Lady Russell dismissed her maid and sank down on the chair at her dressing table. Another curl, another tuck, none of it would make her feel any better. None of those things could alter the dreadful conversation she faced this all too beautiful morning. If only the weather better matched her mood. Somehow that would make this easier, just a little.
She opened a small drawer and removed a small framed sketch. From the confines of the oval gilt frame, Lady Elliot stared up at her. Oh, to return to the day when she had sketched the likeness of her dearest friend. It should be a mother, not a god mother who had the responsibility of such a discussion.
What kind of friend would she be to mother, or daughter, if she failed to draw attention to the very great danger looming on the horizon, like a storm cloud waiting to burst? Sir Walter should do this duty—he should have already done it! Was it possible for him to sink any lower in her esteem than he already had? Until just a few days ago, it was impossible to consider. Yet, indeed he had managed it.
Was it not a father’s role to consider the character and the prospects of a daughter’s suitor? Indeed all genteel folk would agree. Those same folks would hardly consider Sir Walter truly genteel. His wife certainly had not.
She sighed and placed the portrait on the dressing table beside her hairbrush. She rose and walked to the window. Lady Elliot had always loved the sunshine, even as Anne did now…
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