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.
The story starts with Rachel, Lady Hayforth, throwing the dice in a desperate try at the marriage mart and coming up short when her carriage breaks down in the middle of nowhere. After a complicated string of happenings, she ends up engaged to Rupert, Lord Hartshorne, an aspiring chemist who did mysterious things for the war office in the recent past. His notebooks have gone missing, and a mysterious Mr Oliver is involved. Last week Rachel and her friends went to look at the stars after an eventful afternoon. George has left for the village. One might think that Rachel’s life would get simpler without this distraction, but that would be no fun.
Rupert showed he has something that connects his shoulders to his hips. Last week, the start of a new chapter shows that another of his talents is important. We discovered why it was so important that Rupert come with Sir Roger recently. Rachel awoke below decks in a ship (a channel barge). Despite the sterling reputation of the English as cooks, the crew ask Rachel to cook for them. Her choice of seasonings has their desired effect. This week she gives thanks for her deliverance.
When you’ve finished with this tripe, take a look at the better authors in Snippet Sunday.
The ceremony proceeded, and when it came time to read a verse or psalm, Dr Fowler cleared his voice; then said, “In light of our visitor’s harrowing experience, I thought a different psalm might be appropriate. Psalm 23. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me.”
Now everyone really did turn and look at her. The shuffling noise drowned Dr Fowler’s voice. Rachel smiled back, weakly.
“Yeah though I walk the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil, for” for I’m the toughest woman in that valley. “Thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me” Could have used that staff or that rod. Would have been very handy.
“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:” Like I did, Thank you Lord for the Calomel. “thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over” Rachel smiled, Their bowels certainly did.
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.”
I was lucky. May not be next time.
The service over, Dr Fowler waited at the church door, and after talking with all the other parishioners caught Rachel. “I am glad to see you’ve recovered Miss.”
“That preventive said you were a heroine, but he didn’t know your name.”
“I’m sorry. Rachel, Lady Hayforth. My fiancé is Lord Hartshorne from Oulten Hall, near Wakefield.”
Dr Fowler bowed, “I’m honoured to have you share my humble vicarage.”
“No, I’m honoured that you found a room and a dress for me. Can we send a letter to my fiancé? He’ll be worried.” I hope so. Charity won’t.
“Yes, but I should tell you that the preventive officer caught the post to Selby. There’s a good chance Lord Hartshorne already knows. The officer said they were tearing up the town to find some gentlewoman.”
“Even better, still I should write.”
“Certainly. We should dine first.” Dr Fowler turned and introduced another young woman to her. “This is my daughter Elizabeth. One brother is at Cambridge and the other.” He paused; then glanced at the churchyard. A sad expression flickered across his face.
“Yes. The ways of the Lord are mysterious. It’s kept me from seeking preferment, but then I like Hook.” He continued to gaze across the graves.
“Father,” Elizabeth said, “I’m sure Lady Hayforth is famished, and I, for one, would like to hear her story.”
“Oh. Yes, of course.”
There is an echo of more recent experience in Rachel’s interpretation of the 23rd psalm. (not mine I must add, being to young for the pleasure.)
Speaking of sheep and shepherds.
One of the joys of walking in the English countryside is the presence of livestock. Sheep, here ewes and their nearly grown lambs, contribute their own … distinctive ambience to the experience.
I shouldn’t complain, however, as cattle contribute a similar ambience too. At least the sheep won’t chase you. One actually has to be careful around cattle. If they’re not used to human contact they can be surprisingly dangerous. They’ve been known to trample incautious walkers. Still, if you didn’t have farmers, you wouldn’t have footpaths – so it’s a worthwhile bargain. Just be careful around the stock.