Lady B: Who is that gentleman, Miss Neville? He’s a little countrified in his attire. It would appear he is wearing his father’s clothing. I haven’t seen anyone dressed like that in years, at least not in London.
Miranda: That’s because today we are in the year 1793, the setting for my new novella.
Lady B: Dear me. Wasn’t that the year those dreadful French murdered their king?
Miranda: Spot on, Lady B. But I can assure you no one is guillotined in this story. It takes place in rural Somerset, where very little of a violent nature ever happens.
Lady B: (raises her quizzing glass) He does possess rugged good looks and excellent legs. Is he a duke? As my dear father used to say, when you bear strawberry leaves you can get away with eccentricities of dress.
Miranda: Actually he’s a mere mister, Mr. Max Quinton.
Lady B: I must find him a partner.
Miranda: Max isn’t a great one for dancing – more of an outdoorsman. Besides, his heart was broken five years ago by Eleanor Hardwick and he can’t forget her.
Lady B: Cruel woman! Unless, of course, he deserved it.
Miranda: I’m afraid he did. He entered into a bet about her and she found out.
Lady B: Why do gentlemen do that? We do not like to be the subject of wagers. Before we were married, Lord B put something in the betting book at White’s about my peacock gloves and a stocking–I shan’t go into details. I refused to speak to him for a week. But I suppose Mr. Quinton was drunk. The combination of men and brandy always leads to mischief. We look over to the other side of the ballroom where Monty is entertaining some ladies with card tricks but he keeps getting muddled. My nephew should stick to ratafia, and then only when Miss Dare is absent.
Miranda: Allow me to present Mr. Quinton.
Max: Honored to be in your ballroom, my lady. [he bows]
Lady B: Yes indeed, an excellent leg. Mr. Quinton, you are at a ball. You must dance!
Max: Thank you, but no. I only dropped in at Miranda’s request. I have to post down to Somerset on business.
Lady B: Business?
Max: And to do some fishing. Sitting by a river bank, angling for trout, makes me forget Eleanor for an hour or two.
Lady B: Men do like their angling. Almost as much as they enjoy drinking too much and making foolish bets. Lord B took me fishing once but never again. Apparently the fish do not like it when you speak. I can’t imagine why.
If you want to find out what happens when Max goes fishing, read the excerpt here.
What do you do to drive your troubles away? Do you have a hobby or pastime that makes you forget every worry, at least for a while? Two commenters will win a copy of my digital novella, THE SECOND SEDUCTION OF A LADY. I’ll pick the random winners tonight so you can have it in your e-reader by tomorrow when the novella is released. International entries are welcome for this drawing.