“Expectations” (Book 2)–Ch. 31: Weddings Planning Negotiations,
August 05, 2019 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1253; & on Wattpad)
[an original Regency romance copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace, 2018 – 2019;
all rights reserved); [(1) story cover art, top 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); Lord Robert Knightsbridge of Lancashire, the Marquess of Wyre (portrayed by Hugh Grant); Lord Alfred Lindsay of York, the Marquess of Malten (portrayed by David Oakes); Lord Duncan of York, the Viscount Lindsay (portrayed by Rupert Penry-Jones); Lord Harold Blount of Sussex (portrayed by Crispin Bonham Carter); ; Lady Madeline Sinclair Blount Countess of Sussex (portrayed by Kate Winslet); Lady Elizabeth Blount of Sussex (portrayed by Jessica Brown Findlay); Lady Penelope Winston Blount, Lord Harold’s new bride (portrayed by Lily Travers); Lady Gwendolyn Lindsay of York (portrayed by Emma Thompson); Lady Tamsin Knightsbridge Lindsay (portrayed by Francesca Capaldi) and Lady Constance Knightsbridge Lindsay of York and the Marchioness of Malten (portrayed by Margaret Clunie)]
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. 31: Weddings Planning Negotiations
After their morning estate ride, Lord Christian Earl of Sussex and Lord Duncan Viscount Lindsay were informed by their ladies that the parents, grandmothers, and aunts were to dine en famille up at Sussex Hall, whilst the brides are having their own younger ladies luncheon in the Sussex Hall Dower House Conservatory.
Lord Christian has only recently had this room to be repurposed into a Billiards Room, due to the abundant natural light from the French doors leading onto the terrace that makes playing easier during the day—without the need for the expense nor the possibility of drippings upon the billiards table by wax candle illumination. And though Lord Christian has yet to masculinize the furnishing—him having only had the existing furniture seating groupings pushed to the walls for ease of movement around the table—he will soon rectify that with larger mansized chairs and such.
The gathering of the young gentlemen for luncheon and weddings planning discussions should be a convivial affair, but for the obvious discomfort of Lord Robert Knightsbridge of Lancashire the Marquess of Wyre—with his soon to be brothers-in-laws of Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay of York and Lord Alfred Lindsay of York the Marquess of Malten scowling at him.
However, Lord Christian hopes to intercede and smooth over any difficulties between the soon to be York and Lancashire brothers-in-law—not the least of which is that they will all become family relations to him when Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay of York marries Lord Christian’s younger sister Lady Elizabeth Blount of Sussex in a fortnight.
Lord Christian: “Gentleman, welcome to our family weddings planning … discussions.” Lord Christian slightly dissembles, for he surmises as well as anyone that with Lord Robert having proposed to Lady Gwendolyn Lindsay of York–that complicates matters—and their engagement is a relatively new circumstance. The gentlemen’s responses range from curt nods to hostile glaring—at Lord Robert.
Lord Robert: “Thank you, My Lord Sussex.” Lord Robert bows deeply. “I realize that my becoming affianced to the Lords of York’s sister Lady Gwendolyn adds a layer of … well…” He falters. “But let me assure you that Lady Gwendolyn and I are cognizant of the newness of our engagement. And you are to be set at ease, because our Mama Duchesses will not relinquish their last possibility of an elegant London society wedding and wedding reception. So our wedding looks to be set for mid-September, just before the little Season begins.” He scowls at the two month delay in wedding—and in bedding—his love Lady Gwendolyn.
Lord Alfred’s and Lord Duncan’s visages instantly relax to their neutral expressions. And the brothers walk over to their soon to be brother-in-law.
Lord Alfred: “Then let me wish you congratulations, My Lord Wyre.” The two aristocrats cordially shake hands. With Lord Alfred’s amnesia fog not having lifted to include memories of his brother Lord Duncan, he certainly does not remember anything about Lord Robert nor his character—to the good, or otherwise. So Lord Alfred is glad for his sister Lady Gwendolyn, Gwennie, to have time to get to know Lord Robert more deeply.
Lord Robert: Lord Robert bows with utmost solemnity. “I thank you, Lord Malten. And as we are to be family, I would be greatly honored if we dispensed with our formal titles, and you may address me as Lord Robert.” That is still a title, but a concession that allows the other gentlemen to use his Christian name as they are soon to be family.
Lord Alfred: Lord Alfred nods, then he grudgingly returns the favor. “And you may address me similarly.”
The slight stiffness in their conversation is typical, since both men are Marquesses–and ducal heirs. But Lord Alfred has the added history of having been an Anglican Vicar for nine years before he found his family. Or, his family found him, after thinking that he had been killed in the Napoleonic wars. And Vicars are usually sticklers for protocol and deference—perhaps even more so than Dukes.
Lord Duncan: “Better you than me, Old Man.” The slightly younger man remarks sarcastically about the delay in Lord Robert’s wedding to his sister Lady Gwendolyn, as he shakes Lord Robert’s hand. Lord Robert nods back at the viscount who will also become his brother-in-law—in two months time.
Lord Christian: “Right! One down, three to go.” Lord Christian mutters under his breath, thinking about the four bridal couples. “My sister Lady Elizabeth Blount of Sussex is young and she wishes to be married to Lord Duncan in two weeks time—before the other wedding vow renewals, that may take place the following day. Will that suit you Lord Alfred and … Harold?” Lord Christian uses the overtly familiar form of familial address of his upstart and often troublesome younger brother.
Lord Harold: “Now see here, Christy! My wife Lady Penelope Winston Blount deserves to have her own wedding vow renewal ceremony to me. She has endured much from the poor treatment of her first husband, and I wish to show her the happiness and joy in our wedding ceremony. That she will be accepted and loved by her new family.”
Lord Christian: Laying his hand upon his sitting brother’s shoulder, he squeezes it lightly in solidarity for his brother thinking of someone other than himself—in the person of Lord Harold’s new wife, Lady Penelope. “Of course, brother. Lady Penelope is charming and your rescue of her shows much growth in your maturity. Lady Madeline and I are proud to call her our sister-in-law. Though your marriage here in the country in two weeks and one day will be small and intimate, Lady Madeline and I will gladly host a reception in her and your honor in London in the Autumn—that will also be for Lizzie and Lord Duncan.” Lord Christian smiles hopefully at his brother. Neither Lady Elizabeth, nor Lady Penelope are enamored of crowds—with each Lady tending toward shyness. So he hopes what he proposes will be a welcome compromise.
Lord Harold: “That will be acceptable–pending my broaching it with my wife Lady Penelope, for her response.” He nods.
Lord Christian: “Lord Alfred, no doubt that you will also wish to have your and Lady Constance’s wedding vows renewal also in two weeks and one day—since my sister Lady Elizabeth and her then new husband Lord Duncan, your brother, will be delaying leaving for their honeymoon and to oversee the York Castle repairs until the following day after your wedding.”
Lord Alfred: “Yes, with my having my brother Lord Duncan as my Supporter, that would be best. And though a double wedding vows renewal might be expedient, I do not remember my first wedding to my Dear Lady Constance—that was done in haste before I headed off to war the next week. So I hope that you will indulge my sentimental wish for our own wedding ceremony.”
Lord Christian: “Indeed! Well, let us enjoy our luncheon then play some billiards.”
Lord Harold: “Yes!” His eyes sparkle. “And perhaps Lord Alfred and I can make a small wager on which wedding vow renewal ceremony comes first—best two out of three games?” It seems that Lord Harold has not given up all of his vices.
Lord Christian: “Gentlemen, however friendly your wager might be, remember that it is your brides who will have the final say.” He spears his brother Lord Harold and his sister Lady Elizabeth’s soon to be brother-in-law Lord Alfred with quelling looks.
Though men think themselves masters of the universe–controlling all that they survey– it is to the ladies of which complicated and delicate social negotiations are handled, especially with regard to the upcoming nuptials of two brides and the vow renewals of two more slightly older brides/wives.
The beveled glass and scrolled wrought iron dining table in the large and airy Sussex Hall Dower House Conservatory is elegantly adorned with linen and lace table cloths and napkins, low standing triple armed silver candelabra with glowing candles, bunches of colorful pink peonies in small white ceramic jars filled with water [(3) below], and the lilting strains of violins coming from outside on the terrace—to keep the ladies discussions confidential after they are all served their luncheon meal and the servers depart to allow them their privacy.
Around this oval table sits the young ladies of the Sussex, York, and Lancashire aristocratic families—with Lady Madeline Sinclair Blount Lady Sussex seated in the middle on one side for maximum conversation positioning. To her left is her best friend and sister-in law Lady Elizabeth Blount, affianced to Lord Duncan Viscount Lindsay of York. To Lady Madeline’s right is her new sister-in-law Lady Penelope Winston Blount, wife of Lord Harold Blount. Both Lady Madeline and Lady Penelope are with child—with Lady Madeline being almost four months pregnant and Lady Penelope being almost 3 months pregnant. Then opposite them are left to right Lady Gwendolyn Lindsay of York, then her nine year old niece Lady Tamsin Lindsay, and then Tammy’s Mama Lady Constance Knightsbridge Lindsay of York and Marchioness of Malten.
Thus this elegantly planned family social function by Lady Madeline begins. The light luncheon repast is a plate of cold diced chicken mixed with diced celery, raisins, and chopped walnuts in a light slightly sweet mayonnaise sauce in a hemispherical mound on a bed of lettuce, with a side of peaches and freshly baked croissant rolls, with thin rose shaped molds of butter on each diners bread plates. Their beverages are a choice of ice water and hot tea.
And though the condiment of mayonnaise du poulet [(4)] has been a French staple since as far back as at least 1804, the English are a bit more circumspect and reticent with regard to unusual culinary delights—let alone, French ones. But Lady Madeline is so pleased to be done with her morning sickness and that she may now partake of one of her favorite foods of chicken salade in a light mayonnaise dressing, that she pops the first bite into her mouth without ceremony, chewing contentedly. Though as the hostess of this family meal, her guests have to wait for her to eat the first bite anyway.
Lady Madeline: “Please enjoy your meal ladies. Chicken salade is my favorite meal introduced to me by my Grandmama Lady Knott. She had traveled extensively in France before …” She hesitates, her thinking before her Mama Lady Corrine became sick and died. But she composes herself as her Mama would have wanted her to do “…well, Grandmama toured France several years ago.”
The other ladies pick at their plates—eating the fruit mostly, and nibbling on their croissants. And poor Lady Penelope’s face looks positively ashen with the unusual scents from other plates. For you see, guessing that Lady Penelope was still experiencing some of her morning sickness, Lady Madeline had her Cook make Lady Penelope’s plated meal one without the mayonnaise as a precaution.
Lady Penelope: Covering her mouth with her linen napkin and looking ready to bolt, Lady Penelope excuses herself. “My apologies!” Then she jumps up with her linen napkin clutched to her mouth, and she dashes from the conservatory and to the adjacent outside terrace through a nearby door. Lady Penelope then fortuitously finds a discarded gardener’s bucket into which she might empty the meager contents of her stomach. But Lady Madeline had the gardener’s bucket placed there surreptitiously for just such a need.
Lady Madeline: “Ah well. Her pregnancy sickness must be even more delicate than my own was.” Lady Madeline sighs in compassion. Lady Constance sighs for her also remembering her pregnancy time in bearing her daughter Lady Tamsin years ago.
Lady Madeline beckons to a Footman standing just on the other side of the conservatory’s glass walls, should they need anything. Lady Madeline asks the Footman to take Lady Penelope’s water glass to her. He lifts up the water glass by its stem and places it on a silver tray, then proceeds to take the water glass to Lady Penelope.
None of the other ladies have tried their mayonnaise laden Chicken Salade—certainly not after seeing what they think is Lady Penelope’s response to it. But then young girls can be much more adventurous than even young ladies, as Lady Tamsin scoops up some of the chicken salade mixture and takes a bite.
Lady Tamsin: “Ohhh! This is delicious!” She chews happily, munching upon her croissant next, and then the fruit, before taking a sip of water. “Mama, might you ask Lady Madeline for the recipe to the Chicken Salade so that our cook might also make this meal for us when we are home again?” Though with the miracle of her father Lord Alfred being returned to them, Lady Tamsin and her Mama Lady Constance will move from the Lancashire ducal estate to her father’s family’s York Castle ducal estate as their new permanent home.
Lady Constance takes the smallest bite imaginable of the chicken salade mixture, and she sits back astonished.
Lady Constance: “This is good! Yes, Tammy Dear. If Lady Madeline will allow the recipe to be shared, that is.” Lady Madeline nods distractedly.
Lady Constance looks over at Lady Madeline who is still intently watching Lady Penelope through the conservatory’s glass walls as she sips her water, swishes it her mouth, then spits it into the gardener’s bucket. Then Lady Penelope takes another sip of water that she swallows. Absentmindedly, Lady Madeline also takes a sip of her water. Then Lady Constance places her water glass back upon the Footman’s silver tray and she proceeds back inside to the conservatory and she sits back down at the luncheon table. And the Footman returns her water glass to her place at the table.
Lady Madeline: Caringly clutching Lady Penelope’s small hand, Lady Madeline apologizes. “I am so sorry, Lady Penelope. I didn’t realize that your being even near our mayonnaise covered chicken salades would be off putting to you and your morning sickness.”
Lady Penelope: “Oh no. We had food with mayonnaise all of the time when I was in Paris—and I enjoyed it. It is just that bread and butter seem to upset my stomach, at the moment.” She winces and shrugs her shoulders at her hostess and sister-in-law.
So Lady Madeline has the Footeman server remove Lady Penelope’s bread and butter plate—whisking the offending croissant off to the kitchen. That is, if the croissant lasts until the kitchen—with it being ferried there by the impeccable, but hungry, Footman delivering it.
Then everyone hungrily tucks into their luncheon meal before them. Later as the last of the small iced cakes are eaten for dessert, Lady Madeline brings the ladies’ discussion around to the delicate issue of the two brides’ nuptials and the two wives vow renewal ceremonies—they are, as yet, unknowing of any preliminary decisions about them that their respective husbands or fiances might have reached separately.
Lady Elizabeth: “Well, I would like to be the only bride at my wedding in two weeks.” Lady Elizabeth asserts without preamble.
Of course, Lady Madeline has known of her best friend and sister-in-law Lady Elizabeth’s wishes. But the other ladies are a bit taken aback with Lady Elizabeth boldly claiming her wedding day for herself.
Lady Madeline: “Yes Lizzie Dearest. But …”
Lady Gwendolyn: “Well you have no fear from Lord Wyre and I imposing upon you, Lady Elizabeth. Our Mama Duchesses are adamant about our having a London Society Wedding, and then a reception for us in September—with a weddings reception that will also include my brother Lord Alfred and his wife Lady Constance, as well as, you and my other brother Lord Duncan.”
Lady Constance: “Oh my Dear Lady Gwendolyn. I am certain that Lord Alfred and I would not wish to intrude upon your own special wedding day and reception.” Lady Constance graciously demures.
Lady Gwendolyn: Lady Gwendolyn caringly pats her sister-in-law Lady Constance’s hand. “Since most of the same people would come to each of our wedding receptions, it just makes sense to combine them. Besides, your daughter Lady Tamsin will be introduced to society then as well.”
Lady Gwendolyn knowingly raises her eyebrows in solidarity for their expanded family of Lord Alfred, Lady Constance, and Lady Tamsin needing the weight of the two ducal families of York and Lancashire behind them to facilitate their smooth reintroduction to London Society–now that Lord Alfred is found alive and that he and Lady Constance had married legitimately but in secret 10 years ago. Lady Constance nods her thanks to Lady Gwendolyn.
Then all eyes turn to Lady Penelope. Her face is now pleasingly blushed with all eyes upon her.
Lady Madeline: Ever the one to broker a compromise, Lady Madeline asks her caringly with a smile. “Lady Penelope, will you and Lord Harold wish to have a wedding vow renewal ceremony here with Lord Alfred and Lady Constance on the day after Lady Elizabeth’s and Lord Duncan’s wedding?”
Lady Penelope: “Though my husband Lord Harold has not spoken to me about particulars, I am happy to acquiesce to any arrangement deemed suitable by everyone.” By which Lady Penelope means, suitable to everyone else. Lady Penelope’s ten year first marriage to Lord Lindquist had her chafing under strictures regarding her wishes and behaviors, such that Lady Penelope has still not recovered enough to think what her own wishes might be—let alone to voice them.
Lady Constance: “Well, I would be amenable to sharing a double wedding vows renewal ceremony, if that is what our husbands’ wish.” She smiles pleasantly. Lady Constance does not mind sharing her wedding vow renewal ceremony. But since she was denied a lavish wedding ceremony 10 years ago, she would like to be adorned in a pretty wedding gown this time.
Lady Madeline: “Well! If we are to have three brides—one in two weeks, and two in two weeks and one day–then we had best look to Sussex Village for fabric and seamstresses to make the other two bride’s wedding gowns—or alter some of their existing gowns, perhaps with a pretty lace overlay to given them a fashionable twist.”
The other ladies hum with excited conversations about wedding gowns and bridal bouquets. And the young eighteen year old Lady Madeline Sinclair Blount Countess of Sussex smiles radiantly to be acknowledged as an arbiter of fashion by her kinswomen.
Now all that remains is to execute the wedding preparations of gowns, flower, invitations, and wedding breakfasts, etc.—including having the banns read three times for Lord Duncan and Lady Elizabeth. Oh, and to inform their husbands and husbands to be of their weddings planning arrangements.
To be continued with Chapter 32
Expectations” (Book 2): Chapter 31 images for August 05, 2019 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1253)
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) For more history about Billiard rooms and such, please visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billiard_room
3) Lovely pink peonies in a white ceramic water jar on a linen and lace tablecloth image was found Jun0319 as shared by Antonella Montanari (resized by Grati)
4) For more information about the history of mayonnaise, please visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mayonnaise
“Expectations” (Book 2) Ch. 31 URL for Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad story Post for August 05, 2019 (Post#1253):
Previous “Expectations” (Book 2) Ch. 30 URL for Something About Love story post for July 31, 2019 (Post #1251):