A Missing Sketchbook, (More Scenes Inspired by the Regency House Party)

This imagined ending is inspired by the missing sketchbook in The Stable Master's Daughter arc of the Regency House Party. I hope it is not too sacharine:

Mr. Noyce stood in the door, cap in hand. "It still seems me uncomf'table, Mahlord, to call mah master mah son. And ah am right glad, an muckle shy, that mah concerns, eight weeks sence, were proved so unfounded."

"I am right pleased to call you father, sir. And I am just as pleased that your concerns have been so well answered." Furl, Lord Mellencamp bowed to his father-in-law.

"Mah dear daughter." Words failed the rough gentleman, and he embraced his daughter one last time before turning to leave.

"Thank you Father Noyce, and good night. We'll see you on the morrow."

He turned his head and smiled slyly, "Or the day after, perhaps."

"Good night Father!" Tears of joy welled in Lady Mellencamp's eyes yet again.

As her father walked down the path, Lady Mellencamp reached up and placed her hand on Lord Mellencamp's shoulder. "Shall we retire, Milord?"

Lord Mellencamp turned, and swept his bride into his arms, carrying her again across the threshold. "How have I survived, Milady," he asked, rhetorically, eyes only for his wife's eyes, "one house party that turned my world upside down, your father's doubts, and the need to aswage his wrath, six weeks of the banns, and the friendly sharivari that lasted far longer than I had considered possible?"

The warmth of her smile, and of her hands clasped behind his head, brought that heat into his soul, from the fires which he had kept carefully banked.

"Your brother and his own new Lady, the former Miss Autumn, seemed most determined to outlast us in the sharivari -- had it not been for her father's intervention. Have you and your brother always been so competitive?"

"I'm afraid so."

"You could put me down."

"Not yet." He carried her through the halls to the bedchamber, and set her gently on the bed. She would have pulled him down, but he stood back, his brow wrinkled in some mysterious concern.

"I have a confession to make."

Her brow knit in amused consternation as she sat up. "Well, then, please do so."

He stepped back, leaving her a view of her bureau, with it's large vanity mirror reflecting the glow from the candlestick in front of it, showing the contents of the top spread under the unreliable light of the candle. Something on it seemed out of place.

"I had in my possession ... an item that belonged to one of the young ladies at the house party, and I have procrastinated its return until I am afraid I shall never be able to return it to the young miss."

"You speak in riddles, but if you have something that belongs to one of my friends, I can return it."

She would have turned to look at her husband, but something on the bureau top was drawing her attention. With a small cry, she stood and gathered up the sketchbook. "I thought I had lost this! I so feared that it had fallen into the wrong hands."

"I must apologize. I hope you can find a way to return it to its rightful owner."

She turned and raised her face to his for a kiss, and he responed willingly.

"It is done, and she tells me that you shall be forgiven."

"I fear for the tense of that verb."

She opened the sketchbook, and together they looked at her sketches, recalling their friends, and some of the events of the party.

"We owe a bit of a debt to the Duchess."

"She seems to have her own wisdom." She set the sketchbook open to a sketch of Furl, from when she had not yet begun to believe he would have found interest in her.

"My dear, sweet Margarette, you have no idea how much pain that likeness of myself caused me. So stern. So unflattering."

Smiling, she opened the middle drawer and removed a package which she had placed there that morning. "I had the presence of mind," she said as she unwrapped it, "to remove some pages which might have been the cause of embarrassment. Mr. Arachnit, for instance." She spread a page out for him.

"His shadow shows something of your impressions of his character. I see horns there."

"Thank you for being there when he tried to force his attentions on me. I am afraid I owe my honor to you."

"I do not wish to think of it now, but I am grateful I was able to prevent needing to prove that I would have loved you no less had he succeeded."

She reached around his back and they gazed into each others eyes for an interminable moment before she allowed her attention to return to the papers in her lap.

"What do you think of this?" she asked, spreading out another of the removed pages.

"Your opinions of me were not nearly as strict as I had imagined!"

She smiled, and he kissed the back of her neck.

"My Lord, may I have one last request before we retire?"

"What is that, my love?"

She opened another drawer and found charcoal, and took her husband by the hand, leading him back to the bed. Sitting down, she patted the bed beside her.

Puzzled, he sat.

She indicated the mirror.


"Yes, my love." She opened the sketchbook to a blank page.

"Well, one more hour wouldn't hurt."

"It won't take that long, I promise." And she began roughing out a sketch of their reflection in the mirror.

Fifteen minutes later, she held up her work.

"I think I shall treasure this one forever," he said.

She set the sketchpad on the bureau, and we are not privy to the rest of their evening.

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