Elizabeth: Wednesday Story Short

1801- August-1801-morning

If this is Wednesday, then it must be time to share another story short.

I’ve been weeding through the Regency romance books on my bookshelves–well, maybe overflowing from my bookshelves would be a better description–so when I came across this little short story from a Regency-themed Friday Writing Sprint in my writing notebook, I thought it would be fun to share.

The story includes (most) of the following random words:  diaphanous, curricle, cravat, Viscount, pianoforte, waltz, chaperone, whist, rake, gambling, masquerade, classical, and soiree.

Challenge Accepted

Miss Danby, the Delightful Diaphanous Diane, managed to catch the eye of Baron Norwich not long after she arrived in town for the season. A proposal followed soon thereafter and her father, Lord Danby, breathed a sigh of relief.

The baron wasn’t a rake or a gambler and though his title wasn’t grand or his face much to look at, his mind was sound, and his pockets were deep. The Danby family finances were secure once again – or would be as soon as the couple said, “I do”.

While she was relieved to have secured her future so quickly, Miss Danby was also, quite frankly, a bit disappointed. She had been looking forward to curricle rides in the park and waltzing at Almack’s. Instead, her father intended to cut their time in London short and return to the country at the end of the week. “No need to continue spending money when we’ve got a fish on the line,” he’d joked a few days earlier. Diane had immediately resolved to pack as much in her remaining days as possible.

Diane’s determination had, as always, led to impending disaster.

While her younger sister Caroline had been dutifully showing off her skills on the pianoforte at Lady Richford’s classical musicale the previous afternoon, Diane snuck away from the chaperones to walk with Viscount Lansing along the garden paths. The Viscount, with his title, good looks, and intricately tied cravat, was the current darling of London. The walk led to a kiss – the Viscount was well-known for his skills in that area – and the loss of the bracelet Baron Norwich had given Diane as a “symbol of his intentions.”

Viscount Lansing, thinking it a great joke, had refused to return the bracelet. Diane was beside herself, desperate to get the bracelet back before the Baron noticed it was gone and called off the engagement, considering her ruined goods.

All of which explained why the Danby ladies chose to attend Lady Lansing’s masquerade this evening instead of Lady Hamilton’s soiree. Once the evening was in full swing and her mother was fully engrossed at the whist table, Diane’s sister Caroline slipped off to search Lord Lansing’s study for the aforementioned bracelet.

Caroline was Irritated at having to, once again, save her sister from her own foolishness, but with the future of the family at stake she had little choice. A search of the desk turned up nothing and there did not appear to be any other logical hiding places in the room. As she was debating what to do next the door opened and a figure in a black domino entered the room.

Thankful that her mask hid her features, Caroline pretended to be engrossed in the nearby bookshelf, hoping to remain unnoticed.

“Looking for something, Miss Danby?” The deep amused voice belonged to none other than the Lord Lansing himself.

So much for remaining unnoticed. Deciding she had nothing to lose (no one would ever believe Lansing had designs on her), she straightened and turned toward him. “Yes, I am. My sister’s bracelet. Please return it immediately.” She held out her open hand and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Just as she was beginning to lose hope, he reached into his waistcoat pocket, fished out the bracelet, and dropped it into her hand. “Ah, who could resist such determination? Lady Diane is lucky to have a sister like you on her side.”

Relieved to have the bracelet back, Caroline turned to leave the room, then turned back to ask, “Why did you take the bracelet?”

Lord Lansing shrugged. “Perhaps I just wanted to meet you.”

Caroline’s brow rose in disbelief. “There are much easier ways to meet someone.”

“I thought it would be more fun this way.” He smiled. “And you definitely strike me as someone who could use a little fun in your life.”

Caroline narrowed her gaze at him. “You might be the darling of the ton, Lord Lansing, but I have higher standards. Good evening.”

As she turned and quit the room his parting words followed her. “Challenge accepted.”

# # #

I hope you enjoyed that.

Now, I can’t help wondering exactly what Lord Lansing might do next and what kind of obstacles Caroline will put in his path.

If you have any ideas, I’d love to hear them.

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