The August heat has pushed nearly everyone who can afford to be out of London. That includes two of Monty’s friends that Lady B and the other authoresses have not yet begun to match: The Twins. Yes, John Barrett, Lord Avenal & Lord George Barrett.
And this particular August, Avenal has dragged his more serious younger brother to Brighton. I may not actually be in Brighton, but, thanks to Albert and the avian connection, I have excellent informants and reach. Any machinations I plan might be conducted from afar.
But I as dedicated bachelors these men are (or at least Monty hopes so in order to not be the last bachelor standing), nature and love tends to run its course and it looks as though Avenal might be in trouble even if Lady B and all of us Ballroom ladies do nothing.
“What do you mean?” Lady B, naturally, appears whenever there is excellent gossip to share.
“Have you heard of Jane Church?”
Lady B scrunches her nose as she thinks. “Church? It seems that there might be a great many Jane Churches about. Who are her people?”
“That is part of the gossip,” I say, getting into my story. I’ve never really been one for spreading rumors but in Lady B’s ballroom the desire is rather infectious, and with fictional characters, how much damage could one really do? Ok, don’t answer that. “This Jane Church is a companion to the Duke of Hare’s youngest daughter who is out in her first season. She’s twenty-five and apparently a poor relation, a very, very distant cousin. In fact, she comes from the female branch of the family that continued to marry down and with scandal for nearly 3 generations. People say the Duke is taking a chance with his youngest daughter’s reputation by hiring her.”
“How fascinating! But what has this to do with Avenal? Surely you aren’t suggesting such a match for him? The earldom is more than solvent but a poor relation serving as companion is almost as bad as marrying the governess.” Lady B’s expression belies her more scathing words. She almost looks as if she wants such a scandal to occur.
“Whether or not marriage is in the cards, romance certainly is,” I inform her. “I heard, via Albert, via Carmine (Lady Claudette’s bird) via another unnamed source, that Avenal was seen kissing Jane Church behind a column in the ballroom of Castle Inn.”
“What? Albert!” Lady B is suddenly irate, which she nearly never is with her beloved pet. “How could you betray me so? Sharing gossip with Miss Darby before me?”
<< Squawk! >> Albert looks quite abashed and then glares at me and I realize I wasn’t supposed to mention his name. Whoops.
“Hmmph.” She twists her lips and then finally lets out a big sigh. “Well get on with it Albert, go find out the rest. Why on earth was Avenal kissing that woman?”
Why was Avenal kissing Jane Church? How did this happen? And what is your favorite nobleman/companion romance?