(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 the Countess of Stoke, Bill Nighy as Lord Nigel Creighton the Earl of Stoke, Christina Cole as Lady Cecily Englewood Wells, 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. 20: A Mother’s Love
The following week, even as Lord Kittredge and Lady Cecily Wells extend their wedding trip by journeying to France for a few weeks, the fates are with them. For though as Lord Kittredge and Lady Cecily disembark from their ship at the Port of Calais in France–and Lord Kittredge spies his aunt and uncle the Earl and Countess of Stoke—Lady Emily Creighton Carlisle’s parents blessedly do not see the newlyweds as the Creightons board their ship for Dover, England after an extended pleasure trip in France.
Ostensibly, the Creighton’s trip to France was expertly coordinated by the astute and experienced husband of thirty years Lord Nigel Creighton in order to give their youngest daughter Lady Emily Creighton Carlisle and her new husband Lord Edward Carlisle some private newlywed time to themselves—without familial intrusion or interference. And with Lord Creighton the only parent in possession of the possible fact that their beloved daughter Lady Emily might gift them with another grandchild in the new year, Lady Patience Creighton is blissfully unaware of that her Grandmama status will be increasing from two to possibly three grandchildren.
But though Lady Patience Creighton was promised by her husband Lord Nigel Creighton a new wardrobe in France—which she delightedly received–she will not be delayed in returning home to England any longer. She wants to congratulate her much loved nephew Lord Kittredge Wells upon his recent and surprisingly quick marriage to Lady Cecily. Though the Wells’ ship has literally sailed to [France] and Lady Patience will be thwarted in that goal.
So it is with the full force of motherly love and devotion, that Lady Patience and Lord Nigel Creighton hurry home to London to see how their daughter Lady Emily Carlisle fares as a newlywed.
[The Creighton’s] ship [sailing] from Calais, France took an interminable six hours to reach England due to little wind, but choppy seas making sailing safely quite arduous. And though the Creighton’s stayed overnight at Dover, England when they arrived–and then they had two seven hour carriage traveling days to reach London–Lady Patience insists that their first visit the very next day will be to their daughter Lady Emily Creighton Carlisle’s new London town home, Carlisle House.
And sensing that their lack of mother-in-law idyll is at an end—especially, since Lord Edward tasked two footmen to watch the Creighton London townhouse night and day for their arrival—their 11 hour warning from 9pm the night before means that the earliest they might expect Lady Emily’s parents is in the morning after breakfast.
Of course, mornings until about 12 noon are still a most unfortunate time for dear Lady Emily Creighton Carlisle, due to her virulent with child morning sickness. And if her Mama were to see Lady Emily in that unwell state, Lady Patience [would] know instantly of the [happy event] they anticipate. And Lady Patience would end up trying everyone else’s—patience, that is.
For you see, Lady Emily does not feel that she could handle morning sickness with her over bearing Mama fluttering around her. But Lord Edward has a plan to whisk his dear wife two hours away to Wells Castle in the countryside, where they spent their wedding trip—which, as it happens, nicely aligns with his dear wife Lady Emily’s wishes, as well.
So, as Lord Edward and Lady Emily Carlisle’s large traveling carriage is made ready with hot bricks, blankets, a picnic basket of food and drink to nibble upon, etc.—with a small wagon carrying their baggage, along with extra footmen for protection—they plan to set out for Wells Castle.
However, best laid plans, as the saying goes. Because Lord Edward did not want to risk their safety by traveling at midnight, when marauders and criminals are about in force preying upon unsuspecting travelers. And Lady Emily’s morning illness comes to her with a vengeance the following morning—and she cannot be moved, with traveling completely out of the question.
So it will remain for Lord Edward to forbid Lady Patience from terrorizing her daughter—his wife, Lady Emily—about her likely [with child] condition. And he will then truly learn the measure of his Mother-in-law, Lady Patience. For a Mother’s Love is never to be vanquished.
The following day after the Creighton’s returned from Paris, something extraordinary occurred. Or rather, it [did not] occur, unexpectedly[–but happily].. For Lord Edward and Lady Emily receive a short note from her parents relating that they have returned, and hope to pay a visit to them for tea this afternoon, if that is convenient.
Lord Edward is caught off guard by Lady Patience [not] pouncing upon them in the morning when Lady Emily’s [with child] nausea illness is at its worst. Nor even do [Lade Emoly’s parents] turn up unannounced—nor uninvited. But rather, Lady Patience requests to make a visit and she waits to hear her daughter and son-in-law’s reply.
Cuddling with his wife in the later morning to aid in her feeling better, Lord Edward and Lady Emily chat a bit.
Lord Edward: “Well, my guess is that we have your father Lord Creighton to thank for your Mama not descending upon us precipitously this day, My Love.” He smiles, ever more grateful for his father-in-law.
Lady Emily: “Perhaps.” She states weakly for her morning travails always weaken her. And her nausea and such illness seems to [be] becoming more virulent. So during these times of later morning [with child] illness, she is less than her privately loquacious self.
Lord Edward: “So shall I reply to your Mama and Papa that we look forward to seeing them for tea around 4 o’clock today? Hmmm? Best to get their return visit over with, [do you not] think?” He asks hopefully.
Lady Emily: “As you wish, Edward Dear. And I think that I would like to [try to]sleep some now.” She states rather forlornly[–for her rest is difficult to achieve, just now].
Lord Edward: “Very good, Emmy Love. I will join you.” For he knows that her best comfort is found in his arms.
So first, Lord Edward writes the requisite note of invitation to tea to his Mother-in-law and his Father-in-law, the Creightons. Then he removes his outer clothes as silently as he can, then slides into bed with his wife as gently as he can so as not to cause unnecessary vibrations upon their bed surface for Lady Emily.
At precisely 4 o’clock in the afternoon, Lord and Lady Creighton’s carriage arrives at Carlisle House in London, in order to take tea with their daughter Lady Emily and her newlywed husband Lord Edward Carlisle. The Carlisle House Butler shows them to the front parlor and then goes to fetch Lord Carlisle.
For you see, Lord Edward had hoped to be downstairs already to greet them. But Lady Emily had a relapse of nausea and such after their light luncheon at 1 o’clock. So she is still abed, and without having gotten any rest yet. So Lord Edward hastily redresses and promises his wife that he will be back soon. Lord Edward is so very worried for her health and well being, that he forgets to tie his cravat, leaving it hanging around his neck. [In fact, it is a wonder that he remembered to don socks under his shoes.]
As Lord Edward bounds down the stairs and then greets his in-laws in the front parlor, he smiles broadly for their benefit.
Lord Edward: “Lady and Lord Creighton, I am so very glad to welcome you to Carlisle House. For you are almost our very first visitors since Lady Emily and I married four weeks ago.”
Lady Patience: “Oh? Who was the first?” She pouts, her thinking that the Bride’s parents—such as they are—should have been granted the first visit.
Lord Creighton: “My Dear one, we were out of the country. Or I am certain that [we] would have been the [first].” Then he changes the subject. “And the lovely gown you wear now, and the gifts we brought for Emmy and her new husband will be certainly appreciated.”
Lord Edward: “Indeed they will, Lord Creighton. And you do look very fetching Lady Creighton.” Lord Edward had caught on to his Father-in-law’s deft handling of his wife. “And our only other visitors were Lord Kitt and his new bride Lady Cecily before they headed to France as well.”
Lady Patience: “Oh! We missed seeing them. Well, c’est la vie, as the French say. We will see them upon their return.” She states sanguinely.
And sanguine is not a state that Lady Patience is frequently in, but Lord Edward is grateful for it now.
Lord Edward: “And we must beg your indulgence, but dear Lady Emily is feeling under the weather. It came on after luncheon, so perhaps something she ate did not agree with her. So it will be just me hosting you for tea today. And we hope that you can come back when Lady Emily is feeling better.” Though he thinks that might be months from now.
Lady Patience: “Or, her pregnancy illness is even more severe than was my own. Do you remember, Nigel?”
Lord Creighton: “Oh yes, My Love. You suffered so greatly, but our daughters were the happy results of your sacrifice.”
Lord Edward is stupefied that has not only Lady Patience guessed the truth—that Lady Emily is [with child]—but that she is so calm about it.
Lady Patience: “Let us not trouble you with hosting us to tea today, Lord Edward. Your undone cravat tells me that you have been tenderly comforting our Lady Emily, and we do not want to delay you. But might we at least be able to see our daughter for a few minutes before we leave?” She requests plaintively, with a worried loving mother’s look.
Lord Edward: “Of course, we thank you [for your understanding]. Now I must ask that you make no loud noises, nor vibrations in walking into the room. Emmy is very sensitive to both at the moment.” Her parents nod their heads in agreement.
So it is with only mild trepidation that Lord Edward leads and precedes his in-laws up the stairs to the second floor where his and Lady Emily’s master bedchamber suite is. Lord Edward gives a light tap of two knocks upon their bed chamber door.
Lord Edward: “Emily Darling, Your parents have come to see you for but a moment before they leave so you can rest. May we come in?” He asks solicitously—and alerts her to her parents’ imminent presence.
And with her ladies maid having directed one of the cleaning maids to clear away the evidence of her illness a quarter hour ago—along with her ladies maid helping her refresh herself in her bathing chamber—Lady Emily feels a bit better, though she is still quite unwell.
Lady Emily: “For a moment.” She states concisely.
So Lord Edward ushers Lady Emily’s parents into their bed chamber, with Lady Emily lying upon several fluffed up pillow in a fresh nightgown. And at Lord Edward behest, Lady Patience slowly walks to her bedridden daughter with a sweet smile upon her face. Then she gently kisses her forehead, barely making contact so as not to jostle her.
Lady Patience: “Emily Dear, Your Papa and I are so glad to see you again. But we’re sorry that your illness prevents us from staying long. You must have your rest.”
And from standing behind his Mother-in-law Lady Creighton, Lord Edward mouths to his wife and points to Lady Creighton.
Lord Edward: “She knows.” Not being able to see him clearly, Lady Emily looks quizzically at him.
Lord Creighton: “It’s alright, Emily Dear. Your Mama knows. Though I did not tell her.”
Lady Patience: “Well, not directly anyway.” Seeing the lingeringly confused expression upon her daughter’s face, her Mama enlightens her. “He talks in his sleep. So I have known for several days now that you hope to make me a Grandmama again in the new year. Congratulations to you both!” Lady Patience smiles radiantly and gently kisses her daughter’s forehead again.
Lord Edward: “Hmmm.” That solves that puzzle, thinks Lord Edward. But he really wants to find a diplomatic way to end this audience so his Dear Wife Lady Emily can try to rest.
Lord Creighton: “But you rest now, Emmy Dear. We have brought you and Edward some presents from France, that you may look at later.” He sets down one of the two bags that he is holding. Then Lady Patience takes the other bag from him.
Lady Patience: “And Emmy Sweetheart, we brought a few things you might like from your old room to cheer you.” First, she pulls out of the second bag a much loved medium sized cloth dolly with a flower patterned dress [(2) right].
Lady Emily: “Miss Petunia!” Lady Emily whispers in hushed wonder as she takes her much loved dolly from her Mama, kisses it, and then hugs it to her breast. [The four and twenty year old] Lady Emily is petite anyway. So with her now cradling her dolly in her arms, she looks almost child like.
Lady Patience: After setting out a few more decorative items, [Lady Patience] brings out of the bag a small wooden angel and sets it on her daughter’s bedside table. She pushes a switch and the angel turns while a lilting lullaby plays. “When you’re feeling better, you can tell us what else to bring you from your old room.”
Lady Emily tearingly holds up her arms for her Mama’s embrace, and Lady Patience gently hugs her daughter.
Lord Creighton: “We must go, Patience Dear, so Emmy may get some rest.” Lady Patience nods her head and blows her daughter a kiss before they leave.
The Butler hovering nearby, guides Lord and Lady Creighton back downstairs and out to their waiting carriage.
Lord Edward quickly and gratefully removes his outer clothes not  minutes since he donned them again. And then he gently slides into his wife’s bed again, in order to cradle her in his arms as she tries to rest.
Lord Edward: “Your parents short visit was lovely, Emily Darling. Now you rest.” He kisses her temple. But Lady Emily is already fast asleep, clutching her childhood dolly Miss Petunia—as the angel music box continues to play a lilting lullaby.
And Lord Edward thinks that though his Mother-in-law Lady Patience can be overbearing at times, she is also a loving Mother toward his dear wife Lady Emily. And with Lady Emily becoming a new mother in the new year, that Lady Patience’s loving mothering might be just what Lady Emily needs to help get her through the long months ahead—in moderation, of course.
And with his own parents having passed on, Lord Edward finds it a welcome boon to have kind parental figures in the form of his in-laws Lord and Lady Creighton. Who, along with Lord Kittredge Wells and his new bride, are family to him now. And expanding Lord Edward’s family is certainly a very nice bonus of his being married to Lady Emily.
To be continued with Chapter 21
References for Ch. 20 of “Seeking the Niceties of Marriage”, by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1414) September 20, 2021
- My “Seeking the Niceties of Marriage” story cover illustration is comprised of: a) an ivory lace background with Grati edit, found at torrid.com; b) a 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.
- Lady Emily’s much loved medium sized cloth dolly Miss Petunia with a flower patterned dress was found at https://www.cerisebb.com/listing/1016926230/petite-doll-handmade-doll-one-of-a-kind
Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad site link for Ch. 20 of “Seeking the Niceties of Marriage”:
Previous SAL blog Post #1411 link for Ch. 19 “Seeking the Niceties of Marriage”: