“Expectations” (Book 2)– Ch. 8: Welcoming the Lindsays of York to Sussex Hall, January 27, 2019 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1208)
[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): Richard Armitage as Lord Christian Blount Earl of Sussex; Crispin Bonham Carter as Lord Harold Blount the younger brother of Lord Christian Blount the Earl of Sussex portrayed by Richard Armitage, and older brother to their younger sister Lady Elizabeth Blount portrayed by Jessica Brown Findlay; Emma Thompson as Lady Gwendolyn “Gwen” 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; Margaret Clunie portrays the Late Lord Alfred’s betrothed Lady Constance Knightsbridge; Lily Travers portrays Lady Penelope Lindquist, Lord Harold’s great love; and Hugh Grant as Lord Robert Knightsbridge the Marquess of Wyre and heir to the Duke of Lancashire as Lady Constance Knightsbridge’s brother.]
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” (Book 2)– Ch. 8:
Welcoming the Lindsays of York to Sussex Hall
Duncan the Viscount Lindsay ruminates about his family removing from their ancestral castle while it is under repair, and moving into Sussex Hall for the Summer of 1816 as he and his horse trot alongside with the reserved and silent Lord Robert Knightsbridge the Marquess of Wyre. So with little conversation to be had, Lord Duncan lets his mind roam.
Naturally, Lord Duncan expects that he and his family to run into Lord Christian and his family quite regularly while they are staying at Sussex Hall manor. That expectation of familiarity and nearness was one of the reasons that prompted Lord Duncan to lease Lord Christian’s Summer estate. Well, that and the prospect of seeing Lord Christian’s younger sister Lady Elizabeth in her home environment, where she is sure to be comfortable.
Lord Duncan thinks that Lady Elizabeth is such a jolly little slip of a thing. And I find her charming—despite, or perhaps because of, her plump and rosie cheeks. She is like a little sister to me, though one who is blossoming into a lovely young woman. I only hope that she will find love and be married happily—unlike my younger sister Lady Gwendolyn whose beau Lord Stephen Trottworth was killed by Napolean’s troops, with our elder brother Alfred ten years ago. Gwennie has pined these ten years for her beau and had fervently wished that Papa had allowed her to marry before Lord Stephen went away to war. But she was only fifteen then and she had not yet been presented. Our parents believed then—in my view—that Gwennie needed a larger society before she decided on whom to marry.
Then with our eldest brother Lord Alfred who was Papa’s heir dying as well, our family was crushed into the deepest sorrow imaginable. It was made worse because Lord Alfred’s and Stephen’s bodies were never recovered. Only my brother’s signet ring was returned to us, as I look down upon it on my own finger these past ten years. It is a sorrow that never goes away. And by default, I became the reluctant heir to our father’s Dukedom. It was not supposed to be my future—to be the Duke. And with it looming before me whenever our father dies, I feel the strictures of what that life will bring me, closing in around me.
And I despair of my sister Gwennie ever getting past losing her Stephen and finding love again. At six and twenty, many might think her on the shelf. But to me, Gwennie is a rare and beautiful gift yet to be cherished by the right man—a man who will celebrate her strength of will and also honor her tender heart. As I also hope that Lady Elizabeth will one day be cherished—though that man will not be me. I think forlornly.
So in the first week in June of 1816, Lord Christian welcomes his new three months of Summer tenants for the Sussex Hall manor, Lord Duncan Viscount Lindsay, his parents the Duke and Duchess of York, and their guests the beautiful Lady Constance Knightsbridge [(2) below left ] and her cousin ward the now nine year old young girl Tamsin Knightsbridge, and Lady Constance’s brother Lord Robert Knightsbridge [(3) below right] the Marquess of Wyre who rides in on his fine steed making him look quite imperious.
The Duke’s and Duchesses’s daughter Lady Gwendolyn Lindsay, arrived two days ago with Lord Harold’s assistance when her carriages broke down on their way from London. In the intervening two days, the Blount’s have hosted Lady Gwendolyn to lunches and suppers at the Sussex Hall Dower House so she would not be eating alone up at the huge Sussex Hall manor house. So with the cordiality that has sprung up between Lord Harold and Lady Gwendolyn, he stands by her now with his brother Lord Christian to greet her parents.
It has been a long five day journey in two coaches and several wagons for the Yorks and their house guests, what with the Lindsays coming from York–and not London. So Lord Duncan of York the Viscount Lindsay is glad to finally make it to the Sussex Hall country estate manor that he is renting this Summer from his friend Lord Christian Blount the Earl of Sussex.
The two men meet like the longtime friends they are and shake hands then clap each other on their shoulders. And Lord Christian’s younger sister Lady Elizabeth cannot stop smiling at Lord Duncan, who glances surreptiously in her direction, even as he courteously introduces Lady Constance—his putative inherited betrothed. Lady Elizabeth and Lord Duncan have to be subdued in their behavior when about each other when in company, especially since his parents are the ones who have brought his contracted if unwilling betrothed Lady Constance Knightsbridge with them.
Lord Christian: “Lord Duncan, your Graces, My Lady Constance, Lord Robert, and Miss Tamsin welcome to Sussex Hall!” Then his eye twinkles with mirth. “Have I forgotten anyone in my greeting?”
Lord Duncan: “You did well, My Friend! Even I need a score card at times to keep track of them all.” The company bursts into polite chuckles as they greet each other with handshakes, bows, curtsies, and cheek or hand kisses.
And it was explained that due to Lady Madeline being in a delicate condition—her being four months pregnant now, and Lord Christian not wanting her to stand around in the heat—the Yorks and Lancashires will meet her at luncheon. Lady Madeline is currently resting in Sussex Hall’s large parlor.
Then the red headed Miss Tamsin steps forward, flouncing her light blue ruffled skirt when she curtsies to Lord Christian. At nine years old, she is a force to be reckoned with. Her bloodlines are impeccable and she has been raised with love in the confines of the Lancashire Knightsbridge family. So her confidence is a natural extension of her cocoon of family protectiveness.
Miss Tamsin: “My Lord Sussex, it is a pleasure to meet you as our host, at last.” She states in a prim girlishly high but strong voice as she curtsies to him.
Lord Christian: Bowing with an amused smile upon his lips, he greets the young girl with great formality and distinction as he bows. “My Lady Tamsin, the honor and pleasure are mine.”
Miss Tamsin: “Oh no! I am not addressed as a My Lady, My Lord. I am merely a Miss.” She states a bit forlornly, for she understands the distinction of rank, and that she does not have a rank within her loving family—as far as she knows. Because every little girl hopes to be a Lady or even a Princess one day.
Lord Christian: “Well, Miss Tamsin, You are a most fortunate young lady to have such a distinguished family as the Lancashires, and the Yorks by extension, as your supporters. So I hope that you will also consider the Sussex’s your family as well.”
Miss Tamsin: “Thank you, I am most honored by your kind solicitude.” She sinks into another deep curtsy while Lady Constance beams with pride. Upon rising again, Miss Tamsin quizzically ponders Lord Harold and Lady Gwendolyn. “If you will excuse me, Lord Sussex, but who is that gentleman standing off to the side with a lady whom I do not know either?” She does not point, which would be considered ill bred—but she ever so regally tilts her head in Lord Harold’s and Lady Gwendolyn’s direction.
Lord Christian: “Ah! My apologies for being remiss in introducing you. That is my younger brother Lord Harold Blount and Lord Duncan’s sister Lady Gwendolyn Lindsay of York.” Lord Christian motions and Lord Harold steps forward, with him also greeting everyone—and now finally the young girl, with a deep bow.
Lord Harold: “Miss Tamsin, I am delighted to make your acquaintance.”
For an extra dose of gallantry, he reaches for the young girl’s gloved hand, that she shyly offers to him. But the beautiful and serene Lady Constance intervenes swiftly and curtly as she purposefully and disdainfully removes her young ward Miss Tamsin’s hand from Lord Harold’s grasp. It seems that Lord Harold’s much vaunted roguish reputation precedes him.
Lady Constance: “Tamsin, you need not take up any more of Lord Harold’s time, Dear.” And Lady Constance puts a protective arm around her ward. Her thinking that it is never too early to be wary of rakes and rogues around young girls. Tamsin looks into Lady Constance’s eyes with a hurt look upon her face—with Miss Tamsin misinterpreting the Lady’s actions and thinking that Lady Constance did not think that she–a mere Miss–warranted Lord Harold’s gallantry.
Rushing forward to greet Lady Constance warmly, Lady Gwendolyn smooths over the awkward social moment.
Lady Gwendolyn: “Lady Constance and Tamsin, Hal, Lord Harold is harmless, these days. He has been nothing but pleasant since he rescued my traveling caravan on the way here from London when both of my carriages sustained damage from the rutted road.” Lady Gwendolyn smiles at Lord Harold and he smiles and nods back to her for her standing up for him.
Lord Robert: “Indeed? That is a fine account of you, Lord Harold.” One that he had never expected to hear. And Lord Robert correspondingly places a light arm protectively around his sister Lady Constance’s waist. If Lady Constance is worried about the very young Tamsin’s honor, then Lord Robert is doubly worried about his sister Lady Constance’s honor, with Lord Harold a foot—and for good reason.
Lord Harold: “It is so. Yet I never thought to be so young and still be called harmless.” He mock pouts then winks at Lady Gwendolyn as he holds out his elbow to her.
Lady Gwendolyn: After lightly placing her hand around Lord Harold’s arm near his elbow, with a smile, Lady Gwendolyn explains their familiarity. “Oh this? We’re just friends. Hal’s changed attitude and behavior toward gentlemanliness is not something that I can claim as my own doing, he seems to have evolved into being a gentleman all on his own merits.”
Lord Harold: “Alright Lady Gwen, please leave me some dignity of illusion about my masculine appeal to the fairer sex.”
Lady Gwendolyn: “Keep your delusions all you want, Hal. Ha ha ha!” She titters with gentle laughter, a sound which Lord Robert thinks is charming. Though Lord Robert wishes that Lady Gwendolyn would not stand so close to Lord Harold, nor seem to be so familiar with him. Though this leopard that is Lord Harold might have changed his spots, Lord Robert is very wary of him with regard to protecting his family’s ladies.
They all begin walking toward and into the Sussex Hall manor house.
Miss Tamsin: Tamsin turns to look at Lady Constance, her parental surrogate. “What is the fairer sex?” Out of the mouths of babes.
Lady Constance: Speaking in a hushed tone, she gently responds. “Tamsin, Dear. It is more precise to say who is the fairer sex.” And Lady Constance thanks the deity that the Duke and Duchess of York are in deep conversation well ahead of them with Lord Sussex and Lord Duncan as they all walk into Sussex Hall manor.
Miss Tamsin: “Alright, then who?” Tamsin is a naturally inquisitive child.
Lady Gwendolyn: Helping out her family friend Lady Constance, Lady Gwendolyn weighs in with her own response. “If I may?” Lady Constance nods with a bit of trepidation for what will come out of Lady Gwendolyn’s mouth. “Well, Miss Tamsin, the word sex refers to men and women. And the word fairer in this context means beautiful. So the more beautiful or fairer sex refers to we ladies and young girls.”
Miss Tamsin: “But Mama … I mean Lady Constance …” Miss Tamsin had slipped because Lady Constance allows her to address her as Mama, but only in private. “…tells me that beauty or handsomeness is only one aspect of a person. And that their intellect and kindness toward others is what is most important.”
Lord Harold: “Well said, Miss Tamsin. But if I could be permitted to tender an invitation to you?”
Miss Tamsin: “You may.” She nods and goes to take Lady Gwendolyn’s unattached hand in hers.
Lord Harold: “Well, my sister Lady Elizabeth and I, along with Lady Gwen, thought that we might invite you and the other younger people to some light lawn activities such as croquet and badminton after a picnic luncheon upon the Sussex Hall terrace that Lady Gwendolyn has organized. You have been cooped up in a coach for so many days that we felt that surely you want to be able to stretch your legs a bit.”
Lady Elizbeth: “Oh please say yes! I have been looking forward to having another young person on the estate.” Lady Elizabeth is truly welcoming of Miss Tamsin. It is just her rival for Lord Duncan’s attentions–in the person of Lady Constance–that makes Lady Elizabeth suspicious of her.
Miss Tamsin: Miss Tamsin first looks to Lady Constance for her approval for the sporting scheme, which she gives with a slight nod. “Yes, I thank you, Lord Harold. I will be delighted to play croquet and badminton with you.” And Miss Tamsin grins girlishly and curtsies again for good measure.
Lord Harold: “Well, I am going to team with my sister Lady Elizabeth for badminton later. Whom will you choose for your second, Miss Tamsin?”
Miss Tamsin: “Uncle Lord Robert is tall.” Then she asks him. “Uncle Lord Robert, will you partner me in the game of badminton?
Lord Robert: “Kkhhh!” He coughs as his face flushes in embarrassment for Tamsin using their family mode of address amongst non family members. “Of course, Tamsin, Dear.” He bows his head slightly, with a pinched expression on his face.
Lady Elizabeth: “Uncle Lord Robert?” Lady Elizabeth is never one to let a puzzle slip past her understanding, as she looks between Lord Robert and Lady Constance.
Lady Constance: “We should probably have explained.” She begins awkwardly. Lord Harold, Lady Elizabeth, and Lady Gwendolyn each nod and tilt their heads in unexpected unison, and wait for Lady Constance’s explanation. “Since Tamsin is our ward, we have taken her into the family and she addresses my brother as her Uncle.” She still leaves a gaping hole in her explanation—which Lady Elizabeth notices and comments upon.
Lady Elizabeth: “And you are her Mama?” Elizabeth phrases her question a bit unexpectedly, and Lord Robert rushes in—even though, Lady Elizabeth has more the right of it than she knows.
Lord Robert: “Our ward Tamsin has no living parents. So we, Lady Constance and I, act in loco parentis for her. So, I am her Uncle and my sister Lady Constance allows Tamsin to address her as Mama.” Lord Robert states in a deeply timberous voice that brooks no dissent.
And in watching Lord Robert closely during his explanation, Lady Gwendolyn notices the distinctive Knightsbridge red highlights with the sun shining upon his hair.
Miss Tamsin: “Thank you Uncle Lord Robert.” Then she turns to Lady Constance. “Mama?”
Lady Constance: “Yes, Tamsin, Dear. You may play lawn games with our hosts.” She smiles with a bit of a tremble.
Lord Harold: “Splendid!” Then rubbing his hands together, Lord Harold and Lady Gwendolyn usher the Lancashire’s up the central inner stairs of Sussex Hall manor to their bed chamber suites upon the second floor. “We will allow you to freshen up from your long journey, then collect you in a half hour for luncheon on the terrace.”
Lady Gwendolyn: “You will love it here! The food is divine, the accommodations most comfortable, exquisite grounds, and the staff are well trained and excellent.” Lord Harold flashes a brilliant smile for his family home to be so praised by their guest, Lady Gwendolyn.
Lady Constance: “Pardon me, Lady Gwendolyn. But do you have a room for Tamsin? Or if not, she may sleep with me.” She smiles almost apologetically to be springing a young child upon her hosts unannounced. But Lady Constance would not spend all Summer in Sussex without Tamsin.
Lady Gwendolyn: “All the guest rooms have been cleaned and well aired. And as it happens, the suite we assigned to you, Lady Constance, shares a parlor and a bathing chamber with a yet to be assigned bed chamber suite that Miss Tamsin my have for her very own. Will that be suitable?”
Lady Constance: “That will do nicely. Thank you.” And she gently hugs Tamsin standing next to her. “For you see, Tamsin has recently been given a Ladies Maid to complement her nurse—as she transitions to young ladyhood. And we both share a laundress, in addition to my having my own Ladies Maid. So I fear that our staff would run into each other were Tamsin and I to share a bed chamber. Ha ha ha!” She laughs lightly.
Lady Gwendolyn: “Indeed! Ha ha ha!” She laughs in answering accord.
After farewelling their guests for now, Lord Harold takes Lady Gwendolyn aside as they walk down the stairs to the larger parlor to meet Lord Christian, Lady Madeline who is resting there already, and Lady Elizabeth who went to join Lady Madeline when they entered Sussex Hall Manor. Lord Duncan is seeing to his parents settling in, and they will join them shortly as well.
Lord Harold: “So Gwen, I was thinking about the Lancashires. Lady Constance is beautiful, of course.” Though he thinks that the brunette beauty of Lady Constance does not outshine the golden haired loveliness of his heart’s only desire in the unobtainable Lady Penelope Lindquist. “And Lord Robert is dignified. And then there is the little spitfire Miss Tamsin.” He lets his thoughts on the matter remain unspoken.
Lady Gwendolyn: “Is there a question there, Hal?” She asks with some curiosity of her own present. “If so, I do not know the answer. However my parents or maybe Duncan might have more to share about the charming little Tamsin. Duncan has been more conversant with the Lancashires than myself the past ten years, for obvious reasons.”
Lord Harold: “Well, I will make one observation.” He pauses more for pondering how to delicately phrase it, than for dramatics. “Miss Tamsin’s forthright demeanor as a young girl reminds me more of you, than it does the Lancashire’s reserved nature.”
Lady Gwendolyn: “Well, that cannot be.” Lady Gwendolyn looks at Lord Harold and shakes her head. “I have never met Miss Tamsin—nor have I even heard of her before today–and thus I have had no influence upon her.” She scrunches up her nose in puzzling over the matter.
Lord Harold: “Perhaps a moment will present itself and we may take your brother Lord Duncan aside to ask him about Miss Tamsin.” Lord Harold does not know definitively, but has a nagging inkling that Miss Tamsin’s personage is a significant element to their mix of individuals staying at the Sussex Hall manor and the Sussex Hall Dower House. How significant she is remains to be seen.
Lady Gwendolyn: “Perhaps. Though I expect Lady Elizabeth will try to commandeer my brother Lord Duncan’s time. Poor Constance.”
Lord Harold: “How so, Gwen? Would not Lady Constance find Lord Duncan’s attentions having turned from her to be a relief? Since she mourns her late betrothed your late brother Lord Alfred as deeply as you mourn your late betrothed?”
Lady Gwendolyn: “Hal, it is our parents and hers who are unrelenting in pushing the match between my brother Lord Duncan and Lady Constance. And with Lady Constance and her brother Lord Robert here with us this Summer, the parents can only be trying to further the match.” She pouts. Lady Gwendolyn thinks that it is really too bad to have Lord Robert as an adversary—if he is aligning with his parents and trying to force his sister Lady Constance and Lady Gwendolyn’s brother Lord Duncan to wed. Otherwise, Lady Gwendolyn would view Lord Robert Knightsbridge Marquess of Wyre–and an Oxford Don–to a be a perfectly adequate gentleman. Praise, indeed.
Lord Harold: “Perhaps Lord Robert will become an ally in allowing his sister Lady Constance and your brother Lord Duncan to set their own futures, apart from each other?”
Lady Gwendolyn: “Would that it could be so. When you talk to Lord Duncan, I will ask Lord Robert about it.” He nods in agreement of her plan.
And Lord Harold wonders why Lady Gwendolyn so swiftly alters their initial plan and she will now plan to seek out Lord Robert. Hmmm.
So with Lord Harold and Lady Gwendolyn each planning to gather more information about Miss Tamsin, as well as, the Lancashires intentions for Lady Constance and Lord Duncan, there is certain to be an explanation clarifying several matters—with the information to be forthcoming soon, they hope.
To be continued with Chapter 9
“Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement): Chapter 8 images for January 27, 2019 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1208)
- “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 Constance Knightsbridge in a blue traveling cloak and hat is Margaret Clunie in “Victoria;” image found at http://behindfairytales.tumblr.com/post/180353326798/margaret-clunie-in-victoria-s2-as-harriet
- Lord Robert Knightsbridge on his horse is Hugh Grant in 1995’s “Sense & Sensibility”; image link at https://www.womanandhome.com/life/news-entertainment/five-time-we-fell-in-love-with-hugh-grant-108756/
“Expectations” (Book 2) Ch. 8 URL for Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad story Post for January 27, 2019:
Previous “Expectations” (Book 2) Chapter 7 story URL of my SAL blog post (#1206), on January 20, 2019: