(An original Regency Romance story copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace, 2021; All rights reserved); [(1) story cover below 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 Carlisle, 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 written at the creative discretion of this author. And this is a gentle and tender romance (G to PG-13), but with some frank discussions about love and marriage put to humorous effect. This is my disclaimer.]
Ch. 13—Making a Home Together in London
Since the Wells Castle personal attendants staff were made available to the newlyweds Lord Edward and Lady Emily Carlisle, their personal valet and ladies maid–Mr. Sherman and Miss Pruitt, respectively–went ahead to Carlisle House in London to prepare it for the newlyweds’ homecoming. Though Mr. Sherman was known to the Carlisle House staff, Miss Pruitt was not. So naturally, there were some initial tussles with regard to duties, responsibilities, and territories within the Carlisle home for Lady Emily’s ladies maid Miss Pruitt—most of which were resolved by the written statement and personal words from his Lordship the Viscount Carlisle Lord Edward to his London butler and housekeeper prior to his wedding.
Lord Edward made clear that he wishes his staff to be amenable about the changes that will naturally occur within the household with his new Viscountess soon to be installed there. Lord Edward wishes his Bride Lady Emily to feel at home and welcome to Carlisle House and told his staff that he is giving her carte blanche—for all household matters, decorating, staffing, and the general running of the household. Yet Miss Pruitt senses that her Lady Emily will have a good deal of work to wrest control from the servants and become the true Lady of Carlisle House.
But upon their arrival back in London at Carlisle House, Lord Edward’s focus is not upon a tour of their house, nor meeting with servants about household details—that will come later. No, he first carries his bride Lady Emily over the front door’s threshold to Lady Emily’s surprise as he lifts her up into his arms.
Lord Edward: “Allow me!” He smiles gleefully.
Lady Emily: “Eeee!” She squeals with delight and slight embarrassment. “Edward,” She whispers. “Please put me down. What will the staff think?”
Lord Edward: “Well my Darling, my staff will hopefully think that I am finally blessedly happy.”
Then he twirls around with her in his arms, for good measure, and she squeals some more. And for extra good measure, Lord Edward kisses his sweet bride Lady Emily upon her mouth right under the foyer’s soaring ceiling chandelier.
Though their Butler Mr. Stokes does not crack a smile at this tender scene, their Housekeeper Mrs. Griffin does.
Mrs. Griffin: “Well, My Lord and My Lady, we are glad to see you in good spirits after your long trip. Your Viscount and Viscountess suite of rooms are prepared for you as requested. So go on up and get the dust of traveling off you.” She smiles in a kindly grandmotherly way. “You’ll find that your sitting room has a small repast for you to nibble on. And I’ll have the footmen bring you up more substantial refreshments later.” She emphasizes with a small smirk. “Just pull the bell cord when you want your tea. And should you wish to dine in your chambers this evening, rather than in the formal dining room, we will accommodate your wishes.”
Lord Edward: Not taking his eyes off his blushing bride Lady Emily, Lord Edward responds to his longtime retainer. “Thank you, Mrs. G. I believe that you have anticipated our wishes accurately.”
Then Lord Edward bounds up the grand central staircase two at a time with the slight Lady Emily still in his arms. Initially, he begins to turn toward his old chambers. Then he hears a cough.
Valet, Mr. Sherman: “Khhh! My Lord, Mrs. Griffin has had the Viscount and Viscountess suite chambers made ready for you.” He states in his deferential clipped tone as he gestures to the east corridor.
Lord Edward: “Ah! Thank you, Sherman. Force of habit going to my old room, I suppose.” Then Lord Edward sprints past his valet and down the correct corridor toward his and Lady Emily’s bed chambers suite. “You will love the layout of our suite, My Love. Though not as big nor as luxurious as what we enjoyed at Wells Castle, I believe that you will find it quite lovely. And you may change any decoration or arrangement that you wish.”
Lady Emily: “As long as we share a bed, nothing else matters to me, Edward Dearest.” She smiles longingly at him. Spending nearly three hours to get back to town seemed too long for these love birds to be restrained from their loving wishes.
And Lord Edward carries her into their bed chambers suite’s sitting room, and sets her down upon her feet. Lady Emily looks around at the pale blue walls with white accents that complements the furniture upholstery.
Lady Emily: “Very nice.” She smiles sincerely. “Edward, might you please allow me to visit our shared bathing room first? I shan’t be but a moment.” She grins sheepishly.
Naturally, Lord Edward and Lady Emily are still in the early stages of them understanding the give and take of married life.
Lord Edward: “Of course, My Darling.” Then he stifles a mischievous grin as he guides her to the bathing chamber, then leaves her to it.
Lady Emily: “Eeee!” She squeals in delight again. “Edward, come in here. You must see this.”
And Lord Edward lopes slowly into the bathing room with a studied air of being blasé.
Lord Edward: “Yes, my love?” He smiles benignly, as if nothing is amiss.
Lady Emily: “What is that?” She points to a very large eight foot long oval
porcelain object centered in front of the bay window of the bathing room [(2) right].
Lord Edward: Prolonging her suspense, he replies and gestures to the item in question. “Oh, that?” She nods in stupefaction. “That, My Love, is our tub, for two.” He smiles most seductively at his young Bride.
Lady Emily: “Oh!” She blushes. “Well, we can try it, I suppose.” Though she has only ever bathed alone, and quite likes her privacy. Lord Edward smiles wolfishly at her. “Though just now, I do not see what I had hoped was in here—as it was at Wells Castle.” She pouts nervously.
Lord Edward: “Ah, my dear, our bathing chamber has a separate small room for the necessities.” He states delicately, strides to the other side of the room, and opens a door leading to a small but spacious converted closet—or garderobe [(3)] with a chamber pot–that also includes a wash stand with a pitcher of water, a ceramic basin, and a hand towel.
Lady Emily: “Ah! Well if you will excuse me then, Edward, I will return to you in but a moment.” She shoos him out of the bathing room’s door. Now she just has to figure out how this garderobe/closet necessary room works–given ladies voluminous skirts.
After Lady Emily lies down for her afternoon nap on a nearby day bed,
she looks so lovely [(4) right] amidst [a] large vase of peony flowers that Lord Edward joins her there—with them eventually moving to their spacious bed for greater comfort with his large frame and long legs, as they share their love again with each other this afternoon of their homecoming.
Then some time later that evening as Lord Edward and Lady Emily dine in the small sitting room of their bed chambers suite—them sitting a deux on the comfortingly cushioned banquette together, and in their night clothes–Lady Emily makes some observations about Carlisle House—her new home.
Lady Emily: Sweetly clasping his hand in hers, Lady Emily asks. “Edward, Dearest? May I discuss something with you?”
Lord Edward: “Of course, My Darling Emily.” His gaze smouldering
passionately at his wife [(5) right] and with a deeply yearning tremble in his voice. For he believes that if they have not begun their family legacy at some point during the past two and a half weeks of their honeymoon—let alone, after their arrival at Carlisle House this afternoon–it is not for lack of trying.
Lady Emily: “Oh! Well, it is not about … that.” She blushes sweetly. But he pouts, cutely. “Well, not directly, anyway. Edward Dear, what I mean to say is that tomorrow when I speak to our Housekeeper Mrs. Griffin, I wish to have as smooth a discussion as possible with her.”
Lord Edward: “Naturally. Mrs. G is a great old girl—and very kind to children. I even called her Griffy when I was a little boy, so motherly she was to me. I feel confident that she will love you, and that you will love her–I am certain of it.”
Lady Emily: “Yes, well, be that as it may,” She winces. “…were I to suggest to you and to her that there are certain areas of Carlisle House and household management that I would like to change …” Lady Emily and her ladies maid Pruitt had had a brief conversation earlier today, in which she was made aware of certain unhelpful practices of this home—such as not employing a full time laundress staff, which means that the bed linens and towels, etc, are not washed and cleaned as often as she feels they should be.
Lord Edward: “Yes?” He invites her to continue, with a modicum of uncertainty. Lord Edward’s first late wife never took an interest in the House—nor did they share chambers together, for obvious reasons.
Lady Emily: “My question is, will you support me? I cannot succeed as the Lady of Carlisle House if the servants or you are countermanding my requests.” She says gently, but Lady Emily’s voice has the firm edge of a lady who knows her own mind—and one whom expects her staff to comply with her wishes/orders.
Lord Edward: “Well, …” He stalls for time, then hesitantly asks. “What did you have in mind?” Lord Edward has left household matters completely in what he feels is Mrs. Griffin’s capable charge. Being a man, he mostly cared about his food being tasty and not too fussy, his bath being hot, and the receiving and other few rooms that he used most frequently clean and tidy.
Then Lady Emily proceeds to list five areas of the household that need improving, to use her gentle phrasing. She ends with a flourish by stating.
Lady Emily: “Having observed and participated in much of my own home’s management, I feel that I have gained some experience and wisdom regarding creating and maintaining a happy home.”
Lord Edward: “Hopefully with less stridency than your Mama.” Lord Edward looks at her askance. But he realizes that in blending their lives together, there will need to be compromises on both of their parts, as husband and wife.
Lady Emily: “Hhhh! I will grant you that my Mama can be trying at times—and my dear Papa is a saint. But ours was a well run home. So I hope to help Carlisle House achieve that same level of efficiency, freshened elegance, and comfort. I will begin by asking Mrs. Griffin to explain the house’s history and cleaning arrangements to me as we tour it–and asking her what changes she might make if she could. Then I will state my additional wishes. In that way, I hope that she and I can work together, harmoniously.”
Lord Edward: “That sounds like a good plan.” He comments skeptically. “And if you and Mrs. Griffin do not agree on the basic needs of the house?” He asks with trepidation.
Lady Emily: “I hope that it will not come to that. Because Mrs. Griffin is experienced with this house, and I do not wish to have any upheavals in our home’s staffing just now.”
Lord Edward: Picking up on her phrasing, he asks. “I sense that you feel these are urgent matters.” She nods, “But why the urgency? Would not it be prudent for you to observe things around the house for a month or so, and then gradually make changes?” It seems logical to him, but then, he never took much notice of the house and its efficiency before.
Lady Emily: “Well, Edward…” She wets her lips in nervousness. “You see, it is just that, I do not think I have several months to slowly make improvements.” She gazes up into his eyes and he sees tears forming in her eyes and quickly embraces her and kisses her forehead.
Lord Edward: “And why is that, My Love? There, there, everything will be alright.” He adds as her tears fall. They have not even been in residence at Carlisle House a full day. And he wonders what can be distressing her so.
Lady Emily: “I hope so. It is… well, it is just that, from what I have heard, I might soon not feel well enough to busy myself in running our home as I wish to have it run.” She frets.
Lord Edward: “Emily, My Love, are you unwell?” He asks, fearful that an illness will take her from him.
Lady Emily: “No. At least, not yet. But I will likely become unwell soon.”
Lord Edward: “Oh My Love! Why did you not tell me before? Have you seen a doctor? We will have you see the most eminent physician there is.” He promises worriedly.
Lady Emily: “Oh, no! Edward, my possibly … becoming unwell soon… is not a dire portent.” She shakes her head no. “It is just that …” She stops, not wanting to get his hopes up, nor her own.
Lord Edward: “It is just that…?” He nudges her to finish her thought.
Lady Emily: Then she blurts it out. “My courses have not come this week as they normally do. So if they do not come next month as well, then I think that I will be with child.” She looks up at him pleadingly, hoping that he will understand.
Lord Edward: “A baby?” Lord Edward says in a hushly reverent tone. She hesitantly
nods yes. “A baby!” He says more cheerfully. Then he proceeds to achingly tenderly kiss her all over her face and lips [(6) right]. “How wonderful! You must take every precaution and not over do, My Darling Emily.” They embrace joyfully as he soothingly rocks her back and forth as they sit together.
And now Lord Edwards understands that his wife possibly being with child is why his she wants to get the business of reining in the household done and out of the way as soon as may be. So that they may await their child’s birth with joyful anticipation—a son or a daughter, with him having a slight preference for a baby girl first.—a joy that Lord Edward did not think that he would be blessed with even six months ago.
Lady Emily: “I will. And you must know that even if I am careful, if we are careful, the pregnancy might not be … successful.” She worries. Her elder sisters each lost a first pregnancy. So that has been worrying her. But now they each have at least one healthy child. So they are doing well, now.
Lord Edward: “Oh! You mentioned that we must be careful?” She nods yes. “Does that mean, My Darling, that we, … well, I mean, that we should not …” He cannot even say the words.
Lady Emily: “I do not know. All I know is that during the next few weeks, my condition will still be unclear for us. But I will consult with a midwife on the morrow, just to make certain about whether we may, … or not.”
Lord Edward: “Good! Now I say that we get some sleep. You need your strength.”
Lady Emily: “Only sleep?” Lady Emily asks half hopefully and half disappointedly. For Lady Emily has found that the loving attentions of her husband give her great joy and contentment—as she gives to him.
Lord Edward: “Well My Love, we may still be lovingly tender with each other. But, perhaps, just not quite so vigorously jostley.” He blushes sheepishly, as does she.
Lady Emily: “Alright. Hhhh!” She yawns while gracefully covering her mouth with the back of her fingers. “I guess that I am more tired than I thought—after a half day’s traveling, coming to a new home, then our … loving earlier, and finally, my worries over our discussions about the household and our possibly having a baby.”
Lord Edward: Smiling broadly, yet tenderly, he invites her. “Then let us take our rest, My Love.” And he guides her to their bed—helping her to remove her robe and lifting her into bed, before he joins her there.
So the newly married couple of not quite three weeks of Lord Edward and Lady Emily Carlisle, lie down to bed together this night with much upon their minds—happy thoughts about possibly becoming parents this year with a honeymoon baby, and now the less important (to him) thoughts about her running the Carlisle House household. Time and patience will tell them if their hopes, or worries, are answered. And, they also have their friends’ wedding coming up in one week.
To be continued with Chapter 14
References for Ch. 13 of “Seeking the Niceties of Marriage”, July 05, 2021 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1396)
- 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 pinkish coral in a Vivaldi font.
- The image used to reflect the Viscount & Viscountess Carlisle’s bathing chamber tub is a modern take on a Regency bathroom was found at https://www.etonsofbath.com/interior-design/award-for-best-luxury-interior-designer-in-south-west/
- A brief historical essay overview about the evolution of chamber pots, etc. is found at https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/turrets-toilets-partial-history-throne-room-180951788/4. Lady Emily Carlisle sleeping image illustration was found at https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fline.17qq.com%2Farticles%2Fqqhgmsy.html&psig=AOvVaw0qJwz1rjGN1_UbJbw3ESR9&ust=1620136212517000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=2ahUKEwiw4N_s063wAhUMP80KHRD8DuoQjRx6BAgAEAc’ Grati color edit
5. Lord Edward Carlisle gazing smoulderingly at his sweet bride and wife is a RichardArmitage portrait CLS2013 by SarahDunnPhotography, Dec21-2013 iaAmandaMerrFB
6. Lord Edward Carlisle kissing Lady Emily Carlisle is Richard Armitage and Daniela Denby-Ashe in North &South (2004) Epi4_Nov1013Gratiana Lovelace-CapBrt2
Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad site link for Ch.13 of “Seeking the Niceties of Marriage”:
Previous SAL blog Post #1393 link for Ch. 12 “Seeking the Niceties of Marriage”: