Setting Up

Welcome to my first post on my Author Blog site. What can I add that is of interest? I know, I’ll add a little from a story I’m developing, called Marriage In a Cold Climate.

William looked across the green lawn to where the group of people from the Manor stood. It was early evening yet, and the garden torches flickered in the light breeze. The staff moved about quietly making sure that everything was just right. Of course William had ensured that everything was in place before any guests had arrived, but they knew how important this night was to William, and fussed about the slightest details anyway.

The garden setting was beautiful. The property was well up in the mountains, and the natural coolness allowed for a wide variety of beautiful flowering plants to be nurtured. They were at their best at this time of the year, which was why William had chosen the setting. It was in this garden of delight that William hoped to win the hand of the girl who had captured his heart. He glanced again at the small group of people across the garden. They had moved into the shelter of light open sided garden marquees and were sipping Champaign and tasting delicacies offered by William’s capable staff.

Just as he was about to glance away, he caught the eye of his love. She had been seeking him out, and now blushed a pretty pink as he smiled in what he hoped was an encouraging manner.

Most of the guests had now arrived and the musicians were taking their place on a raised platform at the lower end of the garden. Light chamber music floated over the lawns, the hum of conversation filled the evening air like bees busy about the garden on a spring day. William mustered the courage to approach the family of the girl he loved.

Natalie. William pondered her name. A derivative of the Russian Natasha. It suited her. She was nearly as tall as he, and had a willowy figure that seemed at one with the graceful plantings of the spring garden. Her dark hair fell in a black river down her back, held into a long tail by a sparkling diamond and ivory hair clip that shone like a beacon against her dark tresses.

William had to draw his breath in to steady himself as Natalie turned toward him. The beauty of her countenance would he felt sure, stop an advancing army. Just a hint of slightly almond eyes, dark as midnight and alive with glittering star points. A faint smile tilting the corners of her mouth as the apricot flush of apprehension delicately coloured her cheeks.

He had to be bold and brave. His future depended upon it. He was sure he would not be able to go on if Natalie’s family rejected his intentions once they were made known.

Indeed, Natalie’s father was known as something of a fearsome person. William had heard the stories of suitors being sent packing, a flea in their ear at having the temerity to seek his approval to court his daughter. His very name seemed designed to frighten off suitable young men.

Stanis Stratsvootya was his name, although it was rumoured that he preferred – amongst his friends – to be called simply Stan Stratsman. He felt it more suitable in an Australian setting.

All this William pondered in the few moments it took him to make his way purposefully over to the family party. He wished the earth would swallow him up as Natalie’s mother Anastasia looked directly at him. She was a mature Natalie. Although he was sure she knew of their intentions, her expression now gave nothing away.

“Good afternoon to you Madam,” said William, addressing Natalie’s mother, “thank you for your kind consideration in agreeing to join this delightful gathering.”

The lady smiled at the formality of this young man whom she knew well to be here for only one purpose, and that being to seek her daughters hand in marriage.

“We thank you for your kind invitation, although I fear that had we declined we may well have found a sturdy ladder propped against the household at some not too distant time in the future.” Anastasia’s eyes twinkled with her quick smile, although it still left William blinking and tongue tied.

He was saved by Natalie’s father walking up and taking his wife’s elbow gently. “My dear,” he spoke softly “please be kind to your future son in law, and don’t tease him so.” He turned to William and a stern look came into his eyes.

William took a small step back, feeling somewhat like a rabbit caught in the hedge row. Yet here was Natalie’s father already referring to him as the future son in-law. It remained only for William to regain his composure and formally ask for Natalie’s hand.

“Sir,” he began “I wish to ask… I mean… I would like to talk … ummm, I mean.” William felt he had suddenly lost the ability to speak clearly. He took a breath and looked about his garden, at the fine guests, the beautiful spring day, and there was his true love, standing near the hedges, shading her pretty skin with a small parasol against the slanting sun. There was some movement behind the hedges, just to the right of  Natalie, momentarily drawing his eye away. ……. To be continued

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