Friday, 19 June 2015


    Once the Wadleigh carriage trundles past the greensward below the Royal Crescent buildings and descends the steep cobbled road leading to the centre of Bath, any further reading of The Bride's Companion becomes impossible for Miss Patience Hawthorne. 
    "Be neither late nor ungrateful," she murmurs, reciting from her favorite page of such advices marked by a blue ribbon. Closing the book, Patience slides it into her best crocheted reticule and tugs at its drawstrings until they are taut. 
    Soon to marry Lord Roger, the junior son of the Marquis of Pelgrave, she often feels in need of instruction on matters of strict etiquette. After all, she is an orphan of eight-and-ten with little means and keenly aware she lacks experience in grand society. 
   Lord and Lady Wadleigh, her hosts in Bath and elsewhere until Patience marries their cousin, sit on the opposing bench; her ladyship, warmed by a lap quilt, stifles a yawn. They all arose early this morning to dress for the Pelgrave wedding and depart promptly for the addey. 
    "It is a pity," Lady Wadleigh says quietly, "Lord Roger could not arrive in Bath early enough to call upon you at our home last evening. I daresay the change in plans most vexting." "Cousin Roger has a profound scene of duty," observes Lord Wadleigh with dignity. 
    Patience is detracted by the vista beyond the coach window; the ornate spires of Bath Abby Church of St. Peter and St. Paul come into view, its immensity hidden by morning shadows. Her fiancé's last letter arranged for them to meet at the abbey one hour before his father's wedding. After six weeks apart and bursting with elation, her spirit is already racing into the abbey to meet him.

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