Eleanor greets Valentine’s Day with a mixture of dread and longing….After all, that handsome Lord Hugh is never far from her thoughts, but oh, so far from her embrace! But, how can she wish to be with him, be held by him, when, at the same time, she dreads his presence? ‘Tis a constant frustration, to be sure, because when she sees him and his intense, blue-eyed gaze, her heart races, and yet, once he speaks in that condescending tone, chiding her for allowing poachers to ravage their forests, fury bubbles up in her, and she has to stifle the sarcastic words she would be so happy to say, but knows she should not. After all, he threatens to arrange to have her forests remanded to her liege lord, the disgusting Lord Litchfield, so to anger him further would not be politic. Ah, but Valentine’s Day….if only the forest problem could be resolved, then, then, perhaps she could receive her Valentine’s Day hope. What think you, dear reader?
Eleanor does think this small creature quite adorable, even thought ’tis not the hedgehog she is familiar with here in medieval England, but she does know the legend and custom behind it and this day, which is to celebrate Candlemas Day. “If Candlemas be fair and bright, Come, Winter, have another flight. If Candlemas brings clouds and rain, Go Winter, and come not again.” So, she is attentive to the weather outside the castle today. She will light candles and wait for the day to unfold. Of course, if Lord Hugh were to arrive, the weather would be fair and bright — but, no, she remonstrates herself–he would bring clouds and rain. Frowning, she remembers his condescending manner as he chided her for allowing poachers into her forest. As if she would do so! Heavens forfend! His arrogant manner would indeed bring clouds and rain and thunderstorms. But….those blue eyes of his….perhaps a little bit of sun….dare she even imagine?
Ah, yes, Eleanor is no Cinderella, she who owns her lands and chase and castle as a fief from the wretched Lord of Litchfield, but, she has the wherewithal and spunk to defeat most anyone. Most of all, she would like to defeat Lord Hugh, who, at the moment is aggravating her to the umpteenth degree by being his usual arrogant self, disparaging her ability to manage her lands and forest, and, heavens forfend, impugning her honor by accusing her of being so inept that the poachers have almost overridden both their chases. But, all that said, Lady Eleanor would love to write something that would sting Lord Hugh into recognition of her abilities and her honor and her integrity. But, for that, she may need to be published….and even then, if he were to read it, would he be able to infer her longing for him, despite her rancor? So many mixed emotions, dear reader. What think you?
Though being quite well-traveled and well-read for 1272, Lady Eleanor has no idea that far-off Hawaii even exists, and if she did, oh, my, gentle readers, she would daydream about being in that tropical paradise with Lord Hugh, dreaming that he’s holding her gently in his arms as the trade winds caress them….But (cold hard reality!), that’s not likely to happen, since Lord Hugh has made his antipathy toward her very obvious, not to mention his condescending treatment of her, and it’s all over the poaching conspiracy in their adjoining forests and his conviction that women are all brainless ninnies. Little does Lord Hugh know that he is about to get to know the real Lady Eleanor, whose intelligence and wit will vanquish him, leaving him bereft until he can make her his. Oh, so perhaps Eleanor can dream of those tropical sunsets after all, and, the music, oh, the music! ‘Tis not like that music the jongleurs and musicians play in her Great Hall. Nay, not at all. Should you like to sample some, click on the last link below!
If you enjoy real, traditional, lyrical Hawaiian music, and if you’re ever on Oahu, don’t miss Sunday and Tuesday evenings at the O’Lelo Bar (families and kids welcome — outdoor venue w/great pupus, etc.) at the Aulani with island treasure Jerry Santos: http://www.olomanamusic.com/index.html and here’s a favorite song known all over the islands: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgraeK4M9a0
Of course, Eleanor has no idea that Daniel Boone (his national day is June 7) ever existed, because he lived in the 19th century, and she lives in the 13th, but, were she to see this painting and to read about him, she would mark a resemblance between him and *sighs* Lord Hugh. They are both brave, intrepid, scornful of risks, and enjoy pursuit of game. Eleanor wishes Hugh would pursue her, naturally, but, so far, he treats her with condescension–when he’s not lambasting her about the management of her forests. Ah, well, Eleanor must needs be patient, just as Daniel Boone was, and she may win her quarry. Perhaps, just perhaps, Lord Hugh will decide he cannot resist her charms any longer. What do you think, dear readers? Will Lord Hugh change the venue for his hunting from his forest chase to Lady Eleanor’s castle?
Ah, doesn’t this make you wonder what Eleanor is writing with her quill pen on the parchment in front of her? She loathes the despicable William, thus his treatment as a cur on the pages of TORCH IN THE FOREST. On the other hand, she holds tightly the secret of her powerful attraction to that arrogant Lord Hugh, and she holds it so tightly she can hardly bear to admit to herself. How shall Lord Hugh be portrayed on those pages…? Those intense blue eyes, that chiseled chin, the arrogant tone…? What think you, dear readers? Many thanks to Eleanor’s writing companion, Meradeth Houston, for this gem of a graphic!
What say you, dear readers?
Eleanor doesn’t know about Norwegian Independence Day, of course, because in her day the Norsemen, (oh those Vikings!), were feared, and rightly so. They had roamed and conquered at will for the last eight hundred years, even bringing law and order to her British Isles in 1066, in the person of William the Conqueror, he of Normandy. That is one reason the British no longer painted themselves blue with woad and wore rabbit skins and now had a legal system that worked. She had no idea the Norwegians would eventually become part of the kingdoms of Sweden and Denmark and finally wrest their independence from their rulers. She has an affinity for those Vikings, however, because she can be fierce in her own way, confronting that cur, Lord William of Litchfield, as well as hunting down the poachers in her forests. Where she finds she cannot be fierce is in her thoughts of Lord Hugh, that handsome, arrogant neighboring lord. Well, yes, she puts up a good fight when she must meet with him, and he thinks her an impertinent young woman hardly worth his time, but, in secret, to her embarrassment, she discovers she harbors sweet longings for him, longings that make her blush. Where are those fierce Viking feelings? Alas, they say love conquers all, even those who wish they were more like Vikings. Why can she not conquer her own feelings?
Of course, Eleanor has heard of San Nicola, the revered bishop of the fourth century, who was known for giving people unexpected gifts, and who is celebrated on May 7 in Italy. Fishermen take his statue out to sea and then bring it back in again, to commemorate his return to Bari. Eleanor is definitely less interested in the ceremony than she is in what San Nicola was known for. An unexpected gift, she muses. What would San Nicola bestow on her? Would it be the ability to stare down that arrogant Lord Hugh? Ah, no, because one look in those piercing blue eyes sets her heart a-fluttering. Perhaps her unexpected gift might be to best Lord Hugh in one of the many altercations they are engaged in over her management of her forests — he calls it “mismanagement,” of course, and his constant accusations of her allowing poaching to run rampant. ‘Twould be a gift, indeed, that one. Then, Eleanor blushes hotly, what if the gift were a kiss from Lord Hugh? That, indeed, would be MOST unexpected….and, she admits, perhaps most welcome…..
Eleanor is quite thrilled that National Limerick Day is coming up. In anticipation, she has been taking quill to parchment and composing a few of her own.
There once was a Lord named Hugh
Who consistently caused a “to-do.”
Whether he grinned at the wenches
Or fought in the trenches,
He always made trouble anew.
There once was a Lord named Hugh
Over whom women would blush and coo.
He was sure he deserved all
But he was prime for a fall;
Since Eleanor knew he was due.
There once was a Lord named Hugh
Who thought every woman a shrew.
He disdainfully thought
Each could be bought,
Till Eleanor bested him anew.
Putting down her quill pen, Eleanor gazes out the window of her solar at her forest. A smile twitches at the corners of her mouth. Wouldn’t she love to have a messenger deliver those to Lord Hugh? He would be beside himself. Ah, but, then he might guess her feelings about him, no? She sighed. Eleanor glances at the fire in the hearth. She could burn the limericks…or send them. Eleanor’s cheeks warm as she thinks of Lord Hugh. What should she do, dear readers?