“Expectations” (Book 2)–Ch. 14: Lord Harold seeks to rescue Lady Penelope,
March 25, 2019 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1223)
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): Lord Harold Blount portrayed by Crispin Bonham-Carter; his love Lady Penelope Countess of Lindquist portrayed by Lily Travers; Lord Christian Blount the Earl of Sussex (portrayed by Richard Armitage) and elder brother of Lord Harold and Lady Elizabeth; his wife Lady Madeline (Maddie) Sinclair Blount Countess of Sussex; and Lady Lucretia Beckham Knott, Grandmama to Lady Madeline]; Vicar Whitby (aka Lord Alfred Lindsay Marquess of Malten) portrayed by David Oakes]; Lady Elizabeth (Lizzie) Blount portrayed by Jessica Brown Findlay; Rupert Penry-Jones as Lord Duncan Viscount Lindsay; ]
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.
“Expectations” (Book 2)–Ch. 14: Lord Harold seeks to rescue Lady Penelope
Lord Harold had read his love Lady Penelope’s short note four times now since he had received it–her begging him to come rescue her, if she can make her escape from France to her Grandmama Lady Winston’s London Townhouse.
Lady Penelope’s letter: “To Lord Harold Blount, Sussex Hall. My Dear Lord Harold, I must sadly inform you of the very ill health of my precious Grandmama Lady Winston. Though my husband Earl Lindquist’s business interests must keep him on the continent in France, he has graciously allowed me to return to my Grandmama, to be by her side in her final days and weeks. If you are in town, I know that my Grandmama would welcome a visit from you. Sincerely, Lady Penelope, Countess of Lindquist.
Lord Harold could tell from her subdued note that Lady Penelope is in some kind of distress. And it is his most fervent wish and prayer to somehow rescue Lady Penelope from her marriage, and spirit her away to begin a new life with him. Though Harold has no funds to support a wife, he has hopes of his small portion of his late Grandfather Earl’s coal mines soon providing enough return to him from the investment, to allow Lord Harold to marry and raise a family in modest comfort. In truth, Lord Harold would do anything to be Lady Penelope’s husband. Well, almost anything.
However, as Lord Harold on his mount is just reaching the nearby Sussex Hall market town, he realizes that he will need reinforcements in order to rescue Lady Penelope. So he turns around and heads back to Sussex Hall Estate’s Dower House, hoping that he will not lose many more precious moments delaying him rushing to his love Lady Penelope’s side.
Hearing a commotion of voices in the drawing room parlor—including that of his sister-in-law Lady Madeline’s Grandmama Lady Knott, he adjusts his course from bounding up the stairs to heading straight for the parlor. As he bursts into the parlor, he sees his brother Lord Christian and his new young wife Lady Madeline, their sister Lady Elizabeth with her hoped for betrothed Lord Duncan Viscount Lindsay of York, a vicar of some sort, and Lady Madeline’s grandmother Lady Lucretia Beckham Knott.
Lord Harold: “Christian, Madeline, Lizzie, and Lady Knott! I am fortunate to find you all together. I need your help!”
Lord Christian: “Harold! I am surprised to see you back so soon. Was Lady Knott’s loan of funds insufficient for your needs?” He raises left eyebrow in a queryingly haughty way.
Lord Harold: “Yes, and No.” He turns to Lady Knott. “My Lady, I realized that even more than your kind loan, I need reinforcements to aid me in rescuing a lady whom both you and I hold dear—your grand niece, the Lady Penelope, Countess of Lindquist.”
Lady Knott: “My niece Penny, you say? She is on the continent with her husband Lord Lindquist—in Paris, I believe.”
Lord Harold: “No!” He shares Lady Penelope’s note with her. “As you can see, she travels from Calais today, and hopes to reach her Grandmama Lady Winston—your sister—in London, in time.”
Lady Madeline: “Grandmama? Has Great Aunt Lady Winston taken ill?”
Lady Knott: “Not to my knowledge, Maddie Dear. Though she is my elder by several years, my sister has always enjoyed annoyingly robust health.” Her countenance puzzles.
Vicar Whitby/Lord Alfred: “Indeed! Lady Winston’s fine health and compassion for others has caused her to be a welcome sponsor, with yourself Madam, of our charitable projects for the poor.”
Lord Duncan: “I fear that we are veering off into tangential topics when I must focus upon the revelations regarding this gentleman.” He gestures to Vicar Whitby, who was just unveiled to be his long lost and believed dead elder brother Lord Alfred of Lanchashire Marquess of Malten.
Lady Elizabeth; “Oh Yes, we must aid Lord Duncan and his family at this critical juncture in time.” She states most maturely.
Unfortunately, Lord Christian feels torn in two directions—to aid his sister Lady Elizabeth and Lord Duncan of York, or to aid his brother Lord Harold—three if you also count his pregnant wife Lady Madeline.
Lord Christian: “Harold, I feel that I must stay here with Madeline and Lizzie. Otherwise, you know that I would come to your aid.”
Lord Harold: “I understand, Brother.” The two men shake hands. “But if I could ask you the boon of a loan of 100 pounds and permission to invite Lady Penelope Lindquist to be our guest at Sussex House in London, I would be most appreciative.”
Lord Christian: After conferring with his wife, and mistress of his households, Lord Christian nods. “You may invite the Countess for a visit to Sussex House, and I will give you the funds you need.”
Lord Harold: “Thank you, Christian and Madeline!” Then Lord Harold turns to the vicar. “And Vicar Whitby, I may need your assistance in procuring a special license.”
Vicar Whitby/Lord Alfred: “To what end? You will still need the permission of the Archbishop of Canterbury to wed by special license—either for a special dispensation and/or without saying the banns.”
Lord Harold: “I mean to have Lady Penelope’s marriage dissolved by annulment or other such means–and then to marry her myself.”
Lady Knott: “Penny has been married for ten years. She is a well married woman, and her husband has total control of her dowry—if any of it is leftover at this point. You cannot hope to get it back.”
Lord Harold: “Nay! Lady Penelope need not have a shilling to her name and I will be proud to have her as my wife. Her current marriage is not only loveless, but her husband controls her every movement. She is stifled to the point of despair and cannot go on. I mean to cherish and love her for all of our days that we will be blessed to share together.”
Lady Knott: “I cannot believe that Lord Lindquist will just give up his wife. She is to inherit from my sister Lady Winston, her Grandmama. He will not want to forego the hoped for inheritance.”
Lord Harold: “I will find a way. But Lady Knott, I need you to accompany me to London for Lady Penelope. You are her family—and most formidable.”
Lady Knott: “And if she has not reached there yet?”
Lord Harold: “Then I will travel to Dover to assist in bringing Lady Penelope to her Grandmama in London.”
Being impressed with this new maturity being exhibited by Lord Harold, Lord Duncan comments.
Lord Duncan: “God Speed, Lord Harold. I wish you and your lady a long and happy life together.”
Lord Harold: “Thank you. And I wish you and my sister Lizzie the same felicitations.” The two men shake hands.
Then Lord Harold departs again—after he is assured that Lady Knott plans to direct her maids to pack her trunks and return to London. And Lord Harold decides to ride straight to Dover without waiting to see if his love Lady Penelope has arrived and already left for London—he changes horses several times and only hopes that he can arrive in time to be of aid to her.
The boat from Calais, France to Dover, England is an English Channel crossing this mid June 1816 day that few would wish to experience. The waves are high causing very choppy seas and a pelting rain batters the clipper ship called the Normandy–keeping the passengers below decks. Most passengers this day are miserable with severe nausea and wretching–none more so than the two months pregnant Lady Penelope Countess of Lindquist.
Lady Penelope would not have even attempted the crossing home to England but for her Grandmama being in grave health. And even then, her much older husband Lord Lindquist only allowed his wife to go to her Grandmama’s deathbed on England’s soil because Lady Penelope is her principal heir—and he needs that inheritance to shore up his own earldom’s finances.
And, Lord Lindquist is not aware of his wife Lady Penelope’s delicate condition—her having hid her with child condition from him, since he can in no way be the father of her unborn child. Nor would she ever want him to be the child’s father.
Lady Penelope’s only hope to escape the clutches of her husband’s avaricious claws is to prostrate herself upon the mercy of her Grandmama, and hope that the old lady survives long enough for Lady Penelope to be extracted from her husband’s control, by somehow dissolving the marriage. Lord Lindquist has gone through Lady Penelope’s substantial $30,000 pound dowry in the ten years that they have been married as if the money were water flowing over rocks in water rapids. And Lady Penelope’s husband’s gambling losses had only gotten worse when Lord Lindquist reached his fiftieth year last year—to her tender 30 years then.
So choosing to take hold of the shredding reigns of her life, five days ago, Lady Penelope had sent an urgent missive to her love Lord Harold Blount at their Sussex Hall Estate in the country, asking him to meet her at her Grandmama’s in London if he cared for her at all. As of yet, she has not told him of the child she bears, nor that it is his child.
Lady Penelope hopes that she will survive the English Channel crossing—her only thought being the safety of her unborn child.
The Normandy clipper ship’s departure from Calais had already been delayed. So with the rough crossing, Lady Penelope disembarked onto English soil in the late afternoon. With her ladies maid and a footman being her only entourage, they wait patiently on the docks for the mail coach to take them to London.
Lady Penelope’s husband had no funds to give her for her journey, so she pawned her gold wedding ring and has only a small sum left to get them to her Grandmama Lady Winston in London. In fact, they are forced to travel via the mail coach if they also wish to have food and lodgings.
In fact, Lady Penelope is dressed simply in servant garb [(3) below]–as if she were a ladies maid, traveling ahead of her mistress with the other two servants. She does this partially to be able to have a lower fare on their Channel crossing accommodations.
And Lady Penelope thinks that it is too much to hope that Lord Harold Blount has received her message and been able to come to her aid—to their aid, as she absentmindedly pats her belly, where their baby sleeps and grows.
It is only after thirty minutes waiting for the mail coach, when a fine post chaise and four pulls up that they have an inkling that their situation is about to improve.
Footman: He whispers to keep her Ladyship’s true identity a secret. “My Lady, I wonder who could be traveling in that fine coach. Might your Grandmama Lady Winston have sent it?”
Lady Penelope: “I do not know. The crest in unfamiliar. And my Grandmama might not yet have received my note to her, saying that my husband is allowing me to attend her.”
Ladies Maid: “Look, My Lady!”
The Ladies Maid points at a familiar gentleman alights from inside the carriage. And Lady Penelope tears up. She had hoped, but she could not have expected that hope would come true.
Lady Penelope: “You came!” Lady Penelope sighs in a hushed whisper.
Striding to Lady Penelope, bowing, and then lifting her small gloved hand to his lips for a kiss, Lord Harold gazes deeply into her eyes.
Lord Harold: “I will always come for you, My Lady.” The meaning of his utter devotion to her speaks volumes to her heart. “And may I say that you look quite charming in your current ensemble.” He smiles teasingly.
Lady Penelope: “You may. But I own that my simply braided hair is less than stylish.” She smiles as she flips her braid upwards in a wave at him.
Lord Harold: “Ha ha ha ha ha!” He laughs mirthfully. “But come, you must be exhausted. I have arranged for an overnight stay at a good hostelry. Then on the morrow, I will convey you all to London.”
Lady Penelope: “Thank you for your thoughtfulness. The crossing was quite rough. And I, for one, am very glad to be back on dry land.” Her attendants nod in agreement.
Lord Harold: “It is my honor to be of service to you, My Lady. And I also bring greetings to you from your Great Aunt Lady Knott. She will see you in London, when she visits you at her sister Lady Winston’s townhouse.” Lady Penelope smiles in great relief.
He extends his elbow to her and escorts her the few yards over to the waiting chaise. Then after her trunks are loaded, the footman is ensconced sitting up front with the coachman, and Lady Penelope and her Ladies Maid sit inside the carriage facing forward—with Lord Harold sitting on the opposite bench. The coach is comfortable and well sprung, so Lady Penelope does not feel the ill effects of its movements on the roads, given her delicate condition.
For now, Lord Harold knows that his love Lady Penelope has safely reached England’s shores. And it will be his duty to protect her as they travel from Dover to her family in London. He has yet to uncover a means by which he may legally wed her. But then, her Great Aunt Lady Knott has yet to fully set her considerable mind to that issue.
Lady Penelope wonders whether she and Lord Harold will ever be able to be husband and wife—especially with regard to their child that she carries in her womb. Be it boy or girl child, she will love this babe with all of her heart—and protecting it from harm. And she also realizes that she must find a way to tell her love Lord Harold that he is to be a father.
To be continued with chapter 15
Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement): Chapter 14 images for March 25, 2019 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1223)
- “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 Penelope Lindquist costumed as a ladies maid is portrayed by Lily Travers (as Duchess Sophie Monmouth on Victoria season 3 PBS);
“Expectations” (Book 2) Ch. 14 URL for Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad story Post for March 25, 2019:
Previous “Expectations” (Book 2) Chapter 13 story URL on my SAL blog post (#1221), on March 17, 2019: