1. Chapter one
"I'll tell you what counts," my father shouts, "land and money." I'd always thought it was land, money, title and reputation but apparently the latter of these can be bought so long as you have enough of the former. My father continued, "Both of which can be obtained through advantageous marriage." I don't know why he feels the need to deliver this speech on the subject, I know how to advance my interests. Unlike other girls, I did away with any peculiar romantic notions long ago. Childish whims left in childhood, I am a strong woman, ready to go out and make something of myself. By whatever means necessary. For some reason, I really like that phrase.
We're going to London tomorrow morning, for the season. Naturally, I've already tried to get a flavour of the social scene as it stands. It wasn't a chore, I like gossip anyway. Sending the right letters to the right people was my first priority, then I've been listening in to my mothers visitors. Mrs. Darton has been most useful in this regard as her eldest daughter is already in London and writes regularly and in great detail. From these letters, I've ascertained a great deal, though Miss. Darton seems determined to infuriate me by mentioning the interesting prospects, very briefly, only to waste a side or so on a lenghty description of some dashing young man who is nevertheless rather dull. Such men can be found anywhere, charming enough but wholey unremarkable.
All this fuss over some newly made dandy and only one sentence about the person who interests me most. That sentence would, I suppose, be somewhat disheartening to most young ladies in my position. "I met the elusive Lord Derrington today though I must confess, his qualities have been greatly overexaggerated; even for forty he looks old and he is a the most frightfull bore." This did not diminish my interest in the slightest, infact, it comforted me there may be less competition than I expected.
Lord Derrington visited once, when I was twelve, and I knew he was mine. Though he was thirty then, he was as lively as any youth and far more wealthy.