A Formulaic Romance
This is the start of another story Amelia and I are putting together. There’s a pun in the title that will become obvious in time.
It starts with the trope, Lady Rachel on her way to London, is stranded in the country by an unfortunate accident. They’ve made their way to the house in the distance, but not without slipping in the muddy lane.
The Master was introduced here. He was somewhat annoyed at the disturbance, but willing to see that his guests were properly entertained. The housekeeper, Mrs Hobbes, leads Rachel and Lucy to their rooms to prepare for dinner The carriage wright makes a cameo appearance in a previous snippet.
Last week saw the arrival of Rupert’s Uncle George and a hint at the complicated family history – a history that was not completely … harmonious.
This week, the rain finally scuds off to the North Sea leaving a fine day – for riding and other things.
The Weather Breaks.
Next morning, the rain, having finally, finally broken, George, with the time hanging heavy on his hands, found Rachel and Lucinda at breakfast and said, “I feel like a ride. Do you ride Miss?”
“I used to.” Rachel grimaced, “Sold my hunter to pay for this trip so in a sense I’m wearing her … Maybe she’s riding me.”
“That’s too bad. Rupert used to keep a good stable. He’s let it go in the last years, but I’m sure there’s something worth throwing a leg over. Would you be willing to accompany me on the downs?”
Lucinda gushed, “Yes. I like to ride as well.”
George bowed to the inevitable chaperone, and realizing that Lucinda was better company than most chaperones, rose and said. “I’ll inquire about the horses and see if there are side-saddles.”
After he left, Lucinda turned to Rachel and said, “What an elegant man.”
“Yes, A pity he’s engaged … to a Miss Deacon, his ‘Charity.’ The good ones are all taken. I think we’d best hurry to London before the rest are gone.”
“Don’t be so cynical. There’s always, what was it Lord Bedlington called him? Gas.”
“He’s handsome enough, I’ll grant you, but so dashed odd. Buried in that workshop of his.”
“You can change that, can’t you? Or at least take an interest in his work.”
“I suppose.” Rachel studied the room, found it lacking inspiration, and finally said, “I suppose I could change my name to Sodium, Natria or something elemental. Then he’d like me.”
George overheard that as he entered the room, “I wouldn’t, Ma’am. Rachel is a pleasant, if unusual name.”
“My father found it in the Old Testament. Could have been worse, Delilah or Jael. What did you find about the horses?”
“I found Brindle and he sent a footman. Unfortunately, he remembers only one serviceable side-saddle. If that.”
Lucinda’s face fell. “So a groom will accompany you.”
“Unfortunately, yes.” George bowed gently again, “I should much rather have both your company.” As he straightened, he smiled at Rachel, “Lady Hayforth, I await your pleasure.”
It’s probably obvious that the title, “A Formulaic Romance” refers obliquely to chemistry. There’s another arcane reference in the text. Anyone caught it yet? It’s sort of, maybe, perhaps, important, given what Rupert worked on in the past. (No one answered last week, so I’m leaving the question pending.)
The featured image, “Stretchit” shows a bete noire of mine. Women did not ride astride their horses. There were several reasons, and not just “modesty” as such. Still nearly every modern “period” film has the actresses riding astride. Not that I blame them, astride is much easier to ride than sidesaddle. Still neither Rachel nor Lucinda would dare to ride in any other manner.