Lord Robert drummed his fingers upon the arm of his chair as silence settled upon the group. Sarah couldn’t tell if her tale had helped or hindered her standing with Lord Robert. Just as she was sure she wouldn’t be able to bear the quiet any more, someone tentatively knocked upon the door. Lord Robert did not change his stance.
“Come in,” Lady Abigail spoke.
Annabelle opened the door slowly and stepped hesitantly into the room. “My Lords and Ladies,” she curtseyed, “dinner is ready.”
“My goodness,” Lady Abigail’s hands fluttered about. “Is it that late already?”
Looking out the window, Sarah could see it certainly was, for the garden was completely in shadow. At last Lord Robert stood giving everyone else leave to do so. He stopped by Annabelle before exiting the room.
“I will take my dinner in the parlor.” He glanced back at his family. “I am sure you can all appreciate the fact that I have much to think about.”
“Of course my dear,” Lady Abigail responded with a little hand flourish to wave him on his way. “Goodman Mathew,” she turned to the man, “I am sure there is enough food for you to join us.”
“I might as well," he sighed, "given Lordling Jason won’t be showing up until morning.”
“Why not?” Lady Abigail asked puzzled as they filed into the dining hall.
“Well,” Sarah laughed, “apparently the Gods found a way for him to spend the day with my family.” She took her seat “I just hope my Dad and brothers haven’t put him through the wringer, though he’d likely survive better than any of my past boyfriends.”
“Boyfriends,” Madame Guinevere pondered the word.
Sarah grinned and found herself explaining how dating worked in her world and a whole bunch of other things as dinner progressed. Afterwards, she helped clean up.
“Goodwoman Sarah,” Lord Robert called from the parlor as Sarah made her way to the front stairs.
“Yes, My Lord?” she asked, moving to the doorway.
“Come in. I won’t bite you.” He gave her an actual smile. “Your tale, I must admit, is quite the extraordinary one, but since you seem to have so many who back you up I can only conclude that it is true.” He gestured to the chair before him. “Go on and sit.”
Sarah complied, curious as to why he had called her in. She perched upon the chair as she had that morning. Nervous, she watched as Lord Robert steepled his fingers and studied her for a moment.
“I am afraid,” he stated at last, “you have placed me in a bit of a quandary.” He spread his hands over the two books before him. They were the same ones as this morning, now illuminated by candles rather than the sun.
“I have?” Sarah asked.
“Yes.” He looked at her. “You see the family fortunes are dwindling. More due to my second to last son than my last one, but,” he looked at the books and shook his head before looking back at Sarah. “Are you sure you wouldn’t consider marrying Gregory rather than Jason? I imagine you would have him tamed before your Tri-Luna was through.”
Sarah shook her head. “No, I’ve been burned before by his kind and I will not put myself through that again. Not to mention I wouldn’t dream of breaking Jason’s heart.” Something, she thought, I’ve probably done before without knowing it.
“Pity,” Lord Robert sighed, looking once more at his books. “I will have to study the ledgers more, but I do fear that if you marry my youngest son I will likely have to disown him.”
“Why?” Sarah asked, baffled. “We can live on his Scout Sergeant pay, others do. I don’t need fancy dresses or flowered hats. Hell I’d live out in the wilderness with him if I had to, surely you don’t have to disown him just for marrying me.”
Lord Robert heaved a sigh. “I would rather not disown him, but the laws are the laws and since you have no dowry I am given no other option.”
“Surely there has to be a way?” Sarah pleaded. “There were always loop holes in the laws where I came from. I can’t imagine it would be different here.”
A half smile appeared upon Lord Roberts face. “I will see what I can find out, but given the state for affairs here in Vervell I will likely be in council meetings from now until your Tri-Luna has ended.”
“Well if there is any way that I can help...”
“The purchase of a superb brood mare for less than two hundred quid would be nice,” Lord Robert muttered. “Or a wife for Gregory,” he sighed.
Sarah smiled slightly. “How much does a superb brood mare generally go for?”
Jason’s father looked up at her. “Six hundred quid minimum.”
Sarah’s face fell. She’d really have to find a diamond in the rough to buy a mare at one third the minimum asking price. Not to mention she had no idea where to find one.
“Go on to bed,” Lord Robert dismissed her with a wave of his hand. “Tomorrow you will be betrothed to my son and we will have three months before the wedding in which to find a solution.”