A Love Portrait for the Silent Duke – Extended Epilogue

Amberley Manor, Devon, 1813

The Right Honourable Lord Graham and Lady Selina Hancock, Duke and Duchess of Westcott, had remained in London for only a few short months following their London wedding. The season was well over by this time, in any case. And aside from a small commission of Lady Selina’s to paint a portrait of the lady with whom her sister had resided from February until August of that year, there was nothing to keep them in the city. Besides which, Selina had a yearning to go back to Devon, and his wife’s wishes were of the utmost importance to her husband.

Once Selina had completed her commission, Lord Graham had packed up the house and the household, and they had all returned to the country just in time to begin preparations for Christmas. Selina’s sister, Lady Alice Langley, had come with them, for she did not wish to stay in the London house alone, and she had left the employ of her London family.

“I will arrange for a household if you would like to stay in London,” Graham had said to his sister-in-law. But she had replied that she would return when the new season began the following summer.

When they reached the Devon estate, Selina was sad to see that she had missed the heather up on the moors, for it had gone over long before they had returned, by which time even the brown and dying leaves were nothing but a memory.

They had even had the entire estate to themselves, for Graham’s mother had not yet taken up residence in the dowager house. Instead, she had joined her fiancé, the Duke of Kenilworth (“call me Kenny!”), on a grand tour of Europe. As each week passed, another letter arrived from the couple telling of their adventures.

In the new year, they held their very first party at the country house. Mrs Allender, one of the guests, admired a portrait that hung over the fireplace in the morning room.

“I do not remember seeing that when last we visited,” she said to Graham.

“That,” said Graham proudly, “is my wife’s late parents.”

His wife was indeed within hearing distance, and she smiled as she heard the pride in her husband’s voice.

“The house behind them is most interesting, with the two-storey bay window,” continued Mrs Allender. Where is it?”

Selina drifted over to join them, with Mr Allender trailing behind her. “It is in Kent, Mrs Allender,” she said.

“And is that a faithful depiction? Or is it from your own imagination?”

“It looks exactly like that,” Selina replied

“I think that I would like to be able to draw and paint,” said Mr Allender.

“Yes,” agreed his wife. “I would like to do that too. Tell me, Your Grace,” she said to Selina. “Do you teach drawing and painting?”

Selina glanced at her husband. “You will have to ask Lord Graham that,” she said, smiling.

“I believe that I was my wife’s very first pupil,” admitted Graham.

“Actually,” piped up Lady Alice, who had also drifted into the conversation by now. “I think that you will find that I was my sister’s very first pupil.”

It amused Selina to hear them fighting to be the first.

“But are you any good?” Asked Mr Allender.

“I must admit that I am not,” sighed Alice. “But my brother-in-law picked it up most exceedingly well.”

“You should not be so hard on yourself,” Selina chided her sister. Then, to the Allenders, “But yes, my husband did become quite the exceptional student. “

Mrs Allender sighed. “I do wish that I could do it.”

The conversation sowed a seed of something in Selina’s mind, and as they were preparing for bed later that evening, she broached the subject with her husband. “What do you think of teaching our guests how to draw and paint?” She asked him.

As he climbed into his side of the bed, he paused and thought for a moment. “I think that is a splendid idea.”

“It will certainly give them something else with which to occupy their time until the season is upon us again,” said Selina.

From the end of January until the beginning of April, each weekend, the duke and duchess’s parties became legendary.

On fine days they would pack a cart with easels, folding chairs and all the drawing and painting materials that they needed, and they would drive down to the rocky beach or up to the wild and windy moors. Or they would simply setup on the front lawn, as Graham and Selina had done only the previous year.

On miserable days, when the wind howled outside, and rain thrashed at the house, they would congregate in the old school room and learn the theory of art. Or they would practise painting still life.

“We should be charging for this,” Graham had said to his wife when the last party of the spring was over, and their guests were leaving. It was Easter, and many were preparing to go to London for the season, but Graham and Selina were looking forward to having their home to themselves again for a while.

“Perhaps,” agreed Selina.

“My mother has written to us from Venice,” said Graham over breakfast one day. Lady Edith and Lord Kenny had been in Italy for several weeks already.

“They are having such a wonderful time,” replied Selina. “Florence, Milan, Rome. And now, Venice. I should very much like to see Venice. I believe that it is an entire city built upon canals.”

“It is indeed, my love,” replied her husband.

“I do not know if I would be able to go for only a short while,” said Selina. “I would want to stay and paint it for ever.”

Graham laughed. “And it would probably take you for ever too!”

“Have you ever been to Italy?” she asked.

“Yes,” he said quietly. “I have fought there.”

Selina could have bitten her tongue right off. Unless her husband brought the subject up, she did try to avoid all mention of the war. Now she said instead, “I do hope that your mother and the duke will be safe.”

“It will be the most exciting time of my mother’s life!” Exclaimed Graham. “But let us wait until the war is well and truly over before we decide to visit the continent again.”

They ate in silence for a few minutes, then Selina said, “I think that I should like to travel.”

Graham looked up from his plate. “But surely not to Europe? Not yet?”

“No, not Europe. I should like to visit the lakes in the north of England.”

Her husband placed his cutlery on his plate and leaned his elbows on the table. “If that is my wife’s wish, then that is what we will do.”

On the day the duke and duchess left Amberley Manor for their journey north to the English Lakeland, Selina had another request.

“May we visit Lady Catherine and Lord Jeffrey?” She asked.

Lady Catherine had been delivered of a healthy baby daughter, and Selina and Alice longed to see the new arrival.

“I am sure that Alice would like to come with us, and she will most likely stay with the Urquharts when we continue north.”

“I must admit that I would be happier leaving her with the commodore and his wife than rattling alone around this place,” Graham replied. “But should we turn up unannounced?”

“Oh yes. Lady Catherine would much prefer us to do that in any case.”

“Really, why is that?”

“She will not have had to worry and fuss that everything is quite acceptable,” explained Selina. “She very much likes the surprise without the stress beforehand. And she adores having visitors.”

“Very well,” he said. “In that case, I do not see why not.”

Both Lady Catherine and Lord Jeffrey were most pleased to see Selina, Alice and Graham, although Selina’s friend did look tired. When they were introduced to little Olivia, Selina shooed Lady Catherine away. “Go and have a lie down,” she said. “You look as though you could do with some sleep.”

At first, Lady Catherine did not look as though she wished to be parted from her daughter. “Has she been fed?” Asked Selina. When Lady Catherine nodded, she added, “Then she will not miss her mother for half an hour. Go! Alice and I will look after her.”

“I think that I will play with her,” argued Alice as Lady Catherine dragged herself away.

“And I will take Lord Graham into the drawing room where we shall have a glass of port and a cigar,” said Lord Jeffrey. “Unless you would like to stay with the ladies?”

Graham laughed and followed his host, saying, “I take it you will be hiring a nanny?”

“We will if my wife will ever relinquish the child to another,” replied Lord Jeffrey.

Alice played with Olivia until the baby fell asleep in her arms. Selina crept out of the room, dashed out to their carriage, and returned with her sketch pad and a pencil. As her sister sat in the armchair cradling the infant, Selina committed the image to paper. “I will paint her picture just as soon as we have settled,” she whispered. “And I will send it to Lady Catherine as a keepsake, to remind her of how little her daughter once was.”

“That is a splendid idea,” Alice whispered in reply. “I will have a lot of fun staying here with this little one,” she added.

Ullswater, Westmorland

Selina found it hard to believe that there was any place in England more beautiful than North Devon. Yet here she was in the English Lakeland in the county of Westmorland, surrounded by mountains and lakes that stole her breath away. They had settled in a house on the banks of Ullswater where each evening Selina thumbed through her well-read copy of Select Views in Cumberland, Westmoreland and Lancashire by the Reverend Joseph Wilkinson. She particularly enjoyed the introduction at the start of the publication entitled Guide to the Lakes, as this gave her plenty of ideas of where to go and what to see.

“Why do you think that the Lakeland has become so popular of late with holidaymakers?” She asked her husband one morning. “I had expected to have the place virtually to ourselves, but there are very many people here apparently with the same idea.”

He looked up from his newspaper. “I expect it will be for the exact same reason that we are here and not in Italy with my mother.”

Of course, thought Selina. The war. “Then I hope that they are not disappointed,” she said. “It truly is very pretty here, and the views are to die for.”

“Yes, I have noticed that your sketch pad is filling up with drawings of mountains and lakes and working boats. You seem to be very drawn to the water, my love. First the sea in Devon, and now the lakes here in Westmorland. Have you decided where you wish to go today?”

“There are so many to choose from. I think that I would like to go back to Pooley Bridge. The village there is very pretty, especially where the river runs beneath the bridge.”

“Would you like to climb to the top of Hallin Fell?” He asked, folding his newspaper and putting it to one side so that he could give her his full attention. “I understand that the views from the top are truly spectacular on a clear day.”

“Yes, I do believe that I would,” she replied. “Can we ride there on horseback from Pooley Bridge?”

“I believe we can ride some of the way, but it may be too steep for horses.”

Selina screwed up her face. “I do not believe that I should be doing any climbing,” she said.

Mr Jackson, the butler, had travelled with them to Ullswater. He interrupted them now with a bundle of letters just as Graham was about to ask Selina what she meant.

“I could not help but overhear, Your Grace, as I walked into the room,” he said, “but you may wish to catch up with some of these letters before you go out for the day.”

“Do any of them require a reply, Jackson?” asked Graham.

“I doubt it, Your Grace, as they have all been forwarded from Devon.”

Selina jumped up to greet him. “Are there any for me, Mr Jackson?”

“There are several for you both,” he replied. “If you would care to move into the parlour, I can arrange for the breakfast items to be cleared away.”

“Thank you, Jackson,” said Graham. “Yes, we will do that.” He too got to his feet, and Selina followed him into the other room, where together they sifted through the pile of letters.

“My mother and future step-father are in Austria,” said Graham. “Or they were…” he checked the date at the top of the page “…two weeks ago.”

“How nice,” breathed Selina. “My sister has met a young man.”

“Is she in Bath?”

“No, she is in London. She is staying with her family again, but this time she is a guest rather than a paid companion.”

“My Aunt Freda wants to come to see us,” said Graham. “She has some news to pass on.”

“She will be engaged to Thomas,” said Selina.

Graham looked up at her in shock. “Do you really think so?”

“Oh yes,” said Selina. “We ladies, we miss nothing.”

Graham pulled a face and returned to his correspondence. “It looks as though you may be correct,” he said. “Thomas would also like to come and see us.”

Selina nodded. “I have a letter from my father’s solicitor.”

Again, she had her husband’s attention. “Really? What does he have to say?”

“He says that my cousin, Lord Richard Langley, is being sectioned.”

“For madness?” asked Graham.

“Oh yes,” said Selina. “He is quite mad.”

“But what does it have to do with you?”

“It means that Langley Manor and what is left of the estate may be returned to my sister and me.”

“Good lord,” said Graham. “Does the man have no family of his own?”

“It appears not.”

“Then who is having him sectioned?”

Selina scanned the page. “His doctor.”

“Good lord,” repeated Graham.

When they had caught up with the letters that had been forwarded to them from Amberley Manor, Graham asked Jackson to arrange for some horses to be brought to the front of the house.

“Actually,” said Selina, “I think I may prefer to travel by carriage today, if we could.”

“Are you not feeling well?” asked Graham, puzzled, for it was usually his wife who insisted that they ride.

“I am feeling quite well, but I think I would like to go to Windermere.”

“Have you seen something of interest in your guidebook?” he asked.

“Yes. The town seems to be a pretty little place, and the lake is the largest out of all of them. Or the longest, at least. I should like very much to see it.”

“Then see it you shall.”

“I would also like to visit Glencoyne Bay.”

Graham frowned. “What is at Glencoyne Bay? It sounds as though it is on the coast.”

“No, it is here, in Ullswater.”

“Is that in your guidebook as well?” He asked.

“No, but it is where the poet William Wordsworth was apparently inspired to write one of his poems.”

“Ah yes, the one about the daffodils. I remember now,” he said. “Is it not too fine a day to be enclosed in a carriage?” He asked, while Mr Jackson awaited his request.

“I can ask for a landau,” said the butler. “If it rains or becomes a little chilly, you will be able to raise one of the hoods.”

“Or both of the hoods,” agreed Selina.

“Then a landau it is.”

“Will you require a driver, Your Grace?”

“No, I think I would like to drive it myself, thank you.”

Graham and Selina had a most enjoyable day out in the landau, and the weather stayed fine throughout, so they did not need to put either of the hoods up. When they reached Glencoyne Bay, they spread a rug upon the ground and enjoyed a picnic the cook had sent with them.

“This is the life,” said Graham when they had eaten. He stretched out on the rug beside Selina, who was sitting against a pile of cushions.

“I think I should like to stay here for a while longer,” said Selina. “Here in Westmorland.”

“You are inspired to paint?” He said. “I know that I am.”

“Yes, I would love to paint all of these landscapes.”

“And sell them in your gallery shop in Ilfracombe?” he asked.

“Perhaps,” she said. “Although I think that my shop in Ilfracombe may be a long way off yet.”

“How long would you like to spend here, in the English Lakeland, my love?”

“Oh, at least until the baby is old enough to travel —”

Graham shot up like a dart and stared at her. “The baby?” He said. She nodded and smiled at him. “Oh, my love! You are with child?”

“Yes, I am,” she replied.

He started to fuss about her cushions. “Are you comfortable? Are you warm enough? Is there something I can get you…?” His shocked expression turned to one of understanding. “Aha! So that is why you did not wish to go climbing today?”

“It is,” she replied, still smiling at him. “One of my letters was from the physician. He says that I am approximately ten weeks into my pregnancy.”

Graham jumped to his feet. “And when was his letter dated?” he asked, beginning to pace around the rug.

“About two weeks ago.”

“That means that you are three months along?” he said, stopping and pulling her to her feet. He started to dance with her, and then he stopped, instead sweeping her up into his arms and placing her gently back into the landau.

“What are you doing?” she asked.

“You cannot sit on the ground in your condition!” He said, taking the rug and covering her knees with it.

“I am not an invalid,” she laughed. “I am merely pregnant.”

She pushed the rug to one side and clambered out of the carriage again, collecting the wooden box that contained her travel paints.

“Come,” she said. “I want to paint the view that William Wordsworth saw when he was here.”

“But there are no daffodils,” complained Graham, trailing after her.

“Then we must use our imagination,” she said.

THE END


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71 thoughts on “A Love Portrait for the Silent Duke – Extended Epilogue”

    1. I absolutely loved reading this it story I was unable to put it down and I love the
      extended episodes.

  1. Another extremely gripping story, that has Salina and Graham navigating an emotional journey, and needing to overcome his mother’s prejudices to arrive at their desires and wishes. The extended epilogue gives us a marvellous glimpse into their futures, and a unique revelation of impending arrival. Brilliant job, I am eagerly awaiting your next story.

  2. I love their story! I love how she fell I. Love with her duke and how she was able to look beyond his “disability”!

    Theirs is truly a wonderful story of 2 hearts beating as one! Loved it and would definitely recommend it wholeheartedly. Wonderful!!!

  3. Another fantastic story. Read it in one sitting as I couldn’t wait to see the outcome.

  4. A great story. Finished it in one session. I could not stop! One of the best things is that there were no typos or gender errors (my pet peeve!) The story line was engaging and the way the two communicated was precious. Thank you for such a wonderful day of reading.

    1. I really appreciated the fresh story line of this novel. Stories where confusion of one’s feelings or expectations for 85% of the book are tedious and boring.
      It made me wonder about the history of sign language and if they were using something similar to the real sign language of today.
      What was a little vague for me was what actually happened to Graham and Thomas. Torture was implied but not really confirmed by Graham who was suddenly able to speak without a breakthrough of some sort.
      In any case, I liked the characters. I am glad lady Edith didn’t turn out to be a villain in the end. Good job.

  5. I really loved this story. Such engaging characters, written with sensitivity. A great read.

  6. I loved the whole story! I grew to love the characters and how it was resolved! Great book!

  7. If you could get the title errors corrected, it would be almost perfect. Dukes aren’t Lord Anything, ever. Duchesses are not Lady Anything. Daughters of lords are never Lady Surname, ever. It would be Lady Title for a married woman, Lady Firstname for a lord’s unmarried daughter. Formally it would Lady Selina Langley or just Lady Selina. Lady Langley would suggest she’s a married woman with a husband whose title is Langley. The times you used Lady Emmeline’s surname was also incorrect. Lord Jeffrey would have been Lord Title, or Commodore Surname. Lord Firstname is only for the younger son of a duke or a marquess. The story was fascinating, but almost every single form of address used was incorrect.

  8. Truly wonderful tale.Especially like how art therapy was utilized to effect a recovery process. Incredible to believe that people were so narrow minded to regard the young woman in such a nasty manner when her life situation was not of her doing anything wrong. Really interesting & totally absorbing story!!!!! Enjoyed very much. A great tale by a talented author.

  9. What a lovely story of a sweet caring woman determined to help Graham recover from his war injuries. Great ending and extended epilogue.

  10. A story full of emotions, from sadness, to pure happiness. Well done. Thank you.

  11. I truly enjoyed this story so much. It is one of my favorites and there were none of the typographical errors I have seen in some books lately. Set story and interesting characters. Loved it

  12. It’s truly satisfying to reach the ending of a novel and find the main characters (you’ve lived with and through) enjoying true happiness despite persevering through strife, trauma, and drama to get there.

  13. Thoroughly enjoyed this book. I read it in one sitting. Couldn’t put it down as I was anxiously awaiting for Graham to start talking. Couldn’t really understand Lady Edith suddenly turning on Selina the way she did except that she did truly feel Selina was only after the prestige of Graham’s title, money, etc., or was it jealousy because Selina was helping her son where she had failed? Glad that Graham got his voice back and found his friend Thomas. Glad that Graham and Selina got their HEA, along with Graham’s mother and her duke, Thomas and Freda, and possibly Alice. The Extended Epilogue was great. I really enjoy books that have these. Will definitely recommend to my friends. Will probably read this book again.

  14. A great and enjoyable story that tugs at the heart. Carol you did it again. Thanks.

  15. A beautiful story of love and forgiveness. It was too good to out down until I finished it. Thank you Bridgett Barton for another great reading experience.

  16. A beautiful story of love and forgiveness. It was too good to put down until I finished it. Thank you Bridgett Barton for another great reading experience.

  17. Loved this enthralling, entertaining, poignant Novella. Thrilling, from start to finish. Thanks for this enjoyable, captivating, excellent, exciting read. Looking forward to more, from a very talented author.

  18. Bridget, this is one of your best regency romances. The storyline is unique and impossible to put down. I finished reading the book in one sitting. Selina and Graham are delightful.

  19. Thank you for this wonderful story I felt as though I was in the story with the characters , this is the kind of book that I love to read, please keep. Up the good work ..Joy

  20. This is yet another great love story you’ve written and Iv thouroughly enjoyed reading. The communication between Selena and Graham was brilliant and they made a lovely couple. I’m glad Thomas returned alive and well. The extended epilogue completed the story well leaving no characters in the story unfinished. . A brilliant read. Thank you

  21. Again another lovely story,with lovely characters.The story is well written .I started the book I could not put it down until I got to the end . Thank you for the chance to read this story

  22. I fell in love with the characters of this story. I wouldn’t mind a sequel.
    You left an opening for one with her being pregnant.
    Please consider it.

    Your faithful reader,

  23. Loved the story. The characters were wonderful. The extended end was so great.hope you write a sequel. I would love to hear what happens to Alice and the Dukes aunt. Love your books.

  24. I’ve sat the entire day and read this book. I’m now starving but it was worth it. Interesting people and plot, I loved it.

  25. I stumbled upon you on goodreads and just wanted to say how much i enjoy your books.
    I really love the characters and storys you created.

  26. Loved the story and how Selina was able to see past Graham’s “handicap” to see him as a regular person with all the needs and concerns we all share.

  27. This book and extended epilogue was really really fun! This book is so engaging. From the very first chapter, I was thrust into the book and wrapped in this new world. I didn’t want to stop reading this book. I wanted more after the extended epilogue. I want to find out what happens to Selina and Graham after they have their baby. I want to find out what happens with Thomas and Freda, and I want to find out what happens to Alice.

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