It’s Thursday, of course, and I’m comfortably ensconced in Lady B’s library reading and avoiding doing the very thing an artist is supposed to do at the home of her patroness.
Lady B looks very put out. Immediately I catalogue all the things I’ve done that she might be upset about: the continued mess in my room, the fact that I never did bring my latest hero to visit…
“Have you seen Monty?”
I blink. Monty? Why on earth would she be looking for Monty in the library? I think back. I remember seeing Harold the other day. And I’m fairly certain I saw Monty’s valet creeping down the backstairs with one of the maids. But Monty?
Now that I think about it, I haven’t seen him in at least several weeks. Perhaps, since Easter.
I shake my head slowly. Of course, now I am curious to know what the rapscallion has been doing. Surely if he’s been up to his usual sport of saving damsels who may or may not actually be in distress, we’d have heard something about it. Why, with the season in full swing, Lady B’s parlor has been nonstop filled with callers. Mostly mothers with their newly come out daughters…oh.
Maybe that’s why he hasn’t been around.
“I haven’t seen him, but I shall definitely keep my eye out for him. He can’t have gone far with Harold and his valet still here. Has he done something to upset you?” Clearly he has, but now I’m fishing for gossip. Because after all, there is nothing like Regency gossip!
“Upset? Do I look upset?”
I’m not certain what I’m supposed to say to that so I hold my tongue and wait for her to continue.
“No, Miss Darby, I am not upset. I am furious!” She waves a stack of invitations around wildly. “Do you know that I have been beset with the most insipid of conversations for the last three weeks? I already had a list of prospective wives for Monty, but naturally, all of London wishes their pale, quiet, brainless daughter to marry the Beaufetheringstone heir. And if the daughters weren’t bad enough, I have to deal with their mothers, who seem to conveniently forget that in our youth I thought them just as brainless as their spawn.”
“Monty is quite a catch,” I offer tentatively.
“Yes, he is. Despite his irregular upbringing. However, I have a list and if he refuses to abide by my wishes and pursue these particular women, then I demand he at least be present during these interminable afternoon visits. He simply cannot go about London at all hour attracting the wrong sort of woman.”
Now I’m even more curious.
“Who do you think would be the right sort of woman?” I ask. I’d love a peek at her list. After all, after nearly two years at Lady B’s I’ve met half of London and certainly all manner of heroines.
“Someone intelligent. Vibrant yet restrained. Who will know how to curb his more physical tendencies. Lady Arabella Prescott comes to mind as a possibility. Her parents are both brilliant. Lord B always agrees with Lord Prescott in parliament and Lady Prescott is a fabulous wit. From the little I’ve seen of the young Prescott girl, I believe she has inherited her parents’ intelligence.”
I actually haven’t met Arabella yet, and I have a strange feeling this list might hold even more surprises. What about all of you? What qualities do you think Monty needs in his future wife? And do you think he’ll bend to Lady B’s will?