Award Winning Love Songs Just in Time for Valentine’s Day

As we are in the midst of award programs, and it is Valentine’s Day, let’s go back to the songs that made us fall in love. These are some of my LONG-time favorites. 

41M1KZZT52L._SY445_.jpg The theme song from the 1997 James Cameron film “Titanic,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio & Kate Winslet can bring you both hope and sadness. “My Heart Will Go On” was written by James Horner & performed by Celine Dion. See it on YOU TUBE

sjff_01_img0075 How about “Moon River” from Breakfast at Tiffanys”? Audrey Hepburn singing this wistful number on the balcony of her apartment is a moment that Manhattan dreamers have related to ever since. See it on YOU TUBE

ginger-rogers-swing-time-shampoo-10.jpg

Fred Astaire singing “The Way You Look Tonight” to Ginger Rogers with shampoo in her hair is a priceless scene from “Swing Time.” See it on YOU TUBE

i1-B23_01274.jpg     Then there’s “Skyfall” from the 2012 James Bond movie by the same name. Heck, it is Adele, what else must I say? See it on YOU TUBE

dirty-dancing-hotel-derek-float-flick-696x407.jpgNext up,  “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” from “Dirty Dancing” (1987) is an all-time favorite. Johnny pulls Baby up on stage at the end of season revue at Kellermans. See it on YOU TUBE

officer-and-a-gentleman-1265045782-view-2.jpgAlthough I was never a big fan of the film, “A Officer and a Gentleman,” I was a fan of “Up Where We Belong.” See it on YOU TUBE

rawImage.jpgAlong the same vein, I offer “Take My Breath Away” (sung by Berlin) and featured in “Top Gun.” See it on YOU TUBE 

MovieTheWayWeWere.jpgRobert Redford is absolutely delicious in “The Way We Were.” Barbara Streisand sings the title song and stars with Redford in the film. See it on YOU TUBE

elizabeth_taylor_the_sandpiper_16okno8-16okns1.jpg Vic Damone’s version of “The Shadow of Your Smile” is haunting. It comes from “The Sandpiper,” starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. See it on YOU TUBE

a-star-is-born-kris-kristofferson-barbra-streisand.jpg“Evergreen,” again sung by Barbara Streisand in “A Star is Born,” is another that stays with a soul. She plays opposite Kris Kristofferson. See it on YOU TUBE

hqdefault.jpg I also love “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers,” sung by Neil Diamond and Barbara Streisand. (Believe it or not, I did not set out to feature Ms. Streisand. She just has memorable songs!) This is from their GRAMMY AWARDS performance. See it on YOU TUBE 

4079fd457da9703e0544ce6e2bbaef4a.jpg Barbra Streisand’s signature song, “People,” came from the film “Funny Girl.” She starred with Omar Sharif. See it on YOU TUBE

The Thomas Crown Affair 1.jpg Noel Harrison’s “Windmills of Your Mind” from “The Thomas Crown Affair” is wonderfully crafted poetry set to music. See it on YOU TUBE 

maxresdefault.jpgIn “The Days of Wine and Roses,” Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick are unforgettable and the title tune wins an Oscar(R) in Blake Edwards’ searing, bittersweet study of an alcoholic couple on the rocks. See the title song on YOU TUBE

mezzanine_207.jpg“Love is a Many Splendored Thing” from the film by the same name always ends up being an earworm for me. Here is Connie Francis’s version on YOU TUBE

calamity-jane-b.pngDoris Day sang “Secret Love” in “Calamity Jane.”  The fact that Howard Keel was in the film with her sealed the deal for me. See it on YOU TUBE

hqdefault-1.jpg “Call me Irresponsible” came to us from “Papa’s Delicate Condition,” starring Jackie Gleason. See the trailer HERE. Listen to the song HERE.

The-Poseidon-Adventure-DI.gif“The Morning After” from “The Poseidon Adventure” evokes melancholy, as well as hope. Hear Maureen McGovern’s version on YOU TUBE

image-w1280.jpgWhen was the last time you heard “Three Coins in a Fountain” from the movie by the same name? Listen to it on YOU TUBE

gigi - mauve dress.jpgAnd a song about growing into womanhood: “Gigi” from the movie by the same name. Here the song on YOU TUBE

fox-004115-Full-Image_GalleryBackground-en-US-1503705328389._RI_SX940_.jpgAnother disaster movie, “The Towering Inferno,” gives us “We May Never Love Like This Again.” This is one is sung by Maureen McGovern. Listen to it on YOU TUBE

Statefari.jpgJeanne Crain sings “It Might As Well Be Spring” from the 1945 film “State Fair.” Hear it here on YOU TUBE

Okay. What songs would you add to my list? 

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UK Underground: Chistlehurst Caves, the Setting for “A Touch of Emerald: The Conclusion of the Realm Series”

p.txtYesterday, we had a closer look at Book 8 of my Realm series, A Touch of Emerald. This piece is on where much of the action of the story takes place.

Near the railroad station in what is now Bromley (southeast of London), one finds the Chislehurst Caves, a well-developed tourist attraction for the area. These caves serve as the setting for much of the newest novel in my Realm series: A Touch of Emerald.

The name “caves” is a bit misleading. The caves are really man-made chalk and flint mines. They were first mentioned in “literature”/documents circa 1250. They were last believed to have been worked in the 1830s. Three separate work areas encompass some two and twenty miles of passages.

“The chalk layer is sandwiched between two harder layers of rock, which gives the passages their tops and bottoms. These days, the sections are called Saxons, Druids, and Romans, because of the age of the workings, and each set of workings has differently shaped passages.” (BBC)

In reality, antiquarian, Dr William Nicholls, gave the caves their names in the Journal of the British Archaeological Association (1903).p-1.txt The caves were first opened to the public in the early years of the 1900s. “…the landlord of the Bickley Arms, in whose grounds the entrance lay, installed coloured electric ‘glow lamps’ in what later became known as the Saxon Caves and charged a small admission fee.” (Teaching Times) Nowadays, some 50,000 visitors take the tour of the caves, which are located at the bottom of Old Hill, Chislehurst.p.txt The chalk was used by the English to make plaster and water paint (whitewash). Flint may have been used to make tools. It is assumed many of the flintlock rifles used at the Battle of Waterloo used flints mined at Chislehurst.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The Druids section is the oldest and most complicated system in the caves. It may date from between 5000–8000 years ago. There is a theory that the Druids section may have been used for human sacrifice, and there appears to be an altar with a piece cut out to receive the sacrifice’s blood. Other theories suggest that the ‘altars’ were merely platforms left by miners to allow easy access to the roof! It was suggested that the deep well in the Druids section would have got in the way of such ceremonies. In the Druids section is a metal drum, which when banged, reverberates for miles. This might have been a very effective signaling or warning system.” (BBC)

The chalk tunnels range between 40 feet and 95 feet below ground. The caves were used during both World Wars. In WWI they served as an ammunition depot. The Woolwich Arsenal stored high explosives in the caves. “A narrow gauge railway was installed so that the boxes of TNT and Picric Acid could be taken underground by small trains pulled by battery powered electric locomotives. (Teaching Times)

With the shape of the caves the ammunition was relatively safe. Even if one area was breached or there was an accidental explosion, the remainder of the ammunition would remain intact. Carvings from that period can still be seen on the walls. Army personnel are said to have included a carving of Nurse Edith Cavell, who the Germans executed by firing squad on the morning of 12 October 1915 in Brussels, Belgium.p-5.txt In the years between the two great wars, as well as the years following WWII, the caves were used for mushroom growing.

“During the 1960s and 1970s, the caves were used for music, including skiffle, jazz, and later rock and roll. Because of the acoustics, as many as five different bands could be playing close together without interfering with each other. Bands and artists such as the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, David Bowie, and Jimi Hendrix used the caves as a venue. The caves have often been used by film and TV companies. A full-length Sci-fi film Inseminoid was made, and Jon Pertwee as Doctor Who came face to face with ‘The Mutants’ in the caves (Tour guides still point to the silver paint left on the walls of the cave from this show.).”

(BBC) The TV show Merlin has also filmed within the caves. p-3.txtFor a short history of Chislehurst Caves, check out Dr. Eric Inman’s book. To learn more of the rumors of The Ghosts of Chislehurst Caves have a look at the book by James Wilkinson, who interviewed many of the caves’ tour gp-2.txtuides. (The caves play a prominent role in the conclusion to my Realm series. Part of A Touch of Emerald takes places in Chislehurst Caves. 

Images are from…
Best Places to Visit in Kent http://www.kentattractions.co.uk/index.php/chislehurst-caves.html
Stuff About London http://stuffaboutlondon.co.uk/chislehurst-caves/the-chislehurst-caves/
Curious Kat’s Adventure Club http://www.meetup.com/Curious-Kat-Adventure-Club/events/186121262/
Y Travel http://www.ytravelblog.com/subterranean-london/
Kent History Forum http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=8212.0

A Touch of Emerald: The Conclusion of the Realm Series 

Four crazy Balochs. A Gypsy band. An Indian maiden. A cave with a maze of passages. A hero, not yet tested. And a missing emerald.

For nearly two decades, the Realm thwarted the efforts of all Shaheed Mir sent their way, but now the Baloch warlord is in England, and the tribal leader means to reclaim the fist-sized emerald he believes one of the Realm stole during their rescue of a girl upon whom Mir turned his men. Mir means to take his revenge on the Realm and the Indian girls child, Lady Sonalí Fowler.

Daniel Kerrington, Viscount Worthing, has loved Lady Sonalí since they were but children. Yet, when his father, the Earl of Linworth, objects to Sonalí’s bloodlines, Worthing thinks never to claim her. However, when danger arrives in the form of the Realms old enemy, Kerrington ignores all caution for the woman he loves.

Amazon   http://www.amazon.com/Touch-Emerald-Conclusion-Realm/dp/1516812069/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1441298408&sr=8-2&keywords=A+Touch+of+Emerald

Kindle    http://www.amazon.com/Touch-Emerald-Conclusion-Realm-ebook/dp/B014B6KG02/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1441298424&sr=8-1&keywords=A+Touch+of+Emerald

Nook   http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-touch-of-emerald-regina-jeffers/1122563582?ean=2940151034135

Kobo    https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/a-touch-of-emerald

CreateSpace    https://www.createspace.com/5665730

 

Posted in architecture, British history, buildings and structures, Great Britain, real life tales, Regency era | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Closer Look at “A Touch of Emerald: The Conclusion of the Realm Series”

Although I disliked the idea of saying farewell to the characters from my Realm series [They had lived in my head for some four years.], writing the conclusion, A Touch of Emeraldwas a satisfying experience. In truth, I waited a bit after the book 7, A Touch of Honor. “Honor” was a difficult book to write—loaded with angst—and I required some time to rethink the ending of the series. 

First, you should know something of my process in writing. I, for example, keep a “History of…” file for each book. In this “History,” I list the the main characters of the book, including any descriptive phrases I used for easy reference later; a timeline, using a calendar from the specific year in which the book was written to check days of the week, etc.; a list of all characters, from those mentioned only once or twice to the pivotal characters that drive the story (again adding description if necessary), and a bulleted chapter-by-chapter of the main action of each. Obviously, for the Realm series, this “History of…” is quite lengthy. That being said, it was important to revisit this document to see what still needed to be resolved in this book. 

I also thought it important to portray a dose of real-life in the series: Not all marriages end in Happily Ever After. Book 8 is set nearly 15 years into the future from the action of Book 1, A Touch of Scandal. Life happens, and sometimes people do not recover from the “bumpy road” that Fate sends them. So it is with one of our dear couples. 

The Realm is a specialized force serving the English Home Office during the Napoleonic Wars. The men of the Realm  are far from being without their flaws, but you love them even more for their fallibilities. You will also admire the strong-willed women who earn their hearts. The Realm returned to England to claim their titles and a bit of happiness, but a long time enemy, Shaheed Mir, swears one of them stole a fist-size emerald, and the Baloch warlord means to have it back. The series is made of up…


A Touch of Scandal: Book 1 of the Realm Series (aka The Scandal of Lady Eleanor) [James Kerrington, Viscount Worthing, and Lady Eleanor Fowler’s story]ATOV eBook Cover

A Touch of Velvet: Book 2 of the Realm Series [Brantley Fowler, the Duke of Thornhill, and Miss Velvet Aldridge’s story]

 

A Touch of Cashémere: Book 3 of the Realm Series [Marcus Wellston, the Earl of Berwick, and Miss Cashémere Aldridge’s story]ATOGraceCrop2

A Touch of Grace: Book 4 of the Realm Series [Gabriel Crowden, the Marquis of Godown, and Miss Grace Nelson’s story]

 

 

ATOMCrop3A Touch of Mercy: Book 5 of the Realm Series [Aidan Kimbolt, Viscount Lexford, and Miss Mercy Nelson’s story]ATOL4

A Touch of Love: Book 6 of the Realm Series [Sir Carter Lowery and Mrs. Lucinda Rightnour Warren’s story]

 

 

ATOHCrop2A Touch of Honor: Book 7 of the Realm Series [Baron John Swenton and Miss Lucinda Neville’s story]HAHS

His American Heartsong: A Companion Novel to the Realm Series [Lawrence Lowery, Lord Hellsman, and Miss Arabella Tilney’s story]

 

ATOE eBook Cover - Green TextA Touch of Emerald: The Conclusion to the Realm Series 
(Fiction/Historical; Historical Romance/Mystery/Adventure; Regency)

Four crazy Balochs. A Gypsy band. An Indian maiden. A cave with a maze of passages. A hero, not yet tested. And a missing emerald.

For nearly two decades, the Realm thwarted the efforts of all Shaheed Mir sent their way, but now the Baloch warlord is in England, and the tribal leader means to reclaim the fist-sized emerald he believes one of the Realm stole during their rescue of a girl upon whom Mir turned his men. Mir means to take his revenge on the Realm and the Indian girl’s child, Lady Sonalí Fowler.

Daniel Kerrington, Viscount Worthing, has loved Lady Sonalí since they were but children. Yet, when his father, the Earl of Linworth, objects to Sonalí’s bloodlines, Worthing thinks never to claim her. However, when danger arrives in the form of the Realm’s old enemy, Kerrington ignores all caution for the woman he loves.

Excerpt

Chapter One

London, May 1829

From beside the potted palm, Daniel Kerrington, Viscount Worthing, watched with his customary awareness as the girl’s suitors flocked to her side. Even from this distance, he could view how her face lit with delight from all the attentions she received as the Duke of Thornhill’s daughter.

“I understand Thornhill offered an outrageous dowry for the chit,” Daniel’s school acquaintance Olin Jansing murmured. “Makes a man wonder if the girl’s possesses some sort of malady the duke wishes her future husband to overlook.”

Lady Sonalí made her Come Out earlier in the Season, but Daniel avoided her until now because the Linworth household mourned for his grandfather, the previous earl.

“You mean beyond her dark complexion,” Charles Rivers, the future Baron Rivers, said in bemusement.

Daniel always found Rivers’ company less than appealing, but Jansing rarely went about Society without Charles Rivers at his side.

“I understand her mother was from India,” Rivers whispered sotto voce.
Daniel scowled his disapproval.

“There are many types of beauty, Rivers,” he said in a harsh chastisement. “The color of the lady’s skin does not make it less appealing to a man’s touch.”

He directed his next remarks to Jansing.

“I assure you the size of the girl’s dowry has more to do with the duke and duchess’s consequence than Lady Sonalí’s.”

“Sounds as if you know something we do not,” Rivers taunted.

Daniel offered the man a quelling glare. “As my mother is the duke’s sister, Thornhill remains my family.”

Daniel’s response was not the full truth. In fact, he was eight before he spent more than a few days with his father, who deserted Daniel when the then Viscount Worthing lost his first wife in childbirth. Although his father spent the last fifteen years attempting to erase his absence in Daniel’s life, Daniel was sore to admit his father’s initial rejection still stung. Things bettered when James Kerrington married Lady Eleanor Fowler, a woman who did not once criticize a boy starving for his father’s affections. Even though she bore the current Earl of Linworth other children, the Countess of Linworth treated Daniel as her son. His stepmother’s kindness had proven a balm to Daniel’s bruised soul.

Irritated with the company, he offered an abbreviated bow. “If you will excuse me, my parents arrived, and I should make my addresses known to Thornhill and his duchess.”

Daniel left the pair standing gapped mouth as he crossed the dance floor to intercept his father. He held little patience for most young men his age. His stepmother often said that Daniel was of her nature: an old soul in a young person’s body. Whenever Ella made such statements, Daniel’s father inevitably frowned.

On balance, the Earl of Linworth was but a couple years short of his fiftieth birthday, while Eleanor Kerrington was but four and thirty. In truth, Daniel thought his time upon the Continent as part of his father’s staff as an ambassador to first Spain and later to Germany provided Daniel a different perspective. He learned more of the world than many of his former university chums.

“There you are, darling,” his mother said as she encircled his arm with her gloved fingers. “I thought you would be on the dance floor.”

She was taller than many of the women of the ton, and Daniel celebrated the day he realized he was taller than she. Now, he stood four inches her superior.

“I was simply waiting for the beautiful Countess of Linworth before I made my official appearance,” he teased, bending to kiss the cheek his stepmother offered. Daniel appreciated how Ella always accepted his gestures of affection. “You will save me a dance, Ma’am?” he asked before winking at her.

His mother’s gaze narrowed. “Are you not previously engaged? I would think a future earl would be in high demand among the mamas seeking a fine match.”

Daniel grinned mischievously. “The very reason I prefer my mother’s skirt tails.”

His father’s lips held a staid smile. “Have you claimed a dance from Lady Sonalí tonight? The duke will expect you to make your bow.”

Although Daniel attempted to disguise the hitch in his breathing and the quickening of his pulse, he was certain Ella noted his apprehension. “I am not accustomed to vying for a young girl’s favor,” Daniel said baldly.

“Nonsense,” his father declared. “Sonalí is not just any girl. Thornhill is Ella’s brother and the duchess her cousin, and that is discounting the years the duke and I served together during the war.”

Ella interrupted her husband’s lecture. “Daniel knows his duty, Linworth. More than likely, neither Thornhill nor the duchess took note of Daniel’s absence from Sonalí’s suitors. Look at them, glorying in the deference sent their way. Just because we know their most personal secrets does not mean others of the aristocracy see them as anything less than a duke and duchess.” Eleanor patted his father’s arm to quell any of the earl’s objections. “Come along, Daniel. We will clear the way to the duke’s side.”

“Thank you,” he whispered as they crossed to where the duke and duchess stood upon the first step of a raised dais.

“Your father means well,” she said softly. “But so many years in public service has Linworth always questioning propriety.”

“I remember when Linworth ignored propriety at every turn,” Daniel said in harsh tones.

His mother smiled grimly. “So do I. With our history, your father’s attempts to censure often surprise me. I suspect Linworth is struggling in accepting his role as the earl. I believe, despite your grandfather’s declining health, Linworth always thought his father would live forever. Martin Kerrington’s passing speaks to your father’s mortality. Linworth is built for protection, and he will not accept aging gracefully.”

“I will consider your estimation,” Daniel dutifully said.

They took their place before her brother, and Daniel braced Ella in a curtsy of respect. “Duke. Duchess,” Daniel murmured as he bowed low. “Lady Sonalí.”

He refused to look at the girl for fear he could not withdraw his eyes afterwards. Daniel held no name for when his obsession with Sonalí Fowler began. He suspected it was upon that day long ago when his “Uncle Marcus,” the Earl of Berwick, another of the men who served with his father and Thornhill, taught Daniel and the girl to fish.

Berwick’s attentions upon that particular day were upon Cashémere Aldridge, the duchess’s sister and Sonalí’s aunt, and so the earl placed Sonalí’s hand into Daniel’s with instructions for Daniel to protect her. He considered Berwick’s words a solemn promise.

“Lord Worthing.” Daniel could hear the soft familiarity in her tone, and despite his best efforts, his eyes sought hers. In his opinion, Lady Sonalí was the most beautiful woman he ever beheld. Hair the color of midnight. Silky strains in which a man could lose his reason. A straight edged nose. Almond shaped chocolate eyes. Dark brows. Square chin. High cheek bones. Long black lashes resting upon her cheeks in a delightfully tempting manner. Delicately bronzed skin, which made Daniel’s fingers itch to touch her.

“Good to see you, boy,” the duke declared aristocratically. “Every day, you have more of the look of your father.”

Daniel knew those words an exaggeration. One of the reasons his father could not look upon the child he abandoned was because Daniel held his birth mother’s features. “It would be an honor to be cut from the same cloth as my father, sir.” Daniel chose his words with care.

“If you mean to claim Sonalí’s hand for a dance, I fear you are too late,” the duchess noted.

In many ways Daniel’s heart fought against the disappointment; in others, he rejoiced at not being in the girl’s presence without the barrier of their parents. He did not trust the power Lady Sonalí possessed over him.

“There is the supper waltz,” Lady Sonalí suggested. “That is, if Papa holds no objections.”

Daniel thought he detected a bit of hope in her tone, but he would not place bets on Lady Sonalí’s returning his regard. More likely, the girl did not wish to dance with her father a second time.

Daniel looked on as the duke’s eyebrow rose in characteristic assessment. “I suppose I could relinquish my daughter’s hand to another.”

“I would prefer your company, Thornhill, to that of Lord Sokoloft,” the duchess admitted.

“It is not as if Daniel is a stranger, Brantley,” Ella encouraged.

“I would not wish to deny the duke the honor of escorting his daughter through the supper waltz,” Daniel responded with appropriate politeness. “It is Lady Sonalí’s first Season and very much my fault in being tardy with paying my addresses.” Daniel did not know whether he wished to win or to lose this particular battle.

“Standing upon propriety is not necessary among relations,” Lady Sonalí reasoned. “I would be pleased for Lord Worthing’s company; we have long since spent time in conversation. And it is not as if the duke shuns his duty: Papa will escort me through the opening set.”

A silence fell among their party as they awaited Thornhill’s decision.

“I suspect you should claim my daughter’s hand, Worthing, while I remain amenable,” Thornhill pronounced in the duke’s customary pomp.

Too polite to protest, Daniel felt an internal shrug of destiny’s hand. How would it be to hold her in his arms throughout the set? “Thank you for the honor, Lady Sonalí.”

Daniel kept his eyes upon a spot just past her ear so as not to become lost in the pools of chocolate known as Lady Sonalí’s eyes.

“I imagine our Sonalí would prefer to spend her time with the young people, Thornhill,” Daniel’s father observed.

“I am but one and forty,” the duke declared righteously.

Daniel’s mother soothed the egos of her husband and her brother, a task Daniel witnessed Lady Eleanor do on more than one occasion.

“Both you and Linworth are young for men of your station, Brantley; even so, time marches on without our permission. In truth, it pleases me no longer to claim the status of a debutant in English Society. I find aging is quite delightful. I never tolerated the strictures of Society well.”

Linworth nudged Ella closer to his side. “That is because you and the duchess played foul with time. You two are more beautiful now than when the duke and I claimed your hands.”

Daniel would agree with his father regarding Eleanor, but he was not so certain time was kind to the Duchess of Thornhill. Lady Sonalí’s stepmother held the look of one who experimented with the ointments and compounds available to extend the softness of her skin. In Daniel’s opinion, the creams and salves did not enhance the duchess’s beauty; rather they made the woman appear pale and ghostlike, which was exceptional considering the Duchess of Thornhill was of darker tones and hair than was Lady Eleanor, who was a golden blonde.

Before the banter could begin again, Daniel made his excuses and exited toward the card room. He did not intend to play, but it was a good excuse not to tarry in Lady Sonalí Fowler’s presence. When the music began, he would ask several of the other ladies to dance in order to disguise the fact he only attended the Thornhill’s ball because it would be expected of him.

“If I pay my attentions only to one woman, it will set the gossips’ tongues wagging,” he reasoned privately.

Daniel paused outside the card room to glance to the dance floor filling with couples for the opening set. Quite of their own will, his eyes drifted to where Lady Sonalí stood up with Thornhill. Daniel’s breath came harder as he made himself look away.

“Dancing with a few ladies who cling to the wall and potted palms,” Daniel warned his foolish heart, “will provide the ladies recognition and me a means to pass the hours until I hold Lady Sonalí in my embrace.”

* * *

Daniel danced once with Miss Wilburn and once with Miss Blackstone, but other than those sets, he simply waited for the moment he would claim Lady Sonalí’s hand. The girl had yet to sit through a set, and Daniel watched her joy with each step and each compliment presented by the girl’s dance partners. Despite experiencing a bit of jealousy, he could not wipe the smile from his lips. Lady Sonalí was magnificent.

Once upon the plains in Spain, he saw a black butterfly, and the color of its wings had him thinking upon the inky shade of Lady Sonalí’s hair. He watched the butterfly as it flitted from flower to flower, and a peace claimed his heart. Daniel knew the same contentment now as his eyes traced her steps.

“You should be dancing, Worthing.” Daniel turned his head to observe the wry smile upon Sir Carter Lowery’s lips.

By routine, Daniel bowed. “I prefer to watch.”

The baronet nestled closer to Daniel’s shoulder where they might speak privately. “The duchess must be pleased. Her second ball of the Season is as great a crush as was Sonalí’s Come Out.”

Daniel’s eyes returned to the dance floor. “I lost the feeling in my toes,” he said as a distraction. “I did not move as quickly as I should when Lady Bond cleared the way for her three daughters.”

“The woman should simply accept a rich Cit. It is not so unfashionable to align one’s family with a wealthy man of trade as it once was. Her daughters are not likely to claim an aristocratic match.”

Daniel nodded his agreement. “Especially now that there are three out at the same time. The first has yet to know a proposal,” he remarked.

“You have the right of it.” The baronet’s gaze followed Daniel’s. “Lady Lowery and I mean to escort Sonalí and Simon to see Jerrold’s Black-Eyed Susan on Friday. Perhaps you would care to join us. We mean to see the play one more time before we retreat to Kent. I am certain Lady Sonalí would enjoy your company.”

Daniel fought the panic rising to his throat. Was he too obvious in his regard for the girl? “I doubt either the lady or Mr. Warren would approve of my interference in their plans.”

The baronet lowered his voice.

“Sonalí and Simon are merely friends. My wife’s ward is two years junior to the duke’s daughter and not a candidate for the girl’s hand. Simon must first finish his schooling and then an apprenticeship before he thinks of marrying.”

Daniel heard the slight squeak in his protest. “Do you think I hold an interest in Thornhill’s daughter?” He attempted to appear incredulous when in truth, Daniel felt nothing but humiliation at being found out.

Sir Carter drawled in sardonic appreciation. “You could do worse. Your family and hers would rejoice in the connection.” 

Daniel gazed at the baronet in baffled wonder. “Is this Linworth’s idea?”

Lowery had the grace to shake off Daniel’s question. “As it happens, I doubt Linworth placed your interest, but I am recognized for my keen eye. Yet, if you tell me I erred, I will keep my observations to myself.”

Daniel fought to maintain a calm countenance. “You are mistaken, Sir.”

The baronet studied Daniel speculatively, but at length, Sir Carter shrugged off his conjectures. “Very well. That being said, I pray you will join us for the play. It is a fine farce.”

“I will consider it, sir.” Daniel appreciated Lowery’s candor. “Now, if you will excuse me, I mean to claim Miss Poplin’s hand for the next set.”

* * *

At length, it was time for Daniel to escort Sonalí onto the dance floor.

“Lady Sonalí.” Daniel bowed to her and the group of young bucks attempting to entertain her with their witty banter. “I believe the next set is mine.”

“Certainly, my lord.” Sonalí placed her gloved fingers in his outstretched palm. “Please pardon me.” She nodded her exit to the others as Daniel wrapped her hand about his elbow.

“Thank you for agreeing to replace Papa for the supper dance,” she whispered.

Despite Daniel’s best efforts, a hint of amusement colored his tone. “You had no desire to dine with your father?”

Sonalí laughed lightly, a tinkling sound, which warmed Daniel’s heart. “Fah. I dine with the duke and duchess every evening.”

“And I was a convenient alternative?” Daniel prayed Sonalí would deny her manipulations.

Lady Sonalí’s chin rose in defiance, and her eyes met his. A flash of fire crossed her features. “I did not realize you would feel put upon. There was a time we were friends.”

Daniel said with a sad smile. “What date do you name for our friendship coming to an end?”

Daniel turned Sonalí so she nestled comfortably into his embrace. His fingers rested upon the small of her back, and he itched to permit his palm to slide over her hip and to nudge Sonalí closer. The music began, and they stepped into the pattern.

Although Daniel looked over Sonalí’s shoulder to study the other couples, he knew the exact moment when Sonalí’s regard settled upon his countenance. It was deuced annoying to feel her in every pore of his body.

“Explain to me why you quit writing to me,” Sonalí accused. “From the time you first traveled to the Continent with Linworth and Aunt Ella, we corresponded. Then suddenly, some two years past you no longer found me worthy of your recognition.”

Daniel earnestly analyzed her upturned face. “I did write.”

It was true. Despite the fact they held no understanding, he did write to Sonalí. Her father and his stepmother were brother and sister, and so no one ever questioned why an unmarried couple corresponded. Daniel wrote her long, detailed letters in which he described his days as his father’s assistant, adding particular gems of political intrigue of which he thought Sonalí would enjoy; yet, Daniel never posted them for in 1827, he returned to England with the hope of securing a promise from her, only to discover Sonalí keeping company with two naval officers. He later discovered the two men were the brother and a cousin of Lady Arlene Walker, one of Sonalí’s schoolgirl chums. When Daniel was once more in diplomatic service, he did all he could to forget her. 

“The posts from Germany are exceedingly undependable.” He spun Sonalí around a corner of the dance floor, adding a dipping counterclockwise turn, which he hoped would drive away her questions. Daniel always regretted his cowardice in the matter, but his heart could not bear her rejection. “Better to keep a private counsel than to know Sonalí’s rebuke,” he told his heart.

“I suppose what you say is possible.” Sonalí was silent for several minutes, and Daniel simply enjoyed the heat of her body along his front. She tipped her head to the side and studied him with care. “Then you still think fondly of me? I could not abide it, Worthing, if we were not of a like mind.”

“I doubt I could ever turn from you,” Daniel admitted. “We are as we always were, my lady.” He certainly wished for more, but Daniel knew he could not settle for less. Some day, they would both marry others, but Sonalí would always hold his regard.

* * *

Daniel chose seats where Sonalí might chat with several of her stepmother’s guests. If Daniel had his preferences, they would dine upon the terrace where a cool night breeze would require Sonalí to snuggle into his side for warmth. Unfortunately, they attempted conversation in a too stuffy and too loud dining hall.

Sonalí conversed with Miss Gandy. Daniel, far enough from the girl to ignore the chit’s insipid remarks, instead entertained himself by watching the rise and fall of Sonalí’s breasts. Lady Sonalí filled out nicely since Daniel last spent any significant time with her. He realized he should know regret at seizing the opportunity to fantasize upon what delights rested beneath Sonalí’s very fashionable gown, but his body and his mind held two different senses of honor.

The faint scent of an exotic fragrance filled his nostrils as his eyes feasted at the swell of her breasts above the silver lace trimming her gown. Her skin appeared soft to the touch. Smooth as if bronzed. Firm and luminous. Daniel found himself swallowing hard and fisting his hands to keep from reaching for her. He shrugged internally. His obsession was quite hopeless.

“You spent many years upon the Continent?” Miss Gandy asked with a flirtatious dip of her lashes.

Daniel thought how poor the girl’s efforts were for Miss Gandy was but a far off dot of light in the night sky while Sonalí was the sun, which warmed Daniel’s heart.

“Yes. Some six years as part of my father’s ambassadorial staff; however, I am pleased to return to England.”

“Lady Sonalí says you knew each other for years,” the girl pressed.

Daniel shot a glance to Sonalí, who was smiling mischievously. “I believe my lady was but five when I first took her acquaintance. Thornhill and my father are associates, and my mother is Lady Sonalí’s aunt.” Daniel winked at Sonalí and was rewarded by a flush of her sun-kissed skin. “When we were young, I taught Lady Sonalí to cast a line to fish and assisted her in gathering wild flowers to make a wreath for her head. At the time, my lady was quite into stories of princesses.”

“One of my most treasured memories,” she taunted, but Daniel heard the sincerity in her tone. “And as for you, my lord…” Sonalí pointed a finger at him in mock defiance. “You should know, my Lord Worthing, that I possess tales of your childhood, which you might find equally embarrassing.”

Daniel leaned back in his chair. “Do your worst, my lady. I fear you not.” He enjoyed this playful Sonalí more than he did the social debutant.

Sonalí’s smile lit up her features. “I warned you, my lord.”

Daniel wished with all his heart he were “her” lord. “What of your interest in the healing arts?” Sonalí accused.

“I hold an interest in many subjects, and I possess no shame in wishing to discover a potion to extend my grandfather’s life,” Daniel observed dryly. “My mother once held a similar hope to save her mother. Thankfully, Linworth and the countess always encouraged my varied studies. Those upon the Continent are not so strict regarding class lines as are the English.”

“I surrender. You speak with uncompromised intelligence and graciousness.” Sonalí bowed her head in a mocking taunt.

“I shall never be as accomplished as my Aunt Ella. I know you value the countess’s opinions above all others, and I fall short of knowing your respect.”

Daniel frowned deeply. “Perhaps not above all others, but I am fortunate to possess an intelligent mother and a father who permits his wife her due.”

Before Lady Sonalí could respond, a loud commotion drew their attention. An inebriated Charles Rivers swayed in place.

“I will speak to my father of the bloody debts! Now remove your hand from my person,” Rivers growled in a voice that brought the noisy supper hall to a silent tableau.

The man who caught Rivers’ arm glanced about the room to judge the scene the future baron created. Viscount Gilbert, a man twice Rivers’ age, brought himself up tall. “You have until week’s end,” Gilbert warned. “Then I will call upon your father.”

Gilbert released Rivers’ arm after giving it a hard shake. Daniel studied the scene with piqued interest as Gilbert turned to make his exit, but as the viscount came close to where Daniel and Sonalí sat at the table’s end, Rivers caught his empty glass in his fist and hurled it at the back of Gilbert’s head.

Daniel’s reflexes responded as he jumped up to deflect the glass with an outstretched hand.

“Demme you, Worthing!” Rivers declared as the glass flipped over, turning in the air above Gilbert’s head to crash against the wall.

The supper hall erupted in chaos as several of Thornhill’s servants subdued Rivers, while others rushed to Gilbert’s aid. Daniel turned immediately to Sonalí, who remained behind him throughout the short encounter, to discover her surprisingly pale for a woman of a darker complexion.

“Are you unwell?” Daniel asked anxiously as he knelt before her.

Tears filled Sonalí’s eyes as she opened her palm to display a cut across her upper wrist, just above her short gloves. Blood seeped from the wound.

“Bloody hell,” Daniel groaned as he caught the serviette from Sonalí’s lap to wrap it tightly about her arm. “Come with me,” he demanded as he assisted her to her feet.

With all the commotion, no one seemed to notice Daniel ushered Sonalí through the servants’ entrance. As the door closed behind him, he scooped Sonalí into his arms.

“I have you,” he said as soothingly as he could muster with his heart racing.

She held the cloth to her arm, and Sonalí leaned her head against his shoulder.

As Daniel was as familiar with Briar House as the Fowler family, he rushed along the narrow corridor before exiting at the hall’s end. Using his shoulder to open the door to the duke’s study, Daniel carried Sonalí to the leather covered chaise before placing her gently upon the loose pillows.

Kneeling beside her, Daniel caught Sonalí’s arm. The serviette displayed the wound’s continued bleeding.

“Permit me to examine the cut for glass.”

It bothered Daniel that Sonalí had yet to speak to him, but he had no time for questions.

“I am grieved,” Daniel said as he dabbed at the cut to wipe away the blood, “that my heroics brought this upon you.”

He could not look upon her. Sonalí’s tears would rip the soul from Daniel’s body.

His hands trembled as his finger traced the cut searching for shards of glass.

“We must clean the wound and stanch the flow of blood,” he assessed.

Daniel looked about the room for water. Finding an ewer, he filled a large tumbler with water and turned to look upon her. Sonalí kept her eyes averted from the wound, but they met his in open assessment.

“Please say you will forgive me,” Daniel pleaded; yet, before Sonalí could answer, he returned to her side.

He soaked his handkerchief in the water and gently dabbed at the cut, which was much deeper than Daniel first thought.

“Does Thornhill keep more handkerchiefs in his desk?”

“Top drawer on the right,” Sonalí whispered.

Daniel scrambled to find the duke’s monogrammed cloths. “I should summon a physician.” He rushed to Sonalí’s side to wrap the large square about her wrist. “Forgive me. I must tie this tight.” Daniel’s fingers were never so stiff, and he silently cursed his ineptitude.

“Daniel.” He lifted his eyes to meet hers. “Yes?” It was most inconvenient to feel his groin tighten, but that was the effect Sonalí’s closeness had on him.

“You were wonderfully masterful.” The fingers of Sonalí’s free hand brushed an errant curl from Daniel’s forehead, and his breath caught in Daniel’s chest.

Forcibly clearing his throat, he spoke in irony. “I brought tears to your eyes. I would not term such foolhardiness as masterful.”

“You prevented Lord Gilbert from knowing harm,” Sonalí argued.

“I would prefer the viscount injured than you,” Daniel admitted.

Her fingers brushed his cheek, and it was all Daniel could do to keep from catching her hand to plant a kiss upon her palm. “You were my knight.” Sonalí’s gaze ran over him in what appeared to be a possessive manner. If only, Daniel thought.

His mind whirled with possibilities. What would Sonalí do if he claimed her lips in a declaration of his devotion? Uncertainty flickered over her features. Did Sonalí anticipate his intentions? Her lips parted in expectation, and Daniel felt himself leaning closer. He was within inches of heaven when a heavy tread outside the study had Daniel scrambling to his feet.

“My lord?” Thornhill’s most trusted footman eyed where Sonalí rested upon the chaise.

“Ah, Murray,” Daniel said with more enthusiasm than he felt. “I am pleased you came. Lady Sonalí knew an injury during the supper hall’s melee. Would you fetch Thornhill and Lady Linworth? Lady Sonalí’s maid should also be summoned, as well as the duke’s personal physician.”

The footman’s eyebrow rose in curiosity, but he nodded his agreement before rushing off to do Daniel’s bidding.

“Permit me to apply more pressure. I believe the blood slowed.” Daniel returned to tending her wound.

Sonalí sat forward. “Murray has abominable timing.”

Sonalí’s breath warmed Daniel’s ear, but he did not turn his head. “It is for the best,” he said grudgingly.

“I suppose.” A bit of what sounded of disappointment laced Sonalí’s tone.

“Daniel?” his mother’s voice called from the hall. He shot a quick glance to Sonalí to make certain no tell tale signs of passion remained upon her countenance.

“In here!” Daniel knew Eleanor Kerrington would see to Sonalí’s wound, but he was sore to release Sonalí’s hand.

Within seconds Daniel’s mother knelt by his side. “Tell me what occurred.”

“The glass Rivers hurled at Gilbert broke against the wall behind Lady Sonalí. Somehow a fragment cut Sonalí’s arm,” Daniel explained.

His mother unwrapped the cloth to examine the wound. “Did you wash it?”

“Only with water.”

Ella lightly touched Daniel’s arm. “Ring for a servant to bring us warm water and some soap.” She smiled in appreciation at him. “You acted with foresight. I am proud of you.”

“I was no longer frightened once Daniel took control,” Sonalí noted.

His mother’s smile widened. Daniel had no doubt the countess knew of Daniel’s infatuation. Thankfully, Eleanor never questioned him on his behavior. “My son engenders protection. Daniel is very much his father in that respect.”

In truth, Daniel thought Ella modeled the behavior he practiced, but he did not argue with his stepmother. Instead, he rose to do as Ella bid. Daniel just reached for the cord when he heard Ella gasp. Spinning on his heels, his eyes followed his mother’s steady gaze. The patio door to Thornhill’s study stood ajar. A man with skin as darker than Sonalí’s stood in the shadows of the open door, and the countess pulled Sonalí to her feet and shoved the girl behind her. When Daniel meant to place himself between the women and the intruder, a flick of his mother’s wrist kept Daniel in place.

“What do you mean coming here on such a night?” Ella demanded frostily.

A wry smile graced the man’s lips. “It has been too long, my lady. I believe the last time we met we tussled over Lord Lexford’s body.” The stranger glanced about the room as if assessing the situation. “In case you wondered,” he continued in a mocking tone, “I have a scar marking where you shot me.”

Daniel knew immediately the man was the infamous Murhad Jamot, a man who once hunted each of the Realm members.

Ella’s chin rose in defiance. “You did not answer my question.”

The Baloch warrior shrugged away her challenge. “Let us call this a bit of goodwill upon the entrance into Society of Ashmita’s daughter.” The intruder’s gaze traveled over Sonalí’s body, and Daniel instinctively took several steps in the man’s direction before a slight shake of his mother’s head again stilled his supposed assault.

“The girl has the look of her mother,” Jamot announced.

“You knew my mother?” Sonalí pleaded.

Daniel understood. Despite his deep regard for Eleanor Kerrington, he wished often to speak of his real mother. Daniel rarely encountered any of Elizabeth Morris’s family, and he felt deprived of a part of his history because of it. He would not be whole until he knew more of his Morris ancestry.

“Aye, Child,” the man said wistfully. “Long before you were born.”

Ella edged Sonalí further behind her. “This is not a social call,” his stepmother declared. “State your business and be gone from this house.”

Dark eyebrows drew together in exasperation. “Tell Thornhill, Lowery, and Linworth I am no longer the threat. Mir has come in person for the emerald, and the peace of the past decade will be no more.”

“Shaheed Mir?” Ella paled, but no answer from the man was forthcoming.
As quickly as he appeared, the Baloch vanished into London’s darkness. 

ATOE eBook Cover - Green Text

Posted in British history, Great Britain, Living in the Regency, Regency era, Victorian era | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Recording of Births in the Church of England

See yesterday’s post on Churching of Women for how woman were treated after childbirth in the Church of England in many Western religions. “Churching” involved a celebration welcoming women back into the church/religion after they had given birth, even if the child was stillborn or passed shortly after birth or with no christening.

Today, we think of the recording of a birth as automatic. At most hospitals, the staff record such details ,and they are passed on to the proper authorities. The birth announcement appears in the local newspaper usually within a week of the actual birth. This was not so for the Regency. Birth announcements were not recorded during the Regency Era. Births were not always recorded in the parish registers. Generally, only the Baptism/Christening was recorded. Some clergymen listed the child’s age or birth date  when recording the  baptism, but most did not. Usually the child had to be breathing to be baptised and  given a name for the parish records, but that was not an “absolute” in the practice of recording births. [Note! Today the terms (baptism and christening) are interchangeable by many. A Christening is a naming, but the church believes baptism is to save the soul of the infant  and to enroll him in the church of believers. The secular name is incidental and just for records.]

According to Nancy Mayer Regency Researcher, “Most of the evidence upon which today’s perceptions of the era are founded is faulty.  St Martin-in-the-Fields was probably the most fastidious of the parishes in those days, with the sextons recording in minute detail, everything about those they buried – and that included stillborns, abortives, infants (those who’d lived to draw breath), etc., etc.  Name, date of birth, date of death, address, sex, etc., etc.  No detail was missed.  But even in this parish there were anomalies based on the structure of burial fees – abortives were the cheapest burials. Chrisom’s came next.  Stillborns were the third cheapest, and from there, the fees increased the longer the individual lived.  So many infants who had lived through the first crucial week only to succumb to the infections that so beset newborns, were buried as stillborns because the family could not or did not want to pay the higher fees. But even with the stillborns and the Chrisoms, the father’s name was recorded by the sextons.  It was not until well after the Regency that the mother’s name was included.” Although it rarely happened, in reality, the parents did not need to present for the baptism. 

No ecclesiastical law forbid the baptism of a stillborn child. It was the expense of doing so that prevented many from recognizing their child’s existence.

I understand the confusion and grief following the lost of a child for I lost two children before I had my son. It bothered me deeply not to have access to the one I lost early on. I could not shake the idea that it would never have a name or a place in our family’s recorded history. However, many in the early 19th Century were developing what we now associate with the British public as a whole: the stiff upper lip. Grief was not shown in public. 

Other parishes were not as meticulous as St Martin-in-the-Fields. Generally, the person requesting the recording of the birth was at the “mercy” of the clergyman overseeing the parish. The clergyman’s opinions or those of the aristocrat providing his living could differ greatly from parish to parish. Some clergy would look poorly upon an abortive situation. An aristocrat might privately have a stillborn child baptised, but a public announcement of such would not occur. The recording of a child’s birth, or the lack thereof, is a major plot plot point in Book 2 of my Twins’ Trilogy, The Earl Claims His Comfort. Any “public” records, such as Debrett’s The New Peerage, would simply include the line stillborn daughter or stillborn son.

41VA23GR86LWe find an example of such in Chapter 1 of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, Sir Walter Elliot picks up the Baronetage to read of his family history, “”ELLIOT OF KELLYNCH-HALL.
“Walter Elliot, born March 1, 1760, married, July 15, 1784, Elizabeth, daughter of James Stevenson, Esq. of South Park, in the county of Gloucester; by which lady (who died 1800) he has issue Elizabeth, born June 1, 1785; Anne, born August 9, 1787; a still-born son, Nov. 5, 1789; Mary, born Nov. 20, 1791.”

Many times the private family records, such as the family Bible, contained the name of the stillborn child. Parish records and private records did not always hold the same details. Often, especially in the male line, one might find two male offsprings with the same name in a private record, but the names of the children were listed as several years apart – the first one died at birth or shortly thereafter. 

As with everything else, there were those members of the clergy who accepted payment to record stillborns. Parents might, for example, argue that the Bible does not speak to forbidding the naming of stillborns. Babies could be baptised at home by any member of the household as long as water was used and the child was baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. This was a valid baptism  in most cases. 

431184283c0ccbfe915e11bf06d3477a Anciently, a chrisom, or “chrisom-cloth,” was the face-cloth, or piece of linen laid over a child’s head when he or she was baptised or christened. Originally, the purpose of the chrisom-cloth was to keep the chrism, a consecrated oil, from accidentally rubbing off. With time, the word’s meaning changed, to that of a white mantle thrown over the whole infant at the time of baptism. The term has come to refer to a child who died within a month after its baptism—so called for the chrisom cloth that was used as a shroud for it. Additionally, in London’s Bills of Mortality, the term chrisom was used to refer to infants who died within a month after being born. (Chrisom)

ATOHCrop2 In A Touch of Honor, Book 8 of the Realm Series, I used a different plot point associated with the recording of births and deaths. In that book, Lady Satiné Swenton dies in a terrible accident and the child she carried is also lost. The surgeon tending the body asks Lord Swenton if he wishes to have the stillborn buried with his mother. The mother and stillborn infant could be buried together as it was with Princess Charlotte’s child.  In that case the child was not named. However, in this time, the father could insist on having the child listed in the  death register and could have a name etched in the grave marker to recognize publicly the birth. The woman’s husband could have his wife and child buried in a private cemetery and act as he thought best for his family. 

parishbur

The Church of England provides this tutorial for the ceremony: 

What Happens at a christening?

At a christening a child is baptized with water. This is the heart of a christening. There are several moments in the service which have a special meaning too. Follow each step to see what happens.

“…I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

Welcome

The vicar will welcome everyone and especially the child who will be christened and their family. There will be a Bible reading, and the vicar will also talk about what a christening means.

The promises

You and the godparents will make some important promises for your child in the service. You can see the full order of service here.  Everyone promises to continue supporting the child from this moment.

The vicar says: “…People of God will you welcome this child and uphold them in their new life in Christ?”

Everyone present says: “…With the help of God, we will.”

The sign

Often, this is the point in the service when parents and godparents will be invited to come out to stand at the front with the child. In many churches, a special oil may be used to make the sign of a cross on your child’s forehead. It’s a significant moment, which marks your child as belonging to God.

The vicar will say: “…Christ claims you as his own. Receive the sign of the cross.”

The water

Water which is blessed in the church’s font will be poured over your child’s head by the vicar. This is your child’s baptism. It’s a sign of a new beginning and becoming a part of God’s family.

The vicar says: “…I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

Prayers and welcome

The vicar, or perhaps even someone else from the church, will pray for the child and for all those who will support them in their path of faith. Everyone present welcomes the child into the family of the church with words given in the service.

A candle

A candle will be given to the child at the end of the service.

The vicar says: “…Shine as a light in the world to the glory of God.”

Godparents play a special role in the ceremony and in the child’s life. The godparents were the ones to take the child to church, make the vows in his/her name, and say the name of the child for all the world to know. The godmother customarily holds the child during the ceremony. The child can be dipped into the baptismal font–first one side and then the other, but often water was poured on his head. Occasionally water was just sprinkled on or a damp cloth is used.  A cross is made with oil on the baby’s head to anoint the child. The rite in the Book of Common prayer of the day was used.

A female child was to have two female and one male godparent or sponsor, while a male child was to have two male and one female godparent or sponsor. Although they could serve the role, godparents were NOT automatically the child’s legal guardian of the child(ren) with the passing of a parent(s). A will would designate the legal guardian in such a scenario. 

During the Regency and beyond, royalty were often asked to be godparents to the children of peers, such as dukes or men who had positions at Court or were at Court often or were ranking members of Parliament. Quite often the royal godparents employed proxy stand-ins. When the child is 12 years of age, he/she would be confirmed; he/she would renew the promises made at his/her baptism for himself/herself.

You might wish to check out: 

10 Ways Christening Has Changed

Posted in British history, Church of England, Georgian England, Living in the Regency, Regency era | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

The “Churching” of Women After Childbirth

61hN29vqkJL._SX341_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg Although it has largely fallen out of favor with Western religion, the concept of “churching” in the Church of England can be traced well into the 20th Century. (Margaret Houlbrooke. Rite out of Time: a Study of the Ancient Rite of Churching and its Survival in the Twentieth Century (viii + 152pp. + 15 plates, Donington: Shaun Tyas, 2011, ISBN 978-1-907730-10-8). Data from the book “is based on new primary research utilizing ecclesiastical archives and personal testimony of both women and clergy. It mainly deals with churching as practised by the Church of England.

“Much of the evidence-base is qualitative, but some quantitative data are also included, albeit they are not always presented and analysed to optimal effect. Particularly interesting is the study of parochial records for three counties between the 1880s and 1940s, which reveals that the number of churchings was equivalent to two-thirds of baptisms (64% in Berkshire, 63% in Staffordshire, 64% in London). The relevant statistics may be found on pp. 27, 33, 35, 47, 49 and 51 and in plates 9 and 10.” [“Churching of Woman] But what exactly is “churching of women”?

The Christian concept of Churching of Women finds it roots in the Jewish practice spoken of in Leviticus 12:2-8. It is a practice in which women were purified after giving birth. It is a blessing of sorts. The practice includes a “thanksgiving” for the woman’s survival of childbirth. It is performed in the case of a live birth, a stillborn, or even for an unbaptized child that has died. The ceremony draws on the symbolism associated with the presentation of Jesus at the Temple, which is found in the New Testament in Luke 2:22-40. Even though many Christians consider Mary to have given birth to Christ without being despoiled, she is said to have gone to the Temple in Jerusalem to fulfill the requirement of the Law of Moses. 

The custom specifies the ceremonial rite is to be used  to restore ritual purity.  The practice lies in the concept that childbirth makes a woman ritually unclean, meaning the presence of blood and body fluids.. This was part of ceremonial, rather than moral law. [Pope, Charles. “Lost Liturgies File: The Churching of Women”, Archdiocese of Washington]

the-churching-of-women-in-a-very-old-version-of-the-book-of-common-E8AH0M.jpg

The women are “reintroduced” to the religion/church/social responsibilities. This practice can be found across a number of cultures. All things having to do with birth and death are understood as somehow sacred. [Knödel, Natalie. “The Thanksgiving of Women after Childbirth, commonly called The Churching of Women”, University of Durham. 1995] In agricultural societies, it is assumed that the practice comes from not permitting a new mother to return to the field too soon. [Marshall, Paul V., Prayer Book Parallels. The public services of the Church arranged for comparative study, New York: The Church Hymnal Corporation, 1989]. In history, we find that women have typically been confined to their beds (or at a minimum, to their homes) for a period following giving birth. Forty days seems to be the customary number of days required for a woman’s “lying in.”Custom differs, but the usual date of churching was the fortieth day after confinement (or giving birth), in accordance with the Biblical date and Jewish practice. The Purification of Mary and the presentation of Jesus at the Temple are commemorated forty days after Christmas. During this time, a female relative took over the responsibilities of running the new mother’s household. If a relative was not available, a “monthly nurse” (a term used in the 18th and 19th centuries) could be hired. The custom of “churching” marked the end of the new mother’s “lying in” and welcomed her back to the community. 

“The rite became the subject of a good deal of misunderstanding as many commentators and preachers, in describing its scriptural antecedents, did not explain the concept clearly, as early as the 6th century protested any notion that defilement was incurred by childbirth and recommended that women should never be separated from the church in case it was seen as such. As a blessing given to mothers after recovery from childbirth, “it is not a precept, but a pious and praiseworthy custom, dating from the early Christian ages”. David Cressy points out that the ceremony acknowledged the woman’s labours and the perils of childbirth. At the conclusion of a month after childbirth, women looked forward to churching as a social occasion, and a time to celebrate with friends. For men it marked the end of a month during which they had to take care of the domestic affairs, commonly referred to as the ‘gander month.'” [“Churching of Women“]

“The service included in the English Book of Common Prayer dates only from the Middle Ages.  While the churching was normally performed by a priest in the parish church there were exceptions of women being churched at home. Prior to the English Reformation, according to the rubric the woman was to occupy the ‘convenient place’ near the parthex. In the first prayer book of Edward VI of England, she was to be ‘nigh unto the quire door.’ In the second of his books, she was to be ‘nigh unto the place where the Table (or altar) standeth.’ Bishop Matthew Wren orders for the diocese of Norwich in 1636 were that women to be churched would come and kneel at a side near the communion table outside the rail, being veiled according to custom, and not covered with a hat. In some parishes there was a special pew known as the ‘churching seat.’

“Churchings were formerly registered in some parishes. In Herefordshire it was not considered proper for the husband to appear in church at the service, or to sit with his wife in the same pew. The words in the rubric requiring the woman to come ‘decently appareled,’ refer to the times when it was thought unbecoming for a woman to come to the service with the elaborate head-dress then the fashion. A veil was usually worn. 

“In pre-Reformation days, it was the custom in English Catholic churches for women to carry lighted tapers when being churched, an allusion to the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin (February 2), celebrated as Candlemas, the day chosen by the Catholic Church for the blessing of the candles for the whole year. At her churching, a woman was expected to make some votive offering to the church, such as the chrisom or alb placed on the child at its christening.” [“Churching of Women”]

800px-Hans_Memling_029

Presentation in the Temple, a representation of the presentation of Jesus at the Temple upon which the churching of women is based. (Hans Memling, c. 1470, Museo del Prado. Madrid). ~ Public Domain ~ via Wikipedia

Other Resources: 

“Churching of Women” 

“Churching of Women” from New Advent

“The Churching of Women” from The Church of England

“The Churching of Women – misogynist or not?” from Churchmouse 

“Why Women Stayed Away from the Church After Birth” from The Compass

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in British history, Church of England, customs and tradiitons, England, Great Britain, history, Living in the UK, marriage, marriage customs, medicine, religion, tradtions | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Catholic Peers in Georgian England

download.jpg Over the centuries, the English people saw first Catholicism in favor, which was replaced by Protestantism, to be replaced by Catholicism again, and finally a return to Protestantism. The reigns of Henry VIII and his children brought a time of unrest for Catholics, where many were forced to either accept Henry VIII’s “reforms” or to lose their heads on the block. Sir Thomas More, for example, refused to accept Henry VIII as Head of the Anglican Church and was convicted of treason and beheaded. Henry’s reign was followed first by Mary, a devout Catholic, and then by Elizabeth I, who abolished Catholicism and replaced it with Protestant teachings.

The fact that Charles II had a Catholic wife saw a lessening of the persecution against Catholics during his reign, but not an end to the practice. During the late 1700s, Catholics were permitted to worship in the embassies of Catholic nations in London, meaning those in the country and spread about London, could not worship in public. It was not until 1791 that they could have mass in a Catholic church. Before that time, many Catholics conducted secret religious services in their homes. During this time of restrictions, priests were trained in European countries, and if they were caught, the priest would be executed, as would be those who aided him. In many houses, their were secret hiding places called “priest holes,” to protect the priest and disguise his actions. I use one of these secret places in my latest Regency romantic suspense, The Earl Claims His Comfort, for Lord Remmington’s (the book’s hero) ancestors were Scottish Catholics.

Prinny and Maria 01.jpgDuring the 1700s, Catholics were not permitted to attend universities, act in governmental offices, including Parliament and being magistrates or sheriffs. Nor could they purchase military commissions. In 1785, the future George IV secretly married a Catholic, one Maria Fitzherbert. She was a commoner, six years his elder, twice widowed, and a Roman Catholic. Despite her complete unsuitability, the prince was determined to marry her. This was in spite of the Act of Settlement 1701, which barred the spouse of a Catholic from succeeding to the throne, and the Royal Marriage Act 1772, which prohibited his marriage without the King’s consent, which would never have been granted. Eventually, to become King and to settle his many debts, Prince George abandoned the idea of claiming Mrs. Fitzherbert as his wife. 

Changes came in the early 1800s. Catholics were, at length, permitted to become officers in the Royal Navy, as well as in the Army. However, they could still not hold a seat in Parliament.

51itwdjj5xl-_sx331_bo1204203200_ 51nvWRZSzpL._UY250_ A marriage between a Protestant and a Catholic had first to be held in an Anglican church before a Catholic ceremony could be conducted. In my A Touch of Honor, Lord and Lady Swenton are first married in a Catholic church, but they spoke their vows in Ireland, rather than in England. When they returned to Yorkshire, they were remarried in the Protestant church. Likewise, I had a Protestant/Catholic marriage in The Earl Claims His Comfort. In this one, the Earl and Countess of Remmington follow the rules of marriage of the time, being first married in the Protestant church and then a few days later in the Catholic one. Note that if one did not follow this procedure, he left himself open to fine and public shunning. In both of these books, the husband is Protestant and the wife is Catholic, an easier task that if the husband was Catholic and the wife Protestant. Although all children of the marriage would be expected to be brought up as Protestants, for certain, all the males would be expected to be Protestant. In both my books mentioned above, the husband is Protestant and the wife is Catholic, an easier task to write than if the husband was Catholic and the wife Protestant. Most Protestant families blocked their daughters from marrying a Catholic. [Keep in mind that Catholics were equally prejudiced in this manner when it came to mixed marriages, a fact that plays out in both of my books, for the wives of each peer are cousins.]

As to the peerage, there were several dozen Catholic peers the persecution began, but that number dwindled throughout the 1700s. Recusancy referred to those Catholics in England, Wales, and Ireland who refused to attend Anglican services. Specifically, these citizens of the United Kingdom were known as Recusants, referring to those who remained loyal to the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church and who did not attend the Anglican services provided by the Church of England. [Magee, Brian (1938). The English Recusants: A Study of the Post-Reformation Catholic Survival and the Operation of the Recusancy Laws. London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne.]

The Act Against Recusants 1593, read in part: “For the better discovering and avoiding of all such traitorous and most dangerous conspiracies and attempts as are daily devised and practised against our most gracious sovereign lady the queen’s majesty and the happy estate of this commonweal, by sundry wicked and seditious persons, who, terming themselves Catholics, and being indeed spies and intelligencers, not only for her majesty’s foreign enemies, but also for rebellious and traitorous subjects born within her highness’s realms and dominions, and hiding their most detestable and devilish purposes under a false pretext of religion and conscience, do secretly wander and shift from place to place within this realm, to corrupt and seduce her majesty’s subjects, and to stir them to sedition and rebellion… 

“And be it also enacted by the authority aforesaid, that every person above the age of sixteen years, born within any her majesty’s realms or dominions, not having any certain place of dwelling and abode within this realm, and being a popish recusant, not usually repairing to some church, chapel, or usual place of common prayer, but forbearing the same, contrary to the same laws and statutes in that behalf made, shall within forty days next after the end of this session of Parliament (if they be then within this realm, and not imprisoned, restrained, or stayed as aforesaid, and in such case of absence out of the realm, imprisonment, restraint, or stay, then within twenty days next after they shall return into the realm, and be enlarged of such imprisonment or restraint, and shall be able to travel) repair to the place where such person was born, or where the father or mother of such person shall then be dwelling, and shall not at any time after remove or pass above five miles from thence; upon pain that every person and persons which shall offend against the tenor and intent of this Act in anything before mentioned, shall lose and forfeit all his and their goods and chattels, and shall also forfeit to the queen’s majesty all the lands, tenements, and hereditaments, and all the rents and annuities of every such person so doing or offending, during the life of the same person…

“And if any such offender, which by the tenor and intent of this Act is to be abjured as is aforesaid, shall refuse to make such abjuration as is aforesaid, or after such abjuration made shall not go to such haven, and within such time as is before appointed, and from thence depart out of this realm, according to this present Act, or after such his departure shall return or come again into any her majesty’s realms or dominions, without her majesty’s special licence in that behalf first had and obtained; that then, in every such case, the person so offending shall be adjudged a felon, and shall suffer and lose as in case of felony without benefit of clergy.” A number of English and Welsh Catholics, who were executed in the 16th and 17th centuries were canonized by the Catholic Church as martyrs of the English Reformation. Restrictions against Roman Catholics were not set aside until full Catholic Emancipation in 1829. 

This piece on Recusancy lists prominent historical families in the United Kingdom, both Recusant families and those who converted. (Recusancy

800px-Charles_Howard,_11th_Duke_of_Norfolk_by_Thomas_Gainsborough.jpgDuring the Regency period there were less than a dozen Catholic peers. The most notable was the Duke of Norfolk. The Duke of Norfolk is the premier duke in the peerage of England, and also, as Earl of Arundel, the premier earl. The Duke of Norfolk is, moreover, the Earl Marshal and Hereditary Marshal of England.  The dukes have historically been Catholic. As Earl Marshal, the duke has the duty of organizing state occasions such as the state opening of Parliament. For the last five centuries, save some periods when it was under attainder, both the Dukedom and the Earl-Marshalship have been in the hands of the Howard family. 

The duke is the titular head of the College of Heralds and  has long had ceremonial and other positions in the country. During the times when Catholics could not take part in much that was his hereditary right because he was a practicing Catholic, Norfolk employed a Protestant Vice marshal to handle his duties.  The Duke of Norfolk, at one time, had two dozen or more livings in which he could place Protestant clergymen. He was supposed to turn these over to the Universities to handle the appointment of  clergymen, but he never did that.  He had a Protestant be his mouthpiece, but Norfolk  actually made the appointments.

Lord Petre was another Catholic. Robert Edward Petre, 9th Baron Petre was a member of the English Roman Catholic nobility, a philanthropist and responsible for employing James Paine to design a new Thorndon Hall and a house in Mayfair.  Robert also brought an energetic enthusiasm to his family life and married well. His first wife, whom he married on 19 April 1762, was Anne Howard (29 August 1742 – 15 January 1787), granddaughter to Henry Howard, 6th Duke of Norfolk. When Edward Howard, 9th Duke of Norfolk died without issue, his niece, Anne, became co-heir with his sister Winifred to various baronies. The couple had three children: Robert Edward Petre, 10th Baron Petre, George William Petre, and Anne Catherine Petre. 

“Robert and Anne evidently held themselves aloof from politics and the Court, for at the time of the War of American Independence, when France was threatening to aid the Americans by invading Ireland, Horace Walpole noted that the Roman Catholics professed much loyalty, both in Ireland and England, and Lord and Lady Petre went to Court for the first time. Horace Walpole specially remarks on the visit of George III and Queen Charlotte to Lord Petre at Thorndon Hall, after a review of the troops on Warley Common on 19 October 1779.” (Robert Petre, 9th Baron Petre)

Anne died in 1787, and Robert married again a year later, on 16 January 1788 in London. His second wife was Juliana Barbara Howard was the sister of the future Bernard Howard, 12th Duke of Norfolk. Juliana was 19 years old, 27 years younger than Robert, and, indeed, Robert’s son had himself married her older sister two years previously. Juliana and Lord Petre had three children: Julia Maria Petre, Catherine Anne Petre, and Robert Edward Petre. 

George_Romney_-_Robert,_9th_Baron_Petre_demonstrating_the_use_of_an_écorché_figure_to_his_son,_Robert_Edward

George Romney (English, 1734–1802), Robert, 9th Baron Petre, Demonstrating the Use of an Écorché Figure to His Son, Robert Edward c. 1775 – 1776, 76 x 63.2 cm, Oil on canvas, Levy Bequest Purchase, Collection of McMaster Museum of Art, McMaster University ~ public domain ~ via Wikipedia

“Robert was a leading figure in the movement for Catholic emancipation, for example Dr. Alexander Geddes, protégé of Robert, was a Catholic theologian, writer and scholar who was an honorary graduate of the University of Aberdeen and an early Roman Catholic pioneer of biblical criticism and originator of the “fragment hypothesis” of the composition of the Pentateuch. Between the accession of ElizabethI and the early years of George I, thirty separate statutes that either forbade Roman Catholics the practice of their religion or deprived them of their rights and freedoms had been enacted. It is true that, by this time, the emphasis had changed; Roman Catholics could at least adhere to their beliefs and even worship discreetly without undue risk to their life or liberty but the legislation, particularly to exclude them from any public office or profession, was still in place and Roman Catholics remained effectively second class citizens. How it was that at least some ‘treacherous’ Roman Catholics were left relatively unmolested by the draconian legislation laid against them cannot be considered in detail here but the Petre family was not unique in this respect. In fact Mark Bence-Jones, in his recent book The Catholic Families, even goes so far as to suggest that the effects of the Penal Laws were not entirely disadvantageous to Roman Catholic gentry. Barred as they were from all public office, they were at least spared the risks associated with such ambitions – the heavy cost of ‘electioneering expenses’ (or, bluntly, bribes) and the dire consequences of a fall from favour – and could concentrate their energies on the management of their estates, which accordingly prospered.

“The principal factor, however, which, over the years, helped to protect some Roman Catholic families from the worst effects of the legislation was the simple matter of the personal loyalty and support extended to them by their local community, even by those who might particularly have been expected to point an accusing finger. Indeed, in some places under the patronage of Roman Catholic gentry, there had been an increase in the number of their co-religionists; in the 27 parishes between Brentwood and Chelmsford that were under the aegis of the Petre and the Roman Catholic Wrights of Kelvedon Hall, the population of Roman Catholics rose from 106 in 1625 to 202 in 1706. Even among the common people, loyalty to Rome was not entirely extinct; a national census of 1767 identifies, out of a total population of seven to eight million, 67,916 Roman Catholics, and there is good reason to suppose that this was a considerable underestimate.

“Many did defect, of course, but, at the time of the first Relief Act (1778), there were still eight peers, nineteen baronets and 150 gentlemen of substantial property who remained Roman Catholics. In 1766, Thomas Newman, the Vicar of West Horndon, in whose parish Thorndon Hall lay, was required by the Bishop of London to respond to a questionnaire on the number of Roman Catholics in his parish. He reported:

from the best advice I can collect there are about fifty persons who are reputed to be Papists; Ld. Petre is supposed to be of that persuasion.

“The truth of the matter was that Thorndon Hall contained a private chapel consecrated by Robert’s cousin, Bishop Benjamin Petre in 1739, and the Visitation of Essex conducted by the Roman Catholic Bishop Richard Challoner in 1754 discovered a congregation of 260 there: indeed, in that year alone, 41 had received the sacrament of Confirmation.

“The most practical contribution that Robert made to the cause of Catholic Emancipation  was his chairmanship of the two successive committees of Roman Catholic laymen formed to lobby government and negotiate means by which the disabilities enshrined in the Penal Laws might be swept away. It fell to Robert to take the role as senior Roman Catholic layman in this way since, of the two Roman Catholic noblemen who outranked him, Charles Howard, 10th Duke of Norfolk was a scholarly recluse who rarely left his garden at Greystoke Castle in Cumberland and the 14th Earl of Shrewsbury also had no taste for public life – even though two of the four Apostolic Vicars, who administered the Church in England were his brothers. It would nevertheless have been a disappointment to Robert that he did not live to see more far-reaching emancipation for Roman Catholics. The trend towards it had become irreversible but it was still a long time coming. It was over a quarter of a century later that the Emancipation Act of 1829 removed the bulk of the restrictions that continued to beset Roman Catholics. Even then, some survived. It was only in 1974 that it was formally enacted that a Roman Catholic may hold the office of Lord Chancellor and, to this day, it is only Roman Catholics who are barred, on religious grounds, from ascending the Throne.” (Robert Petre, 9th Baron Petre)

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The Film Adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Persuasion” (1995) ~ Part II

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Persuasion is a 1995 period drama film directed by Roger Michell and baed on Jane Austen’s 1817 novel of the same name. In her theatrical film debut, the British actress Amanda Root stars as protagonist Anne Elliot, while Ciarán Hinds plays her romantic interest, Captain Frederick Wentworth. The film is set in 19th century England, nine years after Anne was persuaded by others to reject Wentworth’s proposal of marriage. Persuasion follows the two as they become reacquainted with each other, while supporting characters threaten to interfere.

“The film was adapted by the writer Nick Dear, who considered the story maturer than Austen’s other novels. He characterised it as one of realism and truthfulness, particularly in telling the story of two people separated and then reunited. As Austen’s narrative style conveys Anne’s thoughts internally, Dear and Root felt compelled to translate the character’s emotions using comparatively little dialogue. Persuasion was shot in chronological order, allowing the actress to portray Anne’s development from being downtrodden to happy and blossoming.” (Persuasion 1995 film)

To view part I of this analysis of “Persuasion” (1995), please look HERE.

Last time, we looked at the main characters of Anne Elliot and Captain Frederick Wentworth. This time, we will explore how the minor characters were portrayed in the film. 

Persuasion_374-1Let us begin with Admiral Croft (John Woodvine). Like Wentworth, Benwick, and Harville, this naval man is often seen in natural settings. We even view the admiral onboard ship at the beginning of the film. He is one of the most affable characters in the story line. One imagines the admiral to be honest and forthcoming. Croft displays a wry sense of humor when he jokes with Anne about how quickly Wentworth recovers from the “broken engagement” with Louisa Musgrove. His easy going nature is indispensable in handling the undisciplined Musgrove boys. Unlike other married couples displayed in Austen’s novels, in the Crofts we find a pair who complement each other and display affection. 

Persuasion-1995-persuasion-5174222-1024-576Sir Walter Elliot (Corin Redgrave), as portrayed in Austen’s book, is a more than a bit self-indulgent. In the 1995 film adaptation, the viewer meets a man immaculately dressed. His knee breeches and cutaway coat are made of the finest fabric. Even when seen at home, Sir Walter is the picture of the perfect “dandy.” He admires himself in mirrors and window reflections. Redgrave’s antics reveal Sir Walter as one of Austen’s finest comic characters. Sir Walter, like many of Austen’s patriarchs and matriarchs, cannot claim a bit of fatherly admiration. 

Elizabeth Elliot is portrayed by Phoebe Nicholls in this adaptation. This is one situation in which the screenwriter erred. Nicholls plays Elizabeth as less than ladylike. She sprawls upon the furniture. Stuffs her face with delicacies. Laughs too loud. Elizabeth cruelly insults Anne by saying “No one will want you in Bath, I am sure you had better stay here.” A woman of Elizabeth Elliot’s station (especially one with Sir Walter as her father) would not be so crass in her actions and her speech. Nick Dear’s chooses to portray Elizabeth in a manner that no one will hold sympathy for her when she is left without prospects at the end of the film. 

The Musgroves dote upon their children, especially the eldest son Charles. Even though they do not approve of Mary Musgroves “complaints of ill health,” they welcome their daughter in marriage to their home. They treat Louisa and Henrietta with great affection and do what they can to permit the girls to marry where their hearts are rather than to force a marriage of convenience upon them. This attitude is in sharp contrast to Sir Walter’s neglect of Anne (and of Mary to a certain extent). Sir Walter does not think Wentworth’s position in the Navy is worthy of the Elliot family.I strongly object to the Navy. It brings people of obscure birth into undue distinction and it cuts up a man’s youth and vigor most horribly!

images-3Charles and Mary Musgroves’ children are seen as mischievous and not very likable. They are demanding of Anne’s attentions, to the point of jumping upon her back. Mary Musgrove (Sophie Thompson) ignores her children. Snobbish as is her father, she thins of the Musgroves as “farmers.” She only married Charles Musgrove because he will inherit the Musgrove fortune, and Charles will be the second most important person in the neighborhood (behind her father, Sir Walter). For her bit of the attention, Mary is a hypochondriac. Her manners are demanding and self-indulgent. Our first glimpse of Mary is of her looking out of the window for Anne’s arrival. As soon as Mary spots Anne, she lies down and pretends to be ill. 

Mary Musgrove: Anne, why could you not have come sooner?
Anne Elliot: My dear Mary, I really have had so much to do.
Mary Musgrove: Do? What can you possibly have had to do?
Anne Elliot: A great many things I assure you.
Mary Musgrove: Well. Dear me.

The younger Musgroves reside in a “farmhouse” sporting messy rooms and sloppy care of the servants. This is to add to the portrayal of Mary Musgrove as the inferior daughter of the Elliot family. We can only predict that Mary will prove a poor mistress of the manor when she and Charles move into the great house upon the elder Musgrove’s passing. In the novel, the converted farmhouse was to have been thoroughly renovated into Uppercross cottage. 

Charles Musgrove (Simon Russell Beale) is shown as a great outdoorsman. He is customarily dressed for hunting. One must wonder if he spends so much time from his home because he holds no idea how to deal with his wife’s constant need for attention. He has the personality of his parents. Charles Musgrove is unpretentious. In this depiction we see quite clearly what Louisa Musgrove means when she tells Wentworth that the family would have preferred for Charles to marry Anne. 

In this adaptation Mrs. Musgrove (Judy Cornwell) and Mr. Musgrove (Roger Hammond) come across as happy and accommodating. Their home is NOT so properly arranged. Theirs is a country manor house, one appropriate for country squire. It appears “lived in.” The 1995 version of the novel does not address the musings of Mrs. Musgrove over her scapegrace son, Dick Musgrove. In the novel we learn of Anne’s observations that “Captain Wentworth should be allowed some credit for the self-command with which he attended to her [Mrs. Musgrove’s] large fat sighings over the destiny of a son whom alive nobody had cared for.” As two of Austen’s brothers spent time at sea, Jane Austen likely hear more than one tale of a wayward rascal who thought to earn his fortune at the hands of the French navy. 

Louisa and Henrietta Musgrove hold an infatuation with Wentworth. Louisa is the outspoken one, while Henrietta is less sure of herself. Although Wentworth encouraged Louisa’s flirtations to spite Anne’s earlier refusal of his hand, he refers to Louisa’s jump from the Cobb as “Damned foolish!

A sense of real life is created by showing these characters as dusty and even muddy as they walk through the countryside or ride a horse. They often appear disheveled. The Harvilles reside in cramped quarters in Lyme. There is barely room for them Uppercross party at the table. 

Samuel West portrays William Elliot in this adaptation. In contrast to Wentworth’s seaworthy countenance, Mr. Elliot is “pretty.” His manners are too polished, and the audience knows immediately he lacks scruples. The character of William Elliot is seen as a “villain” in this adaptation. Not only has Mr. Elliot led Mrs. Smith’s husband into bankruptcy, but Elliot too lives beyond his means. The man wishes to marry Anne in order to secure the baronetcy. He also has an affair with Elizabeth’s companion, Mrs. Clay. This portrayal provides the audience an instant dislike for Mr. Elliot. The question is: Will Anne Elliot recognize Mr. Elliot’s manipulations before it is too late? Anne tells Lady Russell: My instinct tells me, he is charming and clever but I have seen no burst of feeling, warmth of fury. or delight. When Wentworth announces his betrothal to Anne at the card party, we see Mr. Elliot and Mrs. Clay exchanging a knowing glance that marks their speedy withdrawal to London. 

Mr Elliot: Have you thought any more about my offer?
Anne: What offer was that?
Mr Elliot: My offer to flatter and adore you all the days of your life.
Anne: I haven’t had a moment, Mr Elliot, to turn my mind to it.

The card party at the end of the film sums up much of what we as viewers are yet to know. We learn that with Mr. Elliot’s attentions to Anne that Elizabeth thinks to lower her standards and accept Wentworth’s fortune. Elizabeth warns Anne not to monopolize Wentworth’s time. “When Captain Wentworth arrives you must not monopolise him. That’s a very bad habit of yours.” Lady Russell tells Anne to make a decision and hold fast. The indication is that Lady Russell thinks Anne should marry Mr. Elliot. Elliot asks Anne if she has thought more on his proposal. 

When Wentworth and Harville enter, Wentworth wastes no time in informing Sir Walter that Anne accepted Wentworth’s proposal. He asks permission to set the date. As Anne is of age, Wentworth no longer requires Sir Walter’s permission to marry. The idea of setting the date is a mere formality. Sir Walter’s surprise is apparent, as is Elizabeth’s frustration. 

Captain Wentworth: I come on business, Sir Walter.
Sir Walter Elliot: Business?
Captain Wentworth: Yes, my proposal of marriage to your daughter, Anne, has been accepted and I respectfully, sir, request permission to set a date.
Sir Walter Elliot: Anne? You want to marry Anne? Whatever for?

 

Posted in Austen actors, British history, customs and tradiitons, England, family, film, film adaptations, historical fiction, history, Jane Austen, Living in the Regency, marriage, Persuasion | Tagged , , , , , , , | 12 Comments