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Lady Bridget's Diary by Maya Rodale

Lady Bridget's Diary by Maya Rodale

Author:Maya Rodale
Language: eng
Format: epub, mobi
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: 2016-02-29T16:00:00+00:00


Chapter 16

According to the duchess, a True Lady is one who knows how to plan and host a ball for five hundred people. I asked Rupert if that was something he looked for in a wife and he just laughed and said he loved parties.

Lady Bridget’s Diary

The Cavendish family had spent hours, days, weeks planning their first ball. According to the duchess, it was vitally important that all the sisters become accomplished hostesses so that they might be an asset to the husbands they might one day (soon, please Lord, soon) acquire. Claire couldn’t care less about any of it, though she was helpful with any sums, such as how many bottles of champagne to order if they invited six hundred people and most of them agreed to attend.

Amelia’s contributions consisted of absurd suggestions for entertainments: Gypsy fortune-­tellers in the ladies’ retiring room or tightrope walkers from Astley’s Amphitheatre.

But Bridget devoted herself to the planning of everything, from the guest list (Rupert’s was the first name she wrote down), to the menus (“Do you think that is a bit much?” the duchess inquired upon seeing her three-­page list. “You made me write it before lunch,” Bridget explained.). She might not have been able to successfully adhere to her reducing diet, or master French, or sing on key, but being a hostess seemed like a ladylike task that she could do.

She and her sisters had no help from their brother. James, being a useless male, just said yes to whatever was asked.

“Would you rather serve ratafia or punch?” Bridget asked.

“Yes.”

“Your Grace, do you think we should have silver or gold as part of the color scheme?” the duchess asked, looking down her nose at him.

“Yes, Your Grace,” he murmured, without looking up from the sporting pages of the newssheet.

“Your Grace, it is vitally important that we throw a ball,” Josephine said, revealing her irritation. It was, she informed them, a crucial part of their ongoing campaign to woo high society. Apparently it was not enough to possess an old and prestigious title, or pots of money. One needed a pristine reputation and the favor of the movers and shakers in the haute ton.

Just in case, say, they needed to weather a scandal.

Which, thanks to Amelia, they did.

Their ball marked their first appearance after they abruptly canceled their attendance at a soiree due to Amelia’s adventure. They had blamed it on a sudden and dire illness. And now it was all anyone wished to discuss.

An hour after the ball began, it became clear that while everyone accepted the excuse, no one believed it.

Bridget never thought she’d long to discuss the weather, but after a certain point, she was desperate to discuss anything other than her sister’s “precious health.” No one complimented the décor, or the menu, or the orchestra, or any of the little details she had so carefully attended to. It was maddening.

The conversations invariably followed the same pattern.

“Lady Amelia, we are so glad to see you have recovered from your sudden illness,” someone would say.



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