Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Proper Companion Interview

How exciting to have Major Edmond Grenville, the hero from A Proper Companion written by Louise M. Gouge and a June 2012 release from Love Inspired Historical Romance.

1. Major Grenville, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
Good afternoon, madam. Before I speak of myself, permit me to thank you for the opportunity to speak to your lovely assembly. As a younger (and third!) son, I do not generally receive such invitations, for most young ladies are more interested in my titled oldest brother, Viscount Lord Greystone. My second older brother, a newly married and newly ordained vicar, also receives numerous invitations from friends in London. However, you may find this a bit interesting: I have just returned home to Shropshire, England, after fighting the Americans. Wounded in battle, I was sent home to recover. Of course, my mother, the Dowager Countess Greystone, is eager to see me back with my regiment, for she is certain this is the only way for me to earn essential prestige for the family and wealth to secure my own future.

2. What do you do for fun?
An interesting question, madam. I find no enjoyment is the usual pastimes of my fellow dragoons, for my conversion a few years ago revealed the folly of such activities. During my convalescence, I am finding great enjoyment in teaching my mother’s pretty young companion to ride a horse. Dear girl. She meets the challenge admirably, despite her fears.

3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?
I suppose people of your time would have trouble understanding my dilemma, but I shall endeavor to explain. In my time, a gentleman of my aristocratic standing cannot get along in life without parental and Society’s approval. My father, the former Viscount Greystone, died when I was an infant, so my mother has controlled my entire life (and those of my brothers). Because her ambitions for me differ from my own, I dread the day when I must tell her I will not return to my regiment. Have I mentioned that the Dowager Lady Greystone is a formidable, influential woman? When she is crossed, things do not go well for the offender.

4. What are you afraid of most in life?
My greatest fear is not for myself but, rather, for my mother’s dear little companion. If Mother becomes displeased with Miss Newfield (Mother is rarely pleased with anyone or anything), she will cast the poor girl out into the coldest winter England has seen in centuries. An intelligent gentleman could manage under such circumstances, but Miss Newfield would no doubt perish. You see, there are few resources for the penniless in our society.

5. What do you want out of life?
I have a secret passion for a certain career far removed from the military. Please do not misunderstand. I am proud to have served my king and my country. However, I believe my favored career will serve an equally important purpose. At this point, I hesitate to tell you exactly what it is, but let me say simply that it will provide a stable income for both myself and, should I be so fortunate as to marry, for my wife.

6. What is the most important thing to you?
Ah, now you cut close to my heart. But I discern that you ladies are discreet and will not mention this to anyone, especially my mother. The most important thing to me is making certain Miss Newfield will never be destitute. I cannot in all good conscience offer marriage to her, for I would not be able to provide for her. But I can endeavor to secure her position with Mother by treating the young lady with polite indifference. For, you see, Mother’s threats to cast her out are constant.

7. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Another clever question! Many younger sons of my time might say they would change their birth order and inherit the title and wealth. But I do not covet Greystone’s position or his responsibilities in Parliament. No, I suppose if I could change one thing about myself, it is my reticence to confront my mother about my future. But does the Scripture not caution a man to count the cost of any endeavor? If I refuse to go back to my regiment, I can only guess what she will do to prevent any other future for me.

8. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
Sadly, I have no pet. However, I consider my gallant steed, Brutus, a friend, as all dragoons regard their horses. After all, our lives depend upon them.

9. Can you tell us a little interesting tidbit about the time period you live in?
Other than the things I have already mentioned, one matter is of concern to all. Everyone in my family, including Mother, believes that education is essential for all classes of people, including the poorest of the poor. In my time, more and more Englishmen are subscribing to Hannah More’s view that all English children, whatever their social status, should be taught to read the Bible. Therefore, they have established the National Society for Promoting Education for the Poor. I am proud to say my family has established our own school in our village, and every child in the parish is required to attend. Would that every member of the nobility and aristocracy would follow this example. What a difference it would make for our country!

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