Pining for the Wounded Earl – Extended Epilogue


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The sun shone, the birds sang, and a soft wind blew through the trees that stood on the periphery of their Devon home—a boundary that surrounded the length of the entire property. John sat on the terrace watching Emily play on the lawn with her nanny, Miss Coleridge and Spencer, their springer spaniel. The fun-loving dog seemed to adore their daughter as much as her parents did. 

By John’s side, Harriet sat and giggled at Emily’s antics, and his beautiful wife’s soft laugh made his smile even broader. He could genuinely say he was content. In fact, he could not imagine there was anything more that he needed in his life. A little over three years ago, John could never have thought he would be happy again, but then, Harriet had not been in his life.

‘Emily, you ought to use the smaller mallet,’ Harriet called out as Emily struggled with the oversized croquet mallet.

‘No, Mama,’ her tiny, yet determined, voice came back. ‘This one. I want this one.’

Some time ago, John had asked Phillips, their gardener, to make Emily a smaller mallet so she could be involved in the game she appeared to love so much. Emily had discarded it after no more than a few hours of receiving it, and in her resolute way, had wanted to play with the same size mallet as everyone else.

‘She is determined,’ John said with a grin, glancing over to Harriet. ‘She takes that after her mother.’

‘Well, then it must be her stubbornness that is inherited from you, my darling.’ Harriet beamed back.

‘Indeed,’ John replied with a smile before pushing himself up from the chair. Taking a step toward her, he bent and kissed Harriet tenderly on the lips. ‘Yet, you would not have me any other way,’ he breathed, his mouth still so close to hers.

‘No,’ she whispered back. ‘I would not, my darling.’

John flashed her another smile before turning and skipping down the wide concrete steps and onto the lawn.

‘Now, my beautiful little flower,’ he said, slipping his hands under Emily’s arms and swinging her up in the air. Emily squealed with delight as John spun her around at his shoulder height, her soft brown curls bouncing around her face as the wind caught them. By his feet, Spencer barked in excitement, while Miss Coleridge took a step back and watched with a warm smile.

The family had taken up full residence in John’s inherited home in Devon, and though his mother was currently in London visiting friends, the dowager countess had been delighted when they had finally made such a commitment. Retaining Harriet’s property in Chelmsford, they used it as a second home, a place they could stay when visiting her father or her friend Lady Emma Seymour.

Harriet had been uncertain at first, for Emma was her best friend, and the idea of them being so far apart had pained her. Emma had explained, however, that not only did she spend much of her time in London, she also had friends in Devon too, so there would be many times she would be able to visit and stay. In fact, Emma was to arrive in the next few days, along with several others who were visiting them over the next coming months. Harriet’s father and Captain James Bartley amongst them.

The house had been a bustle of activity over the last several weeks in anticipation of their visitors, and as the day of their arrival had grown nearer, Harriet had become more excited.

‘I wonder if Emma will arrive before Father,’ she had said that morning at breakfast. ‘It is a shame that they are coming from two separate places, for it might have been more suitable for them to share a carriage.’

‘Would you really put Emma through such an ordeal of being trapped in a carriage with your father for so many hours?’ John had smirked across at her.

‘No,’ she had laughed lightly. ‘You are right. Though I do believe Father is mellowing slightly. Besides, he is hardly royal enough to travel with a duke’s daughter.’

‘Yes, well. Do not allow him to hear you say that.’ John had chuckled as he buttered his bread. ‘And your father has mellowed more. I think it is because he now knows you are happy, Harriet.’

Harriet had given him a doubtful look. ‘You do not know my father well enough yet, dear husband. It is Emily who has mellowed him, not I.’

‘Oh well.’ John had shrugged. ‘That is understandable. Our daughter would mellow the hardest of hearts.’

Harriet had wrestled to come to terms with how her father had treated her when she had struggled on her own in her debt, only to accept John with open arms when he had asked for his daughter’s hand in marriage. They both knew why he had been so accepting of John, for had he been introduced to the baron as a commoner, they could have expected a far different result. Yet, he was not. On hearing that Harriet desired to marry the Earl of Morley, her father had been more than delighted, and had been warm and accommodating toward John.

John had understood Harriet’s pain, for while the baron had been thrilled to welcome John into the family, John had hardly forgotten how he had tried to force Harriet to marry that dreadful marquess. Nor had he forgotten how unsympathetic he had been toward his only daughter, and the tears he had reduced her to on one of his visits when John had still been in her service. Though there was an anger deep within him, he appeared to be the voice of reason for Harriet.

‘You must remember, Harriet,’ John had said a few months after their wedding, ‘your father is your only living relative. I am not denying he has his faults, but I do know that once we lose someone, they are gone for good.’

Harriet had smiled sadly at John, for she knew well he was referring to Andrew.

‘Your father does indeed have his own stubborn ways, but I do believe he loves you. Perhaps he has the strangest ways of showing you such, but it does not make it any less true. Surely, we must appreciate and make time for those who are still with us, even if they drive us quite mad at times.’

‘It is easier for you to say such things, John, for I can only imagine that Andrew was a lovely gentleman, just as you are. My father is not, and in that way, the comparison is not quite the same.’

‘I do understand that, my darling. I am not saying you should put yourself in his presence if it is going to upset you. Yet, nor do I believe that cutting him off entirely is the right thing either.’

It had taken some time and, of course, the birth of Emily to bring Harriet round more fully. The fact that the baron nearly melted when he first laid eyes on his granddaughter likely helped the process, and afterwards, Harriet had said that she had hardly recognised her father, he was so joyful.

John had only smiled, hoping that in some way, their daughter could mend the gulf between her mother and grandfather, and over the period of the last two and a half years, that had indeed occurred. Their relationship was hardly perfect, and the fact they only saw each other several times a year likely helped, but things were better than they used to be, and for now, that is all John could hope for. Who knew what the future would bring?


It was two days later when Baron Harris arrived, and before he greeted anyone else, he swept his granddaughter out of Harriet’s arms.

‘Oh, my little cherub,’ he gushed. ‘Look how much you have grown. I can hardly believe the size you are.’

‘Grandpa?’ Emily said in her small voice.

‘Yes, my darling?’

‘Will you play with me?’ Emily pointed toward the garden.

The baron turned toward the lawn where the croquet stumps stood, permanently in the grass for her to play whenever the notion took her.

As the baron answered Emily, his back to John and Harriet at the entrance of their home, John threw a glance at Harriet, who caught his eye. Without a word, she rolled her eyes, but then tempered her annoyance with a smile. Her father had hardly said hello to either of them, yet John was at least pleased that it was Emily who had his attention and not any other thing.

That same afternoon, Lady Emma Seymour arrived with her new fiancé, Lord Peter Faversham, which immediately seemed to put Harriet in much better form.

‘Oh, my darling Harriet,’ Emma gushed, walking toward her, having descended the carriage. ‘I have missed you so much.’

The women embraced each other with soft whispers of affection, a far warmer welcome than Harriet received from her father, and at the same time, John and Lord Faversham properly introduced themselves. John and Harriet had only heard about Lord Faversham in letters received from Emma, and while she could not seem to say anything bad about the man, the couple had not yet had the opportunity to meet him in person.

‘It is a pleasure to meet you, my lord,’ Lord Faversham bowed toward John after he had introduced himself. ‘Emma speaks of no other apart from you and the countess. I did think she might burst with excitement the nearer we got to arriving here.’ Lord Faversham smiled warmly.

He was a little shorter than John but not by much. A strong jawline and blonde hair framed a handsome face, and John detected almost immediately a kindness and warmth to the man. It came as no surprise, given the type of person Emma was.

‘Well to begin with,’ John stated, ‘we can dispense with all this, my lord and the countess nonsense. Please, call me John.’ John nodded firmly. ‘And this is my wife, Harriet.’

Harriet had unentwined herself from Emma, but the ladies still stood close together as though someone might try to part them at any moment. Now, however, they were both looking toward the men with smiles of contentment.

‘Then you must call me Peter.’ The younger man beamed, appearing delighted that he had been accepted into their friendship so easily.

‘Well, let us get you inside. I am certain you are both exhausted and could well use some refreshments.’


After dinner, John, the baron and Peter sat and played cards while the women once more sat close together on the chaise lounge. They spoke in low tones, so as not to be heard, and John tried and failed, to pick up the conversation. He would likely be informed of the topic later when he and Harriet retired and in the end, gave up and joined in the conversation at the card table. Peter regaled them with their wedding plans and how overwhelming it was courting the daughter of a duke.

‘You will have big shoes to fill, Peter.’ The baron nodded knowingly. ‘Being in the spotlight in such a way will be no easy task.’

‘It is no easy task at the moment, I can tell you, and of course, Emma wants only the best.’

‘That is because a lady’s wedding is the most important day of her life.’ Emma cut across, clearly overhearing their conversation.

‘I think that depends,’ the baron said with a shrug.

‘On what?’ Emma suddenly frowned.

‘Well, on whether you bear a child, Lady Emma.’ The baron raised his eyebrows. ‘I do believe, once you have a child, the most important day of your life changes greatly, for there is nothing as precious as welcoming the small life you and your husband have created into the world.’

While John had suddenly paid attention to what the baron was saying, he watched as Harriet and her father shared a look across the room. The baron looked almost apologetic, and John could distinctly see the glisten of Harriet’s eyes as they watered with emotion. The moment was soon over, and as Emma replied to the baron, Harriet took a deep breath in, containing herself in the company once more.

He could not know for certain, but John imagined that what the baron had said was the warmest compliment he had paid to Harriet in some time, if not ever. The old man really was mellowing with age, and perhaps, spending so much time with Emily had caused him to rethink how he had treated Harriet over the years, perhaps even what he might have missed out on with his stubborn pride.


In the following days, Captain James Bartley arrived at the mansion. While Harriet had been more than excited to see Emma, John could say he felt something similar toward James, perhaps with a little less gushing. Unlike the rest of the visitors who had arrived, James and John did see each other more regularly, but still only once or twice every couple of months. Stronger than ever, their friendship had only gone from strength to strength over the years, and John would always be eternally indebted to James for saving his wife from the dreadful Mr Arnold.

‘It is good to see you, my friend.’ James beamed, taking John by the hand a shaking it vigorously once he entered the mansion.

‘And you too, James. How was your journey?’

‘Oh, you know, the usual. It is not such a great distance from London when you are used to travelling across the seas.’

‘No. I suppose not.’ John grinned.

A moment later, Emily came tottering up behind them, closely followed by Harriet.

‘My goodness, look at the size of my goddaughter.’ James gasped; his eyebrows raised in surprise.

‘Well, James. That is what happens to children. They grow.’ Harriet smiled warmly.

‘Harriet,’ James said, holding his arms out as she approached. ‘How lovely to see you.’ 

Taking a step forward, James kissed Harriet on each cheek while at the same time, John lifted Emily and held her close to his body. 

‘How are you, James?’ Harriet asked when the greetings were over, and the three walked further into the mansion.

‘I am very well, Harriet. Life is good, and I cannot say I am not content.’

‘Well, that is all one can ask for, is it not?’ Harriet asked.

‘Well, that and more brandy, I think,’ he said with a grin.

Harriet giggled at his dry humour, and Emily suddenly joined in, even though she had no notion as to what she might be laughing at.

On entering the drawing room, James greeted Emma warmly, kissing her on both cheeks too. They had known each other for some time now as they were both Emily’s godparents.

‘I would like you to meet my fiancé, Lord Peter Faversham,’ Emma said as she turned and gestured to Peter ,who had stood when James had entered. ‘Peter,’ Emma continued. ‘This is Captain James Bartley.’

‘A pleasure, my lord.’ James nodded toward Peter. Peter replied in the same manner.

‘Good day to you, Baron Harris. I did not know you were going to be here. It is good to see you again,’ James addressed the baron who also stood.

‘The pleasure is mine, Captain Bartley,’ the baron replied. ‘I trust you are well?’

‘Very well, Baron Harris.’

After all the necessary niceties were eventually over, the group poured out into the garden and were greeted with a long table filled with delicacies and refreshments. Emily was quite thrilled at all the attention she was getting, and soon afterwards, a great amount of fun was had as the group made their way onto the lawn to play croquet.


James led John onto the terrace that evening after dinner, closing the French doors behind them to ensure that they were alone.

‘I have received word about Arnold, John,’ James said, glancing back into the drawing room and eyeing those still in there. ‘I just did not want to tell you in front of Harriet in case I upset her.’

‘What word, James?’ John pressed.

‘As you know, I receive regular correspondence from several friends and peers who are now situated in America,’ James began. ‘While I have not made it the main topic of my letters, my friends are aware of what happened in London and know to tell me if they hear anything.’

‘Am I to assume, by the look of slight excitement, that you received word of something relating to his whereabouts?’ John pressed.

‘Oh, much more than that, my friend. Apparently, not learning any lessons in London, Arnold was up to his usual tricks, and had involved himself with some unsavoury characters in Boston. But some dispute arose between two gangs and, it seems, Arnold double-crossed the wrong person. No one knows for certainty, John. But Arnold has not been seen in months. The word is that his rival dealt with his treachery in a permanent manner.’

John could only gawp at James, for that had not been what he had expected to hear at all. He had thought perhaps, Arnold had been arrested or was currently imprisoned.

‘I know this news cannot bring Andrew back, John,’ James continued, given that John could not speak—such was his astonishment. ‘But perhaps it will at least bring you some form of closure. Some feeling that justice has been served.’

‘Thank you, James,’ John said when he had finally found his voice. ‘Yes, it does indeed. I suppose one can only push one’s luck so far before such luck runs out. It could not have happened to a more deserving person.’


Later, when the other guests giggled and enjoyed the camaraderie of charades together, John and Harriet walked about the gardens in the warmth of the summer evening. It had been a busy few days, and while entertaining all their guests, they had hardly a chance to spend a moment together. With their arms linked, and their bodies close, John looked down toward Harriet and pulled her to a stop, standing in the fading light of dusk before her.

‘I do adore you so very much, Harriet,’ he said, gazing down at her tenderly. ‘We have been through some tribulations, you and I, and while I would never have wished for our losses, it has been the experiences of such that brought me to you. In that sense, I would not have had it any other way.’

‘You have come so far in your healing, John. When I first met you, you were in so much pain. I am only now happy that you have been able to move on and that we have so much joy in our life.’

‘Well, Emily certainly adds to that.’

‘She does indeed,’ Harriet said with a knowing look. ‘And she will soon be joined by a little brother or sister.’ Harriet smiled, absently rubbing her still flat belly.

A rush of euphoria ran through every cell of John’s body as his face lit up with delight. ‘Oh, you have no idea how happy that news makes me,’ John gushed. ‘I love you so much, Harriet,’ he said, taking her head in his hands and lowering his lips to hers in a tender and lingering kiss. When he finally released her, he held her close to his body, his lips close to her ear.

‘I will always love you. You have brought me back to life in more ways than you know, and there will be nothing that can bring me the joy and delight I will feel, waking up by your side for all the years ahead.’


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9 thoughts on “Pining for the Wounded Earl – Extended Epilogue”

  1. You have given us another amazing story,with John and Harriet having quite the emotional journey full of trials and tribulations. The extended epilogue is a beautiful glimpse into how their relationship is developing, as well as that of their friends. A very captivating and enjoyable story.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and support, dear Stephen. I truly appreciate it!

      So glad you enjoyed the story! Make sure to stay tuned because I have more coming!

      Thank you again and have a lovely day!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and support, dear Gwen. I truly appreciate it!

      So glad you enjoyed the story! Make sure to stay tuned because I have more coming!

      Thank you again and have a lovely day!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and support, dear Donna. I truly appreciate it!

      So glad you enjoyed the story! Make sure to stay tuned because I have more coming!

      Thank you again and have a lovely day!

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