Ch. 10 (PG): The Kimball Ball, Part 1: Sincerity

Start from the beginning

But it seems not to be. And however much Lord Christian and I allayed Lady Lizzie's nervousness about the Kimball Ball this week, my nervousness has only increased. For my Grandmama Lady Knott is determined that I be advantageously introduced to Viscount Lord Duncan Lindsay--the heir to the Duke of York. I have only quite recently turned my thoughts to my very much liking Lord Christian Blount, the Earl of Sussex as a prospective husband the more I converse with him--and now my Grandmama proposes a different gentleman to match with me, the Viscount Lord Duncan Lindsay. I have never met the man, but whatever Lord Duncan's virtues, he will still not be Lord Christian.

Obviously, my own thoughts have not turned away from Lord Christian as a suitor at all. As I have become acquainted with Lord Christian better the past two weeks, I can see his many good qualities. Despite his propensity for knocking ices out of my hands at parties, he dances divinely and is a most amiable gentleman. And he is a doting elder brother to my new friend in his younger sister Lady Elizabeth Blount. And he and Lady Lizzie kindly offered my Grandmama and I a ride to this week's Kimball Ball--which we gladly accepted.

Sadly, the Dowager Countess of Sussex Lady Catherine Blount--Lady Lizzie's and Lord Christian's Grandmother--is once again feeling unwell, so she is unable to join us. Though Lord Christian's gift to her of the black shawl embroidered with small pale blue roses somewhat cheered her—as my own gift of a cream shawl embroidered with small pink roses delighted my Grandmama. But Lady Blount insisted that her grandchildren Lady Lizzie and Lord Christian attend the Kimball Ball tonight, a chilly but no longer snowing Friday February 9, 1816. And it is anyone's guess where their brother Lord Harold is. Because I do not believe anywhere near a sick bed is Lord Harold's forte. Yet he is not with us.

As we take the cozy carriage ride to the Kimball Ball in the Earl of Sussex' large and comfortably cushioned enclosed carriage--made more agreeable by the warmed bricks at our feet—Lady Lizzie and I discuss our plans for the evening with regard to dancing and refreshments in whispers into each other's ears.

My Grandmama and Lord Christian sitting across from us in the large carriage also converse in hushed tones.

Lady Knott: "Thank you again for kindly inviting us to ride with you to the Kimball Ball, Lord Christian."

Lord Christian: "You are are most welcome, My Lady. We are glad that you could join us." I notice that she does not use her pet name for me, of Christy. "Am I still out of charity with you, Lady Knott? Or am I forgiven for my boorish behavior at Lady Madeline's presentation ball?"

Lady Knott: I look at this earnest young man for a long moment. He seems sincere. "Since my granddaughter has forgiven you, then I must also ." I state pleasantly from years of practice.

Lord Christian: Not willing to let her merely civil response drop, I query. "But?"

Lady Knott: "But, I was disappointed that you chose to take out your frustration upon dear Maddie with regard to your grandmother's and my own misbegotten matchmaking attempts. Maddie was completely unaware of our hopes. It was not her fault." I admonish him chastisingly.

Lord Christian: "I am aware of that now." I say more curtly than I intend. "I have apologized to Lady Madeline and she forgave me. Will you not do the same?" I try not to whine. But Lady Knott tends to make me feel as if she is the school mistress, and I the errant student. And I am well aware of the power that ladies like Lady Knott wield, and I do not want her ire at me to become misdirected at my sister Lady Lizzie.

And I admit that I am put out that Lady Knott no longer considers me a viable suitor for Lady Madeline. Even though I had not originally sought that office, I have warmed to the idea of a matrimonial arrangement with Lady Madeline Sinclair and its benefits to my family--more particularly to my sister Lady Lizzie's marriage prospects by my receiving the Knott dowry money saved for Lady Madeline. Yet, Lady Madeline's dowry is no longer my sole goal now. Lady Madeline has my heart, as I wish to have hers.

"Encouragement" (Book 1), A Regency Love Story, by Gratiana Lovelace, 2016Read this story for FREE!