(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. 21: Holiday and Baby Preparations
The next six months or so in the lives of Lord Edward and Lady Emily Carlisle, and Lord Kitt and Lady Cecily Wells proves to be loving and fruitful as they look forward to their first married Christmas together as husbands and wives and soon to be parents. They just have to tussle with their extended families for where they celebrate the holiday this season.
And with both noble ladies very much with child—with Lady Emily due in early January, and Lady Cecily due in late January—their conditions give them the advantage in setting their own itineraries.
So Lord Edward and Lady Emily elect to celebrate the Christmas Holiday in their own London Townhouse—without them traveling elsewhere, so close to her pregnancy due date is Lady Emily. And her devoted husband Lord Edward will not risk her slipping and falling trying to get to and from places. So they will host Lady Emily’s parents and her cousin Lord Kitt and his bride Lady Cecily for Christmas Day supper at midday and an overnight stay.
Whereas the Creighton’s will host their other daughters and their families for luncheon Christmas Eve day—allowing Lady Emily’s sisters and their families to visit Lord Edward and Lady Emily Christmas Eve afternoon, before returning home for their own Christmases and their husbands’ families’ gatherings out of town.
And the week preceding Christmas, Lord Kittredge Wells and Lady Cecily Englewood Wells as the newly minted Earl and Countess of Fielding decide to split their time between Wells Castle as the seat of his Barony of Lakeland and Ellerton Abbey as the seat of his Earldom–before returning to their London townhouse early Christmas Day, from Wells Castle, in order to join Lord Edward, Lady Emily and her parents for Christmas Day luncheon.
And Lady Patience delights in having her elder daughters and current grandchildren around her for a few days prior to Christmas Eve day. She and Lord Nigel Creighton enjoy watching their toddler grandchildren of one boy and one girl glow with wide eyed wonder at their holiday decorations and the many presents for them under their Christmas tree.
Of course little Patty who is only 18 months old—and she is also named Patience after her maternal Grandmama Lady Patience–mostly likes small and soft things to play with. So her gifts from her grandparents are a soft pink pillow, soft fabric dollies, and a soft knitted blankie that she cuddlingly falls asleep upon with her dolly in her Grandmama Lady Patience’s loving arms.
And little Patty’s cousin Rupert Nigel at three years of age—and also honored with his maternal Grandpapa’s name as his middle name—is more enamored of differently shaped and painted wooden blocks and building things. Then knocking them down, of course. And blessedly, he is too little yet for a gift of a pony, or even a puppy think his grateful parents.
And both of Lady Emily’s older sisters have a special announcement for their Mama and Papa, the Creighton’s, for they are both with child again—each hoping for a boy and girl, respectively, to balance out their families. Whereas Lady Patience had three daughters–with their third daughter Lady Emily conceived supposedly as their last chance for a boy and heir to Lord Nigel Creighton’s Earldom of Stoke. But Lady Emily was and is a much loved and cherished daughter of their family.
Of course with two pre-Christmas locations and fetes to oversee for the Earl and Countess of Fielding, Lord Kittredge and Lady Cecily Wells are quite busy travelers. And Lady Cecily is bearing up well, considering her own with child state. Though initially quite surprised and perturbed at being with child, Lady Cecily eventually decided to hope for a girl. And Lord Kitt will happily welcome a girl to please his dear wife Lady Cecily, or a boy to succeed him in his Earldom. So Lady Emily has received her wish for she and Lady Cecily to each bear cousins this year.
First the Earl and Countess of Fielding attend their country mansion Ellerton Abbey’s pre-Christmas fetes for two days—as the official country estate for Lord Kittredge’s Well’s Earldom. Since their marriage, both the Abbey and the London Mansion for the Fielding Earldom have undergone extensive and necessary renovations—since even the basic annual maintenance on both properties were neglected in recent years by Lord Kitt’s late distant cousin, from whom he inherited them.
And though Ellerton Abbey’s redecorations have so far been related to the main public rooms, kitchens, dining room, the master bed chamber, and their servants’ sleeping quarters, the rest will have to wait until Spring—including the Ball room, Music Room (with the large grand piano moved into the large formal Dining Room at present), and other family and guest bedchambers. So the bonus for Lord Kitt and Lady Cecily is that they cannot entertain any overnight guests at present—unless the guests wish to sleep in the guest quarters in the Ellerton Abbey stables, that is.
So Lord Kitt and Lady Cecily as the Earl and Countess host the requisite Fielding Village fete mid day on Dec. 21st, and the Ellerton Abbey tenants Christmas Party the evening of December 21st, with the Ellerton Abbey Servants Christmas ball and gifts presented to them from their liege Lord and Lady being held the evening of Dec. 22nd.
Then on December 23rd, Lord and Lady Fielding travel one hour north to Wells Castle—their Barony of Lakeland country seat—and host similar events there through December 24th for their local Lakeland Village citizens, their Wells Castle Tenants, and their Wells Castle Servants. These events were, perhaps, a bit more convivial–with much singing and spirited punch drinking—since Lord Fielding has been the Baron for the past thirty years, from his childhood.
And though Lady Cecily being nearly eight months with child has been very understanding of the necessity of these various fetes and events, she has become increasingly fatigued by it all. And she has quite rightly fallen completely asleep after them for her and Lord Kitt’s two hour carriage ride back to London on Christmas Day morning—so they can join Lord Edward and Lady Emily for Christmas Day luncheon.
And Lord Edward and Lady Emily’s activities leading up to Christmas will also include various family visitors—her sisters and their families. But first, they have one final baby clothes and such buying outing by Lady Emily and Lord Edward Carlisle, at her insistence, on Wednesday December 23rd.
Lord Edward sits in a small corner of the Bond Street “Wee Ones” shop, sipping hot tea from a man sized fine bone china cup and saucer [(2) right], as he watches his dear Lady Emily—who is also sitting due to her nearly nine months with child state—hold court whilst all manner of baby goods and wares are brought to her by the store’s proprietors for Lady Emily’s inspection and approval before they buy them.
Lord Edward: He leans over to his wife in confusion, and whispers a pertinently incredulous question. “Emmy Darling. Why must we buy two of everything? Two cribs and their linens, blankets, two drawer cabinets, and such. Let alone ten baby sleeping outfits, ten baby day time outfits, and forty wrappers, etc.?” Lord Edward has not been much around babies, obviously.
Lady Emily: “Edward Dearest, babies need changing constantly throughout the day to keep them clean and fresh. So even with laundering their clothes, wrappers, and such every day, it takes overnight for the laundered items to dry. And we must have all in readiness every day.”
Lord Edward: “Ah!” Is all Lord Edward replies. He is finally able to understand that their soon to be born little one comes with much complications to their lives. But happily so. Yet, he senses that his wife is holding back. “What about the two cribs and the two drawer cabinets?”
Lady Emily: She blushingly whispers back to him, hoping the store’s staff do not overhear her private explanation. “Edward, though we have set up a daytime nursery for our soon to be born baby across the hall from our bedchamber suite–with my planning to nurse our baby every four hours—our baby will sleep in our bed chamber at night. So we also need baby supplies in our bed chamber’s sitting area. I cannot feed our baby at two or three o’clock in the morning and expect its baby nurse to always be awake—nor do I always want to have to leave our bedchamber and go to the nursery to tend to our baby.”
Lord Edward: “Oh, I had not thought that you would have to feed the baby, too.” He states obtusely. Thus far, his wife has not bought baby bottles nor baby bowls, plates, and spoons.
Lady Emily: “Edward? Do you know what I mean by my nursing our baby?”
Lord Edward: Now Lord Edward blushes. “Well, … not… exactly. Is it something that I will have to do, as well?” He thinks that nursing implies tending to the baby. And though holding and rocking his child will be most pleasant, he does not want to have to change its wrappers.
Lady Emily: “Ha ha ha ha ha! No, indeed. Edward, mothers provide nourishment in feeding their babies mother’s milk, by having their babies suckle at their breasts.” She states succinctly, while her blushing face deepens to crimson. And nursing their own babies is only nascently becoming a relatively accepted practice by a small number of noble women of her high station—though not practiced by all, due to the practice of using wet nurses.
Lord Edward: “Of course I’m not doing that.” He shakes his head. “But I will be happy to hold and rock our baby to sleep.” He smiles, thinking that he is being a progressive husband and father in that regard.
Lady Emily: “And if our baby needs its wrapper changed after I feed it in our bed and I am too tired to do it? Will you tend to our baby’s needs then?” Her imperious eyebrow rises.
Lord Edward: “B b but isn’t that what a nurse is for?” Lord Edward sputters and sticks his finger in his cravat and tries to loosen it. “Perhaps we should have two nurses?”
Lady Emily: “Actually, I have already planned for us to engage three nurses, and right away. I want them conversant with our household well ahead of our baby’s birth in two weeks.” But her counting is slightly off.
Lord Edward: “That plan seems sounds. When would you like to interview and engage them?”
Lady Emily: She smiles prettily at him [(3) right], while she also approves several knitted baby blankets brought for her inspection. “I have already done so. And they come highly recommended. Our baby’s nurses arrive this very afternoon. There is one senior Nurse who will be our primary baby Nurse, Mrs. Minton—who is also an experienced Midwife. And she will oversee the two assistant nurses, Nurse Greta and Nurse Daisy—thereby providing our baby all day and night caretaking—when our baby is not with me, that is.” Just because Lady Emily has baby helpers does not mean that she will relinquish her mothering role to them.
Lord Edward: “Except, it seems, at night.” He mutters, while wondering how much three baby nurses cost.
Lady Emily: “Now Edward, you are not to start being churlish about our baby expenses, staffing, and baby materials needs. And if you feel that we need to economize in other ways to afford all of our baby’s needs, I will gladly forego new ball gowns this year—and you can do without a new riding horse.” She finishes with a flourish. Besides, Lady Emily doubts that she will even wish to attend evening events in the first year of her baby’s life. Her baby will be her sole focus–well, in addition to her husband.”
Lord Edward: “No, no, Emmy Darling. I will presume that you know best, and accede to your baby care requests.”
For most men are not generally informed about baby care taking needs—except for the getting of babies, and the not getting of babies. And besides, Lord Edward really needs a new riding horse, so that he can retire his old faithful horse to live out the rest of its life at his bucolic country estate.
So the Viscount and Viscountess Carlisle complete their baby purchases—totalling a staggering twenty five pounds—with them taking the clothes, wrappers, blankets and such with them now, quite overflowing their carriage. And the store will have the baby cribs, baby changing tables, and baby cabinets drawers delivered to them later today.
Upon arriving home to Carlisle House in London, Lady Emily and Lord Edward are greeted by their three new baby Nurses—with the stoutly robust Mrs. Minton taking charge almost immediately, lifting the burden from Lady Emily’s shoulders.
Lady Emily: “Oh thank goodness you and your Baby Nurse staff have arrived, Mrs. Minton! Lord Carlisle, let me introduce our head Baby Nurse Mrs. Minton, and her Nurse Assistants staff of Nurse Greta and Nurse Daisy. Oh, I do hope I have the correct name for each of you.” She looks hopefully at the young Baby Nurses and Mrs. Minton, who curtsey and nod at Lady Carlisle. Ladies, and this is my husband, Lord Edward, the Viscount Carlisle.”
Lord Edward: “Mrs. Minton, and Baby Nurses.” He nods accordingly and a bit awkwardly, for he has not ever had to address anyone of their like before.
Mrs. Minton: “Right you are, My Lord and Lady. Now! Lady Carlisle, I have had tea and refreshments sent to your master bedchamber suite’s sitting room for you and Lord Carlisle. You must rest, My Dear, since your birth is imminent.” As an experienced Baby Nurse and Midwife, Mrs. Minton knows a thing or two about baby’s being born, as she observes Lady Carlisle with a knowing eye.
Lady Emily: “Oh thank you, Mrs. Minton! I am rather tired.” She smiles at being so taken care of and coddled by her Head Baby Nurse.
Mrs. Minton: “You are welcome, Madam!” Mrs. Minton smiles. Then she turns a serious gaze to Lady Emily’s husband. “So! Lord Carlisle will you be so good as to assist Lady Carlisle up the stairs to your bed chamber? And if agreeable to you, I would suggest that you carry her—unless you wish to precipitate your baby’s birth by your wife straining while climbing the stairs?” For Mrs. Minton believes that her services have been engaged none too soon. “Then I will help her Ladyship to change into more comfortable lounging attire.”
Sensing the Head Baby Nurse and Midwife’s urgency in her tone, being for his wife’s benefit and not slighting him as her lord and employer, Lord Edward agrees to the plan. He would carry Lady Emily everywhere if it were not so shocking a display of tender solicitude on his part.
Lord Edward: “Well My Lady Wife, lay back into my arms and I shall carry you to our bedchamber so you may rest.” He states with a rather larger voice than normal, and waggles his eye brows to amuse her.
As Lord Edward carries his wife Lady Emily up the central staircase—not as easily as he did before she became heavy with child, because she has grown quite apace in the last month—he tries not to let her see him straining. Naturally, Lady Emily is quite sensitive about her now very rounded with child state, when she was merely a voluptuously curvy petite lady when they wed nine months ago.
Once Lord Edward reaches the top of the stairs, he moves quickly to their master bedchamber suite and sets her down near the settee at the end of their bed. He is not quite winded, but he has definitely had his exercise for the day—or so he thinks.
Lady Emily: “Edward, since I will be in my comfortable lounging attire soon for our refreshments, might you wish to make yourself comfortable as well? For I feel that a nap will be needed soon.”
Lady Emily smiles hopefully at her husband, Lord Edward. For Lady Emily, her expressing her wish to nap with her husband is her delicate way of sharing that she wants to make love with him.
Lord Edward: “I thank you for your solicitude on my behalf, My Darling Emily!” He tenderly kisses her and she melts into his arms. They come up for air and lean their foreheads together. “I do feel that a nap will be delightful this afternoon.” Then he stands and smiles wolfishly at her. Even now, he removes his jacket and begins unbuttoning his waistcoat as he walks toward his dressing room. “I will leave you the room for Mrs. Minton to help you change clothes.”
Mrs. Minton knocks twice upon the bedchamber door and is allowed entry verbally by a sitting Lady Emily. Mrs. Minton is quite efficient while yet gentle in helping Lady Emily change from her carriage gown and into a more comfortable and light weight nightgown and peignoir set—all the while surreptitiously observing Lady Emily’s size and her with child roundness.
Then sensing that Lady Emily should not be too far from her bed, Mrs. Minton goes into their sitting room and returns with the silver tray with their tea, small sandwiches, and cakes refreshments—setting them down upon a low table in front of the settee at the end of Lady Emily’s bed. Then Mrs. Minton curtsies and leaves Lady Emily to her privacy, with her husband.
And Lord Edward has his ear up to his dressing room door these last several minutes. Finally not hearing any more sounds of the slightly clinking china on the tea tray, he pokes his head into their bed chamber.
Lord Edward: “Are we alone, Emily Darling?”
Lady Emily: “We are, Edward Dearest. Shall I pour?” She asks while touching the china teapot, because she has already started nibbling on some small sandwiches and cakes.
Lord Edward: “Of course, My Love.” Lord Edward walks out of his dressing room wearing naught but his night pants. Lord Edward is a fine figure of a man [(4) right]—with his finely toned muscled shoulders, arms, and such.
Lord Edward fairly smoulders with loving desire for his very pregnant wife. The frequency of their loving trysts have tapered off as his Lady Emily became larger and she did not feel as well. So it has been a month since they last loved each other as husband and wife. Lord Edward realizes that they will need to be creative in their loving coupling this afternoon—and he smiles, quite wickedly.
Lady Emily gazes up at her husband and stills as she sees his lusting gaze for her. And the crumbs from her bite of one of the small frosted cakes she had chosen to nosh upon, fall haphazardly onto her full rounded bosoms encased in ruched pink satin as he approaches her.
Lord Edward: “Allow me to assist you, Emily Darling.” He then proceeds to kiss the sweet cake crumbs from the corner of her mouth, the base of her neck, and elsewhere—all the while caressing her cheek, shoulders, and hips.
Lady Emily: “Oh Edward!” She sighs with his tender loving ministrations. With her being pregnant, her body seems to her to feel even more alive with his loving ministrations.
Lord Edward helps Lady Emily remove her peignoir robe, then lifts her into his arms again and gently places her in the middle of their bed. He joins her in their bed after similarly disrobing. They kiss each other lovingly, cleaving unto each other as they seek their romantic bliss in each others’ arms—the oneness of being that Lady Emily has come to know so well with her loving husband. And then in rapturous bliss and total relaxation they promptly fall fast asleep—for very pregnant ladies need their rest. And their loving husbands watching over them also need rest from their worry and concerns for their beloved.
Tomorrow, December 24th, they will have afternoon visits by Lady Emily’s sisters and their families. Then on Christmas Day, they will have Christmas Day luncheon midday with her parents Lord and Lady Creighton, and Lord Kitt and Lady Cecily Wells. However, though it will be a small gathering of close family and friends, the joy and blessings of the Christmas season will be multiplied.
To be continued with Chapter 22
References for Ch. 21 of “Seeking the Niceties of Marriage”, by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1419) October 11, 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.
- Lord Edward drinking tea (crop) is Richard Armitage as John Thornton in North & South (2004)(image flipped) was found at richardarmitagenet dot com /images/gallery/nands/album/episode1/ns1-106.jpg
- An elated Lady Emily Creighton is represented by Daniela Denby-Ashe in “North & South” (2004) Febr03-2014 Gratiana Lovelace Cap-crop-sized2; June12-2021clr-crop
- Lord Edward’s bare chested image is represented by Richard Armitage as Lucas North in Spooks,series 9 Promos, pix 45 found at richardarmitagenet dot com /images/gallery/Spooks/spookspromo/album/series9-45.jpg (Grati edited out the Spooks tattoos)
Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad site link for Ch. 21 of “Seeking the Niceties of Marriage”:
Previous SAL blog Post #1414 link for Ch. 20 “Seeking the Niceties of Marriage”: