A Purely Private Matter by Darcie Wilde EPUB & PDF – eBook Details
- Author: Darcie Wilde
- Language: English
- Formats: PDF / EPUB
- Status: Available for Download
- Series: None
- Price: Free
- File Size: 1 MB
The Art of Obtaining Discreet
Avoid as much as possible going out in the evening, especially
on frivolous errands.
—Samuel and Sarah Adams, The Complete Servant
How will you get inside? Mrs. Devery’s question echoed in the back of
Rosalind Thorne’s mind as she climbed out of the hired carriage. They do not
admit women at Graham’s.
That was the first problem. Had Rosalind needed to get inside a
respectable house, she could have followed the daisy chain of her
acquaintance to find a plausible reason for visiting. There were, however,
limits to even Rosalind’s carefully cultivated connections. Fashioning an
anonymous admission to one of the most exclusive gaming clubs in Pall Mall
had proved beyond her powers, until tonight.
Tonight Graham’s was holding its Selenite Ball. Once a year, the club
members welcomed London society’s richest and most riotous inhabitants.
Champagne and brandy would flow and tables would groan under the weight
of the food prepared by the club’s French chef, and most important for
Rosalind’s purposes, women would be welcomed into the club’s exclusively
Rosalind clutched her blue silk cloak closed with one hand and held her
white and silver face mask with the other as she shouldered her way through
the opulent crowd. Ladies and gentlemen done up in enough colors to outfit a
hundred stained glass windows jammed the steps. Precious stones, some of
which were surely genuine, sparkled on every throat, bosom, and brow.
Rosalind was not the only woman to affect a mask. Creations of gold lace and
peacock feathers adorned the faces of some who did not scruple to expose
their shoulders, arms, bosoms, and most daringly, their ankles.
Graham’s Club had three sets of doors facing St. James’s Street, and all of
them stood wide open in an attempt to accommodate the flood of fashionable
visitors. Rosalind selected the doors farthest to the right, and inserted herself
into the particolored current with the efficient yet unobtrusive sidestep she’d
perfected for navigating crowded ballrooms.
When she reached the golden doorway, the liveried footman shook his
head at her until all his chins wagged. “Now, then, ma’am, I will need to see
Rosalind was as devoid of invitation as she was of any intention to join
the festivities. She stepped closer to the footman and, in a familiar manner
that would have shocked any respectable house or manservant, took his hand.
“I am here to meet a friend,” she breathed as she pressed the coin into his
The man looked at her mask, and closed his hand around the coin. He also
stepped back, and bowed deeply. Rosalind gathered her hems and sailed past
him with a straight back and smooth step that would have made her old
deportment master smile.
How will you know where to go? Mrs. Devery had asked. You will not
know what the place looks like inside.
This much, at least, was easy to solve. The circulating library kept a
number of guidebooks describing the more notorious sights and haunts of
London. The article in Clubs of the Metropolis: A Comprehensive Guide had
proved most detailed. Rosalind looked about her now, matching that
description to what she saw.
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