(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. 22: Christmas Blessings, Part 1
Lord Edward Carlisle hoping that his young and very large with child wife Lady Emily does not stress with the two sets of family visitors to their home this December 24th of their first Christmas together as husband and wife, he finds that their London Townhouse staff has it all under control. For as soon as the staff found out seven months ago that Lady Emily was to give Lord Edward his first child and hoped for heir, they have been entirely helpful and agreeable to her, their new mistress. And he finds that even the three baby nurses and midwife that Lady Emily recently engaged are welcome additions to their household—and not bothersome nor vexing to him as Lady Emily’s husband.
So Lord Edward and Lady Emily enjoy brief afternoon visits by her sisters, their husbands, and their one nephew the three year old Robert Nigel and his cousin their one niece the 18 month old Patty (named Patience for her Grandmama Lady Patience Creighton). The children are delightful and well mannered, considering their young ages. Though with the little ones curious to see and to touch everything that is new to them, Lord Edward realizes the necessity of their having placed fragile objects quite above their ability to reach them. This sage advice– given to them by their midwife Mrs. Minton–saved several ceramic figurines from being broken. And more importantly, saved the children from possibly getting cut from any broken objects.
Of course, Lady Emily received with equanimity the news that each of her [two older] sisters would also [each] welcome another child in the new year. The number of children one has is not a competition. Though Lady Emily is eager to have a houseful of children to love and to nurture—which Lord Edward will happily help her in achieving.
But for now, the elated parents to be in Lord Edward and Lady Emily [Carlisle] concentrate upon just their first baby being born sometime in the next two weeks—and if a boy, he will be the Viscount in waiting to his Papa Lord Edward. Though regarding the two weeks estimate, Mrs. Minton the midwife has said that first babies can come late, rather than early—since it is clear that with Lady Emily being nine months with child, there was no anticipation of their wedding vows between Lord Edward and Lady Emily. Though who is to say when a baby wishes to be born. And with Lady Emily’s with child condition on her small petite frame having grown quite large, Mrs. Minton is ever watchful of her Ladyships’ [pregnancy] progress.
So blessedly, Christmas Eve is spent quietly by just the young wedded couple of Lord Edward and Lady Emily at their Carlisle’s London Townhouse—no braving the ice and snow to go to church for them. Instead, they read passages of Jesus’ birthing story from the bible to each other, then fall asleep dreaming of their own little one soon to be born—with each of their hands resting lightly upon Lady Emily’s stomach, where their baby sleeps and grows.
Christmas Day dawns brightly and with four more Creighton and Wells family members expected to arrive for Christmas Midday Luncheon around 2 o’clock in the afternoon and then to stay overnight at the Carlisle’s London Townhouse as their first small [and intimate] holiday house party.
But first, Lord and Lady Carlisle and their servants share a hot breakfast buffet with their household staff at 9 o’clock in the morning in their small ballroom that can comfortably seat 100 people (of which their household and grounds staff number around 40 persons. This large banquet for their staff is Lady Emily’s idea—her wanting them to also have a festive gathering. The foods are scrumptious and the conversations lively, with many tea cup toasts to their Lordship and Ladyships impending birth of their first child together.
After breakfast, the Viscount and his Viscountess Carlisle distribute their Christmas gifts to their faithful and excellent household staff of an extra week’s wages—as well as, small personalized gifts of yards of fabric and trimmings for the numerous women staff to make new dresses for themselves. And for the lesser number of men household and grounds staff, they receive new ready made shirts and pints of ale. Though Lady Emily does not wish to seem to promote the drink amongst her staff, her husband Lord Edward reasoned quite convincingly to her that one small pint of celebratory ale for the men—with cider for their women servants—was better than providing the men with smokes, which Lady Emily abhors.
Then one of the youngest children of four years old named Alene[–the daughter] of two of their married household staff of the undercook and a senior footman–toddles forward with a small nosegay for Lady Emily and an angel Christmas ornament for them both.
The little girl curtsies as she was taught and practiced. Then thrusting her hands out to each of the flowers to Lady Emily and the angel Christmas ornament to Lord Edward becomes amusing. For you see though the flowers are in her left hand and the ornament in her right hand, Lord Edward and Lady Emily are standing in the reverse order. So after giving a puzzling look at the gifts in her hands, little Alene crosses her arms most amusingly, in order to have the household staff’s gifts to their Lord and Lady be received correctly, to everyone’s chuckling delight.
Alene: “For you, from all of us! Happy Christmas!” Well, she is only 4 years, and could not be expected to memorize a long speech. But the gifts are received with pleasure by Lord Edward and Lady Emily.
Lady Emily caresses the cherubic cheek of the little girl, then brings her nosegay gift of pink and white roses to her face and sniffs the lovely fragrance. Now that Lady Emily is well past her first months of pregnancy she enjoys flowers again.
Lady Emily: “Oh thank you Alene, and everyone! You are very kind to gift me with this nosegay for my first of many Christmases with you all. And I shall treasure it and your angel ornament gift always.” Lady Emily smiles gratefully with tears in her eyes—as do their senior women household staff.
Putting his hand to his heart in gratitude, for Lord Edward’s many long time staff know of his struggles to find happiness after his first wife died—and now he has found love and happiness with his second wife Lady Emily–he gives his heartfelt thanks.
Lord Edward: “This is a lovely ornament given to mark my Lady Wife and my first Christmas together. Thank you most kindly.” Though Lord Edward is perhaps less effusive than his wife—no tears shining in his eyes–his sincere sentiments are still appreciated.
Lady Emily nods in admiring the fine hand carved wooden angel ornament made by one of their stable grooms, and delicately painted in gold accents [(2) right]. Then Lord Edward and Lady Emily place it on the tree in the ballroom together.
Then just as everyone begins to think about dispersing around 11am with [some of] the servants tending to their duties to [get] ready for the mid-afternoon family meal of their Lord’s and Lady’s [family guests in the Music Room]—and Lord Edward and Lady Emily decide that a morning nap to fortify them will give Lady Emily more much needed rest, since they will truly nap—sharp pounding on their Townhouse’s front door alerts them to unexpected visitors. Well, unexpected at this hour.
After being admitted to the large Carlisle House foyer, Lord Kittredge Wells carrying his still sleeping deeply wife Lady Cecily intones in a loud whisper in the empty foyer.
Lord Kittredge: “Edward! Emily! My Lady Cecily must have a proper bed to sleep in. She is quite done in with all of our traveling.” He rather grunts under the strain of carrying his very petite wife, whose own with child state has naturally rendered Lady Cecily’s weight heavier than when they first wed.
Leaving their household staff to finish their breakfasts in the smallish Carlisle House ballroom, Lord Edward and Lady Emily find their cousins to be quite covered in snow from their brief walk from their carriage to their front door. Lord Edward and Lady Emily share a small smile as much for their cousins bedraggled appearance, as well as, for their very early arrival.
Lord Edward: “Kitt and Lady Cecily! Welcome! We are glad that you were able to make it to London through the snow fall that we are having. We were uncertain if you would try to make the attempt.”
Lord Kittredge: “Oh no! My Darling wife insisted that we brave the roads—that took us three hours to travel from Wells Castle, to London when it normally takes only two hours.”
Yet asleep, Lady Cecily is cuddled in her husband’s arms.
Lady Emily: “Have you had breakfast?” She asks ever thoughtfully as a hostess and loving cousin.
Lord Kittredge: “Hours ago! But I am famished again!” Then he adds caringly. “And Lady Cecily also needs sustenance.”
Lady Emily: “Very well. Follow us up to your bedchamber suite—we are going to nap some as well, before our 2 o’clock Christmas mid day luncheon later.” Then she nods to their butler to give her next direction to their housekeeper and cook. “And we will have a selection of hot and cold breakfast meals and hot tea brought up to your suite for you.” The butler will also direct the footmen where to deposit the Earl and Countess of Fielding’s luggage and such.
Lord Edward: “Follow us!” Lord Edward smiles as he marches up the stairs whilst carrying his wife Lady Emily.
And Lord Kitt follows suit, carrying his wife Lady Cecily—but a bit slower than Lord Edward. And as a taller and more muscular man than Lord Kittredge, Lord Edward is more easily able to carry his wife Lady Emily up the stairs to the family and guest bed chambers suites.
The Midwife Mrs. Minton hovers in the family bed chambers hallway to see how Lady Emily fares after her morning breakfast event for the servants. And Mrs. Minton finds that with the early arrival addition of the Countess of Fielding—Lady Cecily Wells—she has a potential second lady in a far advanced with child state. Mrs. Minton leans over to Baby Nurse Greta and gives her a command. The young women nods then goes to complete her task by heading down the servant stairs. Baby Nurse Daisy is still, as of yet, standing with Mrs. Minton.
Mrs. Minton: “Your Ladyship, let us get you changed for your comfort.” She states obliquely in front of the other stylish noble couple whom she had previously been told are their young married cousins the Earl and Countess of Fielding. It would not do for her as a servant to mention Lady Emily’s nightgown in the presence of others, even if they are family.
Lady Emily: “Thank you, Mrs. Minton.” Lady Emily smiles gratefully. She has become so much more tired of late—and she would have her baby tomorrow, if that were possible.
Mrs. Minton: “And would Lord Fielding and his Countess wish to have our other junior baby nurse Daisy to attend her until their own personal servants arrive?” She asks considerately.
Lord Kittredge: “Oh I do not know if My Lady Wife would welcome a stranger attending her.” He blanches—more so, because he enjoys tending to his wife’s smallest needs as a measure of his devotion to her.
Lady Cecily: Drowsily coming awake, she replies. “Oh, I would like to have a lady attend me My Lord Husband.” There are some mysteries of womanhood that Lady Cecily will not relinquish to her husband’s understanding.
Lord Kittredge: Pouting, he replies. “As you wish, My Darling.” Then he kisses her forehead and follows nurse Daisy into their guest bedchamber suite, and he gently sets Lady Cecily upon their bed—him still hovering nervously about her.
Nurse Daisy: “My Lord and Lady Fielding, it will be my honor to tend to you until your personal attendants arrive.” She states with warmth and a smile, greatly consoling Lord Kittredge.
Lady Cecily: “Thank you, Nurse Daisy. I welcome your assistance.” She smiles graciously. Lady Cecily has become ever so less brittle and more charming after her marriage to Lord Kittridge.
Lady Cecily smilingly shoos her husband away so that Nurse Daisy may help her with a personal matter. And seeing Lord Edward pop his head into their guest bedchamber suite, she beckons to him[–to collect her husband].
Lord Edward: “Come away Lord Kittredge. Our ladies are both well cared for. Maybe we can see if any foods remain in our servant’s breakfast [buffet] in the ballroom to fortify you.” For knowing his best friend from their childhood quite well, Lord Edward feels Lord Kittredge being fed will greatly improve his mood.
So the two men trek downstairs to the ballroom, grab plates, fill them up, and head to Lord Edward’s study to eat—leaving the few servants yet remaining in the ballroom to finish their meals unhurriedly.
And after Nurse Daisy helping her become freshened and changed into her lounging attire, Lady Cecily enjoys her breakfast in her guest bedchamber suite’s [sitting room]—with Lady Emily having joined her and nibbling on what would have been Lord Kittredge’s portion of the meal.
So all is fine and dandy for the moment. Though Head Baby Nurse and Midwife Mrs. Minton [still] hovers in the outer family bedchambers hallway pondering over the two noble ladies eating within Lady Fielding’s guest bedchamber suite’s sitting room—and their possible need for her services sooner than everyone might think.
To be continued with Chapter 23
References for Ch. 22 of “Seeking the Niceties of Marriage”, by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1424) November 13, 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.
- link for this lovely gold hued ornament was found at https://store.metmuseum.org/2021-angel-tree-mini-ornament-trio-80053898?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI1tyF6OyV9AIVBb3ICh2HfAEYEAQYCSABEgIFF_D_BwE
Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad site link for Ch. 22 of “Seeking the Niceties of Marriage”:
Previous SAL blog Post #1419 link for Ch. 21 “Seeking the Niceties of Marriage”: