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By Georgette Heyer

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Next week! " He raised his brows. "Is it so important? For my part, masquerades at Chiswick—" "No, indeed, but you did promise Letty she should attend it! " "Hang Letty! Can't she— No, I suppose not. " "I wish I might," she said wistfully. He smiled at her, but rather quizzically, and picked up another of the invitation cards. "A quadrille ball at the Cowpers'! How dashing! " The post had brought her ladyship a polite reminder from Mr. Warren, Perfumier, that a trifling account for scent, white nail-wax and Olympian Dew, was outstanding.

Eight! Oh, don't look so dismayed! I daresay they were all quite necessary. " She smiled gratefully at him, and he took her chin in his hand, and pinched it. "Yes, very well, ma'am, but that is only the sop that goes before the scold! You've been drawing the bustle disgracefully, my dear. You seem not to have the smallest notion of management, and I should doubt whether you have ever kept an account in your life. Now, I am going to settle all these bills of yours and I am also going to place a further hundred pounds to your account.

But so it had been. He had first seen his Nell in a ballroom, and he had instantly been struck, not so much by her undeniable beauty as by the sweetness in her face, and the innocence of her enquiring gaze. Before he well knew what had happened, his heart was lost, and every prudent consideration thrown to the winds. She sprang from a line of expensive profligates, but he had been ready to swear, looking into her eyes, that she had miraculously escaped the Irvine taint. She had been less than eighteen when he had married her, fourteen years younger than he, and when he found himself with a shy, elusive bride he handled her very gently, believing that tenderness and forbearance would win for him the loving, vital creature he was so sure lived behind the nervous child.

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April Lady by Georgette Heyer

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