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?
Tag Archives: historical romance
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?
Eleanor is thrilled to know that it is National Blueberry Pie Day, although she wishes that Lord Hugh might be coming to the castle to share in this delight. The cooks are working hard in the kitchens to craft this dessert, and the kitchen boys are resting after having scoured the forest to find the berries. The delicious scent wafts up the stairs to her solar, and she wonders if she dare intrude and have a slice or two without annoying the cooks. If Lord Hugh knew how delectable the blueberry pies were, he would, no doubt, saddle his steed and race here to Strathcombe. Why would he not race to the castle just for her? Eleanor muses. Why is he so insistent on seeing her as a ninny, incapable of managing her own lands and forest? What has happened to him to turn him into such an arrogant (though handsome, Eleanor sighs) lord — well, she admits, she does know that scandalous story of his late wife…but she, Eleanor is not the same at all. Lord Hugh believes all women to be disloyal fools; Eleanor is determined to prove him wrong, and once she makes up her mind to do something, Lord Hugh will have more than blueberry pie on his face to contend with. She smiles to herself. Just wait, Lord Hugh…just wait. She will vanquish him.
From somewhere in the castle, Eleanor hears music, but ’tis music like no music on earth — nor is it heavenly music, either, there being no harps involved, nor would even angels have the patience to suffer such music to be played in their presence. In fact, it is a cacophonous mixture of harsh sounds and screeches, the like of which she has never heard before, nor ever wishes to hear again. In her experience, it sounds a bit like hog-slaughtering time in the village. Frowning, she holds a kerchief to her nose, remembering the sounds and stench. What on earth is going on? she wonders. Listening to the reverberations through the castle, she asks herself, why would people voluntarily subject themselves to such agony? The drums are producing a ringing in her ears, the like of which she’s never felt before. ‘Tis time to put a stop to this nonsense, she decides, and off she goes to find the miscreants and tell them to stop. What if Lord Hugh were to appear and hear this disgraceful “music”? Ah, Lord Hugh…she would rather have a lute player here with some soft, gentle music to perhaps lull him into a gentle mood of…she blushes. No, wait. Lord Hugh and gentle? Those two words do not belong in the same sentence. If he were to hear this horrendous “music,” might he like it? After all, it does sound like a battle in full bore, and Lord Hugh likes nothing better than a good fight, whether with a knightly opponent, or with her. Frowning, off she goes to search for the source and to put an end to it, once and for all.
Eleanor is quite beside herself viewing the cuteness of these adorable, tiny baby bunnies! One of the stablehands brought them out to show her, and she wishes she could take them into the castle and turn them into pets. Then, after thinking about it, she realizes that five bunnies hopping about the castle would definitely send the dogs into a frenzy, not even to mention the clean-up that the servants would not be too cheerful about doing. She fears castle-breaking the bunnies might be a very difficult training task, indeed. Holding the bunnies herself, she promises she’ll come to the stables often to visit them. Easter is on its way, and the bunnies have arrived at just the right time. They timed their appearance perfectly. Gently, she pets each furry little head. How she wishes Lord Hugh would be as docile as these tiny bunnies, but, oh, no, not he. Of course, he must strut about in that maddeningly arrogant fashion he has, and then casting supercilious glances at her when they are discussing the management of their adjoining forest lands. With a sigh and a little kiss on the tops of their heads, Eleanor gives the bunnies back to the stablehand. If only Lord Hugh could be so cuddly and cute. Hmmmm…..
Eleanor is quite intrigued by this painting (it must be a painting; what else could it be in 1272 AD?) she found lying in the stable straw when she went to find the Master of the Horse so he could ready her hunter and her knights’ mounts for a duck hunt in her forest. At first, when she saw it, she blushed; she has not seen men so tightly clothed in that manner, ever. Once she was able to put that disturbing thought aside, a number of questions arose in her mind. For what battle might they be preparing? she wonders. Why are they not wearing armor? What are their weapons? Alas, though they appear to be fleet of foot, without any kinds of arms or protection, she fears they are doomed. Somewhere, she thinks she has heard the term “angels,” but, surely, these are not they. First, they have no wings, nor do they have halos (though she thinks she might have heard the Angels are called the Halos), nor are they robed in white, although their leggings (Eleanor’s cheeks warm again) are white. Why are they running? she asks herself. Is someone chasing them? Or are they after a prize? They seem quite fit, so surely, they should easily gain whatever prize it is that they wish. Perhaps if she were to ask Lord Hugh (oh, what he would look like garbed thusly!), he might be able to tell her more. But, she scolds herself, she would not stoop so low as to let Lord Hugh think she needed to ask him for information about anything, much less about such a scandalous-looking painting. Eleanor gazes at the painting again. They appear to be an intent, focused group. On what could they be focused, she wonders? She heard mutterings among the stable boys of somesuch called “Spring Training.” Hmmm, she muses. For what are they training? Again, she thinks of Lord Hugh. He could use some training, himself, she snorts, particularly in how to treat a lady graciously and give her credit for her intelligence. But, she sighs, his arrogance is matched only by his handsomeness, so, any kind of training for Lord Hugh, necessary though it might be, may never happen. White leggings, she muses…..
Eleanor knows ’tis St. Patrick’s Day, of course, since all in the castle have been murmuring about it for days. The servants are clad in green, and Eleanor herself has a green handkerchief tucked in her velvet sleeve. Why? you may ask. She has heard that wearing of the green can bring luck, as well as finding that anomaly, a four-leaf clover (most are three leaves, as above). Luck is something Eleanor could use, since that disgusting cur, her overlord, Lord William of Litchfield, slavers at the thought of being near to her, and, then, of course there is always Lord Hugh, as handsome as he is arrogant, whom she wishes she herself could be near. Eleanor’s face warms as she thinks of Lord Hugh. Is he wearing green today? she wonders. Does he also wish for luck? She sighs. Ah, he might, but most probably not as she wishes for it. Luck, she muses….If she were to descend the stairs from the Great Hall into the castle keep, would she find a four-leaf clover to give her luck? Frowning, Eleanor knows that she will have to depend on her keen wit and clever intelligence to vanquish Lord William — but, with Lord Hugh, oh, for a little bit o’ luck!
Alas, the tournament is over, and, sadly, Lord Hugh went down to defeat….but only in a cyber, virtual manner. Eleanor wrings her hands a bit, gazing out the window at her forest, but, ultimately, she knows that in the real world, there is no one who could vanquish Lord Hugh, he of the intense blue-eyed gaze that sets her pulse racing!
Down the winding stone staircase she goes, directly to the Great Hall. ‘Tis time for a goblet of wine while she awaits the entrance of the real, flesh-and-blood (Eleanor blushes at the word ‘flesh’) Lord Hugh. He wishes to discuss her supposed mismanagement of her lands, and she must be at the ready. How can she argue with him, she wonders, when every time her eyes meet his, every cogent thought she has vanishes from her brain? Courage, she tells herself. She can do this! What think you, Gentle Reader?
First of all, Eleanor has no idea what a 3-iron is, this being 1272. Golf was not invented until the 1500’s on the Scottish coast. Also, there were no household irons, either, in 1272, and, even if there had been, Eleanor wouldn’t have been anywhere near one, she being the lady of the castle. Still, she is hearing little whispers of some sort of a “club” (*that* she does know about — used in battle, clubs are) being thrown into some kind of lake. Gentle readers, we shall not delve into another famous use of an iron, this a 4-iron, used to break a window of an SUV with a formerly famous golfer inside, and that for a very good reason, Eleanor would agree.
But, back to the 3-iron. Eleanor wonders, how angry would someone have to be to throw something special into a lake? She wouldn’t throw anything special into a lake at all. Now, on the other hand, she would consider throwing something very UNspecial into a lake. With a little smile, she imagines herself throwing her overlord, the disgusting Lord William of Litchfield, into a lake, if only she could. Ah, then there’s the Lord Hugh….Blushing, she admits to herself that she would never throw him into a lake, but, that doesn’t mean she hasn’t thought about it, he, being the condescending, arrogant man that he is. How she would love to give him his comeuppance! Eleanor sighs….but then, there are those intense blue eyes, and the way that her pulse races when she is near him. What is she to do? A 3-iron….Lord Hugh…Her feelings roil inside her, par for the course…