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2. Silly Little Peeresses

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This is the sequel to ‘Silly Little Sisters’, with marriage, mischief, mayhem and unprincipled activity confused with stalwart loyalty, with two stories running through this  novel.

715,438 words

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Anne Hauden ©


                        “I wondered after the wisdom o’ having you awakened in time to enable you to join me at breakfast,” said her grace, rising from her seat, “for that you were fearsome tired and low of spirits after that dreadful journey, was patently obvious from your demeanour, my dear.  I hope that you are rested, however; one’s first night in a strange bed and in an unfamiliar room has the curious effect of vastly diminishing the quality of one’s repose.”

            “To me ’tis a most familiar bed, but I comprehend plainly: change is the author of restlessness, more often than not,” stated her ladyship, with a placid smile.  “I slept capitally well, I assure you, even if, on retiring, I was too fatigued to fall asleep at once, which paradox whiles besets me, I fear.”

            “Come, let us sit,” sighed her grace, holding out her hands.

            The two sisters, together on the sopha, presented an elegant spectacle of contrasts.  Both were tall, with lean countenances, and a construction of physiognomy that betokened some resemblance, but one was simply beautiful in a mild and pleasant way, with the advantage of fairness in colouring, hair and skin alike, with docile blue irises and a gentle demeanour, whereas the other was too dark to be a beauty according to the fashions even if a true beauty she really was, while her complexion, thô good, was sun-kissed and her hair deeply dark, to the extent of her long and thick eyelashes, which did nothing to soften the carefully chiselled hardness of her firm and neat features, so that aside of her sibling, she seemed to be the less benign of the twain.  Their figures were also dissimilar but that was owing to another matter, for the fair one was slim and becoming angular, whereas her dark sibling was considerably expanded about the waist and in a somewhat advanced state therein.  This latter circumstance made her walk ungainly and her appearance unwieldy, but affected not the difference in their habitual movements, for her grace was restless and energetic, and inclined to make her gestures, whenever she had rare recourse to them, sharp and peremptory, just as her countenance, if not actually grimacing, was subject to a variety of muscular distortions over the brow, of dissatisfaction; whereas her sister was graceful and fluid of motions pervaded with calm.  There was another irony: the latter was older but fresh of face while the younger wore the weight of a weary mien and with it, greater maturity. 

            Her ladyship, whose figured yellow paduasoy gown reflected the height of fashion at least as to hue and the wavy ruching that embellished it upon the edges of the robings upon bodice and skirt, as well the petticoat over which the dress opened at the pointed busk of the waist, nevertheless had an air of simplicity about her, for her accessories reflected that she did not possess much vanity about her person beyond the necessity to keep it, and to look, clean, for she still preferred a starched muslin cap tied under her chin with ‘kissing strings’ and a fichu bound down over her stomacher by velvet tapes, the latter evidence of the fact that modes took five years to a decade to reach the country, for even if robings, or turnbacks, were still fashionable, the taped-down scarf was not and was replaced by a French stomacher.  The Duchess out of necessity, was dressed in ‘robe volante’ of plain satin in pink tinted with lavender that descended from her shoulders and spread over a pair of light paniers upon her hips, over a chemise with a tucker and elbow ruffles of Dresden lace, issuing from the wide turned back cuff of the gown itself.  At her neck was tied a lace bertha to cover her expanding

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1. Silly Little Sisters FREE

An old, impecunious nobleman lives with his family in his shambles of a country castle, and to make good his failed finances, means to marry off his eldest daughter to a wealthy but disreputable rake – who, on visiting to meet his intended, immediately exercises his roving eye. The trouble is, he also comes with a loaded past that reflects very luridly on his present and has a cynical family of his own.

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Grateful thanks to The Yale Centre for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut,
The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.,
Michael Judkins, at Pexels.