"Encouragement, A Regency Tale of Love and Romance", Ch. 13 (PG): Seeking Betrothal Approval, October 29, 2016 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #991)

[From time to time, I will illustrate my story characters with: Richard Armitage as Lord Christian Blount Earl of Sussex, Kate Winslet or Emma Lady Hamilton as Lady Madeline Lucretia Sinclair, Dame Maggie Smith as Lady Lucretia Beckham Knott, Polly Mabrey as Lady Elizabeth Blount, Crispin Bonham-Carter as Lord Harold Blount, Dame Judi Dench as Lady Catherine Blount the Dowager Countess of Sussex, Rupert Penry Jones as Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay, Corin Redgrave as Squire Sutton Sinclair, and Amanda Root as Mrs. Russell,  and others as noted.]

Authors Content Note: "Encouragement" is a frothy love story with sometimes humorous and sometimes dramatic themes of love and relationships. It will mostly be at the PG and PG-13 movie levels. Specific chapters or passages may have a further rating of: D for dramatic emotions, and LS for love scenes that are tenderly sensuous and not explicit. And I will rate the chapters accordingly. If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with the ratings that I provide for a chapter, then please do not read that chapter. This is my disclaimer. And as is my habit, I will summarize the previous chapter's events at the beginning of each chapter.

Author's recap from the previous chapter: While Lord Christian and Lady Madeline seemed to be quite out of sync with realizing their mutual feelings for each other, they eventually came to an understanding. And Lord Christian proposed and Lady Madeline accepted. But they must follow the usual form—in spirit, if not in letter—and seek her father's approval of their betrothal.

"Encouragement, A Regency Tale of Love and Romance", Ch. 13: Seeking Betrothal Approval

Of all of the vagaries in my thirty years of life, my having to ask a man for his daughter's hand in marriage is a circumstance that has eluded me--up until now. The three hour carriage ride to the countryside where Lady Madeline's family lives in bucolic simplicity is uneventful. And her animated and annotated directions as to how to reach her family home were prosaic, if nothing else. I gaze down at her note again.

Lady Madeline's note: "Dearest Christian, You cannot miss our Sinclair family manor and small estate called Watford Hill. We live to the West of Wattleton Downs, which is an odd name because it is situated upon an elevation--essentially, it is up, not down. Ha ha ha! So, you take the West road out of town, and then take the left fork, making certain that you pass by the mill on your right--that is that the mill is on your right. Then a forested area greets you as you drive into the expanse of nature's foliage for five minutes. If you become lost--and I will chide you when I next see you if you do--just follow one of the squirrels out of the forest, for they know their way to our back garden's prodigiously nut bearing trees. When you come out the other side of the forest lane, you will see our home at the center of a small valley of rolling fields of wheat and large grazing paddocks for our horses and cattle. A two story red brick residence that Papa says favors the Georgian style of architecture, has been my happy home for most of my almost eighteen years. My Papa, Squire Sutton Sinclair will be found there most days in the large formal garden that he designed and likes to tend himself from time to time. You will find Papa most amenable to your entreaties while he is amongst his roses."

She had looked up at me with such expectation and hope as she gave me her note—after also reading her directions out to me--that I smiled and kissed the tip of her nose. And now, my betrothed's directions do seem to bear fruit—or nuts, according to her directions' assertions--as a large manor comes into view. And my own misgivings begin to churn my stomach. My being not altogether certain that I will not toss my stomach's contents upon the ground—whenever this carriage stops its bouncing. Though my carriage is well sprung, the roads are rather lumpy from a recent thaw that caused wheel ruts to be made in the newly warmed and wet softened ground.

My lingering betrothal reservations are three fold. First, I am so much older than she--by twelve years! And our acquaintance is barely three weeks old--though we have spent nearly every day in each others' company. But then, there is also the matter of her dowry and my needing it to shore up my Sussex Earldom finances—and to provide an ample dowry for my little sister Lady Lizzie. This last is not a negative per se. Most families are cognizant of their daughters' dowries being a favorable component of any match. But my unease concerns whether Lady Madeline's father will deem my suit to be an advantageous one for his daughter.

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