“Expectations” (Book 2)–Ch. 21: Courting Couples, Part 2,
May 19, 2019 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1236; and on Wattpad)
(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): Vicar Frederick Whitby (aka Lord Alfred Lindsay the Marquess of Malten) portrayed by David Oakes; Lady Constance Knightsbridge Lindsay the Marchioness of Malten portrayed by Margaret Clunie; Miss Tamsin Knightsbridge Lindsay, daughter of Lady Constance and Lord Alfred is portrayed by Francesca Capaldi; Lord Robert Knightsbridge the Marquess of Wyre, Lady Gwendolyn Lindsay of York, and Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay of York (portrayed by Rupert Penry-Jones) who is smitten with Lady Elizabeth Blount (portrayed by Jessica Brown Findlay), who is sister to Lord Christian Blount the Earl of Sussex (portrayed by Richard Armitage)_ and sister-in-law to his young wife Lady Madeline Sinclair Blount Countess of Sussex (portrayed by Kate Winslet]
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.
Ch. 21: Courting Couples, Part 2
Though with Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby coming to live with his wife Lady Constance and daughter Tamsin up at the large and elegant Sussex Hall Manor House last night, the excitement of this momentous family reunion makes sleep hard won—except for the youngest of them, the now Lady Tamsin Lindsay of York. For nine year old Lady Tamsin’s eyes close in sleep almost as soon as she gains her bed and her parents kiss her good night upon her forehead.
But for Lord Alfred’s/Vicar Whitby’s and Lady Constance’s parting to sleep this night, it is charged with the pleasing tension of former lovers yearning for reconnection, yet with them waiting for full reconciliation until they court for a suitable period and then are wed, again. Lord Alfred still feels himself to be a vicar and barring remembrance of his marriage to Lady Constance, he has told her that he wants to hold a new marriage ceremony—that can be a renewal of their vows to each other.
So, the couple walk through the connecting door from Lady Tamsin’s bed chamber to Lady Constance’s bed chamber and part chastely, albeit in near proximity to her bed.
Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby: Taking her small hand in his, he chastely kisses it upon the top of her soft skinned and creamy complexioned hand. “I will leave you now to your rest, Constance. And in the morning, we shall start our lives anew as a family with ourselves and with our daughter Tamsin.”
Lady Constance: “Oh Alfred!” She sighs. “It has been my fondest wish these past ten years for us to do so.” Her loving gaze almost undoes him with the depth of her unswerving devotion.
Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby: “And mine as well—to have a family.” He states somewhat obliquely, since he still does not remember Lady Constance—however much he truly wishes that he did. So he smiles then exits to the empty hallway and then enters his newly assigned bedchamber across from hers.
And though the Ducal parents of both York and Lancashire families have also long since gone to their beds, their offspring Lady Gwendolyn of York and Lord Robert Knightsbridge the Marquess of Wyre [(2) below]—and the Lancashire Ducal heir—remain seated in matching wing chairs on either side of the front parlor’s hearth. The waning embers from the nearly fully burned logs still casts a bit of warmth in their direction.
Studying Lady Gwendolyn by the evening’s candlelight glow, Lord Robert finds her countenance pleasing—not the least of which is because she is not looking at him whiles she gazes at the hearth fire burning low, and nor is she judging his action or thoughts. He had spent the five years after earning his university degree in anthropology in studious pursuits by traveling around the world. And though he had occasionally accepted the favors of a comely widow or two over the years, he has not found love. Nor does he think that he ever will find love.
And yet, he must marry and produce an heir. Then his thoughts return to the lady before him. Though he is tired from the long day and its momentous events in having Lord Alfred Lindsay of York the Marquess of Malten returned to his sister Lady Constance, Lord Robert finds a comforting silence in his present situation—of just he and Lady Gwendolyn [(3) below] sitting together in companionable silence. And he also wishes for his own connection to someone—whether it be in simple pleasing friendship, or something more passionate.
Lord Robert: “A penny.” Lord Robert smiles at Lady Gwendolyn, who raises her droopy lids to gaze upon him with a small smile.
Lady Gwendolyn: “Oh Robert. I think my thoughts are worth more than a penny.” She teases in her dusky alto tones.
Lord Robert: “No doubt, but I left my purse in my chambers. So all I have in my current possession is one penny.” He pulls the penny out of his waistcoat pocket to show it to her. Then he hands the penny out to her and she takes it.
Lady Gwendolyn: “Very well, I will take this offered penny on account. Ha!” She laughs and he smiles. He looks inquisitively at her, wishing her to relay her thoughts to him. “Well, I am so happy for my brother Alfred to be found alive and reunited with his wife Lady Constance and their daughter Lady Tamsin. My heart is full to overflowing with joy for them.” When Lady Gwendolyn is often accused of being terse and moody, her surprising good humor takes Lord Robert somewhat aback.
Lord Robert: “I share your sentiments. Yet, I feel that knowing my niece as I do, there will need to be more of their spending time with each other in order to cement their renewed family ties.”
Lady Gwendolyn: “Well Tammy seems quite taken with her Papa my brother Alfred and seems to accept him without reservation.”
Lord Robert: “True. But just as she previously had thrived under her Mama’s sole and undivided attentions, Tamsin will likely seek to monopolize her newfound Papa’s attentions.” He raises his eye brows, as if in suggestion of something yet unspoken.
Lady Gwendolyn: “Do you propose that Tammy’s interests be redirected? To allow Lady Constance and my brother Alfred time alone together to renew their acquaintance?”
Lord Robert: “I see that our thoughts are in harmonious accord with one another.” He smiles, him thinking that harmony is a pleasing state for any relationship.
Lady Gwendolyn: “What do you propose?” She asks queryingly.
Lord Robert stands and gentlemanly holds out his hand to assist Lady Gwendolyn in rising from her chair. And she stands next to him, though she gracefully pulls her hand away from his as soon as her balance is assured. They are becoming friends and there is an ease in communicating and being with each other. But the proprieties must be observed with her as an unmarried woman and he as a single man.
Lord Robert: “Let us sleep upon it, My Lady. Perhaps something will occur to one of us in the morning.”
Lady Gwendolyn: “Indeed.” She bestows upon him a small smile. Then he escorts her to her York family bedchamber hallway, before attaining his own Lancashire family bed chamber down the far hallway.
Meanwhile, Lord Harold Blount [(4) below] and his love Lady Penelope Lindquist had attained London and her Grandmama Winston’s townhouse yesterday—where she was greeted warmly by both her Grandmama and her Grandmama’s sister, her Great Aunt Lady Lucretia Beckham Knott, her cousin Lady Madeline Sinclair Blount’s Grandmama.
And Lady Penelope had revealed her baby joy to him on their ride to London in his brother’s borrowed Sussex family carriage—since she was concerned about the bumpy state of the roads and her condition. Lord Harold kissed her joyfully for their upcoming parenthood, then instructed his coachman to drive more slowly. Then Lord Harold and Lady Penelope enjoyed some tender cuddling time in the carriage as they made plans for the future.
Of course their future relies upon her Grandmama Winston’s and her Great Aunt Lady Knott’s help. And after hearing both Lady Penelope’s [(5) below] story of her husband’s malfeasance of her dowry funds being his only use for her, and the verity of her virginal state being attested to by her husband Lord Harold Blount—who had married her in a French ceremony a few months ago, before he bedded her and got her with child—the Archbishop of Canterbury was deeply troubled at the current mess they were in.
It seems that with Lord Harold’s help Lady Penelope had obtained a French Lutheran decree of divorce [(6)] —based upon the financial fraud that her husband had perpetrated upon her, and since their marriage was never consummated. However, since her marriage to the Earl of Lindquist occurred in England, the English church has to concur with the French Lutheran divorce decree. And for her hastily arranged French marriage to Lord Harold to count in England, her first marriage needs to be annulled by a date prior to her second marriage—so some backdating will need to take place. And then, Lord Harold and Lady Penelope will need to have a wedding vow solemnization ceremony in England to both finalize their earlier French marital union and for their child to be legitimate in the eyes of the law.
So tonight, Lord Harold and Lady Penelope enjoy a marital reunion of tender passions at his brother Christy’s London mansion known as Sussex House. And Lady Penelope finally feels cherished and loved for her sweet self, because Lord Harold married her without expectation of a dowry—since her large dowry was squandered by her first husband. And though her Grandmama Winston has decided to settle upon her an additional 10,000 pounds, Lord Harold Blount insists that the funds be held in trust for Lady Penelope’s use and direction alone—for her future protection, should he pre-decease her many years from now. And the now married man and soon to be father Lord Harold is finally becoming the man and gentleman that his family hoped that he would mature into one day.
At daybreak of the coming day, the two elderly ladies plan to be ensconced in Lady Knott’s comfortable carriage and the newlywed Lord Harold and Lady Penelope Blount will be traveling in the Sussex family carriage. They all plan to travel to Sussex Hall in the countryside in the morning—reaching it in the afternoon. Until then, all parties concentrate on getting a good night’s sleep—especially Lord Harold and his pregnant wife Lady Penelope lying tenderly in each other’s arms.
Unfortunately, Lady Elizabeth Blount has trouble sleeping in her bed chamber in the Sussex Hall Dower House this night. But for her younger brother Lord Harold galivanting off to rescue his lady love Lady Penelope Lindquist—who also happens to be the cousin of her sister-in-law Lady Madeline, and her grandmother Lady Knott’s niece—their home seemed to be a buzz of activity today. And with her happy loving thoughts of Lord Duncan of York the Viscount Lindsay, she feels ever so happy and excited.
Most pressingly, Lady Elizabeth hopes to find a new hidden location for kissing Lord Duncan—since their back garden terrace location was discovered. And she wonders how she might speed up the whole courting business between Lord Duncan and she—in order to get to the being married to him part more quickly than in the six weeks timeframe that her brother Lord Christian had stipulated.
With her dearest friend and sister-in-law Lady Madeline so happy with her brother Lord Christian as husband, Lady Elizabeth wants to also experience that marital happiness, an inkling about which Lady Elizabeth received when she and Lord Duncan shared their stolen kisses earlier today.
And unbeknownst to anyone, Lord Duncan had procured a special marriage license for he and Lady Elizabeth before he traveled to stay at the Summer at Sussex Hall Manor. That was well before he knew of his brother Lord Alfred being returned to them and Lord Duncan Viscount Lindsay would be free of the expectation to marry Lady Constance Knights bridge Lindsay—whom he thought was his brother’s widow. But Lord Duncan did not then, nor now, wish to marry Lady Elizabeth in order to thwart his marital destiny. In fact, Lord Duncan feels that in loving and marrying Lady Elizabeth, it will be the making of his future happiness, and of hers.
So, this night—having had his valet discreetly inquire earlier to Lady Elizabeth’s ladies maid as to which upper floor Sussex Hall Dower House bed chamber window belonged to his love Lady Elizabeth—Lord Duncan stands below Lady Elizabeth’s bed chamber window. Shifting the haphazardly gathered from the nearby garden flower blooms into his left hand, his right hand reaches into his coat pocket where several small stones—pebbles, really—were earlier placed there by him. Lord Duncan lifts his hand over his head and tosses the pebble upward to a certain window.
To Lord Duncan’s chagrin, the darkened lighting conditions just after midnight do not allow him to see that the window sash is raised to allow the cool and pleasant night air to waft gently into Lady Elizabeth’s bed chamber. So he hears no tap upon the window glass, nor the almost silent thud the pebble makes on the rug inside the bed chamber.
Trying again, he steps back and hurls another small pebble at the window. This time the pebble hits something solid inside the bed chamber—as evidenced by a cat giving a small screech. He cannot risk discovery and looks about to see if he has been found out. But his heart also will not be thwarted in his mission this night. So he tosses a third pebble and it taps against the window glass—unbeknownst to him, creating a radiating crack upon the thin glass window pane, but not breaking it.
Having picked up her cat to cuddle it when she heard it screech in its soft bed pillow by the window, Lady Elizabeth jumps back when she hears the window glass crack. Not knowing what is going on, she surreptitiously looks out of the window, only to find her love Lord Duncan standing hopefully in the moonlight, gazing up at her with a broad smile upon his face. And she raises the sash a bit further and pops her head out of the window. Would that there were a two story trellis upon that side of Sussex Hall Manor House, Lord Duncan would risk the climb to claim her lips again with his lips.
Lady Elizabeth: “Duncan, I’ll be right down.” She whispers. “Meet me …” She pauses, her wanting to choose a place that her brother Lord Christian’s bed chamber sitting room windows do not look over. “On second thought, you stay there. I will come to you.” And Lady Elizabeth ducks back into her bed chamber, plops her cat upon its pillow, and she grabs her thin night robe to cover her equally thin nightgown. She reasons that it is dark outside and not too chilly. So her less than fully attired state will not flout propriety, nor risk her catching a cold.
Lady Elizabeth stealthily makes her way down the back servant staircase to the main floor. Then she traverses to a servant exit near where her Lord Duncan stands still looking up at her bed chamber window. He wonders the wisdom of him seeking out his love at night when all are abed—as they both should be. But the thought of being abed, with Lady Elizabeth—as his wife, of course—causes him to feel deeply … unsettled, in a yearning, young swain kind of way.
Lady Elizabeth: Bursting to the out of doors, Lady Elizabeth whispers breathily for her exertions in racing through the Dower House. “Duncan!” Then she launches herself into his arms and he wraps his arms around her as they kiss with loving abandon, him necessarily dropping the gathered flowers upon the ground.
Lord Duncan: His lips finally breaks from hers, only to wend a path of searing kisses down her long creamy neck. “Oh Elizabeth, My Love!” He smoulders in a passionately deep voice. “I want you as my wife and in my bed as soon as possible.” Her skin through her two thin layers of fabric feels soft and supple—her having ample womanly curves, despite her tender 18 years, which excite his passions.
Lady Elizabeth: Clasping his head in the hope of bringing it back up for them to kiss some more, she responds with equal passion. “I wish that, too, Dearest. But my brother Christy insists on our having month long courtship, and then that we wed after that. I do not know how to persuade him otherwise.” Then she reaches her lips to his again and their mouths become one in their joining together, coupling their lips and tongues together, even as their bodies yearn for the same.
Lord Duncan can think of a way to speed Christy’s decision. But he will not compromise his love Lady Elizabeth. Her reputation is unblemished, and it is his honor to keep it so as her future husband.
Lord Duncan: “My Love, I must return to York Castle in three weeks, to assess the progress of the repairs and renovations. I will ask Christy if we may be married in two weeks, so that we might have a short wedding trip on our way to York Castle.”
Lady Elizabeth: “I like that idea!” She agrees wholeheartedly.
Lord Duncan: “But in the next two weeks, can you arrange your pretty wedding gown that you have dreamed of since childhood?” He asks hopefully. For he understands that for ladies, the wedding ceremony where she is the center of attention is a pinnacle moment in every young woman’s life.
Lady Elizabeth: “I have dreamed of having no particular wedding gown, Duncan. My only long lasting wish has been that you will be my husband. Everything else is secondary.”
Lord Duncan: “My Love! How practical you are!”
Lady Elizabeth: “I would marry you tomorrow, but I would like my scapegrace brother Lord Harold to attend. And we are as of yet, uncertain about his location—other than him seeking to rescue his Lady Penelope. And for my Grandmother Lady Catherine’s sake, I would also like Lady Madeline’s Grandmama Lady Knott to return and be in attendance. Other than also having your parents and the Lancashire’s join us, I can think of no others to invite.”
Lord Duncan: “That is brilliant! We will say to Lord Christian that we wish to wed in two weeks time—to allow our special guests to arrive, before we must be off to York Castle. And shall we be wed from the Sussex Hall Manor House Chapel or the village church?”
Lady Elizabeth: “Either would suit me. But the local villagers having watched me grow up, might wish to see me at least in a passing carriage. So perhaps we can wed at the village church, then have a large garden reception up at Sussex Hall Manor.”
Lord Duncan nods, smiling broadly. He and Lady Elizabeth have fixed their plan to wed earlier rather than later. They just need to get Lord Christian to agree to it in the morn. Let alone, they will have to come up with a plausible reason why one of Lady Elizabeth’s Dower House bed chamber window panes is surprisingly cracked and needs replacing.
And elsewhere in the Sussex Hall Manor House and the Sussex Hall Dower House, the sleeping inhabitants will awaken this morn in several hours to a few more surprises of their own.
To be continued with Chapter 22
Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement): Chapter 21 images for May 19, 2019 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1236)
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 Robert Knightsbridge, Marquess of Wyre, in neckcloth, cls, is Hugh Grant as Edward Ferrars in “Sense & Sensibility” via Yet Another Period Drama blog; image link is http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_rvFfNUQOjpM/TVGkb1i7aoI/AAAAAAAAAb4/5bn3OIkBBBY/s1600/hugh+grant+edward+ferrars.jpg
3) Lady Gwendolyn’s pale light purple lavender silk organza evening gown (Grati background mask) is Emma Thompson as Elinor Dashwood in 1995’s Sense & Sensibility found at https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/e4/a8/be/e4a8becc0d292a3c0f1412358cef9653.jpg
4) Lord Harold Blount image (background mask by Grati) is that of Crispin Bonham-Carter in the 1995 mini series Pride and Prejudice and was found at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112130/mediaviewer/rm1864548864
5) Lady Penelope Lindquist is portrayed by Lily Travers—who appears on Victoria season 3 in 2019 as Duchess Sophie of Monmouth; the image was found at https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/specialfeatures/victoria-s3-new-cast-characters/
6) The French Lutheran divorce decree that I refer to is complete fiction—a dramatic device that I conjured up to help the two lovebirds along.
“Expectations” (Book 2) Ch. 21 URL for Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad story Post for May 19, 2019 (Post #1236):
Previous “Expectations” (Book 2) Chapter 20 story URL on my SAL blog Post #1235, May 12, 2019: