Chapter 29

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"Oh, that insolent woman," The Lady Beaumont of Bellevue hall cried, clutching the letter that had come from Portsmouth that early Saturday morning. She had come down feeling rather fresh and had, much to her husband's surprise, hummed a delightful tune that complimented that of the eccentric blue bird's which sat perched on her window sill. Her happy disposition only to be brought to a crashing halt as she went through the early morning post and read the letter from The Countess of Brockenhurst, "She has the audacity to criticize how I raise my children when she inevitably drowned my eldest! And even then she's telling me that 'I thank goodness, I was in charge, Ruth, or I torture myself to think how everything would've fared, were you.' I have half a mind to go to Portsmouth this instant and get Diana back from that vicious snake's hold."

"You will do no such thing," Lord Augustus Beaumont articulated as he lowered his quizzing glass to shoot a pointed look at his wife, "My sister claims that both, Diana and Alicia, are on the mend. What happened, as she writes clearly, was an accident, and as much as I care for both the girls deeply, Agnes is not to blame and neither are you."

"Lord Beaumont, you are blind to your sister's deviousness," His wife huffed, annoyance clear in her tone, "Heaven knows how you both are even related." With that being said, Lady Beaumont got up and walked over to the drawing room window, looking out into the early morning hustle and bustle on the street in front of the Bellevue Hall. Then she continued in a quieter voice, "Lady Templemore says Lord Buxton and Lord Algernon saved the girls."

"I was wondering when you would acknowledge that part," Lord Beaumont mused, returning to the newspaper he had earlier kept to the side.

The lady of the house turned from the window, a concerned expression on her face as she looked at her husband in thought. "What is it?" he inquired as he caught her worried gaze, sighing once again as he was forced to keep the newspaper aside a second time.

"I know I've stressed the benefit of these matches for our girls before, even in front of my sisters, but it's just that we don't know him, or them, except from the reflections of their characters we've seen through Arthur's struggles. And I would much rather my daughter associate herself with a middle class honest gentleman than a mysterious one with a large income," her gaze dropped to her hands as she fiddled her fingers together.

"He saved her life, surely that accounts to something in his character," Lord Beaumont pointed out and his wife shut her eyes tightly in response, nodding in agreement, "Also, before you go about paying calls to your sisters to narrate the contents of the letter, I prefer them to be kept from the children. It would give rise to unnecessary worry and distress in them, now that the girls are fine and well."

"Well, I for one, think Lord Algernon is of a brilliant character," Lady Hyacinth Kirkpatrick declared as she clapped her hands together that evening as she sat with her sisters in the east drawing room of the Mansfield estate, "I've always thought so, since the controversy was merely about Lord Buxton, and now that Lord Algernon saved my daughter, I can't help but think good of him."

Lady Ruth Beaumont's smile shifted as she straightened herself, "Well I think good of Lord Buxton as well, after all, he jumped in after my daughter. He's just mysterious, and Lord Beaumont says that such an act definitely accounts to something in him."

"How romantic, I dare say," Lady Charlotte Allan, the youngest of the sisters added, a bright smile on her face.

"We may have engagements on our hands after the girls return," Lady Margaret Seymour pointed out, sipping her cup, "Or if they return."

"One would think the accident was all for the better," Rebecca Seymour spoofed, rolling her eyes at her aunts and mother. It wasn't that Rebecca deemed the action to be saved by a suitor unromantic; it was just that she tended to, at present, focus on the darker part of the situation, more than the fairytale part of it. As much as she rarely got along with either Diana or Alicia, hearing about the accident was unsettling and upsetting to the core.

"Nonsense," Lady Beaumont declared, ignoring Rebecca's sarcastic observation as though she hadn't spoken at all, "They must return. They have Rebecca's wedding to attend, and besides, I won't have Diana instantly marrying in the night as though she were a thief, without a considerable length of engagement; it is highly improper, and that too in Portsmouth without her family."

"I second that," Lady Kirkpatrick chimed in, "Alicia must return as well. I'd like to formally meet this Lord Algernon. If I might've known he'd show such a prolonged interest in my daughter, I'd have already had him over to tea when they were here for the fair."

"What's all this talk of marriage?" Oscar Seymour blurted out, his instincts getting the better of him as he changed his tone by laughing nervously when he gained the attention of his aunts and mother, "I mean, let's not get ahead of ourselves. Surely a gentleman can save a lady in distress out of respect too. Perhaps they are good acquaintances, considering the fact that they are currently part of a weekend party at The Brockenhurst estate."

"Oscar dear, are we still talking about your cousins?" Lady Charlotte Allan cast him an observant glance as her brow rose slightly.

Oscar's jaw parted in shock before he gained his composure, "What? Of course we are."

"Can't say I am convinced, but oh well," the youngest aunt responded, getting up from the sofas and walking over to the spot on the mint carpets where her youngest daughter, Fanny, sat playing with a stuffed doll.

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