Lady B has a Turner in the library.
I shouldn’t be surprised, of course, as Beaufetheringstone House is modeled on Hogwarts, and therefore has something for everyone. Today, I’m looking for art and, as it’s the Regency, of course there’s a Turner somewhere in the house.
But here’s the thing. Lady B has my favorite Turner in the library. Snowstorm. Which is peculiar, as it wasn’t completed until 1842, and therefore should not be hanging in the library of Beaufetheringstone house. I’m getting used to the whole bending of space and time thing (I mean, Kate crashed a SHIP into the ballroom last week, and you’d never know it today), but it’s still strange.
I’m considering the strangeness when the lady herself graces me with her presence.
Lady B: I should have known I would find you here. You authoresses like libraries overmuch, you know.
Sarah: Is it possible to like libraries overmuch?
Lady B: I just said it was, Miss MacLean. Are you ignoring me again?
Sarah: Not at all, my lady. I’m simply distracted by this stunning oil.
Lady B: Ah, yes. The Turner. Lord B has always liked the boy.
Sarah: Lord B has excellent taste.
Lady B (preening): I’ve always thought so.
Sarah: Do you know him?
Lady B: Lord B? I should hope so.
Sarah: No, my lady. John Turner.
Lady B: I met him once. Very odd. Those with artistic bents often are, you know.
Sarah: Yes. I’ve heard that. I turn back to the painting. You can tell he’s a genius. It’s in the brushstrokes. The whole painting looks like it’s moving. No wonder he’s called “the painter of light.” I mean, look at this! I sigh.
Lady B (blinks): Why, Miss MacLean, hark at you! Gone all treacly over an oil painting.
Sarah (blushes): Do you think he’d come to a ball? I mean, if you invited him?
Lady B: Gone all treacly over an oil painter.
Sarah: I have not.
Lady B: You needn’t deny it. I understand treacliness. After all. I’ve been treacly once or twice myself.
Sarah: Once or twice?
Lady B (grins): What Lord B doesn’t know won’t hurt him.
That phrasing sounds suspiciously modern, but I let it slide, as Lady B is still talking.
Lady B: Turner is a good looking young man, I will say. But very brooding–artists and all that–and an utter hermit. I suppose it’s to be expected, as he’s been trotted about since he was a child, exhibited at the Royal Academy when he was 15, own studio by the time he was 18, and now…well, the boy is everywhere.
Sarah: A veritable Doogie Howser.
Lady B: A who?
Lady B: He’s not German.
Sarah: Of course not.
Lady B: English, through and through. Born in London.
Lady B: I’m told he keeps almost no friends.
Sarah: What about women?
Lady B (with a knowing gaze): Aren’t you married?
Sarah: What Lord M doesn’t know won’t hurt him.
Lady B: Well said! I couldn’t say for sure but I hear…
Sarah (leaning in): Yes?
Lady B (holding court): I hear he keeps company with a widow in the country. Very quiet life. Paints constantly, but won’t let anyone see him work–not even the woman.
Sarah: How very…
Lady B: Odd. I know.
Sarah: Actually, I was going to say mysterious. And heroic.
Lady B (eyerolls): Miss MacLean, aren’t you the one with the rules about cavorting with artists?
Sarah: Commandments, more like.
Lady B: I suggest keeping to them.
Sarah: But brooding is so… le sigh
Lady B: You’re going treacly again. And French. Esque.
Sarah: Apologies. So…that’s a no on the invitation to the ball?
Lady B: Most assuredly. Especially now. I’m afraid you’ll embarrass me.
Is there a person in the world who makes you all treacly with their talent? Someone you’d love to chat with at a ball? Someone who, perhaps, Lady B has connections to? Someone whom you might embarrass yourself over?