A Duke’s Musical Romance – Extended Epilogue


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Edith looked out over the drawing room. She had spent all morning organizing the ballroom downstairs, and she just had to check that matters were in order up here as well. The furniture was clean, the drawings and embroidery and music from the piano all neatly packed in the big cupboard or in its shelves. She was pleased with how it was organized.

“Your Grace? His Grace is in the hallway.”

“Grand,” Edith said to the maid, who had come to call her. She smiled at her fondly. The sisters and cousins of Lydia’s maid now worked at the house, and the household had a warm, welcoming feel. She nodded her thanks to the maid, who also cast an appraising eye about the room, and then hurried out. Thomas was ready to dance, it seemed. She went into the hallway.

“My dearest,” Thomas said with a smile. “May I say again how that dress suits you?”

“You may indeed,” Edith said with a giggle. She curtseyed and took his hand. It was a dark blue dress – she had taken to wearing a darker palette, though pale green was still her favourite – and Lydia had helped her to design it, as with most of her gowns now. She followed Thomas downstairs to the hallway.

In the ballroom, most of the guests were already assembled. She and Thomas, who were hosting the party, had only nipped upstairs briefly to organize things before coming downstairs again. She smiled at Judith, who was there with Lord Albert, who she had met at a party at their home. He bowed, his handsome blond head bobbing low in the courtly gesture.

“Your Grace,” he greeted both of them politely.

Judith giggled. “Edith, you do look fine,” she said. “Now, where is Mama sitting?”

“Over there,” Edith said, using the advantage of her larger height. Judith, now sixteen, was still shorter than her sisters, though she had grown a little in the last year. Albert, who she had married a few days ago, was extremely tall.

“Grand. Shall we take refreshment?” Judith asked Albert, who nodded.

“Of course, dearest.”

Edith heard Judith giggle, and she felt her heart soar. It was so good to have her sisters here at the party. It felt so right.

She walked to the table to join her mother, who looked out over the ballroom, smiling happily. She had become extremely helpful lately, both in the parish where Fenton was vicar and here at the manor. She still had a rigorous sense of how things ought to be, but, apart from that, she had softened into the person she was always meant to be. Edith had come to appreciate her a great deal.

They looked around the room. Fenton – in his official-looking collared suit – and Tabby were over by the table, and Edith and Thomas went over to join them. Over by the door, the couple for whom the celebration was organized walked in.

Lydia beamed at Edith, dressed in her white gown. She had designed it herself, a flowing muslin dress that had a high waistline and a wide skirt, decorated with lace but so skillfully sewed – a collaborative work of the seamstress and the fabric-shop owner – that it seemed light and flowing.

She smiled beautifully at them both. She looked radiantly lovely, Edith thought, her long hair ringleted about her face, her lips pale pink, soft contrast with her pale skin.

“Brother! Sister. Thank you so much for having our ball here,” Lydia said warmly. She looked up at the handsome young man by her side. He had pale hair, a long thin face and greyish-brown eyes. He nodded to them shyly.

“We are so pleased to be able to share our day with Lydia’s family,” he added warmly.

“It’s a delight to have you here, Lucas,” Thomas said, and Edith grinned.

She was so pleased that Thomas had thought to invite Lucas – the young man Lydia had been so much in love with, even as a child, to their get-togethers. Renewing their love had been so wonderful for Lydia, who looked completely overwhelmed with delight.

She grinned up at Edith. “We’re so pleased to celebrate with you.”

Edith smiled. “You look beautiful. Your gown is excellently designed, sister.”

Lydia went pink. She had been so pleased to start to refer to Edith as “sister”, and Edith had likewise been so. She had thought of Lydia as a little sister for a long time now, and being able to call her that made her so contented. She looked up at Lucas, who seemed shy. He was getting used to the family, though he seemed a little daunted by Edith’s vibrant family.

“Thank you,” Lydia said. “I didn’t need to think about it, really – the design just more or less made itself,” she added, looking down modestly at her toes, which rested lightly on the stone floor.

“I think for any with as keen an eye as you, that would happen now and again,” Edith said fondly.

Lydia giggled, clearly pleased with being acknowledged as an expert in design, and the four of them chatted a bit more before Edith went across the ballroom with Thomas. She felt overly-warm in the room, and they drifted without even having to discuss it, onto the terrace.

Edith looked out across the grounds. She could see the new path that led to the arbour made wider and more rustic since neither she nor Thomas liked the rigid formality that had been so fashionable a few decades ago. The garden had been loosened up a lot in design just lately, and they both loved it all the better for its curving paths and long, rambling lawns.

“Shall we go upstairs?” Edith asked once they had sat for a little on a bench on the lawn. Thomas nodded, smiling.

“Yes. Amelia will likely want to take the air.”

Edith giggled. She agreed. Their daughter – named for their mothers Amelia and Christina – was starting to walk now, though she still liked to hold their hands, particularly when crossing a bumpy part of the lawn. She had not been outdoors since early in the morning – Thomas and Edith had brought her down just before breakfast, so they could be sure she had walked about a bit before the day started.

Now, they went quickly through the ballroom, where Lydia and Lucas were still welcoming the crowd, and they tiptoed up to the nursery, where Amelia slept in her cradle, tended to by Lydia’s maid, who had stayed on as a nanny for the household. Edith walked silently over to where the child slept.

She and Thomas stared down into the cradle. The tiny, pale-haired head rested on a small pillow; the soft silky blanket pulled up to her neck. The baby was seemingly fast-asleep, but when Thomas cleared his throat to address the maid, the child’s eyes fluttered open.

“Dada,” she said.

Edith grinned, seeing the stern expression on Thomas’ face melt into a big grin. He reached down into the cradle and lifted the small child out, resting her gently against his shoulder. She moved a little restlessly, and then rested against his shoulder, eyes shut in half-sleep.

Edith felt her heart twist painfully seeing the two of them together. She loved the gentleness their daughter brought out. Thomas was always serious and gentle, but when he was with Amelia, the caring, loving nature that he always had seemed to become even more apparent. He cradled her against his shoulder and whispered to Edith.

“Shall we take her into the grounds?”

“I think so,” she murmured back. She looked across at the maid. “Has she slept long?”

“About an hour, Your Grace,” the woman replied with a smile. “She sleeps very soundly. Mayhap it was the walk this morning that helped her have such a peaceful mood.”

“It might be,” Edith agreed in a soft voice.

She smiled up at Thomas fondly. They went out into the hallway, carrying little Amelia – who generally had a placid nature, Edith thought – and headed out into the garden. The day was a little cooler than it had been, and Edith carefully wrapped the baby in a small cloak that had been made for her by Judith – who was a keen seamstress – and let her walk across the lawns.

“Grass,” the child commented as they settled her on the grass. She had just started being able to name objects that she saw, and it was a constant source of delight for her and Thomas as their baby discovered the world around her.

“Yes, it’s grass,” Edith repeated softly. “You like outside, don’t you?”

“Grass,” she said, reaching for the grass with small but strong fingers. Edith giggled. She settled herself on the grass, careful to sit on a blanket they had brought out with them so as not to stain her ball-dress. Thomas sat next to her, wrapping his arms around her, and they watched the baby exploring her world.

“We should take her indoors before she gets too cold,” Thomas commented, wrapping his arms tight around Edith, sheltering her from the cool breeze that drifted through the hedges.

Edith smiled. “She’s well wrapped up. But I know what you mean – it is cold out here.” She snuggled close to him, thinking of the warm ballroom, all the candles and the proximity making the place much warmer than the garden.

“I wonder if she’ll recognize everyone in their ball attire?” Thomas asked.

Edith chuckled. “I would not be at all surprised if she did – she’s very perceptive, you know.” She watched as the little child – whose hair was a soft reddish-brown, likely to be like her father’s as she aged, and whose eyes were a hesitant grey-brown – walked unsteadily over. She was looking keenly about, spotting flowers in the grass Edith only just noticed were there.

“She is,” Thomas agreed. “She had Mrs Oldham chuckling when she found that loose seam.”

“Yes, she did,” Edith said fondly. Her mother – who was so careful about such things – had been surprised when Amelia almost pulled a thread out of her sleeve. Fortunately, she had got the cotton away from Amelia, and her mother – whose gown could have suffered some effects – had thought it was so funny that they had to help her out into the garden so she could have a good chuckle.

Edith smiled to herself. Her daughter brought such delight to so many people – she hoped that she knew that. She watched the child make her way towards the flowers and then wobble on sturdy legs back towards them, coming to sit beside her.

Edith watched her daughter exploring the cloth they sat on, enjoying her intense focus on the cottons and the weaving of the thing. She looked across to the ballroom, where she was sure the musicians were tuning up – she could hear the notes of the cello, and she glanced at Thomas.

“We should go in to see the waltzing soon,” she said.

Thomas nodded. He reached for Amelia, who was busily pulling at the blanket, small fingers investigating the fabric, and put her on his knee.

“Shall we go inside, sweetling?” he asked her.

“Uh huh.”

They both laughed. Thomas stood, lifting the baby up against his chest, her face resting against the thick velvet of his coat.

“I think we could see the dancing,” he said. “Mayhap we could take Amelia to greet the guests too?”

“I think so,” Edith agreed. She walked beside Thomas, who held the baby gently in his arms, and they climbed the steps that led into the entrance way.

The ballroom was louder than it had been, and Edith glanced at Amelia, thinking that perhaps she would be afraid of the noises. As it happened, she was chewing her finger and not particularly concerned with the rise and fall of talk that surrounded her. Thomas kissed her fondly, and they went across the ballroom to Mrs Oldham.

“Oh! Look who it is,” Edith said, and her daughter chuckled.

“Grandma.”

“My sweetling. My dear little sweetling,” Mrs Oldham said, taking the baby and rocking her in her arms, seeming to struggle just a little with the weight. Edith was glad when her mother sat down, the child making contented sounds as she settled on her grandma’s knee.

“She’s so beautiful,” Lydia said, coming to join them. “I do think she’s the most beautiful baby there is,” she told Edith warmly.

Edith chuckled. “No need to ask me that,” she said. “I would entirely agree with you. I am her mother, after all.”

Thomas laughed. “And I would have to agree too,” Thomas said. “I can’t admit to any fatherly bias.”

They all chuckled. Edith looked up at Thomas fondly, thinking that it was so wonderful to see him with such a lovely smile on his face, so friendly and contented. She had always loved him – even when he was cold and brooding – but getting to know him as the gentle, thoughtful soul he was seemed a never-ending discovery.

“Shall I hold her for a while?” Edith’s mother asked.

“We thought we would take her upstairs to rest a while,” Thomas said in a warm tone.

“I won’t have her taken upstairs before I see my niece!” Judith chuckled. Edith turned to see her standing by Thomas, a warm smile lighting her merry face.

“Of course, Judy,” Thomas agreed fondly. “Would you like to hold her?”

“Most certainly!” Judith agreed. She took the baby carefully from her mother, cradling her tiny head against the strawberry-dark dress she wore. It was a pink chiffon, in a merry battle with the russet colour of her hair. Edith smiled at both of them, watching how careful Albert was with Judith, who was clearly the most precious person he’d ever laid eyes on.

Edith felt her heart fill with love, seeing all her favourite people gathered here. Tabby was standing a little apart, herself and Fenton watching Judith and the baby with almost identical looks of care on their faces. Edith smiled at both of them.

She took Amelia when Judith handed her back, and she and Thomas went up to the little room that had become their child’s, settling her back in the cradle. The maid appeared from where she was tidying the little room next door – she kept the child’s clothes there, along with linen towelling and spare blankets and all the things needed to keep Amelia warm and comfortable – and she and Thomas felt contented that the baby was well-tended for the next hours.

They walked back down to the ballroom.

Edith watched Judith hurry to the dance-floor, a few steps behind Lydia, where she stood holding Lucas’ hand, the two of them as lovely as any she could imagine. She could see the depth of their love as they gazed at one another, and it made her heart twist with a feeling so strong it was almost a pain.

It was so lovely to see them so happy.

She stood with Thomas, listening to the sound of the orchestra getting ready to play. She grinned up at him fondly. They had said they would sit out the first dance, so they could watch it. And then they would take to the dance floor, and likely stay on it all evening, since they both loved dances so much.

Edith watched as Judith and Albert took a place on the floor, standing near to Lydia and Lucas, who were gazing into one another’s eyes, totally unaware of the ballroom, the noisy crowd, or any of the musicians and their efforts to start playing the waltz.

The music started, and the dancers swayed beautifully in time with the slow, graceful notes. Edith could feel Thomas keeping time to the music, one knee jolting as the steady rhythm began. She grinned up at him, eyes sparkling, and he smiled.

“In a few minutes, it’s our turn. And I intend to spend the evening dancing, dearest!”

“I, too,” Edith said with a smile.

She watched Lydia and her sister Judith dancing blissfully about the ballroom, Tabby standing on the edge of the dance floor, ready to dance as soon as the next dance began. Fenton had, apparently, never been fond of dancing, and Edith saw Thomas grin across at him.

Fenton smiled back, but then the dancers whirled past, the music reaching the middle part of the dance, and Edith temporarily lost sight of them, her eye drawn by the beautiful dance and the colours of the brightly-coloured dresses the dancers were wearing.

She and Thomas danced the next dance, and the next, and it was only after two waltzes that she had a moment to speak to Tabby, who was also standing at the edge of the dance floor, recovering from a lively waltz around the room.

“I am having such a lovely evening,” she said to Tabby fondly.

“Me, too,” her sister agreed warmly. “It is such a beautiful evening. I am more contented than I could imagine. Fenton and I are so happy. And it is wonderful to see you so contented too, my dearest sister.”

“And for me, too, seeing you so contented,” Edith agreed.

She thought about what Tabby had said, as she went to join Thomas, who was taking a drink at the refreshment table while the musicians rested and tuned up for the next set of dances. She was so happy, and she was so grateful that she had listened to the voice of her heart. It was, she thought, remarkable, how following one’s heart could lead to the most beautiful life. Love, she thought, was what our dearest dreams are written in.

“Shall we dance?” Thomas asked her gently.

“I would like that very much indeed,” Edith agreed.

They went to the floor, listening to the sweet music of the musicians, and readied themselves for the next dance. Edith stared up into Thomas’ eyes, feeling her heart flood with love and knowing that she was so very happy.

THE END


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20 thoughts on “A Duke’s Musical Romance – Extended Epilogue”

  1. You have managed to bring us another amazingly entertaining story. Edith and Thomas was able to heal each other, and Thomas was able to chart a course away from parental expectations. The extended epilogue has given us a sense of how their and their siblings futures progress.

  2. Another delightful story. Edith and Thomas had quite a time but managed to reach their destiny. Loved it and had to read straight through.

  3. Its like you learn my thoughts! You appear to know so much approximately this, like you wrote the e-book in it or something. I believe that you simply could do with a few p.c. to drive the message home a little bit, however instead of that, that is magnificent blog. A great read. I will certainly be back.

  4. What a beautifully written book. It’s absolutely amazing and quite inspiring and entertaining. I love the characters and story line. The absolute truth, love should never be second guessed. I love the way you developed the beautiful story. Great extended epilogues help expanding the family’s story which end up with a beautiful happy ever after for everyone. Absolutely amazing and detailed journey of love. Highly recommend it. It’s quite a page turner. Congratulations.

  5. Loved the story and how they healed each other and overcame the challenges they faced. Look forward to reading more of your books.

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