“Expectations” (Book 2)–Ch. 30: A Young Bride’s Expectations,
July 31, 2019 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1251; and on Wattpad)
[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): Lady Elizabeth Blount of Sussex (portrayed by Jessica Brown Findlay; her sister-in-law and best friend Lady Madeline Sinclair Blount Countess of Sussex (portrayed by Kate Winslet); Lady Elizabeth’s Grandmother Dowager Countess of Sussex Lady Catherine Blount (portrayed by Judi Dench); and Lady Madeline’s Grandmama Lady Lucretia Beckham Knott (portrayed by Maggie Smith)]
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. 30: A Young Bride’s Expectations
What with the whirlwind of the four aristocratic families—Blount/Sussex, Lindsay/York, Winston, and Knightsbridge/Lancashire boasting two upcoming weddings and two wedding vow renewals between them, the planning for said unions might be a little frought.
The wedding of Lady Elizabeth Blount, sister to Lord Christian Blount Earl of Sussex and Lord Duncan Viscount Lindsay of York is perhaps the most delicate with the sensibilities of the young 18 year old bride Lady Elizabeth to consider.
With a bare two weeks of country wedding planning and gown sewing before them, her sister-in-law and best friend Lady Madeline Blount Countess of Sussex notices her friend Lizzie’s less than radiant bride to be demeanor over breakfast this first day in July, a Friday. Lady Madeline and Lady Elizabeth are sitting quietly nibbling their foods in the Sussex Hall Dower House Conservatory that has a lovely view of the gardens.
Lady Madeline: “Lizzie Dear, you are not eating. Should we ask for something particular to be brought for you to enjoy?” She asks solicitously.
Lady Madeline, herself, is yet eating delicately at breakfast times—with her only recently being past her period of morning sickness with her pregnancy. And now with Lady Madeline being four months pregnant, her tummy is beginning to plump ever so slightly. So now she can truly feel her with child condition as she cherishingly caresses her baby bump underneath the table.
Lady Elizabeth: “No, no, I do not want to trouble anyone. This food is fine, Maddie.” She lifts a slightly buttered and now tepid piece of toast to her lips and takes a small bite, then returns the remainder of the toast to her plate.
Lady Madeline: “And yet, you are not truly eating it. So might there be something else upon your mind?” Then a thought occurs to her and she gently covers her friends hand resting upon the linen covered table. “Are you uncertain about your …” She was about to suggest her duties as a wife, but she thinks better of it. She does not want her friend to think that a husband and wife make love to each other out of duty. Yet she pinkens charmingly in finishing her sentence as her friends prompting look encourages her. “…well, about the loving that you and Lord Duncan will share when you are husband and wife?”
Lady Elizabeth: Lady Elizabeth turns crimson at such a personal question—even from her best friend, and however much well intentioned it will be. And ever forthright, Lady Elizabeth clarifies her concerns. “No Lizzie. Duncan treats me so cherishingly with his kisses, embraces, and our hand holding now, that I feel certain that our loving each other on our wedding night will be just as nice.”
Although in Lord Duncan’s mind, he will more than likely tenderly cherish his new wife Lady Elizabeth in a more than just as nice way on their wedding night. Happily, he is not with the ladies to hear such a tepid description of just as nice, with regard to his adoring loving of his soon to be bride Lady Elizabeth on their wedding night—and every night thereafter.
Lady Madeline: “Oh!” Lady Madeline startles with a squeak for her sister-in-law’s frankness. It is a good thing that they are alone, but for the plants in the conservatory.
Lady Elizabeth: “I know it is churlish for me to be so selfish, but when I dreamed of being married to Duncan someday when I was a little girl, I had always hoped and expected that our wedding day would be all about my husband and I.” She lets the rest of her thoughts hang in the air.
Lady Madeline: “And the bridal field of weddings is getting crowded. Ha ha ha!” Both young ladies laugh with Lady Madeline puncturing the somber mood. “I think I understand, Lizzie. And I appreciate your sentiments. A bride’s wedding day is a most special moment in her life. And currently, there are three other brides—or bride vow renewals–that might possibly take place in the coming weeks.” Lady Elizabeth nods with a small pouty pursing of her lips.
Lady Elizabeth: “Am I wrong not to want to share my and Duncan’s wedding day with possibly three other couples? Afterall, I am the youngest bride. Should not my wishes be granted or respected?”
Lady Madeline: “Of course, My Dear.” She smiles warmly at her friend and sister-in-law.
Lady Elizabeth: “And there is another issue.”
Lady Madeline: “Yes, My Dear?” She thinks that now Lady Elizabeth might ask for some specifics about the wedding night. But she is surprised.
Lady Elizabeth: “My wedding gown! Though I told Duncan that I did not mind about my not having a custom made wedding gown due to the short time frame, I really do want to look and feel beautiful—with yards of ivory satin with small seed pearls and lace decorations. But can this be accomplished in under two weeks?” She looks yearningly at Lady Madeline.
Lady Madeline: “Would you not prefer a more simple yet elegant wedding gown with pale blue accents, Dearest?” Lady Madeline asks with trepidation, because unbeknownst to Lady Elizabeth, Lady Madeline has secured a wedding gown option for her already. And Lady Madeline’s wedding gown was of a pale blue—blue being the color of purity.
Lady Elizabeth: “No! You wore a pale blue wedding gown and looked lovely in it. But I want my wedding gown to be all my very own.”
Lady Madeline: “Well, I have brought a wedding gown from London that you might find pleasing and sentimental for your wedding—one that you can alter to fit your wishes. Come, I will show you.” She rises, beckoning her friend to follow her. Neither of them was attending much to their breakfasts anyway.
Lady Elizabeth bites her lower lip, not wanting to offend Lady Madeline if she does not like her gown suggestion. But she nods, rises, and follows her upstairs to her bed chamber suite.
After ascertaining from the Sussex Dower House Butler that her husband Lord Christian Earl of Sussex is on a morning ride over the Sussex Hall Estate with Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay of York, Lady Madeline feels that she and Lady Elizabeth should have plenty of time to complete their purpose without interruption. So she breezily walks into her shared bed chamber with her husband, and Lady Elizabeth follows her, shutting the door behind her.
Lady Madeline’s Ladies Maid Anne Trask is tidying Lady Madeline’s wardrobe, preparing for her lady’s change of dress for luncheon in a few hours.
Trask: Curtsying to both ladies she rises. “My Lady Sussex, My Lady Elizabeth.” Acknowledging both, she then looks questioningly at her mistress, Lady Madeline.
Lady Madeline: “Lady Elizabeth would like to see the wedding gown we have brought from London for her to view. Have you made it ready?” By which she means cleaned of cobwebs, a food stain or two, and pressed.
Trask: Bouncing another curtsy, Trask replies. “Yes, My Lady.” Then she goes to fetch the heirloom wedding gown.
Lady Elizabeth is agog with trepidation. She hopes that she will like the gown that her friend Lady Madeline has brought for her consideration. For a ready made gown is her only hope in finding a suitable wedding gown in the short two weeks time they have until the wedding.
Lady Madeline: “Now close your eyes, Lizzie. I want you to see the dress once Trask has it fitted over you.”
Lady Elizabeth: “Alright.” She replies shyly and closes her eyes. Up until now, the only person who has seen her in her undergarments has been her own ladies maid.
Lady Madeline undoes Lady Elizabeth’s bodice buttons and helps her remove her gown as Trask brings in the wedding gown. Then both help Lady Elizabeth into the wedding gown—her eyes still shut tightly. Then as a finishing touch, Lady Madeline places her own Countess of Sussex tiara upon Lady Elizabeth’s head and orients her toward the long mirror so that Lady Elizabeth can see herself.
Lady Madeline: “You look exquisite, Lizzie! Open your eyes now.”
Lady Elizabeth: “I am almost afraid to look.” She trembles, before slowly opening her eyes. “Oh! This wedding gown is beautiful! And by its fashion, quite old.” She gushes, then looks quizzically at Lady Madeline.
Lady Madeline: “Do you truly like it, Lizzie?”
Lady Elizabeth: “I do!” She sashays a bit as she turns from side to side. The full ballroom skirting rustles as she moves like a white cloud—with the corseted bodice adorned with lace and seed pearls, along with delicate pale blue embroidered flowers along its edge. Then she notices what sits upon her head. The Sussex tiara. “Oh Maddie! And I never dreamed that I would get to wear the Sussex tiara for my wedding!” Lady Elizabeth delights with girlish glee. “But this beautiful wedding gown! Wherever did you find it?”
Lady Madeline: Lady Madeline smiles conspiratorially with her Ladies Maid Trask. “It was carefully and lovingly packed away in the London Sussex Hall attic. A note therein confirmed that it was your Grandmother Dowager Countess of Sussex’ wedding gown—and therefore, was also your late Mother’s wedding gown, since your Mother’s Mother wedding gown had been eaten by moths.” She gently squeezes her sister-in-law’s hand with great tenderness.
Lady Elizabeth: “But do you think that Grandmother Sussex would like me to wear her wedding gown—that was also my late Mama’s wedding gown?” She asks hopefully.
Lady Madeline: “I had not asked Grandmother Countess when I brought her wedding gown with us to the country—not wanting her to be disappointed should you decide upon wearing a different wedding gown.”
Lady Elizabeth: “Oh! That is wonderful of you to let me decide about my wedding gown, without my having to worry about hurting my Grandmother Countess’ feelings, had I not wished to wear this one! But I would dearly like to wear this wedding gown for my wedding.”
Lady Madeline: “Then let me have Trask fetch your Grandmother the Dowager Countess of Sussex and bring her to us, to see you in this gown.” She nods at Trask, who leaves to do her bidding.
Trask finds Lady Catherine Blount the Dowager Countess of Sussex in her bed chamber suite’s sitting room with her good friend Lady Lucretia Beckham Knott—Lady Madeline’s Grandmama. On Lady Madeline’s behalf, Trask invites both ladies to attend Lady Madeline in the Earl’s and Countess’ master bed chamber suite’s sitting room. Trask pushes Lady Catherine’s wheeled chair device down a short length of the Sussex Family bed chambers hallway. Then she knocks at the door to alert Lady Madeline.
Trask: “My Lady Sussex, I have the Dowager Lady Sussex and Lady Knott to see you and Lady Elizabeth.” She speaks clearly through the closed door.
Lady Madeline: Smiling at a glowing Lady Elizabeth, Lady Madeline entreats cordially. “Enter!” Then Lady Madeline stands back from Lady Elizabeth who is standing in the middle of the large sitting room and facing the opening door in her hoped for wedding gown and tiara finery.
Lady Knott: Ever one to get in a word, let alone the first word, Lady Knott warmly compliments Lady Elizabeth upon entering the room. “You look lovely, child.”
Lady Elizabeth: Curtsying, she smiles. “Thank you, Lady Knott. And Grandmother Countess, what do you think of my wearing this wedding gown—your and Mama’s wedding gown– for my wedding gown?” She asks hopefully.
Dowager Lady Sussex: “Oh my! I had not dared hope that you might wear my wedding gown—which was also your Mama’s wedding gown—since we did not know of your imminent wedding when we left London for here. I presumed that the wedding gown was left in London.” There are tears of joy in her eyes.
Lady Elizabeth: Lady Elizabeth rushes to embrace her Grandmother Countess and also kisses her cheek, taking care not to drop the tiara from atop her head. “I had not known of this wedding gown’s existence. It was Lady Maddie who brought it from the London Sussex House attic—along with my trousseau that we have been assembling, just in case.” She smiles conspiratorially at Lady Madeline. Lady Madeline smiles in having guessed correctly in bringing this wedding gown with them.
Dowager Lady Sussex: She holds out her had to her granddaughter-in-law Lady Madeline. “Maddie, Dear. Thank you!” She dabs her fine linen and lace covered handkerchief at her eyes filled with happy tears.
Lady Madeline: “It was my pleasure, Grandmother Countess.” Lady Madeline leans down and kisses her cheek, whilst her Grandmama Lady Knott looks on proudly.
Dowager Lady Sussex: “Lizzie Dear, did you wish to alter the gown?” She asks kindly.
Lady Elizabeth: “No! It is perfect! Except, my waist is a bit smaller. So we might have to tuck that in a bit.” She looks over at Lady Madeline.
Lady Madeline: “I am certain that Trask will be able to assist you in taking in your wedding gown’s waist.” Trask nods and curtsies for so privileged a commission as Lady Elizabeth’s wedding gown alterations.
Dowager Lady Sussex: “And I will give you for your wedding gift, the Sussex sapphire parure that I do have with me here in the Sussex Hall Dower House—with a tiara, earrings, necklace, pin, bracelet, and ring. They had belonged to your late Mama’s family and gifted to her upon her wedding day to your late Papa, my son. I have kept them for you all these years. Though speaking of tiara’s, Lord Duncan might have a family tiara that they might wish to loan you as well.” She thinks ruefully.
Lady Elizabeth: “I do not know. The York’s would have had to bring the York or Lindsay tiaras with them, guessing about our impending wedding—which even Duncan and I did not think would happen so quickly.” All evidence to the contrary with her sister-in-law and best friend Lady Madeline helping Lady Elizabeth buy her wedding trousseau. Lady Elizabeth removes the Sussex Tiara from her head and offers it back to Lady Madeline. “Thank you, Maddie. But it may be that I will need to wear a different tiara.”
Lady Madeline: “Of course!” She smiles lovingly.
For now, all is right with their world as Lady Elizabeth feels like a princess in her sentimental heirloom wedding gown. And Trask is sent to find the Dowager Lady Sussex’ Ladies Maid to bring the Sussex Sapphires parure to Lady Madeline’s bed Chamber sitting room to try on.
Then it will be up to Lady Madeline and Lady Elizabeth to break it to Lord Christian and Lord Duncan, respectively, about Lady Elizabeth’s wish to be the sole bride on her wedding day.
To be continued with Chapter 31
Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement): Chapter 30 images for July 31, 2019 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1251)
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) Lady Elizabeth Blount in purple day dress (image flipped) is that of Jessica Brown Findlay as Lady Sybil in Downton Abby found at http://media.tumblr.com/d0a41882cb1002e0e9604665f32b77ee/tumblr_inline_mono4y4CRK1qz4rgp.jpg
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