Lord Duncan: "My Lady Knott, it is a real pleasure. Your family is an old and distinguished one."
Lady Knott: "As is yours, My Lord. My granddaughter, Lady Madeline Sinclair had her presentation ball last week." I gesture to my granddaughter, who dutifully curtsies, finally. Though I wish her frowning face would turn into a smile to show herself off to better advantage. "We were sorry to have missed you."
Lord Duncan: "Lady Knott, Lady Madeline." I bow to each of them. "My apologies for my absence. But I had only reached London and opened up our townhouse yesterday. So I sadly missed what was certain to have been a glorious evening." Then I take Lady Madeline's hand and lift it to my lips and gaze into her astonished eyes. "You must have dazzled all of the men in attendance at your ball."
Lady Madeline: "Lord Duncan, you will make me blush." I lean slightly away from him. He seems too polished in his compliments--and therefore, he seems insincere to me.
However Lord Christian inwardly fumes--him thinking that Lady Madeline is playing the coquette for Lord Duncan.
Lord Duncan: "Nay, surely you have already received proposals of marriage."
Lady Madeline: "None that I entertained with any enthusiasm." I catch Lord Christian wince out of the corner of my eye and I amend my statement. "Well, perhaps there was one match that I looked upon with favor." I do not say proposal because Lord Christian has not technically proposed to me.
Lord Duncan: "But?" I smile at her mirthfully, darting a glance to her grandmother.
Lady Madeline: "But the gentleman in question has not pressed his suit further. So I must surmise that he is no longer interested in me." I lay down the challenge at Lord Christian's feet as I gaze at him with feigned disinterest [(3) right].
Lord Duncan: "Then he is a fool!" I give her my best cordial smile. Then I turn to my friend. "Christian, let us procure the ladies some refreshments. And when we return, I hope that each young lady will be so kind as to stand up with me for a dance. With, perhaps Lady Lizzie gracing me first? See? I do remember." I smile at the once more charming blush of Lord Christian's lovely sister.
Lord Christian: "Of course. Ladies, you will excuse us. We will return shortly." Both Lord Duncan and I bow to the ladies and take our leave of them.
As Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay and I walk around the crowded Kimball ballroom to the refreshments room, we segue into the hallway for a frank talk away from listening ears.
Lord Christian: "Alright, Duncan. What was that nonsense about presuming that I was married to Lady Madeline already?"
Lord Duncan: "Well, old chap. The two of you did look rather cozy in your waltz as you chatted amiably with one another." I raise my eyebrow discerningly. "Could it be your proposal that she is still considering?"
Lord Christian: "Highly doubtful."
Lord Duncan: "A ha! Then you have proposed to her?"
Lord Christian: "Not exactly. Our grandmothers concocted a scheme to match us up."
Lord Duncan: "And you did not want to? Or was it the lady who refused?"
Lord Christian: "A bit of both, I suppose. With my grandfather dying and my inheriting the Earldom, I have much responsibility on my shoulders now."
Lord Duncan: "I was sorry to hear that he had died, old chap. Your grandfather was a good man."
Lord Christian: "He was the best of men." I state proudly. "Unfortunately, he was not the most astute businessman. Nor was his ancient steward attentive about such matters. I have had to review the estates accounts and productivity in detail. And both areas can be improved upon." I phrase vaguely--my falling far short of revealing the deplorable state of my finances.
YOU ARE READING
"Encouragement" (Book 1), A Regency Love Story, by Gratiana Lovelace, 2016Historical Fiction
Lady Madeline Lucretia Sinclair's very proper maternal grandmother Lady Lucretia Beckham Knott advises her that all a gentleman needs from a lady to offer for her is a little encouragement from that lady. But then again, it is encouragement that a l...