“Expectations” (Book 2)–Ch. 12:  A betrothal promise was fulfilled,  March 10, 2019  by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1219)

“Expectations” (Book 2)–Ch. 12:  A betrothal promise was fulfilled,  March 10, 2019  by Gratiana Lovelace  (Post #1219)

(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 Elizabeth (Lizzie) Blount portrayed by Jessica Brown Findlay; Rupert Penry-Jones as Lord Duncan Viscount Lindsay; Francesca Capaldi as Miss Tamsin Knightsbridge (Lindsay) daughter of Lady Constance Knightsbridge (Lindsay) and the late Lord Alfred Lindsay Marquess of Malten; the late Lord Alfred Knightsbridge Marquess of Malten; Lord Christian Blount the Earl of Sussex and elder brother of Lady Elizabeth portrayed by Richard Armitage;  his wife Lady Madeline (Maddie) Sinclair Blount Countess of Sussex; and the Vicar Whitby]

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.  I hope that you enjoy this chapter.

 

“Encouragement (Book 2)— Ch. 12:  A betrothal promise was fulfilled

After an exhausting round of after luncheon lawn croquet by Lady Elizabeth Blount, Lord Duncan Viscount Lindsay, and Miss Tamsin Knightsbridge, a hurrying Sussex Hall Dower House footman finds them to deliver a note, to Lady Elizabeth.

Miss Tamsin: “What does the note say?”  She is forever asking that of all and sundry because she has never received a note by a footman—and she tries to get a look at the note as she tries to peek over Lady Elizabeth’s shoulder to read it—but Lord Duncan crowds her out.  At her tender age of nine years, any communication to or about Miss Tamsin  is handled through her Mother Lady Constance Knightsbridge—and secret widow of Lord Alfred Lindsay Marques of Malten–or her honorary (but real) Uncle Lord Robert Knightsbridge Marquess of Wyre.

Lady Elizabeth:  “Duncan?  Maddie writes and begs me to attend her at the Dower House.  She says that our expected visitor has come early.”  Lady Elizabeth sighs with curiosity.

Lord Duncan: “But who can that be?”

Lady Elizabeth: “The only visitor we have planned is next month  for Father Whitby, the Vicar of St. Timothy’s Parish in London–to come for a two week respite in the country.  That was when he could get away, because of him lining up a substitute to watch over his flocks.  I wonder.”  Then her eyes widen and turns her ashen and distressed face to Lord Duncan. “Oh no!  Maybe Maddie speaks of herself, and the babe yet to come.”

Lord Duncan: “But it is too soon.  She was only married but four months ago.  She cannot be much further along than that.”

Lady Elizabeth: “That is what I am worried about.  I must away to the Dower House.”

Footman: “My Lady, Lord Sussex bade me bring the carriage to convey you home in.”  For the distance to the Dower House by carriage is still at least 20 minutes, and by foot would take more than an hour.

Lord Duncan: Seeing Lady Elizabeth’s distress, Lord Duncan lends his support.  “It cannot be that, for Lady Madeline has written herself.  Were she to be in danger, her husband  Lord Christian Earl of Sussex would have written.”  Lady Elizabeth nods in relief, but still nibbles upon her lower lip in uncertainty.  So Lord Duncan makes a snap decision.  “ Lady Elizabeth, May I join you in your carriage ride to the Dower House?”

Miss Tamsin: “Oh!  Me, too!”  She claps her hands together with glee.

Lord Duncan patiently pats his niece Tamsin’s curly red head.

Lord Duncan: “No, Tammy, Dear.  Let Lady Elizabeth and I attend her family, and you attend to your Mother Lady Constance.” Miss Tamsin nods reluctantly with her agreement.  “There’s a good girl.  I will take you on a carriage ride soon. How will that be?”

Miss Tamsin: “I will hold you to it, Uncle Lord Duncan!”  She eyes him imperiously—as only a nine year old girl can.

Lord Duncan: “I would think so!”  He smiles then kisses his niece’s hand with courtly gallantry.  And she skips off, he turns to Lady Elizabeth and guides her to the front of Sussex Hall where the carriage awaits.

Once seated in the enclosed carriage—sent rather than the open gig, because it looks like rain—their privacy is assured.  But ever the gentleman, Lord Duncan seeks to distract Lady Elizabeth—without pressing  his adoring  passions  upon her, though his powers of seduction are quite acute.

Lord Duncan:  “There now, shall I finish telling you about my late brother Lord Alfred and Lady Constance?”

Lady Elizabeth: “Yes, please–anything you can do to keep from thinking the worst might be happening.”

Lord Duncan: Amusingly raising a querying eyebrow, his eyes dancing with merriment.  “Anything, My Love?”  He lifts her delicate ungloved hand to his lips for a lingering kiss.

Lady Elizabeth:  “Not anything.”  She blushes. “Perhaps we should keep you talking, to distract you.”

Lord Duncan: “Ha ha ha ha ha!”  His booming laughter reverberates around the interior of the carriage, even as he gives her shoulders a gentle squeeze in tender solicitude.  “Very well.  I will resume my story about my late brother Lord Alfred and his love Lady Constance.  It was but …”

***

Six years later from the sand castle wars, Lady Constance Knightsbridge is fourteen years and Lord Alfred the Marquess of Malten is sixteen years.  She is beginning to blossom into her womanhood and he is already a young man.  And this time, the Duke of Lancashire’s family visits the Duke of York’s family in their castle home in that fabled city of York.  York was the stronghold—won and lost and won again—of long ago buried kings and dukes.  And now the city of York and its surrounding county is thriving economically as well as politically.

And there is some advantage for the betrothal of Lady Constance and Lord Alfred to be announced here and now, for one day he will be the Duke of York and she his Duchess.  So their people are eager to see them together.    The two Ducal fathers of York and Lancashire present the betrothal proclamation stating that the Lady Constance Knightsbridge is pledged in betrothal to Lord Alfred, the future Duke of York—or some such wording as that.  However, the two teenagers—especially Lady Constance–are still too young to engage in any formal courting behaviors—of chaperoned walks in the park, dancing together at balls more than twice, let alone stealing kisses during clandestine meetings.

And yet, there are the beginnings of tender feelings between Lord Alfred and Lady Constance that deepen as time goes on.  Such that two years later when Lord Alfred takes a commission in his majesty’s army after graduating from Eton in his eighteenth year, the formal betrothal courting activities begin.  And a date is set for their wedding to occur in two years time, in the Autumn of 1806–one month after the two years younger Lady Constance will turn eighteen years of age.

However, fate has a way of making mischief with our plans.  And when Lt. Colonel Alfred the Marquess of Malten’s regiment is called up in May of 1806 to aide Major-General John Stuart in the Battle of Maida [(4)]—to prevent the French taking Sicily—Lord Alfred is obligated to go.

So it is on a warm June 1806 night two  weeks before his leaving to join his regiment to sail for British Glory in Italy, that Alfred Lord Malten spirits his betrothed Lady Constance to a vicar in the next county where they marry by special license—but without the pomp and show that marrying in front of their family in the Autumn would entail.  You see, Lord Alfred can not guarantee his return in time for their wedding—or at all.  And he wants to make his Lady Constance his Marchioness and perhaps to start their ducal dynasty.

So the completely besotted eighteen year old Lady Constance agrees to a secret marriage to her childhood sweetheart Lord Alfred and she elopes with him.  They reason that when he returns from battle, they can still have their lovely wedding with everyone present in the Autumn—which is only three months away.  Their brothers Lord Duncan Viscount Lindsay and Lord Robert Knightsbridge Marquess of Wyre are their marriage witnesses.

Before they must part for Lord Alfred to go to war, the newlywed husband and wife, share five  nights and four days of love together.  Lord Alfred has arranged everything—including their one bedroom honeymoon cottage on the outskirts of a small village an hour away from York, for their privacy.  The cottage is little more than two rooms—a small kitchen open to a sitting room, and then a bed chamber with a small bathing room attached.  The cottage is used by noblemen on hunts—or so he was told, as to account for its level of comfort and convenience.

The smaller York carriage stops in front of the cottage with a discreet family stable groom named Dosset serving as their carriage driver.  And Lord Alfred smiles at his wife Lady Constance and gives her a quick kiss before exiting the carriage and then helping her down.  Dosset quietly and with quick dispatch carries each of their clothing trunks into the sitting room and deposits them before the stable groom intends to head to the village for the week–before returning his Lord and Lady to their families.  Lord Alfred thanks the man and gives Dosset a small pouch containing coin for the first half of his journey, saying there will be more when he collects them in four days time.

As the carriage pulls away, Lord Alfred and Lady Constance are completely alone.  They smile shyly at each other.  Then Lord Alfred quickly picks her up into his arms to her squeals of delight and whisks her into the cottage.  There they share a night of love and of hopeful imaginings of their future life together as they cuddle before falling asleep in each other’s loving arms.

Lord Alfred: “I love you so, my darling Constance.”  I lift her fingers lying flat upon my bare chest, and I kiss the tip of each delicate digit.

Lady Constance: “And I love you, my dearest Alfred.”  I gaze deeply into his eyes.  “Will you promise me something?”

Lord Alfred: “Anything!  If it is within my power to give, you shall have it!”  I smile broadly with the hubris of youth.

Lady Constance: “Come back to me.”  I plead with a whisper of tears threatening to break forth.  “Do not seek glory and thus rush yourself to your death.”  Then I burst into tears as my spoken entreaty overwhelms my heart.

Lord Alfred:  I rush to comfort her.   “There now.  Connie, I will return to you.  I promise.  We will not be parted for long, and then we will never be apart again.  Ours will be a long and happy married life together, blessed with love and joy—and abundant children.”

Lady Constance: “Ha ha ha!  She gasps a giggle.  “Alfred, our marriage is not even three hours old and you speak of your dynasty?  Such hubris tempts fate.”

Lord Alfred: “Nonsense!  And I want a little girl first to spoil.  Then boys and more girls aplenty for me to dower lavishly.  Ha ha ha ha ha!

Lady Constance:  “And do I have any say in the number of children we shall have?”  I ask my husband teasingly as I stroke his strong jaw and his muscular bare neck and shoulders.

Lord Alfred: “Of course.  If you ever tire of my loving attentions …”  I kiss her upon her luscious lips.  “… and wish to have us sleep apart to prevent further babies …”  My hands caress her bare back and skim her womanly hips as I kiss her sender neck.  “I would very reluctantly grant your request.”

Lady Constance: “But?”   I close my eyes as I feel our passion stirring within me again as he kisses and caresses me.

Lord Alfred:  “But, I would do my very best to convince you otherwise.”  I grin as I gently roll her to her back as I hover over her.

Lady Constance:  “As you are doing now, my husband?”  I breathe deeply with desire.

Lord Alfred: “Indeed.”  I lean over my wife again and we kiss with such loving abandon that our conversation is at an end—to our mutual satisfaction.

***

Of a  morning  four days hence, Lord Alfred reflects upon parting with his new wife..  My wife Lady Constance and I share a heartfelt farewell as I return her to her family for their safekeeping.  Her parents know of our elopement—and I give Connie our marriage certificate for her protection.  But my family but for my brother Lord Duncan does not know of our marriage.  I am well aware that our loving conjugations as husband and wife these past four days might have started our family.  And I do not want Connie’s honor and reputation to be tarnished were I not to return from the war.  She is to have everything due her in my wealth and title as my Marchioness and mother to the potential future Duke of York.

Then I return home to my family for our farewells.  I am sorry to leave my parents—my Papa Duke looks especially crushed at my going.  It is natural, I am his heir.  Yet, what good am I as a noble and a future Duke if I do not strive to serve my country?  And my brother Duncan—my not so little any more fourteen  year old shadow—is stoic, as am I, at our parting as we give each other a manly hug and then walk ahead of our family grouping so that our words will not to be overheard.  Even our eight  year old sister Lady Gwendolyn totters around after me, as if I were her sun and moon.

Lord Duncan: “I know you, Alfred.  Don’t take chances in the pursuit of glory on the battlefield.    More than wishing England a glorious victory, I would see you home safely and married to your Lady Constance.”  He winks at his brother knowingly, about him already being married to lady Constance.

Lord Alfred:  “That is very similar to what Connie said to me last night.”  I say under my breath to him, as the only one in our family who knows of our marriage.

Lord Duncan: “Alfred!”  I teasingly slap him on his shoulder.

Lord Alfred: “Hush!  Do not behave in the extreme or I will be forced to tell Mama and Papa about my marriage to Lady Constance, when it is only you that I wish to confide in at present.”

Lord Duncan: “But why keep it a secret?  What of Lady Constance and her parents?  How is she to be kept safe if you die and you have left her with child?

Lord Alfred: “Lady Constance’s parents know that she and I are married—they gave us their blessing.  And you  and her brother Lord Robert Marquess of Wyre know as well.  Hopefully, our subterfuge will not be needed and I will return in three months time.  Then  she and I will be married amongst our whole families and friends.”  Then I turn somber.  “But you must solemnly promise me Duncan,  if I do not return.  If I die, I want you to promise me to protect Connie—and any child that she and I might have together.” Lord Alfred [(2) below] is resolute in insuring his wife’s safety and protection.

Lord Duncan: “Of course!  You have my word!  But you will not need it!  You will come home!”  I state forcefully for his sake and mine.  For I cannot bear to think of a life without my elder brother Alfred in it.  He is the heir to our father’s dukedom, to be sure.  But more importantly, my brother Alfred is my best friend.

Lord Alfred: “I only hope that you are right, brother.”  I grimace ruefully. And I think of the silver dagger and its sheath that I won so longer ago, tucked away in my boot.  I will use it, if I have to.  But will it be enough to save my life when I am in the full onslaught and thick of war, I wonder.  Yet, I have my love and wife Lady Constance to return to—she is more precious to me than my one day of inheriting my father’s dukedom, for it means that he will be now more.  I finger my signet ring on my right hand’s smallest finger.  I will return to her and to my family.  I must.

Though anyone’s future is as yet unwritten, the hubris of youthful imaginings harbor hopefulness of their invincibility.  It is only with time and maturity do persons realize the fragility of life to illness or injury, that may make the impermanence of such hopeful promises into lies.

***

Only three months later, it is with heart wrenching sadness, Lord Alfred the Marquess of Malten–heir to the Duke of York, brother of Lord Duncan and Lady Gwendolyn, and secret husband to Lady Constance Knightsbridge Lindsay–is lost in the Italy campaign, at the Battle of Maida in the Summer of 1806.  The Yorks do not receive notification of his death as the wedding planning proceeds in June, July, and early August.  Yet when Lord Alfred does not return for his wedding that August–and the Duke of York makes inquiries to the government–they are told that Lord Alfred had likely perished in the battle of Maida in July 1806.  Though definitive confirmation of Lord Alfred’s death was not yet available.

The two ducal families of York and Lancashire are devastated by Lord Alfred’s probable death.  Lord Alfred leaves behind his grieving ducal parents, his brother Lord Duncan, their youngest sister Lady Gwendolyn, and his secret wife, Lady Constance Knightsbridge Lindsay his Marchioness of Malten.  Lady Constance is so bereft that she instantly goes into seclusion to mourn her love Lord Alfred’s passing.  Lady Constance’s sparkling charm is subsumed by her grief.  And she focuses on their baby to come—while she is tethered to the small hope that her husband Lord Alfred yet lives.  That hope is the only thing that keeps Lady Constance focused on the future..

And it is not until another three months later, in late November 1806–six months after Lord Alfred had secretly married Lady Constance Knightsbridge Lindsay—when his signet ring is returned to his family as proof of his death.  Since in war time, bodies cannot be returned home over such great distances, a personal memento unique to the deceased is conveyed back to their family. And Lord Alfred’s signet ring had been found on the body of a dead officer felled by cannon fire that had caused the person to die instantly—but without the ability to identify him, except for that signet ring and a letter secreted within his boot from Lord Alfred to his family.

Yet without Lord Alfred’s body to grieve over, there was still a lingering sense of hope among the Yorks that the signet ring  and letter are a mistake—though, they cannot explain how that could be.  It is just that their hearts cannot accept Lord Alfred’s death.  And in the first few years after Lord Alfred was declared dead, the Duke of York had sent envoys to scour the landscape of Italian principalities near the battlefield for any hint of his son Lord Alfred—in case he had been kidnapped and imprisoned.  But he was never found.

And the news of Lord Alfred Lindsay Marquess of Malten’s presumed war death was even more devastating to his secret widow, Lady Constance Knightsbridge Lindsay Marchioness of Malten and mother of his baby daughter Tamsin Knightsbridge Lindsay.  The baby’s firey red hair—so like some in the Lindsay line, though her Uncle Lord Duncan Viscount Lindsay has more blondish red hair—sets her apart from being merely a Knightsbridge relation whom the family has taken on as their ward, to protect the babe and Lady Constance should no one believe the secret marriage.

So Lady Constance goes into mourning again for several days, until her need to care for her new baby’s needs seems to brighten her spirits.  But it is soon discovered through Lady Constance’s behavior of wearing bright colors that Lord Alfred liked her in–and in her conversation of speaking of Lord Alfred in present and future tenses—that Lady Constance has not accepted his death, and she still believes him to be alive and that he will one day return to her.  For her sake and of the babe’s, her parents and brother Lord Robert and the late Lord Alfred’s brother Lord Duncan humor and placate her. So Lady Constance lives the next almost ten years in a carefully disillusioned state of melancholia—hidden by her parents so that no one would attempt to call her insane and spirit her off to an asylum.  Lady Constance’s fractured reality will not harm anyone, so her Ducal parents take care of her at their country seat in Lancashire, far from prying eyes and gossip in London.

And reluctantly, but also in memory of his brother Lord Alfred, Lord Duncan has worn this brother’s signet ring ever since—as the new heir to the Duke of York.  And for ten years now, Lord Duncan misses his brother and tries to fill his brother’s shoes–in all but one capacity, as substitute betrothed to Lady Constance.  For Lord Duncan knows that he can never truly replace his brother Lord Alfred in everyone’s hearts and minds, nor would he even seek to try.

And it takes a very long while—years and years—before Lord Alfred Lindsay and his family come to terms and accept that his brother and their son is dead, and that they must all get on with life.  Yet knowing that Lady Constance was his brother’s wife and Marchioness—which his York ducal parents and sister Lady Gwendolyn do not (until now, in her case)—Lord Duncan refuses to assume the heir’s title of Marquess of Malten.  For Lord Duncan, to take over his dead brother’s title would be too much to bear—as if he were nailing his brother’s metaphorical coffin closed.  And so, he remains styled as Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay.

***

However, Lady Constance Knightsbridge, the daughter of the Duke of Lancashire has never accepted the death of her beloved secret husband Lord Alfred.  When he did not come back to her after three months, she was bereft with grief.  And in consultation with her parents, she went into seclusion, out of necessity for the foreseeable future—seeing no one of their acquaintance, not even the Yorks, nor especially her late husband’s brother, Lord Duncan.  It is only when Lord Duncan received his brother’s signet ring three months later and he resolved to give the ring to Lady Constance and he seeks her out–pleading with the Lancashires that he knows of his brother’s and their daughter’s secret marriage before Lord Alfred left for battle, that they relent and toae him to her.

Nine months to the day after the secret marriage, traveling to a comfortable seaside cottage in the North of England, there the Duke and Duchess of Lancashire along with Lord Duncan Lindsay found Lady Constance Knightsbridge, Viscountess of Malten, in the throes of labor and giving birth to her much wanted daughter, whom she names Tamsin Fredericka Knightsbridge Lindsay.  Since the baby is a girl, there is no question that her birth will impact  the succession of the ducal York line, since only boys inherit ducal titles as per primogeniture [(5)].  So the baby’s Uncle Lord Duncan Viscount Lindsay is still the substitute heir—in his mind–to his father the Duke of York.

Lord Duncan urges Lady Constance’s parents to make her secret marriage to his brother, the late Lord Alfred and their daughter’s birth public—hoping to have a healing of their grief in the joy of their grandchild and niece.  But the Ducal Lancashire’s feel that Lady Constance and her daughter are sure to suffer from the  secrecy about her marriage to Lord Alfred—people not believing Lady Constance was married to Lord Alfred, not even with a marriage certificate in hand, nor with her and his brother standing as witness to it.  So  little Tamsin will grow up under the ruse that she is a cousin ward to the Knightsbridge family per Lady Constance’s wishes so that she can be a mother to her own daughter.

 

And though both sets of Ducal grandparents urge for Lady Constance and Lord Duncan to marry several times over the next ten years after Lord Alfred’s presumed soldier’s death—in part, so that Tamsin could be raised, as she should be, as a member of the York and Knightsbridge family dynasties—both Lady Constance and Lord Duncan refuse to marry, which perplexes his unknowing parents.  Lady Constance’s reasons for not wanting to marry Lord Duncan are that she could not think about violating the vow that she took when she married her husband, the late Lord Alfred Lindsay Marquess of Malten—to love him her whole life.  And Lord Duncan does not wish to seem to be  reinforcing his brother Lord Alfred’s death, by taking  his brother’s beloved widow Lady Constance as his wife.  It is a line that he cannot cross—a code of brotherly honor and fealty that he will not break.

***

Having heard Lord Duncan finish the tale about his late brother Lord Alfred, his widow Lady Constance, and their daughter Miss Tamsin, Lady Elizabeth is quite at a loss for comment.  Which is good, because their carriage arrives back at the Sussex Hall Dower House.  They are whisked into the Parlor where her brother Lord Christian Blount Earl of Sussex and his wife and Countess Lady Madeline Sinclair Blount are conversing pleasantly upon one settee—their unworried countenances relieving Lady Elizabeth of her worry.  Whilst sitting upon the facing settee, the back of another man’s dark head with reddish highlights is all that they see.

The three individuals stand and turn toward Lady Elizabeth and Lord Duncan, who look toward Lord Christian and Lady Madeline first.

Lord Christian:  “Lord Duncan, Elizabeth, We are glad that you have come.”

Lady Elizabeth steps forward toward her brother and sister-in-law—and  with her standing to Lord Duncan’s left, he looks to her, rather than to his right where the stranger stands.

Lady Elizabeth: “Maddie looks well.  Your note was so cryptic.  Is this about our brother Harold’s hasty departure from our luncheon at Sussex Hall Manor?”

Lord Christian: “Only in part, Lizzie Dearest.”  He slips in referring to his sister with their fond family nickname.  But then, she started it by referring to his wife Lady Madeline by her girlhood nickname of Maddie.

Lady Madeline:  “In his farewell to Grandmama Dowager Lady Catherine, before we arrived home, he told her that he must go to the aid of someone whom he holds dear.  And if possible, would bring that person here to the Sussex Hall Dower House for protection.”

Lady Elizabeth: “Goodness!  That sounds frightfully mysterious and dashingly gallant of him.”  She muses with astonishment.

Lord Christian: “Indeed it is.”  He shakes his head in puzzlement for his brother Lord Harold’s haste to leave, even before Lord Christian had time to return to the Dower House to give him funds to help Lord Harold in his quest.

Lord Madeline: “Oh, our manners.  Please Lord Duncan, may I make you known to Father Frederick Whitby, Vicar of the parish of St. Timothy’s in London—where my Grandmama Lady Knott, Lady Elizabeth, and myself donate our funds and our time to help the poor.  Father Whitby, our good family friend, Lord Duncan Viscount Lindsay of York.”

Lady Madeline gestures to each man.  And after Lord Duncan turns to the stranger, he gasps in surprise and stumbles backward to the wall a foot behind him. Lady Elizabeth clutches Lord Duncan’s arms trying to steady him as he leans against the nearby wall.  Lord Christian narrows is eyes in confusion.

 

Lord Duncan: “No!  I have become as mad as Lady Constance!”  He exclaims in anguish as he holds his head in his hands.  “Hmmm!  Hmmm!”  He whimpers and trembles.

 

Lady Elizabeth: “Duncan, my Love.   You are not mad, just a trifle fatigued from all that is going on.” Her maturity in not going into hysterics, but tenderly comforting her beloved Lord Duncan is astounding to her brother Lord Christian.

 

Vicar Whitby: Stepping one step toward the distressed gentleman, Lord Duncan, Vicar Whitby says gently as the caring and compassionate vicar that he is praised for being.  “My son, if I can in any way ease your worries, please unburden yourself to me.  As a vicar these past nine years, I assure you that nothing will surprise me—and I will keep your words in confidence.”  The Vicar continues slowly toward Lord Duncan until he is standing but two feet away from him.

Lord Duncan slowly raises his head and gazes upon the vicar once more—and the vision before him remains.

Lord Christian:  “Duncan?  What is the matter?”  And he wonders if Lord Duncan will bolt as his own brother Lord Harold did this day.

Lord Duncan: “I see before me in this Vicar Whitby, as you call him, a vision that I had never thought to see again—my late brother, Lord Alfred Lindsay of York and Marquess of Malten.”

Everyone is stunned and the room is filled with tension.  Then, Lord Duncan not realizing that his pulse is racing and his breathing erratic, slumps against the wall behind him and slides to the ground in a faint—with Lady Elizabeth fluttering worriedly about him. The two remaining men springing into action to lift him to lie upon a nearby chaise longue while Lord Christian barks orders for the physician to be sent for and a basin of water and cloths to be brought to press upon Lord Duncan’s head.  And after loosening and removing Lord Duncan’s cravat, a kneeling Lady Elizabeth places those wet cloths upon the still fainted, yet breathing forehead of her beloved Lord Duncan.

Then in the stillness of this moment, Lady Madeline, and Lady Elizabeth turn their quizzical  gazes to the man they know only as Father Frederick Whitby, Vicar of St. Timothy’s Parish Church to the poor in London [(3) image below].

And Lord Christian looks on in astonishment as understanding dawns in him—for he had only seen Vicar Whitby from a distance, and the ten years gap in seeing Lord Alfred as a young man, and now as a mature man caught him off guard at first.  However the Vicar stares back at the three of them in concern, but not in recognition for what the fainted Lord Duncan had just said.

To be continued with Chapter 13

 

“Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement): Chapter 12  images for March 10, 2019 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1219)

  1. “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.
  2. Lord Alfred as a young man, leaving his wife to go off to war, is a picture of David Oakes in “Pillars of the Earth”, Starz, found at: http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/david-oakes/images/32435428/title/pillars-earth-photo
  3. Vicar Whitby (aka Lord Alfred) in a church is David Oakes as Prince Ernst in Victoria; image found at Pinterest at https://i.pinimg.com/originals/a1/83/0d/a1830d234d0c4a1ef81017842c357080.jpg
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Maida
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primogeniture

“Expectations” (Book 2)  Ch. 12  URL for Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad story Post  for March 1-, 2019 :
https://www.wattpad.com/705319989-expectations-book-2-by-gratiana-lovelace-2018


Previous “Expectations” (Book 2)  Chapter 11 story URL on my SAL blog post (#1216), on March 03, 2019:
https://gratianads90.wordpress.com/2019/03/03/expectations-book-2-ch-11-lord-duncans-childhood-memories-of-his-brother-lord-alfred-march-03-2019-by-gratiana-lovelace-post-1216/

 

About Gratiana Lovelace

Gratiana Lovelace is my nom de plume for my creative writing and blogging. I write romantic stories in different sub genres. The stories just tumble out of me. My resurgence in creative writing occurred when I viewed the BBC miniseries of Elizabeth Gaskell's novel North & South in February 2010. The exquisitely talented British actor portraying the male lead John Thornton in North & South--Richard Crispin Armitage--became my unofficial muse. I have written over 50 script stories about love--some are fan fiction, but most are original stories--that I am just beginning to share with others on private writer sites, and here on my blog. And as you know, my blog here is also relatively new--since August 2011. But, I'm having fun and I hope you enjoy reading my blog essays and my stories. Cheers! Grati ;-> upd 12/18/11
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1 Response to  “Expectations” (Book 2)–Ch. 12:  A betrothal promise was fulfilled,  March 10, 2019  by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1219)

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