And Lady Madeline wonders if her husband even remembers when his late mother was enceinte with his younger sister Lady Elizabeth? With Lady Elizabeth being nearly fifteen years his junior, Lord Christian would have been attending school at Eton during most of that time—and he likely only found out that he had a baby sister when he returned home at the end of the term, for the Summer months holiday. Naturally, such events as impending births are hardly a topic for polite conversation. Though the well bred promulgated presumption that babies come into being without some means of effecting their existence does seem rather a silly polite societal guideline.
Relaxed after her nibbling and such, Lady Madeline turns to gaze upon a modestly sized ivory colored leather covered volume with its titling embossed in gold upon it stating the name of the owner and diarist as Lady Madeline Lucretia Sinclair Blount the Countess of Sussex’s Diary. The oft turned to diary [(3) below] lies on Lady Madeline’s Sussex Hall Dower house temporary country home bed chamber’s bedside nightstand waiting to receive its latest installment of lady Madeline’s bucolic existence in the very English countryside as the recently minted Countess of Sussex.
Lady Madeline leans over and gracefully snatches up with her slightly plumping hand—and with her hand’s petiteness, giving it an almost childlike or elfin quality–her first volume of what she supposes will contain many years’ worth of diaried happy memories. Then she stands and glides several feet over to her ivory scrolled French escritoire writing desk near the amply proportioned bay window of her Sussex Dower House bed chamber.
First surveying the lovely Sussex Hall gardens in full bloom at her Grandmother-in-law’s the Dowager Countess of Sussex’s Dower House manor at the Sussex Hall estate in the country–the bright morning sun shines benevolently upon their lush flower beds and far away fields of wheat and barley in equal measure– Lady Madeline gracefully descends, not plops, onto her softly cushioned chair’s seat to write into her diary. Her silk organza day dress of pale pink and pinkish lavender [(4) below] complements her boudoir’s décor. Or perhaps, it is the other way around. And Lady Madeline’s hair is yet down, falling in haphazard curling waves upon her shoulders. For she decides not to have her maid arrange and put up her hair, in the hope that she and her husband might meet up late morning.
And though Lady Madeline and her husband Lord Christian have been married 3 months—causing her to have less writing time as a newlywed in their first few weeks of marriage—she tries to write something in her diary at least once or twice a week, or every other day now that she and her husband Lord Christian have settled into a regular routine of late morning and pre-dinner evening … nap taking. Nap taking is the euphemism that Lady Madeline and Lord Christian use to excuse themselves from their family or guests–for a secret assignation in their bed chamber, when they are in the company of other family members and such during the middle of the day. Though, their delicate subterfuge is doubtfully fooling no one—especially with Lady Madeline’s charming blushes.
When in company with others in their family, the newlywed’s secret loving messages of one to the other of their mutual need to share their kisses and caresses in matrimonial bliss are discreet—and merely require a flutter of Lady Madeline’s sweet eyelashes for Lord Christian to be on the move toward her, were he not to be at her side, which he usually is—him solicitously asking her of her well being. And then him suggesting she have a lie down, or a short walk to the enclosed gazebo at their London Sussex House grounds. Or now, a much hoped for gig ride to the Sussex Hall Estates Summer House where the fresh air might revive her—the Summer House being a small secluded cottage near the smaller of two lakes on the Sussex Hall estate, where romantic trysts occur between them with a lovingly frequently indulged regularity.
Though Lord Christian’s solicitude about her state of health is very much appreciated by his young wife Lady Madeline, Lord Christian also remembers well that their married life began with her being almost on death’s door with a quickly caught fever and lung complaint that he nursed her through in the first week of their marriage. So, he is forgiven for seeming to besottedly dote upon his wife and for him to be carefully mindful about her health.
Currently, Lady Madeline blushes from her hairline to her satin slippered dainty toes, at the remembrance of her virile husband just last night and into the wee hours of the morning—some eight hours past, and even before the moon had set. But she must set aside such lovely musings of marital togetherness if she is to get any diary writing done, before her duties as the Countess of Sussex this day are upon her.
Refocusing her thoughts, Lady Madeline speaks aloud in a hushed tone what she writes into her diary with a freshly sharpened quill dipped in ink—with her usual linen cloth draped across her belly to prevent inadvertent quill drips from soiling her lovely lavender day gown with delicate lilac flowers embroidered upon it. Speaking while writing is an annoying habit—for her–that Lady Madeline has had since childhood when she was in the school room practicing her numbers and letters for her governess. For despite her governess’ kind gentle admonishments, Lady Madeline persists to this day in her hushed whispers when writing.
Though at least her small child tongue and lip exaggerations while speaking ceased—when she was twelve years old. And Lady Madeline’s murmurings –as Lord Christian bemusedly refers to them–is a habit which seemingly negates the obvious privacy and confidentiality that one expects to have when writing in their diary. Hence her choosing to write her diary in the privacy of their bed chamber.
Lady Madeline’s Diary: “Entry # 52, or maybe it is # 53? Oh bother!” She exclaims out loud in a delicately frustrating tone. With her living with her reserved Grandmother-in-law Lady Catherine Blount the Dowager Countess of Sussex, Lady Madeline is trying to further refine and soften her naturally effervescent demeanor. Though this morning is not evidence of that.
For Lady Madeline’s current woe is that she had inadvertently mixed up the diary entry numbers a few entries back. And though she had the dates on them for chronology, it also seems that two pages had stuck together during one entry due to a dampness in the air after a hard rain. And then when she went back to write the next time, the pages easily pulled apart. So she had written her most recent entry in the middle of an older entry. Diary entries appearing out of order is enough to befuddle anyone, let alone a young bride with her mind upon her happy state—she is just ten and eighteen years, as of two and a half months ago, which was one week after she and Lord Christian were married.
A graceful small light weight charcoal gray and white feline young cat of indeterminate origins named Char (for Charlene) [(5) below] who turned up one day while Lady Madeline walked in Hyde park in London, and who adopted her on the spot, taps at her benefactress’ gown hem and purrs as she rubs against her lower leg.
Char the cat: “Thththththth, ththththth.”
Lady Madeline: “Oh, Char! You are so precious! Where have you been?” The cat smiles knowingly. “Well, it matters not. You are here now.” Lady Madeline sets down her quill pen and picks up her cat and brings the confident creature to her lap on her left side in a cuddle and she absentmindedly strokes its very soft fur. Then she picks up her quill with her right hand again and continues writing with her erstwhile companion at her side.
Lady Madeline’s continued Diary entry: “Today, Tuesday, May 16, 1816, I am now rested and not feeling quite so unwell after arriving safely yesterday at our country Estate and seat, Sussex Hall’s Dower House yesterday. We are staying with My Lord Christian’s Grandmother Lady Catherine the Dowager Countess of Sussex, while we have let out our Sussex Hall castle proper to Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay’s family for the Summer. Else we would be ensconced in the Sussex Hall castle this very moment. But I must be patient until I may truly become the mistress of my new country home, Sussex Hall.”
Her veering off topic evidences Lady Madeline’s need for rest—in that her mind wanders when she is fatigued. Lady Madeline had also set down her quill to pop a small sweet treat into her mouth, savoring its fruity flavor as she gently strokes her furry kitty Char lying languorously at her left side. The fruity treat is a confection made by their French chef Etienne, and the candy is the consistency of somewhere between jellied jam preserves and hard candy. It is somewhat squishy and covered in sugar. And she wonders if this somewhat messy treat might sell well in the Blenkins Emporium shop that she patronizes. Hmmm. After a few moments of also enjoying breathing in the lovely floral scents of their back garden wafting through the open window, Lady Madeline returns to her diary entry writing.
Lady Madeline’s continued Diary entry: “A good night’s sleep on a cushioned mattress cured my back’s soreness caused by the bumpy roads during our traveling here yesterday, despite how well sprung My Lord Christian’s traveling coach is. He was all apologetic and bid me straight to bed to rest when we arrived last night—however the resting came some time later.”
She smiles knowingly at her secret mention of their loving trysts last night. And if and when her far away into the future great great granddaughter reads and interprets Lady Madeline’s romantic diary musings, then that great great granddaughter will at least know that her lineage springs from a loving union—when many marriages of society are still arranged without even the liking of the two parties involved necessarily considered.
Lady Madeline’s continued Diary entry: “And though my Dearest Christian tries not to exceed a seemingly arbitrary maximum of three lovings each day—which is difficult to exceed when we are in London and Parliament is in session—because the government is no respecter of family time when there are important political votes to be cast. Whilst on our wedding trip in the near London countryside, we barely even left our bed chamber—with My Dear Christian having no voting responsibilities distracting him from his husbanding responsibilities. And he is most tenderly and passionately persuasive for us to have at least one nap each day. But with us traveling from town all day yesterday, we had barely managed to finish our late morning nap before setting off on our journey.”
Lady Madeline’s mind wanders, again. She seems to be doing more of that in recent days. And she feels more fatigued. Her reason for this mind wandering fatigues were made more clear to her two weeks ago when her Ladies Maid Anne Trask suggested that since Lady Madeline’s courses have not come for two months, that Lady Madeline might wish to talk with a doctor or midwife. At first, Lady Madeline gave Trask a quizzical look and asked her “Why?”
So Trask explained what missing her monthly courses meant, and then Lady Madeline gleefully consulted with a London doctor who confirmed that she was indeed with child. She was then urged to rest more, avoid all stresses, and above all, to not strain herself by lifting or carrying anything heavier than a book. But some books can be very heavy, indeed—though Lady Madeline has always tended to prefer books of middling size—her believing that one cannot judge the worth of a book by its cover or weight—and a lighter weight book can be just as good or better than its heavier tome counterpart.
Lady Madeline wonders if the somewhat aged bordering on fifty year old London doctor was being accurate with regard to her own body’s constitution, or if he was merely relating the same admonitions that he has done for the past thirty years for the Blount family. However, the doctor’s slightly younger nurse/midwife whom the doctor brought with him—concurred and nodded smilingly and encouragingly at Lady Madeline, the young new Countess of Sussex.
Happily, Lady Madeline also visited briefly with the highly recommended and discreet country physician Dr. Thaddeus Horne–whose offices are in their nearby Sussex Hall Estate’s market town village town—after he had paid a courtesy visit to the Dowager and her at the Dower House at Sussex Hall upon their arrival yesterday. This also older, but less regimented country doctor prescribed for her ladyship Lady Madeline to do as she pleased and rest when she feels tired—but no lifting, pulling, straining, or exertion of any kind.
Lady Madeline shakes her head with a smile. As if ladies exert themselves with all of the servants that surround them in a cocoon of comfort and aid. But perhaps, he was thinking of riding on one’s horse speedily—something which Lady Madeline Countess of Sussex does not do. She prefers her horses bridled … and hitched to a carriage for leisurely jaunts to enjoy the beautiful park ,or now the countryside. Though she does quite enjoying watching her husband Lord Christian as he powerfully gallops upon his horse, with his broad shoulders, muscled arms, and muscled thighs for that matter, very much being exerted. Sighhh!
And Lady Madeline wants to be the bearer of the momentous news of their coming child to her husband Lord Christian. It is just that there seems to be no perfect time to tell him. And in Lady Madeline’s youthful zeal, she wants to dazzle her husband. As of this moment, Lord Christian is out about on the estate somewhere this morning before luncheon. And so, Lady Madeline resumes her diary entry writing.
Lady Madeline’s Diary: “I must close with my resolve to let My Lord Christian know that he is to be a Papa at Christmas time. I hope that our first baby will be a girl—my very own daughter. I only had my own dear Mama with me until my fourteenth year, four years ago. So I hope that I will have gained parenting wisdom by the time that my own daughter is fourteen years old—to supplement the gap in my own daughtering experiences. And I do so hope that My Lord Christian will not mind if our first baby will be a girl. Of course, the baby could turn out to be a boy, I suppose. But the matter of learning of our baby’s sex won’t come for another six or seven months, when she or he is born.”
More of Lady Madeline’s Diary: “And I must add as an aside, that when as a little girl of six or even eight years—just ten years ago–I dreamed of being married and having a family of my own, I never dreamed that I would be as happy as I am—especially since my morning sicknesses seems to be finally lessening somewhat in duration each morning. And the country doctor said that my morning sickness should be gone in a few weeks altogether. In the meantime, my Darling Christian continues to dote upon me as only a most ardently loving and considerate husband can. And I am his most loving and devoted wife as I help him to enjoy life more.”
More of Lady Madeline’s Diary: “And with our helping others in need to be less burdened and to enjoy their lives more as well, through our charitable efforts, makes us appreciate our blessings of love and family even more. Though my dear Grandmama Lady Lucretia Beckham Knott continues to support the poor and destitute living near St. Timothy’s parish in London in my absence from that great city, I am discovering the country poor in and around our vast Sussex Hall estates need just as much consideration now that they have a younger Lord and Lady in Christian and I, to tackle the problems of adequate housing, food, work, and basic education. In fact, we have resolved to establish a small school for children and parents since estate workers who can read, write, and do basic sums are ever so much more helpful on our estate—as well as, that education provides them with more possibilities for job opportunities here, and even in London.”
More of Lady Madeline’s Diary: “And I also feel fortunate that my new sister-in-law Lady Elizabeth Lizzie Blount also shares my charitable views and efforts in Town and here in the country. Because despite the pleasing and bucolic nature of country life, there are still those among our tenants and villagers suffering from illnesses or accidents—or other misfortunes–that we hope to comfort and assist them with resolving, now that I am in residence here at the Sussex Hall Estate. There is such a great deal of work to do that I could easily overdo—were not my loving and considerate husband Lord Christian advising me to schedule myself for two hours in three afternoons during the week, at convenient times for those whom I am trying to be of aid to.”
More of Lady Madeline’s Diary: “So when the elderly couple who ran our estate’s market village’s bakery decided to move to another county to live with their grown children last month, Lady Lizzie and I took it over to run as a bakery and outreach project with the matronly Vicar’s wife Mrs. Agatha Mead being a wonder of organization and compassion. Well, Lizzie and I will not be doing the baking, we will be just learning. And the mothers in our general vicinity needing bread for their children to eat, help bake the bread that our community bakery sells for a small wage—and also receive a loaf of bread to take home to their families every day. We also have started a barter and trade cooperative exchange—so that individuals with extra turnips and such can trade them for eggs or milk, etc.”
More of Lady Madeline’s Diary: “And finally, we also plan to start a Sussex Village Women’s sewing and knitting circle–that makes more than embroidered linen hankies as I was taught, and such. So I will also secretly be learning how to knit baby booties and baby hats for our baby to come in late Fall 1816—my planning to hide them in my dressing room so that my husband Lord Christian will be surprised when I tell him that we are going to have a baby. Our estate will provide the yarn via the shearings from our small sheep herd—that the ladies will spin into yarn and then dye to various colors, the dye also being subsidized by our Sussex Hall Estate.”
More of Lady Madeline’s Diary: “And I am so very lucky that my husband Lord Christian and I are a love match. Because sometimes, one’s romantic expectations are quite wonderfully exceeded. And I do so hope that my dearest friend and now sister-in-law Lady Lizzie Blount will also have her romantic dreams and wishes fulfilled with Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay. However, my new brother-in-law Lord Harold Blount might be a more difficult matrimonial project—due to his rather roguish demeanor. Yet when one is happy, one wants everyone around them to be happy.”
Then Lady Madeline hears a fervent scratching sound upon our bed chamber door. After finishing his discussions with his younger sister Lady Elizabeth—and telling their Housekeeper to have the Summer House thoroughly prepared for visitors this afternoon—he seeks out his wife in her, their, bedchamber. Lady Madeline’s bed is not quite long enough for his feet—which extend beyond the mattress—but it is very comfortable, mostly due to the bed rarely being slept in, since his grandparents were also a love match. So until a new more comfortable mattress can be made to replace his bed’s mattress, and his master bed chamber’s décor is softened to his wife’s liking, they sleep in her bed. Then they will have a longer bed mattress made for her bed as well—as an alternative sleeping option.
Lord Christian: “Madeline?” Lord Christian deeply sighs her name through the door Then he enters their shared bedchamber—being certain to close and lock the door behind him with a smooth click. Smirking, he asks her. “shall we … nap, the hour before luncheon?” With his cravat already removed and displaying his strong neck, he asks desirously and strides toward her with a barely concealed hopeful smile through seductively lowered hooded eyelids exuding his romantic intentions [(6) below].
Lady Madeline smiles at her husband as he escorts the cat to the hallway and closes and locks their bed chamber door once more. Then she quickly finishes her diary entry with her usual farewell. “Until next time …”
To be continued with Chapter 4
“Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement): Chapter 3 images for December 09, 2018 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1194)
- “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.
- Lady Madeline’s bed chamber in a Country French style ;original image was found at http://www.dcgstores.com/chateau-french-country-sleigh-bedroom-set-aw.html ; image subsequently edited for color to greens and lavender purple, etc. by Gratiana Lovelace
- Lady Madeline’s diary as the Countess of Sessex; original image was found at https://www.galleryleather.com/leather-journals/desk-journal
- Lady Madeline’s cat Charlene is represented by a beautiful gray and white Norwegian forest cat; the original image was found at https://www.catster.com/cats-101/the-norwegian-forest-cat
- Lord Christian is represented by Richard Armitage as John Thornton in N&S epi2-pix213 Sep2316ranet_Grati-sized-shrp-crop-brt2-clr-flip1
“Expectations” (Book 2) Ch. 3 URL for Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad story Post for December 09, 2018:
Previous “Expectations” (Book 2) Chapter 2 story URL of my SAL blog post (#1193), on December 02, 2018: