In 1800's England, three sisters and their brother find themselves tangled in strange adventures of love.
Music strummed through the halls filled with dancers, melding with the chatter of the grand party. Chandeliers sprawled across the ceiling with their long, spidery fingers, each delicate crystal glinting like a broken star in the candlelight.
The heat was nearly unbearable in the summer, as I sweat profusely under my muslin gown. Mrs. Fandley's thick mask of powder was melting from her face, washing away in ugly globs. Her fan was a blur as attempted to cool herself, still talking as briskly as ever. Gossip sprang from her lips, her plump figure heaving for air between her quick words. The other women stood close to her, nodding and laughing, scoffing and piping in a few words when they could. Mrs. Fandley was the queen of information, the others cowering about her to listen as baby birds would do with their mother.
Longingly, I gazed out to the dancing floor, my younger sisters twirling with their respective partners. I scanned the area for some escape from these women, some way out from their horrific conversation. "Are you looking for someone, dear?"
I snapped back to attention, furiously fanning my face. It was Mrs. Howdley who asked the question. A crow of a woman, a large crooked nose like a beak beneath her dark, all-seeing eyes. Mrs. Fandley's round face burst into a smile, her eyes glittering with that terrible playfulness, "Miss. White, I daresay, don't you have some fine beau to dance with? Is that who you seek?"
I feared I was blushing, yet my face was already flushed from the heat. "Oh, Mrs. Fandley. I fear I do not. I was simply keeping an eye on my sisters."
"Who that be your sisters are dancing with?" Mrs. Fandley stood upon her toes. "Is that Mr. McConnely, I see? With Miss. Marianne? Miss. White, you must tell me-I fear my shortness prevents me from confirming such a fact!"
"I am not sure," I replied, though I recognize the handsome Mr. McConnely beaming at my youngest sister, Marianne. She fluttered her pretty lashes, her flawless face unmarked by the heat.
"Oh, Miss. White!" Mrs. Fandley slapped me with her fan. "It indeed is! Quite a handsome man, I declare! I would say you should go after him yourself before you sister snatches him up. But I would say, she is certainly the best looking of you girls by my reckoning. Well, at least with one as Mr. McConnely. I fear your stature is too...regal for his matching. Your other sister, Miss. Elizabeth, seems to be a pleasant mix of both of you, I would think. She would, in fact, go well with my nephew! Wouldn't you think that, Mrs. Gardener? Why, I should think that we should get them together and...!"
"Hello, Ladies," Edward interrupted their conversation, stepping into the circle. I felt a rush of relief at the sight of my brother. He slipped his arm into mine, "I am sorry, I fear I must take Margaret away from you for a moment."
"Oh, Mr. White. How fine it is to see you! What a great party this is, would you say not?" Mrs. Fandley continued, as he began to lead me off.
"Indeed, indeed. Lord Ectary should be very proud of this amazing home." Edward nodded with a smile. "I hope you Ladies enjoy the rest of the party." He politely bowed my head, guiding me into the crowd of people.
"Edward, I am forever grateful! You are my savior!" I cried happily.
He smiled, "I do not know how you could stand them for so long-I am very much irritated by them even before they can open their mouths. Such cunning spiders! Catching anything in their sight and eating it whole!"