“Expectations” (Book 2)– Ch.6: Traveling misadventures, Part 2, January 13, 2019 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1204)
[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. 6: Traveling misadventures, Part 2
So after finding and rescuing the fair damsel Lady Gwendolyn Lindsay of York from her broken down carriages on her way to his family’s Sussex Hall estates, Lord Harold Blount rides along side on his borrowed mount—instead of inside his much more comfortable carriage wherein he ensconced Lady Gwendolyn, her Ladies Maid, and a few other maids. Lord Blount feels quite proud of himself in behaving so gentlemanly and escorting Lady Gwendolyn to the Wayfarer Inn in Walden on their way to his family’s Sussex Hall Estates for the Summer.
However, the not so demure Lady Gwendolyn currently being conveyed by Lord Harold’s spacious and comfortable carriage with her ladies maid and other maids is not feeling grateful to Lord Blount at all. Each time Lady Gwendolyn leans forward to gaze at the passing lovely countryside view, Lord Harold seems to take that as an invitation to converse.
Lord Harold: “My Lady Gwendolyn, I hope that the countryside pleases you. I find it most charming.”
Lady Gwendolyn: “Indeed.” Lady Gwendolyn plans to stick to one word responses in the hope that Lord Harold will take the hint that she does not wish to converse with him.
Lord Harold: “Normally, I ride within the carriage for long distance trips, like this one. But I must confess that being atop a horse allows one a panoramic view of the bucolic countryside.” He smiles warmly at Lady Gwendolyn’s scowling face.
Lady Gwendolyn: “Hmmm.” She murmurs, then sits back from the window and turns to her ladies maid. “Strand, did you pack the playing cards?”
Ladies Maid Strand: “Yes, My Lady. But …” Dorcas Strand bites her lower lip as it trembles. She has only been Lady Gwendolyn’s ladies maid for a few weeks, so she is yet learning her mistresses wishes and tastes.
Lady Gwendolyn: “Hhhhh! But it is packed away in one of the many trunks with us.” Strand nods apologetically. “Well, in future, please keep it on your person. For long trips we will need some diversions.”
Ladies Maid Strand: “Yes, My Lady.” She nods obediently.
Lord Harold trots along on his borrowed horse in silence after Lady Gwendolyn sat back from the carriage window. And he wonders at her lack of conversation. Could it be that she was so inured in the York countryside that she had not learnt the skill of social conversation? The weather, the state of the roads, and one’s dogs are all perfectly acceptable topics of conversation.
Though Lord Harold admits to himself that though he has not seen a domesticated animal amongst Lady Gwendolyn’s entourage, they are traveling upon a road and the weather is fine. But she makes no mention of either. He finds her singularly unusual in this respect—especially since he recalls her as being a rather annoyingly chatty child.
And as arrogant as Lord Harold often is, he does not see Lady Gwendolyn’s reluctance to converse with him as a slight to him, but rather as illustrating her shyness. However with such a lack of perception his observation reflects, one wonders if Lord Harold is the party with a social deficit.
However, wanting to put Lady Gwendolyn at her ease, Lord Harold tries again to converse with her.
Lord Harold: “I say, I have a question to put to you, Lady Gwendolyn.” Silence is her response. But he is undeterred. “Ahem! My Lady, I would ask you a question.”
All eyes inside the Blount carriage turn to Lady Gwendolyn. They think that surely their mistress will respond to the gentleman. Only the oldest other maid well past middle age smiles knowingly at Lady Gwendolyn, then returns to her dozing state.
Lady Gwendolyn: “Very well, Lord Harold. What is it?” She feels that she is getting peevish with him—so unlike her. Yet the man is being quite trying. Lady Gwendolyn wonders if Lord Harold misunderstands the social compact of ladies riding inside the carriage is supposed to afford them a measure of privacy from the men—or man, in this case—riding on his steed outside of the carriage.
Lord Harold: Smiling, he asks. “Is there something that I can do for you to make the rest of your journey to the Wayfarer Inn at Walden more comfortable?”
Lady Gwendolyn: “Oh, indeed, yes. Please cease in attempting to engage me in conversation.” Then Lady Gwendolyn feels regret for the surliness of her response and softens it a bit. If her parents and brother were to learn of her hoydenish behavior, they would not be pleased. So she relents. “We ladies are tired and wish to doze, My Lord.”
Lord Harold: “Ah! Of course. My apologies for interrupting your rest. Sleep well, My Lady.” Lord Harold bows his head to Lady Gwendolyn and she tilts her head slightly in acknowledgement. Afterall, she is a Duke’s daughter, accustomed to having her wises acceded to. So Lord Harold continues to trot the remaining 30 minutes to the Wayfarer Inn at Walden in silence, but for the clip clop of his horse’s hooves, the rattle of the carriage’s rolling wheels, and the bird calls that he hears in the distance.
Lady Gwendolyn is a bit nonplussed that she was able to speak plainly to Lord Harold her request for silence—without giving offense, which she often does. However, she uses the silence wisely and leans against the soft velvet upholstered interior of the carriage—with the gently sway of the well sprung carriage causing her to fall asleep.
Lord Harold endeavors to continue to treat Lady Gwendolyn with every courtesy due her as the daughter of a Duke. So when they arrive at the charming two story stone Wayfarer Inn [(2) below], he requests the innkeeper for a bed chamber and private parlor for Lady Gwendolyn and her ladies maid and other sundry maids.
And Lord Harold also bespeaks a bed chamber for himself to freshen up in before having luncheon with Lady Gwendolyn. He also immediately writes a brief note and sends one of the outriders with it to Sussex Hall Estate’s Dower House where his brother Lord Christian is staying and asks for additional carriages and wagons to ferry Lady Gwendolyn’s entourage to Sussex Hall
In the meantime, Lady Gwendolyn insists upon a bath to remove the dust from her person. So her Ladies Maid Strand coordinates the bath tub and hot water with the innkeeper’s staff. Lord Harold had also felt rather dusty due to him riding upon his horse. But him not wanting to inconvenience Lady Gwendolyn by delaying luncheon were he to wash fully, he made do with a thorough wash of his face and upper body and a change of shirt, cravat, and jacket to help him feel a bit more the thing. When they reach the Sussex Hall Estates later this afternoon, he will take a full bath then—or so, he hopes that they will reach his home by evening.
Lady Gwendolyn sits in her bath behind a privacy screen situated next to the fireplace hearth with a toasty fire and buckets of warm water waiting for her Ladies Maid Strand to rinse her.
Ladies Maid Strand: “Miss? I mean Lady Gwendolyn. Which gown would you like to change into for luncheon with Lord Harold?”
Lady Gwendolyn: “Oh good lord! Must I eat with him? Cannot we claim that I am too ill to join him for luncheon?”
Ladies Maid Strand: “I do not think so. We … you might not be given your luncheon food then.” She worries more for herself than for her ladyship. Strand is hungry.
Lady Gwendolyn: “Well, I am not very hungry, afterall.” Then she looks at the stricken face of her Ladies Maid and regrets her selfishness. “But I will muster an appetite.” She smiles at her relieved looking maid. “Whilst I and Lord Harold are eating our luncheon in a private parlor, please take yourself and the other maids to the common room to also eat your midday meal.” Her maid nods and smiles.
Lord Harold feels peckish and eager for his luncheon and seeks out Lady Gwendolyn by first knocking on her private parlor attached to her inn bedchamber and being admitted by one of the under maids, who ushers him in with bobbing a curtsey.
Lord Harold: “Please inform Lady Gwendolyn that the Inn keeper will have our our luncheon served within this private parlor in 15 minutes. I have ordered us some hot soup and roast beef with vegetables, bread and butter—and with their fine pudding for dessert. They also have an excellent wine cellar and I have taken the liberty to choose something that I hope she will like.” He smiles commandingly at the servant.
Undermaid Bridget: Bobbing another curtsey, she nods also. “I’ll be letting her ladyship know presently. But she is having her bath and she don’t usually like to be disturbed until she is done.” She states as one who knows her mistress for a few years.
Lord Harold: “Indeed?” His eyebrows shoot up to his hairline for being informed outright that Lady Gwendolyn—or any lady, for that matter—is presently in her bath. Images of Lady Gwendolyn wet and sloshing her bathwater around spring to Lord Harold’s mind, and he feels a bit flush and earnestly unsettled at the thought of Lady Gwendolyn in her bath. And as the maid goes to her mistress to relate the message to her from Lord Harold about luncheon, he mutters under his breath. “How in the hell is a gentleman supposed to behave like a gentleman when he knows that a lady is in her bath in the next room?”
Lord Harold realizes that he needs a distraction from thinking about Lady Gwendolyn in her bath, so he goes to the window and watches the village scene below. The city is also a market village so there are quite a few stalls selling wares and such than one might normally see in a village the size of Walden. And he forgets himself as he knocks on the adjoining bed chamber door and speaks through the closed door.
Lord Harold: “I say, Gwen? After luncheon, we could take a stroll about the village and tour the market stalls. What do you think about that?” Lord Harold has switched to addressing her as Gwen rather than the despised Gwennie, to hopefully entice Lady Gwendolyn into a good mood.
All he hears is water sloshing as Lady Gwendolyn had chosen that moment to arise from her bathwater. And Lord Harold silently curses his very good hearing as he clenches his hands at his sides.
Lady Gwendolyn: “Towels!” She shouts to her Ladies Maid Strand, lest Lord Harold take it upon himself to barge in. But there seems to be only one towel that she wraps around herself with her wet legs and arms uncovered as she is helped out of the tub, and she needs another towel at least for drying off her limbs with. But she spoke rather loudly about towels.
Lord Harold: “You need towels, you say Gwen?” He looks about the parlor and spies a small pile of extra linens—including towels. “Ah! There are extra towels out here. I’ll hand them in to your maid.” He states cheerfully through the closed bedchamber door. He is not hoping for a peek, not really.
Lady Gwendolyn: And she heard him quite clearly, realizing his close proximity. “No, no! You stand back from the door and my maid will fetch the towels from my private parlor. What are you doing in there, anyway, Hal?”
Lord Harold: “Ha ha ha! I am waiting for our food to be brought up for luncheon. I could eat a horse!” And Lord Harold tries to focus upon their meal to come—rather than the current possible disrobed state of Lady Gwendolyn
Lady Gwendolyn: “Oh!”
Lady Gwendolyn shoos her Ladies Maid Strand to retrieve the towels, which Lord Harold helpfully points toward when she enters the adjacent parlor. And closing his eyes, he turns his back on the open bed chamber door so that he does not inadvertently see Lady Gwendolyn within wearing only one towel. He flushes again, thinking of Lady Gwendolyn being wet and not clothed underneath her towel. And Lord Harold’s cravat seems overly tight—among other parts of his attire, to the South.
But the Ladies Maid is swift in her purpose and returns to her mistress with the towels for Lady Gwendolyn to dry off from her bath. Lady Gwendolyn chooses a pamona green day dress with vines embroidered in white upon the bodice to change into. But with her hair getting damp from the bath, Strand decides to take out the pins and brush it out before restyling Lady Gwendolyn’s hair for her.
But time is not on their side. Just as Lady Gwendolyn’s gown is fastened and her hair pins removed with her hair being brushed, her and Lord Harold’s luncheon arrives via the Inn’s staff entering the adjoining parlor.
Lord Harold smiles broadly at the inn’s staff and points to the round table and chairs in the center of the room for their luncheon to be served by the inn staff.
Lord Harold: “Oh Gwen! Our luncheon has arrived. You had best get in here while it is hot, or I just might eat your portion as well.”
Lady Gwendolyn: “Oh no you will not, Hal!” She cries out, finding her appetite is more than she had guessed. She has her Ladies Maid twist her hair into a loose updo with several precariously placed pins, and she rushes out of her bedchamber and into the parlor.
Lord Harold: “Lady Gwendolyn! How nice of you to join me.” He smiles at her slightly damp looking neck and her hair in a loose bun as he pulls out a chair for her. “You look charming. Please sit here. I think you will find that the food as delicious as it smells. Our family stops here often when we break our journey to and from London.”
Lady Gwendolyn: Taking in his own change of clothes—and liking what she sees–she remarks. “Let us hope so. I have instructed my maids to eat in the common room, but if we are eating in this parlor adjacent to my bed chamber–and not a private parlor downstairs–then my Ladies Maid Strand will have to chaperone us.” She looks apologetically at her hungry looking Ladies Maid. “You may eat at the writing desk over in the corner, Strand.”
Strand curtsies and moves in that direction while the other under maids file out to the hallway to make their way to their luncheon.
Lord Harold: “There should be plenty of food here for a third person, but we do not have an extra bowl and spoon for the soup.” He winces apologetically.
Lady Gwendolyn: “Well then, she may have mine.” She states stoically.
Lord Harold: “Oh no! You are my guest! I will give your Ladies Maid my soup.” And he begins to rise to serve the maid, when he is interrupted.
Lady Gwendolyn: “No need, Hal! She is my Ladies Maid, so I will give her my soup.”
Lord Harold: “But are you not the least interested in how good this hot potato soup is? Trust me! It is delicious.” He smiles genuinely at her.
Lady Gwendolyn: “Well…” She hesitates—her not wanting to be seemingly beholden to the Blount Rogue. Yet, she is already well in his debt this day.
Lord Harold: “Let us compromise. You may give your soup to your Ladies Maid. …” Lady Gwendolyn nods half heartedly. She really does want to try the soup. “And I will give you my soup. Hmmm?”
Lady Gwendolyn: “But Hal…” She stubbornly persists.
Lord Harold: “Nay, Gwen! The soup is my treat! After all you have had to endure today, it is the least that I can do for you.”
Acquiescing she hands her soup bowl and spoon with some bread to her grateful Ladies Maid Strand sitting in the corner of the room. Then Lady Gwendolyn takes a sip of soup that would have been Lord Harold’s.
Lady Gwendolyn: “Hmm. It is good.” She states with some astonishment, related to this being a lesser quality of village inn than what she is accustomed to.
Lord Harold: “Were you skeptical at my recommendation of the food?” He asks teasingly and she nonchalantly shrugs her shoulders. “Pray believe me when I tell you that the Wayfarer Inn is a boon to weary travelers. And here, taste the wine with your meal as well.”
Lady Gwendolyn: Sipping her wine, she is also pleasantly surprised with its fruity bouquet. “Very well, Hal. I will grant you that this hostelry is more than adequate. I will just be glad to be in my own home again. Well, your home, that is—since my family is renting Sussex Hall for the Summer.” She amends after he quirks up an eyebrow.
Lord Harold: “Uh, and about that.” He winces apologetically. “I have written to my brother Lord Christian, about the need for more wagons and carriages to convey you and your entourage there due to your broken carriages.”
Lady Gwendolyn: “Yes?” She looks at him uncertainly as she tucks into her meal after making a plate of food for her Ladies Maid.
Lord Harold: “But I fear that when the carriages arrive later this afternoon—if they do arrive this afternoon—it will be too late to journey on to Sussex Hall Estates. It is not wise to travel in the dark as the late afternoons and early evenings tend to be. So we will have to spend the night here. I have already sent several of my footmen back with my carriage to collect your staff and the wagons at the breakdown point. The carriages will be guarded by two armed footmen to prevent looters from stripping them bare.”
Lady Gwendolyn: “Nooo! That will not do! I might have my maids with me, but I do not have a true chaperone. I can not stay overnight at an inn with an unmarried man.”
Lord Harold: “The unmarried man whom you refer to, I presume is myself.” She nods with a pouty annoyed look on her face. “Well, you are not technically staying with me at this inn.”
Lady Gwendolyn: “Of course not!” She huffs in righteous indignation.
Lord Harold: “Be at ease, My Lady. The Wayfarer Inn is not known for being a place of assignations. The inn caters to families and sporting travelers. Your reputation is safe here, with me.” He adds almost parenthetically.
Lady Gwendolyn: “I still do not like it.” She grouses.
Lord Harold: “Well, I might not like the inconvenience and expense of having to stop overnight either. But there we are. Hhhh!” He sighs in frustration. Oh the wages of sin—in his past—are coming back to taunt him in his attempts at being gentlemanly. “Now eat up and we can tour the village before dinner and such.”
And Lady Gwendolyn wonders what the and such is? So she resolves to sip her wine slowly during her luncheon and their later dinner—so as to not allow her senses to be dulled, nor her keenly honed self-preservation to be cast aside by the lubricating effects of the delicious wine.
With so wary a traveling companion as Lady Gwendolyn Lindsay, is it any wonder that Lord Harold Blount has a challenge before him with regard to not only him behaving in a gentlemanly way, but also his sense of chivalry? Or as Lady Gwendolyn might exclaim Oh Lord, it is going to be a long night.
To be continued with Chapter 7
“Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement): Chapter 6 images for January 13, 2019 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1204)
- “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.
- An illustration of an olde English village Inn was found at http://www.gutenberg.org/files/43865/43865-h/images/img41.jpg
“Expectations” (Book 2) Ch. 6 URL for Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad story Post for January 13, 2019:
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