Duchess of the Shire

This blog is a fictional account of a semi-Georgian Duchess. It was inspired by the love of all things 18th century and is purely the work of my imagination. All stories, themes, names and addresses http://duchessoftheshire.blogspot.com/ are fictional but also under the UK copyright laws. © .

I hope you enjoy everything that you read and it gives you some insight to a troubled, scandalous and rebellious Duchess.

D. S.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The weeks are flying by and there is more and more talk of the Christmas festivities. Father has even introduced the idea of travelling South for the winter and meeting up with friends and family in the Southern Hemisphere. Not the Antipodes however, Mother will stay with her new found 'friends' on the side of the ever-expanding world. Father is talking about his beloved Africa. His home. And what was once my home, my childhood home. 

At first I was very excited to return; imagine going back somewhere you haven't set foot in fifteen years! But now I have a few trepidations ~ what if I fall back in love with Africa? What if it is not as wonderful as I remember? What if I want to stay?

I know myself well enough (now!) to fear my spontaneity. Only sometimes. But this could be one of those times. 

The Duke of Albany and I had talked about spending the new year in a castle amongst the Austro-Hungarian Empire and he's already expressed his disappointment if we do not go. There isn't enough time to do everything! The two of us only have a fortnight to include as much of his family, what's left of my family and our friends. Let alone trying to fit in three countries and two continents! 

The traveller in me instantly jumped at the chance to go to Africa again, but would a week suffice? If I have this longing should I not explore it further and stay for longer when the time is more convenient? Also the Duke would not follow me to Africa - one continent is more than enough, and it is unfair to ask him to abandon his own family at such a time as this. But do I want to spend my Christmas without him?

There are too many questions and the clock is forever ticking...

D. S. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

I had started a rather lamentable post about how I had nothing to look forward to this weekend and that the months ahead of me are looking rather bleak as I begin to buckle down and concentrate on my new position as its true, the work has piled up. 

However, Belle to the rescue. 

Out of the blue she appeared yesterday with several snippets of gossip about the new man in her life AND she had the foresight to bring with her two invitations to a local dance! She fanned them at me and teased my relentlessly before she allowed me to read the inscription. We giggled like adolescents and beautified ourselves, trying on clothes and laughing as we reminisced about the times we used to spend doing exactly that

She is an absolute wonder and I cannot thank her enough for brightening my somewhat dampened spirits just when I needed her to. And without having to ask her! I suppose that's what friends are for, even after all these years! The Duke of Albany, the dear thing, didn't bat an eyelid as I frolicked around in various states of undress with Belle before we went out. In fact I slightly think he would have enjoyed accompanying us, but he was far too courteous to ask, and though I do adore his company, sometimes there is nothing better than a night out with your best friend.

The dance was a very relaxed affair; nothing like the Balls and Fêtes I have attended in the past, but it reminded me of the days I used to spend in disguise, wanting to make the most of my youth and spend it with people from all walks of life. The aristocracy and nobility may seem to have it all but really we're all restrained from showing our feelings and our bound by duty and obligation. Despite all our fancies, I know I cannot be the only one who would willingly share some of my wealth in order to gain some freedom. 

I'm speaking like a liberal! Whatever would my Father say? I loved my night with Belle and it truly pulled me out of the doldrums, so I shall write her a thank you note.

It is the right, dutiful and courteous thing to do next. 

D. S.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

The nights are drawing longer and the mornings seem somewhat darker than they were only a week ago. Winter is most certainly on its way, and the furs are being beaten in preparation for the first frosts. It is never my favourite time of year because I always prefer the glory of summer days, but Autumn and Winter do bring about a certain 'je ne sais quoi'.

We had a trial run of the supposed Christmas festivities that the Duke had organised as he invited his parents to travel over from Bohemia for a few days. It was rather sprung upon me, but he had organised everything magnificently so there was very little for me to do other than be myself and entertain (which does just come naturally to me, of course). It does mean, however, that I have neglected my duties somewhat to my Royal charge and fully intend to make the most of this spare time to catch up on things I ought to have done. 

It is not particularly taxing work, however it does take up rather a lot of time, and I've been so exhausted recently I've needed more and more sleep. Indeed I rather out did myself lat night and slept for a full twelve hours. I haven't had a chance to do that since before I left for the Antipodes!

I do have to admit, it was lovely having the Duke's family here, they were very kind and brought messages from Bohemia. It seems that Christmas will most certainly be full-steam ahead now that we've had such a success here in the north... And now I do not have a leg to stand upon (though I may berate the Duke, just for a few giggles).

Belle and I did promenade the Docks, asking questions about our respective love lives. Her and the Gameskeeper have been parted long enough that she has acquired a new man friend, though she made me promise not to mention him here... I shall have to keep to that promise as it is only a fledgling relationship and not yet fair for me to comment upon ~ not that it is ever fair for me to cast judgement!

In fact the Duke and I have now celebrated our first anniversary together! None were more shocked than we to think we'd still be together after our unconventional meeting and even more perverse courtship, but dare I say we are happier than ever? The darling governess from the Convent even commented this weekend, that she's safe in the knowledge that despite our bickering, the Duke and I love each other. It made me blush to hear another's opinion of my relationship (which is why I need to stop being so judgemental) but I smiled radiantly beneath the blush at the truth of it all.

I've had relationships where the passion quickly fades to indifference and routine. It is far from that with the Duke of Albany. We argue and berate each other, tease and torment, only to forgive and forget... eventually. I wouldn't want our relationship any other way.

D. S.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Another week has passed and to think I have made the northern county my home for a month beggars belief. Where has the time gone? I adore being back in the city where my writing first began, though this second time round is a far cry to the debauchery that used to be a familiar occurrence

It is only a few days from the celebration of our first anniversary; the Duke of Albany and I have beaten the odds and survived a long-distance relationship, crossed continents and now live within a stones throw from each other. It is an ideal world I have somehow stumbled upon, and I have to pause and thank the gods for my fortunes, so as not to incite any bad luck.

The sun is shining, but there is a chill in the air as autumn creeps and bustles around the scurrying of the city I have grown to love with a renewed zest. My brand new role, which I witter on about it probably more than I should, is completely delightful. It has opened my eyes to the hardships that some people endure from such a young age, and it makes me want to know more. I can barely put my books down for want of needing to find out more.

I am off tonight with my dearest Belle at long last. She has recovered from her sickness and we are to celebrate our youth and delight in the world around us (though not quite like we used to...) despite having caught a sniffle myself.

October draws nearer and my Father has hinted that he shall spend the Autumn on the Continent, which has made me rather jealous, though there is nowhere else I'd rather be right now. Mother as it so happens, is enjoying her time in the Antipodes, when and if she shall ever return are hazy answered questions, impossible to pin down.

Just in case you ever wondered where my wanderlust came from...

D. S.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Tomorrow shall be something completely different to what I am used to, but unfortunately it is not something I can write about. Discretion, as I mentioned at the beginning of the month, is paramount, and I enjoy my position far too much to want to give anything away at the moment. Just know this, it shall pave the way for many, greater opportunities and I hope to learn a lot. 

Another weekend is drawing to a close and I am grateful to note the Duke and myself have barely spent any time apart. He hasn't made any comments about the whereabouts of the new embassy directly, but he has hinted at many different locations within the city. It is ever so intriguing to be somewhat a part of political change. 

True, we have to still discuss our plans of the ever looming Christmas festivities (I personally think it is too early to even think of the occasion as we have not yet had the (dis)pleasure of All Hallow's Eve) but the Duke is determined to invite his family over from Bohemia. 

It isn't that I am not fond of his family, quite the opposite really! Nevertheless I would much rather return to Bohemia and make the most of what little time I have to travel now that I have committed myself to a vocation. I'm sure there is at least the one ulterior motive that I am unaware of, and honestly I don't need to have a reason, I would just like to understand the logistics.

Poor Belle has been feeling under the weather and warned me away from her, so I haven't had a chance to see her, nor was I able to send anything to make her feel better. I hope she recovers soon enough because there are days and nights aplenty for when her presence would be sorely desired. 

I am looking forward to the coming of the new week. New challenges shall arise and as always I intend to meet them head on. 

D. S.