A Rogue of One's Own by Evie Dunmore

A Rogue of One's Own by Evie Dunmore

Author:Evie Dunmore [Dunmore, Evie]
Language: eng
Format: epub, mobi
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Published: 2020-09-02T00:00:00+00:00

* * *

The copies of The Female Citizen were gone from her vanity table. Someone had positioned a few of the Discerning Ladies’ Magazines in their place. Well. Whoever had tried to sabotage her, they had succeeded.

Her carpetbag and the travel trunk were stowed in the dressing chamber. Mechanically, she began pulling gowns and petticoats into her arms, carried them to the bed, and dumped them on the counterpane. Her senses were still overheightened, her blood still racing.

Years ago, when she had been new to activism, she had wondered how the other ladies who were taking up the Cause retained their positions and people’s good graces. Their families usually displayed unusual degrees of tolerance. But most ladies also stayed clear of the truly ugly matters and left them to the activists from the middle classes. And usually, they were more patient than her, and contented themselves with gradually carving out space for a project here or there. Another foundling home, another school for girls, an academy for fallen women. A position as policy advisor on health matters thanks to personal connections, as Florence Nightingale had done. All valuable work, none of it enough. And she, Lucie, was greedy. She found the endless waiting difficult. She wanted to see women advisors in the Ministry of Economics. She wanted fewer academies for fallen women, and more changes to the circumstances that made women fall. Her mother was right—she was selfish. She was indulging her impatience and wanted too much, too fast.

She pulled the flowers from her hair and tossed them onto the disorderly heap of clothing. Masculine nature. How many of them had been laughing behind her back at her attempts to look nice?

She began stuffing the dresses into the trunk, crushing velvet and silk.

A soft but determined knock sounded on her door.

“Enter,” she said without interrupting the packing.

Annabelle appeared on the doorstep. At a glance, she took in the pile of clothes on the bed and the open trunk.

She closed the door behind her. “Surely you are not thinking about leaving?”

“I think it would be best, considering the circumstances.”

Annabelle drew closer. “What makes you think so?”

“Please. Everyone thinks it was me. Including you.” Forgivable in her mother, who had never known her much at all. So hurtful in a friend, she couldn’t breathe, thinking about it.

“I do not think you did it.”

She glanced up. Annabelle was staring at her with hurt in her eyes.

Lucie swiped a dislodged lock of hair behind her ear. “I saw how you looked at me when I came into the breakfast room.”

Annabelle shook her head. “It would be stupid, and disloyal, and you are neither.”

It didn’t soothe the jagged emotion stabbing away in her chest.

“I’m glad. But I would have appreciated a warning before I walked into Antarctica.”

Annabelle blew out a breath. “I could hardly leave Montgomery’s side—we were busy pretending that everything was fine.” She hesitated. “But it is true that I had seen the pamphlets on your vanity table yesterday morning. And . . .


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