Originally, this little scene took place at the beginning of Chapter 10 in Intentions of the Earl when the Banks family goes to stay in Bath before going to the baron’s house party.
Keep in mind a few things:
- This was originally written to make it indisputable that John and Carolina had a love match, thus Brooke and her sisters had grown up witnessing their parents being in love and believed they, too, could have such a thing.
- This book was my absolute first real story. Before I wrote this book, I’d only written short articles for newsletters or periodical magazines. Please keep that in mind as I know the writing, wording and ideas aren’t what you might come to expect, I only made very minor changes to this scene–not a full out overhaul.
- When I originally wrote this book, I used third person omniscient which means POV can change at any time and you (the reader) are never left without all the information. This allows for us to even hear secondary characters speak or know their thoughts even when the main character isn’t in the room… When I went back to reread what I had, I realized my story would work better in 3rd person limited–which means we stay in only one character’s POV for the entire chapter unless *** or something similar is present. There are actually a great number of well known and loved authors who write 3rd omniscient, and if done right the reader won’t eve notice the POV switch. There’s nothing wrong with writing this way, my problem was I was giving away too much!
Okay, now that you have full warning, here it is:
The Banks family left London for Bath by traveling coach bright and early the next morning. They were to spend a few days seeing the countryside before going to the baron’s house party.
In Bath, they checked in an inn called the Dog and Fox. It was the nicest that Bath had to offer—that still had vacancy, anyway.
“It’ll cost ye four pounds a night for two rooms, with yer meals included,” Mr. McNaught, the Scottish innkeeper, told John.
John made the arrangements while the ladies wandered around to look at the great room. It appeared informal and comfortable. Several divans were placed on the far side of the room, half a dozen dining tables with chairs took up the majority of the center, and off in a corner there was a door that most likely led to a taproom.
“All right, ladies, you may go up now. I’ll run outside and instruct the footmen to bring in our trunks, then I’ll be right up.” John walked back toward the coach while the ladies followed the innkeeper’s wife up the stairs.
“These will be yer rooms,” Mrs. McNaught said as they walked past one closed door and entered the second one. “I’ll bring ye in a cot to this room, so there will be room for ye three to sleep. Since ye brought no maids with ye, I fig’er this’ll be jist fine.”
Looking to Carolina, Mrs. McNaught said, “Ye and yer man will have to share a room. We don’t have enough room to have people not share rooms. Ye’ll sleep in the room we passed along the way. If ye’ll come wit me, I’ll let ye in.” Mrs. McNaught trudged out of the room with Carolina following close behind.
“Here ye are, mum,” Mrs. McNaught said as she was showing Carolina the room she and John would share. “The bed is large enough ye won’t even know yer husband is in there wit ye.”
“The room will do nicely,” Carolina said brightly, making her way to the window to see the view. She didn’t care how large the bed was or wasn’t. She and John hadn’t spent a single night in separate beds for as long as they’d been married and had no intentions to start tonight.
Mrs. McNaught nodded once then went back downstairs to her husband. “Them is some strange gentlefolk. They brought no servants, ‘sept the coachman an two footmen, an the lady showed no disgust at sharing a bed wit her husband.”
“That’s cuz they ain’t gentlefolk,” Mr. McNaught told her vehemently. “Them is Americans, a different breed entirely.” Mr. McNaught followed his comment with an exaggerated shudder, then he raised his chin a notch.
John missed the rest of the conversation between the innkeeper and his wife because he was walking up the stairs to find his own wife. When he opened the door to the room they would share, he saw his wife’s profile. She had not noticed his entrance, so he gazed at her for a few minutes. The sun was shining in the room on her dark brown hair and illuminating her tanned face. Even after all these years, she was still as beautiful as she was the night they’d met.
“Oh, I didn’t realize you came in,” Carolina said when she turned slightly and noticed John was across the room staring at her.
“I only just came in. Is there a good view?” He walked to the window and wrapped his arms around her, pulling her back against his chest.
Carolina leaned against him and together they stared out the window for several minutes. The view was awe-inspiring. If looking to the left, buildings such as a bakery, confection shop, and another boarding house could be seen. To the right was a breathtaking view of scenery. Lush green fields spread out for miles and miles, dips and rises from hills could easily be seen on the thick, green carpet made by the grass. Clusters of trees were sprinkled throughout the rolling hills. Nothing looked as if it had deliberately been planted. It was quite simply a beautiful natural landscape. Off in the distance, in the middle of the breathtaking scene, an old gray manor sat.
“This is so beautiful,” Carolina remarked. When he didn’t confirm or deny her statement, she meekly asked, “Do you ever wish you had come back here instead of choosing to stay in the United States?”
“Never.” John spoke without a second of hesitation. Carolina thought his automatic answer might have been because the circumstances at the time weren’t necessarily favorable for his return, particularly not as a vicar. But her fears and doubts were squelched but a moment later when he continued. “I gave up this beauty for a far better beauty in America: you. I have never had any regrets about that.” To help prove his point, he gave her a little squeeze to assure her that she was more important and beautiful to him than anything in England.
Carolina couldn’t comment back. She was too busy holding in those happy tears he seemed to have no problem creating with nothing more than a simple, well worded sentence.
“We had better go get the girls and go down for dinner. I paid the cook extra to make us some roasted beef. The cook we’ve had in London couldn’t make it right to save her life. I have faith in this one though.”
Together they found their girls, who were having a disagreement—as sisters are wont to do—about which shop to visit first on the morrow…
All right, so not life enriching by any means, but as I said, they have a love match. Also, there are a few clues throughout the passage of what you might find in their book!