“Expectations” (Book 2)– Ch. 5: Traveling misadventures, Part 1, December 23, 2018 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1198)
[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): Crispin Bonham Carter as Lord Harold Blount the younger brother of Lord Christian Blount the Earl of Sussex, and older brother to their younger sister Lady Elizabeth Blount; and Emma Thompson as Lady Gwendolyn “Gwennie” Lindsay of York, the sister to Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay portrayed by Rupert Penry-Jones, and their late older brother Lord Alfred portrayed by David Oakes.]
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 new chapters weekly on Sundays.
“Expectations” Ch. 5: Traveling misadventures, Part I
After several days of eating healthily and doing as their family’s London cook Mrs. Crisp tells him to do, Lord Harold Blount is looking and feeling more fit and well rested than he has in a very long time. Such that, he decides to bring forward his hither to unannounced plan to join his brother Lord Christian and the rest of his small family at their Summer home of his Dowager Grandmother Lady Catherine’s Dower House on their expansive Sussex Hall country estate.
Lord Harold is still rather put out that his brother Earl of Sussex Lord Christian Blount honored his agreement to let Sussex Hall for the Summer to the Yorks—Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay’s ducal family, who were forced to relocate from York Castle due to roof leak repairs and then family wing bed chambers renovations—even though the Blount’s no longer need the rent money due to their late Grandfather Earl’s mine investment turning profitable.
Lord Harold loves the sport of the country at Sussex Hall estates in the Summer even more than he had wagering and other nefarious activities in London. And after spending the Winter in London, he is eager to see and ride his Sussex Hall mount Perseus over the rolling hillside of the Sussex Hall estate. And though Lord Harold also remembers with fondness some of the willing country milk maids of his past acquaintance, he is circumspect from his unwilling parting with his married mistress of the past several months, the slightly older but still beautiful Lady Penelope Lindquist—whose husband had whisked her away to the continent. So the only country sport that Lord Harold will be pursuing at Sussex Hall estates will be of the animal variety. And even with that, he is not as much a hunter as he is a nature appreciator.
Their London Sussex House Cook Mrs. Crisp will be sorry to see young Master Hal depart—as she called him when he was a young boy. But with promises from Lord Harold [(2) below] to be good, backed up by his eight days of sobriety, eating healthily, and him organizing his departure to the countryside, she gives him her blessing.
Well, Lord Harold organized the caravan of his carriages and several wagons with the assistance of his valet and groom, and several footmen who will serve as outriders for his carriage–as well as the other carriages and wagons laden with his clothes and other items that his brother Lord Christian and recent sister-in-law Lady Madeline requested be sent down to them. Lord Harold’s brother and sister-in-law just do not realize that Lord Harold will be traveling with their possessions.
Lord Harold thinks that the first half day of their journey to the Sussex Hall country estate will be a leisurely three hours to the midpoint of the Wayfarer Inn in Walden in the lovely county of Surrey. They will break their journey for luncheon at the Wayfarer Inn, as well as to rest and replenish their horses over several hours before making the final three hour push on to Sussex—hopefully in time for tea. Lord Harold has a rapacious appetite.
But as Lord Harold will soon discover, he will be waylaid on his way to the Wayfarer Inn—by another traveler from London.
To Lady Gwendolyn Lindsay’s mind, her traveling to Sussex Hall estates in the country from London all by herself—yet with two carriages carrying luggage and eight servants is fine. Yet, her plan was initially frowned upon by her younger brother Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay as he was worried for her safety upon the road. He had to travel North to the York’s own country estate, to oversee initial repairs and to bring their aging parents the Duke and Duchess of York to Sussex Hall estates for the Summer of 1816 while those York Castle roof and other repairs were under way.
And Lady Gwendolyn balked—actually, she categorically refused—the prospect of heading North with her brother Lord Duncan to York for a week of traveling, picking up their parents, and then turning around for another week or more of traveling South again to Sussex South of London. And it being impossible for Lord Duncan to be in two places at the same time—with each country estate being on opposite ends of England from the other, of course—their travel coordination had seemingly reached an impasse.
But with Lady Gwendolyn of York insisting that she will not traverse the countryside twice—simply because her younger brother wants to exert his guardianship over her—was an inefficient use of time and servants. And she won the argument. Though he was reluctant, her brother Lord Duncan finally agreed that it was unnecessary for Lady Gwendolyn and several servants traveling with her needing to make the round trip. And so he granted her request for a delayed departure from London that then headed directly South to Sussex Hall. With any luck, she will beat her brother and parents there.
However luck is not on her side, as Lady Gwendolyn of York’s comfortable carriage begins its day long journey to Sussex Hall, she is soon to regret her decision when in about one hour before her hoped for luncheon destination at a reasonably good posting inn, her carriage conveying herself and her ladies maid hits a rut in the road and breaks an axle.
It is only a miracle that the carriage had been traveling more slowly on the road while she enjoyed viewing the bucolic scenery that the whole conveyance did not pitch and tumble onto its side off the road. Still, the carriage’s contents of Lady Gwendolyn and her ladies maid were tossed about some as the expert groom instantly righted the carriage and got the horses under control so that they were not injured.
Now they are in a quandary of what to do. As the servants ponder the options with their mistress as they all stand unceremoniously in a circle almost literally putting their heads together as they discuss the matter. And Lady Gwendolyn in a traveling gown of sturdy brown tweed with a serviceable and unremarkable bonnet, looks more like a morose middle class governess [(3) below], rather than a Duke’s daughter.
Lady Gwendolyn dressing below her station while traveling is by design–to elude highwaymen and other miscreants who might wish to pillage their caravan of unmarked carriages for items they can sell. And when they are in company with inhabitants of posting inns and the like, her servants address her as Miss Linden, a governess traveling with other household staff.
Head Groom Kindall: An ordinately tall and gangly fellow with an ever serious demeanor, the London York House’s head groom weighs in. “My Lady Gwendolyn, we are fortunate that we are only about an hour from the posting inn where we hope to take our luncheon. So we could put you and your ladies maid into the other carriage and convey you there.”
Lady Gwendolyn: “But? Come now Kindall, there is always a but.” Lady Gwendolyn does not sneer at her longtime trusted servant, she merely knows his ways of speaking and decision making that are usually well thought out and logical.
Head Groom Kindall: “Yes, My Lady, there is. The posting inn has no blacksmith in residence today to fix the carriage by repairing or replacing the axle—him having gone out of town for a few days to resupply himself at the Smithy.”
Lady Gwendolyn: “Drat!” She lets an oath fly. But her servants are accustomed to her sometimes unladylike expressions. “And we need a blacksmith.” She nods. Her statement was declarative in nature, not an interrogatory—therefore, rhetorical
Head Groom Kindall: “Aye! Of course we could stay at the Wayfarer Inn overnight and hope to see the Blacksmith the next day—which I feel is the best course.”
Lady Gwendolyn: “Oh?”
Head Groom: “Yes. I have it on good authority that the next village out of our way to the West has a blacksmith, but only a tavern– that your Ducal parents would not want you staying at, My Lady.” He blanches. As Head Groom for the Yorks, he always checks out their travel routes ahead of time for just such contingencies.
Lady Gwendolyn: “Oh I am not so squeamish as to dismiss a tavern bed chamber, or even not well aired sheets. Afterall, we have our own linens with us–packed but easily retrievable.”
Well, Lady Gwendolyn would have clean sheets, her staff might be bunking in the stables at the town with only a tavern.
Head Groom: “But My Lady, these out of the way taverns might have rougher sporting elements that frequent them.”
Lady Gwendolyn: Her eyes lighting up, she asks. “Oh! Do you mean men boxing? I confess, I would not wish to witness men pummeling teach other—my being concerned for their welfare in the fight. But needs must. So let a small contingent of us to on ahead to the tavern and then send back a carriage with the black smith to assess the damage.”
Lady Gwendolyn smiles up at him brightly. However, none of her staff—well, her parents’ staff—will countenance putting up their Lady at a tavern. They fear that their positions would be rightly at risk with the Duke’s and Duchess’ almost guaranteed displeasure.
Everyone agrees that the Wayfarer Inn at Walden is much more suitable for her Ladyship. So Lady Gwendolyn acquiesces. And her staff begins the arduous task of removing Lady Gwendolyn’s luggage from atop her damaged carriage, then removing the servants’ luggage and extra groom and footman servants from the second carriage, so that Lady Gwendolyn and her ladies maid and two grooms may accompany her to the town of Walden. However, they stop the transfer when they realize that the same rut that had broken the axle on Lady Gwendolyn’s carriage had bent the wheel of the second carriage. Now they are really in a fix.
So finally, a secondary groom is dispatched to ride rough on one of the unbuckled carriage horses to Walden, in order to procure a carriage for Lady Gwendolyn to ride in to the Wayfarer Inn there. She was open to riding in the wagon, but the Head Groom Kindall nearly went into apoplexy with that suggestion. So, she acquiesced to him, again—when she does not defer to anyone, except trusted servants like Kindall who are only looking out for her best interests. Her brother Lord Duncan would concur with the decision–though he would no doubt be livid that he could not get his sister to agree with him as agreeably as their Head Groom Kindall did.
With Lord Christian Blount the Earl of Sussex’s brother Lord Harold Blount also making the journey this day to his family’s country home at the Sussex Hall estate—him being destined to join his family at their grandmother’s Dower House—Lord Harold dozes contentedly in his plush carriage that is spacious enough to seat six people. So Lord Harold is rather expansively spread across both seat benches that fold out to become a suitably comfortable traveling bed.
However, his astute groom and two footmen slow his carriage to a stop near a bend in the road as they see what looks like a liveried footman standing by his lonesome with an unsaddled horse in the middle of nowhere.
Now wide awake due to the slightly abrupt way that his coachman, brought the carriage to a halt, Lord Harold sticks his head out of the window to speak with his servants—since no one is around to see him behave so gauchely.
Lord Harold: “Why are we stopping? What is the hold up? I want to get to our Sussex estate before nightfall.”
Coachman: “Apologies, My Lord. There seems to be a footman up ahead who has lost his way.”
Lord Harold: “A footman who has lost his way?” Lord Harold repeats absentmindedly. “Well, let us ask this fellow if he wishes to ride with us to the next small village. Walden cannot be very far. And surely, his employers would be heading toward the Wayfarer Inn as are we.” For there are not too many acceptable establishments in these parts.
Coachman: “Yes, MiLord.” He nods and alights from his coaching perch.
Lord Harold’s coachmen conducts the interview with the footman, discovering that the young lad had gone in vain in search of a small village that might have someone who could assist with their broken axle on one carriage and a broken carriage wheel on their other carriage—in case their other members heading out in a different direction do not find a blacksmith at a following village. So the footman hitches his horse to the back of the carriage and he climbs up top with the coachman, to help direct them to the broken down carriage.
Lord Harold is not certain what they might find when they reach the broken down carriage, but a frenzy of unpacking and packing luggage from one carriage to the other—as well as to a wagon–was not it. He rather thinks that they look like bees in a hive ferrying nectar and tending to precious colony members cells. He sees that at the heart of this whir of activity stands a not so petite lady in serviceable brown tweed carriage gown directing the servants with military precision. He feels that tweed is an odd choice of materials for a Summer garment—the fabric being too hot. But then, he muses that his tan suede vest is also more fashionable than practical.
Lord Harold is jolted out of his sartorial reverie by an urgent, cultured ladies voice.
Lady Gwendolyn: “No Jones, all of my luggage needs to come with me to the inn at Walden.” For she so pestered her Ladies Maid with additional items to pack where there was room in other trunks, that she fears that it will take days for her to find anything.
Footman Jones: “Yes, MiLady.” He acquiesces agreeably, then he sets about his task. Though the York servants know of Lady Gwendolyn’s partiality to having things just so, she is a good mistress who does not mistreat the staff.
Lord Harold’s carriage and wagons pull along side Lady Gwendolyn’s broken down caravan. And Lady Gwendolyn looks up as Lord Harold alights from his carriage with a slightly mussed cravat due to his previously dozing state.
Lord Harold: “I say. Might we be of assistance?” He whimsically lifts his quizzing glass to his eye and surveys the broken carriages, assorted grooms and footmen surrounding them, a ladies maid, and a dynamo in brown tweed who can only be their mistress by virtue of their deference to her. “My Lady.” He bows to Lady Gwendolyn.
Oh no! Thinks Lady Gwendolyn. The Blount rogue. Could her day get any worse?
Lady Gwendolyn: “Not Lady, Miss. Miss Linden.” She corrects him in a tone more like a Duke’s daughter, than a governess below Lord Harold’s station in life.
Lord Harold: “Miss?” He smiles indulgently as she stares at him—also something no mere miss would do.
Lady Gwendolyn: Then she elaborates regarding her false identity. “I am … a … a governess.” She hopes that he will believe her since governesses can sometimes be as haughty as butlers—who are often more haughty than Dukes.
Lord Harold: Tilting his head, he smiles again. “No! That will not do.” Then he leans in closer with his quizzing glass again. “You look familiar.” He teases.
Lady Gwendolyn: “Indeed? Well, MiLord, I did not realize that you ruined governesses as well.” She raises a haughty eyebrow.
Lord Harold: He uncharacteristically fluffs his sleeve cuff ruffles—like any good dandy worth his snuff would, just to annoy her—which he cements by his next response. “Not yet. But for you, I would make an exception.” He is having fun with her. “You are a charming spitfire, my Dear.”
Lady Gwendolyn: “Hhhh!” She huffs. “I am NOT your dear!”
Lord Harold: “But you could be.” He taunts her. This is so much fun.
Lady Gwendolyn’s face is becoming my crimson with rage by the minute. And Lady Gwendolyn’s staff is a hair’s breadth from interceding on her behalf. But she holds up a staying hand.
Lady Gwendolyn: “You Sir, are a cad!” She folds her arms in front of herself in righteous indignation with a firm nod of her resolute chin.
Of course, her folded arms only serve to enhance and showcase her charms to Lord Harold. Lord Harold tries to discreetly hide his smile by coughing into his hand. Then he changes his tack and speaks to her head Groom.
Lord Harold: “Groomsman, Kindall, isn’t it?”
Head Groom Kindall: “It is, My Lord.” He says with puzzled disdain for Lord Harold.
Lord Harold: “Be a good man and see Lady Gwendolyn’s personal belongings are loaded onto my carriage and wagons. We will transport her to the Wayfarer Inn at Walden where she may rest over luncheon. That should give you time to inquire after the blacksmith, or about hiring other carriages and horses to continue on your journey.”
Lady Gwendolyn: Surprise evident upon her perplexed looking face, she asks warily—and none too politely. “You know who I am?” He nods. “But my come out was several seasons ago.” And she was quickly snapped up and engaged to her beloved late fiancé who had died with her brother Lord Alfred.
Lord Harold: “Come, come, Gwennie. I have known you longer than that. I remember a little girl in pigtails who could shimmy up a tree faster than any of us, the few weeks that my brother and I spent at York Hall Castle in our youth.”
Lady Gwendolyn: “I do not answer to that appellation anymore. It is diminuative—and no longer fits me since I am a grown woman, now.” She lifts her chin and he notices that she places her hands on her narrow waist just above her womanly curvy hips.
Lord Harold: “Yes, Lady Gwendolyn. My apologies.” He bows to her with perfect courtliness. “I can see that you are a woman fully grown, now. And but for that charming freckle next to your eye, here…” He reaches toward her cheek, but does not touch her, out of respect. “… I might have mistaken you as another.”
Lady Gwendolyn: “However one can never mistake you, Hal!” She uses his childhood nickname in order to wound him, but her arrow misses its mark. And she gazes at him disdainfully.
Lord Harold: “Ah! That is an appellation that I rarely hear anymore—not since I reached my majority. But I welcome you continuing to use its intimate form of address with me, My Lady.” He smiles then turns to look at the York’s Head Groom, and then to her again. “Now! I’m feeling rather peckish—and you must be as well, My Lady. So we had best continue on to the Wayfarer Inn at Walden. Your Head Groom Kindall is welcome to join our party on to Walden–to arrange your transportation–or he may stay here to supervise. Which is it to be, Mr. Kindall?” Lord Harold smiles agreeably at the York’s longtime retainer.
Head Groom Kindall: “With My Lady’s permission, I will join you on to Walden—leaving several of my men with the carriages, until we can come back for them and the rest of her ladyship’s belongings.” Lady Gwendolyn grudgingly nods her concurrence to her Head Groom.
Lord Harold guides Lady Gwendolyn to his fine carriage and assists she and her ladies maid inside. Then he lifts a large woven hamper out of the carriage which he hands to one of his own footmen whom he has staying behind as well.
Lord Harold: “Hhhh! Here you go, Grimstock. See that Mrs. Crisp’s victuals and lemonade are distributed amongst those of you remaining behind. As we see to her ladyship’s respite and the carriages replacements, I fear that we might not be back for you this morning, before you need sustenance.” He shakes his head. He did not even get to enjoy one of Mrs. Crisp’s famously delicious macaroons—because he dozed off earlier. A pity, but there is nothing for it. He is trying to behave more gentlemanly, and gentlemen give up their creature comforts—including their macaroons.
So Lord Harold trades places with one of his groomsmen riding a carriage horse alternate and then he brings his unsaddled horse to trot bumpily along side his plush and comfortable carriage where Lady Gwendolyn of York sits primly on the plush carriage cushions.
And Lady Gwendolyn is quite at a loss how to manage the situation that she now finds herself in. Were she a clairvoyant, Lady Gwendolyn would be able to discern that Lord Harold’s thoughts are tending in quite the same direction as hers. And they will both be thwarted this day.
To be continued with Chapter 6
“Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement): Chapter 5 images for December 23, 2018 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1198)
- “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 Harold Blount image is that of Crispin Bonham-Carter in the 1995 mini series Pride and Prejudice and was found at https://www.ranker.com/list/full-cast-of-relic-hunter-cast-list-for-the-show-relic-hunter/reference
- Lady Gwendolyn of York looking morose is Emma Thompson as Elinor Dashwood in Sense & Sensibility; image found on Pinterest at https://i.pinimg.com/originals/86/6f/38/866f388dd944cc2501e677b22febf488.jpg
“Expectations” (Book 2) Ch. 5 URL for Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad story Post for December 23, 2018:
Previous “Expectations” (Book 2) Chapter 4 story URL of my SAL blog post (#1195), on December 16, 2018: