Almost a Gentleman

Almost a Gentleman by Pam Rosenthal Page A

Book: Almost a Gentleman by Pam Rosenthal Read Free Book Online
Authors: Pam Rosenthal
Tags: Fiction, General, Romance, Historical
this age that we're able to face life squarely and know what we really want, like Miss Austen's Anne Elliot."
    "Perhaps. Well, I shall keep an eye out for any Captain Wentworths who sail into view. And when I find one I'll send his ship your way."
    "Do that, dear, for I've decided to spend some time in London this winter. I shall move into our house in Park Lane before Christmas. It feels as though the painters, plasterers, and drapers have been there forever already. I may have to serve Mr. Marston his first cup of tea among furniture still draped in canvas—if he could be cajoled to visit me among such scandalous disarray."
    Phoebe smiled.
    "He'll allow himself to be cajoled. But only once." She squeezed her friend's hand. "How wonderful, Kate."
    And how especially wonderful, she thought, to hear Kate taking an optimistic point of view. Perhaps there
was
a Captain Wentworth somewhere out there for Kate.
    For a moment she thought of telling her about Lord Linseley. But what, really, was there to tell besides the fact that she'd met a handsome, decent man who'd attracted her admiration and her desire?
    And much as she loved her friend and wanted to see her married, this was one man she wouldn't send her way.
    She put her feet up on the seat in front of her. They ached after two weeks of walking without Phizz's boots. Well, she had
that
to look forward to anyway: the pleasure of being well shod and a few weeks of holiday festivities. And the joy of seeing Kate with some regularity—at least as regularly as Phizz Marston could decently visit with Lady Kate Beverredge.
    She hugged her pelisse tightly about her and stared at the gray landscape outside the window. Even with the prospect of seeing Kate, the next months seemed very dreary without the hope of meeting Lord Linseley again.
     
    David stood uncomfortably in front of the pier glass in the bedchamber of his London townhouse.
    "And so you see, Mr. Marston…" His words trailed off awkwardly.
    Damn
, he thought,
it was worse than rehearsing a speech to deliver in the House of Lords
.
    Because when he spoke of agricultural politics, he need only speak from the heart. He knew the facts, the people, and the land. He knew everything he needed to say and nothing more.
    Unlike
this
awkward situation, where he knew much more than was good for him.
    Club gossip had it that Marston was back in Town. Evidently refreshed by his journey, he'd won an impressive pile at Vivien's last night. David intended to call on him this afternoon to tell him that he was under surveillance by an enemy.
    Of course, he'd reassure him that, for now at least, the enemy had been cleverly and effectively distracted. Stokes had given up the chase somewhere short of the Lake District, much—as he'd told David yesterday—to Baron Bunbury's displeasure. He'd been sure he'd sighted Marston's carriage, but there had only been two old duffers in it.
    "So I believe you're safe from
that
quarter, Mr. Marston," David recited.
    Yes, that sounded all right.
    "But I learned as well, from your erstwhile pursuer, that you may have other enemies. And so I simply wanted to warn you of this."
    Not bad.
    "And to offer you my assistance, in the unlikely case that you might need it."
    Well, it'll get me in the door to see her, in any case.
    And after that? He shrugged his wide shoulders. After that he'd have to improvise.
     
    Mr. Marston's household staff had kept things in splendid order during their master's absence. The tallest vases were filled with brilliant masses of chrysanthemums, all bronze and scarlet. Phizz Marston was fussy about floral arrangements; he liked to use what was seasonal whenever possible. Soon the house would be a jungle of hothouse orchids—a little private rebellion against the boring poinsettias one saw everywhere in December. But right now it was nice to have these last naturally-blooming chrysanthemums.
    Mr. Simms and Mr. Andrewes had had a smashing trip. "Wonderful luck with the trout, sir,

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