Venetia: Georgette Heyer Classic Heroines | Chapter 3 of 5 - Part: 1 of 19

Author: Georgette Heyer | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 14651 Views | Add a Review

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That was true, and since his lordship’s manner was far more that of a civil but slightly bored host than of a ravisher of innocent females Nurse raised no further objection to his scheme.

“How in the world,” demanded Venetia, accompanying Damerel down the stairs, “did you contrive to turn Nurse up so sweet?”

He glanced quizzingly down at her. “Did you think I couldn’t?”

“Well, I know you can cajole young females—at least, you are generally believed to do sol—but I am persuaded it would never answer to try to flirt with Nurse.”

“So flirting is all you give me credit for! You underrate my talents, Miss Lanyon! Having created a breach in her defences by showing solicitude for Aubrey and a proper respect for her judgment in all matters concerning him, I got within her outer walls at least by the exercise of devilish strategy. In fact, I sacrificed your worthy suitor, and stormed the fortifications over his fallen carcase. She was so pleased with me for having rid Aubrey of him that she not only allowed herself to be flummeried into giving her consent to this very perilous expedition, but even agreed not to raise any more dust by commenting on Aubrey’s hagged look.”

“Nurse was pleased with you for getting rid of Edward?” Venetia exclaimed incredulously. “But he is a prime favourite with her!”

“Is he? Well, if he has sufficient address (which I doubt), he may succeed in winning back to that position, but not, if she is to be believed, until she has rung a rare peal over him! And certainly not until Aubrey has left the shelter of my roof: I’ll see to that! A truly estimable young man—and one with whom I find I have nothing in common. I gave him leave to come and go as he chooses—and mean to contrive, by judicious fanning of the flames of your admirable Nurse’s wrath, to ensure that he doesn’t avail himself of my carte blanche. I regret infinitely, Miss Lanyon, but I find that a taste of your worthy suitor constitutes a surfeit!”

“Well, you need not say it as though you supposed I wished him to come!” said Venetia indignantly. “I was never more thankful for anything than the chance that brought you into the room at just that moment!”

“Chance, indeed! I came for no other purpose than to remove him before he had driven Aubrey into a raging fever!”

“You shouldn’t have permitted him to come up at all,” said Venetia severely.

“I know I shouldn’t. Unfortunately I said he might do so before I had his measure. By the time Imber came to conduct him upstairs, however, I had it!”

She laughed, but said in rather a worried voice: “I am afraid Aubrey was more hurt by that fall than I had thought. He doesn’t like Edward, but I never knew him to fly out at him before.”

“Perhaps he has never before encountered him after a bad shakeup and a sleepless night,” suggested Damerel, holding open the door for her to pass into the garden. “To judge by the very improving discourse with which he favoured me, he said precisely what anyone with a grain of tact would have left unsaid.”

“Yes, he did. As though he had been Aubrey’s father!”

“Or his elder brother. He appears to think himself that already, for he thanked me for what he called my kindness to Aubrey.”

He thanked you—? Now, that, said Venetia, her eyes kindling, “is coming it very much too strong! In fact, it is a great piece of impertinence, for the only person who ever said I should marry him was my father, and he can’t possibly suppose that I should be guided by Papa’s wishes! Well, it is my own fault for having allowed him to suppose that when my brother Conway returns I shall accept him. I did tell him it was no such thing, but he didn’t believe me, and now see what comes of it!”

“From what I have seen of that young man I should think persuading him to believe anything he did not choose to believe a labour of Hercules,” he remarked.

“Yes, but the truth is that I didn’t try very hard to convince him,” she said frankly.

“Are you telling me that you ever entertained for as long as five minutes the thought of accepting such a clod-pole?” he demanded. “Good God, the fellow’s a dead bore!”

“He is, of course, but there’s no saying he wouldn’t be a good husband, for he is very kind, and honourable, and— and respectable, which I believe are excellent qualities in a husband.”

“No doubt! But not in your husband!”

“No, I believe we should tease one another to death. The thing was, you see, that because he was Papa’s godson Papa permitted him to visit us, and so we grew to know him very well, and when he wished to marry me I did wonder (though it was not at all what I wanted) whether perhaps it might not be better for me to do so than to grow into an old maid, hanging on Conway’s sleeve. However, if Aubrey dislikes him as much as that it won’t do. Oh dear, you have allowed your garden to grow into a wilderness! Only look at those rose-trees! They can’t have been pruned for years!”

“Very likely not. Shall I set a man on to attend to them? I will, if it would please you.”

She laughed. “Not at this season! But later I wish you will: it might be such a delightful garden! Where are you taking me?”

“Down to the stream. There’s a seat in the shade, and we can watch the trout rising.”

“Oh, yes, let us do that! Have you fished the stream this year? Aubrey once caught a three-pounder in it.”

“Oh, he did, did he?”


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One of her rather average ones
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Excellent and humorous
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