Sometimes it is exceedingly trying being a Patroness of the Arts. Take the behavior of my authoresses this week. First of all Miss Willig omitted to tell me that The Passion of the Purple Plumeria had been published. Some excuse about about having an infant in arms, as though the wet nurse wouldn’t have seen to the little dear. I adore babies, you know, but they have no place in the ballroom. It’s quite impossible to dance the waltz with sufficient enthusiasm if you are holding one. And they are undoubtedly an impediment to flirtation.
I scarcely had time to supervise the housekeeper supervising the footmen removing the purple swags from Miss Willig’s soiree, when I received a note from Miss Katharine Ashe.
Dear Lady B
The semester just started and I’m on a deadline so I must ask a great favor. Would you be kind enough to entertain Miss Arabella Caulfield and Luc Westfall at a ball to honor the release of their book I Married the Duke? I shall see you next week.
Yours very sincerely and affectionately,
Darling Lady B
I totally forgot about this week’s ball to celebrate the release of The Ruin of a Rogue. I MUST finish a book so I’m sending Marcus and Anne along by themselves. You are an angel to help me when I’m in deadline. I’ll see you in two weeks for the Rogue’s Ball.
Hugs & xoxoxo
P.S. I wish you would get email. Or Twitter
At least, I think this is what she wrote. Miss Neville’s handwriting is always something of a mystery. I have heard talk of this Twitter thing before and I’m not sure I like it. Neither does Albert.*
My authoresses complain often of Dead Lines. To me, this is an unfortunately eventuality when there is no heir to a peerage. To Lord B it is something that happens at the end of a rod when there are no fish in the river. And to Albert, it is the fastest route to the–
<squawk squawk> lobster patties <squawk squawk>
–refreshment table. To my authoresses a Dead Line is an excuse for anything they have either failed to do or want to avoid. I shall not dwell on the failures of Misses Ashe and Neville because I am far too polite. They apparently wish to avoid tonight’s ball. I shall, however, rise to the occasion, do my duty, and entertain their guests.
Excuse me, sir! Who are you?
Marcus: Viscount Lithgow at your service, my lady.
Hm. Let me try and read the notes Miss Neville sent. I see that you are a professional gamester. How delightfully raffish. Pray do not enter the card room. Lord B has already spent his allowance for this month.
Marcus: I wouldn’t dream of it. I can’t play until I get through an unprecedented run of ill luck.
Good. You must dance, instead. Let me introduce you to Miss Arabella Caulfield.
Marcus: Is she rich?
Arabella: I’m only interested in marrying a prince.
I’m sure Lord Lithgow is a Prince Among Men beneath his disreputable exterior. Now go along and take your places in the next set.
Marcus and Arabella look at each other dubiously but obediently leave for the dance floor.
But who is this? From that strip of black cloth over one eye and sun-touched tan, he appears to be a pirate.
Luc: Common misconception. Actually I’m about to become a duke and I need a bride or my family will sink into scandal.
Splendid! You have come to the right place. I shall present you to… I seem to have mislaid my lorgnette but luckily I have an excellent memory … Miss Anne Brotherton. She is an heiress from one of the very best families.
Anne: I’m not interested in dukes. I already avoided marrying one in Miranda’s last book. I want to go and dig up a ruin.
Tsk. Can’t you see that this one is highly desirable while ruins are nasty, dirty things. No arguments, now. The waltz is beginning.
That was easy. I don’t see why my authoresses make such a fuss about getting these couples together. I’m sure those four will be happily married in no time.
Meanwhile, in a pair of Twenty-First Century writing caves where email has replaced the Royal Mail ….
From: Miranda Neville
To: Katharine Ashe
Subject: We have a problem
Letting Lady B give the ball without us may have been a bad idea. She has switched our heroes and heroines.
From: Katharine Ashe
To: Miranda Neville
Subject: Re: We have a problem
OMG. That means we’ll have to rewrite our books.
While Katharine and Miranda try to sort out lady B’s inadvertent meddling, let’s talk about unlikely pairs. What couple, real and/or fictional, would be the worst possible match? Heathcliff and Elizabeth Bennet? Hillary Clinton and Christian Grey? No suggestion is too outrageous! Two commenters will win a copy of either THE RUIN OF A ROGUE or I MARRIED THE DUKE.
*Lady B is in fact on Twitter @theballroomblog but she seldom tweets. She prefers Squawker.
** Katharine’s Tiara Experience Contest is in full swing. Click here to bring on your inner princess!