Quantock Hills, late November 1847
When the Beauforts approached the village, Kate felt warm and comfortable with her outfit. She wore her hat down tight, finding it stayed in place quite well as they cantered along. Lord Beaufort reined in and brought his mount to a walk, Kate doing likewise. They greeted villagers and had to stop for a shepherd moving his flock from one pasture to another. Kate searched the roadway, rather hoping the ploughboy, Jeremy Connor, might appear, but only elderly people and children came into view.
“I’m serving as a whipper-in today,” Lord Beaufort said as they waited, “so most of the time I’ll be flanking the pack.”
“Does that mean I won’t see you?”
“You’ll see me,…
Quantock Hall, November 1847
Kate stood patiently behind her chair, speculating on how cold their luncheon would be. Everything was laid out, and the butler clearly perturbed with the delay; Lord Beaufort had yet to appear. A roaring fire in the hearth kept out the chill, but Kate and Mrs. Crozier still wore shawls as they waited. Presently, the clomp of boots approached, and the earl strode into the room.
“My apologies.” He smacked and rubbed his hands. “I had an early caller.”
“Good afternoon, Father,” Kate said, curtseying.
“Good afternoon, Lord Beaufort,” Mrs. Crozier followed in turn.
“Yes, good afternoon. Let’s eat.”
Upon seating and receiving their soup the earl slipped a letter from his pocket and started reading while he ate….
Somersetshire, October 1847
Kate applied a few more stitches of orange thread.
“That looks quite authentic,” Miss Nestor said with a small smile, looking up from her needlepoint.
Kate felt happy to hear some praise and grinned at her governess.
“Yes, you’re doing fine work.” Mrs. Crozier towered over her. “It makes up for the horrendous edging you did on your chemise.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Crozier,” Kate said softly. I believe that was a compliment.
All three ladies were working at needlepoint, a skill Kate had never honed. She found the task tedious, especially when attempting a repeating pattern. The Greek squares she had stitched on a chemise proved a disaster, no two looking alike. A six week old injury to her right…
Hastings, late August 1847
“It’s damnable poor timing!” Jack slouched sulkily in the parlour.
“You cannot expect a baby to arrive at your convenience,” Kate replied, amazed by her brother’s childish petulance. “I’m here to help with the birth, and tend to little Jack, not spend all my time with you and your inventions.”
“Don’t you want to work with me?”
“Of course, more than anything, but Phoebe comes first. Why would you invite anyone to a shooting demonstration under these circumstances?”
“One of the inventors is French, and available for mere days. Another is a professor from the University of Basel in Switzerland – a great mind! He’s only in England a fortnight. I went to considerable trouble to have him…