“Expectations” (Book 2)–Ch. 24: Going to the Sussex Village Faire,
June 24, 2019 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1241)
(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 importance/mention in this chapter): Lord Christian Blount the Earl of Sussex (portrayed by Richard Armitage) and his wife Lady Madeline Sinclair Blount the Countess of Sussex; Lord Harold Blount (portrayed by Crispin Bonham-Carter); Lady Penelope Blount (portrayed by Lily Travers); Lady Lucretia Beckham Knott (portrayed by Maggie Smith); Lady Horatia Winston, Lady Penelope’s grandmother, and sister to Lady Knott; Lady Elizabeth Blount (portrayed by Jessica Brown Findlay); Lord Duncan Viscount Lindsay of York (portrayed by Rupert Penry-Jones); Lord Alfred Lindsay Marquess of Malten (portrayed by David Oakes), Lady Constance Knightsbridge Lindsay Marchioness of Malten (portrayed by Margaret Clunie); Lord Robert Knightsbridge Marquess of Wyre (portrayed by Hugh Grant); Lady Gwendolyn Lindsay of York (Portrayed by Emma Thompson); and Lady Tamsin Knightsbridge Lindsay (portrayed by Francesca Capaldi)]
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 or Mondays. I hope that you enjoy this chapter.
Ch. 24: Going to the Sussex Village Faire
Breakfast up at Sussex Hall Manor was quite an unnaturally rushed affair due to their nine year old niece Lady Tamsin Knightsbridge Lindsay urging her Uncle Lord Robert Knightsbridge the Marquess of Wyre and her Aunt Lady Gwendolyn Lindsay of York to hurry. Lady Tamsin was promised a trip to the Sussex Village Faire this day and she does not wish to delay her fun.
Unbeknownst to Lady Tamsin, her excursion to the Faire is a diversionary tactic to give her newly reunited Mama Lady Constance and Papa Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby time to be alone with each other this morning as husband and wife.
Of course, Lord Robert and Lady Gwendolyn are considerate siblings to his sister and her brother. But their finding themselves supervising their niece Lady Tamsin is not altogether vexing for them. Apart from them liking spending time with their charming niece, Lord Robert and Lady Gwendolyn find that they are agreeable companions as well.
So as the little girl gobbles down her eggs, toast with jam, sausages and glass of milk—with Lady Tamsin taking care not to spill any of it on her fine lace collar, thus slowing down her gobbling her food–her Uncle and Aunt chaperones for the morning are able to have some breakfast themselves.
Lord Robert: Surveying his own plate of eggs, sausage, and toast with a hot cup of steaming coffee, then Lady Gwendolyn’s less full breakfast plate, he makes an uncharacteristically personal observation. “My Lady Gwendolyn, your sparing breakfast of one slice of toast and one egg are quite small portions. Do you not want more food?” But of course, most ladies are taught to eat like birds in front of gentlemen.
Lady Gwendolyn: “Well Lord Robert. I presume that there may be pastry delights to indulge in when we visit the Sussex Village Faire this morn.” Her words are not intending to admonish her niece to temper her food intake this morn, for Lady Gwendolyn has not observed all of Lady Tamsin’s habits—since they have only recently become acquainted as niece and Aunt.
Lady Tamsin briefly lifts her head to look queryingly at her Aunt Lady Gwendolyn—as if to ponder the notion of food to be had at the Sussex Village Faire, and her possibly saving room in her stomach for her to partake of those delights–then she returns to eating her very full plate of food. Being considered a child at nine years of age, Lady Tamsin thus far eschews the guideline of her eating small portions like a full grown lady.
Lord Robert tilts his head in acknowledgement then he observes Lady Gwendolyn’s delicate manner of eating with her graceful movements and small bites of food—him finding it pleasing. For himself, he cuts and then spears a large one inch portion of his breakfast sausage and pops it into his mouth, chewing his food enjoyably. Lord Robert is a tall and broad shouldered man with appetites to match.
And Lady Gwendolyn smiles secretly to herself to see Lord Robert savoring his morning meal. And absentmindedly, she wonders how he might fare with consuming food on the fly at the Sussex Village Faire—using his fingers, rather than using utensils. For some reason, Lady Gwendolyn believes that she will enjoy witnessing Lord Robert’s masculine fastidiousness punctured.
Then the threesome are off in a not so smallish open gig that will easily fit the diminuative Lady Tamsin between her Aunt Lady Gwendolyn and her Uncle Lord Robert.
However as they pass an intersecting road from the Sussex Hall Manor House that leads to the Sussex Hall Dower House, Lady Tamsin spots three large traveling carriages and two wagons of belongings covered by a tarp lumbering toward the Sussex Hall Dower House. Her curiosity is piqued and she naturally wants to detour to see what is happening at the Dower House.
But her Uncle Lord Robert prevails upon Lady Tamsin to have them continue on to the Sussex Village Faire. He reasons with her that they can stop by the Sussex Hall Dower House on their way back. Then Lady Gwendolyn sweetens the enticement by promising that they may even take afternoon tea at the Dower House—after they visit the Sussex Village Faire. Lady Tamsin will hold her Aunt Lady Gwendolyn to that promise later.
But for now, Lord Robert and Lady Gwendolyn are focused upon keeping their niece’s interests occupied in order to give her newly reunited parents some private time together. He just hopes that his purse is large enough to pay for his niece’s entertainments and gifts—be they food, flower hair wreaths with ribbons, jewelry, fortune tellers, etc.
And Lady Gwendolyn had earlier also managed to catch her brother Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay of York about joining them at the Sussex Village Faire–before he made his way from his guest quarters in the Sussex Hall Manor House that they are renting from Lord Christian Blount the Earl of Sussex for the Summer, to the Dower House where Lord Duncan’s love Lady Elizabeth Blount resides.
And so Lord Duncan and Lady Elizabeth will also meet them at the Sussex Village Faire. It is hoped that four adults–in Lord Robert, Lady Gwendolyn, Lord Duncan, and Lady Elizabeth—can supervise and distract little Lady Tamsin successfully.
But after Lord Duncan’s arrival at the Sussex Hall Dower House in his own two person curricle to collect his love Lady Elizabeth—with them enjoying breakfast together before the arrivals of the elderly sisters Lady Knott and Lady Winston—that the breakfast room becomes rather a crowded chamber, with her brother Lord Christian, his wife Lady Madeline, and her Grandmama Lady Knott also having joined them. Lady Winston elected to enjoy her later morning breakfast in her bed chamber. So for Lord Duncan, extracting he and Lady Elizabeth from her family–so that they might head to the Sussex Village Faire–proves to be non trivial.
And Lady Knott is the one who breaks the news of Lord Harold’s return—with his wife.
Lord Christian: Exasperated, Lord Christian’s tone is more curt than it should be as he interrogates Lady Knott, his young wife Lady Madeline’s Grandmama. “But are you for certain, My Lady Knott? My brother, Lord Harold Blount, has not only found your niece Lady Penelope Lindquist (nee Winston), but he has revealed that she has long been his wife Lady Penelope Blount these past several months—and that she is to grace him with their first child near the Christmas tide season?”
Lord Christian is incredulous. For he finds it fantastical that not only has his rogue of a brother found love, but that he has married her, and he is soon to be a father—all in the proper order.
Lady Knott: “Tis true, Christy.” She nods to her grandson-in-law to emphasize the truth of her statements, even as she addresses him familiarly, in the hope of helping him regain his good humor. “Lord Harold has done what many thought impossible! He successfully untangled my niece Lady Penelope from her odious first husband—who only wanted and squandered her sizeable dowry—and he obtained for her a French Lutheran divorce decree. Then he married her a few months ago in secret to protect her until he could rescue her from her disinterested first husband. And now they are to welcome their first child together in seven months time.”
Lady Madeline: Lightly buttering her toast before slathering it with blackberry jam, Lady Madeline stays her husband’s ire. “Now Christian, Dear. If your brother Harold has seen fit to mend his roguish ways and join his life together with my cousin Lady Penelope, then I say that we welcome them and her most heartily. My cousin Penny has done what many thought impossible–in her civilizing your brother Harold.”
Lady Knott: Stomping her cane upon the wooden floor twice, Lady Knott chimes in. “Here, here!”
For her part, Lady Elizabeth Blount–as the younger sister to both her eldest brother Lord Christian Blount the Earl of Sussex and their middle brother, the scapegrace but now seemingly redeemed Lord Harold Blount—has been turning her head to and fro as each combatant in the breakfast room has stated their case. She can only hope that her love and hoped for betrothed Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay will spirit her away soon to the Sussex Village Faire this morn. Lord Duncan mere smiles knowingly at the unfolding Blount family drama before them.
Having finished his substantial plate of food, Lord Duncan rises from his seat at the dining table, across from Lady Elizabeth.
Lady Elizabeth: Bolting up from her breakfast table chair, Lady Elizabeth Blount rushes around the end of the dining table to her love, Lord Duncan, who had been seated across from her. “Duncan! At last! Shall we take our leave for the Sussex Village Faire?” She asks hopefully—for she does not want him to be scared off of wedding her, what with all of her brother Lord Harold’s matrimonial machinations.
Looking bemused at the complicated relationships now befalling the Blounts with Lord Harold and his new bride–when his brother Lord Alfred’s return yesterday had previously captivated everyone’s attention–Lord Duncan bows to those assembled, in order of rank.
Lord Duncan: First to his hosts. “Lord Christian and My Lady Madeline, my felicitations upon the nuptials of your brother Lord Harold. I wish he and his wife Lady Penelope every happiness.” He bows again. Lord Christian bows his head slightly as Lady Madeline smiles broadly at Lord Duncan. With Lady Elizabeth at Lord Duncan’s side tugging upon his elbow.
Lady Knott: “Well! At least someone has recognized this happy turn of events—with my grand niece Lady Penelope and Lord Harold marrying.” She bristles.
Lord Duncan: As he attempts to guide Lady Elizabeth from the crowded breakfast room, Lord Duncan slowly moves away from the table—with Lady Elizabeth clinging to him. “Ah! My Lady Knott, I wish you good day. It seems like only yesterday that you had left for London.” He raises a mirthful eyebrow.
Lady Knott: “That was barely three days ago.” She speaks candidly. “But I can tell you, they have been very busy days what with securing the Archbishop’s aide in recognizing my dear grand niece Lady Penelope’s French Lutheran divorce decree as of the date three months ago that it was issued—along with him agreeing to verify her and Lord Harold’s subsequent French wedding date as well.”
Lord Duncan: “Most fortuitous, My Lady Knott!” He nods not only in acknowledging Lord Harold’s married state to Lady Penelope, but also that Lady Knott used her formidable influence to gain the Church of England’s concessions for her grand niece Lady Penelope. “Forgive us, but Lady Elizabeth and I are promised to join Lord Robert and my sister Lady Gwendolyn supervising Lady Tamsin attending the Sussex Village Faire.” He inches them closer to the breakfast room door.
Lord Christian: “The Sussex Village Faire, you say?” He narrows his eyes suspiciously.
Lady Madeline: “That sounds like a fine idea! May hap we can join you there later for luncheon at the Sussex Arms Inn? Shall we say one o’clock?”
Lord Duncan: “It would be our honor, My Lady Madeline.” He bows again. Then Lady Elizabeth curtsies perfunctorily at her best friend and sister-in-law Lady Madeline, giving her a sheepish smile. And Lady Madeline waves them off as they depart from the breakfasters.
So Lord Duncan finds that he and Lady Elizabeth are alone in the corridor on their way to the Sussex Hall Dower House entrance where his curricle should be waiting. It will only hold two people, to insure that his niece is not able to join them upon their return later.
Lord Duncan: And finally once Lord Duncan lifts Lady Elizabeth into his curricule and then hoists himself up as well, Lord Duncan lifts his beloved’s ungloved hand to his lips. “Enchante, My Lady Elizabeth. Your charming countenance graces this morn with joy and beauty.”
Lady Elizabeth: “Hhhh!” Sighing dreamily, Lady Elizabeth gazes tenderly at her beloved. “My Lord Duncan, I am very glad to have an outing with you today.” For Lady Elizabeth being at the tender age of eighteen years, she does not have flowery words to convey her love for Lord Duncan. She is straightforward and direct—two qualities which Lord Duncan appreciates about her.
Then Lord Duncan lightly flicks the reins and his horses begin their journey to the Sussex Village Faire.
Lady Madeline: Returning to her gracious hostessing responsibilities, she smiles to her gathered extended family. “Please everyone, let us continue our breakfast together.” Of course since Lady Madeline’s with child conditions means that she is eating for two, she has continued to nibble whilst everyone has spoken. “And Christian Dearest, might you please add some fresh warm eggs to my plate for me? I find myself most hungry this morning.” Lady Madeline gazes at her husband in a knowing way, for his loving and passionate attentions through the night have increased her appetite.
For a few moments, everyone’s attention is on their food—selecting it, and eating it—as well as the footmen warming up their cups of coffee or tea. Then Lord Christian leans down and whispers into Lady Madeline’s ear about the Sussex Village Faire.
Lord Christian: “Will you still want to visit the Sussex Village Faire today? Or do you hope to stay and greet Lord Harold and Lady Penelope when they arise?”
Lady Madeline: “Since Lord Harold and Lady Penelope arrived so late this morning, let us leave them to their rest while we attend the Sussex Village Faire today. We may all also attend the Village Faire on the morrow.”
Lord Christian: “That is an excellent idea, My Love.” He smiles warmly at his young wife, for her talent for compromise.
Lady Madeline: “That sounds splendid! We will leave word for Lord Harold and Lady Penelope that they may join us for luncheon at the Inn if they wish, or that we will see them back here for tea at 4 o’clock.”
Lady Knott: “You children run along to your entertainments at the Sussex Village Faire. My Sister Lady Winston and I will nap—we need our rest, as evidenced by her absence this morning from breakfast.”
Lady Madeline: “Not to worry, Grandmama. Grandmother Lady Sussex was awaiting your return and hopes to join you for luncheon here. Please extend that invitation to your sister, my Great Aunt Lady Winston.
And so they do.
By the time Lord Robert Knightsbridge the Marquess of Wyre and Lady Gwendolyn Lindsay of York, and their niece Lady Tamsin–and separately, Lord Duncan and Lady– Elizabeth reach the Sussex Village Faire [(2) below] around 11 o’clock in the morning this bright and sunny day, the Faire is well underway. There seems to be more tented booths than there were villagers living in Sussex village—and that the whole county seems to have converged upon Sussex Village for its annual village faire.
Coincidentally, each Blount and Lindsay gentleman instinctively procures a wreath of flowers to adorn their ladies’ and their niece’s heads, with trailing pink, blue, and yellow ribbons lilting in the breeze. And the men show their skill at lifting weights, archery, and mock sword play with wooden swords that still sting when a touch is recorded as a point for the aggressor.
However, upon reaching the far side of the village, the Faire entertainments turn plebian with a men’s tug of war between the villagers, and a balancing game crossing over the narrow river on a makeshift log bridge from a recently felled tree–that ends with several men falling off the log and into the shallow waters and being drenched with the cold water, but good humoredly so.
It is at this juncture that Lady Tamsin and her Aunt Lady Gwendolyn and Uncle Lord Robert happen upon the rest of the family—them noticing a sheepishly wet Lord Duncan good naturedly swinging his head to dispel the river water from his strawberry blond strands, whilst pelting his love Lady Elizabeth and the others nearby with river water.
Lady Elizabeth: “Eeeek! Duncan! You are getting me wet! Ha ha ha!” She squeals in amusement”. She is still a young woman of ten and eight who enjoys the innocuous misadventure of a dousing in the river now and again.
Lord Duncan: “When we wed, My Lady, we will promise to share all of life’s vicissitudes—including getting drenched with river water. Ha ha ha ha ha!” His booming laughter warms her heart.
Lady Elizabeth: “Ha ha ha ha ha! Yes, My Lord. But ladies garments are so much more delicate.” Though today, she is wearing a cool dress of lightweight cotton gown with lace, rather than her usual satin or taffeta silk gowns.
Lord Duncan: “I will take that under advisement.” Then he leans in, purring in a whisper for her ears alone. “Once we are wed, My Love, I will make a study of your garments. So as not to damage your satins and silks, unduly.” His eyes gleam with unbridled desire for her. And she fairly melts on the spot.
Happily, only Lady Gwendolyn overheard her brother Lord Duncan’s somewhat intimate remark to Lady Elizabeth—whilst Lord Robert and Lady Tamsin wer procuring a painted fan for her from a vendor’s booth across the road. And she smiles, happy for her brother Lord Duncan to have also found love–despite the long expectation of him wedding his previously lost brother Lord Alfred’s wife.
Lord Duncan’s drying off is accelerated by him removing his own clothes in favor of purchasing casual yet dry ready made breeches and a blousy shirt at a vendor’s booth. The fabric materials are not as fine as he is accustomed to, but he makes do with them. And Lady Elizabeth finds him quite alluring in his relaxed attire—with his muscled broad shoulders straining the garment, and a thatch of chest hair peeking out of the open collared shirt. And of course, Lord Duncan had a servant attending the Faire with them to take his wet clothes back to Sussex Hall Manor for proper cleaning by his valet.
And Lord Duncan is much teased for his casual attire by his niece Lady Tamsin when they all meet up for luncheon at the Inn–where Lord Christian and Lady Madeline also join them.
Lady Tamsin: “What happened to you Uncle Lord Duncan?” Her noticing his wet and seemingly unstyled hair as well as his unusual garments.
Lord Duncan: “Ha! I tried to cross the river on the downed tree log, but I lost my balance.”
Lady Tamsin: “Oh! Perhaps you should use the bridge next time.” She suggests helpfully, which causes their extended family members to laugh. Lady Tamsin is sometimes too serious a young girl. And her family will endeavor to help her have a bit of gaity.
Lady Elizabeth: “Well, I believe that there is a booth where we can bob for apples.” She says brightly. Though a young woman of eighteen years, Lady Elizabeth still has a fun outlook from her youth, of not so long ago.
Lady Tamsin: “Would we not risk getting our clothes wet?” She scrunches up her cute button nose in distaste.
Lady Gwendolyn: “Yes, but when there are tasty local apples to bob for, a little water wetness is worth it. Then to Lord Robert’s chagrin, Lady Gwendolyn entreats all of them to join in the festivities. “We’ll all go. What is a wet blouse or wet hair when there is such fun to be had?”
When Lady Gwendolyn smiles so radiantly, Lord Robert notices the dimples in her cheeks and finds them enchanting—so he acquiesces. And by everyone’s later concurrence, watching Lord Robert ineptly bob for apples floating in a barrel of water was among the highlights of their day. His amusingly scowling countenance continued to drip water long after he gave up trying to garner an apple. Lady Tamsin, of course, loved successfully bobbing for her apple—her having ever so much fun with her aunts and uncles, cousins, and assorted family.
So the happily bedraggled–slightly wet to very wet–extended Blount, Lindsay, and Knightsbridge family Sussex Village Faire goers enjoyed their outing today immensely as they head back to the Sussex Hall Dower House for afternoon tea.
To be continued with Chapter 25
Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement): Chapter 24 images for June 24, 2019 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1241)
1) “Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement”) story cover art image represents 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) Standing in for the fictional Sussex Village Faire is a Camberwell Faire illustration and its history from 1279 to 1855, which was found at http://www.camberwellfair.co.uk/rare-doings
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