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…
Somersetshire, late July 1847
Kate sharpened the lead of her pencil with a knife then continued adding details to her sketches. She sat at a desk in a bright window with a magnifying glass, inspecting dead insects collected the day previously during a nature walk with Mrs. Crozier. Throughout the exercise they traded phrases in Latin, going over words and pronunciation again and again.
“Eximus,” the decorum matron stated, peering over Kate’s shoulder with her quizzing glass. “Excellent.”
“Gratias… ego amo tractus. Thank you, I enjoy drawing.”
“She’s quite talented,” Miss Nestor said to Mrs. Crozier, then to Kate, “Perhaps I could help you with some…