Redmond fortune disappears, reviving rumors of an ancient curse: a Redmond and an Eversea are destined to fall disastrously in love once per generation.
Three weeks later …
Olivia Eversea sighed in the soothing, well-sprung recesses of her family’s barouche, grateful for the solitude if only for the duration of the drive from St. James Square to the Strand.
It was perhaps an acknowledgment of how insufferable she’d been lately that her family had let her go to Madame Marceau’s alone.
The discussion over whether she ought to have silver trim on her wedding dress, like poor Princess Charlotte, or perhaps even beading along the hem, which would be much more expensive, but wouldn’t she just glow like an angel (her mother’s words) in it, had become absurdly impassioned, and subtle insults may even have flown, and her even-tempered sister, Genevieve, may even have slammed a door. Or, rather, shut it emphatically, which was close as Genevieve ever came to throwing a tantrum.
Minutes of sullen silence later, they had fallen into each other’s arms, all apologies.
Olivia knew she was being difficult and prickly and she was somehow skillfully bringing out the worst in everyone she knew, herself most particularly. She was doing all of them a mercy by taking herself off to the modiste’s alone.
And she still didn’t know what kind of trim she wanted.
Did no one see the irony in choosing the same trim as the poor doomed Princess Charlotte, who had married the man she wanted to marry, rather than the man her father preferred her to marry? She had promptly then died horribly in childbirth, casting all of England into mourning.
Olivia wondered how many parents in England used Charlotte as a cautionary tale. See what awaits you if you don’t listen to me?
Olivia was satisfied that she, at long last, had made a sensible choice from the years of suitors. Everyone in her family approved of him.
She peered out the window as the Eversea barouche rolled through the noisy, colorful, lively throngs of the Strand. Pye men and puppeteers and costermongers and pickpockets wove in and out of gorgeously dressed men and women aglow with wealth and flawless breeding. The Strand’s lively dissonance would resonate nicely with her mood and she expected to find it soothing. And she liked Madame Marceau’s shop, she truly did. It was a hushed, feminine paradise. It was just that she’d had so many fittings she’d begun to feel a bit like a calf being measured for chops.
She was to have silk petticoats and fine lawn night rails, traveling dresses and walking dresses and riding habits, gloves both kid and cotton, stockings both silk and woolen, ball gowns in silks and satins in glowing, muted jewel tones, along with fascinators and feathers and furbelows. It was a veritable avalanche of finery, or perhaps a bulwark of finery, she thought dryly, for surely abandoning it would inspire such crippling guilt that Olivia wouldn’t dream of fleeing?
Not only that, but nearly every relative from both sides of her family would be convening upon Pennyroyal Green, Sussex, in May, and there would be not only a wedding, but a ball. Reinforcements was what she called these relatives, but not out loud.