Lady in Waiting Book 3 Part 3

Book 3
Lady in Waiting Part 3
Charlotte.jpg

This chapter is mainly about a dilemma of Anna’s and I have gone into some detail over it. I apologise if I have discouraged any readers but I thought it necessary for the story.

Mr Baring then handed me a card saying. “If you show this to the tradespeople they know me and the accounts will come directly to me.” I asked him for some ready money for carriages and such like.
“Of course Lady Charlotte what do you require?” I thought for a moment then answered. “I honestly have no idea Mr Baring what do you suggest.” Thinking he then suggested that I have two golden guineas, two half guineas then a guinea made up of crowns, half crowns, shillings, thruppences copper pennies, ha’pennies and farthings which I agreed to he went into the same bag that would hold my bounty and counted out the money annotating the amount into a small ledger.
He gathered up my jewels and gold and placed them in his nondescript bag then taking leave he left me stunned with the bounty I had just received. However I simply could not stop myself asking. “Mr Baring will you be safe carrying so much?” He turned and smiled. “Thanks you for your concern but I have 2 acquaintances waiting for me outside. I will be perfectly safe.”
With that he left and I was left contemplating how I was going to break the news to Anna that she was a wealthy woman in her own right.
Still mulling this over I went downstairs where Maud, Anna and the children were waiting also the girl Maud knew what there playing with the children after speaking to her I took a liking to her and felt confident that my children would be looked after and be safe.

It was not far to the seamstress so we walked it Maud had 2 woollen cloaks she let us use so we were both warmish.
At the seamstresses Anna was lucky as there were some gowns suitable for her, which needed minimal adjustments this being the case she selected 4 in pastel colours suitable for her work. For me there was only one dress suitable for my station (everything in our life was governed by our status in life!) and this was a walking dress in a pale yellow lawn fabric with red piping cut to the ankles for ease when walking.
I ordered 2 morning dresses one in silk satin the other in fine wool also matching bonnets bonnet’s I purchased a warm mantle with a deep fur collar.
And a kerseymere pelisse made from velvet this was tight fitting around my bust and down to my ankles.
Needless to say we bought underwear drawers, chemises, kerchiefs and of course corsets then came shoes and stockings all in all we spent £35 on clothes for the four of us with the majority on Anna and myself the children’s clothes were far cheaper than I thought they would be. During this time Maud was wonderfully helpful to us especially with the clothes for my children.
With a little trepidation I showed Mr Baring’s card which was accepted with a smile and the seamstress told us that she would deliver my freshly made dresses in a few days time and the rest of our shopping would be at Maud’s house when we arrived home later.

Next we went to a shop and bought my new sketchbook with some watercolour paints and charcoal, some writing paper with pen and ink and other small items.
Finally we hired a Chaise to take us to a saddler where we ordered a trunk each for our clothes when we travelled to London.
The same Chaise took us home as after a long day’s shopping we all were weary and I was missing my children.

The Chaise rolled up at Maud’s house and I paid the coachman the shilling he requested for the service we were met at the door by the housekeeper who I must say looked a touch agitated. “Mistress” she started, “There’s a Naval gentleman in the parlour waiting for your return.”
Maud looked at me and I shrugged as to say that I had no idea who this could be – and I didn’t. Also we found out that our shopping had arrived and was waiting for us upstairs in our rooms.
As we made our way upstairs Mrs Milward went to the Parlour to meet the mysterious gentleman.
Anna was up in our rooms when Maud called me back down the stairs into the Parlour.
Bless my soul who should be sitting there but John Newsome Anna’s gentleman friend. “Mr Newsome” I greeted him warmly “I assume that it’s Anna you have come to see – not myself?”
He rose and bowed. “Lady Charlotte how very nice to see you, but yes I would like to see Anna.” As I observed him I noticed that he looked a touch worried I assume it was that the two of them had been apart for so long.
So to put him at ease I smiled warmly saying. “I will go and tell her you are here – but please remember she will want to change, as do I so we will be a small while. Maud would it be in order for Mr Newsome to remain here until we are ready then if it is fine with you he can come up to our sitting room?”
I was mindful of the conventions and that this was Mrs Milward’s house. Maud nodded her assent then asked if John would like some refreshments.

I went upstairs where Anna was playing with the children along with the girl Maud had recommended. “Anna I have some news for you” “What may that be Miss.” She responded. “Well” Just then a knock came Anna opened the door and a maid was there with an ewer of piping hot water and one of cold.
I thanked the girl then addressing Anna I said. “You will want a wash and put one of your new dresses on I would guess.”
The poor girl looked really mystified asking. “But why Miss Charlotte?” Grinning broadly I put her out of her misery. “Because your Mr Newsome is downstairs – somehow he has discovered we are here and he wants to visit you!”

Anna let out a small shriek of panic looking around as it to hide. “What will I do Miss Charlotte?” I took her by the shoulders and looked into her eyes telling her. “You will was then change into your new lilac dress then we will go down to meet him.”
The calmness in my voice must have gotten through to her chewing her bottom lip she looked at me with pleading eyes asking. “You will be with me Miss?” I smiled with what I hoped was confidence telling her. “A young lady must be chaperoned at all times.” “But” she was about to argue when I repeated. “A young Lady – which is what you are.”

After we had washed and changed our apparel we went down stairs I stood aside. Looking nervous (but beautiful in he new dress) Anna entered and as Mr Newsome rose she blushed and slowly approached him.
I sat away from them leaving them to their own conversation Anna remembered everything I had told her about a young lady and her beau while being courted.

They were talking for well over an hour when Anna suddenly leapt to her feet hand over her mouth stammering. “No John I simply cannot!” it was then I saw that Mr Newsome was on one knee and I realised what had happened.
“But why not Anna we both love each other.” Anna was very upset and tears were streaming down her cheeks. “John I simply cannot I am low born and beneath you we simply cannot be wed!” With that she fled the room leaving just the two of us.

John looked distraught and foolishly I thought it was because Anna had blurted out her background and was disappointed in him until he said. “Lady Charlotte what difference does Anna’s birth make? I love her and want to marry her – I simply do not understand.”

I stood up with a sigh and sat where Anna had been sitting patting the cushion next to me I asked him. “You understand what Anna said?” He nodded answering. “Yes Lady Charlotte what she said was that she was born to someone of the lower class.” I nodded and followed up saying. “You fully understand the implications now what about your family how would they feel?”

He looked at me steadily and answered. “My father is a clergyman who as a matter of interest hates the class system.” The realising that I was a member of the system hastily said. “Begging your pardon Lady Charlotte.” I waved to indicate it meant nothing to me and let him continue. He continued “My father would happily marry Anna and I – please Lady Charlotte please intervene on my behalf I beg you.”
“John I will talk to Anna and tell her everything you have told me but I must warn you she is very stubborn would it be possible for you to return two days hence.”
He stood replying. Certainly Lady Charlotte please make her agree – please.” I nodded saying. “I will do my best John I will really do my best as you two are ideal for each other. I can promise no more.”
“I can ask no more Lady Charlotte I thank you from the bottom of my heart.” With that he stood and I showed him to the door reminding him. “Two days John and I hope she will see sense.”

I closed the door and sighed looking at the stairs I knew that I would have a fight on my hands making Anna see sense. Julia the girl looking after my children was watching over them as they slept curled up on the settee. “Where is Anna?” I asked she pointed to the closed door leading to Anna’s bedroom. Again I sighed as I knocked no the door. “Anna it’s me Charlotte, may I come in?” A sniffle was the reply, which I assumed was yes so I entered the room. Anna was laid across her bed it was obvious she was much distressed.

I was on totally new ground here so I simply let Anna lead how things progressed to get her feelings out.
I simply sat on the bed and waited after a while she stirred and presented me a tear-streaked face. “Oh Miss Charlotte” she sobbed “what am I to do?”
I stroked her cheek saying. “Anna it’s simple you both love each other so Marry Mr Newsome.”
Anna let out something between a wail, cough and a sob. “But he was born above me he will not want to marry someone from my station.” Then she dissolved into floods of tears.
“Anna, Anna.” I quietly said and waited until I had her attention continuing. “Mr Newsome simply doesn’t care – he is in love with you.” “B,b,b,but his family will despise me and hate me for being a servant!”
I was on firmer ground here as John had told me about his Fathers views. “Anna what has John told you about his family?” That pretty tear streaked face looked at me so disconsolate I gathered her up into my arms and held her to my breast.
“H, h, he is a parson and they are above my station!” She wailed I felt very annoyed with this silly class system – but there again it is simple for me because I am part of the problem.
Gathering my thoughts I soldiered on, “Yes he is a parson but he is a progressive parson who hates the class system – I would think that he would greet you with open arms and be proud that his son is marrying such a pretty and intelligent girl.”

I left her to think about this as I held her to me. Finally she stirred looking up at me asked. “Do you think so Miss really think so?” I gave a tentative smile and answered. “Have I ever lied to you?” She shook her head “I honestly believe this you are not a servant you are governess to my children.” Now that was a mistake on my part as she wailed and sobbed, “But I must leave you and the children I cannot bear to be parted you and they are my life Miss Charlotte.”
“No we are not!” I said somewhat sharply. “Your life lies with Mr Newsome and the children you will have when you are married.”
Now that managed to get through to her – the fact that once married she would have her own children. I could see her thinking seriously about that fact.
“But Miss what would I do while John is at sea?” Now that got me! I had to think about this. “Well you would stay at home looking after your house.” This was the first thing I thought of.
“Oh Miss Charlotte I would go demented only doing this I need to do something.”

“What do you want to do – you certainly do not want to go into service do you? After all you are above that now!”
“Am I? Am I really above that?” she asked me. “Oh course you are Anna! You can read and write, you can do your numbers, you read about history and geography.
Of course you are above going into service.” I reasoned with her then I stood saying. “Anna you are now a young lady of some financial means you can do anything you want to.”

Then I left her to think on what I had said – in truth I think I have made her reconsider her hasty decision a lot sooner that I thought.
I went downstairs in dire need of a cup of tea and finding Maud I asked her it if would be in order. She smiled broadly saying, “What a capital idea!” She rang for the maid and ordered some hot water. As Maud mixed the tea to our taste I told her my problem with Anna wondering what she could do once she was married.
“Lady Charlotte.” Maud began “if I may ask why are you a Lady of quality worried about Anna?”
“That is the problem I am simply a woman worrying about my friend except for an accident of birth I am exactly the same – we are all the same human beings we weep, we grieve, we bleed and we feel these strictures that our society place on us cause many problems!” I exclaimed with the passion I felt about the subject.

Maud looked at me with a shrewd look commenting. “You are a bit of a rebel Lady Charlotte are you not”? Shaking my head wearily I sighed. “Maybe, maybe not but it seems wrong.”
Maud then changed the subject asking. “You said that Anna has money in her own right.” A little surprised I nodded. “May I be rude and enquire how she has become so?”
I gave a wry smile answering. “I assume that it was the same method your late Husband acquired his fortune. We or rather the 95th were present when the Emperor Josephs baggage train was looted and we acquired some trinkets. May I now ask why you want to know?”
“Well” she began “Here in Plymouth there is a real need for premises like my own where Ladies of Quality can stay while their husbands are in port as many times their husbands cannot get home!”
It was like a lightening bolt had hit me as it dawned what she was saying. “Maud” I exclaimed you mean?” She nodded saying and if you wish I can help her find the perfect premises.
It was like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders; I sipped my tea and considered her proposal my mind working overtime I asked what would be the outlay.
As it turned out it was surprisingly small; the premises rental on a suitable villa on a three lifetimes lease would be about £60 per annum furnishings and fittings another £500 to £1000 then there was servants, cooks and housekeepers whose wages would be in total £5 a week. All this was well within Anna’s means and she would have a house in Plymouth close to John’s parents and somewhere for the two of them to live I was excited and managed to say. “This could solve all her problem’s now if only I can persuade her and Mr Newsome.” “We Lady Charlotte you mean we can persuade Anna and I will help you.”

That evening at supper I broached the subject to Anna at first she was sceptical but when Maud started to tell her the in’s and out’s of having a guest house she started listening and by the time we were sipping our chocolate she was actually warming to the idea.
I left her talking to Maud and went and wrote a letter to Mama telling her I was in Plymouth and would shortly be up in London to see her and tell her my story.
As it was still only 6 in the evening I called for the boot boy to take my letter to the mail coach that would be leaving in the morning giving him a penny for his troubles and sixpence for the postage.
Julia was still with the children having got them ready for bed I was well satisfied with her days work so I asked her if she wanted to look after the children while we were in Plymouth and I am happy to say she leapt at the chance to make some regular money so giving her a thruppence I sent her home to have her return tomorrow.

As I sat down I realised that I had only been back in England for 2 days and yet so much had happened events seemed to be like a giant whirlpool that tumbled everything together. Yet this seemed to be happening in a nice way; next week once my new clothes were ready I had told Mama that I would go to London to see her and tell my story.
I was desperately worried about this and I suppose that I was putting off the inevitable I loved my mother so very much what would I do if she rejects my children! I stared down at their sleeping faces so innocent so trusting and so beautiful I knew that I would never give them up, no matter what.

Historical Note:
Afternoon tea is said to have originated with one person - Anna, 7th Duchess of Bedford. In the early 1800's she launched the idea of having tea in the late afternoon to bridge the gap between luncheon and dinner, which in fashionable circles might not be served until 8 o'clock at night. This fashionable custom soon evolved into high tea among the working classes, where this late afternoon repast became the main meal of the day.
Even in 1810 tea was fashionable but mainly in the afternoons the other main drink was chocolate, coffee was rapidly becoming more popular at this time and would soon overtake chocolate as the second drink of choice.

The government currency was pounds sterling. There was no pound coin. There were golden guineas (£1 1 shilling) and half guinea coins though. People could make up a guinea or a pound using the multiplicity of coins and tokens which were in use in the early 1800s, groats, thrupennces, sixpences and shillings etc.
But I must make the point, most people never saw a pound, their money came in farthings, ha'pennies, pennies and tokens.
And yes, because of their low wages most people never had a guinea in their pockets either.
'Wages and currency values
Around the year 1800 the average weekly labour's wage was around 6 - 10 shillings (30 - 50pence or 40 - 60 cents)
The value of the pound £1 in the first quarter of the nineteenth century would be approximately equal to £1000 today!
But it is very difficult to convert the worth of the amount of money Charlotte and Anna actually have.
According to a website called ‘Measuring Worth the conversion of 50,000 guineas varies from 3 to 200 million so it is not an exact science with such a wide variation in figures, needless to say the two girls were comfortably off and would survive.

Housing in the 1810’s in Britain during this time private ownership was rare 90% of the housing was held by the landed gentry or the church and rented out on various length leases the longer the lease the lower rental would be - in this case the three lifetime lease was 61 years.
Unlike these days the person leasing was responsible for all the upkeep of the building and internal decorations all the leaseholder did was provide the house.



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