always disapproved of Mays’s treatment of you. It was unfortunate in the extreme that he was that cold sort. Perhaps now that you are at liberty again, you will be able to find a gentleman who is more worthy of you.”
Miss Blythe arched her brows as she glanced at her erstwhile pupil.
Lucinda ignored the interested look. She shook her head, smiling. “I have no thoughts of remarrying, my lady. I have returned to London simply to amuse myself a little. I have been too long away, and I have missed the round of social functions.”
“Well, there is time enough to think of the other,” said Lady Sefton. She rose and held out her hand. “I know that it has been a short visit, but I shall nevertheless leave you now. I will send the invitations for the soiree at once. Miss Blythe, I shall look forward to seeing you again.”
“Thank you, my lady,” said Miss Blythe, overcome by the lady’s kindness in giving notice to her.
Lucinda thanked Lady Sefton and saw her ladyship out.
When she returned to the drawing room, Miss Blythe said, “I thought her ladyship to be an eminently kind and sensible sort.”
“Yes, Lady Sefton was always kind to me. I am glad that she recalled me with such affection,” said Lucinda.
“I took particular note that Lady Sefton assumed you had thought of remarriage,” said Miss Blythe. “It would be wonderful indeed were she to take an interest on your behalf. I have no doubt that her ladyship would make quite a successful match for you, for civility would not allow you to refuse her good offices!”
“No, indeed,” said Lucinda, laughing. “But truly, Tibby, whatever anyone may think to the contrary, I do not at all find the idea of giving my hand away again appealing.”
Miss Blythe returned to her embroidery with a thoughtful air.
Few of those who called at Mays House were as disinterested or as cordial as Lady Sefton. Lucinda had not had the time during her short come-out to forge any deep friendships. Indeed, it would have been difficult to do so in any event. The jealousy of her peers who had been less blessed in their appearances and the envy of their mothers had crippled all of Lucinda’s efforts to prove herself friendly.
Her brief sojourn as Lord Mays’s hostess had been equally distancing for her. Her exalted position as the wife of one of the richest lords in England had guaranteed that she remain the object of jealousy and envy, and it had served to isolate her from other women who might otherwise have made overtures of friendship.
However, there was one caller who was more than an acquaintance.
Lord Wilfred Mays had succeeded to a title that he had never expected. He was a kindhearted young gentleman of considerably simpler tastes than had been his predecessor. He spoke precisely what was on his mind at any given moment, sometimes to his subsequent embarrassment.
Lucinda had come to regard his lordship with a mild affection, even though they had not come in one another’s way much while her husband had been alive. Since her widowhood, however, a friendship had quickly sprung up between them, and Lord Mays wasted little time in waiting upon her.
Miss Blythe had left the drawing room for a few moments, but upon Lord Mays’s card being sent up to her, Lucinda at once received his lordship. She went to him with both hands outstretched. “Wilfred! This is an unlooked-for pleasure. I had not anticipated that you would call on me so soon, but I am happy that you have.”
Lord Mays bowed over her hands. When he straightened,hesmiled crookedly at her. “I am glad to have found youathome. I was half expecting you to be out already, gadding about the town.”
There was not an ounce of guile in him, nor did he go out of his way to attach her attention. He knew himself to be merely a passable fellow in physical appearance, and he was therefore not burdened with a false vanity. He had thinning sandy hair, and there was a glint of red in his brows
Andrew Bromfield, Oleg Pavlov