How to Claim a Governess’s Heart – Extended Epilogue

“Aunt Bridget, let me get that for you,” Betsy called as she hurried to her aunt’s side.

Bridget Hughan struggled to retrieve the pencil that had fallen to the ground without toppling over her very round belly. Betsy hurried into the parlour from the adjoining atrium.

It was spring and the sweet smell of soil and flowers wafted into the room with her. Bridget thanked the girl as she picked up the offending utensil and handed it over.

“Mama, Jimmy pulled my hair,” a doe-eyed little girl tugged on Bridget skirts.

Bridget’s eldest child came forward with his own complaints on the tip of his tongue.

“How about we give your mama a moment to sit down and rest, and I will look over today’s writing assignment,” Betsy suggested to the small people in the room.

Bridget was thankful for the suggestion and gingerly sat herself down in a high-backed chair while Betsy looked over her younger siblings’ work. Bridget studied the girl for a moment. It seemed only a few days ago that Betsy was as small as Hannah. Though they technically weren’t close relations, Betsy and Hannah both shared similar looks.

Both Jimmy and Hannah had inherited the same golden hair that seemed to run through that side of the family. Now that Jimmy was almost ten, his had started to darken as his body sprouted faster than Bridget could manage to re-tailor his trousers.

She watched as Betsy, now eighteen, scolded the two younger children for their bickering amid complaints of offenses caused by one or the other. Hannah admitted that she could no longer sit next to her brother while they worked as he had threatened to dip her golden ringlets in the inkwell. Jimmy retorted it was only a last measure because Hannah wouldn’t stop chewing on the end of her pencil most annoyingly.

Betsy listened calmly to each complaint, fixed the situation, and began to review their handwriting assignment. As she went, she gave each of them little corrections to improve their penmanship.

“I remember a time when you would have done anything to avoid your handwriting lesson,” Bridget mused with a smile when the children were set to work on their separate reading books.

Hannah was still young and just beginning to learn to read, and so she mouthed each word as she read them silently.

“Yes, and you always found ways to convince me they were important skills to have,” Betsy responded, coming to sit near Bridget.

“I wasn’t entirely wrong, was I?” Bridget asked when Betsy wrinkled her nose at the idea.

“Well, I do suppose I write letters from time to time,” Betsy agreed.

“Yes, and think of all the writing you’ve done at the horticulturist society. I’m sure the readers of your monthly newsletters are happy that the printer could read your handwriting when he took it to publish,” Bridget offered.

Betsy rolled her eyes dramatically at the mention.

“I am sure only you and Uncle John are the only ones that read those silly things.”

Lord John had been particularly proud when Betsy had decided to incorporate her love for science and botany into a society with a monthly newsletter. He had often boasted to his friends that his household now contained two accomplished writers.

“Who knows what will become of it when I leave, or my garden for that matter?” Betsy said, looking back at the atrium.

“It’s only a few months. I think I can manage to water things while you are gone.”

“Perhaps I shouldn’t go,” Betsy said in a soft tone.

“Why would you say that. You were so looking forward to spending your first season in London?”

Bridget was glad that Betsy was bringing this up now with just the two of them in the room and not with Lord John as well. At present, he was in London, working out the details of his latest book.

Lord John had become a common household name all around the country. First for his books under his pen name, Constance Brown, and then for a series of mystery novels he wrote under his own name.

“Well, it is a bit inconvenient timing-wise. I am just finishing my research on soil samples. I had planned to publish my findings on ‘preferred alkaline soil levels for delicate flora’ and maybe even sent off to the Royal Botany Society. If I leave now, I won’t be able to finish my work until next year,” Betsy said, fidgeting with the hem of her white cotton dress.

“You have plenty of time to be a scientist,” Bridget assured her. “But you are only young once.”

“Yes, but I will have to go with the dowager duchess, and what if she tries to marry me to some silly gentleman who wishes his wife to sit and look pretty all day long?”

Bridget smiled at the determination on Betsy’s face. She had been raised to be a well-rounded, free-thinking woman. Though the dowager had insisted on being her patron for the first few years of coming out into society, Bridget guessed Her Grace had little to no idea what she was really letting herself in for.

It had been a difficult decision for Lord John and his wife to agree to let Betsy join the his mother in London this year. Betsy was of the age to begin her introduction into society, and to have a dowager duchess offer to be her patron was luckier than most girls her age could dream of.

Still, they hesitated knowing the pressure that Lord John’s mother would put on the girl. Betsy had dreams and aspirations of her own. Both Lord John and Bridget had encouraged her to not only pursue them but to also be hesitant in choosing a life partner.

“Just because you are a lady doesn’t mean you should settle for a fine title or a large house,” Lord John had warned Betsy when they had informed her that she would be spending the season with her great-aunt.

“But it is fine if you want those things,” Bridget quickly interceded.

Lord John looked at his wife and wanted to say that he didn’t wish his eldest child to have such shallow dreams.

“A girl can be carried away with romance, handsome gentlemen, and even fine titles and houses from time to time,” Bridget explained to her husband. “What your uncle is trying to say,” she turned back to Betsy, “is that we also hope you also look for a deeper connection to the man of your choosing. That you will champion and support his dreams as he will also do for you.”

“Yes,” Lord John agreed. “You don’t have to choose between your experiments and a happy marriage. Though if you would like to throw out the whole business of courtship and marriage and stay safely under my roof for the rest of your life, I would be agreeable to that as well,” Lord John added.

Both ladies giggled. Lord John had been struggling with how fast Betsy seemed to mature for the last few years. He would have liked for her to stay the sweet little girl he swung around in his arms forever, though she had always been determined to tell him she was too big for such things.

The large baby in Bridget’s belly gave a sharp kick, waking her from past memories.

“I saw that one,” Betsy said, placing a hand where the belly had protruded from underneath Bridget’s gown.

She rubbed her aunt’s belly lovingly and giggled when another sharp kick responded.

“Oh, don’t encourage this one,” Bridget moaned. “He already kicks me day and night.”

“If I go, I will miss this little baby’s entry into the world as well. Plus, who will help you look after the other two when your hands are full with the new baby?” Betsy asked as she stroked Bridget’s belly.

“I can hire help if it’s really needed. I will not be the reason for you staying home,” Bridget chided.

She placed her hand gently on Betsy’s and patted it gently.

“You know your uncle and I won’t force you to go, but I think it would be good for you. Think of the people you will meet in London. There are so many bright minds in the city that you could learn so much from. Perhaps you could even sit in on some Royal Botany Society lectures. Wouldn’t that be worth it alone?”

Betsy gave a reluctant shrug.

“I still think I will like it here better with you, Uncle John, Jimmy and Hannah, my garden, and all my experiments,” Betsy said softly.

“I wouldn’t repeat that again when your uncle returns or he will be happy to oblige you,” Bridget giggled.

“The dowager will never let me see lectures. I’m sure it will be nothing but shopping and balls and extravagant affairs with shallow gossip. How am I ever to find happiness like you and Uncle John have in such a climate?”

“Well, we did find each other in London,” Bridget suggested.

“Oh, but that was different.”

“Yes, love is different for each of us. I’m glad that Lord John and I gave you an example of what you want in a partner. Certainly, there are not many ladies in your class that can say the same. But you shouldn’t want what Lord John and I have. You should want your own form of love, whatever that may be.”

“And how will I know?” Betsy sighed, resting her head on her aunt’s belly.

Bridget laughed and stroked the golden hair that rested against her swollen abdomen.

“Well, you are only eighteen, and I would hope that this season can just be one of enjoying new experiences and nothing more. But as you grow and your time comes closer, it is something you will have to answer for yourself.”

Betsy sighed again with the air of a young adult on the cusp of the rest of her life. Their conversation was halted by the sound of approaching hoofs. As expected, Lord John had returned home and was happily greeted by all members of his family.

“Anything exciting happen while I was away?” Lord John asked as he and Bridget sat by the fire later that night.

Bridget had struggled to sleep the first part of the nights as the baby seemed the most active then. Instead, she chose to sit by the fire and get some darning done. Lord John had been happy to keep his wife company on these late nights often while editing his latest work.

“Betsy was having second thoughts about joining your mother this year,” Bridget explained.

“Splendid! And you talked her out of going, I hope. I couldn’t keep her off my mind this week as I walked the streets of London. So many young pups already there. I don’t think it would hurt to spare her one more year of all that drivel.”

“She was only apprehensive because her only knowledge of the Ton is the one you have fed her,” Bridget replied, putting her hands on her ample hips. “And she is already late to debut. She might like it, you know? And I didn’t talk her out of it. In fact, I assured her she would have a good time.”

Lord John eyed his wife over the pair of spectacles he had been forced to wear this last year. Though a decade had passed since they fell in love, he was every bit as handsome a man as the one Bridget married. Now with added spectacles and laugh lines at the corners of his eyes, he looked the mature dashing strong lord she was sure frequented the pages of the Gothic romance novels.

“Hrmph,” Lord John scoffed, not happy with his wife’s response.

Bridget leaned over from her seat and kissed her husband softly on the cheek. It took a bit of effort around her belly.

“Don’t you remember our own midsummer magic that brought us together? Don’t you want Betsy to experience her own magical twist and turns and fairy tricks?”

“No,” Lord John pouted. “I want her back in ribbons with dirt smudges on her nose like Hannah is now.”

“All of them will grow up and find their own happiness, my love,” Bridget reminded her husband.

He huffed again in response. Tipping his glasses for a moment, he studied her. Setting his papers aside, he rose from his own chair to kneel in front of his very pregnant wife. Gently he rubbed her belly and kissed it tenderly.

Bridget relaxed in her seat and enjoyed his gentle touch. She did look a little tired as of late, mostly due to the closeness of her delivery day. Even with the wisps of chestnut hair out of place, and the weary sigh that escaped her lips, she still glowed radiantly.

“Come, let’s go to bed, my love,” Lord John suggested helping his wife stand.

He wrapped his arms around her, not an easy task with the infant between them. Cupping her face gently, he kissed her softly on the lips. Pulling away, he noticed that Bridget blushed a little. He couldn’t help but smile, knowing that he could still affect her as she did for him.

“What was that for?” Bridget asked with a sheepish smile.

Lord John cocked his golden brow for a moment as he seemed to think about the question.

“Nothing,” he stated simply.” I just had a sudden desire to kiss my beautiful wife, and so I did.”

Bridget tutted at him with a playful slap.

“In fact, I think I will do it again,” Lord John grinned.

Leaning in, he took hold of Bridget’s mouth with breath-taking passion. She wrapped her hands around his shoulders and tangled her fingers in his hair as he deepened the kiss. A soft sigh escaped Bridget’s lips as he trailed kisses behind her ear and down her throat.

“You know John,” Bridget mused, drunk on his love. “If you keep kissing me like this, we might just get that big family you wished for.”

Lord John gave a deep chuckle against her throat. Raising his head, he looked her deep in her doe eyes.

“Now that is something, I wouldn’t have an objection to,” he said with a smile.

And he kissed her again and again.

THE END


Readers who read this book also liked

77 thoughts on “How to Claim a Governess’s Heart – Extended Epilogue”

    1. I enjoyed this book very much. Are you going to Wright a book about Betsy. Would love to here how her life spawned out.

  1. I enjoyed this book very much.The characters seemed real,you just lived the story along with the flow of the story.
    My thanks for a lovely read.Boo

  2. What a great story! I was happy that the Duke didnt die making John the heir! It was so much better that the 2nd son made his own way. You don’t see those kind of stories. These were more realistic characters. Couldn’t wait read the extended epilogue! One of your best!!!! 5 stars!

  3. This was a wonderful story of how the second son, the spare,
    finds happiness. The story was unique and a joy to read. The characters were special I only wish Mrs. Smith could have made the journey with them to the new home.

  4. One of the nicest I have read in awhile. The fact that Lord John stood up to his brother and won was refreshing. Betsy being raised to think for herself was certainly ahead of the times. I’m sure she gave the Duke and dowager duchess a run for their money. Good work.

  5. LOVED every minute of this book.You outdid yourself. Keep up the wonderful writing I am waiting on the next book
    Linda

  6. A wonderful read with suspence . I loved the extended epilogue. It sum up so much. Would love to read a novel of the grown up family and what became of Bridget. Who did she chose to marry? Great read.

  7. I do so love your stories. This was another well written captivating clean love story. Lord John was such a nice character you could not help feel sorry about the restrictions his brother put in his life. I’m glad he loved Bridget. They made a lovely couple. Betsy was a very lucky girl. The extended epilogue completed their story beautifully. I do hope you will write Betsy’s story and what trails she had to go through under the care of the Dowerage Duchess when she attends for her coming out season. It would be nice to know how her life turned out. Thank you so much for another great story.

  8. What a wonderful story! You are my go-to author for a truly well written novel. Just the right length. I appreciate the frequency of your books and have no idea how you do that! But keep them coming and I will keep buying. ❤

  9. Please say you are writing Betsy’s story! With the examples Bridget and John provided she is sure to be a wonder along with making lots of waves. Loved it!

  10. Great story time and again. 5stars. I am sorry Mrs Smith did not travel to the country with the family but hopefully she will be there for Betsy while she is in London.

  11. WONDERFUL TALE!!!!!! Loved it!!!!!!!!! Great theme& wonderful treatment of subject matter!! THANKS for many really special hi storical topics !!!! Enjoy a lways every tale from this talented author!!!!!!!!!

  12. I absolutely LOVE all of your books that I have read! Thank you so much for sharing your talent!

  13. This book was such a great read. The plot was strong and took into account some interesting subplots to weave into a fascinating story. The characters were endearing while the antagonists really inspired a strong antipathy. Congrats on writing another page turner. All your stories are inspired.

  14. Simply wonderful, utterly delightful. Impossible to express the great pleasure you give to your readers. Stories that possibly could change the culture of our youth’s society for the better, especially if they were made into movies. Thanks and happy to be exposed to your blessed gift of writing.

  15. I agree, Betsy’s story needs to be written! I enjoy your writings very much.

  16. Thank you for the extended ending. I loved your story and characters so much and hated to say goodbye. I hope you decide to write a story about Betsy.

  17. I too do enjoy governess stories and this one was particularly enjoyable. I also agree that you should give us Betsy’s.

  18. Wonderful book. It’s great to read a
    Love story capable of over coming high society & their ridiculous dictates. Love does truly overcome
    all !

  19. I really enjoyed this book a lot and the characters. The extended epilogue was good also, continue the good work.

  20. It is interesting and sometimes very sad the way society’s dictates can be so strong in our lives. But to forge a person’s own path is greatly rewarding as in the case of John. I see the dowager was allowed some room in Betsy’s life. Interesting and intense are only two of the words I would use to describe this story. A great read.

  21. For me this was one of my favorite of your books, I love that lord John so dictated to by his brother and the Dowager made his own way in life and had the happiness he deserved with Bridget and Betsy. How hard life must have been back then to marry for title and money and not love.

  22. You kept me up way too late at night but I couldn’t put this one down! One of your best yet! I was glad when Lord John got the best of that nasty brother!! Keep them coming!

  23. I loved the story. And as mentioned, I would love to hear Betsy’s story. But what I am very interested in, is if the Duke finds the love of his life and because of that love, reconnects with his brother.

    1. Thank you so much dear Joy! I am glad you were entertained by this lovely story! Maybe I will keep your interest in mind and think of a sequel for the story 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *