“Expectations” (Book 2)–Ch. 36 End: Solemn Vows,
December 30, 2019 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1272)
[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): Richard Armitage as Lord Christian Blount Earl of Sussex, Kate Winslet as Lady Madeline Sinclair Blount Countess of Sussex, Dame Maggie Smith as Lady Lucretia Beckham Knott, Jessica Brown Findlay as Lady Elizabeth Blount, Crispin Bonham-Carter as Lord Harold Blount, Dame Judi Dench as Lady Catherine Blount the Dowager Countess of Sussex, Corin Redgrave as Lady Madeline’s father the Squire Sutton Sinclair, Amanda Root as Mrs. Russell her aunt, Rupert Penry Jones as Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay and the second son of the Duke of York, David Oakes as Lord Alfred the Marquess of Malten and the first born son and heir to the Duke of York, Emma Thompson as Lady Gwendolyn “Gwennie” Lindsay of York their sister; and Margaret Clunie as Lady Constance Knightsbridge daughter to the Duke and Duchess of Lancashire and betrothed of the late Lord Alfred; Hugh Grant as her brother Lord Robert Knightsbridge the Marquess of Wyre and the heir to the Duke of Lancashire, and others as noted.]
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. I hope that you enjoy this chapter.
Ch. 36 End: Solemn Vows
With a wedding and two vow renewals occurring over the Summer of 1816, the Sussex, York, and Lancashire families—not to mention the Winston and Knott extended Grandmama and Aunt, respectively—everyone is well versed in wedding rituals, as well as the happy loving new families. All that remains is to have Lady Gwendolyn Lindsay of York and Lord Robert Knightsbridge the Marquess of Wyre of Lancashire wed and then a large London Reception for all of the bridal couples.
If only it were that simple. Lord Robert and Lady Gwendolyn both wish for an intimate family wedding gathering with only their closest friends and family attending—with a smallish wedding breakfast. Then they would consent to be part of the massive London Reception to be held in the honor of all of the recent bridal couples. And Lord Robert and Lady Gwendolyn threatening to bolt to Gretna Green for their wedding if their wishes were not acceded to, was the final persuasive argument that won the day with their parents for a smaller wedding.
So in early August of 1816, a caravan of carriages the Sussex, York, and Lancashire families and their personal attendants, as well as, wagon carts filled with trunks of clothing, and personal items travel North from Sussex to the York family seat for the lovely intimate wedding of Lord Robert and Lady Gwendolyn. Journeying with three pregnant ladies—because by then Lady Constance also thinks that she might be breeding—and three elderly grandmothers and aunts, is a bit daunting. So the families elect to make the trek over a sennight of easy stages—with longer hours of travel on the first three days staying overnight at excellent hostelries and a brief overnight sojourn in London at their townhouses, before the elderly ladies and the pregnant ladies begin complaining more strenuously about the uneven road conditions due to recent rains causing for bumpy rides, necessitating more breaks in traveling.
But in the end, they all arrive in York—with the York and Lancashire ducal parents swiftly attending to the York Cathedral wedding and York Castle wedding breakfast details over the following week. This following week also allows the elderly ladies to nap near continuously whilst the other ladies flutter around Lady Gwendolyn and creating a bridal gown for her. The men do what men do—shoot birds and game, shoot pool, and play cards.
A now very pregnant Lady Madeline Blount, Countess of Sussex has the inspired suggestion of exploring the castle attics for suitable wedding gowns that could be altered for Lady Gwendolyn. She had made a similar happy suggestion for Lady Elizabeth’s earlier wedding gown selection for her marriage to Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay of York.
Well, at now almost six months pregnant, Lady Madeline, nor the other less pregnant ladies in Lady Penelope and Lady Constance are doing the attic searching. Rather, Lady Gwendolyn and Little Lady Tamsin lead the servants up to the attics to identify trunks of clothing to be brought down to the family bed chambers wing parlor for dress fittings.
Lady Tamsin: “Oh, Mama Lady Constance!” She exclaims excitedly, lapsing back to her previously more formal mode of address for her Mama when her parentage was a secret. There are so many old clothes in the York Castle Attics that we could clothe the poor of London!”
Lady Constance: “That is a sweet thought, Tammy Dear. But silks and satins are not proof against the cold in Winter.”
Lady Tamsin: “But the velvet gowns would be warm, Mama.” She raises her little eyebrow as an indication that she feels that her argument is sound.
Lady Constance: “Indeed, Tammy Dear. But let us table your largesse—of using someone else’s possessions—and focus upon Dear Lady Gwen’s wedding gown needs.”
Lady Gwendolyn: “Thank you, My Lady Constance.” Lady Gwendolyn cannot help but smile for the enthusiasm of little Lady Tamsin.
Lady Penelope: Patting her now almost four months pregnant tummy, she requests. “If our ladies maids could please open each trunk and then lay the heirloom wedding gowns out upon the settee over there, we might take a look at them.” For Lady Penelope is forbidden from doing anything strenuous by her husband—even lifting a wedding gown out of trunk.
Lady Elizabeth: “Oh, Lady Gwen! These are so beautiful! A wonderful suggestion again, Lady Maddie.” She smiles at her dearest friend and sister-in-law Lady Madeline, who nods her head in thanks for the recognition.
And with Lady Elizabeth Viscountess Lindsay of York not being with child—as far as she knows after being only married for one month—she easily picks up a pale blue wedding gown embellished with darker blue embroidery of vines and flowers along the edge of the bodice and at the bottom of the skirting and holds it in front of Lady Gwendolyn for everyone’s inspection.
All the ladies sigh at the beauty of the light blue gown. However, as Lady Elizabeth picks up each gown and holds it in front of Lady Gwendolyn—from a selection of satins, silks, and velvets—much sighing is also in evidence.
Lady Gwendolyn: “They are all beautiful gowns.” She sighs. “I cannot choose between them.”
Lady Madeline: “Gwen, you should try on each of these gowns before you make a decision. We will likely have to have one of our maids alter whichever gown you choose, but it will give you an idea about the fit and style of each gown on you to begin with.”
Everyone nods their agreement. So Lady Gwendolyn goes behind a standing screen they had brought into the family bed chambers wing parlor for just this purpose. And in addition to her Ladies Maid, little Lady Tamsin eagerly waits by the standing screen to help hand each gown to the ladies maid.
Unfortunately, it is soon discovered that many of these ancient wedding gowns—dating to from fifty to one hundred years ago—were for much more petite and tinier waisted ladies, since ladies of today are a few inches taller and more generously bosomed. A dress height can be easily altered with an extra fabric flounce at the bottom of the gown, but tiny bodices would have to be completely redone, and there is not time for that. So the light blue satin gown that everyone had oohed and ahhed over first is discarded as an option.
However, little Lady Tamsin latches onto it and asks her and her Mama’s ladies maid to help her change into it. Since Lady Gwendolyn does not object, Lady Constance acquiesces and waves her daughter to try on the gown. Naturally, Lady Tamsin sashays up and down the large parlor indicating her love for the gown. And in the spirit of family togetherness, Lady Gwendolyn promptly gives the gown to her niece Lady Tamson—pending her Mama Duchess of York’s approval. Of course much squealing of joy on Lady Tamsin’s part ensues—until her Mama Lady Constance gently beckons her daughter to her and whispers her wish for Tammy to help everyone focus upon Lady Gwendolyn’s wedding gown selection.
And after seeing much insect infestation on the inside panels of several of the other outwardly lovely wedding gowns, Lady Gwendolyn is loathe to try them on without their having a good cleaning. So her immediate choice of wedding gowns is reduced to a dark blue velvet—rather hot to wear for August—and a medium blue damask patterned silk with a wide lace color. And in putting on this silk gown, Lady Gwendolyn finds it pleasing , despite the gown being quite roomy.
Lady Gwendolyn: “I like this gown. Though its bodice and waist will have to be taken in to fit my smaller frame. I wonder why this gown is so much larger than the others?” She asks innocently. Lady Elizabeth also looks confused.
The married ladies glance at each other knowingly and smile. Both Lady Madeline at nearly six months along and Lady Penelope at near four months along absentmindedly stroke their pregnant bellies.
Lady Constance: Lady Constance whispers to Lady Gwendolyn, , but loudly enough for all to hear. “Enceinte?”
But neither Lady Gwendolyn nor Lady Elizabeth have not heard that term before, and the already married ladies titter with laughter before explaining.
Lady Madeline: “Lady Constance refers to an early baby.” She blushes in explanation. Then Lady Gwen and Lady Elizabeth nod. Though Lady Tamsin is still left unenlightened.
Lady Gwendolyn: “Ohhh!” She smiles in blushing surprise. “Who would have thought that any of our York ancestors were so passionate as to anticipate their wedding vows?”
And then, Lady Gwendolyn’s Mama walks in and sees Lady Gwendolyn in the roomier blue silk wedding gown option.
Duchess of York: “Oh my dear! You look beautiful in that wedding gown!” Then she rushes to embrace her daughter and gives her a kiss. Yet, she is holding something back.
Lady Gwendolyn: “I do love it! But it will have to be altered to fit my smaller form.”
Duchess of York: She smiles blushingly. “Yes, well. All gowns need to be altered now and again. And you know this was your grandmother York’s wedding gown.” The air buzzes with anticipation of her next remark. “And it was so lovely that I also wore it as my wedding gown. I cannot think how my gown ended up amidst these older gowns. And we will have to find a lovely white veil for your to wear with either a York or Lancashire tiara.”
But the Duchess’ admission of the plumper wedding gown being hers—when now as a mature lady she is quite slim, as usual—the married ladies minds are all agog. But they refrain from asking or stating the obvious out of respect and decorum. However decorum is yet to be firmly situated in the mind and the behaviors of their youngest family member who is present.
Lady Tamsin: Tugging her grandmother’s gown, Lady Tamsin asks. “Grandmama Duchess, what is an early baby?”
Duchess of York: Realizing that her extended family must have guessed the reason for the wedding gown’s fullness, the Duchess of York blushes crimson. “Ohh!” And she is too embarrassed to reply.
Lady Tamsin: “But you did not answer me, Grandmama.”
Lady Constance: Hoping to smooth over the obvious embarrassment on the part of the Duchess of York, Lady Constance redirects our daughter’s thoughts. “Not now, Tammy Dear. Do you not want to ask your Grandmama Duchess if you may keep this gown you are wearing?” Lady Tamsin nods her head up and down so vigorously that her Mama fears that she might hurt herself.
Lady Gwendolyn: “Mama Duchess? Since the gown Tammy is wearing already fits her, I thought that she might keep it—and wear it in my wedding as my flower girl.” Lady Gwendolyn adds with flourish—finding yet another way to distract her niece from her wondering about what they meant regarding an early baby.
Lady Tamsin: “Oh Yes, please, Grandmama Duchess! May I keep this gown and be my Aunt Lady Gwendolyn’s flower girl?” Tammy hugs her Grandmama around her waist.
Duchess of York: “Of course you may, Tammy Dear!” She sighs in relief.
The ladies all smile sweetly at each other, and no one is going to bring up the revelation that Lord Alfred of York was an early baby.
Eschewing hunting sports, the men still take a bracing ride out with their horses and dogs to a large pond on the York Castle estate and proceed to fish. Fishing is a more sedate occupation, but one well suited to Lord Robert’s reserved temperament. And Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay of York can’t help but needle his soon to be brother-in-law.
Lord Duncan: “Need any insights into marriage or the wedding night, old boy?” Lord Duncan jests jovially as his brother Lord Alfred, brother-in-law Lord Christian, and the ducal fathers smile.
Lord Robert: “Certainly not!” Lord Robert puffs huffily in indignance—for his dignity has been injured.
Lord Alfred: “Oh come now, Lord Robert. Even though I was purported to already be a married man—though my amnesia was a hindrance, I’ll acknowledge—I welcomed suggestions as to how to insure the long term happiness of my wife and family.”
Lord Robert: “It is just that gentlemen do not discuss such personal matters.” Lord Robert’s face pinches in embarrassment.
Lord Christian: “But they should. No matter what your experience of women might be, I have found that a wife is so much more … more than I could have imagined or expected. I speak in general terms, obviously.” For Lord Christian Blount, Earl of Sussex is a young husband still learning what is required of him.
Lord Harold: “I agree. My Lady Penelope is endlessly fascinating. And I will cherish her and seek her happiness above my own as long as we both shall live. Hhhhh!” Lord Harold Blount of Sussex is young and only newly married man, but a besotted one.
Lord Robert: “Well, of course! I esteem Lady Gwendolyn, my betrothed, above all others. She has a grace and poise that other ladies can only aspire to attain.” Lord Robert’s face assumes an admiringly gaze as he reflects upon his soon to be wife.
Lord Harold: “You say that now. But wait until you see her upset and feisty. My advice is to stand back and agree with anything she says.” Then all the men laugh loudly at that remark, save Lord Robert.
Lord Robert: “You cannot speak from knowledge of her. Lady Gwendolyn is very even tempered. That is why we are so well suited to one another.”
Lord Harold: “Well, just make sure your carriage does not break down in the future, Old Boy, or you will be treated to her most strong opinions and displeasure.” Lord Harold is recalling when he rescued Lady Gwen and her servants from just such a calamity as she traveled to Sussex earlier in the Summer.
Duke of York: Silent up until now, the Duke of York weighs in. “Lord Robert, I thank you for your very kind praise for my daughter and your betrothed Lady Gwendolyn.” He pauses, not wanting to steer Lord Robert away from his daughter, but also not wanting him to be astonished by her true nature. “But …ah… However, she is a woman of both a strong character and a strong mind. And she does not suffer fools gladly, though her charity and compassion toward those in need is exemplary.”
Lord Robert: “Indeed.” Then he is momentarily distracted by a fish tugging on his fishing line. “Oh my! I think that I have actually caught a fish!”
Duke of Lancashire: “That’s it, My Boy! Reel it in! Perhaps we can have our catches added to tonight’s menu?” Although some of the men will be without a fish course if their fishing today does not improve.
Lord Robert: “Must we kill it? Could we not release the fish back into the pond to live a long and happy fish life?” He asks forlornly. For though Lord Robert is a hearty eater of meat, he does not like to reflect upon that it was once a living thing.
Lord Harold: “Well, a happy life as an injured fish until one of the rest of us catches it. It is best to put the fish out of its misery with a swift kill.” Lord Harold’s inveterate sarcasm is not appreciated, least of all by his brother.
Lord Christian: “Harold? There is no need to speak to Lord Robert in that manner. He has a right to his opinions about sport—no matter how different they might be from our opinions.” Well, Lord Christian was trying to bolster Lord Robert. But he does so while also indicating that he agrees with his brother Lord Harold’s assessment of humanely killing animals .
Lord Alfred: “All we ask, Lord Robert is that you love and cherish my sister Lady Gwendolyn. You and she might have some differences, but you will work through them. And I can attest that having my wife back, and our family including our daughter Lady Tamsin is a blessing that I will thank the deity for all of my days. I wish you equal felicity with Lady Gwendolyn.”
Lord Robert: “Thank you , Lord Alfred. You are most gracious. And I will consider all that everyone here to day has said.” He pauses. “But will someone please help me with this poor fish?” Lord Robert asks has he holds his fishing rod out for someone to take and to do the deed of ending the poor fish’s life.
As desired, the wedding of Lady Gwendolyn Lindsay of York and Lord Robert Knightsbridge the Marquess of Wyre of Lancashire is a lovely affair held at her family’s York Cathedral. Although the attendance was not as small as the bride and groom would have liked—with several peers living nearby and having to be asked to join them or risk offending them, and possibly losing their support on important bills in the House of Lords.
Of course their niece Lady Tamsin delighted in her flower girl role in her new old gown of light blue satin. She tossed flower petals down the long York Cathedral aisle as the Duke of York led his daughter Lady Gwendolyn to her groom Lord Robert waiting for her at the altar railing. Lord Robert was enchanted by his bride Lady Gwendolyn’s beauty and grace as she seemed to float toward him in her blue satin wedding gown. And Lady Gwendolyn admired her groom Lord Robert’s sparing and elegant wedding clothes of a navy blue super fine jacket over a snowy white cravat and embroidered silver waistcoat over buff pantaloons. Their vows were heartfelt—with Lady Gwendolyn’s usually strong voice quivering at the till death do us part bit—because each of them had lost their first loves to untimely deaths, and their marriage is each of them finding love and life anew [(2) below].
The wedding breakfast at York Castle consisted of light refreshments and no alcohol—at both the bride’s and groom’s request, to be family friendly for their and their friends children who were also invited, with punch, lemonade, and tea as beverages to the high tea fare prepared by the York Castle chef. So needless to say, peripheral guests put in an appearance at the wedding and wedding breakfast, then headed home to raid their own wine cellars. And the Yorks had also arranged a smaller wedding refreshment repast in the servants’ hall below as a thank you for their help. And the newlyweds snuck down to the servants’ hall to thank them for their well wishes.
Eventually, Lord Robert and Lady Gwendolyn are able to sneak away from their wedding breakfast family and guests. They had decided to stay home for their wedding night and leave the traveling for their wedding trip to begin on the morrow. However, in staying home for their wedding night, Lady Gwendolyn has a bit of a surprise for her new husband Lord Robert. After changing into a casual carriage gown and carrying a small valise, Lady Gwendolyn knocks on Lord Robert’s guest bedchamber door. As he opens his bedroom door, she sees that Lord Robert has changed into country sporting attire as she requested through her ladies maid to his valet. He also has a valise with him.
Lady Gwendolyn: “Oh, good! I see that you are ready. Then let us be off.”
Lord Robert: Feeling a bit off balance with Lady Gwendolyn taking charge of their wedding night, Lord Robert queries as he walks out of his bedchamber and follows her down the back servants’ stairs. “But I thought that we are staying tonight in your home, rather than beginning our wedding trip?” He is puzzled by this change in plans.
Lady Gwendolyn: “Well, we are not traveling far.” Then she leans up to his ear and whispers, so no random servant can hear her. “We are going to my home on the York estate, where we can be private with each other—no interruptions.” She knows that her brother Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay of York and probably his brother-in-law Lord Harold Blount might try to pull a prank on them.
Lord Robert: “Interruptions?”
Lord Robert blanches. He can not think what she is referring to. But he follows her out of York Castle to the stables where a waiting small gig and single horse are being tended to by a groom. And he lifts her up onto the seat.
Lady Gwendolyn: Holding the reins, she asks sweetly. “Would you mind if I drive? My horse Mabel is used to me driving. And I want to get us speedily away.
Lord Robert: “Naturally, most sensible. Proceed.” He waves his hand in a lets get to it circular motion.
After a short quarter hour ride that is most pleasant due to the weather, the scenery, and his bride’s excellent handling of the gig and her horse, they arrive at a small cottage with smoke coming out of the chimney.
Lady Gwendolyn: “Oh Robert, if you could please unhitch Mabel from the carriage, wipe her down, and then stable her for the night, there should already be hay and water waiting for her. And then bring in our valises for us.” She has had their cottage stay well planned as she walks toward the front door of the cottage.
Lord Robert: “Very well. But if you drove because you are worried that Mabel would be skittish were I to have driven, do you want to risk me getting kicked by her as I settle her into the stable here?”
Lady Gwendolyn: Rolling her eyes, she walks back to her new husband, in the spirit of compromise. “Of course.” He pouts. “Not that I want you to be kicked by Mabel, but that I need to introduce you to her.” She takes his hand and walks him around to the front of her horse and puts his hand on her nose, the horse’s nose. “Just gently rub her nose, Robert. Mabel? This is my new husband Robert.” She says as she strokes the mare’s neck. “You will be seeing a lot of us when we are visiting Mama and Papa. But for now, it is time for you to rest. So Robert will unhitch you and put you into your stable. Sleep well, Mabel.”
Then Lady Gwendolyn hugs the horse around its neck. Mabel snorts in reply and slightly moves her head up and down, which startles Robert.
Lord Robert: Returning to rubbing the horse’s nose, he greets her, the horse Mabel, as Lady Gwendolyn waves and walks to the cottage. “Well Mabel, it’s just you and I for a bit now.” He unhitches the horse from the gig and walks her to the small horse barn and her stable. “Ah and here we see your stall—with nice fresh hay and water as my wife indicated.” Then he ponders while he rubs down Mabel, the horse, using a brush that was hanging from the stall wall. “Any insights on how I keep your mistress happy, old girl?”
Mabel, the horse, turns her head to look back at him, with a knowing eye. Lord Robert makes the best interpretation of that gesture that he can before returning the brush to the hook on the wall and closing and latching Mabel into her horse stall.
After Lord Robert takes the short walk to the cottage and enters it, placing their valises inside the cottage, he sees his new wife Lady Gwendolyn waiting for him. The air crackles with anticipation of their wedding night to come, and they each shyly blush and look away from each other.
Lady Gwendolyn: “Shall I show you around my cottage, such as it is.” She motions to the large open room with a small kitchen and dining area tucked into the side. The fireplace has a small fire going since though still Summer, the August nights can become chilly—especially in the North, where they are. “Oh and the bed chamber is that door there.” She points to the door on one side of the fireplace which shares a wall with the room. “there is a bathing chamber attached for convenience.” She offers helpfully. “Is there anything you need?”
Lord Robert is a bit flummoxed, because his wife has so far set the scene of their wedding night seduction. And for some reason, he wants to be her dashing swain.
Lord Robert: “I do have a request.” He smiles warmly at her. Then he takes two strides to reach her, and he lifts her up into his arms.
Lady Gwendolyn: “Oh!” She laughs.
Lord Robert: “Since you prevented me from carrying you across the threshold, Madam, it behooves you to allow me to tender you my services for our bed chamber.” His voice smoulders with desire. Lord Robert had vowed to himself to treat Lady Gwendolyn patiently and gently on their wedding night. But with her boldly changing their wedding night location, he views her as more a participant in his seduction—rather than merely as a recipient of it.
Lord Robert stalks over to the bed chamber door that is slightly ajar and turns sideways as he sweeps his new wife Lady Gwendolyn into it.
Lady Gwendolyn: Then she points to their valises. “Oh but what about …”
Lady Gwendolyn’s question is stilled by Lord Robert kissing her firmly on her rosebud mouth. He continues his incursion as he moves them near to the large bed that nearly engulfs the whole room. Then he gently lays her down upon the bed and he starts to remove his outer clothing.
Lord Robert: “You were saying, My Love?” He unties his cravat after removing his tweed jacket.
Lady Gwendolyn: “What?” She is transfixed to see her husband so eagerly removing his clothes, in front of her. He stills and raises an eyebrow. “Oh yes! Our valises that you set down by the front door. Shall I get them and you may undress privately?” She asks nervously.
Lord Robert: “No need. I will get them for us.” And he does so, the cottage is so small that with his long legs he is only a few strides away from anywhere in it. He returns with their valises and hands Lady Gwendolyn her valise.
Lady Gwendolyn: “Thank you. I will just go into the bathing chamber and …” She stops, finding herself a tad flustered for nearly explaining to her new husband about the personal matter that she will be attending to—changing clothes.
Lord Robert: “Excellent! Might I peek inside the bathing chamber before you visit it?” She nods her head and he does so. “Very nice. After you, My Love.” He holds out his arm and she walks into the bathing chamber. “I’ll will just check to make sure that the cottage door is bolted.” He says through the closed bathing chamber door, to give his new wife her privacy.
Lady Gwendolyn: “Thank you.” She calls back to her new husband.
Of course, Lord Robert had bolted the door when in entered their cottage—let alone checked that it was bolted when he collected their valises. But Robert wants to set Lady Gwendolyn at her ease—since she is a maiden about to enter into marital intimacies for the first time. He is consumed with her soon to be exiting the bathing chamber in her nightgown—hoping not to overwhelm her with his loving ardor.
And when Lord Robert returns to their cottage bed chamber, he finds Lady Gwendolyn reentering it from the bathing chamber—her wearing a sweet looking Summer day dress, rather than her nightgown. He tries not to let his disappointment show, but his face must have given him away.
Lady Gwendolyn: “Oh!” She looks down at her cream day dress with embroidered flowers on it. Then Lady Gwendolyn sheepishly smiles up at him. “Robert, I hope you do not mind if we are informal as we heat up and eat dinner.”
Lord Robert: He takes her hand in his and kisses it. “Not at all, My Love. You look charming.” He smiles warmly down at her as he continues to hold her hand in his. “It is just that … I am not hungry yet—after our wedding breakfast foods.”
Lady Gwendolyn: “Of course. We can wait to heat up the meals that cook has already prepared for us. Shall we sit by the fire in the parlor and talk about our day?” She asks a tad nervously.
Lord Robert: Realizing that patience is the virtue that he will indeed need this night, he guides her out of their cottage bed chamber and into the parlor. Then he remembers. “Ah! Let me visit the bathing chamber to refresh myself.”
He intends to shave again so as not to irritate her lovely face when he kisses her. She nods and goes to sit upon the settee. Lord Robert is only detained for not more than a quarter hour, since he had had his valet give him a very close shave before the wedding. And he emerges from their cottage bed chamber wearing neither his jacket, nor his cravat, and with a different blousy shirt unbuttoned. And he has doffed his boots.
Lady Gwendolyn: “Oh!” Lady Gwendolyn’s eyes go wide and her lips stay in a frozen ‘O’ shape as she gazes upon his bare neck and his chest peeking out of his open blousy shirt, as well as, his socks covered feet. She has never seen a gentleman’s unshod feet before.
Lord Robert: Lord Robert sits down next to Lady Gwendolyn upon the parlor settee. “Well wife, would you like to become more comfortable and remove … your slippers?” And before she can respond to his scandalous suggestion, he drops to his knees and performs that office for her. “You have such small feet and ankles.” He marvels in wonder as his hands linger there, just under the hem of her Summer day dress.
Lady Gwendolyn: “Yes, I always have had small feet.” She sighs with the tingles she is feeling from his tender touch.
Lord Robert: He looks up at her with tenderness. “There now, is there another way we can make you more comfortable, My Love?”
Lady Gwendolyn: “No, no! I am fine. The fireplace emits a pleasing warmth.” Lady Gwendolyn rushes to assure him.
Lord Robert: Lord Robert returns to sitting next to Lady Gwendolyn upon the settee. “I am glad to that you feel … warm.” His voice smoulders. However, I would imagine that your corset is rather confining, and uncomfortable.”
Lady Gwendolyn: “How would you know?” She looks at him dubiously.
Lord Robert: “Ha ha ha ha ha! I am a brother to a sister. And of anything, Connie is often complaining about her corset—when amongst family only, of course.”
Lady Gwendolyn: “Oh! Well, of course, they can be.” She is loathe to mention her undergarments by name.
Lord Robert: “But? You seem to be refraining from revealing something to me. Come, come, we are husband and wife now. You can tell me anything.”
Lady Gwendolyn: “Well …” He nods encouragingly at his wife, and he does not quite expect her reply. “It is just that. I need help to remove .. that is to say that … my lacings …” She whispers unintentionally evocatively. “… must be undone. And I can not do it by myself.”
Lord Robert: “Well, I can help you unlace your lacings.” He smiles benignly to set her at her ease, but his heart is racing at the prospect of him unlacing her lacings.
Lady Gwendolyn: “But I thought that I would wait to ask you to unlace me, until later–when I wanted to change into my night gown … before we go to sleep for the night.”
Lord Robert: “That is one option certainly.” He nods in agreement. “But I would like to have you feeling more comfortable now, rather than make you … wait, confined in your corset.” And he is also thinking of him not wanting to wait for their love making. He stands up from the settee. “Come, My Love. I will assist you in the unlacing.” He smiles warmly, very warmly.
Lady Gwendolyn nods shyly and is led by her new husband Lord Robert back into their cottage bed chamber. She walks into the bathing chamber, shuts the door and removes her dress which unbuttons in the front. Then she tremblingly holds her robe in front of her corset covered chemise and petticoats and walks back into their bed chamber. She finds her husband Robert sitting on the side of the bed—not missing any further clothing items, which relieves her greatly. Then he beckons to her.
Lord Robert: “Let me to your lacings, Gwen, My Love. Stand with your back to me.” Lady Gwen slowly walks to her husband and does as he bids her. “Ah! What a pretty garment you have under your corset.” He admires as he fingers the lace edging upon the collared back, before settling his hands upon her hips. She startles as his intimate touch.
Lady Gwendolyn: “Oh! Your hands are so warm. When mine are so cold.” She turns to face him and holds one hand out to him as he smiles at her.
Lord Robert: “Well! Let me see if I can warm you up. Sit down across my legs sideways. Then I can unlace you with my right hand whilst my left hand is keeping your right hand warm.”
And as Lord Robert unlaces his wife Lady Gwendolyn’s corset with one hand, he kisses and warmingly blows upon her right hand with his left hand also warming it up. This kissing distracts her such that he has her unlaced and rests his right hand upon her right hip, underneath the now open corset back before she is aware that he is done unlacing her. Then he leans her back into his right arm and he tenderly kisses her on her lips for several long moments, as they delight in the feel of their lips opening and closing upon each other. Then he pulls back and smiles adoringly at her and she smiles adoringly back at him.
Lady Gwendolyn: “That was most pleasant, Robert Dear. But I must put on my nightgown.” Because her nightgown will provide her bosoms with much needed support, now that she is lacking a corset.
Lord Robert: “Of course, My Love. And while you are in the bathing chamber changing, I will change into my bed time attire in here.” Which for Lord Robert consists of the blousy shirt that he had been wearing and drawers, since his valise was not large enough to also contain his robe.
Usually a person inside the bed chamber knocks politely at the bathing room door to be admitted. However Lady Gwendolyn who is in the bathing room and now changed into her empire waisted sleeveless silk nightgown, does the knocking—to insure that she does not enter their shared bed chamber too soon, before her new husband his changed into his bedtime attire. She lightly knocks three times on the bathing room door to the bed chamber.
Lady Gwendolyn: “Might I come in to the bed chamber, Robert Dear?” She asks tremulously.
Lord Robert: “Naturally, Gwen, My Love.” He smoulders as he stands up from the bed after removing his stockings.
Lady Gwendolyn has retained her stockings, since she does not have bed time slippers with her in her small valise. And the first thing she sees is her new husband’s bare feet—then she quickly closes her eyes, to spare their embarrassment.
Lady Gwendolyn: “I’m sorry that I came in before you had time to put on your slippers.”
Lord Robert: “No worry, My Love. As you are not wearing slippers, neither am I.”
Lady Gwendolyn: “Yes, but I have retained my stockings.”
Lord Robert: “Ah! So you have. Shall I help you remove them for you?”
Lady Gwendolyn: “No, no! I do not have my slippers with me.”
Lord Robert: “But we do not need slippers if we choose to rest in bed before dinner.” He suggests smoulderingly.
Lady Gwendolyn: “True. … But I had thought that we might sit and talk more in front of the fire place in the parlor.”
Lord Robert: Guiding her to one side of the bed and holding up the sheet and blanket for her to slip in, he remarks. “Perhaps after dinner we might do that. I cannot sleep nor rest in bed on a full stomach.” He walks around to his side of the bed and slides into bed next to her.
Lady Gwendolyn: “And that is why you want to rest in bed now? Because your stomach is not full?”
Lord Robert: “One of the reasons. And we have not kissed yet near enough today, and I would like to resume our practicing kissing. Would that please you, Gwen My Love?”
Lady Gwendolyn: Lady Gwendolyn’s shy maidenly mind wars with her heart as she thinks about his request. “Kissing practice would be very nice, Robert Dear.” She nods her head for emphasis.
Lord Robert: “Thank you!” And he also gives an inner cheer to the deity for finally getting his wife into bed on their wedding night. Then caressing her with his eyes even as he embraces her with his arms, he says lovingly. “Gwen My Love, I give you my solemn vow that every day of our lives together will be filled with love and happiness. I love you so!”
Lady Gwendolyn: “Oh Robert, I wish that for us as well. I love you so!”
Then Lord Robert and Lady Gwendolyn practice their kissing–and then some, as their marriage well and truly begins.
To be continued with Chapter 37 Epilogue
Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement): Chapter 36 End images for December 30, 2019 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1272)
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) Image representing Lord Robert’s and Lady Gwendolyn’s clasping hands during their wedding was found at http://moerosokuhou.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/which-hand-for-wedding-ring-elegant-wedding-rings-on-hands-background-wallpaper-i-hd-images-of-which-hand-for-wedding-ring.jpg
“Expectations” (Book 2) Ch. 36 URL for Wattpad story post for December 30, 2019 (Post#1272):
Previous “Expectations” (Book 2) Ch. 35 URL for Something About Love story post for September 23, 2019 (Post#1263):
P.S. And I am particularly happy to share this almost final chapter with you on this, my 30th wedding anniversary. Holiday Cheers! Grati ;->