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Brynnde’s thoroughbred kicked up dust as she spurred him up the tree-lined carriageway. She kept her own head low under her wide-brimmed hat, more in the hopes of not being noticed than for keeping the dust from her eyes. She was in trouble and she knew it.
She rode astride the horse, having “borrowed” some of her older brother Nicolas’ clothing. It was something she did often, and her family had long since ceased to prevent her, except on days like today—days when important guests were expected to arrive. Brynnde had ridden out early that morning, fully intending to be back and presentable before nuncheon, but she had managed to get herself into a long conversation with Mrs. Davershire, wife of the gamekeeper, which had led to a visit to the gardener Mr. MacDonald to check on the recovery of his broken leg, and so she had lost track of the time.
If the tenants were at all appalled at the sight of a daughter of the house riding in masculine fashion, they kept it to themselves. Surely, in Brynnde’s mind, that topic of conversation around Aux Arbres and the nearby village of Barrow Wood would have worn itself out long ago.
But now they would have something new to fuel the gossip, namely Brynnde’s disgraceful arrival.