Character Interview – Lady Elizabeth Dowling
by Jessie Bennett
I am in a light, airy parlour which smells fragrantly of rosewater and lavender. I lean back on the embroidered cushion behind me and contemplate the view of the well-kept garden beyond the windows. I feel peaceful and anticipatory at once: I think it is because I am awaiting the arrival of the beautiful Lady Elizabeth, heroine of my latest book.
I hear a light footfall in the corridor, and breathe in, noticing that the rosewater and lavender scents are stronger. Her ladyship must be nearby.
The door is held open by a footman, and a lady floats in. I stand, and stare at her. I cannot help it. Tall and exquisitely proportioned, with a long neck and bright blue eyes, she takes all of my attention at once. She is wearing a white muslin dress decorated with a design of tiny flowers. She has small, scented flowers in her blonde hair, which is styled in a loose but elegant updo. I breathe in the floral scent of her and try and find my voice.
“My lady…” I begin hesitantly.
“Good afternoon!” she says, smiling. “Please, sit down.” She gestures to the ample seating and I settle on an upholstered couch. She sits on the chaise-lounge opposite, tucking her skirt under her becomingly.
“I wanted to ask you some questions,” I begin, “and I think your marriage would be a good place to start?”
“Well,” she smiles, “first we must allow Mrs Alec to furnish us with tea and refreshments, and then we can get down to the business of discussing wedding plans?”
I smile. She is so beautiful, but so welcoming. It would be impossible not to like her.
The maid appears with a tray of tea and biscuits, and I wait for her Ladyship to pour before I hesitantly sample the tea. It smells exquisite, and I sip it slowly.
“Well,” she says, licking her tongue across her full pink lips, “that tea is certainly hot!”
I draw in a breath, amazed by the pull her unconscious sexiness has even on me. I begin to understand why a duke would decide on her as a match at once.
“My lady,” I say, deciding to ask her about that, “I understand your upcoming marriage was settled on at once?”
“Oh, no!” her ladyship laughs, a sound like pealing bells. “I was ever so undecided, actually. It took me ages to follow my heart in this.”
“I didn’t believe the duke could love me!” she observes, and laughs her tinkling laugh again. “It was so silly, I think now. But I just couldn’t see it. And there were enough people sour about our instant attraction to try and poison it if they could,” she adds, and her beautiful face clouds over.
I am interested in that, but I do not like to see her sad. I choose to ask another question.
“You hesitated to marry him. But you decided to. Why?”
“It was because he made his feelings clear. And he was so clearly honourable. When he fought that duel for me…”
“He fought a duel about you?” My eyes are wide. “Though I am not surprised men would fight for your hand, my lady.”
She laughs mischievously, and I am reminded that she is the eldest of four sisters. There is something sisterly about her, and I find myself liking her even more.
“I am pleased to hear it!” she adds, still giggling. “But I must say, it distressed me terribly. Two men fighting. What if one had been killed? It was silly of him,” she says fondly. “Though it was his dealings with his opponent afterwards, the way he handled it, that won my heart.”
“It was because he fought honourably?”
“It was because he is honourable,” Lady Elizabeth said strongly. “He is a fine man – upstanding, supportive, serious in his role as duke. It was that which finally swayed my heart, I think.”
I smile. “So you look for goodness of heart in a man, my lady?”
“That,” she agrees readily, “and a sensible head. What the head looks like does, I must admit, have the power to sway me. Especially the eyes.”
“You notice a man’s eyes first?”
“Mm,” Lady Elizabeth agreed, delicately selecting a biscuit and biting into it. She swallowed and continued. “His eyes, and his posture.”
“His posture?” I blink at her, surprised.
“Mm,” she agrees again. “You should always notice the way a man stands. If he walks bent over or cautiously, you can see he is not confident, or maybe even hiding something. A man who has the confidence to walk tall is a man who has the strength to be his own person. And I like that.”
“You like confident men?”
“I like men who have personality. Even if they are hesitant men, I like that they own themselves unashamedly. If they feel uncertain, or ashamed of themselves, they will always seek that assurance from you. Which can be burdensome.” She smiles.
I nod. “That is wise, lady Elizabeth.”
She blushes prettily, and I notice again how lovely she is. Delicate and beautiful, like a flower.
“Thank you,” she says modestly. “I am pleased to share my views on marriage.”
I regard her quizzically. “You and your affianced are both looked to as examples, I think?”
She laughs lightly, raising a shoulder in an elegant shrug. “I do not know. I hope so! There are so many younger people in our circle, for whom we feel great affection. I hope that we could help them find equal happiness to ourselves.”
I smile at her, impressed. “I am sure you can, my lady. Your desire to share your happiness is a credit to you.”
“Oh, thank you,” she says and blushes again. “It is natural, I think.”
“To share happiness?”
“Yes,” she adds. “Lord Byron tells us that happiness is a twin. And, since I have two younger sisters who are twins, I could agree on both counts.”
I smile. “They must be an example of a loving relationship?”
She grins. “When they aren’t fighting, yes! They sometimes squabble, but I have never seen two souls who love each other more.”
“That must be inspiring. I find you and your betrothed inspiring.”
She smiles. “We would both be pleased to hear that, I think.”
I sigh. The sun has sunk a little lower since I have been here, and I do not wish to tire this beautiful lady.
“I should go, my lady,” I say hesitantly. “Though I would like to ask you if you have a message to share? Something you have learned?”
“Yes,” she says after a moment’s thinking, “I would say that, if you feel something, you should trust it. Trust your heart. No matter what other people suggest to you, or what you assume, trust your heart. It is never wrong.”
I feel moved by her beautiful words. “Thank you, my lady, for that wonderful message of love, and for this interview.”
She smiles. “Not at all,” she says gently. “I have enjoyed each moment.”
She stands, and I stand. We curtsey, and then she is drifting lightly through the door leaving the scent of roses behind her.
Here you go… is my character interview with Lady Elizabeth Dowling. This is a rare opportunity to speak with her, and be sure to read my book, “More For A Duke” to know more of her. Until then… take care.
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