Return Of The Native Son: Chapter Twenty-Nine

Shortly after going to sleep, Lord Lipton awoke with a terrible pain in the left foot. It felt as if the bones of part of his foot were on fire or were being burned by acid. From the nature of the pain, he could tell that he was having a particularly serious gout attack. As it happened, there was a sharp amount of pain on the calcaneus and talus of his left foot as well as inside of the ball of his foot, and to boot, the navicular and cuboid. He tried to move his foot and could not find a single place to put his left foot that was not continuously and immensely painful. Depending on where he put his foot, he could feel the pain shoot up the inside of his fibula, and could also feel his sciatic nerve hurting all the way up his leg because it was being pushed aside by the uric acid crystals in his longsuffering foot.

As was frequently the case when he had a gout attack, Lord Lipton wondered what it was he had done in order to trigger this particular attack. Had he eaten the wrong things, or too much lamb or beef or fish or sweets or salt, for example? Had he failed to keep himself sufficiently hydrated? These thoughts filled his head as he pondered how he would need to flush out the gout with enough fresh water. There would be some things that he would need to get in the morning, or at least would need to send someone else on his behalf.

As he writhed in pain and sleep fled from his eyes, trying not to swear, Lord Lipton figured that stress was probably more notable of a source of his current attack than his diet the last few days, given the rather ordinary nature of his diet. The stress in his life was easy enough to see. He had just written a letter proposing marriage to someone, and his mother was in town and promised to stay around him and scrutinize what was going on in his life for weeks, if not months. This was going to increase any stress, not least because he had not been told about his mom’s arrival. A bit of warning would have made things much less stressful.

When morning came, Lord Lipton could tell rather quickly that he was going to be unable to walk around and he had none of the implements that he was going to need in order to do so easily. When his housekeeper came into his room she asked what he needed and he mentioned that he was going to need some water, some cherries if they could be found in the market, as well as a lot of good clean fresh water for him to drink cooled so that he could flush out the crystals that were causing him such excruciating pain. The housekeeper nodded that she was sure that such things could be found and hoped that he would be able to feel better soon. He also gave her the two letters to send to the Sydney household.

Before too long his mother and stepfather came to his room to ask about using the carriage. Sir Martin needed to get to the colonial office to talk about what was going on in the Bahamas. Likewise, his mother wanted to go to Cheapside to see her brother and bring Clarissa and the governess along. Lord Lipton commented that as he wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon it would be fine for both of them to borrow his carriage for the day and he hoped he would be able to hobble around and make it to dinner, otherwise he would be bed ridden until he was able to flush out enough urine in order to be able to walk around a bit better, at least with his walking stick.

Before too long a messenger made his way to the residence of the Sydneys nearby. When they received the letters, they read them quietly to themselves and then out loud, and then pondered as to how they might reply. It soon became evident that Miss Sarah was in fact inclined to respond positively to the marriage proposal, as unexpected as it was, and Lord and Lady Sydney were pleased to know that this was the case as they had been hoping that this would happen for some time. All concerned were pleased that there would be no uncertainty in the marriage market, and the pleasure of having for a son-in-law an honorable and decent man.

There was the need of discussing the wedding settlement. Lord and Lady Sydney knew that Lord Lipton was by no means an impoverished Lord and obviously had never indicated any mercenary intentions in any of his correspondence, but at the same time it was not as if Miss Sarah was an indigent and portionless wife herself, and it would be worthwhile at least for there to be something to support a daughter or daughters at least. The messenger who had delivered the letters was asked to request Lord Lipton to come over and see them for them to talk about the marriage settlement. The messenger made his way quickly back home and quickly determined that Lord Lipton was facing a crippling gout attack and was unable to travel, and that his carriage was gone, and there was no way that he was going to be able to walk to the Sydney House in London when he was not even able to walk from his bed to the library or dining room or sitting room as was his fashion.

He then returned to the Sydneys, thinking that Lord Lipton would appreciate it if his condition was known so that perhaps the Sydney family could come to visit him. When this message was delivered, the Sydney family decided to let the servant join them in the carriage. Lord and Lady Sydney decided between themselves that Lady Sydney would give the approval for Lord Sydney to become formally engaged to Miss Sarah and that the young woman would convey her acceptance of the engagement as well. They would be dropped off to spend the day there and discuss the logistics of the wedding that was to come as well as to allow the happy couple to spend some time together.

When the two of them arrived at the Lipton House they were invited by the housekeeper to Lord Lipton’s room.

“I am sorry you have to see me in such a state as this,” Lord Lipton said, rubbing his leg and frequently wincing in pain.

“It’s alright,” replied Sarah. “I will be your wife soon enough, and that means I should see what it means to be with you in all manner of conditions.”

“I assume you have read the letters?”

“You assume correctly,” Lady Sydney replied.

“Please sit.” They sat down. “And I assume the answer is favorable?”

“It is,” Sarah replied. “I wish to be your wife.” She holds on to his hands.

“I think we should talk about the details,” Lady Sydney said.

“Sure, I’m not going anywhere.”

“We have laid a settlement on Sarah of thirty thousand pounds.”

“That is very good.”

“Do you wish to specify the passage of this settlement to any future daughters?”

“Certainly. We can specify an equal portion for all daughters for the thirty-thousand pounds as well as any of the income that comes from the four or five percents.”

“That is very generous.”

“I have no need of the money for income, and I have no problem making any daughter of mine an heiress.”

“Very well then,” Lady Sydney replies.

“Do you have any wishes of how the wedding will be?”

“I must admit that I do not have any particular visions in mind. Does Miss Sarah have any ideas of what wedding she would most appreciate?”

“I do indeed,” she replied.

“Very well then, let us discuss that matter and make the plans accordingly. I think we should go for a special license though.” he said.

“A special license would certainly be something worthwhile and I would think that there would be some sort of bishop or archbishop that would be willing to approve,” Lady Sydney answered.

“I would hope so,” he replied.

With this sort of conversation there was a discussion about a wide variety of topics relating to the wedding, and between the three of them there was a lot of business that was addressed at the day. Both of the ladies felt bad that Lord Sydney was feeling so terrible. But even with all of the excruciating pain, it was still a good thing for all of them to see that it was easy to work out the details of the wedding, which included a request that Lord Lipton wear a uniform related to his service.

“You might have to ask your husband about whether any of the services would allow me to wear their uniform during the wedding,” he said to Lady Sydney.

Lady Sydney agreed that she would make this request.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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