Ten o’clock came and went but he never returned to claim his dance with me. I tried not to look too disappointed.
Isabelle chattered happily in the carriage all the way back home from the ball.
“Oh, Sam, I was trying to catch your attention when you were dancing with Viscount Dubois, but I guess you were too distracted by his stunning good looks to notice me!”
“Don’t tell me you don’t remember that tall gentleman with the sparkling green eyes? He was wearing so many medals, I thought he would surely be knocked down by the weight of them! He looked quite taken with you, Sam.”
Isabelle waved a hand before my face, and I blinked her into focus.
“What is it?” I said, a bit more crossly than I would have liked.
“What is wrong with you, Sam? I’ve never seen you like this.”
I sighed. “I’m sorry, Izzie. I’ve got a dreadful headache. Maybe I’m catching Lady Huxtable’s cold.”
Back at Lady Huxtable’s apartment, I allowed Isabelle to fret over me, even letting her make me some hot tea.
But I slept poorly that night. And when I finally did fall asleep, it was only to dream of Lord Windham.
I woke up at half past ten. The housekeeper Candace was just coming in with my morning chocolate when I opened my eyes. A maid carrying a vase full of flowers entered with her.
“Oh, you’re finally up, Miss Sam! You’re looking a fine mess this morning, if you don’t mind me saying so.”
Candace was a plump woman in her fifties who spoke with a thick Scottish accent. She had a short temper and a big heart, and she’d been working for Lady Huxtable for twenty years. She’d always felt like family to me.
“Good morning, Candace. Is everyone up already?”
“Aye, even Lady Huxtable is up and about, and feeling much better, so she says.”
I sat up slowly, feeling an unaccustomed pounding in my temples. I groaned and sank down into my pillows. Candace laid the tray on my bedside table and came to place a cold hand on my forehead.
“Bless your poor heart, Sammie, you’ve got a fever! Let me ring for the doctor. You just stay put, dearie.”
“Who are those flowers from, Candace?”
“Hmm? Oh, these are from a Lord Windham.”