(all rights reserved by Gratiana Lovelace; copyrighted 2023); [(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 or illustrations, including: Richard Armitage as Lord Pendleton MacKittrick (aka Lord Mac to the Carpenter family), Justine Waddell as the widowed Corinne Carpenter, Noah Carpenter illustration, Bill Peterson as Dr. Finneas Lively, Samantha Bond as Lady Anne Elizabeth Pendleton, and others as noted.
Author’s Notes: This original Regency romance is a work of fiction, and as such, any character names, scenes, locations, historical, medical topics, or other descriptions were made at the creative discretion of this author—visit the reference links to learn more about them. And this is a gentle romance (G to PG-13), but with some frank discussions about love, marriage, and Regency society put to humorous effect. This is my disclaimer.
Ch. 04: A walk in the garden turns life threatening
After having met the Widow Carpenter again unexpectedly on Monday, June 3rd, 1820–when his maiden Aunt Lady Anne Pendleton’s carriage stopped at Mrs. Carpenter’s stone cottage to rest due to the abysmal state of the roads, and she stayed overnight, due to the roads still being impassable for her to travel the rest of the way to her nephew Lord Pendleton MacKittrick’s Woodbury Castle estate—that noble gentleman barely had 24 hours in which to have his Woodbury Castle Estate home made ready for his Aunt Lady Anne Pendleton as his guest.
His Woodbury Castle staff were completely understanding and accommodating to get ready for his family guest at a last minute notice—for servants at great country houses are accustomed to travelers, known or unknown just dropping in. But Lord MacKittrick was understandably frazzled to now have to come up with entertainments for his Aunt during her several week stay. Lord Mac’s parents and older brother Dart died when he was only eight years old. So he never had the opportunity to observe his Woodbury Castle and Estate home with events or guests—family or otherwise.
Though in Lady Anne’s defense, she had sent a letter indicating that she would gladly accept her nephew’s kind invitation—of a few years ago—for her to visit him whenever she pleased. And it would seem that she had not sent her communique via a messenger, but via the regular post–such that Lady Anne arrived before her missive. So Lord MacKittrick appreciated that his Aunt Lady Anne was comfortably housed in Mrs. Carpenter’s snug little stone cottage for her first overnight in their area.
Though not as grand as Woodbury Castle, the Widow Carpenter’s stone cottage was well furnished and very nicely decorated. And that, coupled with the seeming transformation of the Widowed Corinne Carpenter’s appearance by virtue of her lovely light blue taffeta day dress overlay, made Lord Mac think that her station in life might be more than of the peasant working class—and perhaps, more than merely of the gentry class. Such that his Aunt Lady Anne Pendleton spent a very comfortable night under Mrs. Carpenter’s roof, after the lovely tea and later dinner that the Carpenter’s hosted them to.
After being warmly welcomed to Woodbury Castle by her nephew Lord Pendleton MacKittrick the next day on Tuesday, June 4th, 1820, Lady Anne Pendleton is pleased with her nephew’s very kind guest chamber suite accommodations for her of a bedchamber, bathing room, dressing room, and parlor–and so she sleeps quite comfortably that evening, as well.
The following morning of Wednesday, June 5th after Lady Anne dresses in a lovely bronze and gold patterned day gown [(2) right], does what anyone does when in a newish place—for she had visited a time or two when her nephew Lord Pendleton MacKittrick was a very young boy, just after his parents and brother died, and her brother Arthur Pendleton became his guardian–she attempts to locate the breakfast room at the early morning hour of eight o’clock.
Well eight o’clock in the morning might be considered early even for those keeping country hours. For you see, Lord Mac’s habits of working late into the night on estate matters, and then rising well past eight o’clock in the morning to break his fast, are the same at whichever of his estates he resides—whether it be in Town or in the country. So he is still fast asleep and not available to escort his Aunt to breakfast.
Happily for Lady Anne, she soon finds a helpful young cheerful maid named Dorcas dusting one of the many Woodbury Castle parlors who guides her to the breakfast room, which is a sunny North facing room with windows that look out upon one of the back terraces that leads to a lovely flower garden area. And Dorcas also helpfully brings Lady Anne some hot tea, while she awaits a quickly made breakfast plate for her of eggs, ham, and toast with marmalade. And after enjoying this hearty morning meal—without her still presumably snoozing nephew Lord Mac—Lady Anne sends her compliments to the Cook via Dorcas. And after breakfast, Lady Anne takes a morning constitutional walk in the lovely in bloom Woodbury Castle flower gardens.
When Lord Pendleton MacKittrick finally rises at nine o’clock the same morning, he quickly does his morning ablutions—including trimming his beard, since he had already bathed last night before going to bed—and he dresses in his country riding attire of tan buckskins tucked into his leather boots and a lightweight blousy cotton shirt and vest, sans a coat for the warm weather they have been enjoying. When at home in the country as he is now, Lord Mac attires himself for comfort and practicality.
Then Lord Mac jauntily strides to his Aunt Lady Anne’s bedchamber suite to escort her to breakfast. But receiving no response from his many knocks upon her bedchamber suite door, and then more knocks—since he has missed her by over an hour and a half—he presumes she must be a heavy sleeper and he heads to the breakfast room, which is also empty. But he notices that the usual selection of foods that he likes are lined up on the buffet with warmers under them, so he makes a heaping plate for himself and rings the bell for a fresh pot of tea.
Brooks the Butler: “You rang, My Lord MacKittrick?” He asks austerely. For he has been up and about since six o’clock—some three hours ago.
Lord MacKittrick: “Yes Brooks. I would like a hot pot of tea. And since my Aunt Lady Pendleton must still be sleeping, please let Cook know that she might need to send a breakfast tray to her room later.”
Brooks the Butler: “That will not be necessary, My Lord. Lady Pendleton has already breakfasted earlier at eight o’clock this morning and then she walked out to the gardens. I do not believe that she has returned to the Castle yet.”
Lord MacKittrick; “Thank you for the information. The Butler nods and leaves the Breakfast Room. “Hmm!” Lord Mac intones to the empty room with some chagrin. And he wonders why his Aunt Lady Anne is wandering around on her own. But Lord Mac resolves to find his Aunt later—after he has breakfasted.
And not thirty minutes later by his pocket watch, Lord Mac leisurely sips the last of his hot tea, when he notices his Aunt Lady Anne rushing back to the terrace from the garden. She strides through the breakfast room, not seeing her nephew there.
Lord Mac: “Aunt? Is something wrong?” He stands and asks in concern, clutching his linen napkin.
Aunt Lady Anne: Making a shooing gesture, she discomfittedly states. “Cannot talk. Must hurry.”
And she bolts from the room, into the hall, and up the central stairs toward her bedchamber suite. She is trying not to touch any surface to prevent the spread of what she believes to be her contact with poison ivy during her walk in the garden. So when she gets to her bed chamber suite door, she lifts up her skirt and uses the underside of it to turn the knob. Then she rushes into her bathing chamber, removes her outer clothes, and then she thoroughly washes her hands in the sink. Only when she believes has succeeded in washing her hands of the poison ivy oils, does she wash her face, neck, and arms.
Naturally, Lord Mac dashes after his Aunt Lady Anne—wondering if she is ill, or something. Seeing her open bed chamber suite door, he notices that the bathing chamber door is shut. So he goes to it and knocks on the closed door.
Lord Mac: “Aunt Lady Anne? Are you alright? Is something wrong.” He speaks through the closed bathing room door.
Lady Anne: “I believe that I inadvertently came into contact with poison ivy as I was touching some lovely flowers nearby. I am trying to wash thoroughly to remove any residual plant oils from my skin. And I will also need to wash the clothes that I was wearing.” She obliquely indicates that she is not wearing those outer clothes at the moment.
Lord Mac: “We can have the Castle laundress do that.” He states congenially, him still not understanding the gravity of the situation.
Lady Anne: “No! I would not risk anyone else getting exposed to the poison ivy oils. I had a very bad allergic reaction to it as a child, and I almost died!” She states fretfully. Then she looks down and sees some rashes forming on her arms, she strains not to scratch them.
Lord Mac: “Shall I send for our local Dr. Lively? He is lately of London, and very good.”
Lady Anne: “If you think he can help. What I really need is access to some aloe vera plants. Their plant sap has soothing properties.”
Lord Mac: “I will include that in my note to him. I’ll send it to the doctor via a footman. Is there anything else we can do for you in the meantime?”
Lady Anne: “Nooo. Just pray that my allergic reaction will not be as severe this time.”
So Lord Mac temporarily leaves his Aunt’s bed chamber room to write his note. And his Aunt Lady Anne slips into her bed wearing only her long chemise, Lord Mac writes a quick note to Dr. Lively asking him to come to Woodbury Castle immediately to treat an allergic reaction patient, his aunt, and he sends the missive with a footman via horseback.
Over the next half hour, Lady Anne’s allergic reaction to the poison ivy worsens and she develops a fever, as well as a worsening rash on her hands, arms, neck, face, and upper chest. Normally, it could take from 12 – 48 hours after exposure for poison ivy symptoms to manifest [(3)]. But with Lady Anne having an extreme allergic reaction sensitivity to poison ivy, her symptoms have erupted within two hours of her being exposed to it.
Lady Anne lies upon her bed in her long cotton chemise for modesty, with pillow cases of crushed ice placed at her sides and around her head and shoulders to try to bring her fever down. The maid Dorcas who had guided Lady Anne to the breakfast room earlier this morning, stands at the ready to aid in whatever way she can—after her first retrieving the ice and then taking her clothing to the Castle laundress to be thoroughly washed.
Lady Anne drifts in and out of consciousness—a blessing for her not to feel the excruciating pain of her poison ivy rashes covering most of her upper torso. But the few times she is lucid and awake, she moans for some aloe vera plants, which have medicinal properties. But Woodbury Castle has none. Lord Mac hopes that Dr. Lively does have such a plant.
Lady Anne is one of Lord Mac’s favorite young maternal aunts from his childhood—especially because she would visit Pendleton with her brother Arthur during that first year of Lord Mac mourning his parents’ and brother’s deaths, her giving up her having her first London debutante season to try to be of comfort to him as a small boy. He has never forgotten that gracious kindness on her part.
Then Lady Anne wakes up again and pleads with more fervor asking for relief from her pain and fever as she plaintively moans Corinne’s name several times.
Lady Anne: “Coriiinne, Coriiinne. … aloe vera.”
Her worried nephew Lord Mac is sitting with her again and he tries to understand what his aunt is trying to tell him.
Lord Mac: “What are to saying about the aloe vera plant, Aunt? Does Corrine Carpenter have such a plant?”
Lady Anne: “Yess!” She sighs. Then she faints again.
Lord Mac: “Brooks!” Lord Mac calls out in a loud whisper to his Butler who is hovering in the hallway, also to be of aid. “Send Lady Anne’s footman Grimes to the Widow Carpenter’s Orchard Farms via my curricle or phaeton! Ask him to explain to Mrs. Carpenter that Lady Anne is suffering from a severe allergic reaction to poison ivy–and that Grimes needs to bring one or more of Mrs. Carpenter’s aloe vera plants to Lady Anne at Woodbury Castle!” He states with great urgency.
Butler Brooks: “Very good, My Lord!” Then the not young but surprisingly sprightly Butler Brooks dashes to the guest bedchamber hallway landing overlooking the foyer, asking one of the Woodbury Castle footmen to immediately find and bring Lady Anne’s footman Grimes to him to carry out a commission for Lady Anne.
Dr. Lively arrives at Woodbury Castle with his medical bag and some medicines some 30 minutes later—him having to finish up with some patients at his medical practice. And though he does not have any aloe vera plants, he has some burdock leaves that are used to help with pain and healing for burns [(4)], that he has also used on poison ivy rashes.
Dr. Lively: “Please tell me about my patient, My Lord.” He states seriously.
Lord Mac: “Lady Anne Pendleton is my 40 year old maiden aunt, my late Mother’s sister. She was enjoying the Woodbury Castle gardens after breakfasting this morning and realized that she had come into contact with poison ivy. So she dashed back to Castle Woodbury to wash the poison ivy oils off her skin and her clothes. She told me that she had had an extreme allergic reaction to poison ivy when she was a child, and almost died. Please save her, Dr. Lively. She is one of my few remaining close family relatives still alive.”
Dr. Lively: “I will do my very best. She is too young and lovely to die.” And the good doctor remembers his own wife’s death when she was a youngish fifty year old, some ten years ago. “But I do not have any aloe vera plants which would be the most effective treatment for her—in addition to the ice you have packed around her to help bring her fever down.”
Lord Mac: “My Aunt woke up a few minutes ago and moaned that Mrs. Corinne Carpenter has an aloe vera plant. So I have asked for Lady Anne’s footman Grimes to go to Carpenter Orchard Farms to ask Mrs. Carpenter for the plant or plants.”
Dr. Lively: “Corinne? Carpenter, you say?” He covers his gaff in speaking his niece’s first name. “That is good. Let us hope that she does have some of the aloe vera plant. In the meantime, I brought these burdock leaves with me that have healing and pain relieving properties. I need a bowl of fresh cold water to soak them in before I place them on the worst of her rashes.”
Lord Mac: “Anything that will give her relief is good.” He nods at the maid Dorcas, who goes to fetch a bowl and iced water.
So the next fifteen minutes that it takes Dr. Lively to soak and then place the burdock leaves on Lady Anne’s exposed poison ivy rashes are tense
When Grimes arrives with two of Mrs. Carpenter’s three aloe vera plants, Lord Mac realizes that she and her children have accompanied them when she calls to him from the hallway, her having left her son Noah to read on Lord Mac’s library, with a footman keeping careful watch over him—and over Lord Woodbury’s books, since the boy is dressed as a peasant.
Corinne: “Lord Woodbury, we have brought two of our three aloe vera plants to use on Lady Anne. I had to keep one back for our own needs.”
Lord Mac: “I thank you most kindly, Mrs. Carpenter. But you did not need to disrupt your day and attend us here.” He marvels at her compassion.
Corinne: “I could not do otherwise, when her ladyship was so kind to me.” Corinne thinks of when Lady Anne comforted her about her sorrow about her late husband and her calming her baby Nancy—who is sleeping in her sling about her Mama’s torso.
Lord Mac: “Thank you. My Butler Brooks will show you to a room so that you may attend to your baby.” He states, while noticing the baby is become agitated and making sounds, him realizing that baby Nancy might want to be fed.
Corinne: “Thank you.” And Butler Brooks takes Mrs. Carpenters baby bag and will show her to a room. But first, she nods to her Uncle Dr. Lively in acknowledgement as the doctor looks up from his patient.
Dr. Lively: “Thank you for your aloe vera plants Corinne. Lady Anne will need them.” He goes to retrieve them from the footman Grimes and smiles at his niece Corinne—him forgetting to be secretive about their family connection due to the medical crisis at hand.
So Dr. Lively removes the burdock leaves from Lady Anne and places them back into the cold water bowl, in case they are needed again later. Then he uses three of the aloe vera leaves of one plant to cut open and then squeeze out the aloe vera sap onto Lady Anne’s neck and face, him gently rubbing the sap to cover the rash areas, before moving on to Lady Anne’s shoulders, arms, and hands. It is delicate and painstaking work. And Dr. Lively wants to use just enough aloe vera sap to cover all of the affected skin areas, while still saving plenty of aloe vera stems to harvest for future applications. He then switches out the ice pillows with fresh ice to further aid in bringing down Lady Anne’s fever.
It will be a very long day of tending to Lady Anne for everyone involved. And though Dr. Lively has to leave around midday to tend to some other severely ill patients, he will return to Woodbury Castle in the later afternoon to see how Lady Anne is doing—him hoping that her fever will break by then.
And though Lord Mac vaguely noticed Dr. Lively’s familiar greeting for Mrs. Carpenter, he is too focused upon his Aunt’s welfare to interpret what it means.
To be continued with Chapter 05
P.S. Thank you for your patience in waiting for this next chapter of “A Lonesome Lord”. After he spent two weeks in the hospital, I’m happy to say that my hubby has been discharged from the hospital and is now home recuperating from an operation and such.
References for Ch. 04 of “A Lonesome Lord”, February 26, 2023 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1512)
- My “A Lonesome Lord ” story logo is a composite of a portrait of British actor Richard Armitage from 2020 by An Le, and Harrington text on a teal background.
- Image representing Lady Anne Elizabeth Pendleton in a garden is of Samantha Bond as Miss Taylor in Emma 1996 was found at https://m.media-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BYTQ3ZDc1ZTktZjM0OC00MzY2LWIzNTItNzc5MDhiNmYxNWM1XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMzE3OTU5Mg@@._V1_.jpg
- Poison Ivy and treatments information was found at https://akhealth.org/natural-remedies-for-poison-ivy/
- The medicinal applications of burdock leaves was found at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24668061/
Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad site for Ch. 04 “A Lonesome Lord”, February 26, 2023 (#1512):
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