When a Poet Loves a Lady – Extended Epilogue


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Eventually, she thanked him, saying that she would never have had the nerve – or motive – to come out of her library and see the world on her own.

They were in Germany enjoying the sights. She returned to the hotel and wrote a letter to her parents.

Dear Mum and Dad,

We have been enjoying our travels. We’re currently in Munich, enjoying the sights, arts, and culture. And the architecture, it’s breathtaking, the castles are stunning and numerous. It’s beautiful here. It’s been fantastic traveling with Thomas. We’re so happy. I haven’t regretted getting married once. We complete each other. We lift each other up and encourage each other. It’s truly a partnership. A lovely worthwhile partnership that will last a lifetime. I never thought I’d ever find this. I owe you and dad so much for believing in me and pushing me. Well, Emma, for introducing him to me. I never thought I’d ever find this, and I did. Now I can’t imagine my life without him.

Paris was incredible. We went to the new museum that just opened, The Louvre. It was a marvel in itself to walk in those beautiful halls and see the collection of art from so many places. We’ll be here another week before we’re off to Russia next. I’m curious about it. I’m looking forward to seeing St. Petersburg. Don’t worry; we’ll be safe. We’re staying in civilized cities only. I promise. You have nothing to worry about.
Helena knew it wasn’t true. Any chance she and Thomas had to go beyond civilized areas, they sought adventure everywhere. But she couldn’t tell her parents. They would never understand, so she only mentioned things her parents would approve of in her letters home, talking about art and leisure. The people they met that they would approve of, the food, there was so much good food, and the wine was constantly flowing. These were the things her parents wanted to know about. So, she indulged them.
They were in St. Petersburg when a letter from her parents reached her

Your trip sounds marvelous. We’re so happy you’re having a wonderful time. Emma has had her baby, and Mary is showing signs of jealousy. We believe she and Walter are trying without much success. She puts so much pressure on herself. She always has to be perfect. It’s her downfall.

Your father and I want to know when you and Thomas will begin making a family. We understand if you’re waiting for Mary to be pregnant first, but I hope you are often trying. You never know when it will take.
Helena made a face. “What’s wrong, love?”

“They are already asking when we’re going to have a baby. It’s never enough for them.” She said, embarrassed. “I did what they asked. I got married, now I have to give them a grandchild.”

Thomas looked amused by it. “It’s not funny; they’re so demanding, it’s never enough with them. They think we spend too much time and money traveling, and they think my books are a waste of time, they never say it, but I know they think it.”

“Your parents can’t force us to have children. We’ll have them when we’re ready.”

“You think that, but they have a way of pressuring you into doing what they want.”

“Well, they can pressure us to try, but they can’t pressure it to happen. It’ll happen when it happens and not a moment sooner than that.”

“I agree, but they are still pressuring me, and I don’t like it. I mean, Emma just had a child. Can’t they bask in the happiness of that grandchild and not demand that the other two daughters do what the eldest has done. My sister Mary is desperate to please them, but she doesn’t get that they will never be pleased enough. She bends over backward for them. No wonder she’s always jealous of Emma. But they are so bent on controlling every aspect. You wonder why I rebelled against them for so long.”

“Yes, I know why you rebelled against them for so long. Why did you rebel against love?”

“What do I write back to them?”

“You usually tell them all about the trip we’ve been having, the things we’ve been seeing, buying, the stuff they want to hear. Keep them happy; maybe they’ll slow down the demands for a grandchild.” Thomas suggested.

“Maybe, but not likely, once they get something in their minds, they don’t like to let it go. They are like a dog with a bone,” Helena said.

“Well, we could always give in and try to give them what they want.”

“No, it’ll put pressure on us. I’m not doing that; they just have to wait. It’s not up to them; it’s up to us. We decide when we are ready if we are ready to have children. If we even decide to have them. I haven’t decided if I want children, they know this, but do they care what I want? No, they only care about what they want, and the moment they want it, and they have a fit if it doesn’t pan out.”

“You worry too much about what they think; it’s our life, the decision is ours, no one else.”

Helena wrote her parents back telling them all about their latest trip. She flourished a bit, but her parents wouldn’t know any better. They were not world travelers like Thomas and Helena.

They wrote back and forth the letters finding her when she arrived at her destination. She always answered back, we’re fine, and then a long exaggerated letter detailing their location and the things they could see.

When she wasn’t writing to her parents or sisters, she wrote her book. She and Thomas would find little coffee shops to sit at and write, besides beautiful fountains, or in beautiful parks, sitting on a blanket writing the afternoon away and then socializing like crazy in the evening.

They spent their days in high society luxury, sipping tea and gossiping with the highest of society, attending parties and events for the elite everywhere they went. She dazzled and awed everyone with her calm social demeanor and ability to hold her own in deep conversations.

They saw the Glockenspiel on the Marie Platz. It was magnificent. Helena had never seen anything like it before, and she doubted she would ever see anything like it again.

The architecture of Bavaria was breathtakingly beautiful, and everywhere they looked, it was like they were standing in a painting.

They went from Munich to Berlin but didn’t stay as long there.

At last, they returned home, and her parents were delighted to have them back.

Thomas returned to helping James expand on the estate, and they began plans to expand the house that they would be living in to create the grand library.

Helena spent time with her sisters and her nephew.

“So, Dad has been pressuring me about having a child.”

“Yeah, he did that with James and me for months,” Emma said.

“And then he pressured Mary. Grandchildren are important to him. They secure the future in his eyes, the Howard Dynasty. Though soon it will be the Costingham dynasty.” She smiled.

“Not too soon, I hope,” Helena said.

“No, not too soon. Daddy is still in good health.”

“Right, and that’s a good thing. I’m not ready to lose him.”

“Yeah, I’m not either.”

“Is Mary coming to tea?”

“I don’t know. We haven’t really been speaking.”

“Fighting with her again?”

“Well, she’s, you know how she is.”

“Yes, I do know how she is.” Emma poured a cup of tea for Helena and then one for herself.

“So, what was your favorite place you saw?”

“Oh, there were so many places, and we didn’t see everything. You can’t do everything, no matter how much you try.”

“It’s amazing everything you did; mother shared your letters with me. It sounded so glamorous,”

“Would you ever travel?”

“Oh no, never. I’m perfectly happy here. Travel to me is going to Bath or the seaside, or if I really feel adventurous to Edinburgh. I attended a ball there once.”

“I remember. I was jealous I didn’t get to go.”

“It was nice, but nothing like a ball in London,” Emma said. “Did you attend any balls while you were away?”

“Oh, tons. I think the best one was in Venice. And do you know what the best part of playing abroad was?”

“The music?”

“No, the fact that Ursula wasn’t there.” The sisters laughed.

“She’s getting married soon, or maybe she already did. I can’t remember.”

“Well, I won. I got Thomas in the end.”

“Yes, you did, and you two are perfect for each other, just as I always knew you two were.”

“We made friends with everyone we came across. We were invited to places, parties, balls, and galas. It was a glamorous life. People adored our work everywhere we went and the fact that I was the daughter of an English Duke from a very ancient, well-known, and powerful family.”

“I wouldn’t go that far,” Emma said.

“Emma, we’re the Howards.”

“Yes, and most of the famous Howards were killed, or don’t you remember the history lesson you gave at your own wedding?”

“Of course, I remember that, but father is the current Duke of Norfolk, they may have killed a bunch of us, but we were never stripped of our title.”

“That’s true.”

“Because we’re ancient, well known, and wealthy.”

“Father has done a lot to clean up our family’s name and image.”

“I never said he didn’t,” Helena argued.

“I don’t want to sit here and argue with you. Just drink your tea.”

“I wasn’t arguing,” Helena said again.

“Change the subject, Helena; I’m tired.” She took a drink of her tea.

“So, where are you off to next?”

“We’ll be around for a little while. We have books to finish and promote, and he misses his friends, so I think it’s off to Bath or the seaside.”

“Good. Oh, you’ll love Bath,” Emma said.“Yes, well, it’s not my first time going. We went there to spend time with Jane Austen.”

“You spent time with Jane Austen? I remember seeing her at your wedding.”

“Yeah, she knew Thomas, so he invited her, and then we became good friends. We spent about a week with her.”


“It was fun. The best part was getting to pick her brain about writing.”

“Writing is everything to you, isn’t it?”

“Yes, yes, it is.”

“Well, if Jane Austen likes your writing, then it must be decent.”

“I think it’s more than decent. You know how to read; why don’t you just read my book?’

“Like I have time to spend reading. I’m a mother now, Helena, and I have a bustling social calendar.”

“I just travelled the world, and I still found time to read.”

“Yes, but that’s what you enjoy doing. You’re an intellectual; I’m a socialite. If you’ll excuse me, I have a party to get ready for. You and Thomas should come if you’re not too tired from your journey.”

“Oh, thanks, but we have our own dinner to get to.” She finished her tea and then got up and walked out.

She went to get changed, and then she and Thomas headed off for an exciting evening with the intellectuals. She and Thomas had new works they couldn’t wait to share with their crowd.

The evening was a blast, as they often were and as they had hoped their friends ate their writing up.

“My only concern here is that your protagonist is too perfect. Where are the flaws in the stuff that makes her real? Why should I care about her?” Jane asked.

“Yes, that’s a very good point.”

“What are your flaws, Helena? Finding your characters ‘ flaws will be much easier if you can know your weaknesses and identify them.

“What are my flaws?” Helena questioned. “I suppose I would say my flaws are. Other people would say my flaws are that I don’t fit in the norm for societal standards. I’m stubborn and prideful, too, I suppose. My sister would say my flaw is living with my head in the clouds. She would also say something like, I don’t appreciate my family, which isn’t true at all. I do appreciate my family. I love and respect them very much.

I just don’t appreciate society, the box they put you in from the moment you’re born. I don’t appreciate how society shuns you if you don’t follow their unreasonably impossible expectations. Some would say that’s a flaw. They would say, but you’re the duke’s daughter, you should know how to behave, but they don’t understand I know how; I just don’t care. I won’t be forced into a box and be forced to stay in that box when I don’t fit in the box. I’m a square peg in a round hole. I will never fit no matter how hard they try to force me to.”

“So how come that isn’t in your character?” Jane asked. “That’s juicy. Something like that would round out the character. Round it out to perfection, though it’s a pretty weak flaw for fiction. I would work on her a little more. The story is good; the plot is sound.”

“Jane, I appreciate your feedback so much. With your critique, I know I’ll be good.”

“Oh Helena, you’re good now. You could be great. I see the potential here. You just have to fix your flaws. Once you do, you’ll be gold.”

Helena took Austen’s notes to heart and worked on her character’s flaws rounding her character out into a flawed but relatable character who everyone fell in love with who read the book. After falling in love with the character herself. She wrote several books that revolved around her.

They enjoyed weekends by the sea and Bath with Jane Austen as often as possible. They were always attending this event and that event. They were always on the lists, but they were picky about where they went unless it was an invitation from their circle of intellectuals, for they had become top socialites in their own circle over the years. A circle where people like Helena’s sisters and Ursula would never be found. A place where Helena could be herself and be taken seriously, not laughed at behind her back as her family did.

They wrote more books, and they became household names. They finished the renovations on the house and built their massive library in the heart of their home. Thomas and Helena put desks in the library, and that is where they did the majority of their work when they were home, which was rare because they are always on the move.

Years passed, and Helena and Thomas had the children her parents were waiting for. A boy first followed by a girl. She wanted them to be as cultured as she and Thomas were, so when they were old enough to travel, they headed off on a journey to show them the world. They took them to Paris. They toured the Louvre, which had become something more than it was when they first saw it. They took them to Milan, they took them to Munich, to Berlin, to Vienna, to Rome and Venice, and they even took them to Athens. All the places they loved; they took their children to see it all. It became a yearly thing for them, traveling the world as a family. Expanding as more and more of the world became accessible.

Helena and Thomas wanted them to experience the real world, so they took them to genuine places, not just the glamorous spots of the rich and famous. Again, as Helena wrote home, she left those tidbits out, but when they return, the children tell their grandparents and Helena’s parents aren’t happy with her, but she proves that the children were unharmed and learned a great deal they calm down.

Thomas and Helena continue to write more books, Thomas focuses more and more on poetry, and Helena more and more on prose, eventually getting around to the ideas Austen gave her. They spend lots of time with their friends, losing some and expanding their circle. It’s a glorious life, and Helena couldn’t be happier looking back on it.

Every chance they got throughout their life and marriage, they took off to parts unknown and saw things few got to see. They went to America, and not only did they visit New York and James Town and all the places considered civilized, but they went out west just to say they saw the great plains buffalo. They didn’t shoot them; they just watched them roam; it was an incredible sight. Everywhere they went, they came back with stories to write and met interesting people, and they lived a good and full life, and all the while, they had their friends, the writer’s circle that kept them going. It was a good life, a wonderful life, the kind of life Helena thought was ever only in the books she read.

“Thomas, I never thanked you. You gave me a good life; you gave me a reason to come out of my library. Without you, I never would have had the nerve or the motive to come out, so thank you.”

“Thank you for sharing this life with me, for being my partner in this crazy journey we call life. Of course, we have to face the truth; Emma was the matchmaker here.”

“Without a doubt.” She laughed

“For the record, my love, I’m glad you came out of the library too.” He kissed her as they sat side by side in their library before the fireplace. He was reading Lord Byron’s latest, and she was reading Jane’s. They sighed with happiness as the crackling fire warmed them.


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7 thoughts on “When a Poet Loves a Lady – Extended Epilogue”

  1. You have given us another amazingly gripping story. Thomas and Helena have obviously had a very full life, even after the Rocky start to their relationship. The extended epilogue is a great way to complete their story and leaves us with a sense of what their later lives were like.Brilliant work.

    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!

  2. I cant say I loved the book but hope you will respect my honesty.

    Too many expressions that are modern day and sound very United States. That spoiled it for me. It was supposed to be 18th century.

    There are no titles known as Count, in the UK.

    I liked Helena. She was an honest character. On the whole the sisters characters came through as believable.

    If I buy a book, I read it through to the end but I began to get rather bored before I read half of it.

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