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?
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!
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 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?
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?
‘Tis the day of the match! You have only a few hours to vote, Miladies and Milords! Eleanor is clasping her hands in hope — loosing them only to sip a bit of wine from a silver goblet every now and then, as she waits for the close of the match. Aaaaah, if only Lord Hugh will win….!
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…
Eleanor is beside herself with anticipation! Lord Hugh has been entered in the Entangled March Madness Tournament! Although she herself is not quite sure what this is, any chance to see Lord Hugh –or, (oh, be still my heart!) to vote for him– brings a blush to her cheeks!
This is last year’s contest:
So, gentle readers, kindly avail yourself of the ability to vote for Lord Hugh, he of the intense blue gaze that sets Eleanor’s pulse racing in a most unseemly manner. Stay at the ready!