Sincerest Apologies to Georgette Heyer
dear, would you be so kind as to pass me my reticule' said Lady
Elizabeth Pargetter to her companion, as she reclined upon her chaise
longue of straw coloured satin. 'I feel a little weak and if I do
not have my smelling salts I fear I may go into a swoon.'
Siobhan Hathaway was sitting several feet away on the window seat,
her burnished red head bowed over her embroidery, when the insistent
tones of Lady Pargetter penetrated her reverie. 'Mrs Hathaway my
dear, did you not hear me? I must have my reticule.'
Siobhan got to her feet. She was an attractive girl, though perhaps not
what a gentleman would describe as 'a diamond of the first water'. She
was taller than average with an elegant nose and fine grey eyes that always
seemed to laugh a little, even when her mouth, which was too large to
be called fashionable, was in repose. At nine and twenty she was past
her first blush but her figure was still pleasing. As she moved across
the room, her muslin clung to her admirable shape and a casual observer
would have noted that she was undoubtedly in what the dowagers still referred
to as 'a delicate condition'.
attended to Lady Pargetter's needs, Mrs Hathaway took up her seat once
more and resumed her embroidery. Although she struggled to remain cheerful,
a certain pall hung over her spirits as she contemplated life at Lower
Loxley Hall. Her husband, Dr Hathaway had been engaged as a personal physician
to a reputable poet and was travelling with his employer in the Italian
Alps. Her only companion was Lady Pargetter whose persistent ill-health
and preoccupation with her offspring meant that she was not always the
most engaging company. Of course her own baby would soon be there, which
was something to look forward to, but Siobhan longed for London, for dancing
at Almacks and card parties, for the Vauxhall Masquerades. And she longed
for the Marquess of Felpersham Lord Brian Aldridge.
Siobhan gazed out across the rolling parkland surrounding Lower Loxley,
an elegant but sporting phaeton appeared on the sweeping curve of the
drive, drawn by a pair of perfectly matched high stepping greys. As the
vehicle came into view through the morning mist, Siobhan could just make
out the family crest that adorned it. The unmistakable Aldridge crest
depicting a golden shield, with two heraldic lions holding aloft a be-chained
slip-on loafer, and the motto 'Semper Infidelis'. Her brow furrowed but
her heart leapt. What could he be doing here, that rude and disagreeable
man, whose glance made her feel like a girl not out of the schoolroom
and whose cold sarcasm chilled her soul? What possible business could
he have at Lower Loxley?
dear Lady Pargetter' she said, 'I am going to my room and do not wish
to be disturbed.'
an extract from Georgette Heyer's Bath Tangle
parodies - from Agatha Christie to Damon Runyon
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