Sarah scooted herself to the edge of the bed and slid off. Her legs were stiff, and she stretched each one in turn, bending and straightening at the knee. “He already knows he made me cry.”


Sarah leaned against the side of the bed and looked down at her hands. Her fingers were swollen. How did that happen? Who got sausage fingers from crying?

“Is something wrong?” Honoria asked.

Sarah gave her a rueful look. “I believe I would rather Lord Hugh think I’m the sort of woman who looks gorgeous while she cries, eyes all glistening and such.”

“As opposed to red-rimmed and puffy?”

“Is that your way of telling me I look a mess?”

“You’ll want to redo your hair,” Honoria said, ever the epitome of tact.

Sarah nodded. “Do you know where Harriet is? We’re sharing a room, and I don’t want her seeing me like this.”

“She would never judge,” Honoria assured her.

“I know. But I’m not up to her questions. And you know she’ll have questions.”

Honoria bit back a grin. She knew Harriet. “I’ll tell you what,” she said, “I will make sure that Harriet is distracted, and you can go to your room to . . .” She fluttered her hands near her face, the universal signal for fixing one’s appearance.

Sarah gave a nod. “Thank you. And Honoria . . .” Sarah waited until her cousin had turned back around to face her. “I love you.”

Honoria gave a wobbly smile. “I love you, too, Sarah.” She brushed a nonexistent tear from her eye, then asked, “Would you like me to send word to Lord Hugh, asking him to meet with you in thirty minutes?”

“Perhaps an hour?” Sarah was brave, but not that brave. She needed more time to bolster her confidence.

“In the conservatory?” Honoria suggested, walking toward the door. “You’ll have privacy. I don’t think anyone’s used the room all week. I imagine they’re all afraid they might stumble upon us practicing for a musicale.”

Sarah smiled despite herself. “All right. The conservatory in an hour. I shall—”

She was interrupted by a sharp rap on the door.

“That’s odd,” Honoria said. “Daniel knows we—” She shrugged, not bothering to finish her statement. “Enter!”

The door opened, and one of the footmen stepped in. “My lady,” he said to Honoria, blinking with surprise. “I was looking for his lordship.”

“He very kindly allowed us the use of his room,” Honoria said. “Is there a problem?”

“No, but I have a message from the stables.”

“From the stables?” Honoria echoed. “That’s very strange.” She looked over at Sarah, who had been waiting patiently through the exchange. “Whatever could be so important that they told George to come find Daniel in his bedchamber?”

Sarah shrugged, figuring George was the footman. Honoria had grown up at Whipple Hill; of course she’d know his name.

“Very well,” Honoria said, turning back to the footman. She held out her hand. “If you give the message to me, I will make sure that Lord Winstead receives it.”

“Begging your pardon, ma’am. It’s not written down. I was asked just to tell him.”

“I will relay it,” Honoria said.

The footman looked undecided, but only for a moment. “Thank you, ma’am. I was asked to tell his lordship that Lord Hugh took one of the carriages to Thatcham.”

Sarah snapped to attention. “Lord Hugh?”

“Er, yes,” George confirmed. “He’s the gentleman who limps, isn’t he?”

“Why would he go to Thatcham?”

“Sarah,” Honoria said, “I’m sure George doesn’t know—”

“No,” George interrupted. “That is, I’m sorry, my lady. I didn’t mean to cut in.”

“Please, go ahead,” Sarah said urgently.

“I was told that he went to the White Hart to see his father.”

“His father?”

George didn’t quite flinch, but it was close.

“Why would he go see his father?” Sarah demanded.

“I-I-I don’t know, my lady.” He threw a rather desperate glance over at Honoria.

“I don’t like this,” Sarah said.

George looked pained.

“You may go, George,” Honoria said. He gave a quick bow and fled.

“Why is his father in Thatcham?” Sarah asked the moment they were alone again.

“I don’t know,” Honoria replied, sounding as baffled as Sarah felt. “He certainly wasn’t invited to the wedding.”

“This can’t be good.” Sarah turned to the window. The rain was still coming down in sheets. “I need to go to the village.”

“You can’t go in this weather.”

“Hugh did.”

“That’s entirely different. He was going to his father.”

“Who wants to kill Daniel!”

“Oh, dear God,” Honoria said, giving her head a shake. “This is all such madness.”

Sarah ignored her, instead dashing out into the hall and yelling for George, who thankfully had not yet headed downstairs. “I need a carriage brought ‘round,” she said. “Immediately.”

As soon as he was gone, she turned back to Honoria, who was standing in the doorway. “I will meet you in the drive,” Honoria said. “I’m going with you.”