Life's Lessons: A Day with Papa
January 28, 1781
Richard stood, smiling as he watched his youngest son sleeping. He found it
fascinating that the child giggled in his sleep. He heard a surprised gasp
from behind and turned.
“Fergi’e me, m’lord.” The nurse curtsied.
“Good morning, Dorothy.” Richard didn’t understand why he felt like a child
who had just been caught swiping a crumpet from the kitchen.
“He’s a lovely lad.” She said.
“Yes, he is.” Richard cleared his throat, “Elizabeth is not feeling well
and, since the boys are gone, I have decided to take Archie with me today.”
“I’ll ready him fer th’ day, sir.” Dorothy assured him.
Richard looked back at his son, “It is cold.”
“He’ll be warm, sir.”
Richard walked back into his room. Dorothy put her hand on the toddler’s
chest, and gently shook him, her voice soft and cheery, “It’s mornin’ lamb.
Archie reached up and rubbed his eyes, then blinked and smiled when he saw
her, “Nuwse Dowfy. I habe a goo’ dweam!”
“Did ye now?” She pulled the blankets down, “Ye ken tell me all ‘bout it
while I’m dressin’ ye.”
As Dorothy went to his wardrobe and gathered his clothes, he sat up and
asked, “I go some whewe?”
“Yes, m’ lamb.” Dorothy brought his clothes back to his bed, “Ye’re goin’
with ye’re Papa today.”
Archie jumped up in the bed, his yes wide with excitement, “Whewe Papa ta’e
“I don’ know.” Dorothy smiled, “Once yer dressed, I’m sure yer Papa will
Next door, Richard sat on the bed with his wife. “Are you certain I should
not send for the doctor?”
“If I do not feel better by this evening,” Elizabeth told him, “you may
send for him.”
“I am going to take Archie with me today.” Richard told her, “You can rest,
and Dorothy will be able to tend to your needs.”
Elizabeth sighed deeply, “And to think I hated my father when he arranged
our marriage. I even hated you, because you were the man that I was going to be
given to as if I were property.”
Richard put his hands on both sides of her pillow, leaning over her face, “
“And now,” Elizabeth put her hand on his cheek, “I am grateful that you are
Richard chuckled, and leaned all the way down to kiss his wife’s lips.
“Papa!” Archie came running in the room, “Whewe ‘ou ta’ing me?”
Richard broke the kiss off, and turned to his son, “I am taking you to the
tailor’s. We are going to have some new clothes made for you.”
Archie’s face lit up and he put his arms up, “Pic’ me, Papa.”
“Pick you?” Richard raised an eyebrow, “Are you a flower?”
Archie giggled, shaking his head. “I not f’owew.”
Richard smiled and obliged his toddler, lifting him in his arms. He embraced
the boy and kissed his cheek, “Oh, my dear little laddie! Papa loves you so
Archie hugged his father’s neck, then frowned, “Mama, why ‘ou ‘til in bed?”
“Mama is not feeling well this morning.” Richard told him.
Archie took in a sharp breath, “ ‘ou ill?”
“I will be all right, Archie.” Elizabeth smiled at him, “I think my belly
did not like what we had for supper last night.”
“ ‘ou not li’e suppew?” Archie tried to get down to his mother again.
“I did like it.” Elizabeth sighed, “However, my belly did not.”
“We should let Mama rest now, son.” Richard turned his attention to his
wife, “If you are not feeling better by the time we come home, I will send for
“Of course.” She offered him a loving smile.
Richard took her hand and kissed it, “We will see you this evening.”
“I kiss Mama.” Archie said.
“No, son.” Richard told him, “If she is becoming ill, I do not want you to
become ill as well. You may kiss Mama’s hand the way I did.”
Archie leaned down and kissed the hand that his father was still holding.
“Oh, Archie!” Elizabeth smiled radiantly, “You are going to make many a
lady swoon one day.”
Archie frowned at that, “Why?”
“Because you are so handsome.” Elizabeth said, “And when you kiss a lady’s
hand, you could make her faint.”
“No.” Archie shook his head, “I not do dat.”
“You are going to be a very handsome man, my dear.” Elizabeth told him, “
And the ladies are going to want your attention.”
“Among other things.” Richard commented.
Elizabeth frowned at her husband, “Richard!”
Richard raised an eyebrow, “You do not believe these ladies would not want
him for a husband? A rich, handsome young man?”
Archie looked at his father, “I too ‘oung to be a hu’ban’.”
Richard almost laughed at that, “You are going to grow up someday, Archie.
And when you do, you are going to make ladies hearts pound and make them feel
faint without even knowing it.”
“I no’ wanna ma’e ‘em a fain’.” Archie frowned in concern, “Dey ge’ huwt
if dey fall down.”
Richard had to press his lips together to keep from laughing, while Elizabeth
’s smile broadened, and she took Archie’s hand, “You are such a sweet,
caring boy, Archie. Do not ever change.”
“Say farewell, Archie.” Richard said, “We must go.”
“Fawewell, Mama.” Archie spoke so seriously.
“Farewell, my angel.” Elizabeth smiled, “Enjoy your day with Papa.”
“ ‘es, Mama.” Archie nodded.
Richard kissed his wife’s hand once more, “I will take good care of him,
Elizabeth. You rest.”
“I will.” Elizabeth closed her eyes and tried to sleep.
Richard went into Archie’s room to retrieve the blanket they wrap him in to
go outside. As he stood his son on the bed, Archie put his arms out to his
nurse, “A kiss, nuwse Dowfy?”
Smiling, Dorothy walked over to the bed and hugged her youngest charge, “Ye
ha’e a good day with yer papa, lamb.” She kissed his cheek.
Archie wrapped his arms around her neck, “I lobe ‘ou, Nuwse Dowfy.” He
kissed her cheek, “Ta’e cawe a Mama.”
“I will, lad.” She gently broke their embrace, “Ye be good for yer papa.”
“I be good.” Archie assured her.
The snow crunched under his feet as Richard walked outside to the coach with
his son in his arms. Archie’s face lit up, “ ‘ook at ‘now, Papa! It lob’ey.
“It is very lovely, son.” Richard couldn’t help but smile. His youngest son
seemed to find joy in almost everything. Archie sat on his father’s lap in
the coach, marveling at the country side and streets of London until they came
to a stop in front of the tailor’s.
Richard took his son inside and was greeting by the tailor, “May I help you,
“Yes.” Richard gave him a smile, “My son is in need of new clothes.”
“Very good, sir.” The tailor said, “Would you like to choose the fabric
while I take his measurements?”
Richard stood his son on the floor, “You are good and let the tailor measure
you, while I pick out the fabric for your clothes.”
“No, Papa.” Archie shook his head, looking apprehensive, “Don’ leabe me.”
“I will be close enough to speak with you, Archie.” Richard told him, “Now,
be a good boy.”
A sadness joined the apprehension on the boy’s face as resigned himself to
his father’s wishes.
The tailor knelt down in front of the boy and said, “I’m not going to hurt
you, lad. I just want to make your clothes fit you properly.” The tailor soon
discovered that the toddler was ticklish. Everywhere. He could not help
laughing as the child giggled and squirmed. Finally, the man had to wait until
the boy’s father held him still to measure him.
Once the measurements were finished, Richard asked, “How soon can you have a
“For a child his size, I could have one suit of clothes ready to wear this
afternoon if you would like, sir?”
“That would be fine.” Richard said.
“If I may, sir?” The tailor suggested, “I have a beautiful fabric that
would compliment your son’s blue eyes. Should I use that for the first suit?”
“Yes, thank you.” Richard said, “I should be back this afternoon.”
Once they had climbed into the coach, Archie sat on his father‘s lap and
said, “Dat man tickle me.”
Richard smiled, “You are a very ticklish little boy.”
Archie nodded, “ ‘es, siw.”
Richard almost laughed at that.
“I hungwy, Papa.”
“As am I, son.” Richard gave his little boy a gentle squeeze.
Richard carried Archie into the fine tavern, and went to a table. The owner’
s wife smiled as she watched the beautiful toddler trying to sit at the table
and see over it.
She went into the kitchen and found a small crate, then retrieved a folded
blanket from the bedroom, and carried them both out to the table, “ ‘ello,
sir!” She smiled, “I ‘a’e som’thin’ ‘ere that’ll ‘elp th’ wee lad.”
Richard had noticed the items she brought and smiled as he stood and picked
his son up for her to arrange the crate and blanket. Once she was finished,
he sat Archie down on them.
“I see ‘da table now, Papa!” Archie exclaimed happily.
“Wha’ wou’ ye like, sir?” The woman said.
“I believe we both will have some eggs, bacon, ham, and scones.” Richard
The woman smiled at that, “An’ wha’ wou’ ye like to drink, sir?”
“We will have tea, ma’am.”
“Very good, sir.” She turned and hurried off.
Archie folded his arms on the table.
“No, son.” Richard shook his head, “That is not the way a gentleman sits at
Archie’s expression fell, and he looked so sad.
“You are not in trouble, son.” Richard assured him, “I just want you to
know the proper way to sit at a table.” He demonstrated the right way, “This is
how you should sit. And if you must rest your arms,” Richard put his arms on
the edge of the table, “this is how you should do it.”
Archie frowned and looked at his arms.
“One must never put their elbows on the table.” Richard told him.
Archie looked at his father’s arms and then at his own and carefully
imitated his father.
“Very good, son.” Richard smiled.
The woman brought out a tea tray and sat it on the table along some fresh
scones, butter, and jam. As she poured the tea, Richard buttered a scone for
his son and put some jam on it.
Archie took a bite, then made face.
“Is something wrong, Archie?” Richard was trying not to smile at the child’
s expression as Archie looked the scone over.
“I not ‘ike dat, Papa.” Archie shook his head slowly.
“What does your mother usually put on your scone?”
“Hew only put dat buttew.” Archie told him.
Richard took the scone and put it on his own plate, “I’ll eat this one.” He
buttered another one and gave to Archie. It was obvious how much the boy
enjoyed it by his expression as devoured it.
After they finished their meal, they climbed back into the coach.
Archie crawled onto this father’s lap and looked up at him, “Whewe we go
“I am going to tell you a secret.” Richard confided, “But you must not tell
“ ‘ou don’ wan’ Mama a know?”
“It is going to be a surprise for her.” Richard told him.
Archie’s face looked up, “ ‘ou su’pwise Mama?!”
“Yes. Her birthday is going to be here in a few weeks, and I have something
special that I intend to buy for her.”
“What?” Archie asked.
“You will see when we arrive, son.”
Despite his excitement, Archie yawned and snuggled against his father’s
chest, putting his thumb in his mouth.
“Are you sleepy, son?”
“ ‘es, Papa.”
“Go to sleep then.” Richard held his son tightly, but gently, and Archie
closed his eyes. Before he knew it, Archie fell asleep.
Richard left the coach with his son in his arms and walked into the stables.
“Ah, my lord!” A man said, “I have just finished brushing her. Let me get
her for you.”
“Make her ready to ride, Walter.” Richard told him, “I want to test her
“Yes, sir.” Walter walked away, then returned with a chair, “Have a seat,
my lord. This will take some time.” He hurried off to get the horse ready.
Archie looked at his father, “Who hew, Papa?”
“A horse.” Richard told him.
Archie frowned, “A howrsy?”
“Yes, son.” Richard told him, “Your mother loves to ride, so her birthday
surprise is going to be this horse.”
“I wan’ a howrsy, Papa.”
“Not until you are older, son.”
Archie spied the tools that were lying nearby and, slipping off his father’s
lap, picked up one. He put it against his father’s arm and pretending he was
Richard looked down at him, “What are you doing?”
“I fis’in’ ‘ou.” Archie said.
“I did not know that I needed to be fixed.” Richard raised an amused
“ ‘ou bwoken, Papa,” Archie patted his father’s arm, “but I fis ‘ou.”
“Well, thank you, son.”
Archie climbed up on a crate and made like he was fixing his father’s
temple. Richard did his best not to laugh.
Climbing down, Archie put the tool back and picked up a small hammer. He
climbed back up again and raised the hammer. Just as he started to swing it at
his father’s head, Richard saw the motion out of the side of his eye, and
caught the hammer before it hit him, “Archie!”
Startled, Archie jerked and let go of the hammer. Then his bottom lip came
out and stared to quiver.
Richard tossed the hammer back to were it had been and pulled his son into
his arms, “It is all right, Archie. I did not intend to frighten you. But you
could have hurt me with that tool.”
“I not mean a huw’ ‘ou, Papa.” Archie sobbed in a jittering voice, “I jus’
“I know, son.” Richard kissed Archie’s forehead, “Stop weeping. I am not
Archie wrapped his little arms around his father’s neck, pouting.
When Walter finally came back, he was leading a big, beautiful horse that
was black with a white mane, white tail and a white streak down its nose. It
also had a white spot on its chest, just above its front legs and white above
each of it’s hooves that looked like stockings.
Richard stood and walked over to the horse. He lifted Archie and put him on
the saddle. Immediately, Archie became frightened and shook his head, “No,
“It is all right, son.” Richard mounted the horse.
“There’s some lovely country side behind the stables, my lord.” Walter said.
“Thank you.” Richard turned the horse around and walked it out the back
way. As they rode, Archie began to relax and enjoy the ride.
Richard wrapped his arm around Archie, “Hold on to the horse’s hair with
both hands, Archie.”
Archie grabbed the mane in both fists, and Richard gave the horse’s sides a
kick. The horse started into a trot, and with a little more nudging, broke
into a run.
Archie gasped, and he let go of the horse’s mane to clutched his father’s
arm, “Papa, I fwigh’en!”
Richard pulled the reins back to slow the horse, and then brought it to a
complete stop. He lifted his son into his arm to hold him, “I am sorry, Archie.
I did not intend to frighten you. I thought you would enjoy it. Your
brothers and sister did when I took them for rides.”
Archie squeezed against his father, “I not wan’ a fall.”
“Oh, my little laddie!” Richard said gently as he hugged his youngest
child, “I would not let you fall.” He kissed Archie’s forehead, “A father always
protects his children.”
“ ‘ou not let me fall?”
“I would never let you be hurt, son.” Richard assured him, “And I will not
let you fall. Sit back down now, we must return to the stable.”
“ ‘ou not go fas’?” Archie shook his head slowly.
Richard kissed his cheek and smiled, “I will not make the horse run again.
Archie obeyed his father, who kept his arm around his son, and started back
to the stable. As soon as Archie realized his father would not let him fall,
he began to enjoy the ride again. Before they reached the stable, Archie was
giggling once more.
Richard climbed down off the horse, then reached up and removed his son from
the saddle. Holding the child in his arms, Richard turned to Walter, “I will
buy the horse. I will bring the money for it tomorrow.”
As Richard began to walk away, Archie’s eyes widened, “Papa, wait! I wan’ a
pet da howsie.”
“Oh, yes.” Richard smirked and turned back, “I forgot.”
Archie pet the horse’s nose, “Bye bye, howsie. I see ‘ou ‘gain.”
Richard smiled at that, “We must go now.”
Soon, father and son were back at the tailor’s, who promptly dressed Archie
in his new breeches. He held the small jacket up, explaining about the
buttons he had put on it to Richard, while little Archie began to scratch his
“Just a moment, Archie.”
A woman and her daughter walked in.
Frowning, Archie began to pant, and whined, “Papa!”
“Archie,” Richard said more firmly, “I am speaking with someone.”
Then the woman and her daughter gasped, and the eight year old girl started
The tailor and Richard turned to see Archie taking his breeches off.
“Archie!” Richard snatched his son up, preparing to punish him, until he
noticed how red the child’s thighs were.
“It’s huwts, Papa!” Archie sobbed, tears in his eyes.
“He needs a doctor.” Richard glanced at the tailor.
“There is one at the end of this block,” The woman informed him, “on the
“Thank you.” Richard hurried out the door with his son.
“It appears this particular fabric has caused a rash, my lord." The doctor
went to his bottles and picked up a jar of salve. He came back, and spread the
salve over Archie's thighs, smiling at the boy's ticklish reaction. "It is
not as bad as it could have been. It was good that he did not have on anything
else that was made out of this fabric."
“Thank God.” Richard closed his eyes.
When the doctor finished putting the salve on, he looked up at Richard, "He
should be fine, my lord. I will give you some salve to take with you. Just
put it on three times a day, and do not put him in breeches until the rash goes
away. Bring him back to me in three days, so I can check him. And if it
should become worse, bring him back immediately. But I don’t believe that will
happen. And do not let him scratch it. I know it will be hard, but it will make
it worse if he scratches it."
"Thank you, doctor." Richard said, "Our doctor was too far away."
The other man smiled, "I am glad to be of service, my lord."
Richard handed the man a large some of money.
"Oh no, my lord," The doctor shook his head, "I cannot accept this. It is
"My son is worth much more then this, sir." Richard forced the money into
the doctor's hand, "This is nothing in comparison."
"I have a young son as well, my lord." The doctor said, "I feel the same way
about him, but I cannot...."
"Yes, you can." Richard insisted, "And you will accept it. If not for
yourself, accept it for your wife and son."
The doctor looked down at the money, slowly shaking his head.
Archie looked up at the doctor, " 'ou habe a son ‘li’e me?"
The doctor smiled down at him, "Yes I do, my lad. But I believe he is older
"I two." Archie held two small fingers up proudly.
"He will be three in April." Richard supplied.
"Ah!" The doctor looked at Archie, "My son will be five in July."
Archie smiled, "I mee' him?"
"Perhaps, someday." The doctor stroked the bright hair.
“I be his fwien,” Archie announced, “I be a goo' fwien'.”
"I do not doubt that, lad." The doctor smile.
"Papa, I wan' a mee' him."
"Someday, Archie." Richard told him as he picked him up, "However, we must
go now." He offered his hand to the other man, "Thank you, doctor."
The doctor shook his hand, "I am glad I could help, my lord."
Richard started to leave, then stopped in the doorway, and turned back to
suggest, "Perhaps, you could use the money to proved your son with a good
"Thank you, my lord." The doctor replied, "I shall."
Archie was still asleep when they arrived home. Richard explained everything
to Dorothy, who took the toddler up to his room, while Richard checked on
He found her reclining on her settee, reading.
She looked up at him and smiled, “How was your day with Archie?”
Richard sighed, “The fabric that was used for one of the suit’s the tailor
made for Archie caused a rash on both his legs.”
Elizabeth sat upright quickly, her hands going to her cheeks, “Oh, my babe!”
“He is all right, dear.” Richard assured her, “He is sleeping at the
moment, and the doctor I took him to has given me some salve to put on the rash
three times a day. He will be all right. How are you?”
“I am fine.” She told him, “I stayed in bed all day. I kept my dinner down,
and I am actually hungry.”
“Good.” He kissed her lips, and then said, “I love you, my darling.”
“And I you.” She moved the blanket off of her legs, “I must see my babe now.
Richard offered his hand and helped her to her feet, “He will be fine,
“I believe you. However, I would have wanted to see him, even if he did not
have a rash." She smiled lovingly, "He‘s my babe.”