There is a certain tension in the air when I enter the ballroom tonight. Albert and Harold both are present, and neither the beloved parrot nor the black toucan are squawking at each other, which suggests something dire indeed has occurred.
I search the already crowded ballroom for Lady B, and find her looking quite put out. She meets my gaze and is positively glowering. I think quickly through everything I have done in the last few weeks. No…I can’t think of why she might be upset with me. I take a deep breath and (bravely) approach.
As I do, I see that she is standing next to a youngish-appearing gentleman. A light has cast him in silhouette but from the cut of his hair and his coat (and yes, I can tell a man by the cut of his hair), I recognize her nephew, Montague. (In fact, all I really have to go on is the cut of his clothing and hair because every time I’ve seen him before tonight, he’s been a bruised disaster. Only a fortnight ago, he was brawling with one of Miss Darcy Burke’s heroes. Although Katharine has been nursing him back to health and perfect male beauty.)
Lady B: Miss Darby, perhaps you can convince my wayward nephew that as noble as the cause may be, he cannot help every damsel in distress. He must be presentable if he will attend events in London.
I look at Monty and wince. After Katharine did such a wonderful job tending to Monty’s wounds, he now looks slightly worse for wear.
Monty: I assure you, Miss Darby, that the lady’s assailant looks far worse than I.
And then, he winks.
Have you ever seen a man with two bruised eyes attempt to wink? It is a bit frightening. And arresting. For between the slightly swollen lids of his right eye, I can almost make out the color. It looks…black. Or maybe it’s a very dark brown. Or maybe that’s just the shadow and in reality his eyes are hazel. Or a rather light blue?
Fine, I admit it, I don’t actually know.
Maybe you can take a look and help me?
What do you think? Should Montague stop his impulsive and well-intentioned brawls? Or does he simply need to engage an excellent teacher of pugilism?