Interview with Walter & Simon, Part 1
Dayna: Good morning all. I’m here at the LeDuc Farm in Lake Galloway, New Hampshire. It’s early May and the family has gathered for the twins – Moria and Adelle – birthday. The weather is a little dark and dreary but I’m told that’s often the case at this time of year. Winter is over, but summer hasn’t arrived yet. We’re in the family’s parlor, where it’s nice and warm. A wonderfully comfortable chair, close to the roaring fire is so cozy. What’s better, though is I have two very handsome young men as companions. Walter Pearson and Simon Hensley, thank you for taking the time to sit and chat with me, but where are your wives?
Walter: Good day to you, Miss Dayna. My wife, Adelle, and her companion, Deanna, are with Moria and Janelle at the opening of a new store in Galloway. Previous to this store opening, shopping meant a long trip to Concord or even further to Manchester. Portsmouth, in the opposite direction, is a long trip, too. But, now they have this little store that provides many of the basic necessities. The ladies are quite excited.
Simon: I’m pleased to meet you, too, Miss Dayna. You’re right. This area is certainly rural – nothing at all like London. If you can’t find what you’re looking for in London, you don’t want it or need it.
Dayna: Oh, I just love your accents! *sigh* We have some time while the ladies shop, eh? Which one of you would be the first to tell the readers about yourself?
Walter: I’ll start. What would you like to know?
Dayna: *smiles* Oh, paint a picture. Describe yourself. Think of all the pretty ladies who’ll be reading this …
Walter: *raises eyebrow* Oh my. Well, I’ll think of the pretty ladies, but I must remind you I’m a happily married man. *smiles* Let’s see. I’m almost 30-years old, about 6’ tall, weigh around 175 pounds, I have short, wavy brown hair, green eyes …
Simon: And a pedigree as long as your arm. He’s the Earl of Wynbridge and the future Duke of Buckston.
Walter: Yes, there is that. I try not to think about it.
Dayna: What’s this?
Walter: Well … You know what? Simon, why don’t you take a shot at describing yourself … for the ladies, of course. *smiles*
Simon: Of course. Let’s see. I’m 5’9” tall, weigh 155 pounds, I have kinda longish, brown hair, and blue eyes.
Dayna: ‘Kinda longish’?
Simon: Right. That comes with not having the time to see a barber on a regular basis. *laughs* I usually look like I slept in my clothes because I often do. I’m a doctor.
Dayna: But no pedigree?
Simon: No pedigree. Like my brother before me, I scratched out a living while working long hours in a pub AND in a doctor’s office while going to medical school and still had barely had enough to live on. What saved me was I lived with my brother who had, by then, started his medical practice in Knightsbridge. When I graduated, I joined him in his practice and continued to live with him in a flat over our practice until I married Moria.
Walter: I had tutors most of my life, until I went to the university. I’m finding out now what ‘work’ is all about through Adelle. Her orphanage project is keeping us both quite busy.
Dayna: Simon, what did you do for fun when you were a boy?
Simon: *rolling eyes* Fun? Hmm. My brother and I played with the other boys in the village. We played catch, tag, hopscotch, or with marbles or hoops. Mostly, though, we played in the street. Sometimes, we hiked a bit to a forest owned by Lord Burke, the wealthiest man in the village. We knew if we got caught there, we’d get in trouble. But the danger involved, the maybe getting caught, was quite an attraction.
Dayna: It sounds like you kept yourself busy.
Simon: Actually, I didn’t always go with my brother. I liked to read, especially when I got older. The games my brother played didn’t hold my interest as well as books could.
Dayna: Ah. What books did you read? Do you remember any of the titles?
Simon: With little money, it was hard to find books, but there was an old man who lived down the road who had lots of books. Most of the boys were afraid of him, but his books entranced me. He saw my interest in them and let me read whatever I wanted in exchange my helping him a bit around the house. He was getting on in years and had a hard time of it sometimes. Titles? The ones that stick in my mind are, The Swiss Family Robinson, Ivanhoe, The Wizard and the Sword, and my favorite, Frankenstein. I think Frankenstein was, in a strange way, behind my wanting to be a doctor although everyone thinks it’s because of my brother.
Dayna: Those titles … classics, indeed. *pause* Walter? Same question. What did you do for fun when you were young?
Walter: Well, as an only child on a rural estate, my ‘fun’ options were surprisingly limited. Oh, I got into mischief as a child, usually when I eluded my governess and escaped the house to meet the other children on the estate. Those were the best times, although I paid dearly. Most of my time was with Miss Genevieve, and, later, with my tutors. As a future duke, I had to learn a great deal – both educational and practical. I had tutors, of course, and my parents made sure I became the model peer. I never gave it a thought then, only that it was expected of me. *shaking head* Oh, it wasn’t as bad as I’m making it sound. Looking back, there were fun times – the hunts my parents hosted … I love horses, after all … and, later, the parties and balls. I loved the ladies, *smiles* and they loved me. Then, along came Adelle. She changed everything.
Dayna: *lots of noise from the kitchen* Oh, I hear the ladies have returned. We’ll have to stop now and pick up the chat another time. I’ll see you then.
Interview with Walter & Simon, Part 2
Dayna: Good afternoon, Walter, Simon. Nice to see you again.
Walter: My pleasure.
Dayna: From what I understand, the ladies have gone to visit Camryn, Richard’s sister-in-law, at Englica, so we have a little time. Today, I’d like to talk about how you met your wives. Who wants to go first?
Simon: I’ll go first. It’s really rather simple. We met at work. I volunteered with the Sisters of Saint Catherine, in their charity hospital in London’s East End. One day, Miss Nightingale …
Dayna: Wait a minute! Florence Nightingale?
Simon: *smiles* One and the same. She arrived at the hospital with this diminutive woman to work with us for a while. When Sister Margaret brought Moria to my office saying Mother Bertrice had assigned her to me, I had serious misgivings about her ability to handle the work load. It didn’t take long to realize she’d do just fine. I called her a ‘little tornado.’ *chuckles*
Dayna: So, when did you know she was ‘the one’?
Simon: *sighs* I think I fell in love with her that first day, but didn’t realize it until, several months later, when she told me she was leaving. I’d known, of course, she’d be leaving with Miss Nightingale for Turkey but when she told me she was leaving, the reality of it hit me. I knew then I was losing something special that I didn’t want to lose. A couple of months later, I followed her to the field hospital in Scutari, but my doing so upset her greatly.
Dayna: Why would that upset her? Most women would be more than pleased to have a man follow her as you did, especially into a war zone. This was no picnic for either of you, or any of the others, working in a field hospital.
Simon: You’re right on that point. Up to then, we’d been friends, in her mind – and in mine, too, I suppose – but by following her, I substantially changed our relationship. She couldn’t accept it. The simple fact of my being a man was an unacceptable threat to her future. Then, one day, several months later, we were friends again … actually more than friends. *chuckles*
Dayna: Just like that?
Simon: Well, no. It seemed like it to me, but she’d done a lot of soul-searching and discovered her attitude toward men in general had been influenced by her mentor/protégée relationship with Elizabeth Blackwell. Men, or, more accurately, the male establishment, had thwarted Miss Blackwell at every turn as she strove to become the first female M.D. in the United States. Realizing that negative influence, Moria concluded we could, in fact, have a normal relationship, albeit platonic. When the war was over and we returned to London, and then Devonwood, Moria’s grandmother showed her we could work together, not only in our work, but in marriage. I asked her to marry me that day, and soon after, we were married.
Dayna: *smiling* So, love conquers all.
Simon: So it seems.
Dayna: Walter, I’ve seen the various emotions on your face while Simon told his story. Would you like to tell us how you met Adelle?
Walter: Of course. The basic facts are she was a guest at a ball at our London home, attending with her aunt and uncle, the Duke and Duchess of Devonwood. My father, a long-time friend of the duke, assigned me the then-odious task of seeing to it she had a good time that evening. I would have much preferred to spend time with ladies of my acquaintance – certainly, not just one, and American farmer’s daughter, at that. But, by the end of the evening, well, Adelle was like a breath of fresh air, not at all like the vapid ladies of the ton. It was a stormy relationship at first, but she settled down once she was sure of herself and of me. She was finally convinced I wasn’t being just the solicitous gentleman, assigned by his father to make sure she enjoyed herself. Once I got to know her a bit, I really liked her. She’s a changed a lot from the spoiled, self-centered girl of her youth, for all she was living on her own in London at the time. The maturity becomes her. Early on, she wasn’t at all interested in having children. But, she changed her mind, and now, she’s a wonderful mother to our children.
Dayna: I’ve heard she’s working with orphans.
Walter: That’s right. Actually, we both are. She’d volunteered at a local orphanage near her home as a teen and beyond. Because of that, she wanted to work with an orphanage in England, but her reason wasn’t so much about the orphans as it was her own selfishness. She felt she could earn the acceptance of London’s high society by doing as they do – supporting some sort of charitable organization.
Because of her background with orphans, she was looking for an orphanage to support, when her friends told her to get out of London for the summer, citing the heat and disease. She realized then she wanted to give the orphans the same option. Her family, led by her uncle, the duke, took her cause to heart, to the point where we had to suggest they get their own cause. It’s worked out very well. Her family supports the orphanage in Melton Mowbray, even building a new residence on the family estate. We’ve built a residence on my Wynbridge property and host London orphans for extended periods during the summer. This not only gives the children a chance to escape London for a few weeks, but the orphanages get a chance to clean and upgrade their facilities while the children are gone.
Dayna: A win-win situation.
Walter: Definitely. By the end of the summer, Adelle no longer cared if the aristocracy, except for me, of course, accepted her. She wasn’t even concerned that my parents, specifically my father, didn’t like her, or our relationship. She was so much more secure in her own self-worth she no longer needed others to help her with that.
Dayna: Quickly now, as we’re running out of time, Simon … the future?
Simon: Moria and I are involved in a special project where we’ve put our charity hospital and war-time medical experience to work. Our commitment to this project is open-ended and could go on for many years. We’re busy and happy.
Dayna: We’ll have to talk about that another time. Walter?
Walter: Things are going well; our family is growing but Adelle, with her companion, Deanna, and our staff, are taking it all in stride. Adelle runs the house, and we both work at our residence. Eventually, I’ll inherit Buckston, and we’ll have to adjust to that, but we, too, are busy and happy.
Dayna: That’s great. *sighs* Gentlemen, it’s been a pleasure talking with you. It’s wonderful that the two of you, from such different backgrounds, get along so well, and it’s very clear you both love your wives very much. Perhaps we can talk again sometime.
Simon: I’d like that very much.
Walter: Same here. Let us know.
Dayna: Good! We’ll keep in touch.