A Steadfast Lady and a Stupefied Lord
Lady Viola Bennington, third daughter to the Earl of Westmont, has been thinking of a certain Lord Baderston all summer. She only briefly encountered him in the park last season before she was out, but he seems to have everything to recommend him.
He is handsome, especially his copper-colored hair. He seems very genial and he has already told her sister Rosalind about his penchant for ham, which she adores herself. She’s had an untold number of conversations in her mind regarding how their romance will unfold.
All the lord need do is prove his abject loyalty, as that is a gentleman’s most important quality. It is a quality she will insist on.
Miss Mayton, the dear aunt who has raised all the earl’s daughters, is rather buoyed by her charges’ success in Town. The two eldest are married and, while the earl gives her all the credit for it, the truth is they are married despite her unhelpful help. Nevertheless, she is poised at the mark to offer that unhelpful help to Viola now.
Roland Trewellian, Earl of Baderston, heard quite a lot about Lady Viola from her sister, Lady Rosalind, when they met last season. The facts he gathered were very interesting—she was fond of ham, a talented painter, and she valued loyalty. Most encouraging, it seems she actually prefers his hair color. Then, when he saw her in the park—she was marvelous!
He’s spent the summer eating more ham than he ever has in his life, fully prepared to report on his consumption when he sees her again.
She is most pleased to hear it, but there is a bit of a sticking point—Lady Viola does not just require a speech about loyalty, she requires that it be proved.
With everything going so well between them, how does a lord prove that his loyalty would remain unshaken in a crisis?
As it happens, the Benningtons are particularly skilled at creating a crisis.
When Lord Baderston finds himself on a green one very early morning, he ponders precisely how loyal he could be if he’s no longer living.
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