(An original Regency Romance story copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace, 2021; All rights reserved) [(1) story cover above left]
[Illustrations: I cast my stories as I write them. So from time to time, I will illustrate my story with actors and such, including: Richard Armitage as Lord Edward Carlisle, Daniela Denby-Ashe as Lady Emily Creighton, Blake Ritson as Lord Kittredge Wells, Polly Walker as Lady Patience Creighton, Bill Nighy as Lord Nigel Creighton the Earl of Stoke, and others as noted.]
[Author’s Note: This original Regency romance is a work of fiction, and as such, any character names, scenes or other descriptions were made at the creative discretion of this author. And this is a gentle romance (G to PG-13), but with some frank discussions about love and marriage put to humorous effect. This is my disclaimer.]
Ch. 06: Their promised carriage ride is fulfilled
Being the attentive suitor–since she had made herself sore by having her eye brows plucked into a pleasing submission in order for her to look more feminine to him—Lord Edward Carlisle visits Lady Emily Creighton the following day. He bestows upon her another nosegay and takes tea with her–them talking about their delayed carriage ride yet to come. For though Emily’s swelling, redness, and pain has abated by half, she is still in too much discomfort to enjoy a ride with him. This pattern of Lord Edward’s considerate visiting of Lady Emily continues for yet a third day.
However, the fourth day with Lady Emily fully recovered from having her eyebrows plucked and tamed, she dearly wants her carriage ride outing with Lord Edward. So she sends him a note that morning indicating that she will be most agreeable to him bringing his smart open gig around this afternoon for their promenade in the park. And then she invites him to partake tea with her after. Lord Edward sends a reply that he will be most happy to oblige her at four o’clock this afternoon.
Lady Emily is thrilled to not only have a carriage ride with her Edward, but that they will do so on full display of other potential suitors also promenading in the park, should Edward not wish to fulfill his proposal of marriage to her. Although Lady Emily will be crushed if Lord Edward declines to stand by his offer of marriage, she did not realistically think that she would even have a proposal from him or anyone. So she feels that she is already ahead in her matrimonial dreams.
Lord Edward, however, is uncertain as to whether it is wise to pay such particular attention to Lady Emily were other ladies whom he might wish to become acquainted with to consider him off the market. Though Lady Emily seems to Lord Edward to be an affable invalid during her recovery, she is quite effusive in her thanks and praise for his attentions to her. He feels that she is trying too hard to please him–and she is.
However all such notions of easing himself away from
Lady Emily go out of Lord Edward Carlisle’s head after he collects the now quite lovely Lady Emily Creighton for their promised open gig carriage ride [(2) right] in The Park on Thursday.
Lady Emily Creighton is quite magnificently transformed into a confection of womanly charms today–due largely to her cousin Lord Kittredge Wells fashion influence—and the aforementioned plucking of her eyebrows. She wears a burgundy wool spencer jacket over her slightly lighter shade of burgundy taffeta carriage dress with fine lace accents around the low scalloped collar that quite advantageously showcases her fine bosoms in silhouette. Her burgundy kid gloved hands are in a light gray muff of soft rabbit fur.
And the chapeau atop Lady Emily’s head does not overwhelm her, but rather her bonnet has a set back brim to expose and to frame the loveliness of her features and her softly curled hair—perfect for kissing were anyone to be so inclined. Her now delicately shaped eyebrows frame lovely expressive eyes sparkling with eagerness. Her pert little nose, rosie cheeks, a sweet little chin, and lovely rosebud lips round out her very favorable overall impression of loveliness. Yes, indeed, Lord Edward thinks that Lady Emily Creighton is definitely in the running to become his wife.
After focusing upon navigating the more congested than usual carriage traffic to The Park, Lord Edward slows his matched bays to a walk as he and Lady Emily converse.
Lord Edward: “May I say that you look quite fetching today, Lady Emily?” And she does look very fetching to Lord Edward.
Lady Emily smiles broadly as she shyly glances up at Edward to gauge the genuineness of his remark. Seeing his eyes conveying his sincerity, she replies with a warm smile.
Lady Emily: “You may, Lord Edward. Thank you! It is not often that I receive compliments–let alone in broad daylight, when people can see me clearly.” She admits with some astonishment.
Lord Edward: “Ha ha ha ha ha!” He roars with laughter. “Oh Emmy! You say the most amusing things!”
Lady Emily: “Do I?” She asks, half smiling with relief for him clarifying his laughter at her remark. She is unused to compliments—nor others thinking that she has amusing things to say. “Thank you, Edward.” She replies meekly.
Lord Edward: “Lady Emily, will I have the pleasure of seeing you at the Henderson’s Ball tomorrow night?” He asks interestedly. “I should most like to claim at least two dances with you—with at least one of them being a waltz.” He adds huskily. In general, the waltz [(3)] is deemed quite scandalous, since the two individuals partnered for a waltz dance so closely together, and touch their hands for extended periods of time. Scandalous!
Lady Emily: “You will. And you may.” She looks away from him in shy embarrassment.
Lord Edward: “What is it, my dear? You seem distressed.” Edward wonders if his attentions to her have been too pronounced, and that now she might be regretting his proposal to her.
Lady Emily: “Well, if you must know, it is Kitt’s fault.” She winces and nibbles upon her lower lip—the action of which causes Lord Edward to worry that she is indeed in distress.
Lord Edward: “Kitt? What has he done now?” Edward wonders what other transformations his best friend and her cousin might wish to wreak upon her person.
Lady Emily: “Oh! I shouldn’t say.” She breathes in deeply and her bosoms heave up and down.
Or at least, Lord Edward is guessing that the pleasing fullness of her person to be. You see, Lord Edward might have a more pleasant view were it not for the chill in the air causing Lady Emily to wear a spencer jacket completely covering her bosoms’ finer details. And though Lord Edward had discovered from time to time that the engineering of some ladies gowns give aid to ladies less endowed by nature, he believes that Lady Emily is all herself.
Lord Edward: “Come, come. If we are to be friends–and perhaps more–we should speak frankly with one another.”
Lady Emily: “Well alright. But please tell me to stop talking if I transgress the boundaries of what you are willing to hear.” She has noticed that her cousin Kitt has indicated to her now and then that some of her womanly pronouncements are too personal to be shared—with him, anyway.
Lord Edward: “Very well.” He smiles wryly at her.
Lady Emily: “Oh Dear!” She sighs before plunging into divulging her dilemma to her suitor Edward. “It is just that the ball gown Kitt has chosen for me to wear–as part of his reclamation project of my marital aspirations–is … not of my usual style.” Lady Emily vaguely mutters at the end, her not wanting to seem to characterize her gown as scandalous–which she entirely believes it to be.
Lord Edward: “Oh? But the day dresses and your carriage gown today that he has chosen for you so far are charming! What is objectionable to you about your ball gown for tomorrow night? Is the color or style not to your liking? Or does it have too much ornamentation for your tastes?” For he knows how much his friend Lord Kittredge Wells enjoys fripperies.
Lady Emily: “It is not so much what is on the gown, as what is not on the gown.” She bites her lower lip. Lord Edward tilts his head toward her waiting for her to elaborate. Then she leans close and whispers to him. “It lacks sufficient fabric in some areas.” She pinkens.
Lord Edward: “Do you mean that the gown is too small for you?”
Lady Emily: “Yes! Well, no, not really.”
Lord Edward: Still not understanding her concerns, he asks again. “So what is wrong with the gown?”
Lady Emily: She blurts out in a hushed whisper. “My bosoms show too much in it!” She clamps her gloved hand over her mouth, mortified to have revealed to him about her ball gown’s lack of cleavage coverage–and then her noticing where Lord Edward’s gaze inevitably strays to her spencer covered bosoms.
Lord Edward: Refraining from cheekily stating I should like to see that, Lord Edward nods sagely, with a twinkle in his eyes. “Bosoms on display do tend to be the style these days in ballrooms, My Dear.”
Lady Emily: “But the gown is positively indecent! And I shall surely catch pneumonia! Let alone it causing gentlemen to lecherously leer at me.” Lady Emily mumbles that last bit.
Lord Edward: Feeling the beginnings of a stirring down below, Edward grimaces. “Can not the seamstress recommend some lace edging to cover you up more as you wish?” His voice slightly cracks with the strain of the reemergence–once more in Lady Emily’s presence–of what Lord Kittredge calls his masculine nature.
Lady Emily: “That is what I asked Kitt! But he said that ladies must show their wares if they are to catch a husband.” And Lady Emily deftly impersonates her cousin Lord Kittredge Wells by flicking her wrist in disdain, as he is often want to do.
Lord Edward: “Kkhhh!” Edward coughs and shifts position in his seat. He needs to get the conversation away from talking about her bosoms–or any bosoms for that matter–or he will not be responsible for his continuing reaction to that topic of conversation. And he silently agrees with his best friend Lord Kittredge Wells, Lord Edward Carlisle most decidedly needs to exercise his manly nature. “Well, Kitt is a fashion arbiter. Say Emmy, tell me what you make of Sir Joshua Reynolds and Major Palmer Wentworth trotting our way?”
Lady Emily: “Who?” She startles.
Lady Emily’s head swings to look forward again, her now noticing the handsome young bachelors trotting toward them side by side on their horses, and who pull up short with the intention of conversing with them.
Lord Edward: “Reynolds! Wentworth! To what do we owe the honor of your seeking us out this fine day?”
Sir Joshua Reynolds: “Well, old chap! We hoped that you might introduce us to your sister here.” He gestures to Lady Emily, obviously not realizing who she is.
Lord Edward: “Oh! This is not my sister. This is Lady Emily Creighton! Lady Emily, this is Sir Joshua Reynolds and Major Palmer Wentworth.” The men are a first son and a second son, respectively.
Major Palmer Wentworth: “Really? But you are too pretty, to be she, My Lady. Lady Emily has the single eyebrow, you know.” He frowns and rubs his gloved index finger across his eyebrow ridge as if to demonstrate.
Lady Emily’s hands quickly flit to her forehead–as if to cover her now distinct two eyebrows from view.
Lady Emily: A bit tongue tied at being called pretty, Lady Emily smiles wincingly. “My cousin Lord Kittredge Wells plucked them for me—my eyebrows, I mean.” Again, she is honest to a fault.
Sir Joshua Reynolds: “Well! He did a damn fine job! Oh! Pardon my language, My Lady.” Lady Emily nods, but she does not look up at him, so shy is she.
Major Palmer Wentworth: “See here, Lord Edward, we heard that you had offered for the single eyebrow chit. Does that mean that this lovely lady is taken?”
Lord Edward: “Gentlemen, please, have a care. Lady Emily can hear you talking about her as if she were not sitting right in front of you!”
Sir Joshua Reynolds: “Of course. Apologies, My Lady.” Emily nods again. “But dash it, Carlisle, your caterpillar has become a swan.”
Major Palmer Wentworth: “You mean butterfly, Old Chap!”
Sir Joshua Reynolds: “What?” He looks at his riding companion in confusion.
Lady Emily: And Lady Emily finds her voice again. “Yes, Sir Joshua. For your analogy to follow through, the caterpillar becomes a butterfly. It is an ugly duckling that becomes a swan.”
She winces again. Lady Emily would much rather be thought of as a graceful swan than a butterfly. But then the implications would be that she had been an ugly duckling. One cannot have the sweet without the tart in these metaphorical musings.
Lord Edward: “Gentleman. Was there a point to your greeting us today?” He asks proprietarily. It is one thing for Lord Edward to think that Lady Emily is pretty. It is quite another for him to allow another man–or other men in this case–to view her as pretty.
Sir Joshua Reynolds: “Dash it, yes! We want to claim a dance or two on your dance card tomorrow night at the Henderson Ball, My Lady.”
Lady Emily: Wide eyed, she asks incredulously. “You do?”
Major Palmer Wentworth: “We do!”
Lord Edward: “You have not even ascertained whether Lady Emily will be attending the Henderson Ball.” He shakes his head.
Sir Joshua Reynolds: “Well, are you not going, Lady Emily?” He asks her forlornly.
Lady Emily: “Oh no!” Major Palmer and Sir Joshua frown. “I mean, yes, I am attending. And I will be delighted to favor each of you with two dances.” Lady Emily smiles shyly at the two men–who now grin like Cheshire cats at her.
As they ride off with smiles upon their faces, the two men promise again to Lady Emily to claim two dances a piece. Lord Edward is not amused. Lady Emily is his almost betrothed. He offered for her. They simply haven’t clarified their understanding yet.
Lord Edward: “The cheek of those two! I do apologize, Lady Emily.”
Lady Emily: “Why? You are not responsible for them. Besides, they thought me pretty. And now I have four more dances lined up for tomorrow night’s ball!” Lady Emily squeezes Edward’s arm as she squeals with glee. “Oh Edward, thank you! Being your almost betrothed, definitely has its advantages.”
Lord Edward: “Now Emmy, I should caution you to be careful with whom you decide to associate.”
Lady Emily: “But they are your acquaintances. Are they not respectable?” She inquires innocently whilst gazing up into Lord Edwards’ piercing blue eyes gazing down at her.
Lord Edward: “Well … yes.” He admits reluctantly.
And though Lord Edward leans toward Lady Emily, as if to kiss her, he checks it. They are in The Park, afterall. And blast, thinks Lord Edward. It would not do to do something as scandalous as to kiss her in public. Though it would likely push forward his efforts to marry the young lady, Lord Edward does not want Lady Emily to be forced into marrying him—a situation which, in hind sight, he realizes was the situation that his first, now late wife Edith faced. So Lord Edward returns his gaze forward and lets his horses move forward.
Lady Emily: “Then I intend to dance with each of them!” She bobs her head in firm resolve. No simpleton, Lady Emily understands that young men of good breeding and sound financial situation are at a premium. And with two of them choosing to dance with her–in addition to dear Edward, of course–she feels that her husband hunting prospects are improving moment to moment.
Lord Edward: “What about your scandalous bosom revealing gown?” Edward tries to give Lady Emily pause. But it has an unintended affect.
Lady Emily: “Well, Kitt did say that a low cut gown might help me catch a husband.” She shrugs her shoulders.
Her only real concern about the gown was that her bosoms might have a better showing than her face. But now with having two gentlemen call her pretty without even seeing her bosoms–in addition to her Dear Edward–Lady Emily is positively glowing with delight.
Whereas Lord Edward broodingly realizes that he might—nay, he will– have some competition for Lady Emily’s hand, now that she looks pretty. And the Henderson Ball tomorrow night–Friday night–awaits for Lord Edward to test his hypothesis. And if he is to woo and wed Lady Emily, Lord Edward must increase his efforts in fixing his attentions upon the young lady.
To be continue with Chapter 7
References for the Ch. 06 of “Seeking the Niceties of Marriage”, May 23, 2021 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1383)
- My “Seeking the Niceties of Marriage” story cover illustration is comprised of: a) ivory lace background with Grati edit, found at torrid.com; and a b) Victorian roses bouquet painting by the Boston Public Library, via Atlas Obscura (with some Grati edits ), found at https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/how-flowerobsessed-victorians-encoded-messages-in-bouquets; and with c) the text in deep pink coral in a Vivaldi font.
2. Illustration (flipped) of Victorian couple riding in the park was found at https://i1.wp.com/judeknightauthor.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/victorian.jpg?resize=370%2C3803. For some historical information about the dance known as the waltz please visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waltz
Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad site for Ch. 06 of “Seeking the Niceties of Marriage”:
Previous SAL blog post #1381 link for Ch. 05 “Seeking the Niceties of Marriage”: