Index > Ongoing Stories > Mr. Fitzroy and Miss Nott Meet While Out Riding
Mr. Fitzroy and Miss Nott Meet While Out Riding
James Fitzroy is sitting on his horse, observing the countryside around him. Erebus has only arrived the day before but he had been too impatient to ride again to wait any longer. Luckily, the black Andalusian has not suffered from the journey and seems as happy as his master to be out.
Christianna has had riding instruction and is not a bad rider. She simply doesn't have the chance to do it very often and, as in many things, lacks some confidence. But, as Aria is so find of it, and the opportunity abounds here, she has resolved to improve. The dark bay Thoroughbred mare she has borrowed from the stables is placid--which suits her well--and the maid who rides with her on one of the Stanton's horses is clearly a well trained rider.
Fitzroy turns his horse around, intending to go back to Tyrehampton as he has been gone for quite some time now. As he starts riding down the cliff, he spots two ladies coming up the path. Since this particular part of it is quite narrow, he stops on the side to let room for the ladies.
Christianna nods politely to the other rider. "Thank you-Oh, Mr. Fitzroy. Thank you sir." She smiles shyly and can't help saying, "Your mount is absolutely beautiful."
Fitzroy nods when he recognizes the lady. As usual, he is unsmiling. "You're welcome Miss Nott. I thank you, Erebus is indeed a nice specimen." He pats the horse lightly as he says so. "I trust you are well?"
"Yes, thank you sir, and yourself?"
"I am in good health, thank you." He searches for a suitable subject of conversation, never really at ease with small talk. Seeing as she has made a comment on his horse, he thinks it's as good a subject as any. "Is this your horse, Miss Nott?"
"No, I am afraid I do not have my own mount. I am borrowing her. Cleopatra, I believe, is her name. I can claim no great skill at riding, but we seem to get along." She smiles and strokes the horse's neck.
He nods "She seems like a placid mount from what little I have seen, quite suited for a novice rider." He stays silent afterwards, having no idea how to continue the conversation.
Christianna blushes a little. "Indeed. Not for hard riding or hunting perhaps, but she suits me. Do you enjoy either sir? Hunting or racing or the like?"
"I do enjoy both. Hunting mostly, but I am not opposed to racing once in awhile. I chose an Andalusian for that exact reason. They are well known for their endurance." He racks his brain for a way to forward the conversation. "Do you ride often?"
"Not frequently, as I said, I do not have my own mount. But my friends enjoy it, so I thought to improve my skill."
He frowns "Is that the same friend who reads philosophy?"
". . . yes," She says cautiously.
"You went to the library and borrowed that book because she asked it of you. Now you're riding because she likes it."
". . . Yes?" Christy is a bit bemused.
"Do you always do what others ask of you?" He seems to be studying her, though it's hard to tell.
Christy stiffens a little. "She didn't ask this of me. I practice because I know she enjoys it and I enjoy spending time with her. Surely you can understand that. Don't you have friends?" She immediately turns red and apologizes. "I-I apologize sir. That was exceedingly impolite of me. I should not have spoken so. Forgive me, I-I didn't mean it to come out like that."
He stares at her for a moment before answering. "Apology accepted. I suppose I should apologize too. In retrospect I think my question might have been rude. And to answer your question, Miss Nott, I do have friends, though I do not usually bend to their will." Thinking about Finch, he adds after a second "Most of the time."
Still blushing, she inclines her head. "Apology accepted. I . . . I think of it less as bending to my friend's will as being accommodating when it does me no harm." She looks down with a rueful smile. "Young ladies have little occupation other than to be consistently pleasant. I suppose I should not hold gentlemen to the same standard, nor be so oversensitive."
He frowns slightly at her words, looking at her thoughtfully. "I have never given it a thought before but...it must not always be easy being a lady. You are indeed expected to always smile and be pleasant while gentlemen can be as rude as they wished and get away with it." He pauses again. "I should know."
Her lips twitch. "There are trade offs, I suppose. I do not find my obligations unpleasant at least. I enjoy riding and embroidery and sewing."
He nods, as if she is confirming something for him. "You seem like a compliant young lady."
She smiles curiously. "Compliant to what precisely, Mr. Fitzroy?"
"You said you do not mind your obligations as a lady. You obviously do not mind obeying rules or pleasing people."
"No, not usually. I suppose there are always times when it will grate on one, but for the most part I feel that following the guidelines of society is what I would do anyway." She smiles warmly and says dutifully, "I suppose I must credit my parents with that."
He finds himself responding to her smile with a small one of his own. He cannot help admire the sense of duty she seems to hold for her parents. "They raised you well."
She smiles shyly. "Thank you, sir." She hesitates then inclines her head. "I should not keep you. Good day, Mr. Fitzroy."
He blinks, suddenly realizing that they have been talking for quite some time. He is rather surprised to find he has been enjoying their conversation and is a little reluctant to leave. He doesn't hesitate though, and inclines his head as well. "Indeed, I should go home. Good day, Miss Nott." He kicks his horse and continues on his way without looking back.
Christy guides her horse forward, looking thoughtful, but likewise not looking back.
|Posted 5 months ago|