All other "day" ticket holders and the general public need to book directly with the National Film & Sound Archives at http://nfsa.gov.au/calendar/event/3402-pride-and-prejudice/ . Please let them know if you hold a JAFA ticket to obtain our special festival discount.
12-15 April 2018
February 29, 2012
All other "day" ticket holders and the general public need to book directly with the National Film & Sound Archives at http://nfsa.gov.au/calendar/event/3402-pride-and-prejudice/ . Please let them know if you hold a JAFA ticket to obtain our special festival discount.
February 27, 2012
Chapter 7 – Accomplishments
After Lord Dansworth’s farewell, Anthea made her way indoors with a lingering sense of amusement from their conversation. She was about to ascend the grand staircase when a polite clearing of a throat from the drawing room doorway made her pause. She turned, her eyes falling upon Commander Hayden. All ease was suddenly gone.
He bowed. “Miss Stanwell.”
This was the Commander Hayden she remembered. Blues eyes warm, a hesitant smile, the tilt to the head that invited trust and confidence. There was, however, a new air of authority and strength that had only been hinted at in his younger self three years ago. And of course the scar: now that the shock of it was gone, she could see that the damage was not as great as she had thought.
She gathered her composure and curtsied. “Commander Hayden.”
“I remembered you favoured an early walk,” he said.
For just a moment, Anthea remembered holding his arm and laughing as they walked in Hyde Park.
“Yes,” Anthea said faintly. “I have just returned.”
He was dressed for the country in elegant top-boots, pale buckskins and a well fitted coat of brown superfine. The style suited his lean frame admirably.
“I do not want to detain you,” he said. “But I wished to say that if my presence here at Lakeside causes your distress in any way, I will remove myself at once.”
‘No,” she said, far too quickly. She took a breath and tried to temper the speed of her reply. “Please do not trouble yourself. I am fine.”
He bowed. “I am pleased to hear it.”
He turned as if to go.
“But I fear my presence was a surprise to you,” Anthea said hurriedly.
He gave a half-smile. “I don’t think anyone in the drawing room last night could have missed that.” All the wryness left his expression. “It was not an unpleasant surprise, Miss Stanwell.”
“I am glad,” Anthea said softly.
They both jumped as the butler approached, saying, “Commander Hayden, Lord Rydges asks that you join him in his study as soon as possible.”
The Commander nodded. “Thank you, Philips.”
He looked at Anthea and for a second she saw the truth in his eyes: I have missed you. He bowed and withdrew, following the butler across the foyer.
Anthea grabbed the balustrade for support, wondering if he had seen the truth in her eyes: I have missed you too.
By the time Anthea reached her bedchamber, she had found some equanimity again. She unlatched her bedchamber door to see both Sally and Lily waiting for her return.
Lily rose from her seat by the window. She was dressed in her own print day dress, the longer sleeve buttoned in for the morning, and her new lace chemisette modestly covering her décolleté. “Where have you been?” she demanded as Anthea closed the door.
“Walking in the demesne.” Anthea paused as Sally came forward and took her gloves. “I met Lord Dansworth.” She did not add that she had also met the Commander – it felt too soon and far too private.
Lily’s eyes widened. “Really? What is His Lordship like? Did he make love to you?”
“Don’t be a goose.” Anthea started to undo her spencer buttons. “We met by accident, and he offered to escort me. We talked about books. He is very pleasant.”
Lily rolled her eyes. “He is very pleasant,” she mimicked. “What does he look like? Is he dashing?”
Anthea cocked her head as Sally collected the spencer from her hands. Was Lord Dansworth dashing? She supposed he was in a quiet kind of way – there was a smoothness to him, a natural confidence that she had often seen in the titled. “I liked him, if that is any information. And he has asked me to ride with him tomorrow morning.”
Lily clapped her hands. “You have captivated a Lord!”
Anthea took off her bonnet and handed it to Sally. “It is only a ride, Lily.” She felt a sudden pall of guilt, as if riding with Lord Dansworth was some kind of betrayal of Commander Hayden.
“Oh, Miss!” Sally eyed Anthea’s flattened coif with disfavour. “Please, may I fix your hair before you go down?”
Anthea acquiesced and was soon seated in front of the dressing table mirror with Sally hard at work restoring her hair. Lily wandered the room, unusually pensive and silent.
“What is it, Lily?” Anthea finally asked.
Lily sat on the edge of the bed. “What will you do about Commander Hayden? It is obvious that there is something unsaid between you.”
Yes, Anthea thought, still unsaid. Yet so much spoken through a glance. She looked up at Sally’s reflection in the mirror and saw the girl’s avid interest. She frowned at Lily, trying to catch her eye. Sally was a dear girl, but Anthea did not want her business known throughout the house.
Lily met her sister’s dark look. “It’s all right, Anthea.” She smiled conspiratorially at Sally. “You won’t blab about us, will you?”
The girl shook her head and met Anthea’s eyes in the mirror. “I won’t Miss. I’ll not be much of a lady’s maid if the lady I serve can’t ever trust me. I’m good at keeping things to myself. I’ve got ten brothers and sisters.”
Anthea hesitated, but the desire to discuss her confusion with Lily before they faced the gentleman at breakfast was too much. “I just met him in the foyer,” she confessed, turning to her sister. “He asked if his presence in the house distressed me and offered to leave if it did.” She gave a quick account of what had passed between them.
“It is very gallant of him,” Lily said. “Do you think he still holds you in–“ her voice lowered, “regard?’
“I don’t know.” Anthea bowed her head. “How am I supposed to know his feelings or even my own?”
“But you still love him, don’t you?” Lily asked.
Anthea traced the bevelled edge of the dressing table with a fingertip. “I do not think he is the same man as he was three years ago. Yet, do any of us ever change that much? All I know is that I love the memory of the man I knew.”
“Then I know what you must do,” Lily said. “You can get to know the Commander again. See if there is enough of the same man whom you loved within this changed man. And if there is, he will love you again. You have not changed.”
Anthea smiled. “The wise one has spoken again.” She looked anxiously at her sister. “Do you think I should still ride with Lord Dansworth?”
Lily nodded. “Of course, don’t be foolish. As you said yourself, it is only a ride. And you do not owe the Commander anything other than your courtesy. For now, at least. Now, let’s go down to breakfast. I am famished.”
The breakfast room was a smaller chamber on the ground floor, handsomely furnished in pale yellow and blue and positioned to make the most of the morning light. Anthea and Lily entered the room to find Lady Rydges, Lady Davinia Miss Tait and the chaperones already in residence around the large oval table. The two younger ladies wore the new undress of white, long sleeved muslin gowns with Elizabethan ruffled collars. Lady Rydges was more formidably attired in purple silk. Anthea glanced at Lily. Their own pretty day-dresses and chemisettes were already out-of-date. Anthea shrugged off the difference. As her mother had said, they could not hope to have the same wardrobe as their hosts or fellow guests.
With courtesies duly exchanged, the sisters were seated, side-by-side and supplied with coffee and toast by the diligent footmen.
“Will you take some ham, Lily?” Anthea asked, spearing a few slices on to her own plate. There was an extraordinary array of meat on the table – ham, beef, mutton –as well as kippers, salmon, various breads and a large seed cake.
Lily shook her head. “No thank you. I will just have toast.”
“Miss Lily is a finicky eater,” Miss Tait announced to the table. “How I envy her such delicacy.”
“No, I am not finicky,” Lily said, bewildered. “I just do not eat meat in the mornings.”
“How singular,” Lady Rydges said.
At that moment, Lady Charlotte entered the room.
“Good morning,” she said to her mother and seated herself beside Anthea, smiling at greeting to all. Like Anthea and Lily, she wore a day-dress with a chemisette, and seemed oblivious to the pieces of straw clinging to her hem.
“Where have you been, Charlotte?” her mother demanded.
“In the stables. Stephen has routed all the gentlemen from their beds and they have just ridden out for a day of hunting. They will not be joining us for breakfast.”
The announcement produced a riffle of disappointment around the table, particularly with Miss Tait who visibly slumped. Anthea stared down at her plate, unsure of her own emotions. She had prepared herself to meet the Commander again, and so felt a sense of deflation. But she had to admit there was also relief. She needed more time to reflect upon her feelings.
Lady Rydges eyed her daughter. “I was not informed about this hunting party.”
“Father says it was a spur of the moment decision because of the clemency of the weather.’
Lady Rydges turned her offended authority towards the sunshine coming through the picture window. “They will hardly find anything to hunt this early in the season.”
Lady Charlotte helped herself to kippers, directing her conversation to Anthea.
“Stephen tells me you had a most entertaining walk together this morning, Miss Stanwell. He has asked me to lend you a habit for your ride tomorrow. I think I have just the outfit.”
She smiled at Anthea, apparently unaware of the effect her remarks were having on Miss Tait. That lady had forgotten that her cup was halfway to her mouth and was staring at Anthea.
“Did you walk with Lord Dansworth this morning, Miss Stanwell?” she asked. Her voice had a shrill edge.
“I did,” Anthea replied. “We met by accident and his lordship was kind enough to give me a tour of the gardens.”
Miss Tait snapped her cup back into its saucer.
Lady Rydges sniffed. “You ride, Miss Stanwell?”
“I do,” Anthea said. “My father taught us when we were children.” She glanced across at Lily who smiled at the shared memory. Their father had been a keen horseman.
Lady Charlotte chose a piece of seed cake and placed it on her plate. “We have much the same figure, Miss Stanwell, so my habit should fit you,” she continued. “Although I am over-tall and so you will have more train than gown.” This was said with a droll quirk of her eyebrows. “I will send it around to your room, and your girl can fit it to you before tomorrow morning.”
“That is very kind or you, Lady Charlotte.” Anthea hoped that the vail she had in her purse for Sally would cover refashioning an outfit overnight as well as daily attendance.
“Perhaps you will take a turn with me to the stables after breakfast and we can choose a horse for you.”
“That would be very pleasant.”
“I like to ride too,” Miss Tait said. “I have such an affinity with the animal kingdom.”
Anthea thought she heard Lady Charlotte choke back a snort. Perhaps it was a cough.
“I do not like to ride,” Lady Davinia said. “Horses are very smelly, and one is up so high.”
“It is a lovely day for a walk to the stables,” Miss Tait pressed.
Lady Charlotte bit into her seed cake.
Lily picked up a platter and offered it to Miss Tait. “Would you like some ham,” she asked into the heavy silence.
After breakfast, a footman arrived at Anthea’s bedchamber to deliver a riding habit made of fine navy blue wool and decorated at the front with ten gold frogged closures. Along with it came a matching tall shako hat with enough blue and green plumage, Lily giggled, to clothe a whole bird. Sally did not blanche at the request to hem the dress and adjust the width of the bodice, her face set with determination as she measured and pinned. Anthea apologised, but Sally shook her head.
“It is all right, Miss. This is what a real abigail does. It is good training.”
Lily offered to help, but Sally would not hear of it. “No, Miss, this is not work for a young lady like yourself.”
“It would be better than spending time with Miss Tait and Lady Davinia,” Lily muttered, leaving to collect her own workbag before setting off for the morning room where those ladies were already bent to their fancywork.
Although Anthea still felt uneasy about creating extra work, she left Sally to the task and found her way back to the grand foyer to meet Lady Charlotte for their tour of the stables.
“Does the habit suit your needs?’ Lady Charlotte asked as they walked out into the warm morning sunshine.
“It is very beautiful,” Anthea said. “Thank you so much, my lady.”
"Please, just call me Charlotte,” she said. “If I may call you Anthea.”
“Of course.” Anthea smiled her pleasure at such intimacy.
“Excellent. And I have decided you shall have the habit as a gift.”
Anthea was stunned into silence. “That is very generous of you Charlotte, but I cannot accept.”
“Of course you can. And I shall tell you why.” She paused as a groom walked past, dipping his head to them. “I feel as if I know you, Anthea,” she continued. “Yes, I know that sounds strange, but my father holds you in great esteem, and I value his opinion. After his visits to your family, he would come home and tell me about you and your sister. He especially admired your vivacity and musical accomplishments.”
“My musical accomplishments?” Anthea asked.
“Your singing,” Charlotte said. “And of course your sister’s skill on the pianoforte.”
Anthea nodded. “Lily is very talented. However, my singing does not do her playing justice.”
Charlotte brushed aside Anthea’s comment with a wave of her hand. “My father is most enthusiastic and has stated a desire to hear you both again,” she said. “I am putting together a small variety program for tonight, after dinner. Would you and your sister favour us with a song?”
Anthea hesitated. She had not practiced in a long time, but it would be churlish to refuse. “Of course. And I can answer for Lily. We would be very pleased to take part.” A folk song, perhaps. Or maybe Greensleeves. At least she would remember the words.
They walked through a long arched corridor made of stone, a glimpse of a cobbled courtyard at the end. The earthy smell of straw and dung announced the stables. All four sides of the yard were lined with stalls, but only a few horses looked out over their half-doors. Charlotte led her across the cobbles to a small grey that bobbed its head over its gate as they approached.
“This is Persephone,’ Charlotte said, rubbing the white blaze between the horse’s eyes. “She is a darling. I think she will be just the horse for you tomorrow.”
Anthea stroked the mare’s glossy neck. “She’s lovely.”
“And very good tempered, but she still has spark in her too,” Charlotte said. “Stephen seemed to think that you would appreciate a horse with some spirit.”
Anthea looked at her sharply. What did she mean by that?
Charlotte met her gaze. “May I be plain with you, Anthea? I love my brother dearly, but he does like to…” She paused, chewing on her lower lip. “I just want you to know that Stephen likes to play and his situation allows him to do so with impunity. I have seen it over and over again.”
“I am not –“
“I know,” Charlotte said hurriedly. “Of course not. My mother wants him to marry Miss Tait.” She grimaced. “I have already spent two weeks in Miss Tait’s company, as well as Lady Davinia’s, and I can say with certainty that Stephen will not marry either of them. Davinia is sweet, but a goose and Miss Tait is…well, if Davinia is a goose then Miss Tait is a stoat.”
“I know that is uncharitable, but you have not had to spend every day with them for the last fortnight.” She sighed. “Stephen likes bright girls, Anthea, who read widely, and run when they think no one is looking. I do not want you to be hurt.”
Lord Dansworth must have given his sister quite a full report of their walk, Anthea thought. She did not know whether to be flattered or concerned. “I am in no danger of being hurt.”
“Are you sure?” Charlotte’s good-humoured face was earnest. “Even by Commander Hayden.”
Anthea drew back.
Charlotte touched her arm. “Please, don’t be offended. I only mention him because all he does is mention you.”
“Yes, and mother was quite annoyed at dinner by his constant reference to you.” She leaned closer. “My father and I are great friends, Anthea, and sometimes he confides in me. When mother proposed a house party, father was adamant that you and your sister attend.”
“He is most kind–“
“No.” Charlotte halted Anthea’s courtesy with a raised hand. “He was also adamant that Commander Hayden be a guest.”
“He told me that there had been an unfortunate situation, three years ago, that was his fault, and he had to put it right.”
“What unfortunate situation?” Anthea’s mind raced: it was obvious it had something to do with Commander Hayden’s sudden departure.
Charlotte shook her head. “I don’t know. He would not say.”
“Do you not have any idea what he means?”
“No, although I surmise it is something to do with you.” Charlotte gave one last pat to Persephone. “I know my father, Anthea. He is an honourable man and this matter, whatever it is, troubles him deeply.” She hooked her arm through Anthea’s. “If my father has somehow caused you hurt, I hope you can find it within your heart to forgive him.”
Anthea turned her head, pretending to look back at Persephone. Forgiveness, she had always found, required some knowledge of the harm that had been perpetrated. Somehow she would have to find a way to ask Lord Rydges what had really happened three years ago. Then, perhaps, she could think about forgiveness.
Next Time: A Song, a Ride, and a Revelation
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© Alison Goodman 2012.
Alison Goodman holds the Intellectual Property rights to the Trust and Tribulation serial, but acknowledges the right of 2012 JAFA season ticket holders to make use of the characters and situations in the serial to fulfil the conditions of the competition.
Please also note that the use of brand names in the serial has been used in the spirit of fun and is not meant, in any way, as product placement. The author has, alas, not been offered any terrific freebies to use these names.
February 20, 2012
Previously in Trust and Tribulation:
“And of course, Miss Stanwell, you remember Commander Hayden,” Lord Rydges said, his gaze directed behind her at the man standing by the window.
Finally, Anthea turned. Breath suspended. Heart beat loud in her ears.
Commander Hayden stepped forward, out of the shadows. Anthea saw the man of her memory shift into the man before her. Changed, so changed. Her eyes met his, and it felt as if the world was held still in one awful, crystallized moment...
Chapter 6 – Early Troubles and Late Arrivals
Anthea searched Commander Hayden’s face. A scar curved from temple to cheekbone – the violence of it caught in its jagged edges. A wound from the war, Anthea thought, her heart contracting at what he must have suffered. His dark hair, once so fashionable groomed, was cropped short, and he was thinner too. But none of that was of any consequence. What mattered was the change in his eyes. There was no laughter. No warmth.
“Miss Stanwell, I was not expecting…” He looked across at Lord Rydges, the line of his jaw tight. The two men glared at one another. Hayden abruptly turned back to her, and bowed. “I am pleased to make your acquaintance again, Miss Stanwell.”
“And, Hayden,” Lord Rydges said quickly. “This is Miss Stanwell’s sister, Miss Lily Stanwell.”
The Commander bowed again, his attention flicking to Lily then back again to Anthea.
“It has been quite a long time since we met last, sir,” Anthea managed to say.
His hand went up to his face, resting for a moment on the scar. “Yes. A lifetime ago.”
Lord Rydges cleared his throat. “Miss Stanwell, Miss Lily Stanwell, allow me to also introduce Mrs Tunbridge, companion to Lady Davinia, and Mrs Hane, aunt to Miss Tait.”
Reluctantly, Anthea turned from Hayden. She had not noticed the two ladies sitting in the far corner, slightly apart from the main gathering. No doubt, chaperones for the heiresses. Both were elderly and rather stout, although Mrs Tunbridge seemed to have maintained a youthful vibrancy in her expression.
“Miss Stanwell,” Lady Rydges said, interrupting the murmured courtesies from the chaperones. “Is your mother well?”
“She is, my lady, and sends you her greetings and thanks.” Anthea could feel the Commander’s eyes fixed on her back.
Lady Rydges inclined her head graciously then turned to the butler. “Philips, has Lord Dansworth arrived yet?”
“No, my lady.”
Her mouth pursed. “Well, we will not hold dinner for him.” She rose from her chair. “Commander Hayden, take Lady Charlotte in. Mr Edgecombe, you will have the honour of leading Lady Davinia.” She ordered the pairings with irritated flicks of her hand.
Hayden crossed the room to where Lady Charlotte sat, his eyes fixed on Lord Rydges as he passed. There was such a savage look in his face that Lord Rydges turned away and hurriedly took his wife’s arm. Anthea watched the silent discord between the two men. Lord Rydges must have invited her without the knowledge of Commander Hayden. But why keep it from him? Unless Lord Rydges had known the Commander did not want to see her again, and for some mischievous reason, had invited them to the same place. The thought froze her for a moment. Did the Commander hold her in such low esteem?
He looked back at her and she saw a glimmer of gladness on his face. Her heart lifted. No, that was not a look of dislike.
“Commander Hayden?” Lady Charlotte prompted.
Recalling himself, he bowed to her and offered his arm. The lady was no fool – she had obviously noticed the strain between her father and the Commander, deduced its source, and was observing Anthea with interest. It was, at least, half-friendly interest, Anthea decided. She gave a wan smile and was warmed to receive a smile back.
A small grunt of amusement drew her attention. Mrs Tunbridge stood beside her, watching the Commander lead Lady Charlotte into the dinner procession behind her mother and father. “I see that you are already acquainted with the Commander,” she said softly as they joined the line behind Miss Tait and Mrs Hanes. “He is still a handsome man, even with that scar, don’t you think?” She gave Anthea a jovial wink. “It may interest you to know that he will soon be hearing news to his advantage.”
Anthea’s gaze flew back to the Commander. He was bending towards Lady Charlotte as she said something. Was it just courtesy, or was there intimacy in the gesture? Perhaps there was some understanding between him and Lady Charlotte, already. The possibility drove a knife through her heart.
It took her a few steps towards the dining room before she could ask, “What can you mean?”
“I have it on good authority that the Commander has a great deal of Prize Money coming to him,” Mrs Tunbridge answered. “He captured a vessel off France and will have the bulk of the reward once it is passed by the Admiralty. No doubt he is looking to step up into the Ten Thousand, by way of a titled wife. And I would say that our kind hostess has also heard that rumour and is throwing her daughter his way.”
At least the news was not an engagement. Not yet, Anthea thought wretchedly. Perhaps that was why he was so angry with Lord Rydges. He was looking for a titled wife, but Lord Rydges did not want him for a son-in-law. Yet that did not tally with the man she had known three years ago. He had never sought that kind of advancement.
Why was he so angry? None of it made sense.
“My dear, you have broken your fan,” Mrs Tunbridge said.
Anthea looked down at the snapped sandalwood ribs. “How careless of me,” she said.
“Would you like some asparagus, Miss Stanwell,” Mr Edgecombe asked kindly.
Anthea murmured her thanks as the vicar passed her the delicate porcelain dish stacked with white spears. Two hours into the meal and the third remove had just been laid out, the extravagant assortment of sweet and savoury dishes covering the large table. Anthea surveyed the full roast goose with head attached, almond encrusted trout, a delicate berry syllabub, green and pink macaroons, butter-dressed potatoes, a country style stew, beans cooked with mushroom, sardines in aspic, jugged hare, jellied fruit, cheese wigs, and roast pork. So much food, Anthea thought, and most of it would be sent back to the kitchens like the last two removes.
She looked along the table to where Commander Hayden sat between Lady Charlotte and Miss Tait. Four times, Anthea had looked away from the polite conversation with her own dining partners, Mrs Tunbridge and Mr Edgecombe, to find the Commander watching her, his expression unreadable.
And now, a fifth time.
For a long moment, they observed one another. Boldly, Anthea gave a quizzical lift of her eyebrows: why do you look at me, so?
She watched the shift in his expression – a rise of some strong emotion, swiftly quelled. He gave a tiny tilt of his head – my apologies for the intrusion – and turned back to Lady Charlotte’s conversation.
She felt another pair of eyes upon her and looked across the table at Miss Tait. Now, there was an expression that also required no decoding. Dislike.
“It is time to leave the men to their port,” Lady Rydges announced across the debris of the sumptuous dessert table.
Reluctantly, Anthea placed the candied plum she had just selected back on to her plate, and gathered her broken fan and reticule from her lap.
Everyone rose from their seats, the gentlemen bowing as the ladies withdrew from the dining room. Anthea vowed to herself that she would not seek the Commander’s eyes as she passed by him. So much for that vow. As if drawn by a magnet, her gaze connected with his.
She almost stopped still at what she saw in his face.
Bewildered, she was swept on by Mrs Tunbridge’s bulk behind her.
As Anthea came through the door, Lily fell into step with her on the short journey across the foyer.
“Was Commander Hayden the man who disappointed you?” her sister whispered. Lily had always been aware that a naval man had paid his addresses to Anthea and then left, but she had never known the particulars.
“Yes,” Anthea said shortly.
“He seemed quite put-out when we were introduced. Then he could not take his eyes off you throughout dinner.”
“I could say the same about Mr Edgecombe and you,” Anthea countered. She could not bear to be prodded about the Commander. Not now.
Lily primmed her mouth. “Mr Edgecombe is very amiable.”
Anthea smiled at her sister’s coy response, but her spirit felt leaden. Some part of her understood what that moment of pained resignation had meant; Commander Hayden had decided to sever the connection that they both – so obviously – still felt.
Anthea knew that a woman with dignity and grace would accept that decision. She felt the broken ribs of her fan grind under her grip. Well, meek acceptance may be the mark of true womanhood, but it certainly did not sit well with her. Perhaps Mr Pitwater was right – she did not have enough dignity. She could not throw off the conviction that she deserved an explanation of the Commander’s behaviour now, and of three years ago. If only because they had called each other friend. Although, Anthea had to admit sadly, it was really because he had once called her his love. Something she had not even told her mother.
Over an hour later in the drawing room, the sound of horse hooves and coach wheels crunching across the gravel outside brought some distraction to the weary ladies still waiting for the gentlemen. The younger members paused in their card game while their elders stopped their desultory conversation to listen as the muffled tones of male voices echoed through the foyer.
Lady Charlotte smiled. “Stephen has arrived.”
“It would seem so,” Lady Rydges said.
Lady Davinia tabled a card then leaned across to Anthea. “Dansworth,” she whispered.
Anthea nodded politely although she had already known that Lady Charlotte referred to her brother.
“I am most desirous that you meet my son, Miss Tait,” Lady Rydges said, bestowing a smile upon the heiress. Miss Tait returned the smile then glanced triumphantly around the card table.
Lady Charlotte turned to Anthea. “And I am eager for you to meet him, Miss Stanwell. He is a most dear brother to me.”
Anthea smiled. “I will be most pleased to meet him.”
Miss Tait threw down a card. “I’m sure you will, Miss Stanwell, if you can bear to stop staring at Commander Hayden.” She smiled, her small, even teeth showing.
“I rather think it was the other way round, Miss Tait,” Lady Charlotte said quickly.
Lady Rydges rose from her armchair. “Well,” she sniffed, “My son shall, no doubt, join his father and the other gentleman for Port. I think we can safely say that they will not be joining us in the drawing room tonight. We shall retire.”
And so ended the evening.
Anthea woke from a restless doze, startled by Lily’s absence and the unfamiliar shadowy shapes of the bed chamber. Feeling too closed in, she slipped out of the huge bed and wrapped herself in her silk shawl, crossing the carpet to open the curtains. Beneath her window was a neatly laid out herb garden, lit by the full moon into a ghostly lattice. She turned the dressing table chair and sat, drawing her legs up and hugging them against her chest. Somehow, she had to find a way to reconcile herself to her encounter with Commander Hayden, but there did not seem any comfortable way of doing so without knowing his thoughts. By the time the sun rose and patterned the carpet with light, she was just as conflicted as she had ever been. There was only one thing for it – she needed a walk to clear her head.
She efficiently dressed herself in her favourite print day dress and green spencer, murmuring a small apology to Sally at usurping her role. A few moments in front of the mirror had her long hair pinned into a knot, and the shorter hair at front arranged around her face; it still had enough curl in it from the previous night to make-do. Grabbing her bonnet and gloves, she headed for the door.
It was lucky that a housemaid was already at work clearing the hearths and was able to lead Anthea to the foyer. It was with a sense of relief that she finally stepped out into the weak morning sunshine.
She strode down the gravel, heading for the beautiful garden arranged like a wilderness. At least, the Romantic ideal of a wilderness. Anthea’s little guidebook of grand estates had stated that the Lakeside gardens were originally designed by Capability Brown, and Anthea was keen to see the work of such a famous landscape architect.
She was soon striding along a lovely walk lined with Birch. She twirled in a circle to reassure herself that no one was in sight then quickened her pace into a jog. The cold air in her lungs felt as though it was cleaning out her confusion. She gathered the hem of her dress up in one hand and accelerated into a run, feeling the heaviness within her spirit lift.
The sound of a loping animal made her look around. A huge dog, brown and shaggy with an absurdly long, wagging tail was keeping pace alongside her, his huge jaws split into what could only be called a dog-grin. She smiled and slowed.
“Hello, boy,” she said and stopped, holding out her gloved hand to the animal.
Anthea jumped, swinging around at the deep, male voice.
“I beg pardon,” the man said. “I’m sorry to have startled you.”
He was dressed in a tailored blue greatcoat, the large collar raised against the chill in the early morning air. His smile was easy, the amusement in his golden-brown eyes not unkind. He clicked his fingers and the dog trotted to his side and sat in an untidy heap at his feet.
“May I present Waverley of Lakeside,” he said indicating the dog. “He has no manners and tends to run alongside ladies without formal introduction.”
He had seen her running like a hoyden. Flushing slightly, Anthea curtsied to the dog. “Pleased to meet you Waverley. I am Miss Anthea Stanwell.” She smiled at the man and sunk into a deeper curtsey. With his lean, classical features and athletic build, there could be no mistaking his lineage. “And, if I may hazard a guess, I am pleased to meet you too, Lord Dansworth.”
“Well guessed, Miss Stanwell.” He bowed.
“You are very much like your father, my Lord.”
He was, indeed, built on the same lines as Lord Rydges, but with even more height. Unlike his father, however, he was fair-headed, the breeze ruffling his fashionably longer style into disarray. So this was the famous Rake and Dandy. Anthea had to admit he was very well dressed – the coat fitted his broad shoulders to perfection and she glimpsed a beautifully tied white cravat and spotless linen beneath.
“I see that you are like myself and enjoy an early morning walk,” he said.
She nodded. “It is most refreshing.”
“Would you do Waverley the honour of allowing him to escort you around the garden?”
“I would be delighted,” Anthea said.
They walked on, Waverley running ahead and circling back to make sure of their direction, his tail wagging joyfully.
“What kind of dog is he?” Anthea asked.
“An Irish Wolf-hound,” Dansworth said. “Good hunters, although this fellow seems to think he is built for a warm fire and a cosy rug.”
“A Brobdingnagian lap-dog?” Anthea asked, wondering if he would recognise the reference.
Dansworth laughed. “You have read Gulliver’s Travels?”
She smiled. “I have. Does that shock you?”
“Not at all. I do not subscribe to the idea that women should not read widely.”
“I am glad to hear it,” Anthea said.
“And have you read the namesake of my dog, here?” he asked.
“The Wizard of the North is one of my favourite authors,” she said, smiling with delight.
As they circled the huge garden, they talked of Jacobite heroes and gallantry and Scott’s Romanticism, sometimes agreeing, and sometimes entering into a debate that had them both, by the end, laughing at the extravagances of each other’s claims.
They finally arrived back at the front door of Lakeside, the bustle of the morning underway.
“Do you like to ride, Miss Stanwell?” Dansworth asked as she ruffled Waverley’s ears in farewell.
“I do, but, sadly, I have not brought a riding habit,” she said, looking up at him with regret.
“Don’t mind that. I’m sure Charlotte will have something you can borrow. Shall we ride tomorrow, after breakfast?”
Anthea nodded. “Yes, I would like that very much.”
He bowed. “Then we have a firm appointment. Thank you for a lovely morning.”
With another click of his fingers, he called Waverley to his side and headed towards the outbuildings. Anthea watched his long easy stride, the big dog looking up at him with adoration. She turned back to the house, smiling. If that was a Rake then she now understood the attraction.
Next Time: Accomplishments
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© Alison Goodman 2012.
Alison Goodman holds the Intellectual Property rights to the Trust and Tribulation serial, but acknowledges the right of 2012 JAFA season ticket holders to make use of the characters and situations in the serial to fulfil the conditions of the competition.Please also note that the use of brand names in the serial has been used in the spirit of fun and is not meant, in any way, as product placement. The author has, alas, not been offered any terrific freebies to use these names.