Carrington Hall By Michelle Davis

Bedfordshire England
Early June 1811

Dusk was approaching as Anna slipped away from the dinner party. By the third toast, the perspiration underneath her shift had become the final reason to bathe in the courtyard breeze. The foliage would not cast judgement unlike her mother Helena. To her accord, it was improper for a lady to grow bored of such a grand spectacle, a spectacle put on by King George’s successor: King David. From the company down to the servants, the attendees all galavanted in celebration. Thus, Lady Anna wasn’t lost in understanding why her mother Helena sat begrudgingly at Anna’s bemusement. What Helena did not know was how strong of an envy Anna held towards Lady Albright.

The dinner party had been orchestrated to celebrate the upcoming wedding between Lady Albright and the Duke of Cambridge Edward II, a tall man with features so chiseled that they competed in perfection with his hair. It was an odd harboring of envy, Anna knew this. But ever since she had laid eyes upon him at one of the King’s tournaments, she had never forgotten him. He was one of the last Dukes within a stone’s throw away that hadn’t been married yet. And given that she would one day be paired with someone of her father’s choosing, she at least held onto the hope that that it would have been someone she desired. A dream is all it was. Her mother had warned her about dreams.

“You ought to put your visions into things that can be fulfilled. A well worn walking dress will bring you places. Not a folly of a dream.”

But Anna held that dream like a baby onto their wet nurse. In her study, there had been vast amounts of books that sung of things happening that would otherwise be considered tall tales by anyone of nobility. And that they most probably were, but Anna lavished in the notion that if whoever put those words in books could think it, then somewhere among the towers and stone it could happen. The lands could not all just be ranks, barouches, and occasional routs. There had to be whimsical chance as well. As Anna’s ears collected sounds of glee emitting from inside the hall, she was reminded that her mother may be right. After all, Lady Albright had gotten the right side of the coin.

“It’s rather chilly for a June day, wouldn’t ye say?” A strong, deep voice cut through the courtyard brush. When lady Anna sent her eyes over, it was him, the whimsical chance she had been dreaming of.

“You are the Duke of Cambridge, if I may ask why you are in the courtyard at your own dinner party?” She tried to keep her tone steady.

He laughed, or at least he tried to. “Perhaps one shall ask why the Lady of Carrington has taken leave at my esteemed party?”

“Your Grace I mean no—”

“A jest, nothing more.” He smiled, learning up against a nearby tree. “Why do you have nerves? Do I frighten you?”

It was the farthest notion from her mind as she tried not to stare at how snug the Duke’s waistcoat hugged his figure. “I do not frighten easily My Grace I’ve just got a chill.” Anna could tell by the way his eyebrow slant that he was not blind to a fib.

“My Lady, you know my blood line fawns over my soon to be wife. They love her like a great wine. As someone who has only lent eyes on her from in an assembly room, what are your thoughts?”

“On Lady Albright? She knew the answer but need a second to think.

“Yes My Lady, what do you think of her?”

Anna let silence dance with the breeze for a moment and then replied, “I think she’s got chance on her side.”

“She is lucky you say?”

About Michelle Davis

Michelle Davis is an author and teacher based out of Detroit. She enjoys writing regency romance stories and hopes to one day publish traditionally.

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