A Matter of Class by Mary Balogh

By Mary Balogh

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His mouth quirked at one corner. “You would have enjoyed being Mrs. ” “Far more than I will enjoy being Mrs. Annabelle Mason, I daresay,” she retorted, forgetting for a moment that they had an audience beyond the music room doors. He inclined his head slightly in acknowledgment of the hit, and his eyes dared to laugh. ” he asked her. She glanced toward the half-open door, remembering. “My decision to elope was a mistake,” she said disdainfully. ” he asked her. “And rash? ” Oh. Oh! Annabelle’s nostrils flared and she glared.

I could hardly have phrased it better myself,” he said, his tone quiet and aristocratic and withering. Reggie’s father did not wither. He rubbed his hands and beamed. “Get to it, then, lad,” he said. Right! A public offer it was to be, then, both sets of parents watching and listening and judging. How utterly delightful! Should he stand? Sit? Kneel? Move closer? Farther away? All the way out onto the landing? Should he smile? Frown? Look contrite? Amorous? Grateful? Humble? Dignified? Triumphant?

And only twenty-five. I daresay he is just sowing his wild oats, as young men do. I daresay he will—” Her voice trailed off. Her husband had turned on her. ” It was an absurd question. Young Mr. Mason had sat within feet of them at church every Sunday when both families were at home in the country. He always leered when Annabelle glanced his way or raised an ironical eyebrow or pursed his lips in a suggestion of a kiss. He was, as her mother had just said, very handsome. “I will not marry him,” Annabelle said quickly.

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