Duchess of the Shire

This blog is a fictional account of a semi-Georgian Duchess. It was inspired by the love of all things 18th century and is purely the work of my imagination. All stories, themes, names and addresses http://duchessoftheshire.blogspot.com/ are fictional but also under the UK copyright laws. © .

I hope you enjoy everything that you read and it gives you some insight to a troubled, scandalous and rebellious Duchess.

D. S.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Apologies for being so lackadaisical in my posts since my last misdemeanour! Since then I have returned to the Northern shores of my beloved England, and have spent the days organising and packing for my extended return to the Shire!


I have not had the chance to recover from my travels in Iberia, not a moment has gone by without entertaining and being surrounded by dear friends, which I normally love, but I have been stressing slightly what with all that needs to be done before I leave. Right now is the first available chance I've had alone, and still my priorities are slightly askew for there is much to be done, but I need this moment to sit and think, to recollect, to reminisce.


My nude altercation the other week gave me a little insight, I think, for although embarrassing, I was not ashamed of my body, and it was almost liberating to have nothing to hide behind! I guess I'm a little apprehensive about moving home and the constraints I'm going to be put under... Father's meeting with his half-sister couldn't have gone better, but I know Mother isn't the exactly enamoured by the entire scandal, and I just hope they realise that family need to stick together through anything. It isn't right when I feel more grown-up than my parents!



I'm surrounded by travelling trunks and I know that I still have so much to do, but I cannot gather the energy, not when every item I pack brings be that much closer to leaving the North! The last few days have sapped me of the little ardour I had left, but there wasn't a chance I'd have wished anything else. I was able to say my goodbyes, and even managed to show my cousin round my favourite haunts.


Picture of A luggage box on the back of a 18th century haorse drawn carriage.

I shall be spending the Summer season in close proximity to the Scottish Earl, and I have my fingers crossed that the Head Architect will still have his commission down in Brighton. I know I shall enjoy myself with my dear ladies in the Shire, I believe we shall be gracing Bath with our presence, but as much as I'll love every minute of it, there is no returning to the North. 


No Brewer to make me laugh, no musician to confuse all me senses, no Gameskeeper to listen to my drivel.... Belle shall not be around to console my heartache, the Duchess of Tuthershire and I will share no more bottles of red wine under the light of the moon. I won't be staying up til the wee hours of the morn with the Court Jester talking about nothing in particular. Rowing will become a distant memory, and no more shall I take personal joy in their accomplishments and medals won!


Each and every one of my darling friends shall be moving on from the past three years, relationships and friendships forged over the most trivial of matters only to give me hope and strength, and cherish every moment we had together... The good and the bad.


Change is not a bad thing, I abhor monotony, but I've been so happy here in the North that to say goodbye does taint the future with sadness. Until we meet again, au revoir.





D. S.

Monday, June 20, 2011

How dreadfully disreputable! I have unwittingly done something oh-so-naughty today and I'm not afraid to admit it now that it is over, and I suppose I should be embarrassed, but I only want to laugh!


I don't doubt that it shall cause quite the shock when I return home and tell my dear friends; those ladies of elegance shall be horrified, though I'm sure the Court Jester will be nonplussed by my misbehaviour. I did get a little tingle  from unintentionally acting out of character, and yes, though I have been known to act untowardly, this is not a matter of the heart for I have long ignored my passions.




Inspiration for my self-indulgence came late at night while I was reading a novel, an act in itself that some ladies look down their nose at! The aforementioned novel cited mermaids and pirates and all sorts of fantastical characters, so that I could hardly contain my glee when an idea seemed to spark in my mind to trundle to the beach alone, after all had gone to sleep. 


Of course I know that mermaids are no more real than faeries or witches, but I was terribly caught up in the moment and with oil lamp and book in tow, I snuck out to the deserted beach. The tide was out and in the hazy firelight I could see the waves lapping against the rocks. Knowing that I was alone, I let my imagination run wild; I reverted back to childhood glad there was nobody to see me or judge me in my innocence. However, a sly thought had entered my head, and as I'd already removed my shoes and undergarments so that the sea could circle around my feet, I thought nothing of it to get completely undressed and go for a bathe!



I'd felt so free and uninhibited swimming in the sea that I gave no thought to the tide coming in, but after at least half an hour my energies had been spent and I trampled out of the water, only occasionally looking around to make sure there were no other midnight bathers. Out of the water however, I struggled to find my clothes! I could barely see by the light of the oil lamp which flickered atop a rock, but my clothes were no where to be found! 


Can you imagine the dilemma I was in? There I was on the sea shore, wearing nothing but what the grace of God had borne me! By some ironic fate the book too, was safe, if a little wet, and I debated whether or not to use its pages for makeshift underwear, but I felt that if it had survived the fate of the waves, who was I to tear it to shreds?


My evening excursion had truly caught me with my pantaloons down and for a few minutes I was frozen there, the lamp casting simple shadows on my white skin, while I tried to think of what to do next. The trudge back to the villa was not all that far, but I couldn't even begin to imagine the shock that I would present if I were caught, but I could think of no other solution!


So with the book covering as much of my modesty as possible I crept across the sand and through the dark towards home, safety and clothing! Surprisingly, I made it to the villa without so much of a stray dog seeing me in the nude, but the difficulty was making it inside without being spotted. I could see the few guards that we'd appointed traipsing outside on their watch and I knew I couldn't let them see me, or even attempt to explain myself. So I waited for an opportune moment. 


Unfortunately none arrived, and my fate seemed even more doomed for as the minutes turned to hours I could feel myself dozing off, and eventually I must have fallen asleep, for it was the early morning delivery boy who found me curled up beneath a plant as the sun appeared on the horizon. I though his stare was most outrageous to begin with, for my memory had escaped me and by the time I had remembered my obvious mortification, a small crowd had gathered.


My Lord how they stared, and it wasn't until about the eighth person when someone eventually had the decency to pass me a robe. I apologised to the few locals and the one guard who gave me an improper wink, and tried to shrug it off while hoping that my eyes were imploring them all to keep the incident quiet.


Somehow I think it shall be remembered and spoken about for years to come...


Neither of my Grandparents have mentioned anything today and I hope it stays that way, but I am meeting with my childhood friends tonight and I know that if they have heard anything they will not hesitate to bring it up. I suppose I should be grateful that Father has returned home already, for there is no doubt in my mind that he would have reprimanded me severely. And of course I need to write a monologue dedicated to his meeting with his half-sister, but for now I shall pen off, letting you know that the introduction went well and will continue with this train of thought tomorrow. For now, I am going to avoid eye contact with those who saw me in the buff this morning and secretly laugh to myself, though it is most improper.



D. S.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Well it seems that every now and again, when the opportunity presents itself, I am capable of restraint!


Father arrived on Sunday evening and it was lovely to catch up with him, six weeks between the time we last saw each other and his appearance in Iberia, on the Continent. The following days were rather lazy as we walked along the beaches and watched waves lap against the golden sands; perfection or paradise, though are they not two and one the same?






Some delightful fabrics were purchased after a shopping spree in the markets and the colours and patterns are to die for, something that I know no one else will have back in either the Shire or the North. I believe they will make exquisite gifts for Mother and that reminds me, I still need to acquire some tobacco for the Court Jester.


But, yes, that stolen kiss with my childhood friend. It was fleeting I believe and I think I was far too wrapped up in the moment to realise that it was 'just one of those things'. My Grandparents, Father and myself went for a delicious feast at their villa just last night and there was no awkwardness, nor mention, of the incident. I didn't at first know whether or not to be relieved or offended but as the evening wore on it seems that the darling was just making sure that I did not feel uncomfortable. We managed to sneak a private conversation and, lo and behold, I refrained from furthering our acquaintance and friendship with a second kiss!


A first time for everything, I believe!


Fortunately he was not hurt by my rebuff and we both laughed about the mixed messages we were sending each other. I am to go out again with him and his sister this weekend, of course I will make sure I look ravishing, but it was pleasing to have a second invitation after all this time!


As an aside, I have heard from one of my darling friends in the Shire that she is currently on the Continent too, though not as far South as Iberia, but in the Frenchlands. I do wish we could reunite under the Summer sun but it seems our time apart is only making our friendship stronger and I know that there will be much fun to be had in the Shire next month.


My cousin is coming to visit me on my return to the North, and it will be lovely to show her the changes since she was there last. But for now I think it is late enough to go to the beach without fear of turning a vulgar red colour. Poor Father has rather pink feet and has already retreated to the shade for the duration of his stay! Tomorrow he meets his half-sister and I think he is somewhat apprehensive, but I pray that all will go well.





D.S.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Day four of my Summer on the Continent and once again I have out done myself!


[Fragonard Prints - The Stolen Kiss]No surprises for the indiscretion that occurred; a stolen kiss from a childhood friend might spark more than I should have hoped for in the romance department! I do hope that things do not become awkward between us for I love spending time with both him and his younger sister, and I do believe my Grandparents would be less than impressed if their friendships soured... 


Once again I failed to think about the consequences.


So far this holiday seems to have been all about firsts. I have tried many dishes that I have never been accustomed to before, I have read books that never before had interested me and I have met my Aunt, or rather half-Aunt for whose eyes and mine have never before met.


She is the spitting image of my late Grandmother, and it is rather uncanny to see how she acts, considering she never met her Mother. Her adoption has given her a wide range of skills as she is fluent in various languages of the Continent and sees no problem in being a lady of labour, something that I am rather unfamiliar with. 


The seven of us - two Aunts, and the four family friends as well as myself - trekked through the untouched terrain in the sunshine for a picnic near a river. We had a delicious time only marred by some very stubborn ants but my childhood friend managed to save both the food and me. Oh dear, have I fallen for being the damsel in distress?


Dearest me, I do love my Step-Grandmother but she can talk non-stop and it is slightly irritating but I do know I am being unfair. I have a slight headache from the excursions yesterday that went on 'til early this morning, and resulted in that stolen kiss.


My Father is joining us all tomorrow and I cannot wait to see him. There are many plans for the rest of my stay and they all revolve around the family friends... Let's hope I manage to control myself and there aren't any more slip-ups. 





D. S.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

From where I'm sitting I can see the Atlantic Ocean and I know that the sun will soon set bringing about the end of the first day of my holiday on the Continent.



There was much fun in the tavern on Sunday evening, though I did end up having to look after Harlequin who was a little bit poorly. (And yes, that is probably the understatement of the year). But considering that it was night number three of various celebrations I think we all did rather well.


Monday evening, however, was a much more formal affair as we attended the end of year Ball.


Everyone made such an effort with their outfits; indeed I do feel that my shoes were rather too high as I may have stumbled more than once, and been referred to as a giant, but no matter, I do like standing out from the crowd!



The Ballroom was inundated with people that I have met over the last three years and it was almost nerve-racking to have so many previous lovers in the same room! But there was no animosity and only friendly catch-ups as we all realised that for many of us it was a final goodbye!


In fact there was a proposition from a gentleman friend that took a lot of effort on my part to decline... But it was probably for the best.


I have my two weeks on the Continent to prepare myself for the farewells that I will have to return to. The thought of not living with the Court Jester truly does bring a lump to my throat! And that so many of my ladies shall still be in the North while I return to the Shire is an unwanted cause for concern, but I suppose it is time to move on.


All I long for now is sleep as my journey to the Continent, although uneventful, started in the wee hours of the morning. And I hardly think I've recovered from the last four nights out on the town! 


So for now I shall love you and leave you while I have a glass of sangria on the balcony and delve into a book that I have chosen to read purely for my own pleasure (no, not Fanny Hill this time!). 





D. S.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

The ever-inevitable end has arrived and I have to admit it really hasn't sunk in.


A short post is all that I have to offer with the headache that is raging around my skull, but doused in nostalgia it shall not be. At least not yet. For then that would be admitting to the end.


The musician, Brewer and Gameskeeper left without so much as a goodbye, and I think I almost preferred that as it makes it seem less real. Though there is the lingering question as to when I'll next seem them again... Belle and I, however, have said our goodbyes but only for a short while until August, whereas the coxswain and Court Jester have me for a few more days.


It has been quite a rude awakening to discover that I now have no purpose, but to my travels I shall dedicate the next few weeks. Until then I shall party the nights away and truly appreciate the time I have for slumber. Today being one of those days seeing as the evening was spent with the Duchess of Tuthershire and other dear friends in what one could only call a rambunctious affair! Everyone will be sorely missed but I do hope to continue with this very frivolous theme and see as much of people as I can before we all depart. 


Again to rest, for my head is feeling rather fuzzy and I want to be on form for tonight, and of course there is also tomorrow's ball! My mind is in quite a tizzy with all these events but I shall prosper and enjoy every minute of it. 





D. S.