It’s a new year and it seems to be off to a rollocking start, what with Gaelen’s Duke enlisting new recruits and Manda Collins visiting with her highly entertaining Regency wordlibs. And we mustn’t forget that we almost met Lord B!
Or at least Sarah almost did. But I assume she would have reported gossip about the mysterious man in great detail.
However, since Lord B is unavailable (pointedly accusing look at the general area I last saw Lady B), I’ve had to enlist the appearance of another, more reclusive, and possibly mysterious gentleman.
I say possibly mysterious because the first time we were introduced to this gentleman, it was through his mother, and what grown man can maintain any proper dignity and glamour after his mother calls him by a childhood diminutive?
And yes, for all of you who have followed along since the fall to my (quite distant) relation Mary’s great experiment in marrying off her son, I am speaking of Captain H. J. G. Martin, or Georgie.
Let’s recap, shall we?
- Scarred and darkly handsome war hero. Check.
- Crumbling, northern castle in which he’s locked away himself and his wounded soul. Check.
- Unwillingness to marry or to even socialize with local society. Check.
- One meddling mother who desperately desires grandchildren. Check
- One meddling mother who considers placing an advertisement in a London paper in hopes of solving the trouble with Georgie. Check.
- One meddling mother who decides perhaps a mistress would be a good intermediate step to awaken any latent interest in women in her strangely abstinent son, and advertises for one! Check.
- One actress applying for said position…Hearsay!
It’s been quite a while since Mary last visited us. I think it was before Christmas and likely Thanksgiving (yes, an American holiday). I have to admit, I wasn’t entirely sad to see her return up North. However, being a curious and rather meddling author myself, I decided to drag George down here to visit the ballroom and report on events.
But please, Ballroom denizens remember that we are attempting to ferret out information about his situation without revealing his mother’s actions!
Excuse me just one moment as I… pull an impassively glowering giant of a man into the room with the sort of strength only a romance author has. (And before you question me, to glower impassively is a uniquely romance hero trait and there is no other description as appropriate for this particular stony expression. Or maybe it’s just that scar that’s twisting his mouth that confuses the issue.)
I have to say something.
“I know your mother.”
Eyes stare at me. It’s like he’s having a silent tantrum that I pulled him out of his ornate mancave.
“When she mentioned that her dear Georgie was back from the war, I knew I had to meet you.”
He speaks! Oh, speak again, bright angel.
“I thought your name was George. I mean, that’s what I…um, your mother, named you.”
“John is my third name and I prefer it.”
I actually prefer it a bit, too, considering that George Martin together is far too reminiscent of many other well-known men. A man must have some space to be himself, to live his own name. (I stop myself from web-searching “John Martin.”)
“Well, then, John—”
Oook. The proverbial frost on those two words has created a wall of icicles between us.
“I’m a relation, John, distant or not, and above all, I am an author. Do not quibble with me!” Perhaps I’m not as frosty, but I can be extremely managing when I like. But he looks rather unaffected. I wonder if his superiors in the army had this sort of trouble with him. At the very least, he will eventually be humbled by the love of a good woman. That much I can control!
The silence in Lady B’s ballroom continues to grow, at least in this small corner of it. After all, there is still the orchestra and the conversation of dozens of society’s best, but somehow Captain H. John (Georgie) Martin manages to ignore them all.
“In any event, Captain, I thought it might be best if now, just before your world falls into extreme turmoil, you shared with us a bit of your current state of affairs. Such as, what exactly do you do all day in that castle of yours? Mope?”
“You have your facts in disorder, Miss Darby,” he says rather curtly, but I’m simply happy he’s talking at this point. “My world is perfectly ordered. And I keep it that way.”
I’m glad he’s so obstinately certain in his ability to control his own world. It will make his fall that much more sweet. However, I dislike this obfuscation. Perhaps one of you will have the right approach to break the ice and make him more forthcoming. Questions for the Captain?