“Expectations” (Book 2)–Ch. 18: An Unexpected Reunion, April 28, 2019 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1230)
(an original Regency romance copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace, 2018 – 2019; all rights reserved); [(1) story cover art, below]
[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 Constance Knightsbridge Lindsay the Marchioness of Malten portrayed by Margaret Clunie; ; Miss Tamsin Knightsbridge Lindsay, daughter of Lady Constance Knightsbridge is portrayed by Francesca Capaldi; Rupert Penry-Jones as Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay; ; Lord Robert Knightsbridge and Marquess of Wyre is portrayed by Hugh Grant ; Lady Gwendolyn Lindsay of York is portrayed by Emma Thompson; and Vicar Frederick Whitby (aka Lord Alfred Lindsay the Marquess of Malten) 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. I hope that you enjoy this chapter.
“Expectations” (Book 2)–Ch. 18: An Unexpected Reunion
Alive? Alive. ALIVE! Lady Constance Knightsbridge Lindsay Marchioness of Malten’s heart races with hope as she stares at her brother-in-law Lord Duncan Viscount Lindsay’s pronouncement a few moments ago in the Sussex Hall Front Drawing Room. Her beloved husband Lord Alfred Lindsay the Marquess of Malten lives. He lives. Her eyes fill with joyous tears. Then she hears the second most loved voice calling to her, as if from far away, down a long tunnel of overhanging trees.
Miss Tamsin: “Mama.” She cries out in excitement as her Mother Lady Constance freezes her gaze at the young girl’s uncle Lord Duncan Viscount Lindsay. “Mama.” She tugs at her Mama’s arms. Then in one last frantic bid to shake her mother out of this unsettling waking dream, Miss Tamsin puts her heart and soul into getting her Mama’s attention. “Mama! We must go fetch Papa! Lord Alfred! Your husband!”
Lady Constance: Her reverie broken, she looks down at her imploring daughter Tamsin’s face. “What did you say, Tammy Dear?”
Miss Tamsin: “Let us go find Papa at the Sussex Hall Dower House.”
Lady Constance: “Why would he be there?” She asks in puzzlement.
Lord Duncan: “Constance, I am so sorry. I had wanted to break the news gently that my brother Alfred has returned to us.
Lord Robert: “Well Duncan, I do not believe there would be a gentle way to say that a man we all thought was dead is now found to be alive.”
Shoving his shoulders in frustration, Lady Gwendolyn looks in astonishment at Lord Wyre, Lady Constance’s brother.
Lady Gwendolyn: “How can you be so calm, Lord Robert? My brother is alive! Your sister’s husband is alive! Our niece Tammy’s father is alive!”
Lord Robert: “Lady Gwendolyn, I am anything but calm that my sister’s hopes and prayers will be fulfilled in Lord Alfred being returned to her alive.” He bristles at her tacit suggestion that he is unfeeling toward his sister Lady Constance.
The Duke and Duchess of Lancashire—the parents of Lord Robert Marques of Wyre and his sister Lady Constance, and grandparents to Miss Tamsin—stand at the open Drawing Room entrance with astonished faces. But they are quickly shown to the settee, before they fall down with their shock.
Duke of Lancashire: “Robert! Is this true? Lord Alfred is alive?” The air in the room is tinged with the portent of something wonderful happening. And everyone realizes that this moment will redefine all of their lives, forever.
Lady Constance: Her patience snaps. “Yes, Papa Duke! Alfred is alive, and living as someone named Vicar Whitby. We will find out more later, but I must go to him now.”
Lord Duncan: Gently laying a staying hand upon her arm, Lord Duncan cautions. “Constance, my brother is a changed man—with him having lived as a vicar for nearly nine years, and not remembering who he was, not knowing if he had any family. He was and felt isolated—and he has had to cope with that isolation all of these years. And the news now that he is in fact a Marquess and heir to a dukedom—let alone a married man and father—has taken him by surprise, as much as we are surprised in being reunited with him. I had hoped to introduce him to his family in small groups tomorrow afternoon and evening.” And he realizes now that his plan will have to be altered.
Miss Tamsin: “Do not listen to Uncle Lord Duncan, Mama. Let us go to Papa now!” She tugs upon her Mama’s arm pleadingly.
Lady Gwendolyn: “Yes, let us go to my brother Alfred.”
Lord Robert: “Very well, I will order the carriage and convey Constance, Tammy, myself, and Lord Duncan, Lady Gwendolyn and their parents to the Sussex Hall Dower House to …” He pauses. “… to welcome Lord Alfred home.”
Duchess of Lancashire: “God speed to you all.” She waves with tears in her eyes.
Lord Duncan had little time to properly explain to his parents the Duke and Duchess of York why he insisted that they accompany him to the Sussex Hall Dower House. It was not until they were seated in the large carriage that Lord Duncan broke the news of Lord Alfred being alive and returned to them. Their parents were overjoyed—but cautious. They wish to see their son Alfred with their own eyes.
The lot of them will no doubt overwhelm his brother Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby. But that cannot be avoided. They have all grieved for Alfred’s loss these past almost ten years. And, in truth, Vicar Whitby/Lord Alfred has been alone for so long that he must welcome being embraced by his long lost family. Or that is Lord Duncan’s hope.
When the carriage arrives at the Sussex Hall Dower House, the sun is only beginning to set—and the late afternoon light baths the sky in shades of pinks and purples. The Duke and Duchess of York are graciously ushered into the large front parlor where Lord Christian and Lady Madeline are chatting with Lady Elizabeth—their grandmother Lady Catherine is still napping before dinner in one hour at 7 o’clock. They keep country hours in the country—with everyone in bed by 11 o’clock at night.
Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay of York appears before his parents. And Lady Elizabeth Blount rises gracefully upon seeing her beloved Lord Duncan. Then she sprints across the room to greet him joyfully.
Lady Elizabeth: “Duncan! I was afraid that you would choose to dine up at Sussex Hall tonight, rather than be with us.”
Lord Duncan: “No, I will always want to be with you.” He smoulders holding her hands in his hands at his chest as he gazes down at her, drowning in the beautiful azure blue of her eyes.
Lady Elizabeth: “Hhhhh!” Her face conveys her happiness.
Duke of York: “Well? Where is he?”
All eyes turn to him. Not apprised that His Grace has been made aware of Lord Alfred’s return, Lord Christian replies vaguely, but with great respect.
Lord Christian: “Of whom are you speaking, Your Grace?”
Duchess of York: “Our son, Lord Alfred! His brother Lord Duncan said that he has been returned to us, alive.” The joyful tears in her eyes speak of her Mother’s love for his lost son.
Lord Christian: “Yes. Of course. We have not seen him since he went to his room earlier this afternoon.”
Sticking her head into the door and then leading her Mama Lady Constance behind her, Miss Tamsin shares what she knows of Lord Alfred’s whereabouts.
Miss Tamsin: “Well he had walked over toward the Sussex Hall manor house, and we shared an apple together. But I did not realize who he was until I spoke with Lady Gwendolyn. Papa said that she had curly hair like mine when she was young.”
Lady Madeline: “Christian, let us ask our butler to find out if any of the staff has seen Vicar Whitby, I mean Lord Alfred, has returned to the Sussex Hall Dower House.”
She also stands and pulls the bell and calls for tea and refreshments to be brought for everyone. When two footman bring the tea and small sandwiches, they also relay that Vicar Whitby/Lord Alfred is in his room. In a quandry as to whether to summon him to their large family gathering of Ducal parents, siblings, in-laws, wife, and child, Lord Duncan elects to fetch him, himself. Yet there is a plaintive request from the youngest person in the room.
Miss Tamsin: “Oh please, Uncle Lord Duncan! Let me come with you. He has already met me in the woods—though at the time, neither of us knew that we were parent and child.”
Lady Constance: “I agree with my daughter, Tammy. Duncan, please take her with you.”
Lord Duncan: “Very well.” He says resignedly.
As they walk out to the foyer and up the stairs to the guest bed chambers wing, Lord Duncan and his niece Miss Tamsin are silent—for a moment. Little children abhor a vacuum. So Miss Tamsin speaks her mind.
Miss Tamsin: “I hope that my Papa will like me. Do you think that he will like me, Uncle Lord Duncan?”
Lord Duncan: Smiling and taking her hand in his as they continue their walk, Lord Duncan assures his niece. “Of course your Papa will like you, Tammy. He will love you—as we all do.”
Miss Tamsin: “Yes, he said as much when me met near the woods. But he did not know then that I was his daughter. Maybe he was just being polite.” Her little brow frets, even as her mouth pouts.
Lord Duncan: “I am certain that he meant it.”
Then reaching Vicar Whitby/Lord Alfred’s chamber door, they find it open, with him packing his belongings.
Lord Duncan: “Are you going somewhere Alfred? I mean Fred?”
Without looking up from tightly packing his valise, Vicar Whitby/Lord Alfred nods.
Vicar Whitby/Lord Alfred: “I am, Duncan. I find that I cannot wait to see my parents until tomorrow. I plan to remove myself to the Sussex Hall manor house this evening after dinner.”
Miss Tamsin: “Splendid!” She claps her hands and enters her Papa’s bed chamber behind her Uncle Lord Duncan. “I will like meeting my other set of grandparents properly.”
Unnerved at hearing the young girl’s voice and now knowing who she is, Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby whirls around to face her.
Vicar Whitby/ Lord Alfred: “Your other set of grandparents?”
Miss Tamsin: “Yes, Papa.” She smiles, Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby blanches. “Everyone came to welcome you and to fetch you.” Miss Tamsin places her small hand in her Father’s larger hand. “I shall enjoy having a Papa—for myself, of course. But also, having you as my Papa means that you will also return to my Mama Lady Constance. She has missed you so. And loves you so much that she never accepted that you had died in the war. And now, you see, she was right.”
Vicar Whitby/ Lord Alfred: Taking a deep breath, then resolving himself to his unexpectedly quick family reunion, he says. “Duncan, Tamsin, let us go greet our family.” His training as a vicar is serving him well as he does not show fear—even though a small part of him worries that he will disappoint his family by not remembering them.
After some tea sipping and small sandwich noshing, the Sussex Hall Dower House Drawing Room is eerily silent as they await Lord Alfred being fetch by Lord Duncan and Miss Tamsin. Each individual’s eyes dart to the open entrance, eager to catch their first glimpse of Lord Alfred. In the end, it is Miss Tamsin who leads her father through the Sussex Hall Dower House Drawing Room door.
Miss Tamsin: “Come on, Papa!” Miss Tamsin smiles while tugging on his left hand and pulling him into the Drawing Room —since Vicar Whitby/Lord Alfred rarely offers his right hand, due to his infirmity of his amputated right pinkie finger.
The room gives out a collective gasp, and every looks hopefully at Vicar Whitby/Lord Alfred—none-more so that Lady Constance. But she waits her turn.
Duke of York: “Is that really you, boy? My eye sight is failing me. Come closer.” Lord Alfred looks anxiously at Lord Duncan.
Lord Duncan: “Yes, Papa. Alfred has returned to us.” Then he gives his brother a slight nudge, that propels Lord Alfred deeper into the room and to the side of an elderly couple sitting upon a settee. Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby drops to one knee beside the Duke and Duchess of York.
Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby: “There now. Is this better?” He gazes into their faces, the faces of his parents—wanting to remember them, but him not finding a scrap of memory slipping out to the surface.
Duchess of York: “It is you, Alfred!” She sighs in wonder. “We thought that you were lost to us forever.” She cries as she caresses his cheek with the open palm of her hand. “But now, you have come back to us!”
Duke of York: “Well, say something, Alfred. Your Mama Duchess is speaking with you.” Ever a bit on the gruff side, the Duke of York is overwhelmed to have his son returned to him.
Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby: “Of course, Papa. Mama, I am glad to see you both.” He smiles warmly at them, his parents. But he does not remember them. And that saddens him.
Lady Gwendolyn: “It really is you, Alfred.” She looks upon her long lost brother in amazement. “I must say you’ve matured nicely over the years.” Then she smiles.
Miss Tamsin leans into her Papa and helps him out.
Miss Tamsin: “That is your sister, my Aunt Lady Gwendolyn, Gwennie.”
Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby: “Gwennie.” He smiles. “Does your hair still curl? I had mentioned to Miss Tamsin earlier that I remembered that your hair looked much like hers, when you were a girl.”
Lady Gwendolyn: “It does curl. And my hair as a child did resemble Tammy’s hair now.” She starts to tear up at her brother remembering her. And Lord Robert takes a clean linen handkerchief from inside his jacket and hands it to her. Then he gives her shoulders a gentle and supportive squeeze.
Then Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby looks around the room and spies a lady he has not yet met—a beautiful lady who glides toward him, even as he stands up from his parents’ side and strides toward her, them meeting in the middle of the room.
Lady Constance holds out her hand to him. And Vicar Whitby/Lord Alfred lightly clasps her fingers and gives her a slight bow. He does not know her, but he surmises correctly who she must be.
However for confirmation, Vicar Whitby/Lord Alfred looks over at Miss Tamsin who mouths the word Mama to him. Then he turns back to Lady Constance and smiles.
Lady Constance: “Alfred, I have waited so long to see you again. You have come back to us, to me.”
Vicar Whitby/Lord Alfred: “My Lady Constance. I am delighted to make your …” He corrects himself. For she is not a mere acquaintance. Lady Constance is his wife—even if he does not remember her. “… to be welcomed so warmly by you and everyone. And may I say, that I am also a little overwhelmed with everyone’s kindness.”
Lady Constance steps closer to her husband, leaning in to whisper into his ear.
Lady Constance: “We are very much glad to have you back.” Lady Constance beckons to her daughter and Miss Tamsin comes to stand with them, creating a very poignant family tableau.
And Lady Elizabeth Blount gazes lovingly up at Lord Duncan who gazes lovingly down at her. With Lord Duncan no longer to be pressured by his parents to marry Lady Constance—as his brother’s former betrothed, when she was actually his wife–Lady Elizabeth hopes that she and Lord Duncan may have a smooth path to courtship on the path to marrying each other.
However reconstituting the marriage of Lady Constance with Lord Alfred/Vicar of Whitby will require some effort, on both of their parts. He does not remember her. And he feels wholly inadequate to provide her with any immediate emotional understanding of their resuming their lives together as husband and wife.
To be continued with Chapter 19
Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement): Chapter 18 image for April 28, 2019 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1230)
- “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.
“Expectations” (Book 2) Ch. 18 URL for Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad story Post for April 28, 2019 (Post #1230):
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