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Darlene Hamilton

A Quandry & Lady Oakham | Sunday evening

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Arriving home after Chapel, Darlene discovered herself at a loss. Well really she'd been at a loss for a little while now.  "Bother you Charles Whitehurst." all lace and ribbons she flopped into her favourite chair. Next to that chair was her needlework, surprising as it was to some, Darlene was actually rather good at that, it was one of the very few things she displayed patience at.

Easter Sunday was and even more family day than the usual Sundays were, and Darlene had no doubt that the Whitehurst residence would be full to the near brim.  Charles had his wards of course, and then his younger brothers - possibly every chair at the table would be used. And she, was nearly his fiancée, or actually was if he was in a remembering mood, but he'd not remembered to invite her to Easter dinner.  And ever since her conversation with Frances, Darlene had begun to suspect just why that was. 

Should I just turn up any how, and see how he reacts?

She really did not know what to do, if this was a quandary, then she did not like quandaries very much.

Charles might be very much a gentleman if she arrived as an uninvited guest, and so Darlene decided that as a test it would not reveal any real verdict at all.  But if I don’t turn up, will he miss me?  That might be a truer test

Yes perhaps that was the thing to do.  Charles had suggested that they play a game of collecting suitors (a game that now sounded suspiciously like avoiding commitment to her) so perhaps Darlene would take that game seriously, and treat Charles with no more favour than the next.  Then, if he loves me, he might court me properly, and declare himself fully! 

To Darlene’s mind that sounded like a clever plan - a very boring, but clever plan. In her heart of hearts she suspected he'd duped her, and had never meant any of the nice things he'd said - which left ehr feeling rather foolish.   If only he'd prove my fears wrong.    

 

This was how it came to pass that a sulky Vicountess Oakham dined alone Easter 1678.

 

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