LADY MEREDITH INTERVIEWS LORD CHETWYN
Lady Meredith in sotto voce: Dear Visitor, I wish I could claim to be happy to be here today, but the thought of being anywhere near Lord Chetwyn causes my heart to flutter, my hands to grow damp, and my throat to tighten with unshed tears. I gave him my heart, you see, and he cast it aside like so much rubbish. He proposed to another, Lady Anne. And she left him at the altar. Now Chetwyn is more commonly referred to as “that unfortunate fellow, Lord Chetwyn.” I wish to have nothing further to do with him but in the spirit of the holidays, I shall persevere in order to give you the opportunity to know this dastardly fellow who is prone to breaking lady’s hearts.
Lady Meredith speaking succinctly: Good day, Lord Chetwyn. I trust you’re well.
Lord Chetwyn: Good day to you, Lady Meredith. As well as can be expected when I have much for which to make amends.
LM: Yes, well, do be so kind as to share with us your favorite part of the holidays.
LC: Attending various balls where I can observe you dancing.
LM: You will gain nothing with false flattery.
LC: I speak only the truth.
LM: I notice you do not ask me to dance.
LC: Would you dance with me if I asked?
LM: I will admit that you are quite adept at the waltz, but I require more in a partner.
LC: You deserve more in a partner.
LM, blushing profusely as his eyes smolder with innuendo:You loved Lady Anne—
LC: I did not.
LM: But you asked her to marry you.
LC: Guilt prompted my actions. Do you love Lord Litton?
LM: I shan’t discuss him.
LC: But you are betrothed to him.
LM: As I am the interviewer, I ask the questions.
LC: Very well. Ask me anything.
LM: Why did Lady Anne leave you at the altar?
LC: Because she loves Lord Tristan. And she didn’t exactly leave me at the altar. I stood as his best man.
LM: It was unconventional. Why ever did you stand by as you did? It made you look a fool.
LC: Better to look a fool than to be one. I wanted there to be no doubt that I approved of their union. And I do. I have seldom been witness to a love so grand. I daresay that I hope to find myself in such fortune some day. And I wish the same for you.
LM: Without question, I am well on my way to having it.
LC: Not if you marry Lord Litton.
LM: He cares for me immensely.
LC: He cares for your dowry more.
LM: Let me remind you that we are not here to discuss me, but to interview you. What is your favorite holiday dish?
LC: I would very much like to nibble on your bare shoulders.
LM, toes curling: Yes, well, that’s not going to happen. is it?
LC: Don’t be so sure. Christmas is a time for miracles and second chances.
LM: I don’t believe in second chances, or miracles for that matter.
LC: Then it seems I have my job cut out for me.
LM: Yes, well, I have no more questions. I wish you a happy holiday.
LC: I will see you at the Duke and Duchess of Keswick’s holiday ball. Perhaps I shall ask you to dance.
LM: As I said earlier, I shall say no.
LM in sotto voce: Dear visitor, I apologize for the short interview but the way he was watching me, studying me as though he harbors some dark secret, as though I am not safe from his advances. I fear he may have that dance after all. I must go now and see that my maid has packed everything for the journey to Keswick’s. I shall be there for three nights. Surely during that time nothing of significance can happen. And shortly, thereafter, I shall be married to Lord Litton. Although I fear I shall never forget the regret and yearning that I just saw in Chetwyn’s eyes. But my battered pride will not allow me to forgive him.
Thank you for joining me here today.