Eleanor is particularly thrilled this New Year! By looking at the above image, can you imagine why? Indeed, her face feels warm, her heart is beating quickly, and her hands are clasped in hope — perhaps, perhaps, this will be the year she can find true love! Of course, the very, very last person she would want to fall in love with is that arrogant, supercilious Lord Hugh, he of the piercing blue-eyed gaze that shakes her to her core. Eleanor frowns and unclasps her hands, doubling them into fists. Nay! she tells herself. She shall not quail under that gaze, but meet it headlong and vanquish him. How can he have the nerve to suggest that mismanagement of her forests is to blame for the rampant poaching both of their forests are experiencing? Most certainly not! Someone dastardly and connniving is at the bottom of this poaching, and she is determined to discover who it is. In the meantime, she does wish that being in the same room as Lord Hugh did not send her heart racing. It must be caused by anger, right, dear reader?
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?
Verona, Italia, the home of those star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet!
Oh, heavens, forfend! Eleanor has never tasted such delight! Tomorrow being Rocky Road Ice Cream Day, she has asked the cooks to concoct as close a treat as they can to this fabled dessert, though ’tis known in the British Isles as “cream ice,” and was brought to Europe by the famed explorer Marco Polo. Of course, marshmallows were unknown in Eleanor’s England, but, she is very partial to the chocolate and almonds in the cream ice. She wonders if Lord Hugh would enjoy Rocky Road. Frowning, she thinks of Lord Hugh. Ah, but she has traveled her very own rocky road with Lord Hugh. Imagine the brass — he returned from the Crusades and immediately accused her of allowing poachers to run rampant in her forest, crossing into his lands and forest to poach at will. Where was he all those years? Not managing his own forests, ’tis for certain, and most likely chasing skirts as well as Moors. Eleanor has had her huntsmen and Chief Forester on the watch, trying to catch the miscreants for months, but, does Lord Hugh take account of that? She knows he casts aspersions on her abilities, for he has accused her to her face of being a worthless ninny! Rocky road, indeed. Hmmmm. Eleanor wonders and a smile twitches the corners of her mouth. How handsome would that arrogant Lord Hugh look with a dish of ice cream mashed across that stern visage? She giggles. Then, Lord Hugh would have his very own rocky road!
Eleanor is getting ready for St. Bernard of Monjoux’s day tomorrow. Of course she has heard of this generous and intrepid man, who spent forty years in the Alps, caring for travelers. Naturally, Eleanor doesn’t know that St. Bernard dogs even exist, since the breed was not even known of, back in 1272. Perusing her Book of Hours, she has noted that St. Bernard was venerated for his mission to convert pagans living in the mountains to the Christian faith. Hmmmm, Eleanor muses. How she would love to convert Lord Hugh from an arrogant, supercilious (oh, but breathtakingly handsome!) lord to a kinder, gentler man. How he does make her pulse race, especially when they argue about whose fault it is that the poaching continues in their adjoining forests. Her pulse races because she is angry with him, but that is not the only reason it does so. She frowns. How did she ever find herself in this conundrum — attracted to a man whose blue-eyed gaze can destroy her composure, making her cheeks warm and forcing every cogent thought to flee from her brain. Conversion….how can she work on Lord Hugh. Do you have any help for Eleanor, gentle readers?