2018 Richard Armitage Happy Holidays wallpaper, December 24, 2018 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1199)

Dear Friends,

I want to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

But you will have to wait for your gift from me until tomorrow, on Christmas Day.  It is a Holiday themed short story that I wrote based on Richard Armitage‘s character of John Standring from the 2002 mini series “Spark House”.

I will post the Prologue and Chapter 1 of my Holiday short story here on Christmas Day and at my Wattpad site and then upload the remaining chapters solely over on Wattpad–with several chapters uploaded on Christmas Day and the next chapters over the few days following.  I hope that you will enjoy revisiting this beloved character of John Standring through my story.

Then I will return to serializing my original historical fiction Regency romance “Expectations” (Book 2) on Sundays.

And in the meantime, I hope that you will enjoy the Richard Armitage holiday wallpaper (below) that I created.

Holiday Hugs, Love,  & Cheers!  Gratiana Lovelace

 

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“Expectations” (Book 2)– Ch. 5:  Traveling misadventures, Part 1,  December 23, 2018  by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1198)

“Expectations” (Book 2)– Ch. 5:  Traveling misadventures, Part 1,  December 23, 2018  by Gratiana Lovelace  (Post #1198)

(an original Regency romance copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace, 2018 – 2019; all rights reserved);  [(1) story cover art, left]

[As is my custom, from time to time  I will illustrate my story with my ideal cast consisting of (in order of appearance/mention in this chapter):  Crispin Bonham Carter as Lord Harold Blount the younger brother of Lord Christian Blount the Earl of Sussex,  and older brother to their younger sister Lady Elizabeth Blount; and  Emma Thompson as Lady Gwendolyn “Gwennie” Lindsay of York, the sister to Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay portrayed by Rupert Penry-Jones,  and their late older brother Lord Alfred portrayed by David Oakes.]

Author’s story content and serializing scheduling notes:  For the most part, my ratings for the chapters will be PG-13—for romantic interludes and dramatic moments.  If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with these ratings, then please do not read that chapter.  This is my disclaimer.   And I always put the previous chapter’s brief recap at the top of the next chapter.  Also, I hope to post new chapters  weekly on Sundays.

 

“Expectations” Ch. 5:   Traveling misadventures, Part I

After several days of eating healthily and doing as their family’s London cook Mrs. Crisp tells him to do, Lord Harold Blount is looking  and feeling more fit and well rested than he has in a very long time.  Such that, he decides to bring forward his hither to unannounced plan to join his brother Lord Christian and the rest of his small family at their Summer home of his Dowager Grandmother Lady Catherine’s Dower House on their expansive Sussex Hall country estate.

Lord Harold is still rather put out that his brother Earl of Sussex Lord Christian Blount honored his agreement to let Sussex Hall for the Summer to the Yorks—Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay’s ducal family, who were forced to relocate from York Castle due to roof leak repairs and then family wing bed chambers renovations—even though the Blount’s no longer need the rent money due to their late Grandfather Earl’s  mine investment turning profitable.

Lord Harold loves the sport of the country at Sussex Hall estates in the Summer even more than he had wagering and other nefarious activities in London.  And after spending the Winter in London, he is eager to see and ride his Sussex Hall mount Perseus over the rolling hillside of the Sussex Hall estate.  And though Lord Harold also remembers with fondness some of the willing country milk maids of his past acquaintance, he is  circumspect from his unwilling parting with his married mistress of the past several months, the slightly older but still beautiful Lady Penelope Lindquist—whose husband had whisked her away to the continent.  So the only country sport that Lord Harold will be pursuing at Sussex Hall estates will be of the animal variety.  And even with that, he is not as much a hunter as he is a nature appreciator.

Their London Sussex House Cook Mrs. Crisp will be sorry to see young Master Hal depart—as she called him when he was a young boy.  But with promises from Lord Harold [(2) below] to be good, backed up by his eight days of sobriety, eating healthily,  and him organizing his departure to the countryside, she gives him her blessing.

Well, Lord Harold  organized the caravan of his carriages and several wagons with the assistance of his valet and groom, and several footmen who will serve as outriders for his carriage–as well as the other carriages and wagons laden with his clothes and other items that his brother Lord Christian and recent sister-in-law Lady Madeline requested be sent down to them.  Lord Harold’s brother and sister-in-law just do not realize that Lord Harold will be traveling with their possessions.

Lord Harold thinks that the first half day of their journey to the Sussex Hall country estate will be a leisurely three hours to the midpoint of the Wayfarer Inn in Walden in the lovely county of Surrey.  They will break their journey for luncheon at the Wayfarer Inn, as well as to rest and replenish their horses over several hours before making the final three hour push on to Sussex—hopefully in time for tea.  Lord Harold has a rapacious appetite.

But as Lord Harold will soon discover, he will be waylaid on his way to the Wayfarer Inn—by another traveler from London.

***

To Lady Gwendolyn Lindsay’s mind, her traveling to Sussex Hall estates in the country from London all by herself—yet with two carriages carrying luggage and eight servants is fine.  Yet, her plan was initially frowned upon by her younger brother Lord Duncan the Viscount  Lindsay as he was worried for her safety upon the road.  He had to travel North to the York’s own country estate, to oversee initial repairs and to bring their aging parents the Duke and Duchess of York to Sussex Hall estates for the Summer of 1816  while those York Castle roof and other repairs were under way.

And Lady Gwendolyn balked—actually, she categorically refused—the prospect of heading North with her brother Lord Duncan to York for a week of traveling, picking up their parents, and then turning around for another week or more of traveling South again to Sussex South of London.  And it being impossible for Lord Duncan to be in two places at the same time—with each country estate  being on opposite ends of England from the other, of course—their travel coordination had seemingly reached an impasse.

But with Lady Gwendolyn of York insisting that she will not traverse the countryside twice—simply because her younger brother wants to exert his guardianship over her—was an inefficient use of time and servants.  And she won the argument.  Though he was reluctant, her brother Lord Duncan finally agreed that it was unnecessary for Lady Gwendolyn and several servants traveling with her needing to make the round trip.   And so he granted her request for a delayed departure from London that then headed directly South to Sussex Hall.  With any luck, she will beat her brother and parents there.

However luck is not on her side, as Lady Gwendolyn of York’s comfortable carriage begins its day long journey to Sussex Hall, she is soon to regret her decision when in about one hour before her hoped for luncheon destination at a reasonably good posting inn, her carriage conveying herself and her ladies maid hits a rut in the road and breaks an axle.

It is only a miracle that the carriage had been traveling more slowly on the road while she enjoyed viewing the bucolic scenery that the whole conveyance did not pitch and tumble onto its side off the road.  Still, the carriage’s contents of Lady Gwendolyn and her ladies maid were tossed about some as the expert groom instantly righted the carriage and got the horses under control so that they were not injured.

Now they are in a quandary of what to do.  As the servants ponder the options with their mistress as they all stand unceremoniously in a circle almost literally putting their heads together as they discuss the matter.  And Lady Gwendolyn in a traveling gown of sturdy brown tweed with a serviceable and unremarkable bonnet, looks more like a morose middle class governess [(3) below], rather than a Duke’s daughter.

Lady Gwendolyn dressing below her station while traveling is by design–to elude highwaymen and other miscreants who might  wish to pillage their caravan of unmarked carriages for items they can sell.  And when they are in company with inhabitants of posting inns and the like, her servants address her as Miss Linden, a governess traveling with other household staff.

Head Groom Kindall: An ordinately tall and gangly fellow with an ever serious demeanor, the London York House’s head groom weighs in.  “My Lady Gwendolyn, we are fortunate that we are only about an hour from the posting inn where we hope to take our luncheon.  So we could put you and your ladies maid into the other carriage and convey you there.”

Lady Gwendolyn:  “But?  Come now Kindall, there is always a but.”  Lady Gwendolyn does not sneer at her longtime trusted servant, she merely knows  his ways of speaking and decision making that are usually well thought out and logical.

Head Groom Kindall: “Yes, My Lady, there is.  The posting inn has no blacksmith in residence today to fix the carriage by repairing or replacing the  axle—him having gone out of town for a few days to resupply himself at the Smithy.”

Lady Gwendolyn:  “Drat!”  She lets an oath fly.  But her servants are accustomed to her sometimes unladylike expressions.  “And we need a blacksmith.”  She nods. Her statement was declarative in nature, not an interrogatory—therefore, rhetorical

Head Groom Kindall:  “Aye! Of course we could stay at the Wayfarer Inn overnight and hope to see the Blacksmith the next day—which I feel is the best course.”

Lady Gwendolyn:  “Oh?”

Head Groom:  “Yes.  I have it on good authority that the next village out of our way to the West  has a blacksmith, but only a tavern– that your Ducal parents would not want you staying at, My Lady.”  He blanches.  As Head Groom for the Yorks, he always checks out their travel routes ahead of time for just such contingencies.

Lady Gwendolyn: “Oh I am not so squeamish as to dismiss a tavern bed chamber, or even not well aired sheets.  Afterall, we have our own linens with us–packed but easily retrievable.”

Well, Lady Gwendolyn would have clean sheets, her staff might be bunking in the stables at the town with only a tavern.

Head Groom:  “But My Lady, these out of the way taverns might have rougher sporting elements that frequent them.”

Lady Gwendolyn: Her eyes lighting up, she asks.  “Oh!  Do you mean men boxing?  I confess, I would not wish to witness men pummeling teach other—my being concerned for their welfare in the fight.  But needs must.  So let a small contingent of us to on ahead to the tavern and then send back a carriage with the black smith to assess the damage.”

Lady Gwendolyn smiles up at him brightly.  However, none of her staff—well, her parents’ staff—will countenance putting up their Lady at a tavern.  They fear that their positions would be rightly at risk with the Duke’s and Duchess’ almost guaranteed displeasure.

Everyone agrees that the Wayfarer Inn at Walden is much more suitable for her Ladyship.  So Lady Gwendolyn acquiesces.  And her staff begins the arduous task of removing Lady Gwendolyn’s luggage from atop her damaged carriage, then removing the servants’ luggage and extra groom and footman servants from the second carriage, so that Lady Gwendolyn and her ladies maid and two grooms may accompany her to the town of Walden.  However, they stop the transfer when they realize that the same rut that had broken the axle on Lady Gwendolyn’s carriage had bent the wheel of the second carriage.  Now they are really in a fix.

So finally, a secondary groom is dispatched to ride rough on one of the unbuckled carriage horses to Walden, in order to procure a carriage for Lady Gwendolyn to ride in to the Wayfarer Inn there.  She was open to riding in the wagon, but the Head Groom Kindall nearly went into apoplexy with that suggestion.  So, she acquiesced to him, again—when she does not defer to anyone, except trusted servants like Kindall who are only looking out for her best interests.  Her brother Lord Duncan would concur with the decision–though he would no doubt be livid that he could not get his sister to agree with him as agreeably as their Head Groom Kindall did.

***

With Lord Christian Blount the Earl of Sussex’s brother Lord Harold Blount also making the journey this day to his family’s country home at the Sussex Hall estate—him being destined to join his family at their grandmother’s Dower House—Lord Harold dozes contentedly in his plush carriage that is spacious enough to seat six people.  So Lord Harold is rather expansively spread across both seat benches that fold out to become a suitably comfortable traveling bed.

However, his astute groom and two footmen slow his carriage to a stop near a bend in the road as they see what looks like a liveried footman standing by his lonesome  with an unsaddled horse in the middle of nowhere.

Now wide awake due to the slightly abrupt way that his coachman, brought the carriage to a halt, Lord Harold sticks his head out of the window to speak with his servants—since no one is around to see him behave so gauchely.

Lord Harold:  “Why are we stopping?  What is the hold up?  I want to get to our Sussex estate before nightfall.”

Coachman:  “Apologies, My Lord.  There seems to be a footman up ahead who has lost his way.”

Lord Harold:  “A  footman who has lost his way?”  Lord Harold repeats absentmindedly.  “Well, let us ask this fellow if he wishes to ride with us to the next small village.  Walden cannot be very far.  And surely, his employers would be heading toward the Wayfarer Inn as are we.” For there are not too many acceptable establishments in these parts.

Coachman: “Yes, MiLord.”  He nods and alights from his coaching perch.

Lord Harold’s coachmen conducts the interview with the footman, discovering that the young lad had gone in vain in search of a small village that might have someone who could assist with their broken axle on one carriage and a broken carriage wheel on their other carriage—in case their other members heading out in a different direction do not find a blacksmith at a following village.  So the footman hitches his horse to the back of the carriage and he climbs up top with the coachman, to help direct them to the broken down carriage.

Lord Harold is not certain what they might find when they reach the broken down carriage, but a frenzy of unpacking and packing luggage from one carriage to the other—as well as to a wagon–was not it.  He rather thinks that they look like bees in a hive ferrying nectar and tending to precious colony members cells.  He sees that at the heart of this whir of activity stands a not so petite lady in serviceable brown tweed carriage gown directing the servants with military precision.  He feels that tweed is an odd choice of materials for a Summer garment—the fabric being too hot.  But then, he muses that his tan suede vest is also more fashionable than practical.

Lord Harold is jolted out of his sartorial reverie by an urgent, cultured ladies voice.

Lady Gwendolyn:  “No Jones, all of my luggage needs to come with me to the inn at Walden.”  For she so pestered her Ladies Maid with additional items to pack where there was room in other trunks, that she fears that it will take days for her to find anything.

Footman Jones: “Yes, MiLady.”  He acquiesces agreeably, then he sets about his task.  Though the York servants know of Lady Gwendolyn’s partiality to having things just so, she is a good mistress who does not mistreat the staff.

Lord Harold’s carriage and wagons pull along side Lady Gwendolyn’s broken down caravan.  And Lady Gwendolyn looks up as  Lord Harold alights from his carriage with a slightly mussed cravat due to his previously dozing state.

Lord Harold: “I say.  Might we be of assistance?”  He whimsically lifts his quizzing glass to his eye and surveys the broken carriages, assorted grooms and footmen surrounding them, a ladies maid, and a dynamo in brown tweed who can only be their mistress by virtue of their deference to her.  “My Lady.”  He bows to Lady Gwendolyn.

Oh no!  Thinks Lady Gwendolyn.  The Blount rogue.  Could her day get any worse?

Lady Gwendolyn: “Not Lady, Miss.  Miss Linden.” She corrects him in a tone more like a Duke’s daughter, than a governess below Lord Harold’s station in life.

Lord Harold: “Miss?”  He smiles indulgently as she stares at him—also something no mere miss would do.

Lady Gwendolyn: Then she elaborates regarding her false identity.  “I am … a …  a governess.”  She hopes that he will believe her since governesses can sometimes be as haughty as butlers—who are often more haughty than Dukes.

Lord Harold: Tilting his head, he smiles again.  “No!  That will not do.”  Then he leans in closer with his quizzing glass again.  “You look familiar.” He teases.

Lady Gwendolyn: “Indeed?  Well, MiLord, I did not realize that you ruined governesses as well.”  She raises a haughty eyebrow.

Lord Harold: He uncharacteristically fluffs his sleeve cuff ruffles—like any good dandy worth his snuff would, just to annoy her—which he cements by his next response.  “Not yet.  But for you, I would make an exception.”  He is having fun with her.  “You are a charming spitfire, my Dear.”

Lady Gwendolyn:  “Hhhh!”  She huffs.  “I am NOT your dear!

Lord Harold:  “But you could be.”  He taunts her.  This is so much fun.

Lady Gwendolyn’s face is becoming my crimson with rage by the minute.  And Lady Gwendolyn’s staff is a hair’s breadth from interceding on her behalf.  But she holds up a staying hand.

Lady Gwendolyn:  “You Sir, are a cad!”  She folds her arms in front of herself in righteous indignation with a firm nod of her resolute chin.

Of course, her folded arms only serve to enhance and showcase her charms to Lord Harold.  Lord Harold tries to discreetly hide his smile by coughing into his hand.  Then he changes his tack and speaks to her head Groom.

Lord Harold:  “Groomsman, Kindall, isn’t it?”

Head Groom Kindall:  “It is, My Lord.”  He says with puzzled disdain for Lord Harold.

Lord Harold: “Be a good man and see Lady Gwendolyn’s personal belongings are loaded onto my carriage and wagons.  We will transport her to the Wayfarer Inn at Walden where she may rest over luncheon.  That should give you time to inquire after the blacksmith, or about hiring other carriages and horses to continue on your journey.”

Lady Gwendolyn: Surprise evident upon her perplexed looking face, she asks warily—and none too politely.  “You know who I am?”   He nods.  “But my come out was several seasons ago.”  And she was quickly snapped up and engaged to her beloved late fiancé who had died with her brother Lord Alfred.

Lord Harold: “Come, come, Gwennie.  I have known you longer than that.  I remember a little girl in pigtails who could shimmy up a tree faster than any of us, the few weeks that my brother and I spent at York Hall Castle in our youth.”

Lady Gwendolyn: “I do not answer to that appellation anymore.  It is diminuative—and no longer fits me since I am a grown woman, now.”  She lifts her chin and he notices that she places her hands on her narrow waist just above her womanly curvy hips.

Lord Harold: “Yes, Lady Gwendolyn.  My apologies.”  He bows to her with perfect courtliness.  “I can see that you are a woman fully grown, now.  And but for that charming freckle next to your eye, here…”  He reaches toward her cheek, but does not touch her, out of respect.  “… I might have mistaken you as another.”

Lady Gwendolyn:  “However one can never mistake you, Hal!”  She uses his childhood nickname in order to wound him, but her arrow misses its mark.  And she gazes at him disdainfully.

Lord Harold: “Ah! That is an appellation that I rarely hear anymore—not since I reached my majority.  But I welcome you continuing to use its intimate form of address with me, My Lady.”  He smiles then turns to look at the York’s Head Groom, and then to her again.  “Now!  I’m feeling rather peckish—and you must be as well, My Lady.  So we had best continue on to the Wayfarer Inn at Walden.  Your Head Groom Kindall is welcome to join our party on to Walden–to arrange your transportation–or he may stay here to supervise.  Which is it to be, Mr. Kindall?”  Lord Harold smiles agreeably at the York’s longtime retainer.

Head Groom Kindall:  “With My Lady’s permission, I will join you on to Walden—leaving several of my men with the carriages, until we can come back for them and the rest of her ladyship’s belongings.”  Lady Gwendolyn grudgingly nods her concurrence to her Head Groom.

Lord Harold guides Lady Gwendolyn to his fine carriage and assists she and her ladies maid inside.  Then he lifts a large woven hamper out of the carriage which he hands to one of his own footmen whom he has staying behind as well.

Lord Harold:  “Hhhh!  Here you go, Grimstock.  See that Mrs. Crisp’s victuals and lemonade are distributed amongst those of you remaining behind.  As we see to her ladyship’s respite and the carriages replacements, I fear that we might not be back for you this morning, before you need sustenance.”  He shakes his head.  He did not even get to enjoy one of Mrs. Crisp’s famously delicious  macaroons—because he dozed off earlier.  A pity, but there is nothing for it.  He is trying to behave more gentlemanly, and gentlemen give up their creature comforts—including their macaroons.

So Lord Harold trades places with one of his groomsmen riding a carriage horse alternate and then he  brings his unsaddled horse to trot bumpily along side his plush and comfortable carriage where Lady Gwendolyn of York sits primly on the plush carriage cushions.

And Lady Gwendolyn is quite at a loss how to manage the situation that she now finds herself in.  Were she a clairvoyant, Lady Gwendolyn would be able to discern that Lord Harold’s thoughts are tending in quite the same direction as hers.  And they will both be thwarted this day.

To be continued with Chapter 6

 

“Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement): Chapter 5  images for  December 23, 2018 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1198)

  1. “Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement”) story cover art is an image representing Lady Elizabeth Blount, sister to the Earl of Sussex in black evening gown–is that of actress Jessica Brown Findlay as Lady Sybil in Downton Abby found at http://www.internet-d.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/38/2012/02/JESSICA-BROWN-FINDLAY-as-Lady-Sybil-Crawley.jpg ; the text font  is Vivaldi.
  2. Lord Harold Blount image is that of Crispin Bonham-Carter in the 1995 mini series Pride and Prejudice and was found at https://www.ranker.com/list/full-cast-of-relic-hunter-cast-list-for-the-show-relic-hunter/reference
  3. Lady Gwendolyn of York looking  morose is Emma Thompson as Elinor Dashwood in Sense & Sensibility; image found on Pinterest at https://i.pinimg.com/originals/86/6f/38/866f388dd944cc2501e677b22febf488.jpg

 

 

“Expectations” (Book 2)  Ch. 5  URL for Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad story Post  for  December 23, 2018:
https://www.wattpad.com/670259533-expectations-book-2-by-gratiana-lovelace-2018


Previous “Expectations” (Book 2)  Chapter 4  story URL of my SAL blog post (#1195), on December 16, 2018:

https://gratianads90.wordpress.com/2018/12/16/expectations-book-2-ch-4-touring-sussex-hall-castle-reveals-a-secret-december-16-2018-by-gratiana-lovelace-post-1195

Posted in "Expectations" (Book 2), Emma Thompson, Fiction, Gratiana Lovelace, Historical Fiction, Humor, Love and Relationships, Period Drama, Richard Armitage, Romance, social media, Society, Something About Love, Storytelling, Women | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Richard Armitage’s 2018 Holiday Message, December 21, 2018 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1197)

P.S. Thanks to Laura for the lovely RA holiday wallpaper, to TeresaA for caps of the RA Message, and to Richard Armitage for the kind and talented soul that he is!  May the Holiday Season bring everyone peace and joy! Hugs!

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Family, Giving, Goodwill, Gratiana Lovelace, Holiday, Hope, Inspiration, Joy, Peace, Quotes, Reflections, Richard Armitage, Social Justice, social media, Society, Something About Love | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

WCW—Daniel Miller in repose, December 19, 2018  Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1196)

Having caught myself up on the first three episodes of the 2018 Berlin Station season on last Sunday evening, I have to say that the following image of Daniel Miller in repose is the one that I prefer:

Besides, with the major plot of Daniel needing to find out who killed his mother and why she was killed, Daniel needs to be around to be the engine to drive that investigation.  My hope is that the character of Daniel Miller has gone into deep cover—as he investigates who Diver is,  and why Diver killed his mother.

The Diver voice sounded like actor Richard Jenkins in episode 1 or 2–the Steven Frost character, former Berlin Station Section Chief.  If Frost is Diver–and he killed Daniel’s mother–the betrayal that Daniel would feel could cause him to go rogue in order to ferret out the truth of his mother’s death.  A rogue Daniel Miller would give Richard Armitage a lot of juicy angst and edgy grit to portray.

Not to mention the fact that Richard Armitage is the lead actor of Berlin Station portraying Daniel Miller, and he is the main draw with a fine supporting cast.  So it would be rather preemptive to kill off his Daniel Miller character so soon into season 3.

Hoping Daniel turns up (alive) in episode 4 coming up this Sunday.

#Go_Team_Daniel!

P.S. Thanks to Simonne for the original Daniel Miller image—that I resized and brightened.

Posted in Berlin Station mini series, Daniel Miller/Meyer in Berlin Station, Drama, Gratiana Lovelace, intrigue, Richard Armitage, Social Justice, social media, Society, Something About Love, Spy thriller, Wild Card Wednesday | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Expectations” (Book 2)–Ch. 4:  Touring Sussex Hall Castle reveals a secret,  December 16, 2018  by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1195)

“Expectations” (Book 2)–Ch. 4:  Touring Sussex Hall Castle reveals a secret,  December 16, 2018  by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1195)

(an original Regency romance copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace, 2018 – 2019; all rights reserved);   [(1) story cover art, left]

[As is my custom, from time to time  I will illustrate my story with my ideal cast consisting of (in order of appearance/mention in this chapter):  Lady Madeline Blount Countess of Sussex portrayed by Kate Winslet, and her husband Lord Christian Blount Earl of Sussex portrayed by Richard Armitage.]

Author’s story content and serializing scheduling notes:  For the most part, my ratings for the chapters will be PG-13—for romantic interludes and dramatic moments.  If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with these ratings, then please do not read that chapter.  This is my disclaimer.   And I always put the previous chapter’s brief recap at the top of the next chapter.  Also, I hope to post weekly on Sundays.

“Expectations” (Book 2)—Ch.  4:  Touring Sussex Hall Castle reveals a secret

Lady Madeline and her husband Lord Christian’s late morning lovings without interruption in the country become a daily pleasure.

Because with the teeming city of London, England being beastly hot during the late Spring and Summer months, nobles and wealthy merchants alike flee en masse to their country estates—for the sport as much for the warm weather mitigated by the open expanses of nature wafting cooling breezes more efficiently than in the heart of a bustling and often cramped city like London.  And this year of 1816, in the first few months of Lord Christian Blount Earl of Sussex’s marriage to Lady Madeline Blount (nee Sinclair) his young and newlywed Countess of Sussex, Lord Christian had found himself in the midst of moving his whole family into his childhood country home Sussex Hall estates Dower House in mid May 1816.

Lord Christian’s household beyond his wife includes his youngest sibling and sister Lady Elizabeth Blount who had her come out during the Winter to Spring London Season–and occasionally his wastrel in training younger brother Lord Harold Blount—and, of course, their Grandmother Lady Catherine Blount, the Dowager Countess of Sussex.

Their grandmother Lady Catherine assured her grandson Christy that having her grown grandchildren living under her roof at the Dower House will bring welcome companionship for her.  She has had them underfoot in London for so many years now that she would keenly feel their loss were they to have stayed up at the much larger Sussex Hall castle.  So, though cramped the Sussex Hall Dower House may be, it will still be a loving family home.

Normally, the Blount family would reside in their country estate’s great Sussex Hall proper.  However, when Lord Christian was in need of funds—before his late Grandfather Earl’s investments in coal proved lucrative—he had promised the letting of Sussex Hall and its guest suites to his friend Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay and heir to the Duke of York this Summer, due to repairs being made on the York’s castle roof and bed chambers below that were ruined during endless rain storms.

So while the Yorks’ invasion–as Grandmother Dowager Countess Lady Catherine refers to it–is still a few days away, Lord Christian takes his new wife and bride of only a few months Lady Madeline for a tour of Sussex Hall [(2) below] this bright and Cheerful mid May day a few days after their arrival in the country. As they wander into the magnificent castle that is Sussex Hall–from an inner courtyard accessed at the back, since the Sussex Hall Dower House is situated to the back of the castle to facilitate easy comings and goings to the main house—Lord Christian enjoys watching his young wife’s observations about her soon to be new home.

Lady Madeline:  “Oh my, Christian!  Sussex Hall castle is enormous!  When our carriages passed the front façade on our way to the also very large Sussex Dower House on the evening of a few days ago, I had no idea that Sussex Halls wings were so large!  Will we finish our tour today?  Or must we devote several days to the endeavor?”  Lady Madeline asks cheekily whilst gazing upon the inner courtyard gardens and such.

Lord Christian:  “Our tour may be done at whatever pace that you deem pleasurable.”  Lord Christian does not always mean to speak his thoughts with words having double meanings, it seems that he just cannot help it around his lovely bride Lady Madeline.  He is a man in love. And so proud is he to share this part of the long and illustrious Blount family history as the Earls of Sussex with her.

Sussex Hall castle was originally an old Norman era fort that has been renovated over the centuries to become the beautiful and luxurious Sussex Hall castle/palace that it is now today.  The current Sussex Hall castle is built upon a large rectangle with two inner garden courtyards for leisure and for formal entertaining, as well as an outside of the courtyard carriage receiving areas.

The main floor has the common and public rooms for receiving guests—such as the larger Peach Drawing Room and the Blue Drawing Room, both of which can be opened to one another via large double pocket doors on their adjoining inner wall, creating a splendidly large space that rivals the size of their ballroom; a State Banquet sized Dining Room seating 100 persons;  irrespective of that floor also housing a ladies powder room and a men’s necessary room, conservatory filled with plants and seating and tables for lounging to small family meals, a library containing centuries old texts, a music room with a piano forte and cello on a small stage with seating for fifty people, and a ballroom that can hold three hundred people;  as well as, assorted closets, butler’s pantry staging areas for catering, etc.  The kitchen and staff receiving areas are tucked away in the floor below in what had been an extensive armory that was moved to the basement of the then newly constructed Southern interior wing—changing the Hall’s footprint from a massive C to a massive rectangular layout.

 

Then, with the second floor of the East Wing of Sussex Hall—over the Ballrooms, and music rooms—there are fifteen family and married persons with family guest suites also containing two bedchambers each with a shared sitting room and bathing room.  The middle second floor wing houses the family portrait gallery, as well as, various historical objects collected and curated over the centuries.  Finally, the second floor of the South Wing at the back of Sussex Hall facing the large expanse at the back of the estate is where ten bachelor and widowed gentleman bedchambers with a central Sitting Room and one bathing chamber shared by two bed chambers are housed or sequestered—whichever is deemed appropriate per the gentleman in question.  The South Wing is especially busy during large house parties for men’s sporting occasions.  With the South Wing also facing the large stables that can house over seventy-five horses and twenty guest carriages of varying sizes.

Then the third floors of the East, West, and South Wings of Sussex Hall house the private personal servant bedchambers and bathing chambers for the respective nobles being housed below them on the second floor.  The only exception being Butler, Housekeeping, and Cook bedchambers with sitting rooms that are on the basement level off of the kitchens—for convenience and also to spare them too many stairs since the Senior Manor Staff tend to be older.

And finally, the fourth floors of the East, West, and South Wings of Sussex Hall house the attics and seasonal storage areas for clothes and for empty trunks of visiting guests.  And at the South end of the first floor—near the carriage and servants’ arrival entrance, there is a rather ingenious rope pulled elevator to convey trunks to the second, third, and fourth floors.

***

Lady Madeline:  “Dearest Christian, are you certain that Sussex Hall is merely a stately manor home, and not a giant of a palace castle fortress?”  The very young and newly married Lady Madeline Countess of Sussex looks around  the two story foyer entrance and receiving hall of what will be their newly married home after their Summer guests return home—Lord Christian’s, Lord Sussex’s family home, the earldom’s seat.

Lord Christian:  “Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!”  Lord Christian’s booming laughter fills the two story Great Hall foyer of Sussex Hall.  “My Darling, we will take only a brief tour today of the first and second floors of the main and oldest North  section of Sussex Hall.   Your reviewing our Earl and Countess apartment of rooms for any decorating and other changes you wish to make is essential should you wish redecoration to take place before we inhabit it.  I also must move some records from my study on the second floor to the Dower House for easy access to them while we live there. We will forgo viewing the third and fourth floors that are mostly servant and attic storage spaces, respectively.”  He smiles broadly.

Lady Madeline:  “Well, that is a relief!  I believe that I can handle the stairs for two floors of the North main wing, but not the whole of the Sussex Hall Castle!”  She widens her eyes with a minxish grin.

Lady Madeline is feeling more tired now that she is in her third month of pregnancy.  And her not having broken that lovely news to her husband yet, she does not want to give away her with child condition before she can share her surprise with him.

With Lord Christian obtusely not questioning the lack of his wife’s curiosity—nor the cause of it, her as yet unannounced pregnancy—Lord Christian continues their tour on the second floor.

Lord Christian: “Though, I dare say that you will eventually want to acquaint yourself with all of the nooks and crannies of the upper two floors and some of the other wings, because they also contain wonderful hiding places for mischievous children.”

Lady Madeline:  “Oh?  And just which mischievous children are you referring to?”  She teasingly asks him as they walk up the stairs to the second floor landing.  But in truth, she feels a little out of breath, so Lord Christian motions to a cushioned bench for sitting conveniently place upon the hallway’s wall and they both sit down for him to tell her his story.

Lord Christian: “Well, to myself, for one, when I was a child of twelve.  I was so well hidden one time—unintentionally, I assure you– that my parents had to enlist all of the servants in an hours long hunt for me upon the extensive grounds and in the house, only to find me fast asleep in the South Attic after I had looked through an old trunk of my baby toys for a stuffed bear gift to give to my new baby sister Lizzie.”  He grins at the remembrance.  “Mama and Papa were not pleased with the worry and work that I put everyone through in them having to search for me.  But since I had not intentionally hidden from them, and my purpose was to find a gift for Lizzie, they did not punish me.  I was merely admonished to let my parents or my personal attendant know before I went anywhere not in plain sight again.  But you will need to know the house well to find where our future children might hide, so that you can ferret them out.”

Lady Madeline:  “Our future children?”  I smile and tilt my head to one side.  I think that I am giving my husband broad hints about my with child state.  Yet, perhaps his excitement to show me his childhood home and seat of his earldom—now our home—is causing him to be distracted.  So I will wait until we view our Earl and Countess apartments to finally tell him.

Sussex Hall’s second floor is home to the Earl’s and Countess’ apartments and ten family room suites in the East Wing above the kitchens, Library and family Dining Rooms, and Lord Christian’s Study used by all of the Earl’s of Sussex.  There are no second floor rooms on the North grand entrance front façade because the Great Reception Hall is two stories high with additional windows above, along a promenade catwalk overlooking the main Great Reception Hall.  It is a dizzying height that only a few stalwart souls brave to take in the view—which consists mainly of the servants periodically cleaning the windows.

Lord Christian opens the hallway door to his and Lady Madeline’s future Earl and Countess apartments in the corner where the North façade and the East Wing meets.

Lord Christian:  “Your future domain, My Lady.”  He announces with a flourish of his arms spread out wide.

They walk into a large sitting room with a cozy fireplace and seating grouping at one end and a ladies ivory secretary desk in the Country French style in the corner next to the large window over looking the lake beyond the East gardens.  The other furnishings are also light and bright with muted pastels of pastel pink, yellow, green, and blue harmoniously blended in patterned flower drapes and upholstery against pale blue silk walls.

Lady Madeline:  “Oh!”  I exclaim in awe at the grandeur of my surroundings.  “This is so beautiful!”  My husband beams.  And we walk through to the Master bedroom that is much darker in coloring. And I pause before stating my opinion.  His eyebrows rise with an unasked question.  “Christian Dear, you said that you might not mind if we redecorate to suit our own wishes?”  I ask hesitantly.  Redecorating any set of rooms is a large undertaking, but that is especially so when these rooms will be so intimately shared by the two of us.

Lord Christian: “Certainly.”  I say cautiously.  “I rather like it.  Do you find our bedchamber wanting?”

Lady Madeline:  Rushing to assure him of my satisfaction, I say. “Oh no!”  He smiles.  Then I continue.  “It is just that this room is so dark and the furniture so large and overbearing, compared to the lightness and elegance of the sitting room.  Can we not brighten up this space?”  I gaze up at my husband with a hopeful young wife’s eyes.

Lord Christian: “Wellll.”  I draw that word out, stalling for time to come up with a reason for her not to redecorate. But nothing springs to mind.

Lady Madeline: “Christian, it is just that this bed is so large and dominating to the room–in its current placement.”  I add hastily, I will have to work up to replacing the bed completely with another narrower one from one of the other bed chambers—if only not to have huge bed linen costs due to its overly large size.  “And with lighter colored pale blue hangings, bedding and drapes, that will make this bed chamber itself feel larger and more spacious.”  And less huge other furniture, too, I think privately to myself.

Lord Christian: “But I need the length of this bed because of my height.”  I stand up straight.

Lady Madeline: “And accommodating your height will remain uppermost in my consideration, Christian Dear.”  I promise.

Then we walk into what is typically the Countess’s bed chamber—again, furnished elegantly with Country French furniture and pastel colors as with the sitting room, but with a pale pink being the dominating theme in the silk covered walls, drapes, and bed hangings.

Lord Christian:  “I hope that you like your Countess’ bedchamber, My Love.”  I ask hopefully.

Lady Madeline: “I do!”  I squeal girlishly.  “But apart from being dressed by my ladies maid in here, we will not sleep apart, will we?”

Lord Christian:  “Not unless you wish to.”  I squirm.  I worry at times that my loving tendernesses with her each day as we make love might begin to chafe her with my loving ardor.  My not having any notion how the private lives of a loving couple are conducted—with aristocratic society often seeming to favor separate lives, or at least some marriages seem to work that way.

Lady Madeline: “Oh no, Christian!  I want to fall asleep in your arms each night and wake up with you each morning.”  I lean into my husband on my tippy toes and gently kiss his mouth as he leans down to meet my lips with his own.  He is tender at first, then he deepens our kiss as he becomes more passionate.  And I respond to his passion.

Lord Christian: I break away from kissing my wife. “I am glad, Madeline.  I do not want to be separated from you at night either.  I just worried that my … loving attentions might become burdensome to you over time.”

Lady Madeline: “Burdensome?”  He nods a bid sheepishly, rather like a boy who does not want to give up his favorite treat.  “Never!”  I smile seductively at him.  He looks hopefully at me.  “Christian, I might be a very proper and reserved lady in the Drawing and Ball rooms, but I am your loving wife in our bed chambers.”  I purposely use the plural.  Then with a coquettish smile, I tug upon his cravat, loosening it.

Lord Christian:  “Hmmmm.”  I growl deeply as I remove my cravat.  “And I am your loving husband.”  I capture her in my arms again.  “We will be late for luncheon.”  I suggest half heartedly before we go too far in our lovemaking—though half of our clothes seem to be tossed onto nearby chairs already.

Lady Madeline:  I grin mischievously at my loving husband Christian.  “They are not expecting us at the Dower House.  I told Grandmother Lady Catherine that we would procure a picnic lunch from the Hall kitchens after our tour.”

Lord Christian: “You did?”  I praise the skies for possessing such a considerate and resourceful wife.

Lady Madeline: “I did.”  I nod.  Then we quickly shed the rest of our clothes and tumble into bed in my Countess’ bed chamber.  My husband’s bed chamber was too far away—beyond the shared bathing chamber connecting doors.

Lord Christian: Unfortunately, when I lie down on my Madeline’s Countess’ bed, I find that I am made to bend my knees in order to fit.  “Blast!  I am too tall for this bed.  We will have to shift to you lying diagonally, I fear, My Love”

Lady Madeline: “Very practical until we can procure a bed of the proper length in here.”  I smile up at him as we awkwardly adjust our position on the bed—with me propping myself on my elbows and moving my fanny, then elbows over, then repeat until I have achieved my aim.  “And you will need to be careful not to lay on me too heavily, Christian Dearest.”

Lord Christian: “Oh?  Are you saying that I am getting too heavy for you to bear?”  I query bemusedly as I kiss her neck and shoulders as I brace myself on my elbows leaning over her.

Lady Madeline: “No, of course not!  I am saying that we do not wish to be squished.”  I caressingly and appreciatively rub my hands up and down my husband’s bare muscular back and then his muscular shoulders and arms.

Lord Christian: “Ha ha ha ha ha!  And who is this we?”  I ask jovially as I pepper her faces with my kisses whilst I still hover over her lusciously womanly curved form.

Lady Madeline:  “Well …”  I smile coquettishly as I am about to reveal my secret—our secret.  “With my being with child, I thought that it might be wise for us to be cautious.  So as not to squish our baby.”

Lord Christian: “What did you say?”  I freeze above her.  All the air has left my lungs as I stare down at her in wondering astonishment.  “A baby?”  I ask incredulously, the corners of my mouth threatening to curl into a broad grin.  However Madeline seems not to sense my joy yet, due to my stunned reaction.

Lady Madeline: “Well Christian Dearest, you did mention our future children earlier, so I know that you want them.  And the result of our loving couplings  is …”

Lord Christian: “A baby!”  I shout with joy.

Then I roll off of Madeline, bringing her with me to lie beside me as I enclose my arms around her in a loving embarce—as my feet still hang off the bed in our diagonal position on it.  I had not realized that my late Grandfather Earl had been so short.  Or perhaps, he and my Grandmama Countess …  My thoughts fade away as I resolve not to think of my elders whilst trying to make love with my wife—and my focusing up our happy baby news.

Lady Madeline:  “So you are happy with our baby news so soon after we wed, Christian?”  I ask hopefully, my biting my lower lip as a tell tale sign of my nervousness.  Wed only just past three months, my being with child is a blessing that I could not have hoped for so soon, myself.  But I am overjoyed.

Lord Christian: “Most Definitely!  Are you happy, My Darling?”  I smile while gazing at my wife Madeline’s pleased countenance.

Lady Madeline: “Very much!  It is just that the sickness that comes with being with child hits me in waves sometimes.”

Lord Christian: “Do you feel ill now?”  I ask considerately.  Because our making love is rather … frought with pleasurable movements.

Lady Madeline: “No.  I am just worried about the baby and I being squished by your lying on top of me—as I mentioned.”

Lord Christian: “Wellll, there is another way for us to make love, without you getting squished, as you call it.”  I trail my finger down the side of her cheek.

Lady Madeline: “There is?”  I stare at my husband Christian in confusion—wondering why he hasn’t mentioned that sooner.  But, perhaps, he himself was not aware of more than one way to make love—until now.  And I wonder who could have informed him of this new way.  Then I think, of course, his brother Lord Harold probably told him.  Though Harold is younger than my husband Christian, Harold is quite a rake—or so I am told.  But I resolve to keep an open mind, in case what my Christian is about to propose is … pleasing.

My Darling Madeline looks at me with growing curiosity, her irises expand and her lips part slightly, indicating her welcoming our new romantic seduction.  Oh the manifest joys of an innocent wife!  Her love and trust in me makes me feel like I am only just beginning to understand and appreciate our loving romance—and our romantic trysts–beyond anything romantic that I have ever known.  I do not take our loving bond for granted and I cherish my Darling wife.

Lord Christian: “Indeed!”  I raise a very wicked eyebrow.   “I have just been waiting to introduce you to them.”

Lady Madeline:  “Them?”  I open my eyes in astonishment as I pull my face back to look into his eyes.

Lord Christian: “I will guide you, My Darling.”  I roll us to have me lying on my back and My Love Madeline lying flush on top of me.

Lady Madeline:  Feeling exposed with my nakedness, I burrow myself into my husband’s chest for warmth and modesty.  “This feels chilly.”  And I am still slightly shy about my nakedness in the daytime light.  “Are you certain, Christian Dearest?” I cannot help but be uncertain, when our lovemaking up to now has been so pleasant and will bring about the birth of our first child.  And I wonder what need there is for different ways of lovemaking?

Lord Christian: Lifting the bed sheet to cover my darling Madeline’s shoulders to warm her, I ask.  “Better?”  She nods.  Yet, she still seems to need convincing as I guide her.

Lady Madeline: “This coupling formation seems unusual. I fear that I will fall off.  And I do not see how we ….”  My words are stilled by my loving husband showing me how we love each other in this manner.  I find that I am curious and willing to be … persuaded to consider this alternative.  I feel such lovely tingles all over.  Oh yes, this might be quite pleasurable.

Then with my Christian’s encouraging words and him holding and caressing me so that I do not lose my balance and fall off of him–though his caresses are more tender than merely practical—my husband surprises me all over again, in a very very good way.  How thoughtful he is, I think sighingly as I lie down to cuddle with him side by side after, to kiss each other [(3) below], and then to truly nap.

Madeline and I spend a loving late morning abed as we share our love together again.  My wife is so charming and alluring in her innocence—that is equaled by her curiosity.  A winning combination.

Then much later just after at midday, we do procure a picnic lunch from the Sussex Hall Castle kitchens and enjoy eating it in the gardens before returning home to the Dower House via an open gig. I was wary about letting Madeline walk the half mile due to her delicate condition.  She dismissed my concerns, but then I pointed out that she was wearing slippers and not walking boots.  So in the interest of slipper preservation, we rode in the gig.

And I have a spring in my step as we walk into the Sussex Hall Dower House.  For Madeline and I are to tell my grandmother and brother & sister that we are soon to welcome a child together, a baby—perhaps even a son to secure my legacy.  My heart is full with my love for this women, My Lady Madeline, who has pledged her life to mine.  I am truly a blessed man.  And I will see to her every comfort as we momentously await our first child’s birth in late Autumn.

To be continued with Chapter 5

 

“Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement): Chapter 4  images for  December 16, 2018 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1195)

  1. “Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement”) story cover art is an image representing Lady Elizabeth Blount, sister to the Earl of Sussex in black evening gown–is that of actress Jessica Brown Findlay as Lady Sybil in Downton Abby found at http://www.internet-d.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/38/2012/02/JESSICA-BROWN-FINDLAY-as-Lady-Sybil-Crawley.jpg ; the text font  is Vivaldi.
  2. An aerial view of the Blount’s country seat of Sussex Hall Castle is represented by Arundel Castle; for more information, visit https://arundelcastle.org/  ;    the image was found at https://arundelcastle.org/assets/components/phpthumbof/cache/22-01-2018-151665729215-12-2017-6363-2.arundel-castle.150e66919f25ed0392bb7d2375959d0d.jpg
  3. Lord Christian kissing Lady Madeline is Richard Armitage and Daniela Denby-Ashe in North & South- Epi4 _17h54m34s7_Nov1013 Gratiana Lovelace Cap -hi-res-brt-crop; edited again for clr2 and brt

“Expectations” (Book 2)  Ch. 4  URL for Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad story Post  for  December 16, 2018:
https://www.wattpad.com/667344608-expectations-book-2-by-gratiana-lovelace-2018

 

Previous “Expectations” (Book 2)  Chapter 3  story URL of my SAL blog post (#1194), on December 09, 2018:
https://gratianads90.wordpress.com/2018/12/09/expectations-book-2-ch-3-lady-madelines-diary-entries-december-09-2018-by-gratiana-lovelace-post-1194/

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“Expectations” (Book 2)– Ch. 3:  Lady Madeline’s Diary Entries,  December 09, 2018  by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1194)

“Expectations” (Book 2)– Ch. 3:  Lady Madeline’s Diary Entries,  December 09, 2018  by Gratiana Lovelace  (Post #1194)

(an original Regency romance copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace, 2018 – 2019; all rights reserved);   [(1) story cover art, left]

[As is my custom, from time to time  I will illustrate my story with my ideal cast consisting of (in order of appearance/mention in this chapter):  Lady Madeline Blount Countess of Sussex portrayed by Kate Winslet, and her husband Lord Christian Blount Earl of Sussex portrayed by Richard Armitage.]

Author’s story content and serializing scheduling notes:  For the most part, my ratings for the chapters will be PG-13—for romantic interludes and dramatic moments.  If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with these ratings, then please do not read that chapter.  This is my disclaimer.   And I always put the previous chapter’s brief recap at the top of the next chapter.  Also, I hope to post weekly on Sundays.

“Expectations” (Book 2)—Chapter 3:  Lady Madeline’s Diary Entries

After another half of an hour of her sister-in-law Lady Elizabeth coaxing Lady Madeline to sip her ginger tea every few moments of the morning of their first full day at the Sussex Hall Dower House in late May 1816, Lady Madeline had started to feel slightly better—less nauseous.  So Lady Elizabeth left her to attend to … whatever Lady Elizabeth  attends to most  mornings.  Then Lady Madeline pulls the bell rope for Trask to arrange a bath for her—which always makes her feel better.

Then after luxuriating in her bath and dressing for the morning, Lady Madeline begins to feel more the thing.  So she finally contemplates what she might ask Cook to send her to nibble on before their now usual late luncheon.  Today, sautéed tomato slices sprinkled with brown sugar are her latest inspiration.  And afterward, she feels almost ready to begin her day.

Resting comfortably now this much later morning—almost mid day–in what she can finally appreciate as her beautiful bed chamber sanctuary of pale green striped silk moire wall coverings [(2) below], and accented with pleasing decorations incorporating patterns of pale ivory, pale pink, pale green, and pale lavender purple flowers accenting the bedding, with the furniture in the Country French style.

Lady Madeline’s countenance is still a little pale as well.  Of course, her being nearly three months pregnant with her dearest husband Lord Christian Arthur Owen Blount the Earl of Sussex’ baby is the cause of her morning sickness while carrying their first child.  Yet, Lady Madeline has not, as of yet, informed her husband of their happy news.  That he has not guessed is possibly due to his rank as an Earl, and that gentleman do not usually concern themselves with such things—that is, after the important bit.

And Lady Madeline wonders if her husband even remembers when his late mother was enceinte with his younger sister Lady Elizabeth?  With Lady Elizabeth being nearly fifteen years his junior, Lord Christian would have been attending school at Eton during most of that time—and he likely only found out that he had a baby sister when he returned home at the end of the term, for the Summer months holiday. Naturally, such events as impending births are hardly a topic for polite conversation.  Though the well bred promulgated presumption that babies come into being without some means of effecting their existence does seem rather a silly polite societal guideline.

Relaxed after her nibbling and such, Lady Madeline turns to gaze upon a modestly sized ivory colored leather covered volume with its titling embossed in gold upon it stating the name of the owner and diarist as Lady Madeline Lucretia Sinclair Blount the Countess of Sussex’s Diary.  The oft turned to diary [(3) below] lies on Lady Madeline’s Sussex Hall Dower house temporary country home bed chamber’s bedside nightstand waiting to receive its latest installment of lady Madeline’s bucolic existence in the very English countryside as the recently minted Countess of Sussex.

Lady Madeline leans over and gracefully snatches up with her slightly plumping hand—and with her hand’s petiteness, giving it an almost childlike or elfin quality–her first volume of what she supposes will contain many years’ worth of diaried happy memories.  Then she stands and glides several feet over to her ivory scrolled French escritoire writing desk near the amply proportioned bay window of her Sussex Dower House bed chamber.

First surveying the lovely Sussex Hall gardens in full bloom at her Grandmother-in-law’s the Dowager Countess of Sussex’s Dower House manor at the Sussex Hall estate in the country–the bright morning sun shines benevolently upon their lush flower beds and far away fields of wheat and barley in equal measure– Lady Madeline gracefully descends, not plops, onto her softly cushioned chair’s seat to write into her diary.  Her silk organza day dress of pale pink and pinkish lavender [(4) below] complements her boudoir’s décor.  Or perhaps, it is the other way around. And Lady Madeline’s hair is yet down, falling in haphazard curling waves upon her shoulders.  For she decides not to have her maid arrange and put up her hair, in the hope that she and her husband might meet up late morning.

And though Lady Madeline and her husband Lord Christian have been married 3 months—causing her to have less writing time as a newlywed in their first few weeks of marriage—she tries to write something in her diary at least once or twice a week, or every other day now that she and her husband Lord Christian have settled into a regular routine of late morning and pre-dinner evening … nap takingNap taking is the euphemism that Lady Madeline and Lord Christian use to excuse themselves from their family or guests–for a secret assignation in their bed chamber, when they are in the company of other family members and such during the middle of the day.  Though, their delicate subterfuge is doubtfully fooling no one—especially with Lady Madeline’s charming blushes.

When in company with others in their family, the newlywed’s secret loving messages of one to the other of their mutual need to share their kisses and caresses in matrimonial bliss are discreet—and merely require a flutter of Lady Madeline’s sweet eyelashes for Lord Christian to be on the move toward her, were he not to be at her side, which he usually is—him solicitously asking her of her well being.  And then him suggesting she have a lie down, or a short walk to the enclosed gazebo at their London Sussex House grounds.  Or now, a much hoped for gig ride to the Sussex Hall Estates Summer House where the fresh air might revive her—the Summer House being a small secluded cottage near the smaller of two lakes on the Sussex Hall estate, where romantic trysts occur between them with a lovingly  frequently indulged regularity.

Though Lord Christian’s solicitude about her state of health is very much appreciated by his young wife Lady Madeline, Lord Christian also remembers well that their married life began with her being almost on death’s door with a quickly caught fever and lung complaint that he nursed her through in the first week of their marriage.  So, he is forgiven for seeming to besottedly dote upon his wife and for him to be carefully mindful about her health.

Currently, Lady Madeline blushes from her hairline to her satin slippered dainty toes, at the remembrance of her virile husband just last night and into the wee hours of the morning—some eight hours past, and even before the moon had set.  But she must set aside such lovely musings of marital togetherness if she is to get any diary writing done, before her duties as the Countess of Sussex this day are upon her.

Refocusing her thoughts, Lady Madeline speaks aloud in a hushed tone what she writes into her diary with a freshly sharpened quill dipped in ink—with her usual linen cloth draped across her belly to prevent inadvertent quill drips from soiling her lovely lavender day gown with delicate lilac flowers embroidered upon it.  Speaking while writing is an annoying habit—for her–that Lady Madeline has had since childhood when she was in the school room practicing her numbers and letters for her governess.  For despite her governess’ kind gentle admonishments, Lady Madeline persists to this day in her hushed whispers when writing.

Though at least her small child tongue and lip exaggerations while speaking ceased—when she was twelve years old.  And Lady Madeline’s murmurings –as Lord Christian bemusedly refers to them–is a habit which seemingly negates the obvious privacy and confidentiality that one expects to have when writing in their diary.  Hence her choosing to write her diary in the privacy of their bed chamber.

Lady Madeline’s Diary:  “Entry # 52, or maybe it is # 53?  Oh bother!”  She exclaims out loud in a delicately frustrating tone.  With her living with her reserved Grandmother-in-law Lady Catherine Blount the Dowager Countess of Sussex, Lady Madeline is trying to further refine and soften her naturally effervescent demeanor.  Though this morning is not evidence of that.

For Lady Madeline’s current woe is that she had inadvertently mixed up the diary entry numbers a few entries back.  And though she had the dates on them for chronology, it also seems that two pages had stuck together during one entry due to a dampness in the air after a hard rain.  And then when she went back to write the next time, the pages easily pulled apart.  So she had written her most recent entry in the middle of an older entry.  Diary entries appearing out of order is enough to befuddle anyone, let alone a young bride with her mind upon her happy state—she is just ten and eighteen years, as of two and a half months ago, which was one week after she and Lord Christian were married.

A graceful small light weight charcoal gray and white feline young cat of indeterminate origins named Char (for Charlene) [(5) below] who turned up one day while Lady Madeline walked in Hyde park in London, and who adopted her on the spot, taps at her benefactress’ gown hem and purrs as she rubs against her lower leg.

Char the cat:  “Thththththth, ththththth.”

Lady Madeline:  “Oh, Char! You are so precious!  Where have you been?”  The cat smiles knowingly.  “Well, it matters not. You are here now.”  Lady Madeline sets down her quill pen and picks up her cat and brings the confident creature to her lap on her left side in a cuddle and she absentmindedly strokes its very soft fur.  Then she picks up her quill with her right hand again and continues writing with her erstwhile companion at her side.

 

Lady Madeline’s continued Diary entry: “Today, Tuesday, May 16, 1816, I am now rested and not feeling quite so unwell after arriving safely yesterday at our country Estate and seat, Sussex Hall’s Dower House yesterday.  We are staying with My Lord Christian’s Grandmother Lady Catherine the Dowager Countess of Sussex, while we have let out our Sussex Hall castle proper to Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay’s family for the Summer.  Else we would be ensconced in the Sussex Hall castle this very moment.  But I must be patient until I may truly become the mistress of my new country home, Sussex Hall.”

Her veering off topic evidences Lady Madeline’s need for rest—in that her mind wanders when she is fatigued.   Lady Madeline had also set down her quill to pop a small sweet treat into her mouth, savoring its fruity flavor as she gently strokes her furry kitty Char lying languorously at her left side.  The fruity treat is a confection made by their French chef Etienne, and the candy is the consistency of somewhere between jellied jam preserves and hard candy.  It is somewhat squishy and covered in sugar.   And she wonders if this somewhat messy treat might sell well in the Blenkins Emporium  shop that she patronizes.   Hmmm.  After a few moments of also enjoying breathing in the lovely floral scents of their back garden wafting through the open window, Lady Madeline returns to her diary entry writing.

Lady Madeline’s continued Diary entry:   “A good night’s sleep on a cushioned mattress cured my back’s soreness caused by the bumpy roads during our traveling here yesterday, despite how well sprung My Lord Christian’s traveling coach is.  He was all apologetic and bid me straight to bed to rest when we arrived last night—however the resting came some time later.”

She smiles knowingly at her secret mention of their loving trysts last night.   And if and when her far away into the future great great granddaughter reads and interprets Lady Madeline’s romantic diary musings, then that great great granddaughter will at least know that her lineage springs from a loving union—when many marriages of society are still arranged without even the liking of the two parties involved necessarily considered.

Lady Madeline’s continued Diary entry: “And though my Dearest Christian tries not to exceed a seemingly arbitrary maximum of three lovings each day—which is difficult to exceed when we are in London and Parliament is in session—because the government is no respecter of family time when there are important political votes to be cast.  Whilst on our wedding trip in the near London countryside, we barely even left our bed chamber—with My Dear Christian having no voting responsibilities distracting him from his husbanding responsibilities.  And he is most tenderly and passionately persuasive for us to have at least one nap each day.  But with us traveling from town all day yesterday, we had barely managed to finish our late morning  nap before setting off on our journey.”

Lady Madeline’s mind wanders, again.  She seems to be doing more of that in recent days.  And she feels more fatigued.  Her reason for this mind wandering fatigues were made more clear to her two weeks ago when her Ladies Maid Anne Trask suggested that since Lady Madeline’s courses have not come for two months, that Lady Madeline might wish to talk with a doctor or midwife.   At first, Lady Madeline gave Trask a quizzical look and asked her “Why?”

 

So Trask explained what missing her monthly courses meant, and then Lady Madeline gleefully consulted with a London doctor who confirmed that she was indeed with child.  She was then urged to rest more, avoid all stresses, and above all, to not strain herself by lifting or carrying anything heavier than a book.   But some books can be very heavy, indeed—though Lady Madeline has always tended to prefer books of middling size—her believing that one cannot judge the worth of a book by its cover or weight—and a lighter weight book can be just as good or better than its heavier tome counterpart.

Lady Madeline wonders if the somewhat aged bordering on fifty year old London doctor was being accurate with regard to her own body’s constitution, or if he was merely relating the same admonitions that he has done for the past thirty years for the Blount family.  However, the doctor’s slightly younger nurse/midwife whom the doctor brought with him—concurred and nodded smilingly and encouragingly at Lady Madeline, the young new Countess of Sussex.

Happily, Lady Madeline also visited briefly with the highly recommended and discreet country physician Dr. Thaddeus Horne–whose offices are in their nearby Sussex Hall Estate’s market town village town—after he had paid a courtesy visit to the Dowager and her at the Dower House at Sussex Hall upon their arrival yesterday.  This also older, but less regimented country doctor prescribed for her ladyship Lady Madeline to do as she pleased and rest when she feels tired—but no lifting, pulling, straining, or exertion of any kind.

Lady Madeline shakes her head with a smile.  As if ladies exert themselves with all of the servants that surround them in a cocoon of comfort and aid.  But perhaps, he was thinking of riding on one’s horse speedily—something which Lady Madeline Countess of Sussex does not do.  She prefers her horses bridled … and hitched to a carriage for leisurely jaunts to enjoy the beautiful park ,or now the countryside.  Though she does quite enjoying watching her husband Lord Christian as he powerfully gallops upon his horse, with his broad shoulders, muscled arms, and muscled thighs for that matter, very much being exerted.  Sighhh!

***

And Lady Madeline wants to be the bearer of the momentous news of their coming child to her husband Lord Christian.  It is just that there seems to be no perfect time to tell him.  And in Lady Madeline’s youthful zeal, she wants to dazzle her husband.  As of this moment, Lord Christian is out about on the estate somewhere this morning before luncheon.  And so, Lady Madeline resumes her diary entry writing.

Lady Madeline’s Diary:  “I must close with my resolve to let My Lord  Christian know that he is to be a Papa at Christmas time.  I hope that our first baby will be a girl—my very own daughter.  I only had my own dear Mama with me until my fourteenth year, four years ago.  So I hope that I will have gained parenting wisdom by the time that my own daughter is fourteen years old—to supplement the gap in my own daughtering experiences.  And I do so hope that My Lord Christian will not mind if our first baby will be a girl.  Of course, the baby could turn out to be a boy, I suppose.  But the matter of learning of our baby’s sex won’t come for another six or seven months, when she or he is born.”

More of Lady Madeline’s Diary:  “And I must add as an aside, that when as a little girl of six or even eight years—just ten years ago–I dreamed of being married and having a family of my own, I never dreamed that I would be as happy as I am—especially since my morning sicknesses seems to be finally lessening somewhat in duration each morning.  And the country doctor said that my morning sickness should be gone in a few weeks altogether.  In the meantime, my Darling Christian continues to dote upon me as only a most ardently loving and considerate husband can.  And I am his most loving and devoted wife as I help him to enjoy life more.”

***

More of Lady Madeline’s Diary:  “And with our helping others in need to be less burdened and to enjoy their lives more as well, through our charitable efforts, makes us appreciate our blessings of love and family even more.   Though my dear Grandmama Lady Lucretia Beckham Knott continues to support the poor and destitute living near St. Timothy’s parish in London in my absence from that great city, I am discovering the country poor in and around our vast Sussex Hall estates need just as much consideration now that they have a younger Lord and Lady in Christian and I, to tackle the problems of adequate housing, food, work, and basic education.  In fact, we have resolved to establish a small school for children and parents since estate workers who can read, write, and do basic sums are ever so much more helpful on our estate—as well as, that education provides them with more possibilities for job opportunities here, and even in London.”

More of Lady Madeline’s Diary:  “And I also feel fortunate that my new sister-in-law Lady Elizabeth Lizzie Blount also shares my charitable views and efforts in Town and here in the country.  Because despite the pleasing and bucolic nature of country life, there are still those among our tenants and villagers suffering from illnesses or accidents—or other misfortunes–that we hope to comfort and assist them with resolving, now that I am in residence here at the Sussex Hall Estate.    There is such a great deal of work to do that I could easily overdo—were not my loving and considerate husband Lord Christian advising me to schedule myself for two hours in three afternoons during the week, at convenient times for those whom I am trying to be of aid to.”

More of Lady Madeline’s Diary:  “So when the elderly couple who ran our estate’s market village’s bakery decided to move to another county to live with their grown children last month, Lady Lizzie and I took it over to run as a bakery and outreach project with the matronly Vicar’s wife Mrs. Agatha Mead being a wonder of organization and compassion.  Well, Lizzie and I will not be doing the baking, we will be just learning.  And the mothers in our general vicinity needing bread for their children to eat, help bake the bread that our community bakery sells for a small wage—and also receive a loaf of bread to take home to their families every day. We also have started a barter and trade cooperative exchange—so that individuals with extra turnips and such can trade them for eggs or milk, etc.”

 

More of Lady Madeline’s Diary:  “And finally, we also plan to start a Sussex Village Women’s sewing and knitting circle–that makes more than embroidered linen hankies as I was taught, and such.  So I will also secretly be learning how to knit baby booties and baby hats for our baby to come in late Fall 1816—my planning to hide them in my dressing room so that my husband Lord Christian will be surprised when I tell him that we are going to have a baby.  Our estate will provide the yarn via the shearings from our small sheep herd—that the ladies will spin into yarn and then dye to various colors, the dye also being subsidized by our Sussex Hall Estate.”

 

More of Lady Madeline’s Diary:  “And I am so very lucky that my husband Lord Christian and I are a love match.  Because sometimes, one’s romantic expectations are quite wonderfully exceeded.  And I do so hope that my dearest friend and now sister-in-law Lady Lizzie Blount will also have her romantic dreams and wishes fulfilled with Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay.  However, my new brother-in-law Lord Harold Blount might be a more difficult matrimonial project—due to his rather roguish demeanor.  Yet when one is happy, one wants everyone around them to be happy.”

 

Then Lady Madeline hears a fervent scratching sound upon our bed chamber door.  After finishing his discussions with his younger sister Lady Elizabeth—and telling their Housekeeper to have the Summer House thoroughly prepared for visitors this afternoon—he seeks out his wife in her, their, bedchamber.  Lady Madeline’s bed is not quite long enough for his feet—which extend beyond the mattress—but it is very comfortable, mostly due to the bed rarely being slept in, since his grandparents were also a love match.  So until a new more comfortable mattress can be made to replace his bed’s mattress, and his master bed chamber’s décor is softened to his wife’s liking, they sleep in her bed.  Then they will have a longer bed mattress made for her bed as well—as an alternative sleeping option.

Lord Christian:  “Madeline?”  Lord Christian deeply sighs her name through the door Then he enters their shared bedchamber—being certain to close and lock the door behind him with a smooth click.  Smirking, he asks her.  “shall we … nap, the hour before luncheon?” With his cravat already removed and displaying his strong neck, he asks desirously  and strides toward her with a barely concealed hopeful smile through seductively lowered hooded eyelids exuding his romantic intentions [(6) below].

Lady Madeline smiles at her husband as he escorts the cat to the hallway and closes and locks their bed chamber door once more.  Then she quickly finishes her diary entry with her usual farewell.  “Until next time …”

To be continued with Chapter 4

 

 

“Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement): Chapter 3  images for  December 09, 2018 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1194)

  1. “Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement”) story cover art is an image representing Lady Elizabeth Blount, sister to the Earl of Sussex in black evening gown–is that of actress Jessica Brown Findlay as Lady Sybil in Downton Abby found at http://www.internet-d.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/38/2012/02/JESSICA-BROWN-FINDLAY-as-Lady-Sybil-Crawley.jpg ; the text font  is Vivaldi.
  2. Lady Madeline’s bed chamber in a Country French style ;original image was found at http://www.dcgstores.com/chateau-french-country-sleigh-bedroom-set-aw.html ; image subsequently edited for color to greens and lavender purple, etc. by Gratiana Lovelace
  3. Lady Madeline’s diary as the Countess of Sessex; original image was found at https://www.galleryleather.com/leather-journals/desk-journal
  4. LadyMadeline-in-pale-organza-dress-isKateWinslet-inTitanic_Oct0616viaPinterest_Grati-crop
  5. Lady Madeline’s cat Charlene is represented by a beautiful gray and white Norwegian forest cat; the original image was found at https://www.catster.com/cats-101/the-norwegian-forest-cat
  6. Lord Christian is represented by Richard Armitage as John Thornton in N&S epi2-pix213 Sep2316ranet_Grati-sized-shrp-crop-brt2-clr-flip1

 

“Expectations” (Book 2)  Ch. 3  URL for Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad story Post  for  December 09, 2018:
https://www.wattpad.com/664510264-expectations-book-2-by-gratiana-lovelace-2018

Previous “Expectations” (Book 2)  Chapter 2  story URL of my SAL blog post (#1193), on December 02, 2018:
https://gratianads90.wordpress.com/2018/12/02/expectations-book-2-ch-2-the-root-cause-december-02-2018-by-gratiana-lovelace-post-1193

Posted in Gratiana Lovelace, Historical Fiction, Love and Relationships, Richard Armitage, Romance, Social Justice, social media, Society, Something About Love, Women | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Expectations” (Book 2)– Ch. 2:  The Root Cause, December 02, 2018   by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1193)

“Expectations” (Book 2)– Ch. 2:  The Root Cause, December 02, 2018   by Gratiana Lovelace  (Post #1193)

(an original Regency romance copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace, 2018 – 2019; all rights reserved);   [(1) story cover art, left]

[As is my custom, from time to time  I will illustrate my story with my ideal cast consisting of (in order of appearance/mention in this chapter):  Rupert Penry Jones as Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay and the second son of the Duke of York,  and Crispin Bonham Carter as Lord Harold Blount the younger brother of Lord Christian and older brother to Lady Elizabeth.]

 

Author’s story content and serializing scheduling notes:  For the most part, my ratings for the chapters will be PG-13—for romantic interludes and dramatic moments.  If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with these ratings, then please do not read that chapter.  This is my disclaimer.   And I always put the previous chapter’s recap at the top of the next chapter.  Also, I hope to post weekly on Sundays.

 

             “Expectations” (Book 2)– Ch. 2:  The Root Cause

Just as young Lady Madeline the Countess of Sussex’ distressed unwellness each morning due to her nascent pregnancy has yet to be revealed to her husband and family, so too does the root cause for Lord Duncan the Viscount  Lindsay’s outward change toward his suit of Lord Christian Blount the Earl of Sussex’ younger sister Lady Elizabeth Blount  remains undisclosed.

Lord Duncan’s decision to cease his courting pursuit of Lady Elizabeth occurred last week in London.  And his heart has yet to be reconciled with it.

After seeing that his groom handed over his own private patronage donation to the vicar of the impoverished St. Timothy’s to benefit their programs aiding the poor, then heading to his club Hearst’s, Lord Duncan’s usual benign good humored mien  [(2) below]  is replaced by a steady glare when he finds himself  accosted by an unwelcome and somewhat inebriated acquaintance as Lord Duncan enters the establishment.

Lord Harold Blount [(3) below], the second son and brother to Lord Christian Blount the Earl of Sussex, barks a slurringly sneered an impolitely gruff and familiar greeting.  A telling sign of which gentleman is more in control of his faculties than the other is that Lord Duncan’s  flawlessly elegant  waterfall tie folds in comparison to Lord Harold’s disheveled and haphazard cravat.   And Lord Harold does not even display the courtesy of standing up for the higher ranked Lord Duncan.

Lord Harold:  “Lindsay, old man!  I would have a word with you.”  Adding to the insult, Lord Harold flails his arm into the air, as if summoning a waiter from across the room.

Lord Duncan: “That was ten words, old man.  So I would aver our conversation is concluded.”  Lord Duncan drips sarcasm for the Blount Family disgrace sitting before him.    Lord Duncan would have continued on his way to the other side of the room, but for the next invective issued forth from Lord Harold’s mouth.

Lord Harold:  “For the man dallying with my sister, your disdain is uncalled for, Sir.”

Lord Duncan: “Pipe down, you imbecile!”  Lord Duncan admonishes in a furious whisper as he hastily takes the seat across from Lord Harold.  “Were you to care a jot for your sister’s well-being, you would not bandy about her reputation so brazenly.  She is an innocent and virtuous lady!”

Lord Harold:  Lord Harold lowers his volume.  “And we, the family, wish to keep it thus.  So you had best hie yourself off from paying your addresses to her.  You are, afterall, a betrothed man.”  Lord Harold’s steely gaze, becomes more so as the effects of his earlier inebriation have mostly subsided.  He had been ejected from a gaming hell that morning, for calling out a cheater—who he belatedly realized worked for the house.  An event which had at least a figurative sobering effect upon a man at the time, and a literal one now several hours later at midday.

Lord Duncan purses his lips and glares at Lord Blount.  The silence between the two gentlemen crackles with pent up hostility.

Lord Duncan:  “If, as you allude, the Sussex family wishes my absence, why have I not heard this from the Earl of Sussex?  Especially since I and my family are to take up residence for the three Summer months at the Earl’s country home Sussex Hall in just over a sennight?  [(4)]

Lord Harold:  “My brother is too blinded by his longtime friendship with you to act as he should as our little sister’s guardian.”  He stresses the word little in order to emphasize his sister’s youth of barely 18 years.  “Or may hap, he is merely greedy for the lucre you promised in renting out our estate for the princely sum of $1,000 pounds per month from June through August.”

Lord Duncan:  Shaking his head at the folly of the man before him, Lord Duncan speaks in measured even tones that cannot  mask his fury.  “You do not seem to care whom you disparage, Harold.  I esteem your brother greatly, and I am gratified that he returns that honor to me.  You would begin to understand the bonds of friendship between true gentlemen were you to ever behave and conduct yourself as one.”

Lord Harold:  Not wishing to explain himself–nor his personal sorrows—he regroups. “Just do the decent thing and stay away from my sister—literally and figuratively.  Give her the chance to find and court an eligible gentleman, of which you are not.  Otherwise, you will break her heart.” He pleads as a caring brother.

And it is that sole argument of him breaking Lady Elizabeth’s heart that chips away at Lord Duncan’s selfish feelings of love for her. He takes a moment to respond, then does so with a breaking heart of his own.

Lord Duncan:  “I never wished to bring the Lady Elizabeth any heartache, nor will I—for I esteem her above all others.  And I know too much of heartache’s pain within my own family to be a party to creating it in another.”  He speaks obliquely of his late older brother Lord Alfred, Marquess of Malton’s betrothed—and now his putative betrothed—Lady Constance Knightsbridge.

Lord Harold:  Surprised at Lord Duncan’s rather quick capitulation, Lord Harold blusters. “Well.  Good.  Good.  I shall expect that you let my little sister down gently, mind.  But do so irrevocably.  If she is to move on, then she must sever the future she had hoped for with you.”

Lord Duncan: “I understand.  And though my family is still obligated to rent Sussex Hall for the Summer, I hope that my family’s presence will not be a burden to Lady Elizabeth.  I will keep my visits to Sussex Hall at a minimum—mostly because I will be overseeing the renovations and roof repair of our own country estate in the North.”  Though Lord Duncan will need to be at Sussex Hall early on when Lady Constance is invited to stay—if only to firmly establish for Lady Elizabeth that he is not eligible, even though neither he nor Lady Constance wishes to wed each other.

***
The two men having reached an agreement take their leave of each other.  Lord Harold heads to Sussex House in London via a hired cab—due to his brother not allowing him the use of the Sussex carriages or horses, lest Lord Harold try to sell or wager them away.  Though his brother Lord Christian does not know it yet, this morning’s ejection from yet another gaming hell has made him swear off wagering.

Lord Duncan heads back to his London family home on Blankford Place, to write a letter, the letter,  to Lord Christian Blount the Earl of Sussex  apprising him of  his (Lord Duncan)  being ineligible to court Lady Elizabeth due to betrothal pact his family made that Lord Duncan must now honor.  Lord Duncan dismisses his cowardly act of not even writing to Lady Elizabeth directly by assuring himself that he is doing the proper thing for Lady Elizabeth—to let her move on and find a suitable husband.  And Lord Duncan vows privately to honor his love for Lady Elizabeth by never taking a wife.  If he cannot be bound in love with marriage to Lady Elizabeth, then he will not be bound in marriage to any lady—including to his supposed betrothed, Lady Constance.

***
And though Lord Harold’s conversation this day with Lord Duncan has inelegantly brokered a less scandalous future for his little sister Lady Elizabeth, it is perhaps Lord Harold’s first step toward becoming a better man and thinking more of others.  For  he, too, is lost to love as Lord Harold’s married lover’s husband has decided to move he and his wife permanently to the continent to take up a new ambassador post in Prague.

Lord Harold’s lost love the young and beautiful and kind Lady Penelope Lindquist who was only five years his senior—and she was wed to a man twenty years her senior who neglected her for his political career, which allowed Lord Harold to charm her—she was contemplating leaving her husband for Lord Harold.  That is, she had planned to risk all for love, until her husband Lord Lindquist reminded her that she was his wife, and he would drag her name through the gossip rags and insure that Lord Harold and the whole Sussex family would bear the shame of the scandalous affair and be shunned from polite society.

But Lady Penelope did not tell Lord Harold this, because she knew that he would fight for her—to the ruin of them both, and of his family, and of the child of Lord Harold’s that Lady Penelope even now bears secretly in her womb.  But rather, Lady Penelope thanked Lord Harold in a note for his giving her a sweet and unfettered love, that she will remember him fondly for, to the end of her days—wishing him a future love of his own, however much it pained her to think of Lord Harold in the arms of another.

***
As Lord Harold walks into his family’s London home Sussex House—by way of the mews and the back garden terrace– their longtime London cook Mrs. Crisp greets him warmly as he enters the kitchen, her domain.

Mrs. Crisp:  A small round woman, she smiles warmly at Lord Harold. “Well now, there you are Lord Hal!  Are you just getting in from last night, or had you snuck out without having breakfast that I made for you?”  She eyes him suspiciously, as one who know the long history of her favorite scamp.

Lord Harold: “Et tu, Mrs. C?”  Lord Harold graces her with his best charming  smile.

Mrs. Crisp:  Her plump features and rosey face reflect a kind woman of mature years—her knowing Lord Harold since he was a babe. “You cannot fool me, you young scalawag.  But come down and eat one of my meat pies fresh out of the oven.”

Lord Harold:  “No need to go to any trouble, Mrs. C.”  He demures.  “I ate at my club.”  A boldfaced lie.  Though the heavenly aroma of the meat pies belies his intent on refusing to eat one of them.  “I must pack if I am to be away to our country estate on the morrow.”

Mrs. Crisp:  “Not looking like you do, you will not, Master Hal.”  She unerringly demotes him to his childhood address.  “You need at least several days of good nourishing food in your belly, and rides on your horse in the park for the fresh air and sunshine, and such before I’ll send you out of town.  Nor will I have Lady Elizabeth bear witness to your depths that you have sunk to.”  Firmly stated to him as she had when he was a child—despite that then and now, Lord Harold out ranks her.

Lord Harold:  “Do I have a choice?  Or will you steal all my trousers again to keep me from traveling out of town?”

Mrs. Crisp:  “Right you are then, My Lad.  We need to make you well, so as for you to enjoy being at your country home more when you go there.”

Lord Harold: “But we do not really have our country home for the Summer.  Christy has rented it out, and we are staying with Grandmother.”  He states forlornly.

Mrs. Crisp:  Waving her wooden stirring spoon at him for a beef stew she is making for tonight’s dinner for the household—including Lord Harold—she makes her point.  “Exactly!  And I would no more send you to your Grandmother in your current state, than I would fail to put beef in tonight’s stew.”

Lord Harold: “Right then!  I will eat your meat pies, Mrs. Crisp now, then have a lie down before dinner.”

Mrs. Crisp: Wrinkling her nose up, she makes and additional suggestion.  “And you had best be washing up in the tub before you nap in your nice clean bed.  You smell.”

Lord Harold: “Why thank you, Mrs. C.”  He makes a point of sniffing himself, and agrees with her assessment.  “I have obviously lacked attention to my person, and I will rectify that momentarily.”  He smiles and leans in, kissing her cheek.  “Now about that meat pie …”

Mrs. Crisp has her work cut out for her if she is to get Lord Harold in shape to return to his family in the country.  So while still in London, Lord Harold begins a ten days regimen of three solid meals a day, riding his horse once a day, visiting his tailor and bootmaker for replacing his now worn country attire, taking tea with his sister-in-law Lady Madeline’s Grandmama  the Lady Lucretia Beckham Knott (as a penance), and purchasing new arrivals at his favorite book shop to help him pass the time on his day long journey home to the country by carriage.

Lord Harold also eschews all of his previous forms of questionable entertainments, refuses spirits when offered them, and indulges his sweet tooth by way of compensation.  And with the skeleton staff on hand at Sussex House in London all focused on Lord Harold, he finds that he quite enjoys and appreciates their attentions and aid—none more so than that of the kindly Cook’s Mrs. Crisp’s strict but loving admonishments.  He has missed having his late parents—who had kept his behavior in check, as much as any parent can.  But he acknowledges that he is an adult now, and must endeavor to rein in his own bad habits.

So with Lord Harold Blount attempting to start life afresh and improving his behavior as a gentleman, the true test will be when he journeys to rejoin his family at their Sussex Hall country estate and the dower house, where they are all staying with their Grandmother Dowager Countess Lady Catherine.  Will they see the change in him?  Or rather, will they not trust that this change will last?  Lord Harold has an uphill battle there.  And he will find a most unlikely ally in his quest to reform himself.

To be continued with Chapter 3

“Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement): Chapter 2  images for  December 02, 2018 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1193)

  1. “Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement”) story cover art is an image representing Lady Elizabeth Blount, sister to the Earl of Sussex in black evening gown–is that of actress Jessica Brown Findlay as Lady Sybil in Downton Abby found at http://www.internet-d.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/38/2012/02/JESSICA-BROWN-FINDLAY-as-Lady-Sybil-Crawley.jpg ; the text font  is Vivaldi.
  2. Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay wearing a Waterfall cravat image is of Rupert Penry Jones as Captain Frederick Wentworth in “Persuasion” found at Pinterest at https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/44/3d/db/443ddbb85a3217c76611f6db0f891839.jpg
  3. Lord Harold Blount image is that of Crispin Bonham-Carter in the 1995 mini series “Pride and Prejudice” and was found at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112130/mediaviewer/rm1864548864
  4. A sennight is an old fashioned way of saying seven nights, or one week, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sennight

 

 

“Expectations” (Book 2)  Ch. 2  URL for Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad story Post  for  December 02, 2018:
https://www.wattpad.com/661485854-expectations-book-2-by-gratiana-lovelace-2018

 

Previous “Expectations” (Book 2)  Chapter1  story URL of my SAL blog post (#1192), on November 25, 2018:
https://gratianads90.wordpress.com/2018/11/24/expectations-book-2-ch-1-their-first-country-morning-november-25-2018-by-gratiana-lovelace-post-1192

Posted in "Expectations" (Book 2), Creative Writing, Drama, Fiction, Gratiana Lovelace, Historical Fiction, Love and Relationships, Period Drama, Regency, Richard Armitage, Romance, Rupert Penry-Jones, Social Justice, social media, Society, Something About Love, Storytelling | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments