Always it has been your family—first your mama, may God rest her soul, and then your papa, may God rest his, and always your brother and the girls. Well, now, Victor is of age and has come into his inheritance, Charlotte has married, Agnes is as pretty as a spring meadow and is like to marry as soon as we have presented her to some eligible gentlemen, and Emily… Well, you just cannot make yourself a martyr to your youngest sister. Bolts of fabric, mostly silks and shimmering satins, were piled on tables, some of them partly unrolled. There was some excitement about the scene and about the anticipation of seeing the clothes made and worn, she had to admit. On the shelf, one might say.
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Always it has been your family—first your mama, may God rest her soul, and then your papa, may God rest his, and always your brother and the girls. Well, now, Victor is of age and has come into his inheritance, Charlotte has married, Agnes is as pretty as a spring meadow and is like to marry as soon as we have presented her to some eligible gentlemen, and Emily… Well, you just cannot make yourself a martyr to your youngest sister.
Bolts of fabric, mostly silks and shimmering satins, were piled on tables, some of them partly unrolled. There was some excitement about the scene and about the anticipation of seeing the clothes made and worn, she had to admit. On the shelf, one might say. And life can become filled with regrets for what one might have done in the past but did not do. Tis not too late for you to seek a husband, but in another year or two perhaps it will be.
Men do not look for breeders among women who are staring thirty years in the face—and men of course look for breeders when they choose mates. You have a great deal of love to give, Anna. You should now be looking to giving it to a husband and to receiving love in return—and position and security. And he was newly betrothed.
Where did that leave her? Anna wondered. And Agnes and Emily? Suddenly their home did not seem quite home any longer. Not that Victor would turn them out, or Constance for that matter. But one did not like to intrude on a newly married couple in their own home—especially not in the status of spinster sister. She was a spinster. Anna clasped her hands rather tightly in her lap.
But she could not marry. The thought brought with it the familiar shortness of breath and coldness in her head. She fought off the dizziness. If she can be settled, I will be content. I intended that you both find husbands. But you most of all, Anna. You are my godchild—my only one. Agnes is nothing to me except the daughter of my dear Lucy. For although you are all sweet enough to call me aunt, I am no such thing, you know. I see that Madame Delacroix has all but finished with her measurements.
Excuse my bluntness, but you look quite rustic. Even your hoops? Ridiculous, but wondrously feminine and pretty, she thought treacherously. And her godmother had just reminded her that there was no real tie between her and Agnes. Could she be expected to take Agnes about to all the social events at which it was to be hoped she would attract a husband? And would not it be wonderfully exhilarating to dress fashionably and to go about in society just a few times? Just for a short while?
I will return. And of course you will be here when I do so. You will remember, my Anna, that you are mine? Body and soul? The voice was as vivid in her head as if the man who had uttered them stood at her shoulder and spoke the words now.
They had been spoken a year ago at Elm Court. A long time ago and a long way away. He would not come back. And even if he did, it would surely do no harm to enjoy herself a little before he did. She was only twenty-five. And really there had been very little enjoyment in her life. Surely just a little… It was not as if she was going to be in search of a husband, after all. She knew very well that she could never marry.
Nevertheless, fashion is of importance. She was eighteen years old and had been in mourning for two years—first for Mama and then for Papa. Even before that Mama had been ill with consumption and Papa had been—well, he had been ill too. And there had been the poverty. There had been very little chance for Agnes to enjoy her youth. Madame knows her job. Besides, she has had strict instructions from me. It would be a dream come true for her, she claimed, to have two young ladies to take about and introduce to society.
She had never had children of her own. Anna had brought some money with her—Victor had insisted that she take some from the estate though it would be years before he could expect to make it prosper again.
And perhaps he never would if… But Anna refused to pursue the thought. She was not going to think about any of that for a month or two. She was going to give herself a chance to heal a little. She had told her godmother that she would keep a strict account of all that was spent on her and Agnes, that she would consider it a loan to be repaid when she was able. And so, after all, she found herself being taken into the capable hands of Madame Delacroix and measured and poked and prodded and pricked and draped.
It seemed that she stood still for hours while discussing with the two older ladies fabrics and trimmings and designs for petticoats, stomachers, open gowns, closed gowns, sack dresses—it was all very dizzying. She was laced into stays far tighter than she was accustomed to and looked down in some embarrassment—and some fascination—at the way they pushed up her breasts, making them seem larger and more feminine.
And she was tied into whalebone hoops so wide that she wondered how she would pass through doorways. She enjoyed every moment. How wonderful it was, she thought, to feel young and free. Not that she was either in reality.
Youth had passed her by. And as for freedom… well. She felt slightly nauseated for a moment when she remembered how very much she was not free. If he should come back from America as he had sworn he would… But she was not trying to break free forever. Merely for a couple of months. Surely he would not begrudge her that much time even if he knew about it.
How wonderful it would be to feel youthful and free for two whole months. You have had a hard time and have remained devoted to your family throughout. Now is the time for yourself. As I live, I am going to find you a very special husband. I have no need of a husband.
He laughed heartily. He stood elegantly propped against the marble mantel. He raised the fan to which his uncle had just referred, a small ivory and gold affair, and opened it to waft it languidly in front of his face. He laughed afresh. He took a sizable mouthful from his glass, savored it for a few moments on his tongue and then swallowed. Though even there, as I remember, you have a reputation for leading fashion rather than following it. Tis perhaps a good thing that you also have a reputation as a deadly shot and swordsman, or it might almost be thought…" "Yes?
His amused eyes took in the powdered hair neatly set into two rolls on either side of the head, the long hair caught behind into a black silk bag and tied in a large bow at the nape of his neck—it was his own hair, not a wig—the austerely handsome face with its dusting of powder and blush of rouge and one black patch; the dark-blue silk coat with its full skirts and silver lining and lavish silver embroidery and facings; the silver waistcoat with blue embroidery; the tight gray knee breeches and white silk stockings; the silver-buckled shoes with their high red heels.
The Duke of Harndon was the very epitome of Parisian splendor. And then, of course, there was the dress sword at his side with its sapphire-jeweled hilt, a weapon with which his grace was said to be more than ordinarily adept. You will be the topic of conversation there for the rest of the night, I warrant you. Zounds, but I swear Jessop very near swallowed his port, glass and all, when you first drew it out and opened it.
You talked me into it. I have done well enough without them for the past ten years. Cold you may appear to be when you are not charming the ladies and coaxing the most lovely of them into your bed, and cold you may have the right to be after the unjust way you were treated.
But I know that the Luke of ten years ago is still in large measure the Luke of today. You care, lad. Besides, there is such a thing as responsibility.
HEARTLESS MARY BALOGH PDF
Beschreibung bei Amazon New York Times bestselling author Mary Bologh has been a prolific novelist since she penned her first historical romance in Since then she has written close to one hundred novels and numerous novellas with her most famous being the New York Times bestselling Slightly series, which follows the always intriguing Bedwyn siblings, and the Simply series which follows four teachers at Miss Martins school for girls in Bath, England. As a result of her incredible writing career she has won many awards over the years including the Borders Group Bestselling Historical of the Year, several Waldenbooks Awards, two B. Also, her novel Simply Magic was a finalist in the Quill Awards.
Can they trust in each other to find their happily ever after? Life has taught Lucas Kendrick, Duke of Harndon, that a heart is a decided liability. Betrayed by his elder brother, rejected by his fiancEe, banished by his father, and shunned by his mother, Luke fled to Betrayed by his elder brother, rejected by his fiancEe, banished by his father, and shunned by his mother, Luke fled to Paris, where he became the most sought-after bachelor in fashionable society. Ten years later, fate has brought him back home to England as head of the family who rejected him. Unwilling as he is to be involved with them, he must assume responsibility for his younger siblings, the family estate he once loved—and the succession.