Dearest, loveliest Meg – Part Thirty-Five

Dear Reader, this is the last installment for Dearest, loveliest Meg. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support.   Chapter Thirty-Five Before I could even draw another breath, Douglas enfolded me in his arms. I settled comfortably against him and, while I began tugging at the bows of my dressing gown, Douglas hissed in sudden disagreement. “Oh no, my little vixen! Uncovering your exquisite body will be my privilege!” His voice was shaking with suppressed need. An answering tug of desire sprang to life low in the area between my … Read more

Dearest, loveliest Meg – Part Thirty-Three

  Chapter Thirty-Three At Watcombe Manor we were immediately greeted by Mother, who came out of the drawing room with her arms full of cloth samples. “Margaret, for Heaven’s sake, where have you been? Marianne’s seamstress is here to see to your wedding gown! God knows we have only so scarce a time to have it finished for the day after tomorrow!” “But Mama, that is impossible! How can poor Madame Grenier finish it so quickly? No, come with me. I will show you what I had in mind for my gown.” I took the two of them up to … Read more

Dearest, loveliest Meg – Part Thirty-Two

  Chapter Thirty-Two My poor Douglas sounded so bitter that my heart ached in sympathy. He was right. Sir Matthew, who begot at least one illegitimate child, surely had no right to cast off his only son over one misstep. While being held prisoner at the Bernards’ house, I discovered the result of Sir Matthew’s own misstep, Amata, the daughter he had with Mrs Bernard before her marriage. We had taken in Douglas’ half-sister at Watcombe Manor after the fire destroyed Nicholas Bernard’s house. The poor creature was in no state to be left on her own after thirty-six years … Read more

Dearest, loveliest Meg – Part Thirty-One

  Chapter Thirty-One Drat! What now, I thought, instantly feeling irritated and nervous. I hastily stood, tucked Douglas’ diary under some documents and retreated to the window to wait for Mother to enter. She did so but I instantly saw that she was not in her usual sour mood. She took a few faltering steps toward me, then stopped in the middle of the room; there was a deep concerned look on her face. “Good morning, Mother,” I said, my voice level and face remote, determined to weather whatever reproach she undoubtedly would throw at me for living in Douglas’ … Read more

Dearest, loveliest Meg – Part Thirty

  Chapter Thirty Even when a stab of remorse pierced my heart, I could not, for the world, have stopped myself from reading Douglas’ diary. The thoroughly feminine urge of a woman, to delve deep into the secrets of the man she loved, washed over me. I wanted to know my Douglas and everything that was in his life. This year’s diary’s first entries in January were about his stay with his cousin on the isle of Jamaica and reports about the tobacco plantation. I rapidly browsed through them, but the entries made little sense to me. Every now and … Read more

Dearest, loveliest Meg – Part Twenty-Nine

  Chapter Twenty-Nine A journey through hell began as our little group struggled to find the front door of the Bernard house. We stumbled through thick blackness, caused by the vile smoke and the dust of falling debris as pieces of the walls and beams began falling down around us. At one point I tripped and fell, releasing Douglas’ shirt. I could not breathe and nearly coughed my heart out, which only caused my lungs to ache even more. Douglas groped for me and I clutched his hand in a death grip. He hauled me back to my feet, shouting … Read more

Dearest, loveliest Meg – Part Twenty-Eight

  Chapter Twenty-Eight Private Diary of Douglas Alexander Spencer   Watcombe Manor, August 15th 1818, three o’clock in the morning                   Jack and I are hurrying into Torquay and to the Bernards’ town house. Thank God I found my father’s will in time in the wall panelling above the bed where Father kept his most cherished belongings. That was how I learnt about his connection with the Bernard family! Margaret must be there, she must be! A message has been sent to Brandon and the magistrate. Pray God we should arrive in time …                     Dobson’s hand … Read more

Dearest, loveliest Meg – Part Twenty-Seven

  Chapter Twenty-Seven “Mrs Bernard, please? Do not let them do this to me!” I cried as Dobson carried me from the room and down the stairs. No answer came from the mother of my abductor. I could not understand! Why? What had I done to her or anyone else to be denied mercy like this? I was also denied the leisure to ponder over this because Dobson headed for a door on a lower landing. He kicked it open and forcibly threw me on a large four poster bed. My head banged against the headboard, leaving me vertiginous for … Read more

Dearest, loveliest Meg – Part Twenty-Six

    Chapter Twenty-Six Private Diary of Douglas Alexander Spencer   Watcombe Manor, August 12th 1818   Something terrible has happened. Margaret – MY Margaret – has met with something dreadful ! She  disappeared yesterday morning after she went out for a ride, apparently to see me at the Manor. Her maid Becky, thoroughly questioned by Brandon, knew almost nothing except that a note arrived at Delaford early in the morning. The note was in a hand that resembled mine but of course, I had not written it. Brandon’s groom confirmed that Miss Dashwood had ridden out on the mare … Read more

Dearest, loveliest Meg – Part Twenty-Five

  Chapter Twenty-Five Douglas was waiting for me at the bottom of the wide spiral staircase that encircled the width of the splendid hall. The expression on his face changed from slightly worried to surprised. I descended the steps with a smile on my face and extended a hand to him. “Dearest,” I said lightly, “you have not showed me the rest of our future home. Is the master bedchamber the only one I am allowed to admire or are there other lovely rooms to be viewed?” His handsome face spread into a cheeky grin and my rake obliged.   … Read more

Dearest, loveliest Meg – Part Twenty-Four

  Chapter Twenty-Four   Douglas spoke very little as we went for a ride on horseback through the midday countryside. Dragon seemed skittish and Douglas used the pressure of his thighs to control the stallion so that my placid mare could keep up with him. The sun was high and shined down on us with considerable heat. I wanted to know where we were going but I was reluctant to brake Douglas’ solemn silence. Soon I saw we were heading towards Watcombe Manor. As always, the signs of extreme neglect as a result of Wilkinson’s indifference filled me with sorrow … Read more

Dearest, loveliest Meg – Part Twenty-Three

  Chapter Twenty-Three Douglas’ kiss was not what I expected. Instead of hungrily invading my mouth with his tongue, he begged entrance in a shy, humble way, almost wooing my lips first by gently licking them. I was surprised and stopped trusting my own tongue into his mouth. Immediately he sweetly began sucking my upper lip, which caused my heart to leap violently within my chest. His mouth made love to my lower lip in slow, stroking movements. A ball of desire began growing in my belly, racing up and down my body like a fire. Dear Lord … “My … Read more

Dearest, loveliest Meg – Part Twenty-Two

  Chapter Twenty-Two My eyes were riveted on Douglas’ suddenly ashen face,  which showed the expressed shock and disbelief he was experiencing. He walked slowly toward Petite-Maman, gently took her hands in his and spoke to her in urgent French. I roughly translated their conversation on behalf of the rest of the audience. It sounded like this: “I beg you, Ma’am, are you certain of the baby’s age?” “I assure you, Monsieur, that the baby was approximately eight pounds in weight. The umbilical cord was wrapped around the neck and he must have died in the womb which caused the … Read more

Dearest, loveliest Meg – Part Twenty-One

  Chapter Twenty-One Elinor, my trustworthy sister, took matters in hand in her usual sensible way. I was whisked away by two maids and brought to my room where they assisted me in bathing and changing into my nightdress. I felt suddenly very worn out and had no objection when Elinor instructed me to bed. I had one plea to her, however, before I was ready to surrender to sleep. “Please, Elinor, make sure Douglas is cared for. He saved my life, several times in fact, and I could not bear to see him slighted by mother.” “I will do … Read more

Dearest, loveliest Meg – Part Twenty

    Chapter Twenty “Dobson,” Wilkinson howled, “go back to the crypt! They are still in the passage!” Meanwhile, I had reached the obstruction resulting from the first cave-in, about twelve to fifteen yards from the outer entrance. “Douglas, hurry,” I shouted, “they are coming!” It had the desired effect, for the moonlight was blotted out from the passage entrance when Wilkinson crawled in. “Where are you, Spencer? You did not think I would forget about your father’s signet ring, I hope? Without it, the documents are no use to me. Come! Surely, by now you will understand it is … Read more

Dearest, loveliest Meg – Part Nineteen

  Chapter Nineteen We were completely out of breath, Douglas and I, by the time we managed to pull the massive stone block aside. It showed a small entrance to a dug-out passage, shored-up by wooden planking which did not seem at all sturdy. “By Jove!” Douglas wheezed, “It seemed much larger when I was ten!” I do not know how but I found some breath and laughed weakly. Soon we were crawling through a pipe that was so low and narrow we were forced to go single file. Douglas went first and I followed. “Mind you stay close to … Read more

Dearest, loveliest Meg – Part Eighteen

  Chapter Eighteen   “Dobson,” Wilkinson howled, “go back to the crypt! They are still in the passage!” Meanwhile, I had reached the obstruction resulting from the first cave-in, about twelve to fifteen yards from the outer entrance. “Douglas, hurry,” I shouted, “they are coming!” It had the desired effect, for the moonlight was blotted out from the passage entrance when Wilkinson crawled in. “Where are you, Spencer? You did not think I would forget about your father’s signet ring, I hope? Without it, the documents are no use to me. Come! Surely, by now you will understand it is … Read more

Dearest, loveliest Meg – Part Seventeen

  Chapter Seventeen   We were completely out of breath, Douglas and I, by the time we managed to pull the massive stone block aside. It showed a small entrance to a dug-out passage, shored-up by wooden planking which did not seem at all sturdy. “By Jove!” Douglas wheezed, “It seemed much larger when I was ten!” I do not know how but I found some breath and laughed weakly. Soon we were crawling through a pipe that was so low and narrow we were forced to go single file. Douglas went first and I followed. “Mind you stay close … Read more

Dearest, loveliest Meg – Part Sixteen

    Chapter Sixteen   My head hung upside down and my arms dangled straight down like those of a rag doll. Dobson had flung me over his shoulder and, with every step he took, a jolt of pain spread from the back of my head all the way down my spine in throbbing waves. For a moment I feared I was going to be sick but I forced myself to breathe deeply. I closed my eyes as I felt my surroundings sway, fighting the nausea that was threatening to overcome me. As this was also preventing me from seeing … Read more

Dearest, loveliest Meg – Part Fifteen

  Chapter Fifteen   “Please, Miss Dashwood, I can’t let yer do that! Ye said the colonel was lookin’ into the guv’nor’s family. ‘E might find the solution and I’m thinkin’ we ought to wait for ‘im to come back! Ye can’t go runnin’ off to that Wilkinson bloke on yer own!” “Jack, I can and I will! I must learn what Wilkinson is hiding and if he has done harm to Douglas. Are you coming with me or not? I will go alone, if I must! Now come along, I have to find Johnny the groom.” Muttering under his … Read more