Monday, February 21, 2011

Some Regency Prose

Some of my readers here, who also follow my Unsupervised & at Large* blog, may recognize this image, Spring Orchard. It is my watercolor rendition of Michelle Davidson Argyle’s lovely (and inspiring) photograph. It begs Regency prose! Unfortunately, I don't even begin to know how to write that, but Anne Gallagher, at Piedmont Writer does—and rather well, I might add. Anne has been ever so kind as to indulge me with a story to go along with Spring Orchard, lending characters from her own work in progress, MisMATCHED.

In His Arms
by Anne Gallagher

Violet lay back on the chaise letting the breeze tickle her skin. The warmth from the sun soaked into her weary bones and she breathed in the scent from the apple blossoms.

Oh, last night seemed too much like Heaven. Lilly had the right of it. There was nothing so pleasurable as a ball. Dancing with Haverlane had been glorious, and Violet had not wanted it to end. Unfortunately, as with Cinderella, her night ended at the stroke of twelve.

Nevertheless, the memory of Haverlane’s hand on her back as he guided her across Lady Penny’s ballroom lingered. His warmth and gentle guidance as he turned her through the steps had almost made her swoon. She smiled now, as she remembered his words.

“You are lovely tonight, Violet,” he whispered.

She faltered in her step.

“I thank you, my lord.” Afraid he would see how much she loved him, she dared not look him in the eye.

“Are you having fun?”

“I am now,” she said. In his arms, there was no other felicity in the world to compare.

He chuckled. “And you were not before?”

“No, my lord. I had the misfortune of meeting Captain Winsbarren on the terrace and he is all enthusiasm of somehow becoming attached to me. I do hold him in high regard. Yet, I feel it would better serve his affections with another lady.”

Haverlane drew her closer. She breathed in his delicious scent.

“Forgive me, does your mother know of Winsbarren’s consideration?” He asked.

“No. And I pray nightly that he does not tell her. I have nothing against the Army personally, however, being engaged to such a man would only have my nerves on end wondering if he were in danger every hour of every day. I believe that would be an intolerable way to live.”

“You are quite right, my dear,” he said and twirled her through the crowd. “I am sure his disappointment will not be long lasting.” He nodded over her shoulder.

Violet turned and found Winsbarren dancing with a lovely young lady in a handsome yellow gown. She glanced up, found Haverlane’s countenance had relaxed, and he was smiling broadly. A rare sight.

“Pray, my lord, do you find the dance is taking overlong?” Violet asked. The music seemed endless.

“Do you wish to stop?”

“No,” she blurted. “It is just, I am wondering why this dance has gone through three movements. I have found the orchestra has only played two for every other dance.”

“I believe this is one of George’s favorite tunes and he has asked the orchestra to play the song through twice,” Haverlane said.

Violet looked up, bemused. “I shall have to thank His Highness then, as this is my favorite as well.”

She was not overly fond of this particular composer. Yet, as it kept her in Haverlane’s arms, she could not find fault with it.

Unfortunately, the song did end and Violet was led from the dance floor and brought back to her mother. Haverlane bowed and kissed her hand, nodded to her mother and was gone.

Watching him covertly throughout the night, she found he watched her as well and would nod or smile when he caught her eye. She trembled at the memory. Violet knew she would have to be content with that, as she had also watched him with Lady Baxter. Lady Georgiana made it perfectly clear Haverlane belonged to her and no one would stand in her stead.

Violet heaved a sigh. Tonight was Lady Berringbourne’s ball and she wondered if Haverlane would dance with her again.
Anne Gallagher © 2011

*where I present my watercoloring process, from drawing to the finished work.


  1. Dearest, this looks lovely. I've goose bumps after seeing it all together. Thank you so much for including me with your painting and Michelle's idea. This was so much fun to do.

  2. The painting is lovely (lovely!), as is the story.

  3. Anne, I'm so glad you are pleased with the results of our efforts! Thank you again for indulging me :)

    Bryan, On behalf of Anne & me, thank you for your kind (kind!) words. :)

  4. Thank you Bryan. And I agree, the painting is lovely (lovely)!!

  5. This is breathtaking! You are truly gifted and inspirational!!! Anne's piece was equally as breathtaking!

    Two very talented people under one blog. Very, very nice.

  6. Jen, thanks for stopping over, and for your kind words. I'm very fond of the painting and knew that Anne would do it justice. :)

  7. The painting is so pretty. And Anne's prose so fitting, and very, very good. Thanks for bringing this together.

  8. Hi Lynn! I knew Anne would pull it off. Thanks for stopping in :)

  9. Both a beautiful story excerpt and painting, JB and Anne. I love that you've brought your incredible talents together.

    And I checked out the art link. To say your paintings are incredibly beautiful would be an understatement.

  10. Hi Rula! Collaboration is a new thing for me, and it's been a great experience to work with Anne :)

    ...and, wow...thanks for such an enthusiastic compliment on my artwork

  11. What a wonderful amalgamation of talents. You two are amazing!

  12. Lydia, I like being party to an amalgamation!

  13. I left a comment here yesterday...but I have a BAD habit to clicking away before matching up the security code. I loved this exercise, both the painting and Anne's words. You guys make a great team!

  14. I'm glad you like it, Liza!
    I kinda forgot that I had the 'security code' activated (spam, you know--I think I'll change that...)

  15. Aw, Bridget, this is LOVELY! I'm so happy you used this painting for one your fiction posts. Anne's piece is charming. Thank you for sharing!

  16. Well, Michelle, you know you kinda started the inspiration :)