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.
After a peek into Rupert’s history, George makes a somewhat unusual proposition to Rachel which was continued. The rain finally scuds off to the North Sea leaving a fine day – for riding and other things. Rachel, unsure of her own feelings, arranged for her companion to use the only sidesaddle. Meanwhile Rupert and Rachel discover a shared interest in music, which leads to a proposal. George has just returned from finding a magistrate to deal with a mob. At the ball a slippery character from the past makes his first appearance. George disposes of him, for the time being, in the this snippet. Rupert explained about his previous work in chemistry and Mr Oliver returned equipped with a search party.
A Pleasant Morning’s Inquisition.
That morning, Lady Bedlington requested her son’s company while she drank her chocolate in her room, prior to emerging from her lair.
Sitting stiffly upright in her bed she asked him, after he gave her a dutiful son’s peck on the cheek, “What can you tell me about this Lady Hayforth?”
“Not much, she was on her way to London, to stay with Lord Bromley … To try her hand at the marriage market. Her carriage broke down outside of Rupert’s pile.”
“I don’t think so. Not if she’s Bromley’s cousin … he’s a stiff-rumped fellow of the first rank. Couldn’t be, at least not more of an adventuress than any other unmarried woman in search of a husband.”
“I doubt that.”
“Well … Mother, she has behaved with grace, good manners, and genteel conduct. I gather Rupert’s proposal came as something of a surprise to her, but I think it will be the making of the two of them.”
Lady Bedlington studied the faded wallpaper in her room while she tried to remember the Hayforths. Eventually she said, “I place her, not her, but her family, now. Her father tried to keep up with Brummel and that set. Run off his legs.”
“When was that?”
“Years ago. You were still in school. It was the talk of the ton. She’s a queer one, George, dashed smoky.”
“I don’t know Mother. She seems pleasant enough. Not at all what I’d expect for an avaricious ladybird.”
“As if you would know.”
“I haven’t lived a completely sheltered life. Until I met Miss Deacon, I carefully avoided the Parson’s trap … which I assure you was laid for me by many an ambitious mother, baited with her desirable miss.”
“I must admit, George, that I find it most reassuring that you are engaged to Charity and out of this harpy’s reach. Poor Rupert. We shall just have to see what we can do.”
“Mother, I’m not…”
“Nonsense. Time that I finished my morning toilette. Would you send Graves in?”
“All I will say, Mother, is that Lady Hayforth is a pleasing and rational young lady with excellent manners.”
“Right, next you’ll tell me about a new patent to make purses from sow’s ears. Where’s Graves?”
George, still unconvinced, nodded his agreement. He also made sure to shut the door before he sighed in relief.
Miss Graves was waiting outside the door. “How is she?”
“Irritable … still upset that old Gas is donning leg shackles. Shame, because it’s the best thing he could do. It’s made him almost human.”
Miss Graves nodded, “I wish I understood My Lady. Trying to keep poor Lord Hartshorne from marrying. It’s a shame and so beneath her.” Confidences over, she curtsied to George and entered the room.
Amelia reminded me to put a link to our book page. We actually are preparing books for publication and have some sort of plan – amazing as that seems.
Did they stink?
Lady Beddlington is performing her toilette in the morning. One always wonders about the smell.
While formal baths were rare and showers, other than rain, non-extant, most people managed to stay vaguely clean. I actually have experience this, when backpacking with the scouts at Philmont. What you do is to sponge bathe the “pits and smelly bits.” It’s surprisingly effective. While there were people who stank, most notably Princess Caroline of Brunswick (of the “you think my hands are dirty, you should see my feet” fame), most people managed to keep their bodies clean. At least if you kept the windows open.
This painting, in 1798, of Princess Caroline, is one of the few that makes her look attractive. She had a difficult, highly restricted, childhood. Marrying George, the Prince of Wales, was an improvement, no matter how badly that marriage turned out.