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Author Topic: The Reluctant Chatelaine - Part 6 - One for You, One for Me  (Read 4552 times)

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Offline Jerusha

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Part 6 –  One for You, One for Me

Rhemuth
Duchy of Haldane
Mid-April, 1132


Jäna de Tehryn walked beside her father toward Rhemuth Castle’s stables, practically quivering with excitement.  Finally, her brothers would be given their new Llanneddyn ponies!  It had been so hard to keep them a secret; she had had to carefully not think about the ponies through the celebration of Easter, and until everyone was finished with the king’s Easter Court, and through a week of drenching rain that had kept most of the court indoors whenever possible.  Fortunately, her brothers had been busy with their duties as royal pages.  Although it meant she had not been able to spend as much time with them as she would have liked, it made it easier to keep the secret.  Justin had looked at her askance once or twice, but she had been resolute to not divulge even a hint.

As they crossed the stable yard, Jäna looked around for her brothers, but apparently she and her father had arrived first.  She was still looking about as the Duke of Corwyn and his squire exited the stable.  Almost absent-mindedly, she gave him a hasty curtsey as she continued to look for her brothers….

“Jäna!” 

Startled, Jäna looked up at her father.

“Proper respect for His Grace, daughter.” 

“Oh!  Beg pardon, Your Grace,” Jäna said quickly, followed by a proper, deep curtsey.  “I meant no disrespect, sir.”

The Duke of Corwyn nodded in acknowledgement, momentarily solemn, and then smiled.  “This is the big day?” he asked.

“Yes it is, Your Grace.  Today my brothers each get a new pony.  Fine ponies from Llynnedd,” she added.

“Suitable ponies from Llynnedd,” Baron Jerrill corrected.

Brendan Coris, the duke’s stepson and squire, looked puzzled.  “But there are….”

“Brendan,” Morgan interrupted quickly.  “Not now.”

“Yes, My Lord.”  Brendan was rescued from Jäna’s questioning look in his direction by the appearance of her brothers at the entrance to the stable yard.

“Papa!  There are Jared and Justin.  May I fetch them?”

“Go, Kitten.  I’ll wait here.”  Gratefully, Jerrill watched as his daughter darted back to join her brothers.

The boys had grown in the months since Christmas Court.  They were a little more than the customary half-a-head taller than their sister now, but it was the confidence Jerrill noticed most.  Not cockiness, but more of a sureness that this was where they were meant to be.  He watched as they greeted their sister with quick hugs and then all three fell into step with each other as they crossed the remaining length of the stable yard, the boy on each side of the girl shortening his stride slightly to match hers.

“So you finally decided to join us?” Jerrill asked with a smile as the boys straightened from their bows.

“Would you have us shirk in our duties, Papa?”  Jared responded.

“No, of course not.” Jerrill looked up at the clear sky, the first cloudless sky he had seen in the last week.  “It is a lovely day today.   No reason to rush inside.”

“Papa!” Jäna exclaimed in dismay.  “We should go inside right away.”

The Duke of Corwyn looked across the girl’s head at her father, his grey eyes amused.  He was in no hurry to move on, now curious to see how events would play out. 

“Well,” Jerrill stalled, “if you really want to move from this nice fresh air into the smelly stable….”

“Of course I want to go into the smelly stable!” Jäna began to move toward the door, pulling each brother by the arm while they exchanged glances. 

She led them along the row of stalls to a large door that stood open at the end of the stable, letting in light and fresh air.  Outside the door was a large paddock that her father had arranged for the ponies to be moved to for their first introduction to her brothers.

Her father had purchased two mares.  One was a fine bay, her black points a lovely contrast against her red coat. The other mare was a pretty chestnut.   Her father had brought her to see the horses only once since they had arrived, so she could make sure they were properly looked after.  There had always seemed to be some reason she had not been able to visit them more often.  Now she was eager to know which pony each brother would pick.

“There,” she said happily, stopping in front of the paddock’s gate.  “Father bought a fine pony for each of you!”  She motioned with her hand toward the ponies and then stood very still.

“Papa?  There are two chestnuts.  There are three ponies.”  Jäna turned to look back at her father.   “Did you make a mistake?”

Baron Jerrill stroked his full beard thoughtfully.  “No, I do not think so,” he said.

“Papa!  Is, is one for me?  Truly for me?”

Her father smiled down at her, his bright blue eyes looking at her fondly.  “Yes, Kitten.  One of them is for you. “

“Oh, Papa, thank you!”  Jäna gave her father a tight hug.  “I never guessed, not once.  You really are a cagey old soldier.”

The old baron looked at his daughter with mock horror.  “Whoever told you a thing like that?”

“Lady Amah.”

“Pah!”  Jerrill moved forward and opened the gate so his children could enter the paddock.  “Gently, now,” he cautioned.  “Let them come to you.”

Baron Jerrill had no concerns as his children approached the ponies.  They had been schooled in horsemanship almost as soon as they had learned to walk.  Slowly, the triplets walked closer to the ponies, stopping at half the distance to the animals.  The ponies stood with their ears pricked forward, blowing occasionally and eyeing the children closely.  One chestnut pony moved forward, stopped in front of Jäna and lowered its head so she could reach up to scratch behind the ears.

“You remember me,” Jäna said, reaching up to oblige.

Alaric Morgan had come through the stable to watch from behind.  Now he moved over beside the baron and said quietly, “That went well.  Except for Brendan’s slight slip of the tongue.”

Baron Jerrill chuckled.  “Prince Payne almost gave it away back in Tehryn at dinner one evening.  He made a remark about how fine all three of them looked.  Fortunately, my squire chose that moment to drop the pitcher of wine.”

“That was an expensive distraction,” Morgan said dryly.

“Aye, but it worked.  Young Gavin thinks quickly on his feet; I scolded him at table and thanked him in private.”  Jerrill watched as his sons took their time to decide between the remaining chestnut and the bay.  Jäna seemed content with the chestnut that had singled her out on its own.  “I thought Jäna would want the bay, but apparently not.”

“So it would appear.  How did you do it, Jerrill?  Surely you could not keep Jäna completely away from the ponies on the trip.”

“Ah, t’was carefully planned, Your Grace.”  The old baron looked smug.  “That is why there are two chestnuts and only one bay.  So long as Jäna always saw the bay with one chestnut, she never suspected.  That way we only had to keep one of the chestnuts out of the way at a time.”

“You are a cagey old soldier, Lord Jerrill,” Morgan said, nodding in appreciation.

“Aye, Your Grace.  I’ve never denied it.”

Morgan laughed aloud and both men continued to watch as the triplets confirmed their selections. 
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany

Offline Elkhound

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Re: The Reluctant Chatelaine - Part 6 - One for You, One for Me
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2014, 09:55:34 am »
I'd imagine that she used a little Deryni persuasion to get the pony she wanted to come to her.

Now, are there going to be fireworks when she learns that she'll have to ride side-saddle like a proper little lady?

Offline Jerusha

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Re: The Reluctant Chatelaine - Part 6 - One for You, One for Me
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2014, 10:58:19 am »
Fortunately for Jäna, most women (and girls) rode astride, either on their own saddles or pillion behind a husband, betrothed or acceptable male relative.  IIRC, box saddles were used either by the very stylish, wealthy or the infirm, where the lady could sit sideways. 
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany

Offline Evie

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Re: The Reluctant Chatelaine - Part 6 - One for You, One for Me
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2014, 11:02:43 am »
I think in one of KK's books, she has a scene in which a lady (or maybe several ladies?) are riding on sidesaddles, but in our own history I think they didn't catch on (at least in England) until Anne of Bohemia introduced them in the 1300s.  Queens tend to be trend-setters that way.   :)
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Offline Laurna

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Re: The Reluctant Chatelaine - Part 6 - One for You, One for Me
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2014, 12:02:43 pm »
I vaguely recall, though I may have it completely wrong,  that Evaine rode side-saddle when she was pregnant with Tieg. But that was likely a necessity more than a style trend. The paintings and illuminated manuscripts I have seen from before 1300 all show women riding astride.

Jerusha, I love your cagey old soldier,  and I love that the duke was there to witness the event.
I didn't guess there would be three ponies either.
Good Job, Good Job!

Offline Elkhound

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Re: The Reluctant Chatelaine - Part 6 - One for You, One for Me
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2014, 01:22:10 pm »
I thought that young women--at least upper class young women--had to ride side-saddle because riding astride could break the hymen and therefore raise questions about their virginity when it was time for them to marry.

Offline Evie

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Re: The Reluctant Chatelaine - Part 6 - One for You, One for Me
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2014, 02:13:25 pm »
I thought that young women--at least upper class young women--had to ride side-saddle because riding astride could break the hymen and therefore raise questions about their virginity when it was time for them to marry.

That was one of the reasons why that style of riding gained popularity, yes, but not until the 1300s.  Prior to that, women rode astride just like men, because it was safer and more practical than the early models of sidesaddles introduced later on.  (IIRC, Anne's "sidesaddle" was more like a bench seat with a wooden board dangling beneath it for a footrest, and a horse saddled with such a contraption would have been led by another mounted rider at a walk.  It wasn't the sidesaddle of later centuries that allowed ladies to ride with enough control over their mounts to ride at a trot or faster, or even jump fences, though of course once those innovations were invented, that allowed the sidesaddle to become even more popular, since ladies no longer had to choose between fashion and safety.)
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Offline revanne

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Re: The Reluctant Chatelaine - Part 6 - One for You, One for Me
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2014, 02:22:46 pm »
In the dim and distant past when I used to go horse-riding as a teenager I remember once having a go on a modern
side-saddle - much to my surprise it was really comfortable and felt very safe. It does look very elegant, the Queen always used to ride side-saddle for ceremonial occasions, like Trooping the Colour.
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Offline Laurna

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Re: The Reluctant Chatelaine - Part 6 - One for You, One for Me
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2014, 03:33:02 pm »
For years my sister rode side-saddle in hunter/jumper competition, jumping up to 3'0" fences. If the saddle is made correctly, many are not so be wary, the modern side-saddle is a secure seat. The leaping horn was added in the mid 1800's, to improve performance. The rider uses the riding whip to cue the horse on the off-side like the leg otherwise would. The key is to keep your right shoulder back, this locks your knees around the two horns. If your right shoulder turns forward you lose that tension and you are more likely to lose your balance. Riding side saddle in the medieval times was, as Evie says, more like sitting on a moving bench, I can not imagine moving faster than a walk.  Riding astride would be much more practical and safe.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2014, 02:09:34 am by Laurna »

Offline revanne

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Re: The Reluctant Chatelaine - Part 6 - One for You, One for Me
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2014, 04:01:24 pm »
On a much more scary note when my younger DD was staying with a family in India she was expected to ride side saddle on a scooter, in a sari, without a helmet and without physically touching the young man she was riding behind. Thankfully I only discovered this once she was home.
"All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts."
As You Like It.

Offline Evie

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Re: The Reluctant Chatelaine - Part 6 - One for You, One for Me
« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2014, 04:47:04 pm »
"Um, sir?  May I please tie myself to you with a pillow between us so I don't fall off this thing if you hit a bump or go around a curve too quickly?"   ;D
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Offline Elkhound

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Re: The Reluctant Chatelaine - Part 6 - One for You, One for Me
« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2014, 07:34:56 am »
I recently saw "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel", and the young woman there was riding that way on her boyfriend's motorbike.  He wasn't going very fast, though--not more than 20 MPH.

Offline revanne

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Re: The Reluctant Chatelaine - Part 6 - One for You, One for Me
« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2014, 08:42:06 am »
20 mph is fast enough from a mother's viewpoint. Interestingly she wasn't allowed out of the house on her own because that wasn't thought to be safe, but no-one batted an eyelid over what sounds like a very dangerous pillion ride.

The former probably wasn't safe, but neither was the latter from my perspective. An interesting insight as to what different cultures understand by acceptable/ unacceptable risks.
"All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts."
As You Like It.

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Re: The Reluctant Chatelaine - Part 6 - One for You, One for Me
« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2014, 09:33:17 am »
As a Filipina-American who has traveled through quite a bit of traffic in the Philippines on a variety of conveyances ranging from personal cars to jeepneys, I can assure you that while your daughter might not have been as safe riding pillion on a motorbike as she might have been in an armored tank, she was probably not in significantly more danger either, at least if the traffic in India travels at the same chaotic crawl as it does in Manila.   ;D
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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Offline revanne

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Re: The Reluctant Chatelaine - Part 6 - One for You, One for Me
« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2014, 10:36:01 am »
That's what she told me  ;D
"All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts."
As You Like It.

 

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