The Chatelaine


Poem Commentary

The mistress of the castle always held the keys.

The Chatelaine


 Her name was Athelwyn.

She had been blessed since childhood with great

 beauty and wit and was the envy of her friends

 who believed she must somehow be of royal blood.

No other reason could be found for her

 elegance, style and grace.


She was schooled at home by a French woman named Paulette

 Bontecou who had been educated at École normale supérieure in institute known for its great philosophers and educators

and founded on the secular values of the Enlightenment. 

As a result, Athelwyn spoke both English and French and

although her manners were refined her opinions were

bold and of her own choosing. 


As a precocious teen flirting with womanhood

young and old men alike sought to court her.

Although her father was a merchant he was of

modest means and harbored greed within his soul.

He looked upon Athelwyn as the golden goose

that might secure for him a comfortable retirement.


On her seventeenth birthday Athelwyn was introduced

 to a young major in her Majesty’s service named

 Reginald Blount and instantly fell madly in love with him

 and he with her. Becoming aware of this her father forbad her to

ever see Reginald again as his family had no estate of value.


 Athelwyn never saw Reginald again and suspected

that her father had distanced him with threats

so severe that he feared for her life.

She plotted on numerous occasions to flee her

Father’s home but was thwarted on every occasion.


In her twenty first year.. and against her will..

Athelwyn was betrothed to Duke Anthony Richards,

 a rich and influential land owner and third cousin to

her Majesty’s nephew Bartholomew Bartlow who was

a renowned scallywag known for his laziness and

reliance upon handouts from relatives for his subsistence.


Athelwyn locked herself in her room for a full month

in protest; eating and drinking only that which her younger

sister Adeline could sneak to her from the kitchen in the dead

 of night. But to no avail, as her father had the door removed

 from her sanctuary on the thirty first day,

 so ending her self-imposed exile.


 The wedding was a grim affair with Athelwyn going

 through the motions without meeting the eyes of either

her father or the Duke. Although besplendoured in white lace

and roses in her hair she seemed more a casual

 observer to the affair than the bride.

The ceremony completed, the Duke and Athelwyn

left in the Duke’s carriage drawn by four great black horses

for his estate in the country.


Upon arrival at the estate Athelwyn was escorted to

her bed chamber which adjoined the Duke’s and which

 was separated by a solid oak door with key firmly in lock.

The Duke had left the moment of consummation of the

marriage in the hands of his bride not realizing that

his wait might be eternal.


Athelwyn was introduced to the sizable staff of the

estate and, now the wife of the Castellan, was

 obliged to assume the role of Chatelaine, a role that

she would be well suited for were it not for her

displeasure with the fate that had befallen her.  


  A year went by and the key in the oaken door remained

in place … much to the dismay of the Duke.

As their first anniversary as man and wife approached

the Duke announced at breakfast one morning

 that upon his return from London he would

be visiting Athelwyn’s chamber to finalize the marriage

in the traditional manner.


It has now been five years since the Duke returned

from London with thoughts of claiming his due.

The halls of the castle, illuminated only by the dim

candles that line the walls, are cold, damp and

deserted. The staff is no longer under the watchful eye

of its former mistress. However, one night each year on the eve

of the date the Duke returned from London, the jingling

 of keys can be heard as the mournful spirit of Athelwyn

 still makes her rounds and carries out her duties as Chatelaine.   


©Copyright June 23, 2010 Charles H. Gragg








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ApaqRasgirl commented on The Chatelaine


great write...should make a great book.......loved it.....sad and tragic I really could see this in a book........great read love asha



Thanks for the thoughts.

icu2 commented on The Chatelaine


I can see a whole novel being written with this. I'm not kidding, my pulse-rate has quickened. Hampton, I'm loving this one also.



You are very kind my dear. Thank you...........................Hampton

devaamido commented on The Chatelaine


I'm amazed at the sophisticated adherence to the mores & syntax of the historic period, as well as the courtly expressions of deep feeling imbedded in this work. Excellent!!



Thank you. It took some time to try and get it right.

DrewMcNee commented on The Chatelaine


A story that rings with the feel of an old English ballad. Nice. Drew.



Thank you very much.

stellar commented on The Chatelaine


Oh what a lovely story...entertaining Hamp, is this true? Add this to my favs....^_^ v



Pure fiction. Thanks for reading

A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness. It finds the thought and the thought finds the words.

Robert Frost (1875-1963) American Poet.

Hampton’s Poems (111)

Title Comments
Title Comments
Searching 5
The Poetess 14
Nonsense 12
Solitude 18
Lame Limericks 14
Message to Papa 15
Young Jimmy O’Fallon 11
The Computer From Hell 18
Life Ain’t for Sissies 16
The Mind In Motion 13
The Game of Poetry 9
Silence 55
WordSlinger 19
Holiday Thoughts 12
Sweet Mary 18
From White to Grey to Black 19
The Reckoning 12
And All of That Jazz 16
Today 25
No Offense, Just My Opinion 16
Lucky 10
You’re Only as Old as You Feel 13
Saturday Night 13
Political Change? 14
The Female Gender 17
I’m In Charge Here, Aren’t I? ( With Epilogue) 10
I’m In Charge Here, Aren’t I? 7
Remembering 11
This Web We Weave 13
The End 16
The Day the Clouds Cried 16
The Path of Life 12
My Mother Ruth 12
Humanities Challenge 14
A Cowboy's Perspective 12
July in Buda Texas 14
The OP Poets Parade 20
The Chatelaine 12
Shot Through the Heart 17
Poetry and Fine Wine 18
The Man What Am 10
The Final Beat of My Heart 16
The Rainbow of Poets 19
A Cowboy's Lament 13
Of This World I am Not 17
The Wee People 19
An Evening at an Irish Pub 15
The Scent of Love 14
Fresh News from Buda Texas 16
Memories of Times Past 13
The Dance of the Poets 20
The Confession 14
Road to Obscurity 18
Barbara 14
Shadows 15
Prescience 17
Words That Bind 54
Wondering 26
New Year News from Buda Texas 13
We Are All Witnesses 16
Christmas 25
A Cowboy’s Prayer 29
The 9 ers 24
Love Defined 27
Tis a Time to Give Thanks 21
More News From Buda Texas 26
Choices 26
News from Buda, Texas 21
In Search of God 21
Writers of Poems (WOPs) 26
Out of the Darkness 15
Visions from Within the Mist 18
Baseball 12
The Night Stalker 16
The Man I Presume to be Buck 16
The Sounds of Time 17
The Little Man in the Green Hat 18
Blah Blah Blah 14
One Two Three 13
Carpe Viam 11
Love in the Afternoon 13
The Moth 14
Lost & Dungeons of the Mind 11
The Creative Process 19
The Truth and the Tribe 19
The Long Wait. 19
Feathers 26
The Arrow 14
Take Two Cialis and Call Me in the Morning 26
Ghostly Images 16
Friends 11
Angels Without Wings 20
The Rider 16
Pride and Shame 18
The Winning Poet is.... 21
Memories 13
Politicians 67
Your Mailbox Is Empty 18
God's Visit 17
Poets and Poems 20
Love Thy Neighbor 13
Renewal 8
The Roar of Silence 17
Blessed Are These Days 4
Time and Space 5
Life's Journey 8
Gift To The Fallen 16
Hunger 21
The Antique Shop 30