This WipitUp is nearly a release – hopefully out today.
Following on from last week….
Sophia has been caught trying to kiss the young Fitzwilliam when she should be cloistered in mourning. Her grandmother, Maria, has threatened a spanking and wants to know why she’s been snooping.
“Bored!” boomed Maria.
“Poor choice of words,” Sophia scrunched her hands together into a ball. Perhaps, she decided, she should take her chastisement without comment.
“And you, young man, will make no mention of this oversight of yours. In the future, do not assume all unattended females lurking in side rooms are maids. You may go.”
“Yes, my lady.” He bowed and scurried to the door, slipping through the gap in the same manner in which he’d arrived.
“You have gone too far, Sophia. Sneaking about, fooling that… fool. Flirting! I mean it—a thrashing would do you good. I’m tempted to summon your Uncle Pierre and have him do the deed here and now.”
Sophia pressed a hand to her mouth. Surely, her grandmother wouldn’t carry out such a threat? Uncle Pierre was her half-uncle, and along with her Aunt Frances, the family had escaped France leaving behind their father, the Comte d’Orbec, in the Bastille. The Comte had lost his life to the guillotine. Maria having arrived in England with little money had secured her future by marrying a wealthy Baron, bringing up Pierre and Frances with their younger half-sister, Adaline—Sophia’s mother.
Her grandfather, whom Sophia adored, had suffered with ill-health for years and the Baron rarely emerged from his chambers. His step-children, now married with their own families, had become completely anglicised, but remained obedient to their mother. Pierre seemed especially weak-willed and Sophia didn’t doubt if summoned he would carryout his mother’s wishes. She detested him and the idea of bending over his fat thighs and having his meaty hands all over her was too much to bear.
“Please, Grand-mere, I promise to be good. I’ve done everything you asked. Kept in plain clothing, attended church regularly, avoided the distractions of theatre and music. I’ve read all those sombre poems you insisted I read. I only wanted to watch from the balcony, out of her sight.” She bowed her head lower, hoping her contrite expression would soften her grandmother’s opinion of her. She regretted agreeing to Maria’s advice for the mourning period of a year, especially as she had not anticipated it present challenges. How could she demonstrate to others her dignified portrayal of grief in near isolation?
“Very well, since you are unable to resist the gaiety of balls and parties, I shall help you. You will return to Attingham House and you will remain there until your mourning period is over. Then, I shall arrange for you to come out and assist in your search for a new husband.”
Sophia gaped. “Attingham! That huge, empty… I’d be quite alone.”
Now she might prefer Uncle Pierre’s spanking… unless somebody else turns up at Attingham 🙂