The days passed quickly enough in Bath, filled as they were with strolls down the shore and card games with Louisa and Isabella. But the nights were unbearable. I found myself tossing and turning in bed, flirting with sleep. My mind would flash from one picture to the next, restless and untiring.
Only one picture remained fixed in my brain – it was of a dark-complexioned man, neither too attractive nor unattractive, but somehow compelling. His eyes glittering with humor, his mouth curling with amusement. Sometimes this man even starred in my more recent dreams.
My cousin was positively in raptures as she planned every detail of her future wedding. Much as I adored my dear cousin, I found I couldn’t stomach her constant prattling about the wedding. Even Louisa had taken to rolling her eyes whenever Isabella mentioned de Grave’s name. Which was often.
I hadn’t seen Lord Windham since the Chestertons’ ball. I wondered what was occupying his days lately, and if the thought of me had crossed his mind at all.
I hadn’t expected to see him at the Chestertons’ ball. At least, that’s what I had told myself.
If I wore my best gown, a pale blue with double-lined panniers and a lace-bordered décolletage, it was mere coincidence. My hair was powdered and strands of pearls were inserted amidst the twisted ringlets. But I didn’t tell the maid to go to any great lengths. I couldn’t help it if she felt like being creative.
Louisa said I looked very fine and Isabella muttered no doubt Lord Windham would agree. I resisted the urge to kick my darling cousin and thanked them both.
Isabella lent me her prized fan, one made entirely of lace which de Grave had specially made for her in Brussels. I promised her I would treat it with care and not resort to any violence against it. In any event, I would try my very best.