>Regency Scene – A Bachelor Visits

30 Dec

>

Harley Manor was all aflutter that morning – the maids whispered of intrigue and bachelors. As usual, they were right. There was quite an uproar in the Hamilton residence – the eligible Mr. Sharpe had unexpectedly come to call and Audrey sat in the drawing room immaculately groomed and with all the awkwardness in conversation her pestering relations invariably inflicted through their incessant encouragements.

Although Miss Hamilton was of good family, education and sense, her mother had never regarded her notions concerning her marital state as of any consequence. Her disinclination to marry had been discarded as a folly of youth but as the years passed and she reached the age of two and twenty, she gained a reputation as a bit of a spinster.

But Audrey simply enjoyed the peace and quiet. She was a spinster without the characteristic lack of charm and means. Quite the contrary, when in her element and left to her own devices, Audrey could be described as lively, pleasant and sarcastic, though agreeably so. But with her mother looming over her petite figure, her personality shrinked in response and she grew taciturn, reserved – closed.

Mr. Sharpe, fashionably dressed and in possession of a fine pair of sideburns and brooding good looks, was received cordially, even graciously by the lady of the house. But as for the heiress of the family, she cast him simply indifferent looks and longingly glanced outside, filling his imagination with visions of Miss Hamilton engaged in all sorts of active employment such as horseback riding and archery. He sensed that her mother’s presence affected her disposition and became only curious to learn more about his unwilling hostess.

“You live very comfortably. I daresay you spend your time tolerable well here,” he said in an attempt to gain access to the inner workings of her mind. When the daughter gently sighed at the poor excuse of conversation, the mother took over.

“Oh, yes! It is very good of you to call and you are most welcome here. I shall certainly add you to the guest list of our little ball,” Mrs. Hamilton remarked nonchalantly to steer the conversation toward a more intimate setting for their acquaintance.

“A ball? How delightful. And when will it take place? I have heard little about it,” James Sharpe observed, having in truth heard nothing at all. Audrey roused herself from her thoughts to amuse herself by acting the part of the huntress.

“It is a great secret and you are the first to hear of it. You will come, won’t you?” she batted her eyelashes and moved her fan to and fro to assume a more delicate manner befitting her new part. Josephine nearly squeaked with delight but covered up her pleasure by smiling generously at her tapestries.James shared her love for the theatre and quickly recognised the game she had entered and promptly followed suit.

“Napoleon himself couldn’t stop me.”

Audrey could barely contain her coquettish expression and smiled.
“Well, then I suppose you are the first confirmed guest. How marvelous. We must instantly look to the seating arrangements to accommodate Mr. Sharpe,” she informed her daughter.

“You may seat him by me. There is nothing so stimulating as dinner table conversation. We shall bond over such subject matters as who wears the best pair of breeches and who tripped over his feet on the dance floor,” she airily suggested, having only in mind her intention to avoid Mr. Beckham. Horrid man. Josephine, quite oblivious to her ill-founded dislike, deduced from the remark that her daughter had taken a fancy to a man at last. And an eligible bachelor, even! How splendid!

To Mr. Sharpe this merely meant he had now entered a more friendly sphere in Miss Hamilton’s acquaintance and as he had no mercenary interest in the lady, he sought only to widen his social circle in seeking out her company – which was said to be entertaining and prone to diverting remarks.
“I shall look forward to such a comparative study,” he assented, much to everyone’s satisfaction.

2 Responses to “>Regency Scene – A Bachelor Visits”

  1. Sandra Patterson December 30, 2010 at 11:05 am #

    >Great blog, Renate!

  2. Renate December 30, 2010 at 11:16 am #

    >Thanks, Sandra. I'm a huge fan of period pieces so I will write some follow-up scenes and post them here.

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