I am going to start telling my next historical story right here, in parts. If you have read The Passionate Love of a Rake, then you will recognize the characters…
Looking from the window of the dingy hotel room, Lady Violet Rimes gathered her courage. She knew what the physician was about to say. She could not quite believe she had trapped herself in this dreadful muddle. She was a grown woman, a widow who knew the way of the world and she had always been cautious before, but this time…
“I presume, Ma’am, you know you are with child?”
“How far gone? When is it due?” Her bleeding had stopped weeks ago, though she’d pretended it was not happening. She had spent the last weeks half hoping it was true and half wishing it were not.
“I would think February, Ma’am.”
February? It was already October.
The physician hesitated. “I know of… If you… There is a woman who can help with such things –”
“No.” She wanted the child. She had wanted a child by her husband. But none had come. Since then unless she’d married again, caution was the only choice. She’d avoided conception as best she could. But now fate had made her choice she was neither going to give up the child or allow it to be condemned by scandal. She would keep the child. It was her life which must change.
“No, thank you. I will manage.” She faced him, the heat of a blush creeping over her skin as she remembered how he’d examined her alone in this room, moments before. He’d left her to straighten her clothing and then returned to share his judgement. He must have surmised she had no husband, and her voice probably labelled her as wealthy, even though she’d taken a dress from her maid’s closet, to help hide the fact.
This whole thing made her feel sordid and guilty. She’d been hiding her condition from the world for weeks and now she was hiding herself.
Violet’s heart raced as she looked at the doctor as though he could provide an alternative answer, but she must find her own answer. She felt cold inside, in her stomach and in her limbs, but yet her heart was warm, with longing. I am with child.
Her heartbeat pounded in her ears. How could she be a mother? “Thank you, Dr Rivers, but, no,” she said with more control, “I do not wish for any help, not in that way. I will have the child. Is it healthy?”
“Everything seems well –”
“Thank you,” she said again, picking up her reticule.
After she’d paid him, he left.
Her fingers shook as she tied the ribbons of her bonnet. Oh how ridiculous. She was known for her confidence. Her gaze spun about the inn room she’d hired. She’d thought it better to see the physician on neutral ground, so no one could see her enter his offices, nor see him enter her home. But it only made the whole thing seem sordid, but why should she feel ashamed. She was glad, warmth seeped from her heart into her limbs as an ache stretching from her middle into her breast.
I am with child.
As she left the room, closing the door behind her, she thought of her friend Jane, and longed for her company. Jane had only recently left London, and yesterday Violet had seen an announcement in the paper advising Jane had married again. She’d married the man who had been chasing her all summer. Violet imagined Jane happy. But the picture of Jane’s happiness only made envy twist like the pain of a cruel dagger in Violet’s stomach. She’d never expected to marry again. But what would she do now?
Go away. She had to. She was already showing. Options spun in a whorl in her head. She must leave London. Go somewhere no one knew her and not come back. She must live there and begin a new life.
Geoff. His hazel eyes, glittering at her with laughter, appeared in her mind’s eye. At least he had not noticed how rotund her figure had become. He should have noticed. She had noticed. But perhaps he had not dared to comment.
She stepped from the bottom step of the stairs within the inn, and deliberately did not look left or right, fearing she might see someone she knew. Instead she crossed the entrance hall in a hurry and went out into the street. It was very wrong to be walking alone without a maid, but then she was dressed as a servant, and the poke bonnet hid her face.
Her heart cried out for the man who usually walked with her. Geoff.
She was going to miss him. She loved him. A tight knot tied in her stomach, and a clenching feeling gripped about her heart.
She hurried along the street, unsure whether it was best to merely walk home or try to stop a hackney carriage. Which would encourage more outrage, if she was seen entering her house? She would walk, she needed the exercise to absorb her restless thoughts, and perhaps by the time she reached home, some inspiration would have come and she’d know what on earth to do.
When she crossed the street, Geoff’s smile came to mind. She missed the solidity of his arm to grip.
Male company, within a bed and without, had been her obsession for the last few years. She’d slept with numerous men since her husband had passed. So many she’d lost count. But Lord Geoffrey Sparks had become far more than pleasure. He was necessity. Yet she had to leave him behind now. For their child’s sake. He would not wish a woman like her as his wife. He was a third son and she was seven years his senior, though he thought her only three. What they’d had, had been merely entertainment to him too. She knew how offspring of liaisons like theirs were managed. He would expect her to hand the child to some poor woman to foster. Well, Violet would have none of that. He would not even know of the child.
If only she had not been fool enough to fall in love.
Don’t worry Harriette Wilson’s story, the true story of a courtesan is going to continue along side this! Next part of that tomorrow.
Jane Lark is a writer of authentic, passionate and emotional Historical and New Adult Romance stories.
See below on the side bar for details of Jane’s books, and Jane’s website www.janelark.co.uk to learn more about Jane. Or click ‘like’ on Jane’s Facebook page to see photo’s and learn historical facts from the Georgian, Regency and Victorian eras, which Jane publishes there. You can also follow Jane on twitter at @janelark