And as quickly as she had arrived, Betty was gone again, walking with a quick though graceful step to the table where Lady Marguerite sat chatting with a red-faced priest.
“Nice girl, isn’t she?” Lord Windham drawled, popping a grape into his mouth. “Known her since I was in the nursery. But let’s talk about you, Miss Delacourt. What brings you to London?”
I hesitated before answering. Why was he so curious? Surely, he couldn’t be interested in me. I’d seen the way he’d looked at Isabelle, that admiring glance that men couldn’t help but give her. His eyes were warm, certainly, as he looked at me, glinting with curiosity. But not with admiration. Of that much I was sure.
I decided to try and adopt a carefree manner. “I’m in London for the very same reason every other young girl is in London right now – it’s the beginning of a new season.”
“But this isn’t your debut, is it?”
I almost dropped the wine glass. How did he know?
He was looking down at the table, an inscrutable expression in his eyes. “I remember you from last year. You had an impenetrable shield wrapped around you that no man dared approach. Also, your chaperon, Lady Huxtable, was quite formidable. I confess I was surprised, happily so, to see you tonight. And also relieved to see that Lady Huxtable is not with your party.”
He looked up at me then and smiled. “You don’t remember me, do you?”
We stared at each other for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, I answered, “No, I’m sorry. I don’t remember you.”
I really didn’t remember him. In truth, he did not have unforgettable features, unlike de Grave, though he was attractive, in his own way. I was floored that he remembered me.
I felt I had to defend my chaperon, Lady Huxtable. “Lady Huxtable couldn’t attend tonight as she is home recovering from a bad cold. She is still my chaperon, mine and Izzie’s now, and she isn’t as bad as she seems. Lady Huxtable was good friends with my mother growing up, and after my parents died she became my guardian.”
He leaned in close just then, a mischievous glow in his eyes, and whispered, “Can you keep a secret?”