Chapter 4

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'Do you think we will ever find love?' Emma added another long stemmed yellow rose into their wicker basket as they gathered flowers from the abundant garden.

Sorrow pierced Fallon’s heart....She felt a wretched attraction for a certain rake. She did not like him though and worse, he looked at Emma fairly, what chance did she have?

'Is love not over rated?' Fallon's brows furrowed irritatedly.

Could Emma not find another topic that they could converse about?

'I thought you wanted to marry for love,' Emma exclaimed.

Perhaps this love existed. But would she find it? 'Have you found this ___love?' Fallon set down the clippers, anxious to hear her sister's answer.

'I don't know,' Emma ventured, not comfortable yet to talk about her feelings for Arthur Burward, the Viscount Thumpston, besides she did not want to speak of her feelings for a gentleman, when Fallon had not yet found somebody, not wanting to hurt her younger sister's feelings.

Fallon laughed,' either you have or you have not.'

Emma sighed, 'so there is not a single gentleman you have set your cap on?' she enquired curiously.

Fallon turned away pretending to give attention to the colorful array of carnations. She silently rejected the dark invading image of the maddening Earl of Hampton, truly, he was the devil incarnate with his maddening good looks, brooding eyes and his rakish behaviour. She had absolutely not set her cap on him. Even if he was the only gentleman to offer for her she would reject him. He had the manners of a boar. He was arrogant, presumptuous and a cad.

'No,' she answered her sister. I have not found one whom I deem desirable,' she lied.

Emma was silent as she pondered on her sister’s response.

'Emma, do you think all gentleman honour fidelity?'

Emma looked up? 'That is important to you, is it not?'

'And not to you?' Fallon deviated.

Emma added some broad leafed ferns to their bouquet. ''I like to think the gentleman I will marry, will not take a mistress. Papa has not.'

'How do you know?' Fallon challenged.


'Well, answer me,' Fallon dared her elder sister. 'Papa could be discreetly paying calls to a mistress.'

'We would know,' Emma answered thoughtfully. 'There would be whispers in the ton. Mama would behave differently. She is always smiling fondly at papa and he at her.'

'That hardly proves papa's fidelity.'

Emma huffed. 'I do not believe papa has a mistress,' she whispered for fear they could be overheard. And I believe the one I marry will be faithful. '

'So you have set your cap on one?"

'I ___ I just believe,' Emma lied.

'I do not believe I can ever marry,' Fallon sighed. 'I would not allow my husband to keep a mistress.'

Emma laughed. 'It's not like the gentleman you marry will seek your consent Fallon.'

‘Then I shall request a marriage settlement be drawn up. That will be a condition I intend to negotiate if I marry,' Fallon declared. 'If I find he has breached our agreement, I shall leave him.'

'Fallon that is scandalous! Papa will not allow it.'

Emma gave up when she observed her younger sister’s defiant eyes.

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