I’m reluctant to give away any more of The Great Divide, which is the sequel to Manifesting Destiny. So I’ll post a bit more of my Regency romance Brynnde here instead. It’s a dinner scene. Brynnde is visiting Lowlea, home of her friend Violet Crabbage. They’ve sent to the Darleys to see if Julia and Eleanor can also visit. Brynnde had been engaged to Julia and Eleanor’s older brother Garrick and is now ostensibly recovering from a broken heart when that engagement was forced to end due to some questionable behavior on the part of their other brother Graeme. In truth, Garrick was only doing Brynnde a favor by asking her to marry him and so though Brynnde is disappointed she is not heartbroken. What I particularly enjoy in this scene is Sir Everret’s attempts to eat his dinner.
“Oh!” yelped Lady Crabbage then, causing everyone at the table to jump. Sir Everret’s gravy went flying, but his wife took no notice. “The Darley girls have written you, Violet. I meant to give you the letter earlier but then you each were resting. Remind me, and I’ll give it you after dinner.” She wriggled in her seat like a giddy schoolgirl or, Brynnde thought, perhaps more like a fat hen settling on her eggs. The napkin returned to Brynnde’s mouth.
Again, Lady Crabbage took it as a sign. “Should I not have mentioned them? Of course I shouldn’t have! Oh, Brynnde, do please forgive me! I should have given Violet the letter in private. They are assuredly the last people you want to hear about, the last name you want to hear uttered—”
“It’s all right, Mama,” Violet said. “Brynnde and Julia and Eleanor have no ill feelings between them.”
“Actually,” Brynnde added, “I miss them terribly. We’d become very good friends.”
Lady Crabbage changed direction without misstep. “And so of course you’re so sad to hear their names spoken aloud! I am sorry, my dear, really I am. I’ve only added to your sorrow.”
“I’ve invited them to visit,” Violet went on. Brynnde marveled at her friend’s patience but supposed it came from a lifetime of practice.
“It would very much delight me to see them,” said Brynnde, “if it doesn’t trouble you too much to have them.” She imitated Tessa’s wide-eyed, plaintive look, the one that Papa could not resist.
“Of course not!” crowed Lady Crabbage, and this time Sir Everret’s knife went wide. He sighed and persevered, not allowing his wife nor his meat to best him, for which Brynnde silently applauded him.