This unedited scene was a cut, sadly, but we can bring it back for the website! It’s such a fun scene, and I miss it, but I think the story is better for having it out.
Moira had been telling Nathan about a particularly amusing encounter she had with a rabbit in her aunt’s garden when a rather large, rather feather strewn woman approached them and said, in her high and warbling tone, “I am terribly sorry to intrude, but I was so struck by the two of you that I had to come over and ask if you are married. My companion over there,” she turned to indicate a sour faced thin woman sitting across the room, “is convinced that you are secret lovers escaping your feuding families and headed for Gretna Green where you will defy their wishes and marry. I think the two of you are a married couple who are about to go abroad and rekindle the passion that has been so infrequent since your honeymoon trip, and have no plans to return to England in the near future, as the climate is not one that induces amorous feelings. So would you indulge a silly woman’s fancy and tell me which of us is correct?”
Moira looked over at Nathan sitting next to her, and his eyes held so much humor in them that she had to look away. She had no idea how she was going to respond to such a request, but it turned out that she would not need to.
“I am afraid that neither of you has it completely accurate, madam,” Nathan said with no small amount of charm. “But of the two, you have it the most correct.”
The woman squealed, reminding Moira very much of a pig, and clapped her hands. “Oh, Ephegenia will be so delighted!”
Moira tried very hard not to choke on the water she had just sipped, but she still had to cough, which she covered quickly with a smile. “I am glad we could appease you, madam,” she said pleasantly.
She was apparently not heard, for the woman turned and shouted across the room, “Effie! It is neither of us, but a little bit of mine!”
“Well, find out the details, Dolores!” was the response from her companion.
Moira could feel Nathan shaking next to her, but dared not look at him.
“Now, if I may be completely impertinent,” Dolores said as she turned back to them with a smile, “would you mind telling me your story? I do so love a good romance, and so does Effie. We absolutely pine for tragic love stories.”
“Alas,” Nathan said with a sigh, “this is not tragic, although I did receive a brutal beating at the hands of my dear Sophia’s eight brothers when I asked her to be my wife.”
Dolores gasped, her hands flying to her pudgy face. “Dear me!”
“Yes,” Moira murmured, determined not to be outdone, “but thankfully, the scars have all healed now. And you have not had a hunched back for some time now, have you, Daniel?”
“A hunched back?” Dolores repeated in a shocked voice. “How dreadful!”
“Yes, well, Gregory should not have jumped on him in such a way,” Moira said in a conspiratorial whisper. “He is not exactly a small man, and could have done quite a lot of damage, had Daniel not been so dreadfully strong.”
Nathan nudged his hand against her hip sharply and she bit back a grin.
“My goodness,” Dolores said, shaking her head in awe. “But you have no trouble with her brothers now, sir?”
He shook his head. “None at all. Now that we have children, they seem quite pleased with me.”
“Children!” she shrieked, clapping her massive hands once more. “Oh, how many?”
“We have four delightful little ones,” Nathan was quick to reply with a grin.
“Four?” Dolores gasped again, turning to look at Moira. “My goodness, my dear, you look marvelous for having that many! I thought you were quite younger!”
“Yes, she is quite an amazing woman, is she not?” Nathan said fondly, putting hand to Moira’s hair and stroking softly. “And to suffer so violently for the entirety of her confinement….” He shook his head. “I begged her to consider her own health, I feared I would lose her so often, but she insisted that our family was worth being unable to hold any meal save the occasional parched corn for nine months.”
Dolores sighed and brought a handkerchief to her eyes. “Bless you, my dear, bless you! And are your children well?”
Nathan nodded soberly. “Very, now that the cholera is gone, thank you. Our two sons, Typhus and Aristotle, are at school, and the girls, Juniper and Persia, are with their governess at home.”
“I’m so pleased,” Dolores said, slightly less effervescent at the mention of cholera, but still looking delighted. “And are you off on a trip?”
“We are indeed,” Nathan continued, ignoring Moira’s shaking with mirth next to him. He would need to wrap this up quickly or they would not survive. “My Sophia is carrying again and we thought a trip to Italy for her confinement might be beneficial. The warmer climate, you know.”
“I do hope so, my dears, for your sakes,” Dolores said kindly, taking Moira’s hand in hers and patting it. “I will pray that you are well this time around.”
“Thank you,” Moira managed to get out.
“Well,” Dolores announced, stepping back, “that was quite the most excellent story. Effie will not believe it when I tell her!” And with that, she whirled off back towards her companion.
The moment she thought it was safe, Moira turned and punched Nathan in the arm, laughing all the while. “What in the name of all that is good was that, Daniel?”
He grinned and rubbed at his arm. “We have a delightful family, don’t you think, Sophia?”
She shook her head as the two of them laughed and finished their meal.
As they left, they could hear Dolores telling Effie, rather dramatically, all about “that lovely, romantic couple with so many children” and they set to laughing all over again.