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Making an Impression
It would take me no time at all to write a brilliant how-to-guidebook on making first impressions. Included in its opening chapters would be my best advice on future follow through, or their opposites and most disastrous extremes — how to escape with your head when an enraged husband is chasing you through his castle.
I’ve heard them, the stories whispered about me in my roguish youth and I will share this about me —in my early thirties, I began to pay attention, and noted how quickly I absorbed the intricacies of both the English and the continent’s mores of social navigation. For my years of study and excellent service, I have given myself the rank of admiral. And I believe it fits me nicely.
Today, well hidden behind my polite smile, my mind is suspiciously running through ’why now exactly’ have the Priestleys turned up at Shibden? With me being only two days home, and much that requires my attention elsewhere, I’m hardly ever in yet, Miss Walker is brought to call upon me.
I wonder as the Priestley’s enjoy their tea cakes, is her family having difficulty with her?
Have the Priestleys turned up at my doorstep in hopes that my legendary bonhomie will draw Miss Walker out of her shy and nervous shell?
Interrupting my train of thought along the lines of ’what is to be done to help Miss Walker’ the large hall clock and the even more deeply toned one that’s back the library both chime precisely at four. I flip open my pocket watch and note that everything is just as I have set it, on time.
Satisfied, I stretch my arm across the back of the loveseat and lean in closer to Miss Walker. ”Miss Walker, what amuses you all day? Do tell me more about yourself.”
”Oh me?” she blushes slightly, ”I wouldn’t know where to begin, and I’m sure my days spent would seem foolish next to yours.”
Her answer puzzles me and is not what I had been expecting, from a well-off lady of nearly thirty. ”How could you possibly think that?” I cock my head and give her my best-encouraging smile. ”Surely, there is much of interest going-on at Lightcliffe.”