Quantock Hall, early December 1848
“Good morning, Mr. Smythe.” Kate swept happily into the warm library, sunlight pouring in the windows. She smiled at the elderly butler and stepped towards a bookshelf. “How are you?”
“Troubled, my lady.” Smythe stood by Earl Beaufort’s desk, hands clasped and trembling. “There should be a purse here, lest funds be needed whilst Lord Beaufort is away. It’s missing. Have you seen it?”
“Oh! No! I…” Kate froze in her tracks, guts plummeting, mind whirling. Sasha stole it?! This is my fault. I’ll have to–
Quantock Hall, late November 1848
“Say hullo to everyone for me!” Kate called. “God’s speed!”
Kate stood outside of Quantock Hall and watched her father and step-mother depart in their grand coach and four, paintwork gleaming in the sunlight, the horses matching bays. She might have accompanied them on this sad journey, to attend the funeral of Viscount Melbourne (an elderly family friend and former Prime Minister), but it was decided Kate should remain home, as there would likely be journalists attending, and should she utter an indiscretion, or simply be seen smiling at the wrong man, her name might appear in the scandal sheets. Such a circumstance would be extremely awkward, with her presentation…
Quantock Hills, Somersetshire, early November 1848
“I’m tired of discussing Hugh’s visit.”
“We needn’t speak of him, unless you want to, my lady.”
“I should be studying formulae.” Kate led Isabel deeper into the front garden. “I have an examination on Euclid and Mr. Bradley’s practical geometry this afternoon. Miss Nestor expects–” She stopped as a head of curly rust-coloured hair rapidly bounced by, beyond a stretch of bushes. “Pixie!”
The hair stopped and rotated in a slow circle.
“Pixie,” Kate said again, walking towards the girl. She rounded an empty flower bed and pushed though a gap in the shrubs.
“My lady.” The small scullery maid performed an awkward curtsey, encumbered by a large basket. Steam…
Below you will find links to the chapters covering events in Kate’s life, from her thirteenth birthday to her débutante presentation at court to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. These were originally posted as blog articles but have been converted to pages. Unfortunately, the pages cannot be commented on, and the encouraging notes that existed previously are archived. I thank those who took the time to share their feelings. You may comment at the bottom of this post. The first photo appears in Chapter 3, with artwork beginning in Chapter 5.
Lessons & Changes, 1847
Chapter 1, A Young Lady’s 13th Birthday, Quantock Hall, Somersetshire, 11 January 1847.
Chapter 2, The Society…