(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. 14—Another Wedding
One week. In one week, Lady Rachel Gosford—Lady Emily Carlisle’s cousin—will be wed to Lord Montague “Monty” Withers, Lord Edward Carlisle’s cousin. And Lady Emily and Lord Edward are promised to stand up with their cousins as Matron of Honor and Best Man, respectively.
It is a disaster waiting to happen. Oh! Not that Lady Rachel and Lord Monty are to wed. These two have long been attached to one another from childhood—and lovingly betrothed since her fourteenth birthday and his eighteenth birthday. So now that the intended bride is ten and eight years—with her groom being two and twenty years—the wedding will proceed, in one week.
Unfortunately there is a slight problem with their wedding party. It is not that the wedding breakfast lost its venue nor food. No, the issue lies with their main attendants, the Best Man and Matron of Honor—respectively, Lord Edward and Lady Emily Carlisle, the newlyweds of soon to be three weeks.
For with Lady Emily’s seemingly with child state achieved almost as soon as she and Lord Edward married—a state for which Lord Edward is exceedingly and masculinely proud—his poor young wife is beginning to suffer all the effects of the morning pregnancy illnesses that usually affect soon to be mothers. With Lady Emily experiencing a particularly virulent form of stomach upset.
Of course, Mrs. Griffin as the Carlisle House’s Housekeeper had to be told of Lady Emily Carlisle’s delicate condition. And she promises to be ever so helpful in promoting calm and comfort in her Ladyship’s new home of Carlisle House in London. Though redecorating discussions willd have to wait until Lady Carlisle feels better—once she is in her fourth month of pregnancy, in two months time—all other accommodations Lady Carlisle wishes will be attended to swiftly. And Lady Emily’s Ladies Maid Miss Pruitt also has an inkling of the upcoming blessed event.
So thus relieved of one burden from her mind—of household harmony with Lady Carlisle as Lady of the House—Lady Emily and Lord Edward Carlisle look forward to the wedding of their cousins upon the coming weekend.
But as the week progresses toward Lady Rachel’s and Lord Monty’s wedding day, Lady Emily’s constitution becomes steadily worse—with everything affecting her and making her sick in the mornings, especially flowers—which she usually adores, but not in her current with child state. And what is a wedding without flowers, pray tell? Exactly.
So Lady Emily feels that she must bow out of being her cousin Lady Rachel’s Matron of Honor and to even decline to attend the wedding—to avoid Lady Emily from capitulating the contents of her stomach during the wedding service. And Lord Edward is so concerned for his young bride Lady Emily and he wants to be continually by her side, as lying chastely in her husband’s arms seems to be the only comfort that aids her—in addition to some ginger laced tea and thin crackers—that Lord Edward feels that he will also have to bow out as Best Man to his cousin Lord Monty.
It is an impossible situation for Lady Emily to be in, and the stress about letting down her cousin Lady Rachel is almost making her illnesses worse. And Lady Emily now has fits of weeping and other emotional outbursts that are so unlike her. So there is the added concern that the strain and worry that Lady Emily feels might be injurious to her with child condition.
Lady Rachel and Lord Monty sincerely assure Lady Emily and Lord Edward that they completely understand that the wedding flowers will make Lady Emily ill were she to even attend the wedding. But they are still sad that their good friends and cousins will not even be able to attend their wedding ceremony.
So an unlikely quarter yet to be heard from—Lord Kittredge Wells [(2) right], cousin to Lady Emily, and to Lady Rachel, and best friend to Lady Emily’s husband Lord Edward—proposes a suggested solution to Lady Rachel and Lord Monty, that is quickly agreed to, if but Lady Emily thinks that it will suffice. However, the solution will require some adroit maneuvering upon the bridal parents of Lady Rachel and Lord Monty to quickly and drastically change the wedding ceremony and wedding breakfast arrangements.
First, Lord Kittredge tests his theory to see if his suggestion will work, by visiting his cousin Lady Emily Carlisle at Carlisle House in London Tuesday morning to try to bring her some cheer. And he is happy to find Lord Edward traversing the foyer at the moment of his arrival, when the butler opens the door to him.
Lord Kittredge: “Lord Carlisle. Your servant sir.” He states formally and bows, since they are in front of the Butler. Though the Butler is well aware of the two men’s lifelong friendship. “I come to see how Dear Lady Carlisle fares. And I wish to be of aid.” Lord Kittredge having already been taken into Lord Edward’s confidence that Lady Emily is with child, and naturally feeling poorly.
Lord Edward: “Let us walk into this parlor.” The men sit down upon two large wing chairs on either side of the gray flecked with white marble fireplace. “Kitt, if you can do anything to help my darling Lady Emily feel better, and perhaps attend the wedding even if not as Lady Rachel’s Matron of Honor, we will be forever in your debt.” Lord Edward looks pleadingly at his lifelong best friend. The joys of impending fatherhood have been temporarily eclipsed by his worry for his beloved wife’s pregnancy illnesses.
Lord Kittredge: “Let us not be too hopeful, Edward.” Then he looks around this particular parlor of Carlisle House and is aghast. “What are you thinking having all of these floral arrangements in the house with Emmy’s enceinte illnesses?”
Lord Edward: “Oh! My Dear Lady Emily loves flowers so, and they are only placed in the rooms on the main floor here—not our bed chamber on the second floor. So she stays above stairs in the mornings.”
Lord Kittredge: “Edward, even so, the floral scents and spores—from the maids arranging flowers and dusting around them–can still waft their way upstairs when they also attend to their duties above stairs.” Lord Kittredge flails his arms about agitatedly. “You need to have these floral arrangements and flowering plants removed to your terrace, outside. Now!” He frowns with great emphasis.
So Lord Edward pulls the bell cord which is answered almost immediately by a footman. He motions to the footmen and explains what is wanted—with regard to the flowers being removed here and in the other rooms. And then the windows are also opened to air out the previously flower affected rooms.
After Lord Kittredge is satisfied with the flora removals, he and Lord Edward walk upstairs to visit Lady Emily. It is now 10 o’clock in the morning—still early enough for Emily to feel unwell, for Lord Kittredge to test the remainder of his theory.
Putting his index finger to his lips, Lord Edward lets Lord Kittredge know to be quiet. Then he gently knocks upon the door of his shared bed chamber with Lady Emily.
Lord Edward: “Emily Darling, I have brought our cousin Kitt to cheer you.”
Lord Edward pokes his head into their bed chamber, to gauge his wife’s illness levels as she lies still upon their bed quite still, with a cool wet cloth just placed upon her forehead by her Ladies Maid Pruitt. Miss Pruitt curtsies to Lord Edward and leaves the bed chamber to give them their privacy, and she goes to fold clothes in her Ladyship’s dressing room.
Lady Emily: “Must I see anyone, Edward? I feel so unwell.” She weakly replies. Her strength is sapped from having little food and water with her appetite gone, and her not being able to keep in her stomach what she does manage to eat.
Lord Edward: “Oh, my love!” Lord Edward states caringly in a hushed whisper as he instantly walks to her bedside and kneels down by her bedside. “Kitt does not come to make you more unwell, but to help comfort you. And he thinks that he knows of a way to solve your feeling unwell and the wedding this weekend.”
Lady Emily: “I cannot see how it can be resolved.” She replies despairingly. And a lone tear slowly falls down her left check. Lord Edward gently wipes her tear away by taking a nearby soft linen handkerchief from her bedside table and blotting her cheek for her.
Walking quietly into their bed chamber, Lord Kittredge realizes that he is among a privileged few allowed entry—apart from themselves, the maids, and doctor and midwife.
Lord Kittredge: “Oh you poor thing!” Lord Kittredge sincerely grieves for her unwell state. “I will be brief, Emmy Dear. Our cousin Lady Rachel is amenable to changing the wedding from 10 o’clock in the morning to 3 o’clock in the afternoon—and to have only greenery, no flowers, at the church and the wedding breakfast after, if that will help you.”
Lady Emily: “Oh! But flowers are so pretty for weddings.” She bemoans, for she dearly loves flowers, herself.
Lord Kittredge: “Well, so are greenery bouquets, head wreaths, and such,
especially when paired with lovely colorful ribbons. Look at this” [(3) right].
Then Lord Kittredge thrusts forward a sample greenery bouquet with ribbon adornment for Lady Emily’s inspection. This is both an aesthetic test–with Lady Rachel already approving his suggested changes–as well as, a test for the greenery being unscented and hopefully not causing Lady Emily to feel more unwell than she already does.
Lord Edward: “In my opinion, the bouquet looks quite elegant and restrained, rather than some of the wedding flower monstrosities that one often sees.” He recalls another wedding—not either of his own, mind you—wherein the standing urn container the wedding altar flowers were in was so large, that the flowers placed in it were taller than the vicar.
Lord Kittredge: “Emmy? What do you think?” Now he hands the greenery bouquet to her, assessing her physical reaction to it.
Lady Emily hesitates and turns the bouquet around in her hands for several moments. Lord Kittredge and Lord Edward hold their breaths, literally, waiting for her response and her reaction.
Lady Emily: “This bouquet is lushly full, I will grant you that.” She finally admits without distaste and without her looking more unwell, and her seemingly not being made unwell by it.
So the wedding greenery substitutions and ceremony time moved to later afternoon are executed, and Lady Emily does feel well enough to attend the wedding of Lady Rachel Gosford and Lord Monty Withers—and be her cousin Lady Rachel’s Matron of Honor, with Lord Edward being his cousin Lord Monty’s Best Man–as long as Lady Emily may sit down in the first pew to rest after making her walk up the middle church aisle and taking Lady Rachel’s bouquet from her before the bride and groom clasp hands and the wedding prayers begin.
It would not do for Lady Emily to swoon from standing up at the front as part of the bridal party. And Lord Edward does the same, sitting next to his wife Lady Emily to ascertain her need for rest, should he need to spirit her out of the church. And just in case, Lady Emily and Lord Edward have signed the marriage certificate as Wedding Attendant Witnesses before the wedding ceremony began today.
Happily, Lord Edward and Lady Emily go on to each enjoy both the wedding and the wedding breakfast in the later afternoon this lovely and sunny with cool breezes Saturday. Lady Emily might be a little pale due to her delicate condition, yet her skin also glows from being pregnant. And she smiles prettily for sharing in her much loved cousin Lady Rachel’s wedding to Lord Monty.
And though several society matrons bear down upon Lady Emily Carlisle to remark about her newlywed status and her lovely complexion, Lady Emily remains steadfast in not announcing her with child condition just yet—no matter the provocation, nor prodding by the elderly ladies. It is far too early in her pregnancy to announce it, should the pregnancy not succeed—and she does not want the nosey gossips to start wondering if hers will be an early baby. Yet with her husband Lord Edward’s tender solicitude of her, the nosey matrons are in no doubt that Lady Emily and Lord Edward’s marriage is well and truly a love match. So there, thinks Lord Edward. He is successful, at last, in finding happiness in marriage.
And despite Lady Emily’s elder sisters also bearing down upon her at the Wedding Breakfast celebration as she and her husband Lord Edward sit chatting and noshing upon the wedding treats that she knows will not make her ill, Lady Emily does not tell them either, that she is with child.
Providentially, Lady Emily’s father Lord Creighton extended his and Lady Emily’s mother Lady Creighton’s stay in Paris, such that they missed the Gosford and Withers wedding ceremony and celebration entirely. That astute gentleman knowing that his wife is prone to critique everything she sees—especially other people’s weddings.
And with Lord Creighton—and not Lady Creighton—having been apprised via a privately sent note that their dear daughter Lady Emily might be with child, Lord Creighton gives Lady Emily and Lord Edward some space and time to adjust to that happy state, before being descended upon by the future grandparents.
But what of Lord Kittredge Wells, the architect of the Gosford-Withers successful wedding ceremony and wedding celebration arrangement adjustments to accommodate Lady Emily Carlisle’s pregnancy? Lord Edward notices throughout the wedding celebration some oddly surprised and discomfited facial expressions upon his long time best friend, and now cousin by marriage. Oh Lord Kittredge graciously stands up to dance with some spinster at the wedding celebration that their hostess Lady Gosford brings to his attention. Yet Lord Edward feels that something else is a foot with Lord Kittredge. And he plans to find out what that is at his earliest opportunity.
To be continued with Chapter 15
References for Ch. 14 of “Seeking the Niceties of Marriage”, July11, 2021 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1397)
- 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.2. Lord Kittredge Wells image is that of Blake Ritson as Rev. Elton in Emma 2009 looking-pensively distraught Apr18-2021 viaIMDBcom; Grati-mask-szd
3. Examples of this and other all greenery bouquets were found at https://www.brides.com/gallery/all-greenery-bridal-bouquets
Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad site link for Ch.14 of “Seeking the Niceties of Marriage”:
Previous SAL blog Post #1396 link for Ch. 13 “Seeking the Niceties of Marriage”: